Remar's Report

Buying or Refinancing a Home? Tips for Finding the Right Mortgage

December 2012

With prices for good homes lingering within reasonable ranges, many consumers are considering buying a home. Maybe you are among the potential buyers looking for a first home, thinking about a larger home for a growing family, or planning for a retirement home. With interest rates remaining at low levels, other consumers are considering refinancing their mortgage to reduce payments or, perhaps, to pay off the loan sooner.


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Tired of Rising Bank Fees?

Switching Financial Institutions is Worth the Time and Effort

November 2012

Has any financial institution where you keep a checking account been on a “fee-ing frenzy” lately, as BankRate’s latest survey described it?

Recent surveys report significant 2012 increases in many fees related to checking accounts. These include increased minimum balance requirements, ATM fees, and overdraft (NSF) fees. Such increases are a problem because most people manage their daily finances using a checking account and related services including debit cards and online or automatic bill payment. In general, the biggest increases have come from the biggest banks, according to the research.

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Make Medicare Plan Changes Oct. 15 – Dec. 7: What Needs Review?

October 2012

If you already receive Medicare, then you need to know that the “open enrollment” period when you can make changes for 2015 extends from October 15 to December 7, 2014.

Open enrollment is the annual period when you can make changes to your Medicare plan to better meet your health or financial needs for the coming year. Changes made during this period usually take effect on January 1, 2015.

If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet your needs in 2015, you don’t need to do a thing.

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Turning 65 Soon? How to Enroll in Medicare.

October 2012

What’s your situation?

  • You’ll be turning 65 this year, and you plan to apply to start receiving Social Security at that time.
  • You’ll be turning 65 this year, but you plan to keep working and not apply for Social Security until you can receive full benefits at age 66.

In either situation, you should enroll in Medicare within the initial enrollment period. This period is the seven months surrounding your 65th birthday (3 months before, your birth month, 3 after). Can you enroll later? Yes. But enrolling after this initial period usually means that you will pay late enrollment penalties. That typically means that premiums for applicable parts of Medicare are a little higher, in most cases for as long as you are insured.

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Reverse Mortgages—What Are the Pros, Cons, and Cautions?

September 2012

If you listen to the TV pitchmen, you would think that a reverse mortgage is every older homeowner’s dream. Advertising claims appear to promise a risk-free, low-cost way to get easy cash from your home without endangering your home ownership. Some even imply you won’t be increasing debt.

Such advertising is simplistic and deceptive. In actuality, a reverse mortgage is a complex product. Most important, it is a loan, a fact often glossed over in the ads. A reverse mortgage may be right in certain situations, but you need to take time to understand the options and costs as well as the potential benefits and risks. Comparing loan offers and finding the best lender are also challenges.


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