Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rent vs Buy - The age Old Question

     What are the real benefits to renting vs buying? Simple: living in anyone but your own families homes (if they even let you live there for free) means you are paying a mortgage ... either your own or someone else's. If you own the home it is called a mortgage, if you lease it is called "rent" but it does the same thing. It pays down the debt on the property and builds equity and (possibly wealth) for whom ever holds the title to that property. Is that going to be you or some stranger that you just happen to be supporting month after month, year after year? Put that money into your own pocket, own a home! 
     At the end of the lease, what do you have to show for all your hard earned and spent money? A box full of receipts. At the end of owning a home, you have a home, with value, to sell for real cash money! Or keep it to rent out for real cash money and let someone else pay your mortgage! Think anyone will want to give you real cash money for your box of rent receipts? Other benefits: In some places, rent has become so high that it is cheaper to buy! No more landlord to tell you what you can and can't do. You want blue walls? Paint them blue! Want a pet, get one! Today, there are still tax benefits to owning and some home expenses are tax deductible. Putting money into a home is a great investment. 
     Having real roots means not having to move around all the time. Even in a worse case scenario, say the home loses some value while you own it. You will still not have paid all that rent (to someone else's mortgage) and you still have a home with some value to sell. And while you have been living there, living the lifestyle you wanted, you have been paying down the debt so you may even have some "equity" (profit). You want hard facts and figures? Check out the chart above, it's just common sense. Figure out how much you have been paying in rent that you could be putting towards a home of your own . Owning makes sense. When you get tired of paying someone else's mortgage, contact me. I can get you started on the fast track to home ownership. Start building some wealth of your own. Let's make a plan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tax Season

     Have you done it yet? Did you sit up late one night getting all your tax documents in order so when you fianally get around to doing those 2012 taxes, the "stuff" you need will all be in one place? Do it! It makes the job so much easier and you know there will always be something missing anyways. I found this year that not all my sources sent me out "hard copies" of tax documents. Some of the ones I have online accounts for simply made them available to me online.
     Hmm, makes me wonder, what are they doing will all that saved money they are no longer spending on paper, ink, envelopes and postage? I certainly haven't seen it show up in any of my accounts or nor have I seen any reduction in costs, fees or expenses! Where are those savings going? Oh yeah, the bonuses for the executives. Don't get me started.
     I dropped off my tax "stuff" with my accountant today so I am feeling some relief ... that is until I find out if I have to pay or if I am getting a refund this year. I have used a CPA for years to manage my financial affairs, with so many different things going on it just got too complicateed for me to do it alone. If you still file the EZ way or do them yourself, why not try one of the FREE online services? I have posted 3 links here but do your own search to find the one that works for you. 1)     2)    or 3) . FREE tax forms are availbale online or at some local libraries. There is some free help out there ... Go to the IRS website and search for a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) location {if you made less than $51,000} or a TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) location {for 60 and older}. Check your area for places offering free help, like colleges, town offices or libraries. No matter what, get those taxes done. If you have money coming back, file early! It's your money, use it. If you have to pay, well then, you might want to wait until April 15th to give it to the government. It's your money until then!
     Until Monday, April 15th, some of us will keep putting it off and keep popping those antacids and aspirins every time we think about it. Maybe tonight is a good night to get it done?