Interest Rates

  • Should we wait to take our Social Security? - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Here's what I like to focus on: Working couples nearing retirement need to consider the threat that they'll outlive their savings and incomes. This is particularly the case for those who don't have short-term concerns about income in retirement. Front-loading your benefits by taking Social Security before full retirement only maximizes your benefits if you die young.

  • Adopt normal or 'severe' car maintenance schedule? - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Which maintenance schedule should I be following? It's great to hear that you are reading your owners manual. It's a terrific source of information, yet it seems very few car owners actually consult it in advance of a problem.

  • How do you research crime in a neighborhood? - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    What is the most accurate way to research crime data in a particular community? Many of the national real estate listing sites are rife with crime stats. For a bigger picture, you can try these other free sites: the FBI-supported Bureau of Justice Statistics, and, among others.

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 46% Down 18% Unchanged 36% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 46% 18% 36% This week (Aug. 27-Sept. 2), 46% of the panelists believe mortgage rates will ...

  • 5 fixed-income bear-market strategies - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Retirement One of the biggest risks to your retirement is facing a bear market during the early years after you stop working. If you must sell stocks in a falling market, you risk depleting your nest egg ...

  • Will credit score jump by paying card bill early? - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Will my credit score go up if I pay my credit card balance before I even get a bill, or do I have to wait for a bill to arrive? It's likely to help your credit score if you pay off purchases before your bill arrives. Credit-scoring models generally care about only whether you've made the minimum payment before your statement's due date.

  • Popular tax breaks dead. What happens now? - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Tax planning for millions of Americans has been on hold since Jan. 1. For the most part, Congress has extended them year after year. Taxpayers, tax preparers and many lawmakers had hoped the new Congress would act quickly to renew them this year, but the bill has become bogged down in the politics of tax reform and the 2016 presidential election.

  • 10 questions to ask when you apply for a mortgage - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Closing Costs Getting ready to buy a home? Make sure you ask these 10 key questions at mortgage application time. 1. What is the interest rate on this mortgage? Ask for the lender's loan estimate, which ...

  • Economic growth will solve budget woes:RBA AAP - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 3:05 PM AEST
    Economic growth will solve budget woes:RBA

    Reserve Bank boss Glenn Stevens believes the budget debate should focus on how to increase tax revenue by lifting economic growth, rather than the distribution of the proceeds. Mr Stevens told the National Reform Summit in Sydney that despite record low interest rates and business and consumer confidence staying around average, economic growth has not been able to get to three per cent. Mr Stevens said that the most people understand that economic policy is about increasing economic growth on a sustained basis and that most budget measures to improve growth are only short term solutions.

  • 7 investing tips to manage a bear or bull - Tue, Aug 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The worst rout in stocks since 2011 makes it hard not to feel edgy. But the best investment strategy is to sit tight, financial experts say. "It's important to not push the panic button," says ...

  • Don't cower in fear: Conquer market volatility - Tue, Aug 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    "On average, the stock market, as measured by the Standard and Poor's 500 index, experiences four declines of at least 5% every year. The average intra-year decline is 14%," says Andrei Voicu, CFP professional, director of market and portfolio strategy at Coury Investment Advisors in Pittsburgh. Stock market corrections, downturns or pullbacks should come as no surprise.

  • Is it smart to transfer a credit card balance? - Tue, Aug 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The post-vacation blues have set in, along with hefty credit card debt. A credit card offer that features a low- or no-interest introductory period on debt transferred from another credit card can be an efficient way to vanquish a large credit card balance over time without shelling out any (or very little) interest. "If you can really keep yourself on a budget ... (a balance transfer credit card) can be a useful tool" for paying down debts, says Thomas Nitzsche, a certified credit counselor with ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit organization in Atlanta.

  • 52-week savings challenge - Tue, Aug 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Can you try a new way to save every week for a year? Each week, we will try a new way of saving money and chronicle the journey. Follow our 52-week savings challenge here: Click on a date to see which ...

  • Bonds weaken as shares rebound AAP - Tue, Aug 25, 2015 5:51 PM AEST

    The bond market is weaker after the Australian dollar and share market bounced back from Monday's losses. Stocks posted their strongest gains in almost four years to recover some of the ground lost in ...

  • You can negotiate a balance transfer fee - Mon, Aug 24, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Transferring your credit card balance to get a lower interest rate probably seems like a great idea -- until you see the transfer fee. "People know you have to bargain for car prices, but they don't think you can negotiate everything with a credit card. When you get an online balance transfer offer, you're just starting the process.

  • Could my savings bonds ever lose their value? - Mon, Aug 24, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If you own a 35-year Series I savings bond and have held it for 10 years, is it possible for it to lose value if you need to cash it in before it matures? Savings bonds have been popular over many decades, and they do seem to mystify people to some degree. You should know that Series I savings bonds never lose redemption value.

  • Quiz: Can we guess the credit card you carry? - Mon, Aug 24, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Credit Cards Here's a fun game: Let Bankrate guess the type of credit card you carry based on your spending priorities, the types of films you enjoy and whether you're a homebody or given to fly. Ready? ...

  • Will $13K in past-due HOA fees ruin short sale? - Fri, Aug 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Less than 2 weeks before closing, my agent tells me that there's a lien on the property from back homeowners association (HOA) fees totaling $13,000! I'm not sure what to do here. Your course of action hinges on the cooperation of the seller's lender or HOA, or both, in settling these fees, unless the deal is so good that you can afford to swallow an extra 13 grand. Often, back-owed HOA fees are paid out of the closing proceeds, whether in a short sale or a foreclosure.

  • Replace engine coolant with same color fluid? - Fri, Aug 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Your mechanic is right that all vital fluids, including coolant, should be checked regularly to prevent problems that leave you stranded on the roadside. As far as your car's engine coolant, the color of the fluid is not related to the type of fluid. In the old days, it was easy to identify your car's vital fluids -- coolant was neon green, transmission fluid was pink, oil was brown and windshield washer fluid was blue.

  • Is there a way out for student loan co-signer? - Fri, Aug 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Upon his graduation a couple of years since, he was told I could get off the loan by simply writing a release form. The lender is Sallie Mae, and the loan is a Smart Option Student Loan in the amount of $18,000. One thing I did notice when logging in to the account was that his interest rate was relatively high, at 10.375%.

  • Sydney prices rises to ease in 2016 AAP - Fri, Aug 21, 2015 1:34 PM AEST
    Sydney prices rises to ease in 2016

    2016 is tipped as the year that Sydney's red hot housing boom will come to an end, and it will even play second fiddle to Melbourne. Prices in Sydney for houses and units are expected to rise by five per cent next year, following years of double digit price growth, property valuation firm Propell says in its latest housing report. Propell said the price growth in the past 12 months broke another record with house prices up 19.8 per cent, and units up 11.9 per cent.

  • Saving to make your grandkids millionaires - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    You can either use a spreadsheet or, even better, use Bankrate's millionaire calculator. One challenge when working with the calculator involves adding the inflation rate. For example, taking $1 million with a 3% inflation rate over 60 years yields purchasing power of just $169,812 in today's dollars.

  • Jail time? I cashed late husband's Social Security - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    You may have seen the "60 Minutes" piece in March, showing a woman who expects to serve jail time for continuing to collect her deceased mother's Social Security disability benefit for decades after her mom died. You'll have to provide the SSA with a copy of your husband's death certificate.

  • Stockland bets on Brisbane market AAP - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 4:51 PM AEST

    Property giant Stockland is betting on Brisbane being the place to be for the next few years as Sydney and Melbourne's booming markets finally come off the boil. Chief executive Mark Steinert says that after years of lagging behind its southern counterparts, the Brisbane market is primed for stronger growth. "Brisbane has got high affordability and is showing the largest spread between house prices relative to Sydney that's been recorded in history," he said.

  • Mortgage Choice expects more loan growth AAP - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 4:37 PM AEST

    Mortgage Choice expects booming demand for home loans in Sydney and Melbourne to continue despite recent efforts to put the brakes on investor lending. The mortgage broker's loan book grew to a record $49.5 billion in the year to June, and has forecast further solid growth as home loan approvals and settlements rise in number. "It's still a significant market out there and demand is demand," chief executive John Flavell said.

  • Mortgage Choice expects home loan growth AAP - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 2:55 PM AEST

    Mortgage Choice expects booming demand for home loans in Sydney and Melbourne to continue despite recent efforts to put the brakes on investor lending. The mortgage broker's loan book grew to a record $49.5 billion in the year to June, and has forecast further solid growth as home loan approvals and settlements rise in number. "It's still a significant market out there and demand is demand," chief executive John Flavell said.

  • Aust bonds weaken after strong US data AAP - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 9:04 AM AEST

    The Australian bond market has followed US Treasuries which are weaker after the release of strong US housing data. Data out overnight showed that US housing starts rose 0.2 per cent to an annual rate ...

  • Smart Banking: Why do money market accounts exist? - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Market interest rates were rising, but savings rate caps stayed relatively low in order to help banks, which had made many loans at lower interest rates in previous years, stay afloat by limiting how much they had to pay out in interest to customers. In response, consumers seeking higher rates took their money out of the banks and put it into money market mutual funds that paid market rates of interest.

  • Americans not as bullish about their finances - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Americans feel that many aspects of their personal finances are in a better position now than they were 12 months ago, though they're not as bullish as they were earlier this year, according to a monthly reading by Bankrate. Bankrate's Financial Security Index, which is driven by survey responses about job security, savings, debt and other financial issues, remained in positive territory in August. Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride, CFA, noted that job security rebounded in August, though Americans were less optimistic about other components, including savings, debt, net worth and overall financial situation.

  • Survey: 1 in 10 not saving a dime for retirement - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    Survey: 1 in 10 not saving a dime for retirement

    One in 10 American workers isn't saving for retirement, according to a survey that accompanied Bankrate's Financial Security Index for August. Among those who took the survey, 10% said they "did not contribute this year or last year." That's the highest percentage since Bankrate started asking the question in 2011. 19% are saving more in their retirement savings accounts when compared with last year.

  • After bankruptcy, do I owe on 2nd mortgage? - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Does it also mean the collection agency cannot legally do anything since I completed my bankruptcy? You are right that the second mortgage lender cannot sue you. Because you received a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you did not reaffirm the loan, the lender no longer has the right to sue you to enforce its loan.

  • Disputing a city's payment when it takes your home - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The city of Tucson (Arizona) is using its power of eminent domain to acquire my home for a road-widening project. Should I use "involuntary conversion" rules by not reporting the sale on my return for this year's tax filing? The city is using its power of eminent domain and the legal process of condemnation whereby your private property is taken for public use without your consent.

  • RBA happier about the economy AAP - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 1:08 PM AEST
    RBA happier about the economy

    The Reserve Bank has delivered an upbeat report on the health of the economy, but is not ruling out any future rate cuts. In the minutes of its August meeting, released on Tuesday, the central bank said domestic economic activity had been more positive over recent months, helped by steady unemployment and the Australian dollar hitting six-year lows. The exchange rate had fallen to its lowest level since 2009 in the past month, and further depreciation was expected to kickstart the economy through more competitive export prices, the bank said.

  • Aust bonds firmer after weak US data AAP - Tue, Aug 18, 2015 9:17 AM AEST

    The Australian bond market is slightly firmer after the release of some weak US manufacturing data. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed that manufacturing activity in New York state in August ...

  • How much equity can you cash out of your home? - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Home equity loans are back. The opportunity to get a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit is once again alive and well. Years ago, homeowners could borrow up to 100% of their equity, says Jay Voorhees, broker and owner of JVM Lending, a mortgage company in Walnut Creek, California.