Friday, December 28

New York Creates Program for Strapped Mortgage Borrowers

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has created a $100 million program to help borrowers facing foreclosure or other financial strain because of risky adjustable rate and interest-only home loans.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer said the "Keep the Dream" fund will give eligible low- and middle-income borrowers a way to refinance mortgages they can no longer afford because of recent or pending hikes in interest rates.

The loans for 100 percent of a property's value up to $417,000 will be at competitive rates through a partnership of federal lender Fannie Mae, other mortgage lenders and mortgage insurance companies, the governor said in a press release. The program operated by the State of New York Mortgage Authority will offer 30- and 40-year fixed rate loans financed through Fannie Mae.

The program also creates a counseling and education program that will be run through eight nonprofit agencies around the state to help borrowers avoid predatory loans and, in the case of delinquency, foreclosure.

To be eligible, a borrower must prove mortgage payment hardship and have income below a certain percentage of their area's median income, which varies around the state. In the examples released by the state, the income ceiling is $58,120 in Allegany County, $82,870 in Albany County, $93,720 in New York City and $158,560 in Rockland County.

Information is available by calling SONYMA at 1-800-382-4663.

Thursday, December 27

Hey, everybody just...

Hey, everybody just wanna let you know that we're put in together some topics for 2008, little planning ahead so this entry is a short one today. Hopefully we'll have some really good content coming for you real soon. Thanks for checking in and we'll talk to you again tomorrow. listen

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Wednesday, December 26

Happy Holidays, here's the bill!

Yes, this is the season for giving and your credit card companies won't forget you! "Did you enjoy your shopping? Did you find everything that you were looking for? Good! Thank you for your business and HERES YOUR BILL!"

The credit card statements are starting to find their way into our mailboxes. Wasn't it nice to get Christmas cards instead?

But for some unexpected emergencies this summer, we had planned on paying cash for Christmas this year. Our budget includes a monthly allotment for the holidays and birthdays, but we had to dip into it for some 'site work' around the house along with an updated heating system.

The new plan is to use the income tax refund to supplement the pay down of the credit card debt. We'll carry a balance on the card until the promotional interest rate expires, then we'll pay if off (or at least down) with the money that's left over in the holiday account along with the income tax refund.

Monday, December 24

DANGER: Miscellaneous Catagory

If you're like me, you have a category in your financial software labeled 'miscellaneous'. I've found this to be a very dangerous and expensive category. If you're not careful, you can mask dangerous spending habits that could be costing you a lot of money.

Consider this article by M. P. Dunleavey appearing in today's New York Times. She talks about how quickly $27 per day on miscellaneous things can add up.

What are some things that you can do to curb miscellaneous spending?

1. Don't take plastic cards with you: they encourage miscellaneous spending

2. Give yourself a daily cash allowance and only carry this much with you

3. Purchase only items that you need

4. Keep records of every dollar that you spend from your daily allowance

In 2008, I vow to remove the miscellaneous category from my expense list and to take a very critical look at where this money really goes.