Why is College so Expensive?

College has become so expensive for many reasons including less students attending in person classes so the revenue that was once generated at the colleges is not there any longer. In the past, colleges would charge for your child’s room, which would include a single or double dorm room, electricity and typically a shared bathroom. The next charge would be for their meal plan which typically there were at least a couple of choices of a per swipe plan or an unlimited plan both varying in cost. Your next charge will be for lab classes, these classes are in addition to your regular class that you choose. In college you will typically be charged a number of extra fees that may have not been disclosed to you including a Dorm Fee, Security Fee, Activity Fee, Parking Fee and Activity Fee, these fees could start as low as $100 and could be as high $750 per semester. In many states students have decided to learn through online classes because of flexibility and the cost of being home online is much cheaper than staying on campus so they will not be charged all the unnecessary fees.

Alexander Djerassi believes another reason why college tuition has skyrocketed is because the cost of living in many states has risen as well along with the cost of paying professors, electricity charges for keeping the lights on, heating costs and general maintenance cost of the buildings and grounds. For example, 8 years ago a new college employee would earn $9.00 an hour typically which would average $15,000 a year but now a newly hired hourly employee would start their employment rate at $14.00 which is an additional $8,000 per year.

Not only has the beginning college employee rate increased so has the advanced professors, coaches, and president’s. The largest increase over the past 3 years has been of the college president’s with an average of 60% of the college president’s now making a yearly salary of over 1 million dollars in pay along with a college home provided to the president near or on-campus. The president’s income has been a substantial reason for why college tuition has been on the rise and is overly expensive.

Many colleges have offered scholarships in the past but with the employee rate increase and less revenue coming in not as many scholarships have been available as before meaning that college is more expensive.
As a Policy Associate for Hilary Clinton’s campaign Alexander Djerassi knows all about policy and procedure for adjusting with the influx of change in many ways. Mr. Djerassi could possibly help in our education departments to figure out why the colleges have increased their charges for tuition, room and board, along with the salary increases over the past 8 years. If this doesn’t get under control I don’t feel that an increase in college attendance will accrue because of all of the increases that many Americans can not afford to pay for.

5 Things To Know Before Buying A House

5 Things To Know Before Buying A House

Buying your dream home is one of the most satisfying things to live for. While there are many properties for sale on the real estate market, you need to ensure you get value for your money.

This will mean a thorough preparation through analysis of your table’s various options and only pick a property you are confident is a suitable pick for you.

As you buy the property, you must understand what it takes and things you need to look out for before you settle on any of your options. Preparation is key according to Alex Djerassi.

1. Location

Before you buy a property where you will raise your kids and live, it’s important to check on the location status. Your ideal home should be in a safe location for you, close to important amenities, and has the neighborhood charming for you. While you house hunt, you need to know that you can change or remodel after purchase, but you cannot change its location. Therefore, you need to ensure that you will be comfortable living there and have no reason to regret or yearn for a relocation.

2. Value of the property

The value of the residence you are buying should be reasonable and give you no reason to question its asking price. As you inquire from the real estate agent selling the property, you should ask about other similar options and why the property is valued at the given price. You may also hire your own home valuation assistance, who will help you break down its worth. What is being asked for should match other options and is reasonable for you to decide to buy.

3. Payment options

Once you are preparing to buy a house, you need to analyze the payment options at your disposal. If you cannot raise all the finance for an initial purchase, you may have to look for alternative sources.

This includes loans or mortgages, which are the most commonly accepted by property owners or real estate agents. Look for a mortgage company that is willing to offer you enough finance as a top-up of what you have or the whole amount for the purchase, and its terms of repayment are convenient for you.

4. Taxes and other hidden expenses to incur

As you buy a property in any state or country, you need to understand the taxes you have to pay and any hidden expenses that your real estate agent will not quote.

They include property taxes, escrow charges, state recording, survey, and appraisal fees as well. Once you familiarize yourself with all that you will have to pay, you have a rough idea of the total expense you will incur upon purchasing the property.

5. Home inspection is beneficial

Buying a home is an investment that you need not take for granted. The fact that you will be paying hundreds of dollars for the property means you need value for your money.

One way of ensuring you get it is by hiring a home inspector whether the property is old or new.

A home inspector is a professional who will carry out a thorough check on the property’s status and issue a detailed report on it. By this, you can know if the property has defects, damages, and what needs to be done about it. Once you go through the report issued, you can now decide to buy or not based on the details tabled down.

How Life Insurance Can Preserve Your Family’s Wealth

Can life insurance act as a wealth strategy for your family? The short answer is “yes,” but a more detailed look at this question reveals that there are some clever, strategic ways you might implement life insurance to help protect your family and your assets. Today, we’ll be taking a look at how you can put life insurance to work in preserving your family’s wealth.

Protecting Your Business

Let’s say you have a business. What will happen to that business and the income your family was relying on in the event of your passing?

You need to have a plan in place to ensure proper business succession and that your family can be compensated. This is where something like a buy-sell life insurance agreement might enter the picture:

  • – You select a successor for the business
  • – You create an agreement that establishes a suitable value for them to
  • buy the business for should you expire
  • – Successor purchases business for agreed upon price using payout from life insurance
  • – Your heirs receive compensation and don’t have to worry about what happens to the business

And this is but one example of life insurance protecting your family. You might also use insurance to help replace lost income in other circumstances, which is what we’ll be taking a look at next.

Life Insurance And Lost Income

Perhaps you have a successful job where you’re making plenty of money and providing for your family. You’ve got some years left until retirement, though, and this could pose a potential risk to your family.

Should anything happen to you, a large chunk of your family’s revenue is out the window, but life insurance could help make certain your family would still have money coming in. If you plan out your yearly income, multiplied by the number of years you have left until retirement, you can work out an amount that would protect your family should you pass and cannot provide a steady income.

Other Ways Life Insurance Fits Into A Wealth Strategy

In addition to making up for lost income, life insurance can present you with several other advantages as part of your wealth-building strategy:
– It can provide a substantial death benefit payment for beneficiaries with relatively low premium payments
– Those benefits will not decline as long as you pay your premiums
– Death benefits are often tax-free
– Funds from life insurance are divorced from future equity and debt markets
As part of an overall plan to preserve wealth for your family, life insurance is one component that you shouldn’t overlook, so make sure to do your research on what kind of policy would best benefit you and yours in the long-term.

The Benefits Of Paying For Your Funeral Now

Unfortunately, death is coming to us all and there is no way to avoid it. We can put it off as long as we possibly can by eating a healthy diet, and trying to stay fit, but eventually, it is coming to call.  It is a very certain event, and although we try not to think about it, we should try to make preparations now, for the future. We do it with life insurance, but for some reason, we don’t put aside any money for an event that we know is sure to happen. When you pass on, you’re going to be leaving the responsibility of your funeral with your family, and they will have enough to deal with at that difficult time.

It makes sense, then, to prepare your own funeral payment plans, because if you don’t do it, nobody else will. There are many ways to reduce the financial burden, and the difficult decisions for your family, and one of them is to prepay for your funeral, by paying it off in very easy instalments. Not only are you taking on the financial burden, but you are also providing yourself with essential peace of mind. If you’re not yet convinced about the benefits of funeral payment plans, then maybe the following can assist you in some way.

  • You avoid increasing costs – The price of everything is going up every year, and the longer you leave your funeral arrangements, the more expensive it is going to get. If you are someone who is in their early 50s, then it could be a great number of years before it is your time to pass on. Imagine the prices in 20 to 25 years from now. This should give you a good enough reason to start making funeral payment plans now.
  • You decide, not someone else – If you leave it too long, and you’re caught up in a car accident which leaves you unable to cope with a permanent disability, and unable to make your own decisions, then planning your final days will be taken out of your hands. By planning for it now and paying for it now, you get to map out where you want to be buried, or where your ashes will be scattered, the location of your funeral ceremony, and many other things. You might want to create a will, and you can get free advice on that here.

Nobody knows when the time comes for them to leave this planet, so it’s best to make all of your decisions now. It’s best to figure out your funeral payment plans now, while you can still afford them, and hopefully they will be paid, before you check out. Many funeral homes have facilities in place to allow people to plan for their funerals right now, and so you should take advantage of this excellent service. Preparing now, will provide you with the essential peace of mind that you need, and this allows you to get on with enjoying your life.

Jack Plotkin, Former Goldman Sachs Banker, on Cryptocurrency Investing

With all the media focus on the stock market and its remarkable upward trajectory, it is easy to miss the reemergence or cryptocurrencies. Even during its 2017 peak, many established investors dismissed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as nothing more than a speculative bubble. The euphoria indeed subsided in 2018, with Bitcoin’s price dropping six-fold. However, cryptocurrencies have been surging again recently and Jack Plotkin explains why.

Jack Plotkin has more than a decade of experience as a Goldman Sachs investment banker and financial strategist and has been following the markets for twice as long. He is considered an authority on financial markets. “The crypto inflows are not surprising,” says Jack Plotkin. “Stocks have come untethered from gravity while bonds are offering extremely low yields. In this unpredictable environment, investors are hungry for alternative asset classes.”

“Unlike traditional currencies, crypto does not have a physical form,” explains Jack Plotkin. “You can’t pull Bitcoin bills out of an ATM. It is also not issued by a government but rather created by an algorithm. That makes it something of a hedge against inflation because a government can’t just decide to print a billion more Bitcoins and dilute all existing owners.”

What is cryptocurrency?

The concept of cryptocurrency was first conceived by American cryptographer David Chaum in 1983 and the first implementation was DigiCash in 1995. Bitcoin did not come until more than 15 years later in 2009. What made Bitcoin so powerful is that it was based on a system known as blockchain that makes counterfeiting largely impossible. Blockchain assures the validity of each unit of cryptocurrency by using encryption that is based on each preceding block, which makes it impossible to insert a fake unit of cryptocurrency as it would invalidate the algorithm.

“Crypto has introduced some groundbreaking concepts into the mainstream,” notes Jack Plotkin. “Blockchains, digital wallets, crypto mining. Many people have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Libra, but there are actually more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies out in the market right now.”

Cryptocurrencies have met with a great deal of skepticism since Bitcoin’s debut in 2009. They have been described as “pyramid schemes”, derided for the use in black markets, and characterized as an economic bubble. Several of the world’s most respected investors and economists, including Warren Buffett, George Soros, Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Shiller have publicly spoken against the risks of cryptocurrencies. 

“With the Federal Reserve printing money like it’s going out of style to buoy the economy, investors have to be legitimately concerned about the specter of inflation,” says Jack Plotkin. “When I was at Goldman Sachs, we closely followed the Fed’s actions in the aftermath of the dot com bust and during the subprime mortgage crisis. But their quantitative easing program back then was far less than the current pump being applied to the monetary supply and the markets.”

Historically, when governments have printed more money, they caused the money to become less valuable. The direct impact was an increase in prices, meaning each unit of currency had less purchasing power. In economic terms, this is referred to as inflation. Usually, inflation in the United States is slow and grows at around 2% per year. However, when the government floods the market with an oversupply of dollars, inflation can increase at a much faster pace, as occurred in the 1970s.

“How do you protect your hard-earned dollars against inflation?” asks Jack Plotkin. “You invest in things that maintain their value, like gold. Given that Bitcoin cannot be artificially inflated, some investors are thinking of it as a sort of digital gold.”

Getting started

Jack Plotkin points out that there are several ways of gaining exposure to cryptocurrency. “There are a lot of exchanges where you can buy crypto directly and many digital wallet services that let you store and spend that crypto outside the exchange,” he says. “You can also invest in crypto mining companies or buy exchange-traded funds that invest in crypto. However, this is not a risk-free investment. Because cryptos are not backed by a government authority or supported by underlying asset values, they are only as valuable as the market deems them to be. Compared to major currencies, they are still very new. This makes them highly volatile. For these reasons, cryptocurrencies should only be considered in the context of a diversified portfolio.”

Because cryptocurrencies only exist in digital form, investors are also exposed to risk related to computing reliability and security. Since the emergence of Bitcoin, large sums of cryptocurrency have been lost due to storage failures, hacking attacks, and misplacement of digital keys. 

Despite its risks, the prevalence and usage of cryptocurrencies have grown over time. Beyond offering a value store, cryptocurrencies also make it easy to transfer funds without requiring the use of traditional banking institutions. “As long as there is demand for crypto, there is going to be an investment market,” Jack Plotkin says. “With regard to whether that market is appropriate for any given investor, it comes down to their sophistication and risk tolerance. My final advice? Tread carefully. Ease into this market, stick to well-known names like Bitcoin, and carefully calibrate the extent of your commitment.”

Importance of a Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit is essential as it helps homeowners realize their energy flow and residential consumption. It determines all the parts of your home where energy goes to waste and where usage can be controlled to save money. The whole process of the audit involves visual inspection of your home using special test equipment. This equipment helps in identifying problems and conducts a detailed analysis of energy flow.

If you are familiar with the process many people have conducted their own DIY energy audits otherwise the process can take at least an hour, depending on the size of your home. If you are not sure about the rates charged by a professional energy auditor, some tools can help you online. Furthermore, the tools can also help you make your assessment. Despite it not being thorough as a professional audit, you will get an idea and a basic understanding of the process. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, there are many benefits of doing an energy audit. They include:

  Boosting Energy Efficiency 

This is the primary role of conducting an energy audit. An energy audit helps you come out with a clear plan of home improvement. By conducting the exercise, you are going to identify energy drains associated with leaks and HVAC systems. An energy audit can help you discover leaks that emanate from the ceiling, walls, or floor. Additionally, you can also identify heat loss due to poor insulation.

For your HVAC systems, an energy audit would also involve checking whether the thermostat and air conditioner are functioning well. If functioning well, the units can save more energy. As such, the audit comes in handy, and you can determine if you can clean the systems, replace them, or do simple filter changes. You can also conduct a test for your electronic appliances to establish the units of electricity they are using.

  Lowering Bills 

A professional energy audit is not all about energy efficiency but saving money that accumulates from bills. Equipped with basic knowledge from your electrician, you can conduct small measures and significant improvements to save your money.

If you hire a specialist for your work, you will get good advice on government rebates. If you qualify for them, you can save more money incurred by bills due to exclusive deals and discounts.

 Reduce Effects on the Environment  

Due to different forms of energy we use, an energy audit is unique as it helps you save energy and reduce your bills. While doing this, you are also saving the environment. This is because you can implement processes that reduce carbon emissions to the environment. As such, you can lower pollution released to the environment. This can be achieved by ensuring a comprehensive energy audit that can take at least two hours.

 Energy Audit Adds Value to Your Home 

After conducting an energy audit, you are certainly going to adopt changes that are going to make your home energy efficient. You are going to add features or systems that can boost the value of your home. This will increase your home’s value if you are looking forward to selling or lease your home.

Some additions may include extra insulation and hot water systems. Even though you might not be planning to sell your home, the features will upgrade your home to a better value if the need to sell arises. To add some energy-efficient features to your home, you can consult for apples to apples Ohio to understand how the features will affect your electricity rates.

  Conclusion 

An energy audit not only enables you to save energy at home but makes your home better and increases its value. As such, you should capitalize on the right information for your home improvements to make your home livable and efficient. Besides, it would be best if you considered the impact of the changes in the environment.

5 Great Home Improvement Projects That Won’t Break the Bank

We all love to carry out improvements at home to make our living space that little bit more comfortable, which also adds value to the property. It might be an exterior make-over, or perhaps a kitchen or bathroom renovation, and with that in mind, here are a few home improvement projects that won’t break the bank.

Loft or Garage Conversion

If you need more living space, the cheapest way to add extra space is either a loft or garage conversion. If you are a competent handyman, this would make for an ideal project and if you have the necessary skills, going down the DIY road will save you a bundle. If you feel this would be an ambitious thing to take on, talk to your local builder, who can quote for the project, plus they can show you some design and layout ideas.

Bathroom Facelift

A repaint and perhaps replacing the tiles might be enough to transform your bathroom, with affordable products at https://www.ambertiles.com.au/, a leading Australian building supplier with an extensive range of tiles to suit every environment. New LED lighting and tiled flooring will complete the transformation, and with cheap online prices, you can save money. A new roller blind would also add some colour to the new bathroom, which can be found from the online supplier.

Outdoor Decking

If you have a terrace in your yard and it has seen better days, why not consider replacing the timber decking with natural stone pavers? This will eliminate maintenance, plus stone pavers are easier to keep clean than timber planks and they will last much longer. Search online for a leading tile and paver supplier, who would have an extensive range of top-quality products at affordable prices.

Retile & Repaint the Kitchen

A coat of paint and a change of ceramic tiles will certainly brighten up your kitchen, and replace any old appliances and possibly think about changing the cabinet doors, which would be affordable. Kitchen tiles can be found at the online supplier’s website, and they would have a greater selection of products than the traditional retail store, plus you can buy at trade prices.

Second-Hand Vintage Furniture

If you are in need of new furniture, forget the modern, flat-pack variety, as vintage furniture is very well made, and you can mix some old with new. There are lots of websites that specialise in old furniture and you should be able to find some great bargains.

Of course, if funds are limited, you can save a lot by carrying out the improvements yourself, all you need are the right tools and a little DIY knowledge. Anything you are unsure about, you can search for YouTube videos that guide you through each stage of the project, which makes things much easier. Make sure that you buy the materials from an online supplier, which will also save you some money, not to mention the satisfaction that comes with DIY home improvement projects.

How You Can Get More Bang for Your Buck Out of Your Investment Properties

Entrepreneurs that have delved into a variety of industries always seem to try their luck with investment properties. Building up a portfolio of investment properties can allow you to retire years in advance as you can rely on the consistent monthly income. Maximizing income from each property should be priority as renters are willing to pay for a quality apartment that comes with perks. Property management companies allow for people to make truly passive income as you will not have to deal with collecting rent or finding renters. Below are a few tips to help maximize your income from your rental properties.

List the Property on a Variety of Platforms

Entrepreneurs that have delved into a variety of industries always seem to try their luck with investment properties. Building up a portfolio of investment properties can allow you to retire years in advance as you can rely on the consistent monthly income. Maximizing income from each property should be a priority as renters are willing to pay for a quality apartment that comes with perks. Property management companies allow people to make passive income as you will not have to deal with collecting rent or finding renters. Below are a few tips to help maximize your income from your rental properties.

List the Property on a Variety of Platforms

Airbnb is an extremely popular platform to list your income properties on. You can even set up a cleaning service to deal with the property after it has been rented. Damages can be incurred by certain renters on this platform though so keep this in mind. Renting out properties for the extended future is going to maximize overall income. Offering extended leases that could be multiple years in duration that include a discount can be just enough to convince a renter to sign a longer lease.

Refinishing Can Give a Rental a Newer Look

Something as simple as bathtub or sink refinishing can give a bathroom entirely different energy. The last thing that you want to do is have to revamp a property year after year. Refinishing counters or sinks can allow for a newly renovated feel of the property. Take the time to see what refinishing companies in your area can handle the project for your investment property. You will find it is far more affordable than taking on the headache that is associated with large home improvement projects.

Amenities Can Drive Up Rental Costs

Picking a property in the right condo or townhome community can come with a number of perks. A vacation rental is going to be far more likely to be rented if there is a pool or even gym access. The best thing that can happen is to have seasonal renters that come back year after year. Being able to rely on rental income every year due to those from colder climates moving to warmer places is a godsend. Parking can be a huge perk in certain cities where a renter would have to pay a large amount monthly to park their car on their own.

Partner with a College in the Area

The ability to rely on a college in your local area to produce exchange students that need housing can be immensely profitable. You will be receiving rent from the college and exchange students oftentimes will take care of the property far better than an average college student. Being able to house graduate students is an even better deal so reach out to university officials to see if an arrangement can be established. A student is not going to risk their time in the US by damaging the apartment or condo they are renting.

Investing in the right property can generate income for years to come while the property itself appreciates in value. Maximizing the income made off of the properties can be used to put back into the property or can be saved to invest in another property. 

Five Ways To Make Money in 2020

Making a bit of extra money on the side is always welcome. But starting a side hustle, and more importantly, starting the right side hustle is sometimes hard. 

You have to take into consideration so many different aspects. From making sure that you’re keeping your sanity and staying motivated enough to keep doing this on a day by day basis, to ensuring that what you’re undertaking as your side money generating activity, you can do well enough to get paid for. 

So, while it’s 2020 and you can find some way to make money left and right, we’ve decided to go over five ways that can help you generate more money and reach new financial goals. Let’s get started! Shall we?

Consider becoming a workout coach.

Helping people reach new fitness heights is definitely something exciting. You get to see your clients grow, thrive, and get healthier because of your guidance and actions. 

But this is definitely not of everyone as you’ll have to be an individual who’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle so much, you inspire other people to do so as well. But if you tick all the boxes, then you can start finding clients and sell them your services. Just remember that if you are interested in providing meal plans as well, you should be a certified professional to do so. 

Consider investing

Definitely one of the more professional options on here that could turn you into a millionaire if you are good enough at what you do. 

Investing in crypto specifically is a good idea, as the technology is becoming more and more mainstream and even some banks are getting interested in it. Now that even bitcoin halving is a thing, it’s all about creating a more stable currency, and if you capitalize early on it, you’ll be sure to make a bank once crypto becomes part of our day to day. 

Turn your hobby into a money generating machine

While the above mentioned working out is definitely a hobby, it’s very energy consuming and you have to be very dedicated to keep it as a side hustle to your nine to five. 

But consider turning your other hobbies into something that can generate you money on the side. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. 

If you like playing the guitar, do guitar lessons. Same with everything else you’re good at. There are plenty of people that need to get better at math. 

Start a podcast

Yup, definitely 2020 with this one. While starting a podcast is easy, making it successful with a raving fan base is hard. 

But if you are in an industry or you have interesting friends that you think will make for amazing podcast episodes, then you’re a step closer to building a strong fan base podcast, that you can monetize. 

Maybe start a blog

Yup, blogs are still a thing. But only if you do them properly. We’re talking about research, passion, quality writing, and powering it with SEO. This would ensure the much-needed organic reach for building a readership that you can monetize. 

Cryptocurrency And Taxation: Everything You Need To Know

Though Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized and not issued by any bank, that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook when it comes to paying taxes.

You still have to report your Bitcoin holdings, trades and any profit. And, you’ll have to pay taxes depending on your return. It isn’t a currency, so how do you pay taxes on it? And if you are a professional and get paid in cryptocurrency

This is how things get confusing.

In this article, I will go over the things you need to understand when it comes to cryptocurrency and your taxes. 

How does the IRS view cryptocurrency?

As I already mentioned, the IRS does not consider Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a currency at all. 

Once again, it is not issued by a central banking authority and cannot be considered money. So, what does the IRS consider cryptocurrency to be? Instead, it is an asset.

Any Bitcoin tax consultant needs to keep this in mind as assets are taxed much differently than income. 

It’s very interesting that they consider it to be an asset as it is still used as a way to pay for things. In this sense, they think that using Bitcoin is another form of bartering. Imagine giving somebody your car in exchange for a good or service and you have an idea of how this became the designation.

Since Bitcoin is an asset, it is considered property so when you trade it, it is liable for a capital gains tax. And there are multiple ways to pay a capital gains tax so it depends on a few factors as to how much you will pay. 

Keep good records

The entire history of your Bitcoin will need to be accounted for. Make sure that you are keeping accurate records of every transaction so your accountant can understand how much you should pay in taxes. 

Aside from the fact that your Bitcoins will come under different tax codes for capital gains, there is also how they are acquired that factor into what you need to pay. 

For instance, there are long term capital gains and short term. If you have your Bitcoin for over a year and then sell it, it will come under the long term capital gains tax. Short term for anything under a year.

If you mine your Bitcoins, it is considered a business income. When you mine your coins, there is considerable expense with the electricity you will use so the cost of this is deductible. 

Now, if you are only buying and trading, then any profit from these transactions will fall under capital gains.

Conclusion

Even if you have a pretty firm grasp of how your taxes will be impacted when you invest or use Bitcoin, you still need to talk to a professional to make sure you don’t make any mistakes when you file.

Especially since your profit from Bitcoin is not very straightforward due to the volatility. You likely experienced some losses as well.