Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - 16 hours ago

    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 Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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 ...

  • 7 investing tips to manage a bear or bull Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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 ...

  • You can negotiate a balance transfer fee Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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%.

  • Saving to make your grandkids millionaires Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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.

  • Smart Banking: Why do money market accounts exist? Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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? Bankrate.com - 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 Bankrate.com - 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.

  • How much equity can you cash out of your home? Bankrate.com - 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.

  • How Treasury inflation-protected securities work Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If you are a fixed-income investor, your enthusiasm for Treasury bonds may be tepid because of their paltry yields. Another drawback: Treasury bond returns don't keep up with inflation as it goes higher. What are TIPS?

  • When's the best time to refi your mortgage? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Here's how to determine whether you will benefit by refinancing your mortgage. Rate-and-term refinancing to save money. Typically, you refinance your remaining balance for a lower interest rate and a term you can afford.

  • Which type of lender is right for you? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage There was a time when most homebuyers obtained their mortgage loans through their banks or credit unions. Today, however, there are a number of additional home-financing providers. Which one is ...

  • How online spelling mistakes can lead to fraud Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Typosquatting is a type of online fraud based on the assumption that people are predictably bad at spelling. "When you look at people who are typing in domain names, when they type them into web browsers at home, we find that with a certain regularity, people make the same typos over and over again," says Matthew Green, an assistant research professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute in Baltimore.

  • My bank charged me $5K for auto insurance. Help! Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The bank applied an insurance advance of $5,000 to the loan, saying they'd refund that money once I proved that I had auto insurance. Am I stuck with this $5,000 addition to my car loan? Anytime a bank loans you money and uses a car as collateral, the loan agreement requires you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage in case the car is damaged or stolen.

  • Can you collect Social Security in prison? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Will the government withhold his Social Security income because of this? It sounds like your extended family has been traveling down a troubling road. The brother-in-law's Social Security benefits will be suspended while he's in prison.

  • How your chip debit card fights crime Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    How your chip debit card fights crime

    More than 4 out of every 10 debit cards in the U.S. are going to be chipped by the end of 2015, according to Aite Group, a financial industry research and consulting firm. "From this point forward, you will see most banks issuing EMV-capable cards," says Julie Conroy, research director at Aite. The biggest driver behind the move to chip debit cards is rampant debit card fraud.

  • Why did my car policy jump in cross-town move? Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Congratulations on becoming homeowners! I'm sorry that this new property means higher car insurance rates, but I think I may be able to demystify the situation. Although you moved only a short distance from your old house and you stayed in the same town, are the 2 addresses in different ZIP codes? A Bankrate survey found that prices for car insurance can vary widely at 2 addresses a relatively short distance apart but in different ZIP codes.

  • Timely Social Security filing for couples? Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    In your recent response to a question from "Karen Choices," you said: "My recommendation for you is that, at your full retirement age of 66, you claim a spousal benefit based on your ex-husband's work record, providing that you haven't remarried. You'll receive a benefit equal to 50% of what Social Security calls his 'primary insurance amount,' the benefit he would receive at his normal retirement age. My question is: Would this be still true if the wife's Social Security benefit would be greater than her husband's?

  • Co-signers: Can you ever break that commitment? Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Recently, I received a letter from the company saying it had not received last month's payment and that 1 of us needs to make that payment in order to keep our good credit rating. The only thing I do have is a top-notch credit rating, which is now threatened. The truth is that the primary borrower has been mostly responsible with her loan payments.

  • First-time investors: Here's how to start Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Should you hire a financial adviser? You want the gold standard of setting a financial plan. As for doing it alone, "the big benefit is cost savings," says Christine Benz, director of personal finance for research firm Morningstar.

  • Can this tactic boost spousal Social Security benefit? Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Your wife is eligible for a spousal benefit equal to half of your primary insurance amount when she reaches her full retirement age. The spousal benefit doesn't increase with the delayed retirement credits you earn if you wait to file until age 70. Should you die before her, she will benefit from the delayed retirement credits you earn in the form of a higher survivors benefit.