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CategoryConsumer Debt

Uncover the hidden equity in your home

Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, read a newspaper or talk to someone at the office water cooler.   What are we hearing?  ‘House prices fall’….  ‘Mortgage rates are going up’…

Okay, are you ready to hear some good news?   Let’s talk about what’s really happening and how YOU can benefit.

Firstly, house values are actually stable according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).  The article goes on to say that House sales may cool this fall due to a robust Spring market and that house prices may fall.  Hey, that’s okay.. we don’t want to see a runaway market… but that should trigger us to do something now.   Take advantage of these incredibly low rates.

Interest Rates are at historical lows and yet I don’t see much news coverage about that…did you know that a 5 year fixed rate can be had for around 3.69% and in some cases even better for qualified borrowers….   Variable rate is also great… 2.30% is an excellent rate…. and Economists are forecasting for no real increases until the Spring…

REFINANCE WHEN RATES ARE LOW

It’s really no secret…. you’ve heard of buy low and sell high?… well, with interest rates it’s ‘borrow when rates are low and get rid of high interest rate debt’….. This is the best time to borrow money. Here’s how you can benefit….

Let’s suppose your situation looks like this:

  • have a house worth $350,000
  • a mortgage balance of $200,000 @ 5.00% with payments of $1,100/mth.
  • credit cards $8,000 @ 12.00% with payments of $240/mth
  • a line of credit $10,000 @ 6.00% with payments of $300/mth
  • car loan of $15,000 @ 6.00% with payments of $480/mth
  • you want to invest some money into rrsps or resps or some other GOOD investment for $20,000….
  • your monthly payments total $1,640.

Here’s what you could be doing:

  • increase your mortgage by up to $80,000 to $280,000
  • pay off all that debt and take the extra funds (up to $47,000) and invest or use as you require
  • your payment based on today’s 5 year fixed rate of 3.695 would be $1,427/mth
  • your payment based on today’s Variable rate of 2.30% would be $1,227/mth

Your cashflow would actually improve and you would put money in your pocket.

This is just one example of how you could benefit… we all have different needs and different situations…get your finances analyzed by a qualified Mortgage Broker.   See how you could benefit….It’s a great time to borrow…

Bank of Canada rate up by 0.25% and personal debt levels down.

BANK OF CANADA RATE UP

July 20th, 2010….an interesting day.  This was the 5th of 8 scheduled Key Interest Rate announcements… No real surprises… the Key rate went up by 0.25%…. the second increase this year…

The new Bank Prime rate is now 2.75%.    Variable rate borrowers will see a 0.25% increase in their mortgage rate… but don’t feel too bad… your mortgage is probably just over 2.00%….. that’s much lower than even the lowest 5 year fixed rate mortgage of 3.69% which was being offered mid last year….and recent reports are calling for a very slow and gradual interest rate hike…click here for the latest.

PERSONAL DEBT LEVEL DOWN

Remember the reports about the high personal debt levels that Canadians had?  We were spending like fools… according to many “Experts”… And bank on May 13, I questioned these reports….

Now we are seeing that Canadian Personal Debt levels are down….Come on… we didn’t change overnight.. we  have just been taking advantage of these record low rates to invest or spend wisely…and what’s wrong with that?..  see the latest stats…


Personal Debt levels are now better? Happy Canada Day!

Remember those reports in the media about how our Personal Debt levels were rising at an alarming rate?  There was huge concern that we were borrowing more than we should… that we could be headed for trouble…. The Bank of Canada warned about rising household debt levels….

And remember on May 13th, I reported that this needed a closer examination… that perhaps our debt levels were higher than other G20 countries for other logical reasons…..maybe we are borrowing at these record rates to invest, to do other practical things…??

Well, oddly enough, a new report from the CIBC states that Household credit is softening… we are not running wild and spending like drunken sailors….  The sky isn’t falling… hooray!

Happy Canada Day!

These Eggs do belong in one basket

Our parents taught us to pay our mortgage off quickly… Great advice, but they forgot to tell us to not incur other debt while we were paying that mortgage off….

A few years back, there was a study done about Debt Diversification by Moshe Milvesky, Associate Professor of Finance at Schulich School of Business Milevsky debt review.   The study showed that we were using the old rule of ‘Don’t put all your Eggs in One Basket’ and applying that to our debts.   And this is exactly what you should NOT be doing…

Investment diversification is GOOD, Debt diversification is BAD.   The study used $95,000 as a typical amount of diversified debt and $2,700 in idle cash…. the conclusion is that this combination results in a $1,000 loss per year by not managing debts properly.

If you have equity in your home and you carry a balance on your credit card, line of credit, or have a car loan or student loan, then you should consider utilizing the equity to borrow at the lowest rates possible… Residential Mortgages are always the cheapest form of financing…

HST reference sheet

July 1st is Canada Day.. but for the residents of Ontario in 2010, it will be the launch of the much talked about Harmonized Sales Tax or HST…(let’s call it HST Day).

We took a closer look at how this will affect the average citizen and found an interesting reference guide from the Ontario Government.  HST- Ontario reference guide It  lists what is and isn’t affected…

Surprisingly, a great many things will not be affected, including Resale homes and new homes under $400,000.   Still, this new tax (and I do call it a new tax since I, personally, will be affected negatively) will affect us all one way or another…. Real estate commissions, lawyer fees, death (yes, funerals are now subject to retails sales tax), hockey arenas, gym memberships, karate classes, ballet classes, soccer, hockey (yes, our national sport),  haircuts and many other services….

New home purchases over $400,000 are eligible for a $24,000 new housing rebate (must be your principal residence).

This new tax may not be popular and I question the timing of it’s introduction (coming out of a recession), but I don’t think this will have a huge impact on the majority of us.  HST Day is coming….take a look at the reference sheet and see how it will affect you…  What do you think?