Anyone who has ever built their own home will tell you that often the hardest part in the whole process was coming up with the money in the first place.
As someone who has worked hard for their money over the years, I started becoming increasingly nervous as my retirement date approached. I had plans on building my own home soon after I officially retired and I was counting on the funds I had saved up in my IRA to help with financing the build. All around me I could see the economy in all sorts of troubles and with the US dollar on a downward spiral I knew I had to act fast and do something about protecting my assets or else everything I had worked so hard and so long for would have literally gone down the gurgler.
I had remembered seeing something on the Internet about using gold as a way to protect existing retirement fund assets against the ravages of inflation, so I started doing some research.
I soon discovered that there was a lot more to gold investing than I had ever thought possible. The options available for anyone wanting to invest in gold are almost endless.
Thankfully, I knew that the investment options open to me would be restricted to retirement accounts and in particular Independent Retirement Accounts or IRAs, so that narrowed the field down a fair bit.
I then came across an option for investing in gold which allowed me to rollover or transfer some of my existing retirement funds into a new IRA specifically designed to cater for precious metal investing.
It turns out that if done in the correct manner and if you stick to the standard gold IRA rules and regulations, you can do the transfer and purchase your gold or other precious metal and not incur any taxes! That was great news, as I had feared that I would be lumbered with yet another tax bill just for converting some of my retirement money into physical gold.
So I went ahead and converted approximately 35% of my retirement funds into mainly gold, but also some silver, platinum and palladium. That was around 3 years ago and thankfully I did so, as the value of the shares in one of the managed funds that I had taken my money out of hit rock bottom, which meant I would have lost around 60% of the value of my entire portfolio!!!
The interesting thing about gold is that historically, it usually always works in the opposite way to most other paper-backed assets, so when the US dollar or any other US dollar-backed investment falls in value, gold will almost always rise in value. So including gold in the form of physical gold, or gold-backed securities is an excellent way to diversify your portfolio and protect it from exposure to inflationary pressures and stock market fluctuations.
A word of warning thought before you start jumping in buying up just any sort of gold. There are some fairly strict rules governing the types of gold your IRA account is allowed to invest. Essentially, you can only invest in gold that has a high purity and is in the form of the bars or several different types of gold coins.
Also make sure you deal with a reputable gold dealer or broker, preferably one that also has extensive experience in setting up the correct IRA for holding gold and knows the process for rolling over your existing IRA into a gold-backed IRA.
One of the best resources I found online was from a site called The Gold IRA Reviewer. They have done extensive reviews of the top gold IRA companies and have ranked them according to customer service levels and industry reputation. Just by taking the time to go through the information on this site will literally save you hours of time and potentially thousands of dollars.
I often hear young people complaining about how hard it is to build a house. They say it’s too big a job and that they couldn’t possibly manage it themselves. Well I’m here to tell you you can – even with no real previous experience and at the ripe old of age of 69!
This particular home build project took me about 18 months of actual work, and overall, from start to finish, took 2 years all up. Around 90% of the work I did by myself, with no outside help whatsoever. Now remember, this is all without any prior building experience or training. If I can do it, then I’m sure you can as well.
Anyway, now that I’ve gone through the entire process of building my own home, I’ve had some time to sit back and reflect on the main lessons I learnt from the experience.
What follows are the 4 main factors that I feel allowed me to successfully complete my home build without undue stress and worry.
When I first started designing this house, I initially wanted to build something very spacious – basically a mansion. I thought with the money I would be saving on labour, I could go for something big. However, it didn’t take long to realise that not only would it still be quite expensive, but that if I was honest with myself, I didn’t actually need all that extra space. Our 3 kids have all moved out of home now, so my wife and I were downsizing. So in the end, I designed a house with around 150 square metres of living space, consisting of 3 bedrooms, one open plan living/dining room area, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry and finally a large and airy veranda which could serve as a second outdoor living/dining area in the warmer months.
Whilst this design is smaller than what we were used to, without the kids around now, we didn’t actually need (or want) the extra space.
One of the perks of doing the work yourself whilst you’re already retired is that you don’t have to meet any deadlines. Just knowing that I would be saving a stack of money doing the work myself was all the motivation I needed to keep rolling along and reach my ultimate goal of building a home. I planned on paying myself around $120,000 over the course of the 2 year build. At first 2 years seemed an excessive period of time, however, I had to be honest with myself and realise that I wasn’t a fit 30 year old anymore. I could pace myself and work anytime of the day I wanted. When the weather was fine, I put in a really solid 10-12 hours a day. On days when it was raining, particularly in the early stages of the build when there was no roof, I would take the day off and just catch up with the paperwork or do some research on builders Brisbane has available in my local area for when I needed help to do some of the more tricky things, like installing the roof trusses.
Had I been trying to stick with deadlines, I’m sure I wouldn’t have coped with all the stress. I needed to keep my strength up with the home build. So I just kept going at my own pace and tried to enjoy the whole process.
On a self-build home project such as this, it is impossible to avoid having to do at least some heavy lifting, and at first glance, it usually seemed easier just to get on with it and lift things myself. However, I couldn’t afford the risk of injuring myself, so I had to hold myself back and try to work out easier ways to do things. I soon found that it was much better taking a few hours downtime to come up with a solution than it was to just try and struggle on with the labour-intensive approach.
For example, at one point in the build, I had to somehow get some heavy steel beams up onto the veranda. Even with an extra set of hands or two, it would have been a real struggle – not to mention dangerous. So I ended up designing a platform and pulley system which I rigged up in a day. This made things so much easier and meant I could do this all myself safely. I ended up using this system many times during the build.
Another example was when I was bolting some plasterboard sheeting to some wall frames which were quite high up and out of reach from the ground. I worked out that instead of trying to hold the a sheet with one hand and pushing with my other, which was aching my shoulders and back, I could use a step ladder to lean my back against, allowing me to use both hands to fix the sheet to the frame.
So take the time and think things through before you take the typical manual approach. It will save you lots of time and your back!
At first glance, looking at building a whole complete house seems like an enormous, impossible project to complete on your own. However, I realised that building a house is just a series of small and quite manageable tasks, that with a bit of forethought and planning, can be (almost!) completely done by a single person. Throughout the whole build process, I just kept on thinking of, and focusing on, the task at hand and tried not to think too much about all the other tasks I had to do to complete the whole build. Before long, I was doing the last of the tasks and my first (and probably only) home build project was complete.
So next time you’re considering building your own home, do some research at a site like this (http://builders-brisbane.net) and keep what I have said in mind. Remember, if a 69 year old non-builder can do it, then so can you!