refinancing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12588/all en-US Why Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_couple_car_108348263.jpg" alt="Couple learning why credit score matters in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've left the working world and are ready to enjoy your retirement years. So, you might be forgiven for thinking that your days of fretting over your FICO credit score are over.</p> <p>Guess what? They're not. Your three-digit credit score matters even in your retirement.</p> <p>Lenders of all kinds, not to mention credit card providers, rely on your FICO credit score to determine how well you've managed your credit in the past. Having a low score can hurt you financially, even after you've left the days of commuting to work behind you.</p> <h2>Why Scores Matter</h2> <p>Your FICO credit score &mdash; you have three, one each maintained by the credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; is a key number throughout your adult life. Lenders rely on these scores to determine if you can qualify for loans. And if your score is low, even if you do qualify, you'll pay higher interest rates.</p> <p>Generally, lenders consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one. Scores under 640 are generally considered weak by lenders, and will leave you with higher interest rates on the money you borrow.</p> <p>As you make your way through adulthood, lenders will check your scores as you apply for auto loans, mortgages, or credit cards.</p> <p>When you retire, the odds are high that you will no longer be applying for mortgage loans. However, this doesn't mean that credit scores will no longer play a key role in your financial life.</p> <h2>The Best Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">qualify for the best credit cards</a>, including ones with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">most generous rewards programs</a>, you'll need a high FICO score. Financial institutions only pass out their best credit cards to those customers who've proven that they have a history of paying their bills on time.</p> <p>Having a high credit score is how you'll prove to banks that you are financially responsible. And if you want to qualify for the best credit scores during your retirement, you'll take steps to make sure that your credit score is strong in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.</p> <h2>A New Car</h2> <p>Maybe you plan to buy that dream car after retirement. If you can't pay for it in cash, you'll need an auto loan. And if you want to qualify for an auto loan with the lowest possible interest rate, you'll need a strong FICO credit score.</p> <p>Auto lenders will check your credit score when you apply for financing. So make sure that your score doesn't take a dip after retirement.</p> <h2>Auto Insurance Rates</h2> <p>If you buy a new car, you'll need auto insurance, too. Guess what? Auto insurers rely on a variation of your credit score to help set their rates. Again, you'll want the highest possible credit score if you expect to qualify for the most affordable auto insurance.</p> <p>Auto insurers use something called a credit-based insurance score to set rates. If this score is strong &mdash; and your driving history is good &mdash; you'll usually qualify for lower insurance rates. Your credit-based insurance score doesn't factor in your job or income. But it will rise if you pay bills such as your credit card payments and mortgage on time every month. It will fall if you miss payments, make payments 30 days or more late, have too much debt, or have accounts that have been sent to collections.</p> <h2>Refinancing to a Lower Monthly Payment</h2> <p>The goal is to enter retirement without having a monthly mortgage payment. That doesn't always happen, though. And if you are still paying off a mortgage loan when you enter your after-work years, you might want to someday refinance that home loan to one with a lower interest rate. Lowering your rate will give you a lower monthly payment. That extra cash each month could be important once you're living on a fixed income.</p> <p>To qualify for a refinance, and for the lowest possible interest rate to make such a move financially worthwhile, you'll again need a high credit score. If your FICO credit score is 740 or higher, the odds are good that you'll qualify for an interest rate low enough to make refinancing a smart financial decision.</p> <p>The lesson here is obvious: You can't put worrying about credit scores behind you just because you've entered retirement. The best move is to continue taking the steps that help guarantee a strong credit score &mdash; paying your bills on time and keeping your credit card debt low &mdash; even after you've left the working world.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement">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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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-things-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement car insurance credit history credit score fico insurance rates mortgages new car refinancing Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1870059 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal? http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_painting_walls_539825724.jpg" alt="Couple doing paint job on old house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[<em>Editor's Note: This is the latest episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 in a single year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.</em>]</p> <p>We paid off our home equity line of credit two years early! It was a Festivus miracle.</p> <p>Kind of.</p> <p>Earlier this year, we failed to refinance the mortgage of Dinky Manor not once, but twice. We could not get our ramshackle, 1,000 square foot house to appraise for the whopping $640,000 we needed to get Mr. Spendypants out of his horrifically structured, pre-2007 housing crash home loan.</p> <p>For all of you wondering about that $640,000 for 1,000 square feet&hellip;I guess you don't live in Los Angeles.</p> <p>On Thanksgiving Eve, our friends Mary Ellen and Bob invited us out to dinner with Betsy and Murray (Mary Ellen's sister and brother-in-law). As Mary Ellen and Bob are both Wise Bread readers, they immediately started quizzing us about the 2016 Budget Challenge. They wanted to know all the sordid details &mdash; like how Mr. Spendypants puts up with my ever-increasing level of crazy. We were in the middle of whining about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency" target="_blank">our underemployment</a> and our ever more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house" target="_blank">complicated real estate situation</a> when Murray reached across the table and handed me his business card.</p> <p>Murray is a mortgage banker.</p> <p>We followed up with Murray at his office the following week. He had already looked at a ton of real estate data for our area and couldn't understand why the house hadn't appraised for over $600,000. He started crunching the numbers. He thinks he can figure out how to refinance Dinky Manor's mortgage.</p> <p>However, Murray had two immediate demands. First, Dinky Manor needs an exterior paint job, stat. The fact that our house is the dumpiest on the block isn't helping our cause. Alas, we don't have the $17,000 it would cost to hire professionals to paint the house, so Mr. Spendypants and I will spend a relaxing winter holiday scraping and sanding 80 years of bad paint jobs off the outside of our home. Luckily, one of my best friends is a retired painting contractor. He has agreed to come out of retirement to help us rehab the house for the appraisal before the mortgage rates jump any higher.</p> <p>Could we pay down the home equity line of credit? This was Murray's second ask. Although our debt-to-loan ratio is better than average, if we zap our HELOC down to zero, it would make us look much less risky as borrowers.</p> <p>Conceptually, paying off the debt is a no-brainer. What the bank wants dovetails nicely with my goal of paying off the loan (that is due in 2018) by the end of this year. It's the actual execution of this goal that sucks. After a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks" target="_blank">solid start in January</a>, finding extra cash this year has been more difficult than we anticipated. Could we juggle the finances to pay off our loan at this later date without completely cannibalizing our emergency fund? Short answer: sort of. We took a $6,000 chomp out of our emergency fund. Since there is a small but real chance of us both being underemployed come March, and a somewhat larger chance that this mortgage refinance will fall through, this move makes us financially vulnerable.</p> <p>Worst case scenario: We have to take out a new line of credit in March as a precaution. While this would not be the end of the world, that situation would not be ideal. I would like to avoid being that loser personal finance writer who can't kick her debt habit.</p> <p>Best case scenario: The re-Fi goes through and we both find decent employment in March. If this happens we will be able to put the money we were using to pay down the HELOC each month toward replenishing our emergency fund and paying down the new, less expensive mortgage at a faster pace.</p> <p>Fingers crossed.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Although we did pay off a $15,000 loan with money we had socked away, I am not adding the $6,000 we pulled out of our emergency fund to the plus column of my 2016 budget challenge because we are going to have to pay our emergency fund back, as fast as humanly possible.</p> <p>Panic is a really good motivator. If only we'd had that kind of &quot;inspiration&quot; all year long. We earned a combined $3,258.98 in the first two weeks of December. Here's how we did it.</p> <p>Mr. Spendypants and I DJ'ed a corporate Christmas party. Although we did not win one of the flat screen televisions that were raffled off as door prizes, we did make $1,500 for five hours of work. Also, we ate at least $800 in foie gras cotton candy, spearified olives, and wagyu beef, so that was a great job perk.</p> <p>To take advantage of the holiday shopping fever, I had planned to spend the first two weeks of December selling every single thing that is not nailed down in the house on eBay and Etsy. Alas, this did not happen, so my house is still filled with crap we don't need. Mr. Spendypants and I deemed it more prudent that I use every available second of daylight doing yard work and prepping to paint the house in advance of the looming mortgage appraisal appointment. We will save a lot more money if we can refinance the mortgage than I could ever make selling our stuff online.</p> <p>Even with my new, yucky manual labor schedule, I managed to earn $1,758.98 on the side. In a previous incarnation, I was a jewelry designer. Mary Ellen and Betsy were nice enough to buy $243 in old stock from me for holiday gifts. I made $41 selling books to a second hand bookshop. I have been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15" target="_blank">propagating succulent cuttings</a> from my garden all year long. I made $124 selling little potted plants off my front porch to passers-by. I made $10.73 selling an old dress (that I had gotten for free) to a consignment store. One of my neighbors paid me $25 to run an errand for her, and another neighbor paid me $100 for pet sitting. I made $100 from writing jobs. I sold $707 in jam, honey, and handmade lip balm. Although I barely have any merchandise for sale on Etsy, I received a last minute order that netted me $363.25.</p> <p>Phew.</p> <p>Because I source holiday gifts year round, we actually managed to spend $0 on holiday gifts for friends and family this year. Just about everyone got <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts" target="_blank">homemade goodies</a> that I had made in advance or gifts paid for through barter. This was a total win. Unfortunately, we did not get to wallow in our thrifty genius for long. We have spent $495 on painting supplies for the house so far&hellip;</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $33,126.40</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $14,093.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $11,967.26</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">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/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Decide When to Sell Your 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/quicken-loans-review-competitive-rates-and-good-customer-service">Quicken Loans Review: Competitive Rates and Good Customer Service</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae">Everything You Need to Know About Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae</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/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Refinance Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisal budget challenge HELOC home equity line of credit home loans max wongs budget mortgages re-fi refinancing Fri, 13 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Max Wong 1870057 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Decide When to Sell Your House http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_jenga_house_57875522.jpg" alt="Deciding when to sell your house " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the latest episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Mr. Spendypants and I have been struggling to improve our finances by reorganizing our debt, specifically the loans on our two houses. Because banks use a stricter set of guidelines for assessing risk for rental properties, it has proved impossible for me to restructure the mortgage on my rental property that I own in my own name. So, at the beginning of the summer, we set our sights on refinancing our primary residence that is in Mr. Spendypants' name.</p> <h2>We've Been Underwater on Our Mortgage for Almost a Decade</h2> <p>Here's the back story: Mr. Spendypants bought Dinky Manor for $585,000 in 2007, literally the week before the housing market tanked. He hadn't even moved in when he discovered that the property was now underwater. We have been patiently waiting for the market to recover for nine years.</p> <p>The real estate market in our neighborhood is now crazy. People are buying 400 square foot homes for $400,000 in cash, sight unseen. So, we thought, now is the time to jump at getting a better loan. Zillow appraises our house for over $740,000.</p> <h2>Those Two Times We Missed the Days of Sub-Prime Lending</h2> <p>In order to refinance, Dinky Manor has to appraise for $640,000. Alas, Zillow's appraisal of our house is wildly optimistic. Our mortgage broker had two separate appraisals done and both came in at $600,000. Although Dinky Manor measures in at just a smidgen over 1,000 square feet, we're not even the smallest house on the block. Also, our yard is large and gorgeous and has been featured in garden books and on the Sunset Magazine blog. How, in L.A.'s stupid expensive real estate market, are we missing the mark?</p> <h2>Some of My Best Ideas Are Really Dumb</h2> <p>In trying to figure out another way to lower our mortgage costs, I had a harebrained idea: I could sell my rental property, that has at least $600,000 in equity, and use the profit to buy Dinky Manor from Mr. Spendypants. We'd lose my future income generating property, but we'd end up owning Dinky Manor free and clear. Without a mortgage payment on either house, we could really start socking away the cash for early retirement.</p> <p>I called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-reasons-why-an-accountant-is-worth-the-money" target="_blank">my accountant/therapist</a> to get her blessing. &quot;That is a harebrained idea for a couple of reasons,&quot; she stated, flatly. &quot;You guys should come into my office for a financial tuneup.&quot;</p> <p>When we arrived at my accountant's office she delivered the bad news: If I sell my rental house, I will have to pay between $200,000 to $300,000 in capital gains taxes. Also, even though my name is not on Dinky Manor's deed, I would not be able to buy it from my husband since we file our taxes as a married couple, so in the eyes of the IRS it's my house too.</p> <p>This is why I will never be successful as a master criminal. All the good financial loopholes have already been taken.</p> <h2>When Faced With a Financial Decision, Do the Math</h2> <p>My accountant had another scenario to pitch us: Sell Dinky Manor and move into my rental property as our primary residence. Even if we take a financial hit on the sale of Dinky Manor, the loan on my rental is half that of Dinky Manor. If we continue to live frugally like we've been living this year for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank">My 2016 Budget Challenge</a>, we could pay off my house in six years.</p> <p>Another bonus of this plan: If I sell my rental property, I have to pay capital gains taxes. But in California, when you sell your primary residence, you don't have to pay capital gains on the first $500,000. So, if I move back into my rental house and use it as my primary residence for 24 months, I could then sell it and walk away with a $500,000+ profit.</p> <p>Mr. Spendypants was shocked by this idea. He had hoped that we could wait out the housing market and flip Dinky Manor for a profit. But when my accountant did the math for him, he realized that we could be debt free and own a house outright in as little as six years, an impossible goal if we keep both houses. While the prospect of financial sustainability in six years is thrilling, the disappointment of only breaking even or even losing money on the sale of Dinky Manor hurt his brain.</p> <h2>How Do We Add Value to Our House?</h2> <p>I called my friend Andrew, a real estate agent who specializes in our neighborhood, and explained our situation. He agreed with our accountant's plan to sell Dinky Manor. Even if we lost money on the Dinky Manor sale, the amount we'd save by paying down the mortgage on my house early would more than offset that. Although we probably won't be able to buy another house, ever again, in L.A.'s inflated market, if we wanted another rental property down the road, we could use the equity in my house to buy property in another area.</p> <p>I asked Andrew if I could hire him to come over and do his own audit of Dinky Manor. Zillow values Dinky Manor at over $740,000. Why did our appraisals come up so short? If we couldn't get our house value up enough for a re-Fi, how would we ever get the value up enough to get the $60,000 down payment back if we sell it?</p> <p>Andrew spent over two hours looking at our house and yard. He also brought over some comps of similar homes that had sold in a one-mile radius of our house. His assessment: Dinky Manor is a dump. (Yes. Only in Los Angeles can a 1,000 square foot dump appraise for only $600,000). The appraisers had negatively compared our 1937 bungalow as a fixer-upper to new homes with Ikea kitchen cabinets and freshly installed privacy fencing. He gave me an extensive To Do list of home projects that would improve the house's value. If we fixed everything on his list, he would be able to put the house on the market with a starting price of $699,000.</p> <p>In order to get to this $699,000 price, we are going to have to repaint the house, build a deck, and do a complete redo of the kitchen, bathroom, and roof. This will cost between $40,000 and $60,000 depending on how lucky we get with sourcing the building materials. The renovation will be much more efficient and less stressful if we are not living in a house without a working kitchen and bathroom. If we empty out Dinky Manor before construction, we could possibly finish all the projects on the To Do list in one month (but I'm scheduling for two months).</p> <p>It's only October, and already I have My 2017 Budget Challenge in place. If we want to be mortgage free ASAP then here's our agenda for the next year:</p> <ol> <li>Save up at least six months of living expenses, because we will have to carry the mortgage of both homes during this process.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give my amazing renters, who have lovingly cared for my house for the past five years, 90 days notice so they have ample time to find a new pad.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Move into my house the second the renters move out.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Because we don't have the savings to pay for the renovations and pay two mortgages simultaneously, we will have to take out a $60,000 Home Equity Line of Credit on my house (based on its insane amount of equity).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Renovate Dinky Manor.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put Dinky Manor on the Market.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sell Dinky Manor. If there is any profit at all (fingers crossed) from the sale, it will be used to pay down the Home Equity Line of Credit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refinance my house (now our primary residence) to get a better interest rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Aggressively work toward paying down the Home Equity Line of Credit and the mortgage of our one house.</li> </ol> <p>Looking at this list of things to accomplish is heart attack inducing. And, if it were up to only me, I'd probably have Andrew sell Dinky Manor as-is and eat the cost of the down payment just to avoid a year's worth of hassle and stress. But, Dinky Manor is Mr. Spendypants' asset, so he ultimately gets to call the shots on this one. This is financially risky. Worst-case scenario, we could lose $120,000 and a year of our life to this project. Best-case scenario, we could make $200,000 and lose a year of our life to this project. Either way, we will no longer have a $585,000 loan to pay down. We might lose a real estate battle, but could still win the war.</p> <p>A few days after giving me his advice (for free), Andrew called me with a job offer. He just started his own boutique real estate brokerage. Would I be interested in working a few hours a week, helping him set up his new company? Of course I said yes. Now I am getting paid to learn about real estate so I can be that much more prepared when it comes time to sell Dinky Manor.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>My mechanic just called me. &quot;I have good news and bad news to tell you,&quot; he said in that Swedish accent that sounds like lingonberry jam smells. &quot;The good news is that you passed your smog test. The bad news is that you can drive your car for another two years.&quot;</p> <p>Ha ha.</p> <p>Even though Mr. Spendypants earned an extra $800 this month DJing a party, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">the car repairs</a> involved in getting my car to pass the smog test cost $700. So at the end of the month, he only came out $100 ahead on additional earnings. Boo.</p> <p>I made $375 this month working for Andrew, $450 for writing, and $630 selling jam and honey at a local craft and food fair for a total of $1,455 extra.</p> <p>Even with the additional earnings, as of today we have only have $10,741.51 in our savings account out of the $31,000 that we want to have by the end of the year.</p> <p>Will we make our goal?</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong>&nbsp;$31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised</strong>:&nbsp;$23,595.17</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong>&nbsp;$12,853.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong>&nbsp;$20,258.49</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house">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/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</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-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Refinance Your Mortgage</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-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance">ReFi Shy? How to Determine If Now Is the Time to Refinance</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/quicken-loans-review-competitive-rates-and-good-customer-service">Quicken Loans Review: Competitive Rates and Good Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing downsizing lending market crash max wongs budget mortgages refinancing rental property selling house underwater mortgage Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Max Wong 1812051 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times You Shouldn't Refinance Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_stressed_bills_85513247.jpg" alt="Couple learning times they shouldn&#039;t refinance their mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Refinancing your mortgage can drastically lower your monthly payments, especially since rates are still very low. The decision to refinance should be an easy one, right? Not so quick.</p> <p>Refinancing isn't for everyone or every financial situation. Here are five times you should hold off on refinancing your mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=seealso">ReFi Shy? How to Determine if Now Is the Time to Refinance</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Don't Plan on Staying in the House</h2> <p>If you plan on selling your home in the next five years, then hold off on refinancing it. The move will likely only waste your time and money. Selling too soon after refinancing means you won't live in your home long enough to capture the savings benefits of lower rates. Plus, you'll still owe any fees associated with the new loan.</p> <p>We made the mistake of refinancing our other home from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. Our broker had talked us into it, saying it was a smart option. It wasn't. At the time of the refinance, I was pregnant with my second child, and truly planned to live in our first home for many more years. However, two kids under three plus one room equals a lot of sleepless nights.</p> <p>The decision to refinance ended up costing us more initially and monthly, especially since we sold our home just nine months later.</p> <h2>2. The Savings Don't Add Up</h2> <p>The reason why many individuals choose to refinance their mortgage is because they want to get a lower interest rate. Before you jump on the refinance wagon, do a little bit of calculating. Find out how much the refinance will cost you compared to how much it will save.</p> <p>Also realize that a refinance can add years to your loan. Don't automatically believe that you are benefiting from lower monthly payments if your loan has been extended an additional five years.</p> <h2>3. You Are Trying to Pay Off Your Loan Sooner</h2> <p>As I mentioned before, we refinanced our home to a 15-year loan because we wanted to pay off our mortgage faster. On paper, the numbers made sense, and the change was only going to cost us an extra $300 a month, which seemed doable. However, it would have been better for us to keep the 30-year loan and make the extra payments on our own terms. This would have given us more wiggle room in our budget for unexpected costs.</p> <h2>4. You Are Switching to an adjustable-rate mortgage</h2> <p>Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rates are tempting to jump on, especially since they guarantee a low rate for a certain amount of time. However, interest rates eventually will go up. It's just the ebb and flow of the economy.</p> <p>With an ARM, you will pay more of the principal faster, which is nice, but you better be prepared to pay higher payments when the rates go up.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't in the Right Position to Finance</h2> <p>If for some reason your home has dropped in value, refinancing your home can tack on extra costs, such as private mortgage insurance. Borrowers with small down payments &mdash; or refinances with little equity &mdash; have to pay PMI until their equity reaches 20% of the home's value. For example, if you bought your house for $250,000, paid off $30,000 of it, but the value of your house dropped to $225,000, you would have very little equity in the home and in most cases have to pay for PMI.</p> <p>Another thing to consider before you refinance is your credit score and job history. If your score has dropped even just a little, you could miss out on qualifying for the lowest rates, which would make the whole refinance process not worth it. Also, if you recently switched career fields, i.e. going from a teacher to a computer system administrator, your pay might be higher, but your duration of employment might make you ineligible for a refinance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>Refinancing is a good choice if it means you can ditch annoying PMI fees and score a lower interest rate. However, a refinance is not for everyone, so be sure to crunch the numbers first.</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/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">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/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Decide When to Sell Your House</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/5-negotiation-tricks-that-ll-win-a-home-bidding-war">5 Negotiation Tricks That’ll Win a Home Bidding War</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate mortgages ARMS mortgages moving refinancing savings Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1799077 at http://www.wisebread.com Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/calculator_pencil_math_82097885.jpg" alt="You should refinance 4 common debts before year end" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The year is almost over, which gets many people thinking about New Year's resolutions. Perhaps you are recalling the resolutions you made at the beginning of this year and getting down on yourself for not saving more money and paying off more debt. &quot;Next year,&quot; you promise yourself.</p> <p>But if you refinance these four loans, you can get a head start on your financial goals and even sail into the New Year with a little less financial burden on your shoulders. Here are the top loans you should refinance, as well as a few tips to decrease your debt burden altogether.</p> <h2>Credit Cards</h2> <p>Does your credit card debt seem like it never goes down, even when you throw extra money at it each month? It's the interest rate. There are two ways that you can refinance your credit card balance and save money each month. The first is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans">refinance your debt</a> with a low interest personal loan, like one through<a href="https://sofi.com/wisebreadpl">SoFi</a> or<a href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27132/994"> Prosper</a>.</p> <p>This works well for individuals that have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">high interest credit card debt</a>. A low-interest personal loan will allow you to pay off your credit card debt faster, but be aware that your monthly payments will be higher. This is because credit cards only require a minimum payment each month, which can be very low, depending on the debt. Keep in mind, however, that those low monthly minimum payments are what keep you in debt for so long. Therefore, when you switch the debt to a three- or five-year personal loan, you will be required to pay more each month.</p> <p>Another popular way to refinance credit card debt is to transfer it to a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">0% balance transfer card</a>. This will allow you to transfer your debt to a card that does not charge interest for the promotional period. To use this transfer to your advantage, divide the amount of debt you have by the number of promotional interest free months offered. For example, if you are transferring <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">$10,000 of debt</a> on a card that offers 15 months of 0% interest, then be prepared to pay about $667 each month to avoid interest charges at the end of the promotion. Do not use this card to accumulate new debt.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">When Should You Transfer a Balance to Pay Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Mortgages</h2> <p>Mortgage rates remain historically low, but recent news shows that <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-mortgage-rates-climb-to-post-brexit-high-2016-09-15">rates are slowly rising</a>. If you are still battling with a mortgage rate higher than 5% or are paying PMI, now is the time to refinance.</p> <p>Refinancing your mortgage can extend the life of your home loan, but it can also save you dramatically each year, especially if you are paying<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">pesky PMI fees</a>. Research the cost to benefit ratio, knowing how much money you will save each month. Also research to know if a 15-year mortgage makes financial sense. In many cases, switching to a 15-year loan is riskier for your budget, but other times it can be a small monthly increase that will pay off big time in reduced interest payments.</p> <h2>Car Loans</h2> <p>Americans owe a lot on their car loans. USA Today reports, &quot;The total balance of all outstanding auto loans <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/09/06/car-loans-now-top-1-trillion-delinquency-rates-rise/89911210/">reached $1.027 trillion</a> between April 1 and June 30.&quot; If you secured your auto loan through a dealer, there is a good chance you are overpaying for your car loan. Contact your local credit union for rates, and don't forget to research online for the best rates.</p> <p>I have used two credit unions in the past to successfully secure an auto loan for less than 2.50%, and those credit unions did not have an actual building within 100 miles of me.</p> <h2>Student Loans</h2> <p>The burden of student loan debt is crippling millions of Americans. You don't need to live with your student loan forever. As long as you have good credit and are not in default with your loans, you have options. If you have federal student loans, then I strongly recommend looking into the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-careers-that-offer-student-loan-forgiveness">forgiveness programs</a> available. It might mean taking a less than desirable job for a few years, but if that job forgives a large portion of your student debt, then it could be worth more to you than a higher paying job. Other options include income-sensitive repayment programs, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan">PAYE and IBR</a>, which peg your monthly payments to your income level. Thus, if you're struggling to make a standard monthly payment, these programs set your monthly outlays at a more affordable level.</p> <p>If you are not eligible (or a fan) of the forgiveness programs, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinancing your student loans</a> is your next best option. Note that if you refinance your loans, you will be switching them over to a private lender. This means that if you have federal student loans, you will no longer be protected for federal loan repayment programs if you suddenly lose your job or face financial hardships.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://sofi.com/wisebread">SoFi</a> is one company that offers student loan refinancing and also offers unemployment protection for borrowers that lose their job at no fault of their own. The company says, &quot;In fact, members who refinance with us save an average of $316 a month &mdash; and $17,208 total.&quot; Other notable companies to consider include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.earnest.com/">Earnest</a></li> <li><a href="https://commonbond.co/choose-your-loan?referrer=b75172e7076c5472bed5baec5e28309c&amp;referred">CommonBond</a></li> <li><a href="http://lendkey.7eer.net/c/27771/187810/3276">LendKey</a></li> </ul> <p>Refinancing these common debts can help you pay less each month, as well as less overall. Use these refinancing strategies to get out of debt faster and take control of your finances.</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/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">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-11"> <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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</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/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</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/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management car loans interest rates lenders loans mortgages new year's resolutions personal loans refinancing repayment programs student loans Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1798863 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_backpack_travel_87628739.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to travel while paying student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans are a reality for millions of recent graduates and even some of us who have been out of school for a while. Americans alone have <a href="https://commonbond.co/blog/average-student-loan-debt-and-student-loan-refinancing/">1.36 trillion dollars</a> of student loan debt. That's second only to U.S. mortgage debt.</p> <p>Don't worry! There are plenty of ways to manage your student debt and continue doing what you love. With these tips, you can get out and spend your time traveling while making all of your payments on time!</p> <h2>1. Take a Look at Your Loans Before You Go</h2> <p>Getting ready for a big trip is actually a very good time to re-evaluate your student loans (and the rest of your finances), especially because it has the potential to save you a lot of money. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinancing your student loans</a> you could save thousands. That's because you may be able to get a better APR, and you can also change the terms of your loan so that your monthly payment feels more manageable.</p> <p>Even a small difference in the interest rate can make a big difference over the time that you're paying off your loan. With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">online lenders like CommonBond</a>, you can get an APR starting as low as 2.14%. It only takes minutes to fill out the application, and you're under no obligation to change your loan once you get your free quote.</p> <p>That cash you're saving can easily go into your travel fund!</p> <h2>2. Consider Consolidating Your Loans</h2> <p>This second tip is closely linked to the first, since in the process of refinancing your loans, you may also want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation">consolidate your loans</a>. This means that if you have multiple student loans, instead of paying, let's say, three separate bills every month, you can combine all of your existing loans into one.</p> <p>Consolidating your loans will help to simplify the payment process for you and reduce the time you spend every month administering and worrying about your loan payments.</p> <p>This is an especially important point for people planning to travel, since you're already going to have a lot of logistics to keep straight. The simpler you can keep your loan payments, the better.</p> <h2>3. Put Things in Perspective &mdash; And Into Your Budget!</h2> <p>It can be paralyzing to think about the total amount of money that you owe, especially if you know you're going to be spending the next 20 years of your life paying it off.</p> <p>It's more helpful to put things in perspective, so once you've refinanced your loans and you have a manageable monthly payment, treat that like you would any other monthly bill that you have to pay.</p> <p>Take it on a month-to-month basis and you won't feel as limited by the amount of money that you owe. When you're making your travel budget, simply factor in the monthly payment that you'll be making into your overall budget for the time you'll be traveling, and set aside that money before you go. That way, you won't feel like you have to scramble for funds at the last minute.</p> <h2>4. Start a Travel Fund</h2> <p>Figure out how much money you can commit to setting aside for travel every month. Then you can set up an automatic transfer into a special bank account that is dedicated just to travel expenses. Even if you're only putting in a few hundred dollars a month, you'll be surprised at how fast these funds can add up over time.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=travel">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a></p> <h2>5. Create a Realistic Budget</h2> <p>You should think about how you like to travel and be honest with yourself. Frugal travel is not for everyone, so you should consider what your priorities are; maybe you will be just as satisfied going on a shorter trip and putting more emphasis on higher-end accommodations and fancy restaurant meals.</p> <p>If these types of comforts or luxuries don't matter to you, you can probably get by with a smaller budget, but on a longer trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/savor-your-trip-and-save-big-with-these-5-slow-travel-tips">Save Big With These Slow Travel Tips</a>)</p> <p>Budgeting is all about striking a balance that works best for you while being realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your trip. By weighing these decisions before you leave, you'll eliminate a lot of money-related stress so that you can just enjoy your trip, knowing that you've already budgeted in the funds to cover your student loans.</p> <h2>6. Earn Extra Money for Travel</h2> <p>You're probably already getting excited to go, so if you want to speed up the process you can always consider earning a little extra money to cover your travel expenses.</p> <p>It's up to you what skills you have and what kind of work you enjoy, but maybe you want to consider getting a second part-time job and putting the money you earn right into your travel account!</p> <p>Depending on your professional skill set, you can also consider taking on some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">freelance gigs</a>, since they can be very flexible and add a little something extra to your normal paycheck. While you'll have less free time, this also means less time to be out spending money which can be a big help when you're trying to save money. There are also ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">make money while you&rsquo;re traveling</a>.</p> <h2>Don't Let Debt Stop You</h2> <p>There's no reason to let student debt paralyze you, and there are simple steps you can take if you're passionate about traveling. It will take a bit of good strategy, combined with some hard work and a proper execution of your plan, but if you're willing to put in the time you can really reap the rewards on your next trip (and even at home).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans" 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></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">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/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</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-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Travel APR budgeting consolidation debt refinancing strategy student loans travel funds trips Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1775891 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_woman_thinking_74303951.jpg" alt="Woman not ignoring things before refinancing student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American with student loans has approximately $30,000 in debt, and makes a monthly payment of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/06/19-typical-student-loan-debt-akers">nearly $250</a>. With interest rates sometimes reaching as high as 8%, many people struggle to bring down the balance. One popular solution is to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinance your loans</a>, getting a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment with a different repayment term. For some people, this can be an excellent way to make progress on eliminating their debt. For others, it can be a short-term option that ends up causing more problems later on.</p> <h2>What Is Refinancing?</h2> <p>If you have federal or private student loan debt at a high interest rate, you can refinance your debt by taking out a new loan from a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-every-college-student-must-know-about-private-student-loans">private lender</a> to cover your entire current balance. You use that money to pay off your current debt, then make payments at a lower rate or different repayment term on the new loan.</p> <p>If you have high-interest debt, refinancing can be a way to save you thousands over the course of your loans. When you are researching your options, it is important to look at offers from multiple lenders to ensure you are getting the most competitive interest rate and terms. <a href="https://lendedu.com/">LendEDU</a> is a site that allows you to compare multiple offers in one place to get the most attractive loan that meets your needs.</p> <h2>4&nbsp;Factors to Consider Before Refinancing</h2> <p>While refinancing student loans is a good decision for many people, there are factors you need to consider before you sign any agreement.</p> <h3>1. Interest Rates</h3> <p>When refinancing your debt, you will have the option of choosing a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates as low as 2% are available. However, they can change every year and can go as high as 8% to 10%. While fixed rates are often slightly higher than the initial variable interest rate, (usually they are about 3%), that interest rate is guaranteed not to increase over the course of your debt. If you have a small amount you can pay off quickly, a variable rate can make sense. However, if you need five to 10 years to pay off your loans, a fixed rate is more secure.</p> <h3>2. Deferment Options</h3> <p>If you have federal student loans, you have the ability to defer your debt if you run into economic hardship, such as if you lose your job. When you refinance with a private lender, you may end up losing that benefit since some companies do not offer deferment options. Make sure you understand their policies regarding economic hardships to ensure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario.</p> <h3>3. Loan Terms</h3> <p>When you refinance, your monthly payment can be cut in half. While that looks great on paper and it frees up money in your budget, you actually will end up paying much more over the length of your loan. To get the payment so low, your repayment term is extended from the standard 10 years to 20 or more. Over the duration of your loan, you can end up paying thousands more in interest. If you opt for an extended repayment term, assess your budget every year. As you move up the corporate ladder and get a better salary, you can increase your monthly payments and pay the debt off more quickly, saving yourself money.</p> <h3>4. Prepayment Penalties</h3> <p>Some private lenders have prepayment penalties, meaning you will owe a fee if you pay off your new loan early. In some cases, the fee may be small, but for some companies, the cost might be prohibitive. Make sure you check if there are any prepayment penalties ahead of time.</p> <p>For some, refinancing student loans can be a great way to save money and pay down the debt faster. It can be a good strategy to get a lower interest rate or to get a more affordable monthly cost. By considering these four factors, you can ensure you are informed and empowered to make the best decision for you.</p> <p><em>Have you refinanced student loans? Has it worked out for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">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/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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/cancel-student-loans-to-save-and-receive-an-interest-free-120-day-loan">Cancel Student Loans to Save — and Receive an Interest-Free 120-Day Loan</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/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</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/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training deferment interest rates penalties private lenders refinancing repayment student loans terms Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Kat Tretina 1774333 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_credit_card_000089299163.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves after credit cards are paid off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may have taken years. It may have required an unprecedented level of discipline and patience. But you finally have your credit cards paid off.</p> <p>Congratulations! Now, what do you do?</p> <p>With a good chunk of your high-interest debt no longer weighing you down, you can truly start to work your way toward financial freedom. Here are some key financial moves you can make immediately.</p> <h2>1. Tackle Any Other High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>Okay, so you crushed the credit card debt. What else do you owe? Take a look at things like auto loans, student loans, and your mortgage, and begin chipping away at that debt, as well. Go after the debt with the highest interest rate first. It's one thing to free of credit card debt, but to be totally, 100% debt free? That's an amazing feeling.</p> <h2>2. Assess Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>When you're in debt, there's a good chance you don't have a lot of liquid savings. But now that those credit cards are paid off, you can start building up funds in case of a major unexpected expense or loss of income. By maintaining an account with at least three months of income, you can handle any financial crisis and know that you won't go back into debt.</p> <h2>3. Open a Retirement Account</h2> <p>It's impossible to think about retirement when you're huddled under a mountain of debt. But now that you've shed that high interest debt, you can start thinking about your long-term financial goals, including your retirement. If your employer offers a 401K plan, begin contributing now and seek to maximize the company match. (Usually, this is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% of your income, though you can always contribute more.) Also consider opening an individual retirement account, or IRA. Opening a Roth IRA, which allows your money to grow tax free, is perfect for people who are self-employed, but is also a great complement to a 401K.</p> <h2>4. Find a Good Online Budgeting Tool</h2> <p>If you haven't already done so, consider using a service such as Mint or <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.216060&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=582907">Personal Capital</a>, which allows you to view all of your account information in one place and track your spending &mdash; even set up budgets and goals. Using one of these services will allow you to see exactly where your money is going, so you can adjust your spending, if needed.</p> <h2>5. Stop Using Your Cards for a While (But Don't Close Them)</h2> <p>Credit cards got you into trouble, so it might be good to just put them on ice for a while. But don't start canceling all your cards. If you close credit cards, you may actually hurt your credit score. You'll no longer have accounts with a long history, and your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">credit utilization ratio</a> will go up because you'll have less available credit. If you feel the need to get rid of cards, shed the one with the lowest credit limit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Develop a New Charging Philosophy</h2> <p>If you successfully transitioned from carrying a credit card balance to being debt-free, you probably made an adjustment to how you use your cards. Now it's time to evaluate again how you use credit to ensure you stay out of the red. Do some research to find credit cards with favorable interest rates (and maybe even some good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">cash back rewards</a>). Set up automatic transfers to pay off balances in full each month, and come up with rules to guide which purchases will be made with credit and which will be made with cash. It takes discipline to get out of debt, but it's just as much work to stay out. So set up a plan and do your best to stick to it.</p> <h2>7. Begin Saving for Big, Important Things</h2> <p>You may be out of debt, but you know that it could come right back if you don't save responsibly for the big ticket items. Whether it's a new house, car, or home appliance, it's best to try and pay for these things without taking on a lot of new debt. Consider taking whatever you were paying in credit card interest and setting it aside into a savings account, or even an index fund. Being able to pay cash for the pricey purchases will keep you from falling into the abyss of debt again.</p> <h2>8. Review Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>Looking at your credit report can be depressing when you're in debt. Who needs another reminder of how much they owe? But now that the debt is gone, it might be a good time to examine your credit reports to see if there are any errors, or even old debts you may have forgotten about. Your goal now is to improve your FICO credit score, and cleaning up your reports can play a big role in that. Each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) provide a copy of your credit report once a year at no charge.</p> <h2>9. If You Have a Mortgage, Think About Refinancing</h2> <p>Your credit score may not improve right away after paying off your credit card debt, but if you keep yourself debt-free, it will rise over time. And that means that you'll be in a better position to negotiate with lenders for a better interest rate on your home loan. Mortgage rates are still historically low, so you might save thousands of dollars over the long-term by reducing your rate even slightly. And you could have enormous savings by reducing your loan term, as well.</p> <p><em>Have you paid off your credit card debt? What money moves did you make?</em></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/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">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-8"> <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/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/heres-how-your-credit-score-affects-your-job-search">Here&#039;s How Your Credit Score Affects Your Job Search</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/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit report credit score emergency fund high interest debt refinancing retirement saving money Wed, 11 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1705411 at http://www.wisebread.com Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement? http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_payments_money_000007934078.jpg" alt="Learning if it&#039;s safe to refinance your home close to retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lower mortgage rates can save you hundreds of dollars on your monthly payments. Refinancing your mortgage to a new one with a lower rate would then seem to make sense.</p> <p>But what if you're approaching retirement? Is refinancing a smart move when you're planning to leave the workforce in five years or less?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the answer depends on your unique financial situation and your goal from a refinance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</a>)</p> <h2>Consider the Time Factor</h2> <p>If your main goal is to reduce your monthly costs, refinancing might make sense. But if you plan on moving from your home shortly &mdash; in, say, less than five years &mdash; then a refinance might not be the best option. That's because refinancing a home loan isn't free. The typical refinance costs thousands of dollars &mdash; money that you'll usually roll into your new loan amount and pay off over time when you make your regular monthly payments.</p> <p>It might take you several years to save enough money each month to recover the closing costs. If you're moving too soon (and retirees often move from their homes sooner than they originally planned), you might not generate enough monthly savings to even pay back those initial closing costs.</p> <p>Then there's the time factor. A refinance, unless you are reducing the term of your loan at the same time, means that you'll be paying off your mortgage for a longer number of years. As a retiree, you might instead prefer to pay off your current mortgage in a shorter amount of time.</p> <p>&quot;One consideration is the length of the term on the new loan,&quot; said Arvin Sahakian, co-founder and vice president of BeSmartee, a start-up designed to help consumers search for mortgage loans online. &quot;When people refinance their mortgage, they are re-setting the loan term and essentially starting over again.&quot;</p> <p>As an example, if you are paying off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that you have been making payments on for 15 years, you'll have an additional 15 years left to pay off that loan. If you refinance that loan to a new 30-year one, you've just increased the lifespan of your mortgage by another 15 years. Do you want that monthly payment hovering over you for another 15 years, even if refinancing will result in immediate monthly savings?</p> <p>That's not an easy question to answer, especially when you consider how much of your payments on a new mortgage loan, even one with a lower interest rate, will go toward interest instead of principal.</p> <p>&quot;The first few years of mortgage payments on a new loan are designed to go toward the interest, and less towards the principal,&quot; Sahakian said. &quot;As the years go by, more of the monthly payments go toward the principal, and less toward the interest, so this is another important consideration.&quot;</p> <h2>What the Numbers Say</h2> <p>It's important for every homeowner to crunch some numbers before deciding to refinance. But it's <em>especially</em> important for those nearing retirement who might need to recover their refinancing closing costs in as few months as possible.</p> <p>Say you owe $150,000 on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 5%. Your monthly payment, not including insurance and taxes, will be about $805. If you refinance that same amount to a 30-year fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.95%, your monthly payment will drop to about $711 a month &mdash; a savings of about $94 a month, or $1,128 a year.</p> <p>That sounds good, right? But remember, refinancing can be expensive. Say refinancing that $150,000 costs $4,500 in closing fees. It will take you almost four years to save enough from your refinance to pay back these closings costs. Is that worth it? If you stay in your home for eight years or more, it might be. If you end up moving in five years, it might not be.</p> <p>But say you owe $200,000 on a 30-year fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 5%. Then your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, would be about $1,073. If you refinance that $200,000 to a new 30-year fixed-rate loan but at an interest rate of 3.95%, your monthly payment would fall to about $949 a month. That's a savings of $124 a month, or $1,488 a year. If your loan closing cost that same $4,500, it would take you just a bit more than three years to generate enough savings to pay for your closing costs. That shorter time frame might make it more worthwhile for homeowners nearing retirement.</p> <p>There is another factor to consider, though. If you'll absolutely need to reduce your monthly living expenses after you retire, then refinancing might make sense, even if it will take you longer to recover the costs of closing.</p> <p>&quot;Many Americans who retire typically see their retirement income fall to nearly half of what they earned while they worked full time,&quot; Sahakian said. &quot;This is one of the considerations borrowers should account for when making a decision about refinancing. Will they be able to afford the monthly payments associated with the mortgage, insurance, and property taxes on their retirement income?&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you considering a home refinance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">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/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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/why-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">Why You Should Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage</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-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</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/quicken-loans-review-competitive-rates-and-good-customer-service">Quicken Loans Review: Competitive Rates and Good Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement closing costs home loans interest rates mortgages refinancing Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1649872 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying_new_home_000073682313.jpg" alt="Learning mortgage secrets only your broker knows" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking out a mortgage loan to buy a home is a huge investment &mdash; probably the biggest you'll ever make. That's why it's important to cut as many costs of applying for a mortgage loan as possible. Who knows best how to reduce these costs? Mortgage lenders, of course.</p> <p>Here are four secrets that your lender should be sharing with you. Knowing these tips can save you big money.</p> <h2>1. Close Your Loan at the End of the Month</h2> <p>It doesn't matter whether you close your mortgage loan on the fifth day of the month or the 28th, right? Wrong.</p> <p>Rakesh Gupta, director of ARG Finance, says that borrowers who close near the end of the month will reduce the amount of prepaid interest they need to pay with their first mortgage payment. This one simple strategy could save you hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>&quot;There is complete liberty from the lender's end in letting you choose the day of the month on which you wish to close,&quot; Gupta said. &quot;But does he tell you that? He doesn't. He asserts you to close as soon as possible.&quot;</p> <p>Here's an example: If you close on November 5 and your first mortgage payment is due after January 1, your first payment will, of course, include the interest that accrued in December. But it will also include the interest accrued in November. If you close November 5, that's 26 days of interest.</p> <p>But if you close on November 27, you will only pay three days of interest for that month. If your interest comes out to $25 a day, closing on November 5 will cost you $650 in November interest on your first payment. If you close on November 27, it will cost you just $75.</p> <h2>2. No One Really Knows Where Interest Rates Are Heading</h2> <p>Your mortgage lender should be studying the market, and should have a rough idea of whether mortgage interest rates will be going up or down in the near future. But even the savviest lender can't tell you exactly what interest rates will do in the next week or month. No one can.</p> <p>That's why Nicholas Kensington with Scottsdale Real Estate says that if your lender quotes you a rate that you think is a good one, you should pay to lock it in place.</p> <p>&quot;Rates will end up fluctuating constantly,&quot; Kensington said. &quot;If you're out there getting quotes, that doesn't mean you're out there getting locked-in rates until you ask them to lock that rate. Don't make the assumption that anything is locked in until it's in writing.&quot;</p> <p>If you lock your interest rate, it will remain in place even if rates rise &mdash; or, on the downside, if they fall &mdash; after your lock. Make sure you know how long your lender is locking in your rate. It might be for 30 days, or it might be for 60. Make sure to get the specifics in writing.</p> <h2>3. No-Cost, No-Point Loans Don't Really Exist</h2> <p>You might hear lenders advertise no-cost, no-point mortgage loans. But Casey Fleming, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615980708/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0615980708&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2O6XPT6EBQZGARI3">The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage</a>, says that there really is no such thing as a no-cost mortgage loan. Instead, most lenders who advertise such loans will roll the costs of originating their mortgages into your interest rate. They'll charge you a higher rate for the &quot;no-cost&quot; loan, Fleming said.</p> <p>To avoid falling for this trick, make sure you know how much you are paying for your loan, even if lenders advertise it as a no-cost one.</p> <p>&quot;Ask for the total cost of financing over the holding period of your loan for several options, including rolling the costs into the interest rate versus no points versus paying points, and choose the lowest cost,&quot; Fleming said.</p> <h2>4. Refinancing Doesn't Always Make Sense &mdash; Even If Your Payment Falls</h2> <p>Fleming says that too many homeowners automatically decide to refinance if the drop in their monthly mortgage payment allows them to pay back the costs of their refinance in a short period of time, say three years or less.</p> <p>This is not always a sound financial strategy, and too many lenders ignore this fact, Fleming said.</p> <p>If you save $225 a month on your mortgage payment after refinancing, it might take you just two-and-a-half years to pay back the closing costs. But this payback analysis ignores the increase in your loan's term and the restarting of the amortization cycle, Fleming said.</p> <p>Say you've paid off 14 years on your 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you refinance to another 30-year loan, even one with a far lower interest rate, you might pay more over time because you are, essentially, replacing a mortgage that has 16 years to pay off with one that would require 30.</p> <p>At the same time, the amortization process starts over. When you first start paying off a home loan, the majority of your payment goes toward paying off interest. By the time you're on year 14 of your 30-year loan, more of your payment will go toward paying down your mortgage's principal balance, instead. If you refinance that 30-year loan, most of your payments again will go toward interest.</p> <p>&quot;Look at the total cost of financing over your anticipated holding period for both your existing loan and the proposed loan, including costs, and choose the lower,&quot; Fleming said.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of any of these mortgage tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">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/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</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/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</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/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing closing costs interest rates lenders mortgage loan refinancing Secrets Mon, 14 Dec 2015 14:01:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1619297 at http://www.wisebread.com What’s the Difference Between Student Loan Refinancing and Consolidation? http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_student_debt_000020737719.jpg" alt="Man learning about student loan refinancing and consolidation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Higher education can open the door to better job prospects and a larger salary, but there&rsquo;s nothing cheap about earning a degree. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, in 2013, about seven in 10 graduates from public and nonprofit colleges had student loan debt with the average student <a href="http://ticas.org/posd/map-state-data">owing $28,400</a>.</p> <p>If you didn&rsquo;t attend college with a silver spoon in your mouth and had to apply for financial aid (like many students did, myself included), you might be bogged down with multiple loans. This can be a lot to keep up with, but fortunately there&rsquo;s an easier way to manage student loan debt and perhaps pay it off sooner. In fact, some post-grads have successfully managed their debt with student loan refinancing and consolidation.</p> <p>These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But while they can serve a similar purpose, consolidation and refinancing are not the same.</p> <h2>What Is Student Loan Consolidation?</h2> <p>Consolidation is the process of combining or merging multiple loans into a single one. A student loan consolidation can combine all your federal loans into one loan at no cost. Some students pay for their entire college education with only one type of federal loan, but others receive funds from multiple federal loans. For example, you might have a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a Direct PLUS loan, and perhaps another type of federal loan. This can become a headache at best, and it&rsquo;s easier to overlook a bill when you receive so many statements each month.</p> <p>Consolidation simplifies the way you manage your student loans. Combining your federal loans into a single loan means you&rsquo;ll only have one monthly statement, one due date, and one set of loan terms, which usually includes a low, fixed interest rate.</p> <p>Federal student loan consolidation is offered by the U.S. Department of Education and it&rsquo;s only for federal student loans &mdash; not private loans. So if you have a mix of federal educational loans and private educational loans, you cannot consolidate through the Department of Education.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you can&rsquo;t simplify and merge your federal and private loans into one loan. This is still an option, but instead of Federal consolidation, you have to refinance your loans through a private lender, such as a bank or credit union.</p> <h2>What Is Student Loan Refinancing?</h2> <p>Refinancing involves applying for a new loan (sometimes with a lower interest rate), and then using these funds to pay off existing loans. Refinancing is only available through private lenders. This is a smart move if you have multiple private loans with variable interest rates and you want a fixed interest rate, which can protect you from rate hikes in the future and potentially save you money.</p> <p>Since refinancing is through a private lender, you have to complete a loan application and go through the underwriting process, at which point a lender evaluates your credit history and income to determine if you&rsquo;re eligible. If you qualify, refinancing can help you get a lower interest rate, which can save you money over the life of the loan. A lower payment can create more cash flow, and you can use the savings to pay off other debts, move out of your parents&rsquo; house, or build your emergency fund. Refinancing also helps pay off student loan debt faster, especially if you're able to make higher payments. This is because more of your payments will go toward reducing the principal.</p> <p>Refinancing is the only way to combine your federal and private loans into a single loan. But it&rsquo;s important to note that refinancing a federal loan involves giving up some protections offered by government loans.</p> <p>For example, federal loans have provisions to help students manage their debt, such as income-based repayment. And if you experience economic hardship like the loss of a job, federal loans give the option of forbearance or deferment. Both options allow borrowers to stop making payments on a temporary basis. Some private lenders don't offer such perks. So while refinancing can simplify your financial life, make sure you have a strong financial foundation before switching federal loans to a private loan.</p> <p><a href="http://SoFi.com/wisebread">SoFi</a> is a popular lender offering student loan refinancing at competitive rates. They also offer career support and unemployment protection, where your payments can be paused while finding a new job. <a href="http://SoFi.com/wisebread"><strong>Click here to learn more about getting a student refinancing loan from SoFi</strong></a>.</p> <!--<p>Alternately, <a href="http://credible.evyy.net/c/27771/223380/3874?utm_source=WiseBread&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_campaign=refi">Credible</a> is a marketplace platform that allows you to search and compare available loans and interest rates. Receive personalized offers from mulitple lenders. <a href="http://credible.evyy.net/c/27771/223380/3874?utm_source=WiseBread&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_campaign=refi"><strong>Click here to learn more and get offers from available lenders.</strong></a></p>--><!--<p>Alternately, <a href="http://credible.evyy.net/c/27771/223380/3874?utm_source=WiseBread&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_campaign=refi">Credible</a> is a marketplace platform that allows you to search and compare available loans and interest rates. Receive personalized offers from mulitple lenders. <a href="http://credible.evyy.net/c/27771/223380/3874?utm_source=WiseBread&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_campaign=refi"><strong>Click here to learn more and get offers from available lenders.</strong></a></p>--><p><em>Did you refinance or consolidate your student loans? How did it improve your situation? I&rsquo;d love to hear about your experience in the comments section.</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/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation">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/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances">7 Ways Paying Off Student Loans Early Can Boost Your Finances</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/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management college consolidation education refinancing student loans Thu, 12 Nov 2015 00:18:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1603032 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000041245128.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems that everyone &mdash; your neighbor, brother-in-law, boss &mdash; has a lower interest rate on their mortgage loan than you do. And that's probably not surprising, given that mortgage rates have fallen to historic lows, with rates in the mid to high 3% range for 30-year, fixed-rate loans.</p> <p>That means it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance">time for you to refinance</a>, right? Not necessarily.</p> <p>A refinance doesn't always make sense, even if it will reduce your interest rate by more than a point. Several factors play a role in whether a refinance is the right choice: the cost of refinancing in your area, your current interest rate, the amount of time you plan to spend in your home, and how much of your existing mortgage you've already paid off.</p> <p>Too many homeowners, though, only pay attention to how much their rate might drop. Peter Grabel, managing director with Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut, says that this is the wrong approach.</p> <p>&quot;Deciding whether to go ahead with a refinance requires not just an analysis of how much you might save each month, but also a look at your entire life,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;You need to look at your age, your income, your future plans. You need to take on a real study of your life and your goals before deciding whether refinancing makes sense.&quot;</p> <p>Here are three times when a refinance might not be the smart choice.</p> <h2>1. Your Rate Won't Drop Enough to Recover Refi Costs</h2> <p>Refinances aren't free. The Federal Reserve Board estimates that a refinance can cost 3% to 6% of your loan's outstanding balance in closing costs. If your rate doesn't drop by enough, you might not save enough money each month to recover these closing costs for four years or more.</p> <p>Consider this example: You are paying off a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at an interest rate of 4.5%. Your monthly payment at this rate will be about $1,013, not including whatever you pay for insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>You decide to refinance. When you approach a lender, you have a remaining balance on your loan of $190,000. You qualify for an interest rate of 4% for your new 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. At that rate, your monthly payment will fall to about $907, again not including insurance and taxes. You'll be saving about $106 a month, or about $1,275 a year.</p> <p>But say your refinance costs 3% of your outstanding loan balance of $190,000. That comes out to $5,700 in closing costs. At $1,275 in savings a year, it will take you nearly four-and-a-half years to pay back the costs of the transaction.</p> <p>And remember, that's at the low end of the Federal Reserve Board's estimate when it comes to refinancing costs. Grabel said that homeowners pay different refinancing costs in different parts of the country. So you might pay more to close your refinance, which would mean an even longer payback time.</p> <p>If your payback time is too long? A refinance might not make sense. Especially if...</p> <h2>2. You Plan to Move Soon</h2> <p>Refinancing makes more sense for owners who plan to live in their residences for at least five years. These owners plan to stay put long enough to enjoy more months of savings after they've recovered their closing costs.</p> <p>Grabel recently counseled a couple to skip a refinance. Why? The couple was ready to have their second child and expected to move to a larger home in one or two years. Grabel calculated that the break-even point on their refinance would come a year after they closed it. If this couple did move that soon after hitting this point, the costs and the work involved in a refinance &mdash; you'll need plenty of paperwork to close one &mdash; wouldn't be worth it.</p> <h2>3. You're Too Far Into Your Existing Mortgage</h2> <p>Here's what homeowners sometimes don't consider: In the early days of your mortgage loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward paying off interest and little to actually reducing your principal, the amount of money you originally borrowed.</p> <p>But as the years pass, you slowly begin paying off more principal than interest each month. That's a good thing.</p> <p>When you refinance, though, you start over with a new mortgage. This means that most of your monthly payments will again go toward paying off interest instead of paying down your principal balance.</p> <p>Starting over might not matter much when you've only been paying off your loan for a year or two. But if you're eight, 10, or 15 years into your loan? Starting over means that you'll be paying much more interest over the lifetime of your new loan.</p> <p>You'll also reach the end of your loan later in life. Say you refinance to a new 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage when you are 35. If you take the full three decades to pay off this new loan, you'll be 65 before you make your last payment.</p> <p>This is why Grabel recommends that homeowners who have paid off a significant portion of their existing mortgages take out new loans with shorter terms. Instead of taking out a 30-year mortgage, it might make more sense to refinance to a 15-year or 20-year loan. This way, you'll pay off your loan faster and you won't pay as much interest over the life of your loan.</p> <p>Again, though, the decision requires an in-depth look at your own financial goals.</p> <p>&quot;Maybe cash flow is an issue,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;Then you'd want to refinance to the loan that gives you the lowest monthly payment. That'd usually be a 30-year loan. But if you are more interested in the lifetime costs of your mortgage, then going with a shorter-term loan that doesn't come with as much interest is the way to go.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you re-fied lately? What was your break even?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">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/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 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/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Afford Your Mortgage Payment</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/7-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</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/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</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/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity interest rates loans mortgage owning a home refinancing Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:15:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1603197 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_holding_coins_000062196700.jpg" alt="Man seeing signs of refinancing student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nothing cheap about going to college. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014&ndash;2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public schools. It's thus no surprise that many students &mdash; like yours truly &mdash; pay their way through college with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances">student loans</a>.</p> <p>Once you graduate and start paying back your student loan, however, you might begin to receive refinancing offers. But receiving an offer to refinance your student loan doesn't mean you have to jump at the opportunity. Here are four signs that you should refinance your student loan.</p> <h2>1. You Need a Better Interest Rate</h2> <p>One of the main reasons graduates refinance their student loans is to get a lower interest rate, which translates into a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>Student loan rates vary depending on whether you have a federal or private loan. If you have a federal student loan, which are easier to get with no credit history and low income (these comprise most of the loans I have), you'll pay a fixed-rate for the duration of the loan term. But there are different types of federal student loans. Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans offered by the federal government have a <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates">fixed interest rate of 4.29%</a>, and federal Perkins Loans have a fixed rate of 5%. Your rates may be higher, depending on when you took out the loan.</p> <p>These rates might seem reasonable, but if you do some research you'll find that many private lenders offer better rates on their student loans. For example, SoFi and Earnest have student loan rates starting at 1.90% for variable rates and 3.50% for fixed rate.</p> <p>Refinancing and getting a cheaper rate and monthly payment frees up your cash, giving you more disposable income to pay off other debts or build a savings account.</p> <h2>2. You Have a Higher Credit Score</h2> <p>Of course, refinancing a federal or private student loan doesn't guarantee the lowest rate. To qualify for an interest rate lower than what you're currently paying, you need a high credit score.</p> <p>Unfortunately, federal student loans offer the same rate regardless of a borrower's credit history. So a student with an Unsubsidized Direct Loan and no credit history pays the same rate as a student with the same loan and a 700 credit score.</p> <p>If you have a credit score in the high 700s or 800 range &mdash; thus able to qualify for the best loan rates &mdash; a federal lender isn't going to drop your rate. A private lender, on the other hand, weighs your credit score, debt, and income when determining your rate. Refinancing with a private lender makes sense if you've built a strong credit history and are looking to save money.</p> <h2>3. You Need to Simplify</h2> <p>If you have both federal and private student loans (I'm with you here, too), juggling multiple lenders and payments can be overwhelming and confusing. Refinancing and combining your federal and private loans into a single debt can simplify your finances.</p> <h2>4. You Have a Stable Job</h2> <p>Although refinancing your federal and private loans into a single loan can simplify your bills, you need to evaluate your job situation and then decide whether now's the best time to give up your federal benefits.</p> <p>If you have multiple federal loans, you can apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan and combine them into a single one. But unfortunately, you can't consolidate private loans into a federal loan. Therefore, if you have a mix of federal and private debt, and you're looking to consolidate, the only option is refinancing with a private lender.</p> <p>A private lender might offer a better rate, but they don't always offer the protection or benefits of a federal loan, such as flexible repayment options. If you have a federal student loan and experience economic hardship after losing a job, you can apply for deferment or forbearance and temporarily stop making your payments. Or you can negotiate a lower monthly payment. Depending on your occupation, you might even qualify for <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation">public service loan forgiveness</a> or teacher loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, these benefits aren't necessarily offered with all private loans. Check with each prospective lender to understand their precise offerings.</p> <p>Before refinancing a federal loan into a private one, seriously consider the stability of your job and income. If you're a high-income earner working in a field with a low unemployment rate, by all means, switch from a federal loan to a private loan if you can save money. But if you have other debts, a low-paying position, or you're still living paycheck-to-paycheck, it might be better to stick with a federal loan, just in case you need to take advantage of guaranteed hardship provisions.</p> <p><em>Are there other signs that you should refinance your student loans that you'd like to add? 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/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">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/student-loan-debt-in-collections-try-these-5-steps">Student Loan Debt in Collections? Try These 5 Steps</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/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</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/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</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-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</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/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training credit score federal loan interest private loan refinancing student loans Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1527052 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_graduate_000021016547.jpg" alt="New grad refinancing student loans with private lenders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike mortgages and cars loans, the options for refinancing student debt have always been few and far between. Now, a handful of innovative lending startups are helping borrowers trim away at the $1 trillion in outstanding <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances">student loan debt</a> owed by college graduates. It's a big market. Two-thirds of students at four-year private schools and more than half of all students at public ones take out loans, according to federal data.</p> <h2>SoFI</h2> <p><a href="https://SoFi.com/wisebread">SoFi</a>, a San Francisco company, says it saves borrowers who refinance their loans an average of $9,400 over 10 years by offering low fixed-rate and variable interest loans, as well as career coaching. An anonymous reviewer on CreditKarma rated SoFi five stars, saying the firm helped him <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/reviews/personal-loan/single/id/sofi-personal-loans?pgsz=25&amp;prdhlder=0#reviewsListFullWrapper">save $900 per month</a> in interest and slashed more than 60% off of his original interest rate. Not too shabby.</p> <p>No, it's not too good to be true. But there is a catch.</p> <p>SoFi's loans are limited to &quot;highly qualified&quot; graduates hailing from an exclusive list of colleges and universities. If your school is on the list, however, SoFi will tap into your alumni network, connecting you to investors from the same alma mater. It's sort of like banking meets LinkedIn. SoFi makes borrowing personal, which comes with a slew of added benefits &mdash; opportunities for career advising, networking, and entrepreneurial support. In fact, SoFi claims its <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/03/sofi-social-finance-student-loans-mortgages-ipo.html">novel alumni lending scheme</a> has helped 60 members find new jobs and more than 20 entrepreneurs start new businesses. &quot;I'll admit it,&quot; said Jennifer Beall, a Northwestern graduate whose SoFi story is trumpeted on the firm's webpage. &quot;I'm obsessed with SoFi. I discovered SoFi and began the process of refinancing my loans, which led to over $5,000 in savings on interest.&quot;</p> <h2>Upstart</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-12188828-1431034321000">Upstart</a>, another new, low-cost lender, considers things like your academic performance and work history when calculating your rate. Shedding student debt is a whole new game when your rate is based on Upstart's predictive modeling algorithm, which measures <a href="http://millennialmagazine.com/paul-gu-tackles-the-issue-of-student-loans-with-upstart/">your potential future income</a> &mdash; not just what you're currently earning. Folks with advanced degrees and good jobs &mdash; or at least a solid job offer &mdash; will get the best rates from Upstart. Co-founder Paul Gu describes the algorithm as imperfect, opening the door to many borrowers who might get shut out by traditional lending banks, while unintentionally excluding others. Gu admits that he himself doesn't even qualify for a loan through his own company. The algorithm, he says, is a work in progress.</p> <h2>CommonBond</h2> <p><a href="https://commonbond.co/choose-your-loan?referrer=b75172e7076c5472bed5baec5e28309c&amp;referred">CommonBond</a>, another non-bank lender, has so far handed out more than $200 million in loans to more than 2,000 borrowers with MBA, law, medical, and engineering graduate degrees. Like SoFi and Upstart, not every student with debt will qualify for refinancing. What sets CommonBond apart from other alternative lenders is that it allows student loan debtors to consolidate undergrad and graduate loans into a variety of fixed rate, adjustable rate, and hybrid loans. The company claims its borrowers save, on average, $10,000 over the life of the loan. There are no application fees, no origination fees, no prepayment penalties.</p> <p>Let's recap. With private lenders like SoFi, Upstart, and CommonBond, you can slash your interest debt by refinancing. That is, if you qualify. These firms adhere to nontraditional eligibility requirements, which can be great &mdash; so long as you earned the right degree or attended the right college or landed the right job. These new, lower-cost lenders are mostly going after students they consider sure bets. And who could blame them? About 10% of the 4.7 million students who graduated with federal loan debt in 2011 had defaulted by 2012, the government reports, which means they didn't make any payments for at least nine months.</p> <p>The bottom line: you can save a ton by refinancing your student loans with one of these new-age private lenders &mdash; so long as you fit the profile of what these firms classify as a &quot;safe bet.&quot;</p> <p><em>How are you paying off your student loan(s)? Have you considered consolidating with one of these lenders?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">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/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</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-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training private lenders refinancing school student loans Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:00:13 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1448399 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-2146375-small.jpg" alt="family on porch" title="family on porch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mortgage closing costs can be one of the most difficult aspects of buying a home or refinancing a current mortgage. Costs can be high, ranging anywhere from 2%-5%, depending on your locale, lender, and type of mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">How to Choose the Right Mortgage Loan Term</a>)</p> <p>Typical costs include the application fee, origination fee, and fees for home inspection, appraisal, credit report, and an attorney or closing agent. Some, like the application fee, are paid to the lender. Others, like the appraisal and home inspection, are paid to third-parties and have less room for negotiation.</p> <p>Homeowners may feel they have little control over the charges. On top of that, most closing costs are not tax deductible. Nevertheless, it&#39;s possible for home buyers and homeowners to reduce their closing costs.</p> <h2>1. Shop Around</h2> <p>When shopping for a mortgage lender, ask lenders about their closing costs when you ask about their interest rates. Ask about their application fee, loan processing fee (also known as an underwriting fee), and third-party fees paid to others, such as appraisers. Are fees refundable? When are they paid? Most home buyers will just ask about their mortgage rate, but they should also shop for the lowest lender fees, especially the origination fee. Try to nail them down and don&#39;t be satisfied with a general &quot;three percent of the loan amount.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Know the Score on Points</h2> <p>Points, sometimes called <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/od/glossaryp/g/Prepaid-Interest.htm">prepaid interest</a>, are typically the largest single closing cost. One point equals 1% of the mortgage amount. Some lenders charge one point, while others charge two, or even more, points in return for a lower rate.</p> <p>Find out upfront if the points are &quot;bona fide discount points&quot; that lower your interest rate or just another lender&#39;s fee. Generally, one point should reduce the interest rate a quarter of a percentage point. If you expect to stay in the home for a while, say five years, you probably should consider paying extra points for a lower rate.</p> <p>Points for the mortgage used to purchase your home are typically tax deductible in the year you buy the home, while points for refinance loans are tax deductible over the life of the loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refinance-your-mortgage">How to Refinance Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>3. Question Lender Fees</h2> <p>Federal law requires mortgage lenders to provide borrowers a Good Faith Estimate of closing costs within three days of the loan application. It&#39;s just an estimate and can change significantly, up to 10% by law, by the time the loan closes. Examine those fees and ask the lender to explain them.</p> <p>Some lenders charge an origination fee, which is a percentage of the loan amount. They may also charge a loan processing fee, an underwriting fee, a document preparation fee, and an administrative fee. Question those fees. They&#39;re basically the same thing. Although some borrowers, like those with impaired credit, legitimately require more work, some of those fees might be duplicative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-terms">21 Real Estate Terms Home Buyers Should Know</a>)</p> <h2>4. Scrutinize Final Costs</h2> <p>At the loan closing, lenders must provide borrowers settlement papers known as the <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hud-1.asp">HUD-1 form</a>. Ask for the paperwork a day before the loan closing, so you have time to go over the documents. Scrutinize closing costs line by line, and question discrepancies between the Good Faith Estimate. Most homeowners glance over the list without asking questions about particular costs, but not all costs are etched in stone.</p> <p>Just asking for a discount could prompt the lender to lower the price. It certainly doesn&#39;t hurt to ask. Some borrowers may feel odd about wrangling over a $200 fee when obtaining a loan of $200,000 or more. But $200 is still $200.</p> <h2>5. Request an Appraisal Waiver</h2> <p>If you&#39;re getting a refinance and had an appraisal recently for a previous refinancing or when you purchased the home, ask your lender if it can waive the new appraisal requirement. You can also request an appraisal waiver if you have plenty of equity in your home and are not getting a cash-out refinance.</p> <h2>6. Get a Title Insurance Discount</h2> <p>When you buy a home, you purchase a new title insurance policy for a one-time fee. When you refinance your mortgage, you can receive a large discount off the cost of a new policy. Although many lenders provide it automatically, ask for it to make sure you get it.</p> <h2>7. Ask the Seller to Pay</h2> <p>Home buyers can ask sellers to pay closing costs in addition to negotiating for a lower sale price. The seller can benefit from paying closing costs by getting the buyer committed to the sale, selling the home sooner. Remember that seller contributions are linked to the home price and could mean a higher sale price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home">Buying Your First Home? Here&#39;s What You Need to Know</a>)</p> <h2>8. Consider a No-Closing-Cost Mortgage</h2> <p>Some lenders can waive closing costs in return of charging a slightly higher mortgage rate, or can let borrowers add closing costs to the loan amount. These loans are not truly &quot;no cost.&quot; Obviously, there are trade offs. If you plan to stay in the house over five years, being stuck with a higher rate over five years might not be worth it.</p> <p><em>Did you try to negotiate or otherwise reduce your mortgage closing costs? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">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/why-i-didnt-pay-my-mortgage-off-in-full">Why I Didn&#039;t Pay My Mortgage Off In Full</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/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</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/3-hidden-dangers-of-refinancing-your-mortgage">3 Hidden Dangers of Refinancing Your Mortgage</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-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</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-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing first time home buyer home buying home loans mortgage mortgage closing costs refinancing Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:36:03 +0000 Michael Kling 991207 at http://www.wisebread.com