How often do you make mistakes? Well, “the intelligent investor must focus not just on getting the analysis right. You must also ensure against loss if your analysis turns out to be wrong,” says Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of Your Money and Your Brain. How can you guard against your own goofs?
Conventional wisdom says that making extra payments toward your mortgage saves interest. True, but that’s not all. Increasing your mortgage payment also means larger equity value and more money in your pocket when you’re older.
In a still-tight credit market, if the seller finances the buyer, home sales can happen faster. But in the long term, it is unlikely to be to your advantage as a seller.
Growing up with their parents’ scary tales of Depression hardship, the generation now approaching retirement age grew up to be wary of investing and owning debts. This means missing out on returns and losing the value of savings to inflation.
The squirrels brought this lesson home for me. Like many others in suburbia, my wife and I had a squirrel problem. We tried various things to keep the creatures out of our garbage cans, with no success. They ate through the covers. Even after we built a wooden shed to house the garbage cans, they got in there, as well.
How often do you think about paying off the mortgage? Retirement may be harder if you still have debt. Ideally, you should enter retirement as free from a mortgage as possible. Here’s why and how.
Not having a mortgage reduces your overhead. That is to say, you need less money to live. You lower your personal break-even point. With limited income in retirement, this is always a good thing. Say your mortgage is $1,500 per month. If you pay it off before you retire, you have $18,000 more per year in your pocket.
Wondering if it’s better to buy or rent? You’re not alone. We have long been conditioned to view homeownership as an uncontested good, but the housing market took a serious hit during the Great Recession. Now that home values are recovering, will the American Dream of homeownership regain its luster?
No dodging it: You will probably need to borrow money sometime in your life. Different types of loans come with varying degrees of risk and price, no matter what your income level. Best you know all the catches of a loan before signing on the dotted line.
Most loans are either secured or unsecured. Lenders assume more risk with unsecured loans because they can collect no collateral if you default. Bad loans help drive interest rates’ fluctuation, as lending companies try to recoup lost or dwindling revenues.
Lately, an increasing number of doom and gloomers are sounding off. They worry about the sluggishness of the U.S. economic recovery, an increase in interest rates and a decline in America’s place in the world, especially as China rises. They should relax.
We’re all busy. There is always some new item on our constantly growing to-do lists. Some tasks are fun to take on; others are tedious, boring, long or all the above. But some of the most important to-do’s in our lives often get overlooked because – well, let’s face it – they’re not all that fun.
Here is the top four, in declining order. See if you are dragging your feet in any of these areas. If so, quit putting off making the necessary fixes. You will be glad you acted.
As you pursue the American Dream of buying your first or next home, is it a good idea to pay down your mortgage – depleting part of your investment portfolio to eliminate the debt – or keep making the normal monthly loan payment and have more money in a stock market that offers potentially higher long-term returns? Both moves offer advantages depending on your unique situation.