Tips for Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security

Social Security

Social Security is an important safety net that is part of the income mix for many older Americans after they retire. The actual monetary benefit you get from social security depends on several factors, one of which is how old you are when you begin to draw on the system. If you take the time to educate yourself about the rules that apply to Social Security, you may be able to insure that you get the largest possible benefit available to you.

1. Age
According to Kiplinger.com, your age at the time you start collecting benefits determines whether or not you are subjected to a benefits reduction. Everyone who is eligible for Social Security can start collecting benefits at age 62. However, you will not get the full retirement benefit if you start collecting at age 62. Those individuals born between 1943 and 1954 must wait until age 66 to receive the full retirment benefit from Social Security. Those born in 1960 or after must wait until 67 to get the full retirement benefit. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, the age for full retirement benefits is between 66 and 67. Reductions in benefits for those who don’t wait until full retirement age are variable, and can go as high as 25%.

2. Spousal Benefit
If you are married, and your social security benefit is lower than that of your spouse, it may be worthwhile to take what is called the spousal benefit. For the spouse with the lower social security benefit, the spousal benefit can be as high as 50% of the benefit of the spouse with higher social security. In some cases, this 50% benefit can be higher than the benefit that the lower-benefit spouse would have received on his/her own. In order to get the full 50% benefit, however, three conditions must be met. First, the spouse with the higher benefit must have applied for his/her social security benefits. Second, The spouse with the lower benefit must wait until full retirement age to apply for the spousal benefit. Third, the spouse with the lower benefit must take the spousal benefit from the start of the collection of social security checks.

3. Delay Benefits
If you are age 66 or 67, and therfore eligible for the full social security retirement benefit, you can elect to delay benefits up until age 70. If you are able to do this, you will realize a benefit increase of 8% for each year up to age 70. If there are cost-of-living adjustments to social security during the years that you delayed benefits, you will get them at age 70 when you start collecting checks.

4. File Then Suspend
Even if you want to maximize benefits by putting off social security until age 70, you can still give your spouse a chance to get spousal benefits based on your social security benefit. This is particularly valuable if the benefit your spouse would get on his/her own would be less than the spousal benefit. When you are at full retirement age, you can apply for social security and then put a suspension of benefits into effect immediately. This means that your spouse can get the higher spousal benefit, and your benefit will increase 8% per year until age 70.

Every individual needs to think carefully about when to take social security benefits. According to the rules governing social security, being married and delaying benefits as long as possible after age 62 can lead to significant increases in your total benefits.

Lindsey Samuelson writes about finance, aging & more at www.grouphealhtinsurance.org.

Reasons to Avoid Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards credit cards

rewards credit cards

People are often attracted to the lure of rewards credit cards. They promise you points for every dollar that you spend, and when you accumulate enough points, you’re able to redeem them for cash, gift certificates or other excellent rewards. However, these sneaky little cards can actually cause some problems. Why is it a good idea to avoid them?

Time for Rewards
Some people think that they are going to start receiving rewards right away; however, this is far from the truth. It can take months or even years to reach the number of points that allows you to redeem a prize. While you might be a patient person, this is definitely something to consider when obtaining a rewards credit card.

Overspending Your Money
Sometimes the idea of receiving rewards is so appealing that you start spending more and more money just to accumulate those desired rewards points. However, this can actually be a huge problem. Instead of spending cash and money that you actually have, you’ll just be building up more credit card debt for yourself. Sure, getting $50 back from rewards points is great. However, if you racked up another $1000 or more in credit card debt just to do so, then you have really lost a lot of money in this situation. If you’re going to use rewards credit cards, make sure you pay them off right away.

Brand Specific Cards
Some credit cards will only give you rewards points if you go to the same type of place over and over again. For example, you might have a credit card on which you receive points every time that you purchase gas. However, that gas might have to be from a specific company. That can be quite inconvenient if you do not live anywhere near that gas company. Furthermore, it’s likely that you do not use the same gas station every single time that you fill up. You might wind up using your credit card only to remember late on that you will not receive any rewards points for the purchase that you just made.

High Fees
While it’s not always the case, rewards credit cards tend to have high fees both in terms of interest and in annual rates. Before you decide on a specific rewards credit card, it’s very important to assess those fees. Do they make sense? Will the rewards that you receive outweigh the rates that you have to pay on the cards? You always need to read the fine print. Whether you are signing up for a rewards credit card or one without rewards, it’s always important to know what you are getting into.

It’s true that some rewards credit cards can provide you with excellent benefits. However, you’re going to find that these cards may be few and far between. Additionally, you need to have a lot of self control to avoid overspending on your cards and racking up tons of credit card debt. As always with credit cards, make sure you are as careful as possible.

Timothy Renaldi writes about personal finance, consumer reviews & more at http://www.termlifeinsurance.org.

Online Loans with No Credit Checks

How Can You Benefit?

Online loans are probably the best possible option for those who find it not so convenient to apply for a loan when they are in dire need of extra finances to help with an emergency situation. Your next paycheck may be far and you may need some additional funding right at this moment. Friends and family may have already helped you and you may not feel comfortable asking them for more. So, in a situation like this you can turn to online loans to save you from the predicament. In fact, a lot of people like these online loans because many of them require no credit check or faxing and are made available immediately. This is an emergency fund that is provided to you but you must be very careful about paying the money back because there may be quite some interest involved.

Why should you seek online loans?

The loans that you can receive online are those that are required in an emergency situation. You may require to settle a certain financial crisis in the next few days itself but you payday may be 15 days far. What will you do in such a case? Payday loans offer a great opportunity when you need to stay afloat financially. Since the facility provided is online you do not have to undergo too much of documentation or paper works and you can easily have access to the money that you need in just a matter of few minutes. Online loans can be applied for anytime and anywhere too. All that you need is an internet connection and a fair idea on how to go about it.

Can you get online loans without a credit check?

There are online loans available withpayday lenders who provide finances without credit checks or without requiring any kind of faxing even. These online loans are provided by those companies who are willing to give you access to some easy cash when you suddenly meet some unexpected expenses like maybe a car repair. Your situation could be any and these online loans are made available for you to meet the financial requirements in those situations.

With online loans like the payday loans you could avoid overdraft fees and also being defaulters on any loan that you may have. You can easily qualify for anything between $100 and $1000 whenever you want. Creditors of such loans do not require any credit checks to be done and neither do they look for any kind of documentations from you. They want you to have access to the finances as soon as possible which is why they have agreed to such an arrangement. Approvals are really fast for such online loans because no credit check or faxing is required from the borrower and hence anyone can get this loan. This is also the reason why such kind of a loan has gained in popularity.

How can you benefit from such online loans?

Such online loans are beneficial especially to those individuals who do not have a good credit score and may not be approved for any other loans as such. Since these loans do not require any documentation or credit checks a lot of individuals who do not have good score can still qualify for a small loan to meet their financial emergencies. These online loans may have their own terms and conditions and you must also take a good look at the interest rates and see if you can afford to pay them back. Payday lenders who provide such loans at short notice insist that individuals with a bad score can apply for such online loans and bring some improvement in their credit score.

Online loans like the no credit check payday loans can be a way of showing the banks that you can still manage your loans. Once you can establish this, you may be considered eligible for further loans from banks and other financial institutions. Such online loans help you in paying off your immediate expenses when you do not have the money and have to wait till your payday. In fact, you can avoid becoming a defaulter in case you have a premium to pay but have not managed to save the money to do so at that time of the month.

Author Bio: Jonny Pean is a financial consultant with EasyFinance.com. He is helping people to manage their current financial problems.

Beating the mortgage famine in 2012

Can tighter lending rules worsen the state?

Mortgage Famine With the onset of 2012, the most important question that is bothering prospective homeowners is how they can beat the mortgage famine this year. Will the tighter lending regulations of the banks and the financial institutions affect the fate of the prospective homeowners? According to the present mortgage market conditions, hundreds of homeowners who are above the age of 50, the self-employed and the first-time home buyers will find it extremely difficult to grab new lines of credit as they need to unlock wealth that they’ve tied up in bricks and mortar and then follow up to get their first home.

While the mortgage giants and the traditional lending institutions plans to ask borrowers to prove their gross monthly income and their ability to repay the mortgage debt, there is a potential risk that the government’s interference may even come up with some unintentional circumstances. Due to the banning of the self-certification mortgage loans and have restricted access to the home mortgage loans that won’t be repaid before the borrower reaches his retirement age, the self-employed people find it difficult to buy a new house. Though the economists find it impossible for the mortgage market to recover from what it’s going through, there are certainly some steps that the borrowers can take in order to grab the best mortgage loan and beat the mortgage famine.

  • Study your credit score: Good credit score is always the key to snagging a home loan in this tight lending environment and if you too want to be one among them, you have to ensure that you study your credit score by ordering a free copy of your report from the three credit reporting agencies. Review the reports carefully to ensure that all the erroneous information that is responsible for dropping down your score is removed. Most lenders nowadays will require a score that is above 720 in order to get a loan at an affordable rate.
  • Establish how much you can afford: Don’t rely on the mortgage lender to tell you how much mortgage loan amount you’ll be able to afford. Plan your post-mortgage budget and leave some space for unexpected expenses so that you know how much money you can exactly pay back every month on the mortgage loan. You can even use the mortgage affordability calculators to help yourself.
  • Consider your DTI ratio: Apart from your credit score, another figure that holds enough importance during the mortgage buying process is your DTI ratio. This is nothing but the ratio between the debt amount that you owe and the monthly income that you make. If the mortgage lender sees a high DTI ratio, he will either reduce the loan amount or increase the interest rate to shove off his risk. Repay your revolving debt, especially in the form of credit card debts so that you can easily lower the DTI ratio and prove to be trustworthy to the lender.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided counseling agencies throughout the nation that help all the struggling homeowners and the prospective homeowners with advice that can help them prevent a foreclosure. Get help from their valuable advice so that you may be able to take out the right mortgage loan for your needs.

Complete Information on Mortgage Refinancing

Complete information on mortgage refinancing


After the recent colossal economic crisis, when people are not being able to make mortgage payments on time after meeting the household expenses, it is recommended to refinance the mortgage. But before you consider the option of mortgage refinancing, gather the complete information. 

Refinancing – changing terms of a mortgage:

Mortgage refinance refers to the replacement of the existing debt with a new one under different terms and conditions. In other words, borrowers will just allow someone to renegotiate the debt at more favorable terms. When you refinance your debt, you simply offer your debt to another lender to buy out who in turn will offer you more favorable terms than your existing ones. Since your current lenders will not want you to use another lender, they will give you the best deal on refinancing to retain your business. 

When to consider mortgage refinance?

Refinancing is essentially a tool that can be used to lower the monthly payments and guard against the risk. There are many circumstances when you must consider the option of refinancing your mortgage. For instance, if interest rates have fallen since the time you obtained your mortgage, chances are more to refinance the mortgage at a lower interest rate. If you feel that the interest rates are rising high and becoming difficult to manage, consider refinancing the duration of the mortgage. This means, add years to your mortgage so that your mortgage payments are lower. Another good reason to refinance mortgage is to switch from adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. With adjustable rate mortgage, chances are more that your interest rates will increase in near future. On the other hand, with fixed rate mortgage, interest rate will remain same throughout the loan term. Thus, refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage will allow you to lock in at lower interest rates, even if interest rates rise. 

How to refinance mortgage?
  • First and foremost, gather all your financial information, including bank statements, W2s, investment account statements and two months of pay stubs. Also include a copy of your most recent mortgage statement.
  • Then take a close view at your current credit score to determine the type of mortgage you can qualify for. Credit scores can be obtained from three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
  • Look for prospective lenders to refinance your mortgage. Choose the one whom you feel comfortable working with. Once your have chosen a lender, he will review your credit report and will verify the financial and employment information.
  • Once the lender is done doing the verification, go through the closing process. The closing process will pay off your existing mortgage and generate a new one through refinancing.
A few important things to consider before refinancing:

Before refinancing the mortgage, you must consider the costs associated with it. Take every drop in interest rates into account before going for the option. Some mortgages charge penalties for early repayment and some charge fees while refinancing. This can counter your savings that you have gained so far. So to avoid these unwanted costs, be careful while considering the refinance option. For people with very large mortgages, it is sometimes worth refinancing more often because the amount saved in interest is larger than transaction fees involved. 

In conclusion, before refinancing your mortgage, educate yourself by going through the information mentioned above.