When people asked and learned that I am able to work from home, they are a little envious. What they don’t understand is that one cannot “work from home” indefinitely. At some point, there will be no work to work from home. There will be no new clients, no new orders, and the pipeline of work will stop. Hourly workers, contract workers, and salaried workers alike are on the same boat; our income will be greatly reduced or terminated altogether. While some of us have savings, few have sufficient savings to last us several months and our housing expense will be first and foremost on our list of concerns. If you have lost income due to COVID-19, there are things you can do to qualify for relief from your mortgage payments.
Federal regulators, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer flexibility to homeowners; about one half of the home loans in the country, those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, will be affected by this policy. However, the entire mortgage industry is expected to follow suit. Forbearance from mortgage payments could last up to 12 months, depending on the borrower’s particular situation, according to Mark Calabria, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. While this type of relief is neither debt forgiveness or free money, it will keep you from falling into the trap of default and foreclosure.
A 529 account and/or a Florida Pre-paid account is a no brainer. A 529 account is NEVER taxed. As long as you use the money for educational expenses, the gains from bond interest, stock dividends and stock appreciation is never taxed. You can easily set up an account through Vanguard or Fidelity. The 2019 changes for maximum contributions are located at the Vanguard link.
The definition of educational purposes is fairly broad and includes room and board, fees, books, supplies, equipment, computer hardware and software, and internet access and related services.
Also, parents can now use a 529 for private K-12.
Many Floridians have moved beyond the foreclosure crisis and are now in the market to buy a home – we have some credit rebuilding tips in our free e-book “Reboot Your Life After Bankruptcy” https://www.christiearkovich.com/free-ebook-download_1.html. This e-book is not just for those in bankruptcy, but it also may help those who went through a short sale, foreclosure, deed in lieu or simply collection actions and debt settlements.
Until October 31, 2019, Bank of America is offering a new program to price match for interest rates AND will offer ZERO origination points for certain mortgages. In a study from Lending Tree, 60% of customers pay between $1,000 and $5,000 in origination fees. In high-priced markets, a lender can charge over $10,000 in origination fees.
We are developing a series of Home Buying Tips to appear on our blog and website. These will focus on those who have had financial or legal challenges to overcome. We don’t know what’s the best school district or things like that, but we do know a lot about how to easily qualify for a home purchase within your means – or even to purchase an investment home/duplex/small apartment building.
The report found about half of our households live paycheck to paycheck. 19% have zero in savings, while 31% have less than $500.
It’s no surprise that nearly half described themselves as “concerned, anxious or fearful” about their current financial well being. Keep in mind the survey was taken in the midst of a booming economy.
Fox 13 interviewed us in connection with their terrific story yesterday on the College Scorecard: College Scorecard a Wealth of Information on Every College and University in the Country. Anyone with a high school student or someone bound for college, should look into this resource to help make the decision about which college to attend.
It offers a wealth of information on topics on which a school may not be forthcoming.
“I like the fact that it shows some things that a school probably wouldn’t want to put a spotlight on, like graduation and retention rates.” Arkovich told FOX 13.
Today, we appeared on ParentPumpRadio as a guest discussing Breaking the Stigma of High Student Debt.
Different topics were discussed such as the old view vs the new view on picking colleges, paying for school, choosing loans etc. If you are a parent or student thinking about college, be sure to listen before making key decisions that could affect you for the rest of your lives.
- How to avoid high student loan debt when attending school
Calling all dog lovers! Since greyhound racing will cease to exist in the next two years, all the greyhounds will need to be re-homed. Our friend Hope just adopted this lovable greyhound named Harper and she is so sweet and loving! Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need to be run around – she’s basically a big lazy cat with lots of elbows. It’s also really neat to have both an adult dog (already potty trained and calm), who views the world through the eyes of a puppy as many things are brand new to her!
Debt is to be used sparingly. It allows you to make purchases which you cannot afford. In other words, debt allows people to live beyond their means or to spend more than they earn. While this may appear to be a good thing when an emergency arises, there are serious side effects. These side effects include 1) paying more for an item than what it’s worth in the form of interest; 2) possible inability to pay off the debt; 3) added pressure and stress which can lead to medical and relationship problems; and 4) being a “slave” to your debt.
While some debt will always be necessary such as a home loan, usually a car loan, and a reasonable amount of student loans, it’s important to only take on a modest amount of debt and have a plan for repayment. Just because a lender wants to loan you money is not a good reason to take it. Many college students took out excess student loans to pay for all kinds of stuff. Unnecessary stuff. With private loans in excess of 10% interest, that $5 latte easily turns into a $10 latte after a few years!
One client this week advised that she had incurred over 200k for a two year AA degree over a long period of time. She’s had a difficult life, and had to retake many courses and change degrees/schools etc. That’s perhaps one of the worst places to find yourself. She cannot afford to return to school, and has almost no education to show for that debt.
Most of us still use the New Year as an opportunity to review the past year and set goals for the New Year. My own practice has grown tremendously from this goal setting. We target the best strategies to grow our practice and help our clients to get back on track financially.
As most of you know, we practice bankruptcy and foreclosure defense as we have for many years, but since student loan debt has become such a crisis, much of our work is focused on eliminating that debt. We have developed different strategies both inside and outside of bankruptcy to reduce student loan debt.
A new tool we are adding this year involves the misreporting of student loan debt on credit reports. Put quite simply, the student loan servicers often can’t get it right. They send bills with different amounts owed, transfer the debt so often that it appears duplicate times on a credit report, inaccurately reports payments etc. We intend to hold them accountable. Stay tuned as we hope to blog about this regularly to help our readers recognize when their credit reports may be in error and costing them real money – by denied credit or increased cost of credit, insurance etc.