Our Weekend Word

So You Want to Buy a Vacation Home . . .

As summer vacation season comes to a close, many of us are fighting off thoughts of colder months with the fresh memories of our recent getaways. And for some, those glowing images of our favorite places may bring about an urge to make sure those good times continue by buying a vacation home.  Although the idea of having a permanent “home away from home” may sound appealing, purchasing a vacation property isn’t something to be entered into lightly. If you’re considering this major commitment, here are some important questions to ask yourself.

Mortgage and Debt Rules of Thumb

Most people carry some amount of debt, whether in the form of a student loan, a mortgage, or a car loan. Indeed, making large purchases using someone else’s money is often a smart financial move. Borrowing is convenient, allowing you to purchase big-ticket items with less out-of-pocket cash. And, with today’s attractive interest rates, it’s relatively low cost. But taking on any amount of debt comes with risk. A financial setback can reduce your ability to repay a loan, and any amount of debt may prevent you from taking advantage of other financial opportunities.

Spend Like a Champion

The Olympics in Tokyo this year have all eyes on Japan, bringing the island nation’s culture into the global spotlight.

 

One of the amazing things about Japanese culture has always been their devotion to process and discipline. It seems that there is a well-thought-out, agreed upon way to do almost everything in life from running a business to folding laundry. Fortunately for our financial lives, this includes a Japanese method of budgeting called “Kakeibo”.  

Unintended Consequences

A joint account may seem like a quick and easy way to be able to help out a parent or grandparent with their finances or work toward a common goal with a significant other. Despite the convenience, however, joint ownership of assets can have some pretty serious pitfalls if you chose this route in the wrong situation. Here are some of the most common situations where joint ownership can hurt more than it helps.

Party Pooper

Whether or not people can get their hands on fireworks this year, I’m sure we’ll find an appropriate way to celebrate in the U.S. of A. These issues in the global supply chain, however, may not be so easy to work around.

The Price is Right

As consumers we’re conditioned to look at one side of the equation when we go to buy things, what’s it gonna cost me. A couple percent increase in the cost of some staple items can cost a household hundreds or thousands of dollars more per year to live the same way. That cost is affected not only by prices, but by many other factors as products make their way to the consumers.

New Neighbors

After a few months of being trapped at home last year, Americans were moving in droves. The second half of last year saw the busiest months for the U.S. housing market in a decade. With historically low mortgage rates, a global building supply shortage, and high motivation to move, demand for existing homes was insatiable. We know what happens to prices when demand goes up and supply is fixed. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors shows a 19.1% increase in the median home sale price from a year ago. That is the highest yearly increase since the ’08 housing bubble. 

Muddy Markets

2021 has been an interesting year for investors so far and the stock market is feeling eerily similar to every day life. Things are going pretty well, but trusting that to continue still seems like a bad idea.

Home Sweet Home

Despite the pandemic we saw existing home sales reach levels higher than they have since 2007.  The median sale price of those homes increased to their highest level yet, almost 15% over 2019 prices.  So, as we revel in the fact our homes have increased exponentially, and those new happy homeowners enjoy their purchase there is always that pesky thing lurking around the corner… property tax reassessments.

IRS Extends Tax Filing and Payment Deadline

On March 17, 2021, the IRS announced that the federal income tax filing deadline for the 2020 tax year has been extended from April 15 to May 17.