First-time home buyers having a rough go of it 1.Starter-Home Affordability Hits a Decade Low (Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg, 8/27/2018) “Starter homes are now more costly to purchase than at any time since 2008, when the last boom came to a crashing halt. In the second quarter, first-time buyers needed almost 23 percent of their income to afford a typical entry-level home, up from 21 percent a year earlier, according to an analysis...

Your path to buying a home In How to Buy a House, Michelle Higgins of the New York Times outlines your path to homeownership, step-by-step. Steps include: Rent vs. Buy, How Much House Can I Afford, Check Your Credit Score, Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage, Line up Cash, Figure Out Where You Want to Live, Making An Offer, and Closing. Don’t forget to celebrate when all is done! Additional Reading: From...

How do you save for “retirement” if you don’t participate in a 401(k) plan? Katie Lobosco with CNN Money writes “The good news is that there are other accounts you can open yourself that offer similar benefits. For some self-employed people, the benefits can be even better than a traditional 401(k) plan's.” Roth IRA’s are great for kids with earned income Kimberly Lankford with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance notes “Contributing to a...

Sheri’s take: Recently, we shared two guest posts on this fall’s insurance open enrollment period, authored by Mark Maurer, CFP®, MBA, president and CEO of LLIS. Mark’s posts were well-received, so we were delighted when he agreed to share one more interesting idea with us on how to use “layering” to save costs on your life insurance while still ensuring adequate coverage for your loved ones. Good coverage at less...

It's been hard to escape the news of the Equifax breach. Even though it happened starting in May 2017 we're only just hearing about it. In my opinion, and others', the company's response to this breach has been far from stellar. Huffington Post reports: The Federal Trade Commission announced it is investigating the Equifax incident, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking into the company’s response to the breach. Members of the House Judiciary,...

In my last post, we covered some of the financial trade-offs to consider before you decide to pay off your mortgage on the early side. Still, sooner or later, I hope that payoff day does arrive for you. There are few financial acts more gratifying than ensuring your castle is all your own, free and clear. Before you pop that cork on the bubbly though, it’s important to make sure you...

We hear this question often: “Should I pay off my mortgage early?” As you’ll hear us say even more often, the answer is, “It depends.” It’s nice to no longer have that monthly mortgage payment, and there’s something satisfying about owning your home outright. That said, if you allocate dollars to paying off your mortgage, you’re essentially ruling out other ways you could be spending, saving or investing that same money. Here...

If there’s an investment instrument that has withstood the test of time, it’s the good, old U.S. savings bond. Since their 1935 debut under “New Deal” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, they’ve never been known for their get-rich glamour. But to this day, investors still turn to them when appropriate. When do savings bonds still make sense, and what are best practices for managing them these days? The Enduring U.S. Savings Bond As...

Okay, I know budgeting is rarely fun for anyone, but it can be especially hard on young adults. You’ve just wrapped up your formal education and received your first decent paycheck – way more than you’ve been earning between classes. What’s a common reaction? “I deserve a shopping spree!” Meantime, the necessary expenses add up too: food, clothing and shelter for today and tomorrow. You get to the end of...

Ah, there’s nothing quite like that new-car smell? It’s so popular, you can even buy it in a can. To me, I’m not sure that’s worth it unless I get an actual new car along with it. That said, given the costs, when it does come time to replace your classic clunker with a shiny (and fragrant) new edition, you may be wondering if it makes more sense to buy...