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Consolidate debt pay less interest

Want to pay off debt? Pay less interest!

Consolidate debt pay less interest

It’s not a new concept but it is one that is worth remembering and so I will repeat it. If you want to pay off debt, start by paying less interest.

January is usually a tough financial month for most of us.  Holiday bill payments, rrsp contributions, property tax bills and if you are self-employed, you probably have to make some sort of business tax or corporate tax payment.  If December is the Holiday Season, then January feels like a hangover!

Banks and Credit Card companies love this time of year because this is when we will normally carry a balance and have to pay those crazy interest rates that range from 9% to 25%.  Wait, before you get too depressed, there could be a better option.  There’s a less expensive way to manage your debt. Continue reading “Want to pay off debt? Pay less interest!”

Good debt and Bad debt - Credit Debt Loan Mortgage

Good debt and Bad debt…. do we Canadians recognize the difference?

Good debt and Bad debt - Credit Debt Loan Mortgage

I saw this article from earlier this year about Good debt and Bad debt.  Canadian Personal debt levels have now surpassed $2.21 trillion.  That’s a big number, should we be concerned?  I started to wonder how much of this is Bad debt?  Let’s take a closer look at these stats. Continue reading “Good debt and Bad debt…. do we Canadians recognize the difference?”

Debt Consolidation Tip: Pay less interest!

Collateral ChargeThe beginning of the year is typically tough financially for most of us. Holiday bill payments, RRSP contributions, property tax bills, etc. And, if you’re self-employed, you probably have to make some sort of business tax or corporate tax payment. If December is the Holiday Season, then January and February feel like a hangover!

Banks and credit card companies love this time of year because this is when we’re most likely to carry a balance, forcing us to pay those crazy interest rates that range from 9% to 24%.

But, wait! Before you get too depressed, there may be a better option. There’s a less expensive way to manage your debt.

Continue reading “Debt Consolidation Tip: Pay less interest!”

What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?

Boc Mortgage Rule Impacts, Dec 2018

It’s certainly not what the Bank of Canada (BoC) is claiming!

The BoC recently released a document detailing what it believes to be a positive report on the Canadian Mortgage Market, but this article clearly shows how out of touch our government is.

The BoC is applauding their statistics… yet, these numbers show that the government appears to be measuring affordability as a multiple of one’s income – and not by the proven, standard method of debt servicing ratios. This is very odd and, quite frankly, I find it absurd.

Continue reading “What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?”

Live Your Life: You’ll never see a U-Haul following a hearse!

Blog Image, Seniors, July 2018Our lifecycle goes something like this… Go to school. Find a job (and work hard for 40 years). Fall in love. Get married. Save money. Buy a house. Start a family. Retire on enough pension or savings. Enjoy the results of your hard work. Live in your house until death. Leave the house for your kids.

This is how most of us envision a normal lifecycle. But how often does this really happen? How many people really live happily ever after? What’s the big deal about tapping into home equity to fully enjoy life?

Continue reading “Live Your Life: You’ll never see a U-Haul following a hearse!”

Credit counselling, Consumer proposal or Bankruptcy… Which option is most favourable?

Debt Image, March 2018

A couple in their 30s contacts me for a mortgage. They want to buy a new home. She’s a high school teacher and he’s a computer firm manager. Incomes are good. I check their credit.

Let’s stop here for a minute… If they have good credit, an approval is simple and we can provide the clients with several mortgage options.

But let’s assume that this couple ran into some debt and credit issues three years ago… and they made three different choices about how to resolve those credit problems: 1) Credit Counselling; 2) Consumer Proposal; or 3) Bankruptcy. I want to take you through each scenario and show you how long each of these three options affects your ability to finance a home. I bet the results will surprise you! Continue reading “Credit counselling, Consumer proposal or Bankruptcy… Which option is most favourable?”

Yes, you can still buy a home in Canada… Keeping the dream alive

Homeownership Image, March 2018

Canada’s a nation of immigrants. It truly is the land of opportunity. Chances are, your parents, grandparents or great grandparents came here from another country.

There are many reasons why people left their homeland. Some left by choice to pursue a better life. Others had to leave for safety reasons. Whatever the reason, most of us have a common goal: A better life.

Homeownership has always been an important part of that dream. We want to own something. We want to plant roots. There’s a pile of statistics to support this claim. In my 28 years in the financial services industry, I can attest to this claim.

Continue reading “Yes, you can still buy a home in Canada… Keeping the dream alive”

Reverse Mortgages growing in popularity… Product of the year 2018?

Reverse mortgage

Mortgage stress test is the buzz phrase in mortgage lending for 2018. Every borrower, regardless of how much down payment you’re making, must pass a stress test to qualify for a mortgage. The math is simple, yet intimidating. Lenders must now use your mortgage contract rate PLUS 2.00% to qualify you.

Yes, that’s correct. You need to qualify at a rate that’s 2.00% higher than your actual rate. And it doesn’t matter if you have 35%, 40%, 50%, 60% or even 70% down payment. That will not have any impact on your approval. It’s all about how much income you can prove you earn and the strength of your credit worthiness.

For many, this new rule will prevent them from qualifying for a mortgage. And for seniors or people approaching retirement who still require a small mortgage to get through the next 10 or 20 years, these new mortgage rules are a killer. The stress test is surely causing stress among many Canadians!

I’M RETIRING AND WANT TO STAY IN MY HOME…

A reverse mortgage is a terrific option for homeowners who are at least 55 years old. It empowers them to be able to stay in their home and access tax-free equity without having to make regular payments.

Continue reading “Reverse Mortgages growing in popularity… Product of the year 2018?”

World Debt clock comparison… How’s Canada doing compared with the world?

Debt.  It’s a popular topic.  Personal debt. Govt debt. Corporate debt.  Back in 2013, I published an article comparing Canada’s debt with the rest of the world.  Back then, like today, there was so much negative news being written about our so-called high personal debt level.   I thought I’d turn the tables on the govt and see how they were doing.

Here we are, 2018 and  five years later.  We’re supposedly experiencing fantastic economic times.  Lowest unemployment in 40 years according to the Dec 2017 job report.  Things are so good that we can increase minimum wage by over 30% in Ontario and other Provinces.  We must really be doing great, right? Scorecard time…

The logical conclusion, or the simple math equation is with GOOD TIMES OR A STRONG PROSPEROUS ECONOMY = LOWER NATIONAL DEBT…. Consumers are expected to lower their personal debt levels.  Isn’t the govt supposed to lower or work on eliminating our national debt?  One would think so. Let’s find out… Continue reading “World Debt clock comparison… How’s Canada doing compared with the world?”

Last call for mortgage approvals under the current rules….and an in-depth look at how these new rules will impact YOU in 2018.

 TIME IS ALMOST UP..

With just days to go before the new mortgage rules take effect on January 1st, we are seeing a flurry of mortgage applications.   Panic buying and refinancing is at its peak. And rightfully so..  next year, you will qualify for at least 15% less mortgage.

(TIP… get a preapproval before Dec 31st and it will remain valid for 120 days from the date of preapproval. You do not have to enter into a purchase agreement before Dec 31st.  And if refinancing, you don’t have to close prior to Dec 31st. This is not with all banks.  Call my office for more info.)

LET’S BEAT UP ON THE SELF-EMPLOYED SOME MORE Continue reading “Last call for mortgage approvals under the current rules….and an in-depth look at how these new rules will impact YOU in 2018.”

A 2nd Bank of Canada rate hike surprises many.. what’s it mean?

 The Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, has been full of surprises since he took on his current role.  With a second 0.25% rate hike today in consecutive BoC meetings, he’s pushed the rate to 1.00%.  This should result in a Bank Prime rate of 3.20%.   The move has surprised many experts as the economic indicators don’t justify a rate hike.

The move comes following last week’s surprising positive stats showing the Canadian economy grew by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter, according to stats Canada.   Could this be a knee jerk reaction?

Usually, the Bank of Canada increases rates when inflation rises above the Target level of between 1% and 3%.  A quick search on the BankofCanada.ca website and we see the inflation level is just 1.2%.   So, why raise the rate now?   According to the BoC press release, it’s all about that recent positive economic data. Hmmm, you have to wonder is they jumped the gun on this one?

WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR MORTGAGE BORROWERS IN CANADA?

Standing back, we need to look at where current interest rates are in relation to historical rates.  With an expected Bank Prime rate set to increase by 0.25% (Banks usually follow and match the BoC rate movement except 2 yrs ago when the Boc cut the Target rate by 0.50% in 6 months, but the BIG SIX BANKS only cut their Prime rate by 0.30%, pocketing the difference and stumbling to explain why they would profit off the backs of Canadian consumers and businesses during an economic recovery…nice, huh?) This means the new Bank Prime rate will be 3.20%.

REALITY CHECK.

Are rates high? Are they low?  Historically, we are still in record low territory.   Fixed Mortgage rates are still just over 3.00% today.  Variable rate mortgages are 2.45% to 2.55%.    Hey, that’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s still great!  Too much emphasis has been put on these rate hikes, as though they would paralyze consumers from being able to spend or make their mortgage payments.   This is just untrue.

Canadians have had to qualify at Bank Posted 5 yr fixed rates for years, if you chose and Variable rate mortgage.  That means you had to pass the stress test using a rate that was 2.00% higher than your actual mortgage.   And what’s not talked about enough is that Canadians don’t just pay their minimum required payment.  They accelerate and increase their payments.  They pay more to pay the debt off faster!.  Canadians pay their mortgages off in around 17 yrs on average….with many paying them off in 12 years.

Bet ya didn’t know that?!

FUTURE RATE HIKES

Not likely.. at least not for a while.  These 2 consecutive rate hikes will be closely monitored to see how the consumer and the economy can absorb them.   If we start to see negative economic stats, we could see rate cuts.  It’s not out of the question and it wouldn’t be the first time the Bank of Canada had to reverse their increases.

Remember, we have seen major mortgage rule changes that have made it harder than EVER to qualify for a mortgage.  This lack of access to mortgage money is having a negative effect on the housing market.  Sales are down.  Prices have fallen (price decrease isn’t bad but we don’t want a free fall)..  Put it all together and you end up with less money flowing into the economy.   A slower economy usually means sustained low-interest rate environment… stay tuned folks..

MY ADVICE

If you are in a Variable rate mortgage, I would stay there.  Your rate is less than 3.00%.  Why would you want to lock in at over 3.00%?   If you are worried that rates could skyrocket, it’s unlikely given the fragile global economy and even our own economic instability.  However, if you can’t sleep at night because you are worried about the rates, and don’t mind paying a higher fixed rate for the assurance of knowing what your payment will be, then lock in or choose a fixed rate.   I’ll be staying in short term priced products like the Variable rate or a 2 or 3 yr term.  These products have proven to be the lowest cost products.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Another example of BIG SIX BANK inflated penalty calculation.. $13,634.00! Wow!

big-six-banks1 If you still think your local BANK is your best friend, think again.  Last week, one of my client’s discovered it would cost them $13,634 to exit their mortgage early.  Compared with only $2736 if they had chosen a BETTER mortgage Lender.

Here’s the details..  The clients had a $395,000 mortgage balance remaining.  Renewal date was October 2018.  Original term was 5 yrs and their rate was 2.77%.  The rate is competitive, but not any better than what I could have offered at that time.  There had to pay the mortgage out.

Penalty quote is $13,634.  That’s equal to over 14 months interest!!  Wow!  Incredible.   $13,634 compared to $2736.

I’ve shared many examples similar to this in the past.  It’s really simple.  DON’T FOCUS ON THE RATE!.   There is so much more to choosing a mortgage than just rate.  The average Canadian changes their mortgage ever 3 years.  And there are many reason this happens.. change of job, marital status, family issues, health issues, etc.

And if you are expecting your Banker to show you other products to compare, well, that’s just not gonna happen.  It’s like expecting Ford to send you to Toyota for a new car.  Not gonna happen. Do yourself a favour and speak with an unbiased, neutral professional. Speak with an experienced Mortgage Broker that deals with dozens of Lenders.  You’ll be glad you did.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?

debt

ONLY IN CANADA

Attention:  Bankers, close your ears.. we don’t want you to hear this.  Credit card balances, lines of credit, car loan, student loan, home reno loan, personal loan..   If you have one or more of these and you own a home, you’re probably losing money by paying a higher interest rate.  In many cases, $thousands are lost and overpaid each year.   And your Banker is laughing and recording Record profits!!

It’s surprising how many of us have some, or all of these debts… and ALSO a house with lots of equity.  Yet, as Canadians, we somehow think it’s better to separate our mortgage from other debts.  We somehow think it’s good to pay down our mortgage but then rack up other debts.  This attitude has puzzled me for years.

check out this chart for one client.. tell me if this looks familiar: Continue reading “Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?”

I have 2.39% for 5 yrs fixed available…but I wont sell it.

percentageIt’s true.  I have access to this great rate.  It’s around 0.20% lower than the best rate today.   And you won’t see me recommending it to my clients.

That’s right, I’m recommending they don’t take it.

Why?  It’s simple.  No, I don’t want my clients paying more on their mortgage. I want to see them PAY LESS to own their homes.  This is one of those products that carries an inflated prepayment penalty. Should the homeowner need to get out of their mortgage early, they will be hammered with a ridiculous exit cost.   We’re talking 10, 12, even 16 months worth of interest penalty.

Statistics clearly show we are paying or changing our mortgages every 3 years.   So, chances are, you will have to pay this penalty.   On a $300,000 mortgage, your penalty could be $9,000 or more.  Compared with $1,943.  That’s a $7,000 difference.

That 0.20% savings on the rate equals $600 per year..   You still think that 2.39% rate is great??

The next time you hear or see something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you aren’t sure, call me or an experienced Mortgage Broker for unbiased advice.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

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