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Homeownership and End of American Dream

  
  
  
6.19.14. Homeownership resized 600Social media and the blogosphere are rife with controversy over military budget cuts and prospective cuts to basic housing allowance (BAH). It seems like there’s a lot to fret over, but for the average service member with a median age of approximately 28 years old, there’s at least something to be happy about, too.  While our military families are compelled to move every two to three years, we are fortunate to receive a housing allowance. That BAH provides military families with the stability of knowing that they can live comfortably at each assignment without resorting to complex roommate situations or a need to rely on mom and dad. Their 28-year-old civilian counterparts, meanwhile, are not enjoying the same experience.
FINRA Investor Education Foundation recently concluded a study on the financial status and literacy levels of Millenials, those aged 20-34. They concluded that Millenials are struggling more financially than the past two previous generations did when entering the work force and adulthood. While they explained that Millenials clearly suffered financially from the double-whammy of student loan debt and a weak job market upon graduation, they also conclude that low levels of financial literacy have contributed to the poor economic outlook for this generation. 
Why is this important? Good question. For military family homeowners seeking to sell their home in the next couple of years, it’s important to have an idea of what the home sale market will look like when it’s time to sell. Despite a positive outlook for the housing market last year, the most recent housing reports look dim, suggesting a rebounding housing crisis. The facts that the construction industry reports low confidence for quarter two of 2014 and that the Commerce Department reported that new home construction fell 6-percent in May alone doesn’t help matters either. Given that approximately 36-percent of Millenials currently live at home with mom and dad while many more not only rent, but also rent in shared homes with multiple roommates, means that the likelihood of finding a greater return on your housing investment by renting is more likely.  
To better understand what the future of the housing market looks like, let’s take a look at some key facts about Millenials that come from the FINRA study:  
  • Finances:
    • 65-percent earn less than $50,000 per year compared to 47-percent of all older adults
    • 13-percent are unemployed
    • 36-percent have students loans
    • 31-percent have unpaid medical bills
    • 23-percent spend more than they earn
    • 32-percent have rainy day funds
    • 12-percent don’t use banks at all
    • 34-percent engage in at least three costly credit card behaviors, such as late payments
  • Education:
    • 20-percent are currently in pursuit of a first college degree
    • 25-percent have a college degree
  • Family Life:
    • 36-percent are married
    • 45-percent have children

The latest census data shows that homeownership has steadily declined among younger adults since the early 2000s, and given the financial burden facing Millenials—supporting a family, medical bills, student loans, high rent, unemployment, and little ability to save for a down payment whether as a result of too many bills or poor financial literacy—homeownership may not be in the immediate future for this generation.
And yet, the American Dream is not dead. The Pew Research Foundation suggest that Millenials still see homeownership as a viable option as well as an important step on the path to adulthood; that step may just have to come a little out of order from how it occurred for previous generations. Economists, included the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders David Crowe, explained to NPR recently that in previous generations, those who lived at home during their 20s and 30s simply represented pent up housing demand. Therefore, they conclude that the 36-percent of Millenials who’ve boomeranged back home will eventually unleash their financial fury on the housing market, triggering a massive influx of all of the savings they’re socking away while paying no rent to their parents into down payments, construction, and general housing supplies.
Given the troubling financial stats we looked at above, let’s prepare for the just in case that doesn’t happen situation. So, if you’re contemplating selling or renting, keep the stability of the military family market in mind; BAH arrives in the bank on a timely basis, and your military Millenial’s are far less likely to turn your 2-bedroom condo into a cozy four roommate crashpad. Want even more security in rent payments? Talk to your property manager about requesting military rental allotments.





Military Families, Is There Radon in Your New Home?

  
  
  
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You probably encountered Radon, or Rn, on the periodic table of elements in high school chemistry. Though you may not remember much about this naturally occurring noble gas element from the far lower right-hand corner of the periodic table of elements, there are a couple of things that you should know about radon now, particularly if your military family is located in areas with basement living areas, near San Diego, in New Jersey, or in inland states. 

3 Easy, Cheap Ways for Cozy Temp Living!

  
  
  
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I’ve never installed curtains in any of our homes; having lived in now 8 different homes over the past 7 years, the thought of bothering to measure windows, install curtain rods, and hang curtains that may only suit the windows at that particular home has always seemed like a waste of time and money.  Why go to the trouble when a) it’s likely that we’ll move in a year, and b) the windows already have perfectly acceptable window coverings in the form of blinds. If the window is covered, then isn’t that all that matters?

Top 10 Things about the Military Homeowner Protection Act of 2014

  
  
  
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Our recent blog entitled Military Spouse Spearheads BigMilitary Tax Break discussed how military spouse Crystal Franklin raised awareness of an undue tax burden on military families in South Carolina who found it challenging to sell their home upon receiving orders to PCS out of state. As a result of her advocacy work and the support she received from Representative Murrell Smith (R-Sumter, District 67), the state’s congress unanimously passed the Military Homeowner Protection of 2014 on March 14th. The new legislation has since earned praise from media, local military commanders, and politicians alike throughout the state. Governor Nikki Haley explained,

Military Spouse Spearheads Big Military Tax Break!

  
  
  
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The pervasive news of military budget cuts and scandals wracking the ranks that have proliferated over the past couple of years has a bright spot: More military and military spouses are not only aware of a need for change, but also they’re increasingly more aware of a need for self-advocacy from the military community. Programs such as Homefront Rising encourage military spouses, for instance, to learn about advocacy and run for political office; a quick online search shows that a large number of organizations already exist to support veterans interested in politics and political action. One military spouse completely unaffiliated with any of these organizations, however, decided that she’d had enough of military budget cuts and the lack of seeming support for military in recent years, so she decided to take on big government herself!    

Flip Houses for $100K in 30 days

  
  
  
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 After spending months of having The Weather Channel on in the background during my workday, the final onset of warmer weathers meant that I no longer needed to desperately listen in for any glimmer of hope that the months of snow and ice would end. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that the channel I’ve now tuned to—HGTV—was such a good idea. It’s hard to avert my eyes from the phenomenal “flips” that investors and homebuyers make in rundown income properties that any normal person wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole! The transformations are generally spectacular, but the realtor’s evaluation of the post-renovation is generally even more impressive.  With a mere 30-days-worth of work, investors on these shows can increase the value of their property in excess of $100,000; when the investors then sells the house after a single open house, walking away from the property with a massive lump sum only 60 or so days after purchasing the property, I stare agape. They make more than what most people make in a year in one-twelfth of the time.

They make it look so easy.


Is It Time for a Bigger Place? How Much Room Does a Baby Need?

  
  
  
Baby Pic

Almost as soon as a couple eagerly gushes about the impending arrival of their first child, the dawning realization of caring for the needs of another person sets in, bringing with it an evil—albeit, temporary—disease that we’ll refer to as “Space Angst.”  Those suffering from space angst exhibits signs typical to that of someone with stress and anxiety.  Frequent questions from space angst sufferers generally revolve around the topics of what material items will the baby need, where will they find room for those who will want to visit the baby, and an even more threatening “space” question—what if another baby comes along, too?  For most military families, the latter question is rarely a concern, as by the time one child has arrived, Uncle Sam will have determined that the next child will be born at a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) somewhere else; the PCS will easily help the family address any further space angst needs.

e-book Discusses Managing the Stress of a PCS

  
  
  
uShip

UShip, a company that helps military families move everything from furniture and appliances to pets and pianos, has just released a new eBook to help military families adjust to the emotional strains of relocation.  The company that most families probably know best from their starring role on A&E’s Shipping Wars aims to use their new eBook, Easing the Stress of Moving for Military Families, as a way to provide families within the Armed Forces with information about the resources available to them.  By helping military families identify the emotional stressors involved in moving, the book suggests, they can better manage the way in which they both prepare for and proceed with the move.  If you can manage the emotional stress of a PCS, their moving services can handle the rest. 

Honoring Military Heroes Across America

  
  
  
Wreaths Across America

In a time of holiday hustle and bustle, we wanted to share a beautiful story of honor and remembrance.

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, found himself with a surplus of fresh Christmas wreaths one year and drew on the childhood memory of a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to begin what is now the non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America.

Recognizing that his good fortune and success was due, in large part, to the sacrifices of our nations fallen, he wanted to honor those that call Arlington National Cemetery their final resting place. In 1992, he sent the surplus of wreaths to Arlington to be laid on the graves of those in an older section of Arlington that was receiving less and less visitors each year. This tradition continued quietly until 2005, when the above photo was circulated on the Internet.



Determining the Value of Your Military House

  
  
  
Value of Your Military House

Research, market analysis and timing can be critical to homeowners who are listing their home For Sale. For military homeowners, the timing part is often non-negotiable, so having access to tools that will help you conduct a thorough research of your local real estate market is essential.

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