Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/25/2015

Did you know your credit score can change every day? Your credit score or FICO score is a three-digit number used by lenders to help them decide whether or not to lend you money and at what interest rate. Knowing what lenders see as risky can help you avoid mistakes that can damage your credit score for years. Here are some of the factors lenders look at: Payment track record How much debt owed Credit history Established credit New credit inquiries Types of credit accounts If you want to have the best credit score possible there are a few basic things that, if done on a regular basis, should improve a credit score: Pay all of your bills on time, every time. Keep your credit card balances low. Only open new credit when necessary.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/21/2015

Imagine if you could make your student loan disappear. According to American Student Assistance, a non-profit that aims to educate young people about money say it is possible. Both the federal and state government, as well as some non-profit organizations offer loan "forgiveness" programs. Do the right paperwork and you could be loan free. While there is no single comprehensive listing of loan forgiveness programs, there are programs for some specific professions. Here are a few of those: Law school graduates who become a district attorney or a public defender are eligible to apply for the John R. Justice student loan repayment program. This program pays up to $4,000 a year towards an eligible applicant's debt up to the maximum of $60,000 per graduate. The National Health Service Corps offers an even more generous program for health professionals. This program repays up to $60,000 in debt in just two years for students working in medicine, dentistry or mental health in underserved communities. Graduates who are willing to work part-time on medical research could eliminate up to $35,000 in debt per year with a program funded by The National Institutes of Health. If you are willing to trade a few years of service for loan forgiveness you are in luck. There are various federally funded loan repayment programs for fire fighters, teachers, nurses, librarians, speech pathologists and employees of non-profits.  The programs don't typically ask graduates to work for free but they might receive less pay in order to repay the loan. The value of the loan repayment is likely to more than compensate for the lost wages. Because there is no comprehensive list of forgiveness programs it pays to do your research. There are many organization's websites that can help students find the right fit.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/30/2015

It doesn't matter how old you are someday you will hopefully retire. According to Pew Research Center, there are 75 million baby boomers in the United States and retirement is coming quick or may already be here. So if you are a boomer or just thinking about retirement and feeling like you are not prepared there is still time to get on the right track. Here is a retirement checklist to help get you started: Know how much you need to live The first step in planning for retirement is to know how much money you will need to live. Make a list of all of your expenses and your sources of income. If your costs outweigh your guaranteed income you may need to reevaluate your costs. Rethink your retirement savings plan Unless you have a pension you will not have a set amount of money to live on for your retirement. If you have a 401k or other employer-sponsored retirement plan you will need to plan to make that money last. It may be best to meet with a financial planner to determine ways to maximize your income stream. A financial planner may also help you consolidate your retirement accounts. Understand your social security benefits Depending on the age at which you start social security withdrawals you may have less money than you thought. Social security withdrawals before the age of 70 could result in 20-30% less in benefits. Deciding what age you will retire and when you will draw on your social security benefits is an important decision. Plan for inflation Like it or not the cost of living goes up. The cost of health care also continues to rise and without proper planning for inflation in living costs and health care your retirement income could run out sooner than you planned. A good start for planning is to know that over the past one hundred years the average inflation rate has been 3.4%. Have a will It is important to establish a will and/or living will. This will help you and your family make important decisions regarding health care, long term care and estate issues. Tackling retirement planning ahead of time will help you begin the next chapter of your life worry free and allow you to plan for the fun times ahead.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/23/2015

If you are thinking about owning a piece of property to live in while wanting to have an extra section to help pay the bills, then you will find that there is an effective way to do it. Today, many people are considering the idea of buying a multi-family home, because this allows you to have your own space for you and your family while getting extra income from renting the other apartments. Keep in mind that as advantageous as this is, there are a few points that you have to consider. The first thing to keep in mind is becoming a landlord will require some extra work. When repairs are needed, or a tenant does not pay the rent it can cause some unwanted worries. This being said it can also be a great way to start off allowing you to live, in some cases, rent free while getting monthly income to help pay down your mortgage. Another point to remember is that when it comes to renting, is choosing the right tenants, you have to remember that you are in fact running a business, as you will be collecting an income from the home you are renting. Take the time to choose the right tenant, a credit check, otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where you will be losing money if your tenant does not pay up at the end of the month. If you are willing to put in the work, purchasing a multi-family home can be a great way to invest.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/9/2015

A common question for sellers is if they will owe capital gains tax when they sell their home. The answer to that question: it depends. The capital gains tax law known as the Taxpayer Relief Act went into effect in 1997 but there is still a lot confusion over who pays what and why. If you sell your home you will not have to pay capital gains tax if:

  • You are selling your personal residence.
  • You have $250,000 in profit or less if you are single and $500,000 if married.
  • You have lived in your home for two of the last five years.
  • The home is not an investment property.
The capital gains exclusion can be used as many times as you like as long as it meets all of the above criteria. If you are going to make more than $250,000/$500,000 in profit you will be taxed at a 20% capital gains tax rate on the amount over the $250,000/$500,000 threshold. There are exceptions to the rule. You may be eligible for a tax break if:
  • You need to sell your home because a change in health.
  • You need to sell your home because of a long distance relocation.
  • You are in the armed services and moved to fulfill your service commitments.
Your individual tax situation may be different, so make sure to consult a qualified tax accountant or attorney.