Asking the right questions is an important part of every financial decision you make, and home ownership is no exception. If you’ve been thinking about buying a place, preliminary research will turn up a long checklist of questions for you to ask at every part of the process. There are questions for your financial institution, questions for your mortgage broker and questions for your real estate agent. But what about the questions you should be asking yourself?
The average person moves residences about 11 times in their lifetime. That provides a lot of opportunity to confront the following question: is it better to own your home or to rent it? It’s a huge decision that affects your lifestyle as much as it does your finances, and the answer will vary depending on who you ask. There are compelling arguments to be made for both sides and the resulting advice—though well-intentioned—can quickly become confusing and contradictory. So, is paying rent really just a waste of money? Or is it true that you can make more money by renting than by owning a home? Take a closer look at six snippets of common owning-versus-renting advice:
Like going to the gym or eating a healthy diet, saving money is one of those concepts that’s simple to grasp but weirdly challenging to put into practice. We understand its benefits. We agree that it’s essential to our well-being. We know that it’s something we should be doing. But paycheck after paycheck, it’s the same routine: after the bills have been paid and the regular expenses have been looked after, there just isn’t quite enough left over for our savings goals. We blame our lack of financial willpower and promise ourselves we’ll do better next paycheck, but more often than not, the cycle repeats itself. If this scenario seems all too familiar, consider automating your personal finances in order to pay yourself first.
Bulls and bears can be considered the unofficial mascots of the stock market. They represent the upward and downward movements of the stock market over a period of time and have even come to describe investor behavior (optimistic investors are said to be bullish, while investors with a pessimistic outlook are said to be bearish). In a field typically known for its confusing financial terminology and often uninspired language, the bull and bear symbols really stand out—and this is especially true in Lower Manhattan.
Picture this: you’re steering your shopping cart through the sliding doors of the supermarket, shopping list in hand. As you walk the aisles, there’s a strategy you can use to save an average of 33% on your entire purchase. It doesn’t require any coupon clipping or rewards cards. And the best part? You still get every single item on your list. The secret? Buying private-label products instead of brand-name products.
Con artists cheat Americans out of billions of dollars every year. Recognizing red flags for potential scams can help protect you, your loved ones, and your hard earned cash.
Every year, it’s nice to do a bit of “financial spring cleaning” and declutter your filing cabinet, your desk drawers, and the various hiding places where miscellaneous scraps of paper tend to accumulate and multiply. Read on to find out what you should be saving, and what’s OK to shred.
Credit scores are an area of personal finance that seem a lot more mysterious than they actually are. Many people believe that improving them is a matter of trial and error and, as a result, there’s a lot of “credit score advice” floating around that can end up doing more harm than good. Four common credit score myths have been rounded up and debunked below:
Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)