Building Wealth as a Homeowner

One of the primary objectives of owning a home is to let the home appreciate over time and become a pillar of a family’s financial strength.

The steps to get there

Step 1

Having “Emergency Cash” is the first stage. It’s having $5-7,000 liquid for life’s inconveniences (the boiler breaking down, the car needing work, etc). When faced with the inevitable challenges that arise, many people are forced to run to their credit cards to make it through. They become stuck with high interest rate, non-tax deductible borrowing.

Step 2

The second stage is the elimination of “Bad Debt”. We define “Bad Debt” as any debt whose interest is not tax deductible. Obviously, those high interest rate credit cards must be the first to go. But we also want to divest ourselves of the borrowing associated with car loans, boat loans, student loans, and personal loans because it typically can be done cheaper.

Step 3

Shockingly, when you arrive at stage three, you will be considered in the Top 5% of Americans in terms of financial security. Stage three is accomplished when you have 3-6 months of your total expenses in reserves. The average homeowner (who is logically financially better off than the non-homeowner) has less than one month’s expenses in reserve! When life shows them more than a minor inconvenience (like a job loss, an illness/disability, or worse), most people are in a panic situation. With 3-6 month’s reserves, you will have time to weigh options and make better choices.

Step 4

True financial security is attained when you become “Debt Free,” but not without debt. We are considered “Debt Free” when we have enough liquid assets to pay off whatever mortgage they have outstanding. Wealth building almost requires utilizing the tax benefits of having a mortgage in combination with strategies that utilize the 3 phenomenon of money.

  • 1. Compound Interest – The impact of money left to grow upon itself can be dramatic. If you had $1 on Monday and you could double it every day ($2 on Tuesday, $4 on Wednesday, etc.), by the end of 20 days, you would have $1,048,576.00!!! Now, you can’t double your cash every day, not even every year, but the concept holds true…..compounding interest is a good thing!
  • 2. Tax Free Growth – The ability to accumulate assets without giving Uncle Sam a third of it (in the form of Federal and State Income Taxes) is how the $1 became $1 million. If the growth was taxed at 33% ($1 on Monday gave you $1.67 on Tuesday – instead of $2- and so on), your $1 would only grow to $28,466.20 after 20 days!!! THAT IS NOT A TYPO! You would have “lost” over $1 million.
  • 3. Leverage and Arbitrage – If you can put up minimum of cash and take title to a significant asset (like a down payment on a home….the smaller the down payment the better), you can leverage that cash investment to large returns. At the same time, if you can take the cash that you don’t bury in home equity and effectuate a spread between your “after tax cost of money” (mortgage payment) and your investment options (hopefully, in a tax free environment), you can gain the exponential growth that creates wealth.
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