On Death & Taxes (mostly property taxes)

July 17, 2018

Uncle SamDeath and taxes – the only two things that are guaranteed in life.  Or so the saying goes.  I’m no expert on what happens around the world, but I do keep a bit of awareness on how it works here in the good old US of A.  Did you know that if your home gets foreclosed, tax debt jumps to the front of the line to get paid from the sheriff’s sale?  Did you know that most tax debt won’t go away in bankruptcy?

If you live within the boundaries of the Sioux Falls School district, did you know they just approved a property tax increase for the next budget year?  It went up an astonishing .011 mil for non-agricultural owner-occupied property!  Can you believe it?!?  .011 MIL!!!!

Wait.  What’s a mil?  No, it’s not a million.  Or even a mill, like where you grind grain into flour. Read the rest of this entry »

Food – Gotta Have It. Or Do You?

June 7, 2018

Food.  It’s a need.  In all of the classes I have done in which I ask what a need is, food ALWAYS comes up.  There’s never been any debate that food is a need.  Unfortunately, defining a need isn’t always that easy.  Can you live on ramen noodles?  Do you need meat?  Canned or fresh veggies?  Just easier to go out or order in?  We have a lot more choices to make than food just being a need or want.

This week, in two separate classes, I had two different comments from clients that I thought worth sharing.   Read the rest of this entry »

6 Tips for Successful Buyers in a Sellers’ Market

May 31, 2018


So you are all ready to buy your first home.  But you’ve also heard the fearwar stories about where our market is right now.  It’s true, a lot of towns in our region of the country are definitely operating as a “sellers’ market”.  Are you just out of luck?  Not sure if it’s worth even trying?  Will you even be able to get the house if you do find the right one? Read the rest of this entry »

Why File (not taxes)

April 17, 2018

Organization is important! – Why??? It saves time, money, & effort. The key to organization is a good record-keeping system. If you need some motivation to get you started, here are just a few benefits:

paper files

  • Easier to find important information (How many times have you stressed frantically looking for that ever-important document at the last minute?!)
  • Provides security
  • Provides proof of transactions (But I already paid that bill! If you can’t prove it – it didn’t happen!)
  • Helps in handling emergencies
  • Makes it easier for others (If you pass away – where will your loved ones go to find important and needed documents?)

Here’s a few tips to help you maintain your system and make it easier:

  • Start simple
  • File documents regularly
  • Only file what you need
  • Label/color code it
  • Make it convenient
  • Go digital
  • If you’re wondering what and when to shred documents, the Federal Trade Commission has a few guidelines.
  • Keep a RED file (disaster preparedness documents) in a fire-proof case that you can grab-and-go in an emergency

It’s A Security Thing!

  • Lock the cabinet
  • Don’t leave things floating around
  • Consider mail safety – electronic vs. postal
  • Shred what you don’t need – To help with this, the CRIMESTOPPERS ANNUAL SHRED EVENT is this weekend in Sioux Falls

Annual Shred Event: Saturday, April 21, 2018 9am-1pm

57th and Louise in the Minnwest Bank parking lot.

6th and Sycamore at Washington High School.

13th and Main downtown in the Pavilion Parking Lot/Ramp

* There is a suggested donation of $5.00 a box.


Want to learn more about organizing your paper piles to organized files? Or learn more about what to maintain in your disaster preparedness RED file?  Call LSS Center for Financial Resources at 605-330-2700, 888-258-2227 or schedule an appointment online. Sessions may be completed in-person, by phone or online.

written by Sara Ramirez

So NOW What?

January 25, 2018

You’ve done it.  You set a goal and, after years of work, have finally accomplished that goal.  That’s right, you finished your college degree.  With that accomplishment comes another question.  “So now what?”  That can be a pretty loaded question.  Does it include career?  Just finding a job?  Location?  Home purchase?  Relationship?  Family?  Vehicle?  More education?  Vacation?  There is a lot of think about when you ask “So now what?”.  While these all matter, I have one more question you need to ask your self –

“So now what about my student loans?”

Unfortunately, many people respond with, “What do you mean?  I just start paying them…. or something…. at some point in time….”  Well, yes, that’s true.  BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE! Read the rest of this entry »

Confession Time

January 12, 2018

All right, I’m not even Catholic, but it’s time for a little confession.  In our department, we have committed an act of which we speak hesitantly in public.  We are all in on it and equally guilty.  We have high hopes and yet are quite unlikely to actually see any return.  Yes, we who are so focused on credit counseling and building financial stability, are all together in a lottery pool.

And WE’RE OK WITH THAT! Read the rest of this entry »

Rethink That White Picket Fence

November 30, 2017

My in-laws have decided it’s time to make a move.  It’s just the two of them and a small dog in their spacious 3 bed, 2 ½ bath home on a corner lot.  They’ve made a decision that a lot of people in their generation are making.  They are ready to downsize to a townhome.  When I first started selling homes here in Sioux Falls, that’s exactly what townhomes were – the first step of retirement housing in that gradual journey to the nursing home.  Now let me be clear – in no way am I implying that my in-laws are that old.  I’m just sharing why they made the choice they have…… I mean…….uh, anyway……..  While this is still the case for some people, the typical townhome buyer is changing.

If you are dreaming of your very own single-family, picket fence bird housestand-alone home with the white picket fence, you may want to rethink that regardless of your distance from the nursing home. Read the rest of this entry »

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