CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 12, 2006 - Young families often have many new financial obligations to consider. From moving into a new home to expecting a first child, embarking on family life creates an entirely new level of responsibility. Many times the new commitments are in addition to the old, such as paying off student loans or credit cards. With so many new obligations to plan for and so many old obligations to tie up, now is a good time to get a handle on your credit strategy.
As part of its ongoing mission to empower borrowers, LendingTree offers the following tips for young families to position themselves for future success.
1. Make the most out of home-secured debt. Homeownership is an excellent way for young families to begin to build equity. However, it is important that you approach the process wisely to avoid creating more debt in the long run. Be sure to consider how long you will stay in your new home and then find a loan that best fits your needs. Be careful of interest-only mortgages, because they have attractive low payments in the beginning but will ultimately increase over time. To learn more about loan options available for you, please go to the LendingTree Smart Borrower Center.
2. To build your retirement plan, look for employer-sponsored plans and tax breaks. Even though it may seem that money is tighter than ever, it is important to begin saving for retirement even if your contributions are small in the beginning. Speak with your employer about investment options such as an IRA or 401(k) that will help you build a portfolio for retirement.
3. Be aware of the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses". The cost of raising children can be overwhelming, especially when you add to that the pressure from peers and other families to provide everything for your children. This is another time to focus in on your specific needs versus your wants.
4. Prioritize and plan to pay off existing debt. Young families do not always begin with a clean slate. As you think about what it takes to support a new baby or to purchase a home, you may still be juggling student loans and other debt. Tackle the high-interest loans first by consolidating at a lower rate, such as with a home equity loan. Be careful not to continue to create more debt as you try to pay off existing debt.
5. Save and invest early when you plan to have children. Having children is one of the greatest gifts of life. However, it involves many additional costs that must be taken into account, such as food, clothes, medical care and education. Take the necessary time to plan short-term goals versus long-term goals in raising your child and make wise financial decisions to prepare. For long-term goals like college, it is best to save and invest early to give earnings time to compound. Additionally, you should get in the habit of staying away from credit cards for daily expenses so you will not end up paying more on interest.
For more information about what young families should know to become smart borrowers, 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®.