The Cost Of Fame And Fortune

I woke up last Thursday to the news that many heard, that Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, had died.  Living in the Detroit area, this was even bigger news, because he had just played a show the night before. He died in a hotel just a few blocks away from where he had performed.  It was sad news, made even sadder when it came out later that he had killed himself.  It makes me wonder the true cost of fame and fortune.

Back In The Day

After college, a few buddies decided to form a band.  This was back in the mid-1990’s so the alternative music scene was still in full swing (though waning, as a look back reveals).  They were pretty good, and managed to get quite a few gigs playing at local bars and other establishments.  I wasn’t musically gifted so I wasn’t in the band.  But, I hung around with them, helping them load and unload, and keeping track of the money side of things.

As guys that age in a band will do, they often talked what it would be like if they hit it big.  They dreamed of the big recording studios, the huge tours, the buses, the fans, and all the rest.  Talking about it was a lot of fun.

Here’s my secret:  Privately, I prayed that they would never achieve that level of success.

You read that right, I did not want my buddies to become rock stars.

Why Did I Hope Against Fame And Fortune?

So you wonder why I would not support my friends on their ‘dream’ of making it big, right?  

Honestly, the answer was simple.  I was afraid of how they would change.  Because, as much as everyone denies it, once you get famous, you change.  It’s unavoidable.  And, it’s often into a completely different person.

But it’s even worse.

Fame and fortune can bring lots of attention.  But it can also unleash demons.  Lots of them.  Bad ones.

Big success can bring lots of money.  But it can also bring lots of problems, many of which are things that most of us just aren’t prepared to handle.

The rock star lifestyle can be filled with parties, women, and fun, but it can also contain loneliness, addictions, and a loss of control.

Looking at how many musicians have died from things like drug addiction, suicide, alcoholism, or just about anything else, and it’s clear that there’s a cost.  Sometimes that cost is the musicians life.  That isn’t worth it.  It’s not worth the money to potentially get broken in a way where you can never get back together.  That’s the risk that I saw with my friends, and I didn’t want to see even the slightest possibility of this happening.

The Success They Found

My friends dreamed of success back then.  In the end, they never hit it big.  They played for a couple of years and then, as it happens most of the time, it was over.  They had a lot of fun.  There were a few arguments.  They entertained a lot of people.  It was a memorable chapter.

Still, they didn’t hit the level of success that they’d dreamed about.  But they’ve still been successful in my eyes.

I’ve seen those friends get married.  I’ve seen them find happiness with their families. They have successful and fulfilling careers.  They’ve matured as men and have become leaders, mentors, and inspirations to those around them.  Including me.

I have to hope that they look in the mirror and realize that, yes, they did find success.  Because they have.

Readers, have you ever dreamed of becoming a rock star?  Do you think that some rock stars would turn it down if they could do it all over again?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

2017 Can Be the Year You Earn Great Credit

If you don’t understand what personal credit is, you’re not alone. Your credit history is an important aspect of your life, but most people don’t fully comprehend what it is or what it does. That’s a shame, because you can learn what credit history is in about five minutes, and this information can guide you to a much better personal finance future. So don’t be scared of what you don’t know. Grab this bull by the horns and start taking control of your personal credit, even if for the very first time. This way you’ll know how to raise your credit scores & get the best interest rates in 2017.

Personal Credit History

First of all comes a basic definition.  Personal credit history is a record of all of the ways you’ve used borrowed money over the years. You may have borrowed more money than you think. Also, sometimes borrowed items can be represented in the form of money, as with a library book. Let’s say you borrowed a library book in 2005 but didn’t return it till 2007 when you found it under your sofa. It’s likely that the library kept a record of the lost book, and sent the account to collections after they couldn’t recover the book or the fees from you.

This un-returned library book would be recorded on your credit history as a number: the amount of money it would take to buy and process the book again for the library. That single item could bring down your credit score for as long as it remained on your credit history, which happens to be seven years.

The same thing could happen if you forgot to pay your utility bills for a month or two. Or if you charged as much money as possible on your credit cards (making it look like you have to borrow money to afford your life). Or if you requested multiple loans from multiple lenders during a single two month period last year. Each of these could be examples of irresponsible credit behavior.

Improve Your Credit

When you look at your credit history, you don’t have to guess about the items that give you bad personal credit; they’ll all be listed. If you want to improve your credit, you’ll have to get rid of them. You can do this by

  1.  Paying them.
  2. Disputing the negative items.  This causes the credit reporting agency to have to validate the item, which may work to your advantage
  3. Wait until the item disappears in seven years.

If you want to get better credit, and the benefits that come along with it, then you’ll have to do one or more of the above. Once the items disappear from your credit history, your credit score will go up.  You’ll then be able to get cheaper loans.  Plus you improve your chances of getting a better job or a more desirable place to live. Make 2017 the year you do these things, and you won’t regret it at all. It’s easier than you might think.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

7 Tips for a Perfect Open House for Your Rental

An open house is crucial for attracting new tenants.  This is a time to show off the rental you put so much time and money into.  If you want to entice high quality tenants, prepare your property using these seven tips for the perfect open house.

  1. Make it Spotless

Nothing turns off a potential tenant more than a dirty property.  Dirt and grime will cause prospective tenants to turn right around and walk out.  You may want to hire a cleaning service that can deep clean the entire space, from the walls to the floors and everything in between.  If you have carpet, make sure it looks fresh and free of stains.  If the exterior is dirty, consider using a pressure washer to clean all of the outside walls of your property.

  1. Make the Space Appear More Open

As a landlord you want renters to feel at home.  Tenants come to open houses in order to visualize their future living space.  Make the space more open to allow them to imagine their own furniture in the property to make it feel like they already live there.  The first step to creating a clear space is to store unnecessary knickknacks, decorations or furniture that make the home look too busy. Rearranging the furniture is another great way to make the space larger.  Seek the help of a friend with an artistic eye to help optimize the space of your property.

  1. Clear Property of Furniture

If you’re moving, feel free to clear your rental of any furniture.  After all, there’s no better way to open a space than to have nothing in it.  A clean and empty property is the ultimate blank slate.

  1. Paint Your Walls a Neutral Color

Bright pink walls may be your style, but when it comes to rentals, neutral colors are the way to go.  It will make the space feel breathable and open and will let in more light.  Need help choosing a color?  Consult a paint specialist at Home Depot to find the perfect shade for your property.  They will help you pick out several swatches that you can compare to your walls to add dimension and interest.  Whites, light beiges, and even shades of blue may help you will create a calm and relaxing environment.  This year, navy is a good neutral to create a beautiful accent wall or to complimentary fixtures, so ask your expert at Home Depot for some ideas.

  1. Let in More Light

More light will make your home inviting and cozy.  Open all blinds and make sure the windows are clean.  If your property doesn’t get much light, place lamps strategically throughout the space to make it look brighter.

  1. Increase Air Circulation

A stuffy property is a turnoff.  Open the windows to let in fresh air.  Encourage circulation by placing fans in strategic areas, such as in a room with a small window.  If you’re showing your property when the weather is hot, close your windows and turn on the AC.  Air conditioning will keep the home nice and cool and it’s worth the extra spending.

  1. Bake Cookies

This is a big real estate agent secret.  Before you open your property for the big day, bake some cookies a half an hour before.  Choose a basic scent everyone loves like vanilla, sugar, snickerdoodle or chocolate chip.  Avoid cookies like peanut butter because the peanut smell may cause allergic reactions.  The bonus is that your potential tenants get a cookie just to sweeten the deal.

The open house should be an enjoyable experience. Remember to vet potential tenants through a service like to get the best of the best. This is the opportune time to build a professional relationship with your future renters, so use these tips to get started today.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Using BookBub To Get Ready For Summer Reading

I love to read.  I’ve always been a sort of bookworm, as far back as I can remember.  My childhood summers growing up included a lot of time reading.  I love fiction.  When I was a kid I loved the Ramona books and Great Brain books.  When I got older, I started reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  Now, I have a list of preferred authors and genres.  I also have a new way to find stuff to read.  It’s called BookBub.

If you’ve never heard of BookBub, don’t worry, until just a few months ago, neither had I.

My New Kindle

For Christmas, I got a Kindle reader.  Prior to that I did all of my reading the old fashioned way: reading books.  Most books, I obtained from the local library.

But, I’d started thinking that I wanted a Kindle more and more.  The biggest reason I wanted one is because of our camping trips.  We go camping a lot during the summer, usually over 20 nights per year.  These trips often provide the perfect opportunity to get in some reading time, so I would bring along a few books.

Now, if you’ve ever camped, you know that space is at a premium.  Even though we have a 23′ trailer, it still gets packed full, especially during weeklong trips.  For most trips, I would bring around four books.  I could usually read, on average, two books, but I would always have extra, for a couple of reasons.  One would be if I was already partway through a book.  Another is that since I often get books on a whim, I’d bring some extra just in case I came across a dud.

Still, four books takes up quite a bit of room comparatively, so I thought that an eReader would help.  I wanted a Kindle because of the ease of it all.  After all, Amazon  makes anything easy.

BookBub Finds Deals On eBooks

So where does BookBub come in?  Easy.  It finds deals on books and sends you a list every day.  Each day I get an e-mail with a list of four or five books that I might like.  It determines this because, when I signed up, I spent a few minutes checking my favorite authors and favorite categories.  It also uses information on what book deals I click on to further provide better information.

So, each day I get a list of deals.  Because I have a Kindle, I exclusively get deals for items in the Kindle Store.  A book that might retail for $9.99 will be on sale, and I’ll get notified.  Clicking on the deal takes me right to Amazon’s page where I can read the synopsis, check out reviews, and if I like the deal, I can purchase it on the spot.

It’s pretty much the easiest thing I’ve ever done!

BookBub Deals

So you might be wondering, what are the actual deals?  Great question.

Most of the deals I see are between the price of $0.00 (yep, free) and $1.99.

That’s right, many of the books are absolutely free.  Plus, I’ve paid for a couple that looked really good.  Right now, I have about 15 unread books on my Kindle that I’ve probably paid a grand total of less than $10 for.  You can’t really beat that.

We went to the beach last month, and I decided to pilot test my process.  At that time, I had about 10 books, and I read three during our trip.  It could not have been easier.

My Full Process For Finding Books Using BookBub (and other sites)

When a book appears on my list, I’ll look at the Amazon page if it interests me.  But, I’ll also look at Goodreads.  This

Image courtesy of morguefile via beanworks

is a site that has more comprehensive views as well as a star rating that I think is more accurate for people that love to read.

So, when I get my daily e-mail I will:

  • See if the 2-3 line summary plus the price piques my interest
  • Go over to Goodreads and look at a few reviews
  • If I’m still interested, I’ll go back to the e-mail and click the link.  This takes me to the Amazon store.
  • I’ll purchase the deal.
  • The book shows up on my Kindle next time I’m on Wi-Fi.

It’s pretty sweet.

Note: This is not a sponsored post nor was I compensated in any way.  I just think BookBub is awesome so I decided to write this all on my own!

Readers, do you use BookBub or any other type of similar source to find book deals?  What about other hobbies outside reading? Do you have a BookBub type service that helps with your favorite hobbies?  Please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.