Makin' Money

Yes, a helping hand. But should you take it?

Chris Farrell Jan 12, 2011

Despite the implosion in home values, prices in many major metropolitan areas are still high relative to savings and incomes. Smart Money reviews a number of government programs to help low-and moderate-income households qualify for their first home. It’s a good overview.

These programs are a savvy break for some people. It can create a ladder into homeownership. But I’m skeptical about these programs in general. Homeownership is costly, even more than the stupendous price tag of a down payment and a mortgage. For instance, there are the ongoing costs of insurance, taxes, and maintenance. A lot of money is tied up in one asset that isn’t easy to sell. That money could be parked in an emergency/opportunity fund instead. Isn’t it a powerful signal that renting may be a better option if you can’t easily afford a 20% down payment?

The pros at the Financial Planning Association with some advice on your will: How to decide who will raise your kids in you tragically pass away.

Here some factors to consider:

Consider someone who shares your values and parenting style.
Do they have the availability of time and the willingness to serve?
How is their health? Are they an appropriate age?
How is their relationship with your children?
Are they financially stable?
Would your children have to move?

You should have a will if you have children. The decison of their guardian is one of the most important you’ll ever make, although hopefully it won’t matter since you’ll live to raise them yourself.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.