Ways to Cut Costs in Difficult Times With the unemployment rate the highest it’s been in decades, the real estate and stock markets in a slump, what are families to do in these difficult times? Well we can’t do much to change the big picture, but we can do things to cut costs from our daily routine. Here are a few cost cutting tips. Bring your coffee, pack your lunch and cook your dinner When eating out, the average person spends approximately $3 for coffee, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner. In an average workweek that can add up to $165; $660 a month and as much as $7920 a year. How many of us could use an extra $600+ dollars a month? Obviously, it’s unrealistic to expect people to do this every day, but when times are tough, changes in spending habits need to happen. To start, try cutting back the beginning of the week and treat yourself on Fridays. Not only will you save money, but also for those of us who can’t wait until Friday, just think how more you will enjoy that decadent coffee, great lunch or Happy Hour with friends. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Negotiate with your credit card companies Let them know that you enjoy doing business with them, but would like to see if they are able to lower the interest rate that you are paying. Many companies are able to lower your rate right on the spot. If you’re like the average American with $8533 in credit card debt, a few percentage points can save you a few hundred dollars just for making a phone call.
Visit your local library Buying books, magazines and renting DVDs might seem like small expenses, but they add up over the course of a month or a year and the numbers can really balloon. My local library has a good selection of DVDs and many of the bestseller books are available for loan. Can’t find what you are looking for? Take advantage of inter-library programs and ask your librarian to get the book from a different library for you. “I hope you and your family can incorporate some of these savings tips into your daily choices. If you have some savings tips that you would like me to share with my readers, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org”
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Michael Tow is President of New Boston Financial. He is a registered representative of, and offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network- a member firm of FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser. He is located at 58 Harvard Street in Brookline, and can be reached at 617-734-4400 or at newbostonfinancial.com. 1 14
By Michael C. Tow
By Russell L. Chin, Esq.
oreclosures are expected to increase steadily through the second half of 2009, when the next wave of sub prime adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)—the industry’s worst performing loans—is expected to reset. Until these low-quality loans work their way through the system, there’s no clear reason to expect the number of foreclosure filings to drop. Resetting rates on many of these mortgages are causing homeowners to default, but falling prices, which lead to negative equity, are also playing a part. Negative equity occurs when the homeowner owes more on the home than the home is worth, and thus has little incentive to make payments leading to short sales. You should contact your lender(s) right away. Ask to speak with a person in forbearance, not collection. If you have been a good customer, and meet certain criteria, most lenders will grant accommodations to give you time to get back on your feet. Agree to forbearance terms that you can honestly live with as lenders frown on forbearance agreement defaults.
Lenders frequently have several workable options:
Partial reinstatement: The borrower would agree to begin making regular payments, and make up what is owed in 12 monthly installments over the next year. Short-term forbearance: The lender will suspend your payments for three months or reduce your payment for six months, and then you’d make up the difference under a repayment. Long-term forbearance: Payments might be suspended for anywhere from four to 12 months, with a corresponding repayment plan to follow. Loan modification: As a permanent change, the rate might be cut, the payment period extended, or both, so that the payment becomes affordable.
At least 8,000 foreclosures are filed every day in the U.S. What should you do if you’re affected? Research shows that a high number of loans that are reworked by lenders are likely to “cure” within 18 months. Borrowers who seek help from their lenders earlier in the process are far more likely to continue owning their home than those who seek help later. For those looking to buy a foreclosed property, substantial due diligence is required in advance of any sale, whether at auction or in an REO sale from a bank. Please send your legal questions to email@example.com inform. entertain. relate. Connecting Cultures
a b section
Issue 5 (Asian Boston Magazine)