interest rates http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1797/all en-US Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/human_hands_exchanging_money.jpg" alt="Human hands exchanging money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You likely already know that credit unions are a bit different from banks, mostly in the way these financial institutions are owned and operated. But as you research your local credit unions, you'll see that some are listed as federal credit unions and others are not.</p> <p>Is there a difference? Does it matter whether you join a federal credit union or one chartered by the state in which it resides? It all depends on how important it is for you to have the money you deposit with a credit union insured by the U.S. government, instead of a private insurer.</p> <h2>Making the switch to credit unions</h2> <p>Both types of credit unions, federal and state-chartered, are not-for-profit organizations owned by its members. If you take out a loan or credit card, or open a savings or checking account with that credit union, this includes you. Because credit unions are not-for-profits, the earnings that they make are paid back to their members as higher savings rates and lower interest rates on loans and credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference?</a>)</p> <h2>Federal vs. state-chartered</h2> <p>Once you decide that you want to join a credit union, you'll have to determine if you want to become the member of a federal credit union, a state-chartered one, or whether it matters to you at all.</p> <p>The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, a federal insurance fund backed by the U.S. government, insures all federal credit unions. Congress created this fund in 1970 to protect the deposits members make at credit unions. Today, an independent agency, the National Credit Union Administration, oversees this fund.</p> <p>The fund operates much like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures the deposits made at traditional banks. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund covers deposits of up to $250,000 for each individual member of a credit union.</p> <p>The other type of credit union is state-chartered. The deposits members make here are not covered by the federal insurance fund. Instead, these deposits are insured by private insurers. These funds are still protected. They're just not protected by the federal government.</p> <p>If that matters to you, you can search MyCreditUnion.gov's <a href="https://www.mycreditunion.gov/Pages/mcu-map.aspx" target="_blank">Find a Credit Union</a> tool, which will find federal credit unions near you. Credit unions that are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund must display the official National Credit Union Administration sign in their lobbies. Federal credit unions usually include the word &quot;federal&quot; in their name, too.</p> <p>There is no better type of credit union. Both federal and state-chartered offer a range of banking services, credit cards, and loans. The big difference comes down to how these institutions are insured.</p> <h2>Limits</h2> <p>Whether you decide to join a state-chartered or federal credit union, be aware that there are sometimes requirements for membership that you might not be able to meet.</p> <p>Some credit unions are only open to current or former members of the U.S. Military and their relatives. Others are only available to those working in a specific profession, such as teachers or nurses. Others only serve a specific geographic boundary, and its members must live in those boundaries. As you research credit unions, keep these restrictions in mind.</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/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union">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/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy 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/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</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/10-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</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-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking credit unions federal insurance interest rates not-for-profits u.s. government Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 2003616 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Worried young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facing debt can be stressful and overwhelming. But it's important to remember that no matter how much you might feel that you're in over your head, debt is a hole you can climb out of. You can absolutely do this. Here are the first steps you need to take.</p> <h2>1. Figure out how much you owe</h2> <p>The first step can be the most painful. It's time to get an overview of your debt, which means you need to add up everything you owe and take a good look at your total. That, my friends, can be a difficult moment. But that difficult moment will also provide you with the clarity you need to start taking back power over your financial future.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Gather your financial statements or log in to the online portal for each account you owe on: your credit cards, mortgage, student loan, car loan, lines of credit, home equity loan, etc. Create a simple spreadsheet with four columns: one to identify each debt (&quot;Student Loan&quot;), one for the amount owed, one for the minimum monthly payment, and one for the interest rate. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report" target="_blank">Pull your credit report</a> to search for outstanding debts, and compare the information against what you have in your own records.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>2. Sort and prioritize the debt list</h2> <p>Now it's time to start sorting out your spreadsheet entries so you can come up with the best possible plan to get out of debt.</p> <p>You might think that the most important debt to pay off is the biggest one; however, it's often a good idea to identify the debt with the highest interest rate and knock that out first. This is known as the avalanche method of debt repayment. Higher interest rates lead to faster debt accumulation and result in you paying a higher amount over the course of your debt repayment. The faster you can get rid of high-interest debts, the better.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Sort your spreadsheet by the fourth column, the one for the interest rate. You might see anything from a 4 percent interest rate (for example, on a student loan) to a whopping 22 percent interest rate on, say, a credit card. You may owe more principal on your student loan, but relatively speaking, you're wasting more in interest every month on that credit card. The credit card is therefore the higher priority for complete repayment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add up your minimum payments</h2> <p>You don't get to stop making payments on the lower-interest debts, even though they're not the highest priority. Instead, you need to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all lower-interest debts while making bigger payments on your debt with the highest interest rate. Once you knock one high-interest debt out completely, you prioritize the debt with the next-highest interest rate and continue paying minimums on everything else.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Add up the monthly minimum payments for <em>all</em> the debts on your list, including the highest-interest debt. This is the total, bare minimum debt repayment amount that needs to fit into your current budget. This can be a nerve wracking step, especially if you don't have enough income to comfortably afford that total monthly minimum amount. You may need to take steps to cut expenses elsewhere, or bring in sources of additional income.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>4. Determine your needed overage payment</h2> <p>Now it's time to calculate the payment you need to get that highest-interest debt paid off as quickly as possible. If you keep making only the minimum payment on it, you'll keep accumulating interest charges and it will take much longer to pay it off. Instead, think of a target timeline (maybe six months or a year) for paying off the highest-interest debt, and calculate an ideal amount you can pay above the minimum payment to achieve that goal.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Use an online <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">credit card payoff calculator</a>. Enter the information for your highest-interest debt: total amount owed, interest rate, and the minimum payment. You'll see how long it will take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments. Now, instead of minimum payments, enter how many months you'd like to have it paid off in. The result will show you the monthly amount you need to pay in order to clear the debt within your target timeline.</p> <h2>5. Give yourself the best possible conditions</h2> <p>You have the essential numbers that you need. They may be painful, but knowledge is power. The next step is to find ways to reduce the financial impact that these debts have while you repay them. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">Debt consolidation</a> may be the best way to do this; however, you may also be able to lower your interest rates and negotiate better payment plans on individual debts, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>This takes some time, depending on the number of debts you have. Call each creditor and ask how you can reduce your interest rate. You may be able to refinance a home mortgage or car loan for a lower rate, for example. If you have a good repayment history, ask credit card companies to consider your reliable record and give you a better interest rate. If you're able to take out a low-interest loan, such as a line of credit or home equity loan with your bank, you may be able to use it to pay off your high-interest debt and consolidate at least some of your debts into a single, lower-interest loan.</p> <h2>6. Protect your credit and your finances</h2> <p>If you're late on a payment, being proactive can save you from accumulating fees and damaging your credit score. For example, if you call the credit card company and explain that you can't make the full minimum payment on time, they may work with you to split the payment in half for the month so you can avoid late fees. Many times, a phone call and a courteous conversation can reduce or remove a fee, extend a deadline, or result in a more manageable payment plan.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Set up alerts or schedule automatic minimum monthly payments so you don't miss due dates. If you know you won't have the money on time for a particular payment, call in advance to negotiate an extended deadline or set up a split payment plan. Additionally, you may want to keep an eye on changes in your credit report.</p> <h2>7. Protect your financial future</h2> <p>As difficult as it seems to save money when you're trying to pay down debt, it's so important. You need an emergency fund for those unpredictable expenses that will happen. Building an emergency fund will keep you from having to add to your debt when the car breaks down or you don't get that bonus you were counting on. In other words, it's the essential tool that keeps you climbing out of that debt pit, even when life happens. Without it, one setback can set off a downward spiral deeper into debt. You don't want that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>If your budget is absolutely maxed out, you can pick up a side hustle or employ another short-term strategy &mdash; such as selling off a few high-value items, or taking on seasonal work &mdash; to quickly build up an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">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/7-ways-being-debt-free-can-cost-you">7 Ways Being Debt Free Can Cost You</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/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</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/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks — And How to Beat Them</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/avoid-these-6-mistakes-newbies-make-with-their-first-credit-cards">Avoid These 6 Mistakes Newbies Make With Their First Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed">How to Handle Credit Card Debt When You&#039;re Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method budgeting credit report credit score emergency funds interest rates minimum payments negotiating principal repayment Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2001479 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do if You've Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540503334 (1).jpg" alt="Woman signed up for a bad credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You thought you were buying your dream home, but now you realize that you'll struggle to afford the monthly mortgage payments. Or maybe you thought that new car would look great in your driveway, only to realize after you signed the sales contract that it barely gets 15 miles to the gallon.</p> <p>We all make bad decisions. But when you sign up for a bad loan or credit card, those bad decisions can come with serious financial repercussions.</p> <p>Fortunately, a bad loan or credit decision doesn't have to be permanent. Here are some financial contracts you might regret signing, and the steps you can take to get out of them.</p> <h2>Refinancing your mortgage</h2> <p>Maybe you thought refinancing your 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan to a 15-year version was a smart financial move. A 15-year loan, after all, would give you a lower interest rate and save you thousands on interest payments. Unfortunately, you overestimated your ability to make the higher monthly payments that come with a shorter-term mortgage.</p> <p>You can get out of a refinance agreement easily if you act quickly. The &quot;right of rescission&quot; gives borrowers the right to cancel their refinance agreement if they do it within three days of either closing on their loan, or receiving their loan disclosure documents, whichever comes first. You don't have to provide a reason for backing out of your refinance agreement.</p> <p>These three days are business days, but they do include Saturday. If you want to cancel that refinance, act quickly.</p> <h2>Home equity loans</h2> <p>The three-day right of rescission applies to home equity loans, too. The rules are the same for refinancing: If you want to back out of your new home equity loan, you have to do so within three business days.</p> <p>There is a reason for the right of rescission: The government wants to offer consumers a final way to protect their homes before they take on new loans. Homes are used as collateral in refinances and home equity loans, meaning that lenders can take these assets if their owners stop making payments. The right of rescission gives consumers one last chance to avoid signing up for a new loan that they might not be able to afford.</p> <h2>A single-family mortgage</h2> <p>Consumers often mistakenly believe that the right of rescission applies to buying a single-family home, as well. Unfortunately, it doesn't.</p> <p>Unless buyers include a set cooling-off period in their sales contracts &mdash; specifying a certain number of days in which they can change their mind about buying the home &mdash; walking away from an agreement to buy a single-family home can cause them plenty of financial pain.</p> <p>After buyers sign a contract to buy a home, they write out an earnest money check. This check, which is supposed to show sellers that the buyers are serious about purchasing their home, is deposited into an escrow fund until the home sale actually closes. The amount of earnest money buyers deposit varies, but it is usually 1 percent to 2 percent of a home's sale price. For a $200,000 home, buyers can provide $2,000 to $4,000.</p> <p>If buyers change their mind and walk away from a home purchase, they will usually lose that earnest money, breaking a sales contract could cost them thousands of dollars. But there are exceptions, known in the real estate business as contingencies. If the home inspection turns up serious problems, buyers can usually break the contract and keep their earnest money. If buyers can't qualify for a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of the home, they can again usually break the contract and keep that earnest money.</p> <h2>Buying a condo</h2> <p>Things are different when you sign a contract to purchase a condominium or co-op. You'll still have to provide earnest money. But you also have a window of time &mdash; which varies according to the state in which you are buying &mdash; to break your contract without losing that money.</p> <p>Condo and co-op purchase agreements come with a review period. During this period, you can opt out of the purchase agreement you signed and receive your earnest money back, no questions asked. Just make sure you act within the review period.</p> <p>This review period can vary significantly. In North Carolina, buyers have seven days to back out of a purchase agreement without suffering a financial hit. In Florida, the review period lasts 15 days. Make sure to check what the review period is in your particular state.</p> <h2>Leasing a car</h2> <p>If you buy a car and finance it through a traditional auto loan, you're pretty much stuck, even if you don't like the car. If your car has continual mechanical problems, and is always in the shop, you might be able to turn to your state's lemon law to cancel your purchase contract. But that is a long shot.</p> <p>If you are leasing a car, you have more options. You can transfer your auto lease &mdash; and get rid of that car you don't like &mdash; by using a third-party service such as Lease Trader or Swapalease.com to pass your lease onto another consumer seeking to lease a vehicle.</p> <p>Before you do this, make sure that your leasing company allows such transfers. And be sure to read the fine print in your lease. Some leasing companies will list you as guarantor on your lease even after you transfer it. If the person who takes over your lease stops making payments, your leasing company will seek to collect those payments from you.</p> <h2>A credit card</h2> <p>Is there a credit card in your wallet that comes with sky-high interest rates? Or maybe it's just a basic card that doesn't offer any rewards. You might decide to cancel that card. But you should think twice.</p> <p>Canceling a credit card can hurt your credit score, even if you never plan to use that card again. The amount of available credit you have is a determining factor in calculating your credit score. Canceling a card will remove some of your unused, available credit &mdash; and, if you carry a balance on your other cards, automatically increase the amount of available credit that you are using. As a result, your credit score will take a hit. It's often smarter to simply not use that card than to cancel it.</p> <p>If you really do want to cancel the card &mdash; maybe you're worried that having it in your wallet will tempt you to use it &mdash; simply call the customer service number on the back. You will have to pay off your existing balance (or have previously transferred it to a different card) before you can close your account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like This Article? Pin it!</p> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Do%2520if%2520You%2527ve%2520Signed%2520Up%2520for%2520a%2520Terrible%2520Loan%2520or%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20if%20You've%20Signed%20Up%20for%20a%20Terrible%20Loan%20or%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20if%20You%27ve%20Signed%20Up%20for%20a%20Terrible%20Loan%20or%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="What to Do if You've Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> </h2> <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/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">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-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</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-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance 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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</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/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement">Why Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bad loans condos credit score home equity loan interest rates monthly payments mortgages new car refinancing Mon, 07 Aug 2017 08:31:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1994331 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-475902363.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking out a mortgage is a big financial commitment. Not only are mortgage loans expensive, they also represent the biggest monthly payment for most consumers' budgets.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to ask the right questions before signing the documents that officially close your mortgage. Here are five key questions you need to ask your lender when looking over your mortgage documents.</p> <h2>1. What are my closing costs?</h2> <p>Taking out a mortgage isn't free. Your lender and several third-party service providers will charge you what are known as closing costs, the fees you'll have to pay for your mortgage loan. You can expect to pay from 2 percent to 5 percent of your home's purchase price in closing costs.</p> <p>This means for a home costing $200,000, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000 in closing costs. That's a lot of money, and often consumers roll the amount into their final loan, which can slightly increase their monthly payment.</p> <p>Fortunately, uncovering your closing costs is an easy process. Your lender must send you a form known as a loan estimate within three business days of receiving your loan application. This form includes a list of your estimated closing costs. At least three days before closing your loan, your lender will provide you with another form, the closing disclosure. This form lists your final closing costs.</p> <p>It's important to study both of these forms to make sure your closing costs are what you expected them to be.</p> <h2>2. What is my interest rate?</h2> <p>When you pay a mortgage loan, a good chunk of your monthly payment will go toward interest. In fact, during the earliest years of your mortgage, a far larger percentage of your monthly payment will go toward interest than toward paying down your principal balance.</p> <p>That's why getting the lowest possible interest rate makes such a difference in both the amount of interest you'll pay during the life of your loan, and how much you'll pay each month.</p> <p>Here's an example: Say you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan for $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.76 percent. Your monthly payment &mdash; not including property taxes and homeowners insurance &mdash; would be about $927.</p> <p>If on that same loan your interest rate was 4.76 percent, your monthly payment would shoot up to $1,044, not including taxes and insurance.</p> <h2>3. What is my monthly payment?</h2> <p>Your monthly payment doesn't just include the amount you pay in interest and principal. Most lenders require that you pay extra with each payment to cover the yearly cost of your homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>Your lender will then take this extra money and deposit it into an escrow account. When your taxes and insurance come due each year, your lender will use this money to pay these bills on your behalf. This can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment, so knowing this ahead of time is important.</p> <p>Don't be fooled into thinking that your mortgage payment <em>only</em> includes your mortgage loan. Your property taxes and insurance make a big difference in your monthly bill.</p> <h2>4. What type of loan do I have?</h2> <p>There are several types of mortgages out there. The most common are fixed loans, usually with terms of 30 or 15 years. With these loans, your interest rate remains the same until you pay off the loan, sell your home, or refinance it.</p> <p>You might also opt for an adjustable-rate loan. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate remains fixed for a set period &mdash; usually five to seven years &mdash; and then adjusts according to whatever economic indexes your loan is tied to. Your loan's interest rate could adjust every year or it could adjust every five years. It all depends on your loan's specifics.</p> <p>Consumers choose adjustable-rate loans because their initial interest rates are usually lower than those you'd get with a fixed-rate loan. But adjustable-rate loans do come with more risk: When your loan adjusts, your new rate could be higher than the rate you would have had if you had gone with a fixed-rate loan.</p> <h2>5. Is there a penalty for paying early?</h2> <p>They're not as common as they once were, but some loans come with a prepayment penalty. This means that you'll have to pay a penalty &mdash; often about 2 percent of your loan's remaining balance &mdash; for paying off your mortgage before it's due. Often, lenders who charge prepayment penalties assess them if you pay off your loan in the first two to five years.</p> <p>You might not worry about such a penalty. After all, you'll never pay off your mortgage loan in two to five years, right?</p> <p>But a prepayment penalty may also kick in if you decide to refinance your loan or sell your home during the penalty phase. Because of this, it's best not to sign onto a loan with a prepayment penalty.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Mortgage%2520Details%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520Before%2520You%2520Sign.jpg&amp;description=5%20Mortgage%20Details%20You%20Should%20Know%20Before%20You%20Sign"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Mortgage%20Details%20You%20Should%20Know%20Before%20You%20Sign.jpg" alt="5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">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/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi">How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?</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/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget</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-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing closing costs home buying home loans homeownership interest rates lenders monthly payments mortgages penalties questions Fri, 04 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990976 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_screaming_papers_599701902.jpg" alt="Man&#039;s bills varying based on credit behavior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. Because it incorporates data about your past behavior with credit &mdash; how much credit and debt you have and how good you are at paying those bills off &mdash; it's deemed as a good predictor of how you'll behave with future bills.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" target="_blank">low credit score</a> can hurt you in many ways: It makes it more difficult to qualify for mortgages, car loans, or credit cards. And when you do qualify for a loan or credit card, you'll be stuck with higher interest rates and the higher monthly payments that come with them. Poor credit behavior can also cost you money each month in the form of higher student loan and insurance payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Most lenders today still consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. Anything at 640 or lower, though, is considered weak.</p> <p>Here's a look at five monthly bills that you'll pay more for if your credit score is low.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage payment</h2> <p>Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage payment. If your score is high, odds are good that you'll qualify for a lower interest rate, which will, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payment. If your score is low, the opposite will happen.</p> <p>Here's an example of the difference that a high or low interest rate can have on your monthly mortgage payment: If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.80 percent, you'll have a monthly payment of about $931, not counting what you might pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you take out that same loan with a higher interest rate of 4.80 percent &mdash; which you may have gotten due to a low credit score &mdash; your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, will be about $1,049. That's $118 more a month, or about $1,416 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a>)</p> <h2>2. Auto loans</h2> <p>You'll face the same situation when applying for an auto loan with a lower credit score. Auto lenders, like mortgage lenders, rely heavily on your credit score. If they see a low score, they'll protect themselves financially by charging you a higher interest rate. This higher rate will result in a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>The higher rates make sense if you look at your loan from your lender's point of view. A lower credit score means you have a history of making bad financial choices, whether that means paying bills late or missing them entirely. Lenders then levy a higher interest rate to make up for the danger of lending to riskier borrowers.</p> <h2>3. Credit cards</h2> <p>Interest rates on credit cards can be high &mdash; 20 percent or higher in some cases. But if your credit score is high, you'll increase your chances of qualifying for a lower rate on your cards. This is important: If you carry a balance on your cards each month, a lower interest rate will mean a lower required minimum monthly payment. It also means your debt will grow at a slower rate.</p> <p>How you use credit cards has a big impact on your credit score. If you always pay your cards on time, and if you don't run up too much debt on them, you will steadily boost your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student loans</h2> <p>There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Your credit score won't affect your interest rate on federal loans. But lenders originating private student loans will look at your credit score. If your score is low, they'll charge you higher interest rates and fees. This will result in a higher monthly student loan payment.</p> <h2>5. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p>Insurance companies don't rely on your credit score to set your homeowners insurance rates. They do, however, use a similar metric known as an insurance score. This score includes information about your past payment history, your debts, and your number of open credit accounts, just like your credit score. It can also include information about any safety features &mdash; such as fire alarms and security systems &mdash; protecting your home and whether you've made a high number of insurance claims in the past.</p> <p>If your insurance score is high, you'll qualify for a lower insurance bill. If that score is low, you can expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520That%2520Vary%2520Based%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Behavior.jpg&amp;description=5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior.jpg" alt="5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance 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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bills credit score fico homeowners insurance interest rates mortgages payments student loans Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:47:46 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990977 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi? http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_s_hand_putting_house_model_on_coins_stack.jpg" alt="Woman&#039;s hand putting house model on coins stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Refinancing your mortgage loan to one with a lower interest rate makes good financial sense &mdash; usually. It all depends on how much lower your interest rate will be, how much you owe on your loan, and how long you plan to stay in your home.</p> <p>Refinancing a mortgage isn't free. Costs vary by lender, but you can expect to pay from 1.5 percent to 2 percent of your outstanding loan balance to close a refinance. If you owe $200,000 on your mortgage loan, that comes out to $3,000 to $4,000 &mdash; no small amount. But if your monthly mortgage loan drops by enough, you'll recoup those costs quickly. Then, the savings you enjoy each month will start adding up.</p> <p>Determining how long it will take you to break even on your refinance requires a bit of math. Let's crunch the numbers.</p> <h2>Finding the break-even point</h2> <p>Say you have been paying off a $250,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.50 percent. Your monthly mortgage payment &mdash; not including the extra costs of property taxes and homeowners insurance &mdash; will be about $1,266.</p> <p>Now, say when you're ready to refinance, your mortgage balance is down to $200,000. If you refinance that balance to a new 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 3.85 percent, your estimated monthly payment, again not including taxes and insurance, will fall to about $937 a month. That's a savings of about $329 a month, or $3,948 a year.</p> <p>If you spent $3,000 in closing costs on your refinance, you'd hit the break-even point on your loan in less than a year.</p> <p>But refinancing doesn't always come with such a quick payback period.</p> <p>For example, if you have been paying off a 30-year, fixed-rate loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 4.15 percent, your monthly payment, not including taxes and insurance, would be about $972. Say you now owe $190,000 on this loan and you refinance it to a 30-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.85 percent. This will drop your monthly payment to about $890, a difference of $82 a month or about $948 a year.</p> <p>If it costs you $3,000 to refinance that mortgage, it will take you a little more than three years to hit the break-even point. If you plan on living in your home and paying off your new mortgage for more than these three years, this refinance might still make financial sense. The payback period, though, won't be quite as quick.</p> <h2>Speeding up break-even</h2> <p>You can reduce the amount of time it takes you to reach the break-even point in several ways.</p> <p>First, you can shop around for a mortgage lender that charges lower fees. You are free to close your refinance with any lender that is licensed to do business in your state. You don't have to work with the lender to which you are already sending your monthly mortgage payments. Obviously, the lower your upfront costs to refinance, the quicker you'll hit your break-even point.</p> <p>Nabbing the lowest possible interest rate also will help speed up the break-even point. The lower your rate, the lower your monthly payment will be. Getting a lower rate, though, requires a strong credit score.</p> <p>Before applying for a refinance, order free copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports won't give you your credit score, but they will show you whether you have any late or missed payments on your record. Such financial dings will lower your credit score. If you have blemishes on your credit reports, qualifying for an interest rate low enough to make a refinance worthwhile might not be possible.</p> <p>You can also order your FICO score from the three national credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. This will usually cost you about $15, but will let you know for sure how high or low your credit score is. If you want to get your score for free, you can call a lender and explain that you want to refinance. This lender will often check your current score, and can let you know immediately whether it is high enough to justify a refinance.</p> <p>Finally, the more you've paid off on your existing mortgage before you refinance, the quicker you'll reach your break-even point. Most lenders won't approve you for a refinance unless you've already built up 20 percent equity in your home. So don't run to refinance just a year after taking out your existing mortgage. Unless your home has shot up in value dramatically, you probably won't have enough equity to qualify for a refinance, or to make it financially worthwhile.</p> <h2>Other factors to consider</h2> <p>Of course, lowering your monthly payment isn't the only reason to refinance. You also want to reduce the amount of interest you pay on your loan.</p> <p>That's why you might consider refinancing from a longer-term loan to one with a shorter term. Doing so will usually increase your monthly payment because you are cutting the number of years it takes you to repay your mortgage. But refinancing from a 30-year, fixed-rate loan to a 15-year, fixed-rate loan could save you plenty in interest.</p> <p>If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 4.2 percent, you'll pay more than $150,000 in interest if you take the full 30 years to pay off your loan. If you instead take out a 15-year, fixed-rate loan for $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.5 percent, you'll pay less than $60,000 in interest if you take the full term to pay off this loan.</p> <p>The best move to make when considering a refinance is to go over the numbers with a mortgage lender. A lender won't charge you for a preliminary look at your mortgage and credit. But a lender will be able to tell you how long it will take to recover the costs of refinancing and whether you'll qualify for a low enough interest rate to make refinancing a viable choice.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Long%2520Does%2520it%2520Take%2520Break%2520Even%2520With%2520a%2520Home%2520ReFi-.jpg&amp;description=How%20Long%20Does%20it%20Take%20Break%20Even%20With%20a%20Home%20ReFi%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Long%20Does%20it%20Take%20Break%20Even%20With%20a%20Home%20ReFi-.jpg" alt="How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi">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/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">How to Make Ends Meet When You&#039;re House Poor</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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing break-even point home loans homeownership interest rates mortgages payments refinance Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986882 at http://www.wisebread.com Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_125143864.jpg" alt="Woman getting richer with investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a stash of cash feels great. Liquid wealth makes you feel more secure, because you can predict how you will handle whatever life throws your way. The feeling of satisfaction is real, but ultimately, the rewards of keeping your wealth in your checking or savings account are much less satisfying. If it's long-term wealth you're after, you need to start investing.</p> <h2>You're losing money</h2> <p>In the battle between interest and inflation, inflation wins when you keep your cash in a typical savings or checking account. You'll get very little in interest from a bank account intended for day-to-day use: typically, 0.01 percent to 0.03 percent for a checking account, and up to 1 percent for a savings account. Meanwhile, the average annual inflation rate is 3 percent. So your stash is losing value every year, as inflation climbs faster than interest grows your money.</p> <p>The numbers work out pretty grimly in that scenario. Imagine you put $100,000 in a savings account with a 1 percent interest rate, and add $500 every month. Every year, you'll gain that 1 percent interest but lose 3 percent of the value, due to inflation &mdash; meaning you come out 2 percent <em>behind </em>annually. In 10 years, you'll have $173,522 but it will only be worth $129,117.17.</p> <p>On the other hand, the return on stock and real estate investments is staying stable at 7 percent. That's the real rate of return, meaning it's adjusted for inflation. After 10 years, your $100,000 investment, with the monthly $500 addition, will have an actual value of $267,357.54.</p> <p>Why wouldn't you immediately put your money into a higher-yield investment? For most people, the hesitation comes from fear of taking a big risk with money.</p> <h2>What's the big risk?</h2> <p>Humans tend to be risk averse. This risk aversion has done a lot for us, in an evolutionary sense.</p> <p>Risk aversion is also helpful in finances in many instances. When it comes to getting high-interest return on your savings, however, risk aversion can hinder you. To maximize your savings, you need a high return that will outrun inflation and exponentially add financial value to your nest egg.</p> <p>High-return investments, unfortunately, are also higher risk investments. If you're unfamiliar with the stock market, investment portfolios, and the like, these types of high-return investments can feel terrifying. But you can overcome that fear.</p> <p>First, start a relationship with a financial investment professional. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust, who are not struggling financially. Second, don't invest all your money in one high-yield investment. Diversify; if one investment doesn't grow as predicted, it won't topple your entire savings plan. Third, you don't have to invest all your money in what feels riskiest. You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering" target="_blank">set up a CD</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds" target="_blank">invest in bonds</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate" target="_blank">invest in real estate</a>. All require some investigation to understand the risk and potential return.</p> <p>Get professional insight on the options that appeal to you and make a well-informed decision. It's never about eliminating risk; that's not quite possible. It is about minimizing risk and maximizing return. You do both by investigating, seeking <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser" target="_blank">expert insight</a>, and diversifying the way you save your money.</p> <h2>Save yourself from hasty decisions</h2> <p>Keeping your wealth in a less-liquid state helps you financially by delaying your financial decisions. If your main funds are tied up, for example, you can't immediately invest in Cousin Jimmy's startup. Even if you really, really want to.</p> <p>Maybe Cousin Jimmy is a genius, and you do want to invest; still, it's good to have to think and compare numbers. Can an investment in a family business give the same high-interest return on investment? What's the risk, compared with the risk you're already taking? How long before you'll see a return?</p> <p>Having time to think will help you avoid hasty decisions you might regret. Whether it's investing in a family member's venture or purchasing that dilapidated house in an up-and-coming area, time is on your side.</p> <h2>But I still want to feel happy</h2> <p>A recent National Center for Biotechnology Information study shows that higher levels of happiness are linked to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27064287" target="_blank">keeping cash on hand</a>. Happiness is great! We all want more of it. But you can get the happiness that cash brings while also setting yourself up for long-term financial rewards.</p> <p>Having money at the ready contributes to feeling secure. You can get that financial security by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball" target="_blank">reducing high-interest debt</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;setting up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-automate-your-savings" target="_blank">automated savings </a>so that you can&nbsp;keep a reasonable amount of cash at the ready. Experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses; but you can be smart about how you save that cash reserve, as well, by keeping it in an interest-bearing savings account or a short-term CD. When your reserve grows over your emergency-fund amount, invest it rather than hoard it.</p> <p>Remember, you'll want to feel financially secure later in life, too. Smart financial moves now contribute to your happiness in the present and the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCash%2520Might%2520Make%2520You%2520Happier%252C%2520But%2520Investments%2520Will%2520Make%2520You%2520Richer.jpg&amp;description=Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cash%20Might%20Make%20You%20Happier%2C%20But%20Investments%20Will%20Make%20You%20Richer.jpg" alt="Cash Might Make You Happier, But Investments Will Make You Richer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer">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/8-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</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-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</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-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</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-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</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/while-waiting-for-rates-i-bonds">While Waiting for Rates: I-Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment cash inflation interest rates liquid savings money goals returns rich risk aversion wealth building Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Annie Mueller 1986108 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/latin_american_woman_saving_in_a_piggybank.jpg" alt="Latin American woman saving in a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're unemployed, saving for retirement may be the last thing on your mind. It may seem impossible to save for the future when you have no steady income to even pay basic bills.</p> <p>But depending on your situation, it may still be possible to build your nest egg even if you're not working full-time. Here are some tools and suggestions for keeping an eye on the future during a period of joblessness.</p> <h2>Familiarize yourself with IRAs</h2> <p>Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are great for people who don't have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k) accounts. A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k), in that any contributions are deducted from whatever taxable income you have. With a Roth IRA, on the other hand, earnings are taxed up front, but any gains you have won't be taxed when you withdraw money at retirement age.</p> <p>IRAs are useful for people who are self-employed, or who earn money inconsistently through part-time or freelance work. So if you're not employed full-time but still have some earned income, these accounts can help you save.</p> <h2>Think of retirement savings as a necessary expense</h2> <p>When you're unemployed, it's important to get a handle on all of your expenses so that you know where you need to cut. You may find that there are a lot of costs (luxury purchases, eating out, cable TV) that can be taken out of your household budget, while other expenses (food, electricity, debt payments) are more necessary. If you think of retirement savings as a necessity, you will be forced to cut spending elsewhere.</p> <h2>Roll over your old 401(k)</h2> <p>If you've been laid off from a job, you will no longer be able to contribute to the 401(k) you may have had from your employer. But the account will still exist and the money is still yours. You can let the old 401(k) account sit, but it's better to roll it into a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). The IRA will give you more flexibility and investment options, and may also have lower fees. And you can begin contributing to it once you have any earned income at all.</p> <h2>Focus on rebalancing</h2> <p>You may not be able to add much to your retirement accounts, but you can work to make sure they are optimized. This means making sure you have the right mix of investments based on your retirement date, and getting the optimal blend of stocks in various industries and asset classes. It's always smart to examine your portfolio to ensure you are not over- or underinvested in any one area.</p> <h2>Look for higher bank interest rates</h2> <p>If you're not taking in much income for the time being, you need to have your cash savings working for you. That means any cash savings you have should generate as much income as possible. Interest rates are still quite low, but many online banks offer interest rates on CDs and savings accounts that are higher than average.</p> <h2>Avoid the temptation to cash out</h2> <p>It may be tempting to take money out of your retirement funds, but you should avoid it if at all possible. One of the best ways to see your retirement savings grow is to let your investments do their thing. You can see a meaningful increase in your retirement savings just from market gains, even if you're not contributing for the time being.</p> <p>Withdrawing from retirement accounts, however, has consequences. First, any money you take out has no chance to grow and help you expand your overall retirement savings. Second, there are penalties and taxes associated with taking money out of retirement accounts early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>Continue to focus on growth, if you can</h2> <p>If you are unemployed and have some investments in a taxable brokerage account, you may be tempted to shift them to dividend stocks or other income-producing investments. This can give you extra income at a time when you may need it. But making this kind of adjustment could have a long-term negative impact on the overall growth of your portfolio. If dividends, bonds, or other income-focused investments will help you keep the lights on, fine. But it's best to focus on finding other sources of income, or reduce your spending first before going this route.</p> <h2>Reinvest dividends, if you can</h2> <p>If you do have dividend stocks already, you can still contribute to your retirement portfolio by reinvesting any dividend income you get from stocks. You may be tempted to use that investment income to pay bills and help get through your unemployed period, but if you can get by without it, direct the dividends to buy more stocks and other investments instead. Even small contributions added to your retirement accounts can add up to considerable savings over time.</p> <h2>Get your spouse involved</h2> <p>Perhaps you never thought to include your spouse in retirement planning because you felt it wasn't necessary while you were working. Now his or her income can be directed to help you save. This may be a challenge, since they are now also working to help pay more of the bills. But there are some ways to use your spouse's income for your own retirement accounts. If you have a traditional or Roth IRA, your spouse's earned income can go toward your account. (Note: This is only allowed if you file your taxes jointly.)</p> <h2>Plan to pay into accounts later</h2> <p>If you are unemployed but expect to be working in short order, you can postpone contributions to your IRA and add money later, even if it's after the end of the year. In fact, you can contribute to an IRA all the way up until April 15 of the following year. So for example, let's say you planned to max out your IRA by making monthly payments. (This would be about $458 monthly for a total of $5,500 for the year &mdash; the maximum amount allowed by the IRS for people under 50.) But let's say you are out of work from August through October of that year. You can hold off on contributing during that time and make up the difference in later months, even the first few months of the following year, if necessary.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520When%2520You%2520Are%2520Unemployed.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed.jpg" alt="How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">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/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira">6 Reasons Every Millennial Needs a Roth IRA</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-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</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-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-valid-reasons-not-to-contribute-to-your-401k">6 Valid Reasons Not to Contribute to Your 401(k)</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/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) contributions dividends interest rates job loss loss of income rebalancing Roth IRA saving money stocks traditional ira unemployment Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:00:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1979037 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Believing These 5 Home Refinance Myths http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/color_question_mark_in_drawing_house.jpg" alt="Color question mark in drawing house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think, because of rising interest rates, that it no longer makes sense to refinance your home mortgage. Or maybe you are certain you don't have enough equity in your home. Perhaps you don't think you have enough available cash to afford a refinance, so what is the point of trying?</p> <p>Here's the truth: Those are all refinancing myths.</p> <p>Don't let these common falsehoods stop you from trying to refinance your existing mortgage into one with a lower interest rate or a shorter term. Refinancing can boost your financial health, either by lowering your monthly payment or reducing the amount of interest you'll pay during the life of your loan.</p> <h2>1. I don't have enough equity in my home</h2> <p>Traditionally, mortgage lenders have required that homeowners have at least 20 percent equity in their residences before refinancing. It might not be easy to hit that mark if your home has lost value since you purchased it.</p> <p>But the 20 percent rule isn't quite as absolute as it once was. The federal government's <a href="https://www.harp.gov/" target="_blank">Home Affordable Refinance Program</a>, better known as HARP, allows homeowners to refinance even if they have no equity or negative equity in their homes. You will have to meet certain requirements, but if you are low on equity, HARP can help.</p> <p>To participate in HARP, ask the lender that is handling your refinance. This lender will help you determine if you qualify for the program.</p> <h2>2. I can't afford it</h2> <p>No one disputes that refinancing is expensive. Lenders vary, but you can expect to pay about 1.5 percent of your loan's outstanding value in closing costs. If you are refinancing a loan with a balance of $200,000, you'll pay about $3,000 in fees.</p> <p>Don't panic, though: Most lenders will allow you to roll these fees into the balance of your new loan. This means you won't have to pay them upfront when you close on your refinance. Instead, they'll be paid out over time, every time you make a monthly payment on your new mortgage.</p> <p>Of course, if you can afford the costs of refinancing, you can also pay the closing fees upfront in one lump sum.</p> <h2>3. I was turned down before, so there's no reason to try again</h2> <p>Maybe you tried refinancing a year ago, but your lender rejected your application. This doesn't mean that you can't ever qualify. The reason for your rejection is key.</p> <p>Did your lender reject your application because your credit score was too low? If you start a new history of paying all your bills on time and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">cutting down on credit card debt</a>, your score might be high enough today to secure a &quot;yes&quot; from a lender. Maybe your lender rejected you because your monthly debt obligations were too high for your gross monthly income. If your income has risen or you've reduced your monthly debts, you might qualify if you try again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>4. It's easier to refinance with your existing lender</h2> <p>You are free to refinance with any mortgage lender that is licensed to do business in your community. This means that you don't have to close your refinance with the lender to which you are already sending your monthly payments. You might think it's easier to work with your existing lender, but this isn't really true. You'll still have to send paperwork to your current lender verifying your job status, salary, and yearly income. This information, after all, might have changed since you first took out your mortgage. Your current lender will want to verify that your income is still high enough to afford your new monthly mortgage payments.</p> <p>Also, it makes sense to get quotes from several lenders when refinancing. You might nab a lower interest rate or fees from a new lender.</p> <h2>5. Interest rates are too high to make refinancing worthwhile</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates are still at historic lows, but they have risen in the last year. You might think that it no longer makes sense to refinance. That's not necessarily true.</p> <p>It all depends on where your current interest rate stands. If the interest rate on your 30-year, fixed-rate loan is 5 percent and you can refinance to a new loan with a rate of 4 percent, you will save money each month. Sure, you would have saved even more had you refinanced earlier, when you might have nabbed an interest rate of 3.5 percent. But if you can still drop your rate by a full percentage point, you will still save a significant amount of money in a refinance.</p> <p>There are also other reasons to refinance besides chopping your monthly payment. You might consider refinancing to a mortgage with a shorter term. By refinancing from, say, a 30-year, fixed-rate loan to a 15-year, fixed-rate loan, you can reduce the amount of interest you pay over the life of your loan by $100,000 or more, if you hold onto your loan for its entire term. Your monthly mortgage payment will go up because you are paying your loan back at a faster rate, but your interest rate, and the interest you pay in total, will fall.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fstop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FStop%2520Believing%2520These%25205%2520Home%2520Refinance%2520Myths.jpg&amp;description=Stop%20Believing%20These%205%20Home%20Refinance%20Myths"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Stop%20Believing%20These%205%20Home%20Refinance%20Myths.jpg" alt="Stop Believing These 5 Home Refinance Myths" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths">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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi">How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance 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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity fees HARP interest rates lenders mortgages myths refinance turned down Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:01:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1976047 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_hold_credit_card_a_toy_car_and_a_stack.jpg" alt="Businesswoman hold credit card, a toy car and a stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While most people rely on cash or bank financing to buy a car, it may be possible to make all or part of your vehicle purchase with a credit card instead. This might seem like a risky proposition, but there are real, tangible benefits that can come from using this payment method if you're careful.</p> <p>With the right credit card strategy, you could earn rewards for your car purchase, save money on interest, and potentially pay your car off faster. Obviously, there are also a lot of things that can go wrong with this strategy. If you can't afford a car and are looking at a credit card as your way to finance it because you have no other options, forget it. You'll end up worse off if you can't make payments on your credit card.</p> <p>Even if you can afford the car, you'll need to answer a few questions. Let's talk about whether charging it makes sense &mdash; and when it's possible.</p> <h2>Is it possible to buy a car with a credit card?</h2> <p>First, you need to determine whether the dealership or car lot you're buying from will allow it. There are instances when a car lot may let you&nbsp;pay for your entire car purchase with credit, but those situations are rare.</p> <p>More likely, if a dealership lets you pay with a credit card at all, it will cap the amount at, say, $5,000. The main reason dealerships hesitate to let you charge tens of thousands of dollars to your card is that, like other merchants, they pay interchange fees to accept credit cards. These fees are usually around 2 percent, sometimes higher. So, if you charge a $30,000 car, your dealership could be on the hook for at least $600 in processing costs.</p> <p>The other thing you need to note is your available balance. Obviously, you can't charge more than your credit limit, so you'll need to be aware of that limit.</p> <h2>Earning rewards with a car purchase</h2> <p>While there is more than one way charging your car to a credit card can leave you ahead, the most intriguing opportunity is the rewards you could earn. You can get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a>. You might even want to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-buypower-get-your-dream-gm-car?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded car credit card</a> (yes, they exist!). This can provide you a hefty discount when you are ready for your next car.</p> <p>Obviously, this strategy is only worth pursuing if you have the cash in the bank to pay your card off right away. While the cards with the most lucrative rewards programs help you earn &quot;free money&quot; on large purchases, the interest rates they offer tend to be higher than average. If you put $30,000 on a credit card that charges 15 percent and it took you five years to pay your loan off, you would fork over $12,822 in interest alone.</p> <h2>Saving interest on a car purchase with a 0% APR card</h2> <p>This leads to the second reason some people may choose to charge their car purchase &mdash; to save money on interest. While many rewards cards charge higher interest rates than most, an array of cards charge <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR for new purchases</a> for 12&ndash;21 months.</p> <p>The key to making a 0% APR card work in this scenario is making sure you can pay the balance in full before your introductory offer ends. Once it's over your rate will reset to a regular credit card interest rate, which is almost certainly higher than the rate you'd get on a car loan.</p> <p>Before you pick a 0% APR card for your car purchase, make sure you can pay the balance in full before the introductory offer ends. That way, you can truly save money on interest &mdash; and not end up potentially paying more in interest than if you'd just gone with a loan.</p> <h2>Buying a car with a credit card</h2> <p>If you're dead set on charging your car to a credit card, it's important to think through several important scenarios first. Here are four tips that can help you get the most out of the situation.</p> <h3>1. Don't talk about payment until you've negotiated a price</h3> <p>While there's nothing wrong with using credit for a car, your car salesman may want to make up for their fees by charging you a higher sales price. That's why you should never reveal that you intend to pay with credit until you've negotiated the terms of the sale. By slow-rolling your credit card payment plan, you can get the best price possible while also gaining the benefits of using a card.</p> <h3>2. Make sure you're getting the best deal possible</h3> <p>As with any car purchase, you should research the cars you're interested in online before you ever step into a dealership. Websites like&nbsp;Kelley Blue Book&nbsp;can help you figure out exactly what a car is worth based on its make, model, and condition. If the dealership wants you to pay more than a car is truly worth, the rewards you're earning probably won't be worth it, especially if they decide to tack on a fee for using a credit card.</p> <h3>3. Do the math before you buy</h3> <p>While getting 0% APR on your car purchase can pay off, it's important to do the math if you don't think you'll pay off the entire purchase before the introductory offer ends. If you need several years to pay your car loan in full, for example, you will be better off with bank or dealership financing &mdash; even if the ongoing APR seems high.</p> <h3>4. Decide what you want &mdash; 0% APR&nbsp;or&nbsp;rewards</h3> <p>While a slew of popular credit cards offer rewards or 0% APR for a limited time, few cards offer the best of both. Before you charge your car to a credit card, make sure you have defined goals and a plan to reach them. And if you don't have the right credit card to meet your needs for this purchase, explore your card options and apply for a new card before you step into a dealership.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fshould-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FShould%2520You%2520Buy%2520a%2520Car%2520With%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card-.jpg&amp;description=Should%20You%20Buy%20a%20Car%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Should%20You%20Buy%20a%20Car%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card-.jpg" alt="Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card">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/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From You</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/10-magic-words-to-say-to-get-the-best-new-car-price">10 Magic Words to Say to Get the Best New Car Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-higher-car-trade-in-value">8 Secrets to a Higher Car Trade-In Value</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/5-times-you-can-score-a-great-deal-on-a-new-car">5 Times You Can Score a Great Deal on a New Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car">7 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Their First Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation APR dealerships fees financing interest rates negotiating new car rewards vehicles Wed, 05 Jul 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Holly Johnson 1974820 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_money_jar_filled_with_american_currency.jpg" alt="Emergency fund money jar filled with American currency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You need an emergency fund: You've probably been told this plenty of times before, and you maybe haven't taken it as seriously as you should have.</p> <p>Well, some fresh data from 2017 proves that &hellip; yes, you really do need an emergency fund! If you've delayed stashing that money away, now is the time to start.</p> <h2>1. Potentially higher health care costs under AHCA</h2> <p>Let's start with a big-ticket item: health care. Under the current administration, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is adjusting several items from its predecessor, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.</p> <p>Depending on several factors, including your age, and income level, and where you live, you may end up paying more or less under the AHCA than you did under the ACA. Those who are older, have a lower income, and live in an area with higher premiums are likely to pay more under the AHCA. For example, while a 40-year-old resident of Cherry County, Nebraska making $50,000 per year would pay 21 percent more in health premiums under the AHCA, a 27-year-old resident of Tulare County, California would pay 26 percent <em>less</em>.</p> <p>To get an idea of how much you would in pay under the AHCA, use this <a href="http://kff.org/interactive/tax-credits-under-the-affordable-care-act-vs-replacement-proposal-interactive-map/" target="_blank">predictor tool</a> from the Kaiser Family Foundation and get more information from your current health plan provider. Having an emergency fund would allow you to be ready to cover not only medical emergencies, but also the potential hike in those health care premiums.</p> <h2>2. Worrying about finances makes you less productive at work</h2> <p>According to recent data from the Employment Benefit Research Institute, three in 10 American workers claim they worry about personal finance at their workplace. Even worse, over 50 percent of those workers believe that time spent fretting about money is making them less productive for their employers.</p> <p>If you belong to this group of workers, then you would regain peace of mind at work with an emergency fund. By knowing that you could cover your necessities for three to six months if you were to lose your job, you would be able to focus on performing better and increasing your chance of a raise.</p> <h2>3. Average credit card APR is on the rise</h2> <p>What do you do when you don't have money to cover surprise expenses, such as the water heater breaking or the car going on the fritz? Most people without an emergency fund turn to a credit card.</p> <p>Well, here is some bad news: A CreditCards.com survey found that the average credit card APR had reached a record 15.89 percent as of June 14, 2017. If your credit score is less than perfect, you can expect to pay an interest rate even higher than that average.</p> <p>Remember, the whole point of having an emergency fund is to lower your financial risk. By using a credit card as an emergency fund, you're only adding risk to your personal finances.</p> <h2>4. Opportunity only comes around so often</h2> <p>Many people think of an emergency fund as a &quot;rainy day fund.&quot; However, others think of it as an &quot;opportunity fund&quot; &mdash; a way to never miss out on a great opportunity for want of cash. And while an emergency fund should never be thought of as play money, if you have enough saved, you can use some of that cash to fund a special opportunity that may not come again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a>)</p> <p>Here are some examples:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You have the chance to refinance your mortgage to a lower rate (and lower your monthly payment!), but you don't have any savings to cover the necessary $2,000 to $3,000 closing costs. Luckily, there's enough in your emergency fund to help you go through with the refi.</p> </li> <li> <p>You've had a lifelong dream of taking a two-week trip around Europe, but the tour company that you like is a little out of your price range. They offer a limited-time discount, and you pull some money from your emergency fund to take that trip of a lifetime.</p> </li> <li> <p>The refrigerator that you've had since college has been jacking up your electricity bill for years. You discover that you could slash your monthly bill by 40 percent <em>and </em>get an energy rebate from the state government if you were to buy a more energy-efficient model. You don't have the money upfront, and the rebate expires next month &hellip; but there's enough in your emergency fund.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The list goes on. An emergency fund is usually a building block to achieve financial security, but it could also allow you to gain financial freedom. Once you gain the discipline to save enough to cover your necessities in case of an emergency, you may be able to continue to save in case of a seizable opportunity &mdash; or even a lifelong dream.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520New%2520Reasons%2520You%2520Need%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund.jpg" alt="4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income</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-places-to-check-out-medical-care-for-the-uninsured">5 Places to Check out Medical Care for the Uninsured</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance APR emergency fund expenses health care interest rates job loss opportunity fund rainy day fund saving money stress surprises Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1973594 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_building_insurance_housewarming_loan_real_estate_home_concept.jpg" alt="House building, insurance, housewarming, loan, real estate, home concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home with cash is usually considered a smart financial move, if you can swing it. That's because taking out a mortgage loan to finance your home requires you to pay a ton of interest, even in today's low-interest rate environment. With cash, you don't have to worry about interest at all.</p> <p>For example, let's say you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.93 percent. You'll pay more than $140,000 in interest if you take the full three decades to pay back your loan. If you pay in cash, that $140,000 stays in your pocket.</p> <p>What could possibly be the downside of paying this way? Here are a few possibilities.</p> <h2>1. When making an all-cash offer will deplete your savings</h2> <p>If you can afford to buy that $300,000 home with cash, that's great. But if that purchase leaves you with little or no money in your savings, it can put you in financial jeopardy.</p> <p>It's important to have cash reserves to handle life's emergencies. What if you lose your job? You might wish you still had some of those savings available.</p> <p>Remember, your investment in your home is largely <em>illiquid</em>. To access it, you'll have to sell your home or take out a home-equity loan or line of credit. Neither option is as appealing as having cash reserves on hand.</p> <p>If you do have plenty of cash &mdash; but not enough to have funds leftover after buying a home &mdash; consider coming up with an extra-large down payment instead. This way, you can reduce your mortgage while keeping some cash on hand.</p> <h2>2. When your cash is earning you money</h2> <p>Are your cash savings earning you plenty of big returns? Then it might not make sense to take a big chunk of this money and invest it in a house. Yes, it's nice not to have to make a mortgage payment each month. But you'll have to determine if the return that your invested dollars are generating outweighs the savings in interest you'd get by avoiding a mortgage.</p> <h2>3. When you'll miss out on a tax break</h2> <p>Homeowners can deduct the amount of interest they pay on their mortgage loans each year. This tax break is more valuable during the earliest years of a mortgage, when homeowners are paying the most interest.</p> <p>You'll have to determine how valuable this tax break is to you. If you do need to reduce your tax bill each year, using some of your cash to come up with a bigger down payment and then taking out a mortgage to finance the rest of your home purchase might make the most sense.</p> <h2>4. When your home's value might fall</h2> <p>There was a time when no one thought homes could lose value over a seven- or 10-year period. Then came 2007 and 2008, when home values suddenly plummeted.</p> <p>There's a lesson here: There is no guarantee that your home will increase in value after you buy it. There's also no guarantee that it won't lose value.</p> <p>The hope is that after buying your home in an all-cash offer, the property will become even more valuable. When it's time to sell, you'll earn a profit. But there is no guarantee that this will happen. And if you do have to sell your home at a loss one day, that money you invested in it will be lost.</p> <h2>5. When you'll miss out on great interest rates</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates have risen, but they are still at historic lows. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey says that the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.89 percent as of June 8, 2017. The average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.16 percent. Those are great rates.</p> <p>Instead of investing a big chunk of your cash in a home, it might make more sense to take that same money and make a different investment that will generate bigger returns. You can then apply for a mortgage loan with the shortest possible term and enjoy interest rates that are still at near-historic lows.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520Buying%2520a%2520Home%2520With%2520Cash%2520Is%2520Bad%2520for%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20Buying%20a%20Home%20With%20Cash%20Is%20Bad%20for%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20Buying%20a%20Home%20With%20Cash%20Is%20Bad%20for%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</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-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi">How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?</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/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments downsides home buying homeownership interest rates mortgages new home paying cash tax breaks Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1965874 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-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/house_on_money_stack.jpg" alt="House on money stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fannie Mae, the nation's largest buyer and guarantor of mortgage loans, made news recently when it announced it would sweeten the deal for folks who want to refinance their mortgage to pay off student loan debt. Fannie Mae works with 1,800 lenders nationwide, so their rule change affects many homeowners. At the same time, newer financial companies that target millennials have been pushing student loan refinances as a way to save money and simplify life.</p> <p>Fannie Mae's change will make it more affordable for graduates &mdash; or parents &mdash; to use home equity to pay off student loans by waiving the usual extra charge for taking out cash when you refinance a home. With mortgage interest rates still at historic lows, this could indeed be an opportunity for young adults with high-rate student loans to reduce their monthly payments. But proceed with caution.</p> <p>If you have a private student loan, you probably have nothing to lose by converting it into a mortgage, personal loan, or other consolidation loan. But if you have a federal loan, you should be more cautious about making changes. You may not realize you'd be losing these protections and options when you give up your federal student loan.</p> <h2>1. Deferment</h2> <p>If you lose your job or are unable to find a job after graduation, you may qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans" target="_blank">deferment</a>, which halts your loan payments until you're in a better position to pay. With certain federal loans, the government will even pay the interest during deferment.</p> <h2>2. Forbearance</h2> <p>Similar to deferment, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" target="_blank">forbearance</a> stops your payment obligation during a period of hardship. But unlike deferment, interest continues to accumulate.</p> <h2>3. Income-driven repayment plans</h2> <p>The government has rolled out a whole range of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most" target="_blank">flexible payment options</a> in recent years to help federal loan borrowers handle payments. These plans cap your monthly payment at a certain percentage of income (10 percent for the program known as Pay As You Earn and 15 percent for the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan). Another benefit of income-driven repayment plans that you would lose if you refinance: an end date. With PAYE, any balance you still owe after 20 years is forgiven; with ICE, loans are forgiven after 25 years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn</a>)</p> <h2>4. A second chance if you default</h2> <p>The Federal Loan Rehabilitation Program is a one-time opportunity to get a default removed from your credit report by making a series of on-time payments. This can save you from wrecking your credit and being unable to buy a home later.</p> <h2>5. A central source for tracking loans</h2> <p>If all your student loans are federal, you'll be able to check up on all of them online through the National Student Loan Data System. If you refinance some but not all of your loans, you may end up having to keep track of them using multiple resources.</p> <h2>6. An unsecured loan</h2> <p>If you default on your student loan, you can lose your good credit, but not much else. If you default on your mortgage, you can lose your house. Let that reality sink in before you jump to refinance a home loan to pay off student loan debt.</p> <h2>7. A fixed interest rate</h2> <p>Of course, you could use a fixed-interest mortgage or a fixed-rate personal loan to pay off your federal student loan. But make sure that's what you're getting. If you use a variable rate loan to consolidate your debt, you could get hit with a big payment increase when rates inevitably go up. Federal loans, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be fixed rate.</p> <h2>8. Prepayment penalties</h2> <p>Federal loans don't charge a fee if you pay more than you owe on any given month, but some private lenders do &mdash; check on that before you commit to a refinance.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-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-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/its-now-easier-to-get-a-home-loan-even-if-you-have-student-loan-debt-should-you">It&#039;s Now Easier to Get a Home Loan Even If You Have Student Loan Debt — Should You?</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application">3 Ways Student Loan Debt Can Affect Your Mortgage 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/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans">4 Things You Need to Know About Deferring 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/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training Real Estate and Housing debt default deferment fannie mae federal loans forbearance interest rates mortgages refinancing repayment plans student loans Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1963763 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-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/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-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-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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</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/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</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/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt? http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-514332608.jpg" alt="Couple wondering if they should save for retirement or pay off debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? If you're carrying a card balance, you may be wrestling with whether to put all your resources into attacking the debt, or start building your retirement nest egg while you slowly pay off debt.</p> <p>Which one will give you a better net worth? There's no simple answer. For some people the situation may warrant clearing credit card debt first; for others, it's better to start investing right away. To figure out which scenario is better in a given situation, we'll need to do some math. Don't worry, we'll show you how to do it in a few easy steps.</p> <h2>Step 1: Gather important numbers about your debt and your retirement plan</h2> <p>First, look through your credit card statements and accompanying information to pull up the following numbers:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card debt. You'll find this on the front of your credit card statement.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit card interest rate, or APR (Annual Percentage Rate). You'll find this further down on your statement, in a section labeled &quot;Interest Charged&quot; or something similar.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment. You'll find this in your card's terms and conditions, under a discussion about how minimum payments are calculated. It will probably be a percentage, but there may also be a flat sum.</li> </ul> <p>Next, consider any retirement plan you are enrolled in or have available. What is the average annual return? You can identify past returns by reviewing your retirement account statements. For example, your 401(k) plan account may list your annual return. Note that past returns don't guarantee or predict future returns, but we'll use the average annual return as a proxy for future returns in this case, knowing that if our portfolio takes a long-term downward turn, our calculations will change.</p> <p>Finally, how much extra do you have in your monthly budget that you could put toward credit card payments, retirement investments, or both?</p> <p>Follow along as we consider a hypothetical debt situation and retirement opportunity. Let's say there's $500 in our monthly budget, which equals $6,000 annually ($500 x 12 months = $6,000) to put toward debt or retirement.</p> <p>Currently, the balance on our credit card is $5,000. Our APR is 22%. Our minimum monthly payment is 3% of our outstanding balance or $25, whichever is greater.</p> <p>Our employer offers a 401(k) plan. For the sake of keeping this illustration simple, we'll say our employer doesn't match employee contributions and we choose to make taxable contributions with a Roth designated account within the 401(k).</p> <p>In reality, you might choose instead to make tax-deductible contributions to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=internal" target="_blank">traditional retirement account</a>. With a Roth 401(k) there are no immediate tax benefits, which makes our calculations simpler and therefore better suited for this purpose.</p> <p>We'll say the default investment in our 401(k) is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-best-investments-for-lazy-investors?ref=internal" target="_blank">target-date mutual fund</a> with an average annual return of 6.3% since its inception. We know that future performance is unpredictable. But to run the numbers for the retirement vs. debt decision, we'll apply an annual return of 6% to our retirement account.</p> <p>We'll look at the retirement account and credit card balance after five years to compare the two choices: 1) making minimum payments on our card balance so we can start investing right away, or 2) putting all our extra money toward our credit card debt before we consider retirement investing.</p> <p>In both scenarios, we'll assume that we won't make additional charges on our credit card. In addition, we'll contribute to our retirement account when we have money available to invest.</p> <h2>Step 2: Calculate net worth if you prioritize retirement savings over paying off credit card debt quickly</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll see what happens if we only make minimum payments on our credit card so that we can get started investing for retirement right away. Your credit card statement should state very clearly how long it will take to pay off your balance if you make minimum payments.</p> <p>You can also find an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">online calculator</a> to help you with these calculations. Here's the information we'll enter for our example (you can put in your own numbers from your real-life situation):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 3%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $25<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>Results indicate that we'll carry this debt for more than 17 years (205 months) and pay more than $7,000 in interest during this time. Click the button that says &quot;Detailed Results&quot; to see a breakdown of the payments. Make sure that under the Assumptions tab, you've asked for a monthly table display.</p> <p>In the first month, our payment is $150 and this amount slowly diminishes until we're paying the minimum amount of $25 for the last several years.</p> <p>Since we're making minimum payments on the credit card, we'll be able to put $350 of our total available $500 toward retirement in the first month ($500 - $150 = $350). The second month and subsequent months, we'll be able to increase the amount we invest, as our credit card balance dwindles. Every month we also earn some interest (6%/12 months), so our retirement account balance grows in that way, too.</p> <p>After five years (60 months), our credit card balance will be trimmed to less than $2,500.</p> <p>At the end of five years, our retirement account grows to just over $27,300. Considering our debt and retirement balances, our net worth is $24,800 ($27,300 in assets and $2,500 in liabilities). Note that investment returns are not guaranteed; the 6% rate is for illustration purposes only.</p> <p>You can&nbsp;<a href="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/Rains_We Do The Math Spreadsheet - Sheet1.pdf" target="_blank">download the spreadsheet</a> with these calculations.</p> <h2>Step 3: Calculate net worth if you pay off credit card debt completely before investing for retirement</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll apply all of our extra income to credit card debt first. When the debt is paid in full, we'll begin to contribute to the retirement account.</p> <p>We enter this information to learn how quickly we'll pay off the debt with $500 per month (again, enter your own information to get personalized results):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 0%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $500<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>To keep the credit card payment at $500 per month (and pay off credit card debt first), we'll enter the minimum payment percentage as 0% and the minimum payment amount as $0 &mdash; even though the actual terms of the credit card agreement will most likely specify a percentage of 2% or more and a minimum payment of $10 or more. When we view the results, we find that the payoff happens in 12 months. We'll make 11 payments of $500 and one payment of $74.</p> <p>After we finish paying off the credit card debt, we can begin investing. We'll invest $426 in the twelfth month ($500&ndash;$74) and $500 in subsequent months. Consider using a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calculator.net/future-value-calculator.html" target="_blank">Future Value calculator</a>, to determine how much your retirement account will be worth at the end of five years.</p> <p>Here's the information we entered into the Future Value calculator:</p> <ul> <li>Number of periods: 48. (We'll invest for four years, or 48 months.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start amount: $426. (We'll start with the first month's contribution as the balance in our account.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Interest rate: 0.5% (6% annual rate divided by 12 months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Periodic deposit: $500.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deposit made at the beginning or end of the period: End.</li> </ul> <p>If we earn 6% annually on our investments, our retirement account grows to $27,590 in five years. In addition, our credit card debt is paid off. Our net worth is $27,590 &mdash; that's $2,790 <em>more </em>than if we had prioritized retirement savings first and stuck with only paying the minimum on our credit card debt each month.</p> <h2>What else to consider</h2> <p>These calculations are a starting place. Your situation may be similar to this scenario, but it might not be. For instance, if your APR is considerably lower and your retirement returns higher than in the scenarios above, you may very well find that you're better off investing in the market while reducing your credit card debt slowly. Changes in one or several of these factors could alter results:</p> <ul> <li>Larger or smaller credit card balances;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Higher or lower credit card APRs;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Better or worse investment performance;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Availability of a company match on your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Administrative fees associated with your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choosing to invest in a traditional 401(k).</li> </ul> <p>If you opt for a traditional 401(k), your contributions come out of your pretax income, thereby reducing your taxable income, which could result in a lower tax liability and a higher tax refund. A tax refund could be applied to your credit card balance, allowing you to more easily pay off debt while also saving for retirement.</p> <p>To calculate the immediate tax benefit of saving within a traditional 401(k) account, multiply the contribution amount by your marginal tax rate. In addition, you could be eligible for a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">saver's credit</a>, which further increases the benefit of retirement savings.</p> <h2>How to get started with either scenario</h2> <p>Whatever path you choose, you may need help taking first steps. Consider these ways to get started:</p> <h3>Debt payoff</h3> <ul> <li>Consider transferring or consolidating your balances on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer card</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-one-month-spending-freeze?ref=internal" target="_blank">no-spend week or month</a> in which you don't spend on anything except essentials.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Apply cash gifts from family to credit card balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work a part-time job to pay down balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find ways to spend less on everyday expenditures and apply savings to debt payoff.</li> </ul> <h3>Retirement saving</h3> <ul> <li>Consider enrolling in your employer's retirement plan, if offered. You may have the opportunity to contribute to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different?ref=internal" target="_blank">401(k) or 403(b) account</a>, for example.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">IRA</a> with a brokerage account or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=internal" target="_blank">robo-adviser</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss?ref=internal" target="_blank">SEP-IRA</a> if you have self-employment income.</li> </ul> <p>When considering your choices, keep in mind that credit card interest rates are relatively fixed, whereas investment returns tend to be much more variable. The main instances in which credit card rates fluctuate these days are when the Federal Reserve raises the federal funds rate, or when you make late payments and are charged a penalty interest rate.</p> <p>The point is, if your card's APR is 22%, you could be certain to save at least 22% of your balance by paying off credit card interest early. In contrast, the precise benefit of early investing is less certain.</p> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? Doing the math can help you make a decision.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwe-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWe%2520Do%2520the%2520Math-%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520or%2520Pay%2520Off%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Debt-.jpg&amp;description=We%20Do%20the%20Math%3A%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20or%20Pay%20Off%20Credit%20Card%20Debt%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/We%20Do%20the%20Math-%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20or%20Pay%20Off%20Credit%20Card%20Debt-.jpg" alt="We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</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-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Retirement 401(k) APR bills calculating comparisons interest rates nest egg Paying Off Debt Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Julie Rains 1949201 at http://www.wisebread.com