Six Best Ways to Avoid Foreclosures

A foreclosure happens when a homeowner is no longer able to pay the interest based payments on their mortgage, so that the lender goes ahead to seize the property based on the contractual terms in the agreement. Across the U.S, the financial crisis means that some home owners cannot meet their mortgage payments. Here are some clever ways to avoid foreclosure and buy you more time to get your payments in and pay your home.

Best Ways to Avoid Foreclosure

1. The first option is to contact your lender

Many home owners have lost their homes to foreclosure because they were in denial. Some with this mind-set keep hoping that the problem will simply vanish. However, this is seldom the case. It is important to contact the mortgage lender to explain your reasons for not paying up and also discuss the options. Lenders are most likely to help a borrower with innovative ways to keep their home especially in a tough market.

2. Take the refinancing option

Refinancing allows a person to replace their current loan with a different one. Refinancing gives the home owner an opportunity to obtain a lower mortgage interest rate, switch from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate loan or change the term of the loan.

3. Application for a Loan Modification

Instead of changing the loan through refinancing, home owners can also apply to have the mortgage rate changed to a temporarily or permanently. This option is usually open to people that can prove they are facing great financial difficulty.

4. Sell your home

There are two options for selling including short sale and deed in lieu of Foreclosure. The short sale option follows after the mortgage lender allows the homeowner to sell their home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. This option is not favored among many home owners but does not damage the credit of the home owner.

5. Rent the Premises

One ingenious way, though not always easy is to rent the building out. There are several ways to ensure that you get people to your home, with some online platforms also lending a hand. One important consideration is that the home should be attractive for occupation.

6. Declare bankruptcy

This is a poor choice as it prevents you from borrowing from any financial institutions for years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows home owners to keep their homes.

 

Image via Americans for Financial Reform

How Do I Pay Off My Student Loans

Have you gone to college only to find that you are in debt up to your eyeballs? Student loans can be very scary! Paying student loans can be hard on a young person just starting out. Just remember that just because you have not landed that perfect job just yet does not mean that your student loans will go away all by themselves.

pay off student loans and debt

Paying student loans back is a great step to earning a solid financial foundation for your future. When you graduated from college the first thing most students think about is, “Time to relax for a few days then off to beat the streets for a job!”  When that first student loan bill arrives in the mail it can be very nerve wracking and overwhelming. However, you can make the transition from college student to a professional career individual by understanding the repayment process of paying your student loans off.

Every financial institution knows that there will be times that a payer of sums owed will/may fall upon hard financial situations. Student loans cannot be canceled but there are ways to assist you with your circumstances. Your financial adviser will explain options such as:

  • Making Payments
  • Loan Service’s
  • Choosing a Repayment Plan
  • Loan Consolidation
  • Deferment and Forbearance
  • Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
  • Understanding Default
  • Resolving Disputes

Making Payments – Once you graduate you will be responsible for making payments to your loan servicer. Each loan servicer may have different ways and times that the payments should be submitted. *Note* it is the students responsibility to contact the loan server even if he or she has not received a bill.

Loan services – A company that collects payments on a loan, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan on behalf of a lender.  If you’re unsure of whom your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up on www.nslds.ed.gov.

Choosing a repayment plan – When it comes time to repay your student loans you will have a few choices for what type of payment plan will best suit your needs. The type of payment plan you choose will determine the amount and length of time you will be paying.

 

Types of payment plans available:

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
  • Consolidate Your Loans

Deferment and Forbearance – If your financial situation is hard such as, unemployed, food stamps, returning to school, or going into the military this is the type of payment plan you can chose to postpone or lower your payments.

Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge – This service is for students who have become totally or permanently disabled, or the school closed while you were in attendance, and certain types of teaching services and other such situations. This will put your loan in forgiveness, cancellation, or removed.

Understanding Default – You never want to go into default with your student loans. The college, the loan servicer that made or owns your loan, loan guarantor, and the federal government all can take action to recover the money you owe.

A default with your student loans can affect

  • Denied rentals on apartments/homes
  • Higher deposits on utilities or denial of services
  • Home owners insurance
  • Cell phone services

If you need assistance with your loans, call your student adviser or contact your loan servicer today!

The Best AARP Retirement Calculators

The web has plenty of AARP retirement calculators that are supposed to help one in understanding the best financial options out there. But what are some of the reliable AARP calculators today? We have some options listed below that you can check out.

AARP Retirement Calculators

The AARP Calculator

This calculator is developed by the American Association of Retired Persons. Users get easy questions that even laypeople can answer with no need for too much prior knowledge. The calculator also shows you whether as a single retiree or as a couple, you will get a shortfall when attempting to meet your goals and whether your will be required to adjust your lifestyle.

The AARP retirement calculator can also allow you to figure out the amount you need to pay regularly to retire at say an age of 65 years and the adjustments that need to be done on the current payments given current rates.

The AARP retirement calculator assumes that the husband will pass on at the age of 87 and the wife at 90. Adjusting the survival rate to 95 increases the amount to be saved from 17.4% of net pay to 19.4%.

CNN Money

The CNN Money AARP retirement calculator asked some questions that assumed prior a knowledge of financial procedures. One of these questions is the estimation of the expected annual salary and current marginal income tax rates.

Another question that requires filing is how the 401 (k) assets are invested but in this case, different sample sets are provided for easy recognition.

Finally, the calculator provides the expected annual rate of return at the percentage of income, for a sample case, at about 11.35%. One additional feature that this AARP calculator provides is the probability that this will happen.

FINRA

This AARP retirement calculator is a little difficult for an average person to use because it requests for various information that is not common knowledge for an average person to provide including current and future tax rate, expected earnings on savings and expected inflation rates. It lacks the option of calculating the expected returns for couples and results in contributions that are as high as 5 times compared to the original AARP retirement calculator.

Schwab and SmartMoney

These two calculators were also easy to use for the layman. The Schwab indicated that the couple or singles should wait until 82 to retire, while the SmartMoney was more optimistic setting the retirement at 62 years.

Savings Bonds for Kids

Given that fact that savings bonds take 20 years to mature, they are a great way to invest in the future of children. Series EE bonds were originally offered in July of 1980 to replace Series E savings bonds. Series EE bonds form reliable, low risk government backed savings products that can be used as the cash investment to finance children’s education.

savings bonds for kids

Series EE bonds are now issued in electronic form, from the 1st of January, 2012, a departure from the previous paper based savings bonds. They reach maturity after 20 years and double in value. For instance, EE based bonds issued with a face value of $100, are sold for $50, and are usually worth $100 at maturity.

Series EE savings bonds can be purchased in amounts of $25 or more with some common denominations including $50, $75, $200, $1000 or $5000. Electronic EE savings bonds are usually purchased at face value so that a face value $200 electronic EE bond is purchased for $200. The minimum purchase of an electronic EE is $25 while the maximum purchase of electronic EE savings bonds annually is capped at $10,000.

Savings bond are great as gifts or as secure investments that can be redeemed in the future. Though they are redeemable after 20 years from issuance, Series EE bonds can continue to earn interest for a total of 30 years. The interest earned monthly is paid when the holder cashes their bond. For bonds that were issued before May 2005, the rate of interest is usually recomputed every 6 months at 90% of the 5 year average treasury yield calculated based on the preceding 6 months. For bond issued in or after May 2005, the fixed interest rate based on the life of the bond is 0.20%.

Other U.S. savings bonds are the Series I bonds. These are variable yield based bonds whose interest rate is calculated based on the inflation rate. The interest rate of these bonds is calculated based on two components, a variable rate reset every six months on the 1st of May and the 1st of November each year, and a fixed rate which remains constant over the life of the bond.

Savings bonds are a flexible investment tools that offers a fixed or guaranteed rate of return for the person bearing the bond. For children, this is a great way to secure the future by providing a safe financial position that is adequate to meet the future needs of the child.

Tips on Saving Money

Saving money can be much simpler than you think. If you are planning to save more money this year, here are some guides and tips for you to follow. You do not have to follow each one of these tips to the letter, instead treat them just as guides to help you to save extra money on your day to day purchases. You will be surprised at the amount of money you can save just by making a few small changes. Here are some of the best tips on saving money.

tips on saving money

MAKE YOUR OWN COFFEE

Everyone is regularly buying coffee at restaurants nowadays. It would actually save you more money if you skip your latte or macchiato from your favorite restaurant and make it instead. This tip does not mean that you have to entirely stop drinking coffee or totally remove coffee in your life. Instead, just go to your kitchen and make your own coffee. Many of your favorite coffee houses also sell their unique blends and machines to make coffee in your own home so that you can duplicate their results in your kitchen. This can be more cost effective over a year than purchasing an expensive cup of coffee every day.

HAVE YOUR CHECKLIST WHILE SHOPPING

Keep a mantra as you are shopping. Stop the impulsive buying. Some people are experiencing the hardest time when they are in a mall or a supermarket and they are being tempted to buy something that they really want but do not need. If you shop without a checklist, there are tendencies that you are going to buy some things that you do not actually need. What’s worse is, you might forget the things that you have to buy and become lured in with the things that look more exciting to purchase than necessities. This is how you can start losing money quickly.

Additionally, with a checklist, you will only buy all the things that you need to buy in just one trip to the department store or grocery store, instead of having to go back for forgotten items.

DON’T BUY BOOKS. BORROW.

If you like reading, skip buying the books that you like reading and instead go to the nearest library and locate a book that might be of interest to you. It is always free to go to the library and borrow some books. Why would you buy a book when you can have it for free? If you know someone with a collection of books you can also offer trades or swaps for your own collection so that you can both enjoy reading new books without having to buy them.

BRING YOUR OWN WATER

Drinking water is good for our body, but you do not have to buy bottled water every now and then just to quench your thirst. Instead, bring your own bottled water in your office or whenever you go out. When you bring your own water, you will not only save your money, you will also be saved from thirst when you are working or out shopping.

CONTROL YOUR USE OF ELECTRICITY

When you are not using appliances like your televisions, radios, microwaves, etc. it is best that you completely unplug them, rather than simply just turn them off. An appliance still uses your electricity for some small processes as long as it is plugged in.

AVOID BEING WITH FRIENDS WHO IMPULSE SHOP

If you have friends who regularly impulse shop and invite you to come with them to lavish restaurants and more it is important to remember, you are saving your money for necessities. Hanging with people who have lavish lifestyles may make you spend more than your means.
Remember; these are just mere guides for you to save your money. Just pick one of these tips that suits you best. If you can use these tips to save money, you can help to plan for a healthier retirement as well as have savings in case emergencies may arise.

Best Books on Saving Money

If you are someone who loves reading something about money-saving matters, you have come to the right place. For many readers, it is beneficial to read about the ways other people save their pennies. Below, you will see the top books that you can add to your book list to gain some money saving inspiration. Here are some of the seven best books on saving money.

The money $aving mom's budget
THE MONEY SAVING MOM’S BUDGET

by CRYSTAL PAINE

This book gives the readers several tips on how to save money in a lively, humble and engaging way. There are many great tips spread across 9 chapters. The topics in this book are proper use of coupons, saving with the help of coupons and having fun without being lavish. The proceeds from the sales of Paine’s book goes to the Compassion International, a charity supported by Piane.

BE CENTSABLE: HOW TO CUT YOUR HOUSEHOLD BUDGET IN HALF
BE CENTSABLE: HOW TO CUT YOUR HOUSEHOLD BUDGET IN HALF

by KRISTIN MCKEE AND CHRISSY PAT

The authors of this book are moms, they wrote this book because they wanted to substantially cut their bills and share with others how they did it. They have teamed up to discover different ways on how to save their money with the use of stockpiling, price matching and of course –couponing. These two moms are making big waves when it comes to saving up money and reducing bills for moms everywhere.

INSTANT BARGAINS: 600+ WAYS TO SHRINK YOUR GROCERY BILLS AND EAT WELL FOR LESS
INSTANT BARGAINS: 600+ WAYS TO SHRINK YOUR GROCERY BILLS AND EAT WELL FOR LESS

by KIMBERLY DANGER

The author of this book is also the founder of mommysavers.com. This book focuses on saving money from groceries and food. This book emphasizes many money-saving ideas that will suit your way of life, so if you do not have time to cut some coupons from magazines or stockpile some products, there are still ways for you to make the most out of your money.

THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR
THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR

by STANLEY AND DANKO

The authors of this book have interviewed and surveyed several wealthy people so that they could find trends in data. This book discusses how these millionaires live, budget and spend their money.
This book also brings in concepts on how to save up money just like millionaires.

NOT BUYING IT
NOT BUYING IT

by JUDITH LAVINE

The author of this book and her partner promised that they would stop buying anything but their necessities. Because of this, they struggled to understand the meaning of necessity. This book also tackles what is necessary for living and some common items that are viewed as necessity but really are not.

MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS
MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS

by MP DUNLEAVEY

The authors of this book will show you how to use the money you already have to make you the happiest person in the world. This book is the nicest read if you think that you do not have sufficient money to survive. Everyone has hidden cash that they can utilize to live a happier life.

THE FRUGAL FAMILY’S KITCHEN BOOK
THE FRUGAL FAMILY’S KITCHEN BOOK

by MARY WEBER

This book is stuffed with practical information on how you can save cash and time. The book has a buying guide and several great and delicious recipes that are inexpensive when it comes to the ingredients (these recipes are not only delicious, they are also nutritious).

Should I Sign Up for a Roth 401k Plan or a Regular Traditional 401k Plan?

Many Americans are happily anticipating the day when they can retire from work, and spend more time with the family by relaxing and taking more vacations. It is vital for a person to plan their retirement as early as possible so they can have enough money put away to save. It is critical that the money saved can last that individual for the rest of their years without that person worrying about entering back into the job market at an advanced age.

A question that many individuals have to weigh and ponder is whether to select the option of a Roth 401K plan for retirement or go with choosing the traditional 401 K plan. There are some unique differences between the Roth 401K plan and the traditional 401K plan. A person has to take the necessary time to review and compare both of the plans, to see what will be the long term benefits for them, as they approach and select one of the specific plans as a retirement option.

A Roth 401K plan will help an account grow tax free while a person is contributing to that account. It is only available to individuals who make up to $95,000 or married couples that make up to a combined $150,000 a year. The money contributions are not tax deductible, but a Roth happens to be a lot more flexible for individuals when it comes to withdrawing money early if it is needed before retirement. A Roth IRA will allow a person to leave money in its account and contribute to it for, however, long that a person sees it is fit for them to do so. A Roth does not have an age restriction of 70 ½ where a person is required to draw down their money at that age or they will begin to face late penalties by not withdrawing.

A traditional IRA is tax deductible in most cases. The withdraw period for a traditional IRA starts at the age of 59 ½ years and ends at the age of 70 ½. Taxes are paid on the amount that is withdrawn in that year for the individual. Any money that is withdrawn before 59 ½ years of age faces a 10 percent penalty in the amount that is withdrawn. A traditional Roth is available to anyone who wants to contribute to it. There are no financial restrictions to a person’s income with a traditional Roth.

Once a person decides, what option that they are going to select for their retirement, the only thing that needs to be done from now until that eventual day is to save money and let it build on a continuing basis. Those individuals that are disciplined about retirement who are able to think about their future are the one’s that will benefit and enjoy their lives as they get older. Those who show discipline in saving money will not regret the future once it arrives because they were able to look ahead and save money now, for retirement. Retirement is a beautiful and enjoyable thing, when a person has the money to do things in life that an individual feels is crucial to help in the enhancement of obtaining a happy and productive life.

Five Smart Financial Moves to Begin the New Year!

It’s a new year and with it of course, come some new resolutions on how to improve our way of life. A chief aspect that governs our lifestyles is our finances, and so outlined below are five suggested steps or areas which we need to either initiate, maintain or improve on in that particular regard.

Champagne

Savings

It would surprise many people to discover this but saving is not something that many people do. Like all good things that improve us, for saving to be effective, we need to adopt it as a habit, a mindset of sorts. Deciding that every income we get will be levied by a certain percentage which goes into untouched savings is a great first step. Follow this up with something methodical, for example, installing a standing order on your banking account so that every inflow of income that goes through it has a percentage deducted to a fixed deposit account. You will be impressed at how quickly you build your nest egg, and best of all, once the process is a habit, it simply gets stronger, securing your future.

Fiscal Planning

It is important to make sure you have filed all your tax returns, whether it is on income, property, or any other dues. This is vital because improperly filed taxes have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you, and tend to gain interest as well. Make sure you do not owe the tax man anything.

Debt or Credit Management

Just like unpaid taxes, bad debt can be a terrible burden, particularly with rising interest rates. Calculate your total debt and start dealing with it promptly. Know to what extent you are in the red. It will give you perspective let you have a handle on what your next move should be, and it will also help you monitor interest and keep a decent credit rating, which is vital.

Investment

You will also need to look more carefully at how to invest whatever you are earning. Investment involves risk, of course, but calculated risk into assets and blue chip stocks are a safe way of managing your investment efforts. Look at solid and credible mutual fund managers as well, but do find a way to grow your hard-earned income that is significantly more effective than the comparatively low interest it will earn sitting in the bank.

Diversification of Income

Because of the current economic climate, never has the importance of income diversification been so high. Even when things improve with the global economy, having a diverse income base is always beneficial to ones lifestyle and welfare. It might not seem such a straight-forward option but you would be surprised at the areas that you can delve into and add to your own personal cash flow just by setting a few hours aside to develop a skill that is marketable or that fills a demand in the economy. Never has the proverbial statement “do not put all your eggs into one basket” been more relevant.

Should You Buy or Lease a Car?

The decision on whether to buy or to lease a car is influenced by two major aspects of an individual: the financial position or priorities he or she has as well as his or her personal references in terms of what ownership of a car would mean to them.
buying a car
The financials, we would hope, take top spot in this one, one would hope, though of course human decision making is as subjective with purchases as it is with everything else. If you can afford to buy a new car, then this may be the preferred option. You are able to recoup most of the money if you get one whose market re-sale value is high and if your insurance and maintenance are up to scratch.

Also, if you are employed, it is easy for you to get a loan that can help with financing your preferred dream car. The significant increase in low-interest financing and cash-back offers makes loan financing an attractive option and thus means more and more people prefer buying to leasing a car.

In fact, in the current global economy, with fuel prices rising and lease payments almost equivalent to car-financing payments, leasing is increasingly a less financially viable option.

Leasing has always had the a number of traditional advantages, which include the ability to upgrade quickly to another model and enjoy new technological and safety benefits from newer models. It also helps the person leasing the vehicle to actually enjoy a comprehensive test-drive period of sorts before deciding on whether he should purchase the vehicle while at the same time removing that old albatross that comes with car-purchasing: you have an asset that has a depreciating value.

But these advantages can be eaten into by a number of considerations, including the fact that maintenance is a prime condition of the leasing process, and the constant payments (which, unlike financing, do not result in ownership of the vehicle) can be moral sapping.

Comprehensive insurance for a purchased vehicle, which is also a definite on one which has been financed means the burden of servicing and maintenance is not carried by the person purchasing the vehicle, as opposed to someone leasing.

And with cars built to last longer and upgrades to them made easier over the years, the benefits of new technology can be added without necessarily changing cars, which is a significant advantage that leasing may have had in the past.

Against a backdrop of paperwork and red-tape involved in the leasing process as well as the fact that it only really makes financial sense if you want to write it off as a business expense (for a firm) or if you are dealing in a market with rising interest rates (this making car financing more costly), leasing rarely holds the edge over actual car ownership.
And besides, for the individual, there is always the satisfaction of knowing that the car in your garage or parked in your drive way is your car.