9. Home Sweet Home: What You Need to Know About Real Estate

American families’ net worth plunged 40% between 2007 and 2010, the Federal Reserve tells us. Most of that loss was driven by the huge drop in home values during that period. The real estate recession came as a shock to people who assumed home prices could go nowhere but up. Millions are still struggling with the fallout of underwater mortgages, as well as changes in lending practices that can make buying or refinancing harder than it used to be.

But I want to start with a question I answered way back in 2005, before the housing bubble burst. I’m proud of this response, since I emphasized the importance of limiting your borrowing to what you can really afford rather than what lenders ...

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