Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • You'll be star-struck by George Lucas' staggering net worth Bankrate.com - 18 hours ago

    George Lucas grew up a fan of classic adventure stories and comic books. Lucas started Lucasfilm Ltd. in 1971. Before "Star Wars," Lucas created "American Graffiti," a film that showcased the talents of young actors such as Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford.

  • Moving's a pain, but the tax deduction can be sweet Bankrate.com - 18 hours ago

    TaxesTax Deductions When Can You Deduct Moving Expenses? Uncle Sam won't help load your moving van, but if you relocate, you might be able to get his help in the form of an IRS tax deduction for moving expenses.

  • IRS can't find my W-2. How do I get my $3K refund? Bankrate.com - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Take a close look at your Form W-2 and make sure that your Social Security number is correct and it matches with the return you filed. If they mailed you a notice, call the number listed and have a copy of your tax return along with the Form W-2 handy so you can help them resolve your problem. You can go to the IRS website to see which office is closest to you.

  • Can I buy back my foreclosed home? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 22, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    If I could pay for it, do I have the right in the state of Florida to repurchase it? In many states where there are judicial foreclosures (lender files a lawsuit), redemption laws allow the old foreclosed owner to buy back the property within a post-foreclosure period that's as short as 10 days in New Jersey and as long as 2 years in Tennessee, with a 1-year redemption period the most prevalent. In redemption cases, the cost of re-buying usually includes the foreclosure sale price plus sundry charges and fees.

  • Drawn-out car payment plan puzzles borrower Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 22, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Let's say, for example, you have a $10,000 auto loan with a 5-year (60 months) term. At a 5% interest rate, your payments would be $188.71 per month and you'd pay $1,322.47 in interest over the life of the loan. The way loans end up getting extended for longer terms is when the customer wants to stick to a specific monthly payment and they don't realize they don't qualify for the interest rate they expect or the payment they see advertised on TV.

  • Why would you want a money market account? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 22, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Hear the initials "MMA" and -- particularly if you're a sports fan -- you're more likely to think of Ronda Rousey beating some unlucky woman's head in the Octagon than you are to think of higher interest rates on your savings. A money market account is a savings account that allows a limited number of checks to be drawn from the account each month. How much interest an MMA pays, and whether it's the highest-paying deposit product offered, varies for each account from bank to bank.

  • 7 terrific tips for taking your credit cards on vacation Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 22, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Chances are, credit cards, debit cards, balances and bills are the last things on your mind. If you normally buy shoes on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and suddenly you're buying croissants on the Champs Elysees in Paris, there's a chance your card could be declined or suspended.

  • See how much Olympics legend Michael Phelps is worth Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 19, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Michael Phelps' net worth is estimated to be around $55 million, making him one of the richest athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Gold medals and lucrative endorsements helped build his wealth.

  • What you need to know about flood insurance Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 19, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    All it takes is just an inch of flood water throughout a 2,000-square-foot home, and you'll be looking at almost $21,000 in damage, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Victims of Superstorm Sandy and other disasters of recent years learned too late that their homeowners or renters insurance policies offered no protection against flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, is the primary source of flood insurance for homeowners and renters.

  • National mortgage rates for Aug. 18, 2016 Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages 30-year fixed: 3.56% Average points: 0.25 Mortgage rates were mixed this week, according to Bankrate's latest survey of large lenders. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ...

  • How foreigners pay tax on income from rental property Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    With the limited information you have provided, my answer is based on the assumption you will be classified for U.S. tax purposes as a nonresident alien and as such this requires you to report your rental property income on Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. The answer to your question is that both resident and nonresident aliens should file a tax return anytime there is rental income. The general rule for nonresident aliens is that for rental property, you are taxed at a flat 30% (or lower treaty) rate on your gross income from U.S. sources that are "not effectively connected" with your U.S. trade or business.

  • 15 key questions your mortgage lender will ask Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Put yourself in the mortgage lender's shoes: Before giving someone a big loan, wouldn't you want to know a lot about the borrower? Expect your mortgage application to ask these questions about your income, credit history, the home you want to buy, how much money you have saved and more. RATE SEARCH: Ready to shop for a mortgage?

  • A sobering, scary question: Who has your data? Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    When Wal-Mart agreed to purchase online retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion recently, it marked not only the largest acquisition of an e-commerce company, but also a momentous transfer of consumer data. "Consumers hardly have any control over sharing, flow and usage of their data," says Paul Kubler, a digital forensics and cyber security examiner at LIFARS, a digital forensics and cybersecurity intelligence firm in New York City. In acquisitions and mergers, while data is usually integrated into the purchasing company's already existing systems, according to Kubler, what actually happens differs based on what the acquiring company's plans are.

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 25% Down 0% Unchanged 75% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 25% 0% 75% This week (Aug. 17-23), one-quarter of the panelists believe mortgage rates ...

  • With mortgage rates low, consider canceling PMI Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    As mortgage rates stall near record lows, it's a fine time to refinance to grab a lower interest rate. One of them is to cancel mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is a policy that reimburses the lender if you default on your home loan.

  • Jumbo mortgages making a comeback Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 18, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Borrowers who need large home loans will find an increasing number of lenders willing to offer jumbo mortgages. A jumbo loan is a mortgage for more than the conforming limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In most counties, any mortgage of more than $417,000 is a jumbo loan.

  • Prepare for a potentially dangerous hurricane season Bankrate.com - Tue, Aug 16, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Officials have raised the government's forecast for the 2016 hurricane season, which officially began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, and now say it could bring an above-normal number of storms. Following 2 below-average years, this hurricane season is expected to be the strongest since 2012, the year of Superstorm Sandy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, now predicts 12-17 named storms, including 5-8 hurricanes, with 2-4 of them major hurricanes.

  • Should you do your banking at a savings and loan? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 15, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    If your holiday traditions include watching Jimmy Stewart learn that "It's a Wonderful Life," you probably remember the plucky Bailey Bros. Building and Loan Association and how it financed hundreds of single-family homes in good old Bedford Falls. The biggest difference between a thrift and a conventional bank is that thrifts are designed to serve U.S. consumers rather than businesses. By law, thrifts must have 65% of their lending portfolio tied up in consumer loans, says Tanya Marsh, professor of law at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

  • Is it possible to retire in your 30s or 40s? Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 15, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Retiring super early can be a downright dangerous idea, says Mike Lynch, vice president of strategic markets at Hartford Funds. "If you stop funding your retirement and start using it 30 years ahead of schedule," says Lynch, "it is therefore unlikely that you will receive Social Security benefits.

  • SOS: How to escape when your car is sinking in water Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 12, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    What should I do if my flooded car gets swept away and starts to sink? If you need to break a car window, it's especially helpful if you have a tool designed for this or a heavy object you can throw at the window. If you don't have either, Tommy Patterson, director of Technical Services at Glass Doctor, suggests kicking all the edges of the window if you are wearing flat shoes or directly in the center if you are wearing high heels.

  • House sold for lower price than what we bid. Why? Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 12, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Real Estate Adviser, I submitted our best and final offer on a house that got multiple bids and never heard back, so I just assumed we lost. Several weeks down the road, the house pops up "Sold" ...

  • Personal loans now harder to come by for some Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 11, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Personal loan rates remain at rock-bottom lows, but there is new evidence it has become tougher for some borrowers to qualify. Lending Club, the largest online originator of personal loans, announced this week it had funded 29% fewer loans in the 2nd quarter compared with the first 3 months of 2016. A slowdown was expected, given the disastrous spring the San Francisco-based company had, but Lending Club for the first time offered specifics on the type of borrower most directly impacted.

  • Washington, D.C., home values Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 11, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Real Estate Home Values The median existing single-family home price in the South rose 5.9%, to $214,900 in the 2nd quarter of 2016 compared with the 2nd quarter of 2015. See how your area fared. District ...

  • What happened to home values near you? Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 11, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Median existing single-family home values are on the rise in much of the United States, increasing 4.9% in the 2nd quarter of 2016 compared with the 2nd quarter of 2015, to $240,700, according to the National ...

  • Many taking advantage of low mortgage rates Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 11, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Good news for homeowners who have not refinanced their home loans: Mortgage rates stayed about the same this week. The low interest rates are just catching folks' attention. "It's getting on people's radar," says Jim Sahnger, mortgage planner for Schaffer Mortgage, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

  • Using a reverse mortgage to pay off your first mortgage Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 10, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Older homeowners who are ready to say goodbye to the burden of a mortgage payment may consider paying off their traditional home loan using their home's equity -- through a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages have gained a somewhat dubious reputation over the years, but they can be a useful financial tool for seniors when used appropriately, says David Johnson, associate professor of finance at the Maryville University in St. Louis. A reverse mortgage accrues interest and doesn't have to be repaid until the homeowner dies or moves out of the house.

  • Fraud alerts vs. security freezes to stop ID thieves Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 10, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    A pair of major tools -- fraud alerts and security freezes -- can help consumers fight back against such an action, says Tod Burke, a criminal justice professor and associate dean at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. Ask one of the 3 credit reporting companies to put a fraud alert on your credit report. Ask one of the 3 credit reporting companies to put a security freeze on your credit report.

  • How you're blowing it with your rewards credit card Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 10, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    All of these things are true about rewards credit cards, except the part about the product flopping. For card companies and the card users who use them effectively, reward cards can be very successful. RATE SEARCH: Find a credit card today that charges you less interest.

  • A wedding planner costs how much?! Choose carefully Bankrate.com - Wed, Aug 10, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Weddings don't come cheap -- and neither do wedding planners. The latest "Real Weddings Study" from wedding information website The Knot -- which surveyed almost 18,000 U.S. brides who married in 2015 -- revealed the average couple spends $1,996 on a wedding planner, and $32,641 on a wedding overall (excluding the honeymoon). The average couple spends $32,641 on a wedding.

  • Mortgage closing costs: State by state Bankrate.com - Tue, Aug 9, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage Closing Costs Bankrate.com researchers gathered closing-cost data from 7 to 10 lenders in all states and the District of Columbia. Click a state for a fee-by-fee breakdown of the average closing ...

  • What are the average closing costs in your state? Bankrate.com - Tue, Aug 9, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage Closing Costs The table below lists states alphabetically with their average closing costs. Check your state for a detailed summary of average fees. Your final charges probably will be higher ...

  • Hire veterans and get a tax credit Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 8, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC, can help both these groups. What is a WOTC? The Work Opportunity Tax Credit offers a tax benefit for businesses that hire individuals, such as veterans, who are having trouble finding work.

  • Private reverse mortgage in the family Bankrate.com - Mon, Aug 8, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Closing costs, lender fees and certain mortgage insurance costs must be paid upfront, and you face interest charges and ongoing mortgage insurance premiums over time. "While reverse mortgages can help some older homeowners meet financial needs, they can jeopardize retirement security if not used carefully," the bureau wrote. Adult children or other willing family members with sufficient means can finance a private reverse mortgage.

  • Who gets Mom's leftover reverse mortgage? Bankrate.com - Fri, Aug 5, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    My mother died and had a reverse mortgage on her home. When she died, she still had about $40,000 in funds available on the reverse mortgage line of credit. My questions are: What happens with the remaining $40,000 left on the line of credit, and does the bank hold that money to help repay what might be the difference in what is owed and what the home sells for?

  • Reverse mortgage hides expensive surprise Bankrate.com - Thu, Aug 4, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    When I applied for a reverse mortgage a while back, my home was appraised at $252,000. Within 6 months, the loan ballooned to $162,000, with interest totaling about $2,557 along with a mortgage insurance premium for $6,129. Specifically, see how the current loan balance was created.