Down payment without losing focus

Making the down payment without losing focus on that new home

With the down payment on FHFA regulated fresh mortgages climbing down from 5% to 3%, the real estate scenario has taken a turn for the better. The move also highlights the urgent need to save for meeting closing costs and for creating ample reserves for meeting much needed repairs and related expenses that become unavoidable when the individual shifts to new ownership.

The savings conundrum

It is a disturbing statistic that the level of saving has seen a drastic reduction over the years from a healthier 15% to a weaker 5%. Loss of income and erosion of money value due to inflation have not made things easier for individuals looking out to augment savings. Nowadays it takes $150 to purchase the same categories of household items that could be earlier purchased for $100. This also explains why the average population considering new mortgages has slid from 40% to just around 30%.

Though the savings scenario is much bleaker than before, it is not altogether impossible to boost savings.

How to strategize to boost one’s saving potential

Unless you fall in the category of the rich and famous it is certainly an uphill task to cobble up savings for meeting inevitable housing expenses. Here we detail the steps that you can initiate to ensure you fulfill your savings goals so that you can keep your date with your down payment.

Opening a bank savings account

If you already have a checking account in a bank or credit union, ensure you open a savings bank account as well. Maintaining accounts in the same institution ensures that you get the full benefit of transferring money both manually and electronically.

Create a structured budget

If companies run on tight budgets there is no reason why the canny saver can’t create a well-structured budget to efficiently handle finances. Using a spreadsheet is helpful as you get to analyze and manipulate gross earnings and deduct taxes and other costs. You also get a bird’s eye view of monthly expenses and zero in on items that are exceeding anticipated limits. Keeping proper record of bills, invoices and receipts also helps in getting a good grip on finances. It is the easiest way of first monitoring and thereafter controlling what comes in and goes out of your financial system.

Gradually, as you get accustomed to budgeting you realize what it takes to control runaway expenditure. You know instantly which category deserves a spending cut and how it pays to find ways to boost your income to help meet unforeseen calamities. It should be a sobering thought that people with lower income than you are efficiently managing their needs, and there is a valuable lesson there that you need to imbibe.
Controlling and curtailing expenditure is the surest way of growing savings and it also helps to find new sources of income that can boost your savings potential.

Give a thought to climbing interest rates

Get a grip on what you are losing out by way of interest on credit card balances and loans and what you are gaining from savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Minimize the interest outflow and maximize the interest that you stand to gain from. If you have been religiously paying your dues without default it is high time you asked the credit card provider for an interest rate cut or shift balances to a lower interest facility.

Companies readily comply for fear of losing a good customer. Take a closer look at your auto loan and if you see a simple interest calculation it would be wiser to prepay the loan if the calculation favors you. In this connection we can share an open secret that mortgage lenders are better regulated to prevent malpractices whereas auto financiers are an open book and do whatever that pleases them.

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Check your ability to borrow (your credit status)

The credit score to a large extent determines what the lender charges you. If you have stronger credit, getting a lower down payment is a cinch, and you get favorable interest rates too that impact your loan outstanding favorably. The credit report is a compendium of statistics and observations highlighting how you well or how inefficiently have conducted your credit portfolio. It reflects missed payments, bankruptcies and problematic loan accounts and how much you have borrowed and can borrow further against established limits. This is not to say that the system is error free – in fact it is error prone and constant alertness is required to ensure the report reflects your true credit standing. A marginal shift in credit points could mean the difference between an approved mortgage on borrower friendly terms and an expensive loan that could set you back financially.

Capitalizing on windfalls

It should not be forgotten that birthday gifts, cash prizes, gifts from grandparents, employee bonuses, income tax refunds, weddings and windfalls can boost savings when you least expect them to. Whenever you chance upon a windfall ensure the amount goes straight into the savings kitty without hesitating for a second.

Boosting cash savings by all means possible

The FHA places a high premium on cash resources that you bring in directly to make your down payment as opposed to payments that are sourced from elsewhere like the seller contribution for specific purposes like closing costs. This is so because the FHA is more interested in establishing proof of your financial strength. To this effect, gifts that you receive from friends, relatives and parents are generally classified as acceptable personal contributions as they do not involve interest earnings or repayments. The same also holds true of grants in special programs encouraging first time home buyers that may involve tax exemptions and interest concessions.

When you don the role of shopping for a brand new home you instantly transport yourself into a world of generously endowed kitchens, spacious bathrooms, designer drawing rooms and landscaped gardens, but it also casts the awesome responsibility of not forgetting the rudiments of planning your finances so that you don’t emerge poorer from the home buy. Following the tips that we have underlined will not only boost savings but create a backup that will smoothen the home buy in positive ways you will be very thankful for. Car Title Loans Santa Monica 429 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401 (424) 625-7474

The long term perspective on personal finances

Success in personal finance is often linked to how we perform in the long term and nothing exemplifies that more than how effective we are in forfeiting many of our short term gains. The basic question boils down to whether you are really up to the task of sacrificing your comforts in the short term to ensure you reach your long term objectives.

Acquiring the habit of stashing something away for retirement

If you are intent on saving for future needs it necessarily implies that there will be less cash available for domestic needs. In some ways that could be a good idea because one learns to get by with lower income without inflating one’s demands. At the same time it is also an undeniable fact that the money that you want to set aside for retirement could just as well help you make good lifestyle choices (organic foods, eco green innovations) or sustain your favorite charity.

These are not bad choices by themselves but you have taken a considered decision to shore up funds to sustain yourself when the income dips and you have fewer resources to fend for you basic needs in a future that may be some decades away.

The challenge of keeping your assets liquid and accessible

The pessimist would argue that parking hard earned savings in liquid assets such as high yielding online savings plans and Bank Certificates of Deposit won’t earn you half as much as more aggressive income oriented growth stocks. But what this argument hides is the undeniable fact that high growth stocks extract a steeper price which is the risk involved in placing substantial funds that could turn bad and jeopardize a long term investment plan.

Planning savings for the long term is fine as long as they do not compromise the accessibility of the same funds if and when you need that money in an emergency. The smarter and more sensible choice would be to keep at least a portion of savings in liquid instruments that satisfy short terms needs. At least it saves you the need to turn to credit cards and payday loans to fuel immediate cash demands that can’t be avoided.

How insurance helps you meet life’s emergencies without compromising your savings

It is an accepted fact that it is well neigh impossible to meet all or most of life’s insatiable appetite for funds without a good insurance policy or two in your back pocket. We list a few essential (can’t do without) policies that could become your most powerful safeguard against financial chaos:

1. The Homeowner’s insurance policy for protecting your most valuable asset and belongings.

2. The Life insurance policy that guarantees your family a source of income and livelihood when you are no longer a part of the scenery.

3. Disability insurance that takes care of your needs in the short term and long term when you are physically incapable of generating wealth and income.

4. Long-term health care insurance that keeps the home fires burning when your health lets you down and otherwise makes you a burden on your family’s limited resources.

5. Health insurance that is vital to sustain and overcome the high cost of health care.

6. Dental insurance that provides coverage and cost savings in a highly expensive area that impacts your overall health.

7. Auto insurance which is a statutory obligation ensuring that your life, your vehicle’s longevity and lives of other are protected in serious road accidents that would otherwise smother you in debt and damages.

Naysayers would argue that you stand to lose thousands of dollars protecting yourself from incidents that have a small likelihood of happening, but consider the downside if the inevitable happens and you are landed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and commitments that your domestic budget cannot hope to provide for. Imagine the devastation a car crash or a sudden illness or long term disability could wreck on your personal finance if you were cut off from institutional support. Then insurance becomes a necessity and ceases to be a luxury.

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The maintenance, up-gradation and renovation routine

If we buy the best assets that money can buy in order to make our lives more comfortable and cozier it also becomes our obligation to service the assets and keep them functioning in top condition so that they last our lifetime (or beyond). If you maintain your car in road worthy condition you are priming the vehicle to extract maximum mileage and save on fuel and unwarranted expenses. Big ticket items all need regular upkeep and maintenance to last longer and contribute their mite to maintaining your comfortable lifestyle.

Replacing items of value to enhance their worth and to save costs

Maintenance, repairs and renovation can take you up to a certain point, not beyond that, simply because most items come with a predetermined expiry date. Replacements are a part of life and the astute householder plans funds to meet all such eventualities. If maintenance is a recurring expense, replacement is a long term goal that can’t be avoided. If for example you are grappling with a decade’s old HVAC system that is shooting up the energy bills significantly, paying over $6,000 for a replacement could be viewed as a financial investment in improved technology that yields healthy returns in the long term through reduced energy bills.

Paying off debt more smartly

Finance is an inseparable part of life; it’s the via-media for accumulating all that you deem to be essential to living (home, car, appliances and many other things) and getting the opportunity to pay off the debt in installments with interest spread out over a longer term. But the fact remains that you are taking these loans under certain assumptions – you are assuming that you will live long enough, you will continue to grow your income and savings and you will remain hale and hearty till retirement, all of which are simply bets that may or may not come off. One way of preventing yourself from falling into the pit of financial uncertainty is to prepay loans to the extent that is possible and accelerate repayment in all other instances. Keeping ahead of debt payments ensure that sooner than later you become free of debt and avail opportunities to channel investments into worthwhile areas.

Deciding and executing big ticket expenses

Much depends on how successful we are in rationalizing financial decision making. For example is it appropriate to spend considerable time and accumulating student loan debt if the degree isn’t going to make a substantial alteration in your income or skill sets? Is repairing a better option than replacement? Is replacement inevitable and considered a cost saving measure in the longer term? Would you rather rent a home than buy one till your finances improve? Would you go for flexible rates of interest on the home loan or would you settle for a fixed rate anticipating a rate spurt in the near future? Finding the right answers could impact your finances and lifestyle tremendously.

Prioritizing your needs with a long term perspective

It’s but natural that you want to accomplish a lot by the time you retire but it is also next to impossible to have all your needs addressed. It is therefore necessary to prioritize your needs in such a manner that you get closer to achieving your goals with the resources at your command. Prioritizing is the best way to ensure success; the best way of ensuring you get to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Much as we find ourselves mired in the routine of the present, it pays rich dividends not to lose sight of a long term perspective on personal finances. Whether it is a corpus of funds you target for retirement day or investing in savvy mixture of growth oriented stocks and index funds to boost your sagging portfolio, keeping the long term goal in mind is your way of ensuring that years from now you will be rewarding yourself for your farsightedness and frugality. TNL Car Title Loans 1412 Main St #310, Dallas, Tx, 75202 (469) 410-3145

Traffic stops without valid cause are illegal

The Fourth Amendment gives adequate protection to a citizen preventing his being stopped and questioned for DUI or any other offense unless the Police Officer presents compelling evidence or probable cause for his action. By virtue of this ruling an Officer cannot pull over a vehicle arbitrarily and has to be justified in following through with traffic stop procedures. Merely suspecting criminal behavior or following up idle curiosity is not sufficient grounds for a traffic stop. There must be clear cut violation of the law or clearly discernible infringement of rules or a visible pattern of erratic driving before the decision can be taken to pull over a vehicle.

Typically, a Police Officer pulls over a vehicle if there is a violation of the vehicle code or any other law, and it is not necessary that the violation should only be related to impaired driving. An equipment violation such as a broken or faulty brake light or an illegal window tint can force an officer to halt the vehicle. If on stopping the vehicle and after questioning the driver, the officer gains the impression that there is a DUI violation, he will follow up the procedures for investigating and arresting the errant driver.

The California Vehicle Code Section 21658(a), laying down its “lane straddling” statute is the subject matter of frequent violations, especially when the driver is suspected for DUI. According to the law a driver is expected to observe lane discipline and remain reasonably within his lane throughout his journey till it is considered safe to change the lane. Over speeding or inability to stick to lane discipline and frequent swerving in and out of lanes can create grounds to suspect the DUI offense. If unusual or suspiciously erratic driving behavior is detected, the Police Officer is well within his responsibilities to follow through a traffic stop.

Further, courts have clearly ruled that if the driver shows inability to drive in a uniform manner within the same lane and is observed to be weaving uncontrollably within the lane this is sufficient reason to justify a traffic stop and to initiate a DUI investigation in the proper manner and as per laid down procedures. But this rule cannot be stretched to include minor variations in movement within the lane or a onetime crossing of the lane demarcation. The illegality arises only when there is a pattern of weaving motion that raises suspicion of DUI.

Traffic collisions can also create grounds for suspecting whether one of both of the drivers involved was driving under the influence. Where it is not possible for the officer to directly witness the collision and know for certain the probable cause for the accident, it will become necessary to enquire the reasons from both the parties and to question eye witnesses at the scene. If it is suspected that a driver was under the influence of liquor or narcotics at the moment of collision, a separate DUI investigation needs to be launched on the spot, and this would mean detaining the driver or both drivers and further the DUI booking process.

It is commonly known that the human body has only a limited tolerance for liquor and intoxicants and that beyond a certain point (legally defined as BAC exceeding 0.08) the mind-body connect visibly falters leading to impaired driving, creating grounds for serious road accidents. The traffic stop is designed to diffuse potentially dangerous situations that could claim lives and damage property. At the same time there is adequate constitutional protection safeguarding citizens from abuse of authority and illegal traffic stops. 1800Bail 12912 Brookhurst St #415, Garden Grove, CA, 92840 (657)218-5432