Posts tagged with "Krishan Narsinghani"

Real Estate article illustration by Rita Azar for 360 magazine

Break into the Housing Market

In the mid-2000s, observers expected millennial homeowners to be few and far in between. This new generation faced stagnant wages, crippling debt issues, and an unfavorable market. Flash forward more than a decade later, and we see a different picture.

The Wall Street Journal notes, a wellspring of new buyers from the millennial market has carried the housing industry this year. Last year, this demographic represented more than half the new mortgages. By July 2019, they also made up 38% of homebuyers. Home ownership aspirations among millennials continue to grow even in 2020, thanks to low interest rates. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, also led to massive unemployment. Its impact on millennials’ finances will no doubt slow down demand from this market.

If you’ve a stable job and need a little more elbow room, now could be the best time to buy a home. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And even if you had to put your house-hunting aspirations on hold, don’t fret. The first steps often begin long before you even look at the listings.

The Advantages of Home Ownership

There is no real answer to the classic rent or own debate. What works best for your situation will depend on your finances and lifestyle. Some people prefer the mobility offered by renting. Others love the stability provided by an owned home. When it comes to price, it’s a different ball game.

The longer you live somewhere, the more it makes financial sense to own the property. Fixed-rate mortgage payments have one big advantage over rent. You pay the same amount for the entirety of the mortgage. Rents, meanwhile, can rise over time. If rents rise too high, it might be cheaper to buy a house!

As a general rule, you can compare the costs of renting vs. owning by multiplying your rent by 200. This is the equivalent of staying in place for 16 years and three months. For instance, let’s assume your rent costs $1,500 a month. In 200 months’ time, you could’ve paid for a modest home worth $300,000. And this is already assuming that your rent stays the same.

Complicating factors include the median home price in your neighborhood. Renting might be justified if the houses in your neighborhood are too pricey. If you have the option of moving, then a cheaper home somewhere else might be more practical.

Refining Your Budget

Whoa, there. Close that tab and stop looking at house listings. Before you fall down that rabbit hole, let’s examine your budget. This much-needed reality check can help you make the right financial decisions. The last thing you want is repeat the same mistakes people made two decades before.

Your budget will play a key role in deciding when you can buy a home. How much mortgage can you fit into your regular budget today? Will your budget have room for savings afterward? Examine the costs of home ownership and compare them to your current needs. In the meantime, focus on pressing financial matters like emergency funds and debts. You must make these considerations before deciding to buy a home. While you wait, set aside as much money as you can for a down payment.

Defining Your Down

The down payment is among the most important expenses you’ll make in the homebuying process. It lowers your starting loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Your LTV is the percentage of the home paid for by the mortgage and thus owned by your lender. For instance, if you paid a 10 percent down payment, your LTV ratio is 90 percent. The remaining 10 percent is your home equity, the amount you do own. The greater your starting home equity, the smaller the sum you need to borrow.

A sizeable down payment cuts down your expenses in other ways. You’ll also avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an extraneous fee slapped onto your mortgage payment to protect lenders from the risks of default. It does nothing to help you build equity!

By law, PMI payments stop after your LTV ratio reaches 78 percent. But why waste your money until then? Instead, avoid paying PMI altogether by having a down payment worth at least 20 percent of your home’s price. You can save more money by removing that one unnecessary cost.

Remember, prices are not static. Real estate markets often follow an upward curve. Be aggressive when saving and adjust your down payment goals. If you expect real estate to climb by 3 percent each year, plan accordingly. If your savings goal is 5 years away, aim to make 16 percent more than your target amount.

Analyzing Your Home Needs

It’s easy to get carried away with a dream home. But don’t buy into it easily. Choose a home based on meeting your immediate and anticipated needs.

The ideal home will vary from person to person. If you like to keep things simple and manageable, then a small home might be right for you. A standard, four-bedroom family home is good for the average nuclear family with two kids. Even if you don’t expect another child, the extra bedroom could serve a variety of purposes. It can be a guest bedroom, a room for your parents, or a home office. If you have or expect a big family, a bigger home is in order. If you love the countryside, a rural property might be the thing you’re looking for.

Home offices in particular have become important considerations for homebuyers. Thanks to the advent of telecommuting, millennials needn’t live close to the city center to work. Companies, including tech giants like Twitter, now recognize the advantages of remote work. This trend grew further in the wake of COVID-19 and may likely continue into the future. A home office keeps your professional and personal lives distinct when telecommuting.

While you can always go to cheaper suburban or rural areas to buy a bigger home, this isn’t always advisable. A long stressful commute to work can have adverse effects on both your health and your daily budget. And don’t think having “more house for your money” is a bargain. One UCLA study has found that most rooms in a standard American house were underused.

Mortgage Options

How much and how long you must pay for a house will vary. It’s natural for you to veer toward the smallest monthly payment option. You want a mortgage that fits snugly into your budget. But this choice comes with its own drawbacks. Loans calculate interest fees from the money you borrowed based on the rate and the term. The longer the term and the higher the rate, the greater the interest costs.

According to Freddie Mac, the most popular mortgage option has been the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. These have low, regular payments that are easy to fit into the regular budget. It has been around for nearly a century. But is the 30-year fixed mortgage all that it’s cracked up to be? Critics have claimed that this loan product has failed as a wealth building tool for working-class Americans. This is because the interest costs of a 30-year mortgage will always be high. Besides their long terms, they often have steeper rates.

Thus, aim for as short a term as you can afford. Although pricier each month, a 15-year mortgage can help you save more money in the long run.

Let’s look at one example. Suppose you bought a house worth $300,000 and are willing to pay a 20 percent ($60,000) down payment. You have two options for your $240,000 mortgage. One mortgage offered a 15-year term and 2.5 percent annual percentage rate (APR). The other offers a 30-year term but comes with 3.3 percent APR. The examples below do not include escrow payments like taxes and home insurance.Mortgage DetailsMortgage 1Mortgage 2Term15 Years30 YearsRate (APR)2.5%3.3%Monthly Principal & Interest$1,600.29$1,051.09Total Interest Paid$48,052.94$138,393.31

Although you saved $549.20 each month, you still spent $90,340.37 more on your mortgage’s interest.

Some low monthly payment options come with dire financial consequences. Adjustable-rate mortgages may have low minimum payments at first. But that payment does not reduce your mortgage’s principal. Because their rates change with the market, you’ll likely end up paying more in the future.

Other Ways to Save

There’s more than one way to save money on your mortgage. Because of the way mortgage interest is calculated, you can pay extra toward your principal to save money. This is an excellent and flexible way to reduce your lifetime interest costs if you cannot afford a higher monthly payment up front.

Here’s how it works. In the early days of a mortgage, most of your payments go toward paying interest. On your first payment, only a small part goes toward paying your principal balance. With each payment, your balance shrinks. This means less of your payment goes toward interest and more toward your principal. The cycle continues until your mortgage matures. Paying extra to your principal speeds up this process. 

Let’s return to our 30-year example. Suppose, in the 3rd year, you begin paying an extra $100 per month. For this example, we used this extra payment calculator from MortgageCalculators.info.Mortgage DetailsOriginal PaymentExtra $100/ month on the 3rd yearMonthly Principal & Interest$1,051.09$1,151.09Pay-off Time30 years26 years 3 monthsTime Saved03 years 9 monthsTotal Interest$138,393.31$120,129.89Total Interest Savings0$18,263.42

In that span of time, you shaved off 3 years and 9 months from your loan term and saved about $18,263.42 in total interest charges. That’s money you can set aside for emergency funds, retirement, or other important expenses.

Another way you can save is through biweekly payments. This method takes advantage of a quirk in the calendar. There are about 52 weeks in a year and 26 biweekly periods. In effect, you’ve added an extra month to your payment plan. There are several ways to set up biweekly payments. You can discuss the matter with your lender or have a third party do it on your behalf. Both options come with pricey maintenance fees. The alternative is to pay the equivalent of one month’s payment at the end of the year.

Finally, you can refinance your mortgage. This involves paying down your existing mortgage balance with a new one that has more favorable payment terms. Refinancing to a shorter term or lower rate has the potential to save you even more money in the long run. CBS reports that U.S. homeowners can save $160 each month if they refinanced their mortgages. Indeed, many homeowners refinance when rates drop low enough.

Returning to our previous example, let’s look at how much you can save by refinancing. In this example, we’ll assume you’ve paid off 3 years’ worth of mortgage payments. From there, you refinanced to a 15-year term at the cost of $3,200. Your new APR is 2.7 percent. Here’s how much you can save:Mortgage DetailsCurrent PaymentRefinanced PaymentRemaining Mortgage Balance$225,221.50$225,221.50Rate/APR3.3%2.7%Monthly Principal and Interest$1,051.09$1,523.05Interest Due$115,332.99$48,927.27

By refinancing, you can save $63,205.16 in interest minus your closing costs. But to recoup the costs, you must stay in your current home for at least two years and two months. The up-front costs of refinancing make it an unwieldy option for many homeowners. Thus, refinancing is ideal for established homeowners who intend to stay in their homes long-term.

The Bottom Line

If you want to settle down, don’t wait until your rent goes up. While you save up for your down payment, it’s time to review your spending. Look for expenses you can remove to bolster your cash flow. Start by paying extra toward debt. Clearing your credit card bills and other debts serves a dual purpose. By paying extra toward your debts, you save money and increase your cash flow. Making regular, punctual debt payments also improves your credit rating. This will help you qualify for better interest rates when you look for a mortgage deal.

Look out for caveats like prepayment penalties in your mortgage contract. These punitive clauses punish home buyers for paying extra too early. If a prospective lender won’t remove these clauses, take your business elsewhere. If you’ve already signed on, don’t worry. Since 2014, prepayment penalties must only last three years by law.

As with all things worth doing, if you can afford to wait it out, do so. Great savings come to those who wait.

Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

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Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit projects to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.

Thanksgiving Charity Drive-Thru

By: Krishan Narsinghani

On Sunday, November 22nd, a group of volunteers from the Sant Nirankari Mission Los Angeles hosted a Thanksgiving Drive-Thru to provide food and COVID safety items to nearly 300 families (1200 people).

The Drive-Thru took place at the congregation hall’s parking lot in Norwalk where the fire department and Sheriff’s Department joined the charity event. Lines of cars spanned across four blocks. Prime local news channel ABC 7 covered the giveaway along with other radio and global press. A livestream was captured on their Facebook page.

“Our goal is to give these items to families from across multiple Los Angeles and Orange County communities and to the first responder teams, who are putting themselves and their families at risk to protect everyone.

After seeing and hearing stories repeatedly over the past few months, we felt it was time to provide support in a big way that touches many people. So, we are ready to roll-up our sleeves and work day and night to pack hundreds of boxes with food, masks, sanitizers, disinfectants, soap, lotion, coupons, gift cards and more. To ensure we can maximize the number of people that benefit, we want to make this a larger community effort and procure large quantities of these items. There are countless numbers of families whose jobs have been impacted. Many families have had to also increase their risk to maintain the safety of others.”

The team is part of a humanitarian outreach organization called, Sant Nirankari Mission (SNM), which is headed today by Her Holiness Sudiksha Mata Ji. SNM has been working hard to provide aid and support during COVID-19 around the globe, including here in Los Angeles to communities, hospitals, shelters, assisted living centers, and more. SNM’s continued inspiration to serve humanity is their strength.

All funds contributed went directly to the cause.

This event was one of many COVID support efforts lead by the SNM Los Angeles team. As of late, they provided over 15,000 meals to local food banks and senior centers. This past summer they also donated masks to various hospitals, assisted living centers and some shelters. In addition, the youth of the mission prepared “thank you videos” for the medical professionals.

The pursuit of Truth is a universal phenomenon. Religious faiths all across the world proclaim to preach it, and amongst them they agree that there is no greater Truth than the Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Formless One – Nirankar. The many and varied names for God all represent an omnipresent, all-pervasive, omniscient, and Supreme Entity.

Bio:

All the sages, seers, saints, gurus and prophets from across time have, therefore, preached the same Ultimate Truth; God. The approach, however, might have been different. The various Holy Scriptures are the milestones representing the flow of Divine Thought. These writings and teachings were meant to reveal the Ultimate Truth. History, however, shows that rituals and dogmas overwhelmed the essential Truth behind these teachings, creating confusion and division between religions, sects, and communities.

Baba Buta Singh Ji, the founder and first Satguru (Master) of the Sant Nirankari Mission, recognized that adhering to rites and rituals does not enable humans to realize God. That can happen only with the grace of a God-realized soul. In 1929, Baba Buta Singh Ji began to show the path of uniting with God. This is how the Sant Nirankari Mission and Satguru tradition began.

The Satguru tradition states that God-realization is possible only through the Satguru, the teacher of God Knowledge. The mission of the Satguru is eternal, for there is always another candle to light, another life to transform.

Ideology:

Human being has been described as superior to all other species created by God. It is the human being alone who has been bestowed with intellect that enables him to distinguish between Truth and the falsehood, reality and a non-reality, desirable and the undesirable. For this, however, one must be familiar with what is true, real and desirable. Life being so precious, one must realize the truth about its beginning and its end. While living, one must know the supreme source of entire existence. And this is the primary objective of human life. Once accomplished this makes life blissful here and hereafter.

Ordinarily we find everything surrounding us, occurring in day-to-day life and everything we do as true, real and a matter of fact. But looking at all this carefully, we shall find that these realities are not ever-lasting or eternally true. They change with the change of time, place and person. What we need, therefore, is the Ultimate Truth, the Ultimate Reality, infinite and eternal, beyond time, beyond birth and death, beyond places – the same everywhere, and beyond persons – the same for everyone.

And this Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Reality, this supreme, eternal and infinite entity is God. In His formless form it is He who was there when nothing was, He is there when everything is and He shall be there when there shall be nothing – animate or inanimate. Hence the principal aim of human life is to know God. This is what we are living for. Once it is accomplished and God gets associated with our thought, word and speech, we know what is true, real and desirable. We keep immersed in God while living, merge with Him at the end and stand liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

No doubt the body has its own requirements. We must fulfill the same. As a matter of fact, man has made wonderful achievements to provide more and more comforts to the body from material point of view. The mind, however, may remain in tension and continue to suffer because what it needs ultimately is peace within. This is the man’s spiritual need, the need of his soul and can be fulfilled by spirituality alone. One must link the mind with God all the time at all places and in all circumstances. This will make life meaningful and purposeful.

This link, this state of mind will take man to the realm of Truth which needs no proof, no calculation, no measurement. Here there is belief, there is faith. One comes to be known as a devotee who rises above dualities. He remains attached to the material world but with a spirit of detachment. He stays in what is known as Sehaj – a state of complete harmony. His life becomes balanced and blissful. He enjoys all the comforts of material world in his physical form while his mind and his soul remain linked with God. He is neither entangled in nor carried away by the material wealth. His aim is to use it for his own well-being as also the welfare of others. He transcends the negative feelings of selfishness, ill-will, hatred and violence and leads a life where there is peace inside and calm all around. This makes life happy here and earns the bliss that is eternal, hereafter. As the end arrives, man realizes that he has not only achieved the aim of this human life but lived also in such a way that he gave life its meaning and achieved its purpose.

Lanea Tacos and Tequila

Lanea

By Krishan Narsinghani

360 Magazine joined LA’s westside hotspot, Lanea, for an afternoon of taco madness and handcrafted cocktails.

Voted “Best Mexican Food on the Westside” and “Best Cocktail Bar in LA”, Lanea Cocktail and Taco Bar spiced it up for National Taco Day making their to-go options that much easier to pick up to celebrate the delicious holiday. From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 4th, Lanea hosted a Drive-Thru Taco Stand to raise funds for the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund. Customers could walk up or purchase in advance to pick up there order at an easily accessible drive-thru, located in the adjacent alley. There, guests could indulge in their favorite street tacos made to order from Chef Petra herself. Lanea offered free tacos to all firefighters and frontline workers as a courtesy for all their dedication and hard work during these times. Furthermore, the restaurant offered one free taco (of your choice) with the purchase of any hand-crafted cocktail ($9). A portion of all sales from National Taco Day went to the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund.

A number of items at the National Taco Day Drive-Thru were offered including their “Taco & Tequila Happy Hour,” menu which featured tacos starting at $2 and canned or frozen cocktails starting at $9 (regularly $13). Happy hour specials also include $3 Chips & Pico de Gallo, $6 Chips & Guacamole and $4 Consome, which is bone broth with chipotle chickpeas, onion, and cilantro. Pick up their new “Hot Stuff,” homemade 4 oz. hot sauces, Salsa Verde and Salsa Rojo retailing at only $4.99, as well as their premium Tequila and Mezcal “Jet Fuel” Flights. The flights come with a sipping cup copita, sal gusano and an orange slice for your enjoyment. View the full selection of flights here.

Located two blocks from the beach, Lanea is a spirit-driven cocktail bar and restaurant with an extensive variety of over 400 hand-selected mezcals and tequilas. Their authentic Mexican cuisine is prepared by Petra Zavaleta, who hails from Tepeaca, Puebla, and rose to foodie fame with her underground barbacoa pop-ups, and later opened their eatery Barbakush in East L.A. Praised as one of the best Mexican eateries on the Westside, Petra and her family source their lamb locally from Chino Hills and prepare their barbacoa in an earthen pit, cooking it slowly over an open fire. Offering several different styles of classic tacos on their handmade-to-order corn tortillas, as well as chips and guacamole, they are the perfect complement to Lanea’s unique cocktail menu.

“This year has already been a crazy year for us all and the addition of a record breaking pre-start to fire season elevates the stress on our firefighters and frontline workers,” says Lanea Proprietor Peter Trinh. “Petra and I, alongside our other partners, are really thankful and humbled by the local support as we continue to offer a safe, affordable outlet for the local community. So we wanted to do something to help us all band together to support and thank our firefighters and frontline workers further. Please join us on National Taco Day and check out our new to-go small batched canned cocktails, or our handmade gluten-free tacos, and help us support our hard-working firefighters.”

Lanea’s hand-crafted cocktails are still available to-go, and their Summer menu additions are here to stay. Sip on one of their frozen drinks such as the Horchata Colada crafted with Santa Teresa Rum, pineapple, horchata, almond milk and coconut, the Third Street Sling made with Hibiscus Patron Tequila, fresh lemon, passionfruit, and pineapple, or the Jungle Bird Scooter crafted with Vida Mezcal, fresh lemon, ginger, and campari. Starting at only $9, enjoy a variety of signature canned cocktails such as the Paloma made with The Chainsmokers’ JAJA Tequila (must try!) containing grapefruit tonic and Aperol, or the Margarita with Cazadores tequila, fresh lime, demerara, and orange liqueur.

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Chicago Living

By Krishan Narsinghani

Some call it America’s best fine dining town and others call it the Windy City. Chicago, IL is notorious for its bites and lake breeze, but 360 Magazine believes it’s one of the top cities to move to next.

It’s true that the winters are freezing, but the greater Chicago area has all four seasons and each one exudes a unique beauty. Midwest doesn’t only mean more sunshine and snow, but also affordable living prices and midwestern hospitality (which is important if you don’t already know people in the area). Opinions may vary, but Chi-town is cleaner than most metropolitan cities in the US and Summertime does not disappoint. Relax on the beaches of Lake Michigan or enjoy a nice hand-crafted cocktail at one of the many rooftops. Also explore the rich history and landmarks like The Bean, Navy Pier and Millennium Park – where Lollapalooza is annually held.

First, you need to find where you want to live in the city or outside the city. With over 70 neighborhoods to choose from, movers have tons of options depending on the culture and attractions they want to be associated with. If you’re looking for a superb nightclub scene, River North is your area. West loop is ideal for corporate workers and hot restaurants. West town has new ethnic eateries with wicker park nearby. The list goes on, but every part of Chi has its own vibe and treasures. Getting around the city is easy as public transport isn’t an issue.

In today’s market with COVID-19, it’s harder than ever to find proper living spaces in a major city whilst also budgeting within a reasonable price range. According to Chicago data collected by travel blogger, Lauren Monitz, “The median price for a home listing is $1,750 which is slightly over the national average.” For apartment renting, Zumper’s data showed that the average rent in Logan Square is as low $950 for a studio (and $1,095 across the city overall). Find a roommate and move to The Loop for an average of $2,810 per month. In cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, the average rent price is significantly higher.

A hidden lifesaver recommended for individuals looking to jumpstart their move is a platform called Zumper. Zumper is used by millions of renters to find houses, rooms, condos, or apartments for rent. It’s as simple as applying online. Submit digital rental applications and credit reports with their screening service, powered by TransUnion™. We’ve all tried to use countless rent/housing websites, but Zumper’s site maximizes quality. The inventory is updated in real-time, so users always see new rentals first. Try filtering by location, price range, bedroom count, pet-friendly, or amenity and set an alert to get notifications when a new listing is posted.

It’s always hard to take that first step and find the perfect place. Using websites and apps to navigate searches help legitimize you traveling in-person to visit a new home. It will also save energy if you aren’t wasting time on sites that don’t filter new apartments and homes, plus alerts to keep you in the know. Overall, Chicago has made a mark on our staff. It’s safe to say it’s one of the top cities in the US to live in.

Get The Most Money Selling Your Car

Sales is not everyone’s strong suit, and used car sales has its own stigma. But with the right preparation, you can have the confidence you need to get the most money selling your car. Here are a few strategic tips you can use when selling a used vehicle, no matter the kind or condition. 

Preventative Care

Getting the most out of your car in the future begins with how you take care of it today. Preventative care like regular oil changes and safe driving will help you get the most return when it comes time to sell your car.

  • Oil Change – Motor oil keeps your engine in proper working condition by lubricating its moving parts. This protective barrier also regulates engine temperature and prevents corrosion, which could lead to very dangerous and expensive damage that will show up on your vehicle history report.
  • Keep Clean – It may not seem like it, but keeping your car clean will help with your resale value. Taking your car through a touch-free car wash on a regular basis will help prevent paint from fading and could even prevent rust.
  • Safe Driving – A bit of a no brainer, but accidents dramatically decrease the value of your car. Even when repaired, a car that has been repaired following an accident is a red flag on the vehicle history report. Even if the outside looks good, the buyer has no way of knowing any residual effects of the accident and may choose to avoid the risk all together.

Prep for Success

Curb appeal applies to cars as much as it does homes. Getting more money for your vehicle can be as simple as cleaning it up and taking good photos. Prep your car, inside and out, for eye-catching photos from every angle including detailed shots. Wait for a nice day with optimum lighting and drive to a place with ambiance such as a park, atop a parking garage with the skyline in the background, or even just the side of a building with a clean wall. Don’t forget to eliminate distractions like garbage from the area. Great photos of a detailed car will naturally attract more attention and likely get you more cash in the end.

Getting more money for your vehicle can be as simple as cleaning it up and taking good photos. Great photos of a detailed car will naturally attract more attention and likely get you more cash in the end.

Transparency

After you’ve cleaned and photographed your car, put together a consolidated write up. You could even provide your own copy of the vehicle history report. Whether you’re sharing online or in-person, offering as much information as possible gives car buyers confidence that you’re not trying to hide anything. This transparency creates a foundation of trust which will help you secure your ideal asking price.

Understanding Value

Understanding the value of your car is the next step in getting the most out of it. The last thing you want is a situation where the buyer knows more about your car than you do. If you don’t know enough about the value of your car you could either undersell yourself or let someone talk you out of what your car is truly worth. Do a little research and look into pricing across sites such as Kelly Blue Book, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and local dealerships.

Key Factors

There are a few primary factors that determine the value of your car, though some of the details can be subjective. The vehicle’s mileage and condition are two standing factors no matter the make or model. The value of your car based on its year is somewhat relative. Typically, the newer the better, unless your buyer is a collector or there have been recalls associated with the year of your car. The make and model can be somewhat subjective because buyers desire different cars for different reasons (ie. electric, luxury, comfort, size). Ask yourself why you bought the car in the first place. 

Other factors that affect the value of your car:

  1. Owner Care
  2. Number of Owners
  3. Stock Accessories
  4. Aftermarket Upgrades

Unique Factors

Throughout the time you’ve owned the car, you’ve undoubtedly made some changes to fit your lifestyle. Have you added a roof rack to haul snowboards or mountain bikes? Did you add navigation and update the stereo equipment for a better road trip experience? Did you lift your truck and add bigger tires? These things can increase the value of your car.

Opportunity Factors

Something to keep in mind when you’re prepping to sell is demand. Today’s car market is unique. While many are working from home and driving less, Americans are much more inclined to own a personal vehicle to avoid public transportation. Furthermore, the cost of gasoline and climate change campaigns are inspiring drivers to reduce their carbon footprint. Both of these factors make electric and hybrid vehicles more attractive.

Something to keep in mind when you’re prepping to sell is demand. As more people are inspired to do their part in helping the environment, electric and hybrid vehicles have been more attractive to prospective car buyers.

Negotiating & Wiggle Room

Now that you’ve prepped, photographed, and posted your car for sale, it’s time to gear up for negotiating. Selling privately through sites like Craigslist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace will get you the most for your car. If you have the right connections, you may be able to park your car with a for sale sign in a high-traffic area to attract potential buyers. When you sell to a dealership, they have to plan for overhead, profit, and commissions. This means the purchase price needs to leave enough room for markup and less money for you.

If you’ve researched similar vehicles for sale in your area, as well as the appropriate value for your car based on the factors mentioned above, the final tip for getting the most money for your car is to include a little wiggle-room in the asking price for negotiating. For example, if your car is valued around $10,000 and nearby dealerships are selling the same vehicle for $9,000 to $12,000, consider listing your car with an asking price in that range, but $2,000 above your ideal sale price. Wise buyers will always make an initial offer below asking price, and if you have a cushion for negotiating, you should be able to offer a competitive rate that still gets you the most money for your car.

Your Trade-In is Someone Else’s Treasure

Whether you’re retiring a hand-me-down clunker or you’re growing from sports car to SUV, there is a buyer who will find what they need in what you’re selling. Getting the most money for your used car simply requires a little cleaning, research, and strategic negotiating. In the end, if the sale isn’t as important as your time, you can always donate your car to nonprofits like The Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity, who are helping individuals and families rebuild their lives.

The Millennial’s Financial Guide to Homebuying

Around 4.8 million millennials are turning 30 in 2020. This is the largest age bracket among millennials, according to CNBC. Many of them have families and are looking to buy their first home.

Compared to older generations, saving for a house hasn’t been easy for millennials. In 2017, millennials who bought homes paid around 39 percent more than baby boomers who bought houses in the 80s. With higher costs of living and rising student debt, it takes millennials longer to afford a home. Now, considering the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s tougher for people to make major life purchases.

But don’t fret. Knowing your mortgage options and proper financial planning will make a difference. If you commit to a budget now and work on your savings, it’s possible to purchase a house in the near future. Here are essential financial tips you need to know before buying a home.

When to Consider Buying a House

Before taking a mortgage, improve your credit score. Give yourself time to improve your credit. Make sure to pay your loans and credit card on time. If you have large outstanding debts, be sure to pay them down. Check your credit report and see if there’s any inaccurate information. Disputing errors like unrecorded payments can help improve your credit score.

Most conventional lenders usually approve a credit score of 680 and above, and some may approve 620. Conventional loans are offered by lenders that are not sponsored by the government. You can get them from banks, credit unions, and non-bank mortgage companies.

If you have an excellent credit rating, you’re eligible for lower interest rates. This makes your monthly mortgage more affordable. It will help you save on total interest costs throughout the life of your loan. Make sure to shop around for loans and choose the lowest interest rate.

Know how much house you can afford.

Compare real estate listings to know what price range you can manage. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t buy property beyond your means. How do you know if your dream home fits your budget? You must understand your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

DTI ratio compares your gross income with how much debt you owe. If your DTI ratio is too high, your loan will not be granted. A low DTI ratio makes it more manageable to make monthly mortgage payments. This decreases your risk of defaulting on your loan and losing your house to foreclosure. Once you’re perceived as a low-risk borrower, lenders are more likely to approve your mortgage.

Lenders check these two important DTI ratios before approving a loan:

  • Front-end DTI ratio – The percentage of your income that pays for mortgage-related costs. It includes monthly mortgage payments, property insurance, and association dues. Your front-end DTI must not exceed 28 percent. This is the standard requirement for conventional mortgages which are not federally backed by the government.
  • Back-end DTI ratio – The percentage of your income that pays for your mortgage-related costs along with your other debts. This includes auto loans, credit cards, student loans, etc. Your back-end DTI ratio must not exceed 36 percent. But for federally backed government mortgages such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, the DTI limit is 43 percent.

Know how much you can borrow.

To know this, get pre-approved for a mortgage. Speaking to a lender determines the specific amount you can borrow. It’s one of the best ways to know how much home you can afford. To do this, you must authorize your lender to review your credit report. Getting pre-approval does not require you to borrow from the lender. But once you’re ready to make an offer, you can choose one with the best rates and terms. Lowermybills.com mentions that “Like all things connected to home buying and mortgage rates, do your research.” Furthermore, they state that “If you find a rate you are comfortable with, and it gets you the mortgage payment in your price range, it might be a good idea to decide to lock in the interest rate.”

Know when and where house prices are low.

A year before buying, research local market conditions in your preferred area. Check common house prices and pay attention to big price shifts. There are periods when real estate prices are depressed or generally low. In other times, they can be awfully expensive. It also pays to check houses in low-cost locations such as less crowded suburbs. Homes in busy metropolitan areas and coastal states usually have expensive price tags.

How Much Down Payment Should You Save?

Ideally, homebuyers should make a down payment that’s 20 percent of the home’s value. For instance, if you’re buying a $250,000 house, your down payment should be $50,000. These days, you might notice buyers making a smaller down payment. This has its drawbacks, which come in the form of mortgage insurance costs.

Conventional loans come with an annual private mortgage insurance (PMI) policy, which is 0.25 percent to 2 percent of your loan amount. It’s typically required if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is usually rolled into your monthly payments and is canceled once your mortgage balance reaches 78 percent.

Meanwhile, federally backed mortgages such as FHA loans come with mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). If your down payment is less than 20 percent, MIP is required. It’s paid both as an upfront fee (1.75 percent of the loan amount) and an annual insurance fee (0.85 percent of the loan amount). MIP is usually paid for the entire life of the loan, which makes it a lot costlier in the long run.

How do you save for your down payment?

Start gathering funds as early as you can. Saving your tax refund is a great source. As of 2020, the average tax refund is $3,100, which is a large amount that can bolster your down payment. You can also use work and holiday bonuses you get from your employer. Save cash gifts during birthdays, as well as windfall inheritance funds from relatives. To earn extra income, work overtime hours or get a freelance job on the side. This will take time. So the earlier you save, the better.

Low Down Payment Options for First-Time Homebuyers

More often, people do not usually have enough time to save for a higher down payment. They need to relocate because of a new job or a growing family. When this happens, you can opt for low-cost mortgages options. If you need a loan with low down payment and relaxed credit requirements, consider government-sponsored mortgages. These are loans meant for low to moderate income families who need assistance in buying a home.

FHA Loans
You can qualify for an FHA loan if your credit score is between 500 to 580. Your down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent if your credit score is 580 and above. If your credit score is below 580, your down payment must be at least 10 percent. All FHA loans require MIP regardless of your down payment amount.

USDA Loan
The U.S. Department of Agricultural approves home loans if your credit score is 640. Down payment is not required but is definitely an option. To get a USDA loan, you must purchase a house in a USDA-approved rural area. This includes many suburbs and around 97 percent of land mass in the U.S. Moreover, your household income must not be over 115 percent of the median income of your area. USDA loans come with a guarantee fee, which is paid as an upfront fee and an annual fee rolled into your monthly payments.

VA Loans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers special loans to active military members, veterans, and qualified military spouses. VA loans are flexible with credit scores, but it’s better if your credit score is at least 620. Down payment is also not required but is an option. However, instead of a mortgage insurance premium or guarantee fee, VA loans require a VA funding fee. Paying at least 5 percent down payment helps reduced this added cost.

Worried about poor credit? There are local housing agencies per state that can help you. Your state agency can assist you in looking for housing options that can accommodate your low credit score. They can also provide down payment assistance for mortgages. Just get in touch with your state housing agency soon.

The Importance of Saving a 20 Percent Down Payment

Making a 20 percent down payments eliminates private mortgage insurance costs. This reduces the amount you need to borrow, which effectively lowers your monthly mortgage payment. The higher payment also decreases your loan-to-value ratio, which is the amount of your loan compared to your home’s value. It also allows you to secure a much lower mortgage rate.

To give you a better idea how it affects your mortgage payments, let’s see the table below. It compares the same mortgage. One made an 8 percent down payment, while the other made a 20 percent down payment.

30-year Fixed-Rate Mortgage
Home price: $350,000
Interest rate: 3% APR
Mortgage5% Down Payment20% Down PaymentDown payment$17,500$70,000Borrowed amount$332,500$280,000Monthly payment$1,401.83$1,180.49Total interest paid$172,160.03$144,976.87Loan-to-value ratio95%80%Total PMI cost$18,038.130

In the example above, making a 20 percent down payment reduces your borrowed amount to $280,000, while 5 percent only reduces it to $332,500. Your monthly mortgage payment will be $221.34 lower with a 20 percent down payment. As for interest cost, you save $27,183.16 more in total interest with a 20 percent down payment. Meanwhile, with a 5 percent down payment, you still need to pay $18,038.13 on top of interest charges. Basically, you’ll gain more saving in the long term if you make a higher down payment.

Need help with your mortgage budget? Use this mortgage payment calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payment, total interest, and PMI costs.

Here’s a tip: If you take an FHA loan for the low down payment, there is a way to remove MIP. If your credit score is at least 620, you have the option to refinance into a conventional mortgage after a few years. Refinancing is basically taking out a new loan to replace your existing one. You can refinance to a conventional loan with a lower rate. You may consider this option to get rid of costly MIP charges.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know your housing options and requirements, you can better prepare your finances. As early as now, start improving your credit score to qualify for a loan. Borrowers are offered lower interest rates when their credit score is high. It’s also ideal to save up for a 20 percent down payment.

Next, keep track of your debt-to-income ratio. As long as you don’t accumulate large debts, you should be eligible for a mortgage. Moreover, start checking home prices at low-cost areas. If you time your purchase when house prices are generally low, you can score a better deal.

If you can’t make the 20 percent down payment, there are low-cost mortgage options to choose from. Check out FHA loans and USDA loans. If you’re a veteran or military member, you’re qualified for VA loans. Just take note that government-backed loans come with extra costs, such as mortgage insurance premium for FHA loans. If you take advantage of these options and plan your finances, soon you can purchase your own house.

Paxti’s Pizza Porter Ranch Signature Dish

Patxi’s Pizza Porter Ranch

By Krishan Narsinghani

Established in San Francisco, Patxi’s Pizza opened up it’s second SoCal location in Porter Ranch, California at the end of July. The patio has ample seating while following strict six feet social distancing guidelines. Having tried Chicago deep dish several times, Patxi’s recipe does not disappoint. Try mix and matching signature favorites like the half Spinach Pesto (vegetarian) and half Old Chicago Style (meat) on one pie. The sauce is zesty and packs a flavorful punch reminiscent of that in Little Italy. Pro tip from the servers – try a little honey on the crust! The new obsession.

Patxi’s Pizza is best known for its deep-dish but other favorites include Thin Crust Pizzas, Signature Piadina’s, and Dessert Pizzas (try the apple one). After one meal, you’ll be converted to their foodie fanbase. The restaurant will host indoor seating for up to 80 guests when it is safe to do so and is currently utilizing their two patios that seat up to 40 guests for safe, patio dining. Not to mention, it’s conveniently located at The Vineyards Shopping Mall so you can walk off those calories and shop in the area.

Early favorites at Patxi’s Porter Ranch include the Chicken Tikka Masala, a deep-dish pizza with spicy tikka masala sauce, spinach, herb-roasted chicken, red onion, roasted garlic, tomatoes and cilantro. Guests have also been loving the 100% Vegan Deep-Dish Pizza. The homemade sauce and dough are already vegan-friendly, but to our surprise, top-off your pie with gooey vegan mozzarella cheese.

Something special about the ambiance arouses when entering the dining establsihment which took a moment to figure out. The impressive service from not only the server but also the owner of this branch made not only guests, but also his staff, feel important and attended. From their exceptional service to homemade sauce and dough to the gooey cheeses, it’s time we all join the Patxi’s family.

See Patxi’s featured in LA’s Best COVID Curbside Restaurants.

Eamonn Burke illustrates an article for 360 MAGAZINE.

5 Benefits of Having Live Entertainment

When it comes to planning parties and events, some people have an aversion to hiring live entertainment. Many people believe live entertainment to be too costly or too much of a headache to plan out. While these are certainly valid complaints on the planning side of live music, there still are a lot of positives associated with having live music at your event. So how can live music improve your event, and is it worth the extra effort it adds to planning your event? Here are five benefits of having live entertainment.

Generate Hype

One of the best benefits of having live entertainment at your party or event is the hype it generates around it. Many people will be excited to see live entertainment, so much so that you’ll likely have extra people at your event that otherwise would not have gone. In addition, those that were already planning on attending now have something to look forward to and get excited about. Having more excited people at your event is great, as it means that the energy will be fantastic, thus making the event even better.

Provide Entertainment

The most obvious benefit of having live entertainment at your event is simply the fact that it provides your guests with some high-quality entertainment. People go to parties and events in order to be entertained, and they want something that will be able to keep them occupied while they’re there. While simply playing music may satisfy some cravings for entertainment, it has nowhere near the same effect that a live performance has. If you’re looking to provide some high-quality entertainment for your guests, then hiring a live performer is the perfect opportunity.

Create a Focal Point

Another great thing that having live entertainment at your party or event does is it creates a focal point for people to gather around. When having an event or party, it’s totally normal for people to peel off and go to different corners of the venue. However, when you have live entertainment people gather around the performer to see what’s happening, creating a focal point in the center of your event. It’s very hard to get people to congregate in one particular area during a party or event, thankfully live entertainment can do just that.

Add to the Theme

An underrated aspect of having live entertainment at your party is its ability to add to the overall theme of the event. If you’re planning something that has a strong theme, live entertainment can make that theme much more believable and immersive. For example, if you were having a St. Patrick’s Day party, looking for Irish dancers to hire or bringing on an Irish band could make your party or event much more on theme. Theme parties are only fun if you can properly pull the theme off, and live entertainment can go a long way in doing that.

Make it Memorable

Many people leave parties and forget nearly everything about them. If nothing memorable or special happens at a party or event, then chances are no one will remember it in the future. Thankfully, live entertainment can be a huge help in this regard, providing your guests with something that they can easily remember. Normal parties can be easily forgotten, but if you have a well-known entertainer performing at your event, then guests likely won’t be forgetting it any time soon.