Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ability to Be Rootless: The Seeds Sown

Here in Lafayette and back in Alamogordo, when I went to rent an apartment, I knew I wouldn’t fit the usual financial profile of a desirable tenant. My income is well below what lessors are looking for.

The reason I got approved at both places is that I’ve got an exceptional credit rating. I don’t have an exceptional credit rating because I was affluent in the past – that’s never been my situation. I have a sterling credit rating because:

  • I have always paid my bills.
  • I lived within my means so I could pay my bills.

A secondary reason for rental approval, if needed, is that I saved my money. I always put aside a certain percentage of my income into short-term and long-term savings. So I’ve got some savings that help reassure lessors that I do have the wherewithal to pay rent. 

I am debt-free.  

I’m not posting this to brag – I’m posting it for those of you who dream of long-term travel some day.

If you haven’t started college yet, avoid falling for the myth that you must take out student loans (or quite so much, especially for an undergraduate degree). Some strategies to offset large student loan debt:

  • Get an associates’ degree at a community college first, where it’s less expensive than a four-year university.
  • Price shop at universities. Look for value over brand.
  • Who says you have to graduate in four or five years? Take it slower and work your way through in six years. The money you save in debt could be far more important than the extra time you take.
  • Cut your monthly expenses, especially those that relate to data plans.
  • Got a late model vehicle that you owe money on, which also means full insurance and higher personal property taxes? Sell it and get a beater that you own outright, transfer to liability-only insurance, and enjoy lower personal property taxes. Crunch the numbers – this could make sense even if you lose money on the sale.

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