Musical Fund – Jose Carlos Matos http://josecarlosmatos.com/ Fri, 30 Sep 2022 06:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://josecarlosmatos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/cropped-icon-32x32.png Musical Fund – Jose Carlos Matos http://josecarlosmatos.com/ 32 32 How to pay off debt with smartER’s equity release https://josecarlosmatos.com/how-to-pay-off-debt-with-smarters-equity-release/ Fri, 30 Sep 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/how-to-pay-off-debt-with-smarters-equity-release/

Published:
7:00 a.m. September 30, 2022



Last week, the Bank of England raised base interest rates by 0.5 percentage points to 2.25%, pushing borrowing costs to their highest level since 2008.

Base interest rates are expected to continue to rise and reach 3% by the end of the year and 4.25% by August 2023, a trajectory that would translate into mortgage interest rates of at least minus 5.5%.

Economists argue that a policy of gradually raising interest rates remains the most powerful weapon to combat runaway inflation and, as Bank of England projections suggest that CPI inflation will reach 13.3% by November, we should get used to higher borrowing costs.

Soaring inflation has a particularly detrimental impact on people living on fixed incomes, an unenviable position that many people on the cusp of retirement can easily contemplate. A significant number of people who may have recently retired are experiencing their first bitter taste of the damage inflation can inflict on their finances.

Retiring with large and costly debt is often seen as a mistake because every penny of debt you have to pay off reduces your retirement income. However, it’s also true that while settling all your debts at once can bring a huge sense of relief, if such an action decimates your retirement kitty, you’re unlikely to enjoy a carefree retirement. . It follows that it makes a lot of sense to prioritize the types of debt you need to reduce before taking steps to fix it.

Ideally, retirees would have paid off their debts years before they stopped working for the last time. But in reality, many end up with a large residual balance on their mortgage, plus perhaps an outstanding car loan and a handful of credit card debt. As interest rates continue to climb, paying off costly debt is a priority for those planning to retire soon.

Credit card interest rates currently hover around 20%, meaning borrowers pay £1 for every £5 they borrow. Paying such high interest rates would have a noticeable impact on your finances at any time, let alone when you plan to retire.

Similarly, following a relatively recent explosion in the means of financing a new car (personal contract rental; personal contract purchase; personal loan; hire-purchase; balloon hire-purchase, etc.), check the level of interest that you’re currently carrying pay and figuring out if you need a big car in retirement could save you a small fortune.

Paying off a mortgage before retirement is a common and understandable goal among future retirees. People who have achieved this (and it’s a feat) note how much more relaxed they feel: some claim it has improved their quality of life – an observation that should not be ignored, but given due consideration. into account in any decision to permanently abandon the mortgage.

“Debt consolidation, whereby all of an individual’s debts, including loans, credit cards, mortgages, and overdrafts, are merged into a single loan can be a smart strategy for people on the cusp of retirement,” notes Mark Gregory, managing director of Equity Release Supermarket.

“In addition, people aged 55 and over who own their own home may be able to free up funds from their property with which to pay off all of their outstanding debt,” Gregory adds.

For many, the growing appeal of capital release is due to one particularly attractive feature: senior homeowners can release some of their property value into tax-free funds without having to make regular repayments if they wish. wish. The most popular form of capital release is using a “life mortgage” to withdraw funds from the home. Interest is added to the mortgage, with the total paid off either when you die or when you enter a long-term care facility.

Earlier this year, Equity Release Supermarket launched More intelligent, a unique search engine that matches equity release offers in real time with user needs. The platform is completely free and no credit check is required.

“smartER has been a huge success,” says Mark Gregory, “and it’s perhaps remarkable that one of the most popular applications for products like lifetime mortgages is debt consolidation.

“It’s very easy to use: just enter your details, click on your plan requirements and More intelligent will search the entire market in real time and show you a range of options depending on your personal situation.

“A shortlist will detail each plan and show exactly how much you could borrow. You can also refine your results using a range of filters.

As interest rates rise in an attempt to reduce inflation, older homeowners with outstanding loans may consider checking out smartER, a particularly smart move.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The week in numbers.

This column is for general information only and should not be considered financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional advisor.

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To Keep Your Credit Score High, Pay Attention to This Sneaky Factor https://josecarlosmatos.com/to-keep-your-credit-score-high-pay-attention-to-this-sneaky-factor/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 10:15:02 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/to-keep-your-credit-score-high-pay-attention-to-this-sneaky-factor/

What’s in a credit score? First, there are many types of credit scores, but the two most important — VantageScore and FICO — focus on key credit factors such as your payment history, debt composition, average age of your credit accounts, and “off-marks” such as bankruptcies or defaults.

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One important part of your credit score that doesn’t always get as much attention as the rest is your credit utilization rate, or the amount of available credit you’re currently using. Unlike most other factors, your credit ratio can change from week to week, or even day to day, and it can account for up to 30% of your credit score.

Find out how the credit ratio affects your credit score and how you can optimize it to increase or maintain your high credit score.

To learn more, find out how debt consolidation and student loan forgiveness could affect your credit score.

What is my credit utilization rate?

Simply put, your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your available credit that you are using. For a basic example, if you have a credit card with a limit of $1,000 and your current balance is $200, your credit ratio is $200/$1,000, or 20%.

VantageScore will only consider revolving credit or credit card accounts in calculating your credit utilization rate. FICO will consider your credit score as part of its “Amounts Due” category, which is the total amount of debt you have.

It is important to remember that VantageScore and FICO monitor your total credit usage (using the balances and credit limits of all your credit cards) as well as ratios for each of your individual accounts. If your overall ratio is moderately low, but you’ve maxed out on one card, it could lower your credit score.

Perhaps most importantly, the credit bureaus do not calculate your credit utilization rate using your current credit card balances. They calculate it using the account balances that your credit card issuers report to the credit bureaus. Each issuer has its own system, but the numbers reported are often your monthly statement balances.

Even if you pay off your credit card balance every month, if you have a high credit ratio at any point in your billing cycle, it could hurt your credit score.

What is a good credit utilization rate?

“It is generally recommended that your credit card balances be maintained at 30% or less of your assigned credit limit,” said Bruce McClary, senior vice president of National Credit Counseling Foundationtold CNET.

While a credit ratio of 30% or less is the general guideline, those who want excellent credit scores will need to keep it even lower. According to the rating company Experian“If your focus is on great credit scores, a single-digit credit utilization ratio is best.”

“The truth is, the lower your balance, the better. The more you carry, the more it could lower your score,” Todd Christensen, head of education at Money adjustmenttold CNET.

But do not aim for a credit ratio of 0%. Experian also says that “the only way to be sure that you have 0% usage all the time is to refrain from using your credit cards at all”, which could lead to your account being closed by a issuer, reducing your available credit and increasing your ratio.

How can I reduce my credit utilization rate?

Since the credit ratio is an expression of the money borrowed divided by the credit limit, the main ways to reduce this ratio are to reduce your debt and increase your credit limit. Here are the best ways to achieve this.

First, pay off your debt as much as you can

The simplest answer to lowering your credit ratio – paying off your debt – can also be the hardest to achieve. If you can reduce your debt, however, you’ll get a double win – in addition to lowering your credit ratio, you’ll also save money in finance charges, i.e. the interest you pay on your debt. credit card.

Then ask for a higher credit card limit

Increasing your credit limit will help lower your credit ratio, as the amount you owe is now a smaller percentage of the maximum you can borrow. It’s easy to request a credit card limit increase – just call the phone number on the back of your card and speak to a representative.

Before asking for a higher limit, however, keep a few things in mind. This strategy only works if you don’t increase your balance owing. If a higher limit tempts you to spend more, you might want to reconsider.

Also ask your credit card representative if the company will arrange a firm credit check before approving your request. Although a higher limit improves your ratio, a thorough investigation could lower your credit score by 5 to 10 points for about a year.

Set up credit card balance alerts

Most credit cards now allow you to create online notifications for your account, including your balance amount. These can be emails, text messages, or alerts through your credit card’s website.

To protect your credit ratio, set up an alert that notifies you when your balance reaches 25% of your credit limit. This balance level will give you some padding to make sure you stay below the recommended ratio of 30%.

Keep your old credit cards and use them a little

If you have older credit cards that you don’t use much or at all, don’t cancel them. You will only reduce your overall credit availability and hurt your credit ratio, as well as your average credit age.

However, if you don’t use a credit card at all, the issuer may cancel it for lack of activity. Instead, use old cards sparingly, like buying every few months, to keep your accounts open and your total available credit high.

Once you know the principles of the credit utilization ratio, you can use these tactics to lower your ratio and boost your credit score.

To learn more about best practices for good credit scores, find out how build credit quickly and how to get a free weekly credit report until the end of the year.

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Kevin Joyce remains bullish on mortgage activity; Pre-approvals at all times https://josecarlosmatos.com/kevin-joyce-remains-bullish-on-mortgage-activity-pre-approvals-at-all-times/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 15:38:26 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/kevin-joyce-remains-bullish-on-mortgage-activity-pre-approvals-at-all-times/

RCBJ-Audible (Listen for free)

RCBJ talks mortgages, technology and interest rates with the president of QuestStar Mortgage & Joyce Realty

National Mortgage News, Bloomberg and other outlets have reported steady layoffs in the mortgage origination and servicing industry, with additional layoffs expected if/when rates rise again. Layoffs affect big players, with small and medium mortgage brokers fighting back. RCBJ is meeting with Kevin Joyce to find out where to market it currently. He is also looking to hire a full-time loan processor.

Q What’s going on at QuestStar? Are you experiencing a slowdown in origination/refinancing activity?

Kevin Joyce

A While we, like everyone else, are seeing fewer refinances, we are seeing an increase in mortgage buying activity. In fact, our pre-approvals are at an all-time high. We are also seeing an increase in new listings in our markets, which is creating demand for mortgages.

Q Have AI (artificial intelligence) and technology affected you negatively? Or positively?

A To date, we have not seen any impact of AI on our business. Technology is our friend. It increases our reach and allows potential QuestStar Mortgage customers to access our website and complete an online mortgage application. QuestStarmortgage.com.

Q With the relaxation of rules on being able to issue loans via the internet from any broker or lender, how do you retain your market share/customers?

A QuestStar Mortgage has been authorized to take out loans online. Improving the rules should therefore help us increase our market share. Consumers can visit QuestStarmortgage.com to view our extensive portfolio of products and services, including HELOCS (Home Equity Lines of Credit).

Q What new tools are available to your business to help it stay competitive? Without giving away any secrets, how do you maintain your volume, and if you can’t, how can you earn the same income or additional income from fewer trades? Or is it about reducing costs and optimizing the business?

A In response to rising interest rates, we started offering a Lock & Shop product. This allows us to offer rate locks for up to 180 days (about six months), which is excellent in a rising interest rate environment.

Q Have you had trouble keeping staff or finding new recruits? Good brokers and administrators are valuable. What are you doing to keep them? Has your growth temporarily slowed down?

A We are a small organization, but we are growing rapidly. We need to hire an additional full-time loan processor on site. We offer a base salary, waivers on closed loans and a limited benefits package. If you know any experienced loan processors looking, have them send their resumes to kjoyce@queststarmortgage.com.

Q What do you see for the future regarding tariffs? 12 months? 24 months?

A Based on the FED’s actions and indications, they plan to institute up to seven rate hikes in 2022. 5%, then to continue to increase in 2023 between 3.75% and 4 percent. To put that into perspective, rates are still within normal ranges and a far cry from the all-time US high of 16.63% in 1981.

Q What factors are you basing your predictions on? What recommendations do you make to clients? Secure the rate now before it goes up? Or wait until rates come down a bit?

A We rely on market conditions and facts to make recommendations to our clients. At this point we suggest our client to go ahead and launch an app and use our stop and lock product to lock in current rates before we see any further rate increases.

Q Will it be easy to refinance in a year or two?

A Refinancing is a simple procedure. Families have many financing needs, whether it’s for education, a car, home renovations or debt consolidation. Even at current mortgage rates of around 6%, this rate is often lower than personal loan interest rates and offers a longer repayment schedule. For people with equity in their home, refinancing is an attractive option.

Kevin Joyce, a licensed real estate and mortgage broker, owns QuestStar Mortgage & Joyce Realty. The company has offices in New York and New Jersey

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How to Use the Debt Snowball Method: A Step-by-Step Guide https://josecarlosmatos.com/how-to-use-the-debt-snowball-method-a-step-by-step-guide/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:19:04 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/how-to-use-the-debt-snowball-method-a-step-by-step-guide/

Katleho Seisa/Getty Images

Those looking to break free from debt will likely succeed by adopting a financial strategy or method. The The debt snowball method, first popularized by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, is one such strategy. Find out if the debt snowball method is the way to go for you.

Read: This credit score mistake could cost Americans millions

What you need to know about the debt snowball method

The debt snowball method is a widely used approach to paying off debt, along with other methods, such as the debt avalanche method and debt consolidation. With the debt snowball method, you categorize and pay debts individually, starting with the smallest and “snowballing” until they are all paid off. It lets you feel the accomplishment of paying the debt and encourages you to keep going until you are debt free.

How long does it take?

The time it takes depends on the amount of debt and the money you can invest in paying off the debt. The debt snowball method can take longer than other methods because it prioritizes paying off the smallest debts first, not the highest interest ones.

Advantages and disadvantages of the debt snowball method

The debt snowball method may work better for some people than for others. Understanding its pros and cons will help you decide if this is the right solution.

Advantages

Once you feel the satisfaction of paying off your first debt, you’re more likely to be motivated to keep going because people tend to stick with a payment plan if they see quick results. Simply put, you’re more likely to stick to your commitment to debt freedom when you use the debt snowball method.

The inconvenients

Some of your larger debts may have higher interest rates than others, so this method may not be the most effective. You could end up paying more interest than if you had prioritized paying off debts with the highest interest rates first.

debt snowball method infographic

How do you apply the debt snowball method?

The snowball method is a simple process. Consider how you would apply the following steps to your financial situation.

1. Write down your debts

Record all your debts from smallest to largest.

2. Track your minimum payments

Control your other debts by paying at least the minimum due.

2. Pay off your smallest debt

Make only minimum payments on all but the smallest debt. Pay as much money as you can on the smallest debt each month until it’s paid off.

3. Start with the next debt

Put the money you used for the first debt on your next smaller debt. This is the “snowball” part. The less debt you have, the more you can focus on paying off one debt instead of several minimum payments.

5. Repeat the process until you are debt free

Continue to pay your debts one by one, from the smallest to the largest. If you follow this process, you may find that getting out of debt isn’t as complicated as it seems.

What should you do once you are debt free?

The journey to free yourself from debt can seem daunting, but paying off your debt could be the best investment you can make for your future. Now that you know the debt snowball method, decide if it’s right for you. Whether you choose this method of debt repayment or another, the sooner you take your first steps, the closer you will be to financial security.

Melanie Grafil contributed reporting for this article.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create accurate, unbiased and up-to-date content. We check every stat, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to ensure that the information we provide is correct. You can read more about GOBankingRates processes and standards in our Editorial Policy.

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Top 10 Strategies to Boost Your Credit Score in No Time https://josecarlosmatos.com/top-10-strategies-to-boost-your-credit-score-in-no-time/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 11:48:12 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/top-10-strategies-to-boost-your-credit-score-in-no-time/

Your credit score is the most important indication of your financial situation. It gives lenders a quick snapshot of your credit usage habits. As your score increases, you automatically have a better chance of being approved for new loans or lines of credit. Also, if you have a higher credit score, you might be able to borrow money at the lowest interest rates.

If you want to know more about credit rates, feel free to visit EndImpact. Now let’s take action. What are the best ways to quickly improve your credit score?

Photo, Dylan Gillis.

#1: Review your credit reports

Your credit report should be your first step if you want to increase your credit score because it contains the data that forms the basis of your credit score. Your debt, repayment history, and credit management are all included in your credit report. It could also contain details of your overdue invoices, repossessions and bankruptcies.

#2: Disputed Credit Report Errors

You are entitled to an accurate credit report, which means you can dispute any inaccuracies by contacting the appropriate credit reporting agency, which has 30 days to review the issue.

Your credit score can be negatively affected by errors, which can result from data entry errors made by creditors, social security numbers, birthdays or easily exchangeable addresses, or data theft.

#3: Target 30% or less credit utilization

The percentage of your credit limit that you are currently using is called your credit utilization.

The easiest way to control your credit usage is to pay off your credit card balance in full each month. If you still can’t do this, a good rule of thumb is to keep your total outstanding amount at 30% of your total credit limit or less.

The next step is to focus on reducing it to 10% or less, as this is what is advised to increase your credit score.

Top 10 Strategies to Boost Your Credit Score in No Time

Photo, Sophie Dupau.

#4: Avoid applying for new credit cards

Avoid submitting new credit applications while you try to restore your credit. The lender will frequently perform a “thorough investigation” when you apply for new credit, which is a credit check that appears on your credit report and affects your credit score.

Your level of risk as a borrower is reflected in the number of credit accounts you have recently opened and the number of difficult applications you have received. therefore, these two factors account for 10% of your credit score.

#5: Eliminate past due balances

A major factor affecting your credit is your payment history, which accounts for 35% of your credit score. Your credit score suffers more the longer you go without making payments.

After reducing new credit card purchases, use the money you’ve saved to pay off your outstanding card balances before they’re charged (the licensor has closed the account for future use) or given to a agency collection.

#6: Eliminate your debt

You will need to start paying off this debt in order to improve your credit score because the percentage of your total credit that you hold in debt is 30% of your credit score.

Think of the debt avalanche approach and the debt snowball method if you have positive cash flow, meaning you’re making more money than you owe.

Top 10 Strategies to Boost Your Credit Score in No Time

Photo, CardMapr.nl.

#7: Leave accounts open

It’s rare to cancel a credit card to boost your credit score. Make sure closing an account won’t do the bare minimum to your credit before you do so. You might be tempted to cancel overdue credit card accounts, but the balance will remain on your credit report until it’s paid in full. It is advisable to keep the account active and make payments on time each month to reduce the balance.

#8: Use credit monitoring to track your progress

Credit monitoring programs make it easy to track changes in your credit score. These services, many of which are free, keep tabs on changes to your credit report, including a refunded account or a newly created account.

Many of the best credit monitoring programs can help you avoid fraud and identity theft.

#9: Consider Debt Consolidation

If you have a lot of outstanding debt, it may be beneficial for you to get a debt consolidation loan from a bank or credit union and use that to pay them all off. Since you only have to worry about one payment, if you can get a loan with a lower interest rate, you can pay off your debt faster. It could improve your credit score and reduce the amount of credit you use.

#10: Talk to your creditors

Although calling your credit card provider may be the last thing you want to do, you might be happy with the help you can get. Communicate with your creditors about your situation if you are having trouble.

Many companies offer short-term hardship plans that will lower your interest rate or monthly payments while you work to get back on your feet. They might even be able to reach a mutually beneficial deal if you let them know you might miss an upcoming payment.

Conclusion

Raising your credit score is smart, especially if you want to get one of the best credit cards or take out a loan to buy an important item like a new vehicle or a new house.

However, keep in mind that improving your score may take a few weeks or even months. So, while patience isn’t a factor in calculating your credit score, it’s a quality you’ll need while working to restore your credit.

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Things you didn’t know you could do with a personal loan https://josecarlosmatos.com/things-you-didnt-know-you-could-do-with-a-personal-loan/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 20:47:01 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/things-you-didnt-know-you-could-do-with-a-personal-loan/

Personal loans are installment loans with fixed monthly payments. Although they generally require you to have a good credit score to qualify, they can be a great choice for consumers who need some flexibility in how they spend their money.

Personal loans also tend to have lower annual percentage rates, or APRs, than traditional credit cards. According to The latest data from the Federal Reservein May 2022, the average interest rate for a 24-month personal loan was 8.73% while the average APR for interest-bearing credit cards (for cardholders who carried a balance) was 16, 65%.

If you’re considering taking out a personal loan to cover medical bills, home repairs, or other expenses, Select provides a more detailed look below at what you can and cannot use to pay for a personal loan.

Subscribe to the Select newsletter!

Our top picks delivered to your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help you improve your life, delivered weekly. register here.

A few caveats about personal loans

What can personal loans be used for

Beginner personal loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, marriage, moving or medical

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

    FICO or Vantage score of 600 (but will accept applicants whose credit history is so poor that they have no credit score)

  • Assembly costs

    0% to 8% of target amount

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

    Greater of 5% of monthly amount past due or $15

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    3.99% to 19.99%* when you sign up for autopay

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, renovation, car financing, medical expenses, marriage and more

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

Fees to know

There are several fees associated with personal loans that you should be aware of. For starters, you may encounter late fees if you don’t make your payment on time or prepayment penalty charges, intended to discourage borrowers from prepaying their loan, if you manage to repay your loan before the term of the loan term. ends.

Finally, there may be a an origination fee, or fee for making the loan, which is usually represented as a percentage of the loan and deducted from the original loan amount. Origination fees can vary from 1% to 5% and many lenders do not charge any origination fees, such as Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans and LightStreammentioned above.

Also select rated PenFed Personal Loans and Discover personal loans among the best personal lenders based on several factors, including no origination fees, no prepayment penalty fees, and the length of the approval process.

PenFed Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, medical bills, car financing and more

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

Discover personal loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

    36, 48, 60, 72 and 84 months

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

At the end of the line

There are very few things that personal loans cannot pay for. However, it’s still important to check the fine print and terms of your loan, as using it for prohibited expenses could force you to pay it back immediately.

Check out Select’s in-depth coverage at personal finance, technology and tools, The well-being and more, and follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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6 tips to stop getting scammed https://josecarlosmatos.com/6-tips-to-stop-getting-scammed/ Mon, 12 Sep 2022 21:03:24 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/6-tips-to-stop-getting-scammed/
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

Before you send money to a company for a product or service, ask yourself some key questions. If you don’t, you could easily be disappointed and scammed.

Rather than finding out too late, be sure to review a few basics before responding to any solicitation or advertisement. Avoid offers that do any of the following.

Contain the word ‘millions’

Worker with a briefcase full of money
Just Dance / Shutterstock.com

No reputable person would ever start hinting that you are going to make millions of dollars. Why? Because that automatically makes the claim absurd.

If you knew one sure way to earn millions of dollars, what would you do?

  1. Earn millions of dollars.
  2. Go on TV or the Internet and try to sell this information to other people.

People who say their idea can make millions of dollars are either idiots for not doing it themselves or liars. And it’s not a good idea to send money to one or the other.

Promise “anyone” can do it

The man points to the biceps
Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.com

Here is a copy-paste of an ad, typical of many:

“Can you point and click? Enter a web address? Follow simple step-by-step instructions? Live in the United States or Canada? Then you too have what it takes!”

Stop for a moment and think how ridiculous that promise is. Are we supposed to believe that this idea is so simple that a 5 year old can earn hundreds of dollars in their free time?

Again, the person peddling this promise is either a liar or an idiot.

Contain the word “secret”

Calm student in a library
Joyja_Lee / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to making money, there aren’t too many secrets. But if the offer uses the word “secret”, you’ll probably be expected to dump your cash without any concrete idea of ​​what you’re buying.

If someone came to your door today and offered to sell you a plain brown box for $34.95 with the sole promise that you’d like what’s inside, would you buy it? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you respond to an ad containing the word “secret.”

Come with testimonials

Smart seller
pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Completely ignore testimonials. Just pretend they’re not there. Do not read them, look at them, or pay any attention to them in any way.

Instead, evaluate the idea. Testimonials can easily be completely made up. Use your brain – not someone else’s delusions – to evaluate an offer.

Offer unverified “facts”

Woman thinking about her phone plan
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

As a journalist, I constantly come across “facts” and “studies” from sources that have an obvious ax to grind. What do I do with stuff like that? If I cannot personally verify the information, I do not include it in my story.

In other words, if it’s not verifiable, it didn’t happen. Period. And if it is verifiable, the people with the ax to grind should make it easy to verify. If they can’t or won’t, wouldn’t that mean they’re probably lying? Of course it is.

Do not include contact details

Senior looking for something she lost
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

If a company does not offer a phone number, email address, and physical address, it could be located in Nigeria, as far as you know.

At a minimum, such a lack of information suggests that the company doesn’t want you to know where they are, which isn’t very reassuring if you’re sending them money. When dealing with a company that doesn’t provide a physical address, email them and ask for it. If the company doesn’t have an email — or does, but doesn’t respond to your request — ask yourself why.

If it Is answer, check the address. If you can’t, ask yourself why.

For more tips on avoiding scams, check out “10 Golden Rules to Avoid Getting Scammed”.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.

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Using a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt https://josecarlosmatos.com/using-a-personal-loan-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt/ Fri, 09 Sep 2022 19:47:53 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/using-a-personal-loan-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt/

Credit card debt can quickly turn into a cycle of endless payments. Fortunately, there are several solutions if you are looking to anticipate your debt and pay it off more quickly.

One way is to apply for a personal loan to effectively transfer your debt from your credit card issuer to a personal lender and hopefully get a lower interest rate and better repayment options. By doing so, you’ll likely pay less interest in the long run and eventually be able to get out of debt. There are also a few other options worth considering if you want to consolidate your debt effectively and affordably.

Below, Select details what you need to know about using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt and how to get started.

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Benefits of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

Credit card debt has skyrocketed recently as Americans continue to face record inflation for daily consumer goods such as gasoline and groceries. Unfortunately, such trends can create a slippery slope since credit cards tend to have high interest rates, allowing consumers to get into debt even faster.

If you’ve found yourself in a credit card debt loop, you might want to consider using a personal loan. Here are two reasons why using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt might make sense for your situation.

Personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards

According to most recent data from the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate in May 2022 was 15.13%. During the same month, personal loan interest rates averaged 8.73% for a 24-month loan.

Let’s say you have $8,000 in credit card debt that you would like to pay off. If you kept your credit card balance, you would end up paying $1,326 in interest. If instead you applied for a personal loan and paid it off over two years, you would end up paying $747 in interest, a difference of $579 in interest.

And keep in mind that these interest rates are just averages. LightStream, Select’s overall best choice for personal loans, offers APRs ranging from just 3.99% to 19.99% when you sign up for autopay, depending on your terms. So your savings can be even greater.

You can reduce the number of monthly payments you have

If you happen to have more than one credit card with a revolving statement balance, opting for a concise monthly payment with a personal loan could be helpful. Rather than concentrating your efforts in several places, you will have all your debts in one place and can devote your energy to paying them off. Also, the more money you invest in the personal loan, the faster you can pay it off and the less interest you will pay.

Disadvantages of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

However, using personal loans to pay off credit card debt is not without risk. Here are some cons to consider before applying.

Personal loans could lead to more debt

If you decide to go this route, it’s important to use a personal loan as a means to an end. Even if you use one to pay off your debt, you could quickly end up with credit card debt, as well as a personal loan for your old debt if you’re not careful.

If you take out a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt, be sure to immediately pay off your credit card balance with the money from the loan. Some lenders, like Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans, will do this automatically for you when you apply for a loan. Then, put a plan in place to pay off your loan and create a budget so you don’t overspend.

A lower interest rate is not guaranteed

Although there is a wide disparity between the average interest rates for credit cards and personal loans, there is no guarantee that you will get a better rate. Find out the exact interest rate you’re paying on your credit card and do your best to find a better interest rate with a personal loan. Factors such as your credit score, loan amount, and loan term can all affect the APR you qualify for.

Visit Select’s Personal Loan Marketplace to see which loans you are prequalified or preapproved for. It’s free, won’t impact your credit score, and lets you compare interest rates from different lenders.

Personal loans have fees

When researching different lenders, consider the fees you may be charged for the personal loan, which may include application fees, origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, repayment fees, or a payment protection insurance. If the interest rate difference is small between your credit card and your personal loan, the fees may negate any potential savings.

Best personal loans to pay off credit card debt

If a personal loan sounds like a viable solution for your financial needs, here are a few. Choose from Select’s preferred lenders. Select ranked LightStream as the best personal lender overall due to its low interest rates and flexible terms, but PenFed is also good for those looking for smaller loans and Discover for those looking for quick funding. These loans also have no origination or prepayment fees.

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    3.99% to 19.99%* when you sign up for autopay

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, renovation, car financing, medical expenses, marriage and more

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

PenFed Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, medical bills, car financing and more

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

Discover personal loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Purpose of the loan

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Assembly costs

  • Prepayment penalty

  • Late charge

Select’s personal loan marketplace

Visit Select’s Personal Loan Marketplace to see which loans you are prequalified or preapproved for. It’s free, won’t impact your credit score, and lets you compare interest rates from different lenders.

Another way to consolidate credit card debt

While taking out a personal loan is a solid option for paying off credit card debt, another way to go is to take out a balance transfer credit card that comes with an introductory APR of 0%. With this type of card, for a fixed term, its balance will not bear interest as long as you make the minimum payment each month.

For example, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers 0% initial APR for 18 months from account opening (after, 15.24% – 27.24% variable APR) on eligible purchases and balance transfers. (See rates and fees.) It is also possible to extend this 0% APR for up to three additional months by making the minimum payments on time throughout the introductory and extension periods. Balance transfers made within the first 120 days are also eligible for the introductory rate.

This means you could end up earning up to 21 months of interest-free financing on your current debt as long as you make the minimum payments. If, for example, you have $8,000 in credit card debt to pay off and you can make monthly payments of $400 during the 0% introductory period, you won’t pay a penny in interest.

Keep in mind, however, that there is usually a 3% fee to transfer a credit card balance.

If a personal loan doesn’t meet your needs, consider using a 0% intro APR credit card such as one of the following listed below:

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Awards

  • welcome bonus

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    5% of each balance transfer; At least $5. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Advantages

  • No annual fee
  • Balances can be transferred within 4 months of account opening
  • One of the longest introductory periods for balance transfers

The inconvenients

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Hunt Unlimited Freedom®

  • Awards

    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and restaurant meals, including eligible takeout and delivery services, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 in cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on restaurants and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    Introductory fee of $5 or 3% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On the Wells Fargo secure site

  • Awards

    Unlimited cash rewards of 2% on purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on eligible purchases and balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the introductory rate

  • Regular APR

    Variable APR of 17.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    3% introductory fee ($5 minimum) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

At the end of the line

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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Student Debt Relief for Parents: Who Qualifies and How to Get Help https://josecarlosmatos.com/student-debt-relief-for-parents-who-qualifies-and-how-to-get-help/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 23:55:50 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/student-debt-relief-for-parents-who-qualifies-and-how-to-get-help/

When President Biden signed a Executive Decree canceling up to $20,000 in student debt, the most obvious beneficiaries were students. But many parents could also share the relief, as millions have taken out loans to fund their children’s education.

“There are a significant number of borrowing parents out there, and they will take advantage of that,” said Mark Kantrowitz, student loan expert and author of the book. How to Apply for More College Financial Aid.

Due to the rising cost of higher education in the United States – the average academic year at a private college now costs $38,185 — students applying for financial aid often maximize what they can borrow from the federal government, but still cannot afford their tuition. In many cases, their parents make up the difference by taking out loans themselves, leaving both generations in debt.

The numbers on this issue are sobering. According to a recent study According to think tank The Century Foundation, more than 3.7 million American families owe money on federal Direct PLUS loans — colloquially known as “parent PLUS loans” — which help parents pay for undergraduate college programs. their children. Among these families, the median debt at graduation is about $29,600.

“Very few parents actually borrow … to help their child get a high school diploma, but those who do borrow a lot,” Kantrowitz said.

So, for many families, Biden’s executive order could offer much-needed help. The plan provides relief in two ways: First, it extends the pause on federal loan repayments through Dec. 31, 2022. And second, it forgives up to $10,000 in debt for those with loans held by the Ministry of Education. Those who have received Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 in aid, for a total of up to $20,000.

Can parents benefit from this help? The answer is complicated. Some loans qualify, some don’t, and many fall somewhere in between. Additionally, the government is still gradually explaining the details of the plan, so answers may change over time — and to further muddy the waters, Republicans opposed to aid can challenge the order in court.

“Congress never contemplated this as an authority of the president,” said Scott Buchanan, director of the Student Loans Service Alliance. “We are developing a program that has no framework in law.”

Here’s an overview of the loans currently eligible for relief and how financial advisers can help clients get it.

]]> Liz Weston: Should you be tapping into your home equity as real estate values ​​rise? https://josecarlosmatos.com/liz-weston-should-you-be-tapping-into-your-home-equity-as-real-estate-values-rise/ Mon, 05 Sep 2022 18:17:00 +0000 https://josecarlosmatos.com/liz-weston-should-you-be-tapping-into-your-home-equity-as-real-estate-values-rise/

Soaring real estate values ​​mean many homeowners are inundated with equity – the difference between what they owe and what their homes are worth. The average price of a home has risen 42% since the start of the pandemic, and the average homeowner with a mortgage can now leverage more than $207,000 in equity, according to Black Knight Inc., a market analytics firm. mortgage and real estate data.

Spending this wealth can be tempting. Proceeds from home equity loans or lines of credit can fund home improvements, college tuition, debt consolidation, new cars, vacations – anything the borrower wants.

More from Liz Weston

But just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. One risk of such a loan should be fairly obvious: you are putting your home at risk. If you can’t make the payments, the lender could foreclose and force you out of your home.

Moreover, as we learned during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, house prices can go down as well as up. According to a 2011 report by CoreLogic, borrowers who dipped into their home equity were more likely to be “under water” — or owe more on their homes than they were worth — than those who didn’t. didn’t have home equity loans or lines of credit. real estate data company.

Other risks are less obvious but worth considering.

YOU MAY NEED YOUR CAPITAL LATER

Many Americans are not saving enough for retirement and may need to use their home equity to avoid a sharp decline in their standard of living. Some will do this by selling their home and downsizing, freeing up money to invest or supplement other retirement income.

Other retirees may turn to reverse mortgages. The most common type of reverse mortgage allows homeowners age 62 and older to convert the equity in their home into a sum of money, a series of monthly payments, or a line of credit that they can use as needed. The borrower does not have to repay the loan while living in the home, but the balance must be repaid when the borrower dies, sells, or moves out.

Another potential use of home equity is to pay for a retirement home or other long-term care. A semi-private room in a nursing home costs an average of $7,908 a month in 2021, according to Genworth, which provides long-term care insurance. Some people who don’t have long-term care insurance plan instead to borrow against their home equity to pay those bills.

Obviously, the more you owe on your home, the less equity you will have for other uses. In fact, a large mortgage could prevent you from getting a reverse mortgage. To qualify, you must either own your home or have substantial equity – at least 50% and possibly more.

YOU ARE DEEPLY IN DEBT

Using the equity in your home to pay off much higher rate debt, like credit cards, might seem like a smart move. After all, home equity loans and lines of credit tend to have much lower interest rates.

If you end up declaring bankruptcy, your unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills, will usually be wiped out. Debts secured by your home, such as mortgages and home equity loans, are generally not.

Before using the equity in your home to consolidate other debts, consider speaking with a nonprofit credit counseling agency and a bankruptcy attorney to learn about your options.

WHAT YOU BUY WILL NOT SURVIVE DEBT

It’s rarely, if ever, a good idea to borrow money for pure consumption, like vacations or electronics. Ideally, we should only borrow money for purchases that will increase our wealth: a mortgage to buy a house that will appreciate, for example, or a student loan that will result in higher incomes for life.

If you’re considering borrowing your home’s equity to pay for something that won’t increase in value, at least make sure you’re not making payments long after its useful life is over. If you’re using the equity in your home to buy a vehicle, consider limiting the loan term to five years so you don’t have to deal with large repair bills while paying off the loan.

Home equity loans typically have fixed interest rates and a fixed repayment term ranging from five to 30 years. The typical home equity line of credit, on the other hand, has variable rates and a 30-year term: a 10-year “withdrawal” period, during which you can borrow money, followed by a 20 year repayment. You’re usually only required to pay interest on your debt during the drawdown period, which means your payments could increase significantly after 10 years when you start paying back the principal.

This leads to one final piece of advice: with interest rates on the rise, only consider using a HELOC if you can pay off the balance quickly enough. If you need a few years to pay off what you borrow, getting a fixed interest rate with a home equity loan may be the best way to tap into the equity now.

_____________________________________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a NerdWallet columnist, certified financial planner, and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

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