Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • Smart Banking: What is a 'run' on the bank? Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    Greek account holders, worried their Euro-denominated savings would be endangered by an exit from the eurozone, flocked to ATMs, which were quickly emptied out. On June 28, Greek regulators announced the country's banks would remain closed until July 6 to avoid a full-scale bank run, and that transfers of cash out of the country would be limited. A bank run is when a large number of a bank's account holders show up at branches -- usually spooked by some negative news and fearing the bank is going under -- and try to withdraw all their money at once.

  • Understanding escrow accounts Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    At closing, you will be required to deposit real estate taxes and insurance premiums into an escrow account (sometimes called an impound account). An escrow account ensures that the taxes and insurance will be paid on time. This protects the lender from tax liens and uninsured losses that the borrower can't repay.

  • Get relief from hubby's discharged student debt? Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    Is there any provision in the law about tax relief for an innocent spouse? There are provisions in the law regarding "innocent spouse relief." However, this relates to income not reported properly on a joint return, so it will not help you in your situation. The student loan forgiveness will be reported to you on Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.

  • Gay marriage and real estate: What changed? Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage has sweeping effects on laws across the country, including those related to real estate ownership. The high court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples in the U.S. have a right to marry, no matter where they live, striking down gay marriage bans that still existed in a handful of states. Joint rights of tenancy with survivorship ensures that when one co-owner passes, the survivor owns all the property, no matter what the underlying relationship, says Mike Gelfand, senior partner at Gelfand and Arpe, PA in West Palm Beach, Florida.

  • Money Makeover: Young dad seeks debt-free living Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    Paolo Astorga, age 26, of Bethesda, Maryland, was awarded $3,000 as the grand-prize winner of Bankrate's Money Makeover. Paolo earns $56,000 per year as an accreditation specialist for a health care nonprofit, where he has been working since graduating five years ago from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in economics. First and foremost, Paolo wants to achieve debt-free living.

  • Use a Coverdell account for children's education Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    Among the various tax-favored college payment plans is the Coverdell Education Savings Account, previously known as an education IRA. Up to $2,000 can be contributed annually to a Coverdell account. While adults contribute to the savings plan, a child age 17 or younger (unless he or she is a special needs child) is named as the account's beneficiary.

  • Paying off Chapter 13 plan early Bankrate.com - 9 hours ago

    Or do I need to pay off 100 percent of the original ($100,000) balance plus fees if I want out early? Before I answer your questions, I need to elaborate a little bit about the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process. Chapter 13 is a repayment of some or all of your debt over a three- to five-year period of time.

  • TILA and other mortgage disclosures Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Here is a list of disclosures (besides the Good Faith Estimate) that your lender must provide to you within three business days of applying for a loan. The federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose in writing the terms and conditions of a mortgage, including the annual percentage rate, or APR, and other fees and charges. Unfortunately, lenders may lawfully exclude certain fees, including property appraisal fees, title search and insurance fees, notary and some recording fees and credit report and flood certification fees, leaving homebuyers without an apples-to-apples comparison of loan costs.

  • Timing your spouse's retirement benefits Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Here is a question that no one else seems to be able to answer: If my spouse takes Social Security benefits based on her own record at age 62, even though her full retirement age is 66, will she get the full spousal benefit when we both file for spousal benefits at our actual full retirement ages? When a spouse files for Social Security benefits before her full retirement age, her benefits are typically based on her work record. If she also qualifies for a spousal benefit and that benefit is more than what's based on her work record, then she receives a combination of the two benefits for a total equal to the spousal benefit.

  • Verdict helps same-sex spouses with state taxes Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to legalize same-sex marriages across the United States is a major win for married gay and lesbian taxpayers. Since 2013, same-sex couples have been ...

  • A guide to the Good Faith Estimate, or GFE Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    An approximation of the final figure can be found on the Good Faith Estimate, or GFE, a three-page government-mandated form mortgage brokers and lenders are required to give prospective borrowers within three days of a loan application. First, it's a summary of the loan terms and estimated settlement charges, and second, it can be used to shop and compare the terms and charges offered by multiple lenders or mortgage brokers. This section discloses when the GFE expires and whether the interest rate is locked or floating, according to Vicki Bott, a former official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • New student loan rules target for-profit colleges Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mounting student loan debt is a huge problem plaguing the country, with the level of outstanding debt at about $1.2 trillion. New rules going into effect July 1 are aimed at holding career training programs accountable for putting their students on the path to success. While blame can be placed on many parties, the Department of Education has set its sights on for-profit colleges, arguing many of them are churning out graduates who are unprepared or have more debt than they can afford to pay back with the degree they've earned.

  • Is your college degree profitable? Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Student Loans Undergraduate tuition, possible graduate degrees, and room and board all add up -- especially for students taking out loans. But which degree and which jobs really pay off? See how long it ...

  • What gay couples need to know about estate taxes Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 29, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's favorable treatment of gay marriage, estate tax planning is now a bit easier, and potentially less costly, for same-sex married couples who want to share their wealth with their spouses. The Treasury Department and IRS made this official in late August 2013 with the announcement that same-sex married couples would be recognized as married for federal tax purposes, even if they subsequently moved to a state that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.

  • Passing the reverse mortgage assessment test Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    A reverse mortgage now requires one or two new steps to obtain. The goal is to reduce the number of reverse mortgage borrowers who don't pay property taxes or home insurance. First is an assessment of your finances, and specifically your credit history and income.

  • 15 things your mortgage lender wants to know Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 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. *What makes your application more complicated: You are self-employed or a contract worker.

  • How does uninsured motorist coverage work? Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    My friend was in a car accident that wasn't his fault, and the other person didn't have much insurance coverage. Drivers who don't have enough car insurance are a serious problem in the U.S. According to a 2013 report by the Insurance Research Council, 14% of car accidents are the fault of uninsured motorists nationwide. As a result, it's pretty important to have uninsured/underinsured coverage on your auto insurance policy in case of an accident that is the fault of one of these drivers.

  • How to start a retirement fund in your 50s Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    What's the best way to start a retirement fund in your 50s? Should we invest in stocks, bonds or certificates of deposit? Regarding the latter, you need to maximize the working years remaining so that your retirement years are funded as well as they can be.

  • What's the best way for Mom to give me a house? Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    While mom would have to report that gift on IRS Form 709 because it exceeds the annual $14,000 per-individual tax-free giving limit, she likely won't have to pay any gift tax on the home because she probably won't reach the maximum federal lifetime-gifting threshold, unless she's quite well off. Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions.

  • What happens during mortgage underwriting? Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    After the housing crisis of the mid-2000s, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enacted rules to protect borrowers. Verifying the information you put on your application is top priority. The lender's team of underwriters will check the information on your application and supporting documents.

  • What's on my renters insurance policy? Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 26, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Insurance What's on my renters insurance policy? Your landlord is responsible for collecting your rent and fixing what's broken, but the burden of protecting your possessions falls on your shoulders. If ...

  • Mortgage rates rise as housing gains momentum Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage rates floated higher this week after the Federal Reserve signaled that at least one interest rate hike is on its way later this year. The uptick comes as the housing market's momentum strengthens. "We're seeing rates tick up a little bit, but it doesn't seem to be affecting people's appetite to borrow," says David Cary, a mortgage broker at C2 Financial Corp. in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Quiz: Are work-at-home jobs right for you? Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Many desk jockeys dream of the day when their job allows them to work from home. There are many reasons this daydream makes sense, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, a Colorado-based company that ...

  • Reverse mortgage options after parents die Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    As more seniors turn to reverse mortgages, their adult children might well be puzzled or concerned about what will happen to that debt when one or both of their parents eventually dies. Nearly all reverse mortgages today are home equity conversion mortgages, or HECMs, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The first thing adult children should know about HECMs is that these reverse mortgages technically become due and payable when the borrower dies.

  • Fixed-rate mortgages: Just the basics Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage Basics The most common type of home loan is the fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan, so the principal and interest remain the same, too. Fixed-rate ...

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 55% Down 18% Unchanged 27% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 55% 18% 27% This week (June 25-July 1), 55% of the panelists believe mortgage rates will ...

  • Tax loopholes for using 401(k) to pay off house? Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Seven months ago (before I knew about my termination), my wife and I decided to extract $180,000 to pay off the mortgage of our only residence in preparation for retirement. In addition to the 20% I paid when receiving the withdrawal to pay off our mortgage, the IRS is asking for another $15,000. Question: Are there any tax loopholes available, because we, in effect, rolled the money into our home?

  • CD rates for June 25, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 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: 0.87% Rates on longer-term certificates of deposit got a small bump in Bankrate's June ...

  • I paid my debt. Why is it still 'charged off'? Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    A few years ago, I had a credit card, as well as a credit line with a store. Now, on my credit report, those debts appear as "charged off." This should not be possible. Many people don't understand the jargon used in credit reporting and, as a result, can't tell where they stand.

  • National mortgage rates for June 25, 2015 Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best mortgage rates in your area. Mortgages 30-year fixed: 4.16% Average points: 0.25 Mortgage rates were mostly up this week, according to Bankrate's June 24 survey of interest ...

  • How to sell your late parents' estate items Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 25, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Dianne Averill of Hopewell Junction, New York, had to clean out a four-bedroom house packed with her father's things, plus a garage full of inherited items from his own parents. "My father was an eBay addict," says Averill, 58, whose company Averill and Associates develops websites. The liquidation business "is exploding" as the greatest generation dies off and baby boomers downsize, says Julie Hall, head of the American Society of Estate Liquidators and author of several books about clearing estates.

  • Refinance a home to a 20- or 30-year mortgage? Bankrate.com - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    A basic rule of thumb is to keep your debt-to-available-credit ratio collectively and on individual credit cards below 20 to 30 percent -- the lower, the better. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

  • HELOC vs. reverse mortgage line of credit? Bankrate.com - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If you have a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, for $150,000 with no balance on it, should you use it instead of a reverse mortgage? The advantage of a reverse mortgage is that you've tapped the equity in your home without creating a stream of monthly mortgage payments. In contrast, the closing costs on a HELOC are usually in the hundreds instead of thousands.

  • Getting your first post-bankruptcy car loan Bankrate.com - Tue, Jun 23, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Bankruptcy Adviser, My wife and I filed Chapter 7 in 2005. We kept our home. We have a first and second mortgage on it. Our car, a 2001 Ford Taurus, has 152,000 miles on it and is beginning to have ...

  • Refinancing a mortgage: The basics Bankrate.com - Tue, Jun 23, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Mortgage Basics Refinancing a mortgage means you get a new loan to replace the old home loan. There are numerous reasons to refinance a mortgage: To get a lower interest rate. This usually means a lower ...