Yesterday, I write about how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw some of her fans a bit of a curve ball when she referred to the high-profile national anthem protests by professional athletes as “dumb and disrespectful.” Ginsburg is a decidedly left-leaning jurist, but, even so, she clearly thinks that such anthem protests, as well as similar flag protests, are out of bounds for Americans, regardless of their political inclinations. Enter now-retired U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach. Wambach is another who won’t likely be confused with Ted Cruz or Rush Limbaugh anytime soon; a lesbian who married her... Read more →


By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large Years ago, all was sunshine and roses in the world of real estate and mortgage financing; values of homes were in the midst of a steady rise, and it seemed as though the trend would last forever. It didn’t, of course, but few conceived of the degree to which it would all unravel. The lasting effects of the global economic collapse of 2008, wherein real estate led much of the way, have included a distinct difficulty on the part of borrowers with less-than-great credit to secure their piece of what’s been long-considered... Read more →


In the latest edition of the Christian Money Plus members-only podcast, Jim Paris addresses the subject of reverse mortgages from the plain-speaking, down-to-earth perspective that so many have come to value. You will hear some comments on reverse mortgages that will probably surprise you, including why Jim advised his own parents to obtain a reverse mortgage. Other topics on this episode - …the reality & implications of the involuntary part-time work force in America today… ...the continued, substantial risk of identity theft by way of “old school” methods… …and the utility of RFID-blocking wallets & purses. To hear this podcast... Read more →


If you purchased a home in recent years and put less than 20% down, it is almost a certainty that your monthly mortgage payment includes Private Mortgage Insurance. This is not insurance for you, but for the lender in case you default on the loan. I received a question this week from a reader on this topic and did some digging to find out the latest on PMI. In the case of this one reader, they are currently paying more than $400 monthly for PMI on a $400,000 mortgage. PMI typically adds 1.35% to your annual interest rate. Many people... Read more →


Writer Philip Van Doorn over at Market Watch published an article recently wherein he declared that when the day comes that we find ourselves beset by another housing crisis, the only people to blame then will be the banking community. Van Doorn basically says that the largest lenders’ insistence on sticking with a policy of lending only to those people who have premium credit, the ability to withstand stringent underwriting, and the cash to make a significant down payment, will be the reason for that crisis; stunningly, he seems to lay the blame for the stagnation in the economic recovery... Read more →


According to Bankrate, the national average for a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage has fallen to 4.23% presently; while no longer at historical lows, a rate like this means that the cost to borrow is still very modest. I can tell you that home buying activity in my immediate area has been rather active, and there appears to be little sign of that abating anytime soon. However, as far as interest rates are concerned, there need not be any urgency on the part of prospective home buyers. Based on the positively anemic (at best) growth of the economy, those in the market... Read more →


Are You Prepared For A Government Shutdown?

Looming government shutdowns have become to most people another episode of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf.' Both sides square off swearing that they won't compromise, but in the end a last minute deal averts the crisis. This time, however, could be different. The last time the government was shut down was in 1996 for 28 days, as a result of a standoff between Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton. There is probably just as much acrimony now as there was in 1996 between the parties. There are also much bigger stakes this time around, and don't... Read more →


Do You Have Tornado Insurance?

I thought the headline might get your attention, and as far as I know there is no such thing as 'tornado insurance.' Tornadoes are a hazard covered by a standard homeowner's insurance policy, but many people are ill prepared for a weather disaster such as what we saw recently in Oklahoma. Rule #1 Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance To Rebuild It is up to you to be sure that you have enough insurance in place to fully cover the loss of your home. If you recently purchased your home or refinanced, there is a good chance that your lender... Read more →


Making Sense Of The Bi-Weekly Mortgage

The concept has been around for decades and still comes up as a frequent question on our website and at workshops: Does it make sense to structure your mortgage payments through a bi-weekly payment program? For those unfamiliar with the concept, a bi-weekly mortgage plan requires a payment every two weeks of half the monthly amount. Since some months have five weeks, you will end up paying the equivalent of an extra full mortgage payment once per year. The math is solid and paying your mortgage this way will cut off seven years of payments! What Is Even Better Than... Read more →


Why Renting Can Be A Better Decision Than Buying A Home

There are many financial "traditions" that we all simply accept as true. One of the things I have done as a financial writer is to question many of these traditions to see how valid they really are today. This article will attempt to address the dozens of emails that I receive every month on the question of whether or not it is better to rent or buy a home. Right now, with the millions of empty homes on the market, rent is cheap. I would not venture out and even consider buying a home unless you have a minimum of... Read more →


Foreclosures, Short Sales, And Loan Modifications To Trigger Millions In New Taxes

There is a very dark cloud on the horizon that will be devastating to those facing foreclosure or even a short sale or loan modification. In 2007 Congress passed into law 'The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act' which provided forgiveness for the taxes that would normally be owed when a home is foreclosed, short saled, or a loan is modified. This protections of this law disappear on January 1, 2013 leaving millions of homeowners in a very precarious situation. From the IRS website - "If you owe a debt to someone and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled... Read more →


Homeowners Fight Back With Mortgage Audits

I was listening to a talk radio show a couple of weeks ago and heard an ad for a company offering consumers the service of auditing their mortgage. I was not aware of such a practice so I became curious. A Google search for "mortgage audit" brings up nearly 100,000 results. Mortgage auditing firms will put your mortgage under a microscope to look for deficiencies such as incomplete documentation and/or legal disclosure, failure to accurately account for your payments and interest charges, and if the mortgage was recorded properly and if sold transferred correctly. Why Get A Mortgage Audit? These... Read more →


Bank Of America is rolling out a new program that will allow homeowners in foreclosure to be able to stay in their homes. There is a small catch - you will stay in the home as a renter. The new program will be tested in Arizona, New York, and Nevada. If it is a success, it is widely expected to be rolled out nationwide and then likely implemented by other major banks. It is being called a mortgage to lease program. You agree to voluntary sign over the deed to your home. In exchange, you can lease the property for... Read more →