Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • A zoning issue is blowing up my home purchase Bankrate.com - 16 hours ago

    To ask a question of the Real Estate Adviser, go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select "Buying, selling a home" as the topic. Read more Real Estate Adviser columns and more stories about real estate. Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions.

  • When sharing taxes might not be a good idea Bankrate.com - 16 hours ago
    When sharing taxes might not be a good idea

    As a married couple, you probably share almost everything. If you have children, you might find the child tax credit reduced because it phases out at different income limits for the various filing statuses.

  • Aftermarket warranty comes with car's purchase Bankrate.com - 16 hours ago

    Many people get confused when they agree on a purchase price for a new car, and then the total amount they are financing is substantially higher. Many of these fees are required by the state, though you can opt to pay them upfront versus rolling them into the cost of the car loan. All automakers offer a manufacturer's warranty on their cars when they are new.

  • National mortgage rates for Feb. 11, 2016 Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages 30-year fixed: 3.78% Average points: 0.2 Mortgage rates fell for the 6th straight week as issues in the global economy continue to disrupt markets. The benchmark 30-year ...

  • Taking a short-term loan from your IRA Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Can I withdraw money from my individual retirement account for 60 days? This is an easy one: The answer is yes, you may take a 60-day loan from your traditional IRA interest-free. You must be sure to pay the money back into the same account or another traditional IRA within the mandatory 60-day window.

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 20% Down 60% Unchanged 20% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 20% 60% 20% This week (Feb. 11-17), 20% of the panelists believe mortgage rates will rise ...

  • What you should know about unsecured auto loans Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    It's one loan that you won't find just anywhere: the unsecured auto loan. Instead, just as with credit cards, which are also unsecured loans, if the borrower can't pay, creditors can report the default to the credit bureaus and go to court to force collection. There is no asset backing a personal loan that can be repossessed.

  • CD rates for Feb. 11, 2016 Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup CDs 1-year CD yields: 0.27% 5-year CD yields: 0.83% There was only 1 fluctuation in certificate of deposit rates in this week's survey. The 5-year CD yield was 0.83%, the same as ...

  • Will debt consolidation wreck my credit? Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Personal Loans Dear Debt Adviser, I have about $50,000 of debt on credit cards. My credit rating is still high. I am thinking about a debt consolidation loan. Will that adversely affect my credit rating? ...

  • What to know about filling out Obamacare tax forms Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT
    What to know about filling out Obamacare tax forms

    This is the 2nd tax-filing season in which Americans tackle the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. The health care law popularly known as Obamacare still requires that everyone be covered by an ACA-acceptable health care policy. If ignored, uncovered individuals face a tax penalty, which increases sharply in 2016.

  • Online dating scammers heart your cash, not you Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Valentine's Day celebrates couples and togetherness, making this time of year difficult for the unattached. Not all of them want to stay that way because 40 million have turned to online dating sites to find a partner, says an article last month on Match.com. Some online dating scammers post photos and profiles designed to lure singles to "chat." The, unsuspecting victims fall under their spell and are bilked out of hundreds and thousands of dollars.

  • What happened to home values in your area? Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Median existing single-family home values are on the rise in much of the United States, increasing 6.9% in the 4th quarter of 2015 compared with the 4th quarter of 2014, to $222,700, according to the National ...

  • Is your financial adviser tech-savvy enough? Bankrate.com - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    If your financial adviser isn't a cyborg, he or she may soon be. While your adviser won't have any robotic body parts, the best financial advisers in the very near future will offer the convenience and connectivity of robo-advisers with the traditional warm and fuzzy feelings of a human relationship. Want the traditional monthly or quarterly statement in the mail and a yearly check-up with the adviser?

  • The best time to refinance a reverse mortgage? Bankrate.com - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Refinancing a reverse mortgage has always been an option, just like any other mortgage refinancing. The litmus test is when the homeowner receives a substantial benefit compared to the closing costs incurred in refinancing the loan. This generally happens if the home has substantially appreciated in value, interest rates have decreased or when changing the type of reverse mortgage makes economic sense, like a switch to a fixed-rate reverse mortgage in a rising interest rate environment.

  • 10 key tax terms to know Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT
    10 key tax terms to know

    One reason taxes are so confusing is that they have their own language. You’ve got all the forms and instructions, but it seems they’re harder to decipher than that first lesson in your high school Latin class. Here are 10 key tax terms to help you start talking taxes.

  • Top 3 identity theft tips for 50-somethings Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    If you're in your 50s, you probably have a well-established financial identity and you probably use more medical services than you did when you were younger. Fraudulent use of your financial identity can cost you time, money and career opportunities. To protect yourself, you'll have to "make a conscious choice about how much security you're willing to give up for convenience," says Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego.

  • Choosing a personal or payday loan, or pawnshop Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    A personal loan is likely to have the lowest interest rate and fees of these 3 options, but these lenders aren't really looking to loan small amounts for short periods of time. The maximum interest rate charged varies by state, from a low of 30% to a high of 300%. Payday loans are also regulated by the states.

  • Get tax relief for short sale contract on my home? Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    In December, President Obama signed into law a package of "tax extenders" that included the extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. This means that if you meet the IRS requirements, the cancellation of debt will not be included as income to you. The general rule is that debt forgiveness is includible in taxable income.

  • Survey: Nearly half of renters would like to buy Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    "A lot of people make assumptions that they can't afford to buy based on just some perceptions, and many have not taken the step to figure out how mortgage-ready they are," says Marietta Rodriguez, vice president of national homeownership programs at NeighborWorks America in Washington, D.C. Hispanics were the ethnic group most likely to report that their credit is holding them back from homeownership, while the most-cited reason among blacks and whites was they just don't want to own a home yet.

  • Is a trust untouchable in bankruptcy? Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    To see someone trying to keep the good (trust assets) and eliminate the bad (debt) sounds like, well ... most U.S. corporations. While I cannot speak to your particular case or all types of trusts, I can say that you must confirm who controls the trust assets before you file.

  • Did you win a Super Bowl bet? It's taxable Bankrate.com - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT
    Did you win a Super Bowl bet? It's taxable

    Bets totaling more than $3.9 billion were legally placed on sporting events in Nevada in 2014, according to data from the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimates illegal sports wagers amount to as much as $380 billion annually. If the gambling study estimate is even remotely accurate, the U.S. Treasury is missing out on an enormous amount of revenue since gambling winnings, whether obtained legally or illegally, are taxable.

  • Sisters-in-law vie for man's life insurance Bankrate.com - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    This may have been a human resources error, but the insurance company says that by law, since I am his next of kin (legal wife), I will receive the proceeds. My question is: Can his sister try to sue me for the funds if I use them to pay his medical bills, expenses, etc.? If anyone can be sued, it might be the human resources people for not making sure that a beneficiary was named on your husband's group insurance application.

  • The pros and cons of personal loans Bankrate.com - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    A personal loan can be a quick source of cash, typically without the high interest rates of a credit card or credit card cash advance. "It's certainly an option you don't want to ignore," says J.J. Montanaro, a certified financial planner professional with USAA. Personal loans have become a fast-growing financing option for consumers, and demand continues to rise.

  • How to fill out the FAFSA in record time Bankrate.com - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    The Federal Financial Aid Application may seem like a huge undertaking to complete. From getting organized ahead of time to going digital, filling out the FAFSA doesn't have to conjure up panic attacks or undo stress. "It's really not as painful as it seems on the surface," says Jeff Rossi, CFP professional and founder of Peak Wealth Advisors LLC in Holmdel, New Jersey.

  • Win big on the big game? Give Uncle Sam his cut Bankrate.com - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Lady Luck must be Uncle Sam's cousin, because taxes must be paid on all gambling winnings. When you pocket $600 or more (and that amount is 300 times your bet) at a horse track, win $1,200 at a slot machine or bingo game, or take $1,500-plus in keno winnings, the payer must get your Social Security number and let the IRS know you came into the extra income.

  • I sold the house; do I owe agent a commission? Bankrate.com - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Some timing! Am I still obligated to pay commission to the agent? Ostensibly, you shouldn't be obligated since the agent didn't represent you, bring you the buyer or earn the commission in any way before your contract took effect.

  • Will stocks recover? Don't ask futures market Bankrate.com - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Increases or decreases in commodity prices directly impact the rate of inflation, a subject of keen interest to those in charge of the economy. Unfortunately, like all prognosticators, the futures markets are often incorrect in their estimation of future events.

  • How can I prevent my car from hydroplaning? Bankrate.com - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Is my car hydroplaning? It's understandable how driving in the rain can make you feel uncomfortable when you are not accustomed to wet weather. Hydroplaning occurs when your tires don't have enough tread or tire pressure for the water to be dispersed and allow the rubber to keep contact with the road.

  • CD rates for Feb. 4, 2016 Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup CDs 1-year CD yields: 0.27% 5-year CD yields: 0.83% There was only 1 fluctuation in certificate of deposit rates in this week's survey. The 5-year CD yield was 0.83%, down 1 basis ...

  • National mortgage rates for Feb. 4, 2016 Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages 30-year fixed: 3.88% Average points: 0.18 Mortgage rates fell for the 5th consecutive week due to ongoing turmoil in the global economy. The benchmark 30-year and 15-year ...

  • Is there a cure for my whopping medical bill? Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    What is the best way to settle this with the hospital, as paying $44,000 in medical debt is almost next to impossible for me? If you need a personal loan to help retire medical debt, check out the rates at Bankrate.com.

  • Japan exports lower mortgage rates to the States Bankrate.com - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Mortgage rates fell for the fifth week in a row as overseas concerns, including volatile oil prices, slid their way back into the international spotlight. The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen about 20 basis points over the past week, going from 2.02% to an intraday low of about 1.81% Wednesday. The latest declines in Treasury yields started when the Bank of Japan reduced interest rates, pushing them into negative territory.

  • What the debt-to-equity ratio tells investors Bankrate.com - Wed, Feb 3, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Striking the right balance between debt and equity is one of the great arts of corporate finance, says Keith Lanton, president of Lantern Investments in Melville, New York. The relationship between total debt and total equity is called the debt-to-equity ratio.

  • 2 reasons not to buy life insurance for kids Bankrate.com - Wed, Feb 3, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    "The main purpose of life insurance is to replace the economic benefit of the insured person for their family or to pay for final costs," says John Gajkowski, a CFP professional and founder of Money Managers Financial Group in Chicago. Gajkowski says that sometimes parents decide to buy a life insurance policy on their children because it's so inexpensive that it seems harmless or because someone in their life has had the experience of losing a child. The life insurance policy could pay for final expenses, as well as lost income while a parent grieves.

  • Can wife claim late husband's Social Security? Bankrate.com - Wed, Feb 3, 2016 9:00 PM AEDT

    Absent children at home, a spouse can claim a survivor's benefit at age 60, or age 50 if the surviving spouse is disabled. The benefit is a reduced benefit when it's claimed prior to the surviving spouse's full retirement age. If you're looking to place your retirement in a relatively safe investment, check out the rates on certificates of deposit at Bankrate.com.