Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How the way you think about money could be hurting your finances. Also in the news: Determining the right time to buy a home, six secrets to getting a good deal on that home, and why your FICO score is about to look very different.

3 Money Maxims that Hurt Your Finances
Changing the way we think about money.

When Should You Wait to Buy a Home?
How to determine when the time is right.

6 secrets to getting a good deal on a house
Tips for when the time is right.

How credit scores are about to change: a Q&A
Your FICO score is about to get a makeover.

Why it’s easier to rob bitcoins than banks
Not that you should do either one, of course.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: Why it’s so important to talk to your kids about money. Also in the news: Credit scores versus credit reports when buying a home, scary facts about delinquent debt, and a single parent’s guide to budgeting.

Dear Parents: You Need to Teach Your Kids About Money
One of the most valuable things you’ll ever teach your kids.

Credit Scores vs. Credit Reports
Which is more important when buying a home?

3 Scary Facts About Delinquent Debt and What You Should Do
Ignoring it is a huge mistake.

A Single Parent’s Guide to Budgeting
Making things work for your family.

What it Costs to Retire in 12 Great Places
Where would you like to end up?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: The biggest mistakes car buyers make and how to avoid them. Also in the news: How to land your dream home this summer, saving big on your wedding expenses, and how we can learn from the money mistakes of celebrities.

5 Mistakes Car Buyers Make
Pay attention to how long you’ll pay.

7 Ways to Land Your Dream Home During the Summer
Look for a diamond in the rough.

Easy ways to save $10,000 on your wedding expenses
Location, location, location.

5 celebrity money mistakes we can all learn from
One word: prenup.

Cash 4 Phones: 5 Tricks to Buying and Selling Used Electronics
Turn those dust collectors into cash.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Car crashWhy students are a prime target for identity thieves, an easy way to save money on homeowners insurance, mistakes to avoid when buying a house and how cell-using drivers set themselves up for disaster.

The ABCs of Back-to-School Identity Theft Protection
Students of all ages are easy targets for identity theft.

Simple Tip Can Save You Big on Homeowners Insurance
Your deductible could be the key to savings.

The IRS Filed a Tax Lein on Your Home—Now What?
Don’t let your panic become a distraction. Buying a House? Don’t make these mistakes.
Things not to be overlooked while house hunting.

25% of Car Crashes Involved Cel Phones
Drivers using cellphones fail to see up to 50% of the information in their environment.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Wire cutterWhy would should wait to go school shopping, avoiding overdraft fees, how to prepare yourself for the joys of homeowning and reasons why you’ll drop cable soon.

Hold Off on Back-to-School Shopping
Those great deals could be even greater in August.

Four Ways to Avoid Hefty Overdraft Fees
Don’t let a $10 check become a $35 fee.

How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Discrimination
What to do when your rejection has nothing to do with your credit score.

So You Wanna Be a First-Time Homebuyer?
Mistakes to avoid when taking the leap.

5 More Reasons You’ll Be Cutting Your Cable TV Cord Next Year
Dropping your cable company is becoming easier.

Homeownership isn’t for everyone

Dear Liz: I’ve gone back and forth over whether to buy property to live in. I would only consider a condo, because I don’t think it’s ecologically responsible for a single person to live in a stand-alone house, plus I have no interest in or aptitude for maintenance. But through family and friends’ experiences, I’m worried that condos can be a nightmare to own. That leaves me stuck with renting, which gives me flexibility. I also live in an extremely expensive area (Boston) and do contract work, so purchasing something I would want to live in might be tricky. But I feel I’m being barraged by people telling me that renting is a losing proposition and that buying is great for my future. I’d rather keep putting money away in my retirement funds, but I wonder if I’m just refusing to “be responsible” as others say. I have no debt at all, so I feel responsible.

Answer: You would think the recent economic unpleasantness would have cured people of the idea that homeownership is right for everyone all the time.

Real estate investors often tout the benefit of “leverage”–using borrowed money to control an asset that can appreciate in value. As we learned, though, leverage can work both ways and can leave you owing more than a property is worth.

In reality, much of the financial benefit of homeownership comes from the “forced savings” aspect of paying down a mortgage. Homes do tend to appreciate in value over time, but on average the appreciation usually doesn’t exceed the overall inflation rate. Plus homes are expensive to own and maintain, which can dramatically reduce the return on your investment. Investments in stocks and stock mutual funds probably will give you a better return over the long haul, and you’ll never have to buy a new roof for them.

Homeownership can be a good idea if you can afford all the costs, plan to stay put for several years and truly want to be a homeowner. Otherwise, renting gives you freedom and flexibility. That’s neither irresponsible nor a losing proposition.