In the not-too-distant past, American workers could count on their employers to take care of them when it came time to retire. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case for the vast majority of us. When it comes to retirement, we’re on our own. The problem is that many of us need to be saved from ourselves.

Poor habits and bad financial decisions are tough enough to deal with when you are gainfully employed, but they can really destroy your retirement dreams. The stock market’s been on fire and everything seems rosy for many people, but good times won’t last forever and we should have the long term in mind at all times. Are you guilty of one of these retirement-killing bad money mindsets?
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Dave Ramsey is a sensation in the world of personal finance. He may even be the most popular financial guru of our time. He has had several TV shows, he’s a best-selling author, he’s created classes that are now taught all across the country, and he has his own radio show too. When a man has these kinds of credentials, we must all see if his advice is right for us.

I first heard of Dave Ramsey from my parents. They were about to enroll in his series of in-person classes called ‘Financial Peace University’, where there would be live instruction at their church each week for about 3 months. The classes were about everything from creating an emergency fund to paying for the children’s college education.

The course also came with a series of CDs to listen to on your own. Mom and I took a road trip from Nebraska to Arizona one time, and the CDs were in the car so I figured I’d listen. I got hooked on Dave then.
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living without
The pandemic forced many to make hard choices. We’ve been cutting back, and some found that lifestyle deflation isn’t such a bad thing. Much like the financial crisis, frugality made a comeback in many cases and became the new money-stylish thing to do. Instead of showing off gadgets, many of us are telling everyone how savvy and adaptable we’ve been during the lockdown.

But, even as we cut back, selling items to bring in cash or refraining from buying some creature comforts, there are some things that we can’t live without. I saw an article on this subject from U.S. News and World Report’s Rick Newman at Yahoo! Finance, and it listed some things that Americans have a hard time living without:
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So now that I’ve owned my home for 10+ years, I’m getting offers left and right for home equity loans. While I am doing my own research, I would be most interested to read your take on them!

Congratulations. Getting offers from lenders to borrow money most certainly means that you don’t need the money. After all, no lender will offer debt to customers who they don’t believe can make the payments. Having said that, a huge influx of cash certainly gets the juices flowing. I can put it all in the market to further my wealth. Or remodel the kitchen remodel. Or get a new car. My home equity is just sitting there doing nothing anyway. Why not take advantage?

But First, What is a Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan is basically like a mortgage, but people only get one of these loans if they are already borrowing. That’s why these loans are often called a second mortgage. Conceptually, it’s easy for consumers to understand. Their house is already serving as collateral on a loan and they dutifully make payments. Now that their home’s value has gone up, there’s more equity and they can take money out via a second mortgage based on the increased value.
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home for sale
You’d think the increased demand caused by the pandemic would have died out by now, but it seems like the problem is just getting more and more serious. The nationwide housing inventory is at a record low, and the shortage is causing a dilemma for many prospective buyers. The shortage isn’t necessarily bad. At the very least, the economy hasn’t faltered to a point where people are unable to take on a mortgage anymore. But as we’ve seen, a booming housing market can be a problem when (1) homeowners aren’t selling, and (2) there aren’t enough new-construction homes to meet the demand.

It can even create problems for sellers. That’s because sellers still need to stay somewhere after they move. My friend recently sold her house for over her asking price because she got nine offers within the first week of listing her home for sale. That turned out to be a problem. Why? Because she sold her home so quickly and her family still needs a place to live in. Originally, her plan was to find a house shortly after she sells hers but she is being outbid by cash offers left and right on her quest for her replacement home.

When she sold her home, she rushed to find an apartment and signed a three-month lease. With the extra month offered by escrow, she thought she surely would’ve been able to find a suitable replacement within four months. It’s now been five and she still hasn’t won a bidding war yet. She’s had to up her budget two times for more than six figures, and she is still getting outbid. She’s getting desperate and the stress level at her household has been high.
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I’m a huge DIY’er (or rather, my husband is), and I understand the value that comes from a job well done with your own hands and time. I am the first to admit, however, that there are some projects best left to a professional, especially when it involves quality and safety. Here are examples of projects that make more sense to be hired out, even if it means paying more for the privilege.
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