Some articles that caught my eye this week…
I have not read this book, but it sounds like it would be worth checking out. Home ownership has become one of those golden keys to the “American Dream”. “You have to own a house.” “If you rent you are just throwing away money.” You have probably heard people say things like this. I used to believe them. In reality though there is nothing wrong with renting. In fact in some circumstances it makes much more sense and is financially more responsible than owning your own home. I’d love for everyone to eventually own their own home. But the key is to do it in a way where the home is a blessing and not a nightmare.
Another take on finding your financial freedom this Independence Day. One of the keys to getting out of debt is understanding what put us into debt in the first place. Sometimes the problem is not enough income or a large negative financial event like an illness. More common though we find ourselves in debt because we use stuff to medicate our emotions. We buy things to make us feel better, or because we are bored, or to “keep up with the Jones”. Taking a hard look at our motives for our purchases can often be very revealing.
Many middle aged folks these days are finding themselves in a position where they are trying to help kids that are heading off to college or have completed college but are now back living at home because they haven’t found work. At the same time they have aging parents that are in need of assistance as well. Because of that some have labeled this generation the “Sandwich Generation”. If you find yourself in this position, this article provides some very wise advice.
This article is a bit long but it is a concept so important for you to understand if you are investing. Billionaire Warren Buffet is famous for saying he gets scared when others are greedy and greedy when others are scared. Our human tendencies are to follow the crowd. I want to buy the stock that is up and sell the one that is down. The problem is the market is so cyclical that when I buy the “hot” stock chances are it might be time for it to go back down, and that stock that is down that I sell, might just be getting ready for a quick rise. Bandwagon investors almost always lose. Slow and steady wins the race. While I do not advise you buy a fund and never look at it again, in most cases the patience to hold onto the funds through the ups and downs will in the long run leave you much better off than the investor who is constantly buying and selling.
It may be that we are nearing the end of the ridiculously low mortgage rates that we have seen in recent years. If you are able to refinance your mortgage and have not done so you may want to look at your options quickly and lock in a fixed rate.
There are some good alternatives for finding discount glasses and contacts. Consider shopping around before just getting your glasses by default at your optometrist. You may be able to save a significant amount of money. This is especially true if you do not have vision benefits.