Would you have roommates as a family?

Over at Savvy Scot, I read an article on The Atlantic about two married couples getting a  house together in D.C. so they could split the mortgage and other household duties. What about you? Would you take a mortgage with your best friends to split the bills and chores?

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How to Mix Working and Traveling

How to Mix Working and Traveling

How to Mix Working and Traveling

 Hi there! Today I have a guest post from Christine owner of Wealthy Way Online, she is a blogger who is looking to take her online income to the next level. Originally from New Zealand, she’s planning to be location independent, traveling around while leveraging the currency and sampling the world’s best desserts.

Let me know if you would like to guest post on RFI.

When I first set out traveling in 2010, I had no idea what I was going to do for money long term. I knew that I wanted to travel for an indefinite period of time, a lot longer than average. In my experience I have found short 2-3 week holidays to be relatively expensive for the length of time, and you don’t have enough time to really settle into a place. I wanted to travel long and slow. 

During my travels I created a travel blog, The Wrong Way Home, that eventually started to make some money. As time went on, I thought of more ways I could make money online and settled on freelancing. Eventually I moved more towards advertising and started to build up a network of blogs. Now I make all of my money online. After 1.5 years at home, in just over two weeks time I am heading off to become location independent  with my partner. 

 

How Will I Mix Working and Travel?

1. Outsource as Much as Possible

Currently I employ two virtual assistants (one part time and one casually) as well as three writers on an as-needed basis. For the blogs that authored by me, I write my own posts, but for the blogs I have that are more ‘lifestyle’ than personal, I outsource the content. This is to save me time so I can instead focus on sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, watching my partner surf and snorkelling. 

2) Work Smarter, Not Harder

Generally 20% of the work yields 80% of the result, while the additional 80% of work only brings in 20%. As such, I am looking to work smarter, not harder. Because my line of work is advertising, my ‘salary’ is not fixed, it is not based on any hourly work. It is based on performance and what my clients have available. This means I can generally get by pretty well with 10-15 hours work, allowing ample time for fun. 

3) Move Towards Passive Income

While I really enjoy the work I do, it is not quite at the level I want to be. Ideally I would move towards a more diverse income and something that is passive, so that it is not dependent on me working. I have a few projects in my mind, but I haven’t committed to starting any yet. I know this is the best move for me. 

4) Utilise Transit Time

When traveling there’s a lot of down time, including time spent waiting in airports, on planes, boats, trains, taxis – everything. I tend to buy a location sim when I’m traveling and tether it to my laptop so I can use it wherever. It can be a little challenging working in confined spaces, but personally I find it great to get ahead so when I arrive somewhere new I can spend my time out exploring instead of working. 

Working online is a great way to allow yourself to have the ultimate freedom: location independence. My partner and I are planning to move to Panama because of the lower cost of living, the stable economy, the great weather and surf and also because there will be no tax on income derived overseas. 

Are you interested in becoming location independent or do you prefer to stay put and go on holidays? Let me know in the comments below. 

What To Do When Collectors Call

debt collectors

debt collectors

Sometimes, like Josh wrote last year, avoiding debt collectors and refusing to pay a debt really is the best case scenario. If that’s your situation, you’ll get no judgment from me. If you’re on the fence, though, I’m going to suggest something radical. I’m going to suggest that you actually answer the phone.

There are two reasons why:

Not all, but a lot of the collectors who call you are scammers. Seriously. They employ the same tactics as legit collectors (and often create fake debt collection companies so that their pulling of your report looks justified to the credit bureaus) but will get even more extreme with you because they want money. Catching them in the act is important because the last thing you need right now is to give your money to a thief! Plus, you’re helping to get a scammer off the streets (or phones).

Even if the company is on the up and up, a lot of the time they won’t be able to prove that you actually owe them this debt. If you can prove their error (or if they fail to prove their legitimacy), then you can have that debt completely erased from your credit report…before that pesky seven year waiting period has passed.

So how do you do this? How do you catch a scammer in his/her tracks? How do you convince a collection agency to prove that you owe what they say you owe and that you owe it to them?

1. Know exactly what is on your credit report.

If you aren’t sure about how to go about getting your reports or, more importantly, making sure they are accurate, work with a professional. There are credit repair agencies like Creditrepair.com (I mention this one because I like their YouTube videos) that exist solely to make sure that your credit report is as accurate as possible. Work with one to make sure that mistakes are fixed and that existing debts are verified. Even if your score makes you blush, you’ll be surprised by how much more confident knowing your score and history makes you feel.

2. Ask For Verification of the Debt

This is important: the caller, legit or not, is going to try to get around this. They are going to try to get you to say “I dispute this debt” on the recorded call because they want reason to, as they’ll say, “step up” their action against you. Whenever they ask “do you dispute this debt?” Say “I didn’t say that, I said I need you to send me written verification of both my debt and your purchase of the debt from the original creditor.” Say this even if you know you’ve paid the debt.

DO NOT AGREE TO PAY ANY MONEY ON THIS CALL. DO NOT SET UP A PAYMENT ARRANGEMENT. Just ask for written verification. A couple of things will happen.

1. The caller will refuse and say that they don’t have to do that. This person is a scammer. Ask for the company’s name and the caller’s name. They’ll likely refuse but ask anyway. Then hang up the phone and report the call for fraud.

2. The caller will agree and ask for your address.  Don’t give this information out over the phone. At this point, the best thing to do is to day something along the lines of “you know what, I’d feel a lot better having a paper trail for this whole thing. I’m going to send you a written request for this verification. What address should that be mailed to?” Scammers will try to get around this or flat out refuse. See step one. A legitimate collector will be happy to provide the address. Write down the address and send the debt verification letter (or have your credit repair company send it on your behalf).  If you get written verification of the debt, you’ll have a starting point to work from. If you don’t, you can report that to the credit agencies and have the account removed from your report.

A final note: collection agencies (the legitimate ones) really do want to work with you. Most are happy to set up payment plans and provide documentation that you paid your debt “as agreed.” Their calls might be annoying but if you know what your rights are and you know your credit score and history, there is no reason to be scared.

A Simple Guide to Your First Investment

Credit

Credit

Whether you’re just out of university and looking to start making money, or you’ve got a few years of work under your belt but your salary just isn’t affording you the lifestyle that you’d like, learning to invest your money could help you to achieve more of those luxuries that you currently have to avoid or miss out on. If you’ve never invested before, here are just a few of the most straightforward ways you can do it, without having to possess millions of pounds invested in hedge funds.

Investing in Property

Although many people are finding it difficult to purchase their own properties, if you can afford to buy one and then lease it out using a buy-to-let mortgage from a company like Saffron Building Society, you’ll have a stable income coming in on a monthly basis, and as long as you treat your tenants with respect they’ll look after the property well. If you can afford to buy a house in or near London, this is your best bet for ensuring you fill your property up.

Investing In Art

Everybody has an interest in art, and if you think that only high art is valuable, you’re almost certainly wrong. Whether you’re passionate about street art, oil paintings or sculpture, there’s a lot of money to be made, and you might just end up with some delightful pieces of art in your home while you wait to sell it. Investing in art isn’t too much of an expensive task, either, and if you invest in pieces from the collections of relatively unknown student artists who are on the up, your initial investments might not cost more than a hundred or so pounds.

Investing in Collectables

You might think that investing is for people with serious, grown-up interests. However, collectables such as old video games, dolls, board games or comic books can be sold at auctions or on online stores for extremely high prices, so whether you have items from your childhood stocked away in your attic or you know a source where you can get hold of these items cheaper than the going rate, you could be sitting on an investment goldmine.

Of course, it’s important that you have the money up front to be able to afford all of this investment, and if you find that your investments go array, you need to make sure you have enough money to fall back on.

 

 

June blog income and stats recap

Better late than never, there is a new post on Make Money Your Way sharing the blog income and stats of my three sites for June.
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