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Ready For Retirement?

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

It can be shocking to hear how many people spend more time planning their vacation or next mobile phone purchase than planning for retirement. It is hard to imagine that they are expecting Social Security will take them through their golden years. A person who has paid in the maximum each year to social security can assume to receive about $30,000 a year.

investable assets.png

Every adult in the work force, should go to to find out what they can expect based on their planned retirement age. Since it probably won’t be the amount you need to retire comfortably, at least you’ll know how much you’ll be short so that you can devise an investment plan.

There’s an easy rule of thumb used to estimate the investable assets needed by the time they retire to generate a certain income. The target annual income is divided by a safe, conservative yield to determine the investable assets needed.

A person who wants $80,000 annual income generated from a 4% investment would need investable assets of $2,000,000. If a person had $500,000 now, they would need to accumulate $1.5 million more by the time they retire. They would need to save about $100,000 a year to be ready for retirement in 15 years.

If saving that amount does seem possible, an IDEAL alternative could be to invest in rental homes. The familiarity of rental homes like owning a personal residence can reduce some of the risk. Rentals also enjoy other characteristics like income from the operation, depreciation in the form of tax shelter, equity buildup from the amortization of the loan, appreciation and leverage from the borrowed funds controlling a larger asset. 

Some investors explain the strategy by buying good rentals with mortgages and having the tenant to retire the debt for you. Single family homes offer the investor an opportunity to meet their retirement and financial goals with an investment that is easily understood and controlled.

An Retirement Projection calculator can give you an idea of how many rental homes you’ll need to supplement your social security and other investments. 

Decorating For Contentment: How To Live The 'Lagom' Life

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Too Much Debt Is Bad For Your Credit

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

A young woman checks her purse trying to find something inside it.

Having a poor credit score can affect your life as a consumer. For instance, if you’re shopping for a type of installment loan, such as a car loan or mortgage, you may not get the most favorable rates, terms and amounts. The higher your credit score, the less you’re seen as a risk to lenders. In turn, you’ll be able to secure more favorable terms on loans.

You may have been well aware that not paying your bills on time, being late on payments and not having a healthy mix of credit may negatively impact your credit score, but so can having too much debt.

“Having a lot of credit card debt could make it difficult to get approved for loans and credit lines, or lead to higher interest rates if you are approved,” says freelance credit writer Louis DeNicola. “The debt can impact your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio, two important factors in many lending decisions.”

We’ll go over how much debt is too much and how you can get help with digging yourself out of a debt grave.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Versus Credit Utilization Ratio

A debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is how much of your monthly income goes toward debt in relation to your total income. This debt can include credit card debt, debt from your monthly rent or mortgage, auto or student loan payments, or another type of loan. It can also include your monthly child support or alimony payments.

This ratio is expressed as a percentage. For instance, if your take-home pay before taxes is $5,000 and $2,000 of that goes toward debt, your debt-to-income ratio is 40%.

A debt-to-income ratio is commonly confused with a credit utilization ratio, which is how much credit you’re using relative to the total amount of credit available. Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. For instance, let’s say you have three credit cards, and the total maximum credit on all three cards is $20,000. And you carry a balance of $5,000. Your credit utilization ratio is 25%.

Note that while your credit utilization ratio does impact your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio does not.

How Much Debt Is Too Much Debt?

Having too much debt can ding your credit. “When it comes to credit card debt, the lower your utilization ratio, the better, and it can help show lenders that you’re not overextended,” says DeNicola. The remaining balance on installment loans, how many accounts you have with a balance and the amounts you owe on specific types of accounts can also impact your score, explains DeNicola.

So how much credit card debt is too much? As a general rule, you want to keep it below 30%. But if you’re trying to boost your score in a hurry – for instance, you’re preparing to apply for a mortgage – then keep it below 10%, explains Beverly Harzog, credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan.  ”If your credit utilization ratio is over 30%, you’ll appear as being in need of funds and thus seen as a greater risk to creditors.

What Happens When You Have Too Much Credit Card Debt?

If you have too much credit card debt, your credit utilization ratio will go up, which can be a red flag for your card issuer, explains Harzog. This situation could make you seem risky to an issuer. In turn, it could result in an interest rate increase or a lowered credit limit, or it could make it more difficult for you to obtain new forms of credit.

What Is an Unhealthy Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Your DTI typically comes up when applying for a mortgage. “Lenders want to know that the loan you want will not overextend you financially, and that you have enough money to pay your bills,” says credit expert Kimberly Rotter.

When you have a DTI higher than 36%, that suggests you have too much debt, points out Harzog. And regardless of your credit score, you might not be able to get approved for some types of loans or credit if your DTI is too high, points out DeNicola. The specific ratio can vary depending on the financial product and lender, but sometimes there are guidelines. For example, to get qualified for a mortgage, your DTI may need to be 43% or lower.

When it comes to home loans, your DTI is expressed in two ways, explains Rotter:

  • The front-end DTI: This is your total housing expenses divided by your total monthly income before taxes. “Housing expenses” includes the principal and interest payment on your loan, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes and HOA fees if required. 
  • The back-end DTI: This is your total debt payment divided by your monthly income before taxes. Your total debt includes your housing expenses plus any credit card minimum payments, your auto loan, your student loans and any other monthly payments you’re obligated to make.

How to Get Help 

There are free credit monitoring services that not only give you your credit score but also give you a “credit report card” that shows the areas where you can improve the most. Plus, you’ll receive tips explaining exactly what you can do to boost your credit score.

If you’re drowning in debt, you can receive free debt relief management from non-profit organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or Clearpoint Counseling. Trained counselors may be able to help you create a plan to break free from the cycle of debt, and they may be able to talk to creditors on your behalf. “Getting a handle on your debt is the best gift you can give yourself, and the knowledge will last a lifetime,” says Rotter.

You can also look into debt consolidation, where you consolidate all your debts with a debt consolidation company. You agree to make monthly payments to the debt consolidation company. Not only will this help simplifying things, it can lower your monthly payments, which may give you some breathing room. You may also be able to negotiate a lower interest rate, which could help you save on the total amount you owe on your debts.

As you can see, it’s important that you don’t have too much debt. Otherwise, you may run into challenges getting approved for loans with favorable rates and terms. In turn, it’ll cost you more.

Check out our tips for chipping away at debt so you can have an optimal DTI.

5 Ways To Incorporate Pantone's Color Of The Year In Your Home

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Ultra Violet Living Room Attic

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. 

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are in full swing, people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions and the world’s color authority, Pantone, has released their color of the year!

According to Pantone’s website, ultra violet is “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade … [that] communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

This shade of purple has typically been associated with mindfulness, which Pantone felt is needed in our world, where many things are constantly fighting for our attention.

Unlike some of the previous years’ colors, like greenery or marsala, ultra violet is a bold, vibrant color that makes a big statement. It may seem like it would be harder to incorporate this color into your home, but that’s not necessarily true.

We talked with designers from across the country to get their tips and tricks to use the color of the year in your home.

Make a Splash

Simon Upton Photogrpahy for Elle Decor (Accent Wall)

Image: Simon Upton Photogrpahy for Elle Decor

Ultra violet is not for the faint of heart – this color makes a statement!

Keep in mind, though, that too much of this color could be overwhelming. Erika Bodine, design director and assistant sales manager at LuxeDecor, warns, “I would recommend against painting all four walls of a room with this color, as it would likely be a little too much for any space, but an accent wall is a great way to incorporate a bold color that doesn’t distract from the other design elements in the room.”



If you’re not ready to commit to a wall color (let’s face it – that­­­­­­­’s a lot of work, especially if you’ll want to change the color in a year). Try introducing ultra violet with a throw rug or an accent chair. Ashley Rose Marino, interior decorator and owner of Ashley Marino Designs, says, “If you want to go bold, get an accent chair with a pattern that features ultra violet. Updating your space with a bold chair would work well in a space that’s dominated by neutrals for a serious pop.”

Mark Cutler of Mark Cutler Design calls this creating an “island.” He explains, “I don’t think this is the color for an entire room, but use it as a visual island that will anchor the space.” He recommends doing this with a purple velvet sofa or a high-gloss purple ceiling.

Create Interest with Agates

agate table


Agates are a semiprecious gemstone, and they’re a great way to bring color into any room. Their translucent quality keeps them from drawing too much attention.

“For small touches, agate is still super on trend,” says Marino. “For a really stunning accent, I’d use agate coasters or an agate slice table lamp to bring a pop of ultra violet into your home.”

Agates are versatile, too. You can find them built into tabletops, counters, candle holders, and even sinks! Using them to show off some pops of color is a great natural way to incorporate the color in a simple way.

Pair It with Metallic and Iridescent Finishes

ultra violet accent chair with metallics


Metallic and iridescent finishes have been trending for a while and will likely continue to be popular in 2018. Bring in two trends by pairing ultra violet with these finishes.

“With the rise of metallic and iridescent decor, I would definitely use ultra violet as an accent wall in a living room or dining room, then add in metallic or iridescent elements,” says Bonny Ford, editor of the FurnishMyWay blog. “It would really add to the mermaid/unicorn trend that has been going on, and give it an almost space-like element with all of the metallic. It will be a fun color to play with this year.”

If you’re not into the playful fantasy feel of unicorns and mermaids, try something a little more sophisticated, like metallic geometric shapes. You could also pair a matte, ultra violet accent wall with some iridescent vases or frames for a glamourous, modern look.

Utilize Jewel Tones

jewel tone bedroom

Image: Urban Outfitters via Pinterest

Ultra violet pairs well with other jewel tones. Incorporating them into your space can give it an elegant, luxurious vibe while still being eclectic.

“Many people will laugh at this, but I think of purple as almost a neutral,” says Cutler. “You can use it with other rich tones like ruby and emerald green for a fantastic jewel tone room.”

Trying pairing these colors in a neutral room by using throw pillows or artwork. With the rest of the room fairly neutral, these colors will pop and create visual interest.

Get the Look

No matter how you incorporate it into your home, ultra violet is definitely a showstopper. If you’re looking for a piece to bring the color of the year home, try some of our favorites from around the web:

5 Ways to Incorporate Pantone's Color of the Year in Your Home - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

  1. Rockcloud 10 Pcs Agate Light Table Slices
  2. T-fal Nonstick Cookware
  3. Riverside Tool & Dye X UO Hand-Dyed Pastel Mudcloth
  4. Paper Muse Aquarella Wallpaper
  5. H&M Floral Pillow Cover
  6. Hartcourt Chesterfield Sofa
  7. Container Floral Armchair
  8. Delphine Dye Duvet Cover
  9. Hamilton Beach Shimmer Finish Slow Cooker
  10. Clarity Lavender Acrylic Stemware

5 Things to Do with Your Leftover Paint

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

It seems like as hard as I try, I always overestimate how much paint I’ll need. Sometimes there’s just a little bit left at the bottom of the paint can; sometimes it’s considerably more.

I know you’re not supposed to toss out wet paint because it can be hazardous, but what can you do with it?

If you’re wondering the same thing, check out these five options for your leftover paint.

Store It

stored paint in mason jars

Image: GoodbyeHouseHelloHome

After you spend an entire weekend transforming a room with a new coat of paint, a scratch or smudge can be very frustrating. It’s a good idea to save a little bit of extra paint for the occasional touch-up. But who has space for mostly empty paint gallons?

Goodbye, House! Hello, Home! has a great trick for storing your paint and making it look clean and organized – mason jars! You can use mason jars or other airtight containers to store your paint in.

It’s a good idea to print out some labels too, so you can write the paint color, the brand, where you used it and the date. No one wants expired paint or to play the “Is the wall eggshell or cream?” game.

leftover paint in a cabinet


But where should you actually store it? A common place, at least in my family, is the garage, but according to, that may not be the best location.

They suggest that paint be stored in a cool, dark location that doesn’t have extreme temperatures. Try a shelf in the basement or, if you don’t have a basement, a cabinet or closet in the house. You want to keep it someplace cool and dark because extreme heat can dry out the paint and extreme cold can make latex paint separate.

Make Chalkboard Paint

chalkboard paint


If you’re looking for something a little more creative to do with your leftover paint, turn it into chalkboard paint! All you’ll need is some plaster, leftover paint and a little bit of water.

For every three tablespoons of paint, mix two tablespoons of plaster and one tablespoon water. Then, mix and paint!

Chalkboard paint is extremely versatile. You can use it to paint the glass on a picture frame, making a cute and decorative chalkboard, on the inside of your cabinet door to keep track of what you’re out of, or paint a whole wall! Walls that you’re allowed to write on are a favorite for everyone!

Take It to a Disposal Center

5 Things to Do with Your Leftover Paint - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

If you’re trying to get rid of oil-based paint, then you’ll have to take it to a recycling center because it’s considered hazardous waste. Latex paint can be disposed of at home, but if you have a lot of leftover paint and don’t want to deal with the hassle, you should take that to a disposal location. If latex paint is not disposed of properly, it can become hazardous.

Not sure of where to drop-off your paint? has a handy drop-off locator that helps you find the closest drop-off location near you and tells you how much paint and what other items they accept.

They may not technically be disposal centers, but you could even donate your paint to local schools, churches, theaters or community centers. Places like that often need paint for projects and have rather limited budgets. You could help the environment and your neighborhood in one easy step!

Add a Pop of Color

This is a great trick, especially if you’re using a vibrant color. Instead of tossing out the extra paint, use it to add some visual interest to otherwise boring spaces.

painted cabinets



Like in the back of your cabinet or bookshelf.


painted stairs



On your steps.


painted table legs



On table and chair legs.


painted rug



To paint a rug.



painted dresser



Or even to add contrast to an old piece of furniture.

The possibilities are endless! And by using a color found in another room in your home, you’re tying in the color and style, making your home feel more cohesive and designed.

Dispose of It Yourself

5 Things to Do with Your Leftover Paint - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Earlier, I mentioned that latex paint can be disposed of at home, there’s just a bit of a process.

The DIY way is to add equal parts cat litter to the leftover paint, stir it up and let it sit for about an hour. This dries up the paint and you can just toss it in the trash with the lid off.

There are also paint hardeners you can buy if you don’t want to use the cat litter method.

If there’s just a small amount of paint left in the tin, you can actually set that aside with the lid off and let it dry out on it’s own.

Again, this is only for latex paint. Oil-based paints should always be disposed of at a recycling center.

Now that you know what to do with that leftover paint, to see what you need to do to get ready to paint with this checklist! If you are looking to purchase a home, take a look at the do’s and don’ts of home decorating so you can make the most of your new space!

Housing Trends For 2018

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

What's Hot: Trends in the Pipeline for 2018

2018 with house replacing 0

The big-picture view on housing trends in 2018 center around integrating technology and creating healthy and connected living environments. That’s why building materials, systems, and products that speak to these concerns are expected to generate greater buzz in the coming year. And with more generations living under the same roof, home-related features that provide an extra pair of hands or calming—even spiritual—influence are also being enthusiastically embraced.

The Rise of the Tech Guru

Why now: Smart homes are getting smarter, with homeowners increasingly purchasing devices and apps that perform tasks such as opening blinds, operating sprinkler systems, and telling Alexa what food to order. But not all these helpers speak the same language, nor do they always work together harmoniously. “Even plugs and chargers aren’t necessarily universal for different appliances and phones,” says Lisa Cini, senior living designer and author of The Future is Here: Senior Living Reimagined (iUniverse, 2016). Also, with more devices competing for airtime, Wi-Fi systems may not be strong enough to operate throughout a home, which results in dead spots, she says. “What many homeowners need is a skilled tech provider who makes house calls, assesses what’s needed, and makes all the tech devices hum effortlessly at the same time.”

Smart Glass Adds Privacy, Energy Savings

Why now: As more homes feature bigger and more numerous windows, homeowners will naturally look for ways to pare down the energy costs, lack of privacy, and harmful ultraviolet rays that can accompany them. Next year, glass company Kinestral Technologies will begin offering a residential option to their line of windows and skylights. Called Halio, the technology allows users to tint glazing electronically up to 99.9 percent opacity. The company claims this can eliminate the need for blinds, shades, and curtains. “You’ll be able to tell Alexa to tint your windows, which will also provide privacy,” says Craig Henricksen, vice president of product and marketing for Halio. He notes that previously, the commercial version only offered the choice between yellow, brown, or blue casts, but that they’ll now add in an appealing gray tint to the mix. Windows come in a variety of sizes, and contractors can install the cable and low voltage system required to change the tinting. Homeowners can control the tint by voice command through an app, manual operation with switch, or with preset controls. Henricksen says Halio can save homeowners up to 40 percent off their energy bill, and that while the initial cost is around five to six times greater than similar low-E glass, the fact that traditional window treatments won’t be needed means the investment gap narrows.

Spiritual Gardens That Lift the Soul

Why now: Homeowners have long seen their gardens as a place for quiet reflection, so choosing plants and designs that have a physical tie to spirituality is a natural next move. The trend may have started with Bible gardens, which use any number of the more than 100 plants mentioned in the Christian text to populate a restful repose. “So many are good choices because they are hardy, scented, edible, and can withstand harsh climates and environments,” says F. Nigel Hepper, with the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, and author of Illustrative Encyclopedia of Biblical Plants (Inter-Varsity Press, 1992). But people of all faiths, or even those simply drawn to botanical history, can appreciate such spaces. “Around for generations, they feed the body and the soul,” says landscape designer Michael Glassman, who designed such a garden in the shape of a Jewish star as a meditative spot at one of Touro University’s campuses. He filled it with mint, pomegranate trees, sage, and other plants that are mentioned in ancient religious texts. Hepper says labeling and providing detailed context to plantings can transform a miscellaneous, obscure collection into an instructive experience.

Kitchens That Do More Than Just Look Pretty

Why now: An emphasis on eating fresh, healthy foods may mean more frequent trips to grocery stores and farmers markets, but it could also change the architecture of our kitchens. Portland, Ore.–based designer Robin Rigby Fisher says many of her higher-end clients want a refrigerator-only column to store their fresh foods, installing a freezer or freezer drawer in a separate pantry or auxiliary kitchen. The container-gardening industry is vying for counter space with compact growing kits that often feature self-watering capabilities and grow lights. Fisher is also getting more requests for steam ovens that cook and reheat foods without stripping them of key nutrients, though she notes that these ovens can cost $4,000 and have a steeper learning curve than conventional ones. Homeowners also want to be able to use their kitchen comfortably, which means having different or variable counter heights that work for each member of the family, ample light for safe prepping, easy-to-clean countertops, and flooring that’s softer underfoot, such as cork.

Home Robots to the Rescue

Why now: With lifestyles that seem busier by the day and many families inviting elders who require assistance to live with them, robots that can perform multiple services are gaining in popularity. IRobot’s Braava robots mop and vacuum floors, while Heykuri’s Kuri robot captures short videos of key life moments, including pets’ antics when owners are away. Some robots offer health benefits that mimic real pets, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, says Cini. She says Hasbro’s Joy for All line of furry robot dogs and cats can provide companionship for the elderly with dementia.

Black Is the New Gray

Why now: Palettes change all the time, and some feel the interest in black is a welcome contrast after years of off-whites, grays, and beiges. The hue is coming on strong in every category—appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting, metal finishes, hardware, and soft goods, according to commercial interior designer Mary Cook of Mary Cook Associates. She appreciates black’s classic, neutral, sophisticated touch and notes it can be a universal mixer. “Black is a welcome accent in any palette,” she says. Marvin Windows and Doors launched its Designer Black line this year, incorporating a hip industrial vibe. Designer Kristie Barnett, owner of the Expert Psychological Stager training company in Nashville, loves how black mullions draw the eye out toward exterior views more efficiently than white windows can. Kohler has released its popular Numi line and Iron Works freestanding bath in black. Even MasterBrand cabinets are available in black stains and paints. For homeowners who prefer to step lightly into the trend, Chicago designer Jessica Lagrange suggests painting a door black.

Air Locks Preserve Energy, Increase Security

Why now: Incorporating two airtight doors has become a popular way for homeowners to cut energy costs. The double barrier helps keep outside air from entering the main portion of the house and provides a better envelope seal. “We rarely design a house nowadays without one,” says Orren Pickell, president of Orren Pickell Building Group in Northfield, Ill. It’s not just energy homeowners save, though; Pickell says it also supports the trend of more people shopping online. “It keeps packages safer than being left in full view” because delivery services can leave them inside the first door. Homeowners will need a minimum area of five feet squared in order to make this work. Costs vary by project size but it could run homeowners as much as $10,000 to add a small space beyond a front or back door. This usually costs less in new construction or as part of a larger remodeling project, Pickell says.

Maximized Side Yards

Why now: As a national trend toward smaller lot sizes combines with surging interest in maximizing outdoor space, one area that’s often neglected is the side yard. But designers are beginning to pay attention, transforming these afterthoughts into aesthetically pleasing, functional places that buffer a home from neighbors, says Glassman. He suggests growing plants such as star jasmine, climbing roses, and clematis vertically along the siding or a fence. He has created a pleasant pass-through to a backyard, with meandering walkways flanked by ornamental grasses or honeysuckle. Homeowners who have extra space here might consider adding a small recirculating water feature or a tiny sitting area.

Battery Backup Systems Offer Resilience

Why now: Any home owner who’s experienced a weather-related disaster, such as hurricanes, forest fires, and torrential downpours, understands the peace of mind that comes from having systems in place to help withstand Mother Nature’s worst punches. One example of this is a battery backup that integrates into a home’s electric system and operates during power outages, says architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Chicago. The backup batteries can store either electricity from the grid or renewable energy generated onsite by solar panels or other means. A key advantage is that the system doesn’t create the noise and pollution you get with an old-school generator, because it doesn’t use natural gas or diesel fuel. While they’re generally more expensive than traditional fossil fuel systems, prices do continue to drop.

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Judi Monday
RE/MAX Valley Properties In Green Valley, AZ
210 West Continental Road
Green Valley AZ 85622
Direct: (520) 241-7780
Fax: (520) 648-2221