Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mortgage limit raised to $417,000

U.S. mortgage finance regulators on Tuesday raised the limit for loans that can be bought by government-sponsored mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $417,000 for 2006, in most areas.

Lenders charge lower interest rates for mortgages they are confident they can sell to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Stephen Blumenthal, acting director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), announced the rise in what is called the conforming loan limit for single-family mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The 2005 limit is $359,650.

Costlier mortgages are referred to as jumbo loans.

The rise in the conforming loan limit is pegged to a year-end monthly survey of single-family house prices by the Federal Housing Finance Board.

Effective January 1, the conforming loan limit for larger properties is $533,850 for two-unit mortgages; $645,300 for three-unit mortgages; and $801,950 for four-unit mortgages.

The limit in high-cost areas, which include Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is 50 percent higher.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Buy Term Life Insurance

I bought term life insuarnce recently, through SBLI. 500,000, 30 years, about $530 a year.

My wife bought through another company. 400,000, 30 years, about $450 a year.

Usually, if you bought both from the same company, they will offer you a discount. But SBLI offers are unisexm which means sex does not play a role in determining the rate. Thus it is good for male, but not for female.

Why bother to buy life insurance if my employer offers me one?
First, the amount is not enough. Second, when you leave the company, you can not carry it any more. When you want to apply at that time, your rate will be much higher, becase you are older.

Why Term?
If you talk to insurance agent, they will recommend you to buy whole life. The point is if you die, no matter how old you are, you will get coverage. I talked to financial advisor, actually one of them was a insurance agent before. He said, always to buy term life insurance. First, the agent will not get much of your money. Second, term is much cheaper. If you have extra money, setup a separate investment account, the overall return will be much better.

Remember, insurance is insuarnce, it is not for investment.

Where to Buy?
The best is in your mail and on the web.

SBLI has a promotion. I received many mails from them. That's one of my options.

Also try to call the insurance companies you have relationship with, such as car insurance company. They may give you a discounted rate.

Also go to google.com to search for "Life Insurance", you will find many sites. Some of them can provide you with instance quotes.

Monday, November 07, 2005

What to do when your identity has been stolen?

How to know your identity has been stolen?

1) Read Your Statements from bank and brokerage. Be sure that your brokerage firm has current contact information for you, including your mailing address and email address.
2) Monitor Your Credit Report. Reviewing your credit report may alert you to unauthorized activity, and, therefore, can be an effective way to fight identity theft.

If you think that your personal information has been stolen, report to http://wwww.consumer.gov/idtheft/index.html.

If a phishing scam rolls into your email box, be sure to tell the company right away. You can also report the scam to the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.IFCCFBI.gov.

Safeguard your Online Banking / Brokerage Account

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday issued a guide to private investors on the dangers that identity thieves pose to online broker accounts.

1) Beef Up Your Security. Personal firewalls and security software packages (with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features) are a must-have for those who engage in online financial transactions.
2) Use a Security Token (if available).
3) Be Careful What You Download.
4) Use Your Own Computer.
5) Don't Respond to Emails Requesting Personal Information.
6) Be Smart About Your Password.
7) Use Extra Caution with Wireless Connections.
8) Log Out Completely.