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    The ABC's of ...

     By Diane St James © 2002

    I didn't name my consulting service ABC Mortgage Consulting just to getlisted first in alphabetical order on search websites. Well, that wasn't the only reason. I believe that learning the ABCs or basics of any subject helps you to have a solid foundation for handling more complex matters.

    My youngest daughter had a horrible few weeks at school with her math assignments last year. She kept coming home every day of the week with a different mathematical application to go over. One day the topic was elapsed time, then the next, word problems (you know, the ones with a few paragraphs and you are supposed to figure out what is important and what isn't in order to solve it). Then the next day it was working with percentages. Every day she was frustrated and every day I spent two hours trying to go over it with her.

    I was starting to get perplexed about all this to say the least! This was her elementary school years. The years that if you don't learn what 2 + 2 is Now, you're doomed!

    Finally I went to her school (and I wasn't the only one) to ask them why they were confusing the students by switching from one topic to another on a daily basis. It turns out that her fourth grade class was going to take some sort of state exams in the spring and they wanted to try to cram it all in, in a hurry. They finally got it down to more of a system and spent more time on each area so that the my daughter could grasp each concept with a solid understanding before moving on to the next. Thank Goodness!

    My older daughter who is looking into college already, asked me what the difference is in the numbered courses like, Art 101, Art 203, and Art 305. There were some listed in the 500's and higher also. I explained that all the basic courses are necessary before you can take the higher numbered courses. The beginning courses are the building blocks for the more advanced courses.

    I remember taking Economics 100 before I could take Economics 201. I'm grateful she didn't ask me why they don't go from 100 to 101. That's one I just don't know the answer to.

    I am a strong believer that you need building blocks of a good education to do well in life, not just education in school either. I'm talking about a good basic education about the things that need to be done day to day in order to sustain ourselves. I mean everything from learning how to properly brush your teeth, to cooking, to knowing how much and what kind of laundry detergent to use. All these kind of basics too.

    I got away without having to do any laundry until I was in college. I loved the way my clothes smelled but they didn't get quite clean enough. I found out from a friend of my that I shouldn't have been using the liquid softener as detergent!

    I am trying to teach my kids some of these basics before they venture out on their own, and believe me, they still have a long way to go. My 13 year old was making microwaveable macaroni and cheese and almost started a fire! She forgot to add the water to the macaroni. Believe me, you don't want to smell burnt macaroni noodles.

    Wait a minute. How did I get from the ABCs of mortgages to burnt macaroni noodles? My point is that I created my website to teach the ABC's of mortgages. That is really what is needed to make intelligent choices about mortgage options and products. If you don't know what ratios means, how to figure out what you qualify for, or what Loan to Value is, it doesn't matter if you are applying for the most basic 30 year fixed mortgage out there. You will be at the mercy of the lender.

    I don't recommend a crash course when you have already applied for a mortgage either, although I have been asked for just that.

    You'll end up confused with too much information like my daughter was with Math last year. Take the time to learn well before you take the first step toward one of the most important financial decisions of your life.

    Diane St. James is a mortgage professional with 21 years experience. Her website www.abcmortgage.net exists to help educate people about the Maze of mortgages. She is the author of "How to Get a Mortgage," an E-book filled with vital tips and secrets, and publishes a biweekly Ezine called Diane's Mortgage Tips + Other Tidbits. To subscribe mailto:report@abcmortgage.net?subject=subscribeme

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