- Before you embark on the dream of owning your own home, make sure there are no errors in your credit score or financial history.
- If you can’t come up with a 20 percent down payment, you can often still buy a home—but you’ll typically need mortgage insurance.
- Many new homebuyers underestimate how much they’ll pay in ongoing maintenance—budget $1 per square foot per year in addition to PITI.
- There are six key steps to building lifelong wealth.
- Establish short-, medium- and long-term goals, and never stop making adjustments to them.
- Take care of urgent matters first, important matters second and nice-to-have issues last.
- Pay your entire balance off (on time) every month.
- Always stay under your 30 percent utilization rate to maintain good credit.
- Research your awards programs carefully.
- Leasing limits your mileage, but you don’t tie up cash, you drive a late-model car, repairs are limited, and you don’t have to sell.
- Buy if you’re looking at used vehicles that you plan to drive for three-plus years and you don’t expect major lifestyle changes.