Where mortgage fits in with Baby Steps plan
We’d like to own a home someday, but we know we’re not ready for that kind of financial commitment yet. Where does buying a house fit in your Baby Steps plan?
Buying a home when you’re broke is the easiest way I know to become a foreclosure statistic. I’m glad you two are being thoughtful and sensible about taking such a big step.
If you remember, in Baby Step 1 I advise people to save up a beginner emergency fund of $1,000. Baby Step 2 is paying off all consumer debt from smallest to largest using the debt snowball method. Then, Baby Step 3 is where you go back and grow your emergency fund to a full three to six months of living expenses.
With all this in mind, let’s call getting ready to buy a home Baby Step 3b. Save up for a down payment of at least 20 per cent to avoid private mortgage insurance. Also, make sure any mortgage loan is a 15-year, fixed rate loan, where the payments are no more than 25 per cent of your monthly take-home pay.
Doing it this way may delay your dream of being a homeowner for a while, but it will help ensure your new home is a blessing and not a financial curse!
How far in advance do you recommend figuring future purchases into your budget?
I recommend starting to put money aside, and including it in your budget as soon as you know the need for an item is a real possibility. Waiting until things go wrong or something breaks down will leave you in a real mess, more times than not.
For example, if you’re pretty sure you’ll need another vehicle in a year or two, the smart thing is to start putting money aside now. Do some research on prices, then do the maths to see how much you’ll need to set aside each month.
And remember, it’s a whole lot easier to save money when you don’t have things like credit card payments and other debt hanging around your neck. That’s one of the big reasons I want to help people learn to live debt-free!
• Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national bestselling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.