Inflation for Dummies

At its most basic level, inflation is a general increase in prices across the economy and is well-known to all of us. After all, who among us has not reminisced about cheap rents of the past or how little lunch used to cost? And who has not noticed prices on everything from milk to movie tickets creeping upward? In this article, we explore the major types of inflation and touch upon the competing explanations offered by different economic schools. Stagflation and Hyperinflation: Two Extremes Although Read more [...]

Home-Equity Loans: What You Need to Know

A home-equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, lets homeowners borrow money by leveraging the equity in their homes. Home-equity loans exploded in popularity in the late 1980s, as they provided a way to somewhat circumvent the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which eliminated deductions for the interest on most consumer purchases. With a home-equity loan, homeowners could borrow up to $100,000 and still deduct all of the interest when they file their tax returns. The problem for homeowners Read more [...]

Try This Home-Equity-Line-of-Credit Hybrid

Traditionally, if you wanted to borrow against the equity in your home, you could either get a fixed-rate home equity loan or draw money against a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a closed-end line of credit with a variable interest rate. Now there’s a third choice: the HELOC fixed-rate option. In fact, some of the biggest lenders, such as Bank of America Corporation and Wells Fargo Company, have used it to replace home-equity loans, possibly because of new mortgage regulations Read more [...]

Mortgage Broker vs. Direct Lenders: Which Is Best?

If you’re in the market for a home and have found the perfect place, your next step is securing a mortgage. For many people, this is the stressful part. You have get your finances in shape: verify your income, go over your credit report and make sure everything points to you're being a worthy borrower. Then the next step is figuring out where to get a loan. You have two options: mortgage brokers and direct lenders. There are several differences between the two. Read below to learn Read more [...]

Medicare Part D Could Drain Your Retirement Savings

Medicare Part D risks happen because, although enrolling in the program is meant to alleviate the drain increasing drug costs can be on your retirement savings, it’s not a perfect solution. For some retirees who develop serious health conditions, it could be more of a harm than a help. If you’re newly retired or approaching retirement, here’s what you need to know about how Medicare Part D can affect your net worth. ​Medicare Part D Risk: It May Not Cover Every Drug Healthcare can Read more [...]

8 Reasons to Sell Your Home with an Agent

The “For sale by owner” (FSBO) method seems a great way to save thousands of dollars when you sell your home. Afterall, the standard real-estate agent's commission is 6% – that's $15,000 on a $250,000 home. Given the size of this fee, you may think that acting as your own seller's agent will surely be worth the savings. Here are eight reasons you should think again. (See also: A Guide to Buying a House in the U.S.) In a for-sale-by-owner deal, the buyer’s agent knows there Read more [...]

How Amazon Will Be Worth $1.6 Trillion in Less Than a Decade

The race to be the first $1 trillion company has Apple Inc. (AAPL) as heavy favorite. With a current market cap of $834 billion, and nearly $200 billion more valuable than second place Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), parent company of Google, it's hard to see anyone catching the California-based tech giant. However, Stamford-based MKM Partners believes if Inc. (AMZN) is willing to continue its spending spree and take on more risk it has the potential to grow to astronomical levels. "Our Read more [...]

Top 3 Health Insurance Options If You Retire Early

Voluntarily walking away from a productive career presents early retirees with a number of weighty considerations. One of the first: health insurance. Individuals who retire prior to age 65, when Medicare eligibility begins, need to find alternate options to cover medical, hospitalization and prescription drug costs . And that is no small issue. Health insurance premiums can chew up a considerable chunk of post-retirement income. Consequently, retirees under the age of 65 must examine all Read more [...]

7 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Appraisal Value

When you’re selling a home or refinancing, an appraisal is likely to be part of the process. The job of the appraiser is to determine what your home is worth on the current market, which may be a very different number from what you paid for it. If you’re fortunate, your home will have risen in value during the time you’ve lived there, making selling it at a profit or successfully refinancing your mortgage easier. But if the appraiser puts a lower value on your home, as was Read more [...]

5 Problems with Buying a House with a Friend

Buying an investment property can be a smart financial move. As you pay down the debt, you build equity in a property that – at least ideally – appreciates over time. Then there are the tax benefits. You get to deduct your rental expenses from any income you earn, including items such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, repair and maintenance costs, and property management, all of which saves you money at tax time. Ideally, the investment property also provides a Read more [...]