It's Only Money: Advantages of youth

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Being young has its benefits. Like having bright-eyed optimism, no one to answer to and a body that can withstand marathon drinking sessions without feeling it the next day - or week.

What's that? You're not seeing the rainbows and sunshine? Doom and gloom headlines getting you down? Well, look on the bright side - there are several economic rewards available exclusively for young adults right now.

Several of them revolve around housing. In an ideal world, you would have attended an Ohio high school and college, earned a degree in the last 18 months and never owned a home before, but want to buy one.

If that's the case, you can get an $8,000 tax credit from the federal government and a grant that covers 2.5 percent of your home's purchase price from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Pretty decent, huh?

And even if you can't answer "yes" to all three of those things, you might still be in luck.

Federal tax credit

President Obama last week approved a plan to extend the federal government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers who sign a purchase agreement by May 1.

The initiative began in January as part of the economic-stimulus package and was set to expire at the end of the month, but this effort is designed to continue to boost the economy a bit longer.

In addition, the bill gives a $6,500 credit to those who're buying a second home after owning their current one for at least five years, which could get things moving again in the higher-priced home market.

Grants for Grads

If you're Ohio-educated and decide to settle down here, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency is rewarding you for staying in-state with its Grants for Grads program.

The grant, equal to 2.5 percent of the home's purchase price, can help cover the down payment or closing costs, according to the OHFA's website,

The program is open to first-time homebuyers who graduated from an Ohio high school and have earned a college degree within the last 18 months.

Income and purchase cost limits apply, and you must pay back a portion of the grant if you move out of the state before five years are up.

Take a dip in the stock market

The recession is over, according to the people who declare such things. And the Dow jumped to its highest level in a year earlier this week.

So you've probably heard it before, but now might be time to get into the stock market. Especially if you're young.

Most people in their twenties or thirties with stable jobs haven't built up huge 401ks yet, so their savings probably didn't take the hit their parents' did. Many young people also rent, and therefore haven't had to worry about homes losing value. See? Things aren't really all that bad.

Don't squander this opportunity - set up a time to meet with a financial advisor to go over stock options stat.