15 Year vs. 30 Year Mortgage

Buying a home is one of the biggest life decisions you will ever make. Equally as important is the mortgage you select when making the purchase. There are many options available to potential buyers, including FHA, VA, Balloon, Conventional, USDA, and many more.

Determining the length of term you are able to pay, however, will perhaps have the biggest impact on your bottom line long-term. The most common mortgages feature either 15 or 30-year terms.

The 30-year fixed mortgage is usually the most popular option buyers choose. It offers the most flexibility and is usually the most affordable, freeing up finances for other important purchases such as a car, college savings, or retirement contributions, to name a few. Continue reading

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Learn about Tax Benefits for Education

The following article was published by the IRS.

The beginning of the school year is a good time for a reminder of the tax benefits for education. These benefits can help offset qualifying education costs.

Here is information about two tax credits available to those who pay higher education costs for themselves, a spouse or a dependent.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is:

  • Worth a maximum benefit up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • Only available for the first four years at an eligible educational or vocational school.
  • For students pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Partially refundable. Eligible taxpayers can get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if they do not owe any tax.

Continue reading

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Buying Your First Car

Buying your first car is an exhilarating experience, as it should be. You officially have your keys to freedom. But as with any form of freedom, it does come with responsibility. This is just as true when driving as it is when purchasing your first vehicle.

The best way to approach the new car-buying experience is “slowly”. Here are the steps to make sure you make the right purchase for your budget and your needs: Continue reading

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Like Harvey, Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Irma

The following article was published by the IRS.

401KThe Internal Revenue Service today announced that 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Irma and members of their families. This is similar to relief provided last month to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Participants in 401(k) plans, employees of public schools and tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, as well as state and local government employees with 457(b) deferred-compensation plans may be eligible to take advantage of these streamlined loan procedures and liberalized hardship distribution rules. Though IRA participants are barred from taking out loans, they may be eligible to receive distributions under liberalized procedures. Continue reading

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Sneaky Credit Card Tricks

Credit card companies are as good at marketing as they are at lending money, and with good reason. The credit industry is one full of high demand and high risk, so finding a pool of eligible borrowers to take on as new customers is often an aggressive task with a lot of competition.

So while you may be inundated with a flood of credit card offers, don’t think everything you see is for your benefit. Here are some sneaky tricks to watch out for and understand as you navigate the tricky world of credit card offers. Continue reading

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As Hurricane Irma Threatens, IRS Urges Taxpayers to Prepare for Hurricanes, Floods and Other Disasters

hurricane evacuation signFor September’s National Preparedness Month, the Internal Revenue Service is offering advice to taxpayers who may be affected by storms, fires, floods or other disasters. After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and with Hurricane Irma threatening parts of the U.S. and Caribbean, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the agency is here to help, including offering a special toll-free number to taxpayers in federally-declared disaster areas that’s staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Managed and sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ready Campaign, National Preparedness Month encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to prepare for a variety of disaster and emergency situations. Continue reading

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What You Should Know Before Taking a 401(k) Loan

Did you know that you can take a loan from your 401(k) retirement account? If so, do you know all the implications of taking such a loan?

Either way, it’s important to briefly examine some things you should be aware of before taking a loan from your retirement account.

First things first – the fact that you even have a workplace savings accounts is a great place to find yourself. It’s one of the best and most effective ways to save for your future. While your future may be looking bright financially, sometimes you have the need to borrow some money in the present. But is this a good idea?

Here are three things to examine: Continue reading

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