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Goodbye, bank

Jan 13, 2012
My mortgage is down to $27,000, which I can pay off after topping off my cash reserve (1 year of expenses). Is there any reason not to do this? My interest rate is 4 3/8 percent. I'm getting about 1 percent in my money market account. I have no other debt, and my 401(k) and IRA are maxed out. Ken, Portland, OR
Posted In: home, mortgage, debt

Should I rent to move?

Jan 10, 2012
We'd like to move into a new home, but we aren't confident that we could sell our existing home without taking a large beating on our down payment. I know there's a dollar/cost average play here (i.e., the house we'd buy would be depressed as well), but I just don't like that. So lately I've been considering purchasing a second home and renting our current one as a way to get past the current housing slump. Question is: If I reduce my 401(k) contributions to save for the down payment and eventually fund the new mortgage, (say, down to 6 percent or so to meet the match minimum), is that a good idea, an OK idea, a bad idea or a really bad idea? Thanks! Dean, Atlanta, GA
Posted In: home, mortgage, retirement savings, 401(k)s

Time to lock in mortgage rates?

Jan 5, 2012
I bought a condo in Bozeman, Mont., 7 years ago using a 5/1 ARM. When the 5-year period ended, I let it roll over into a 1-year ARM because the rate went down from 4.5 to 3.25. Then, last year, I did the same -- only from 3.25 to 3 percent. Come March, the 1-year period will expire again and I wonder if I should let this happen again, since rates will probably be low. Or should I bite the bullet, pay approximately $2,500 in closing costs to lock in a low rate for 15 or 30 years, but make higher payments? (My payments are ridiculously low.) Cindy, West Yellowstone, MT
Posted In: home, mortgage, refinance, construction

Advice for conservative investors

Dec 23, 2011
We have saved some money for a house deposit in 2-3 years. We have a 3.99% mortgage on our current place. Should we invest our down payment for our next house or should we pay off our current mortgage? We are both conservative investors. Tom, Boston, MA
Posted In: home, Savings

When to get aggressive with the mortgage paydown

Dec 15, 2011
My question is, if your mortgage rate is higher than what you could expect from investing, wouldn't it make more sense to pay on the mortgage? This is almost the same as the concept of paying off the credit card with the highest rate first. What are your thoughts on this? John, Rapid City, SD
Posted In: mortgage, home, Savings, Investing

We got an inheritance. Now what?

Dec 14, 2011
My husband and I recently inherited over $150,000, which is more than enough money to pay off our mortgage OR invest for our retirement. My husband wants to pay off the mortgage, leaving us with very little to invest. I prefer to put the bulk of the money "to work" via a nationally known and reputable financial services group, using a conservative and long-term approach. What do you suggest? Susan, Brookville, IN
Posted In: home, martgage, savings invest, Inheritance

Stick with low risk

Nov 21, 2011
Our primary aim is to have a deposit for a house in 3 years. We have saved a reasonable sum of money but did not want it to linger in a current or savings account for 0.75%. We are deciding either investing at low risk or paying off mortgage. We have to sell our current house to buy a new house. My mortgage rate is 4.99%, so after tax rebate it is about 3.99%. Most investing opportunities are giving us about 2% at low risk and 3-5% at medium risk. After tax one would have to take another 1.25% off the return. We would like some advice. Thanks, Tom and Anne, Boston, MA
Posted In: mortgage, home, Savings

Use a reel mower.

Jan 5, 2011
If you have a reasonable sized lawn, start using a reel mover. This is what Grandpa would have used and they are quite effective. Needs no gas. No...
Posted In: home

Use the sun to help you cool.

Jan 5, 2011
Install a solar-powered attic fan. You can read more here.
Posted In: home

Don't throw away paper towels.

Dec 21, 2010
Every American uses around a dozen sheets of paper towel a day to dry hands after washing them. That adds up to a huge number of trees being cut...
Posted In: home

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