Monday’s need-to-know money news

2Today’s top story: Six things that scare your financial advisor. Also in the news: How to report a tax cheat, releasing a student loan co-signer, and the top 10 affordable cities for renters.

6 Things That Scare Your Financial Advisor
What keeps them up at night.

How to Report a Tax Cheat and Get a Reward
Helping Uncle Sam and your wallet.

You Can Release a Student Loan Cosigner If You’ve Made Timely, Regular Payments
Sweet freedom.

Top 10 most affordable cities for renters
Is yours on the list?

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: Common mortgage roadblocks and how to fix them. Also in the news: How to make your retirement nest egg last longer, why you should try haggling when renting an apartment, and ten back-to-school supplies that teachers say are a waste of money.

4 Common Mortgage Killers & How to Survive Them
Common roadblocks and how to fix them.

Dreaming of Early Retirement? Make Your Nest Egg Last Longer
Retiring a decade early? It could be done.

Why you should always try to haggle when renting an apartment.
It’s rare, but possible!

Teachers Say Don’t Waste Money On These 10 Back-To-School Supplies
Don’t overspend.

Being a Bridesmaid or Groomsman With No Financial Regrets
How to celebrate a big day without the big expenses.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Protecting your 401(k). Also in the news: What to do if you have a large tax bill, rental mistakes to avoid, and the two legal documents you can’t live without.

How To Spot A 401(k) Rip-off
Don’t sell your retirement short.

Big Tax Bill? IRS Offers Payment Options
Taxes don’t have to drain your wallet all at once.

5 Mistakes Renters Make
Don’t let your rental become a money pit.

6 Financially Freeing Tasks Not to ‘Pass Over’
A festival of financial freedom.

2 Legal Documents You Can’t Live Without
They’re inevitable.

Lack of savings makes becoming a landlord risky

Dear Liz: My husband and I, both 44, own and live in one side of a duplex. The owners of the other side are moving next year and have offered to sell it to us. We don’t have enough in savings to cover a 20% down payment for a traditional mortgage, but our neighbors offered to do owner financing. Rentals are hot commodities in our area, and we’ve been told by real estate agents that they could get the place rented within a week for more than we’d make in mortgage payments. This would be an amazing opportunity for us, but if for some reason the property went vacant we couldn’t cover the payment unless we make some major changes to our budget, such as selling our RV ($325 a month) or temporarily suspending contributions to our 457 deferred compensation plans (we contribute $300 a month and both our jobs come with pensions that will replace 60% of our salaries). We currently also make a truck payment ($350 a month) and have $2,300 in credit card debt, but we only have $1,000 in accessible savings.

Answer: You’re not in a great position to be landlords. You have too little savings to cover the inevitable repairs and vacancies you’ll face. Plus, your credit card and vehicle debts indicate you’ve been living beyond your means.

Still, this may be a promising opportunity. A rental that is cash-flow positive — in which the rent collected exceeds the cost of the mortgage, property taxes and insurance — can be a decent long-term investment. If you’re willing to commit to improving your finances and taking this risk, it could work out.

Talk to some other landlords first to see what challenges they face and what typical vacancy rates they experience. You’ll want to locate a lawyer who understands your state’s landlord-tenant laws to draw up any paperwork you’ll need.

If you decide to proceed, sell the RV and use whatever’s left after paying off the loan to pay down your credit card debt. Then redirect the RV payment to paying off the rest of the cards and building up your savings. (A note for the future: RVs are fun, but they’re luxuries, and luxuries should be paid for in cash.)

Don’t compromise your retirement savings. Your generous pension could get whittled down in the future, or you might lose those jobs. Having a decent retirement kitty of your own is simply prudent.