Personal Finance

Your credit score can impact you in a number of different ways. It will affect the interest rate you pay on your mortgage, your insurance premiums, as well as the cost of consumer loans. Having a clear understanding of credit scores and knowing how to achieve the highest rating possible can help save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

A credit score is a number that helps lenders determine how likely you are to make your proposed monthly payments on time.

A FICO score on a mortgage credit report will range from 300-850, and is made up of the following:

35% of the score is based on Payment History
a. This considers past due accounts, collections, judgments, bankruptcies, etc.
b. The more recent any adverse credit is, the greater the impact to the score
c. The number of accounts that have been paid as agreedCredit score pie chart

30% of the score based on the Amounts Owed
a. The number of accounts with balances
b. The proration of balances to total credit limit of revolving accounts
c. The total amount owing on specific accounts

15% of the score is based on the Length of Credit History
a. Time since accounts opened and most recently used

10% of the score is based on New Credit and Inquiries
a. The number of recently opened accounts and number of inquiries
of your credit

10% of the score is based on the Types of Credit Used
a. The number of various types of accounts (revolving, mortgage, installment, etc)

 

Credit score chartCredit scores change moment by moment as balances and other information is updated to the credit bureaus. By understanding the factors that determine your score, you can take specific actions that will help ensure the highest possible score. For a free credit review, call or e-mail me. I will help ensure you are in the best situation possible when the time comes to purchase your next home.

A mortgage is a tool that can either help or hinder your financial growth. In fact, a poorly structured mortgage has the potential of creating devastating financial implications, while a properly structured home loan can help provide financial peace and stability. Based on our research, it is clear that by working with a professional mortgage planner instead of a typical loan originator, you are more likely to achieve better long-term financial results. A mortgage lender should provide advice beyond the home loan. I have found there to be four primary steps that should be addressed when creating a mortgage plan. Each step should be addressed in order, with a written plan of action. The four steps should serve as a guide to both allocating cash flow as it comes into the household, as well as deciding how existing net worth should be distributed:

Step 1 | Develop a Cash Reserve – To be used for unbudgeted emergencies. If consumed, this cash is to be replaced as quickly as possible. The purpose of this strategy is to train you to handle unexpected situations with cash verses falling into the habit of using credit cards.

Step 2 | Pay Off All Consumer Debt – The objective is to eliminate all non-tax deductable debt. The number one reason to eliminate these types of debts is to free up monthly cash flow to form and/or exercise the habit of saving money and earning interest instead of paying interest. The key to financial independence is to have control over your cash flow and make wise decisions with how it is allocated.

Step 3 | Create Significant Liquidity – For retirement, college savings and other investments. This is also a fund that can be used in the event of a major financial challenge or opportunity. The goal is to have this invested according to your long-term objectives, so that is it growing and compounding.

Step 4 | Pay Off Your Home – Have a plan to pay the home off at a set point in the future or ensure you have the ability to pay the home off by a predetermined point.

When a plan is created it is crucial to review the plan no less than once per year. We accomplish this through our Annual Mortgage Review system. By updating and adapting the plan annually, we can help ensure that the home loan is still in line with your ever-changing financial needs and circumstances. Furthermore, as home values and interest rates move higher or lower, it is imperative to make sure that the mortgage is still consistent with the goals and objectives it was originally set out to achieve.

As we approach the closing of your new home loan, I want to take this opportunity to let you know how much we appreciate you, and let you know that our goal is to continually add value to your life even outside of managing your mortgage. As your mortgage planners, although home loans are all we do, we can be your source for any information or questions you may have regarding your overall financial health. As a part of our services, please ask us to help prepare for you any of the customized reports mentioned below at absolutely no cost:

Retirement goals and projections

This will help you know how much you need to contribute each month in order to retire at your desired level.

College savings goals and projections

This will help you know how much you need to contribute to your child’s / grandchild’s education fund each month.

In addition, as part of our purpose, I am passionate about my clients creating and maintaining healthy financial habits, as well as making sure that each of your key financial areas are protected. To ensure overall Wealthcare, each family should consider the following areas:

Key Financial Areas

If you are in need of a referral to a trusted advisor for any of the above mentioned financial service providers, please let us know. We only work with professionals who we fully believe in and have developed a trusted history together. By building a fence of trusted advisors, you are protecting your family, and everything you have worked hard for. We greatly appreciate you and are here to answer any question you have. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

For many, uncontrolled and lavish spending can be just as harmful as any other addiction. For those who face this challenge, credit cards should be avoided at all costs. However, when used for convenience or as a tool to accumulate sky miles and other benefits, credit cards can be a useful part of a healthy financial plan. This requires the balance be paid off at the end of each billing cycle and that the temptation of spending beyond what can and will be paid off each month does not create financial hardship.

When committed to a lifestyle that follows the 4-step financial plan that I teach, having a credit card on hand will not likely create problems. However, I generally don’t endorse the use of credit cards and have seen many families destroyed by uncontrolled spending. If you feel that this may be an issue for you, take the first step and cut up all credit cards. What it may save you in the long run can be more valuable than anything money can buy. To learn more about my 4-step financial plan, visit www.dev.citycreekmortgage.com.

Why is it that many feel they will forever struggle financially? Why is it that most feel they need an extra 10% or more income each month just to meet their monthly obligations? How did they survive when they made 10% less? The answer is often found in their perceptions about money and how that plays out in their financial habits

 

I have told my clients for years that it is not about how much income we earn. Rather, it is the habits that we develop. I know many people who would fit most people’s definition of having achieved financial success who are so incredibly in debt that they struggle to meet their obligation with their seven figure income. On the other side, I have clients with one income and several children who live very comfortably on what most would consider a low income. How can both extremes exist? Shouldn’t their situations be reversed? Not necessarily. It is not about the income earned, it is about the habits.

 

For many, the topic of money and spending is far too difficult a subject to discuss with their spouse. All it leads to is a fight. The reality is that change is hard. There will be decisions that must be made. You will have to give up something in order to improve your finances. Either you add income, or you take away expenses. This is a simple balance sheet equation.

 

How can people change their habits? Prepare for the storm. You can either change by choice or you can change by force. Overspending will eventually catch up to you. If you are in trouble, face the reality of your situation, and commit to change. Then, seek help. There are many resources to help. If you need budgeting help, we can help you with simple tools. Most of us must also deal with our perceptions of money, and change the way we feel about money and how that plays out in our lives. If you are looking for resources to deal with your psychology of money, call me and I can make suggestions to you.

 

As I look at my own life, I realize that there are areas in which I need to change my own psychology. I am continually “eating my own cooking,” so to speak. I frequently go through books and financial programs so that I can increase my knowledge and financial understanding. It is not an easy road, but together we can make the journey as we strive for financial freedom.

Pay off the account with the smallest balance first regardless of interest rate. As each account is paid off, apply those payments to the account with the next smallest balance, and so forth. Watch your debt begin to disappear. This is one of the most liberating experiences my clients have. Is it time for you to snowball your debt? Call me if I can help.

When paying off debt, rather than focus on paying off all debts at the same time, pay down the account with the smallest balance first.  As each debt is paid off, add the payment that was being made on the now paid off account towards the next account to be paid off.  Overtime, celebrate as your debt load continues to fall!

One of the surest ways to increase your net worth is to invest each month in appreciating assets. These would include longer-term purchases such as certain real estate, commodities, stocks, bonds, etc. The challenge most people have is that they are spending too much of their monthly income making payments on assets that tend to lose value such as clothes, cars, boats, motorhomes, etc.

Personal financial health and prosperity is generally a reflection of habits, not just of income. Those who develop the habit of saving first and spending less money will increase their security and reduce their stress. This often results in more happiness better marriages and overall improved mental health.

For many of us, depreciating assets are unavoidable. We need cars and would like some fun assets that lose value. I suggest establishing an overall goal that distributes household income on both types of expenses. That way both fun and financial growth can be realized.

The first step is always to create a budget. If you need help, contact my office. We would be happy to provide the resources that can help get you on the path to financial security.

One of the greatest life regrets told by elderly people is that they wish they had saved more money when they were younger. According to a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 57% of U.S workers reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments, excluding equity in their homes. Further, the crisis of seniors without sufficient savings to retire is a growing challenge.

The old adage of, “Pay yourself first” is one that should be adapted by most workers. I typically advise my clients to budget their expenses to be able to allocate 10% of their gross income to be split between short and long term savings. If managed properly, this should provide sufficient savings to have a comfortable lifestyle at retirement. Also, remember that retirement is a number, not an age. Know what the amount needed to retire is and then make progress each month towards that goal.

As a wise person once told me: “If you don’t have a plan for your estate, don’t worry, the State of Utah has one for you.” Being a father of young children at the time, this message played over and over in my mind until I made an appointment with an estate planning attorney to put a plan in place to protect my family and I.  If something were to ever happen to me, the last thing I would want is the State of Utah to make the decisions as to whom would raise my kids and how my estate would be managed.

Oftentimes, I find that estate planning is not on the forefront of a young family’s priorities.  However, having a viable and current plan is so important to protect your family’s security at a time where they could be the most vulnerable. If you have dependent children, children from a prior relationship or a blended family of any nature, you are at higher risk and should have a will and possibly even a trust in place. Those with complex finances are also particularly susceptible if they are not protected with an estate plan. If meeting with an attorney is outside of the budget, there are sites such as www.legalzoom.com that offer generic forms for a minimal fee.  You are far better off creating your own plan online than not having a plan at all.  If you need a referral to an experienced and trustworthy estate planning attorney, call or e-mail me, I would be happy to put you in touch with a trusted professional who can help.