The American Dream —Your First Home

Key Takeaways

  • 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.

To Buy or Lease a New Car

Key Takeaways

  • 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.