Reasons To Refinance

There are many great reasons to refinance. With lower cost, adjustable rate, and 0-down options, traditional loan programs like 30-year or 15-year fixed rate mortgages don't always allow us to meet our financial goals. Today, even reducing your mortgage interest rate a little can save you big over the life of your home loan. Take a look below at 5 great reasons to refinance.

1. Lower Your Monthly Payment
If you plan to live in your home for a few years, it may make sense to pay a point or two to decrease your interest rate and overall payment. Over the long run, you will have paid for the cost of the mortgage refinance with the monthly savings. On the other hand, if you plan on moving in the near future, you may not be in your home long enough to recover the refinancing costs. Calculating the break-even point before you decide to refinance can help determine whether it makes sense.

2. Switch From an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate Mortgage
Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) can provide lower initial monthly payments for those who are willing to risk upward market adjustments. They're also ideal if you don't plan to own your property for more than a few years. However, if you have made your house a permanent home, you may want to swap your adjustable rate for a 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Your interest may be higher than with an ARM, but you have the confidence of knowing what your payment will be every month for the rest of your loan term.

3. Escape Balloon Payment Programs
Like adjustable rate mortgage programs, balloon programs are great when you want lower rates and lower initial monthly payments. However, if you still own the property at the end of the fixed rate term (usually 5 or 7 years), the entire balance of your mortgage is due to the lender. If you are in a balloon program, you can easily switch over into a new adjustable rate mortgage or fixed rate mortgage.

4. Remove Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Zero or Low down payment options allow homeowners to purchase homes with less than 20% down. Unfortunately, they also usually require private mortgage insurance, which is designed to protect the lender from loan default. As the value of your home increases and the balance on your home decreases, you may be eligible to remove your PMI with a mortgage refinance loan.

5. Cash In on Your Home's Equity
Your home is a great resource for extra cash. Like most homes, yours has probably increased in value, and that gives you the ability to take some of that cash and put it to good use. Pay off credit cards, make home improvements, pay tuition, replace your current car, or even take a long-overdue vacation. With a cash-out mortgage refinance transaction, it's easy. And it's even tax deductible.

Annuity Basic

Annuities can be very good things for some of us and a disaster for those of us who have not been made aware of the pitfalls and traps that in turn can easily befall them.
Since most people have or are going to look into annuities as a retirement or and an investment vehicle, make sure it fits into today’s needs and parameters. It has to be right for the times we are in and it needs to be periodically revaluated for tomorrow’s world.

Precautions to be taken when buying annuities:

1.    One should not Buy Annuities With Long Surrender Periods:

People are talked into buying an annuity that locks up their money for an excessive period of time with a surrender period that is longer than another comparable annuity with similar interest rates.

2.    Do not fall for First Year Bonus Interest Rates:

 Some annuity companies offer you a ‘bonus’ or ‘bonus interest rate’ on your first year deposit into an annuity.

3.    Understand exclusion rations and the value of a partial 1035 exchange.

This is a rather complicated subject because there are enormous variables in determining how to properly structure your annuity contract from day one so as to maximize the taxable exclusion ratios when and if you decide to take an annuitization income from your annuities in the future.

4.    Do not use small companies with questionable financial ratings

An annuity by definition is a contract guaranteed by an insurance company. Annuity consumers sometimes forget this and buy and annuity without factoring the claims paying ability of the insuring company. This does not only apply to the questions of solvency or bankruptcy but to the more subtle effect it might have ones contract. If an annuity company has financial trouble it most likely will not go bankrupt (even though it is a possibility) because of the various government regulatory groups that monitor annuity companies. But what can happen is the annuity company will lower the rates at which it credits interest to your account in order to make up its losses in other areas of its business.

5.    Know the guaranteed cover per person per insurance company

One needs to know if an insurance company goes broke what is the guaranteed cover per person per insurance company is available .One should not invest more than that in the fixed or guaranteed annuities and the variable annuities are not covered. Because if they broke then one may get stuck or spread the amount between different insurance companies.

6.    Consider the shortest penalty free surrender date
       The next thing you have to consider is getting the shortest possible penalty free           surrender    date term as possible so long as the interest rate is better than any CD.

Lastly and most importantly get the best professional help, one who will always tell you "like it is" even if its sometimes hard to listen too and even harder sometimes to act upon.