Tag Archives: retirement

Money Monday: How to retire debt-free

Retiring already can put a strain on your budget; don’t exacerbate it by being deep in debt on top of it!

Picture from www.ccPixs.com

Here are a few ways to get and stay debt-free:

  1. Start and keep building up your savings — having at least an emergency savings stash is especially crucial.
  2. Spend less than you bring in — live below your means.
  3. Work on paying off your student loans early.
  4. Don’t overpay when buying your home — you need to get an affordable mortgage.
  5. Keep that credit card debt very low.

Read more on all five of these ideas on Money.CNN.com’s article: “5 steps to retire debt-free.”

Money Monday: Millennials saving for financial freedom

Millennials are saving for financial freedom—not retirement

Source: Yahoo Finance

Photo from Pictures of Money

Millennials often get a bad rap when it comes to financial responsibility. But it turns out those stereotypes may be off base. Millennials are saving more money than any other generation, according to a new study by Bank of America and Merrill Edge. But it’s what they’re saving for that really sets them apart from older generations.

Saving for financial freedom is the No. 1 priority for millennials — 63 percent of millennials said they’re saving a set amount of money to enjoy their desired lifestyle. This is a stark contrast to older generations: the majority of the Gen X and baby boomer generations prioritize their savings specifically to leave the workforce and retire.

This shift speaks to the bigger differences in the ways millennials and older generations view money, and what they prioritize in their lives. While it may not sound surprising that younger workers aren’t thinking about nest eggs as much as older generations, what’s a little different here is that they’re not thinking about retirement as a phase of life, let alone working to afford it. Millennials listed personal milestones as their top priorities: getting their dream job and traveling the world trumped more traditional goals like getting married and having children.

Read the full story from Yahoo Finance here

Money Monday: Cut Down on Your Retirement Costs

Unless you plan on working part-time instead of fully retiring, you may need to cut down on your cost of living in order to live within your means.

retirement

Photo credit: 401kcalculator.org

Here are a few suggestions on how you can cut some costs:

1. Downsize your living space

Not only will downsizing your home most likely help with mortgage and utility costs, but it may also cut down on the required time spent maintaining the house and yard.

If downsizing sounds ideal, please give me a call to see how I can help sell and/or buy your next home! John A Silva – (619) 890-3648

2. Sell unnecessary vehicles

If both of you are retiring, then you may be able to get away with one vehicle for the both of you, cutting significant upkeep, registration and insurance costs.

3. Enroll in Medicare on time

Sign up within the initial seven-month time-frame allotted (three months before your 65th birthday until three months after). Otherwise, you’ll be paying more for those doctor visits.

Read all of Money.CNN.com’s suggestions here: “Slash your retirement costs with these 5 tips”.

Money Monday: Questions to Ask Before You Retire

Sometimes it’s difficult to plan financially for the future when you also need to worry about here and now.

However, if you don’t think ahead, you most likely will be in for a rude awakening come retirement age. Now is not too early to be thinking and planning for retirement; and to help you, here are three questions from Time.com to think about:

  1. Will you be able to replace enough money to retire while maintaining your standard of living?
  2. What are you investing in? There are general investment recommendations here.
  3. What will retirement look like?

Read all of Time.com’s article on Yahoo here: “Ready to Retire? Better Ask Yourself These 3 Questions First.”

Money Monday: Catch up on your retirement savings

While it is certainly ideal to start saving for retirement early on, you can still save a substantial amount even if you start later in life.

investing

Many Americans do not have any retirement savings — a full one-third, according to Bankrate.com — but that doesn’t mean that they (or you) can’t catch up. Here are some suggestions on what to do, from USA Today:

  1. Pay down your debt
  2. Take advantage of an IRA and 401(k)
  3. Reduce and avoid extra investing fees
  4. Wait to retire and work longer
  5. Don’t make unnecessary risks and shortcuts

Read all about USAToday.com’s five points in detail: 5 simple ways to catch up on your retirement savings.

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
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One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.