Why You Should Pay Down Your Mortgage

Many in the financial services industry will advise you not to pay down your mortgage. I can’t disagree more. Why? Because a mortgage is essentially the inverse of a bond: Mortgage: borrowed money where you pay someone principal and interest. Bond: money you lend where the borrower pays you principal and interest.   It’s that simple. For example, the high-quality bonds I wrote about here recently, or bank certificates of deposit (CDs), will pay you roughly 2 percent. The average mortgage rate is about 4 percent. My conclusion …

Jean Chatzky: Our Relationship With Money Is a ‘Hot Mess’

Jean Chatzky has a few choice words for how most folks describe their relationship with money: Confusing. Frightening. Chaotic. Stressful. Precarious. “For two decades now, I’ve been watching how we make our money, save it, spend it, borrow it, invest it and protect it,” Chatzky told an audience today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. “And I can tell you that, overall, our relationship with money is a hot mess.” Chatzky, AARP’s financial ambassador, is a best-selling author and …

Is Rising Mortgage Debt Threatening Retirements?

Older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt and have accumulated less home equity than their peers a decade earlier, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median mortgage debt for those age 65 and older rose 82 percent to $79,000 from 2001 to 2011, according to the agency. And though delinquencies and foreclosures have decreased since 2012, they had increased fivefold between 2007 and 2011 among older homeowners, the CFPB reports. “A home can be a place of …

Do You Worry About Money? Join the Club

Whether you’re nearing the end of your working life or still several decades away, Americans all share the same financial fear: Will I have enough money to retire? More than two in three Americans ages 30 to 64 say their top financial worry is whether they’ll be able to save enough to live reasonably well in retirement, according to a Gallup poll released this week. Not being able to pay for medical costs was the top money fear for people …

Rate Reset for Some Homeowners May Trigger Defaults

The home foreclosure crisis that swept through the nation during the Great Recession may not be over for thousands of troubled borrowers. Some homeowners who sought help from the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are about to see their mortgage payments rise this year. In some cases, those payments could eventually go up by more than $1,000 a month, according to the Washington Post. The loan modification program lowered monthly mortgage interest rates for some 1.3 million at-risk homeowners …

Give Today’s Retirees a ‘D’ – for Debt

What’s quickly eating up a growing share of retirees’ money these days? Not health care, as you might expect, according to a new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis. Over the past 20 years, a greater percentage of older Americans’ dollars has gone to servicing debt, particularly mortgage and home equity loans, the “free market” think tank says. It used government data to compare the spending habits of today’s retirees with those of their predecessors, finding, for instance, that 20 …