MARCH 2015

In This Issue
North Texas home prices up 9 percent in February from 2014 levels

North Texas home sales were flat in February.

But median sales prices surged ahead - up 9 percent from a year earlier.

Real estate agents sold 5,593 preowned single-family homes last month, almost the same number as in February 2014, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.


It took less than two months on average to sell a North Texas home based on the latest sales.


And the number of houses listed for sale with real estate agents was down by 16 percent from a year ago.

With pending sales up 9 percent, March is likely to be a stronger home buying month.


The lack of inventory is still holding back home purchases.

In February only a 2.1-month supply of houses were available for purchase in the area. That's the lowest inventory since real estate agents have been keeping such records.


The market is even tighter in some area, with less than a

month's housing inventory in Mesquite, The Colony, Plano, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Richardson, Garland, Bedford and Hurst.


When Is the Best Time to List Your Home?
by Zillow



You've heard it before: List your home early in the year. That way, you'll be ready to close the deal when home sales peak in June. But what exactly does "early in the year" mean?


Based on an analysis of supply, demand and sellers' outcomes in "Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate," co-authors Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries have revealed the magic window to list your home: mid-March to mid-April. (For those who like sports analogies, think March Madness to The Masters.)


We also went one step further to determine the exact weeks you should list in different parts of the country. Turns out, the best time to list follows weather patterns. In markets with warm climates like Miami, the magic window starts now. But in places with harsh winters like Boston, waiting until mid- to late April is your best bet.


What's so magical about the magic window? It's when you'll sell your home faster and for more money. The data shows homes sold from mid-March to mid-April sell around 15 percent faster and for 2 percent more than the average listing. That's a national premium worth more than $4,000. And in hot markets like San Francisco, that could mean an extra $22,000 in your pocket!



Retirement: 5 tips on how to save $1 million
by USA Today



One million bucks is a lot of money. It certainly is impressive if you're one of the few who has saved that much for retirement - looking at your statement and seeing all those zeros.

And even financial planners who say you might need more for your retirement can't argue that it is an impressive start. After all, people are living longer; you may have unanticipated health care costs; and you really want to maintain that standard of living you are accustomed to.

So, here are five tips for saving a cool million by the time you retire.

1. Start early and take advantage of the power of compounding. This may cause many Baby Boomers to sigh and think about what could have been. "The less time you have, the more you have to save," says Chris Chaney, vice president at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. Compound interest and earnings are your best friend as a long-term saver. If you start late, you've lost that. "You are trying to make up for what time has not done," Chaney says. "You have to save a lot more."


"It's a very achievable goal," says Scott Puritz, managing director at Rebalance IRA.

"Get the power of compounding working in your favor. As Einstein said, it's a law of nature," Puritz says. "People in their 20s and 30s tend not to think about retirement. They are busy thinking about college loans and families. But it's the best time because of compounding. Start early and harness benefits of long-term compounding.


"As a retirement investor, if you are able to achieve a return of 7.2% per year, your money will double every 10 years," he says. "It's really quite amazing. Every dollar you invest at 25 will grow to $16 when you retire.

2. Have a plan, says Bob Gavlak, financial adviser with Strategic Wealth Partners in Independence, Ohio. "You will not get there by accident."

"Whether you develop that plan on your own, or with an adviser, that's fine," he says. "But having a plan and a strategy for moving forward is the most important first step. Ultimately, what that will help to avoid is emotional investing, and that is one of downfalls of average investors," Gavlak says. "People put more money in when the market is going up, and sell when the market is going down. You don't focus on short-term fluctuation, but rather on that long-term plan."

3. Take advantage of your company-sponsored savings plan. The 2014 Wells Fargo Middle Class Retirement Study found that a third of middle-class Americans are not saving in a retirement account. One in five have no savings at all. But, among survey respondents with access to a 401(k), the median amount saved is 10 times more than someone without access.

"First, it will give you tax savings," says Gavlak. "A lot of times you get some sort of employer match. You get free money to help build towards that goal. That will be huge help."

Jeanne Thompson, vice president at Fidelity Investments, says people being in 401(k)s for an extended period has also helped boost the number of Fidelity customers who are millionaires. That number has doubled in the past two years - from 34,900 to 72,000, she says. "The population is getting older. People have been in their 401(k) plans longer. For many people who don't have pensions, this is the primary source of income."

She says 90% of the Fidelity millionaires are taking advantage of the catch-up provisions and many are saving up to the maximum. "They are milking it for all it's worth."

4. Use automatic deductions for all your savings. "You don't have to think about it," says Gavlak. "Do it as much as you can, within your budget, so you don't have to think about it. Take as many auto deductions as you can, so you don't get caught up in a situation where, instead of saving, you just spend it."


"I encourage people to have systematic plans where the money comes out of checking, whether it's once a week or once a month, or even if it's a dollar," says Andrew Ireland, head of U.S. wealth management at HSBC. "There is no shortcut. It's no different from trying to get into shape. It's diet and exercise. Set out a defined approach. And then check to see if your approach is meeting your stated objectives and goals."


5. The stock market is your friend. "You won't get there just on savings alone," says Thompson. "It does take some market action."


"Don't try to beat the market, but be in the market," says Puritz. "We are firm believers in the power of portfolio indexing as opposed to attempts to beat the market, which is a losers' game. It's simple for the average investor to invest in a portfolio of low-cost index funds. You will do better than 90% of people."


And be in the market for the long haul, says Thompson. "We recommend you save at least eight times your income. It could be more like 10 (times your income). The earlier you want to retire, the more you need to save. If you want to retire in your early to mid-60s, it might be 10 or 12 times your income. If you retire later, the number is eight times your income. Then your time in retirement is shorter, and your Social Security benefits may be larger."


How to Snare a Millionaire:  Matchmaker reveals the secrets to dating someone with big dollars by Sameera Sullivan




A matchmaker to London's rich and famous has revealed her top tips on how to bag a millionaire, or even a royal.  Lady Lara Asprey, 32, from Chelsea in London, runs the dating agency The Sloane Arranger.


In the last few years, she has found love for Prince Charles's polo playing chums, top Hollywood celebrities and knighted Shakespearean actors.


The Sloane Arranger doesn't feature a dating site where people can upload profiles for themselves - it is far too discreet for that.


Lady Lara meets each new member in person, noting down the key character traits, likes and dislikes, and general demeanor in her little black book.


She then looks through her other members and links men and women up that she thinks will work well - if there is no one on the books, she has even been known to approach potential suitors on the street.


She said: "Sloane Arranger is tongue and cheek but it is positioned to a demographic to people who have done well for themselves and are ambitious and smart.


"But many of these people are just humble, composed, educated and elegant.  "I meet with people, find out if they are on the same wavelength as current members and then also who I can match them with."


Lady Lara's little black book is stuffed with the contact details of some of London's most eligible bachelors and she now has her sights set on another millionaire's playground - Switzerland. 


Among her tips:


  • Don't be sexy; be elegant
  • Don't play hard to get
  • Don't ask the man out
  • Learn how to be funny
  • Don't pay for the first three dates

This is very teasable and timely piece heading into the weekend.  Talk to any love and relationship expert to localize.  


Fun for Less: 19 Strategies for Saving on Entertainment

by:  Money Talks News



When you're on a budget, whittling spending on non-essentials matters. But so does the quality of your life. To get a gauge of your own spending, consider that American households (of all sizes) spent an average of $2,625 on food outside home in 2013, according to the latest numbers in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey. We also dropped $2,482, on average, on entertainment.


How to balance the need to save with the equally serious need for fun? With planning, creativity and some easily adopted habits. Use your savings to pay down debt or add to your nest egg or emergency fund. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains how this works in the video below. After watching, come back here for 19 ways to save money while having fun.


To see all 19 strategies:

Click Here