About the author  ⁄ Van Pappas

Van Pappas

Van Pappas, CFP® - Van is a native of Atlanta. He holds his undergraduate degree in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate. As a planner for 15 years, he earned his CFP designation from Kaplan University. He is currently the Chairman and founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Chamblee. In 2012, he noticed the value of helping the X-Y Generations and decided to merge his practice with oXYGen Financial. Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

Rent or Buy, Which is Better?

In my 16 years as a financial planner, I have been asked this question many times. For decades our society has told us that renting is just throwing your money away and that buying a house is a good investment. Even the government tries to influence our behavior with offering a tax deduction on the mortgage interest. We have to start realizing that your house is not an investment. Investments should be able to feed you income; and as I always say ‘You can’t eat your house’. So which is it, Rent or Buy? Let’s compare some facts. First with renting you don’t have maintenance costs, mortgage interest, property taxes and renter’s insurance is dramatically less expensive than homeowner’s insurance. If you average $1000/month in rent over 30 years, that’s a total of $360,000. Throw in another $15/mo for renter’s insurance and the total spent to rent for 30 years is $365,400. Now if you were to buy, say a ...

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7 Ways to Cut your Cellphone Bill

Today’s household has to deal with so many expenses that my parent’s generation did not have.  When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, we did not have a cable bill, an internet bill and most certainly no cell phone bill.  Now, we cannot do without these items.  If we are going to have these extra expenses, we might as well get the best deal possible.  Consider some of these cost cutting items. Consider prepaid service. Pay-as-you-go services have gotten a lot better recently.  If you are not a heavy cell phone user you usually come out better by only paying for what you use. Check for discounts. Many carriers offer discounts if you are an employee of a company that uses their service.  Do a Google search with the carrier’s name and the words “employee discount”. Look for a family plan. If you need multiple lines, most carriers will offer a better per-line price than their standard ...

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Down Payment Vs Invest The Difference

While 30-year mortgage rates are not at the lows of 3% we saw in 2012, mid to low 4% rate are still really good. It is very tempting to make a small down payment and use the difference in an investment with a higher potential for return. If you only make a 5% down payment instead of a 20%, you will pay thousands in extra interest and PMI insurance. Plus, beating your 4% cost of funds is no slam dunk. Making a larger down payment will ensure that you your return on money is equal to your mortgage rate and will give you a small monthly mortgage payment, leaving you free to invest the extra cash or hang on to it for everyday expenses. Making additional principal payments on your mortgage can save you thousands in interest and pay off that loan quicker. It’s hard to put a return on investment by becoming mortgage free, but taking the weight off ...

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5 Ways For Women To Build Confidence

So I know what you are about to say.  What does a 44 year old guy know about women building confidence.  I’m not about to tell you that I know the secret of women, but I thought I would attempt to list some things women can do to build confidence.  After reading  from the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I picked up these 5 ways woman can build confidence: You don’t have to make things perfect, so stop tinkering You have to keep moving forward and tinkering takes time.  Even if you are wrong, failing fast can reduce the time going down blind alleys. Leave your comfort zone Try something you thought you’d never be good at.  The old saying  “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” is so true. Take credit for your successes Don’t just brush off a compliment, accept it.  Use it to give your next step confidence. Give rid of ...

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McDonald’s Happy, and Starbucks isn’t Lovin’ It

September 29th is National Coffee day and McDonald’s is going to be Lovin’ It.  If you drink coffee, you’re going to be Lovin’ It too.  The fast food chain will be giving away free small McCafe coffee during breakfast for the two weeks leading up to National Coffee Day.  While you and I are going to be lovin our SmartMoneyMoves, saving money for a couple of weeks; McDonalds is going to be smiling all the way to the bank.  This is the second time they have done a two week coffee give away.  At their spring event they gave away millions of cups and the huge success brought in many new customers.  The company has found that those coming for the free coffee, will also buy other breakfast items.  Their breakfast items are very profitable for them, so free coffee actually nets them millions. And if you get hooked on their flavor, soon you will see thru Kraft both McCafe ...

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How Many Mailers for Mountain Property do You Get

You know what I’m talking about.  Those flyers you get in the mail for that fabulous property in the North Georgia mountains for some rock bottom price.  They usually have some picturesque view of a stream and a beautiful cabin in the corner.  How tempting is that?   4.3 acres with mountain views and river access for only $7,500.  And let’s not forget in big letters across the top “Land Liquidation” or “One Day Only” to get you to act quickly. So is this a good deal, or just clever marketing. Just like the hay day of the Timeshare sales strategy, if you go to check out one of these deals, you are going to get the hard seminar sales pitch.  You remember; you just had to sit thru a 90 minute presentation that ended up with you being cornered until you relented or forced your way out.  And the ‘From Only $7,500’ is not what you saw in the picture; ...

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7 Things To Do When You Win The Big One

Do you think you will ever have to worry about money again if you win the lottery? Sorry to break it to you, but you will. There are many stories of winners being their own worst enemy by quickly squandering the fortune.   Let’s look at what Your Smart Money Moves should be when you win the big one. Before the ticket blows out of your hand while you are waiting for a bus, the first step should be to sign the back of the ticket.  A lottery ticket is a bearer instrument, so whoever signs the ticket and presents a photo ID can claim the prize. Remain anonymous. It’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork when they know you have money.   You’ll get the charities, the long lost friends,  CPAs, lawyers and financial planners all vying for your business or looking for a piece of the pie.  Unfortunately there are only a handful of states that do ...

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How To Teach Your 5 year Old About Money.

We do a poor job of teaching our kids about money in this country. In order to get my kid started in the right direction I set up the following system. I threw out my son’s piggy bank and gave him three jars. I labeled one, money to spend, one money to save, and one money to give. I told him any time he got any money he had to split it into thirds. Then I explained that he could use the spend jar money on anything he wanted. I would never question what he wanted to spend that money on. The money to save jar could never be touched. And the money to give jar was not only for church offerings but when he got invited to friends birthday parties he had to buy the birthday presents with his money to give jar. (I was tired of spending my money on his friend’s presents). I was amazing to see ...

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Fantasy Sports Insurance?

Ok, I’ve heard it all now.  I’m not a fantasy sports guy, but as a numbers person I can understand the attraction.  More than $1 billion is spent each year on Fantasy Sports leagues.  League fees can run from free to $1000.  The more the 25 million people playing in paid leagues can pocket real money.   Those that are spending money find it frustrating to draft a player who gets injured in real life and have to be sidelined on their fantasy team.  An injury can ruin your fantasy lineup and your season could be over just as it is getting started.  Industry studies show that the average fantasy player spends $467 annually on various sports leagues. Along comes a businessman to create FantasyPlayerProtect.com which provides insurance to reimburse league entry fees plus up to $250 for other expenses like subscriptions to research your players.  With their tag line being  ‘Injuries Happen – FantasyPlayerProtect has your back’, you are able ...

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