January 2015 archive

Vision Night: How to Host a Vision Board Party

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I hosted a get-together with my friends—which I dubbed “Vision Night”. We set aside time to map out our year and create vision boards. Since this isn’t a typical night for us, I wasn’t sure how open they would be to the idea of manifesting our goals. A normal outing for us is dinner at a fun restaurant, drinks at a bar, or an event somewhere in LA, so this was a bit of a departure. To my surprise they loved the idea. Not only were they open to the idea, but most of the women had created a vision board at some point. How did I not know this about my nearest and dearest?

The night wasn’t actually about manifesting. Visualizing alone won’t accomplish your dreams. Or we’d all be on our couch right now with our feet propped up waiting for things to happen. A vision board is just a starting point. You need a clear map of how you’re going to get there and then a little elbow grease.

I tried to keep the night as stress-free and low-key as possible so I requested a few things: scissors, glue sticks, old magazines and an appetizer, dessert or wine. I also requested that they think about their goals prior to the event and begin to cut out images and words from magazines and Pinterest that represented those goals. Once I had an idea of how many people were attending I headed to the store and picked up some snacks, poster board, and of course, more vino.

We spent some time going through magazines and cutting out images and words, then positioned them on the board, and finally glued them to the board. Then everyone had the chance to talk about their board. The beauty of this process is that we got to learn about everyone’s goals for the year. I found out that some of us have similar goals. Some were offering advice to others on how to accomplish a particular goal. And now we can keep each other on track throughout the year.

It turned out to be a fun night of arts and crafts. Crafting brought us back to our childhood and the champagne and vino reminded us it was still Girl’s Night. It will be interesting to hear about everyone’s progress throughout the year and maybe this will become an annual tradition.

Interested in hosting your own? Here are some tips for hosting your own Vision Night:

  • KISS (keep it simple and straightforward): The point is to relieve yourself from stress so keep the guest list to a manageable number (6-10 people). You also want to make sure you have enough room for everyone to spread out their boards.
  • Send out a simple email invite: encourage everyone to start thinking about their goals prior to the evening and suggest they start cutting out images and words that represent those thoughts
  • Request guests bring scissors, glue sticks, old magazines, and an appetizer, dessert or wine.
  • Pick up some snacks, drinks, glue sticks and one poster board per person
  • Have everyone cut out the words and images and lay it out on the poster board before pasting
  • Leave space on the board to add more throughout the year
  • Go around the room and have everyone talk about their boards—it sparks great conversation, advice, and ideas
  • Here’s a helpful Pinterest board with more vision party ideas http://www.pinterest.com/VickiLynnHale/vision-board-party-ideas/

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Girlfriend’s Guide to Buying Real Estate

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I’ve heard a couple of girlfriends say that they’re not buying a home because they can’t find one they like. They prefer to rent until they can save enough money to buy a home with all the bells and whistles. If I heard it from a couple of my girlfriends then there are probably a whole lot more of you out there who feel the same way. There may be reasons when buying real estate doesn’t make sense, which I’ll save for another blog post. But if you are in the market to buy, I’m here to tell you to buy that home even if it’s not perfect.

Just like it’s difficult finding the perfect mate, it’s difficult finding the perfect home. Especially in more desirable neighborhoods, where home prices are higher, it takes time and money to find the right home in the ideal neighborhood. In most cases, we have to compromise on either a renovated home or the right neighborhood. But if you’re waiting to save money to buy a perfect home, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to grow your wealth.

Let me put it in perspective for you. Here are several ways buying a home can grow your wealth:

  1. Building equity: As you pay off your mortgage, you begin to build equity. Equity = money in your pocket.
  1. Home increases in value: As you build equity, your home is also increasing in value. Bonus! According to Zillow, home values in Los Angeles have gone up by 7.9% over the past year and they predict they will rise 2.6% within the next year.
  1. Tax benefits: As a single person living in California, do you about fall out of your chair when you see how much of your salary goes towards taxes? Chances are that taxes will only go up over time. If you are one of those that don’t think taxes will increase in the future, then let’s hope you’re right. But in the meantime, I’m taking advantage of all the tax savings possible. As patriotic as it is to pay taxes, you will most likely need money for retirement or other important expenses, so those tax savings could really add up. Talk to your accountant about how purchasing a house may help you save on taxes.
  1. Renovate your home: So you “settle” for a home that’s not as nice as the rental you were living in, but this is a chance to make this the home you envisioned, which may also increase your home’s value. Make sure the home has a solid foundation and is in a neighborhood that you can live in for at least 5 years. See more about 5-year Rule below.

If you buy while home prices are still affordable, the value of your home will appreciate overtime. You can trade up for a bigger home or a home in a better neighborhood using the home’s appreciation and the equity you’ve built. Even if your home doesn’t increase in value, you’re still building equity. Many people adhere to the 5-year Rule when owning real estate to make closing costs worthwhile.

As home prices and interest rates rise, you’ll have to put a larger down payment for the same home. Don’t work harder than you have to. And don’t wait until real estate is expensive. It’s easy to get priced out of the more desirable neighborhoods as prices increase.

I’m not encouraging you to buy a home in an unsafe neighborhood if you’re a single woman living by herself, but with a little research I’m sure you’ll find plenty of neighborhoods that are safe and still affordable. Keep your options open. If you had the idea of living in an upscale neighborhood and you can’t find anything you like in those neighborhoods, consider expanding your search outside those neighborhoods. Write down what you like about those neighborhoods and see if you can find those attributes in a different neighborhood you may not even considered. If you’re in LA, here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the box. Check sites like Curbed, Time Out, or your local newspapers for ideas.

Don’t sit on the sidelines trying to save for the perfect home. Just start somewhere.