Advisors Management Group

Be Smart with Your Holiday Jingle
The holidays are upon us, and the pressure is on. There is so much to do to prepare for the holiday season and the holiday bustle can leave you wondering if this is really the most wonderful time of the year. This year, the average American household plans to spend over $1000 this holiday season on gifts, decorations, travel to family and holiday meals. This, on top of normal monthly spending can make November and December some of the most expensive months of the year. Without a plan of attack, December’s holiday magic can easily turn into January’s credit card nightmare. Plan Ahead When it comes to gifts, know who you plan to buy gifts for and how much you intend to spend on them. Stick to the budget. It is easy to get trapped into spending too much especially if you overspend on someone, you may be tempted to buy more for another to make the gift even. If you determine what you are spending, you can determine what you think you’d like to buy to before you enter the store. Use a holiday savings account to save a little bit each month to avoid feeling overwhelmed when the time to shop comes. Keep the store ads with you. Many stores will price match, and this could save you a stop or help you secure an item that you are having difficulty getting at another store. Don’t underestimate how planning your shopping trip ahead can save you both time and money. Plan your route and keep your list handy. By avoiding driving all over town, and potentially backtracking, you can save money on gas and save time. Eating a healthy meal before you head out will put you in a good frame of mind and help you curve the temptation of spending unnecessary money on meals out or stopping for snacks while out and about. Avoid shopping at times that attract crowds like mid-day Saturday and Sunday. By shopping at off times, you can move through your list quickly and with less frustration. Although this one won’t help your pocketbook, time is money and piece of mind is priceless. Shop Online Using a credit card is the most secure way to shop online. It is easier to dispute a fraudulent transaction on a credit card than with a debit card. Remember not to charge anything you cannot pay off when the statement comes. Check multiple websites to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Aim to get free shipping and check for coupon codes. Avoid paying more for something than you should. Items like gaming consoles and other highly desired items are often sold brand new by private parties for a healthy upcharge to parents who are willing to pay anything just to get something that they can’t find in the stores. These items can often be purchased at a fair price after the holidays when the demand drops. Avoid Holiday Scammers and Fraudsters Be mindful of your purse, wallet and credit cards. Watch for skimming devices and be discreet about how you enter you pin number. Track packages and know when they are being delivered. Arrange to have them shipped to your place of employment or to have a neighbor pick them up off your porch. Be wary of vendors selling goods online who ask for gift cards as payment. This is a common internet scam, and it is likely that you will not receive the goods you purchased. Review your credit card statements often. Report and dispute any suspicious transactions right away. By being prepared and organized, you can save time and money so that you can focus on what really matters this holiday season. May your shopping be stress free and may your holiday season be merry and bright!   Rebecca Agamaite, MBA Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife.   Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.
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Category: Mortgages

06 Aug 2019

Advisors Management Group

Will Mortgage Rates Keep Dropping?

One silver lining from trade tensions with China and fears about a slowing global economy – the same factors whipsawing the stock market – is that mortgage rates are heading lower. That is helping homeowners and buyers alike. People who bought in the last two to three years may pocket major savings by refinancing their mortgage, while those hunting for a new home may get a bit more spending power, thanks to lower rates. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage – the most popular for home purchases – fell to 4.01% for the week ending Aug. 2 from 4.08% the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. That was the lowest level since November 2016. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages – a common refinance option – slipped from 3.48% to 3.37%, the lowest since September 2016, the MBA said. Even lower rates are expected when the MBA releases its next report on Wednesday. “The Federal Reserve cut rates as expected ... but the bigger influence on the financial markets was the beginning of a trade war with China,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The result was a sharp drop in mortgage rates, which will likely draw many refinance borrowers into the market in the coming weeks.” As trade tensions escalated, jittery investors poured money into longer-term U.S. Treasurys, considered safe investments, lowering their yield. Fixed mortgage rates typically follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury. “We fully expect that refinance volume will jump even higher ... given the further drop in rates,” Fratantoni said. Refinancing jumps The volume of refinancing applications increased 12% from the previous week and was 116% higher than the same week a year earlier due to the decline in rates, according to the MBA. John Stearns, a senior mortgage originator at American Fidelity Mortgage Services in Milwaukee, started three new refinancings, two of which were inspired by falling rates. Tech notes: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ first look: Modest upgrades come at high price One homeowner has 16 years left on a 20-year mortgage. They are refinancing into a new 20-year at a lower rate and dropping private mortgage insurance, saving about $105 a month. A second owner has 17 years left on their 20-year mortgage and is refinancing into a new 15-year home loan, shaving two years off the life of the loan. “It’s not just about a lower payment,” Stearns said. “If people are able to knock off a few years of the mortgage, that’s a good thing, too.” Purchases stymied by market Homebuyers who got preapproved for a loan earlier this year may find they can qualify for a bit more than before, said Scott Sheldon, branch manager at New American Funding in Santa Rosa, California. “With today's reduction in rates at about 1%, people are getting about $35,000 to $40,000 of extra spending power ... right now versus a few months ago,” he said. “With today's reduction in rates ... people are getting about $35,000 to $40,000 of extra spending power” said Scott Sheldon, branch manager at New American Funding. The problem is that homebuyers in many areas still face a limited supply of houses. They may be preapproved at a low rate for a mortgage, but can’t find a house to put it toward. The number of mortgage applications for purchases decreased 2% for the week ending Aug. 2 versus the week before. Stearns, who closed recently on a purchase loan after the buyer was in the market for two years, is seeing new people come through the door looking to get preapproved. “But who knows when they’ll find something to buy,” he said. Source: USA TODAY