Dear Dave: Do you have a guideline ratio for mortgage debt to income?
Dear Levon: When it comes to buying a home, I always tell people to get a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, with monthly payments that are no more than 25 percent of their take-home pay. This type of mortgage is the only debt I don’t beat up people for having. Still, I urge folks to pay off these loans in less than 15 years.
The average person following my plan pays off this type of loan in about seven or eight years. That’s a pretty big deal in terms of your financial security. And paying extra on your mortgage doesn’t have to be a strain. You can start by simply rounding up your payments. If the payment is $770, make it $800 instead, and apply the extra to the principal balance. If you want to get more intense, you could make an extra house payment each quarter, or go the route of bi-weekly payments. To do this, simply make half a monthly payment every two weeks. By the end of the year you’ll have made 13 payments instead of 12. This will knock years off the length of your loan.
Remember, your income is your largest wealth-building tool. It’s so much easier to save, invest, and give when all your money isn’t flying out the door to make payments!
Dear Dave: Do you recommend having gold and silver as part of your investment portfolio?
Dear Don: No, I do not. I also don’t recommend oil or corn futures. All of these are examples of commodities, and the commodities market is extremely volatile. In addition to the market being wildly volatile, the prices on commodities aren't based on actual production. It’s based largely on a supply and demand curve. If there’s a shortage on one of them, the price shoots up.
For example, when you’re talking about gold and silver, there’s more demand than supply when the economy is bad. In this kind of scenario, people are fearful and lots of them run to buy gold. This drives up the price to unrealistically high levels.
Again, the price on a commodity isn’t based on anything other than fear or greed, and a supply and demand curve. The prices aren’t based on an actual production of income, like it is with stocks or real estate. I don’t buy commodities at all, especially gold and silver. I don’t recommend you buy them, either.