Home Buying and Home Financing

Understanding Aspects of Buying a Home [90 minutes]

This course looks at the advantages and disadvantages of owning vs. renting, and explains the principal steps in the home-buying process. It will show you how to estimate how much home you can afford, according to standard measurements, and raise important points to consider when deciding whether you can really afford it. The class covers the principal categories of mortgage loans, compares the advantages and disadvantages of 15- vs. 30-year mortgages, and describes the major "creative" loan options available, including their dangers. It also addresses closing costs, and how to select the best alternative when considering loans with differing interest rates and closing costs.

Managing Your Home as an Asset [90 minutes]

This class is for people who are already own a home, and emphasizes the importance of treating a home both as an investment and as a place to live and grow. Since upkeep is so important to a home's value, you will see how to estimate an amount to consistently save ahead for major repair and other projects. You will learn to recognize market opportunities for refinancing, and to determine what form of refinancing makes sense. You will see when paying a mortgage off early does and doesn't make sense, pick up several alternative strategies for doing that, and estimate what the potential savings could be. Finally, you will learn about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, and their potential advantages and disadvantages.

Saving and Paying for College

Saving for College: The Early Years [90 minutes]

This class is most beneficial for parents or grandparents of children who are five or MORE years away from the start of college. In it, you will learn about the current level of college costs, what has happened to those costs during the past 10-20 years, and possible future trends. You will see how a person would estimate, using a reasonable set of assumptions, how much they should be saving consistently to provide for college costs. After a quick look at how the current college financial aid process works, the class delves into the principal tax-advantaged college savings vehicles available, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and other strategies that can be employed in preparing for the onset of those tuition bills.

Getting the Most out of College Financial Aid [90 minutes]

This course is most beneficial for parents or grandparents of children who are five or FEWER years away from the start of college. In it, you will get a detailed explanation of the Financial Aid Process. You will see examples showing how the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated for federal purposes, the factors that influence the EFC, and what you can do financially to attempt to reduce your EFC so that you can qualify for more financial aid. You will learn about the "other" financial aid form, the CSS/PROFILE Form, and where it will likely be needed. The class also covers the principal types of financial aid available at the federal level, and non-federal sources of aid that might be available. You will see strategies you can use to maximize financial aid and minimize its total cost, and get the latest tax information about potential college-related tax deductions and credits.


Save Money on Your Next Car [90 minutes]

This course is all about the car-buying process, and how to save money during that process. You will learn the three major transactions in car buying, the importance of keeping them separate, and the dangers of mixing them together. You will pick up strategies for effective negotiating, and get a chance to practice it. Other issues covered include the best times to buy, the rebate vs. low rate tradeoff, lease vs. buy considerations, maximizing your knowledge by utilizing Internet-based resources, and avoiding the favorite tricks and traps of car dealers.

Teens and Money [90 minutes]

This class is for parents and teens, and is at its most effective when both parents and teens attend together. All who attend will leave with a better understanding of how much certain items cost, and how long a person has to work to obtain them; the different types of plastic that can be used to pay for purchases, and when each is appropriate; key basic truths relating to money, banking and credit, including how interest works; and rip-offs that target working teens and younger adults need to avoid. Teens will receive suggestions for handling any income they might receive from work, including putting themselves on an "allowance," and will learn important financial rules that will help them both before and after they enter the full-time working world.