Family sitting on couch with a Christmas tree in the background

Article Summary Christmas club savings accounts are banking products that combine the advantages of traditional savings accounts and certificates of deposit. You can open an account with a small initial deposit and fund it with regular deposits on a set schedule. Your savings then earn interest, and the account matures in time for holiday shopping […]

Increasing stacks of coins with hand placing small plant on tallest stack

Article Summary: Companies often provide benefits to their employees, including 401(k) retirement plans. To encourage their employees to save for retirement, these companies will usually match contributions up to a certain amount. If your company offers a 401(k), how much you should contribute to it in your 20s depends on the annual limit on matching […]

Hand sliding a stack of money across a desk to another person

Article Summary: Certificates of deposit (CDs) allow you to lock in an interest rate for a set period of time at the cost of immediate access to your money. High-yield savings accounts, on the other hand, provide easy access to your money, but interest rates will vary over time. Issued by U.S. banks, both products […]

Two investors reviewing stock performance and discussing the pros and cons of ETFs

The Pros and Cons of ETFs

Article Summary: Exchange-traded funds can be great investments, as they often contain diverse securities, come at a low cost, and allow you to immediately reinvest your dividends. However, depending on the ETF you invest in, you may find that you receive fewer dividend funds and have less diverse securities than you previously realized. Because of […]

Hand of climber ascending cliff face, symbolizing climb up from poverty

Article Summary: “Being poor” can mean having an income that falls below the poverty line. In that case, you may need to take advantage of assistance programs, improve your education, and find better work. “Being poor” can also mean feeling poor because you can’t seem to avoid spending every cent you make, aren’t saving or […]

Phone and laptop showing stocks going up

Article Summary Two of the primary ways the U.S. government taxes individuals are by taxing income and taxing investment gains. The government encourages investing for the long term by setting a lower tax rate on realized profits from investments held longer than one year. There are commonly used strategies to defer or reduce capital gains […]

Man sitting at a table holding documents and looking at computer screen

Article Summary: The statement date is the end of your billing cycle and the start of your payment grace period. The due date is the last day your credit card company will accept a payment towards your balance. It is the end of your monthly grace period. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship […]

Two sacks with dollar signs on scale opposite house model

Article Summary: Both a cash-out refinance and a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are refinancing options for homeowners looking to tap their property’s equity. Through a cash-out refinance, the homeowner receives a check for the difference between the original mortgage and the home’s equity by applying for a new, larger mortgage. A HELOC, on […]

Hands holding a calculator while writing in a notebook behind stacks of coins

Article Summary: Annual percentage rate (APR) and annual percentage yield (APY) both sound similar, but they are actually quite different. APR is the annual cost of a loan to a borrower. It is the rate usually advertised when people shop around for a loan or line of credit. APY, on the other hand, is the […]

tax planning documents and need help note

Article Summary: Unearned income is income you get from investments and other sources that are not directly related to employment. It includes investment-type income such as taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. The tax rates on unearned income are different from what you pay on earned income. Warren Buffet, the famous investor, once […]

Man pointing at house model with pen

Article Summary: Contingent offers represent about 8 out of every 10 home purchases, yet only about 1 in 10 of them fall through. Both buyers and sellers may have contingencies in place to protect themselves from failed financing, outrageous home repair expenses, or ownership disputes. 1 in 20 NAR’s 2022 survey found about 5% (or […]

Aerial view of homes in a neighborhood

Article Summary: A pocket listing is a property put up for sale but the listing is not shared with the general public. It’s considered unethical by many because pocket listings distort the market and may not get the seller the best price for their property. The real estate industry may allow properties to be offered […]

Investor calculates the ARV of a property

Article Summary: You’ve seen TV programs about house flippers who buy properties in poor condition, fix them up and resell them at a profit. To do this on a profitable basis, you need reliable data. For example, knowing the after-repair value (ARV) of a property will help you know how much money you should pay […]

Man looking discouraged as he reviews a paper

Article Summary: Mortgage underwriters deny about one in every 10 mortgage loan applications. This is often because the applicant has too much debt, a spotty employment history, or a low appraisal report. However, by knowing what an underwriter reviews, you can make your application as attractive as possible. 1 in 10 On average, one in […]

Image of house plans, a calculator, and money to symbolize the idea of financing a new construction home

Article Summary: A spec home is a new home that was built as a speculative (that’s where the “spec” comes from) investment without having a buyer lined up. They are sometimes confused with custom homes, but unlike true custom homes, they don’t allow the buyer to choose the location, house design, or floor plan. However, […]

image of money a clock and a calculator to symbolize tax-deferred accounts

What Does Tax-Deferred Mean?

Article Summary: Tax-deferred accounts allow investments to grow tax-free until some point in the future (sometimes indefinitely). This allows assets to grow faster and reduces tax liability. Investors should consider taking advantage of tax-deferred accounts whenever available. “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Ben Franklin was not just flying kites and extolling the virtues […]

Rows of houses in suburban area

Article Summary: PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, which represent the four components of a property owner’s monthly mortgage payment. By combining the numbers from each of these initials, a mortgage lender estimates the loan you can afford based on your current income. When a lender decides whether they will lend you money […]

Couple in financial difficulties worrying about foreclosure

Article Summary: Foreclosures don’t happen the moment you miss a payment. There is a period, typically three to four months, when homeowners can work with their lender to get back on track or renegotiate the loan. This period is called preforeclosure. Losing your house can be the most devastating setback of your lifetime. Apart from […]

man searching online for "what is an asset-based mortgages"

Article Summary: Buying real estate often involves applying for a mortgage. This takes time. If you have cash or securities with a financial services firm, you may be able to arrange an asset-based loan in advance. Asset-based loans are not common, but they can give you the ability to act quickly when you find a […]

Image of a house, a calculator, and cash symbolizing a house with a mortgage

Article Summary: If you inherit real estate, the existing mortgage doesn’t need to be immediately paid off. You can take possession of the property, assume the mortgage (or refinance it) and continue making payments. It’s been estimated about 62% of American homeowners have a mortgage. For a deceased person, their house is often their largest […]