Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • Why you need life insurance at midlife Bankrate.com - 17 hours ago

    Fear of a loan denial has led some consumers with low credit scores to simply not bother applying for a mortgage. "Your credit score is a piece in the qualification puzzle, but it's not the whole puzzle," says Josh Moffitt, president of Silverton Mortgage Specialists in Atlanta. The best mortgage rates and terms go to borrowers with credit scores of 740 and higher.

  • Grandma check: How much to give grandkids? Bankrate.com - Fri, May 22, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Fear of a loan denial has led some consumers with low credit scores to simply not bother applying for a mortgage. "Your credit score is a piece in the qualification puzzle, but it's not the whole puzzle," says Josh Moffitt, president of Silverton Mortgage Specialists in Atlanta. The best mortgage rates and terms go to borrowers with credit scores of 740 and higher.

  • What are the rules for a spouse who inherits IRA? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If my spouse passes away, and I'm only 35 years old, would I have to pay an additional 10 percent above my regular income tax on the distribution from his IRA? You can designate yourself as the owner of the IRA. This means that you determine the required minimum distribution, or RMD, as if you were the owner beginning with the year you make this election.

  • National mortgage rates for May 21, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best mortgage rates in your area. Mortgages 30-year fixed: 4.03% Average points: 0.23 Mortgage rates rose this week, according to Bankrate's latest survey of interest rates. ...

  • The risks of home construction loans explained Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    With these loans, the lender advances the money to pay for construction. After the home is built, the same lender rolls the loan balance into a standard mortgage. With these loans, it's often the lender that advances money to build the house.

  • Mortgage rates have been rising for a month Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage rates inched up this week after days of volatile trading that sent the 10-year Treasury yield on a wild ride. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.03 percent from 4.01 percent last week, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders.

  • 2 biggest mistakes when choosing an adviser Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    When it comes to choosing a financial adviser, there's a huge irony overhanging the process. You may be seeking an adviser because you lack the knowledge or time to handle all of your affairs yourself. The biggest mistake people make in choosing financial advisers is failing to go through this exercise.

  • Credit card interest rates for May 21, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best credit card offers available. Credit Cards All fixed: 13.02% All variable: 15.85% Credit card rates were unchanged this week in Bankrate's survey of national interest ...

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 30% Down 40% Unchanged 30% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 30% 40% 30% This week (May 21-27), 30 percent of the panelists believe mortgage rates ...

  • Can I move taxable account to a tax-favorable one? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Can I convert my regular investment account to a retirement account so that an investment made in that account is not taxed? It's not that easy to dodge a tax bill. A regular investment account can't be converted to a retirement account.

  • Home equity loan rates for May 21, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best home equity rates in your area. Home Equity Line of credit: 4.74% Loan: 6% Rates on loans backed by home equity moved slightly this week, according to Bankrate's latest ...

  • CD rates for May 21, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Compare CD rates nationally and in your area. CDs 1-year CD yields: 0.27% 5-year CD yields: 0.86% Rates on longer-term jumbo certificates of deposit were up in this week's survey ...

  • Strike it rich with prize-linked savings? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    What if you could purchase a lottery ticket without spending any money? With a prize-linked savings account, you could actually win big bucks just for saving a few pennies. The American Savings Promotion Act allows banks and thrifts to establish prize-linked accounts in any state that approves these programs.

  • Auto loan rates for May 21, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best auto rates in your area. Auto Loans 60-month, new car: 4.38% 36-month, used car: 5.2% Auto loan rates were stuck in neutral, as none of them budged this week, according ...

  • Qualify for mortgage with no credit? Not so fast Bankrate.com - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    In 2014, only 5 percent of first-time homebuyers purchased a home without a mortgage, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. Financial guru Dave Ramsey, to take one example, is "a huge fan" of paying cash for a home, according to an article on his website.

  • Can briefly married widow get his benefits? Bankrate.com - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    For most people, running out of checks probably doesn't happen as often as it used to. The number of checks written fell by more than half between 2000 and 2012, according to a Federal Reserve study released ...

  • Should my annuity be paying me more? Bankrate.com - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Should I be paid interest on the interest portion of my annuity while the insurance company is making lifetime payments to me? "Annuities are specific contracts between the owner of the contract and the insurance company. There are many types of annuities, and the specific terms of the contract vary from product to product, making it very difficult to make any generalizations about how your policy works once you have begun to receive income.

  • Defending retirement benefits for the military Bankrate.com - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The largest employer in the U.S., the Department of Defense, may change the way its workers receive retirement pay. "The current military retirement system provides pension benefits to service members who retire after 20 years," says Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, or MCRMC, which issued its recommendations for changes to military retirement benefits earlier this year.

  • The biggest celebrity endorsement disasters Bankrate.com - Tue, May 19, 2015 11:20 AM AEST
    The biggest celebrity endorsement disasters

    Not all deals are as peachy keen as being handed five figures for 140 characters, however. Many agreements go awry, for reasons mundane and ironic to costly and remarkable.

  • Should I put adult son on my auto insurance? Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Is there any way to put him on my auto insurance policy? As a general rule, most insurers require that once an adult child, such as your son, owns a vehicle, he must have an auto insurance policy in his own name. There are a couple of ways he can lower his auto insurance costs and still keep the title in his name. Buying only the auto liability insurance would save him $1,200 a year, or about $100 a month.

  • Survey: What we did with our gas savings Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    Survey: What we did with our gas savings

    The price of gasoline has dropped 28 percent since May 2014, and government analysts say American households will save an average of $700 at the pump this year, compared with last year. Bankrate asked what everyone is doing with their savings as part of this month's Financial Security Index survey: The majority said they spent it on groceries or rent, while others invested the money. Here's what people told Bankrate's survey partner, Princeton Survey Research International, when asked about what they did with the money.

  • Financial security surges in May to near record Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Financial security surged in May as Americans expressed growing confidence in their jobs, debt levels and overall net worth. Bankrate's Financial Security Index measured at 104.6 for the month, the second-highest reading since it began in 2010. Any index reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months. The FSI is based on a telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

  • Survey: Is cheaper gas helping your bottom line? Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Low gas prices may have left extra cash in car owners' pockets this year, but chances are it's not staying there. When asked what they were doing with any extra money, 40 percent of Americans said they used it to pay for other necessities such as groceries and rent, according to a survey that accompanied Bankrate's Financial Security Index for May. Another 14 percent of survey participants said their savings went to nonessentials like dining out or taking a vacation. "In a testament to tight household budgets, more Americans spent the savings from lower gasoline prices on necessities than anything else," says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate's chief financial analyst. Gas prices have fallen 28 percent over the past 12 months, according to a Bankrate analysis of government data.

  • Get a mortgage to buy a condo? It's easier now Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    You may have heard that it is extremely difficult to get approved for a mortgage to buy or refinance a condominium. Borrowers seeking to get a condo loan these days will find more lenders to choose from and more condominiums that are eligible for financing, says Norman Koenigsberg, president and CEO of First Choice Loan Services. "The market is definitely much more liquid," Koenigsberg says. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have eased some of the requirements on loans for condos, and a growing number of lenders offer loans that go outside the box of the condo rules in conventional financing, he explains.

  • 48-year-old has just $6K for retirement Bankrate.com - Mon, May 18, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    I have a $250,000 mortgage and $6,000 in a 403(b) retirement account. When you make additional principal payments on the mortgage, you're reducing interest expense, the life of the mortgage and future housing costs. You're just adding to the degree of leverage used to finance the real estate investment. Unless you tap the equity in your home in retirement, possibly with a reverse mortgage, the additional principal payments aren't going to generate retirement income.

  • What's the fastest way to boost my credit? Bankrate.com - Fri, May 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    I make pretty good money, but my credit score is low. I've looked for help through credit repair places, but I haven't decided whether they're right for me. I have paid off two credit cards and one jewelry account in the past 14 days. Your credit score uses historical data from your credit report to predict your future risk of default.

  • Why doesn't my gas mileage match EPA estimates? Bankrate.com - Fri, May 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    None of us gets the fuel economy that was listed on the window sticker when we bought the car -- nowhere near it, actually. What kind of gas mileage your car gets is dependent on numerous factors. This is why there is a disclaimer (which is required by law) on the window sticker and anywhere an automaker lists a car's fuel economy estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. The reason that most drivers' real fuel economy doesn't match the numbers on the window stickers has to do with the mileage tests, which are generally considered outdated for today's driving, even though the EPA has made mathematical changes to try to compensate for it.

  • Looking to invest $3K for the long term? Bankrate.com - Fri, May 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If investing for retirement, you should consider tax-advantaged retirement accounts. If you work for a firm that has a 401(k) plan and the company matches all or part of your contribution, that's a good place for your retirement investment. Finally, if you are saving for a child's college education, you'll probably want to go with a 529 college savings plan. There's a balance between keeping your $3,000 safe and ensuring that you have a return on your investment.

  • These mortgages pay for home renovations Bankrate.com - Fri, May 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Two little-known home renovation mortgage programs offer solutions for buyers and homeowners who want to renovate. Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration have home renovation mortgage programs that allow buyers to borrow based on what the house is expected to be worth after the home rehab is completed. FHA's 203(k) program and Fannie's HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage have been around for years. In the old days -- when most borrowers could easily get second mortgages or generous credit lines to pay for renovations -- these loans weren't as appealing as they are today.

  • Why should seller get appraisal? 15K reasons Bankrate.com - Fri, May 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    When I finally caught on, I asked her to provide email proof of her dialogue with the buyer's agent, and she sent an email that looks like she had just typed in the other agent's responses. Or am I just dumb for not getting an appraisal on my own instead of trusting my agent?

  • Credit card interest rates for May 14, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best credit card offers available. Credit Cards All fixed: 13.02% All variable: 15.85% Credit card rates were mixed this week in Bankrate's survey of national interest rates. ...

  • Why does a homebuyer need to get a CLUE? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The majority of home insurance companies contribute claims history information to a database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE. Underwriters use the information in a CLUE report to rate insurance policies. "They look at the claims history to see if the person applying for insurance hasn't disclosed a certain condition or indicator of how the property is being maintained, or if there are several instances of the same type of loss," says Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in Chicago. These same facts and figures can help a homebuyer determine whether to buy a particular house and how difficult and costly it might be to get homeowners insurance on the property.

  • A millennial and want to own a home? 4 to-do's Bankrate.com - Thu, May 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    This younger generation also marries later (29 for men and 27 for women, according to the Census Bureau, compared with 25 and 22 in 1980) and has children later (at 26 for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, versus under 23 years in 1980). Buying a home before you've really settled down can be an expensive mistake, says Matt Becker, a fee-only financial planner and founder of the site Mom and Dad Money.

  • Should I invest my emergency stash of cash? Bankrate.com - Thu, May 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    I have worked hard to accumulate an emergency savings cushion of approximately four months of living expenses. Recently, however, I've read that keeping an emergency fund in cash is a bad idea? Emergency funds must be risk-free and quickly accessible. A new study in the Journal of Financial Planning suggests a different strategy.

  • National mortgage rates for May 14, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, May 14, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best mortgage rates in your area. Mortgages 30-year fixed: 4.01% Average points: 0.26 Mortgage rates mostly rose this week, according to Bankrate's latest survey of interest ...