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Ten Brilliant Ways to Become A Homeowner When You’re Broke

Ten Brilliant Ways to Become A Homeowner When You’re Broke

If you feel stuck in an apartment or a rental house because all your money is going to rent. The good news is that there are awesome programs out there that let you break the chains holding you down as “tenant” and allows you exchange that title for “homeowner”.

Purchase Your Dream House With a USDA Loan

First introduced in 2014, this loans purpose is to “improve the economy and quality of life in rural America” They allow you to borrow the entire purchase price with no money down and USDA loan are not just for areas filled with fields and green pastures. They are available in smaller towns with traditional neighborhoods throughout the United States.

To find out more about where these loans are available in your area, visit the USDA government website. You will find information regarding approved areas based on your city and state. You can also find out specific income eligibility for your area.

An FHA Loan Requires Little Down and Protects You From Buying a Money Pit

Although FHA Loans require an affordable down payment (usually 3.5 to 5 percent down) they do not have area restrictions like the USDA Loan. As long as the house is in good condition, there is a good chance it will qualify for an FHA loan.

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One advantage of an FHA home loan is the FHA inspection. It is more comprehensive than the normal house inspection and can point out defects that must be fixed prior to the loan closing. The thorough inspection can help you avoid buying a money pit.

The VA Loan is Not Just For The Active Military

VA Loans require no money down. You are able to negotiate closing costs by asking the seller to assist by paying these costs for you. This means that you can become a homeowner with virtually no money.

To qualify you must meet certain income and employment guidelines. You also must meet the requirements for military service or be the spouse of someone that qualifies. Talk to a VA-approved lender for more information.

Consider a Loan Assumption

Some loans, such as VA and FHA loans are assumable. Although assuming a loan has not been a popular option for several years, they will gain in popularity in the future. Why? Because right now no one needs to assume a loan due to the low-interest rates. But as interest rates rise in the future, assuming a loan at a 3.5% interest rate when current rates are 6% will be very appealing.

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The downside with this type of mortgage, is that it may require a larger amount to be financed if the seller has a significant amount of equity in the home. Still, they are worth keeping on your radar.

Purchasing the House You Rent (Lease to Own or Land Contract)

If you are renting a house and want to buy it you may want to talk to the owner about a Lease to Own or Land Contract. This type of purchase is perfect for anyone that wants to purchase a house, but doesn’t quite have the downpayment needed, or is in the process of rebuilding credit (such as after a divorce or bankruptcy).

Typically, a Lease to Own requires a small down payment and an agreement regarding how much of the rent payment will go, towards purchasing the home.  You and your landlord will also agree upon how long the rent to own period will last. After that time expires, you apply for a mortgage to complete the purchase. This allows you to apply for a mortgage, when you have more chance of approval, after rebuilding your credit.

A Navy Federal Loan is Not a VA Loan

The Navy Federal Credit Union is similar to the VA Loan, but the funding fee is less than VA funding fees. Typically, all military funding fees can be financed so this is also a 100% financed loan that requires no money down.

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The Navy loan is only available to members of the Navy Federal Credit Union. Admittance to this credit union is more strict than a normal credit union and the most common members are military personnel. However, this membership is extended to some family members of military personnel, some civilian employees of the military and employees in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mortgage Insurance Makes Up for Missing Downpayment Funds

If you are willing to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), many mortgage brokers work with lenders, that will allow you to put down 10 percent instead of the traditional 20 percent. These loans have advantages and disadvantages.

An advantage is less money down and the ability to drop the PMI once you own 20 percent of your home. The disadvantage is the additional payment that is tacked on to your normal mortgage payment. This amount can be as much as 10 percent of the mortgage payment.

Private Mortgages.

If you know someone that is willing to back you on your home purchase, they can purchase the home on your behalf and then become your lender. This scenario can be a win-win. You get that home you had your eye on and they get paid interest on the amount they let you borrow. You can also avoid PMI when going this route.

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Many first time home buyers, find this type of assistance with parents and grandparents who have the funds to pay cash for the home.

If It’s Your First Home You Are in Luck With First-Time Home Buyer Programs

There are many first time home buyer programs out there. A simple internet search will return a plethora of programs. There are local programs, state programs and federal programs. There are also programs offered by individual banks and mortgage companies.

These programs vary in the amount of assistance they offer. For more information on first time home buyer programs in your area contact a local mortgage broker.

Credit Union Financing is Available to Most

If your local bank says no to a mortgage don’t take that as a final answer. Many credit unions have less stringent guidelines for qualification on a home loan. Credit Unions also often offer home loans with as little as five to ten percent down.

Before giving up, check with your local credit unions for program specifics and eligibility requirements for their home loans. Many credit unions only require a deposit account for membership in their credit union.

To find out more about these programs and other ones that could be an option for you, contact a local mortgage broker. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.

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Missy Yost

Missy enjoys decorating, capturing the beauty of her surroundings on canvas, and making new friends. She shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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