Should I Lease Or Buy A Car: First Time Car Buyer Tips

Should I Lease Or Buy A Car: First Time Car Buyer Tips

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Should I lease or buy a car? To finance or lease….that is the question. This is probably the hardest, most basic thing to understand as an adult. Honestly, until recently, I never understood the difference between the two, the benefits or pitfalls. I also didn’t realize how much of a depreciating value a car has. That is, until I fell into the pitfalls myself and had to dig my way out of it. I wish I knew some first time buyer tips so I could have made an educated decision.

Surprisingly neither college nor high school prepared me for these kind of basic and normal financial decisions like should I lease or buy a car. Kind of crazy, right? We’re expected to just know these things when we go to the car salesperson, and if they fail to disclose all the pros and cons then we’re sh*t out of luck when things turn out pricier than we expect. As a teen, I never thought about my parents car payments or what it meant to finance something. A lease didn’t seem like a huge commitment. And since it was on my parents dime, a car really didn’t have a major cost to me.

But oh, did I learn…..

Here is what I learned for my first time car buyer tips :

A car is a forever depreciating asset. It will RARELY ever gain value and only if it’s a collectible. There will always be a cost associated with owning a car whether it’s leasing a new car, financing a new car or maintaining an old car. How much in cost can vary between those three typical options.

What most people want to do is minimize their cost for owning a car as well as the maintenance while still holding value.

Leasing:

When my husband and I got our first car, my father in law insisted that we lease. He had leased 2 of his cars and he and his wife had a total of 4 cars, each with light usage.

So we thought, his dad has a lot of experience and leasing works for him, it should work for us. We were WRONG!

Leasing did not work for us, at the end of the lease we owed $3K in overmileage fees! I knew it was coming but it didn’t make it less painful.

Leases have a set # of mileage that they allow for in the lease term. We signed up for a 36,000 3 year term lease which was a 12,000 per year allotment. This is standard. The issue was that this was our ONLY car, my husband drove this car to and from work every day and then we’d also use it for weekend errands. He didn’t work close either. It takes him an hour to drive to work in NY traffic so the mileage added up. We literally hit our mileage limit around 1.5 years into the lease. Here’s one of my favorite first time buyer tips, don’t sign for a lease until you have researched how far you need to go to work.

What made the lease attractive to us at the time was the low monthly payments. Our lease payments were $220 a month. (Don’t judge me, everything in NY area is stupid expensive including car leases). Financing would have been $400 a month, a price that was a stretch for us. Leases tend to be cheaper than financing.

So short term, the monthly payments were great, but in the end it cost us nearly as much as financing would have anyway.

At the end of the lease the dealership gave us the option to buy the car. This price was negotiated when we initially signed the lease, believing that we were able to keep under the miles restriction. So MSRP was $19,500, the negotiated rate after the lease expired was $13,850. So what we had was a 2017 Honda Civic with 55,000 miles on it. At that point it wasn’t even worth the $13,850 that we would have had to FINANCE at 6.9% APR!

I wouldn’t finance a house at that rate, let alone a car.

So leasing didn’t work for us because we drove it too much. I could definitely see leasing as a practical option for people that don’t drive very far on the regular basis and want to have a nice car for low cost.

People that constantly lease are able to get the best technology, the coolest specs, and the sleekest finishes. Since cars lose the most value in the first 3 years, leasers are able to enjoy the newness of the vehicle without the commitment or cost.

Financing

When our lease ended, we considered re-leasing but after our whole over mileage situation I realized it just didn’t make sense. Like I mentioned, they did offer to allow us to to buy out the car but the deal made no sense. With all the initial lease payments, the $13,850 buyout option and the 6.9% APR over the 6 year payment period, overall costs were expected to be closer to $27,000 for what was a severely depreciating asset that had an MSRP of $19,500.

Financing the car we leased seemed like a mistake. So we shopped around at another dealership. For us, it was really utttimportant to get a reasonable deal. We were already $3000 in the hole because of this huhthe over mileage.
Huh
We opted for a $22,500 u and hdue to great credit we were able to get a 2.9% APR rate. That’s over 1/2 hthe rate for the lease buyout option! It made more sense to finance a new car with little to huno mileage. The payments are going to be $500 for 5 years. At the end of the 5 uh we expect the car to have some value left. Our hope is that the car will still be well runningu so we can keep it after the payments are done. The 2.9% APR also saves us severauso getting a 5 year, 100K mile warranty on the car so at least then we had a good sense of what the maintenance cost would be at least for the first couple of years.

Long term, financing the new car seemed like a better deal than trying to salvage our 3 year old car by buying it out.

Leaving A Lease And Getting A Totally Different Brand Of Car

We could have considered paying out the end lease fees and overmileage and going with a different car brand other than Honda. But we were sure they wouldn’t be able to waive any of the fees or over mileage and I was concerned that when it came to the maintenance work that needed to be done that we would be over charged for damages.

For us, this option didn’t make sense since we already owed Honda $3000 in over mileage. I mean, the car was in OK shape, but had some dings courtesy of my husband. Those costs would have to come out of pocket now. We estimated total lease end costs to be $4000-5000 depending on what they found in the inspection. Then we’d have to go to another dealership, put down $2000-$4000 down to finance elsewhere. Negotiating in our position was only going to take us so far.

Leaving a lease and getting a totally different car brand seemed too costly for us because it would be a LOT of money up front.

Also staying brand loyal to Honda meant that certain things could be waived like the $900 lease end fee, some of the mileage (we got $400 back), and the upfront payment. We were also able to roll over the $3000 over mileage charges into the finance deal so it wasn’t going to be such a large up front payment.

As you can tell the $3000 over mileage really screwed us over and kept us from being able to take advantage of other options.

Best case scenario.
Personally I believe the best way to buy a car is to buy a used car all cash with no financing. Financing is a huge waste of money because you’re essentially paying interest on a DEPRECIATING ASSET over time at the same price for when it was new and full value.

The issue is that not everyone has a good chunk of cash (more than $10,000) to put down at once. It’s literally probably the best option out there for car owners but, honestly, hard to attain. Most people just don’t have that kind of liquidity and end up just financing out of the necessity of their transportation needs.
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So should you or I lease or buy a car? Overall, the car buying experience is very personal and for most people it’s quite pricey. A majority of Americans actually never buy off of a new car dealership, that’s how much of a luxury a new car is. I do feel lucky to be able to share this experience and my findings as someone who had NO IDEA what car buying entailed.

For my Husband and I, we started off on the wrong foot with getting a lease but at least moving forward we’re able to understand the significance of our purchase, how cars can add to your transportation costs, the value we’re getting, and the financial effects of our our decisions. Hopefully these first time car buyer tips keep you from making some of the same mistakes I did.

If you like “Should I Lease Or Buy A Car: First Time Car Buyer Tips” check out my other posts:

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The Meaning Of “Always Be Hustling” & Why It’s Important

Always be hustling a second income

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As a salesperson, I understand the importance, of constantly selling. The phrase “Always be hustling” is what comes to my mind. So when I took on my boring corporate job I realized quickly that this company: 1) only saw me as a number and 2) only cared about my output in terms of dollars. At first I didn’t realize the importance of having a second source of income.

The first two years I did everything… EVERYTHING to make sure I was recognized as a hardworking employee. When the company asked me, “please work 6 days a week while we work to hire extra staff,” I jumped at the opportunity to show off my hard work and determination. But in reality, there were things outside of my control that hurt me in my job: my manager was badmouthing me, my personality didn’t scream “go getter”, I was too quiet, etc… And once these perceptions were set in place, it was impossible for me to turn around.

Despite being a good performer and getting great evaluations, I was overlooked and my talents were unnoticed. When an opening came up that I could be promoted to, I wasn’t even considered. I learned the hard lesson in life that sometimes you just don’t get credit or recognition you deserve. And working hard for a company doesn’t always translate to dollars. It’s now very clear to me that even if you have a secure and reliable job, you should always have a side hustle. Life is just too unpredictable.

Then my worst fear came true, my company added another agent for us to share commissions with but didn’t adjust our base salary. Three people are now sharing a pie that used to only feed two. Now we’re squabbling over deals like our lives depend on it.

Moral of the story is that things can always change at work financially for you, the income you have today can easily be changed tomorrow if the company so chooses.

Good thing I have a side hustle going on. I’ve been reselling like crazy. Doing the whole buy cheap as possible at liquidation auctions and selling as high as possible. Poshmark, Mercari, EBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted; you name it, I’m on it.

My motivation comes from my favorite entrepreneur: Gary Vanderchuk. If you don’t know him, he’s hustled his way into millions. First with his father’s wine business, then building a content marketing and social media management agency. He does these YouTube episodes called “Trash Talk” where he goes to all these garage sales and finds things to flip. I felt inspired that a self made millionaire would be so humble to take the time to show how easy it is to make money online.

So here I am spending my nights and weekends trying to build something real so I can get out of my 9-5 job that only gives me a 3% raise every year, if that.

Today I’m here to remind you that IF YOU’RE NOT HUSTLING A SECOND INCOME, THEN YOU’RE ONE EVENT AWAY FROM POVERTY.

I don’t know about you, but even with a solid income and array of benefits, even with a partner who contributes to the finances: I still find it hard to save money for a house or save for retirement. THIS IS WITH ME BUDGETING AND TRACKING EXPENSES EVERY MONTH! It seems like I’m either going to have to work twice as hard now, or twice as long. Personally, I’d rather work twice as hard while I’m young and still have the energy.

I think about what if I lose my job? That’s easily a possibility. I mean, they’ve already cut into my commissions without remorse. What if my husband or I become disabled? Of course no one wants to think about these terrible scenarios but let’s be honest, tragedy hits families every day and then they have to figure it out.

For me, the biggest reason to have a side hustle is to save enough of my second income and create a barrier to protect my family from financial tragedy.

If I lost my job, it would only take a total of 3 months before I had to go in the red and start relying on credit cards. Having worked since I was 18, I just don’t find that acceptable at my age to feel that insecure. So here I am, trying to rub two dollars together and make a twenty.

You don’t necessarily have to resell to have a side hustle but I consider it to be a pretty fast way to build capital. Here are some other ideas on how to make money and always be hustling:

1)Uber driving
2)Tutoring children and babysitting
3)Blogging and monetizing the traffic
4)moonlighting and taking on extra shifts at work or a 2nd job bar tending
5)Social Media- becoming a content creator and monetizing the following once you reach 100K followers.

I like reselling because it’s flexible, easy and fairly cheap to get into. If you have a thousand dollars to spare, that can buy you a lot of inventory. And, if you’re smart, at least 200 pcs.

Side hustles aren’t meant to be glamorous. They’re meant to create financial buffers to keep you from ruin and help make a plan for the future. A lot of people make the mistake, because they make $25 or $30 an hour, of thinking that making less per hour at a side hustle as not worth your time.

That’s a huge mistake because even if you only make an additional $100 a week for your effort, that will easily translate to $5000 a year and over the course of 10 years that adds up to $50,000! I don’t know about you but I could use an extra $50,000. That would pay off the balance of my student loans and would be a sizeable enough down payment for a home. That kind of money can do a lot! Or, if you invest it wisely, it can grow even more!

Impatience tends to be the killer of dreams and keeps you from the “always be hustling’ mindset. For many, the thought of spending their nights and weekends building a business or saving some money is too hard of a commitment. Impatient people are too dependent on their guilty pleasure like reality tv, candy crush games and mindless social media scrolling. Seeing the long term game in life and playing to win long term will be the difference between living with wealth and living on the edge of poverty.

So I definitely believe that being a forever hustler is key to having stability, changing your life, meeting your financial goals and overall happiness. A healthy second income won’t buy happiness but it can definitely solve some problems. So always be hustling.

If you like “The Meaning Of ‘Always Be Hustling’ & Why It’s Important” Check Out My Other Posts!

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How To Resell Clothes: Ebay, Poshmark and Mercari

How To Resell Clothes and Get Rid Of Clothes
How To Resell Clothes and Get Rid Of Clothes

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I’ve been going through a phase of cleaning out my closet to get rid of extra clothes. OBSESSIVELY. I literally wear maybe 10% of my clothes. And I think most of us are like that. We buy something maybe we wear it once, or there’s some feature that we just didn’t like about it and then we never wear it again. We hope we might but we never wear it again. I have so many things that I do this with it’s not even funny. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, random knickknacks, you name it. I’m also the type of personality that enjoys going to fleamarkets. I enjoyed sifting through racks for hours and then trying to get the best price. So of course I really enjoy the whole reselling used clothes/items thing that’s going on right now and wanted to learn how to resell clothes on eBay, Poshmark and Mercari.

And it seems like there’s more people buying used clothes. The public is more aware of how devastating the fast fashion industry has been on our environment as well as the wastefulness of constantly buying clothes. So in a way, buying used clothes, as long as they’re in good condition, is fine.

So here is my review on the three platforms (ebay, Mercari, Poshmark) and how to resell clothes on them. So far I’ve sold 3 items in 2 weeks!

eBay

eBay, oh eBay how I love you. Literally the OG of all reselling companies. I started dabbling with online selling in 2016, just selling a few things that were in my closet. Now here I am again, trying to learn how to resell the clothes out of my closet and maybe more if it works out.

The positive of selling on eBay is that it is a MASSIVE platform to sell to people. Since it’s older than both Mercari and Poshmark, it has more pull in terms of being the most familiar. The only issue I have with it is the auction feature. Of course eBay sold itself as being an online auction house first for basic things like electronics, games, clothes etc. And people are very used to getting REALLY good deals from this. In other words, the users are really cheap. Which is fine if you have the right product and can price it low enough.

For me, I’m selling clothes and some jewelry that I’ve already worn so I don’t need such a high markup. I’m pricing most of my clothes at $10-$40 depending on how worn they are or if it’s new with tags.

I didn’t use Ebay’s auction feature but did use it’s “buy now” feature. Here I can set the price, determine shipping costs and describe the item. They have this new option to “promote” where for an additional 10% fee you can get the listing promoted. They also take 10% fee when it sells. After 50 zero insertion fee listings, the insertion fee is $.35.
For the most part, this seems reasonable. I don’t opt to promote it because traffic on eBay is wonky. Sometimes an item will be priced well and sit, or sometimes priced high and move. If someone wants your product, they’ll buy it or at least send you an offer.

The one item I sold on eBay, someone submitted an offer. And since I wasn’t losing money, I took it. I just wanted to get rid of the clothes.

Shipping is probably their best feature. After you’re done selling, you just ship it off using their prepaid shipping label. Their vendor is USPS, it comes with tracking and I find their rates VERY competitive. So for the most part you don’t have to worry about shipping. I don’t include shipping in my listings but I never charge higher than $4.99. Pretty much the best place to start if you want to learn how to resell clothes.

Mercari

This is a very similar website to eBay. I mean, other than not having an auction feature, they’re almost identical. It’s basically the “Buy Now” feature only.

I did find that the traffic there is a little bit better for clothes whereas, EBay it was limited. Views kind of trickle in on eBay.

One main difference is in promoting your listing- just lower the price. The new listings show up on the top of the search but discounted ones get kind of a refresh button and show up on the top too with a down arrow indicating prices are dropped. This type of promoting definitely encourages people to kind of wait and see if prices lower. HOWEVER, there is a “like” feature similar to eBay’s “watching” feature that allows buyers to know if there are other interested buyers. This can create a sense of urgency that could help move a listing along and get rid of clothes that you’re selling.

I sold one item on Mercari and would rate the the shipping as fair, not too expensive but not as good as eBay. For some reason, I feel compelled to offer free shipping on products. That probably plays into why I get a little more views on Mercari than I do on eBay. Sales-wise they’re pretty equal. Fee-wise similar to eBay with 10% commission and no listing fees.

Payment processing is a bit different. eBay indicates the payment has been made immediately, and if there are any issues buyers can dispute after. Mercari only shows payment once the buyer has received the item. And then they have 3 days after delivery to confirm the product is as described and it was delivered. If they don’t, the funds get automatically deposited to the seller’s account.

Honestly not sure how I feel about this. Because I’m only selling small items and clothes, this doesn’t feel too risky. If I was selling electronics, I think it would cause issues to delay payment like that.

Overall a good platform that compliments eBay.

Poshmark

I have yet to get a sale here, but I’m giving it an honest chance because I really want to know how to resell clothes on this website.

Overall, it’s definitely a more social platform. Poshers (aka sellers) have to share each other’s listings as part of the platform’s structure. There’s also a follower and following section of your profile that is above your listings. I’ve been on Poshmark for less than 2 weeks and I have over 4K followers. It’s customary to follow back here. There are tons of sellers that have over 100K followers and following.

Because of this social aspect, it’s more time consuming.

But there’s definitely a hustle to this platform.
Like both eBay and Mercari, you can cover shipping, offer discounts, etc., but on Poshmark you can suggest an item if someone has something of yours in their bundle (shopping cart). This is how you can sweeten the deal. You can offer an addition item be taken with a 5% discount and also offer to cover part or all of the shipping. It’s a sweet deal for them and sweet for you.

However, Poshmark has to be the more expensive platform of the 3 with a 20% commission fee and a buyer shipping cost of $6.79. That $6.79 shipping cost the buyer has to pay will in turn make them more price conscious and the 20% cut that the seller has to pay makes the products more expensive.

I do believe that the clientele on Poshmark is willing to spend and, in a way, they’re more stylish. Unlike eBay and Mercari where you can sell anything, Poshmark is only clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, and perfumes. It’s rare to see anything outside of that there. Since the clientele is more stylish, they’re going to appreciate good marketing and will likely pay more for it. At least you can get rid of clothes and make a pretty penny from it.

I don’t know much about their shipping because I haven’t sold anything yet.

I will definitely keep Poshmark in my pocket as a contending selling platform.

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Overall I think you can make a killing reselling and get rid of clothes in the process. The most important thing is to work all 3 of these platforms. The likelihood that an item will sell on 2 or all platforms at the same time is rare (as long as you price correctly), in which case you can cancel a sale on one of them, but using all 3 makes it easier to get your items to a buyer who will love it.

Hope you enjoyed this guide on how to get rid of clothes by reselling. Happy selling!

If you like “How To Resell Clothes: Ebay, Poshmark and Mercari” check out my other posts!

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Should You Go To College? Is A Good College Degree Enough?

Should you go to college? good college degree
Should you go to college? good college degree

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Ten years ago, no one would have asked this question of “should you go to college?,” the idea of not getting a college education seemed ludicrous. But recently, many disadvantages of going to college have come to light and it has everyone questioning, “is it really necessary? And a good college degree worth the money?”

I graduated high school in 2007, when prosperity was flowing and the economy booming. As young high school graduates we were all excited to start our college careers. My last year of high school was devoted to college applications, college tours and college nights where we would be courted by local universities. It all seemed so exciting. Here I was, about to embark on this new adventure. I imagined that my college would literally hand me a job after and that I’d be pretty much set for life after that. Honestly, I don’t know why I made that assumption, maybe it was all the statistics the colleges threw at me, but I really did believe that.

And I think a majority of us believed it, 90% of my class went on to get a higher education and the rest either joined the military or picked up a trade.

I didn’t have much debt after undergrad, it was law school that put me WAYY under. It was the one year I took but couldn’t finish. But we all make mistakes. Whether you go to college or not is a personal and financial decision that only YOU can consider and answer.

Here are my thoughts on why you should go to college:

Your parents are footing a majority of the bill. Or you have a scholarship equal to 50% or more.

College is freaking expensive. A lot of private universities cost $30K annually or more, not including housing, food and books. Certain schools will give really good scholarships if you’re in the top 20% of your class. If you were blessed enough to get a partial (50% or better) or full scholarship, I’d say that the benefits of the college degree beats the cost. If your parents are able to cover at least 50% of the costs then I’d say go for it as well.

Most white collar jobs want a college graduate and even if you get a degree in basketweaving, most basic positions require a degree. And if you’re able to get a degree cheap from either your parent’s support or from a scholarship, I’d say the risk is minimized enough to guarantee reward.

You got into a really good college program

At my university there were certain programs that were really competitive. It was the pharmacy and physician’s assistant programs but at some universities it might be nursing, finance or mathematics.

If you get into a reputable program in a high paying field it might be worth taking on the loans as long as you have a plan to pay it back. Don’t go taking out huge loans for a degree in the arts or humanitarian sciences. That’s just a joke.

You plan to make sacrifices to pay for your schooling

It’s not for everyone but even a high cost school can be manageable if you make some lifestyle changes.

I read somewhere that there was this guy that was able to come out of his Ivy League university education with only 10K in debt. You know what he did? He made a home out of his van and lived there, then he showered at the school gym. He also worked weekends to make ends meet.

Now most likely you don’t have to go so far, but little changes like going to a community college and then transferring out to a better school or living with your parents from 18-22 years of age can really save you a lot of money.

Here are reasons you should not go to college

You Just Want To Party

Some people from my high school went to party schools. They studied humanities or liberal arts but what they really majored in was how to party. I don’t know about you but $30K annually is a LOT of money to just party. I actually partied a bit during my college years but I also took my education seriously. There were some friends of mine who took their party hard college career very seriously.

A lot of people believe that the sorority/fraternity party experience is an essential part of college. Puking on the lawn, wild sexy nights with hot students, and drugs and alcohol are a huge part of that culture. I remember being brainwashed about the importance of partying in college. Movies like Van Wilder, American Pie and Road Trip were some of my favorite movies that supported that belief, but some of us took the college partying lifestyle to heart. The truth is, $30K is WAYYYYY too much to spend to just get wasted. And if you think you can drink like a rockstar AND get good grades, you’re just kidding yourself.

You don’t want to go or don’t know what you want to do with your life

I always thought it was crazy and kind of sick that our society expects 18 year olds to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I remember being in my junior and senior year of high school and everyone asking me, “What are you going to major in?” It’s like how the hell am I supposed to know? How am I supposed to decide on a major when I have literally NO real life experience? At times it felt like I was taking a stab in the dark. One month I’d be sold on psychology, next journalism, then legal studies.

My advice to young adults graduating high school today is if you don’t know what you want to do and have no clue, take a year off. Don’t go to college. Try your hand at different industries. Figure it out.

You don’t have to go to college right away. You can take a year to decipher your interests. That would be better than taking another year at college because you can’t decide on a major and finding yourself wasting money on prerequisites that you didn’t need for a major that you thought you wanted.

I had an old roommate, she graduated in teaching and then decided to transfer to another private school in the city ($$$) and dorm in the city ($$$$) for another degree in liberal arts (????). Well guess what! Now she has two low paying degrees and tons and tons of loans tied to her. She’s a slave to her degrees now.

So think about what you want to do, don’t just float around taking loans hoping against the odds you can pay them off easily with lackluster degrees.

You aren’t good at school

The truth is that there are a lot of people who just aren’t good at school. Like, it’s just not for them for whatever reason, whether it’s not having the motivation to study, not knowing what you’re supposed to do or not wanting to get into debt.

That’s totally fine. I don’t think our society values people who choose not to get a college degree enough. Actually there a ton of things you can do without a college degree.

-Join the military: here you can learn different trades or build a military career that is equivalent or better than a college degree

-learn a trade: plumbing, cosmetology, cooking, electrician, bookkeeping, hvac technician, mechanic etc. A lot of these are really well paying and if you’re able to get a jump on a trade early and without debt, chances are you’ll be just as well off as someone who went to college.

You’re a hustler

Become an entrepreneur. If you think of how much in loans you need to take out for college as well as the high interest rate and then you put that money towards a business endeavor and put as many hours into it as you would college, I guarantee you’ll have a successful
business at the end of 4 years.

Of course this isn’t for everyone but if you have a motivated and competitive personality, college isn’t the only option for you. Most people consider a business as a gamble, since it can fail, but isn’t college a gamble too? Especially since you’re not guaranteed a great job at the end… think about that.
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So there you have it, all the reasons you should or shouldn’t go to college. Hopefully you can take my advice to heart. I wish I had someone in my life who could kind of shake me and help me make these kind of decisions about my education, career and finances, because going to college on a loan is a big deal.

Unfortunately my guidance counselor didn’t do shit for me at the time. They were more motivated to get as many kids into college, since that determined the school’s success rate, than finding the right path for students. And my parents were just as brainwashed as me into believing that college was worth it no matter what the cost.

So hopefully you can take this advice and use it to better yourself, figure out your path and make the best financial decision about your career, happiness and life.

If you like “Should You Go To College? Is A Good College Degree Enough,” check out my other posts

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How To Find An Attorney For Civil Suits And What To Expect

It looks like my mold saga is coming to an end. We seriously considered finding an attorney to help us negotiate with our landlord. It was a frustrating process, but my eyes are definitely more open to the reality of what it’s like to work with an attorney.

Last month I was at a kindergarten graduation and I was talking to one of the moms. The topic of lawyers came up because she had been through a divorce. She said, “all they want to do is bill you.” I didn’t think much of it but after looking for representation of my own I realized she was right.

I Learned A Few Things About Lawyers And The Law This Week:

  • The Purpose Of Tort Law

Tort law, according to Wikipedia, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Its purpose is to right a wrong that has been made and put that person who was harmed back as if they were whole again.

So if someone negligently drives under the influence and ran someone on the sidewalk over and then that person lost their legs, tort law tries to find a monetary amount that would be equivalent to losing your legs. In other words, how much are that man’s legs worth?

So even though we were exposed to mold in our apt, which could have dangerous health effects on us and our 2 month old baby, the fact that we weren’t dead or dying didn’t give us much of a case.

  • Lawyers Aren’t Going To Do All The Work.

I don’t know why I have this image in my mind of lawyers wanting to jump at the opportunity of righting some injustice, but that’s not even close to how they work.

They don’t want to have to prove you have a case. YOU have to go to them and prove that you have a case under the law. That means you have to do a bit of digging on what laws apply to your issue.

From there you might get a consultation and if the attorney feels you have a good enough case, then he’ll take you on and start the process of the lawsuit.

  • It’s All About The Benjamins

Even if you have a case, that still doesn’t mean you have a case worth taking on. Because attorneys need to get paid one way or another. It’s going to be either hourly billing or contingency.

For contingency fees, they usually run 33% if you settle and 40% if it goes to trial. Zilch if the case doesn’t settle or win. So what they’re really looking for are cases that can settle or win.

For most attorneys, the question on their mind is, “If I take this case, how likely will it be to win and how much will I make.”

If they can’t make money off the case, they won’t take it.

  • Personal Injury Attorneys

Our first attempt to resolve this was to find a personal injury attorney. And they are the worst. I could not get a hold of a single one of them. They all had these bulldog secretaries that just took information and messages. Whether the attorneys actually got the messages, we don’t know, but I never heard back from anyone.

I thought it was really ridiculous that they spent all this money on advertising, to bring clients in, but they couldn’t be bothered to meet with us or respond. I guess we just weren’t dead or dying enough to make a case that was worth the money.

  • Find An Attorney That Specializes On What You Need.

At first it felt like we were taking shots in the dark. I would call personal injury attorney’s and ask, “Do you do mold litigation?” I didn’t have any referral attorneys that I could turn to. If someone said no, I would ask for a referral. It seems no one wants to give another attorney a referral.

None of the lawyers would help me so I had to rely on information from the legal secretaries. One straight out told me I would have to be severely injured for them to take me. Another referred me to the state bar association. The state bar can refer me for a $35 fee. Another secretary was more helpful and told me I would need a landlord/tenant attorney and to check AVVO.

AVVO is basically like the Yelp for attorneys, they sort by area and specialty and can help you find an attorney that has the experience you need. There are also a lot of reviews, so you can choose a top rated attorney.

  • Be Prepared To Drop Your Case Before It Even Started.

“I’ve always found the legal system to be disappointing” That’s what my dad said when I told him I wanted to sue over the mold.

Well, he was right. After I finally found a landlord/tenant attorney to meet with me for a $150 consultation, we learned we wouldn’t recoup much in damages. Maybe one months rent.

The attorney was very knowledgeable but basically laid it out for us that to pursue this in court would cost more than we could get and that basically we need to negotiate with our landlord to fix the problem permanently or to allow us to break the lease. I felt a little jipped, of course I can negotiate with my landlord directly and they already told us we could break the lease. What we wanted were damages for the costs of moving and furniture!

Our search for an attorney was long and stressful. In the end we did get enough information to make an educated decision on what to do about our apartment. I honestly hope I never have to consult a lawyer again or use an attorney’s services. Because at the end of the day, getting injured from mold or anything isn’t worth a large settlement.

We learned a lot from our situation. In case you ever need legal advice, here are the questions you’ll need to ask:

  1. Have you ever dealt with cases like this before?
  2. What is your success rate
  3. What is your retainer?
  4. Do you work hourly or by contingency basis?
  5. How will you keep me in the loop about the progress of my case?

Good luck and thanks for reading!