Shopping for a Mortgage

5 questions to ask when shopping for a mortgage

Shopping for a mortgage(BPT) – Buying a home is a major financial commitment. It’s exciting, but can also be confusing and overwhelming. Choosing the best mortgage that fits your needs is an important first step and first-time homebuyers in particular should research the many options and know the right questions to ask. Here are some questions to ask a lender when shopping for a mortgage that will help you make an informed mortgage decision:

* How much can I afford? A home affordability calculator can help you get an idea of what you may be able to afford and keep your monthly payments within your budget. In addition to recurring expenses like car payments, student loans, credit cards and disposable income, be sure to consider other monthly expenses related to the new home, like association fees, homeowners’ insurance, utilities and property taxes. Further, some types of mortgages have firm eligibility cutoffs related to the ratio between a buyer’s total debt amounts and their monthly income.

* How much do I need for a down payment? It’s a common misconception that a View full post…

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File Your Taxes on the New Form 1040 Post Card Size

The IRS New Post Card Size Form 1040

By now, most of you have either seen the new Form 1040, or have read a lot of comments on the Internet. Is it really the size of a post card? Can you file your taxes using just this new form?

Pretty much. (See the front and back below)

Some may. Probably not for most.

What is the Form 1040?

This form was first introduced over a hundred years ago as the primary summary form for individual tax returns. In the beginning, all Form 1040 returns were done by hand. Eventually when computers came upon the scene, a few outside vendors were preparing tax returns for accounting firms.

These returns, however, had to be mailed in by the taxpayer. Then in 1986, e-filing was introduced by the IRS, and this was the point that forever changed the method you could file your taxes. View full post…

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10 New Business Mistakes That Can Spell Trouble

10 New Business Mistakes that Can Get You Into Trouble

Don't make the 10 new business mistakes others makeThinking of starting your own business? Are you self-motivated in such a way that you’ll put in the long hours necessary to succeed? If so, you may have what it takes to prevent new business mistakes from becoming a bad habit.

Unfortunately, some individuals have the misconception that becoming financially independent can be accomplished in a short period of time. Well, I suppose its possible, but for most, they quickly learn the business facts of life.

Operating your own business can be very rewarding such as being your own boss, but there are a number of things that you have to comply with if you want to stay in business. The primary one is paying the various taxes that are required.

This is one area where a new business owner needs to consult an experienced, qualified accountant before setting up a business entity. A lot depends on the type of business and how to structure it so that overall taxes can be minimized.

In my state, a few years ago, the LLC designation was added to the state level types of organizations. Practically every new View full post…

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How To Be Money Smart

How to be ‘money smart’ in a digital world

Be money smart and Use Zelle for secure money transfers(BPT) – Modern digital technology has replaced landlines, television antennas, VCRs, CDs and many other things that were once part of our daily lives – and the next thing to go may well be cash, so be money smart.

A few years ago, the idea that we would no longer use cash would have seemed outlandish, but it’s happening right before our eyes. A 2016 Gallup poll found only 24 percent of Americans made all or most of their purchases with cash, compared to 36 percent five years ago. Plus, according to a recent U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Survey, more consumers say they prefer the use of digital apps to make payments versus cash.

Digital payments, specifically person-to-person (P2P) payment technologies, have made it fast, safe and convenient to send and receive money from a mobile device. Where once people exchanged cash, they are increasingly sending money to one another via P2P technology services like Zelle(R), which connects the nation’s leading financial institutions to enable consumers to send fast payments to friends, family, and people they trust.

If you haven’t already joined the 100K consumers, on average a day, View full post…

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Retirement Planning Mistakes

Do You Make These Retirement Planning Mistakes?

Start retirement planning as early as possibleRetirement planning is usually difficult for a variety of reasons. Some say its equivalent to rolling the dice because retirement may be decades away and you’re forced to make spending assumptions now.

What makes it worse is that if your guess is too far off, it can make a happy and comfortable retirement into one that is a nightmare.

Once you’re already in retirement, it can be very difficult to recover financially if some unforeseen large expense occurs. Some retirees try to find a job to supplement their income, but many others cannot. Either they’re not able physically, or the job market may be cold.

The following categories where un-planned spending generally occurs creates problems for some and blows their budget out the window. View full post…

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