--John Kenneth Galbraith
Face this truth: If you let them, lenders are only too willing to advance you more than is good for your family. Mortgage banks and credit-card issuers don't care if your monthly payment makes it impossible for you to sock away money in your 401(k) or fund your kid's 529 plan. You need to set your own rules, including:
- No credit-card debt. Period. It's never okay to pay 15% to borrow for consumption.
- Borrow only to buy assets that appreciate. A home, yes. Education, sure. A vacation, a fancy dinner or even a 50-inch flat-screen TV? No way.