5 Great Reasons To Refinance

There are many great reasons to refinance. With lower cost, adjustable rate, and 0-down options, traditional loan programs like 30-year or 15-year fixed rate mortgages don't always allow us to meet our financial goals. Today, even reducing your mortgage interest rate a little can save you big over the life of your home loan. Take a look below at 5 great reasons to refinance.

1. Lower Your Monthly Payment
If you plan to live in your home for a few years, it may make sense to pay a point or two to decrease your interest rate and overall payment. Over the long run, you will have paid for the cost of the mortgage refinance with the monthly savings. On the other hand, if you plan on moving in the near future, you may not be in your home long enough to recover the refinancing costs. Calculating the break-even point before you decide to refinance can help determine whether it makes sense.

2. Switch From an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate Mortgage
Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) can provide lower initial monthly payments for those who are willing to risk upward market adjustments. They're also ideal if you don't plan to own your property for more than a few years. However, if you have made your house a permanent home, you may want to swap your adjustable rate for a 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Your interest may be higher than with an ARM, but you have the confidence of knowing what your payment will be every month for the rest of your loan term.

3. Escape Balloon Payment Programs
Like adjustable rate mortgage programs, balloon programs are great when you want lower rates and lower initial monthly payments. However, if you still own the property at the end of the fixed rate term (usually 5 or 7 years), the entire balance of your mortgage is due to the lender. If you are in a balloon program, you can easily switch over into a new adjustable rate mortgage or fixed rate mortgage.

4. Remove Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Zero or Low down payment options allow homeowners to purchase homes with less than 20% down. Unfortunately, they also usually require private mortgage insurance, which is designed to protect the lender from loan default. As the value of your home increases and the balance on your home decreases, you may be eligible to remove your PMI with a mortgage refinance loan.

5. Cash In on Your Home's Equity
Your home is a great resource for extra cash. Like most homes, yours has probably increased in value, and that gives you the ability to take some of that cash and put it to good use. Pay off credit cards, make home improvements, pay tuition, replace your current car, or even take a long-overdue vacation. With a cash-out mortgage refinance transaction, it's easy. And it's even tax deductible.

5 Easy Steps to Rebuild Your Credit after Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy often is the last ultimate solution for many debtors who have unbearable debts. With filing a bankruptcy, you will get rid of your debts instantly and relief you from the harassing call of your creditors.

Although bankruptcy has many undesirable consequences such as your bad credit record will remain on your credit report for 7-10 years, but with a little work, you can improve your credit even before these negative records expire. Here are five easy steps you can take to rebuild your credit.

Step 1: Get to know your current credit status

The first step to rebuilding your credit is to look at exactly where you stand. Order all your three credit reports from those three national credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can order these reports online, it easy and secure.

Print each report and review it closely. Try to understand the information listed in your credit reports and highlight any negative records or inaccuracies that are damaging your credit score.

Step 2: Check the expiration dates

By law, your bad credit record will remain in your credit report for 7 to 10 years, but the exact expiry date might be different among these 3 reports. Your bad record will still remain at your credit report although you have pay off your old debts and discharge from bankruptcy.

Look up the exact date of each of bad records including judgments, liens, charge-offs, late payments, bankruptcy filings, and collection records. You will likely see a major improvement in your credit score when these records expire.

Step 3: Request For Correct On Any Inaccurate Records

If you find inaccurate records, fraudulent accounts, or records that should have expired on you credit reports, you have the right to send a separate dispute letter to each of the credit bureaus to correct your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion records. The bureaus will initial a 30 days investigation to see whether your requests are valid and if so, they will correct the inaccuracy in your credit report.

Just one note, don't try to dispute any of the positive information listed in your credit reports and it is a waste of time to attempt to dispute these records. Disputing positive information may actually harm your credit scores.

Step 4: Start to create good credits

Since there is no way to remove your bad record from your credit report, the best way to improve your credit score is to add good credits and building up your credit from there. You can easy do this by open up a new credit card from banks like Orchard Bank (Orchard bank has credit card plan designed specially to help people rebuild their credit after bankruptcy).

Use this new credit card responsibly and make the monthly payment timely; with this you are building new history of good credit behavior on your credit report. Over time, you may want to open additional credit card accounts or obtain a loan to boost your credit score even higher.

Step 5: Monitor your progress

Subscribe to a credit card monitoring service or get a credit card monitoring software and use it to track your credit score progress closely. Your credit score should improve steadily as you continue to use credit responsibly and add new positive information to your credit reports.


Bankruptcy does not need to chain you to bad credit for the next seven to ten years, but you have to be proactive in order to recover and rebuild your credit.

Every Little Bit of Savings Adds Up

Living on a budget is the key to financial freedom, but getting started can be frustrating. When we look at our expenses and see all of those bills we're paying every month, it's easy to throw our hands up in disgust. But what about all those little expenses we incur? You might be surprised to find out just how much they amount to.

It's easy to dismiss cutting back on little things. A few dollars a month won't make a significant difference in the big picture. But a few dollars here and a few dollars there adds up to a few more dollars. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.

Waste Not, Want Not

One thing we can do that is good for the budget is stop wasting so much. This can apply to many areas in our lives. From eating to home heating, waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.

Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to save money. But if you're throwing food out, the benefit is reduced. So if you have leftovers, don't let them end up in the trash. Some dishes freeze well, and this makes for easy dinners when you don't have time to cook. You could also eat dinner leftovers for lunch the following day.

If your home is not well insulated, you're probably wasting lots of money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost some money up front, but it will pay for itself quickly. If you have drafts around windows and doors, weatherstripping can help maintain the temperature of your home.

Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. This can be prevented in part by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you're not using them, and open blinds to take advantage of the sun's light during the day.

Do Yourself a Favor: Do It Yourself

Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself, you're spending money unnecessarily. This applies to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own, as well as to larger expenses such as home repairs.

Many of us buy coffee or a soft drink from a convenience store or coffee shop on the way to work in the morning. This can really add up over time. Instead, make your own coffee, or buy soda in 2-liter bottles and pour some into a smaller bottle or cup to take with you. The same applies to lunches. Instead of springing for fast food, take a sandwich or something microwavable to work.

While we're not all good at all types of repairs and maintenance, most of us can do some things for ourselves. Maybe you could change your own oil instead of paying someone else to do it. If the walls need painting, consider getting friends and family to help you do it instead of hiring a painter. Things like these can save us a noticeable amount of money right away.

When you add up the savings, little things can make a big difference to the budget. So take a close look at your budget and see what small expenses are lurking there. If you can eliminate or reduce them, it could positively impact your bottom line.

Debt Management Help

Debt has a way of creeping up on us if we let it. It's important to keep our debt at reasonable and manageable levels, or we could end up incurring insane interest charges and scraping to make our payments. Even for those who manage debt well, unexpected life changes can result in difficulty making ends meet.

When we find ourselves having problems with debt, the first course of action is to take a look at the budget. Finding ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses can help us pay down debts and keep monthly bills current. But what happens when we can't solve our debt problems with budgeting?

Sometimes we need outside help. It's hard to go to someone else when you're having money troubles, but if you don't gain control over your debts, your credit rating will suffer. So it's important to take charge before it's too late.

Some debtors turn to debt consolidation as an answer to debt problems. They transfer high-interest debts to a lower interest credit card, or they put up the equity in their homes to get the money to pay them off. While these options can provide lower payments, they are not without drawbacks. Closing numerous accounts and putting all of your debt into one account can negatively affect your ratio of debt to available credit, lowering your credit score. And if you use your home equity to secure the money needed to pay off debt, you're putting your home at an unnecessary risk.

Another popular option for those with debt problems is credit counseling. Credit counseling agencies offer help with budgeting, and in some cases, they will set you up with a debt management plan. A debt management plan involves negotiation with creditors to obtain lower interest rates and lower payments. The debtor makes one monthly payment to the credit counseling agency, and the agent forwards payments to each creditor.

A debt management plan can help you get out of debt faster, but it can also impact your credit. A note is added to your credit report stating that you are undergoing credit counseling. This means that you can't get new credit. However, the notation is removed once you've paid off your debts.

It's also important to make sure you're dealing with a reputable credit counseling agency. Some charge high fees or fail to make payments to creditors on time. There have also been some that were found to be outright scams, keeping the money that debtors sent them to pay their bills with. When considering credit counseling agencies, make sure they're members of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) or the National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC). These organizations regulate and monitor member agencies, making sure that they operate legally and ethically.

An overabundance of debt can wreak havoc on our finances and our credit scores. It can also be the cause of undue stress. By seeking help at the first sign of trouble, we can often prevent our debts from spiraling out of control.

Credit Repair Tips

In some cases, bad credit is a result of irresponsible money management. But it often occurs because of unexpected financial hardship. One day you might have all of your bills current, and the next you could become disabled or lose your job. And if you fall behind on your debts, it will wreak havoc on your credit rating.

Credit repair agencies claim that they can remove bad entries from your credit report. But did you know that you can often have them removed yourself at a much lower cost? There are two methods by which you may be able to get negative entries removed from your report.

Option #1: File a Dispute with the Credit Bureaus

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit bureaus to investigate any item on your credit report that you dispute. If the information is found to be false, inaccurate or unverifiable, it must be corrected or removed from your report. The bureaus have 30 days from the time they receive notice of the dispute to complete their investigation.

If there is any inaccurate information on your credit report, a dispute is certainly in order. But some people have had luck disputing items that were in fact accurate, including judgments, collections accounts and repossessions. If such items are not verified by the creditor (or the court in the case of judgments) within the time limit for investigation, they must be removed.

If you decide to dispute a legitimate entry, simply write a letter to each of the credit bureaus stating that you dispute that entry. No explanation is required. But keep in mind that if the entry is verified, it will remain on your report. And if the creditor verifies the information after the 30-day time limit, the credit bureau may reinstate the entry as long as they notify you at least 5 days before doing so.

Option #2: Negotiate with Creditors

Dealing with creditors can be intimidating, especially if you're not on good terms with them. But speaking to your creditors directly may help you get negative information removed from your credit report.

If you only have a late payment or two on your account, a creditor might be willing to remove the derogatory information once you've resumed a regular payment schedule. If you've experienced repossession or had an account turned over to collections, payment in full might persuade them to remove the negative entry. It sounds like a long shot, but you never know until you ask. Requests to remove late payment information may be made after you've brought you account current. But if you're hoping for removal of a repossession or collection action, it's best to negotiate a deal before you pay anything.

If You Can't Get the Bad Entries Removed

There is no guarantee that disputing information on your credit report or negotiating with creditors will get negative items removed from your record. If it doesn't, the best thing you can do is try to build up some positive information on your report.

The first thing you need to do when trying to rebuild good credit is bring past due accounts current. Try to work out a deal with your creditors to accomplish this, or talk to a credit counseling agency. But don't miss payments on current accounts to put money toward those that are past due. If it comes down to paying one or the other, keep the current account current.

Once you've brought all of your accounts current, put a priority on keeping them that way. Making your payments on schedule will raise your credit score, and with the passage of time, the good entries may outweigh the bad.

5 Advantages Of Long Term Trading

Both short term and long term trading can be effective trading strategies, however, long term trading has several significant advantages. These include the effect of compounding, the opportunity to earn from dividends, reduction of the impact of price fluctuations, the ability to make corrections in a more timely manner, less time spent monitoring stocks.

1. Compounding

Time can be investor’s best friend because it gives compounding time to work its magic. Compounding is the mathematical process where interest on your money in turn earns interest and is added to your principal.

2. Dividends

Holding a stock to take advantage of payouts from dividends is another way to increase the value of an investment. Some companies offer the ability to reinvest dividends with additional share purchases thereby increasing the overall value of your investment. Additionally, dividends are more a reflection of a company’s overall business strategy and success than volatile price fluctuations based on market emotions.

3. Reduction Of The Impact Of Price Fluctuations

In the long term investment the persons is less affected by short term volatility. The market tends to address all factors that keep changing in the short term. So a person involved in long term investment or trading will not be affected as much by short term instability due to factors such as liquidity, fancy of a particular sector or stock which may make the price of a stock over or undervalued. In the long term, good stocks which may have been affected due to some other factors (in the short term) will give better than average returns.

Long-term investors, particularly those who invest in a diversified portfolio, can ride out down markets without dramatically affecting his or her ability to reach their goals.

4. Making Corrections

It is highly likely that you could achieve a constant return over a long period. The reality is that there will be times when your investments earn less and other times when you make a lot of money in short term. There may also be times when you lose money in short term but as you are in quality stocks and have long perspective of investment you will earn good returns over a period of time.

There are always times when some stocks do not perform and it is the wise choice to pull out of an investment. With a long term perspective based on quality stocks, it is easier to make decisions to change in a more timely manner without the urgency that accompanies short term and day trading strategies chasing volatile changes.

5. Less Time Spent Monitoring Stocks

Unlike day trading that can require constant monitoring of stocks throughout the day to capitalize on intraday volatility, long term trading can be carried out effectively using a weekly monitoring system. This approach is most often far less stressful than watching prices constantly on a daily basis.

Overall, investors that begin early and stay in the market have a much better chance of riding out the bad times and capitalizing on the periods when the market is rising.

How to Create a Family Budget

For singles, creating a budget is relatively easy. They tend to have a good handle on how much money they have coming in, and when tracking expenses, they only have their own to think about. But creating a family budget is a whole new ball game.

Most families have multiple sources of income. And when there are multiple spenders, that makes things much more confusing. This is one of the main reasons that families lack a formal budget. But having a budget and sticking to it can greatly improve a family's financial outlook.

Making a family budget may be tricky, but it can be done. Here's how.

1. Take inventory of all income. If a certain source of income fluctuates from month to month, use the lowest amount or average it out.
2. Keep track of all expenses for a month or so. Keep all of your receipts, and ask all family members to turn theirs in to you each day.
3. Add up your monthly expenses. Be sure to include bills, debt payments, groceries, and everyday expenses such as lunch money and transportation costs.
4. Get the family together and discuss ways you can trim the budget. Getting input from other family members will help you determine which expenses are necessary and which ones could be cut down or eliminated. Maybe you or your spouse could start taking lunch to work instead of eating out, or maybe the kids can drop an extracurricular activity.
5. In addition to individual expenses, discuss how you can cut down on the electric bill, groceries and other necessary family expenses. Consider such things as carpooling or taking public transportation, buying more generic foods and adjusting the thermostat.
6. Estimate how much you can save on regular expenses, and cut the completely unnecessary items out of the budget. Then refigure it and see where you stand.
7. If you end up with a surplus, allocate a portion of it to savings. If you're in the red, go back and rework the budget until you have more income than expenses.

Being Realistic

One reason that family budgets often fail is because they're just not realistic. It's great to cut down on expenses, but sometimes we tend to go too far. For example, cutting entertainment out of the budget completely might look good on paper, but we all need a little diversion every now and then.

Instead of cutting such things out of the budget completely, consider finding ways to lower the cost. Going back to the entertainment example, maybe you've been going to dinner and a movie as a family twice a month. But eating in and renting a new release would be much cheaper, and you would still get to spend quality time together.

Individual expenses can also be tricky. This can be resolved by allocating a certain amount for each family member to spend each week. If someone spends his entire amount before the week is up, reevaluate his expenses and adjust if necessary.

Creating a family budget can help keep spending under control, leaving more money to pay down debts and save for future goals. But in order to succeed, close monitoring is essential. Your efforts will be rewarded, however, with less financial stress and more money in the long run.