The Little Dollar – Know Your Blogger Series

Know Your Blogger Series

The Little Dollar

Come learn about the blog, The Little Dollar – a blog all about making money simple and understandable.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, The Little Dollar.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind The Little Dollar, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from The Little Dollar to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for The Little Dollar for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.

Tell us about The Little Dollar

About a year ago, in May 2019 I started up The Little Dollar, a blog I thought would be about my journey from broke to financially independent, however after researching, I found it best to help others reach their goals, and showcase my journey. By providing finance tips, advice and resources to help others achieve their financial goals.
I came up with The Little Dollar as a catchy name to showcase my beginner journey, as when I started I only had a $1000 emergency fund, some debt and a 600 credit score. I was no expert. (I still am nowhere close, but we all journey together). The full mission of The Little Dollar is to make money simple and understandable.

What makes you and your blog unique?

The most unique thing about The Little Dollar is the perspective which you will find articles written from, I was never rich, never above poverty line. I was homeless for a while actually.
The articles are written from a person who has learned how Personal Finance works when you make $10 an hour in one of top 5 expensive cities in America.
The Little Dollar offers readers a chance to understand how the concepts of money work on a simple and easy level. There is no need for fancy and crazy formulas or obnoxious strategies to reach higher. Simple easy math is integrated into the ideas of budgeting, savings and investing to make money topics more available.
Another great unique feature from The Little Dollar is the against the grain attitude towards wealth building. Many personal finance gurus will claim that you aren’t gaining wealth because you buy too much avocados and coffee. I disagree here.
The simple math suggests that if its not easy to save $1000 this month, no help from saving $4 on coffee is really going to move the needle. A more realistic approach will be needed.

What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?

All you need to be good with your personal finances is just to pay attention to your spending, budget and know what you value.
If you value cutting out everything that is seen as luxury until you reached a certain point with your finances, then that’s good. If you enjoy little treats along your journey while still being informed about and taking action towards, your financial future, that’s good too.
I do not believe that life is all about building wealth then just “being free”.
Life is meant to be enjoyed in the ways we see it. I think the best way to be ‘good with your personal finances’ is to not be stressed out by your financial situation.

What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?

My main habit is tracking my net worth. I post mine on the blog monthly, but I will usually hop in every week just to see how things have moved.
I also have become obsessed with my budget, I tend to follow more of a pay yourself first budget lately, 20-30% goes to savings or investing, then the rest covers bills, If I have anything left after bills, then it goes into investing again.
I also budget in fun money, I don’t mind spending $60 on a video game if it gets me to decompress a bit from the day. Most of the work I do in a day is my job mixed with side thoughts about my finances. I give myself room to slip so its not so stressful on me.

What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?

If you are not on my about me page, you’re missing out.
You can also check out one of my favorite posts I have done, My latest Net Worth Report for June 2020 – where I almost reached $5,000 in net worth! It was surreal for me to be quite honest.
Finally, one of my greatest pride and joys on my blog is my Net Worth Series. Tracking my Net Worth has guided me to think more intentionally about my finances and I only hope that that post does the exact same for its readers.

For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?

Short term, budgeting. Mid term, increasing income. Long term, invest in yourself.
This may be cliche or cheesy, but budgeting and curbing spending habits will help not only in the now, but in the long run as well. If you have trained your mind to not be so impulsive with spending. You can save a few dollars at Target, and when you make extra money, you can save that too.
Increasing your income is also key. And will help long term too. Nobody has ever become rich from a part time job and saving that money. Growth is key. So growing your income seems only fitting.

What are your favorite personal blogs and bloggers you have been inspired by?

My first ever blogger that I noticed was J Money from Budgets are Sexy. I remember the first thing I said to my girlfriend. That his blog looked super outdated and I was confused on why anybody would read it. Then a week later I spent more time reading his blog than I did Facebook. J does it well. Fun fact, I shed a tear on this one. Thank you J!
Grant from Millennial Money is a top blogger of mine as well. He seems to be kinda headstrong in his approach whenever I read his content, although I am sure he isn’t as heavily vocal as I imagine him to be, the authority that I read his content in seems to draw deep respect from me. Thank you for your work Grant.

What are your favorite personal finance books?

If you haven’t read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, what are you doing with your life. The weirdest thing is that my girlfriend’s dad mentioned the book to me, I read it and went to tell him, and he said he has yet to read it fully. I was blown away to be honest – that book changed my view of money.
Another good finance book I absolutely love is ‘I Will Teach you to be Rich’ from Ramit Sethi. One of the great personal finance minds that agrees with me that coffee is not a financial sin. He also has a beautiful approach to how to build wealth.

What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)

My absolute favorite is Crypto. I actually plan on starting a crypto blog on Medium shortly, however I do enjoy my REITs as well.
I really enjoy my Crypto investments as they are the ones I love to learn about. On a political spectrum I find myself to be very detached from the same old same old system that we have. I enjoy the innovative and community nature that crypto offers. I may also love crypto because I am a millennial but who knows if that’s really a good reason, haha.
I also enjoy REITs, the dividends they offer are top notch in my opinion and they are great to get involved in real estate without buying an actual property. I also want to give a fair shoutout to Precious metals as well. Silver is all I have at the moment but I do care for the weight that it carries in its reputation.

If you received a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

One of my absolute favorite questions! I love thinking about and talking about these situations.
First- $250K goes to a high yield savings account that is FDIC insured and will now serve as my emergency fund.
Second- $750K goes to a giving pledge. This will be money I just give away, to random homeless people I see on the street to a friend to my mother. Just because I got extra money doesn’t make me better than anybody.
Third- $2 Million will fund a few real estate investments that will bring in some passive cashflow. This includes the purchase of the property, any remodels or upgrades to that property and administrative costs for a property manager, site manager and accounting fees.
Fourth- $990K will go Into various investments in the markets, This will be Crypto, Gold/Silver, and any stocks and REITs I am currently buying.
Finally- $10K will be spending cash for maybe a fancy steak dinner, a few suits and some new tech products. While I know 10K will not go far with these splurge purchases, 0.2% of a windfall spent on random items I like that are shiny might be fair enough.
This of course is considering that the $5 million is post tax windfall money.

What’s a non-money related interest you have and what do you love about it?

I’m very into 1600’s Golden Age Piracy and Ships. I am in complete awe of how a group of people became so entangled in community – they treated their ship as a company, they even had bean counters (Accounting!!) and took shares of the loot they stole.
I enjoy playing games that center around Piracy, watching movies and shows about it and studying the actual history. While a lot of my enjoyment is centered around a romanticized persona of the life. The viewpoint of them being criminals seems odd to me. They were placed in a system of servitude or death. The lifestyles of the times were different than our modern times. I find it all fascinating and enjoy learning more.

How You Can Contact The Little Dollar for More Information

You can learn more about The Little Dollar at https://www.thelittledollar.com/, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thelittledollar, and follow them on Twitter at @littledollar.

Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, The Little Dollar, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!

About the Know Your Blogger Series

Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.

These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.

Our Freedom Years
Come read about the retired couple who are now full time travelers and loving life!
Peerless Money Mentor
Learn more about Peerless Money Mentor and how he documents his journey from broke to financially woke.
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Travel to Iran…if you can

With “Death to America” chants and vows to “wipe Israel off the map”, the Iranian political establishment has done its best to scare away would be tourists. But don’t be afraid.

I spent four days in Shiraz, Iran’s fifth largest city. The “old town” is full of historical and religious sites.

Here are four reasons why you should go to Shiraz…

1. Disco mosques

Unlike the austere Sunni mosques I’ve seen in the rest of the region, Persian mosques are covered in small mirrors, large crystal chandeliers and stained-glass windows. It’s just not what you expect to see when you walk into a mosque.

Mosque interior.
Inside the “Pink Mosque”.

2. Good muscle

The waiters recommended I eat the “muscle” each meal, and the “muscle” was tasty. Eat the “muscle”. You may know it as otherwise known as lamb shank.

Eram Garden.

3. Big drinking womanising poets

There are several gardens in Shiraz, dedicated to the famous poets of Persia. I purchased a book of poems, here are a few extracts:

“Should that fair Shirazi maid win my heart with kindness, I’d barter Samarkand and Bukhara for the mole on her face;

Give me the wine dregs, cup-bearer, for not in heaven, You will find Ruknabad’s stream or Mossala’s garden”

“Arise O-cup-bearer! Fill the cup, O dear! And give it yourself to me, fairest than dawn;

For love at first seemed an easy affair…”

A maiden from pre-revolution times.

4. Friendly people

Not much English is spoken in Shiraz, but those that can are chatty. They are happy to see tourists in their country, and keen to practice their English. I hired a taxi driver for a morning of sight-seeing on my final day. He loved Metallica. He’d been in Narcotics Anonymous for 13 years, and changed from a life of LSD and marijuana to a life of Espresso. He loves Espresso.

Portraits from a cafe in Old Town.

So, don’t be afraid of Iran. The culture is rich and the people are welcoming.

Enjoy? Please share!

The post Travel to Iran…if you can appeared first on Diving for coins.

Questions to ask before Hiring a Property manager

A good property manager can make your life easier. You will no longer need to deal with the details of maintaining your investment properties. Instead, you can focus on other things and allow the investment you’ve made to continue bringing in a return.

It can be hard to separate the good property managers from the bad without asking questions. Let’s take a closer look at the things you should ask a property manager before hiring them.

Why it is important to do your research

A bad property manager can make your life more difficult. Instead of someone taking care of your investment, they might allow things to go downhill quickly. That might manifest in the form of unhappy tenants or maintenance issues that get worse over time.

It is clear that poor management can lead to a large loss for your bottom line. Since you are working so hard to build a solid real estate portfolio, you don’t want your effort to be negated by a bad property manager. That’s why is it absolutely critical to do your homework and ask many questions before making a final decision on a property manager.

How to start your search

Before you start to ask questions, you can narrow your search by looking at a few key features.

First, you want to see a clean copy on their rental listings and generally good reviews. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential resident. Would you jump on the apartment that had beautiful pictures and solid reviews? Or the listing with misspelled words and terrible reviews? The choice is fairly clear. You want someone that takes pride in their work.

You also want someone that is knowledgable about the area. Look at the property managers that work in the area around your investment property. If they already have several properties that they manage in the area, then they know how to successfully find tenants.

Finally, you want someone that is responsive. When you first reach out to the property manager, a quick and helpful response is ideal. You don’t want someone that takes weeks to get back to you.

What to ask a potential property manager

When you start to narrow your search, consider asking the questions below. They can help you get a better understanding of what they have to offer.

What services do they offer?

Not all property managers are created equally.

A few services that they might offer include:

  • Collect rent.
  • Fill vacancies.
  • Screen tenants.
  • Offer services, like laundry or a front desk, to the tenants.
  • Maintain the property.
  • Schedule repairs.

Think about the services that you want taken off of your plate. Make sure they offer exactly what you are looking for.

How many units do they already manage?

The size of the company might shed some light on the experience you will receive.

What is their experience?

If you discover that they do have other units, then consider checking out those reviews. You might find that they manage their other properties well, or the exact opposite. Either way, it is a great way to find out more about the quality of their service

How involved would you be in the process?

Find out what they will handle for you. Will they set the rent price and the tenant rules? Will they have you do your own research for the pricing of the unit? There is no right or wrong answer, just make sure you are comfortable with the arrangement.

What does the contract look like?

As with any legal agreement, it is important to understand the specifics. Consult a lawyer if you are uncomfortable with anything in the contract.

What are the fees involved?

The pricing model of the property manager is extremely important. When you hire a property manager, you will pay them for their services. In many cases, the fee will be based on a percentage of the rent. But this will vary widely based on the manager.

The fee will be considered an offsetting cost in your rental business, so you need to make sure that it can be comfortably accommodated by your cash flow.

How do you pay me the rental income?

The company may send you a check in the mail or set up a direct deposit. Make sure the solution works for your lifestyle.

What services do you offer the tenants?

Do you want your tenants to have access to a repairman around the clock? Or a front desk to hold their packages? Whatever you want for your tenants, find out if the company can accommodate that request.

How do you collect tenant rent?

Most rental companies allow tenants to pay their rent electronically. However, that is not always the case. It can be inconvenient and lead to problems if the property manager is only able to accept paper checks. Since it is your property, it is important to be comfortable with this.

How do you screen the residents?

The tenants will be living on your property, even though you aren’t onsite to manage it. With that, you may have some requirements in mind for future tenants. For example, you might prefer a higher credit score or a clean background check. Get on the same page about the screening process upfront.

How do you take a rental from vacant to filled?

Vacancies can eat into your bottom line. The sooner a vacancy can be filler, the better it is for you. Ask how long it takes to turn over the unit. If you are happy with the time frame, move onto the next question.

How much control do you have over the lease agreement?

Since the tenants will be living in your rental unit, you might have some specific rules that you would like included in the lease. In some cases, the property manager will not allow you to alter their standard lease agreement. Read over the lease and confirm that you are comfortable before moving on.

Will you check in often?

Think about how often you’d like an update on your investment property. See if it is possible to set up a regular schedule for check-ins that suit your needs.

Are they licensed and insured?

You want a company that is prepared to handle your investment property in an appropriate way. Without proper licensing and insurance, you could run into legal problems down the line.

The bottom line

A property manager can help you enjoy the benefits of a real estate portfolio with less hands-on work. If you are ready to hire a property manager, be thorough in your search. Upfront research can save you time and money in the future.

The post Questions to ask before Hiring a Property manager appeared first on FIbyREI.