The ability to save money has nothing to do with income. Take waste out of your spending and you’ll drive the haste out of your life. Continue to learn “the rules,” as they’re always changing.
Learn the rules
We’re not taught “the rules” in school—high school, college, law school. So we go through life in the dark, not understanding why it’s so hard to get ahead. Hard work and perseverance unfortunately aren’t enough—you have to know the rules to become financially free.
The first time I bought a new car, I’d just gotten out of law school. When I asked how much the car was, the salesperson asked how much I could pay each month, instead of telling me how much the car was. He never told me how much the car was, but I still bought it. This is not a smart way to buy a car. A few of unexpected life events and suddenly I was struggling to make the car payments. I bought it under their rules, not mine.
Prepayment penalty—Many mortgage companies want to entice you to keep the mortgage in place for the life of the loan. For many people, very little money goes toward paying down the principle the first seven years of a loan. Some mortgage notes have prepayment penalties so that if you pay the mortgage off earlier, you get penalized. Know what is on your note. You need to make informed decisions instead of being whisked along by a strong breeze—direct your own choices.
Adjustable rate mortgages—These adjust no more than X%/per year and X% over the life of the loan, with a lifetime cap. Be prepared to pay the maximum adjustable amount, incase rates increase. When the stock market crashed in 1987, my mortgage increased $1,000/month, an amount I couldn’t afford and had no backup plan for paying.
The mortgage broker is trained to help you get in the home you want, as is the real estate agent. If you say your maximum is $300,000 for a home, the agent will show you homes at $350,000. Then when you insist on only seeing homes in your price range, suddenly you really want a more expensive home and are likely to buy something more expensive. Remember, money is emotional. Stick to what you can afford and master money’s power over you.