Every day we can all go to the internet or listen to the radio to hear some expert say that a key to financial success is owning a home. Now this is not old advice, though the message about homeownership versus renting seems to change depending on which expert you’re listening to. Rather than weed through the opinions to find the one you think best fits your situation, consider the following questions to make the right choice for your housing needs and investment goals.

1. What is your number?

Your number is the amount of money you will need for your retirement. This number is different based on such variables as: Where do you plan to live when you retire? How much money do you need to enjoy your life while feeling free of the worry of money? In order to find your number you will need to account for some very important variables.

First, start with the amount of income you need to pay for all life’s continued needs such as food, shelter, health care, travel and any other contributors to the lifestyle that is comfortable to you and that you want to live. Then, add in the inflation number on a yearly basis, understanding that this will increase expectantly over the years of your life, to make sure you are not running short on funds when you need them most. Finally, don’t forget two important numbers: At what age do you plan to retire, and how long do you expect to live? These numbers are just as important to the process as the rest because of their impact on your overall plan.

It’s always a good idea to include some sort of financial planner who can help you find this number. A financial expert is important…