Tuesday May 14, 2013
Shari Olefson is a lawyer, but she's not thinking about standing in a courtroom right now. Instead, her mind is preoccupied with a deeper question: Is it advisable -- and is it possible -- for people to own their homes "free and clear," meaning without a mortgage?
To address the latter half of that question -- yes, it's possible. Almost 30 percent of Americans are mortgage-free homeowners. But Olefson has found that three factors predict a person's likelihood of paying down their mortgage: their age, their home value, and their credit score.
Read more about her thoughts on whether or not you should own your home free and clear.
Wednesday May 8, 2013
I started saving for retirement at age 22, when I opened my first 401k account. I think I started too late. If I had begun saving at age 18, I'd be light-years ahead of where I am now.
"But lots of 18-year-olds are in college," you might object. "You can't save for retirement in college!" I'd argue that anyone, even college students, can find $50 per month to put away. And $50 per month makes a HUGE difference when it compounds, tax-deferred, for 45 years.
If you can earn an extra $50 each week by babysitting or mowing lawns, you'll hit your retirement savings target much faster. You can retire younger, with more money in the bank.
But fair enough. If you're in college, I don't really expect you to be saving for retirement. Just covering your costs as a student, without having to resort to student loans, is a tough enough job. But once you're working full-time, you should definitely save something for retirement -- even if you have competing financial goals like paying off student loans or saving for a down payment on a home.
How much? At least 15 percent of your income. Optimally 20 percent, if you can. And the younger you are when you start, the better.
Here are some articles that can guide you through these topics:
Thursday May 2, 2013
There's a saying on Wall Street: "sell in May and go away." That old cliche implies that the stock market tends to rise from January through May, but acts sluggish during the summer, so you might as well sell your gains in May and relax throughout the hottest months of the year.
Is there any credence to that? Probably not. Don't try to "game" the market. Take a principle-centered approach to investing: diversify among stocks and bonds, re-balance once a year, and don't try to time the market.
If you want to "sell in May and go away," though, then simply designate May as the month that you do your once-annual re-balancing.
Friday April 26, 2013
Interested in venturing into rental property investing?
Owning a rental can be a good source of passive income, but you need to make sure you're buying the right house. Here are two formulas for beginner rental property owners. Enjoy the article and leave a comment with your rental property story!