Ask the Experts

Big Buys

I’m set to graduate pretty soon, but I don’t feel totally ready for the real world. One thing that I really don’t think I’m ready for is making big purchases, like buying a car or a house. I try hard to save money when I work over the summer, but I don’t think the budgeting lessons I’ve learned while away from campus for a few months at a time have given me anywhere near the level of knowledge I’ll need to buy a $15,000 car or an even more expensive house! So, experts: any tips?

Sure! You no doubt know that buying a car can often involve taking out a loan, and that buying a home nearly always does. Still, to make a big investment like that, you’ll need some money saved up for a downpayment, a steady income to help you make the loan payments, and a solid grasp of budgeting in order to determine just how much car or home you can afford.

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Prime Properties

I’m going to graduate next year. That’s starting to feel really soon for me! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the responsibilities I’ll have as a “real” adult, and I’ve especially been thinking about my living situation. I want to save up and buy a home, but I have a hard time understanding what makes a house valuable. I see really large, nice-looking homes dismissed as “McMansions,” old and poorly maintained homes described optimistically as “fixer-uppers,” and everything in between. Let’s say I wanted to get a house that would really work as an investment and, in the long run, make me money: what would I look for?

There are a lot of very good reasons to consider buying a home instead of renting. The conventional wisdom is pretty straightforward: when you buy a home and pay into a mortgage, your money is going towards an asset that you can then resell or simply enjoy after its fully paid off; rent payments, on the other hand, merely give you a month of living space at a time and do not form any sort of long-term investment.

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Post-Grad Pad

I’m in my last year of school, so it’s time for me to start thinking about my life as a “real adult!” One thing I’m not sure I’m ready for is having my own place. I’ve never rented my own apartment before, and I don’t think I’ll be ready to buy a home, obviously. What […]

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Education and Earning

A college education isn’t cheap, and I am accumulating a lot of loans here. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s all worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I value an education–I really want to learn and I really want to succeed in school. But from a cost-benefit perspective, I’m less and less sure this is worth it with each passing day. My friends who have graduated are overburdened by student loans, and some of them aren’t earning enough to manage both their living expenses and their loan payments. I wonder if I should have just gotten a job after high school instead of going to college. Statistically speaking, what’s the reality here? Do college graduates really make enough to justify these huge student loan burdens?