5 Things to Know About Refinancing a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages, it’s hard not to hear about them these days.  After all, millions of Americans are nearing retirement age and the for many, their most valuable asset is their home.  As such, it makes sense that today’s seniors would want to look at options to tap into the equity they have built up in their home’s over the years.  Even if you already have a reverse mortgage, did you know it’s even possible to refinance in the future? That’s right, and here are five things to know about refinancing a reverse mortgage.

  • Reasons to Refinance

One of the biggest reasons would be time.  If your reverse mortgage is more than 10-years-old, then you might be time to freshen up the agreement.  For example, while interest rates were low 10 years ago, they are even lower today and if the Fed keeps raising rates, then this year might be the last year of ultra-low rates.  As such, there is no better time than now to take advantage of low rates before they end.

In addition, the housing market in your area might be on the upswing.  This means that your home might be worth more today than when you originally signed your reverse mortgage.   Or maybe your spouse was under the age of 62 at the time you closed your reserve mortgage.  If this is the case, then a refinance is a good way to get a spouse’s name on the loan as well.

  • How Will I Benefit

As most reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), then one thing you will need to undergo before closing your loan is counseling.  While this counseling is not always free, it will help to walk you through every aspect of your reverse mortgage to make sure it is in your best interests.

In addition, you will have to pay additional closing costs if you decide to refinance your reverse mortgage.  As such, you want to look at the costs and see if the benefits will work in your favor.  Also, keep in mind that your homeowner’s insurance premium might increase as the value of your home will have probably increased in value since your first mortgage.

  • The Application Process

Like every mortgage, the process begins with an application.  The difference is that this application will be for a new reverse mortgage.  As mentioned, this will also mean that you will need to schedule a new counseling session to review the terms of your mortgage.

While this is an added step, it is also a safety net to make sure that your refinanced reverse mortgage makes sense for you.  This is a good move as there are no shortage of people looking to take advantage of seniors.  If anything, it just gives you some extra time to think through the decision.

Once your counseling session is complete, you will receive an approval notice and then you can schedule your closing.  As this is a refinance, one part of the closing will be to pay off the balance due on your original reverse mortgage.

Depending on the terms of your new reverse mortgage, you will either receive a check for the additional cash from the new reverse mortgage; or the new amount available will be set aside in a checking account which you can use later.

  • Closing Costs

While more and more lenders are offering low or no-cost reverse mortgages, most will require you to pay closing costs.  This will include the appropriate searches, origination fees, legal fees, and even counseling costs.

As such, you need to ask your lender what the costs will be.  This way you can make sure there are no last-minute surprises.  If there are, then don’t be afraid to walk away from the closing table, or you can use your three-day right of rescission to void the mortgage if you change your mind.

  • Can Heirs Refinance

Unless your heirs are over the age of 62 and are listed on the mortgage note, then they cannot refinance the reverse mortgage.  Remember, these loans become due when the borrowers no longer live in the house.  So, the only way an ‘heir’ can refinance a reverse mortgage is if they are named on the loan in the first place.  Barring that, your heirs will need to pay off the loan if they seek to keep the property in the family.

How to Afford a Luxury Car Without Breaking the Bank

It is something that any car enthusiast has dreamed done: stopped and stared at a luxury car and wished they could trade in their current commuter car for a more plush model. Your standard 1.4 litre engine may get you to work fine, but the thrill of driving a high-end car would make your commute that bit more bearable.

The good news is, that affording a luxury car may not be as out of reach as you think. If you are smart, do your research and know where to look, you could upgrade to something a little more luxurious. Here are some ways to get a luxury car without breaking the bank.

Buy Used, Not New

When you think of buying a luxury car, you may picture a highly-waxed vehicle inside a shiny, glass-fronted dealership. However, buying a new car directly from the dealership carries a large price tag, something that many simply cannot afford. Instead of purchasing new from the factory, consider buying a used luxury car. Purchasing second-hand from the likes of RRG Group Ltd means you can still get a bigger engine, heated leather seats and all of the mod cons, but for a fraction of the original price. You also avoid the car depreciating up to 34.6% during its first year on the road.

Make Money From Your Car

When looking a buy a luxury car, you think of the horse power or comfy leather seats, but also think about how your car can work for you. If you are on a budget or looking to minimise financial impact, there are ways you can make money from your car. This includes: listing on a car share website and charging passengers to share your daily commute; branding your car with company advertisements, offering taxi or transport services, or even renting out during the day while you are in the office.

Affordable Payments

If used is not for you, then consider all of the finance options. There are loads of ways to pay for your car in monthly instalments, spreading the cost and making a luxury car more affordable. This includes a personal loan, hire purchase (HP), a personal contract plan (PCP), or even leasing options. In addition, if your car is to be shared between yourself and your spouse, or perhaps another family member, you could consider splitting the purchase price and running costs, meaning you both get a luxury car for a fraction of the cost.

Buying a luxury car does not have to break the bank. By choosing used, making money from your vehicle, or signing up to an affordable payment plan, you can own your dream car without breaking the bank.

There are Many Costs and Expenses of Car Ownership

The Cost of Car Ownership

For many people, especially in the south, owning a car is not a choice. It is essential to being able to get around and do what you need to do. However, owning a car is a major expense. While you may not think about it, there are many things that go into owning a vehicle. This includes the upfront costs to buy the vehicle, fuel, maintenance, taxes, fees and interest. These costs can vary greatly across the south.

Variances in Costs

To begin with, tax rates vary from location to location. When you buy a vehicle, you have to pay tax on your purchase. This can raise the overall cost of your vehicle by thousands of dollars, making your upfront cost quite high if you live in a state with a high tax rate.

Other costs that can vary greatly from location to location are those for registering your vehicle and getting the title. Generally, these are paid in the county in which you live. Some counties may charge more for the services than others. It may also depend on which city you live in. These costs can be quite low, like under $20, or they can be on the more expensive side.

A major area where costs vary from location to location is fuel. Everyone knows gas prices go up and down. One city may have low prices, while another is much higher. Then there is the variance between gasoline and diesel fuel. If you own a diesel vehicle, expect to pay more.

Your location may also impact the costs for maintenance and repairs. Some areas may have higher rates than others due to things like demand and competition. If you own a vehicle, though, you will need to get maintenance done at some point, so this must be kept in mind.

The last cost that can affect your cost of owning a car is insurance. Insurance isn’t as dependent on location, although location will affect your prices. It is more reliant upon your personal details, such as your driving record, credit rating, age, type of vehicle and number of drivers. You have some options when it comes to local insurance to help make this more affordable. However, some areas just naturally have higher rates than others, so it is something to think about.

Costs by State

There is not one southern state where owning a car is super cheap. There are always tradeoffs when it comes to costs. For example, North Carolina has some of the lowest prices for gas, insurance and registration, but the state has high repair costs. The same is true of Virginia. On the other side of things, there is Georgia where gas is still rather cheap, but you will pay out quite a bit for repairs and insurance.

Then there is West Virginia, which has low registration fees, but everything else is rather costly, like gas and insurance. Compare this with Mississippi, a state that is lower than average on every car related cost. Mississippi may be the ideal southern state for car ownership.

When it comes to owning a car in the south, you have a lot of costs to consider. Depending on where you live, you may need to shop more smartly for a car to get a better deal or you may need to be careful about getting an insurance policy so you aren’t paying too much.

Should Your Business Consider Bespoke Portfolio Management?

As your business begins to take off, it’s wise to consider how your business will consolidate its wealth and its portfolio of assets. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, or someone with limited business experience, then it may be that you’re not the best person to make this call. Instead, it may be best to specifically employ someone who has experience in bespoke portfolio management. Here, we run down some of the positives of this approach.

What is Portfolio Management?

Before you decide whether portfolio management is right for you, you’ll need to know what it involves. Portfolio management involves making complex decisions on investment mix and policy.

A portfolio manager will aim to match your investments to your objectives and will allocate assets to individuals and institutions, balancing risk against performance.

As such, portfolio management is about determining what the strengths and weaknesses of your company and its assets are. From here, opportunities and threats can be determined and the attempt to maximise return against the appetite of risk can be assessed with the company owner.

Once all of this has been established, a strategy can be brought together. This will weigh up the choice of debt vs equity, domestic vs international growth targets and growth vs safety, among other trade-offs.

According to IBIS World research, there are over 18,000 wealth management businesses in the US alone, generating over $233bn alone. This means you should have plenty of options and points for consideration.

What are the Benefits?

If you’re thinking about a bespoke portfolio management service, then there are a number of benefits worth considering that could be advantageous to your business.

  • Dedicated management: If you opt for a professional discretionary service like the one offered by WH Ireland, then you’ll receive an Investment Manager for your business. By working with one individual, you’ll get someone who takes the time to understand your business and its investment priorities.
  • Delegation: Ever feel like your head is spinning with important decisions? Well an Investment Manager can help alleviate some of the pressure. The markets are incredibly fast moving and your Investment Manager can relieve you of this stress, implementing your strategy on your behalf.
  • You Won’t Be Cut Out: However, the independence of your Investment Manager won’t mean you’re entirely cut out of the decision-making process. You should receive regular reports on what’s happening. If you choose a reputable wealth management company, these reports should take place however you like, too. Such as face to face or online.
  • Diversity: Through portfolio management, you’re able to diversify your assets, incomings and growth. You can use these alongside ISAs, personal pensions, trusts or even offshore bonds. These can all be managed as part of wider wealth planning.

If you’re looking to delegate some day to day decision making, then investment management could be great for your business.

Chatbots for Trading and Investment: A Good Idea?

The notion of artificial intelligence is no longer a fictional concept. From user-friendly programs such as Siri to the complex algorithms included in Google Cloud Prediction, the software is becoming an important part of our daily lives.

One particularly interesting scenario can be seen in the rise of the “chatbot”. Through a series of complex computations, these systems are meant to supply human-like responses to their living counterparts. It can be argued that the most well-known online chatbot is a program known as Cleverbot. So, this naturally leads to the question as to whether or not these silicon-based algorithms are wise enough to be used within the world of complex, yet sensitive, user query led interactions.

The Ultimate Intention of a Chatbot

We should first be clear to note that a Chatbot cannot (presently) offer the same level of insightful interaction as demonstrated by HAL 9000 in the film 2001. They are intended to provide a user with answers to very specific questions. Product information is a common example. Having said this, the use of artificial intelligence will help the bot to appear more “human” as levels of interaction increase. In other words, these algorithms learn by experience. So can intelligent programs like this ever be employed within the world of online trading? Financial Times author, Kevin Rose wrote an article back in 2014 about retail trader, CMC Markets, who already use price pattern recognition which identifies up to 40,000 technical trade set-ups each month, impossible to do for a human – This begs the question how far are we from chatbots relaying highly sensitive bits of information?

The Current State of Play

You may be surprised to learn that there are already a number of trading-related chatbots in existence. AJ Bell youInvest and a Chinese firm known as Xiaoi are two notable examples. These and others such as PollyChat utilise Facebook Messenger to “speak” with the user, so there is already a heightened sense of familiarity. After a series of macro questions, a personalised profile will be created. It is therefore much easier to access the most relevant news and information based off of one’s trading preferences. Having said this, these bots are far less intuitive. They are primarily designed to help the trader make his or her own decisions as opposed to automatically generating investment calls to action.

Potential Implications

What types of conversations the traders could potentially encounter when using a chatbot? Current technology limits these exchanges to be somewhat rudimentary. Examples here may include:

  • What types of stocks would you like to see?
  • How can I help you formulate an investment plan?
  • Are there any sectors that interest you?

Besides these general queries, many conversations will revolve around the bot trying to understand the strategies of the user. This can again be accomplished through a question-and-answer session:

  • Do you think the United States will soon raise its interest rates?
  • Is the outlook for the euro bullish, bearish or neutral?

The answers to these and other questions will help the bot formulate appropriate recommendations.

A Wise Decision?

Are chatbots a good idea for traders? Yes and no. They can be a highly intuitive user interface for those who may be new to the industry. However, any discrete recommendations in the future will likely be based off of algorithms alone. This could lead to potentially erroneous trades and until technology advances, it is wise to employ chatbots as a supplement to any strategy as opposed to a strategy in and of itself.

How Business Owners Can Invest Their Earnings

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Running a successful business is no easy task. After all, recent research reveals that four in ten small companies don’t last for five years. After the recent political and economic uncertainty in 2016, many were also expecting this rate to rise further. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be overly pessimistic, and if your business is doing well, you should continue to forge a path to success. Here, we discuss the current economic situation and how you can reinvest your earnings at the current time.

The Current Economic Situation

Against expectations, the broad outlook for the UK economy is positive. Recently, the British Chambers of Commerce have announced that UK buying habits have shown strong resistance to the Brexit vote.

This level of robust customer spending means that the outlook for trade and investment for UK businesses is broadly positive. The economy is expected to grow a further 1.4% in 2017, which is almost at pace with the 1.8% growth we witnessed in 2016.

As a result, if you’re looking to invest some of your wealth, now could be the time. Let’s take a look at how you could make the most of the broadly positive economic situation.

How Can You Invest?

To help your wealth grow, you can invest internally within your business or externally. First, let’s look at your internal options.


Staff ­– if your customers are keen to keep spending high, then let them. Investing in new staff members means that you’ll be able to service larger orders in a higher volume, boosting your revenue.

New Products – Likewise, consider diversifying your offering to take money from your competitors. By investing in market research, you can find out what your customers really want and cater for them.

These two tactics will help you strengthen your business and generate new revenue. Sometimes, you have to spend your wealth to save even more. However, although these will help you accrue wealth, it may also be worth diversifying your assets through external investments. Your best options here are:


Property – the UK housing market continues to boom and shows no signs of slowing down. Housing is generally considered as a solid investment; particularly buy-to-let, which is low risk.

Stocks and Shares – If your business is doing well, then it’s likely that others are, too. So, it could be worth investing in other businesses. This is a higher risk strategy than investing in houses, but the rewards are potentially higher, too. Take a look online for advice on what investments could be profitable.

Forex – Finally, consider being bold, brave and bright. Geo-political tensions such as Brexit cause currency fluctuations and changes. By investing some of your money in forex trading, you could make money on these fluctuations. This is a high risk, strategy, however, so educate yourself before you begin.

To conclude, the current economic situation looks positive, so consider how you could invest to maximise your wealth carefully.



Money-Saving Tips for Booking Your Next Holiday

Booking a holiday doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank. It’s impossible to enjoy a relaxing break away when you’re worrying about money every time you pay for a meal or buy a souvenir.  So, here are some money-saving tips to help put your mind at ease when spending money on your next holiday.

DIY Holidays

Is it cheaper to book a package holiday or to arrange the flights and the hotel separately? Research is the only way to find the best deal for your holiday.

Travel agents claim that their buying power brings down the cost of a holiday, but many websites are now specifically aimed at finding good deals on flights and accommodation. Sites such as Skyscanner and Air BnB have grown in popularity, so consumers may find that it’s cheaper to book separately when planning your trip abroad.

When to Book

In order to find the lowest possible fare for your holiday, you can plan the best time for you to book. Here are a few tips for finding the best prices:

  • For short-haul flights, you should book around seven weeks in advance and for long-haul, book around 18 weeks in advance.
  • Try to avoid the school holidays and book flights on quieter days and times – Tuesdays are often a cheaper day to fly.
  • If you don’t like flying, you could find a great deal on a last-minute cruise. Keep an eye on cruise holiday websites, such as Bolsover Cruise Club.

Planning in Advance

When you’ve chosen your destination, try to book activities in advance. Avoid turning up and trying to find the best spots in your guidebook once you’re there and do some research before you go. If you buy tickets for museums, shows, tours and activities online, you may be able to avoid lengthy queues and save some money at the same time.

Spending Abroad

When you’re thinking about changing your money to the local currency, don’t wait until you get to the airport to do it – it’ll be significantly more expensive than other payment methods. Money Saving Expert advises that the cheapest way to get travel money is by using a specialist credit card and repaying it in full. The second most cost-effective way is to use a travel money comparison tool to find the best rate, which is especially useful if you want to stick to a budget on your holiday.

Find the best deal when booking your next holiday by following our top tips for cost-effective travel – you can enjoy a relaxing, stress-free holiday, without worrying about money.