By Rebecca Lake/SmartAsset During the holidays, your tax bill is probably the last thing on your mind. But giving it some thought might be a good idea. The decisions you make now can determine how much you owe Uncle Sam in April. If you can squeeze in some free time between your holiday shopping trips and end-of-year parties, here are five steps you can take to lessen your tax bite. Estimate your income tax burden. 1. Make an extra mortgage payment One of the most valuable tax breaks that homeowners can claim is the mortgage interest deduction. Deductions reduce your taxable income, which can come in handy if you’re trying to work your way down to a lower tax bracket. For more tips on budgeting and spending for the festive season, see our Holiday Financial Guide If you have extra money, consider making another mortgage payment on top of your regular payment for the month. Just keep in mind that in order to take advantage of the mortgage … [Read more...] about 5 year-end moves to shrink your tax bill
2 extra mortgage payment a year
Credit cards are important players in the financial life of Americans, about 70% of whom have at least one credit card, and most of them use their plastic for everyday expenses -- as opposed to mainly for big-ticket items that they will pay off over time. Not everyone has a credit card, though -- using the figures above and a recent U.S. population of adults of around 250 million, that leaves around 75 million without one. Here's some good information for you if you're among the cardless and are wondering how to go about applying for your own. Image source: Getty Images. Credit cards: Pros and cons It makes sense to spend a few minutes thinking about whether you really do want or need a credit card, as there are some significant advantages and disadvantages to them. Here's a quick summary of the benefits of credit cards: They keep you from having to carry a lot of cash around. They can be handy in a financial emergency, if you don't sufficient cash on hand. Their … [Read more...] about How Do I Apply for a Credit Card?
Tanza Loudenback, provided by Published 7:00 am, Monday, October 16, 2017 Reuters/Lucy Nicholson It's house-hunting season. Between October and December each year, starter home inventory in the US gets a 7% boost, according to new data from Trulia. In 70 of the 100 largest US metros, the number of starter homes on the market reaches its annual peak during this time, meaning those looking to buy their first home will have more to choose from this time of year. Trulia defines a starter home as any listing priced below $232,751, based on weighted averages from the 100 largest metro areas in the US. In the third quarter of 2017, the median listing price of a starter home was $171,624. LATEST BUSINESS VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing Investors get slice of Apple's pie Euronews 49ers' President: Record Demand For Football Games Cheddar TV Report: Whole Foods New Inventory System Is Making Workers Cry Buzz 60 Report: Whole Foods New Inventory System Is … [Read more...] about Here’s the best time of year to buy a home — and when to start house hunting to find the best deal
Mortgage questions abound when you're buying a home. From qualifying to credit scores, interest rates to insurance, here are the answers you need. Jeanne Sager, provided by Published 4:30 pm, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Photo: Anyaberkut/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Anyaberkut/iStock 6 Mortgage Questions a First-Time Home Buyer May Be Embarrassed to Ask 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Mortgage questions abound when you're a first-time home buyer. Compounding the challenge is the embarrassment over interrupting the conversation with a would-be lender or seller to ask, "'Scuse me, what is a credit score? How much money do I need as a down payment?" Everyone knows this stuff, right? No, they don't all know—so you should ask these questions. Or, at the very least, study up a … [Read more...] about 6 Mortgage Questions a First-Time Home Buyer May Be Embarrassed to Ask
For decades, the principal motivation driving home mortgage design was to increase affordability. The logic was that homeownership was desirable, and the more affordable mortgages became the higher would be the homeownership rate. As a result, the typical mortgage, which had a down payment of 40 percent and a term of 10 years in the 1920s, today has 5 percent down and a 30-year term. But the winds are now blowing in a different direction. With people living longer and fewer covered by defined benefit pension plans, entering retirement with a loan balance and a mandatory monthly payment is a prescription for trouble. Viewed from this standpoint, the prevailing mortgage types designed to facilitate homeownership are problematic because they take so long to pay off. A search is on for ways to accelerate the repayment process. One intriguing approach has been suggested by Wayne Passmore and Alexander H. von Haften, who are economists at the Federal Reserve Board, in a working paper … [Read more...] about A new approach to mortgage design