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.

http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/onlinebrokerage.htm

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles

American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles
Get 15,000 Bonus SkyMiles with your first purchase
Always earn Double Miles on every eligible dollar you spend at supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, home improvement and hardware stores, and the U.S. Postal Service
One mile for every other eligible dollar spent
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SkyMiles can be earned and redeemed on Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines
No blackout dates and SkyMiles never expire
Good credit ratings needed

American Express Rewards Green Card

American Express Rewards Green Card
Earn the shopping rewards you really want. Really fast
Earn 1 Membership Rewards OptionsSM point for virtually every dollar you spend
Earn 2 points at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores and more
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Global Assist Plus Hotline
Apply and get a decision right away
Year-End Summary of Charges
Good to Excellent Credit Required

American Express Rewards Gold Card

American Express Rewards Gold Card
Earn the shopping rewards you really want. Really fast
Earn 1 Membership Rewards OptionsSM point for virtually every dollar you spend
Earn 2 points at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores and more
Redeem your Membership Rewards OptionsSM points at over 50 of the finest names in shopping, dining and entertainment or transfer points into 11 frequent flyer programs
Special Gold Card Events
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Free shipping and handling on purchases
Global Assist Plus Hotline
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Good to Excellent Credit Required

Discover Platinum Gas Card

Discover Platinum Gas Card
0% Intro APR*
No Annual Fee
Up to 5% Cashback Bonus award* on Gas purchases
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Cash rewards never expire as long as you use your Card
100% Fraud Protection
Free Discover 2GO Card

Chase PerfectCard MasterCard

Chase PerfectCard MasterCard
Earn 6% rebate on gasoline at any gas station for the first 90 days
Earn 3% rebate at any gas station after the 90 days
Earn 1% rebate on all purchases made anywhere
Rebates you earn are automatically credited toward future purchases
0% introductory APR*
No annual fee

AT&T Universal Rewards Card

Earn up to 5 Times the Points on Eligible Purchases
Earn 5 reward points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations
Earn 1 reward point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases
0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months*
Save on phone services you use every day
No annual fee
$0 Liability Protection on unauthorized purchases
Instant online decision
Good credit is required to get approved

Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card

Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card
1) Earn points for all kinds of rewards: home, electronics, sports, dining, travel, the list goes on.
2) Earn 5 Reward Points for every $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations
3) Earn 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases
4) 0% APR* on balance transfers for 12 months
5) $50 gift card - Redeem 5,000 bonus points after first purchase*
6) Instant online decision
7) No annual fee and FREE rewards program
8) $0 liability on unauthorized purchases
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10) Good credit is required to get approved

Blue CashSM from American Express

• Earn up to 5% cash back on your everyday purchases,

including gas stations 

• 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months

• No annual fee 

• A credit line up to $100,000 

• Apply and get a decision right away 

• Buyer's assurance and purchase protection plans

• Good credit ratings needed

Chase Cash Plus(r) Rewards Visa

• 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores 

• 1% cash back on all other purchases 

• 0% introductory APR for up to 12 months on purchases and balance transfers* 

• No annual fee 

• Redeem your points for cash back checks OR get gift certificates from your favorite merchants including Best Buy, The Home Depot®, Pier One Imports®, Macy's and more

Citi(r) Dividend Platinum Select(r) Card

Earn a FULL 5% cash back on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations

 

• 1% cash back on all other purchases

• 0% APR* on balance transfers for 12 months, 12.24% thereafter

• No annual fee

• $0 liability on unauthorized purchases

• Secure, free online account management

• Excellent credit is required to get approved