mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2370/all en-US 8 Times You Need to Walk Away From Your Dream Home http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-647168754.jpg" alt="Woman learning when to walk away from her dream home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You think you've found the perfect house. But before you plunge into homeownership, you need to watch out for any warning signs this sale isn't meant to be. Ask yourself whether any of these things apply to you. If so, buying the home of your dreams may just have to wait.</p> <h2>1. You can't afford 20 percent down</h2> <p>The house may have everything you are looking for, but you need to make sure that the sale price isn't beyond your means. Ideally, you want to make a down payment of at least 20 percent. This may be a substantial amount of money, but without that down payment, your lender will likely ask you to pay for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">private mortgage insurance</a> &mdash; which can add hundreds of dollars a year to your homeownership costs.</p> <p>Moreover, the more you can put down up front, the smaller your monthly mortgage payments will be. If you are in the market for a home but can't hit that 20 percent mark, consider holding off on buying until you have a larger sum saved. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your mortgage payments would restrict your ability to save</h2> <p>Even if you have the ability to put 20 percent down on the house, you may find that the monthly mortgage payments are higher than you can reasonably afford. The U.S. government recommends spending no more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income on housing. That means if you earn $3,000 per month before taxes, you shouldn't spend more than $900 per month on your mortgage.</p> <p>You may get approved for a loan much bigger than you expected, but don't use this as an excuse to buy more house than you can afford. If your payments are too high, you will find it harder to live comfortably or save money for anything besides housing costs. If you have to go into additional debt in order to make house payments, then your &quot;dream home&quot; could become more of a financial nightmare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor</a>)</p> <h2>3. You didn't get a favorable interest rate</h2> <p>There are two key things that impact how much you'll end up paying for a house: the sale price, and the interest rate on the mortgage loan. Even if the sale price is within your predetermined budget, you may find your monthly payments to be onerous if the interest rate is too high. A modest difference in interest rate can mean thousands of dollars in extra costs over the lifetime of a loan.</p> <p>Your past financial history, debt load, and credit score impacts the interest rate that banks are willing to offer. The worse your credit, the higher the rate will be. If your credit score is low, you may be better off in the long run financially if you take time to pay off debt and make yourself more attractive to lenders. (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. Your income situation may change for the worse</h2> <p>You may have found your dream home, but your ability to pay for that house may be based on income that's no longer a sure thing. Have you recently lost your job, or are you on the verge of a layoff? Were you counting on income from investments that have not performed as well as expected?</p> <p>If your income situation is unfavorable, consider waiting to buy a home. You don't want to exacerbate a difficult financial situation by taking on more expense than you can handle at that moment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>5. It's a money pit</h2> <p>You're not opposed to a fixer-upper, but this house has more needed repairs than you bargained for. You also learned that it's horribly inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling. On top of that, there are sizable homeowners association and community fees that you hadn't taken into account. All of this adds up to a house that busts through your budget, and it may be a good idea to walk away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-the-house-you-want-to-buy-is-a-money-pit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Signs the House You Want to Buy Is a Money Pit</a>)</p> <h2>6. There are signs that housing prices may drop</h2> <p>It's hard to predict where housing prices will go, but if the market is inflated, you may be better off waiting to see if prices come down. There are countless people who purchased homes during the housing bubble around 2005, only to see home prices drop precipitously. Many of these homeowners ended up underwater on their loans, and some even ended up losing their homes altogether.</p> <p>If you feel like the housing market is overheated and you are willing to be patient, you may save money on the purchase price if you wait for prices to drop. One big caveat to this is that it's also important to pay attention to interest rates. If interest rates are on the rise, it may be better to buy sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>7. The seller wants you to waive an inspection</h2> <p>During the housing boom more than a decade ago, competition for homes was so fierce that sellers often viewed a request for an inspection as a deal breaker. No matter how desperate you may be to land that perfect home, waiving an inspection is a risky proposition that could backfire on you. Without an inspection, you have no way of knowing if a home will be in dire need of repairs, now or down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>8. The seller wants you to waive a title search</h2> <p>A search of a home's title is a crucial aspect of the homebuying process. This is where a buyer may uncover things about the history of the home, including when it was built, who has owned it, and whether there are any tax liens. It's extraordinarily risky to waive this contingency, so if a seller insists upon it, consider it a red flag and run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance &mdash; Here's Why</a>)</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/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</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/why-i-didnt-pay-my-mortgage-off-in-full">Why I Didn&#039;t Pay My Mortgage Off In Full</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home loans inspections interest rates mortgage private mortgage insurance red flags title search warning signs Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1931276 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-608518550.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to make ends meet when she&#039;s house poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your home is supposed to be a source of joy, your respite from the rest of the world. But if you can barely afford your housing expenses each month, the pride of owning a home can quickly turn to dread. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>Being house poor</h2> <p>Mortgage lenders say that your total monthly debts, including your mortgage payment, should never equal more than 43 percent of your gross monthly income, your income before taxes are taken out. Financial professionals also say that your housing costs alone ideally should never exceed more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.</p> <p>If you ignored those percentages when taking out your mortgage, or if a job loss or other financial crisis has reduced your income since you originally bought your home, you might now be feeling the financial pinch of paying for a house that simply consumes too much of your monthly income.</p> <p>Sometimes being house poor is a temporary condition. Maybe you've lost a job, but know that you can afford your home once you find a replacement. Maybe you've suffered an illness or injury that has kept you from working, but you will soon recover enough to begin earning again. Other times, it's a more permanent condition. You simply have a house that is too expensive for your income, even when that income is at its normal levels.</p> <p>If you're in the latter situation, the best decision might be to move and buy a home that is more affordable. If the house-poor problems you face are only temporary, though, you might be able to hold on until your financial situation improves.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are steps you can take if you find yourself struggling to make those housing payments each month.</p> <h2>Can a loan modification help?</h2> <p>Lenders might be willing to modify your mortgage to make it more affordable for you. Modifications might be simple and temporary, such as suspending your mortgage payments for two or three months as a way to allow you to resolve a temporary financial crisis without missing a payment. Or a modification can be more substantial: Lenders might change the terms of your loan, perhaps turning your 15-year loan into a 30-year one, leaving you with smaller monthly mortgage payments. They might also reduce your interest rate, again dropping your monthly payment.</p> <p>Lenders are not obligated to modify your mortgage loan, of course. But you won't find out if they're willing to make these changes if you don't call.</p> <h2>Refinancing might help</h2> <p>You might also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=internal" target="_blank">try to refinance</a> your existing mortgage to one with a lower rate or longer term. This will drop your payments, maybe to a level that you can more easily afford.</p> <p>Be aware, though, that refinancing isn't free. It might cost you $2,000, $3,000, or more to refinance, depending on the size of your loan &mdash; though you can usually roll these closing costs into your new loan instead of paying them upfront in one lump sum. Refinances take time, too. It can take 30 days or more for a refinance to close, so make sure you don't miss any payments during this time.</p> <h2>Cutting expenses</h2> <p>If staying in your home and reducing your monthly financial stress is a priority, then cutting expenses is a crucial step. You might not be able to lower your mortgage payment or property taxes, but you may be able to lower your utility bills. Cutting an expensive cable package or adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees can save you a substantial amount of money each month.</p> <p>Take a hard look at your budget and make the cuts. You might miss fun events and spend more time batch cooking, but it's worth it if you can keep your home. You might also take bigger steps. Is your monthly auto payment high, too? Consider selling your expensive car and buying one that comes with a smaller monthly payment.</p> <h2>Get a side gig</h2> <p>You can also boost your monthly income by taking a side job &mdash; anything from driving for a ride-sharing service like Lyft, to freelance writing, to a shift at your local grocery store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <p>These jobs might not be glamorous, but if they boost your income each month, they can make those housing payments seem less fearsome. Again, you'll have to determine if working extra hours at a side job is worth being able to stay in your home.</p> <h2>Prioritize your home spending</h2> <p>Your mortgage is just one cost of owning a home. There's also the cost of maintenance, which financial experts say you should expect to spend about 1 percent of your home's purchase price on each year.</p> <p>You can't avoid maintenance. If you do, that dream home of yours might fall down around you. But you can prioritize your spending, something that can trim your monthly expenses. Don't spend money on a major bathroom remodel, or other purely cosmetic changes. But if your gutters need cleaning, your walls need painting, and your driveway needs sealing, do spend on those fixes, and do as much of it as possible on your own. Much of the cost in home repairs is in the labor. If you can do something safely and properly, doing it yourself will save a lot of money. Never try something that is beyond your skill and knowledge. YouTube videos can only take you so far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>Consider selling</h2> <p>If you are in danger of missing your mortgage payments, a refinance or modification isn't possible, and budget cuts won't make enough of an impact, it is time to consider selling your home.</p> <p>No one wants to give up on their home, especially if you consider it a dream residence. But it's simply not viable to think you can live 15 or more years scraping together for housing payments.</p> <p>If you want to sell quickly, a short sale might help. In a short sale, your lender allows you to sell your home for less than what you owe on your mortgage. For instance, if you owe $250,000 on your loan, your lender might approve a short sale for $225,000. By offering your home at a lower price, the hope is that it will sell at a faster pace, before you have to miss any mortgage payments.</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-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-we-all-just-stop-paying-the-mortgage">Should We All Just Stop Paying the Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</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-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</a></span> </div> </li> <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> Real Estate and Housing credit score foreclosure home loans house poor lenders missed payments modifications mortgage payments refinance Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1917875 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503389404.jpg" alt="Man paying certain bills when money is tight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your money situation a little tight this month? It happens to the best of us. What if you don't have enough money this month to pay every bill by its due date? For the time being, you might need to prioritize your payments.</p> <p>This isn't the ideal solution. Far from it &mdash; paying any bill late could result in a late fee. But thanks to a bit of leeway when it comes to credit reporting, paying bills <em>just a bit late </em>might not hurt your all-important FICO credit score.</p> <p>This makes it a bit easier to determine which bills you absolutely <em>must</em> pay on time, and which bills you can more easily tackle after their due dates pass.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage</h2> <p>It's important to keep the roof over your head. And not paying your mortgage payment on time can send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. Credit scores are important: Lenders rely on them to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what interest rate.</p> <p>There is some leeway, though, with mortgage payments. First, lenders can't report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until you're at least 30 days past due. This means that paying your bill one, two, or three weeks late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Second, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, lenders usually won't start the foreclosure process until three to six months after your first missed mortgage payment.</p> <p>Even though these safeguards are built in, you don't ever want to take the chance of losing your home. Make sure to pay your mortgage as soon as you can.</p> <h2>2. Rent</h2> <p>If you're renting an apartment, do everything you can to pay this bill on time. Your landlord can send you an eviction notice if you're just one day late with your rent payment. Now, actually evicting you will take time, and most landlords probably won't file a notice that quickly. But you don't want to give your landlord any excuse to start this process in motion.</p> <h2>3. Car payment</h2> <p>As with your mortgage, there is a grace period before your late car payment starts to affect your credit score. Your auto lender can't officially report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until that payment is more than 30 days past due.</p> <p>However, you need to be aware that if you stop making car payments, your vehicle can be repossessed. If this happens, your credit <em>will </em>suffer the consequences &mdash; by up to 100 points. Auto lenders can repossess your vehicle quickly, too. In fact, in most states they have the legal right to repossess your car as soon as you miss a single payment. It's unlikely that your lender will move to take your car that quickly, but why take that risk? If you're prioritizing your bills, this is definitely one to move to the top of your list.</p> <h2>4. Utility bills</h2> <p>Typically, you'll receive plenty of advance warning before your utility providers shut off your services. But you will have to pay these bills eventually to keep them on. Put these bills at the top of your priorities list.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay these bills, don't ignore them; call the utility company. Utilities will often work with homeowners who are struggling financially. They might lower your bill for a period of time or defer your payments for a few months to allow you to rebuild your finances.</p> <h2>5. Student loans</h2> <p>Student loan debt is a financial burden for many, but you might be able to work out a new repayment plan with your lender if you are struggling. This is usually easier to do with federal student loans. You might qualify for a deferment, depending on your financial situation. But even if you are struggling to pay private student loans, call your lender. The company issuing your loans might be willing to work with you to keep you from falling into default. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>6. Credit cards</h2> <p>Yes, your credit card issuer can hit you with a late fee if you miss a payment. And yes, your card's interest rate might then soar. But credit cards don't need to be at the very top of your priorities list if you are struggling with critical bills like your mortgage.</p> <p>Your credit card provider can't throw you in jail if you miss payments, and it can't take your house or car. So paying this provider <em>after</em> making your mortgage and car payments is OK in a financial pinch.</p> <p>It typically isn't a smart move to pay only the monthly minimum on a credit card, because it's often such a small amount. However, if you're really struggling with money, this is another temporary option you can take. This will keep you current on your bill, and you can always boost your payments back up again once you've regained financial footing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">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-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt Your Credit Score</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-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/manage-your-fixed-expenses">Manage your fixed expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management bills car loan credit score late fees late payments mortgage rent repossession student loans utilities Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1915858 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495980844.jpg" alt="Learning signs that you&#039;re paying too much for your mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home can be a great step along the path to financial freedom, but it can also become a burden if you're not careful. A mortgage can be a heavy weight on your finances if you either buy a house you can't afford, or get locked into unfavorable loan terms.</p> <p>Here's how to tell if your mortgage is too expensive.</p> <h2>1. You Are Having Trouble Making Ends Meet</h2> <p>No matter what you do, you feel like you're struggling to get ahead financially. It always seems like there's only a small amount leftover at the end of each month to pay bills or place into savings. It could be that your house is weighing you down. If you're working too hard to get ahead with your money, it may be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinance your mortgage</a> or move into a less expensive home.</p> <h2>2. It's Eating Up More Than 30% of Your Income</h2> <p>The federal government advises that homeowners should avoid paying more than 30% of their income on housing. The theory behind this number is that for most people, keeping payments below this level will leave them with enough to pay for other non-discretionary spending. Keep in mind that many lenders will approve prospective homeowners for a loan even if their payments would be above that 30% threshold. Lenders will often instead refer to a person's &quot;debt-to-income&quot; ratio, and will lend if that ratio is as high as 43% &mdash; and banks went even higher during the housing bubble.</p> <p>Even if you are comfortably able to make your mortgage payments, it's wise to try and get under the 30% threshold. After all, more money in your pocket means more money to take care of your other financial obligations, invest for the future, or simply enjoy life.</p> <h2>3. Your Interest Rate Is Higher Than Everyone Else's</h2> <p>It's very easy to get a fixed-rate mortgage, make the payments, and not concern yourself with how interest rates are going up and down. But you never want to be locked into a higher rate than necessary. If you bought your home more than a decade ago, chances are your interest rate is higher than what's available now. The rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is a little over 4% right now. If your rate is considerably higher, look to refinance and see what you can save.</p> <h2>4. You Are Barely Making a Dent in the Loan Principal</h2> <p>You've been making mortgage payments for years, but every time you look at your account statement, it seems like the principal balance barely budges. What gives? It's normal to pay mostly interest when you first get a loan, but over time your money should increasingly go toward paying off principal. If you find that you're not paying down the loan as quickly as you want, it could be because your interest rate is too high or your term is too long (or both.)</p> <h2>5. Your Income Has Gone Up</h2> <p>When you bought your house, your interest rate was based at least partially on your household income. But if you've received multiple pay raises since, you might qualify for a lower rate. Or, you may be able to refinance into a shorter loan term, thus saving you money in interest over time.</p> <h2>6. Your Credit Score Has Improved</h2> <p>A mortgage interest rate is also partially based on a homeowner's credit score when they apply for a loan. If your credit score was mediocre back then, there's a chance you got stuck with a high rate. If you've worked hard to be financially responsible ever since, your credit score may be much higher. Thus, you may be able to refinance your mortgage into a lower rate. According to FICO, a person with a credit score of 650 might pay as much as $100 more per month on a $200,000, 30-year fixed loan than someone with a score of 800. That could add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a>)</p> <h2>7. Your ARM Just Adjusted</h2> <p>During the housing bubble, many homeowners were lured into adjustable rate mortgages that offered low interest rates initially and then jumped after a certain number of years. (In 2005, these loans made up nearly 40% of the mortgage market.) Many families saw their payments increase sharply and beyond what they could afford. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, make sure you are prepared to make payments once the interest rate adjusts upward. Otherwise, consider refinancing to a fixed mortgage with a low rate.</p> <h2>8. You Are Paying for Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Many lenders require borrowers to pay <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) if they put less than 20% down on a home. This is to protect the lender if a home ends up in foreclosure. Mortgage insurance essentially adds to your cost of homeownership, often to the tune of hundreds of dollars annually. This requirement goes away once your principal balance drops below 78%. Ideally, you want to avoid paying PMI altogether by putting more than 20% down. This also means you're borrowing less overall and will save money in the long run. But if you can't quite save that much up front, work aggressively toward paying off your loan so you can get rid of the PMI requirement sooner.</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/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</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-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</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/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</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-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</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-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate down payment fixed rate interest loans mortgage pmi private mortgage insurance saving Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:00:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1902766 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Effective Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Fast http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggybank_house_509480788.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on effective ways to pay off your mortgage fast, simple ways to fend off colds and flus, and over 100 ways to save money on your wedding.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/pay-off-mortgage-fast">10 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Pay Off Mortgage Fast</a> &mdash; Consider a flexible mortgage, which will allow you to pay off your mortgage faster without penalties. [Don't Pay Full]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/cold-flu-prevention-tips/">15 Simple Ways to Fend Off Colds and Flu</a> &mdash; When you feel a cough coming on, soothe your throat with a tablespoon of honey. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Wedding-23603315#photo-23603315">130 Ways to Save Money and Still Have the Wedding of Your Dreams</a> &mdash; Choose wedding invitations that will fit into a standard-sized envelope to avoid paying extra on postage. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2017/0119/As-promised-Panera-dumps-all-food-additives">As promised, Panera dumps all food additives</a> &mdash; All of Panera's products and in-store menu items are no2 100% free of all food additives. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/creditchat/financial-strategies-help-weather-emergencies/">Financial Strategies to Help You Weather Emergencies</a> &mdash; For many families, one emergency is all it takes to knock a budget into the red. Join Experian's #CreditChat today at 3 p.m. ET for a discussion on financial habits that can help you get through an emergency. [Experian]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/19462/9-inexpensive-ways-beat-winter-blues.html">9 Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Winter Blues</a> &mdash; Bring spring into your home by cooking with fresh herbs and decorating with greenery and flowering plants. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adventuresinfrugalland.com/toxic-healthy-streamline-laundry-routine/">From Toxic to Healthy: Streamline Your Laundry Routine</a> &mdash; Use mesh bags for socks and other laundry items that can easily get lost in the washing machine. [Adventures in Frugal Land]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/3-things-business-slow/">3 Things to Do When Business Is Slow</a> &mdash; Marketing tends to be the first thing that is cut in tough times, you should actually focus more on marketing when business is slow. [Due]</p> <p><a href="http://www.modestmoney.com/financial-savings-working-from-home/37002">Financial Savings You Can Make By Working From Home</a> &mdash; When you work outside the home, you have more opportunities to spend money, like on snacks, coffee, and other temptations. [Modest Money]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pennymacusa.com/blog/winter-improvement-summer-enjoyment">Winter Improvement, Summer Enjoyment: Home Fixes for Right Now</a> &mdash; Doing home improvements in the winter, the offseason for home improvements, can mean easier scheduling, better contractor choices and stronger negotiating power. [PennyMac]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</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/should-you-skip-a-mortgage-payment-to-get-a-banks-attention">Should you skip a mortgage payment to get a bank&#039;s attention?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Afford Your Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips mortgage Wed, 25 Jan 2017 10:30:30 +0000 Amy Lu 1879643 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_excited_hands_74632665.jpg" alt="Man making money moves after getting a promotion" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So your company finally recognized your hard work and gave you that promotion you've been wishing for. And it comes with a nice bump in pay!</p> <p>What should you do now? Do you immediately go and buy a new car? Celebrate with a trip to Saint Tropez?</p> <p>No. If you'll notice, exactly none of the suggestions below involves buying any material items. Celebrate your promotion if you want, but your new money is best off being used to secure your long-term financial future. Consider addressing these eight things if and when you are fortunate enough to get a promotion.</p> <h2>1. Build That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Are you prepared if something big happens in your life? Do you have at least three months of expenses available in liquid savings? The new income from your promotion can be partially set aside to prepare for the inevitable disaster, whether it be a health emergency, car accident, or flooded basement. Once you get that emergency fund in place, you'll be able to invest and save for larger goals with a clear mind.</p> <h2>2. Get More Organized</h2> <p>If you're not making a lot of money, it's often hard to do anything more than deposit your checks and pay your bills. But with a bump in income, it may now be possible to be more strategic about your financial situation. Rather than having just a single bank account, open distinct accounts for specific savings goals. Begin using an account aggregation platform, such as Mint.com, to see a single view of your finances and track your spending. You may also benefit from meeting with a financial adviser to come up with a plan for short-term and long-term savings goals.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate If Your Expenses Will Increase</h2> <p>Getting a promotion usually involves more money, but it may also mean more expenses for you. Maybe now you will have to work longer hours, necessitating more child care expenses. Perhaps you will no longer be able to work from home, and will incur commuting costs. You may even have to spend more on professional clothing if you've moved into a high-profile position.</p> <p>Make sure to take these new expenses into account when determining how much your net income will increase from the promotion.</p> <h2>4. Bump Up Your Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>If you get a raise, you should strongly consider taking all or most of your increase and boosting your regular retirement contributions. (Or begin making contributions, if you haven't started.) If you have a 401K but aren't contributing enough to get the full company match, see if you can get to that level. If you've been saving more but are just shy of maxing out your annual 401K contributions ($18,000 for most people), try and see if you can reach that threshold. The same goes for making the maximum annual contribution of $5,500 into your individual retirement account (IRA.)</p> <p>Even if you can increase contributions by a mere 1% or 2%, that's additional money that can grow substantially over time.</p> <h2>5. Check Your Tax Situation</h2> <p>There's a dark side to earning more money: You may end up giving more to Uncle Sam. In some cases, a raise may even put you in a higher tax bracket, thus wiping out any salary gains. So before you go making any major lifestyle changes, check to see what your actual take-home pay will be. You may be able to avoid a big hit from Uncle Sam by boosting contributions to your 401K, contributing to a health savings account, or making other adjustments that reduce the amount of your income that is taxed.</p> <h2>6. Target Your High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If debt is weighing you down, now's time to start tackling it in earnest. Use your extra income to go after the debt with the highest interest rate &mdash; usually, this is a credit card. Once you have that debt paid off, keep it up. You'll be amazed at the financial freedom you'll obtain through the extra income and the reduction in debt payments. It's almost like getting two salary increases! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Way to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>7. Ask for a Credit Limit Increase</h2> <p>This may seem counterintuitive, since we just suggested you get your credit cards paid off. But with new income, you can ask for a higher credit limit which will then improve your &quot;debt to credit&quot; ratio. That ratio compares the amount of debt you have to the amount of debt you can incur. Generally speaking, a low ratio of debt to credit is what will help your credit score, as long as you don't increase the actual amount you are spending.</p> <h2>8. Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage</h2> <p>You may have been wanting to lock in a lower interest rate on your home for some time, but found the upfront costs to doing so a hurdle. Now that you have some extra income, you might find it easier to pull the trigger on refinancing the loan, thus saving money in the long run. Interest rates are still historically very low, and your higher income may even help you get a higher credit score, making you even more attractive to lenders.</p> <p><em>Get a promotion recently? What did you do with your extra take home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances">7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances</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-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies</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-financial-obstacles-that-are-especially-tough-for-women">5 Financial Obstacles That Are Especially Tough for Women</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/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income emergency fund investing mortgage promotions raises retirement saving Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1747766 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Being Too Responsible Can Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-being-too-responsible-can-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-being-too-responsible-can-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_overworked_000086169843.jpg" alt="Woman learning how being too responsible can cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You go through life looking to avoid risk. You look to save a dollar whenever you can. You're smart. Sensible. Responsible.</p> <p>But is this approach to life really the best thing for your finances? There may be times when a <em>little bit of risk</em> is better for you long term, or you may be so focused on one financial goal while you are neglecting another.</p> <p>Here are some examples of when being responsible has a financial downside.</p> <h2>1. You Have Too Much Liquid Savings</h2> <p>It always makes sense to have a sizable emergency fund to help cover unexpected costs, like a major car repair or medical emergency. But it doesn't make sense to carry massive amounts in a low-interest savings account to prepare for every conceivable disaster. Every excess dollar you keep in a basic savings account is a dollar that could be invested elsewhere, generating a bigger return and helping you build toward retirement. Opinions vary on how big your emergency fund should be, but few financial advisers recommend saving more than nine months of expenses. Don't steal from your future self by being too concerned about possible disasters now.</p> <h2>2. You're Too Focused on Saving for College</h2> <p>You're a responsible parent, and you want to help your kids pay for their college education. So you open a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">529 college savings plan</a> and pump money into it. That's great, but are you costing yourself future retirement funds in the process? In an ideal world, you can save plenty for both retirement and college costs, but it's important not to divert too much away from retirement. When it comes to saving, retirement should be your first focus. Your kids can always borrow for college, but you can't borrow money to retire.</p> <h2>3. You Always Buy the Cheapest Thing</h2> <p>Being frugal is usually a good thing. But there is some truth to the adage that you get what you pay for. If you consistently look to purchase the lowest-end version of a product just to save a few dollars, you may cost yourself in the long run. Sometimes things are inexpensive because they are low quality. And if something is cheaply made, you may end up replacing it sooner and costing yourself more in the long run. This is especially true for bigger ticket items like appliances. The best path financially is to search for value, not simply low cost, when shopping.</p> <h2>4. You Always Buy the Most Expensive Thing</h2> <p>Just like it's not necessarily best to buy the cheapest version of an item, you shouldn't reflexively go high-end all the time, either. It's a fine idea to pay more for quality and longevity in a product, but sometimes things are expensive due to unneeded bells and whistles, or because a manufacturer wants you to believe they have a premium product. Again, it's important to do your homework and find the correct balance between quality and price.</p> <h2>5. You're Too Helpful Sometimes</h2> <p>I would never advise against helping others. But there are some cases when you are putting your financial health at risk by lending others a hand. For instance, you may cosign a loan for your daughter so she can get a new car, but your credit could be ruined if she fails to make payments. You might &quot;lend&quot; money to your brother-in-law to start a business, even though you're fully aware he'll never pay you back. Generosity is okay, but it's best not to be too cavalier about lending or giving money to everyone that asks.</p> <h2>6. Your Investment Portfolio Is Too Conservative</h2> <p>You want to make sure that your retirement portfolio is protected from a stock market crash. So you invest heavily in stable investments like dividend stocks, bonds, and cash. This is fine if you are approaching retirement age. But if you're decades away from retirement, it pays to be far more aggressive. Sure, there will be times when your portfolio will take a big hit. But it will most likely go up over time, and you don't want to miss out on the years when there are big stock market gains. If you want to build the biggest retirement nest egg possible, it's best to shed your fear and invest heavily &mdash; perhaps even exclusively &mdash; in stocks when you are young.</p> <h2>7. You're Staying in the Same Job</h2> <p>So you like your job because it's got a steady paycheck and decent benefits. Staying put seems like the responsible thing to do. But there's some evidence to suggest that people who job hop can end up earning more. According to Forbes, employees who stay in a job longer than two years will end up earning 50% less in their lifetimes than if they switched jobs more often. Consider that the average raise these days is about 3%. Do you think you could command a bigger bump by looking elsewhere? If so, consider going for it. And don't worry about a short job stint hurting your resumé. Harvard Business review reported last year that there's <a href="https://hbr.org/2015/07/setting-the-record-straight-on-switching-jobs">no longer a stigma</a> against staying at a position for a short period of time.</p> <h2>8. You Paid Off Your House Early</h2> <p>There's always a desire to pay off that mortgage as soon as possible. If anything, it's a massive psychological boost to know you own your house free and clear. But there is a financial downside to paying your house off early, especially when interest rates are low like they are now. Let's say you have a 3.65% interest rate on a 30-year mortgage. But let's say you could earn a 7% annual return by putting money in the stock market. Where's a better place for your money? When investment returns are higher than your interest rates, there's no real compelling financial reason to pay off a loan early.</p> <h2>9. You Want to Fix Everything Yourself</h2> <p>You can definitely save money if you're handy. From plumbing repairs to changing your own oil in your car, it's often silly to pay someone to take on things you can do on your own. But do you know your own limitations? There are many instances when an attempt to fix something on your own can make a problem worse. (I know this from personal experience.) By hiring a professional to handle some repairs, you may have a better chance of ensuring things are done properly and constructed to last. This will save you money in the long run.</p> <p><em>Any other ways being too responsible costs us? Do the right thing and let us know in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-ways-being-too-responsible-can-cost-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%20Ways%20Being%20Too%20Responsible%20Can%20Cost%20You.jpg&amp;description=9%20Ways%20Being%20Too%20Responsible%20Can%20Cost%20You" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Ways%20Being%20Too%20Responsible%20Can%20Cost%20You.jpg" alt="9 Ways Being Too Responsible Can Cost You" 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/9-ways-being-too-responsible-can-cost-you">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/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity">Can I Conquer My Vanity for the Sake of My Sanity?</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-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback</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-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</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/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">Jettison the Junk: Why Clutter Clouds Your Mind and Saps Your Energy</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-seven-deadly-sins-of-consumerism-and-the-frugal-redemption">The seven deadly sins of consumerism (and the frugal redemption).</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle being too responsible costing you mortgage overspending saving too much Fri, 25 Mar 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1678302 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Phone Calls That Will Save You Big Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_call_000062926794.jpg" alt="Woman making phone calls that will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you want to save money, you should call your credit card company, mortgage lender, insurance agent, or cable provider. Ask for everything from a lower interest rate to a less costly cable subscription.</p> <p>Unfortunately, too many consumers simply accept their current rates, fees, and plans when a simple phone call might save them hundreds of dollars a year, says Beverly Harzog, an Atlanta-based credit card expert and author.</p> <p>&quot;If you have a good credit history, if you've always paid your bills on time, you are considered a valuable customer,&quot; Harzog says. &quot;If you call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate, you might get it. The card companies don't want to lose good customers.&quot;</p> <p>Here are four service providers that you should call today.</p> <h2>1. Your Cable Company</h2> <p>Cable companies are under increasing pressure from competing services. A growing number of consumers are turning to streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu. But at the same time, monthly cable bills have been inching ever higher. The Leichtman Research Group reported last year that the average U.S. monthly cable bill has rose 39% since 2010 and now stands at $99.10.</p> <p>You don't have to pay that much. Try calling your cable company today and asking for a lower monthly rate. Make sure that you come armed for success: It helps if you've been given a better offer from a competitor. You can then share that offer and hope that your current company either matches or betters it.</p> <p>You also need to be serious about walking away from your cable provider. If you are considering making the move to 100% streaming, and are willing to cut the cord, your provider might make an offer tempting enough to retain you as a customer.</p> <h2>2. Your Mortgage Lender</h2> <p>Most financial experts expect mortgage interest rates to rise throughout 2016. But as of early December 2015, these rates were still at historic lows. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the <a href="http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/">average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage</a> stood at 4.01% as of Dec. 31. The average interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan was 3.24%.</p> <p>If you haven't refinanced, it might be time to do so. Call a mortgage lender today &mdash; it doesn't have to be the one that is currently servicing your loan &mdash; and ask whether you qualify for a refinance.</p> <p>The savings could be big. If you are paying off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 5%, you're paying about $1,073 a month in principal and interest, not including insurance and property taxes. Say you've paid off $20,000 on that loan. If you refinance the remaining $180,000 into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 3.95%, you'll pay about $854 a month &mdash; again, not including taxes and insurance.</p> <p>That's a savings of about $219 a month, or $2,628 a year. Just remember that refinancing isn't free. You can pay thousands of dollars in closing costs, so make sure that your monthly savings allow you to repay those costs quickly.</p> <h2>3. Your Credit Card Company</h2> <p>Bankrate reported that the average interest rate on cash back credit cards was 15.30% in late December. If you owe too much, your credit card balance could grow significantly each month until you pay down that debt.</p> <p>A lower interest rate could help. Fortunately, many credit card providers are willing to drop your rate. It helps if you've been a good customer. If you frequently pay your credit card bill late, the odds are high that your provider won't grant your request for a lower rate. But if you have a history of paying your bill on time and you've been a customer for more than a year, your credit card company might be willing to lower your interest rate to keep you.</p> <p>As with your cable provider, you might have more success if you've received a better offer from another card. If you tell your provider that you're considering moving your balance to another card, it's more likely that you'll get an offer for a lower interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your Insurance Companies</h2> <p>You probably pay a lot each month for homeowners, life, health, and auto insurance.</p> <p>Insure.com reported that the average annual cost of a full-service auto policy in 2015 stood at $1,311. ValuePenguin says that the annual cost of a 20-year term life insurance policy worth $250,000 was about $300 for a 25-year-old who doesn't smoke, and about $1,175 for a 40-year-old who does smoke.</p> <p>You can lower your insurance bills depending on changes in your life. Say you've lost 50 pounds or given up smoking. Your life insurance provider might be willing to lower your monthly bill. Maybe you haven't had a speeding ticket or a car accident in five years. Call your auto insurance provider, you might qualify for a good-driver discount. If you've installed a new home security system, call the company that provides your homeowners insurance. You might qualify for a monthly discount.</p> <p>You'll never know if you don't call.</p> <p><em>Have you called these &mdash; or any other &mdash; service providers and asked for a discount? How much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month">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/should-you-skip-a-mortgage-payment-to-get-a-banks-attention">Should you skip a mortgage payment to get a bank&#039;s attention?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</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/use-the-8020-rule-to-maximize-your-financial-opportunities">Use the 80/20 Rule to Maximize Your Financial Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance better rates cable company insurance mortgage phone calls Wed, 06 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1632872 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000041245128.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems that everyone &mdash; your neighbor, brother-in-law, boss &mdash; has a lower interest rate on their mortgage loan than you do. And that's probably not surprising, given that mortgage rates have fallen to historic lows, with rates in the mid to high 3% range for 30-year, fixed-rate loans.</p> <p>That means it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance">time for you to refinance</a>, right? Not necessarily.</p> <p>A refinance doesn't always make sense, even if it will reduce your interest rate by more than a point. Several factors play a role in whether a refinance is the right choice: the cost of refinancing in your area, your current interest rate, the amount of time you plan to spend in your home, and how much of your existing mortgage you've already paid off.</p> <p>Too many homeowners, though, only pay attention to how much their rate might drop. Peter Grabel, managing director with Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut, says that this is the wrong approach.</p> <p>&quot;Deciding whether to go ahead with a refinance requires not just an analysis of how much you might save each month, but also a look at your entire life,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;You need to look at your age, your income, your future plans. You need to take on a real study of your life and your goals before deciding whether refinancing makes sense.&quot;</p> <p>Here are three times when a refinance might not be the smart choice.</p> <h2>1. Your Rate Won't Drop Enough to Recover Refi Costs</h2> <p>Refinances aren't free. The Federal Reserve Board estimates that a refinance can cost 3% to 6% of your loan's outstanding balance in closing costs. If your rate doesn't drop by enough, you might not save enough money each month to recover these closing costs for four years or more.</p> <p>Consider this example: You are paying off a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at an interest rate of 4.5%. Your monthly payment at this rate will be about $1,013, not including whatever you pay for insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>You decide to refinance. When you approach a lender, you have a remaining balance on your loan of $190,000. You qualify for an interest rate of 4% for your new 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. At that rate, your monthly payment will fall to about $907, again not including insurance and taxes. You'll be saving about $106 a month, or about $1,275 a year.</p> <p>But say your refinance costs 3% of your outstanding loan balance of $190,000. That comes out to $5,700 in closing costs. At $1,275 in savings a year, it will take you nearly four-and-a-half years to pay back the costs of the transaction.</p> <p>And remember, that's at the low end of the Federal Reserve Board's estimate when it comes to refinancing costs. Grabel said that homeowners pay different refinancing costs in different parts of the country. So you might pay more to close your refinance, which would mean an even longer payback time.</p> <p>If your payback time is too long? A refinance might not make sense. Especially if...</p> <h2>2. You Plan to Move Soon</h2> <p>Refinancing makes more sense for owners who plan to live in their residences for at least five years. These owners plan to stay put long enough to enjoy more months of savings after they've recovered their closing costs.</p> <p>Grabel recently counseled a couple to skip a refinance. Why? The couple was ready to have their second child and expected to move to a larger home in one or two years. Grabel calculated that the break-even point on their refinance would come a year after they closed it. If this couple did move that soon after hitting this point, the costs and the work involved in a refinance &mdash; you'll need plenty of paperwork to close one &mdash; wouldn't be worth it.</p> <h2>3. You're Too Far Into Your Existing Mortgage</h2> <p>Here's what homeowners sometimes don't consider: In the early days of your mortgage loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward paying off interest and little to actually reducing your principal, the amount of money you originally borrowed.</p> <p>But as the years pass, you slowly begin paying off more principal than interest each month. That's a good thing.</p> <p>When you refinance, though, you start over with a new mortgage. This means that most of your monthly payments will again go toward paying off interest instead of paying down your principal balance.</p> <p>Starting over might not matter much when you've only been paying off your loan for a year or two. But if you're eight, 10, or 15 years into your loan? Starting over means that you'll be paying much more interest over the lifetime of your new loan.</p> <p>You'll also reach the end of your loan later in life. Say you refinance to a new 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage when you are 35. If you take the full three decades to pay off this new loan, you'll be 65 before you make your last payment.</p> <p>This is why Grabel recommends that homeowners who have paid off a significant portion of their existing mortgages take out new loans with shorter terms. Instead of taking out a 30-year mortgage, it might make more sense to refinance to a 15-year or 20-year loan. This way, you'll pay off your loan faster and you won't pay as much interest over the life of your loan.</p> <p>Again, though, the decision requires an in-depth look at your own financial goals.</p> <p>&quot;Maybe cash flow is an issue,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;Then you'd want to refinance to the loan that gives you the lowest monthly payment. That'd usually be a 30-year loan. But if you are more interested in the lifetime costs of your mortgage, then going with a shorter-term loan that doesn't come with as much interest is the way to go.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you re-fied lately? What was your break even?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</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/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity interest rates loans mortgage owning a home refinancing Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:15:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1603197 at http://www.wisebread.com Prioritize These 5 Bills When You're Short on Cash http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_worried_bills_000026396353.jpg" alt="Woman prioritizing certain bills when she&#039;s low on cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you should pay all of your bills on time. But what if you're short on cash this month? Is it better to pay certain bills late?</p> <p>Yes, actually. Some bills are not reported to the three national credit bureaus of TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Bills in this category include utility bills, cell phone payments, medical payments, and cable bills. This doesn't mean that you should pay these bills late. But if you have to do some emergency financial juggling this month? Pay your cable late, not your mortgage or credit card payment.</p> <p>Here are five bills you should always pay on time, each month. Not doing so could damage your credit, leave you with huge financial penalties, or even cause you to lose your home or car.</p> <h2>1. Your Mortgage</h2> <p>Dave Hardin, president of Hardin Financial Group in Troy, Michigan, says that no late or missing check will hurt your credit score more than a missed mortgage. A single late mortgage payment can cause your credit score to fall by 100 points.</p> <p>&quot;If you pay that late, that will have the single greatest effect on your credit score,&quot; Hardin said. &quot;Your mortgage is the big one.&quot;</p> <p>If you miss too many payments, your mortgage lender will foreclose on your home, evicting you and taking ownership of your property.</p> <p>But don't panic if you're two days late on paying your mortgage. As Hardin says, your mortgage lender won't report your payment as officially late until it is at least 30 days past the deadline. This gives you some leeway if you are struggling to scrape together enough cash to pay your mortgage this month.</p> <p>&quot;That doesn't mean you should wait that long to pay your mortgage,&quot; Hardin said. &quot;But late officially means 30 days late, not two days.&quot;</p> <p>Paying your mortgage bill late can also set you up for future financial pain. Kyle Winkfield, managing partner of O'Dell, Winkfield, Roseman and Shipp in Rockville, Maryland, says it's easy for your finances to spiral out of control when you miss a mortgage payment.</p> <p>&quot;Say you miss your $2,000 mortgage payment one month. Now you have to come up with $4,000 the next month to catch up,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;That's not easy.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Student and Auto Loans</h2> <p>You should never miss your student or auto loan payments either, Hardin said. That's because these are fixed payments that you know are coming up each month. Missing fixed payments is a big deal because lenders are more likely to believe that you didn't send in your payment not because you forgot about it, but because you couldn't pay it.</p> <p>Your car payment is an especially important bill, because your loan is secured by your actual car. This means that lenders have something to go after should you stop making your payments.</p> <p>&quot;Be vigilant about making your car payments,&quot; said Scott Sadar, executive vice president of Somerset Wealth Strategies in Portland, Oregon. &quot;If you are not, your car could be repossessed.&quot;</p> <p>Again, these payments aren't officially late until 30 days have passed.</p> <h2>3. Credit Card Payments</h2> <p>Missing your credit card payment could leave you with a double whammy of pain. First, credit card companies will report your missed payments to the credit bureaus if you are 30 days late or more, causing your credit score to fall.</p> <p>Secondly, if you pay late by 60 days or more (in some cases less), your credit card company can assess a penalty interest rate on your card. This can be financially devastating if you carry a balance on your credit cards each month. Sadar says that these rates can hit 22% or higher, which can cause existing balances to grow quickly, even if you don't make any new payments with your card.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">When To Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Down Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>4. Your Rent</h2> <p>It wasn't until last year that Experian and TransUnion began collecting data for on-time rent payments. The third major national credit bureau, Equifax, still doesn't do this. But even if the credit bureaus weren't tracking your rent payments, you'd still want to make this payment on time every month. Simply put, you don't want to lose your home, and missing too many rent payments could lead to that.</p> <p>It's not easy for landlords to evict tenants, and it will take more than one or two late payments. But if you fall too far behind, your landlord will start the eviction process, possibly leaving you without a place to live.</p> <p>&quot;You always want to protect the roof over your head,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;That holds true whether you own a home or you are renting. Always make the payments that keep that roof over your head.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, you don't ever want to be in the position where you can't pay all of your monthly bills. Yes, paying your cable bill late one month isn't going to destroy your finances. But if you're juggling payments every month, that's a sign that there is a problem. It's also a sign that you need to take a closer look at your budget to determine if you there are expenses you can eliminate.</p> <p>&quot;Sometimes we get too wrapped up in our wants instead of our needs,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;If things are tight &mdash; and we've all been there &mdash; then you might need to eliminate some of the wants from your budget.&quot;</p> <p>And if you are struggling to pay certain bills? Don't hide. Hardin says that the best move you can make is to call the creditors behind the bills and explain to them that you are struggling. Many will work with you to find at least a temporary solution. If you call, creditors are less likely to report you as late to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>&quot;If you don't call, the lenders have no choice but to think that you aren't paying just because you don't want to pay,&quot; Hardin said. &quot;You should not be embarrassed to call your creditors. You'd be surprised at how easy creditors make these conversations. They don't want to lose you as a customer, so they usually are willing to work with you.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever fallen behind on your bills? How'd you cope?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Debt Management Questions You&#039;re Too Embarrassed to Ask</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-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-ever-okay-to-cosign-a-loan">Is It Ever Okay to Cosign a Loan?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management bad credit bills car payment credit score late payment loans mortgage student loans Tue, 20 Oct 2015 13:15:23 +0000 Dan Rafter 1596724 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mortgage_pay_date_000008692460.jpg" alt="Learning how bi-weekly mortgage plans can save you thousands" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sending a check to your mortgage lender every two weeks instead of once a month &mdash; through what is known as a bi-weekly mortgage program &mdash; could shorten the length of your mortgage and reduce the amount of interest you'd pay over the life of your loan. But is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-reasons-your-fixed-rate-mortgage-payment-could-rise">making mortgage payments</a> every two weeks a smart move? Not always.</p> <p>Mortgage experts say that homeowners need to look at their entire financial picture before deciding whether a bi-weekly mortgage program makes sense for them.</p> <p>&quot;There is no one-size-fits-all approach here,&quot; said Chris Birk, education director with Veterans United Home Loans in Columbia, Missouri. &quot;You can't say that a bi-weekly payment schedule is always the smart decision. Often it is. But for other borrowers, it's not always the best choice.&quot;</p> <h2>How it Works</h2> <p>If you sign on to a bi-weekly payment plan through your lender, you'll make mortgage payments every two weeks. Because there are 52 weeks in a year, you'll make 26 payments in a calendar year. If you're good at math, you'll notice that this comes out to an extra month's payment.</p> <p>When you pay off a mortgage loan in the traditional way, you make 12 payments in a year, or one per month. That would come out to 24 bi-weekly payments. But under a bank's bi-weekly payment plan, remember, you are making 26 &mdash; not 24 &mdash; bi-weekly payments. Those extra two payments at the end of the year go directly toward reducing your mortgage loan's principal balance.</p> <p>Say you had a 30-year fixed-rate loan with a balance of $200,000 at an interest rate of 4.4%. If you paid that loan off with traditional once-a-month payments, your monthly payment, not including taxes and insurance, would be $1,001.52. If you took the full 30 years to pay that loan off, you'd pay more than $160,000 in total interest.</p> <p>If you went with a bi-weekly payment plan, you would pay $500.76 every two weeks &mdash; again, not counting taxes and insurance. If you took the full 30 years to pay off your loan, you'd pay just more than $132,000 in total interest. That's a savings in interest of nearly $30,000.</p> <p>You'd also pay off your mortgage loan in 26 years instead of 30.</p> <h2>It's Not Always the Right Choice</h2> <p>The math shows that bi-weekly mortgage plans work: They do reduce the amount of interest you pay each month while shortening the term of your mortgage.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean that a bi-weekly plan is always the right choice.</p> <p>If you plan on living in your home for a short period of time, a bi-weekly mortgage might not make sense. You won't save much in interest if you move out of your home in five years, say.</p> <p>Bi-weekly plans also mean that you'll be sending more money to your lender each year, too. In our example of a 30-year fixed-rate loan of $200,000 with an interest rate of 4.4%, you'd pay about $1,000 more each year under a bi-weekly plan than you would with a traditional repayment program. That might not seem like much money, but if you're attempting to save for a big purchase &mdash; say a child's college education &mdash; that $1,000 could come in handy.</p> <p>Then there's the fact that of all the debt to carry, mortgage debt is usually the most affordable, thanks to the low interest rates that come with it. Homeowners burdened with high interest rate debt, such as credit card debt, should pay more dollars each month toward reducing that debt rather than their mortgage balance.</p> <p>&quot;If you can financially do it, I am always an advocate of being debt-free,&quot; said Rick Roque, managing director of retail with Michigan Mutual in Port Huron, Michigan. &quot;But because mortgage rates are so low, it often doesn't make sense to work so hard to pay off your mortgage debt.&quot;</p> <p>On the flip side, Roque said, by paying off more of your principal balance at a quicker rate, which you would do with a bi-weekly plan, you do gain more access to equity. You can then take out home equity loans to help fund major home improvements or a child's college education.</p> <p>&quot;You do gain a tremendous amount of financial leverage when you have more equity,&quot; Roque said. &quot;You can leverage that equity in your home for emergencies or educational opportunities. That is a powerful tool.&quot;</p> <p>The bottom line? Bi-weekly mortgage plans work. Just consider whether they'll work for your financial needs.</p> <p><em>Are you on a bi-weekly payment schedule?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</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/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</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-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bi-weekly mortgage program buying a house equity homeownership lenders mortgage payment plans Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:00:35 +0000 Dan Rafter 1570347 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/A000044377414_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289|652|2247&amp;k3=logo&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chase.com%2Fmortgage" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/sponsor_logo.jpg" class="nopin" nopin="nopin" align="right" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2247&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</p> <p><img width="605" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/072215-SurprisingThings-hires.png " alt="" /></p> <p>See more ways you can improve your credit score today.</p> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://static.fmpub.net/zone/20744'></script> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2247.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</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/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</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/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</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/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</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-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:00:00 +0000 Lynn Truong 1529667 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40 http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_budgeting_000033505114.jpg" alt="Couple figuring out financial mistakes to stop making by 40" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn't matter if you're in your 20s, 30s, or 40s &mdash; everyone makes financial mistakes. But, the mistakes we make in our later years are often different from those we made as a young adult. Even if you've gone through some financial growing pains, there's room for improvement.</p> <p>Here's a look at six financial mistakes you need to stop making by age 40.</p> <h2>1. Buying More House Than You Can Afford</h2> <p>Some young adults rush to acquire the same lifestyle as their parents, and they get in over their heads buying homes they can't afford. I've seen it with several of my friends &mdash; they want to look like they ball, but can't maintain the proverbial court. But there's no rule that says we have to constantly move up. If you're living above your means, it's time to downsize and get serious about your money.</p> <p>Being house poor can have a tremendous impact on your personal finances. You might be able to swing the house payment every month, but if you don't have money for anything else, you're less likely to save for retirement &mdash; and there's a good chance that you'll end up with credit card debt. Besides, the cracks will eventually show &mdash; and that will defeat the purpose of why you went into debt in the first place. Not worth it at all.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">How to Land a Mortgage Lender You'll Legitimately Love</a></p> <h2>2. Tapping Into Your 401(k)</h2> <p>Twenty-something adults can afford to tap into their 401(k)s if they endure economic hardships or need cash to buy a house (although it's not recommended by most money experts). Since they're young, there's time to replenish the account. Older adults, however, don't have this luxury. If you're approaching middle-age and hoping to retire in your late 50s or early 60s, this isn't the time to play around with your retirement account. Stop using your 401(k) or IRA as an emergency fund. As an alternative, you need to keep enough cash in your liquid savings to deal with unexpected expenses that pop up. (Which, incidentally, might mean telling your kids &quot;no&quot; sometimes.)</p> <h2>3. Saving Like You're Fresh Out of College</h2> <p>When you're just out of college and starting out, you may not have a lot of cash to put toward saving for retirement. Therefore, you might contribute the bare minimum after opening a 401(k) &mdash; maybe 2% or 3% of your income. This is okay in your younger years. But by the time you hit 40, you need to step it up a notch.</p> <p>Look into increasing your 401(k) contributions to 5% or 6%, especially if you're getting an employer match. This is essentially free money that can take your retirement account to the next level. (Plus, you deserve it!) Also, consider ways to diversify your retirement savings, such as opening an individual retirement account or dabbling in other investments, like stocks or real estate.</p> <h2>4. Putting Your Child's Needs Ahead of Your Retirement</h2> <p>All parents want to give their children the best. This might be the best private schools, extracurricular activities, educational vacations, or college funds. But be careful about putting your kids' needs over your retirement &mdash; after all, you can't afford to help them if your own financial situation isn't secure first.</p> <p>The sooner you start stashing cash away for the future, the more financially stable you'll be when you leave the workforce. If you put the majority of your disposable income into giving your children the best life possible, your retirement could take a backseat to their needs and wants. And if you don't save enough, this can result in working longer than you want later in life, or having to get a job after retiring to make ends meet. Not to mention you might not be able to afford helping your children as much as you'd like.</p> <h2>5. Never Reevaluating Your Life Insurance Needs</h2> <p>Your life insurance needs can change as you get older. A policy purchased in your 20s while you were single without kids or a mortgage probably doesn't offer the coverage you need today. It might be time to upgrade your policy to ensure your family has enough financial support in the event of your death, especially if you're the breadwinner.</p> <p>There are no hard or fast rules regarding how much life insurance to get, but the policy should be enough to cover your funeral and burial expenses, pay off any existing debt, plus provide your spouse and dependents with ongoing financial support.</p> <h2>6. Getting Comfortable With Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>At this point in your life you probably recognize the danger of using credit cards. But just because you no longer rely on credit cards doesn't mean you should get comfortable or shrug off your existing balances. If you still owe thousands, paying the minimum isn't going to cut it. Like, ever.</p> <p>Develop a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">get rid of credit card debt</a> once and for all. Go through your house and sell things you don't need. Instead of spending a work bonus going on vacation, use this cash to erase account balances. You can even temporarily reduce how much you're contributing to your retirement account, and use the savings to pay off credit card debt. Whatever means you need to eliminate this debt (outside of robbing a bank, of course), use it. You'll feel freer and more financially stable once that burden is off your back.</p> <p><em>Are there other financial mistakes we need to stop making by age 40? Let me know some of your suggestions in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">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/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</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-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</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-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt kids life insurance money mistakes mortgage retirement Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:00:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1519218 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Clever Tax Shelters Anyone Can Use http://www.wisebread.com/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_gold_piggy_bank_000059335918.jpg" alt="Man finding easy ways to reduce tax burden" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the middle-class, building wealth for your family can be like constructing a house &mdash; the biggest challenge is setting the foundation. And it starts with keeping your taxes as low as possible. This can sometimes result in relocating to an area where the cost of living and taxes are more affordable, trading high-cost districts in areas like New York City and San Francisco for a more sustainable lifestyle in an area where the job market is strong, like in Houston or Dallas.</p> <p>But there are other smart, easy ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">reduce your tax burden</a>, too. Read on to familiarize yourself with a few.</p> <h2>1. Avoid Personal and Business Income Tax</h2> <p>You won't have to worry about paying personal state income tax if you live in one of these nine U.S. states: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. And you will avoid corporate income tax if you do business in the states of Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Retirement Plans</h2> <p>Most people start saving for retirement once they land their first &quot;real&quot; job by contributing to employer-sponsored plans. Some employers will match as much as 100% of your 401(k) contributions up to 3% of your salary. That's a guaranteed 100% return of your investment! So, let's say you've contributed $3,500 &mdash; your employer will put in another $3,500. There isn't another investment that can guarantee this type of return. Plus, if historical average stock market returns are any indication, your money will likely grow an average 8%&ndash;12% per year tax-free or tax-deferred. Meanwhile, investing in your 401(k) will reduce your annual income and possibly your tax bracket, further reducing your tax burden.</p> <h2>3. Contribute to a 529 College Savings Plan</h2> <p>Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs), often referred to as 529 Plans, are tax shelters that allow you to save for higher education expenses. In many ways, they resemble retirement plans, offering tax-deferred growth on contributions. Plans vary and have different lifetime contribution limits &mdash; generally around $200,000 &mdash; but there is no federal tax on earnings, and often no state tax if your plan's beneficiary chooses an in-state college.</p> <h2>4. Avoid Estate and Inheritance Tax</h2> <p>The estate and inheritance tax doesn't affect many people, because you're not required to file an estate tax return unless your estate is valued at $5,430,000 or more as of 2015 &mdash; and only six states levy their own inheritance tax: Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. And the transfer of property through an estate or inheritance is taxed only in Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Consider yourself lucky &mdash; unless you've got a very sizeable estate, your progeny will probably be spared this tax blow.</p> <h2>5. Buy a Home</h2> <p>When you purchase a home, you can deduct interest paid on your mortgage, a percentage of your real estate taxes and depreciation, and receive credits for certain home improvements. Not a bad deal. But if you're in the business of flipping real estate, it gets even better, because when you sell a property, any profit of under $250,000 (for single tax filers) is tax-free. That amount doubles to $500,000 if you're married and filing jointly. The only requirement the IRS has is that you occupy the home as your principal residence for at least two years before you sell.</p> <p><em>What other easy tax shelters do you employ?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks">Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-marriage">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After Marriage</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/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes charitable donations deductions mortgage retirement tax credits Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:00:14 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1508985 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6 Steps to Finding a Mortgage Lender That Will Get You Your Dream House_PHOTO.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2180&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>I vividly remember signing my first mortgage agreement, my hand trembling slightly as I held the pen. It&rsquo;s a lot of money to commit to paying back! Since that day, between refinances and new purchases, I&rsquo;ve signed or e-signed for a total of seven mortgages. It got easier because after going through the process a couple of times, I learned how to feel confident I was working with the best possible mortgage lender and getting the best deal I could. These are my tips on finding the best lender for you.</p> <p>When it comes to a mortgage, everyone has different needs. See <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99kpHX0vQ2Y">which products make sense for you</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/99kpHX0vQ2Y" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>Compare Rates</h2> <p>When you&rsquo;re shopping for a home, price is just one factor among many more personal choices such as floorplan and neighborhood. But with the mortgage, let&rsquo;s be frank: Price is the main factor in your choice.</p> <p>I keep an eye on the general trend of mortgage rates in the financial news, then check <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/?ic_id=home_smart%20spending_CompareRates_Mortgage_30YearFixed&amp;prods=1">Bankrate.com</a> to get an idea of the range of rates available.</p> <p>Comparing rates can be challenging because it&rsquo;s not always clear what a listed rate includes. Banks may charge a higher percent interest for a zero-fee loan, where the borrower&rsquo;s costs are wrapped into the mortgage. Another problem with consulting lists of rates is that your individual circumstances affect what rate is available to you. For instance, for my family&rsquo;s current home, in the high-cost San Francisco Bay Area, we needed a jumbo loan, which costs slightly more than a standard, or &ldquo;conforming&rdquo; loan.</p> <p>One way to get an accurate idea of what your mortgage should cost is to use a rate calculator like the one at <a href="http://www.mtgprofessor.com/Ext/Partners/PricingTool.aspx">The Mortgage Professor</a>. Then you can contact lenders and ask for their best rate/fee combinations; if they charge more than the amount you saw on the rate calculator, ask why. Just like any transaction, it pays to shop around and ask lenders to match or beat other lenders&rsquo; prices. For my most recent refinance, I got three quotes, and one of the lenders offered to match the lower fees quoted by another lender.</p> <h2>Decide What Type of Lender You Want to Work With</h2> <p>You could take out your mortgage with a major bank, with a credit union, or with a company that specializes in mortgages only. Many of that last category operate online instead of having offices you can walk into.</p> <p>Online-only lenders may advertise lower rates than other lenders, but remember that you could always ask the lender you like best to match that rate, so which kind of lender to work with isn&rsquo;t solely a rate decision. Rather, it&rsquo;s a decision about who you feel comfortable with and about how you want to get through the paperwork, which is likely to involve little actual paper with an online lender.</p> <p>&ldquo;Online financing is popular with tech savvy consumers and can be a convenient alternative to traditional lending sources,&rdquo; writes <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2013/03/26/a-look-behind-the-curtain-how-to-choose-a-mortgage-lender/">Forbes contributor and industry insider Mark Greene</a>.</p> <p>Then again, you might get less personal attention working with an online lender than you would with your local bank.</p> <p>Personally, I have taken out mortgages sitting in a lender&rsquo;s office, and I have also done them through a lender with which I interacted solely by email and phone. The latter advertised lower rates. Employees with the first lender spent more time explaining things to me, while the employees of the second company could sometimes be brusque. But since I was familiar with the mortgage process by the time I worked with the second company, I didn&rsquo;t mind the lower level of service. In fact, I liked that they were in a hurry, because my loan closed quickly.</p> <h2>Research Potential Lenders</h2> <p>You probably already have a checking account at a bank or credit union, so you could consider getting your mortgage from them and enjoying the confidence of working with someone you already know -- just don&rsquo;t expect a special rate, <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/choose-mortgage-lender.aspx">according to Bankrate</a>. If you&rsquo;re considering a lender you haven&rsquo;t worked with before, look them up on the Better Business Bureau and ask friends and family if they&rsquo;ve had experiences with the company. The real estate site <a href="http://www.zillow.com/agent-finder/mortgage-lender-reviews/">Zillow has reviews</a> of mortgage lenders. Your real estate agent probably also has one or more recommendations, and possibly even an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2013/03/26/a-look-behind-the-curtain-how-to-choose-a-mortgage-lender/">in-house lender</a> which can make things very convenient. (But you won&rsquo;t be obligated to use the in-house lender and should still shop around.)</p> <p>Once you have a list of a few lenders that other people liked working with, call a loan officer at each and ask questions. If the rate and fees are comparable, go with the company you feel most comfortable with.</p> <h2>Consider Working With a Mortgage Broker</h2> <p>Once upon a time, using a mortgage broker to shop loan offers for you was commonplace. Nowadays, only <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/realestate/choosing-between-mortgage-broker-and-bank.html?_r=0">one in 10 borrowers work with one</a>.</p> <p>Should you? That depends.</p> <p>You could see now as a better time than ever to work with a broker, since post-financial-crisis regulations require brokers to pass licensing exams, and ban them from profiting off of <a href="http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/how-does-a-mortgage-broker-get-paid/">getting borrowers to pay higher interest rates</a> -- a practice that damaged brokers&rsquo; reputations in the eyes of many. Then again, nowadays you also have access to mortgage rate and fee data online, so it&rsquo;s not too hard to do what brokers do for yourself.</p> <p>But working with a broker can save you time if you don&rsquo;t want to shop around. Brokers can be especially helpful to borrowers who have trouble getting a loan, like those with less-than-perfect credit. And working with a broker doesn&rsquo;t necessarily cost more than borrowing directly from a lender, according to the web site <a href="http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/mortgage-brokers-vs-banks/">The Truth About Mortgage</a>.</p> <p>Just like with researching a lender, research a broker you&rsquo;re considering working with, talk to more than one, and compare the costs. Personally, I interviewed a broker recommended by my real estate agent once, but I found a better rate than the ones he quoted on my own, so I told him thanks, but no thanks. But I wouldn&rsquo;t rule out consulting a broker in the future if I needed help.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2180.js"></script><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/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</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/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</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/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</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/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</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-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1487213 at http://www.wisebread.com