How to Defer Taxes Forever with a 1031 Exchange

How to Defer Taxes Forever with a 1031 Exchange

In this article, you will learn about tax-free money, how to tax-defer capital gains taxes, and how to keep rolling your profits over and over forever! A 1031 exchange allows the owner of an investment property to sell it and buy another property while deferring the capital gains tax. 

 

EARLY RETIREMENT

 

You will spend about one-third of your life working to pay for your taxes. It is by far one of your biggest expenses. By learning the tax rules, you can legally reduce your tax bill and keep more of your hard earned money! 

Over the last two centuries, 90 percent of the world’s millionaires have been created by investing in real estate. Clearly, if you want to attain financial freedom real estate needs to be part of your portfolio. Your investment strategy should include a diverse set of investment vehicles which will create a wealth strategy that can weather any storm.

 

 

 

A Quick Definition of a 1031 Exchange:

 

1031 exchange gets its name from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It allows you to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property. The proceeds from the sale must be immediately reinvested into another property or properties of like-kind and equal or greater value.

 

What does that mean?:

 

As long as one property is being exchanged for another real estate holding, it doesn’t matter whether you are selling a home to buy a duplex, an apartment, a piece of land, or a 4 plex. You can even sell one rental home and split the proceeds to purchase two rental homes!

In fact, you can defer taxes on the portion that is being rolled over or the entire gain. The point is that you can defer taxes as long as that money is being immediately reinvested into another piece of property.

Should you decide to purchase a smaller property, resulting in a leftover gain, you will need to pay taxes on that amount. Remember to consult your tax accountant.

If you own a property for a long time, then you will need to recapture the depreciation, which can affect how much you need to pay in taxes. 

If a property sells for more than its depreciated value, you will likely have to recapture the depreciation. That means the amount of depreciation will be included in your taxable income from the sale of the property.

As long as you continue to roll the invested amount into another property, you can defer the taxes on the gain until the last sale.

 

Tax-Free Money Tip: 

 

Properties that have gone through a like-kind exchange are particularly well suited for inheritance gifts.

When you die, your heirs won’t have to pay ANY income tax should they decide to sell the property shortly after your death. This is because the property receives a step-up in value, and the gain goes away upon the death of the owner. 

What is a step-up in value you ask?

A step-up is the readjustment of the value of an appreciated asset for tax purposes (upon inheritance). The new value is the market value of the asset at the time of inheritance. Thus, the asset receives a step-up in basis so that the beneficiary’s (i.e. the receiver’s) capital gains tax is minimized.

So if you died, and your heirs sold the property upon your death, the property would receive a step-up cost basis (market value). Therefore, your heirs would not have to pay the deferred taxes on the increase in value.

I love Tax-Free Money!!! 

 

 

The 1031 Exchange Timeline: 

 

 

(Photo credit: cwscapital.com)

 

 

A Qualified Intermediary:

 

To qualify for a 1031 exchange, you must use a qualified intermediary. This means that all proceeds from the sale must be transferred to an unrelated party to the transaction.

Typically, an escrow company is used to hold the funds from the sale, while you find and purchase a new (replacement) property.

 

What if I Need Cash?

 

If you own an investment property and need to pull out cash, you can always refinance or pull a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Instead of selling your investment property, you can use it as collateral for a loan. 

Moreover, the money you receive when you refinance or pull out a HELOC is that it is tax-free! If you were to sell the property, then you would owe taxes on the proceeds of the sale! 

Even if you refinance, you can always perform a 1031 exchange at a later date and tax-defer the gains. Just remember to keep the original invested amount in the real estate holding and within the rollover.

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Through a like-kind exchange, you can keep buying more and more properties as your properties go up in value (all without paying taxes).

You can continue to reinvest the principal amount while benefiting from the monthly rental income (cash flow). The rental income is reduced by the depreciation of the property and is only taxed at capital gains rate

Real estate really is a miracle investment vehicle!

Make sure to talk to your tax advisor before engaging in a 1031 exchange. This will allow them to guide you through one because the 1031 exchange guidelines are very specific. Additionally, talk to an escrow agent who has experience with 1031 exchanges to get the specific time guidelines.

Tax-free exchanges have very detailed rules that need to be followed to the letter. 

 

Learn the Rules of the Game:

 

Knowing the tax law and wealth building concepts are critical to navigating your way through the game of finance.

There are many ways to diversify your portfolio, and it is important to use of as many tax-advantaged strategies e.g. the 1031 exchange, Roth IRA, 529 plan, etc. as possible.

Want to learn other tax tips that will save you a ton of money and help you retire early? Take the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Email Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation!

 

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

If you have learned anything new here, please remember to share so that I can continue to provide you with more content!

Feedback is always welcome! Do you know any tax-free tips that you use or want to share? Please comment below!

 

Tax-Free Money: The Secret of Buying Gold Inside of a Roth IRA

Tax-Free Money: The Secret of Buying Gold Inside of a Roth IRA

Who doesn’t love tax-free money? One of the benefits of using a Roth IRA is that all of the growth inside of this tax-advantaged account can be pulled out tax-free! In this article, I am going to share how you can grow your retirement account through the investment of commodities and skip paying the 28% capital gains tax legally!

Tax Free Money

 

Roth IRA vs. Regular IRA:

 

The difference between a Roth versus a regular IRA is “when” you pay taxes on the money. With a regular IRA, you take the tax deduction now but have to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw later.

The downside is that when you elect to pay taxes later, you have to pay taxes on the interest AND the gains that your money has made over your lifetime of saving and investing.

Moreover, you won’t know which tax bracket your future you will be in. Not to mention, tax rates are always fluctuating and the government keeps passing spending bills.

I love a sure thing, which is why I really like the Roth versions of 401ks and IRAs. I know that when I look at my account, every penny is MINE!

In a Roth IRA, your money grows and so does the compound interest. These two parts grow tax-free because you funded the account with post-tax dollars.

Another benefit that comes with a Roth IRA is that since you have already paid taxes on the money in the account, there is no RDM (required minimum distribution). Meaning that you can decide to withdraw at any time after age 59.5. 

With a traditional IRA, you are required by the government to start pulling a minimum distribution from your retirement account at age 70.5. This is because the government want’s it’s cut (taxes). Here is an easy RDM calculator by Schwab.

The goal of this blog is to show you how you can save money by going green and then reinvesting that money to gain your financial freedom! A Roth IRA is just one of the financial vehicles you should use to make sure you are ready for a worry-free retirement. 

So how much do you need to retire? Well, that depends on what kind of lifestyle you plan on living when you are retired. Let’s take care of the bare minimum, and then work on using other investment vehicles to cultivate play-money!

 

 

 

How to Take Care of the Bare Minimum with a Roth IRA:

 

If you spend $40,000 per year during retirement, you will need around $1,000,000 to reach financial freedom based on the 4% rule. The 4% rule basically states that you can consistently withdraw $40,000 every year without touching the principle.

The result is that you can live off of the interest and appreciation of your portfolio. You are pretty much guaranteed to be able to live off your investments for 30+ years by following this rule. This is especially the case if you hold 75% stocks and 25% bonds.

In a prior post, I show you how you can fully fund a Roth IRA and become a millionaire by saving $15 a day!

In case you missed it, here is a quick summary.

 

How to Fully Fund A Roth IRA:

 

The maximum that the US government allows you to contribute to a Roth IRA is $5,500 or $15 a day ($458 per month). If you do this, you will end up with over $1.2 million in the bank.

Bang! You are a millionaire and are guaranteed to retire!

With the 4% rule, you will be able to retire at the age of 65. That is if you started investing when you were 25 (or over any 40 year period).

To learn more about the benefits of a Roth IRA you can read Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! Can’t find $15 a day to save? Read “8 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and a Roth IRA“.

The image below shows the math, but if you want to play with the numbers yourself you can head over to Bankrate.com.

bank rate Roth IRA

 

 

The Secret of Owning Gold and Silver:

 

Tip 1:

Diversification is critical to lowering your risk while owning enough of the market to maximize your gain. Should you decide to own commodities in paper form (stock), you should trade them within your Roth IRA.

By owning paper gold and silver (stock) in a Roth IRA, you won’t have to pay taxes on the increase in the value of the gold and silver!

The capital gains rate tax on gold and silver is 28%, which is almost twice as high as the normal capital gains rate (15% for most).

If you were to trade gold and silver in your regular brokerage account, you would owe 28% of the gains in taxes. Say you made $100 in profit, well you owe Uncle Sam $28.

 

Chart provided by TLBJ a CPA firm.

The benefit of trading gold and silver commodities within your Roth IRA is that you don’t own ANY taxes on the gain! Meaning that you get to keep all of your profit! 

This is because you pay your taxes on the money you put into the Roth IRA before it goes into the tax-advantaged account. When you decide to pull the money out, you can do so without paying taxes on the withdraw, which includes the interest and gains!!

I love TAX-FREE MONEY!

 

Tip 2:

Should you invest in gold and silver bullion (meaning that you actually take possession of coins or bricks), the dealer is only required to report to the IRS if you buy/sell more than $10,000 in a year.

Be sure to keep your receipt so you know how much you paid for the bullion (your cost basis). When you sell the bullion you need to report any gains or losses to the IRS. Should you have made money, you will owe a 28% capital gains tax on the increase. The increase is the amount you made above your cost basis.

**Gold and silver is a favorite of many investors due to the privacy it provides its owners.**

Remember, the goal is to get as much of your money from passive and investment income streams as possible. This is because they are taxed at a lower rate than regular income, and your money works for you while you sleep.

Here is a quick video that explains the IRS regulations on buying and selling bullion by SDBullion.com

 

 

 

How Much You Should Have Saved at Every Age:

 

 

Chart source: Fidelity

The chart above shows how much you should have put away in savings for your age.

The formula is based on the assumption that a person saves 15% of their income annually beginning at age 25, invests more than 50% of their savings in stocks over their lifetime, retires at age 67, and plans to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement.

 

Here’s the breakdown of Fidelity’s “How Much to Have Saved at Each Age” formula:

30: Have the equivalent of your starting salary saved
35: Have two times your salary saved
40: Have three times your salary saved
45: Have four times your salary saved
50: Have six times your salary saved
55: Have seven times your salary saved
60: Have eight times your salary saved
67: Have 10 times your salary saved

 

Being a Life-Long Learner: 

 

I complete a book every week and a half because I know that knowledge is the key to success. Often times authors spend years writing a book that contains all of the secrets that they have learned over decades of experience.

Want to learn other tax tips that will save you a ton of money and help you retire quicker? Take the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Email Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation!

Where did I learn about Gold Tip #1?  From an awesome book called Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright CPA. I can’t say enough about this book and highly recommend reading it! You can get it on Audibles by clicking the photo below.

 

 

 

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

If you have learned anything new here, please remember to share so that I can continue to provide you with more content!

Feedback is always welcome! Do you know any tax-free tips that you use or want to share? Please comment below!

 

How to Reduce Climate Change by Acting and Buying Green

How to Reduce Climate Change by Acting and Buying Green

How to reduce or eliminate your climate change impact by acting and buying green. Living a sustainable lifestyle means something slightly different to everyone. The end goal is that everyone becomes a little more conscious of how they are using the earth’s resources and takes small but meaningful steps to reduce their impact.

reduce climate change

It doesn’t matter where you are in your sustainable living journey.

Start by taking a mental inventory of where you are currently. Then, make changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle so that we can move toward a greener future together 🙂

Even politicians are having to come around to the fact global warming and climate change are issues that we are going to have to deal with in the near future.

If we know that global warming and climate change is a major problem, then why not tackle it today…Rather than put it off, and let it grow into a larger issue that we still have to face tomorrow.

There are two ways for us to tackle this problem.

The answer is to act in ways that prevent global warming, and purchase products from companies that consciously manufacture goods with social and environmental integrity.

 

What Does it Mean to Live Sustainably?

Sustainable living is not just about reducing your carbon output. Here is a quick list of meanings that come to my mind when someone says the word sustainability:

Acting and Buying Green:

Acting green means to change your habits, whereas buying green means to consciously purchasing products that are manufactured in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

One way to both act and purchase green is to start your own carbon sequestering organic garden!

A Carbon Sequestering Organic Garden Helps Reverse Global Warming and Climate Change:

 

Planting a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden helps take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns it back into clean oxygen!

Let’s take it a step further, and talk about why you should take the organic garden route.

Then later in the article, I’ll talk about how you can use an all natural pesticide and fertilizer (worm casting) to keep your garden from being eaten alive by bugs.

When I say all-natural, I really do mean 100% (no-chemicals involved) natural fertilizer that doubles as a pesticide!

Home gardening accounts for nearly 80 million pounds of pesticides used per year in North America.

Most of these chemicals are used to control those annoying insects that eat your fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately, these chemicals find their way into streams or rivers as runoff, and from there into the oceans.

In sum, these pollutants and chemicals are not confined to our oceans and drinking water resources. We end up consuming them through the food web too.

Much of our food livestock eats pounds of grain that have soaked up these chemicals through the soil. This is called bioaccumulation.

Biomagnification is when we consume meat that has eaten lots of polluted corn meal or grain, and the pollutants travel up the food chain and into our bodies.

When you eat contaminated food, you absorb those chemicals and over time they build up in your body.

 

Starting an organic garden is a great way to:
  • Reverse climate change (when you carbon sequester, you turn carbon dioxide back into oxygen which reverses global warming)!!
  • Reduces your weekly grocery bill.
  • Be healthier (and the food tastes better!).

Worm Casting: 

 

Worm casting is a natural fertilizer that is also a pesticide!worm casting

Instead of growing grass, grow edible organic fruits and vegetables!

Before you ask about the additional water costs, ill point you to this awesome rainwater collector!

Rainwater collector

 

 

Eco Economics is all about showing you how you can save money by going green and then reinvesting that money to gain your financial freedom!

If you would like to learn more, you can take the Free Sustainability Mini-Email Course by clicking here.

Starting a carbon sequestering garden will save you money, your health, and the environment.

To read about the 14 benefits of starting your own carbon sequestering organic garden click here! You will also learn more about the 8 benefits of worm casting and composting!

Now that we have covered ‘how to reduce the number of chemicals that you put into your body’, let’s take a look at how to reduce the number of chemicals inside of your home.

 

 

Buying Green Cleaners:

 

Another way that your body comes into contact with chemicals is through the many cleaning agents that you use to “sanitize” your home.

By using zero-waste or minimally packaged concentrated natural cleaners, you can cut down on your resource consumption and limit the toxins in your home.

I personally love the zero-waste Provence de Marseille Soap.

You can use it to remove tough stains on clothes, grease from dishes, or to shower off with at the end of the day.

This soap is primarily composed of Olive Oil and is made of 100% vegetable ingredients.

Of course, it is cruelty-free and does not contain colorants or artificial ingredients!

 

Buying Concentrates:

 

Branch Basics bottleMy favorite all-natural concentrate cleaner is by Branch Basics.

The concentrate is a powerful plant and mineral based cleaner.

The Benefits of Using a Concentrate are:
  • Less packaging means more eco-friendly (liquids condense into smaller bottles and fewer bottles need to be purchased on an annual basis).
  • Less transportation fuel (why ship diluted cleaners to the store or to your home? That’s just silly).
  • Save money (buying a cleaner in a concentrated formula is cheaper than purchasing a diluted version + save money on packaging).
  • Re-fill and reuse the plastic squirt bottles that you already own.

Moreover, you can save as much as half of your yearly cleaning budget by buying your cleaners in a concentrated formula!

The average cost of a 32 oz “green” cleaner is $6.18 (or $0.20 per ounce).

Instead, a 32 oz. bottle of Branch Basics Concentrate can make 16 All-Purpose bottles (24 oz), at $3.06 each ($0.12 per oz)!

This all-purpose cleaner is so natural and healthy that you can basically use it everywhere.

It may be harder to think of places where it can’t be used…

The Branch Basics Concentrate is great for:

  • All-Purpose: Appliances, Dishes, Granite, Grills, Highchairs, Jewelry, Marble, Natural Stone, Pacifiers, Pots & Pans, Stains, Stovetops, Sticky Spills, Yoga Mats
  • Bathroom: Tile, Grout, Countertops, Sinks, Showers, Tubs, Toilets, Fixtures, Shower Liners, Soap Scum
  • Streak-Free: Windows, Mirrors, Glass Surfaces, Computer Screens, Phones and Tablets, Fixtures, Aquariums, Shower Doors, and Picture Frames
  • Foaming Wash: Hands, Face, Body, Baby, Hair, Pets, Removing Make-Up, Shaving, Dishes, Fruits & Vegetables
  • Misc: Laundry (192 loads), Stainless Steel, Wood, and Vinyl Floors, Carpet

 

What’s more is that all Branch Basic products are:

Branch Basics product description

 

The money you save can be put toward any number of uses, but since Eco Economics is about sustainability and increasing your financial IQ…

I would say that the highest and best use of this money is to devoted it to a tax-advantaged account that helps you achieve financial freedom!

As a result, you receive the same service (a clean home) at a fraction of the cost and impact to the Earth!

The Take Away: 

 

Yes, ideally we would love to live in a world where plastic doesn’t exist.

Especially since we now know all of the health and environmental problems that plastic causes.

Being aware of a problem is one thing, but doing something about that problem is a completely different scenario.

We may not be able to rid ourselves of plastic entirely, but we can do the following things to reduce our plastic usage:

  1. Decline single-use plastic items
  2. Buy zero-waste, biodegradable, and all-natural products
  3. Re-use the plastic bottles you already own (use an empty sriracha bottle as a squirt bottle for your all-natural cleaning solutions. You hide your cleaning solutions in a cabinet where no one sees them anyway!)

Take action today, and remember to visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products.

If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for the free Sustainability Mini-Email Course. You will learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

Articles that may interest you:

 

I sincerely only hope to provide helpful information. If you are curious about a specific topic or have a question about anything that I have written, please feel free to comment or contact me.

Keep in mind, it only takes 25% of a population to start a major social movement.

Become a Sustainability Hero by helping me spread the world! Please re-pin and share, so that I can continue to provide you with free content.

 

How to Save for Retirement by Going Green: Insulation

How to Save for Retirement by Going Green: Insulation

Sometimes it may seem like it is impossible to find money at the end of the month to put towards your retirement account. This is why it is critical to making the most of every dollar! Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to decrease your energy bill by going green. Another benefit is that many energy efficiency updates qualify for tax credits and utility company rebates!

How to Save for Retirement by Going Green Insulation (1)

You can double or even triple up on your savings! Consequently, you can put all of these savings towards your tax-advantaged retirement account!

 

 

 

How Much Can You Save by Properly Insulating Your Home?

 

In short, by adding insulation to your home you can reduce heating and cooling costs anywhere from 10% to 50%.

Of course, the amount you save depends on where you live and how much insulation you already have.

For instance, a homeowner in the Northeast with an uninsulated attic can save around $600 a year by adding about 15 inches of insulation (R-38- ill go over R-values later in this article).

In fact, just 6 inches can net annual savings of around $200.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, by simply reducing your home’s air leakage by 25%, you can lower your annual energy costs by around $300.  

The money you save can be put toward any number of uses, but since Eco Economics is about sustainability and increasing your financial IQ…

I would say that the highest and best use of this money is to devoted it to a tax-advantaged account that helps you achieve financial freedom!

Depending on the type of materials you use, you will pay an average of $1,500 to insulate an 800-square-foot attic. If you do this, you can expect to have a payback period on your investment in three years.

You’ll spend about half that if you do the job yourself!

So if you are nifty and have a spare weekend, add it to your list of DIY projects and save a cool $800. This also means that your payback period is also cut in half!

Visit the Sustainability Shop and under the tab called Energy Efficient Home you will find many insulation products to start saving money today!

 

 

The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:

 

As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit. These credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021.

This means that if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action within the next year!

The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. On the same tax form, there is an area that allows you to deduct a portion of the cost to increase the insulation in your home.  

The link to the tax form is included in a later portion of this article for your convenience.

If you are interested in learning how you can DIY your own solar panel system, visit Renewable Energy Tax Credit: How to Install DIY Solar Panels. You can build your own solar energy system for 60%-70% cheaper than if you were to get one installed!

The credit is equal to 30% of the cost, including installation. Moreover, there is no upper limit on the amount of the credit for solar, wind, and geothermal equipment.

The Increase Your Financial IQ Course will be released soon and will cover how to write-off solar energy improvements to your investment properties.

You can sign up for the Free Increase Your Financial IQ Mini-Email Course to get notified when the full-blown Increase Your Financial IQ Course becomes available. The mini-email course is designed to show you how easily you can save for retirement, and how to use a tax-advantaged account to reach over $1,000,000 in savings. 

To find utility company rebates offered in your zip code read, “Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates“.

Equipment that Qualifies for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit:

 

The credit includes costs to install solar, wind, geothermal and fuel-cell technology updates to your home.

  • Solar panels for generating electricity
  • Solar-powered water heaters. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half of the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar. (Solar heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify.)
  • Wind turbines that generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity that must also be used in the home.
  • Geothermal heat pumps that meet federal Energy Star guidelines.
  • Fuel cells that rely on a renewable resource (usually hydrogen) to generate power for a home. The equipment must generate at least 0.5 kilowatts of power.

 

For the average person, the solar panel and wind turbine options are going to be the easiest to install, with the fewest regulations to get past.

 

 

Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:

 

Equipment and materials must meet technical efficiency standards that have been set by the Department of Energy.

Manufacturers typically advertise that their item meets this standard. In short, if a product does not advertise that it meets the standard, be sure to ask prior to purchasing.

Turbo tax does a great job explaining the two kinds of energy efficiency improvements that you can write off. I have listed them here for your convenience…

For this credit, the IRS distinguishes between two kinds of upgrades:

1. Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements:

  • Exterior windows and skylights
  • Home insulation (Just about all types: fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, spray foam, foam board, and cotton batting qualify for the energy tax credit)
  • Exterior doors
  • Certain roofing materials

2. Residential Energy Property Costs:

  • Electric heat pumps
  • Electric heat pump water heaters
  • Central air conditioning systems
  • Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters
  • Stoves that use biomass fuel
  • Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
  • Natural gas, propane or oil hot water boilers
  • Advanced circulating fans for natural gas, propane or oil furnaces

 

There are a few credit restrictions, like a maximum of a $200 credit for windows. For a full list be sure to consult your tax accountant. You can review Turbo Tax’s exceptions list here.

Remember it is critically important to save your receipts and labels for Uncle Sam.

 

 

Which Tax Form to Use:

 

The form to use to claim your solar or wind credit is called The Residential Energy Credit  Form 5695, which is filed with your tax return.

On this same form, you can add any write-offs you have made to insulate your home.

For insulation updates, you can write off 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year. This amount is for all energy improvements combined.

 

 

R-Value:

 

The R-value measures the home’s resistance to air flow, which means less heated or cooled air escapes. The higher the number value, the better the insulating power.

The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends an R-value between 30 to 60, depending on where you live.

According to the EnergyStar website, the recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.

I have inserted a photo of a map of the US and a chart with the recommended values provided by the DOE.

 

 

 

Eco Economics will be Offering Two kinds of Courses:

 

  1. The Sustainability Course: How to live a sustainable lifestyle and save money by going green.
  2. The Increase your Financial IQ Course: How to achieve financial freedom by using tax-advantaged accounts, understanding proper financial planning, and wealth creation through real estate.

 

The two courses are designed to be taken together so that one shows you how to save money, while the other shows you how to reinvest that money to help you achieve financial freedom.

 

Increase your Financial IQ

A Few of the Topics That are Covered Are:

 

  • Money-saving green swaps and actions that you can take to save our planet
  • How to maximize the energy efficiency of your home (reduce your utility bills)
  • Find the right renewable energy solution to give you energy independence (reduce or eliminate the impact of utility rate increases).
  • How to reduce your carbon output
  • How to start your own carbon sequestering organic garden
  • Much more!

 

Click on either or both of these two links to sign up for the Free Sustainability Mini-Email Course or the Free Increase your Financial IQ Course.

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to share!

By sharing we can help others save money by going green, all the while saving the planet together! Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.

8 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and a Roth IRA

8 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and a Roth IRA

Saving for retirement and a down payment for a home may seem like it is an impossible task, especially with all of the other bills you have coming in.  I am going to share 8 easy ways to save for a down payment on a home and a Roth IRA retirement account. Retirement and home ownership are possible, you just have to rework some of your daily habits.

 

8 Ways to Save for a Down payment on a home and a Roth IRA

 

To fully fund a Roth IRA account you must save $15 a day (that’s $458 per month or $5,500 per year).

To save $5,000 a year, you must save $13.50 a day. Over 4 years you will have saved $20,000 for a down payment on a house.

Thus, with $29 a day you can you can fully fund a Roth IRA (that will grow to over $1,000,000 in 40 years) and save for a down payment on a home.

If you want to know how I came up with these numbers, click here. In the article “How to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and Fund a Roth IRA” I break down the numbers and make it really simple to understand.

So now that you know that all you have to do is save $29 a day, let’s look at 8 ways to find this money.

If you already own a home, these saving principles can be used to save for an investment property. If you are in debt, then these same saving principles can help you pay off that debt.

There are a number of ways that you can use this information.

My goal is to break down the process of saving so that it does not seem like a task that is impossible to overcome.

Saving for retirement and a home can be easy. All it takes is a bit of re-working on your end to find $29 a day!

 

 

 

How To Save $29 a Day:

 

So how do we accomplish this $29 a day?

Visit the Sustainability Shop to find a ton of ways to save by Going Green! For many of the products, I break down how much you can save per year by making the switch!

 

1. Eat at Home:

 

I meal prep 95% of the food I eat.

You can read “Increase the Velocity at Which Your Money Grows: Ways to Save” to learn how you can save $500 to $600 every month by meal prepping.

If you want to learn how easy it is to meal prep and how much time it saves, you can read “How to Increase Efficiency: Time Management Hacks”.

Let’s do a bit of quick math:

Assume a breakfast would cost you $7, lunch costs $12, and dinner costs $16 (I am being conservative here. I am sure many of you have eaten a $20+ dinner).

Let’s add all of that up and then multiply by 30 days per month. That is $1,050 per month on eating out!

If you were to meal prep, you would end up spending around $100 per week on groceries or $400 per month.

That is less than half of what you would spend on eating out!!! Or $600 in savings!

Bang! You just found the $458 per month to fund your Roth IRA retirement account.

An added benefit is that you can portion control your meals, and eat healthier (you know exactly what is going in your food).

To help you with your meal prepping, eco-friendly glass Tupperware,  bento boxes, and reusable food wrap are the go-to necessities:

 

Sustainable Tupperware overviewSustainable bento box 2reusable food wrap

You can find other reusable containers and silicon bags at the Sustainability Shop.

 

 

2. Cut Back on the $5 Cups of Coffee:

 

You will never see me with a Starbucks coffee. In fact, a small Starbucks coffee costs more than $5 a cup!

But, we will go with $5 for easy math.

If you buy a Starbucks coffee every morning before work, that would be $5 x 5 days x 4 weeks x 12 months=1,200 each year!

The point here is that you can save $1,200 per year, per $5 increment…

 

 

3. Carry a Bottle of Water:

 

Did you know that 50 billion water bottles are used every year?!?

Let’s save the planet, its animals, the oceans, and our money by using a reusable water bottle.

Soda and flavored drinks are terrible for you anyway…  The bottles say “natural and artificial flavors”, but what does this really mean?

Most water bottle companies use regular municipal water in their products, so you are really paying for the packaging and the convenience.

It is the $2-$3 increments that we tend to overlook that add up over time.crystal water bottle

Click here to check out this cool refillable gemstone water bottle!

If you believe in the power of crystals, this is a great way to give your water an awesome energy boost!

For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have utilized the power of crystals to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages, thus facilitating the free flow of energy throughout our bodies.

Click here to read more about the healing power of crystals.

 

 

4. Bring a Flask and Pre-Game!

 

The average mixed drink is probably between $10 and $12.

What really drove home the concept of how expensive drinks are, was that I lived in the land of $20 vodka Redbull‘s for 5 years (Vegas).

So I found that I could save a ton of money by bringing a flask and pre-gaming before I went out.

Yes, I have had a few friends give me a questioning look when I bust the flask out… But halfway through the night, they are asking for a swig…

Moreover, now that I am in my 30’s I find that I don’t really go to clubs and bars anymore. Instead, I find myself at friend’s houses having a cocktail or a glass of wine.

The point is that one cocktail is about the same price as the cost of a meal!

Plus, you tend to drink more than one cocktail when you are out.

 

5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors! 

 

I love going outside to play. Outdoor activities (like hiking) are free or have a relatively small start-up equipment cost.

A really fun indoor activity is salsa dancing.

What’s really great is that many places offer free salsa lessons!

Another benefit is that salsa is an awesome cardio workout.

In fact, it is a great way to meet new people if you are single, and an even better way to work on non-verbal communication and team building skills if you have a significant other.

Not to mention, Latin dance is very sexy and can help spice up your romantic life.

I used to go to the gym quite often, but now I find that I do all of my exercises outdoors and for free. An added bonus is that you get to experience the outdoors, re-connect with nature, and breath fresh air.

I typically walk 2.5 miles a day, salsa 2x per week, and in the winter I go skiing.

When I worked in an office, I would eat at my desk and walk for my 1-hour lunch. I was able to walk 2.5 miles in that 1-hour lunch break.

 

6. Cut the Cable:

 

I haven’t owned a TV since high school. I do have Netflix, and it is so much cheaper!

Additionally, I don’t have to watch advertisements.

On the other hand, I love listening to audiobooks. I mostly read nonfiction, but for fun, I listen to high fantasy and sci-fi books.

In the Increase your Financial IQ Course I teach you the secret of how I crush a book every 1.5 weeks!

You can sign up for the Mini Increase your Financial IQ email Course for Free. 

 

 

7. DIY: 

 

It is super easy to make your own lotions with shea butter, olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil.

Instead of cleaning with harsh chemicals like Clorox, use vinegar.

Imagine all of the chemicals being put out into the environment to manufacture Clorox bleach (wipes, sprays, etc.). Now imagine that you are wiping your entire home down with these harsh chemicals.

You can find all natural cleaners that are non-toxic at the Sustainability Shop.

 

 

8. Eat Less Meat:

Sustainable living Reducetarian Solution

Reducetarians are committed to eating less meat, regardless of the degree or motivation.

This concept is appealing because not everyone is willing to follow an “all-or-nothing” diet.

This way you can decide when and how much meat you eat. The nice thing about being a reductarian is that it allows for a flexible intake of meat.

A fantastic book that explains how this diet works can be found on Audibles and by clicking this link. The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet“.

Reasons to reduce your meat intake:

  • Meat, and especially beef is more expensive than eating fruits, grains, and vegetables.
  • There are a number of studies about how red meat increases inflammation in your body.
  • Animals are treated with antibiotics and hormones, which we ingest.
  • Biomagnification of pesticides. The grain and corn that cows are fed have tons of pesticides, and cows eat tons of it.
  • Increase in greenhouse gasses (cows produce a lot of methane)
  • Cruelty to animals

 

Cowspiracy is an environmental documentary that explains how animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption, pollution, and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry.

Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is far more devastating to the climate than carbon emissions. 

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Over View:

 

There are many ways to go about finding $29 a day to accomplish this goal. Homeownership and retirement are within reach and can become a reality.

In an era marked by immediate gratification, saving for the future is a task that you must consciously work on.

Make it easy for yourself and make saving automatic by having your retirement account auto-deduct the $458 per month from your checking account.

Everyone has a financial report card. Make it a priority to constantly check and work on yours.

Take time and money to re-invest in yourself. Re-investing in your financial education is critical.

How are you going to master your financial report card, if you don’t know the rules of the game?

Every dollar has an opportunity cost.

Curious, throughout high school did you learn about how to navigate your personal finances? Or about the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle?

Did they teach you about FICO scores and how much to have in revolving debt? Or what goes into calculating your credit score?

 

Increase your Financial IQ

 

Enroll for the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Mini Email Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation.

You can download a FREE Checklist (which will be sent to your email) on How to Fund Your Retirement Account by Going Green (below this article).

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to pin and share!

Interested in a particular topic? Comment below!

How to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and Fund a Roth IRA

How to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and Fund a Roth IRA

Saving for the future is something that you probably know that you need to do, but may not be sure how to go about or where to find the funds to invest. The good news is that I am going to show you exactly how you can save for a down payment on a home and fully fund a Roth IRA! It is as simple as finding and saving $29 a day!

 

How to save for a down payment and a roth IRA

 

One key thing to keep in mind is that every dollar has an opportunity cost.

An opportunity cost is the benefit that you miss out on when choosing one option over another.

 

 

Saving is the Core of Investing:

 

The government gives you incentives for reinvesting your money… because you have to sacrifice some of the things that you like today, in order to save so that you can have funds to invest with.

Saving money can be hard, but it can also be easy…

My personal goal is to achieve financial freedom. I’m not interested in a huge house with a lavish car.

That’s how you get stuck in the rat race.

If you are renting a large home, just remember that your rent payment is someone else’s investment cash flow and mortgage payment.

Remember, the more house you have, the more cleaning you have to do.

The larger the house, the more stuff can fit in it (and the more stuff you need to buy to furnish it).

The bigger the house, the bigger the mortgage. Which equates to fewer savings you can devote towards investing into an asset that actually provides you additional income.

My biggest recommendation for you is to live below your means.

If you earn $1 million and you spend $1 million, you’re still living month-to-month!

Interested in tax-advantaged wealth creation? Pre-enroll for the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Mini-Course for more information on financial planning.

 

 

The Math: Why $29 Per Day?

 

In order to max out your Roth IRA, you need $5,500 to invest each year. If you break that down by 365 days a year, it comes out to $15 a day.

If you save $5,000 a year, over four years, you will have $20,000 for a down payment on a home.

$5,000 a day divided by 365 days is $13.50.

The average price of a home in the United States, as of this writing, is approximately $220,000 (photo provided by zillow.com).

zillow median home price You can get an FHA loan with 3.5% down.

$220,000 x 3.5%= $7,700

You will need closing costs, plus a cushion so that you aren’t sleeping on the floor of your new home. Thus, $20,000 is a safe number to have if you want to purchase a home.

You could get by with less, but I am a huge advocate of having a rainy day savings fund. We can’t predict the future and it is always good to have a cushion to fall back on.

So the moral of the story is, “if you can save $29 a day, every day, you can purchase a home and fund your retirement account.”

 

 

 

 

Starting as Soon as Possible and Consistently Saving:

 

The sooner you start the more time your account will have to grow. This is because you have compounded interest working on your side!

Compounded interest is the interest calculated on the initial principal and includes all of the accumulated interest of the previous periods.

The maximum amount that you can contribute to a Roth IRA account per year is $5,500, which is $458 per month.

Experts say that over any 40 year period, the stock market has an average return of 7%. This includes down years. 

If you start with $5,500 and contribute $5,500 each year for 40 years (with a 7% average market increase), your total contribution will be $220,000.

That $220,000 over 40 years will grow to 1,257,212!!!

And Bang! You have over $1,000,000 for retirement!

 

bank rate Roth IRA

You can play with the numbers on any retirement account calculator (I used Bankrate.com, which is where I sourced the image above).

I am originally from the Los Angeles area, and homes in more expensive parts of the country will require you to save much more than $29 per day.

The good news is that if you live in an area where home prices are higher, then you are likely making more money.

The saving and re-investing principles in this email course and the Increase your Financial IQ Course still hold true.

The point is that you can save $5,000 each year by setting aside $13.50 every day.

Whether you use that money to pay off student debt, a credit card balance or accelerate paying off your mortgage is up to you.

 

The 10,000 Foot Over View:

 

There are many ways to go about finding $29 a day to accomplish this goal.

You can download a FREE Checklist (which will be sent to your email) on How to Fund Your Retirement Account by Going Green (below this article).

Just remember, every dollar has an opportunity cost.

Curious, throughout high school did you learn about how to navigate your personal finances? Or about the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle?

Did they teach you about FICO scores and how much to have in revolving debt? Or what goes into calculating your credit score?

 

Increase your Financial IQ

 

Pre-enroll for the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Mini-Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation.

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to pin and share!

Interested in a particular topic? Comment below!

Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming

Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming

Growing your own garden has many health benefits, not to mention it reduces your carbon footprint.  I have created this handy Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming Starter Guide to encourage you to consider the benefits of growing your own organic fruits and vegetables. The goal of this article is to point out the main benefits of starting an organic garden, and how to plant a diverse vegetable mixture to give you a healthy and well-balanced diet.

 

Gardening Tips and Tricks to prevent global warming

 

Benefits of Planting Your Own Organic Garden:

 

Here is a list of benefits that gardening can bring to your life:

  1. Reduces the amount that you spend at the grocery store each week. Consequently, the money you save can be used to fund your Roth IRA (Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire!)
  2. Reduces the transportation fuel (carbon output) used to ship vegetables across oceans and highways to get to your local store.
  3. UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences. Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference by helping sequester carbon from the atmosphere! 
  4. Organic food tastes better because it is fresher and is able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
  5. It is an outdoor activity. Certainly, you can replace one of your indoor electricity using (TV, video games, social media time) hobbies with gardening. Keep in mind, Fossil fuels and coal make up nearly 62% of how we generate electricity in the U.S
  6. Many people live in cities, which are cement jungles surrounded by black asphalt (roads and parking lots). That being said, dark materials absorb heat which is why cities tend to be hotter than their surrounding areas. Adding vegetation provides shade and breaks up all off of that dark material.
  7. Grow fresh vegetables forever! Fruits and vegetables have seeds that you can harvest at the end of the year. Meaning that you can use the seeds to start your garden next year!!!
  8. A fun and family-friendly activity that can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate.

 

 

Health Benefits of Gardening:

 

  1. Eliminates the addition of chemical pesticides that you are currently putting into your body.
  2. No chemical fertilizers. In short, worm casting is nature’s Miracle Grow and is an all natural organic fertilizer! Read on to learn about worm casting.
  3. It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. Adds a bit of exercise to your life.
  5. Breath fresher air by being outside. People are often stuck inside an office all day. Taking the time to tend to your garden will give you an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
  6. Plants increase oxygen production. The air around your home will be fresher (less carbon dioxide).

 

 

Help Prevent Global Warming by Starting an Organic Garden:

 

 

Now that I have your attention with this serious list of benefits. Let’s get you started on your money saving, healthy, better for the environment path to an organic garden!

I have put together a gardening kit that will get you started on your journey. For additional resources, visit the Sustainability Shop 🙂

 

 

 

The Survival Garden Seed Kit by Open Seed Vault:

 

 

Inside the Survival Garden Seed Pack are carefully selected vegetables to provide a well balanced and healthy diet.

This seed pack comes with 32 varieties of all-natural vegetable seeds that are non-hybrid, non-GMO, 100% naturally grown, and open pollinated. Plus, a 14-page growing and seed saving guide.

 

Each pack contains the following 32 seed packets:  Seeds

  1. Kale Vates Blue Scotch
  2. Eggplant Black Beauty
  3. Green Bean Tendergreen Improved
  4. Zucchini Dark Green
  5.  Lettuce Buttercrunch Butterhead
  6. Brussels Sprouts Long Island
  7. Lettuce Ruby Leaf
  8. Lettuce Black Seeded Simpson
  9. Bell Pepper California Wonder
  10.  Radish Cherry Belle
  11. Okra Clemson Spineless
  12. Beet Detroit Dark Red
  13. Onion Evergreen Bunching
  14. Cabbage Golden Acre
  15. Corn Golden Bantam
  16. Cantaloupe Hales Best Jumbo
  17. Winter Squash Jumbo Pink Banana
  18. Tomato Beef Steak
  19. Lima Henderson
  20. Swiss Chard Giant Fordhook
  21. Cucumber Marketmore
  22. Spinach Bloomsdale
  23. Carrot Scarlet Nantes
  24. Turnip Purple Top
  25. Pumpkin Sugar Pie
  26. Cauliflower Snowball
  27. Pea Sugar Daddy
  28. Broccoli Waltham
  29. Winter Squash Waltham Butternut
  30. Sunflower Mammoth
  31. Parsnips Harris Model
  32. Celery Tall Utah Improved

 

The packets are USA Seed Stored in an airtight and moisture proof resealable bag for safer, long-term storage. Plus, the seeds have been tested for maximum germination and vegetable yield.

The Survival Garden Seed Pack is the perfect seed starter kit to bringing fresh vegetables to your kitchen table!

 

 

 

Epica’s Stainless Steel Compost Bin:

 

You can reduce the amount of waste that is headed to a landfill by composting your food scraps.

Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.

Nutrients from a compost pile is better for your health and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.

This stainless steel bin controls odors naturally with an airtight lid and a replaceable activated-charcoal filter.

It holds 1.3-gallons of compost. It is big enough to hold several days’ worth of kitchen waste like vegetable peels, fruits, and coffee grounds, yet still small enough to fit on your countertop. 

Dimensions: 7.16” in diameter x 11” high.

The compost bin is molded from one piece of metal, so it resists rust and leaks. Moreover, it does not leak toxic chemicals into your compost pile.

 

 

 

Benefits of Worm Casting:

 

 

I am sure you are aware of how healthy bacteria (probiotics) help us digest food. Well, worm poop (worm casting) combines enzymes and positive bacteria to provide plants with optimal nutrition content.

Many of the nutrients that plants need to thrive can be found in large quantities within earthworm castings. Nutrients include magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, borax, manganese, nitrogen, and carbon.

High levels of microbial activity have the following benefits:

  1. Helps plants grow faster.
  2. Increases soil aeration, which helps plants absorb nutrients and allows their roots to breath properly.
  3. Increases water retention, which makes it possible to use 50-75% less water in some situations. Money Saved! 
  4. Is all-natural! The consumption of fewer chemicals is vital to a healthier lifestyle. Worm casting allows you to grow “organic” vegetables!
  5. No heavy metals. Worms actually have the ability to absorb heavy metals like copper, lead, and cadmium from the soil. This means that the castings are heavy metal-free. This reduces the likelihood that those metals will end up in your vegetables and on your plate! 
  6. Burn-proof. Often times fertilizers are too high in nitrogen, which burns your plants. Casting will never burn the roots of your plants 🙂
  7. It is a natural pesticide! Save money on pesticides while avoiding the need to spray chemicals.
  8. Increases your crop yield :). In 2014, Nature Research published a study that showed that crops grown in worm castings produce 25% more yield.

 

 

Worm Casting Kit:

 

 

The nice thing about producing your own casting is that you will continuously produce natural fertilizer for your garden every month.

Producing your own casting will save you money over time, as opposed to purchasing casting from the store (which is typically packaged in a plastic bag).  

I have included a video to shows how the worm factory produces approximately 6 quarts of worm casting per month.

What’s more, the cost of worm casting bought from a store can be as much as $25 for 8 quarts.

In sum, if you are serious about wanting to grow organic vegetables, making the investment in a worm casting kit is totally worth it!

Moreover, you get to collect worm casting tea (to be clear, this is not the kind of tea you drink) that your plants love!! You should mix the tea with water and water your plants for an extra boost. worm casting

The Worm Factory comes with a bonus “What Can Red Wigglers Eat?” infographic refrigerator magnet.

This allows you to quickly determine which foods are perfect for your worms, and which you should avoid. 

Plus, the Worm Factory is odor free and included a 38-page instruction manual that is a step-by-step guide to managing your Worm Factory.

This worm casting kit has a built-in “worm tea” collector tray and spigot for easy draining.

I have included this instructional video to help you set up your worm casting kit by Growyourgreens.com.

 

 

 

Red Worms:

 

To get your organic garden rocking-and-rolling with the worm casting kit, grab 300 hundred live Red Worms and you will be all set!Red worms

These red worms turn organic waste into nutrient-rich soil!

The manufacturer even guarantees live delivery!

 

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Often times we feel helpless because global warming can feel like such a big problem to tackle.

But, know that you can make a difference by making small changes to your daily actions. We all got ourselves into this climate change dilemma, and we all have to pitch in together to get ourselves out.

Let’s look to ourselves before we look to judge how others act. We can make a paradigm shift towards a sustainable planet if we make it the new “cool thing to do”.

Followers will always follow the trend, so be a leader and make sustainability the “new trend”.

Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference and help sequester carbon from the atmosphere!

I have listed a few of the benefits of planting your own organic garden. With some creativity, you can think of many other reasons how gardening can benefit your health and the planet.

Of course, I encourage you to add additional gardening benefits or tips to growing a successful garden by commenting at the bottom of this article.

If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

Moreover, becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.

Click here to visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.

The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.

 

You may be Interested In:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to spread the word by sharing so that we can help others become Sustainability Heros too!

I encourage interaction, so please feel free to comment below!

 

Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates

Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates

Navigating the federal, state, and local government renewable energy tax breaks (credits, deductions, and incentive) can be quite confusing. Not to mention, the added utility company’s rebates and programs. As a result, I decided to put together a roadmap, to help you navigate this rather complicated process. 

 

Renewable energy Tax breaks

 

 

If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

 

 

The Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit:

 

You better act quickly if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest renewable energy tax credit. At the end of next year (2019), it will slowly start decreasing and until 2022. 

In other words, Congress could decide to extend the Renewable Energy tax credit… But, there is no guarantee that they will.

The federal renewable energy tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar or wind turbine system from your federal taxes.

The average price of a home solar system in the United States is around $15,800 for a 5kW system. A 30% tax credit on that amount saves homeowners just over $4,720.

As you can see, in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time and eventually disappear. However, the exception is that there will be a permanent 10% tax credit for commercial use of renewable energy systems. 

 

Federal solar tax credit

 

As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear If you want to take advantage of these serious savings.

Meanwhile, if a $15,000 solar system installation sounds like its way over your budget… You aren’t alone.

This is why I wrote an article about how you can DIY (Do It Yourself) solar panels.

The DIY solar panel system is a step-by-step video instruction guide that will teach you how to build your own solar energy system for around 25% of the cost that you would have paid a professional installer. 

In other words, that’s nearly a 75% savings! 

Surprisingly, you can actually build a solar energy system in your spare time for a very reasonable price. This guide will help you build each solar panel in approximately 1 hour and for around $100!

 

 

State Tax Credits:

 

Most states and some city governments have tax breaks (incentives, deductions, or credits) that can be used in addition to the federal tax credit for renewable energy or energy efficiency updates to your home!

First, take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy).

It is a super handy tool for understanding federal, state, and local tax incentives. The site also includes utility company incentives for each state.

Just visit the web page and click the state that you live in 🙂

 

There are two solutions to the current energy dilemma:

  1. Energy efficiencyuse less energy by insulating your home, and installing WaterSense and Energy Star rated appliances or conversion kits.
  2. Renewable energy install solar panels, wind turbines, etc.

 

 

State programs are very specific and vary widely, so make sure to research your state’s energy tax policy. Of course, a simple online search should produce very helpful results.

 

State tax breaks can be broken down into three main categories:

 

  1. Sales tax exemptions (many states exempt purchases of energy-efficient products or renewable energy equipment)
  2. Income tax credits or deductions (available in 22 states)
  3. Property tax rebates or exemptions (available 32 states)
Similarly, this list is broken down by state and is very easy to navigate.

 

 

 

Appliance Rebates:

 

 

EnergyStar has a rebate finder that is super easy to use! Simply, type in your zip code and it will give you a list of the current rebates that your utility companies are offering!

Santa Monica, California is offering 10 mail in rebates. I couldn’t get a screenshot off all 10, but here is an example of what three of them look like:

 

 

rebate offers

 

 

 

Utility Company Rebates:

 

 

Check with your utility company to see whether they have any of the following programs:

 

1. LED lightbulb replacements

According to EnergyStar.gov, the average home has approximately 40 lightbulbs.

You can save $128 per 100-watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.

That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved! 

If you are ready to save money by making the switch, you can find 100-watt equivalent lightbulbs at the Sustainability Shop.

 

Energy star rated light bulbs

 

In short, I would highly recommend switching to LEDs over CFL lights. Unfortunately, CFL lights are made with mercury, which can become hazardous to the environment if they are not disposed of properly. 

 

 

AmazonBasics LED (100-watt incandescent light bulb replacement)

 

 

2. Programmable thermostats

Some utility companies offer rebates or incentives if you install a programmable thermostat.

Most importantly, a programmable thermostat helps you have more control over the temperature in your home and save you money by doing so. You can read about the 8 Benefits of Programmable Thermostats here. 

 

3. Recycle old appliances

There are some utility companies that will pick up your old appliances and then give you a rebate on purchasing a new EnergyStar rated one! Double dip savings! 

Moreover, often times when you purchase a new appliance from a store they will charge you to remove your old appliance.

Calling your utility company before shopping for a new appliance can help you by:

First, save money by getting advice on which appliances are the most energy efficient.

Second, they may remove your old appliance and recycle it for free.

Third, they may offer rebates for approved EnergyStar and WaterSense appliances and fixtures.

 

4.  Upgrading to EnergyStar rated appliances

Use the EnergyStar rebate finder to see what kinds of incentive programs your utility company offers for washers, dryers, dishwashers, tankless water heaters, etc.

5. Tune up your furnace

Your utility company may offer a forced air furnace diagnostic tune-up rebate.

6. Winterization and insulation upgrades

Ask your utility company what kinds of rebates they offer for upgrading your home to become more energy efficient. The Sustainability Shop has DIY window and electrical outlet insulation kits.

 

 

In sum, by implementing these energy efficiency and renewable technology suggestions you can attain large savings. Moreover, it would seem that you can obtain savings from many different avenues.

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.

Moreover, make sure to talk to your family, friends, and community about sustainability. Knowledge helps people become aware of their actions which will help everyone make a larger impact together.

We got into this resource depletion and global warming issue together, which means that the only way out is to solve the issue as a community 🙂

Recently, scientists have released a warning that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.

Insulation can increase your energy efficiency, and save you tons of money on your next utility bill. You can find several insulation solutions on Eco Economic’s Sustainability Shop page.

The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.

Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.

Interested in learning more about how to create wealth with the money you save by going green? Pre-enroll for a Free mini-course on Tax Tips, Business Tricks, and Real Estate Knowledge!

 

Increase your Financial IQ

 

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to pin and share!

By sharing we can help others become Sustainability Heros too! Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.

Interested in a particular topic? Comment below!

 

 

 

Renewable Energy Tax Credit: How to Install DIY Solar Panels

Renewable Energy Tax Credit: How to Install DIY Solar Panels

If you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action by 2019. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes.

 

Renewable Energy Tax Credits (1)

 

As you can see in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time.

As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear!

 

Federal solar tax credit

 

The federal solar tax credit applies to both residential and commercial systems. What’s more is that there is no cap on its value!

 

The cost to install solar panels can vary greatly, based on the state and solar installation company you use.

A professionally installed solar energy system can cost upward of $20k, but there are two ways to minimize this cost.

Don’t want to spend $20k on a solar energy system? That’s ok. Read on 🙂

 

 

Lease vs. Build it Yourself

 

 

1. You can opt for a solar lease agreement– A company like Solar City will install solar panels for free. Then you purchase the power from the solar power company at a lower rate than you are currently paying your utility company. 

This means that you still have to purchase electricity from a company. Instead of purchasing your energy from your utility company (that probably gets its electricity from coal and other fossil fuels), you will be getting electricity from a renewable source (the sun).

2. DIY solar panel systems-You can purchase a step-by-step video instruction guide, along with the materials, and build your own solar energy system for around 25% of the cost that you would have paid a professional installer.

One of the main differences here is that you will own your solar panels, and any energy produced after your breakeven point is “free electricity”. 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of the DIY Solar Panel System Guide:

 

 

Surprisingly, you can actually build a solar energy system in your spare time for a very reasonable price.

This may sound impossible since you probably don’t have an engineering background. Fortunately, the DYI Home Energy System Guide breaks down every step along the way so that there is no confusion.

Shockingly, professional installation companies can charge over $20k to install a solar energy system. 

Jeff, the creator of DYI Home Energy System Guide, helps you build each solar panel for around $100.

In the video guide, Jeff walks you through how to assemble a solar energy system. He films each step of the installation process and explains in it detail. 

 

 

 

Deciding Whether a DIY Solar Energy System is the Best Solution for You: 

 

 

If you have an hour here and there to build your own renewable energy system, this guide is the perfect tool to help you achieve big-time savings and energy independence.

Jeff estimates that it takes around 1 hour to build each solar panel. Additionally, all you need are simple hand tools that you probably already own (like a screwdriver). 

Moreover, the DYI Home Energy System Guide tells you which professional grade parts you will need to order.

To be honest, the sales video is a little cheesy. That being said, Jeff’s story really tells you why he spent so much time on his quest to build the best solar energy system for his family.

He explains how the electricity grid, in many parts of the country, is over 100 years old. The age of the electricity infrastructure is the main cause the many rolling blackouts in his area.

Moreover, Jeff wanted to achieve energy independence so that he was no longer subject to the utility company’s rate increases. 

 

Try, then Decide:

 

As of the time of this writing over 42,000 people have bought the DYI Home Energy System Guide.

If that doesn’t settle your mind from worry, know that the DYI Home Energy System Guide comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.

You can always watch the video and return it if you think that you won’t be able to complete the project. This way you can see what you are getting into before making for a final decision (worry-free).

 

 

Jeff really emphasizes that you will be purchasing professional grade building materials to construct your solar power system.

He explains that the reason why there is such a large cost difference between having a professional installer build your unit and building it on your own is that you are paying for the labor, know-how, and additional mark up.

Companies need to generate a profit, and as you probably know the standard mark up for retailers (from a wholesale distributor to a retail store) is 50% of the cost of the product. 

 

 

 

DIY Solar Energy System Vs. A Solar Lease:

 

 

As you know, I am a huge advocate of renewable energy. Up till this article, I always thought that the cost to install a solar energy system was way too expensive to make financial sense.

Typically, a standard solar energy system lasts around 25 years, and the average payback period is 15-20 years.

So purchasing your own system doesn’t really make sense, unless you plan on living in your home for 25 years. Most people end up moving within that time and won’t have the opportunity to recover that investment cost.

This is why I had opted to go with the solar lease option (for my home in Las Vegas).

Now that I have found this solution, I really do believe that I could have bribed a few friends with a home cooked meal to help me build a solar energy system for cheaper than the cost of purchasing electricity through my solar lease. 

Because the DYI Home Energy System is so much cheaper to build, you will hit the breakeven point on the cost of the unit much quicker.

 

 

 

Some of the Benefits of a DIY Solar Project:

 

1. Energy independence. Who cares if the utility companies decide to raise electricity costs? Not you!

What’s more is that you can sell your excess electricity to the utility company.

Earn a bit of cash from selling any energy that you aren’t using and fund your retirement account! Read (Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire!)

2. Low to no maintenance. Once you build your renewable energy solar system, there is little to no maintenance required.

Build a solar energy system for a fraction of the cost you would have otherwise had to pay a professional installer.

 

 

 

A Few Minor Drawbacks:

 

 

1.City Inspector:

 

Just like with any major remodel, you will need to have your solar energy system inspected by an official city inspector.

The inspector will probably have you fix a thing or two, which will require him to come back and re-inspect another day… Don’t take it personally, stay strong, and make any required corrections to pass that inspection. Just think of this step as part of the process.

If you include this step in your mental accounting process, you won’t think of it as a pain in the butt. Instead, think of it as just part of what needs to happen to make sure you have a safe solar energy system.

You really do want a city inspector to come by to make sure that you installed your system correctly... After all, you are playing with electricity.

The only negative review I have seen thus far is by Solarreviews.com. Upon further research, I found that the website is owned by a solar installation company. Of course, It is in their best interest to have you pay them to install solar panels for you.

 

2. Time:

 

Every DIY project is going to some take time and require a little perseverance. The instructional videos are very thorough, and you will have to set aside time to watch them. Of course, building a solar energy system yourself will also take time.

If you can find 2-3 weekends to devote to building your own energy system, you can save a ton of money with the DYI Home Energy System guide.

Remember, by building your own solar unit you are able to save money because you are the labor (instead of paying someone else to put in the labor).

 

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

 

Renewable energy is the way of the future. As a society, we need to make the switch away from fossil fuels.

Take the pledge to become a Sustainability Hero.  Living in harmony with the planet has health, environment, and budget benefits.

Remember to visit the sustainability shop, which includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.

If global warming, resource depletion, and climate change are important to you, then pre-enroll for the free Sustainability mini-course. 

This course is designed to teach you about many money-saving green swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to spread the word by sharing. That way we can help others become Sustainability Heros too!

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Global Warming

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Global Warming

It seems like the topic of climate change and resource depletion is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but no one really knows what to do about it. I have compiled the UN’s most important blueprint actions for achieving a happier and healthier world while adding a few of my own tips to create the Ultimate Guide to Prevent Global Warming.

 

Steps You Can Take To Prevent Global Warming

 

By implementing these simple actions we can manifest a change for a better future. The UN has created a campaign called the “Be the Change Initiative” that provides an opportunity for all of us to better “walk the talk”.

I have created a Sustainability Shop” and have done the work of reading the labels and reviews to offer you the best sustainable products on the market.

This collection of sustainable living products have been amassed in one place for your convenience. The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods. 

I want to encourage you to reuse your current belongings until they are either broken or no longer useful (and you need to replace them).

The exception to this is if what you are currently using produces lots of one-time use waste or is harmful to your health. 

Of course, if you are using something that is not good for your health (like cooking with Teflon that was manufactured prior to 2013), then purchasing a replacement makes sense.

Take the Sustainability Pledge today and incorporate as many biodegradable, reusable, and alternative energy products into your daily routine as possible.

To have the greatest impact we must change our daily habits and consumption patterns at work and at home.

Many of the recommendations in this guild have budget saving benefits, is healthier for your body, and greatly reduces your carbon output 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

5 Steps That You Can Take To Prevent Global Warming

 

 

Step 1: At Home

 

 

Fossil fuels and coal make up nearly 62%  of how we generate electricity in the U.S.

By increasing your home’s energy efficiency you can save the environment, money on your next electricity bill, and breath cleaner air.

Start by plugging the air leaks in the windows and doors. Adjust your thermostat (lower in the winter and higher in the summer). Replace old appliances and light bulbs with energy efficient models.

Visit the Sustainability Shop to check out Energy Star rated LED light bulbs, electrical outlet sealers, window insulators, and other energy-saving insulation tools.

Download a full list of energy efficiency tips here with the Free Home Energy Audit Guide.

If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine. Yes, you should still scrape all of the food off before putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Dishwashers today use high heat to take off any food residue left on dishes.

Install solar panels on the roof of your home. You can lease solar panels (learn more by reading “How to Install Free Solar Panels on your Home”)  from a company like Solar City. It’s cheaper to get electricity through a solar lease than it is to purchase electricity directly from the utility company 🙂

Reuse your holiday decorations. Unfortunately, the holidays are the most wasteful time of the year. Just think of all the one-time-use cups, plates, utensils, decorations, gift wrapping, etc. Look for ways to plan eco-friendly parties and events. 

I love the holidays and the idea of spending time with friends and family just as much as you do. Let’s be responsible about how we plan our events so that Mother Nature can have a happy holiday too!

 

Tile Floors in High Traffic Areas:

 

This flooring option has many benefits.

First, tile floors basically last forever (unless you drop a sledgehammer on it and crack the tile itself).

Second (real estate investment tip), due to its durability tile is great for rental properties.

Third, you won’t need to keep replacing the flooring like you would with carpet. This will save you money in the long run and reduces the amount of trash going to our landfills.

Fourth, tile is great for easy cleanup. Liquids can be easily mopped up and won’t stain the floor.

Fifth, tile keeps your home cool in the summer. Add rugs in the winter for a cozy warmer feel. Carpets in the bedroom and rugs in the living areas keep your home warm, your thermostat low, and will save you a chunk of change.

 

 

 

Step 2: Your Daily Routine

 

 

Request that vendors stop sending paper statements. Pay your bills online or via mobile. Remember, every sheet of paper leads to more forest destruction.

Use cardboard matches. Unlike plastic gas-filled lighters, they don’t require any petroleum.

Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum keeps landfills from growing.

Buy minimally packaged goodsgoods that are packaged in eco-friendly materials, and packaging and products made from recycled materials.

Many of the products found in the Sustainability Shop are packaged in cardboard, recycled paper, or do not have packaging at all.

Bike, walk or take public transportation. Save the car trips for when you can carpool or need to go long distances.

Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Cut down on waste and maybe even save money at the coffee shop. Read how you can save $1,200 per year by not purchasing that $5 cup of coffee before work. 

Bring your own bag when you shop. Some stores even give you a $0.06 savings for bringing your own shopping bags.

Take fewer napkins, and just use what you need.

Shop vintage and see what you can repurpose from second-hand stores.

Donate what you don’t use to local charities to give your beloved belonging a new life with someone who will appreciate them.

 

 

 

Step 3: Water Conservation

 

 

Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower. Use a WaterSense rated shower head and faucets. WaterSense conversion kits can be found in the Sustainability Shop and can save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year.

Moreover, the conversion kits pay for themselves and take 2 minutes to install. Its small actions like these that make the biggest differences.

Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine.

If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.

When you finish drinking a cup of cold water/juice, water a plant with your leftover ice cubes. 🙂

Here are a few surprising facts about water by The Infographics Show that I bet you didn’t know.

 

 

 

Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste up to 11,000 liters of water per year?

Fixing leaky faucets can save water, energy to filter/transport the water to your home, chemicals to remediate the water after it has been used, and reduce your utility bill 🙂

Lastly, remember to turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth.

 

 

 

Step 4: The Kitchen

 

 

Shopping for food locally supports neighborhood businesses and keeps people employed. Moreover, it helps prevent trucks from driving far distances to transport food.

Food that is sourced locally tastes better because it is fresher and was able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).

Shop Smart, plan meals, and use shopping lists to avoid impulse buys.

 

spinner

Remember these? What exactly are they for? How many of these will end up in a landfill 3 years from now?

 

Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need.  Although you may save money by purchasing perishable items in bulk, it does you no good if you end up not eating them because they have over ripened or grown mold.

Buy Funny Fruit 🙂 Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.

Remember, it takes water, transportation, fertilizer, and labor to grow these funny fruits. They need love too!

Read about how you can use meal prepping to fund your retirement account here.

You can find bento lunchboxes, reusable glass containers, biodegradable lunch bags, and reusable silicon bags for food storage in the Sustainability Shop.

Don’t forget to freeze fresh produce and leftovers, if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.

Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to produce meat than plants. You can learn more about the Reducetarian Diet and how the meat industry produces more carbon than the transportation industry in the library section of the Sustainability Shop.

 

 

Step 5: Grow Your Own Food and Compost

 

Composting food scraps can reduce waste that would otherwise need to be transported to a landfill.

Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.

Nutrients from a compost pile is healthier for you and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview: 

 

Save money today by becoming a Sustainability Hero.

Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.

UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.

This means that we need to drastically cut back on our carbon output and even start carbon sequestering campaigns to meet this goal.

Take action today, and remember to visit the sustainability shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.

Reduce your single-use waste output and take the Sustainability Pledge.

Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits🙂

If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.

 

Related Resources:

 

Make global warming a hot topic and talk about these issues to your family, friends, and community. Letting them know about these simple actions can help us all make a larger impact.

The more you spread the word, the more a topic “catches fire” and more people become aware of the issue.

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to spread the word by sharing so that we can help others join us in our efforts to prevent global warming too!

Interested in a particular topic or want to give your two cents? Comment below!