rules http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10891/all en-US Prepaid Cards About to Get Safer and Better http://www.wisebread.com/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_99043793.jpg" alt="Woman using prepaid cards that are about to get safer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a bank account with a debit card, your money is pretty safe. If your card is lost or stolen, you can cancel it and get a replacement. As long as you check your statement and report fraudulent charges, you can get the money back.</p> <p>For various reasons (poor credit history, lack of proper ID or a permanent address, etc.) a lot of people don't have or can't get a credit card or even a bank account. For them, the invention of the prepaid card has been a great boon in many ways &mdash; but has had its downsides.</p> <p>For one thing, the consumer protection rules for prepaid cards are different &mdash; and worse. Fortunately, they're about to get a whole lot better, thanks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has just published new rules for prepaid cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards?ref=internal">5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Key Improvements</h2> <p>The new rules take effect in about a year. Here are the key improvements:</p> <h3>1. Fees Have to Be Disclosed in a Standard Format</h3> <p>Currently, there's no good way to compare one prepaid card to another. Their fees are different, their rules are different, and their dispute resolution policies are different.</p> <p>Starting next year, fees and rules will have to be disclosed in a standard format, so that it will be easy to compare two different cards. In addition, the policies that they will follow if you dispute a charge will be standard across all prepaid cards.</p> <h3>2. Fraudulent Debits Have to be Credited Back</h3> <p>With a credit or debit card, you just have to report fraudulent charges to the bank promptly after you get your statement, and the bank has to investigate the charge. If their investigation shows that it was fraudulent, they have to give you your money back. (There are limits. If you authorize someone to use your card and give them your PIN code, the bank won't replace any money they take out of your account.)</p> <p>For prepaid cards, the rules in effect right now allow the issuer to say, &quot;Treat the card like cash, because if it's lost or stolen, the prepaid value is gone.&quot;</p> <p>That's always been a pretty self-serving rule for the card issuers. They can just ignore thefts. (They're not obliged to even investigate, let alone give you your money back.) In fact, the issuers come out ahead when you lose a card. They can just keep the money, charge you an &quot;idle&quot; account fee, and then (maybe) turn over any money that's left to the state as &quot;abandoned property.&quot;</p> <p>The new rules make prepaid cards almost the same as credit and debit cards, but there is one key difference. With credit or debit cards, if the bank can't complete its investigation promptly, it has to give you your money back while it keeps looking into the matter. With a prepaid card, the bank can take extra time to make sure you're who you say you are before that clock starts ticking.</p> <h3>3. There Has to be Some Way to Track the Use of the Card</h3> <p>The deadlines for reporting fraudulent transactions to the bank start as soon as you find out about the transaction, or as soon as you get your statement. Since a lot of prepaid cards don't even have regular statements, there needed to be some kind of adjustment to that rule.</p> <p>The bank can just start issuing monthly statements, but they'd really rather not. The new rules say they don't have to, as long as they do all these things:</p> <ul> <li>Let you access your balance by telephone;</li> <li>Let you access your last 12 months of transactions electronically;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give you a way to get the last 24 months of transactions in written form on request.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Overdraft Fees Are Strictly Limited</h3> <p>The basic rule here is that banks aren't supposed to let you overdraw a prepaid card at all. They can only let you go negative on your prepaid balance if you have a deposit pending, or if the amount is less than $10 &mdash; and then only if they don't charge a fee for doing so.</p> <p>To allow any other kinds of overdrafts, they have to get you to set up a separate credit facility, with all the usual rules for loan fees and disclosures involved in offering credit.</p> <p>That's a summary of the main rule changes. If you'd rather see a video, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has you covered with this quick video summary of the new protections:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JPTg8ZB3j5c" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>Still Under the Old Rules</h2> <p>Remember &mdash; for the next year, we're still under the old rules.</p> <p>Still, even under the current rules things are better than things used to be, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done its best to make sure you can figure out what your rights are. They've got a webpage with the details of the <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/prepaid-cards/">limited protections that currently apply</a>.</p> <p>The new rules go into effect October 1, 2017.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-overdraft-protection-racket-why-banks-want-you-to-overdraw-and-how-you-can-get-your-money-back">The Overdraft Protection Racket: Why Banks Want You To Overdraw, And How You Can Get Your Money Back.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">The Best Prepaid Debit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-boost-your-credit-with-a-balance-transfer">How to Boost Your Credit With a Balance Transfer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fees fraud improvements overdraft prepaid cards regulations rules Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Philip Brewer 1816662 at http://www.wisebread.com What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_student_books_21091679.jpg" alt="Parents should know about the new college financial aid rules" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While school just started for many, if your child is college-bound or in college, it's already time to start planning for the next school year. Many families rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help shoulder the costs of college, and there have been many new changes to the program. These new changes go into effect this October, so listen up.</p> <h2>New Application Start Date</h2> <p>In the past, families would submit the FAFSA form at the beginning of the new year. However, the new start date is now as early as October 1, 2016. This is a huge change, and if you are in college or have a child in college, you will want to fill the application out that day, or at least in the first few weeks of October.</p> <p>For some states, FAFSA aid is distributed on a first come, first served basis. Individuals who apply earlier have a better chance of receiving aid, including grants, work-study, and federal loans.</p> <h2>Change Tax Information Submissions</h2> <p>Another big change is that individuals will not be required to submit the previous year's taxes, but instead tax information from two years prior. This means for the 2017&ndash;2018 school year, families will send in 2015 information. For families that filled out the FAFSA for the 2016&ndash;2017 year, this means you will be sending in your 2015 tax info two years in a row.</p> <p>This change will make filling out and submitting the FAFSA on time a lot easier, since families used to begin the application process at the beginning of the year. Many families would have to estimate tax information and fix it later on.</p> <h2>Less Asset Protection Could Mean Less Aid</h2> <p>When parents report their finances for their child's FAFSA, a portion of their assets, including savings and investment funds, is not calculated as part of the <a href="http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml">Expected Family Contribution</a> (EFC). This was good news for families with healthy investments but not a lot of liquidity to pay for college.</p> <p>However, the dollar amount of assets exempt from the EFC will drop this year, and will continue to drop in following years. This change could mean less financial aid for many families. This will affect middle-income families that were relying on financial aid the most. However, families with lower incomes will most likely not feel the change.</p> <h2>Don't Fall for These FAFSA Myths</h2> <p>Even though there were three major changes to the FAFSA this year, it is still a free form that all families should fill out. Don't fall for these common FAFSA myths and leave money and aid on the table.</p> <h3>1. My Child's Grades Are Not Good Enough</h3> <p>While some schools use FAFSA applications to award merit-based aid, most aid is needs-based. A good portion of financial aid is awarded based off a family's income and size.</p> <h3>2. I Make Too Much Money to Qualify</h3> <p>Many families often forgo applying for financial aid because they believe they make too much. Even if your income makes you ineligible for aid, colleges give out federal student loans through the FAFSA process. If you plan on taking out federal student loans, which are preferable to private student loans, then you must fill out the FAFSA.</p> <h3>3. I Didn't Qualify Last Year</h3> <p>It is wise to apply for FAFSA each year, even if you didn't qualify for aid the year before. There could be unseen changes to your family that you might not have accounted for, such as two children in college rather than one. Also, with the new changes happening this year, you might qualify for aid.</p> <h3>4. The FAFSA Is Too Confusing to Fill Out</h3> <p>This year, you are now allowed to skip questions that do not relate to your family's financial situations. This should make the process a little easier and streamlined. If you are still having issues with your application, there are many free resources online and offline that can help. Please remember that you should never have to pay someone to file this application, nor should you pay for information regarding the process.</p> <p>Circle October 1st on your calendar and have your tax information ready and easy to access. Even if you don't think you will qualify for aid, apply anyway. And remember: You must apply each and <em>every</em> year your child is in college. This isn't a one-time thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training changes college FAFSA free application for federal student aid loans rules school student loans students Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1801616 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_tree_change_000067145743.jpg" alt="Learning the only rules of investing you need to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing may seem complicated. But it really isn't once you realize that most of what you need to know can fit on a fairly small list.</p> <p>No matter what your investing goal, you can make money just by following some simple rules. Here are eight rules that will get you on the path to investing success.</p> <h2>1. Invest as Much as You Can</h2> <p>It's very simple. The more you invest, the more you end up with over time. The stock market's S&amp;P 500, which tracks the performance of the largest American companies, <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">averaged a 7.25% annual return</a> between 2006 and 2015, according to figures tracked by New York University's Stern School of Business. And it's averaged more than 9% annually since 1928. You won't get better returns on your money <em>anywhere </em>else. Even small increases in your investment contributions can make a big difference. A $5,000 annual investment would turn into $74,000 in 10 years, based on a 7% return. A $6,000 annual investment would be worth $88,000. A $7,000 investment would become $103,000.</p> <h2>2. Start Early</h2> <p>One of the most important things to know about investing is that the earlier you start, the more you'll end up with in the long run. There are many people who don't start investing for retirement until very late in life, and they end up with a far smaller nest egg than they first imagined. That's because they were unable to take advantage of the phenomenon of compounded returns. Let's say that you begin saving for retirement at age 40, putting aside $1,500 monthly. Assuming a 7% annual return, by age 60, you'll have about $789,000. But if you started at age 30, you'd end up with $1.8 million after the same period. Start at age 20, and it's a very comfortable $3.84 million.</p> <h2>3. Look Long Term</h2> <p>The stock market is volatile by nature, but as we indicated above, it generally trends upward over time. If you invest with a short time horizon of less than three years, you may not make any money at all. In fact, you might lose quite a bit. But if you extend your horizon to 10, 20, or 40 years into the future, you'll enjoy solid gains on an average annual basis <em>and</em> see the volatility smooth out.</p> <h2>4. Invest in Similar Amounts Frequently Rather Than in a Lump Sum</h2> <p>You may think you have a good sense of precisely when the markets will go up and when they'll go down. But chances are, you're guessing just like everyone else. &quot;Timing the market&quot; is not something the average investor can successfully do on a regular basis. It makes much more sense to invest a set dollar amount during regular periods, usually monthly or quarterly. This is called &quot;dollar cost averaging,&quot; and it works for investors because you end up buying more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high.</p> <h2>5. Use Tax-Advantaged Accounts, and Max Them Out</h2> <p>If you're focused on retirement &mdash; and you should be &mdash; there are great advantages to opening 401K and individual retirement accounts, due to tax laws that encourage people to save and invest. With 401K plans offered by your employer, any contributions you make are deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your investments grow and you pay no capital gains tax when you withdraw your money when you retire.</p> <p>A 401K lets you deposit up to $17,500 annually. A Roth IRA allows up to $5,500 in annual contributions. If you can max these out, you'll be in great shape.</p> <p>There are other tax-advantaged vehicles, including 529 college savings plans and Coverdell accounts, which allow you to invest money without giving as much to the Internal Revenue Service. In some cases, money can grow tax free and you get a tax credit on top of that. Use these accounts, and your overall investment returns will be higher.</p> <h2>6. Be Aggressive When You're Young, More Conservative When Older</h2> <p>There's no exact consensus on the ideal investment mix, but most financial advisors suggest investing in nearly all stocks and index funds when you're young, because you're a long way from retirement and can make up and money you lose during down years. As you get closer to retirement, gradually shift your portfolio to include less volatile investments like cash and bonds.</p> <h2>7. Focus on Index Funds, Not Individual Stocks</h2> <p>It's fun to own shares of individual companies, and buying a few shares of a company you like is a good way to get started in investing. But trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks" target="_blank">build a balanced portfolio</a> of companies is very hard, and there's very little evidence that human beings are capable of &quot;beating the market&quot; on a regular basis. That's why for most investors, it's sensible to invest in mutual funds or exchange traded funds that mirror the performance of the overall stock market. This is called &quot;indexing,&quot; and it's a surefire way to make money over time without the volatility of owning individual company shares.</p> <h2>8. Pay Attention to Fees and Commissions</h2> <p>When investing in mutual funds or exchange traded funds, take a hard look a something called an &quot;expense ratio.&quot; That's the amount of money that the mutual fund company takes before you even see a dime in returns. These expenses range from well above 1% to a minuscule .05% by some brokerage houses. One percent may not seem like much, but it can definitely cut into your returns and cost you thousands of dollars over time. Mutual funds that are actively managed, rather than those that simply track an index, generally have higher expense ratios.</p> <p>Keep in mind also that there may be fees every time you buy and sell. Discount brokerage companies will charge between $6&ndash;$10 for every transaction. That can add up if you do a lot of trading.</p> <p><em>Any rules we've overlooked? Share with us in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%20Only%208%20Rules%20of%20Investing%20You%20Need%20to%20Know.jpg&amp;description=The%20Only%208%20Rules%20of%20Investing%20You%20Need%20to%20Know" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Only%208%20Rules%20of%20Investing%20You%20Need%20to%20Know.jpg" alt="The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-hidden-cost-sapping-your-retirement-savings">Is This Hidden Cost Sapping Your Retirement Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing mutual funds retirement rules stocks Mon, 23 May 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1713144 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_gardening_000022104123.jpg" alt="Woman breaking common retirement rules" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are there right and wrong ways to retire? While that's a relative question, there are retirement rules that are in your best interest to follow &mdash; and those you might want to break. Consider these six <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">retirement rules</a> you might be better off ignoring.</p> <h2>1. Depending on a Pension or Social Security</h2> <p>Counting on a pension or Social Security to help you ride out your retirement years? That's probably not the best strategy to have, considering that very few companies still offer pensions (though you'd know if yours does) and Social Security is still in crisis (so much so that it might be bankrupt and not even exist by the time you retire). That's not to mention that inflation is likely to outpace your per-month payouts in the off chance that you do receive these income sources.</p> <p>You may need to think of other ways to fund your retirement &mdash; and it's in your best interest to start planning for it now (or better yet, <em>yesterday</em>).</p> <p>Brent Cumberford, founder of the personal-finance blog&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vosa.com">VOSA</a>, offers a few suggestions.</p> <p>&quot;Start your own retirement accounts; invest in business to generate a second &mdash; and third and fourth &mdash; stream of income; and hustle to make some extra money on the side to kick start your retirement savings,&quot; he says.</p> <p>Putting in the extra time and effort early on to pad your retirement account for later means you might actually be able to enjoy those golden years.</p> <h2>2. Withdrawing From Your Retirement Fund or Social Security Right Away</h2> <p>Even if you have plenty of money in your retirement fund (or think you do, as is the likelier scenario), that doesn't mean you should start withdrawing from it the day after your retirement party. Proceed with caution in this case and remember that you still have a long life ahead of you.</p> <p>&quot;One retirement rule that no longer makes sense is the one that suggests a 4% annual withdrawal rate on your retirement portfolio,&quot; observes personal finance expert David Bakke of MoneyCrashers. &quot;Americans are living longer these days, and if you go by that rule you might outlive your money. Your best bet is to withdraw as little as possible in the beginning and adjust your strategy as you see how things are progressing as you get acclimated to living off of your retirement money.&quot;</p> <p>Bakke says that waiting to withdrawal money from Social Security has its benefits too, as you may receive a larger annual Social Security benefit when you wait.</p> <h2>3. Going Full Retirement Because You Think You Have To</h2> <p>Just because the government says you can retire at age 65 doesn't mean that you have to resign the rest of your life to whiling away the hours. Instead &mdash; if you're still willing and able &mdash; consider semi-retirement. It's the best of both worlds really: You can still contribute to society as a part-time member of the workforce, and you can enjoy more leisure time as a result of your shorter work schedule.</p> <p>More and more older Americans are opting for semi-retirement, in fact. Some are even opting for a new career path altogether. Continuing to work at least part-time past retirement age will not only help you feel like you still have something to offer the world, but it also helps you to continue to actively build your retirement fund &mdash; or at least maintain it at its current level.</p> <p>Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of an asset management firm, touches a bit more on the financial benefits of semi-retirement.</p> <p>&quot;How would a semi-retirement change your financial reality?&quot; she asks. &quot;Take two months and track the money coming in and going out. Keep track of what you spend and all your bills. This will give you a clear sense of where you stand. Next, figure out what your Social Security payment is going to be each month in retirement. The Social Security Administration will provide this information and tell you how much you'll get based on what age you retire. Working even a few more years can have a huge impact.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Waiting Until You're 65 to Retire</h2> <p>Retirement age is typically specified at 65 years old in the United States. But to heck with that! Wouldn't you like to retire earlier?</p> <p>Of course, you'll probably need to strike it rich &mdash; or live <em>very</em> meagerly &mdash; in order to hang up your work boots in advance of the government-issued go-ahead. But maybe not. Have you ever thought about short-term mini-retirements? Ever even heard of the concept?</p> <p>&quot;Obviously it would be awesome if everyone could earn a fortune, retire young, and travel the world, but it's not going to happen for everyone,&quot; Cumberford says. &quot;What can happen for almost everyone is short-term mini-retirements, a concept spoken about in greater detail by Tim Ferriss in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307465357/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307465357&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YIR4QCCLJFO4ATW3">The 4-Hour Workweek</a>. Saving money specifically for a short sabbatical, or even just an extended vacation while keeping your current employment can typically be negotiated. Think five weeks in Southeast Asia, or a summer backpacking across Europe. With the virtually endless amount of airline and hotel points that can be earned through travel hacking, even far away places can be very affordable.&quot;</p> <p>As someone who has hosted lots of Australian guests who are allotted at least six weeks vacation every year, I'm not only envious, but also in favor of the idea of short-term mini-retirements. While they're working to live, we Americans are living to work (well into our golden years), and that's an outlook that could use some rethinking. Shouldn't we enjoy a high-quality lifestyle throughout our lifetime instead of when we're darn near dead?</p> <h2>5. Clinging to the Family Home</h2> <p>For many of us, our homes hold a lot of memories that make it hard to part with the house &mdash; even after the kids are grown and gone. But as you enter retirement, it's not a great idea to hang on to a large space with high utilities or even a mortgage that will become more and more difficult to manage as you age. The alternative is to downsize, of course, such as a smaller house or apartment, or even alternative-living situations that may suit you even more &mdash; like an RV, for instance.</p> <p>Janet Groene, author of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007178473X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=007178473X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=P2WLK6WDV5V7MKUB">Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition</a>, lived in an RV for 10 years before settling in Florida, and she's a staunch advocate for the nomad lifestyle.</p> <p>&quot;By selling out and moving into an RV, retirees fulfill their dreams of travel and at the same time live comfortably in a fully equipped home on wheels while scouting for the right place to settle down in retirement,&quot; she encourages.</p> <h2>6. Heading South for the Winter</h2> <p>Snowbirding &mdash; the practice of northerners spending the winter in warmer climates and summers at home &mdash; is common among retirees. But isn't that just a little too passé for today's generation of leisure seekers? Mark Koep, founder of CampgroundViews.com, thinks so. Like Groene, he wants retirees to think about their living options and arrangements more in depth so they don't automatically relegate themselves to a lifestyle that isn't necessarily fulfilling.</p> <p>&quot;The old idea of snowbirding ignores the freedom and adventure that modern retirees seek,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead retirees should consider boondocking &mdash; camping in Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands for free &mdash; and discount membership clubs to travel and explore more destinations.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other retirement rules we should be breaking? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) pensions rules savings social security Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1454606 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_heart_000043736474.jpg" alt="Happy couple breaking common love and relationship rules" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know what it was like to be in a serious relationship back in the day &mdash; pre-social media, I mean &mdash; but I can imagine that it was much easier than it is in 2015. So much has changed over the past 20 &mdash; heck, even 10 &mdash; years that some of the most trusted and seemingly infallible relationship rules are now all but obsolete. The new school of thought on the issue? Adapt your relationship to today, or face certain doom.</p> <p>To catch you up to speed, here's a look at some of the most prominent relationship rules of yore that you should start kickin' to the curb.</p> <h2>1. Not Going to Bed Angry</h2> <p>My parents still adhere to this rule &mdash; or at least this is a piece of advice that my mother gives me when my marriage hits a rough patch &mdash; but I don't buy it. When we first started out, we tried to resolve the issue at hand before bed, but it rarely resulted in a truce, and the more time wore on, we were just like, screw it, I'm tired, let's resume our battle stations in the morning.</p> <p>I know we're not alone.</p> <p>&quot;If you follow this rule, it could mean a lot of late nights, and nothing escalates an argument more than sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion,&quot; says Dr. Jared DeFife, a clinical psychologist and relationship coach. &quot;I see couples in my practice who feel like they have to adhere to this rule or resolve an argument right away, leading them to drawn-out disputes where nothing gets accomplished and everyone's nerves are fried. When it comes to arguments, it's ok to take a break; in fact, it might even be necessary. You can use that time to calm down, understand your emotions, and return with a level head and a more nuanced perspective.&quot;</p> <p>And hey, there's always the possibility of make-up sex in the morning!</p> <h2>2. Thinking That Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry</h2> <p>Excuse while I LOL at this one. Whatever narcissistic dude came up with this (and I'm 100% certain it was a dude) was smokin' the good stuff &mdash; and I want some. Because the truth is, sometimes we're real capital Bs to our partners, and apologies are absolutely necessary.</p> <p>&quot;Nobody's perfect,&quot; Dr. DeFife reminds us. &quot;Sometimes we're grumpy or short-tempered or do the wrong thing. The mark of a good partnership is not in never screwing up or having conflicts, but in being able to recognize those concerns and to effectively make repairs when things go awry. A well-thought through and meaningful apology can actually strengthen a relationship in areas of discontent or disconnection.&quot;</p> <p>I think I'll have that quote printed on a stack of Post-it Notes and hide them in my husband's desk.</p> <h2>3. Playing Hard to Get</h2> <p>Playing hard to get can be fun. But giving the guy or girl the runaround for an extended period of time so you can feed your own ego as they try harder and harder to get your attention also can be dangerous.</p> <p>&quot;This includes waiting an X amount of days or minutes before calling or texting, dumping men who do not initiate contact, and only scheduling activities on certain days or times of the day,&quot; explains Dr. Carolyn C. Ferreira, a licensed clinical psychologist. &quot;Playing hard to get is unattractive to both sexes, and it also prohibits people from being their real selves and expressing their true feelings, which is an overall bad way to begin a relationship.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Waiting a Set Amount of Time After a Breakup</h2> <p>Breaking up or getting a divorce can sometimes feel like somebody died. You've spent most of your time with your partner for however many months or years you were together, then all of a sudden, they're gone. If this was a serious relationship, grieving this loss is a normal emotional reaction, but you shouldn't let other people dictate how long you take to heal. Whenever you feel like you're ready to get back out there and find your next future ex, put on your going-out pants and get back in the game.</p> <p>&quot;People grieve loss at their own pace; someone may be over a divorce in a month, whereas it might take someone else six months,&quot; Dr. Ferreira says.</p> <h2>5. Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes at Home</h2> <p>My husband and I have battled with this since the day we moved in together &mdash; and we're two dudes. Speaking as a man then, it's kind of insulting when someone expects that you'll do the cooking and cleaning because that's traditionally what the female in the relationship does. Not that I mind doing it &mdash; for the most part &mdash; but I don't want it to be an expectation because I'm the smaller, more creative partner in the relationship. I still have dude parts, dude. This type of thinking applies to any scenario, and as far as I'm concerned you can take that &quot;Honeymooners&quot;<em> </em>BS and shove it.</p> <p>&quot;Adhering to household tasks based on gender roles and stereotypes should also be reconsidered by couples,&quot; adds Dr. Ferreira. &quot;Instead of completing tasks because you're the man or woman, couples should look at their strengths and weaknesses as a couple in order to decide who does what. For example, it does not make sense for the man to take care of the finances if he does not know what an Excel spreadsheet is, but his wife does because she's a business owner.&quot;</p> <p>Might be time to start shakin' things up on the homefront, eh?</p> <h2>6. Believing That Fighting Is Healthy</h2> <p>Having lovers' quarrels every now and then is okay; it's good to get issues off your chest. Screaming in each other's face on a regular basis isn't. It's wise to note too that the term &quot;fighting&quot; is relative, and it behooves you to keep your definition of it in check to avoid a dangerous downward spiral.</p> <p>&quot;There are many myths and expectations about fighting in marriage,&quot; says Dr. Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1598693255/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1598693255&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UA6JX7TPBBEN43YK">Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage</a>.&quot; &quot;Couples come into my office frequently believing that fighting is a necessary part of being a couple, that all married couples fight, and it's a normal part of marriage. But the fact is that fighting accomplishes nothing, and it isn't necessary for couples to argue, to yell, or to have heated discussions to get problems solved. Hanging on to these ideas makes it difficult to let go of fighting.&quot;</p> <p>P.S. Don't ever let anybody hit you. Ever. It's not your fault, and you don't deserve it.</p> <h2>7. Searching for Your Soulmate (When You May Not Have One)</h2> <p>What if your soulmate died before you had a chance to meet? Too depressing? I'll let Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, relationship experts and co-authors of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1627780289/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1627780289&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WLVCALKVABMAJAMI">Partners in Passion</a>,&quot;&nbsp;explain why you may not have a soulmate in a more palatable way.</p> <p>&quot;In contemporary society, there is a very common superstition that finding one's soulmate &mdash; sometimes called a 'twin flame' &mdash; is the key to having a true pair-bond, and that in the absence of this 'other half,' no intimate relationship will be fully satisfying,&quot; Johnson and Michaels say. &quot;Two very damaging concepts are implicit in this belief: first, that there is a single, ideal partner out there in the world for every individual, and second, that people are incomplete until they find their 'other half.'&quot;</p> <p>In other words, stop holding out and start living more. You never know who you'll encounter along the way.</p> <h2>8. Accepting That Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus</h2> <p>Society &mdash; especially American culture &mdash; wants us to believe that men and women are so different that it's like we're each from separate planets. Yes, we have differences, but we also have many similarities that nobody ever seems to want to talk about because it's not interesting enough to sell 50 million books worldwide.</p> <p>&quot;We're not the first to observe that people of all genders are from Earth,&quot; Johnson and Michaels explain. &quot;Beyond that, men and women have more in common with each other than with any other creature on the planet. To make blanket generalizations is not helpful except on the most superficial level. This model builds on older myths &mdash; the concepts of 'opposite sexes' and 'the battle of the sexes' &mdash; and reconfigures them in therapeutic terms. Despite this reframing, the model is still an adversarial one, and adversarial models are not optimal for nurturing harmonious relationships or fueling sexual passion, except in very small doses. Having the sense that you're on opposing teams will only foster conflict.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Assuming That Monogamy Is Natural and Optimal</h2> <p>So I don't get in trouble down the road for providing my personal opinion on long-term relationships and monogamy, I'll let Johnson and Michaels give you theirs.</p> <p>&quot;If human biology inspires us both to form intimate pair bonds and to seek contacts outside of those bonds, then what makes for a healthy relationship is considerably more complex than dogmatic advocates of monogamy (or non monogamy for that matter) would have us believe,&quot; say the pair. &quot;At the same time, the impulse to bond deeply with another is not something that should be dismissed lightly. Our species varies a great deal, and it's a mistake to think about absolutes when it comes to monogamy and non-monogamy.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Dating Within Your Type</h2> <p>Just like I don't want all skinny, redheaded, melanin-free friends, I don't think it's very interesting to pursue a certain &quot;type&quot; of person in a romantic capacity. I've dated all types of guys &mdash; white, black, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latino &mdash; and it has only served to broaden my horizons. Still, I have plenty of friends &mdash; especially the religious ones &mdash; who refuse to date outside their race or faith. To each their own of course, but I totally think they're missing out.</p> <p>Relationship expert April Masini agrees.</p> <p>&quot;One of the best ways to get out of a dating rut is to date a Republican if you're a Democrat, or someone rich if you're poor, or a creative type if you're by the book,&quot; she says. &quot;Date out of your religious or racial group. Date someone your mother wouldn't fix you up with &mdash; were you to let her. It'll shake up any rigidity you've succumbed to, and it's a great way to find love. It also expands your resources and gives you a bigger dating pool.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of the relationship rules that you think we should be breaking? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Lust Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development couples Dating love marriage partnership relationships rules Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1382352 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Rules of Re-Gifting http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-rules-of-re-gifting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-rules-of-re-gifting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007774331Small-1.jpg" alt="The Rules of Re-Gifting" title="The Rules of Re-Gifting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on the rules of re-gifting, ways to find cheap paperback books, and how to avoid credit card problems while traveling.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/business-ethics/the-rules-of-re-gifting.html">The Rules of Re-Gifting</a> &mdash; Only regift when the parties involved do not know each other. [Cash The Checks]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Where-Buy-Rent-Cheap-Books-18375562">Ways to Find Cheap Paperback Books For Poolside Enjoyment</a> &mdash; Find cheap paperback books by checking out Book Swim. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/how-to-avoid-credit-card-problems-while-traveling/">How to Avoid Credit Card Problems While Traveling</a> &mdash; To avoid problems with credit cards when traveling, be sure to call your credit card company and let them know you will be traveling. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyreasons.com/2011/07/roth-ira-benefits-for-kids/">Roth IRA Benefits for Kids</a> &mdash; One of the major Roth IRA benefits for kids is that the money will grow tax free. [Money Reasons]</p> <p><a href="http://www.plantingdollars.com/personal-finance/stop-wasting-your-money/">9 Ways to Stop Wasting Your Money</a> &mdash; Stop wasting your money by not buying impulsively. [Planting Dollars]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://getcurrency.com/technology-toys/gadget-addictions-5-ways-to-turn-them-off-and-reconnect">Gadget Addictions: 5 Ways to Turn Them Off and Reconnect</a> &mdash; To break your gadget addiction, set aside time to disconnect. [Currency]</p> <p><a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/we-were-hacked-8-tips-from-a-hacking-victim-for-minimizing-your-risk">We Were Hacked! 8 Tips From A Hacking Victim For Minimizing Your Risk</a> &mdash; Protect yourself from hackers by being cautious when it comes to email attachments. [American Express OPEN Forum]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/keys-career-success.html">Three Keys to Career Success</a> &mdash; To be successful in your career, you have to have a good work ethic. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2011/latest-infographic-avoiding-baggage-fees-saving-money-travel/">Avoiding Baggage Fees and Saving Money on Travel</a> &mdash; Did you know there are certain credit cards that can help you avoid baggage fees? [NerdWallet]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/taking-care-of-you-6-outside-the-box-date-ideas-for-parents">Taking Care Of You: 6 Outside-The-Box Date Ideas For Parents</a> &mdash; Have an outside-the-box date with your spouse by doing lunch together. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-rules-of-re-gifting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jar-of-nothing-the-perfect-present-for-the-picky-prick-in-your-life">Jar of Nothing: the perfect present for the picky prick in your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash">How to Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle best money tips gifts presents re-gifting rules Fri, 29 Jul 2011 10:00:19 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 642368 at http://www.wisebread.com Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers? http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/appraisal.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On May 1st a new set of home appraisal rules called the Home Valuation Code of Conduct&nbsp; was put into effect by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to distance realtors and mortgage brokers from appraisers. This was put in place because during the housing bubble appraisal fraud was rampant and <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/local/325743_appraiser31.html">some appraisers felt pressured by realtors and brokers to hit the desired numbers</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How is this affecting consumers?</p> <p> The biggest change in the Code is that loan officers, mortgage brokers, or real estate agents can no longer have any role in choosing appraisers.&nbsp; The lender is responsible for choosing the appraiser and following the Code if they want to sell the mortgage to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.&nbsp; The lender could also accept an appraisal prepared for another lender if the other lender also followed the Code.</p> <p>As a result of the new rule&nbsp; some lenders are outsourcing the selection of appraisers to appraisal management companies, and some say that this is increasing appraisal fees for consumers because these companies take a cut of an appraiser's fee.&nbsp; The appraiser has to increase his or her price accordingly to recoup the loss. Another critism is that these appraisal-management companies do not always choose local appraisers that know an area well.&nbsp; As a result some appraisals may be inaccurate.</p> <p>Right now the National Association of Realtors does not like this rule very much and their chief economist Lawrence Yun <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/local/407533_appraisal25.html ">said the following:</a>&quot;In the past month, stories of appraisal problems have been snowballing from across the country with many contracts falling through at the last moment.&quot;&nbsp;&nbsp; The NAR also sent legislators letters protesting this rule and it is also suggesting that regulators put an 18 months hold on the rule.&nbsp; </p> <p>Bill Garber, the Director of Government and External Relations at the Appraisal Institute <a href="http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/ano/current.aspx?volume=10&amp;numbr=11/12#7651">issued the following response</a> to the NAR's complaints, &quot;In a typical real estate transaction [such as a buyer seeking a loan], our clients are the lenders. Appraisers provide lenders with information that protects them from making questionable loans and investments and helps them minimize risk. However, that should not suggest a bias toward lower valuation. Appraisers reflect the market, and sometimes, the markets don.t act like we want them to or hope they will. Nonetheless, competent and professional appraisers understand this and develop credible estimates of value that ultimately ensure that lenders loan the proper amount, buyers don't pay too much and sellers get a fair price.&quot;</p> <p> I think Bill Garber's response is right on the spot and&nbsp; lower appraisals are simply reflecting the market now.&nbsp; It is beneficial for consumers to get lower prices on homes, but I have also heard anecdotal stories of faulty appraisals where information such school districts and home size were wrong.&nbsp; It is very frustrating for&nbsp; home buyers and sellers when a low&nbsp; appraisal stops the loan process.&nbsp; If I were a home buyer in that situation I would probably check the appraisal report for errors first, because any factual errors can be reported to the lender.&nbsp; If the report seems to contain no errors then I would attempt to negotiate the price to be at the appraisal because I would not want to pay too much. I do not think that a low appraisal is the death of every single real estate transaction as long as everyone involved are willing to compromise.</p> <p>In conclusion, I think it is a good thing if an honest and accurate appraisal shows you that you are willing paying too much for something.&nbsp; I think the new code does have some problems because it adds a layer of bureaucracy and pricing through appraisal management companies.&nbsp; However, this new process does remove a lot of bias in appraisals because it is a lot less likely that the appraiser chosen has a previous relationship with the real estate agent or mortgage broker involved in the deal.&nbsp; I am hoping that this reduces appraisal fraud by a great margin, and I think that is good for everyone involved in a real estate transaction.<br /> <em><strong><br /> What do you think of this new code?&nbsp; Have you faced difficulties in your real estate transactions lately due to appraisal issues?</strong></em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-skip-a-mortgage-payment-to-get-a-banks-attention">Should you skip a mortgage payment to get a bank&#039;s attention?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-bought-my-second-house">Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My Second House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-your-city-go-bankrupt">Could Your City Go Bankrupt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/details-of-obamas-mortgage-plan-released-will-you-benefit">Details of Obama&#039;s mortgage plan released - Will you benefit?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing home buying home selling laws real estate rules Tue, 30 Jun 2009 21:34:33 +0000 Xin Lu 3334 at http://www.wisebread.com How will the new credit card rules affect consumers? http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-new-credit-card-rules-affect-consumers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-will-the-new-credit-card-rules-affect-consumers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/creditcard_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/us/politics/20web-credit.html?ref=business">a new bill was passed </a>by the U.S. Senate with the intent of restricting abusive practices in the <a title="Guide to Using Credit Cards Wisely" href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide">credit card industry</a>.&nbsp; A House bill was passed on May 12th and will be reconciled with the Senate version and President Obama hopes to sign it before Memorial Day.&nbsp; So what does this bill contain and what does it mean for consumers?</p> <p>First of all here is a summary&nbsp; of the new rules:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card companies will be required to mail a bill 21 days before it is due.</li> <li>&nbsp;Universal default will no longer be allowed.&nbsp; This means that borrowers who are late or default on one card would not have their rates raised by another lender as long as the second lender is being paid on time.</li> <li>Rates may not be raised on borrowers until they are 60 days past due.&nbsp; As long as the borrower becomes current and pays on time for 6 months after they were delinquent the rates have to be lowered to its original amount.</li> <li>&nbsp;Extra fees for paying over the phone or online will be disallowed.</li> <li>&nbsp;If you have more than one card with a company, your payments must be applied to the card with the highest interest rate first.</li> <li>&nbsp;Issuers have to notify customers of rate changes 45 days before the change.</li> <li>&nbsp;Late fees cannot be assessed if the issuer delayed crediting the payment.</li> <li>&nbsp;Rates cannot be increased in the first year and promotional rates have to last at least six months.</li> <li>&nbsp;Penalty fees for going over the credit limit is disallowed unless the cardholder agrees to it.&nbsp; If the cardholder does not agree to transactions over the limit then the transaction would be rejected.</li> <li>Issuers must disclose the time and total interest costs it would take for consumers to pay off a balance if only minimum payments are made.</li> <li>Gift cards must keep their full balance for at least five years.</li> <li>Consumers under the age of 21 must have a co-signer who is willing to take on the responsibility of the debt unless they can prove they have the ability to pay.&nbsp; Most likely a parent has to co-sign.&nbsp; Additionally limit increases must be approved by the parent.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Finally, a completely unrelated amendment that is going into this bill is that you are now allowed to carry guns in national parks and wildlife refuges again.&nbsp; I am not quite sure that is in a credit card bill.</p> <p> I think most of these changes are good since they are designed to stop consumers from falling into costly traps such as a $35 charge for being $2 over limit. Additionally, notifying a consumer how long it would take to pay off his or her debt is a good reminder as to how expensive credit can be and that notice with every statement may encourage people to pay more than the minimum.&nbsp; I think the item that allows a delinquent borrower to keep the same rate as before is a bit questionable because it could give people the impression that there is no consequences&nbsp; if they skip a payment or two.&nbsp; If a borrower becomes deliquent there is a higher chance that he or she would default, and so it makes sense to raise the rates to offset the risk.&nbsp; Another rule that I find somewhat detrimental and restrictive is that young people up to the age of 21 have to get a cosigner.&nbsp; This&nbsp; may prevent many responsible young adults from building up a credit history if they do not have a person who is willing to cosign. </p> <p>Credit card companies generally do not make much money off borrowers who default completely, and the best customers for them are those who pay the minimum balance on time.&nbsp; Those who pay the entire balance on time and incur no interest or penalties are ironically known as &quot;deadbeats&quot; in the credit card industry.&nbsp; I think the changes will definitely prompt credit card companies to be more strict in who they hand cards to.&nbsp; This could mean that people with little&nbsp; credit history or low credit scores will have a harder time getting a card and the interest rates may be higher than now, but that may encourage more people to save their cash to buy things.</p> <p>One potentially negative effect that has been discussed in many media outlets is that credit card issuers may want to recoup their &quot;losses&quot; on deceptive practices from the card payers who pay their balances in full every month.&nbsp; Reward programs may be cut, and the annual fee may return.&nbsp; However, I think consumers with great credit and the discipline to pay in full every month will just abandon the cards that&nbsp; try to squeeze more out of them.&nbsp; After all, issuers still make money off these customers through transaction fees.&nbsp; Even though the margin is smaller, these customers are better than those who default completely.&nbsp; I do believe that reward programs may be less rewarding in the future, so it might be worthwhile to cash in those points while the rewards are still good.</p> <p>These changes will not go in effect until early next year, and the credit industry is not too happy with them. Do you think that these rules are reasonable?&nbsp; Have you dealt with any abuse from credit card companies?<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-new-credit-card-rules-affect-consumers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-manipulate-your-transactions-may-charge-you-1750-overdraft-fee">Banks Can Manipulate Your Transactions, Then Charge You 1750% Overdraft Fee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-purchase-rang-up-wrong-could-the-law-be-on-my-side">My Purchase Rang Up Wrong! Could the Law Be on My Side?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-prepaid-debit-card-really-cheaper-and-better-than-a-bank-debit-card">Is a Prepaid Debit Card Really Cheaper and Better than a Bank Debit Card?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Credit Cards credit card law restrictions rules Wed, 20 May 2009 02:17:55 +0000 Xin Lu 3182 at http://www.wisebread.com