Financial Health Tag

When it comes to growing money, time is your best friend. Unfortunately, the biggest problem most people who are saving for retirement face is that they start too late in life to achieve a comfortable retirement lifestyle. As a result, the cycle of beginning late continues from one generation to the next.  As parents, we can end the pattern and set our kids up for success. But it starts with education and action.

The Power of Compounding Returns

Compounding interest is essentially earning a return on your past returns. Having this process continue year after year is what creates most of the wealth from people who have a lot of money in their retirement accounts.

The Rule of 72 is a method for estimating an investments time to double. In its simplest term, an investment growing at 7.2% will double every ten years. As an example, $100,000 becomes $200,000 in 10 years, $400,000 in twenty years and $800,000 at year 30. This assumes no additional monies invested.

It is through compounding interest and the power of money growing exponentially over time that you can make the greatest impact on the financial future of your children.

An Example

Assumptions:

10-year-old child

Goal:  Retire at age 65 (55 years from today)

Have $48,000 per year retirement income (in today’s dollars) at the time he / she retires

(This means he / she will need $11,887 per month in future dollars to equate to what $4,000 buys us today – based on a 2% annual inflation rate)

Investment averages 7.5% annual return

Needs investment to last until age 100 (35 years) – Balance will be $0 at age 100

To meet this goal, all that you need to commit to is investing $232 per month until the child retires at age 65. By starting young, this achievable goal can be accomplished. You will set your child up for financial success in a way that he / she can easily sustain. This is how legacies begin.

The Hardest Step is the First

A two-inch piece of metal can hold a train back from starting down the tracks. However, once in full motion, a train has the strength to break through a steel wall. Both good and bad habits are generally difficult to start. However, once in full motion, they are hard to quit. Saving is nothing but a habit that needs to be developed. Once mastered, the pain of breaking the habit of saving is greater than the pain of maintaining the discipline.

I encourage you to make room in your budget to help start the habit for your children. Once they are old enough to earn money, encourage them to continue to the habit. It will be much easier for them to continue growing a retirement account than it will be for them to start one.

Even if it’s only $40 per month, it’s much better than nothing at all. Over time, increase the amount contributed. Watching it grow and knowing that you are helping to build a legacy that will out-live you will inspire you to maintain the habit and increase the amount you contribute as time goes on. Once your child makes enough income to continue this goal, pass the responsibility on to him / her. It will be one of the greatest life lessons they will be taught.

What to do Next:

I encourage you to visit our website at citycreekmortgage.com, click on “Tools” and then “Retirement Calculator”. Run a scenario for yourself and then do one for your kids. By playing with longer timelines, you’ll clearly see the benefit of starting early. Then, call your bank or a trusted financial planner to help set up the accounts and get rolling!

One of the greatest injustices of the mortgage industry is the high commission some loan officers receive for originating a home loan. In many cases, it equates to 1.5% (or more) of the total amount of the mortgage. That’s a $4,500 paycheck for closing a $300,000 loan! And where does the money for those high commissions come from? Through an increase in your interest rate. This is wrong and unjustified, in my opinion.

My personal mission for City Creek Mortgage is to eliminate the over-compensated loan officer by educating consumers about why most companies charge such high interest rates. A loan officer on salary or a lower commission rate can save the consumer money—in most cases, a lot of money.

I’m NOT saying loan officers shouldn’t have the opportunity to make a great income. I believe that the ethical model is to earn a little off a lot of loan closings vs. a lot off a few. A higher-volume team with salary-based loan officers can provide a great living for employees as well as lower interest rates for borrowers.

If you’re shopping for a home mortgage, don’t be afraid to ask your loan officer about their personal commission rate. If they stumble over their answer, be careful. Look for a salaried loan officer and I bet you’ll find a better deal.

Real estate agents have a responsibility to do what is best for their clients. However, this doesn’t always happen. Getting a mortgage is a significant decision for a homebuyer. In many cases, the real estate agent will pressure clients to use their preferred lender. Unfortunately, a referral is often made to a lender that is financially or professionally supporting the real estate agent, rather than because it is the most cost-effective solution for the homebuyer.

The Truth Behind Mortgage Rates
One of the reasons other lenders have higher rates than we do is due to the level of compensation the loan officer is making. If a loan officer wants to make more money,
they simply sell their clients a higher interest rate. When this happens, the client pays more than they need to. Clearly, a real estate agent who wants the best for their clients would not want to add this additional financial burden to people they care about.

For example, a client recently called into City Creek Mortgage to compare the loan offer they received from their real estate agent’s preferred lender. The client was looking to borrow $350,000. When I shared with the client that there was enough income in the rate they were being quoted to purchase a brand-new Toyota Corolla, they were upset. Generally, we can save most clients between 20-50%. In this case, it was much more.

Lenders Who Serve The Agents
Most mortgage lenders market their services to real estate agents under the premise that they will help them grow their businesses. A business model that is designed to provide the benefit to the real estate agent generally comes as a cost to the homebuyer. For example, there are some mortgage companies that have several offices in a community just to provide the convenience to their real estate partners. Clearly, the agent’s convenience provides no value to the homebuyer. However, the homebuyer is the one paying the price each month in the form of a higher mortgage payment.

A Consumer-Focused Model
I believe the right business model for a mortgage company is designed with the homebuyers’ best interests in mind. At City Creek Mortgage our promises and guarantees are to our clients, not to real estate agents. We are a low-cost provider that is designed to keep more money in the pockets of hard working Utah families. For 20 years, this has kept our clients coming back and referring their family and friends to us for their mortgage needs.

If you need help evaluating the price offering of another lender, we can help you. We can estimate the amount of commission income priced into the loan and compare that
to what is priced into a loan offering with City Creek Mortgage. We do what is best for the homebuyer, with the long-term goal of squeezing out the margins in a mortgage industry and eliminate the over-compensated loan officer. As a result, we are the most feared second option by our competitors.

Help us get the word out. When you hear that your family and friends need a mortgage, have them call us. By simply having salaried loan officers and a commitment to make less off each loan, we save people a lot of money. We are Utah’s best mortgage choice and appreciate your continued support.

When structured properly, a home mortgage can be a tool to help you build net worth. However, when not properly managed, a mortgage can cause excess burden and be a financial and emotional drain. In the current environment of distressed home values and inevitable interest rate increases, now is the time to ensure that you have a mortgage strategy that is in line with your long-term goals. When advising my clients on their next mortgage, we consider much more than just their loan.

Secondary Home
I ensure they avoid making the following 5 most costly mortgage mistakes:

  1. Listing your home without first being approved for your next home purchase.
    I often hear of horror stories where a homeowner sells their current home and later realizes that they are not in position to financially qualify for their next home. As a result, they are forced to either rent or purchase a house that is less than they had hoped for.
  2. Borrowing more than you can afford or accepting a short amortization with a payment that is not sustainable within your budget.
    Many homeowners have unmanageable mortgage payments. The inevitable result of an over-extended budget is an eventual inability to keep up with the required obligation. Emotions play a large role in how much home to buy, and when to have the mortgage paid off. Making wise and well thought-out mortgage decisions is crucial for long-term mental and financial health.
  3. Not addressing credit challenges in time to help improve your score.
    The interest rate you will qualify for is dependent upon your credit score, more so in today’s market than ever before. Having a credit review in time to correct errors can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a mortgage.
  4. Putting down your entire savings and not maintaining an adequate cash reserve.
    Maintaining a cash reserve is the most important step in achieving financial peace. Without a cash reserve, families live paycheck to paycheck and in a constant state of stress. By not putting down every dollar you have, you can prevent the anxiety of day to day cash flow challenges.
  5. Not considering consumer debts or other investment opportunities when determining how much to put down on your home.
    Managing daily cash flow and minimizing interest expenses is an important consideration for longterm net worth growth. Sometimes, getting on the right path requires a one-time decision to clean up consumer debts to free up cash flow to help increase long term investment opportunities.

By avoiding these common mistakes you can help ensure you are making wise decisions regarding your mortgage that will be most beneficial to you in the long term. Please contact me to discuss how these and other potential pitfalls can be avoided. By having these discussions early in your home buying process, you will be better prepared when the time comes to close on your next home.

 

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With home prices moving a great deal higher in recent years, some are worried that we are now on the verge of another housing bubble. Although this could be true, it certainly doesn’t appear likely in the near term. In fact, housing prices are projected to continue to grow over the coming years. However, many millennials are using this fear as rationale to continue to live with their parents or rent.

Real estate used as a primary residence has proven over time to be a wise investment, regardless of the timing of the purchase. Although some built up significant equity by purchasing when prices were at their lows during the recent housing crisis, even those who bought at the peak of the market in 2007 should once again be in a strong position of equity.

Homeownership is one of the greatest determining factors that contribute to wealth accumulation. In 2015, the average net worth of a homeowner was $195,400, compared to just $5,400 for a renter. Not only is a homeowner able to better weather a financial storm by borrowing against accumulated equity, homeowners are also able to reach a point where they no longer must make a mortgage payment once the home is paid off. Further, with rents rising as rapidly as they have in recent years, a homeowner who purchased their home years ago is likely paying far less than a renter who is leasing a similar priced home. In addition, the homeowner will receive a tax break that isn’t available to those who rent.

Although inching higher, the current home-ownership rate is well below where it should be. We need to see a bigger push for millennial home buyers to help ensure a strong economy in the decades to come. If they fail to buy at a reasonable age, they could be missing out on a significant opportunity.

The Hidden Truth about Interest Rates

I recently made the decision to care less about being liked by people in the mortgage industry and more about transparency surrounding what I believe. For the sake of this article, I’ll focus on how much a mortgage loan truly costs an average consumer at most mortgage companies vs. what it costs at City Creek Mortgage. Further, I’ll dive into where I see the future of this industry as well as the people who work within it.

First, I want to make clear this is not a dig at my competitors. I believe most mortgage lenders are wonderful people who work for great companies. Just because I have fundamental differences in beliefs about how much companies and people in my industry should earn, doesn’t make my competitors wrong.

The $ Behind a Mortgage

Few consumers realize how much money is made in the process of a mortgage. For many well-known local mortgage companies, a $300,000 mortgage loan generates $12,000 of revenue. What consumers should understand is that this “standard” cost of originating a loan is substantially higher than the actual cost of doing so. The result is needlessly higher interest rates and closing costs for the consumer. Although “it’s just the way things are done,” I believe once people understand what is happening, this practice will come to an end.

In total transparency, a $300,000 mortgage loan closed at City Creek Mortgage will generate up to $6,000 in revenue on average. Although still a healthy income, it is significantly below what most companies make on the same loan. By choosing to make less money on each loan, we save our borrowers in both interest rate and closing costs compared to many of our competitors. Plain and simple, that’s the truth.

As I consider the future of the mortgage industry, I see what many in the industry don’t want to face. Some may disagree with my assessment. I see a time in the coming years where a computer will be able to replace most of the work done by mortgage loan originators. I will explain my thoughts below.

The Impact of Technology

Technology is making the mortgage process significantly easier, faster & more affordable. We are already at the stage where technology can automatically retrieve taxes, bank statements or pay stubs. Since this is most of the supporting documentation required for a loan, the effort required by the consumer and loan originator is decreasing. Further, many loans no longer require a physical appraisal. Once again, expediting the loan process. When combined with digital signing and instant loan approval, it’s not difficult for one to perceive a day when a mortgage loan originator is only needed on more complicated loans. It could even be that a human is needed on only 25% of all loans closed.

A Mortgage Loan Originator’s Income

In truth, the individual mortgage loan originator is usually able to set their own compensation levels. I know many that get paid 2% of each loan they close. This is in addition to what their respective company makes on each loan. For this to work, mortgage companies roll that super high commission into the interest rate they charge borrowers.

So for a $300,000 loan, not only does the company make money, but the loan officer gets $6,000 in commission. For that same $300,000 loan at City Creek Mortgage, $6,000 is the total revenue. No additional charges, or rolling commission into the interest rate like other companies. We use $6,000 to pay 30 staff members, and all our overhead. That’s why (in other companies) you can often get a lower rate by walking through an office and asking individual mortgage loan originators what their level of compensation is. Once you find the lowest plan, you can choose that mortgage loan originator and be offered lower rates and fees. Or you could do it…

The Right Way

You may be wondering how it is possible for City Creek Mortgage to make half of what our competition make on each loan. It is simple. We have a volume-based model. We have to do more loans, because we make less on each loan. We provide our loan officers with the stability of a salary and since they don’t do any marketing themselves, they can do substantially more loans per month than the typical loan originator.

I believe most mortgage loan originators who work for companies eventually will be paid a salary. An individual loan originator will no longer be able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at the expense of the consumer for closing a handful of loans each month. The current system, where borrowers are paying a luxury tax each month for 30 years for overcompensated loan officers is flawed. Further, the real estate agents who claim to want the best for their clients are often the ones feeding the business to these highly compensated mortgage loan originators. It’s just wrong. Consumers shouldn’t be footing the bill for extravagant lifestyles of over-compensated mortgage loan originators. Trust me, it will change.

And that, my friends, is my explanation as to why our rates at City Creek Mortgage are so much lower than our competitors.

Consumer debt among American families was recently
reported to total $12.73 trillion. To put this into
perspective, the US government debt is just shy of $20
trillion. The outrageous amount currently owned by
consumers is higher now than the peak reached in 2008
before the economic collapse. Although consumers are
handling this level of debt better today than they did in
2008, it still represents a tremendous risk to individuals
and our economy as a whole.
Interestingly enough, mortgage debt is now a smaller
percentage of total debt than it was back in 2008. Of
course, this is primarily due to tighter lending restrictions.
This means that Americans are holding more debt in
riskier loans such as credit cards, bank loans and car
loans for example. Much of this debt is subject to
fluctuating interest rates, which is now something we
need to consider as the Fed pushes short term rates
higher.
I believe that consumer debt is usually a habit. Unsecured
debt, such as credit cards, could be a sign of spending
more than the income flowing into the household. To
break this cycle, sometimes more extreme measures
must be deployed. If the goal is to get out of consumer
debt, it could be advantageous to use a mortgage or
home equity loan to help. With values rising to premarket
crash levels, most people have a decent amount
of equity in their homes. However, I strongly caution
against this without a plan to break the cycle that led to
the debt in the first place. Otherwise, the same situation
is likely to occur.

 

WB

Warren Buffett’s famous quote “Be fearful when others are greedy, be greedy when others are fearful,” seems to be applicable to today’s stock market environment. With the US stock market recently setting new all-time highs, confidence in the market has reached a peak not seen since 2005. This strong sentiment may be reaching a point of “irrational exuberance.”

History shows that a contrarian outcome is often the result of an extraordinarily high level of faith that the market will continue to improve. A look back on previous market corrections shows that confidence generally peaks just prior to the downturn. Given the current political, economic and global uncertainty, it seems that circumstances may be ripe for a correction later in 2017.

Any attempt to foresee the direction of a market should be taken with a grain of salt. There are strong arguments to suggest the stock market will continue its climb higher well past 2018. The level of confidence however, is a concern.

2016 was a great year for the Utah Housing Market. According to CoreLogic, a well-respected source for housing market statistics, the average home in the State of Utah grew at an 8% annual pace over the last year. Further, it states that home values have nearly recovered all of their losses since the Housing Crisis of 2008. This strong report makes Utah one of the top appreciating Housing Markets in the country, which is great news for those who currently own a home.

With interest rates moving higher over the past few months, some are worried that this will have an adverse impact to the future value of homes. Although there is validity in the concern, the longer-term impact of rising rates has often proven to coincide with high levels of home value appreciation. Let’s take a look back on history to help form a conclusion.

The graph below shows four points in time when mortgage rates experienced rapid rates of increase and compare those times with their annualized rates of home value appreciation over the same period. As you can see, not only did home values remain in growth mode, they often experienced attractive improvements to home values. TRUST E D · R E S P E C T E D · LOVED

Traditional economics support the theory that as the cost of a mortgage increases with higher rates, the value of homes will fall to bring the relative cost back into balance. However, when values are rising because of growing incomes and a stronger job market, home values have room to move higher even as rates increase. Given the current strength of the housing market, the current level of wage growth is more than enough to sustain a reasonable rate of home value appreciation. Utah’s Unemployment Rate is currently at 3.2%, which is considered “full employment.” Further, the outlook on the job market is expected to remain strong for years to come; making Utah one of the greatest places to live.

Utah Home Values 2017

Although mortgage rates aren’t anticipated to experience a significant increase in 2017 (see next month’s 2017 Market Forecast), some experts and media pundits are calling for a drop in home values this year. Although we anticipate a slower pace of growth in 2017, we still see at least a growth rate of 4.5%. This is a healthy rate of appreciation and a level that is sustainable for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there is no way to say for sure what will happen, but it doesn’t appear likely that higher rates will have a significant negative impact to home values here in Utah.

High rates of home appreciation provide a tremendous opportunity to increase net worth. If you plan to move-up in the near future, you may want to make the move sooner rather than later. An extra $100,000 in home value, increasing at a rate of 4.5% could add an additional $14,000 to your net worth over the next three years. This could also be achieved by purchasing an investment property or a second home. Also, if you have millennial children, encourage them to become homeowners early in their adult life. Home ownership is a determining factor of long term financial health and security. Starting early is the key.

homeValues

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.