The path to financial freedom may be long, but it is exciting and full of opportunities. There are so, so, so many different things you can do to improve your financial health and there’s no better time to start than now!
My husband and I have tons of financial goals, so I am constantly on the lookout for more ways to be a savvy investor, frugal spender, and high earner.
Obviously, the easier the task, the more I love it! So that is what this list is. EASY things that you can do this year (just one a week!) to totally transform your finances and get yourself one big step (or 52 little steps) closer to financial freedom and debt-free living.
Good luck! Make this the year that changes everything!
Going through the process of buying an investment property – especially your first investment property – is a total roller coaster ride. You’ll experience a ton of anxiety, excitement, confusion, and joy.
It can be addicting.
It can also go horribly wrong if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.
So before you pull the lever on your first investment property purchase (and we’re talking buy & hold here), make sure you know these 10 important realities of real estate investing:
I am bound and determined to pay off my mortgage early. It didn’t start that way, but a few years into the loan my husband and I realized there were just too many benefits to paying it off, so it needed to happen. Since then, the desire to be debt-free has grown, while the loan balance has shrunk.
It’s an amazing feeling to watch this massive loan get smaller and smaller and I can’t wait for the day that it’s over. What’s even more amazing has been realizing that little changes can actually cut off years of mortgage payments. So, of course, when you add up all those little adjustments, you can seriously impact the length of your mortgage.
As with all major endeavors in life, the first step is always the most important, so if want to pay off your mortgage early, take one of these steps TODAY.
Here’s what I’m doing to pay off my mortgage early (and what you should be doing too!):
If you ever want to borrow money – whether for an emergency or to make an investment – you’ve got to have a good credit score. It will make the borrowing process ten times easier and more importantly, it will get you a lower interest rate on your loan. In the end, it will put more money in your pocket (and not the bank’s). Whether you’re just starting to build your credit or need to increase your credit score, here are some quick and easy fixes that could make a huge difference:
Related post: How to Buy Your First Investment Property
When my husband and I bought our first (and current) house, we loved it because we felt like it was the perfect starter home. It is small and cozy and perfect for two people – maybe a little baby too. The plan was to live there for 3-5 years and then move onto a bigger, more spacious McMansion-style home where we’d raise our kids.
We’re now 6 years in and each additional year we seem to dig our heels in further, finding new reasons why our small starter house may actually be our perfect forever home. Because believe it or not, there are some amazing perks to living in a small home.
So before you sign up for 30 years of paying off your mansion, consider these reasons for picking a small house right from the start:
One of my BIGGEST goals right now is to pay off the mortgage. I won’t lie, it’s sooo hard to stay motivated when you’re chipping away at such a big number, but the benefits are just way too huge to ignore. It’s a critical element of financial freedom, peace of mind…and of course, more disposable income.
But the reality is that if you prioritize getting it paid off, it CAN and WILL happen. And your future self will thank you for it!
Related post: 10 Things I’m Doing to Pay Off My Mortgage Early (and the One Thing I Won’t Do)
So if you’re in the same boat as me, consider these different ways for paying off your mortgage way earlier than you ever expected:
A big part of me loves investing in real estate and it’s a big part of my plan for the future. Yet, for some reason this was still one of the easiest posts I’ve ever written…because the truth is, I lose soooo much sleep over some of the worries that come with this type of investing (at least for buy and hold real estate investing). It is not an easy thing to do and it is TOUGH work. And not just the getting-your-hands-dirty kind of work (though it certainly can be that), but the dreadful how-the-heck-am-I-going-to-fix-this kind of work. The kind of thing you think about all day and lose tons of sleep over. And until you’ve really hit it big, it’s hard to tell if you’re even doing things right.
So before you jump head first into your first property (which I still hope you will consider!), make sure to read this carefully because real estate investing is not as glamorous as you think and it’s definitely not for everyone!
I am absolutely in love with the house I live in…most of the time at least. There have been things I never realized I’d love so much and others that I wish I would have considered more thoroughly. Right now we’re planning to live here for quite some time, but I still wonder if we would do things differently if we had the opportunity to turn back time.
Hindsight is always 20/20 though, so in reality I’m lucky we had such great advice going into our purchase. If it hadn’t been for our parents and a great realtor, God only knows where we’d be living. So for those of you about to make this huge decision, here’s my best advice and some important things to consider:
For the most part, the classic American dream includes home ownership. A comfortable job, a vacation once a year, and a place to call home. What’s funny is that the vast majority of us are relying on 30-year mortgages to “own” our homes. So, in some sense, we really aren’t owning them – we just feel like we are. And it’s so commonplace to have a mortgage that nobody really second-guesses it.
To be fair, there are some benefits of having a mortgage. But does that really mean that it’s a good idea for everyone? Should it be the norm? I’m not convinced. Here are some of the biggest reasons I think it’s a good idea to pay off your mortgage (and why we’re doing it):
Related post: How to Pay Off the Mortgage Early
Investing in real estate is an amazing way to diversify your portfolio and ironically it is much easier than most people think. In this day and age it can be nearly impossible to build wealth from a paycheck alone, so most of us need to think outside of the (career) box if we really want to live the comfortable lifestyle that we all dream of.
My husband and I purchased our first investment property 3 years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We rarely even think about it nowadays, yet it is still making money for us behind the scenes. We aren’t handy-types or real estate experts, yet it still was a great investment choice. It is honestly something that anyone can do, as long as you make smart decisions in the beginning.
So here’s what we did to buy our first investment property: