Archive for August, 2015

High Prices Top Concern of Homebuyers

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Saldutti

High prices ranked as the number one concern among homebuyers in the second quarter of 2015, according to a survey of over 3,300 homebuyers conducted by Redfin, the next-generation real estate brokerage. The high cost of real estate in the second quarter edged out last year’s number one concern of limited inventory. The survey found that 27% of homebuyers in the second quarter responded that high prices were their top concern and 17% listed competition from other buyers. First-time buyers were especially sensitive to price growth, with 31% listing it as their top concern. Repeat homebuyers were nearly twice as…

The Best and Worst Cities to Retire

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Saldutti

After toiling in the workplace for decades, it seems natural to expect financial security in our golden years. But not everyone can look forward to a cushy retirement. Relative to previous generations, many of us are working more years only to grow further from financial freedom. In 2014, 23% of workers expected to retire at age 65, but only 11% actually were able to, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s latest Retirement Confidence Survey. Why postpone retirement? Many blame the economy. Others point to “inadequate finances” as the other primary hurdle to retiring on schedule. For 51% of workers…

Personal Touch Makes Big Difference in Small-Business Loans

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Saldutti

Want to ensure a small-business loan gets paid off? The personal touch makes a big difference.  Over the past decade, colleagues of the Center for Banking Excellence at the University of Kansas School of Business have been looking into what makes loans backed by the Small Business Administration’s flagship 7(a) program succeed or fail. They found two critical factors that both have to do with how close the lender is to the borrower. First, when a lender does not have a personal relationship with the borrower, and instead relies strictly on credit data, the loan is more likely to end…

Want to Destroy Your Credit Score?

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Saldutti

Your credit score is a gatekeeper. It can make or break your chances of getting the best rate on a loan and in some cases it can even affect whether you get a job. The better your credit score, the more money you can keep in your pocket. And who couldn’t use a little extra cash? FINRA puts it best with this example: “Suppose you want to borrow $200,000 in the form of a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage. If your credit score is in the highest category, 760 to 850, a lender might charge you 3.307% interest for the loan. This…

Will You Retire Debt-Free?

Posted on August 25, 2015 by Saldutti

Do you know how much you need in savings to fund your retirement? Are you factoring in your current debts? You may have just assumed that home, car and credit card payments would disappear by retirement but this doesn’t happen automatically. Since no one wants their post-work living to be focused around bills and stress, one of the best ways to ensure peace of mind is to save aggressively for retirement while also paying off any existing debt before retirement starts. Credit.com shows us this 4-step checklist to ensure that your golden years will be stress-free. 1. Avoid Lifestyle Inflation –…

Consumer Credit Remains Healthy

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Saldutti

Consumer credit default rates remained stable during the month of July, according to credit bureau Experian, which expected them to continue to remain level – even with an interest rate hike. The mortgage default rate remained unchanged, at 0.8%, from the month before. Second-mortgage default rates also fell 0.55%. The rate of auto loan defaults increased slightly, one basis point, to 0.86%, while bank and card default rates also fell, nine basis points, to 2.79%. “The stable consumer credit default rates confirm the recent economic improvements seen in the unemployment rate and GDP growth,” said David Blitzer, managing director and…

Frugal Fairy? Tooth Fairy Paying Out Less This Year

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Saldutti

The Federal Reserve may have one more reason to worry about not hitting its inflation target. In its 6th annual Tooth Fairy survey, Visa found that American children are paid $3.19 per lost tooth on average, that’s down a whooping 24 cents from last year and marks the second consecutive year of declining tooth prices.  Based on the latest data the average kid can expect to earn $64 of tooth income over the course of his or her career. “The Tooth Fairy is finally fluttering back to earth,” observed Nat Sillin, Visa’s director of global financial education.  Visa did not estimate the size of the total under-the-pillow market or…

Mobile Payments Are Not Replacing Cash

Posted on August 20, 2015 by Saldutti

The rise of mobile payments has had only a narrow impact on the use of cash, according to a new report from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) and the business strategy consulting firm Tremont Capital Group.  According the report, mobile payments are unlikely to make a dent in the real customer demand for cash over a span of the next five years.  As opposed to cash demand diminishing, it is non-cash alternatives that are anticipated to suffer – debit, credit, and prepaid cards. ATMIA commissioned consulting firm Tremont Capital Group to conduct research across the retail payments industry within the U.S. …

Wearables Combine Fitness and Finance

Posted on August 19, 2015 by Saldutti

Health and wellness apps may not much in common with small-business payments and merchant services, but it was the fitness-tracking craze that lit a fire under Intuit to build an Apple Watch app for its clients.  Intuit released its GoPayment Sales Goal Tracker, which allows small-business owners to view transaction performance through an Apple Watch. The idea is the client can track payments data similar to how one might use an Apple Watch or Fitbit to track progress toward an exercise goal. Inspired by the health tracker apps, this device allows you to “set a sales goal and you track…

Back-to-School Shopping: Online Tools to Help You Save

Posted on August 18, 2015 by Saldutti

For many parents, it’s that magical time of the year – Back to School!  But before we get back to routines, teachers, books, and (maybe some) dirty looks, we have to tackle that extensive back-to-school supply list.  Yesterday, we discussed shopping online vs. in-store.  Today, we’re focusing on online tools to help us save. It’s no secret that comparing prices can save you money, as much as 20% or more, according to experts. Here are some of the most helpful tools out there to for shoppers hoping to find the best deals while shopping for school supplies. Price Blink –…