Friday, December 6, 2019

When and Why Should I Refinance My Loans?

Financial lenders typically try to structure a loan repayment plan in terms that are compatible with the borrower’s income and additional financial responsibilities. However, sometimes circumstances change, including the loss of employment or competing financial needs. 

This can lead to the borrower unintentionally missing payments or sending late payments, which can damage the person’s credit score. This and other reasons below may suggest the need to try and refinance any loans you may be struggling to pay back.

When to Refinance

The most common reason to refinance a loan is when your bills increase or your income decreases, making it difficult to meet your monthly loan payment. Rather than falling behind in your payment schedule and risking your credit score, ask about your eligibility to refinance the loan. 

The interest rate may change, and it may take longer to pay off the loan, but you will have a better chance to maintain a positive credit rating.

Another reason to refinance a loan is to free up some of your monthly loan payments for an upcoming special event. College graduation, getting married, reaching a work-related or personal milestone, and retirement is some of the popular events for which borrowers sometimes need extra cash to pay for related expenses. 

Lower monthly loan payment will help to finance those plans so you don’t have to take out another loan.

Why You Should Refinance

In addition to the reasons stated above of protecting your credit standing and having more cash flow each month for other expenses, you may want to refinance to get a better interest rate than the one you currently have on the loan. 

With a cash out refinance loan, you’ll get paid back the difference between the increased value of your home or the reduced payments from your old rates. Sometimes a special offer will appear, and you might want to take advantage of it by refinancing your loan to get smaller payments or a quicker payoff date.

Another incentive to refinance your loan could be the benefits that come with doing business at a certain bank or financial institution. 

By switching your loan to a different lender, you may be entitled to certain perks or better rates for other accounts through the new lending entity, such as a higher-interest-bearing savings account or a lower interest rate on a home mortgage if you are thinking of buying a home.

By refinancing your loan, you can avoid financial problems and possibly enhance your credit score as well as taking advantage of better offers related to interest or other accounts. Refinancing too often can hurt your credit rating, so be careful to reorganize your loan terms infrequently and for good reasons.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

4 Expenses You'll Need to Think About as You Approach Retirement

While the prospect of bidding farewell to employment entices most, many seniors fail to account for the added expenses that come with retirement. Though you’ll likely have some income coming your way, it’ll be considerably less than what you’ve grown accustomed to receiving. As you grow older, here are four expenses that you’ll want to be mindful of.


Old age generally gives rise to medical issues. With that said, you’ll need to account for frequent doctor visits and potential medications. On average, retirees rack up $500 a month in medical expenses. 

From deductibles and copays to premiums and coinsurance costs, there are various fees that come into play. To ensure that your savings account doesn’t take a hit, set aside ample funds to cover healthcare costs.

Funeral Needs

While this is a grim reality, death will inevitably rear its ugly head. When the time comes to commemorate your loss, you don’t want your loved ones to have to carry the financial burden. 

With that in mind, place enough money to the side so that your family members can tend to your funeral needs without dipping into their own wallets. Moreover, you’ll want to guarantee that you’re working with an affordable funeral home service like Damar Kaminski Funeral Home & Crematorium.


With so much free time on your hands, you’ll have nothing but opportunities to relax. Sitting inside all day can be a drag, so you’ll want to fill your time with activities that spark joy. Unless you can score some free leisure, these outings will generally cost money. 

If your budget doesn’t allow for frequent trips to the museum or movie theater, consider volunteering. Not only is this a free alternative, but it’ll also provide a chance to give back to the community.

In-Home Care

If you can no longer care for yourself, enlist the help of elderly care professionals. With their helping hands, you’ll be able to carry out daily activities with ease. Bear in mind that these services are rather costly. If this is the avenue you pursue, don’t be alarmed by the high rates. By accounting for this expense in advance, you’ll have enough funds at your disposal to cover the costs.

If retirement is right around the corner, there are numerous ways you can plan for your new lifestyle. Above are some common expenses that you’ll want to take into consideration.

Monday, December 2, 2019

How to Save Money on Repairs After a Car Accident

Almost every driver is going to be involved in at least a few accidents over the years, and those mishaps can become very expensive if you aren’t careful. Luckily, with a little patience and some professional assistance, you should be able to recoup your losses and move on with your life before you know it.

Contact Your Insurance Immediately

Every insurance company has slightly different regulations, but most of those providers require their clients to contact them within 24 hours of an auto accident. Failing to file a report within that time frame could void your insurance, and that mistake might end up costing you quite a bit of money. 

Once the report has been filed, the insurance representative should tell you where you can go for repairs and what is going to be covered.

Hire an Attorney

Unless the collision was nothing more than a minor fender bender with no injuries, you will probably want to contact an attorney. Insurance companies are always trying to increase their profits, and they often do everything in their power to pay out as little as possible. 

An auto accident attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance representatives so that you receive a fair settlement. They will also be able to represent you if the situation escalates into a trial.

Work With a Local Dealership

While smaller mechanic shops are a great option for minor repairs, you might want to head to a dealership if the damage is extensive. Most dealerships have larger service departments that can handle bigger projects, and some of them offer discounts to customers who purchased a vehicle through them.

It will also be much easier for the dealership to order replacement parts, and that should save you quite a bit of time and money.

Don’t Report Minor Dents and Dings

Every state has slightly different laws regarding what must be done after a minor accident. In most states, a driver doesn’t need to report an accident if no one was injured and less than $500 worth of damage occurred. 

For minor damage, paying the deductible could be more expensive than simply paying for the repairs yourself. You might not even need to have the damaged repaired if it is nothing more than scuffed paint or a scratched bumper.

If a recent accident has caused a huge leap in your insurance premiums, then you should consider taking a defensive driving course. Many insurance companies will reduce your monthly premiums if you take one of those courses within a few months of a collision.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Retire in Comfort: 5 Qualities to Look for in Your Retirement Community

After dedicating 20 years or more to your job, you’ve finally reached retirement. Now, you want to sit back, relax and enjoy the next chapter of your life. 

During your retirement, you may decide to go to a retirement community rather than look for a house. Unfortunately, looking for a retirement community isn’t always the easiest thing to do. 

There are certain qualities that you must look for and ask about when you’re looking for a comfortable community to retire in.

The Amenities

The first quality that you should look for in a retirement community is the amenities that come with it. Even if you want to live modestly, the community you’re looking to reside in should have the basics.

The basic amenities should include a gym or fitness center, internet access, a place for activities, an independent kitchen and security. Keep in mind that every retirement community is different and may not have certain amenities.

The Location

The next thing you need to look for is the location in which the community resides. In fact, the location is actually one of the most important factors when looking at retirement communities. As you search, try to see if there are any communities located near your family and friends.

How the Community Cares

Again, many retirement communities are different and have different ways of caring for their residents. If you’re someone who requires assistance to do daily activities, you need to make sure that the community offers the right kind of care. 

In addition, it’s in your best interest to see if a community has 24-hour emergency care. There are a few communities that don’t offer this, which can spell trouble if you have an accident.

The Staff

Before even thinking of paying a visit to a retirement community, always research the staff first. When it comes to senior care, you want to know you’re in good hands. During your visit, it’s also essential that you pay close attention to how the staff interacts and communicates with the current residents.

The Overall Community

Aside from the amenities and health care, you want to be in a community where you can feel like you’re living life. Retirement communities are meant to make life easier for seniors, not harder and stressful.

However, there are those few communities that are just out for a buck and don’t have much to offer. Naturally, you want to avoid those. If you don’t feel like the community is for you, then it’s best to keep looking until you find one that is.

Finding a place to spend your golden years doesn’t need to be difficult. Take your time, weigh your wants and needs and always tour more than one community before you make your decision.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

4 Ways Real Estate Investors Can Protect Their Assets

If you have recently decided to invest in real estate, then you need to start thinking about some ways that you can protect your personal assets. Even though this type of venture can be lucrative, there are potential pitfalls around every corner, and a minor mistake could wreak havoc on your finances if you aren’t diligent.

Find the Right Insurance

Your insurance is going to be incredibly important in the coming years, and you need to make sure that you invest in the right policies. Even if you don’t plan on having any tenants on your property, you must still have a solid insurance policy. 

Without the correct insurance policy, a natural disaster or personal injury case could end up costing you huge sums of money.

Work with an Investment Group

There are quite a few reasons why many real estate entrepreneurs join larger investment groups. In addition to giving you access to more resources, an investment group could also limit your risks. Most investment groups are LLCs, and that means the individual shareholders won’t be responsible for any major issues with the properties. 

You can also find a group that has an attorney on retainer, and that legal professional is going to be invaluable if a lawsuit takes place.

Create a Land Trust

Also known as a title holding trust, a land trust is a legal entity that could protect you and your assets from a wide variety of risks. When you use a land trust to purchase a piece of property, the title of that land won’t actually be in your name. 

While you can still manage that property, other parties won’t be able to go after your personal assets if any liability issues occur. As an added bonus, land trusts can also be paired with LLCs to further protect your assets.

Limit Your Spouse’s Liability

Even if your spouse is going to help you manage the property, you should still separate your family’s assets from your business enterprise as much as possible. In most states, lenders can’t go after a spouse’s assets unless they co-signed for the credit cards or loans. 

The homestead exemption should keep your primary residence safe as well, but you might want to speak with a tax adviser about that particular exemption.

In addition to these few tips, you should also make sure that you remain patient and never overextend yourself. It might be tempting to jump at the first piece of real estate that you find, but you need to consider all of the variables before you invest any money.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Want to Rent Your Home for Extra Cash? 4 Ways to Let Your Property Run Itself

Renting out your home can be an excellent way to make some extra money, but that type of project could become quite stressful if you aren’t careful. Luckily, with a few basic upgrades and some professional help, your property could practically run itself.

Hire a Property Manager

There are quite a few reasons why many landlords decide to hire property managers. In addition to limiting their risk of high tenant turnover, an experienced property manager can also minimize the amount of time that they need to spend on each piece of property. 

Those professionals can be hired to carry out a wide variety of important tasks, including finding and vetting tenants, collecting rent, and taking care of repairs.

Put Tenants in Charge of All Utilities

Covering a few expenses on your own could attract high-quality applicants, but all of the primary utilities should be signed over to your tenant. Once the utilities are in their name, you won’t have to worry about figuring out additional bills or collecting extra money each month. 

As an added bonus, switching the utilities over to a tenant will also limit your risk of a major blow to your credit if the bills aren’t paid on time.

Use Landlord Software

One of the best ways to simplify this process is to use high-quality landlord software. That type of software will allow you to save and track vital information, such as when rent is being paid and how much you are making on your property. 

Some landlord programs also make the process of finding a tenant much easier by allowing you to create eye-catching listings, organize incoming applications, and screen those who have applied.

Invest in Maintenance Contracts

It might be tempting to save some money by carrying out maintenance on your own, but that is only going to eat into your time. Even seemingly simple maintenance could take up hours every month, and that is why some landlords invest in maintenance contracts with local companies. 

Local contractors can help you take care of many different tasks that are going to keep your rental property running smoothly. That includes regular pest control, HVAC maintenance, electrical work, and minor plumbing repairs.

Before you rent out any type of property, you should always speak with some type of financial adviser or tax specialist. Becoming a landlord is going to have a huge impact on your finances, and you want to be absolutely sure that you don’t make any mistakes that could eat into your profits.

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