Practice Self-Care Through More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health

Pleasure = Self-Care:  It’s good for youself-care pleasure, health, sex, love,

Maybe you already practice self-care.  You do everything you know is good for your health.  And that’s good.

But if you are like many over 20, women out there, with a career, a main relationship, kids too, you don’t really make much time for pleasure and fun in your life.  Things to do just because they feel good and give you a feeling of enjoyment.  No time you say.  Too much to do.  Pleasures are often related to the senses, touch, smell, taste.

Maybe, just maybe, even your sex life is, well, not very exciting.  Your main relationship may also show signs of wear and tear.  You and your Significant Other pass by and are dutiful, but gone are the days of giggling and fun.

Well, I am here to help you change all that. Continue reading “Practice Self-Care Through More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health”

5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!

summer sports, summer fun, what to do this summer, canoe, kayaking

Summer Sports!  Yesssss!

How would you like to try some new activities to put some spring in your steps now that Summer is here.  If you already have plans for exciting days for the coming season, this post may not interest you.  Maybe you have a big holiday planned or you are going to the cottage for the Summer.

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If on the other hand you have not yet done much thinking about how you will make this Summer memorable, I have some neat suggestions for you to try some Summer sports.. Most of them will cost you less than $100.

I am really excited to see warmer days because Summer is my favourite season. After a long freezing Winter in the North East, Summer is never long or warm enough for me and I literally organize my life around the weather.

How do you feel about this wonderful season? Are you just planning the same old routine you have done last year, and the year before? When was the last time you tried a new activity?  Have you tried different Summer sports?

Don’t let being alone stop you. You don’t need a partner to join any of the activities I suggest here. The benefit of joining alone is that it will easier to meet the other people in the classes and make new friends too.

You can have fun this Summer without breaking the bank.  Outside sports are also good for your physical and mental health.  Being in nature has a calming effect that counter balances the busy, noisy city life.

summer sports, summer fun, what to do this summer, sailing, sailing class, sailing boat

Continue reading “5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!”

8 Expenses to have a more frugal lifestyle, save money and time too

What, buy something when I encourage a more frugal lifestyle?  Stay with me, because yes, sometimes it pays to spend.  frugal lifestyle, save money, frugal living,

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Yes, just like we often need to spend money to make money – think education, business training, etc., when it comes to living a more frugal lifestyle, you will find it easier if you have the right tools to help you.   A frugal lifestyle should not make you miserable.  Yes you want to save money for the future, but increasing your quality of life is also important so that you stay on course for the long term.

There are many ways some investment can save you money.  Today I will limit myself to 8.


My first gadget to live more frugally is a clothesline and some clothespin.  I did not have to install the clothesline myself but I invested in good, sturdy clothespins – pretty too.  They came in different colors and I sometimes try to use them to color match the clothes I hang out to dry.  That’s on days I don’t have much to do.

frugal lifestyle, save money, frugal living, how to spend wisely

Appliances that cost you the most to use are those that produce heat – stove, oven, dishwasher, baseboards, as well as your air conditioners.   Your clothes dryer comes up at the top of that list.


Some people argue that it takes a long time to hang clothes to dry.  I agree that it takes a little bit of time.  A full load probably can be hung in 10,  15 minutes max, plus the 10 minutes it will take to bring it back inside once the sun and the wind have done their job.


Others will say it’s wasted time.  I suggest you use that time to disconnect from your work, or Facebook, etc. an use it as meditation time.  Just enjoying the sun and the wind, and possibly the green space and flowers around you.  Those 10 minutes outside breathing fresh air will re-energize you and make you more productive for the next few hours.


My second favourite  gadget is my cappuccino-espresso maker.  It sits in my kitchen and lets me make cappuccino on demand for a fraction of the cost I would pay at the corner café. (One cappuccino a week, for 5 years =$3.50 X 250 weeks) =$875.  If you have 2 a week, then it $1750. in coffee.  And I know some of you have it everyday. Then we are talking about over $4,000.  Yes, I love my fairly inexpensive Breville but you if you save more you may want to invest in a pricier machine.


I bought mine when it was on sale and calculated that it would take less than one cappuccino a week for less than a year to get my money’s worth   Meaning that for the next 5 or so years, I  will enjoy cappuccino for free (plus the cost of coffee itself).  All in all a pretty good deal.


Side benefit is I can have a cappuccino anytime I want, I can have it in my pj’s, on my balcony or in my backyard or looking outside on a rainy or snowy day.  It saves me the time to get dressed, walk to the café and wait in line.  And no need for tipping either.


My third purchase that saves me time and money is my clothes washer.  If you have a home that’s probably a given that you have your washing machine.  When you rent an apartment however, that convenience is usually not included.  I paid good price for my Maytag portable washer, about $600 10 years or so ago.  Maybe you need to walk or drive to a Laundromat nearby, at a cost of both time and money, or use the coin-operated one in your building.  This portable beauty could solve that problem, and pay for itself within a short time


But it has paid off in time, and money, because time is money.  I could use the washer and dryer included in my rent but this involved getting outside to access it next door, and sharing with 4 other tenants.  My washer is probably good for another 10 years.  $30. a year for a great convenience, again, at my fingertip 24 hours a day, in my pj’s.


I also invested in 3 fans, tower type.  Elegant, noiseless and portable.  Total cost: about $200.  While I do have a window air conditioner, I seldom use it, unless I have guests who cannot tolerate the heat. You may also like this one


I personally love the warm days of Summer, maybe because they are so few where I live.  If you want to save money to keep cool in Summer, I highly recommend getting some of those and remembering the cold days of winter and how much you longed for Summer.


I am lucky to also have ceiling fans: bedroom, kitchen and living room.  They too are great to provide relief from the heat.  I like to imagine I am in Africa (seen those in movies).  It’s a great excuse to make a cool lemonade and sit with my feet up and a good book.


Some people don’t like ceiling fans because give too much wind.  I suggest you use the slowest setting for the one in the bedroom and living room.  The kitchen one is great on high when you are slaving over a hot stove.


A dishwasher is also great to save money and time.  Many studies show that washing dishes in the dishwasher uses less water than if you wash by hand.  To make sure you also use less hydro, turn the dishwasher on when the hydro rates are lower (for me it’s after 7 p.m. and anytime on weekends).  Refrain from rinsing your dishes.  And fill up the dishwasher before turning it on. I love my portable dishwasher because I hate washing dishes.   Even a countertop dishwasher can help your frugal lifestyle and it saves me time. This one looks good too

Lined drapes and or sun proof window shades.  Those will do double duty.  Keep the sun out in Summer and keep the cold out in Winter nights.  You can even make some for patio doors to hang outside, before the heat hits the window.  I did some for my living room.  They attach with Velcro, and can be put on or removed in under 30 seconds.  Great for morning when the temperature hits 30C (86F), like today.  They are also inexpensive to make.


Finally I bought a portable BBQ, correction, it was a gift– it’s on the balcony and is great to cook on hot days.  Cheaper than hydro to use and the house remains cooler when you cook outside, so you save on cooling costs. Cooking outside is another way to relax and recharge.

If you found this post useful, please let me know and share with your network and on social media.  Thanks.








Do You Have To Ditch That Latte To Realize Your Financial Dreams?


latte or your financial dreams

Latte or financial dreams?  There has been a lot of talk recently on the Web about how spending money on a latte ends up screwing up your finances and your retirement.  Someone else, I can’t remember who, wrote that avocado toasts are really the culprit that sends many to the poor house, or at least without enough money to buy a home or realize their financial dreams.

financial dreams, financial freedom, saving money, latte factor, debt free, home ownership, emergency fund

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My first throught was, “Are you kidding me?”  It takes more than a few latte(s) to do that.    But I kept thinking about those articles and every time I had a latte, in my case americano, I wondered.

What made me wonder was not so much the $2. I splurge on a coffee once a week or so, but when I often saw the people in line ahead of me, spending $8 or more for a latte and an overpriced muffin.  That’s $40 a week, $160 a month and $1,920 a year!

My frugal mind chose to think that A)they either only splurged once a month or B) they are the wealthy among us and this expense is really just a drop in the bucket for them.

I also remembered people from my days working in financial services and the reality that many spent their life in debt and never realized their dreams.  To save and realize your financial dreams, you need a different mindset than when you spent without counting.

What do you need to do?  Who should you listen to?   Is your latte habit a slow leak that will sink your boat and derail your life’s dreams? Continue reading “Do You Have To Ditch That Latte To Realize Your Financial Dreams?”

What You Will Wish Your Younger Self Knew About Saving Money And Becoming A Millionaire

saving money retirement, becoming a millionaire, retire with enough, retirement planningAre you dreading retirement?   Are you afraid of being a bag lady?  I can help.  Being poor young is not fun.  Being old and poor sucks.  Saving money for retirement is essential.

I don’t mean retirement per se but is the fear that you will be poor because you have not been saving money keep you up at night?  Or have you been distracting yourself and avoiding looking at your finances and financial future hoping for some miracle?

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saving money retirement, becoming a millionaire, retirement planning, saving for retirement,


Have you saved enough?  Did you take time to calculate how much income your nest will provide ?  Did you take into account the factor of “inflation”?  Do you dream of a quiet retirement lifestyle or are you hoping keep the same lifestyle and to travel extensively?

You know that  “hindsight is 20-20?   Nowhere is this more true  than when we talk about saving money.  When you reach retirement and wish you had been more diligent about where to spend,  because you look at your retirement options and see how you could definitely use a couple more hundred thousand dollars in your retirement fund right now.

I know.  Saving money is not easy. (But the following 35 tips will help you).  I don’t find it easy to save money, whether it is to stay on budget at the grocery store or pass by those gorgeous clothes and shoes and say to myself “NO”.  Neither do I find it easy to stay in a smallish apartment and not move to a more modern and larger place. Continue reading “What You Will Wish Your Younger Self Knew About Saving Money And Becoming A Millionaire”

Ditch The New Normal With Your Health, Love Life And Money

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Stand Out!  Don’t be Afraid, Ditch Normal

I know, this goes against everything your mom and common sense told you since you were a toddler.  Everyone wants to be seen as normal, right? Normal means fitting in, being like everyone else, part of the majority.

stand out, don't be afraid, ditch new normal

Well, no more, at least when it comes to these three aspects of your life.  Because today many people find it normal to be overweight and in poor health, to settle in relationships and to have debt and little or no net worth.


Normal Health?  No way.


The new normal in America is if you are in the norm, you are very overweight, maybe obese.  Because you are so uncomfortable, you rarely walk or do any other kind of exercise.


If you are normal in America, it means you eat fast food regularly, smoke, eat very little fruit and vegetable and barely know how to cook.  In fact, you also eat out a lot and your fridge has mostly soft drinks, beer, some frozen pizza and other processed food.


If you are normal, you have latent heart problems and or type 2 diabetes, and there is a good chance you will die fairly young or spend your last years in a wheelchair.


It’s become normal in America to have obese kids who slurp on soft drinks, watch tv or play on computer most of the time and are addicted to junk food.  Today’s youngs may die younger than their parents because their bad health starts when they are so young.


Where do you fit in that picture?  If you find that this is a pretty accurate description of your health, you can change it.  It’s quite simple really although it’s not necessarily easy.


First, ditch the junk food.  Invest in some fruits and vegetables. Then, start cooking.  And start walking.  Identify your triggers for eating badly.  Attack them one by one.  Make friends with people who eat healthy.  Make friends with people who walk or exercise and value their health.  Meal planning can help you eat healthier.

stand out, don't be afraid, eat healthy, ditch new normal


Someone said Continue reading “Ditch The New Normal With Your Health, Love Life And Money”

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) What You Need to Know Before you Get One

What you need to know before you get a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

home equity line of credit (HELOC)

How I wish I knew then what I know now about a home equity line of credit (HELOC), also called Equity Line.

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If you are thinking about getting a Home Equity line of credit, “just in case”, read this and thank me later.  A word of warning: a Home Equity Line of Credit is not play money and it’s not a savings account.  It’s a potential debt.

The greatest advantage of a line of credit is that it usually has a much lower rate of interest than a credit card.  A line of credit is a useful product if you have a business – A business line of credit is a financial instrument typically used for an organization’s short-term working capital needs, such as inventory purchases, future project costs, or company payroll. Lines of credit are mainly to help even out the organization’s cash flow.

Then there is the personal line of credit, often called a HELOC or Home Equity Line of Credit.  This type of line of credit is secured by the equity in your house.  (This is the type I got, more of that later).  Another name for it could be “second mortgage”, but nobody at the bank ever uses that term. Continue reading “A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) What You Need to Know Before you Get One”

An Expert’s advice: For a Passionate, Happy Marriage: Connect –

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For a passionate, happy marriage: connect.createe a lifelong passionate, happy marriage

Those of you who know me  know that I am a life-long learner.  I love learning new stuff but not just any stuff.  What interests me is everything about what makes us tick as human beings, what makes us happy and what makes for good relationships and a healthy, happy marriage.  I am a book worm, and now with all I can find on the web, I am in heaven.

I recently listened to a very interesting interview with Jeff Forte.  Jeff was a a conflict resolution professional working with CEO’s and other executives to improve team work before he became a relationship specialist.

How Jeff came to work from couples is directly related to what he did for a living.  He used the same strategies he used with CEO’s to try and resolve the trouble at home with his wife (it worked).  So began his career working with couples.

passionate, happy marriage


What does Jeff know that you don’t?  Well I was as curious as you. Continue reading “An Expert’s advice: For a Passionate, Happy Marriage: Connect –”

Best Tips To Stop Emotional Eating


Best Tips To Stop Emotional Eating and overeating

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Even without emotional eating , it is a lot more difficult for us women to lose weight than it is for men .Even at 30 and even more so around and after menopause.  And for some a small number of us there can be other factors like an underperforming thyroid.

However, for a large majority of us, emotions are the driving factor that gets us from the couch to the fridge.

North Americans are not happy.  More than 50% hate their jobs.  Around 50% of marriages end in divorce and of those who remain married a small percentage – some say around 15% – are happy.  Over 20% of the population is drinking to excess or using drugs – and that’s only the ones we know about.

This sad state of affairs has created a world where food has become the legal and acceptable drug of choice.  The term “emotional eating” has never been as present as it is today with devastating consequences for our waistlines and our collective health.

Not helping the situation are the gigantic servings in popular restaurants and the millions of fast food places all over, offering what they say is cheap (I’ll write about that in another post, because no they are not cheap) convenient food-like stuff.

If you recognize yourself as an emotional eater, here are some ways you may have fallen into that habit and what you can do instead – must do – to take care of your physical and emotional health and transform your life.

The very first step is to identify the feeling before you reach for the extra-food.  Try to find out what you are feeling at this very moment?  Sad, bored, angry, lonely, or anxious?  Once you have identified the feeling, take an action that will soothe it, without resorting to extra-food, using the tips below.  Be kind to yourself.  You did not start emotional eating last week.  It will take time to make changes in your eating habits.

Stop Emotional Eating

If you overeat when you feel bored, find your passion.  One of the top qualities associated with happiness is curiosity.   Not surprising.  Look at young children.  They want to see and touch and do everything possible.  People who keep on learning for the sake of learning are some of the happiest around.  To find something that interests you, look around, look back when you were a child or young adult.

Maybe you did not have a chance to take piano or singing lessons because there was not enough money in the family.  Find yourself a piano or singing teacher.  Ever wanted to be a ballerina?  You may never make it to the Met but you can take ballet lessons, just for your own pleasure.  Look here to find a class you might want to take.

If you overeat when you feel lonely, get your list of favourite people and get in touch.  Whether it’s because you are away from family or not being able to see them often or feeling lonely because of a disconnection in your relationship(s), loneliness is a 21st century disease.  If you can call, visit, email, text a loved one, do it.  If you feel lonely because there is a disconnection in your primary relationship, reach out.  Tell how you feel, without accusing.  Hopefully the response will be a loving one.

I know from experience that it’s not easy to reach out – my early life experience has left me worrying about bothering people.  So now I talk to myself into doing it even when it feels uncomfortable.

It takes on person to reach out to possibly repair and re-connect.  Try it.  If you consistently get a no-response or a negative one, see if you need a serious talk or a counselling session to help you decide whether to stay or leave.

If you overeat when you feel unloved (and unlovable), be loving to yourself.  Eating too much or the wrong stuff is abandoning yourself.  If you need love, a cookie or the whole box will not deliver love.  Look at a picture of yourself as a baby and ask what that little one needs right now.  It might be a nap, or a nice walk, or watching a funny movie, or being with someone who you know totally loves you (yes, even your mother counts) and tell them you need a hug or a cuddle.  Ask for what you need from your partner, your friends, your family.

Look at the ways you have been unloving toward yourself: overeating, not sleeping enough, too much tv, no exercise,  not allowing yourself time off, a nice meal, a trip, help around the house, etc.

If you overeat when you feel disrespected, respect yourself and speak up – unless it’s physically dangerous to do so.  In that case, find a safe space.

Not standing up for yourself is one of the worse things you can do for both your physical an mental health.  The stress hormones you secrete are poison.

If you overeat when you are angry, first process what happened.  Don’t take it out on yourself with food.  Anger is a very healthy emotion unless it’s your default place.  Anger can show up when someone has violated our boundaries, or when we see someone else being treated badly.  If there is a cause you feel particularly passionate about, get involved as a volunteer.  If someone repeatedly violates your boundaries, remove yourself, permanently if things don’t change.

If you overeat because you hate your job, make a plan to find work where you will be happier.  Take a class, network to see what jobs are available, either in your present company or outside.  If possible, ask for a transfer to another department.  Investigate what education you would need to get the work you really want.

I did just that when I worked in the government, in administration and I was bored to death and I hated the work.  See this past post where I talk about it.  I can assure you that when I first tried to imagine getting the Master’s degree I would need, I totally believed it was not possible.  Fast forward 7 years later, I had the B.A. and the M.A. and I was in a totally new career.  If I could do it, you can too.

If you overeat because you feel old, put on your favourite music and dance.  Watch movies you liked when you were younger.  Treat yourself to a haircut.  If you are still wearing the same clothes you were wearing 20 years ago, treat yourself to a few new pieces of clothing.  No need to break the bank.  Consignement stores hold treasures at basement bargain prices.  If you feel old, stop referring to your age.  Look in the mirror, smile and say an age about 20 years younger than your chronological age.  Imagine yourself being 20 years younger.

Some of the best ways to feel younger is to be physically active through sports, or other activities.  I do ballroom dancing and I just started argentine tango.  I also do taichi, swim and walk regularly.  The other way to feel younger is to remain mentally active.  Read, learn new things.  I learned Italian a few years ago – one year of weekly classes.  I am now learning technical stuff related to my blog and although I find it extremely challenging, it’s keeping my brain active and that’s good.

If you overeat or practice emotional eating because you are unhappy in a loveless, or toxic relationship, and you have given it your best shot, take care of yourself and leave.   Consult a professional to clarify what you want and need to do.   You deserve to be with someone who cherishes you and you cherish too.   Some relationships, through no one’s fault, should have never been in the first place.  Others are abusive and toxic.  Both are hard to leave but your mental, and physical health deserve better.

Finally, there is another reason some of us overeat that is not emotional eating: we love the taste of food and are gluttons!  I know some of my overeating is simply because it’s so good -I am not really hungry but that cake is divine, or the pizza to die for.  I sometimes do this when I bake a cake, or a pie, raspberry pie.  Or with chinese food, my very favorite.  One thing to ask before taking that second helping is “Am I really hungry?  Do I want to regret this?  Will this sabotage my work of the last few weeks? Is it worth it?”  That kind of interior monologue can help, sometimes not. Ideally it does not happen too often.

If you resonate with any of the above triggers for overeating and emotional eating, surround yourself with people who are self-loving and manage their emotions in a healthy way.  They are the kind of people who will not sabotage your efforts at a healthier lifestyle and plan non-food activities with the others: hiking, a movie, an outdoor concert, a play, going dancing, a swim at the lake, etc.

If you found this post useful, please let me know and  share it with your network and on social media



3 Things You Must Know To Save Money (And Grief) Before Buying A House

3 Things You Must Know To Save Money (And Grief) Before Buying A House

buy house, house buying mistakes, mistakes when home shopping, home buying, how to save money when buying a house

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Buying a house is the biggest expense you will ever have.  Not only thousand of dollars, but hundreds of thousands.  Unless you live in a small town, it’s very unlikely you can find something under $150,000, for  a condo, more likely well over $200,000 for a single family home.  In many cities the cost of the average home is over $400,000

I was totally clueless when I bought my first house.  I was lucky.  The price of houses then was not what it is today and I used some inheritance money to have more than the 20% downpayment.

Fast forward a few years and I made huge mistakes when buying another house.  Check this previous post on the subject of big money mistakes.  I made a bad decision and unfortunately neither the real estate agent nor the lending institution gave me advice.

Hopefully I can save you some grief.  Here are my top 3 recommendations for when you buy a house.


  • Have at least 20% as a down payment.

  • This will save you paying the lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI), an amount that is added to your mortgage – and amortized over years, with interest.  Yes you could pay it in advance, but why not put that extra 2.8 to 4.% (at least $9,000  or so on a $300,000 home) on the down payment.

This will not only save you from paying the insurance, plus interest on the insurance but will also reduce your monthly payments.  Yes you will pay interest for the length of your mortgage on that insurance, so it will probably cost you over $10,000 in interests)  Ouch! Ouch!

I know it’s not easy to save that kind of money.  But if saving load of money is important for you, then do everything you can to succeed.  Live in smaller quarters, share an apartment, live frugally, postpone buying a car.  Remember why you are saving and how much money a sacrifice today will save you tomorrow.

Make extra payments

  • You know that money you save by having 20% down and saving the cost of the insurance+ interests on said insurance?  You can now put that money aside and either add it to your monthly payments or once a year make an extra payment that will go directly to lowering the principal you owe.  Because, as you may have seen if you looked at a mortgage amortization graph, the first few years of mortgage payments go mainly to paying the interest, with a few dollars only to the principal.  If your mortgage is $100,000 , at 6.5% over 30 years,  total payment $632., your first payment would go mostly to paying interest ($541.) and $90. toward reducing the amount borrowed.  When you make your last payment, about $3.00 remains on the interest to be paid and $540 will go to the amount borrowed.

Bottom line: it pays to increase your monthly payment  by a few dollars or make an extra payment a year – in this example, increasing the monthly payments by about $70. can save you $50,000 in interest – that’s big money – because it would shorten the term of your mortgage from 30 years to 23.

If your bank does not allow larger monthly payments, most lenders allow you to make an extra payment every year on the anniversary date.  This will also save you tens of thousands of dollars.  If your house cost 3 times the example I used,  then you can save 3 times as much with extra payments.

Even if the interest you pay on the mortgage is deductible, up to a certain amount, it is not as good as not spending the money to start with. Keeping the money in your pocket is better than getting a deduction after you spend it.

Don’t buy mortgage insurance, buy this instead

Finally, don’t buy mortgage insurance.  Yes you need insurance to cover the mortgage should you or your spouse die, but mortgage insurance is not the way to go because the amount that is insured goes down as you pay down the mortgage but the payments remain the same.  Declining benefits and possibly higher premiums.

Mortgage insurance premiums are usually higher than those for life insurance – all other things being equal – and not only that, if you change lender you will need to take a new policy, at a higher premium, because you are now older, and if you have health issues, you can be refused or charged such high premiums that it may not be possible for you to proceed with the purchase of the house.

A better alternative is to buy term life insurance.  A term life insurance is portable and will remain in force if you switch lenders or sell the present house and buy another.    This insurance will pay out the full amount whether the insured dies in the first year or in the 27th year.   If you buy term life insurance, once you are accepted and have disclosed any health issue you may have, you are in.  Most terms will cover you until age 65 without a hike in premiums

A final warning about mortgage insurance sold by your bank.  There have been horror stories when the bank refused to pay because they do the underwriting (looking at whether you qualify or not) at claim time.  Any small error on that quick at the bank application form and you are toast, or your family is if you are the dead one.


Finally, last but really first to do before home buying: educate yourself.  The state or province where you live may have different laws that affect borrowing, interest, taxes, etc. Go speak with your bank, or better talk to a mortgage broker (they get you the best rates), speak to an insurance agent and ask questions until you are clear that you understand the implications for each choice, read about the different kinds of mortgage – open vs closed, fixed vs variable – Don’t be intimidated into buying any kind of product, or house.  Wait until you are ready and feel confident with your choices.  Related reading

Remember that those who want to make money either selling you a house or lending you money don’t necessarily have your best interest at heart.  Do your homework.