Advice

Should You Try and Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

There are many exciting things about buying a new home, from meeting your new neighbors to upgrading your home decor (with reason, of course) to starting to build equity in what’s likely to become one of your top sources of wealth. The flip side, of course, is that suddenly owing a bank thousands upon thousands of dollars can be stressful—as is the idea that it’ll likely stay that way for many years. That may have you wondering whether it’d be wise to pay off your mortgage sooner. The short answer? It depends. On one hand, paying off your mortgage early means you can’t use that money to accomplish other, perhaps more pressing goals. “People are woefully undersaved,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst. “Paying down low-rate, tax-deductible debt [like…

If I Could Share One Money Tip, It Would Be…

What’s the one piece of financial advice you’d give someone? Over several years as a financial journalist, I’ve gotten many questions about money—but that one’s come up a lot. Of course, there are dozens of books with hundreds of pages of financial advice. So it’s hard to boil all that down to just one tip. But if I had to, it’d be this: Live on 85 percent or less of what you earn, and save and invest the rest. That way, no matter how you spend the rest of your money, you know you’re taking care of your future and you’ll have a cushion to help you get through the rough times. I wish I’d heeded my own advice in my 20s, but I’m grateful I started setting aside that…

5 Crucial Credit Rules You Don’t Want to Break

By Allison Martin for CentSai When I turned 18, I was on top of the world. I’d moved away for college and could finally go on as many mini-shopping sprees as I pleased, thanks to my shiny new credit card. Little did I know, irresponsible debt management would land me in the hot seat with creditors in less than three years. The path to financial blowout began in the summer of my freshman year. Long story short, I fell for the loads of freebies offered to college students in exchange for completing credit card applications. And I didn’t just apply for one credit card; I applied every time a new creditor would set up shop on the campus lawn. Surprisingly, I was approved for several credit cards with decent spending limits….

This Is Why It’s So Hard for So Many of Us to Pay Off Debt

Getting to debt-free is an important part of taking control of your money. Not only is debt a huge barrier to building wealth, but it can be a psychological burden, as well. Yet, at the same time, advice to “just pay off your debt” can feel cruel to people struggling to just pay the bills each month. And that’s a lot of people. Several surveys have found that more than half of adult Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Here’s a big reason why. Real incomes have been stagnant for a generation—according to some measures, since around the time an American landed on the moon. Meanwhile, prices of basics like housing and health care have soared. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, from 1996-2014, average annual housing costs jumped from…

GROWTH SPURT

Tracking This Key Stat Can Change the Way You Look at Your Money

If you’re stashing away a portion of your paycheck, only charging on your credit card what you can afford to pay off each month (or else diligently hacking away at your balance) and contributing regularly to a retirement account, you’re doing a lot right. But if you’re not also consistently tracking your net worth, you could be missing out on the full picture—and a motivational boost that can help you hit your goals even faster. Why It Works Although net worth is represented as a simple equation (assets – liabilities), this exercise isn’t just about math. “[Your net worth] is a measure of your entire financial situation. You’re able to see how your efforts across all areas of your financial life are working together to move you forward (or not),”…

“The only way to lose money over time in the stock market is to get out of the game.”