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Is it possible you are underselling yourself?

Is it possible you are underselling yourself?

You may think you are earning enough money. But are you thriving? Could things be better?

And is it possible you are underearning?

Here’s a quick quiz to see if you may be underearning- If you:

  • Earn at the low end of the scale for your industry (do you know?)…
  • Haven’t asked for a raise or raised your fees in more than 2 years…
  • Are unsure of exactly how much money you need to earn…
  • Are dealing with deprivation— no decent vacations, you are putting off needed work on your house or your self…
  • Sometimes feel overworked and underpaid…
  • Know in your gut you could make more…

Chances are, yes. And you should—and could—be making more.

The fact is… women undersell themselves all the time.

Countless research points to the same results:

When left to ourselves to determine how much we should be earning, we lowball ourselves again and again. Women expect to make less money almost from the very beginning. In fact, we tend to pay ourselves at least 20 percent less than we would pay other people!

When we think about how much our work is “worth”, we rarely think our work can command as much as is really possible.

Plus, women tend to be perfectionists when it comes to our work. We never feel like we are quite good enough to ask for more money.  And there always seems to be a reason to wait to ask for more.

Listen—men are not waiting!

Men ask for more money, more often, than women do. And it’s not just about the money. Would your work be easier if you had a more flexible schedule, more access to the powers-that-be, more resources to do your job, the list goes on. So the question is this:

Are you good enough right now—just as you are—to have a more advantageous working situation and make more money?

I believe you are.

And the first step towards making it happen is to start repeating to yourself, “I deserve to make better money! I deserve better!”

The second step is to get Mikelann’s 12 audio series Unlock Your Earning Power and start listening today.

Mikelann Valterra’s  Unlock Your Earning Power:
11 steps to conquer underearning and step into the prosperity you truly deserve
(12 40-minute audios and 98 page companion workbook)

Unlock Your Earning Program to posperity by Mikelann Valterra

Click here to read more about what is covered in the audios etc or order. If you order your Unlock your Earning Power before July 31st, you can use this $50 coupon code!
Code: UNLOCK14
(It will take $50 off your first month’s payment if you chose the three month option or $50 off total if you pay in full.)

Here is to more abundance!

Unlock Your Earning Program to posperity by Mikelann Valterra

Unlock Your Earning Power

Years ago, I struggled with how to earn my worth. When I entered the workforce, I worked very, very hard. But I didn’t earn what I could have…

I didn’t know how much to ask for when I got my first job, or subsequent jobs. And I was uncomfortable asking for a raise and didn’t know how much to ask for. When I had my own clients, I was uncertain what to charge them and worried terribly about raising their fees.
Looking back, I had no idea I was “underearning”. And I certainly didn’t realize my financial expectations were set so low.

But I did get to the point where I resented how hard I worked for the money that I brought in.  I worried that if I asked for more, my boss would balk, or it would harm our relationship. I worried my clients would leave if I charged too much money.

I didn’t think of myself as having low self-esteem. But sometimes it didn’t even occur to me that I could earn more. And truthfully, I had some conflicting feelings about wealthy people and those who earned what I thought was a lot of money.

Mostly, I just worked hard, was really good at what I did, and just assumed that I would be noticed and somehow rewarded for my work.

I didn’t realize I was maintaining my financial status quo. But I was definitely getting tired of not having enough money….

What about you?
Over the years, I began to study women and money, and “underearning” in particular. Slowly I began to understand the emotional and psychological connections behind why women undersell themselves. I realized that most women struggled with the same issues as me.

I realized that we women almost always sell ourselves short when it comes to asking for what we deserve.

In 2004, I wrote and published Why Women Earn Less: How to Make What You’re Really Worth (Career Press). This book looks at the psychological reasons behind why women undersell themselves (and often don’t realize it!) as well as gives them practical advice. Over the last few years, this book as been translated internationally, from Chinese to Korean, to Hebrew!

I’ve realized what a cord I struck. We must earn more. We must start earning at our potential.  We must take care of ourselves. What if we went from surviving to thriving?
So– are earning issues keeping you from reaching your goals and enjoying your life more fully?

• Are you struggling to make the kind of money you deserve?
• Are you tired of working hard and still earning below your potential?
• Do you feel that if you earned more, life would be easier?
• Or do you simply know that if you unlocked your earning power, you’d have even     more money to enjoy live and save for the future?

If you answered yes, you are so not alone…

After spending more than a decade helping women transform their relationship to money and unlock their true earning potential, I’ve created the program I always wanted.

Mikelann Valterra’s Unlock Your Earning Power
11 steps to conquer underearning and step into the prosperity you truly deserve
(12 40-minute audios and 98 page companion workbook)

Unlock Your Earning Program to posperity by Mikelann Valterra

Finally, you can identify exactly what has been holding you back and learn the skills to ask for more!  Click here – Unlock Your Earning Power to look at what is inside each of the 12 audios
If you order your Unlock your Earning Power before July 31st, you can use this $50 coupon code!  Code: UNLOCK14
(It will take $50 off your first month’s payment if you chose the three month option or $50 off total if you pay in full.)

Remember, underearning is the pattern of earning less money than you need. More specially, underearning is the pattern of earning below your potential.

It’s not about under-working or underachieving. Underearners work very hard and may achieve great things for their employers and clients. But their earnings don’t match how hard they work and what they achieve.

Underearning saps your energy. When you underearn, you earn less than you need to enjoy your life and fear not having enough in the future. And eventually you start to resent your work.

Thousands of well trained, qualified successful professionals like you are underearning and struggling to earn their true worth.

Why? Because they were never shown the underlying reasons why they undersell themselves. And because they were never taught how to ask for what they want in a practical and realistic way.

So they continue working hard and not earning what they could earn.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way…

To read more or to order your Unlock Your Earning Power program, go here: www.seattlemoneycoach.com/earning-power. Remember to use your $50 off coupon code UNLOCK14 - it’s good until July 31st.

Just Divorced - The Journey from divorce to earning your worth- three tips

The journey from divorce to earning your worth- three tips

As a divorced woman, I know well the trials and tribulations of this life event. Most of us don’t think about our earning power when we marry. Our lives are full of many things beyond career- from home to relationships and children. So when divorce happens, and money begins to demand our serious consideration, we are often awash in fear and confusion. Just Divorced - The Journey from divorce to earning your worth- three tips

Of course it is more than just earning money that commands our attention. After exiting a marriage that may have spanned many years, many women are unsure of how to manage their personal finances when it is just them. What does this new life even cost? And the emotions run very high as a new financial reality becomes apparent. Often, we do not have the financial resources to maintain the lifestyle we potentially took for granted for many years.

But earning issues eventually come up when you no longer have a partner who can contribute to the monthly expenses. For years I’ve written about “underearning”- when people earn below their potential. Sometimes women earned less than they could because their energy went into their homes and families. Other times, they may have been earning good money but they simply need to earn more now, to support their lifestyle on their own.

So on top of the practical new reality of being single, they are often angry and overwhelmed at their ability to command the amount of money they suddenly see they need.

Here are three tips:

First, take time to think carefully about what you actually need to earn. I’ve helped many women craft a spending and income plan for their new life that looks at their new expenses. Often I have women track their spending for a while before creating a plan, so we can see what is actually happening- the new bills, their lifestyle etc. We also look at new forms of income such as child support and spousal maintenance. Then we look carefully to see what needs to be earned.

So consider tracking your spending so you can get a deeper sense of what you actually need.

Knowing what you need to earn is powerful. It can help you decide everything from what type of job you are looking for to deciding if you will keep the house, and what to do with certain expenses. You don’t want to much financial pressure as you re-build your new life. Now is the time to assess the lifestyle you will build for the next several years.

Second, when thinking about applying for work, asking for raises, or getting contract jobs, do the research on what you can command. I can’t emphasize this enough- don’t trust your gut!!! When left to their own imaginings, women de-value their work and don’t ask for enough money. Most women suffer from this, but divorced women even more so. Often, their self-esteem is down, and they may not have been working in the same way during their marriage. So they frequently make the mistake of not asking for enough money.

Let the market guide you, not your gut. Trust me. An employer is extremely lucky to have you. Make sure you do your research and talk to knowledgeable friends before accepting anything. You are worth more than you likely feel.

Last, stop worrying about being “behind”. I’ve talked with many clients over the years who lament being behind men in the earning game. Let this go. Many women hit their career strides much later than men, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Men can start to sputter and worry about other things. While they secretly bemoan hair loss and other age-related “men-fears”, women are often kicking ass and doing amazing work.  Women in this phase of life are extremely powerful. We are like a mighty phoenix rising from ashes and are capable of commanding a lot of money and respect.

A final word- consider your new life support team. Ideally, divorcing women would benefit from a therapist, a job coach and money coach. We are all unique, of course. But this is a time when you deserve support.

Your new life awaits.


 

If you would like to earn what you’re truly worth and step into greater abundance, please check it out: Unlock Your Earning Power toolkit.   Identify what has been holding you back, learn the skills to ask for more and start earning at your true potential. For both self-employed and salaried women.

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One tip on how to escape Noble Poverty

Often times, I run across people who say they want to earn more, but then consistently hamstring themselves when it comes to bringing in more money. They are late sending out invoices, they don’t follow up on jobs, or they don’t advocate for themselves financially in the work place.

tumblr_n5wattoQ2M1st5lhmo1_1280For some, there is an unconscious belief that money is bad- and people with money are greedy. Sound simple? Perhaps. But it is one of the many beliefs that can fuel underearning. Remember, underearning is when we consistently earn less than our potential. So what about you? In your heart of hearts, do you see money as good or bad?

Too often, we unconsciously equate money as something negative, and we view people who have a “lot” of money in an unfavorable light. I call this viewpoint “noble poverty”. When we operate out of noble poverty, we believe there is somehow virtue in not having money and really good people don’t have a lot of it. This can be typified in the phrase “it’s better to be good and poor then rich and evil.”

The dilemma is that if we believe this, we may not allow ourselves to have money! Why would we allow ourselves to become that which we may (unconsciously) despise? If we see the wealthy as greedy, insensitive or superior, why would we allow ourselves to become those horrible things?

So what about you- do you fall into noble poverty? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you see yourself as greedy when you think about wanting more money?
  2. How do you really feel about the wealthy?
  3. Do you believe there is virtue in not having money?

What do you do to heal this belief?

Here is an exercise:  Begin to notice all the good things that money does in the world, and in particular, all the wonderful things that wealthy people do with their money. Those who fall into noble poverty consistently only notice wealthy people who are not generous, or are not good role models, while ignoring all the amazing philanthropists who fund good projects with their wealth.

Over the next month, see if you can find as many positive examples of wealth as possible. Look through the news. Create a list on your smart phone of “positive wealth role models” and write down examples you find. Who is doing good things with their money? How do they use it? As you begin to focus on the positive power of wealth, you will feel an internal shift. Give it time. Soon, you will no longer want to count yourself among the “noble poor”.

Here’s to wishing you prosperity and abundance!


TIME TO EARN MORE?

If you would like to earn what you’re truly worth and step into greater abundance, please see Mikelann’s Unlock Your Earning Power toolkit.   Identify what has been holding you back, learn the skills to ask for more and start earning at your true potential. For both self-employed and salaried women.


 

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You Wealth Revolution Network: transform your life spiritually, financially, health wise

For years I’ve been asked to speak for You Wealth Revolution Network. It’s a metaphysically minded network that looks at how to transform your life spiritually, financially, and health wise. Honestly, it may be too “woo-woo” for some of my readers, and others of you will absolutely love it. I am one of their speakers this year on how to “Overcome Noble Poverty – Four keys to go from underearning to earning the money you deserve.” If you register for their program, you can access my teleclass and a TON of other world class experts- all for FREE! REGISTER HERE. More info is below.

tumblr_n7fg2vYZ741st5lhmo1_1280Also- heads up—I put together a HUGE audio program that will go on sale after my teleclass. It is a TWELVE AUDIO program on how to earn the money you truly deserve, and conquer underearning forever. “Unlock Your Earning Power”. It comes with 12 forty-minute audios and a 98 page companion workbook. I am not selling this through my own website (I took my store down), so your only opportunity to buy this program is through You Wealth Revolution Network. It is the result of many years of my work on earning issues and it may very well change your life. I’m extremely proud of it.

Who is on You Wealth Revolution Network? Here are some of my fellow experts and speakers…

Here are some of the folks coming up on You Wealth Revolution Network. Reading these, you can see the spiritual and metaphysical orientation. They’ve asked me to round out their program because they know earning one’s worth is KEY to moving ahead in life. And they know we hold ourselves back for both practical and emotional reasons. The man who started You Wealth Revolution Network is Darius Barazandeh, and he’s gathered world-leading scientists, doctors, teachers, NY Times best-selling authors & Energy Healers to share their secrets with you.

Upcoming Wealth Revolution Network speakers:

  • Oprah Guest Rhonda Britten on Fearless Purpose: Finding Your Way to Shine in the World
  • Radio host Cari Murphy on her new book Treasures of Heaven: Lessons from the Other Side
  • Creator of the Morry Method, Morry Zelcovitch on Quantum Mind Power: Short-Cut Secrets To Instantly Eliminate Self Doubt, Boost Brain Power and Possess The Keys To Personal Wealth!
  • NY Times Best-Selling and renowned medium James Van Praagh on Reaching through the Veil: Tapping Into Your Psychic Capacities & Power
  • Wellness Leader Dr. Fabrizio Mancini on Quiet Your Mind, Strengthen Your Core, Explode Your Energy Levels, Even Reverse The Signs of Aging In Less Time Than You Can Imagine Possible
  • Do as One Founder Rabia Hayek on Master Your Breath, Master Your Life
  • Visionary, Entrepreneur and Founder of Nutri-Energetic Systems, Harry Massey on Decoding the Human Body-Field: The New Science of Information as Medicine
  • Spiritual Mentor, Teacher and Master Coach Shifra Hendrie on Awakening Divine Power: Embracing Your Authentic Mystical Blueprint

And many many more!

You will have the opportunity to join an “Intention Energy Circle” of like-minded individuals, your life can shift, your dreams can manifest and you can start to awaken to the life you were meant to live.

It starts by simply registering, right now.
==> REGISTER HERE

After you register, you’ll get your “New Life Energy Kit” for free with six unique audios that can profoundly shift your feelings and transform your energy immediately!

Over the past four years, members of their “Intention Energy Circle” have been asked about how the daily gatherings have made an impact in their lives. 94.2% of participants directly reported that their “Lives got better” as a results of being connected to this Intention Energy Circle every day.

More and more people report improvements in their lives, experiencing things like:

  • Feeling more alive, engaged and connected with life
  • Being able to enjoy the present moment, longer
  • More clarity, purpose and direction in life
  • Larger connection to the universe and earth energy
  • Courage to stop living by other people’s rules
  • Transformation beyond recognition in record time
  • Being equipped to handle 10x more challenges
  • A windfall of new profits from new opportunities
  • Falling in love with who they are inside

And that’s only scratching the surface!

These are not uncommon reactions from the Intention Energy Circle alone, yet there’s more you’ll get when you register for Season 7 right now – for Free.
==> REGISTER HERE

 

DeathtoStock_Desk8

30 minute audio on why people do what they do with money

DeathtoStock_Desk8Last week I was the guest on the Chat With Women radio show. I think you’ll love the conversation we had about money. Listen to us discuss why people don’t talk about money, why people spend more when they visit a brand new store, how women spend differently than men, and how our money story impacts us. All that in 25 minutes. Here is the radio show link. It’s a 60 minute show. I am the guest for the first half.

Give a listen here:

CHAT WITH WOMEN RADIO INTERVIEW

busy-mall

Three tips to help you spend less at the mall

busy-mall1.    Set a timer. After you have shopped for 90 minutes, you tend to go into a zone- and you spend more mindlessly. You zone out. Malls encourage this by hiding the passage of time. They don’t post clocks or have a lot of windows. This way you don’t know how much time has passed. So simply set a timer on your phone for 90 minutes. When it goes off, sit down and have a cup of tea. You don’t have to go home. Just take five minutes to relax and assess where you are, what you’ve purchased and what else you want to do.

2.    When you go into a store that is new to you, you spend more money. Why? Because you get a hit of dopamine- that feel good neurochemical. Dopamine is released when things are new, novel or exciting. It feels good! And a new store is very stimulating and exciting. So try this: tell yourself you can buy what you want, but you’ll purchase it when you come back a second time. Leave the store and go somewhere else (perhaps stores you’ve been to before) and then return. The second time it won’t feel quite as exciting. It’s not as new or stimulating. If you still purchase something from there, it will be from a more grounded place. It won’t feel so “speedy”.

3.    Don’t carry items around with you in a store. When you are debating purchasing something and you carry an item around, it starts to feel like yours. When you finally decide to return it to its shelf or rack, your brain feels pain- it feels like it is losing something that was yours and you are less likely to put it back. You’ll rationalize why you should have it. If you don’t carry it around with you, it doesn’t feel so hard to put back. Worried that size of jeans will get taken? Go hide it somewhere on a different rack while you think about it. Come on, you’ve never done that?!

View More: http://deathtothestockphotollc.pass.us/dttsp

The New Face Of Underearning—Is It Time To Earn More And Start Thriving?

Years ago, when I first encountered the term “underearning”, I used the definition of “earning less than you need”. While this is accurate (the pattern of earning less than you need is indeed underearning), it does not describe many women out there. This narrow definition seems to say that the only women who fall into this frustrating pattern are those who “struggle” or are just getting by.

But is it okay to go from surviving to thriving?

View More: http://deathtothestockphotollc.pass.us/dttspI know countless savvy women who don’t see themselves as “strugglers”, but they don’t see themselves as financially abundant either. They make decent money, as relative as that is. And they are really frustrated. Why? Because they know in their minds and their hearts that they could make more. They know, at some level, that they are earning less than their true potential.

Sometimes this is brought home to them by seeing men who do similar work, asking for and receiving far more compensation. Sometimes they have female colleagues who just always seem to make more— money appears to flow easier for them. Oftentimes it is a gut feeling—these women know that the work they do is simply worth more. They get amazing results for their clients. But these results don’t seem to translate into more money.

“Underearning” is simply the pattern of earning less than YOUR potential. It is about the pattern of chronically, but often silently, underselling yourself. (Many women do not consistently ask for the money that they truly deserve. This is the most obvious facet of underearning.)

Underearning knows no professional boundaries. It affects consultants, doctors, therapists and countless women who run their own businesses. Sometime when women are in professions that others think of as lucrative, such as the legal profession, they don’t see themselves as “underearners” because they know others don’t see them that way. But this just increases the sense of isolation and frustration!  Just because you “should” be making a lot of money doesn’t mean you do! I know plenty of lawyers who work really, really hard and still don’t make enough to live the life they long to live. They offer a very valuable service and still many of them earn below their potential.

This is truly a silent epidemic —countless amazing women earn far below their potential, and very few people call this what it is: underearning.

Tons of experienced women are frustrated that their hard work is not yielding more money. These are women who are very good at what they do, but this work and skill does not necessarily bring them the level of financial abundance that they desire and deserve.

What about you?

Take a moment and look back over your career—look back over the last ten, twenty, thirty years – do you see a pattern? Do you see a pattern of repeatedly earning below YOUR potential, or less than you could have earned?  If there is a pattern, as opposed to a one-time occurrence, then it is time to look deeper. It’s not about surviving… it’s about thriving! It’s time that we bring this silent epidemic to light.


TIME TO EARN MORE?

If you would like to earn what you’re truly worth and step into greater abundance, please see Mikelann’s Unlock Your Earning Power toolkit.   Identify what has been holding you back, learn the skills to ask for more and start earning at your true potential. For both self-employed and salaried women.


karen-mccall-mikelann-valterra

Stop your money worries in 2014

What if I told you that 2014 could be the year you put an end to your money worries, take charge of your finances and become 10-times more confident about your financial future?

What if this was the year you created the financial stability and prosperity you’ve always wanted?

Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, I’m going to help you make it happen.

On, Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET, I’m offering a free teleclass, “How to Get a Fresh Start with MoneyMinder in 2014.”  I’ll be hosting this teleclass with Karen McCall, who co-founded MoneyMinder Online with me.karen-mccall-mikelann-valterra

You may already know but in case you don’t… MoneyMinder is a revolutionary, cloud-based money management system that gives you the power to take charge of your money, plan your financial future and transform your relationship with money forever… in less than 5 minutes a day.

Perhaps you’re already using MoneyMinder. Or maybe you got started and then let it slide. Or you may have never even heard of it before!

It doesn’t matter.

Because on this teleclass, you’re going to get the information and inspiration you need to make a fresh start and become financially fit in 2014.

So, register now!

Let this be the year you stop worrying about money and start to feel good about your financial possibilities. Register now for “How to Get a Fresh Start with MoneyMinder in 2014.”

Warmest regards,

Mikelann

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4 Major Costs to Evaluate When Considering Homeownership

Many of my clients grapple with the idea of home ownership and how much buying a house will really cost them. I am not a mortgage broker or real estate agent, so when Zillow asked if I would like an article on this exact subject, I happily accepted. Buying my own home after my divorce was one of the biggest things I ever did in the realm of money. And of course my house continues to cost me money in terms of maintenance and my mortgage. But it also gives me great joy, a sense of security and is one important piece of my net worth.

View More: http://deathtothestockphotollc.pass.us/dttspI build my mortgage payment into my monthly spending plan and on-going maintenance and improvements are part of my annual spending plan. (Before I bought my house I had a category called “house down payment” in my spending plan, where I saved money each month in preparation to buy my sweet home.)

 

4 Major Costs to Evaluate When Considering Homeownership
By Jay Robert

Typically, a home is the most expensive purchase a consumer will make in his or her lifetime. Therefore, the decision-making process should be well researched prior to accepting the financial responsibilities of purchasing and owning a home. Mortgage choices made early on in the buying process affect the total cost of homeownership by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars throughout the life of the loan, so it’s advantageous to be informed from the start. Here are four major costs home shoppers should evaluate before buying a home.

1. Interest rate and length of loan term

Consumers considering obtaining a mortgage to buy a home should raise their credit scores as high as possible, as credit scores impact the interest rates offered by lenders and ultimately affect the total cost of the loan. Credit scores range from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent), and lenders generally offer consumers with higher credit scores lower interest rates. Typically borrowers with scores of 740 or higher receive the best interest rates, and even scores of 660 qualify for conventional home loans, though cutoff points vary from lender to lender. Low scores can be improved by paying bills on time, paying down debts and avoiding opening new credit lines before applying for loans.

Next, consumers should begin shopping for reputable lenders who offer low interest rates. While a percentage point difference in interest rates might not seem significant, over the life of the loan it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. For example, consumers who borrow $300,000 over 30 years at 5 percent pay $65,000 more in interest over the life of the loan than someone with a 4 percent interest rate.

Another way to lower the interest rate on a mortgage is to shorten the term of the loan. Borrowers pay more each month, but the shortened length of the loan reduces total interest. A $300,000 loan at 4 percent paid off over 15 years costs the borrower roughly $100,000 in interest, compared with more than $215,000 in interest if that same loan is paid off over 30 years.

2. Down payment and closing costs

Home buyers must be prepared to pay both a down payment and closing costs associated with buying a home. The down payment is typically 10 to 20 percent of the home price; so a $200,000 home might require a $20,000 to $40,000 down payment.

Closing costs are charged to borrowers for credit reports, inspections, appraisal costs, discount points to lower interest rates and attorney and lender fees. In general, closing costs tend to range between 2 percent and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.

3. Monthly costs

The monthly costs of homeownership exceed the monthly mortgage payment. The cost of homeownership includes the mortgage payments (principal and interest), taxes, condo or homeowners association (HOA) fees and insurance, including homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI) and other supplemental policies such as flood insurance. Some experts recommend the total monthly costs not exceed 25 percent of a homeowner’s monthly income. Some lenders advise capping costs at 35 percent. Home buyers should evaluate their level of comfort and financial security before making this decision, because putting down more than 30 percent may lead buyers into debt; after making mortgage payments they may not have enough money left to support their lifestyles.

4. Repairs and maintenance

In addition to mortgage payments, taxes, insurance and condo association fees, homeowners are also responsible for maintenance and repairs on their homes. After placing an offer on a home, the buyers pay for a thorough inspection to determine necessary repairs and then negotiate with the seller to get them fixed before closing. Once purchased, experts suggest budgeting between 1 percent and 2 percent of the purchase price of the home each year to cover home maintenance. For example, a homeowner with a $200,000 home would need to save $2,000 to $3,000 annually for maintenance and repairs.

To minimize the cost of buying a home, buyers should raise their credit scores, look for low interest rates from reputable lenders and compare lenders’ closing costs. Home buyers should establish how much home they can afford while living a comfortable lifestyle before home shopping. Keep in mind closing costs and down payments are only the initial payments, and buyers are still responsible for the monthly costs of mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, fees and standard maintenance of the property. Although owning a home is an enduring American dream, the financial burden can be challenging and isn’t as straight-forward as a monthly mortgage payment.