Schlesinger

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

Home ownership has always been considered an essential part of the American Dream.

And while it may be getting harder to accomplish—especially for the millennials—it’s still pretty high on the list of goals. If you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right by doing your homework and asking the right kinds of questions:

  • What can you afford?
  • What do you want in a home, and what do you really need?
  • What does "location, location, location" really mean?
  • How do I decide what to offer on a house?
  • What exactly does the closing process look like?

While it’s hard to ignore all the financial implications of making such a large investment, there are, of course, the equally important issues related to life, family and relationships that arise in buying a home.

And quick postscript to all you millennials out there who want to buy, but feel like the cards are stacked against you...hit up the app store on your phone and put all the tools and technology at your fingertips to use to help you find the best deal possible.

And remember, the American Dream is still very much alive and achievable.  

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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Inflation-Proof Your Life

Inflation-Proof Your Life

Worries about rising inflation have spooked stock and bond investors. As a reminder, inflation occurs when the prices of goods and services rise and as a result, every dollar you spend in the economy purchases less. The annual rate of inflation over from 1917 until 2017 has averaged just over 3 percent annually. That might not sound like much, but consider this: today you need $7,272.09 in cash to buy what $1,000 could buy in 50 years ago.

Better Off BONUS call: Investment Property

If there's a piece of property in the family that's on the market, would it make sense to buy it and keep in the family as an investment property? That's the question from Ryan on the latest BONUS call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a finance related question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

We knew that a stock market correction was coming, but why then did everyone seem so shocked when it arrived on Februarys 8th? Corrections, defined as 10 percent drops from the recent highs (January 26th), usually occur every year or so. Until last week, it had been two full years since the major US indexes had corrected. In other words, we were overdue for a drop.

CBS This Morning: Why Stock Market's Recent Volatility is Healthy

A wild week on Wall Street came to an end with a small rally on Friday. I joined CBS This Morning to explain why such volatility might not be a bad thing. 

CBS This Morning: Wall Street Market Correction

Wall Street opens after the Dow suffered its second-worst points drop ever. It closed more than 1,000 points lower Thursday. The worst drop in history, nearly 1,200 points, happened Monday. I join CBS This Morning to discuss why the market is in correction territory.

CFP® Pro Tip of the Week - February 9, 2018: Side Hustle

Worried Market Watchers and Bitcoin and Blockchain

First a quick PS: If you enjoy the radio show, please check out our podcast, Better Off.  It's very similar and you'll hear more personal finance calls with our listeners.

You can subscribe here if you're an iPhone user or here for Android.  

On to this week's show...

Stock investors are coming off one of the rockiest stretches in two years, leading to the inevitable question: What should I do when the market drops? The answer for long-term investors is clear: nothing. Still, when you hear about big point and percentage losses, especially as the second longest bull market on record tempts some to call the market top, it’s hard not to feel butterflies. So listen to the start of the latest show and let me calm your nerves! 

Hour one also featured an interesting call from Dee in Seattle who wanted a second opinion on some advice that she and her husband recently received from their financial advisor.  Given the recent market gyrations, it was a very timely call! 

Bitcoin, bitcoin, bitcoin is the theme of hour two.  Since the end of 2017 and now into 2018 it’s been hard to avoid the mention of the now wildly popular cryptocurrency. From Cassandra's, who warn that the meteoric rise is a bubble (hello, Jamie Dimon!) to true believers, who think Bitcoin will go to $100,000, it seems that the rest of us better brush up on what’s behind the mania.

My first Bitcoin story aired on CBS in 2011, but I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on all things crypto. Thankfully our guest today, Dan Roberts, senior writer at Yahoo Finance, is a total crypto geek and has been covering the wild ride from the beginning.  

We started by discussing Dan’s recent piece about the biggest misconceptions when it comes to bitcoin. (This is a great primer for any of you who have read headlines, but are now ready to peel back the first layer of the onion.) For instance, one of the great appeals of cryptocurrencies, for better or worse, has always been that it’s not traceable.  Wrong!  As Dan explains, it is very much traceable.  I had no idea.  And it all ties back to the blockchain technology that powers digital currencies.

I also didn’t know that coinbase, the most common exchange used to buy cryptocurrencies, is FDIC insured up to a maximum of $250,000. Like brokerage accounts, the FDIC protect against the failure of the institution, not against trading losses.

Additionally, while it might sound like the Wild West, but the world of cryptocurrencies is more regulated than you would think. Dan notes that legit Bitcoin brokerages are all licensed in some manner: either with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) and all of the exchanges now offering bitcoin futures and options are overseen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Does that mean you should sell your stocks and plunge into cryptocurrencies? SLOW DOWN, TURBO...Consider this: on the day we taped this interview, Bitcoin tumbled nearly 20 percent, so you would be wise to listen to Dan discuss his number one fear before pulling the trigger.  

Follow Dan on Twitter for easy to understand cryptocurrency content.

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CBS Evening News: Dow Plunges Again, Closes Down More Than 1,000 Points

U.S. stocks tumbled again after huge swings earlier this week. On Thursday, the Dow lost more than 1,000 points. Here's my latest appearance on the CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor to help explain what's behind the volatility.

Tax Prep 2018

Tax Prep 2018

Tax season opened on January 29 and the IRS expects more than 155 million returns to be filed this year, of which more than 70 percent should receive a refund. Once again, due to a Washington DC holiday (Emancipation Day), the filing deadline is delayed. Procrastinators, mark April 17th, rather than April 15th as your drop-dead date.