Living Well
Book Reviews

Banks & Credit Unions

Home Ownership

Owning a home instead of renting offers many benefits, but these can vary from person to person -- in some cases, it may actually be less advantageous for you to purchase a house. Repairs, depreciation, and other miscellaneous costs are typically covered by a landlord when you rent, but you are left on your own if you outright own the property. Sometimes the convenience of having a landlord is worth the little extra you pay in comparison to the mortgage!

One of the most cited benefits of homeownership is the accumulation of home equity, meaning that the value of the home you buy will most likely increase over the period of time during which you are the owner. A lower previous market price now and a higher future price would mean that you make money in the long term.

  • Mortgages

    Some of the many considerations to take into account when purchasing a home are the deposit, mortgage rates, and location of the property itself. When buying a house or condo, you will be required to “put some money down” (typically about 10 to 20% of the total cost) and then take out a loan for the remainder. Picking property in a location that will appreciate in value can be extremely important because you will earn greater returns if/when you sell the property.

  • Home Buying Tips

    • Survey the neighborhood and inspect the house
    • Bid on the price, but don't try to "game" the market
    • Go with your instincts
    • Budget for "sleeper" costs (taxes, repairs, etc.)
    • Bigger isn't always better!
    • Make sure you know what is included with the property
    • Get a pre-approved home loan
    • Keep your money where it is and set a budget
    • Research utilities and miscellaneous expenses

Personal Banking

Banks offer many different services for individuals and businesses. In both cases, those parties can save money and/or place funds in checking accounts for future transactions. Banks are considered safe places to keep your money, particularly with the creation of the FDIC and an insurance of up to $250,000 on all bank accounts you own.

  • The Basics of Banking

    Banking rests solely upon the basis of lending – depending on the situation, you will either be the lender or the borrower. You can borrow money from banks in the form of a loan, while you can also place money in the bank for security and thereafter earn interest over time.

  • Checking & Savings Accounts

    Banks offer many types of services, including two forms of accounts that you most likely have heard of: checking and savings. The former is used to pay bills, write checks, and use your money, while the latter is primarily used to create savings and gain interest on what you have already earned and placed into the account.

“Bad” Alternatives

Some predatory companies or individuals will charge ludicrous interest rates on even minor loans. These businesses typically take the form of car title or payday lenders, and deliberately make your debt nearly impossible to pay off. It is always best to stick with a well-known company with a stellar reputation. The general rule of thumb is to avoid borrowing money if you do not have a plan to pay it back.