Category Archives: Financial Advice

Not even the market knows the Fed’s next move

As the Federal Reserve policy committee convenes today, the unanswerable questions are stacked high and reach in several directions. “Will the Fed lift short-term rates tomorrow?” is only the most basic starter query and the answer is quite unclear. The implied probability of a quarter-point bump is around 30% based on interest-rate futures trading, but there’s some fuzziness around that number. And this is nowhere close to a forecast that a hike is deeply unlikely:

Coming up “heads” in two straight coin flips has a 25% probability and hardly seems rare. Smart, well-intentioned market experts who spend an enormous amount of time and effort handicapping Fed moves disagree about what the Fed will do, all conceding that no outcome would be all that surprising. Same goes for the other questions down the chain of possibilities: What should the Fed do? If not now, then when? If the Fed lifts its rate target, can it achieve it using untested new tools fashioned in the post-crisis field laboratory? How much does it all matter?

Informed opinion and educated gut feel is all an investor has in grappling with these questions. And then there’s the next-level uncertainty about what the market truly expects, how it will react and what it ultimately wants.

The longer-term Treasury yields have been remarkably steady ahead of this decision, with the 10-year (^TNX) hovering not far above 2%, perhaps a sign that the typically sober, focused government-debt market doesn’t see much difference either way. Tuesday, though, the two-year note surged in yield. This is the paper most sensitive to Fed moves, and its yield hit a four-and-a-half-year high. Is this the market pricing it a rate hike soon?

The heavy wake of some technical trading action? Who knows? Lots of markets get themselves to a sort of neutral, anything-can-happen position ahead of a known potential catalyst like a Fed call. Junk bonds spreads, similarly, have eased back in recent weeks but still reflect weaker credit conditions than a few months ago. And stocks rallied about one percent Tuesday, but merely moved up toward the top of their new, lower range a few percent above the August lows. The best that can be said for the setup in stocks at this point is that investors have rushed to a place of anxiety and diminished expectations, at least hinting that for now a fair bit of potential bad stuff is priced in. Trader and investor sentiment surveys, fund flows, cash holdings in funds and prices paid for options protection have all been flashing contrarian signals that say, “Be ready to buy.”

Nearly ever gauge of investor positioning is the most negative since at least late 2011. Which means, if it’s still a bull market, the risk-reward will turn favorable before too long, right? If… And did Tuesday’s rally burn up some of the pent-up fuel of negative feelings in advance of the Fed meeting? Of course, the market has been contending with more than just the Fed vigil. It’s a net positive that US stocks have stopped tracking every chutes-and-ladders move in the Shanghai (000001.SS) market. But emerging-market stress is no kid’s game. Stocks here are down, but not yet cheap. And seasonal factors remain a headwind for another few weeks at least, if that still matters. Once the Fed decision is in, the game will turn to “What next?” with a couple of well-thumbed playbooks getting passed around. No one wants to miss yet another fourth-quarter sprint to the upside after a messy late summer and autumn. But how long before we all start talking about what has become a perennial U.S. economic “soft patch” in the first quarter? .

Once again, “I don’t know” is the most candid response.

HT Yahoo Finance

View our home buying series here: Mortgages, Home Loans, Refinance, and Interest

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In Summary

Feds are thinking of raising the interest rates, but there is no inclination on how that will affect the markets.

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Top 10 Credit Card Picks for July 2015

Credit card offers are in! there are so many choices, I’m not sure where to start. The Marriott seems like a pretty good choice. The free anniversary night covers the annual fee perfectly. Scoot on over to the Amex gold if you never had it yet and apply incognito to get a 50k offer instead of a 25k offer. There are some other great choices here today as well. Don’t see a card you want hit up the comments!

80k Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card – expires 8/31/2015

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Application

  • Limited Time! Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
  • For every $1 spent, earn 5 points at 3,800 Marriott locations, 2 points on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards points towards free nights
  • No limit to how many points you can earn
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees and enjoy wider acceptance when you travel with your embedded chip card and you make purchases at chip-enabled card readers
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee
  • See complete Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card details

50k Premier Rewards Gold Card

Must apply in Incognito

  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • New: 2X points at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X points for flights booked with airlines, Earn 2X points at US supermarkets and US gas stations. Earn 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • New: There are no foreign transaction fees with your Premier Rewards Gold Card.
  • New: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year for incidental fees with your selected airline.
  • With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges any time you use your Card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
  • $0 Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See complete American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card details

 Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card

Citi® Hilton HHonors<sup>TM</sup> Visa Signature® Card

  • Limited Time: Earn 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*
  • See complete Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card details

50k – Chase Ink PlusInk Plus Business Credit Card Application

  • After you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, you will receive 50,000 bonus points. That’s $925 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No interest charges as you pay your balance in full each month
  • Receive 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, cellular phone or landline, internet, and cable TV services
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Direct access to a live service advisor anytime
  • No transfer fees when 1:1 point is transferred to leading frequent travel programs
  • Annual Fee $95

Read more here

85K Club Carlson SM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card 

  • Receive 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • Receive 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • Receive up to 85,000 Bonus Gold Points- 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase and plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • Bonus Award Nights for exclusive card members – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free
  • When you renew your card each year, you get 40,000 renewal bonus points
  • As your Gold Elite Status upgrade is automatic, your Club Carlson membership will reflect your Gold Elite status after you activate and use your card
  • Already reached Gold or Concierge Elite Status? You will receive 15 qualifying nights toward obtaining or maintaining Concierge Elite status after you activate and use your new card.

The most under rated credit card. Read our full review here.

50k - Chase British Airways

For a limited time (3/31/2015) the annual fee is waived for the first year

  • After you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, you will receive 50,000 bonus Avios
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will receive 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Card every calendar year, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years
  • Smart Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & other countries, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home

45k – Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
  • After you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening, you will receive arn 5,000 additional bonus points
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer for participating frequent travel programs at full value that is 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal to 1,000 partner miles/points
  • 24/7 available for direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

40k – American Express Platinum

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
  • Enroll and select a qualifying airline to receive the statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms & restrictions apply.

Read our review here

25K – Starwood Prefered Guest

 

  • Starpoints® bonus: earn up to 25,000 bonus points i.e. 10,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Card membership which is enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 Hotel
  • Free Hotel Nights: redeem Starpoints at over 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • Free Flights: redeem Starpoints on over 350 airlines with SPG Flights with no blackout dates
  • No limits on the number of Starpoints you can earn
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
  • Terms and restrictions apply

For number 10 you tell us what you think it should be!

Read these other hot topics!

3BM and App-O-Rama, How To Do It Properly

Application Status: How to Check If You Got Approved

View our home buying series here: Mortgages, Home Loans, Refinance, and Interest

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary

Apply now for the best credit card offes to date.

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Late Payment Removed From Your Credit Report (4 Ways)

Late payments can be a big deal, and they count significantly toward your credit score calculation. In Ryan Greeley experience, it’s really not that difficult to get late payments removed. Here are four methods you can use to get them removed.

This article is from Ryan Greeley’s website and can be found here.

Over theself past couple of years Ryan Greeley has gone from bad credit to perfect credit by learning everything there is to know about the subject.

Ryan Greeley strongly recommend monitoring your credit report and credit score to see right when it’s removed so you can keep track of your progress. TransUnion has the best credit report monitoring in my opinion, plus they include your credit score for free.

Many credit cards offer free credit scores these days. Barclay, Citi, Discover and some American express accounts have this feature.

1. Request a Goodwill Adjustment from the original creditor to remove the late payment

The idea is simple and it works incredible well. Many times creditors are happy to grant “goodwill adjustments” if your previous payment history is relatively good and you have established a good relationship with the creditor. This is probably the easiest and surest way to get a late payment removed from your credit report. The process involves writing the creditor a letter explaining your situation (why you were late) and asking that they “forgive” the late payment and adjust your credit report accordingly.

2. Negotiate removal by offering to sign up for automatic payments.

Ryan Greeley has never actually tried this method, but from what he understand creditors frequently offer to remove late payment entries if you, in exchange, agree to sign up for automatic payments. He really like this idea because it works out well for both parties: the creditor can ensure future payments will be made on time, and you don’t have to ever worry about missing another payment. Several of Ryan Greeley‘s  readers have verified that this method did work for them, so try this next if a goodwill letter doesn’t work.

3. Dispute the late payment as inaccurate

While we certainly do not advocate lying (that is, claiming an entry is inaccurate when you know it’s not), if you find ANY inaccuracies on the late payment entry (dates, amounts, etc), you can dispute the late payment as inaccurate.

Sometimes creditors have a difficult time verifying the exact details of your account history. Therefore, if you dispute the late payment and they are unable (or simply don’t bother) to verify it, the negative entry will be removed. This is also a great technique on how to remove collections from credit report.

4. Have a professional remove the late payment

Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing, we suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair. They’ll take care of you. They have a free consultation that may be of interest to you. Give them a call at 1-844-764-9809 or Check out their website.

View our home buying series here: Mortgages, Home Loans, Refinance, and Interest

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary

Late Payments Can Be Removed From Your Credit Report

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DCF 1.0

Buying A House and A Car: Which Comes First?

You are ready to buy a house, and suddenly you also have a need to buy a car. Which one do you buy first the house or the car? On one hand it is nice to have the house, but maybe it can wait 2 months. On the other hand you need the car today, but the house seems like a more logical purchase?

The house comes first

This is not based off feelings or emotions. This is the hard facts. As we will discuss more in depth when we talk about DTI, there are certain things that can have a negative affect on you getting the mortgage. Specifically, any car payments wether it is a lease or if it is a loan for a car purchase will show up on your credit report as a DEBT.

Why is it debt, I didn’t miss a payment?

This is a very common question. The answer is just by being on your credit report changes you DTI (Debt to Income) ratio and lowers your income.

What does that mean?

Suppose you make $5,000 a month and the DTI ratio was 50% (made up numbers, it’s usually much lower) that means your entire PITI payments can’t be more then $2,500 a month (approximately a $370,000 mortgage in today’s rates). However, if you have a $500 car payment your income will drop to $4,500 which would lead to a $2,250 max monthly payment. This can drop the max loan you can take to  (approximately a $360,000 mortgage in today’s rates)!

Yes, it can make that big of a difference. Therefore first buy that house, then you can go out and lease the car of your dreams. Buying that car first can cause you not to be able to be approved for a mortgage!

Although buying a car may seem more logical then buying a house. It is imperative that you buy the house first. A car will add additional debt, that will negatively affect your buying power.

View our home buying series here: Mortgages, Home Loans, Refinance, and Interest

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary

Buy the house before the car!

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discrimination.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox

Lender Discrimination: What Is That?

portal.hud.gov hudportal documents huddoc id NFHA2012MaternityLendingEN.pdf

“Lender Discrimination was not what I was expecting.”

What is lender discrimination? Were you a victim? What should you do? I once saw an ad inn the mall of a pregnant woman, the caption was “Lender Discrimination was not what I was Expecting“. The caption summed up the advertisement. A lender may NOT deny loans to one or more groups of people primarily on the basis of race, ethnic origin, sex or religion. One of the most notable instances of widespread mortgage discrimination occurred in United States inner city neighborhoods from the 1930’s up until the late 1970’s. There may be evidence that the practice of lender discrimination still continues in the United States today.

How can You protect Yourself from lender discrimination?

Look for the warning signs, some include:

  • You are treated differently in person than on the phone.
  • You are discouraged from applying for credit.
  • You hear the lender make negative comments about race, national origin, sex, or other protected groups.
  • You are refused credit even though you qualify for it.
  • You are offered credit with a higher rate than the one you applied for, even though you qualify for the lower rate.
  • You are denied credit, but not given a reason why or told how to find out why.
  • Your deal sounds too good to be true.
  • You feel pushed or pressured to sign.

If You Suspect Discrimination

Take action if you think you’ve been discriminated against.

  • Complain to the lender. Sometimes you can persuade the lender to reconsider your application.
  • Check with your state Attorney General’s office to see if the creditor violated state laws: Many states have their own equal credit opportunity laws.
  • Consider suing the lender in federal district court. If you win, you can recover your actual damages and be awarded punitive damages if the court finds that the lender’s conduct was willful. You also may recover reasonable lawyers’ fees and court costs. Or you might consider finding other people with the same claim, and get together to file a class action suit.
  • Report any violations to the appropriate government agency. If your mortgage application is denied, the lender must give you the name and address of the agency to contact.

“Lender Discrimination was not what I was expecting.” This was the caption under an advertisement i saw in a mall. It was educating the public about Lender Discrimination.

File a Complaint with the appropriate offices.

For ECOA violations:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

855-411-2372

For FHA violations:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

1-800-669-9777; TDD: 1-800-927-9275

For details about the Fair Housing Act, contact Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

You have one year to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file as soon as possible.

MORE WAYS YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Do your research. Shop around. Learn about the various features and downsides of the credit product you want. Research the current interest rates. Compare products from several lenders.  Talk to your friends and family members about their credit products.
  • Know your credit history. Creditors will make decisions based on your credit history. Be sure there are no mistakes or missing items in your credit reports. Get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three biggest consumer reporting agencies every 12 months. Get your free copy from AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Ask questions. Don’t focus only on your monthly payment. Be sure you understand the rates and fees you will pay over the long run. Ask whether the rates and fees quoted to you by your lender are set, or if there are any circumstances in which the quoted rates and fees could change. Keep asking questions until you are fully satisfied. If a creditor does not want to answer your questions, this could be a bad sign.
  • Stay in control. Your lender shouldn’t make you feel rushed, or unnecessarily delay action on your application. Walking away and continuing the discussion later, if you so choose, is a good way to control communications with the lender.
  • Don’t sign until you’re satisfied that the credit product works for you. Remember, the product that works for you today may not work for you down the road. Make sure you’ve considered both before you sign.

HT: Wikipedia, Consumer Finance and Government websites.

View our home buying series here: Mortgages, Home Loans, Refinance, and Interest

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary

We aware of Lender Discrimination,and what to do if you are a victim.

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Mortgage Payments

Pay Off Your Mortgage – Fast: Use Your Tax Refund Money

Mortgage payments are a nightmare there is no denying it, but we have a trick that can help you make your payments. You will shave year’s of payments from your 30 year term, and save $10,000’s of dollars in interest. Did we get your interest yet? It’s not going to be easy, and you will need to be disciplined but it will work. Here we go!

Tax Refunds

Yes it is tempting to use that money to buy that new leather sectional couch your wife was eyeing, or to redo the bathroom. But remember by being disciplined you will pay your mortgage faster and then you can go on that fancy vacation you wanted.According to the IRS, the average refund for 2014 is a $3,000. (Now the IRS knows everything, so let’s assume this number is pretty accurate.)

What can $3,000 do for your mortgage? Let’s run those numbers. According to Jon from Money Smart Guides (we just started following him on Twitter) you can save 7 years of payments on a $200,000 mortgage. Here is his calculations:

Let’s say you just bought a house and took out a loan for $200,000 at 5% interest for 30 years. You pay the balance due every month except for May, when you make an additional one-time extra payment of $3,000 which is your tax refund. What effect does this have?

If you do this for just 5 years, you will shave off 4 years off your mortgage and save almost $38,000 in interest! Do this for 10 years and you knock off close to 7 years and save $58,000 in interest!

You can file your taxes for free with TurboTax. Read this post for more information on getting added bonus for filing.

TurboTax: Southwest 1,000 Miles or $20 Fidelity Bonus for 2014 Taxes Filing Software

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary

Use your Tax refunds towards your mortgage and save a lot of money!

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