LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT...

There's no denying the fact that real estate is a great long-term investment...if you look at it with a long-term perspective, that is.  You can't really go wrong when it comes to investing in housing - but the name of the game isn't to repeatedly borrow against an asset...the name of the game is to actually OWN it...or at least most of it so you can leverage your way to wealth! 

How to buy a house with 5% (or less) down payment - Living On The Cheap

Unfortunately, homeowners often think of their investment as a giant ATM machine, and plenty of them are eager to cash out every chance they get for as much as they possibly can.  Some people cash-out to play...perhaps a vacation or to fund a wedding - but people cash- out to pay off other debt with higher interest rates; and they do so without blinking an eye about beginning the 30-year debt cycle all over again. Bye-bye, equity.  So much for that long term investment perspective - it doesn't take much to go from asset to liability with this strategy!   Lather, rinse,...

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Forbearance to Foreclosure...A Foregone Conclusion?

While millions of people are taking advantage of historic low-interest rates and they're headed to the closing table as fast as they can; millions of others are going from forbearance to foreclosure before they even know what hit them.  Desperate times DO call for desperate measures, but it's a good idea to understand the small print BEFORE you accept the help.  It sounded pretty good, right?  Who wouldn't like a 3-month break on the mortgage payments?  Even people NOT in need of desperate measures took advantage of the opportunity to skip a few payments, that's for sure!  Unfortunately, when things sound too good to be true they usually ARE too good to be true, and now almost 5 million people are about to get a serious reality check they never banked on.

   Requesting Mortgage Forbearance: Be Careful | Greenbush Financial Planning

 

Simply put, forbearance is an agreement between a lender and a mortgagee to skip payments; however, the forbearance landscape is not simple or straightforward and can be treacherous to...

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WILL YOUR NEW HOME BE UPSIDE-DOWN? PROBABLY!

It doesn't always take a hurricane or tornado to turn your house upside down, sometimes it just takes a RED HOT real estate market!   With mortgage interest rates being at an all-time low, consumers are entering the real estate market with a frenzy and the mad rush is causing quite a stir.  Bidding wars are back and prices are climbing at record speed; some markets experiencing more than 30% in home values this year alone!  That's great news if you're a seller...it's not so great if you're a buyer and if you aren't careful, your property will likely be worth a whole lot less than what you paid for it and you could find yourself financially upside down overnight.

The real estate frenzy we're experiencing today looks a whole like the frenzy we saw just before the bubble burst in 2007.   As difficult as it is to believe, history always repeats itself so it's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of WHEN - and it looks like the time to lather, rinse, and...

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NO, You DO NOT Need to Sacrifice Your Lifestyle To Get Out Of Debt!

Once upon a time, the ONLY way people knew to get out of debt was to cut back, eat beans and rice (or whatever cheap/bulk food you could eat), drive a rusty Chevy until it died, and forego any kind of entertainment or vacations until all the consumer debt was paid off.  In other words, it took SUFFERING to get there.  Thank God, that's not the only way anymore. 

 

Debt elimination is one of those things that is gauged on any effort in the right direction at all.  Chiseling away at debt is always a good thing no matter how long it takes to get there.  Some people buy into concepts that teach you to sacrifice a LOT in order to chisel away at debt with the money you're no longer spending on luxury items like groceries and date nights.  Some concepts teach you to focus on your smallest debt first, and once that is paid off then you move onto the next debt until FINALLY, you begin to address the mortgage...the biggest and most volatile debt of...

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6-Figure Student Loans...Is It Predatory Lending?

More than 3.0 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with approximately 800,000 of that total holding student loan debt greater than $200,000Sadly, many of them will be carrying the debt into their retirement if they don't learn how to manage and eliminate the debt.

How did it come to be that 6-figure loans are granted to people on a prayer and a promise?  Most of these people have no track record, no credit history, no income, and no guarantee of an income sufficient to pay off the debt in the future.  Is it predatory lending?  The definition of "Predatory" is seeking to exploit or oppress others - with that in mind, it's predatory alright!  

With the high cost of education, loans are a necessary evil these days.  The average student loan debt is almost $47,000 and they're known to go as high as $1 million.  The good news is that they payments are deferred until 6 months after...

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Do You Seriously Believe That Real Estate Will Always Climb? Think again!

No doubt real estate is a great investment, but long-gone are the days where prices soared overnight....a time when even a blind monkey could make a quick dollar on a good flip.  But what happens when prices don't soar like you thought they would?  Worse yet, what happens when they drop?

What goes up, must come down...including real estate, and it's for this very reason that it's a good idea to build your own equity as fast as you can instead of waiting for the market to build it for you.  The idea of bringing money to the table to sell a house may not be familiar to YOU, but it's a common occurrence for people in need of selling when the market hasn't produced the gain sufficient to cover the cost of selling and/or closing.  

People investing in the stock market understand that what goes up must (eventually) come down, while people investing in real estate never expect to get caught short.  The stock market "resets" itself and the real estate...

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Robbing Peter to Pay Paul - Yep, That Sums it up!

To rob Peter to pay Paul means to take money from one source to give it to another. Usually, robbing Peter to pay Paul means taking the money to pay off one debt to pay off another debt.   Basically, It is a situation where there is not enough money to go around and one must choose which debt is more urgently in need of payment.  Yep, that pretty much sums up the way most Americans are managing their finances these days!

I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow people see debt as a good replacement for cash; in this case, the abnormal has become the norm.   They'll open a new credit card account with a better interest rate to pay off another, and before you know it both cards are maxed out because they couldn't resist using plastic when they wanted to spend what they didn't have - they Rob Peter to pay Paul. 

Most people refrain from adding anything to a savings account for "a rainy day" as long as they have a little room on a...

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Going Broke...as Easy as 1...2...3

Fortunately, most people in America are not penniless - but a whole lot of them are already broke and they just don't realize it, OR they just don't recognize the signs of looming disaster that will get them there faster than you can say "amen."

The average American has less than $1,000 in savings with no emergency plan in place.  Instead of building up a savings account (or reducing debt), most people have a false sense of security as long as there is a little room left on a credit card to tap into when/if they need to.  Does borrowing more money to pay against borrowed money make sense to you?  That old saying "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" comes to mind. 

Mishaps happen to everyone...death...disease...divorce...and when they do, the only thing that can possibly make the situation worse is having to deal with bills you can't pay or increasing debt while you charge-away your living expenses. 

There is a way to prepare for an imminent disaster, but first,...

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Are The Airbnb Walls Tumbling Down?

According to Reuters, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky predicted that the company's business will bounce back after the pandemic, but that's more than we can say for many of the Airbnb property owners; everyday folks who chased the Airbnb dream by leveraging life savings and primary residences to get there.  Many of them won't have the stay-power to hold out for brighter days, and many of them will be faced with foreclosure because of it.  For them, the Airbnb walls ARE tumbling down.

The Airbnb-bug caught on in 2008 and the company was targeted to go public in 2020.  It's a brilliant concept, your home away from home while traveling; the first choice for many travelers not keen on cookie-cutter hotel rooms.  As the demand for properties grew, more and more people jumped into the Airbnb business.  Unfortunately now many of them will be forced to bail out.

 

The Wall Street Journal:  "For example, Cheryl Dopp earned more than $8,000 per month...

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What Keeps You In The Rat Race?

 

Forbes cited a recent poll reporting that people are unhappier today than they've been in 50 years.  That should come as no surprise with a global pandemic and an economy teetering on disaster.  With millions of people working from home for the first time, I wonder how eager they are to get back into the rat race?

I'm sure there's some element of self-gratification...a sense of pride...when it comes to our willingness to run the rat race despite the challenges that come with it, but I believe what's really behind the chase is the hunger for the paycheck more than anything else.  A few hours commuting - a 10 or 12-hour workday - 5 or 6 days a week - and before you know it you have the money to meet your obligations.  The bills are paid, but the quality of life is lost in the process, that's for sure!

Since most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings it's not likely the rat race will end for them anytime soon...UNLESS they find a better way

It's...

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