October 30th, 2014 11:06 AM by Korene L Clopine-Seaman
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. See what you can do to help advance a cure with the link at the end of this week's message.
Hope you have had a great week.
Last week was National Fire Prevention Week. This is a good time to replace the batteries in you smoke detectors and talk with your family about your fire escape plans. Maybe even take a trip to your local home improvement center and buy a fire extinguisher and escape ladders for second story bedrooms. See the story about cooking fires and link below for more information.
With the holidays just around the corner I found an article on how to save before the various preparations and celebrations begin .
Low rates encourage shorter mortgages
By Polyana da Costa • Bankrate.com
As mortgage rates hover near record lows, a growing number of homeowners consider shorter-term loans to pay off their mortgages earlier and regain equity at a faster pace. Is this a smart move or risky game?
The benchmark 30-year and 15- year fixed-rate mortgages both rose three basis points, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. One year ago, the mortgage index stood at 4.38 percent.
The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose four basis points.
The extremely low rates on 15-year loans represent a rare opportunity for refinancers who currently have a mortgage with an interest rate in the 5 percent or 6 percent range.
"With mortgage rates ultralow, the payment shock of a 15-year mortgage is muted," says Dan Green, a loan officer at Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati. "Homeowners see this -- and the chance to drive down long-term interest costs -- and they take it."
Is a shorter-term loan for you?Whether or not you are underwater on your mortgage, the decision to go with a shorter-term loan should be evaluated carefully, mortgage professionals say.
Shorter-term loans can save homeowners hundreds of dollars a month and thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. They are a useful tool to recoup some of the equity lost during the housing crash. But when a shorter-term loan means higher monthly payments, homeowners should revisit their finances and rethink their job stability.
"When in doubt, use the longer loan term," Green says. "You can always add more principal to your 30-year mortgage payment. You can't send less with your 15-year payment, however."
Not as short but more affordableAnother option for those who really want to get rid of their mortgages sooner is a 20-year mortgage, Sinnott says.
"The 20-year has been very popular," he says. "The payments are not as a high as the payments of 15-year but not as long as 30-year. You get the best of both worlds."
For the full story click on the link below.
Mortgages bump up
Rate Trend Index By Bankrate.com
Last Week, 20 percent of the panelists believe mortgage rates would rise over the next week or so, 13 percent thought rates would fall, and 67 believed rates would remain relatively unchanged. Rates where UP This week,(Oct. 18-24), 43 percent of the panelists believe mortgage rates will rise over the next week or so, 14 percent think rates will fall, and another 43 percent believe rates will remain relatively unchanged (plus or minus 2 basis points).
43% Up14% Down43% Unchanged
The Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee meets Oct. 23 and 24, and they're not going to do anything unpredictable. I'll ignore the epistemological implications of that prediction, and say simply that in the absence of surprise, mortgage rates will remain steady. UNCHANGED-(Last weeks prediction UNCHANGED), Holden Lewis Assistant managing editor, Bankrate.com
Rates should make a temporary bump higher as stocks climb. They will move back lower as the Fed continues to be a buyer. UP-(Last weeks prediction DOWN), Barry Habib CEO, Mortgage Market Guide, Holmdel, N.J.
The 10-year Treasury is trading at 1.79 percent, which is up 10 basis points from last week, and all of that happened Wednesday morning with the news of the housing starts. Again, rates will trade in a narrow range until we have our new (or old) president, and will be very focused on economic news. There will continue to be a push-and-pull effect, with the Fed trying to keep rates down and the market pushing them up with economic news.UNCHANGED-(Last weeks prediction UNCHANGED), Mitch Ohlbaum Vice president of business development, Mortgage Capital Associates, Los Angeles
The techs are all bearish. We should see slightly higher mortgage rates until month's end. Many large banks are still not willing to make sizable commitments to mortgage lending because of the uncertainty generated by the Dodd-Frank-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What lenders want is a clear set of definitions as to what needs to be in a loan file to guarantee that the absence of some yet undefined piece of paper does not force them to buy back a mortgage. These undefined lending standards are preventing a stronger recovery in housing. U- (Last weeks prediction UNCHANGED), Dick Lepre Senior loan officer, RPM Mortgage, San Francisco
Over the last few days, we have seen a spike in U.S. Treasury yields and a corresponding rise in mortgage rates. Rumors of an imminent bailout of Spain, coupled with Moody's Investor Service maintaining Spain's investment grade rating, have led to a rally in the sovereign debt of Spain and Italy, and a sell-off in the traditional safe havens of U.S. and German debt. This will not last, as the underlying insolvency of periphery of Europe still has not been addressed. Because of this, I expect a reversal of the current rally and a return to the "flight to safety," which will lower U.S. Treasury yields and mortgage rates in the coming week. DOWN- ( Last week's prediction UNCHANGED) Michael Becker Mortgage banker, WCS Funding Group, Lutherville, Md.
A mix of good news and not-so-good news, both domestically and overseas, coupled with some hints of inflationary data (inflation is the archenemy of bonds) have mortgage interest rates trading in a very narrow range. Interest rates are still very near their all-time record-low levels, making this an ideal time to buy, build or refinance. Remember, there are some incredible refinancing options available for "underwater" homeowners, too, right now. With record volumes of loans being processed currently, it is important to provide your documentation in a timely manner and to be patient!UNCHANGED-(Last weeks prediction UNCHANGED ), David Kuiper Mortgage planner, First Place Bank, Holland, Mich.
** NOTE BANKRATE.COM SAYS UNCHANGED is plus or minus 2 basis points.
To see more of the experts' comments click on the link below.
Rate Trend Index
9 ways to manage holiday spending By Dana Dratch • Bankrate.com
Want to save a little money on the holidays this year?
The best tips are the old standbys: Start early, stock up and be flexible. But don't be afraid to brainstorm a few low-cost alternatives to some of your pricier holiday habits.
"Everybody's looking at their pocketbook," says Jill Gianola, CFP professional and author of "The Young Couple's Guide to Growing Rich Together."
If you're thinking about it, "chances are someone else in the family is, too," she says.
So don't panic if you think the family is expecting piles of presents or a costly trip. Look at your budget, and be realistic. One key to making it work is to get everyone involved in the decision, Gianola says. "Say, 'This is what we'd like to do, but what other things can we think of?' It's about expectations."
Want to enjoy a festive old time without the lingering January debt? Here are nine things you can do now to cut holiday spending without jeopardizing any of the fun.
Take inventory of your holiday stuffBefore you go out and buy wrapping paper and tape, check your closet. You may have some left over from last year.
"One thing I suggest is to look at what you've purchased (that's) leftover from last year," says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for Consumer Action. "Take inventory."
Another strategy that can help you see what you already have is to "keep all of your holiday stuff in one area," she says. Once you have it out, test it. "If you have decorations, get them out and plug them in, so you know what you have." That way, you aren't needlessly buying extra just because you see it in the stores.
You also won't be running around at the last minute looking for replacement bulbs or a new strand of lights.
Draft a spending planThe kids probably don't even know what they'll be asking Santa for yet. But you probably know about how much you want to spend for the holidays. So this is the time to strategize -- before the music, ads and crowds cloud your thinking.
"Go over everything in your mind," and include it in your budget, says Sherry.
Don't forget incidentals such as extra stamps for greeting cards or supplies for holiday baking.
Once you've created a budget or spending plan, "Start putting money away for it every week," she says.
"In our family, we actually start in July," says Andy Byron, financial adviser and partner with HC Financial Advisors in Lafayette, Calif.
"We take the budget, divide by five and add one additional month -- for January sales," he says. That way, they have a little left to pick up bargains after the holidays, he says. And that savings buffer can also come in handy if extra little gifts are needed during the holidays, he says.
Pay down your credit cardslanning to use your credit cards for some of the gifts this year? If you have balances, now's the time to plan ahead and wipe them out, says Sherry. Especially if those balances are from last year's holiday. "You never want to get to next Christmas without paying off last Christmas."
If you still have some debt left over from last Christmas, don't choose between saving for the upcoming holiday and wiping out last year's balances.
"Try to do a little of both," she says. "You don't want to put all of your holiday needs on a credit card -- it will have a tendency to mushroom if you're adding on to what you have on from last year." Keep this year's budget to what you can (comfortably) pay off at the end of the month in order to minimize added interest.
Consider (limited) craftingDo you suddenly realize -- in early December -- that you could have saved a lot of money using your evening TV time for some fun, crafty projects for holiday gifts or decorations?
Start now, and you will have time to actually make it happen.
But craftiness, like garlic, has to be used sparingly.
Stick with things you've done before, and keep the list of recipients to those who would truly appreciate your work. The point is to share the fruits of a hobby you love, not to set up a sweatshop.
For full story, click on the link below.
Cooking equipment remains top cause of home structure fires according to NFPA report
According to a new report released by NFPA, cooking remains top cause of home structure fires. U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 371,700 home structure fires annually between 2006 and 2010. These fires caused an estimated average of 2,590 civilian deaths and .2 billion in direct property damage yearly. Based on research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the report also cited that cooking was the number one cause of home structure fires. CPSC found that in 2004-2005, for every household cooking fire reported to the fire department, U.S. households experienced 50 cooking equipment fires that they did not report. Forty-two percent of reported home fires started in the kitchen or cooking area. These fires were the third leading cause of home fire deaths (15 percent) and leading cause of home fire injuries (37 percent). Other notable findings from the report include:
Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2012 NFPA click for more information.
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Warriors in Pink and the Ford Warriors in Pink line of wear and gear. 100% of the net proceeds from all wear and gear sales is dedicated to the cause with donations going to charities that offer a wide-range of support. Ford Warriors in Pink also uses an unusually broad outreach from sponsorship of Komen Race for the Cure™ to inclusion in popular TV shows and magazines to endorsements by celebrities.The goal is to keep the topic of breast cancer part of everyday conversation and encourage women and men to engage in self-exams. Greater awareness can lead to earlier diagnosis, which in turn, could save lives. 100% of the net proceeds from Warriors in Pink wear and gear help fight breast cancer. And you get to choose which charity it will go to.
You can also register to win the all-new 2013 Warriors in Pink Ford Escape.*
For more information, click on the link below.
WARRIORS IN PINK
Visit the Susan G. Komen Foundation
Want to know if you're able to give blood? Review
donor eligibility guidelines.
Have a wonderful weekend!