Renting vs Buying a Home

rent-vs-buyAccording to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, the months between April and July are when the most house sales take place. We’re right in the thick of that season. If you are thinking about buying a house, whether you’re a first-time home buyer or otherwise, there are more things to consider than just the number of bedrooms and baths you want.

I became a first-time homeowner two and a half years ago, myself. For those who haven’t experienced it, it can be a complicated process and maybe even overwhelming. Hopefully you have a good realtor and/or mortgage lender that can really help you through the process. The home-buying process is also something that requires quite a bit of foresight and preparation, which is something I find a lot of people overlook. If you’re thinking about buying a home, there are a number of things you should be thinking about. Let’s look at some of the basics.

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Recognizing Achievements

thumbs upWhen I logged into WordPress today to work on “Be Well,” I noticed two things: 1) Yesterday, I had a record number of views for a single day (by a long shot, too); and 2) “Be Well” had passed 1,000 views. Pretty exciting times! I’m not sure what expectations I had when I started this project but 1,000 views in six months’ time seems like a nice target to have hit.

There’s a financial life lesson to be learned from this, too, I think. I think it’s important to recognize and celebrate your achievements. When you pay off a loan, that’s a big deal. When you get to the end of your first day or first week of your new expense tracking plan and have tracked and logged all your expenses, that’s a big deal. When you save up your first $100 or first $1,000, that’s a big deal. You work hard to change your financial life. Allow yourself the chance to celebrate it.

If you’re a regular reader, thanks so much for contributing to the early success of this blog. All those views help validate the time and energy that goes into it. If you find what you read here valuable, please tell other people about it. I’m already looking forward to that next 1,000 views. 😉

Getting Out of Debt 102: Debt Snowball

dollar-snowballA few weeks back, I posted some tips about getting out of debt by improving your loan rates. Improving your rates is great (if you can do it) for all the reasons I posted about. But improving your rates, alone, won’t get you out of debt. It helps you get out of debt– but you still need a plan of action to complete the job.

One plan of action that I’ve had personal success with is a little something called a “debt snowball.” That might be a term that’s familiar to you, especially if you are also familiar with Dave Ramsey, who is a pretty well-known personal finance guy who has long championed the method. Perhaps you have a plan in place to deal with your debt, already. If you do, that’s great (having a plan is super-important.) If not, then maybe a debt snowball is the plan for you. Let’s look at how it works.
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Compound Interest

compound_interestLast week’s post and the three questions in it have me thinking about a principle that’s worth devoting a little bit of time to. I want to talk about compound interest. Often, when I am counseling people and I breach the topics of either retirement or investing, I ask if the member knows what compound interest is. Also often, they don’t.

Einstein is quoted (perhaps fictitiously) as having said, “Compound interest is the greatest invention in human history.” He is also quoted (also perhaps fictitiously) as having answered, “Compound interest,” when asked the question, “What’s the most powerful force in the universe?” Whether Einstein actually said this stuff or not is up for debate; whether compound interest is an amazing thing or not isn’t. Compound interest is amazing. Understanding compound interest is a key component of financial literacy, because it’s something that can work greatly for you– but it can also work against you, if you don’t understand the concept. So, let’s talk about what compound interest is, why you should fall madly in love with it, and how to make it work for you.

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