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How Much Money Does It Cost to Build a House (Part III)?

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Building the interior of a home is usually the most expensive part of building a house.

Framing: $40,000

Brace yourself. The frame of your home will be one of the biggest costs in your home-building budget. This is when your home will begin to take shape.

Exterior Finishes: $30,000

The exterior wall is a pricey item ($15,000) since it covers the perimeter of your home, and that necessitates plenty of material. Also, it supports the structure and roof of the house and stops outside weather from coming inside, ensuring that when the weather outside is bad, your home will be okay.

Major Systems Installation: $30,000

Installing major systems in your home will cost about as much as the exterior finishes. Major systems are plumbing ($11,000), HVAC ($11,000), and electricity ($10,000). You could cut the budget here, but we’re assuming you’d like to not have outdoor plumbing.

Interior Finishes: $60,000

In addition to the sales price, the interior is typically the most expensive part of building a home. 

Miscellaneous Construction Costs: $5,000

Above and beyond the “buffer” costs built into every stage, a large number of home-building projects require $5,000 for a separate, miscellaneous category that goes with the complete construction cost.

Sales Price: $200,000

As the final and heaviest brick of your home-building budget, you’ll want to plan for the sales price. Had you bought an existing home, your sales price would be in the hands of the seller, their real estate agent and an appraiser. But when you build from the ground up, the sales price is decided by your builder and several vendors.

Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a Home?

After breaking down the cost to build a home, you may wonder if it’s most effective to purchase an existing one. The factors that affect housing costs make it hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone’s dream house is unique and so are the costs.

 

How Much Money Does It Cost to Build a House (Part II)?

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Once you’ve obtained some land, it’s time to start planning the house you’ve always dreamed of.

Make the Plans

Now, once you’ve discovered that great plot of land, be prepared to make plenty of decisions. In every part of the construction, you’ll make lots of choices that affect the cost to build your home. You’ll need to have a detailed, well-planned vision of the house you desire. And we don’t just mean finishes and the number of rooms. If you don’t have a budget, you’ll end up making lots of change orders.

Change orders are work items that have to be removed or added to the original set of plans. They’ll send your budget over the roof and drive your builder up the wall.

To aid you in preparing for the decisions you’ll have to make at every stage of the home-building process, this article broke down the usual costs to build a house into separate stages, starting with site work and going all the way to landscaping as well as the final sales price. 

Site Work $17,000

After you get the property, you’ll have to pay for site work like permits, inspections, and building plans to get ready for the actual construction. The steepest cost here is fees for sewer and water inspections.

Pro tip: Have your builder and architect create the plan together. Don’t allow an architect who doesn’t know anything about building win you over with nice pictures. Your builder can make sure your architect isn’t creating something that’s silly or really pricey to build.

Foundation $28,000

Foundation work is where the true fun starts. This is when you’ll break ground on your new house. Breaking ground necessitates heavy-duty machinery and skilled operators to make sure the ground is level before laying the foundation of your home. If huge rocks are hiding under your plot of land, excavation costs can go up.

 

How Much Money Does It Cost to Build a House (Part I)?

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Build a budget as strong as your new house’s foundation.

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having your own house. You’ve weighed the good and bad of whether to buy or build, and you’ve decided to build. But how much does it really cost to build a home these days? And what will you have to pay for that you don’t see coming?

The average cost to build a house is around $430,000. That estimate is based on a 2,800 single-family house. 

So, before you go to the bank, pump your brakes. Everybody’s wants are different. The cost to build a home is based on factors such as location, size, labor, materials and current real estate trends, which make it hard to nail down a precise one-size-fits-all answer. So, let’s look at the average cost to build a home in every stage.

Before You Begin

So, you want to build a home. Great. But so, did the three little pigs and we know what happened to them. Two of the pigs want a house of straw and sticks. The other pig built a durable home of brick. When the wolf came along, the only home left standing was the one that was built by brick.

Similar to the three little pigs, to safeguard your future, you need to create a budget before you build your home.

Buy the Property

If you haven’t already purchased the property where your home will be built, find a knowledgeable real estate agent. These pros can help you hunt down and negotiate a deal on land for the ideal to build your home. A good agent will know about up-and-coming areas so you can plant roots in a location that’ll make your house more valuable over time, which is what you want whether or not you decide to remain in it for the rest of your life. 

Getting Financially Ready for Your New Baby

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Having a baby is a wonderful and joyous time, however they tend to be expensive.

If you’re getting ready financially for a baby or new addition to your family, you most likely have a zillion things going through your mind. Regardless if your mind is on diapers or you’re concerned about childcare costs, below is a list to aid you in preparing for the arrival of your little bundle.

 

Review Your Health Insurance

You’ll need to put your new addition to your health insurance policy. Therefore, take the time to examine your policy now, while everything is a little calm. If you’re presently covered through your job, you can find out how by talking to your insurance company or calling human resources. Also, keep in mind that even with health insurance, you may be responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to family coverage plans and childbirth. By looking at your insurance policy beforehand, you will have more time to ask questions and begin saving.

 

Create a Baby Account

Not only do babies need lots of stuff, like formula and diapers, but you’ll also be looking at larger expenses like childcare, car seats, and furniture. It’s an excellent idea to begin saving as early as possible. Create a separate savings account where you can begin putting money in right now. You could also set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account after every paycheck to aid you in building your savings without having to think about it. When the baby is here, you’ll be prepared for the additional costs.

 

Create a New Account

If you’re pondering how to prepare for a baby financially, begin putting your budget together sooner instead of later. First, talk to your partner or spouse regarding any huge changes that may impact your finances. For instance, if one of you is considering staying home after the baby comes, now is a great time to plan for living on one income. Examine your present budget. Try to discover some wiggle room in your savings and income. Usually, this is where you’ll discover the money to pay for your new baby expenses.

The Financial Advantages and Disadvantages of Seniors Getting Married (Part II)

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There’s a lot to discuss when you marry later in life. 

Key Takeaways

Two people who want to marry later in life have to discuss assets, finances, housing, retirement, and more before tying the knot.

When linking finances, it’s best to be open about everything from your degree of indebtedness to retirement plans and investment strategies.

Be sure to decide your filing status, update your tax information, and update your name and benefit status with Social Security.

Do estate planning to see that your families’ financial needs are satisfied after you die, and update beneficiary information for life insurance policies and wills.

Combining Finances After a Marriage

Older couples have had more time to get accustomed to their own money management styles and personal habits. They’ve also had more time to garter significant assets. This can make it difficult to merge finances, particularly when one partner is thrifty and the other likes to spend. Or, when one partner has way more resources than the other.

If either partner has young children from another relationship, this will also introduce issues to discuss like the receipt or payment of child support and probably alimony. Even when there are adult children, there are problems of inheritance to make clear.

Some smart planning can help you simplify this transition. Below are some suggestions you can use before walking down the aisle:

  • Discuss each other’s credit histories by looking at credit scores and reports and scores.
  • Decide each partner’s indebtedness and your personal comfort levels with debt.
  • Reach an agreement about how to share bills, savings, and paychecks.
  • Create one joint banking account and an individual account for each partner
  • Decide who will be the primary breadwinner or if you will both be contributing more or less equally.
  • Discuss investment styles and strategies like whether you are conservative or aggressive.
  • Figure out what savings level you’ll want to have as a couple.
  • Discuss what you vision for retirement if you aren’t already retired.
  • Talk about where you plan to live, present and the future.

The Financial Advantages and Disadvantages of Seniors Getting Married (Part I)

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So, you’ve met someone you love but should you get married or just move in together. 

When you begin a relationship later in life, does it make sense to move in together or marry? The truth is it’s complicated.

Love might be sweeter the second time around. Though, for an increasing number of baby boomers, love and marriage don’t go hand in hand.

The number of adults over 50 who were living together outside of marriage more than tripled between 2000 and 2010, from 1.2 million to 2.75 million. It’s not fearing commitment that keeps older couples from making their unions official. Instead, they’re scared marriage will wipe out retirement benefits, saddle them with increased health care costs, and increase their taxes and disturb their estate plans.

Despite all that, marriage conveys over 1,100 benefits, tax breaks, and protections including guaranteed medical leave to care for a family member.

Those entitlements are the reasons same-sex couples have fought the legal right to marry, just as some opposite-sex couples are decided not to tie the knot. If you’re thinking either marriage or just moving in together, put romance aside long enough to ponder these problems.

Sharing costs and assets

Living together means either you begin fresh in a new place or one of you moves into the other’s residence. The latter isn’t odd for older couples, but unmarried couples must take extra steps to safeguard their interests. If one partner isn’t on the deed, their property might not be protected by the owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

When two people marry later in life, there are more things to sort through than just wedding gifts. Marriage between two individuals with long histories involves critical decisions about assets, finances, housing, retirement, and more. Above are some topics you will want to take up with your future spouse to guarantee your best financial interests as individuals and as a couple are safeguarded in your new union.

Best Ways to Invest in Foreign Markets (Part II)

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The world is a big place. Where will you invest?

Once the right type of fund is picked, the next step is deciding where in the world to invest. Most financial advisors advise that younger investors look for higher-risk funds with the probability of a huge return, while senior investors look for lower-risk funds that offer more stability. This typically translates to large emerging market exposure for younger investors and create market exposure for senior investors.

Lastly, finding certain mutual funds is as simple as using free online tools such as the Wall Street Journal Fund Screener or Yahoo! Finance Fund Screener. In the meantime, ETFs can be discovered by browsing through some of the biggest ETF providers such as iShares or SPDRs. Finally, investors must discover high-return, low-cost funds that satisfy their risk appetite and investment objectives.

Buy Individual Foreign Stocks Hassle-Free with ADRs

Investors that want a hands-on approach can simply buy numerous individual foreign stocks which are U.S.-traded securities that show ownership in the shares of foreign companies. Since they are denominated in dollars and traded on the AMEX, NYSE, or NASDAQ, ADRs don’t need any difficult currency conversion or foreign exchange transactions.

Sadly, there are several foreign stocks that aren’t available as ADRs and must be bought on foreign exchanges like the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in Europe or the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) in Canada. While some international brokerages provide a low-cost way to buy these stocks, like InteractiveBrokers, investors must carefully check their brokerage’s fee schedule before trading.

When your plan of selling and buying of ADRs happens in American dollars, any dividends presented to you will be denominated in the foreign currency and then changed into U.S. dollars upon distribution. As a result, there might be some currency exchange rate risk included in those situations.

Best Ways to Invest in Foreign Markets (Part I)

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Investing in foreign markets can be complicated but doing so can be in your best interests.

International investing can be a complex endeavor, from currency conversions and language barriers to foreign exchanges and regulations. Though, at the same time, many financial advisors suggest holding at least some foreign stocks in a diversified portfolio. Luckily, there are many simple ways to invest in foreign markets without learning a new language or exchanging dollars for euros. Below is how to diversify abroad with U.S.-traded stocks and funds, as well as some vital considerations for doing it correctly.

Easily Diversify Abroad with ETFs and Mutual Funds

The most common and easiest way to invest in foreign markets is by buying mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that hold a basket of international bonds and stocks. With foreign holdings across numerous industries and countries, these two fund types provide investors with a fast and highly diversified foreign component to their portfolio in just one simple transaction.

Also, investors can select between various types of mutual funds or ETFs such as:

  • Country Funds- invest in specific countries such as Russia or Spain.
  • International Funds- invest widely across several countries outside of America.
  • Regional Funds- invest in specific regions such as Asia, Europe or the Middle East.
  • Sector Funds- invest in specific sectors across several countries such as energy or gold.

How to Find the Best Fund for Your Portfolio

What fund type is best for you? Eventually, the answer to this question is contingent on the individual’s investment goals and appetite for risk. In general, mutual funds are actively handled by professional investors, while ETFs are passively managed with holdings based on a preexisting index. As a result, mutual funds typically are more costly than their passively managed counterparts.

The Bottom Line

ADRs and international funds are solid ways to create international exposure into any portfolio without having to worry about regulations or foreign stocks. By keeping these tips in mind, investors can be well on their way to getting proper diversification for their portfolios.

 

How to Save Up for a New Car (Part II)

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The safety features of a car are one of the main priorities when considering which car to buy.

Consider Safety and Fuel Economy

We should all be concerned about car safety. But, parents of young children must be completely informed about safety. You can see safety records online. Also, you can find out which auto models are most and least often stolen, which can alter insurance costs.

Fuel mileage is vital to most consumers. Though, since so many folks want vehicles that are more budget-friendly to drive, models with high gas mileage usually are high though they could retain value better than less fuel-efficient models as well. If you drive 20,000 miles per year, you can save around $2,000 per year on fuel costs by picking a vehicle that gets 35 miles per gallon compared to one that earns about 20 miles per gallon.

Insurance Costs

A new vehicle costs more to insure than the same model used. With new cars, you’ll pay more for collision and comprehensive parts of your insurance policy. Many folks forego this coverage on old “beater” cars, where the cost of coverage is greater than the payout for these repairs, but for new cars and newer used cars, you ought to have both comprehensive and collision coverage in addition to liability coverage.

Cars with low theft rates and good safety records tend to keep insurance costs lower. But insurance costs differ according to other factors than just the model, make, and year. For instance, folks in different cities, and folks in different neighborhoods within the same city might have different insurance rates on the same vehicle.

Budgeting for a Car

There are numerous things you can do to make it easier to pay for your vehicle. If you plan on trading in, think about selling the car yourself and using that money toward the cost of the new automobile. Selling directly usually gets you more than you would with a trade-in. Using a budget app lets you make progress quicker by establishing better saving and spending habits.

 

How to Save Up for a New Car (Part I)

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Cars come with a hefty price tag.

Cars are costly. According to research, the average cost for a new automobile was over $31,000. And used car prices are costly too. Research predicts the average used the car up to eight years old costs over $15,000.

In fact, after rent or mortgage payments, car loan payments are the next largest monthly budget item, so it’s vital that you understand how much for a vehicle you can truly afford and shop appropriately.

The cost of a car is just the baseline. Also, you will need to figure in insurance costs, sales tax, registration fees, and finance charges if you cannot save up and pay cash for a vehicle.

If you’re purchasing new, your warranty has to cover numerous big repairs for three years or so, but it won’t cover maintenance such as a new battery, oil changes or new tires or windshield wipers. With numerous used cars, you won’t get a warranty. You must be confident that the model you pick will have low-cost repair costs. Use a budget app to budget for a vehicle.

Car Loans

If you can save up to pay for an automobile with cash, you won’t pay finance charges and you won’t have a car payment every month. Though, most folks have to borrow to buy a vehicle. Even if you plan to get a car loan, you should use a budget app to help you incorporate the cost of the car into your monthly budget.

If you have a car loan, it’s solid if you can make a 20% down payment. If you can’t do 20%, you should possibly think about getting a cheaper car, or wait until you can put 20% down. A down payment under 20% puts you at a big risk of becoming “upside-down” on your car loan, where you owe more than the vehicle is worth.