THANK YOU! RFI is a Plutus Awards finalist!!

The Plutus Award

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who voted Reach Financial Independence Best International Personal Finance Blog for the Plutus Awards, you are truly awesome!

I am honored, especially as I didn’t ask readers to do so, so it felt really great to find my lil’ blog on the list of finalists. The winners will be announced next week at FinCon in New Orleans, and sadly I won’t be able to make it, but hope you guys have fun!

The other nominees in my category are

Monster Piggy Bank
The Skint Dad Blog
The Money Principle
Miss Thrifty

which makes for a tough competition. Best of luck to all, you all rock!!

 

 

August blog income and stats recap

Welcome to the 14th blog income and stats recap of MMYW! That’s right, MMYW turned one in July! And we have a winner for the BIG $500 or iPad mini 64Gb giveaway in the person of Jamie E., congratulations!

 

Read more on Make Money Your Way…

Blog income pledge for education update, April-June 2014

Blog income pledge for education update, April-June 2014

Since I started Make Money Your Way last July, I took a pledge to give 10% of my blogging income to support children education in my village. As you may have read in a previous update about the project, I gave two scholarships to the best two students of middle school so they can go to high school 150 miles away for the next three years.

The expected cost for boarding school is around $2,500 per kid, per year, so $15,000 over the next three years. Yep, I need to make $150,000 blogging :).

la foto (1)

 

Here is the money I have

10% of July’s income : $404

10% of August’s income: $253

10% of September’s income: $297

10% of October’s income: $357

10% of November’s income: $269

10% of December’s income: $462

10% of January’s income: $329

10% of February’s income: $634

10% of March’s income: $195 (because I donated $300 to Charity:Water)

10% of April’s income: $459

10% of May’s income: $697

10% of June’s income:    $756

Total: $5,112.

And $2,550 from reader donations + two old laptops. THANK YOU!

Thank you to each and every reader as well for helping me improve my stats and hence affiliate sales, Adsense revenue and blogging income in general. You rock!

So far, I have spent $4,066 explained in the last update, between supplies and uniforms for the new school year (January), boarding school tuition and buying a couple of laptops for my computer literacy project. I have $3,596 left.

 

Boarding school kids

 

I paid for April’s tuition at $478 a bit late as on April 1st the school still hadn’t provided me the receipts for March, which I paid at the end of February, and the field trip for the accounting students to Guatemala City, to visit the central bank and other institutions. I was annoyed honestly, mostly bothered because I hate not paying for something in due time but I knew that if I paid I would never see the receipts.

The kids have a sort of parents meeting where they get their grades for the first quarter of the year next week and invited me to go over, but it is a three hour drive, on a Thursday meaning I can’t even give them a ride back to the village for the weekend, and think the $50 worth of gas would do more good invested in the project. I still plan on visiting the school soon though, as it is on my way to Guatemala City where I will go soon. I did give $45 to the kid who didn’t go on her one day field trip as I offer her the money to pay for three trips back home instead of just spending a very expensive day at the beach and she made me proud by choosing to go back home instead.

Unless they grow up quickly and need new uniforms, I think they are all set with just tuition costs for the months to come. Well, I thought. I just had to give $32 to buy more arts and crafts supplies and $24 for bus rides to go to summer practice for the next six weeks.

Total with tuition and board from April to June: $1,535

 

Computer literacy project

 

At the moment, I have four laptops in use in the village. I didn’t want to give them to the school because they used to have computers, the computers broke, and now no one is fixing them. And I don’t want to have a teacher tell me what I can and can’t do, I want the kids to have fun learning, and if browsing the web for songs or chatting with their family who immigrated to the US is what will teach them how to type and browse, that’s fine by me.

Can you believe that the teachers actually give the middle school kids assignments to browse Google for things and do presentations when they don’t even know how to do a Google search? Teachers come from a nearby town and seem to have little grasp of reality sometimes.

So instead I gave the laptops to the girl who cleans my house, to set up a little internet café at her place, one block away from school. She is from Spain and comfortable around computers, so that is a big help. Our deal is that three half days a week, for four hours, she will teach any kid from school who wishes to come over how to use a computer, and since she has the computers at her place and pays for electricity, during the rest of the time, she is free to use them and rent them by the hour as an internet café.

She is well organized so she has divided the 12 hours a week into 12 groups and so far it has been a smashing hit, as 50 kids have enrolled! The word of mouth just took a few days and we started last week, with 4-6 kids per session. You wouldn’t imagine how the first session went, those kids had never been around a computer at age 10-14, and she had to teach them how to turn it on and off, then they played a little bit on Paint to learn how to use a mouse. They were all perfectly silent and in awe, like we were teaching them some kind of very powerful skill.

To ensure continuity, the kids each are assigned one hour per week, with the same teammates. Out of 50, I would say 40 or so are girls, which fits perfectly my goal to help girls first, as they get less opportunities overall to get an education. If the family doesn’t have money to send all kids to school, generally the males will go.

It was funny because they didn’t know what to expect when we started promoting the computer class, one hyperactive girl was sent to register by her mum who just was happy to have her out of the house for a change, and another one came in and asked if that was where the English class was held :). As a matter of fact, as I bought laptops in the US and was given some by readers, they do have the operating system in English so they’ll get to learn a little English as well!

The Spanish girl will keep teaching the kids three half days a week and I pay her salary at $25 per week. She shares a full time job with her boyfriend the handyman/gardener at my place, and while I need her more lately thanks to the Airbnb guests, she used to sell snacks on the side to construction workers but another lady took over so she can use the extra money. Plus her house is much closer to school than mine if I were to teach at my place, the kids would have to walk 15 minutes to get there. I hope she can make a little extra with the internet café as there is none in the village.

I also pay for internet connection, and expect April to come around $80 as I tried to buy a wifi router to share one wifi connection with all computers at once, but we don’t have a phone line and they were out of USB routers so I have to put a modem and pay for internet for each computer at the moment. Total budget for April $192. It went a bit lower in Mayas I bought the $100 wifi modem, and in June the kids were on break so allowed to download more data (they love music clips), which was more expensive.

Total from April to June: $716

 

Note: I have been offered by the gentlemen who will dig our well next month and live in Ohio that I could send laptops to their house and they would bring them over to Guatemala so if you have an old laptop that could use a nice retirement under the Guatemalan sun, please let me know, it would be fantastic to have more laptops and grow the project.

 

Book reading project

Around here, nobody reads. In Guatemala in general, it is hard to come across someone reading a book. I grew up reading book after book and believe it is a great way to learn, dream and grow. So I bought a few books for the kids. Nothing heavy. Comic books, fairy tales with big pictures and few words, to give them the taste to read. The girl that gives computer classes told me she often lent small books to 10-12 year olds and was appalled they read so slowly and didn’t catch half of the story. So I thought let’s start with something they would enjoy reading for the ease of it and the colorful pictures. Spiderman, Superman, Disney’s characters… As books are overpriced here ($20 and up for a children book!), so to give it a try I bought some used ones for $1-$5. I even found a children financial education book from the bank of Guatemala! Every week when they go to computer class, they leave with a book and bring it back the next week. It was a hit! Some had already read them all, so when a friend gave me $300 to buy more books, I got some nice new ones, mostly comics from Tintin and Astérix, who are so popular in France. They have a huge interest in learning English so I might try to find some basic English reading books next time.

Total from April to June: $340

 

I have $1,305 left. Once again, thank you for supporting my blogs and making this possible!

Turning your Blog from a Hobby to a Stream of Income

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

 

Most of us have a list of blogs we turn to regularly for entertainment, helpful tips, news, or social purposes. You may even already have a blog of your own, and enjoy posting articles and responding to comments from your readers. Have you ever thought about turning your interest in blogging into a side stream of income? Although it’s unlikely that you will “get rich quick” from blogging, there are certainly many ways to monetise your blog which are worth thinking about.

Sign Up for Advertising

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start making money from your blog is to sign up for programs like Google Adsense. What’s important to realise with advertising is that it may take some time to start making money. If you are just starting out and don’t have many readers, your pay from advertising will be quite low, because it is based on the number of page views your site gets. Stick with it and you’ll see your revenue start to rise. It’s helpful to look at ways to increase your site traffic. These on page SEO guidelines are a great place to start, for example.

Affiliate Marketing

This option is similar to advertising, but the payment procedure is slightly different. Rather than getting paid according to the number of page views your blog receives, you are only paid when visitors click on the banners or ads placed on your website. When a visitor sees the ad or badge on your blog and clicks through to the advertiser’s website, you are then paid either a flat fee or percentage of the resulting sale. Like advertising, this can take some time before you start to see results. Yet if you keep advertisements small and related to the content of your blog, it can do no harm to try.

Guest Posts

Another popular option as your site traffic grows is to start accepting sponsored posts. Businesses may ask you to write an article on their behalf, with some mention of their product or that link back to their company website. They may also write to you asking if they can put up a guest post. The type of content you accept for your blog is up to you. You’ll need to walk the line between providing content that your readers will enjoy and accepting payments from sponsors for posting outbound links.

Posting Reviews of Free Products

Although this isn’t really a way to make money, a nice little side bonus of blogging is that businesses may offer you freebies as a way to gain exposure for their products or services. This can take some time to get into, but once you have started reviewing a few products you’ll probably find that the offers start rolling in.

You can increase your chances of making money by consistently working on expanding your audience multiple streams of income. A business will be far more willing to pay you top dollar for a sponsored post or product review if they know you have a large readership. One way to do this is by using SEO keyword research ideas as the basis for your posts to improve your search ranking. Another option is to use social media to promote each of your posts, and invite your readers to share with their network. With consistent, high-quality posting and utilising some of these techniques, you’ll find that your blog provides you with a nice side stream of income.

 

This post was featured on the Think Rich Be Free, thank you!

Carnival of Financial Independence, 23rd edition

Dogon Country, Mali, Africa

Welcome to the 23rd edition of the Carnival of Financial Independence, a selection of the best articles related to Financial Independence this week. If you would like to be included next week, please submit your post via Blogger Carnivals. If you would like to  host for a future edition, please contact me.

The guidelines are:

  • You can submit a post that was published during the last month
  • The posts have to relate to reaching financial independence, and fit within the following categories: Savings and Simple living, Travel and Lifestyle, Wealth and  Passive income, Real Estate and Investing, or Self employment.
  • Submit by Wednesday night for the Saturday edition
  • Please mention the carnival in your roundups if you have been featured!
Dogon Country, Mali, Africa
Dogon Country, Mali, Africa

This week on Make Money Your Way

I give tips on how you can Make Money by Renting Part of your House or your Basement, Eva from TeensGotCents shares how to Graduate College Debt Free and I ask How Many Hours are you Willing to Spend on Blogging

 

Travel and Lifestyle

Little House @ Little House in the Valley recommends you Don’t Feed the Critters and other wildlife.

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter shares 4 Ways to Improve Your Travel Experience

Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank proves that there are plenty of Super Cheap Hobbies For People On A Budget

Brock Kernin @ Clever Dude wonders What Would You Do For a Cheap Hotel Room?

Money Soldiers @ Money Soldiers gives Responsible Car Buying Tips

Ryan @ Cash Money Life explains Why you Should Take a Vacation

Tommy Douglas @ Getting Fit As A Baby Boomer Over 50 is Considering Starting The Paleo Diet

FI Pilgrim @ FI Journey talks about The True Impact Of Lifestyle Choices

Kathleen O’Malley @ Frugal Portland shares her experienced Going on a Road Trip using AirBnB

Robert @ Entrepreneurship Life encourages you to  Become a Morning Person, All The Successful People Are Doing It

Bargain Babe @ BargainBabe.com shares 7 Cheap Meals for Dinner that are affordable, but also tasty!

 

Wealth and Passive Income

Travis Pizel @ Enemy Of Debt says once you get A Taste of Financial Freedom is like, you never want to go back!

Barbara Friedberg @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance teaches us how to Build Wealth In 15 Minutes A Day

Michael Kitces @ Nerd’s Eye View talks about how the IRS allows you to change your Fixed And Variable Inherited Annuities to ones that fit your needs better.

Everything Finance @ Everything Finance Blog weighs the pros and cons of  Paying 0% Interest Debt

MMD @ IRA vs 401k Central has A Strategy for Getting the Most From Both a Roth IRA vs 401k

Claire Murdough @ ReadyForZero Blog shows how Baby Boomers can reach financial success.

Penny Thots @ Penny Thots investigates Collecting African American Art  as an investment.

Matt Becker @ Mom and Dad Money shares his thoughts on Peer-to-Peer Lending 

Mr FD @ Financial Debauchery calculates How Much Gold is Worth

 

 

Real Estate and Investing

Irfan @ Everything About Investment explains What Makes Stock Prices Volatile

Dividend Growth Investor @ Dividend Growth Investor reviews Eleven Dividend Paying Stocks he Purchased Over the Past Week

Investor Junkie @ Investor Junkie is Putting Warren Buffett’s Investing Advice Into Practice

Jacob @ Cash Cow Couple reviews Personal Capital.

Paul @ The Frugal Toad lists The Pros and Cons of Borrowing Against a 401k

Jon @ Novel Investor explains how The New 3.8% Medicare Surtax works.

Jason Hull @ Hull Financial Planning describes The Differences Between a House You Live in and a House You Invest in

Monica Iannacone @ Monica On Money shares How to Payoff Your Mortgage ASAP

Daisy @ Suburban Finance runs the numbers on Renting Vs. Buying.

Mrs. PoP @ Planting Our Pennies teaches us How To Use Market Comps to value a house.

Lazy Man @ Lazy Man and Money’s Tenants Won’t Get Out!

Robert @ The College Investor thinks you may not be such a Successful Stock Picker for doing well over the last few years.

 

Self employment and Career

PK @ Don’t Quit Your Day Job shows a Major In Photography may not be the best way to invest in your career.

Christopher @ This That and The MBA shares tips on How to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly While You’re Away

DW @ Great Passive Income Ideas give pointers on how to Make Money on the Side

Grand Per Month @ Grand Per Month shares some ideas on how to Make Your Challenge an Opportunity

Mrs. Accountability @ Out of Debt Again offers a tutorial on How to Reconcile Your PayPal Business Account

Alexis @ FITnancials shares her Extra Money Ideas

GMM @ Grad Money Matters wonders if you Should you blog for money?

Michelle @ Diversified Finances lists the Disadvantages/Negatives of Working From Home

Evan @ My Journey To Millions wonders if You Have a Right to Choose Your Child’s Degree or Major?

Buck Inspire @ Buck Inspire shows how he Forced Out Of His Comfort Zone

Harry Campbell @ Your PF Pro picks the Best Day of the Week to Quit Your Job.

MMD @ My Money Design shares his Thoughts on Mind Control

Alexa @ Making Sense of Cents gives Tips for Diversifying Your Income

 

Saving and Simple Living

Holly Johnson @ Club Thrifty is starting the Club Thrifty Fall Financial Lockdown

Minimalist @ Minimalist Finance shares how to Save Money on Your Education (Or Get it For Free)

Eva Baker @ TeensGotCents offers some Thrift Store Costume Ideas

John S @ Frugal Rules wonders When You should Start Saving for Retirement?

Cat Alford @ Budget Blonde give tips on How to Avoid A Savings Addiction

Mr CBB @ Canadian Budget Binder warns you against buying expensive cheap junk.

 

 

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!

Carnival of Financial Independence, 22nd edition

Lake Inle, Myanmar

 

 

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Carnival of Financial Independence, a selection of the best articles related to Financial Independence this week. If you would like to be included next week, please submit your post via Blogger Carnivals. If you would like to  host for a future edition, please contact me.

The guidelines are:

  • You can submit a post that was published during the last month
  • The posts have to relate to reaching financial independence, and fit within the following categories: Savings and Simple living, Travel and Lifestyle, Wealth and  Passive income, Real Estate and Investing, or Self employment.
  • Submit by Wednesday night for the Saturday edition
  • Please mention the carnival in your roundups if you have been featured!

 

Lake Inle, Myanmar

Lake Inle, Myanmar

 

 

This week on Make Money Your Way

Derek explains How to Start Investing, I give tips on how to Make More Money During the Holidays and share RFI and MMYW’s July Blog Income and Stats.

And MMYW’s Alexa rank dropped below 200K yesterday, after only five weeks!! It is now at 190,029 :)

 

Win $100

Kim is celebrating one year of blogging at Eyes on the Dollar and giving away $100!

 

Travel and Lifestyle

 

Little House @ Little House in the Valley shows How Newlyweds Mess Up Their Finances

Matt @ Living in Financial Excellence explains how to make an IKEA DIY Under $20 to organize the kitchen

Jessica Moorhouse @ Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses thinks Love Is Not All You Need and wants to talk money before marriage.

FI Pilgrim @ FI Journey talks about  The True Impact Of Lifestyle Choices

Marie at Family Money Values @ Family Money Values shares some ideas on How to Teach Your Child to Delay Gratification

Bank Free Credit @ Bank Free Credit  lists down some Free Summer Activities

Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents talks about location independent income

Robert @ Beat The 9 to 5 his mergin two sites for a newer, better version of Beat the Nine to Five

 

 

Wealth and Passive Income

 

Jason Hull @ Hull Financial Planning balances Save for Now and Save for Later 

PK @ Don’t Quit Your Day Job… shows that many are worse off today than 6 Years Ago?

DW @ Great Passive Income Ideas offers some Quick Money Making Ideas 

Michael Kitces @ Nerd’s Eye View helps us  Understand The True Impact Of Single Premium Immediate Annuities On Retirement Income Sustainability

 

 

 

Real Estate and Investing

 

Jon @ Novel Investor explains the risks in Emerging Markets ETF: Investing Overseas

Dividend Growth Investor @ Dividend Growth Investor answers some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Dividend Investing

AB @ Aspiring Blogger shares his Net Worth Update 

Ryan @ Cash Money Life reviews E*Trade Online Brokerage Account

Robert @ The College Investor wants to know if you Would Invest With Inside Information?

Thomas @ http://www.financeinspired.com wonders When it is better to rent instead of buying a property?

Mr.CBB @ Canadian Budget Binder shares his First Property buy at 21.

MMD @ IRA vs 401k Central shares the 401k Income Limits. Can you Make Too Much to Contribute?

Investor Junkie @ Investor Junkie updates us on his Lending Club and Prosper loans

Pete @ Intelligent Speculator compares   Coca-Cola ($KO) vs. Pepsi Co. ($PEP)

 

 

Self employment and Career

 

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter asks When Should Your Teenager Get a Job?

Kim @ Eyes on the Dollar runs the numbers on  Obamacare:Should you Take the Penalty Instead of Purchasing Health Insurance?

Alexis @ FITnancials shares her Extra Money Ideas

Grand Per Month @ Grand Per Month shares how to Make a Grand Per Month as an Educational Materials Creator

Green Panda @ Green Panda Treehouse tells students The Type of Job You Need to Get Next Semester

Minimalist @ Minimalist Finance talks about Fun Side Jobs for Another Income Stream

Michelle @ Diversified Finances lists what are the Positives of Working From Home

S @ Grad Money Matters wonders if you Should blog for money?

Gary @ Gajizmo.com lists down the Top Resume Power Words

Chuck @ The Tortoise Banker shares tips to Work to Maximize Your Income

 

Saving and Simple Living

 

MMD @ My Money Design is Getting Real About His Household Expenses

Daisy @ Suburban Finance teaches us how to Earn More Money by Cutting Expenses

John @ Wild About Finance offers to  Weigh up your options when it comes to savings accounts

Matt Becker @ Mom and Dad Money explains What a Budget is and Christopher @ That This The MBA covers the Budgeting Basics

 

 

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!

10% blog income pledge: sponsor a child

Via

 

Via

Via

Useless random fact: French people are terrible with charity. We almost never give a thing to our alma mater, our charity donations are $50 at Christmas and giving $3 at mass on Sunday is considered generous, so much that when the Euro came along, the church begged people who used to donate a 10 francs coin (1.5 euro, about $2) to give 2 euros  ($2.60) instead of a 1 euro coin ($1.30) because the donations had decreased.

Seeing many US bloggers tithe, or pledge a portion of their income to charity (or all their blogging income like Free Money Finance or Gajizmo) has inspired me and I have decided to pledge 10% of my blog income to charity. I have always had a strong interest in education, particularly for girls, who tend to have less chances than boys in developing countries.

Helping a girl have access to education will hopefully help raise an independent woman, who will in turn raise independent little girls, and manage her home well. Having learned about hygiene, she will keep her kids from getting sick. Having attended math classes, she will take good care of the family finances. Being able to earn an income, she won’t have to bear an abusive husband.

What I love about sponsoring a child is that you see directly where your money is going. There are a few NGOs around who do things but you are never too sure your money will be used for a project, and said project will be optimized in costs.

Part of the sponsorship is meant as an allowance for the family, so they don’t take their child out of school to work in the fields. It basically covers the child’s food and education costs so it costs nothing to the family to have a kid in school.

My neighbor is a lovely Spanish lady who has been involved with the village’s school for a long time, and is currently sponsoring a few kids, either via foreign sponsors who send her money, or directly. I went to seek her advice.

 

How?

 

Before I talked to my neighbor, I had in mind two scholarships, one based on academic merit, one for the most deserving girl who wants to pursue further education, and one for the most motivated one who would like to learn a trade in a year or two (a cooking course, hair cutting or sewing class, etc). The first one will probably never have the opportunity to pursue her dream otherwise, and the second one will have a skill that can be put to good use in the village, bringing her an income and some financial independence from her future husband, as well as some economic dynamism to the village.

 

The kids here get to the end of middle school when they are 14-16 years old, and are not off to work already. Then they have to go to another village, 20 miles away, to go to high school. You can either send them to a public school 20 miles away, and pay for their books, uniform and bus fare, or for a similar price, send them to a great boarding school 100 miles away, where they will study more and graduate with a high chance of finding a job.

 

It is a bit tough because you have to convince the girls’ families to let their daughters go away Monday to Friday, and if they agree, the girl may drop out before she finishes high school, if she becomes pregnant or gets married, which is not uncommon at 18.

 

The only string attached is they keep their grades up. I don’t pretend they write a thank you letter or make a drawing, but the do have to keep doing well at school.

 

How much?

 

At the moment, my neighbor has a few kids in middle school that she sponsors at $15 a month, so they can pay their bus fare to get to a closer village 6 miles away and get computer classes once a week.

A few students are in boarding school and that costs around $2,000 for a year, or $170 per month. That includes a lot of things they have to purchase on the first year, like their mattress (I thought that was weird!), uniform, books, and even weirder, a light bulb to light their room, that will set me back $0.50 haha. Boarding school is three years and my neighbor is trying to get a pledge from other sponsors to be able to send the best kid there every school year, which would be a great incentive for them to work hard all year.

If you pay their bus fare to go to public school nearby, just the daily bus fare costs $70 a month, plus school supplies and books, and a small stipend for their living expenses, you would spend about the same and the education would not be that good.

(Yes, the bus fare is ridiculous at $3 round trip when many people make less than 10 a day, and the drivers wouldn’t do a student discount unless all students show up every single day together, which is virtually impossible, and even then the discount was $0.25 return. The bus is a private service, not heavily subsidized like Western public transports.)

To learn a trade, you have to go to the next town too, so that is $70 a month plus stipend, about $130 per month.

My 10% of blog income would be around $300, so that fits perfectly a $170 boarding school kid and a $130 trade kid.

If I have more than $300 a month to pour into that project, I will save it. For every $200 saved, I will sponsor one middle school girl for a year. You can’t sponsor for a month and leave them hanging.

 

Update August 3rd, 2013: $404 are in the fund as per July’s income

 

Who?

 

Since the village’s beauty pageant, I noticed one of the contestants, who wanted to go to law school. She looked too serious to be in a beauty pageant, and comes from a modest family, so could be a good fit.

My neighbor also told me about a young boy who wants to study to become a nurse, and his class would start in September, but I will try to see if there is a girl who is as deserving first.

 

What do you think? Have you ever sponsored a child? How did it go?

 

This post was featured on the Planting Our Pennies, Streets Ahead Living, Carnival of Personal Finance, How to Blog Carnival, Eyes on the Dollar, thank you!

Little house in Guatemala: A normal day at the council

I am sitting inside the public works office of the council as I write this. Scorpions is singing Wind of Change on the radio, a little too loud for anyone to concentrate properly on a basic task. Two guys are checking FB, one of them casually seated on the other one’s desk, two ladies decided it was too hot to hang in the office and are enjoying the breeze on the balcony, overlooking the lake.

Today, I have been there for one hour. I don’t mind, I brought my laptop, my internet modem, and my charger to plug in and charge my battery. I am ready to spend the whole day if that is what it takes. What am I waiting for? A letter. One small piece of paper, that I was told I would get 10 days ago.

Flash back 10 days, I take the director of works to my 90 acres development to show him around. I had to pick him up, drive him around and drop him off back at the council because “it is hard to get the council to lend us cars”. There are two options, I say. Either we benefit the whole village by giving you guys land for a football field, access to our roads that are a shortcut to the other half of the village, the water from our well and space to build a school or a health center, and in return you administrate all those infrastructures and take care of maintenance.

The second option is that we take care of it all ourselves, and only our residents will get access to those service, that they will pay for via a service charge. There will be an entrance gate and only residents will get in and out.

The guy nods and sweats a little too much as we visit the land. I need his blessing to go ahead with the development in order to split my land in 250 parcels and get a deed for each of them. He says he wants to estimate how much this will cost the village, and how much they will get in extra property taxes. Fair enough. Can you give me the green light to split my PRIVATE property into 250 plots if we go private and it doesn’t cost you a dime? “Sure” He says. We go back to his office, he makes me sit at his desk and I type my application requesting approval to cut my land into 250 on his computer.

“I will make a letter on behalf of the council to ask cadaster to split the land, and give it to cadaster together with your application” he says.

When? “This afternoon. And I will take it to cadaster”.

A week later, I drop by at the cadaster’s office, no letter has been received. I go back to my council guy, he says he gave it to cadaster.

“Oh, funny, to whom exactly? Because there are two guys working there and I talked to both of them, they have nothing”.

“Errrr….” blank look, you can’t blame him or he will do nothing more. You have to gently pat him in the back and ask once more.

“OK, will you send it again?”

“Yes, I will”.

“Will you send me a copy by email?”

“Yes, I will”.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeees.”

”When?”

“This afternoon”.

I believed the guy and went away. I would have seated him right down at his office to type the letter, but the power was out and all the overheated public servants were outside taking some fresh air.

He promised he would do it the same day, once the power returns, and he didn’t. Nor did he email me. He did NOTHING. I know I am no center of the universe and I get that people are busy, I don’t get when they are not true to their word twice and lie to my face. So now, two days later, I am back in his office, waiting for him. He probably went out for a walk. Five workers are now gossiping and laughing around the one who was checking FB earlier. I pay taxes to support them all. And I am pretty sure I am not getting my letter, there will be something wrong, another paper I need to bring, another obstacle. Maybe he didn’t appreciate my clearly saying we would not pay a dime in bribes. A couple of minutes after I said that, he said “so you are probably better off doing your private project”. Sure I am, but if you give me the go ahead to walk, why to you grab my feet to slow me down??

Man, I get it. You are there because your corrupt political friend gave you a job and no one can fire you, no matter how bad people complain against you, your job is safe. So tell me the letter will take 2 weeks with your half awake eyes and your sneaky smile, I will wait patiently. Don’t tell me you’ll do it today, or I will be over you every single day until you do. Don’t look me in the eyes and tell me you did it already or I will go ridicule you at the other office when they see you are not a man or your word. Come on, think twice. You are about to multiply my taxes per 30 or 50 once the land is split, why aren’t you in a hurry to do so?

A friend of mine works closely with councils on government projects. There was an earthquake last year and he had some NGOs willing to give tools and construction materials to the councils to rebuild their village. All they had to do was a letter stating what was needed and what for. Out of four mayors he visited, only one send a letter 3 months later basically requesting cash. Easier than having to sell the NGO’s tools at a heavy discount to get his hands on the money, that would have been so much work.

But that guy lying to my face is a whole different level of fucked up. It is just a silly game of hide and seek, as soon as I turn my back, he would dismiss my case and do nothing on purpose. Depressing. I am planning on exhausting him first.

Once I was stopped with another foreign friend, on his motorbike. We had the bike’s papers in photocopies, not originals, which is not legal, but knowing you get mugged easily in Guatemala, and anyone with the bike’s paper can go change them to his name, you can understand why we would not carry them. The guy didn’t want to give us a fine, just to get a little money for him. I explained over and over that it was too dangerous to carry the bike’s papers around and that I would be happy to bring the papers later that day to a nearby police station. It took a good half hour but seeing we wouldn’t budge, they stopped another car as a potential target. Quicker, easier. That is my strategy with that guy, but boy, do I want to scream at their blatant incompetence. It has been one hour since I started this post. Like I said, it is hard to concentrate with the music and the gossip.The five guys who grouped around FB are now only three, talking about betting on sports and how much they drank on their last night out. Another one is whistling to Radiohead’s creep. I wonder how the village ever got streets and electric power.

 

Update: after about two hours of sitting in the office, a guy tells me the boss isn’t going to be there until tomorrow. I manage to call him (after realizing he had given me a wrong number, his colleague gives me the real stuff) and book an appointment for the next day. He invites the cadaster guy to sit with us to confirm he really has to sign my letter. I tell him he lied to me about 5 times, he pretends the internet was down so he couldn’t email the letter. So why were his colleagues on FB all day yesterday? He may not have been able to send it but should have it ready on his computer then? Pointing fingers won’t help progress so I have redacted the letter for him to copy paste on headed paperand after confirmation, not a real confirmation, but a kind of “yeah” from the other guy who I kept interrupting every time I thought he was about to make the boss doubt, HE SIGNED!!! Now my architect tells me the letter has to be signed by the mayor as well… sigh.

 

This post was featured on the Eyes on the Dollar, Young Adult Money, Solving the Money Puzzle, Lifestyle Carnival, Lifestyle Carnival Edition, thank you!

Carnival of Financial Independence, 17th edition

Good morning! Today the Carnival of Financial Independence is traveling to The Outlier Model!

Please head over there for an awesome selection of posts related to FI, and if you submitted your post, be warned that you may not get a pingback to let you know you have been selected.

Reminder: only 2 days before Google Reader shuts down for good, if you still want to receive these posts, you can add RFI on Feedly, subscribe by email or Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Have a lovely weekend!

Carnival of financial independence, 15th edition

cairo

Welcome to the 15th edition of the Carnival of Financial Independence, a selection of the best articles related to Financial Independence this week. If you would like to be included next week, please submit your post via Blogger Carnivals

The guidelines are:

  • You can submit a post that was published during the last month
  • The posts have to relate to reaching financial independence, and fit within the following categories: Savings and Simple living, Travel and Lifestyle, Wealth and  Passive income, Real Estate and Investing, or Self employment.
  • Submit by Wednesday night for the Saturday edition
  • Please mention the carnival in your roundups if you have been featured!

 

cairo

The streets of Old Cairo.

Travel and Lifestyle

Kim @ Eyes on the Dollar is churning credit cards for a Hawaiian holiday.

Mochimac @ Save. Spend. Splurge. asks if you would refuse to date someone because of money?

Jason @ Live Real Now explains that You make your own luck in business and life. 

 

 

Wealth and Passive Income

Michelle @ Diversified Finances explains What Financial Independence is.

Paul @ The Frugal Toad @ The Frugal Toad knows How to Access Retirement Funds Penalty Free before age 59 1/2.

Anton Ivanov @ Dreams Cash True runs the numbers to make Early Retirement Possible

Jason Hull @ Hull Financial Planning thinks it is Difficult to Predict Your Retirement Number

Austin Fey @ Marotta On Money explains how to fund your Financial Independence bucket.

Michael Kitces @ Nerd’s Eye View considers not increasing your lifestyle instead of Planning To Save More Tomorrow.

SB @ One Cent at a Time studies the Ideal Asset Allocation for your Age when it comes to retirement planning.

Michael @ Financial Ramblings thinks you should invest a windfall and use it to pay off debt, not a convertible to show off around the neighborhood.

Mike @ The Financial Blogger is sacrificing the next 3 years to Reach Financial Independence by age 35

Shalen Karis @ Working on Financial Freedom studies Savings and Withdrawal Rates to determine how much is enough.

David Carlson @ Young Adult Money shares his Ultimate Income Goal: Stop Trading Time for Money and Live off of Passive Income

MMD @ IRA vs 401k Central helps understand the 401k Withdrawal Rules

 

 

Real Estate and Investing

Mrs. PoP @ Planting Our Pennies calculated the ideal Real Estate Leverage when buying a house

Div Guy @ The Dividend Guy Blog wonders why American Capital Agency Corp’s yield is so high.

Dividend Growth Investor @ Dividend Growth Investor thinks you should buy and hold your dividend stocks

MMD @ My Money Design is using DRIP Stocks  to accelerate wealth building

Robert @ The College Investor compares Market Timing and  Dollar Cost Averaging

Mr.CBB @ Canadian Budget Binder explains Investing 101 For Newbies

 

 

 

Self employment and Career

Ryan @ Cash Money Life has 5 Online Business Ideas for College Students

Robert @ Beat The 9 to 5 shares The Beat The 9 to 5 Manifesto

Gary @ Gajizmo lists the best Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

Pk @ Don’t Quit Your Day Job… breaks down the job market by gender and studies The Great Recession’s Effect on the Number of Men and Women in the Workforce.

Adam @ Money Bulldog shares the early stories of The Biggest Companies in the World

Jacob @ Cash Cow Couple teaches you how to Start a Blog That Matters

Jen @ Money Rebound presents some Fun and Funky Ways to Make Extra Money

Khaleef Crumbley @ Faithful With A Few wonders if Your College – or Your Degree – is Worth the Money?

Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents is Preparing for Self-Employment

John S @ Frugal Rules shares the benefits of  a Virtual Office

Robert @ Cult Of Money shares the importance of Technology in business 

CF @ The Outlier Model got a raise! and explains what options are with the extra money.

 

 

 

Saving and Simple Living

Minimalist @ Minimalist Finance offers tips to Keep Cool This Summer On a Budget

David Leonhardt @ The Happy Guy saved the family’s trampoline with Duct tape

Fiona Lee @ ReadyForZero Blog says Unexpected Debt should not set you back.

Charles Yeaman @ The Tortoise Banker shares 5 Lessons We’ve Learned From the Joneses

Arnel Ariate @ Money Soldiers helps you Create a Get Out of Debt Plan.

Grayson @ Debt Roundup Paid Off Over $50,000 Of Credit Card Debt and tells us how.

Matt Becker @ Mom and Dad Money compares  a Coffee Habit to a Debt Habit

Evan @ My Journey to Millions wonders if People’s Priorities are Distorted when it comes to paying off debt or paying for non essentials.

 

 

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!