CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 24, 2006 - Your personal finances have been changing over time. Your family has matured and you may be getting ready to teach one child to drive while another is heading off to college. As families age, it may be tempting to use credit to improve your quality of life beyond what you can afford to pay with cash. But as in every stage of life, you’re better off saving when you can and using credit only when it’s smart.
As part of its ongoing mission to empower borrowers, LendingTree offers the following tips to help maturing families make the best use of their financial resources.
1. Shift to short-term planning. Until this point, most families have set long-term goals for saving, and as families mature, those goals move to short-term. At this time, families should check their progress. Soon expenses, such as college tuition for children, may be important to consider, and it is critical not to borrow against retirement savings if the money is not available. Meet with a financial advisor in your area to discuss the options.
2. Use home equity wisely. You may have accumulated a significant amount of equity in your home at this point in your life, but it’s now more important than ever to use it wisely. Using equity for home improvements is an excellent way to continue to add value to your home and ultimately increase your equity. Additionally, equity is a smart way to pay for college tuition since it is usually one of the most cost effective ways to borrow money. Be careful about using home equity for debt consolidation. If you overextend yourself again with credit cards, you could risk losing your home.
3. Look for the best deal when buying a second home. If you can afford a second home, it can be a wise investment. Make sure to do you research and purchase a home in an area where real estate value is rising. However, if you are still paying off a first mortgage, a second home mortgage will have a higher interest rate since much of your income is already committed. One option to consider is using a new mortgage for both homes, but apply for a shorter term to lower your rate and get out of debt earlier.
4. Plan ahead of time to take a family vacation. With so many financial responsibilities and obligations, a family vacation is great way to infuse some fun into busy schedules. By saving ahead of time, you will have already paid for the vacation before taking it and will not have to worry if you are overextending yourself. Be careful of the credit charges as they can mount up when the family is having fun.
For more information about borrowing tips for mature families, please visit the LendingTree Guide to Smart Borrowing.
About LendingTree, LLC
LendingTree, LLC is the nation’s number one online lending exchange, providing a marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 18 million loan requests and $141 billion in closed loan transactions. LendingTree provides access to mortgages and refinance loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards via www.lendingtree.com and 800-555-TREE.
Founded in 1998 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, LendingTree, LLC is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, GetSmart®, RealEstate.com®, Domania®, and iNest®.