Interest Rates

  • Working widow wants Social Security bucks - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    My husband started collecting Social Security on April 1, 2013, at age 65. He died Sept. 14, 2013, after collecting only six months of Social Security benefits. I spoke with someone at the Social Security Administration office who told me that I make too much money and that I'm not entitled to any of my late husband's benefits. Whether you're a survivor or drawing benefits based on your own work record, you're subject to an earnings test when you receive Social Security benefits before your full retirement age of 66.

  • Can a car's brand image hurt its resale value? - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    I've never really paid attention to a car's brand image when I have bought a car, including any of the brand perception awards that some auto manufacturers advertise. But my current car doesn't have such a good image right now, thanks to some car recalls and some overall issues with the car brand. You can find out the resale value of car models that you're considering, but an unexpected event can put a dent in the price that you can ask for that car. According to ALG, which calculates so-called residual values and provides them to dealers, lenders and others in the industry, a car's brand image is a factor in calculating its resale value.

  • CD rates for April 17, 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages CDs Auto Loans Home Equity Credit Cards Compare CD rates nationally and in your area. CDs 0.24% (1-year CD yields) 0.79% (5-year CD yields) Rates on certificates of deposit ...

  • Credit card interest rates for April 17, 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages CDs Auto Loans Home Equity Credit Cards Find the best credit card offers available. Credit Cards 13.02% (all fixed) 15.61% (all variable) Credit card rates were unchanged ...

  • When does old debt fall off your credit report? - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Here's how you know if a debt has vanished: Check your credit reports. You can view your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, for free once each year. One warning though: Many companies advertise free credit reports, but in the fine print of the deal, you must sign up for some other service you may not want or need for a cost to get your free reports. is where you should go for your free reports.

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 22% Down 22% Unchanged 56% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 22% 22% 56% This week (April 17-23), 22 percent of the panelists believe mortgage rates ...

  • Home equity loan rates for April 17, 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages CDs Auto Loans Home Equity Credit Cards Find the best home equity rates in your area. Home Equity 4.92% (line of credit) 6.2% (loan) Rates on loans backed by home equity ...

  • Auto loan rates for April 17, 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Rates on new and used car loans were mostly stagnant this week, according to Bankrate's latest survey of interest rates. Only the rate on the average 48-month used car loan moved, dropping 1 basis point to 4.87 percent, but the average rate on a 36-month used car loan held steady this week at 4.79 percent. The average rate for a 36-month new car loan remained this week at 4.12 percent. Similarly, the average rates for a 60-month new car loan and a 48-month new car loan also stayed the same as last week, at 4.22 percent and 4.14 percent, respectively.

  • Mortgage rates may trend higher in 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    When the housing bubble burst, the fallout was worst in the so-called "sand states" -- California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. But with a nationwide housing recovery finally and firmly under way, those hard-hit markets are now seeing strong recoveries, according to Ryan D. Israelsen, assistant professor of finance at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind. Israelsen believes that trend is likely to continue throughout 2014, as long as the slow-but-steady economic recovery stays on track. However, the Federal Reserve's decision to "taper" its purchase of long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities means mortgage rates are likely to rise this year, he says.

  • Can Dad's new wife steal his Social Security? - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    We learned that she went to Social Security to collect his benefits. Can Dad's new wife steal his Social Security? Social Security has a "Representative Payment Program" that provides financial management for people who aren't capable of managing their own benefits. If you suspect your stepmother is using the money on herself, you could call the fraud hotline for the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General at (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

  • National mortgage rates for April 17, 2014 - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages CDs Auto Loans Home Equity Credit Cards Find the best mortgage rates in your area. Mortgages 4.43% (30-year fixed) 0.33 (average points) Mortgage rates edged lower for the ...

  • Mortgages drop, but are they due for a bounce? - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.48 percent from 3.52 percent last week. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.32 percent from 3.34 percent. That's the million-dollar question, and mortgage experts say potential borrowers shouldn't stretch their luck by waiting. The United States is still perceived by investors as one of the safest places to park their money, despite some recent mixed economic news.

  • Australian share market makes solid gains ahead of Easter long weekend ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 6:38 PM AEST

    Regional banks also did well, with Bank of Queensland adding almost 2.5 per cent, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank closing 1.9 per cent higher. Woodside Petroleum gained 1 per cent today, after announcing a 5 per cent rise in production during the March quarter, compared to the same time last year.

  • Aust bonds rise ahead of Easter weekend AAP - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 4:52 PM AEST

    Australian bond futures prices are higher as investors square their positions ahead of the Easter long weekend. It was a strong day for the Australian bond market, despite a rise in equity markets, UBS interest rate strategist Matthew Johnson said. "The stock market had a good open and a firm day and normally, if you have a good day for equities, you expect bond prices to go down but we haven't seen that," Mr Johnson said. At 1630 AEST on Thursday, the June 2014 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.040 (implying a yield of 3.960 per cent), up from 96.015 (3.985 per cent) on Wednesday.

  • Inflation expected to rise past 3% AAP - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 2:23 PM AEST

    Inflation is expected have risen above the Reserve Bank of Australia's target range in the first months of 2014 but that alone won't spark an interest rate rise. The consumer price index (CPI), the key measure of inflation, is forecast to have risen by 0.8 per cent in the March quarter, for an annual rate of 3.2 per cent, an AAP survey of 12 economists shows. That is above the RBA's two to three per cent target range. The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the inflation figures on Wednesday.

  • Can you dump your tax records now? - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    And when it comes to tax paperwork, folks are even more adamant. These documents will save me, they argue, if an Internal Revenue Service auditor comes visiting. When it comes to tax-related documents, you should hang on to records that help you identify sources of income, keep track of expenses, determine the value of property, prepare tax returns or support claims made on those returns. "We get people looking at boxes of stuff in their basements and ask, 'Can I toss it?'" says Linda Durand, a CPA and senior tax manager with Drolet and Associates PLLC in Washington, D.C. "A lot of it, they can."

  • You missed the Obamacare deadline. Now what? - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    The inaugural six-month open enrollment to buy health insurance on the state exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act has ended, and a two-week extension also has come and gone. About 7.5 million Americans enrolled in health plans through the Obamacare marketplace, and many were helped by federal subsidies to make the cost affordable. Unfortunately, while the online exchanges remain open for window shopping, you won't be able to purchase a new policy until the next open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, unless life deals you what health officials define as a "qualifying life event."

  • How do I pay off $7,500 in credit card debt? - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST
    How do I pay off $7,500 in credit card debt?

    I currently have a credit card with an existing balance of $7,500 with an interest rate of 15.99 percent. My financial institution has reviewed my account and will not lower my APR, or annual percentage rate. There are ways to get rid of massive credit card debt. It looks like you carry an average interest rate on your credit card, so I'm assuming that you haven't had any recent late payments.

  • Which school expenses are covered by 529 plan? - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    I know that funds from a 529 plan can be used to pay for the cost of graduate school. Can the funds also be used to pay for graduate school application fees? IRS Publication 970, which covers this general subject of 529 plans, doesn't specifically discuss college application fees and whether they are qualified education expenses. Some schools specifically indicate application fees are NOT considered a qualified education expense.

  • Economic growth expectations weaken AAP - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:10 AM AEST

    Australia's economic growth later this year may not get much stronger, as consumer sentiment and employment expectations remain weak. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans says the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, has stayed below zero for the second month in a row, indicating that economic growth will be below trend. Mr Evans said Westpac now was forecasting no more Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cuts.

  • Inflation up 0.3 per cent in March quarter AAP - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 9:11 AM AEST

    New Zealand's inflation has risen less than expected in the first quarter as a hike in tobacco taxes and more expensive housing were offset by cheaper international holidays and in-season vegetables. The consumers price index rose 0.3 per cent in the three months ended March 31, accelerating from a quarterly rate of 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Statistics New Zealand. That was slower than the 0.5 per cent pace predicted by the Reserve Bank and economists. The New Zealand dollar fell to 86.07 US cents from 86.36 cents immediately before the figures were released and the trade-weighted index fell to 79.93 from 80.18 as traders pondered whether a milder track of inflation would temper the central bank's interest rate tightening cycle.

  • Time's up! It's tax deadline day - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Stick with, and we'll walk you through what you have to do today to get the Internal Revenue Service what it wants.

  • Victim of spouse abuse in filing status quandary - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    I'm unsure of the filing status I should use. My question is this: Can I file as head of household for 2013 even though he was in the home for part of the last six months of the year? But I don't know how strictly to interpret the filing status guidelines. You are not going to be able to use the head of household filing status since your husband lived with you in your home during the last six months of the tax year.

  • How to deal with a shady debt collector - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    I believe it is from a payday loan I got a long time ago. They call me and my family. I am truly shocked by this development in the payday loan world. You took out a payday loan at some point in the past few years.

  • Volatility not dead: RBA's Debelle AAP - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 3:34 PM AEST

    In a rare moment of honesty, a top central bank official concedes he is "pretty crap" at forecasting, at least when it comes to predicting future developments in the bond market. But Guy Debelle, one of the Reserve Bank's assistant governors, warns volatility in financial markets is not dead even if the global economy is improving. If market forecasts were correct, the US Federal Reserve lifting interest rates from 0.13 per cent in a year or so would contribute to volatility. "My guess is when short-term interest rates are no longer at zero in the US a few people may get flushed out," Dr Debelle told economists in Canberra on Tuesday.

  • Aust bonds weaker after US retail data AAP - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 9:02 AM AEST

    The Australian bond market is weaker as strong US retail spending figures encourage traders to move into riskier assets. US retail spending rose 1.1 per cent in March, the largest monthly gain in 18 months and better than the 0.9 per cent rise economists had expected. "Risk appetite was boosted overnight following stronger-than-expected US retail sales," ANZ economist said. "US equities rose solidly, while US Treasuries sold off."

  • Protect yourself from buying a lemon of a home - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    But no lemon law protects homebuyers. A buyer's best protection against a lemon house right at the start could be thorough inspections of the home and its components before the sale closes, says James Budrow, owner of Sacramento Inspection in Sacramento, Calif. "The bottom line is that there is no guarantee, but if buyers put their faith in a home inspector, they are going to be a lot further ahead," Budrow says. "Inspectors who've been in the business 10-plus years are normally the cream of the crop," Budrow says.

  • Disabled person defaults on student loan - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Is it possible or appropriate that being in default on a William D. Ford Direct Student Loan can cause garnishing of benefits after being awarded Social Security Disability? If unpaid, federally guaranteed student loans may prompt the federal government to garnish disability checks, whether from Veterans Affairs or Social Security. Rather than focusing on timing of your disability status and garnishment, I'd suggest that you pursue a disability discharge of the loan or loans. That would eliminate the need or desire to garnish your disability benefits.

  • Tax bill too big? IRS offers payment options - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    If this year's tax-filing deadline will be a "pay" day for you and you don't have the cash, the Internal Revenue Service gives you several payment options. First, even if you can't pay your tax bill, go ahead and file your return on time. Some taxpayers find the easiest way to pay, either part of what they owe or their full tax bill, is with a credit card.

  • Anxious about the mortgage process? Start here - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Online is where most people begin, according to research from the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. As Ken Pozek, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Northville, Mich., says, "You can't figure out everything using an app. Typically, you'll need to choose a lender before you can start seriously shopping for a home, though it's fine to contact a Realtor first to get a referral to a lender, says Jay Dacey, a mortgage broker for Metropolitan Financial Mortgage Co. in Minneapolis. "Unless you're a cash buyer, you're going to need to get a mortgage," Dacey says.

  • Ready to buy your 1st home? 5 ways you'll know - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM AEST
    Ready to buy your 1st home? 5 ways you'll know

    But that comparison doesn't account for other costs of homeownership, including down payment, mortgage-related fees and home maintenance and repair expenses, says Ed Conarchy, a mortgage loan originator for Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. in Gurnee, Ill. From a financial perspective, (it's important to) make sure that even if you're emotionally ready or excited to buy, that you have nest eggs set up as well," Pozek says.

  • Reverse mortgage decision not always easy AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 2:01 PM AEST

    An easy-to-use calculator may help seniors determine whether or not they'd benefit from a home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM. So, here's some information on how a HECM calculator can be used to determine whether or not a reverse mortgage would work for each of three seniors with very different types of needs. There are three ways to draw funds on a HECM: as upfront cash, as a monthly payment and as an unused credit line. Through a process of trial and error with the HECM calculator, the senior finds the option or combination of options that best meets their needs.

  • $A higher as rate hike looks more likely AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 12:38 PM AEST

    The Australian dollar is higher, helped by an improved local economic outlook and increased expectations of an interest rate hike. The currency had a good rally last week, supported by local economic data showing that the unemployment rate for March fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.8 per cent. FXCM currency strategist Ilya Spivak said the lower jobless rate had changed the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate expectations. "The Australian dollar continued to recover last week," he said.

  • NZ rates likely to rise with inflation AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 10:49 AM AEST

    New Zealand inflation accelerated in the first quarter, keeping on track expectations that the Reserve Bank will lift the official cash rate (OCR) again next week. Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the OCR to 2.75 per cent last month, heralding the start of a tightening cycle with the first hike since 2010, and is expected to lift the rate to three per cent next week. The rate of inflation and the bank's policy response will depend on the behaviour of households and businesses in an economy where construction activity and migration flows are growing, and where loan restrictions have yet to conclusively show up in cooling house prices. The Reserve Bank expects annual inflation to reach two per cent this quarter, the mid-point of its target range, before creeping higher by the final three months of 2015.

  • Bonds firmer as Ukraine tensions return AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 9:11 AM AEST

    The Australian bond market is firmer as worries over tensions in Ukraine and a weaker US stockmarket spark a move into safe-haven assets. Over the weekend, pro-Russian gunmen attacked police and security service buildings in eastern Ukraine leaving at least two dead. St George senior economist Hans Kunnen said US and Australian bond futures prices rose during Friday's offshore session amid market jitters over the situation in eastern Europe and on concern tech stocks were overvalued. "Concerns over valuations, the potential for reduced monetary stimulus from the US and unsettling developments in Ukraine all weighed on (equity) markets," he said.