If mortgage refinancing (mtg refi) rates today are low, many homeowners will rush to refinance their mortgages. It is quite appealing to opt for mortgage refinancing when one can secure a lower rate. This often helps in lowering monthly payments. In addition, refinancing helps pay off the mortgage quicker; some even cash out the equity on their home.
Here are few reasons why one should consider mortgage refinancing:
Get a lower interest rate
If mtg refi rates are low, getting a mortgage refinancing makes complete sense. This is because the interest rate on the existing mortgage will get lower. There can be a saving of nearly 1 to 2 percent. With lower interest rates through refinancing, one can save money. Moreover, there will be an increase in the rate of building equity on the house. In addition, monthly payments will become lower. It is usually recommended to opt for refinancing when the interest rate can be lowered by a minimum of 2 percent.
Reduce the loan term
Whenever mtg refi rates fall, homeowners can take the opportunity to get a shorter loan term on an existing loan. However, there won’t be much change in the monthly payments in such cases. The repayment term almost reduces by half, with any change to the monthly payment amount. In some cases, the monthly payment might rise slightly. So, it is important to do the due diligence before opting for mortgage refinancing.
Convert Fixed-rate or ARM
In most cases, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates compared to fixed-rate mortgages. However, if there are periodic adjustments, the rate for an ARM may be more. In such cases, it is beneficial to convert to a fixed-rate mortgage with lower interest rates. This will help in securing against future hikes in the rates. On the other hand, for homeowners who do not plan to stay in their current homes and want to quickly pay off the monthly payments, converting a fixed rate to ARM is beneficial. This is useful if the mtg refi rates for ARM are falling.
Get some quick equity
No matter what the mtg refi rates are today, refinancing a mortgage can be risky. Hence, homeowners must have a solid reason to want to go the refinancing way. For many, a major emergency expense often requires them to tap into the equity of their homes. In such cases, mortgage refinancing can be a sound decision. College education, home remodeling, or medical emergency are some of the reasons why some prefer to refinance their mortgage.
Insurance helps cover unexpected costs and liabilities that may incur in the future. Investing in a decent insurance policy also protects your assets, be it rental or owned. If you are a business owner and own or rent vehicles that transport goods and consumables, you must invest in commercial vehicle insurance for the following reasons. There are several monetary benefits, some that also save tax in the long run.
Some of them are mentioned below:
Get additional cover
Your regular auto insurance may not cover all costs that arise out of accidents or personal injury involving commercial vehicles. Also, most personal auto insurance policies are not valid for liabilities accrued out of vehicles used for business purposes. This is where commercial truck insurance will provide customized, comprehensive insurance suited to your business needs.
The law in many states requires business owners to get a commercial vehicle insurance policy. The insurance is mandatory if your business transports goods and hauls heavy-duty equipment. Even if your company provides service from a vehicle, your auto insurance policy will not cover the liabilities. Any business, partnership, or corporation that owns vehicles for commercial use must buy this additional cover.
One of the main advantages of buying commercial insurance is that you get custom cover for specific damage, repairs, or the replacement of certain parts. The insurance provides for anything necessary to protect your business interest from liabilities that arise out of an unforeseen circumstance. The semi-truck insurance quotes are available at competitive prices and can also be modified seasonally to avoid overpaying insurance.
Some commercial policies also provide cover for employees who drive the vehicle. If any personal injury or liability arises from an accident or mishap involving the employee, commercial vehicle insurance will provide for these unexpected costs. The policies are also valid for businesses that do not own but rent vehicles for managing logistics.
Beneficial for offsetting costs
Lawsuits can be lengthy, tedious, and create a financial burden on the business. Even though basic auto policies provide cover for lawsuits, commercial vehicle insurance provides double this cover to pay for legal fees, court proceedings, and even damages if the liability falls on the business. More importantly, commercial insurance can be written off as a business expense and is tax-deductible.
Veterans or those on active duty can avail of VA loans for any financing purposes. The federal government guarantees these loans. However, to get them, there are specific steps to be followed for successful application. These steps include everything from looking for the best VA loan lenders to maintaining a stable credit score. Here are a few easy steps to make a successful loan application for veterans.
1. Get preapproval for the VA loan
With preapproval, you can determine your budget. This process involves telling your VA loan lender about your homebuying goals, employment history, and military service. Some documents required during this process include copies of your driver’s license, DD-214 or Guard/Reserve points statements, recent pay stubs, and bank statements.
2. Look for VA-approved loan lenders
Always shop for a lender who is an active participant in the VA loan program. The best VA loan lenders would offer several options and deals. The deals generally differ based on discount points, interest rates, and VA closing costs. If you face any difficulty, a loan officer can help you find the right VA loan lender.
3. Get an eligibility certificate
A certificate of eligibility or COE is proof that you have met all the eligibility criteria for the VA loan. You can obtain the COE directly through the government’s online portal for VA. However, VA loan lenders also offer ways of applying for a COE.
4. Get a contract or purchase agreement signed
A purchase agreement or contract is essential to get ahead with the VA loan process. This contract encompasses multiple contingencies, such as assurance of home inspection, the process of handling repair requests, the number of days for the buyer to secure the finances, and so on. A loan officer and real agent can assist you in preparing a robust contract.
5. VA loan closing
This is the final step. Before loan closing, most VA loan lenders verify your employment and other crucial information for the last time. Then a Closing Disclosure is dispatched right before the loan closing is scheduled. With this document, you can compare the loan information and final closing costs with the initial estimates.
For any industry to sustain itself in today’s world, implementing digital strategies has become indispensable. This holds particularly true for the financial services industry. The good news is that digital transformation in financial services has already begun, and we’ll likely see more and more innovative technologies underpinning banking and financial institutions in the coming years. Keep reading to learn about the latest digital transformation trends in the financial services industry.
Big data and artificial intelligence
The combination of big data and artificial intelligence is a revolutionary digital strategy that is shaping the future of banking and financial services. The technology helps institutions process, store, and drive valuable insights from the data they gather from their customers’ activities. Big data and artificial intelligence allow institutions to create a highly personalized experience, helping businesses attract and retain customers.
Blockchain is a fairly new technology that is becoming increasingly popular in the financial services industry. With blockchain technology, all transactions are permanently stored in the blockchain network, providing the highest level of transparency and security. Nobody can tamper with these transactions, which nearly eliminates the risk of error and fraud. Besides security, the technology is being explored for use in a wide variety of banking and investment applications.
The idea of digital or mobile wallets is convenient for most people. However, some people avoid using these services due to legitimate security concerns. And this is where biometric technology comes in. Fingerprint and face recognition technologies ensure that no one except the rightful owner has access to their funds. With the technology largely in place already, both buyers and sellers prefer using mobile payment over cash and checks.
Cloud technology is on the rise in the banking and financial services industry. Cloud computing offers institutions a cheaper way to store and analyze enormous amounts of data. Plus, it reduces the roles and responsibilities of the information technology (IT) staff, giving them more time to create value for their organizations. Some reports estimate that medium-sized businesses save considerably on IT spending by migrating to cloud computing.
Robotic process automation (RPA)
RPA handles laborious and repetitive office tasks, such as customer onboarding, security checks, data analysis and reporting, and risk assessments. The technology has proven to be highly profitable for financial institutions, as it boosts productivity and improves efficiency. It also reduces the risk of human errors significantly.
Buying a home comes with a lot of responsibilities. There are a lot of risks that come with owning a home like the risk of theft and property damage. Investing in the right kind of home insurance policy is important so as to be financially prepared for these risks. There are several different companies in the market that offer home insurance policies with different kinds of terms and coverages.
Remember the following points before choosing a home insurance policy.
When we think of precious metals, gold and silver are two names that come first to the mind. Seasoned investors usually put their capital in these two metals to safeguard against the volatile stock market and inflation. Even central banks and other government entities choose to invest in precious metals. The US government is the largest investor of gold stocks in the world. But finding the best place to buy silver and gold may be difficult for beginners. Let’s take a look a the different modes of investment for these two precious metals.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
There are many ETFs in the market. You can buy gold and silver from the stock market, just like any regular stock. Since the supply of mines is outweighed by hoarded supply in gold, its prices will only fall when hoarders sell and vice-versa. Beginners should start by looking into iShares Gold and Silver Trusts.
Traditional buyers usually prefer to buy gold and silver coins in their physical form. The best place to buy silver and gold bullion coins is the US mint, or you can contact any local coin supplier. The American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and South African Krugerrand contain certain proportions of gold depending on the currency value. Silver coins are increasingly rare but available in the numismatic market.
You can buy gold and silver in the form of certificates from brokers. If you don’t wish to deal with the hassle of storing precious metal, this is a good option. However, they aren’t worth anything in times of emergency since they are just pieces of paper, so getting insurance or mortgaging them is tough.
There are plenty of companies that deal in gold and silver. You can invest in their shares through the NASDAQ exchange. But gold and silver stocks are valued a bit differently than regular stocks, so research is needed before diving into this option. You can get in touch with fund managers and consultancy companies for a better understanding.
Another way of buying gold and silver is through the derivative market. The purchasers here make money by changes in commodity prices. Those willing to invest a large sum of money will find this option ideal. It is a risky affair but the reward is much higher than other modes of investments.
People who wish to set up their business ventures need additional funding to get going. Many banks and financial institutions help promising businesses with the same and in this article, we would be covering guaranteed business loan providers. You can check the following list out when looking for business loan providers.
Wells Fargo is one of the best financial institutions when it comes to guaranteed business loan providers in the market. It offers various other financial products. It claims to be a leader when it comes to small business loans. The unsecured business loan has varied loan amounts starting from $10,000 and going up to $100,000. The term for this product is between one to five years. Additionally, you can go for other loans offered by Wells Fargo, such as the Equipment Express Loan or the Advancing Term Loan.
Capital One does not only offer good deals on business credit cards, its business loan is worth considering too. If you are looking at a funding source that can help expand your business or get going with the operations, then we highly recommend you to choose the business loan offered by Capital One. Starting at a minimal amount of $10,000 and a maximum term length of 5 years, the repayment term is simple and can be done on a monthly basis.
As a business owner, if you are looking for varied options with different interest rates, then Huntington Bank is a great option to consider. Its business line of credit is a good option to consider. However, apart from this, you must check out the business term loans offered by the bank. Huntington Bank has earned a reputation of being a top lender for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
TD Bank offers lines of credit as well as commercial and loans mortgages. With commercial and loans mortgages, you can borrow up to $100,000. There are larger loans available for established commercial business ventures. The SBA loan options are quite flexible and lease options are available for refinancing as well as equipment purchase. The lines of credit are quite beneficial as well and you can definitely trust the bank to provide you with competitive interest rates.
Celtic Bank offers different business loans such as SBA 7(a) Loans, Express Term Loans, Conventional Equipment Loans, and SBA (504) Loans among various other offerings. So, if you are looking for a wide variety of options, you may consider this bank and select the suitable business loan offering. The bank also offers asset-based Lines of Credit with a tenure ranging from one year to ten years wherein the loan amount ranges from $250,000 to $500,000. This gives you the flexibility to opt for this offering as per your convenience.
You may opt for a guaranteed business loan after thoroughly analyzing all the offerings of the noted aforementioned business loan providers. It is recommended to choose the one that offers the lowest interest rates along with maximum flexibility in terms of the loan amount and repayment tenure.
Roboadvisors are gaining popularity as these investment programs offer affordable financial advice to a large number of investors. These automated advisors use an algorithm to recommend investment options that best suit your requirements. The best automated investing algorithms offer simple account setup, portfolio management, low fees, strong goal planning, and security. Here are the top five providers of automated investments.
This roboadvisor is the best for delivering top-quality services. You may sync various financial accounts without investing to gain an overall picture of your investment portfolio. You may choose the pre-built Betterment portfolios or customize one to meet your needs. The algorithm gives you the flexibility to add new goals as required while monitoring your progress without any difficulties. The advisor charges between 0.25% and 0.4% management fees with no minimum account requirement.
It is one of the largest Robo-advisors and provides goal-based investing enabling you to understand the future effects of your financial decisions. You may choose from a wide range of portfolios that comprise individual stocks to meet your financial goals. Once your portfolio accumulates USD 25,000, Wealthfront allows you to borrow against its value. The service provider also offers margin lending. The management fee for most accounts is 0.25% and you need an account minimum of USD 500. The Robo-advisor offers tax-loss harvesting and lowest fees on its exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Although this automated investing algorithm is focused on women, financial planning is beneficial to all kinds of investors. It is an excellent option for goal-based investing even when you have multiple financial objectives. Based on the service level, Ellevest levies between 0.25% and 0.5% as management fees. Basic service level does not require a minimum account and offers tax minimization and automatic rebalancing. Premium account holders have access to executive coaches and dedicated financial planning experts.
The service provider has moved into robot-advisory by providing extremely user-friendly services. To help you achieve your life goals, SoFi provides goal-based planning and automatic rebalancing. Additionally, you have access to financial advisors, career services, and discounts on other products without any extra charges. You need a minimum account of $1 and the automated investing service provider does not levy any management fees.
Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolio
Charles Schwab is looking to become a market leader with its best automated investing algorithm that is known for its usability. The company is well-reputed as an investor-friendly advisor and the same reputation is carried by its roboadvisory arm. At no additional charges, you have access to beneficial features, such as automated tax-loss harvesting, portfolio rebalancing, and 24X7 access to customer services. You need a minimum account of $5,000 but the roboadvisor levies zero management fees.
While there are several automated investing service providers, working with a reliable advisor ensures you are able to achieve your financial objectives. Roboadvisors offer recommendations on building a diversified portfolio of multiple ETFs on the basis of factors like your risk profile, investment horizon, and expected levels of returns. The advantage of opening an account with automated investing companies is that your money is managed by experienced professionals at affordable fees.
Whether creating digital art, recording music, or editing photos and videos, there is unique software to complete each task. However, the market is filled with hundreds of developers, each offering a range of features for a specific price. And there is always the off chance that one may not be happy with their purchase. So, if you have decided to buy software for your home system, here are ten common mistakes to avoid.
Overspending on features
Every software has numerous standard features, plus optional add-ons for an extra fee. More often than not, the developer’s website will give you several reasons why buying the fully-loaded version is the ideal choice. But you will likely never use some add-on features despite paying more money to unlock them. So, if you are beginning to learn a particular software, spend only on the standard variant. You could eventually pay for additional features as you become more familiar with the tool.
Buying from spurious websites
Every software has a price tag that may occasionally drop during the festive season or on particular sale days. But you may come across a few websites that continually advertise a price too good to be true. These websites may accept your payment but never deliver the software activation code or send one that does not work. So, always check the authenticity of the websites you visit to buy computer programs and avoid those that look suspicious.
Picking the first option
Many people use their search engines to look for the software they need and purchase the first option that shows up on their screens. Remember, links at the top of the results page are often sponsored. So, you might be buying something that does not give you complete value for money. Instead of buying the first product you see, list all the top online retailers selling the software and compare them. Then choose the one that offers the best features for the price.
Rushing the purchase
Just like picking the first option that pops up on the screen, some rush their software purchase because of a time crunch. Doing so may cause you to pay a lot more than you should. So, take enough time to pick software for your needs to ensure you do not overpay for the product. If possible, wait until the holiday season, when retailers drop prices on computer software by a high margin.
Not reading reviews
People often buy software without reading a single review, which is one of the biggest mistakes they could make. Hundreds of customers post ratings and reviews on the internet about their experience with particular software. These posts could cover several factors, including the product’s usability, value for money, and benefits or drawbacks. Reading these online reviews could help you make a more informed decision when buying the software.
Skipping the trial
Another error people make when buying software is not signing up for the trial. Most computer programs offer at least a seven-day trial for users to familiarize themselves with the interface before making a monthly or annual payment. So, do not pay for the tool until you use its trial version to ensure it is the right choice for the tasks you need to complete.
Not checking compatibility
While a particular software may have all the necessary bells and whistles you require, your money might go in vain if you do not check its system compatibility. Each product has different requirements in this aspect. For instance, some may require a certain amount of storage space and RAM to function efficiently, while others may need a specific chipset. So, check if your computer has the basic requirements before buying the software. Doing so will ensure you have the right product.
Making long-term commitments
Many users sign long-term contracts when purchasing software to reduce their subscription fees. However, they fail to consider that their needs might change with time. So, while the software might suit immediate needs, you must assess whether it will still be useful after a few months or a year. If you think your software requirements are temporary, sign up for a monthly package over a yearly subscription.
Going for the lowest-priced deal
You will find many software solutions for the same purpose but at different price points. To save money, users often pick the cheapest product. Doing so leaves them with software that is glitchy and full of bugs. This hampers their overall user experience and compels them to pay more for better tools. So, carefully check the features included in the software along with the price tag to avoid disappointment later.
Not reading the fine print
Besides the software’s features, developers publish terms and conditions and other legal documentation on their websites. Purchasing the program without reading this information could be problematic because many developers list the additional charges in the fine print. The terms and conditions may also mention how users can or cannot use the software and the level of privacy offered. So, you must read the documentation bundled with the software before signing a contract and making the final payment.
Whether it is for business or pleasure, traveling calls for meticulous planning and execution. Frequent travelers probably have their own set of tried and tested tricks to easily move through airports, avoid being stranded or stuck in a foreign place, and have an altogether safe and efficient trip. As most of us resume travel after a long break, it is important to revisit and avoid common traveling mistakes for a smooth journey.
This is a common issue for most people regardless of the number of trips they have taken in the past. The art of packing light doesn’t have to be complicated. It is okay to repeat a few outfits to make space for the essentials. Also, wouldn’t you want to set aside some space in case you decide to go shopping on your trip? To avoid paying an excess baggage fee, review your itinerary and pack accordingly.
No cell phone plan
One of the common traveling mistakes is completely relying on Wi-Fi. However, not every café, station, or hotel is likely to offer free or reasonably fast internet. So, when you have no access to the Wi-Fi, you wouldn’t want to be stranded and have no means of calling for help. This is why you must always look for affordable cell phone plans while traveling. You may get a local sim to avoid any exorbitant traveling fees/prices on your original plan.
Not notifying your bank
You must always check if your cards can be used internationally, and if they are not activated for international travel, you can either do it through the mobile app or ask the bank to provide access. Credit cards can get blocked when swiped in another country if your bank has not been informed about the travel plans and destination beforehand.
No buffer between flights
International travel could mean that there is no direct flight to your destination, and you might have to book a connecting flight. You should check the connection time or duration of the layover and ensure that you have enough time to board the second flight. Not including a buffer period of at least a few hours is a serious traveling mistake that would result in missing the next flight if your first trip is delayed or canceled. You should account for such uncertainties in the schedule for all modes of travel.