When Life Gets Rough, Be Grateful!

17344There are always blessings in our lives that we miss seeing when our vision is clouded by bad luck or discouragement.

We’ve all heard the phrase that when life gives us lemons, we should make lemonade. We’ve also all heard the story of Job in the Bible, who, despite losing all his possessions, family, health, and support from friends, trusted in the Lord and found something to be grateful for—his testimony.

Often life does not go the way we planned and fate seems to be against us. But even when jobs, friends, or health fail us, there is always something in our lives that the Lord has blessed us with and that we can be grateful for. If like Job we can keep our sights on the Lord and step back to see the bigger picture, the rough time will pass and we will find it easier to see the abundance that the Lord has blesses us with. Though many of the ideas below are probably familiar, it never hurts to think about them more deeply and be reminded of our blessings.

Here are 10 things to be grateful for when everything seems to be going wrong. Read more

Mistakes Parents Make With Financial Aid

The Timing of Certain Financial Decisions Can Hurt Students’ Eligibility for Assistance

Most families know the basics of college financial aid: Several months before school starts, students apply for assistance, parents detail their financial situations, and then everybody waits for the powers that be to tab the bill.

What many don’t know—or at least, don’t realize until it’s too late—is that the timing of certain financial decisions made well before and even during college can significantly alter a student’s eligibility for aid from both the federal government and the university itself. This has been quite an eye opener for several families. Read more

Seniors Struggling With Student Debt

How old will you be when you finally pay off your student debts?

Rosemary Anderson, from Watsonville, California, took out two student loans in her thirties when she earned her bachelor’s degree, and her master’s, totalling $64,000. She has worked at least one job most of her life, in addition to raising her two children.

But after health complications from lupus, and expenses from a divorce, Anderson, 57, fell behind on her payments eight years ago. With compound interest, the loans have ballooned to $126,000. With payments of $526 a month, she will be 81, she estimates, when she pays it down.

A growing percentage of aging Americans struggle to pay back their student debt. Tens of thousands of them even see their Social Security benefits garnished when they cannot do so. Read more

FICO’s New Credit Score Formula

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FICO’s new credit score formula will raise the scores of people with medical debts, or who paid off other debts in collection.

But people with unpaid debts on their record that aren’t related to health care would see their scores fall, making it harder for them to get a personal loan or credit card, or raising the interest rates they’ll have to pay, FICO said.

The changes potentially affect tens of millions of people — but don’t expect big changes in your credit right away. The score is expected to be available to lenders around the end of this year. And lenders typically take months to try out new scoring formulas on their loan portfolios, to see how accurately the new scores predict problem loans. Read more

Mormons Volunteer and Donate

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A study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis explores the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints culture and explains LDS members’ volunteering and charitable giving-habits.

It is the first study focusing on giving and volunteering practices of Latter-day Saints that has been carried out within LDS wards by a non-church-affiliated university.

“Called to Serve: The Prosocial Behavior of Active Latter-day Saints” is the largest and most detailed study of its kind.  Researchers surveyed 2,644 active Mormons in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Michigan, Utah and California.

Overall, researchers found that members of the LDS Church are the most “prosocial” members of American society. Read more

What is a Short Sale?

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A Short Sale may be an alternative when you can’t pay your mortgage.

It is called a short sale because you do put your home up for sale, but the mortgage bank agrees to accept a buyer that will not be paying the full loan amount, an amount “short” of what is owed on the loan. The bank is “shorted” After the sale the Seller is usually able to walk away from the home without owing the bank the difference.

There are occasions where the bank will seek a deficiency judgment against the former owner, so be sure to have this discussion with your agent and work to include language in your closing that protects you against deficiency judgments.

Why would you opt for a “Short Sale” versus a “Foreclosure”?
Read more

What Is Title Insurance?

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Title insurance protects you against losses arising from problems with your property title that were unknown to you when you bought the property. As a buyer you want a clear or clean title — one that doesn’t have liens for unpaid taxes against it, or claims of ownership by a faraway aunt or uncle, or a surprise easement through the backyard to reach power lines or a cell phone tower. As for your lender, he wants to know that the loan is going to a legitimate transaction — the seller really does own the property and therefore can sell it to you. The only time you can purchase title insurance is at closing. Read more

Home Improvements That Add Value

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You have many options for home improvement projects that add value to your home. If you plan to remodel, concentrate your efforts on smaller projects that make your home more appealing to budget-minded buyers. Focus on energy efficiency and small upgrades that add character and comfort to your home.

1. Remodeling the Kitchen

Most people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and because of this, updates in this room pay off. According to HGTV, you can expect to recoup 60%-120% of your investment on a kitchen remodel, as long as you don’t go overboard. You should never make your kitchen fancier than the rest of the house, or the neighborhood. Read more