Financial News from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage rates fall after stock prices drop Bankrate.com - 29 minutes ago

    Homebuyers can thank Apple for this week's dip in mortgage interest rates. Apple spooked U.S. stock market investors with less-than-expected earnings, triggering a sell-off in equities, flight to the bond market and subsequent rate drop. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.77% from 3.83%, according to Bankrate's May 4 survey of large lenders.

  • Where will mortgage rates head next week? Bankrate.com - 29 minutes ago

    Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged? Intro Up 17% Down 50% Unchanged 33% Panel Prediction Up Down Unchanged 17% 50% 33% This week (May 5-11), 17% of the panelists believe mortgage rates will rise ...

  • 7 tips to know which tax records you can shred Bankrate.com - Wed, May 4, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    When it comes to tax-related documents, you should hang on to records that help you identify sources of income, keep track of expenses, determine the value of property, prepared tax returns or supported claims made on those returns. The financial reports also keep track of the tax-deferred earnings, compounding year after year.

  • How long should you keep tax records? Bankrate.com - Wed, May 4, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Taxes Tax Filing copyright RTimages / Fotolia Maintaining tax filing documentation is critical. It contains the answers to questions the Internal Revenue Service could ask years after you file your return. ...

  • Pay down debt now or save: Here's how to choose Bankrate.com - Wed, May 4, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Simple math suggests it's better to get rid of debt before saving for retirement or adding to your emergency fund. "In general, if you have high interest-rate debt that is not tax deductible, you should pay it off before saving," says Laurie Itkin, a financial adviser and wealth manager at Coastwise Capital Group in La Jolla, California. For example, it can mean not having an emergency fund to fall back on, setting you up to take on more debt any time an unexpected expense hits.

  • A mate's bad credit can make your mortgage costly Bankrate.com - Tue, May 3, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    It's a romantic notion that can collide with this cold financial reality: Applying for a mortgage with another person can be risky, especially if one of you has a notably lower credit score. When you apply for a mortgage with one or more other borrowers, the lender will pull 3 credit scores -- based on credit reports from each of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus -- and base the loan application on the lowest middle score among the applicants. The lender would look at the 2 middle scores -- 699 and 717 -- and tie the mortgage terms to the lower of those: 699.

  • 'Phantom debt' scam separates you from your money Bankrate.com - Tue, May 3, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Once I had a chance to think through what was going on, I played along and asked for his phone number so I could get "right back to him." Instead, I reported the number to the IRS. The "phantom debt" scam takes a variety of forms, but as a general swindle, it ranked in the Better Business Bureau's top 10 reported crimes in 2014 and 2015. "It 'haunts' you, hence the name," says Katherine Hutt, spokeswoman for the Council for Better Business Bureaus.

  • Veteran with military pension looks for tax relief Bankrate.com - Tue, May 3, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    My adjusted gross income, or AGI, was less than last year, too. You are correct, the tax liability is calculated based on both your full-time job and your military pension, and you have already figured out that it has to do with the amount of taxes that you are having withheld from both of these sources of income. It's time to take a look at IRS Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension and Annuity Payments, as this is where you are going to find the answer to your dilemma of not having enough withheld in taxes.

  • A bad credit score could be a romantic turn-off Bankrate.com - Mon, May 2, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    FREE TOOL: Check your credit score for free today with myBankrate. A new Bankrate survey found nearly 4 in 10 adults say knowing someone's credit score would affect their willingness to date that person. It's a more important factor for women: 43% of women say learning a person's score would have either a major or minor impact on their dating interest, while just 32% of men say the same, according to the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey.

  • Raise your credit score by making this simple request Bankrate.com - Mon, May 2, 2016 8:00 PM AEST

    Nearly 8 in 10 U.S. credit card holders who have asked for a higher credit limit have been approved, the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey found. RATE SEARCH: Get your credit score for free and compare personalized credit card offers today at myBankrate. "I think a lot of people don't realize that they're allowed to do something like that, may not even realize that that's an option," says John Ulzheimer, a nationally recognized credit expert who formerly worked at credit companies FICO and Equifax.

  • When will your college degree pay off? Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 15, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    When will your college degree pay off?

    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 ...

  • 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.

  • 'Safe' CDs pay zip. So why not buy stocks? Bankrate.com - Mon, Apr 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    'Safe' CDs pay zip. So why not buy stocks?

    Bankrate reported recently that more than half of Americans don't own any stocks or stock-based investments. Now, in a new Financial Security Index survey, 76 percent of Americans say low interest rates on savings accounts and CDs don't make stocks any more appealing. The level of disinterest in stocks has remained virtually unchanged since Bankrate started asking the question in 2012, even though the stock market has soared. In those three years, yields on one-year CDs have fallen 18 percent, five-year CDs by 23 percent, and interest rates on money market accounts have fallen 31 percent, according to Bankrate.

  • Survey: Who's feeling good about their finances? Bankrate.com - Mon, Apr 20, 2015 8:00 PM AEST
    Survey: Who's feeling good about their finances?

    Americans continue to feel better about many aspects of their personal finances when compared with a year ago, according to a monthly reading from Bankrate. Any index reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months. The survey that accompanied the index showed that people felt better about their job security, debt levels, net worth and overall financial situation when compared with how they felt a year ago. The Financial Security Index has shown improvement for 11 months in a row, though April's reading was slightly below previous measurements in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Guess what? America's best savers aren't wealthy Bankrate.com - Mon, Mar 30, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT
    Guess what? America's best savers aren't wealthy

    Middle-class Americans may not earn the biggest paychecks, but they put more of their money in savings than any other group. A quarter of middle-class households (those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually) set aside more than 15 percent of their income, according to a survey that accompanied Bankrate's March Financial Security Index. "Middle-class Americans (have) to do the saving, because nobody is going to do it for them," says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate's chief financial analyst. "They don't have the six-figure income to fall back on" for expenses, including household emergencies, long-term health care, children's education or their own retirement.

  • When sharing taxes might not be a good idea Bankrate.com - Tue, Feb 10, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT
    When sharing taxes might not be a good idea

    Taxes Tax Filing Is Filing Taxes Jointly A Good Idea? As a married couple, you probably share almost everything. But is that such a good idea when it comes to filing taxes? Most couples file their return ...

  • Think you'll win a Super Bowl bet? It's taxable Bankrate.com - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT
    Think you'll win a Super Bowl bet? It's taxable

    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. Many people don't realize gambling winnings are taxable income.

  • How do I prove credit card charges aren't mine? Bankrate.com - Tue, Jun 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Bankruptcy Adviser, I lost my wallet and someone else found it and used my cards. The person also must have used my identity because a bunch of cards were opened up in my name. How does the credit ...

  • Deduct mortgage interest on home for my in-laws? Bankrate.com - Tue, Jun 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Tax Talk, We are purchasing a home for my in-laws to live in rent-free for as long as they need it. The lending bank explained they needed to characterize the loan as an "investment property," ...

  • Home equity loans and HELOCs are available again Bankrate.com - Tue, Jun 17, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Home Equity Home Equity Loans, HELOCs Available Again Home equity loans and lines of credit are making a comeback. Homeowners are tapping their equity with these loans as property values go up and mortgage ...

  • 'Bottom-dollar' effect makes shoppers blue Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST
    'Bottom-dollar' effect makes shoppers blue

    Pangs of dissatisfaction with a product are especially likely for buyers who spend their last few dollars on the item, according to Robin L. Soster, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. It also can help consumers make more satisfying purchases. My colleagues -- Andrew D. Gershoff at the University of Texas at Austin and William O. Bearden at the University of South Carolina (in Columbia) -- and I set out to investigate whether spending the last bits of one's resources might actually impact feelings about the thing purchased. We found that when a product's purchase exhausts people's budgets, consumers end up less satisfied with the product itself.

  • Fed likely to pump the brakes a little more? Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    The nation's unemployment rate is expected to top the agenda at this week's huddle of the Federal Reserve's monetary policymaking panel. But don't expect more positive economic news since the April meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee to drastically shake up its strategy of tapering economic stimulus or to provide more details on when it plans to raise interest rates. "The economy seems to be performing as they had pretty much anticipated, so they won't feel there's a need to surprise the markets at this point," says Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Stanley Fischer, former Bank of Israel governor, was confirmed in May by the Senate to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

  • Mortgage options for potential money pit Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    The Federal Housing Administration has a mortgage loan insurance program that should work for you. It is the Section 203(k) Rehab Mortgage Insurance program. The total value of the property can't exceed the FHA mortgage limit for the area. The FHA's website says, "All persons who can make the monthly mortgage payments are eligible to apply."

  • Fresh off the lot: Extended car loans Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    New vehicle prices are increasing, and credit is becoming more readily available, ushering in an era of extended-term car loans. A decade ago, a 60-month car loan was the norm. That's been replaced by the 72-month auto loan; "Consumers tend to be comfortable paying a certain monthly amount and over time, we haven't really seen that amount increase much," says Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive credit at Experian Automotive, the Costa Mesa, California, provider of market research for the automobile industry.

  • 'Theme' investing: Just a fad or here to stay? Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    "You're trying to find powerful secular trends that are shaping the world -- things like genomics, robotics, the rise of the emerging market consumer," says Dan Roarty, a portfolio manager for global growth and thematic portfolios at AllianceBernstein. AllianceBernstein offers a thematic investing mutual fund -- the AllianceBernstein Global Thematic Growth Fund. While this fund is based on themes, many others are based on benchmarks, Roarty says. We focus on what we think will be the success stories of tomorrow," Roarty says.

  • 4 ways credit unions help raise credit scores Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    CheckingCredit Union How Credit Unions Help Raise Credit Scores To help, credit unions are offering more tools aimed at rebuilding tarnished credit scores. These tools include low-cost secured loans, free credit counseling and online debt management courses. And since credit unions are member-owned, they're usually eager to help their members improve their scores or establish credit.

  • Cash in great-granddad's 1890 life insurance? Bankrate.com - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Because I still have the certificate, I assume no claim was made on this life insurance policy when my great-grandfather died in 1928. The original issuing company sold it many times, and it appears the insurance company of record is currently a major international insurer. I would start by contacting the life insurance company's claims department and speaking only to the claims manager or claim supervisor, due to the unique nature of this claim. What a fun question -- a life insurance policy from 1890! I would love to see that and see the language that was used.

  • Homeownership, reverse mortgages and death Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    My father has a reverse mortgage on his home. The value of properties in his neighborhood has increased since he took the reverse mortgage. I don't know how you missed all the ads, with celebrities like Henry Winkler, Pat Boone and Fred Thompson all extolling the benefits of reverse mortgages. They could achieve this through the sale of the home or by taking out a new conventional mortgage on the property.

  • Choose your investing adventure Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Test your stock market investing acumen in these extreme scenarios. Here's your portfolio: It's a single 401(k) account worth $250,000, split between 70% stocks and 30% bonds, all index mutual funds. What would you do if a calamitous world event caused the stock market to plunge 10% in a single day and kept going, ending the week down 20%? First the scolding: You should have been better prepared for a serious downturn, according to Herbert G. Hopwood, CFP, CFA, president at Hopwood Financial Services in Great Falls, Virginia.

  • Top 10 states for foreclosure in May Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Foreclosure filings fell 5 percent nationally from April to May. According to RealtyTrac, a California-based firm that tracks foreclosures, these states had the highest rates of foreclosure in May. Nationally, ...

  • How to make principal-only car loan payments Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    I have an auto loan that I pay with two checks every month -- one for the payment and one with extra toward the principal. I write "principal" on the second check every time, but the lender doesn't apply the check to the principal every time until I call and ask. It sounds like you are lucky, as many lenders won't take principal-only car payments on auto loans at all. In states where the option of principal-only payments is required by law or with lenders who do offer the option, paying additional money toward your car loan to lower the principal and pay off the loan sooner can be tricky.

  • Debt consolidation mortgages get an update Bankrate.com - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    You may be tempted to consolidate your credit card and other high-interest debt into a mortgage with much lower payments. Today's debt consolidation mortgages are more conservative than those seen during the housing boom, when lenders allowed homeowners to refinance and cash out as much as 110 percent of the value of their homes.

  • Should I cash out my 403(b) plan and quit my job? Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 12, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Liz, I have been working for the same organization for 17 years. I've accumulated $270,000 in my 403(b) account. I have a resort property on which I owe $200,000. If I pay it off, I will have monthly ...

  • Home equity loan rates for June 12, 2014 Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 12, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Interest Rate Roundup Mortgages CDs Auto Loans Home Equity Credit Cards Find the best home equity rates in your area. Home Equity 4.92% (line of credit) 6.22% (loan) Rates on loans backed by home equity ...

  • 5 meaty tips for collecting piggy banks Bankrate.com - Thu, Jun 12, 2014 8:00 PM AEST

    Piggy banks may seem like child's play, but these timeless coin containers appeal to people of all ages. As many piggy banks have become collectors' items, they can be great for starting an investment-worthy ...