Freddie Mac surveys lenders weekly and publishes average mortgage rates for the previous week every Thursday.  Today they’ve published rates which show a year-to-date low:  30 year mortgage originations are down to 3.78% (with 50bp points/fees), 15 year mortgages are down to 3.08% and 5/1 ARMs are down to 3.15%. This aren’t quite historic lows […]

Just a couple of quick notes regarding the Equifax data breach: There’s been a lot of reporting, and Equifax’s response has changed a bit over the last few days, so I’m trying to be careful. (ie. At first, their free credit monitoring enrollment deal for folks who’d potentially been compromised required people to agree not […]

“Get real planning, not too much, mostly fee-only” Michael Pollan, in his terrific book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” — came up with the motto “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”. A basic guide to good eating in only 7 words. I’m not sure I can get it quite that tight, but […]

Periodically — typically at least in the fall — some local organizations get together along with a bunch of financial planning professionals who volunteer their time — to provide FREE FINANCIAL PLANNING! The event is called Financial Planning Days and they happen all over the country including places like San Francisco (10/22/2016), Indianapolis (10/15/2016), Baltimore […]

The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the 2017-2018 year bring on a few major changes:   (a) They are available NOW – as of Oct 1 – three months earlier than they used to be.   Note that the FAFSA deadline is not until June 2017. But the sooner you […]

[Note – this was written with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless in mind.  The general principles of getting tax breaks for donating to charities – and doubling them by donating appreciated assets — applies just the same to any 501c3 charitable organizations.] What is the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH)? [The following […]

[Note – this was written with Palo Alto CA public schools in mind, and specifically a pair of charitable organizations which help support those schools.  It applies just the same to any 501c3 charitable organizations, including similar organizations associated with other school systems as well as other types of charities altogether.] It’s annual appeal time […]

A recent survey showed that a surprisingly high 72% of Americans do not have an up-to-date will. Via an ABNewsWire article which summarized the results:  “A Google Consumer survey by USLegalWills.com suggests that previous surveys may have under-reported the number of Americans without a Will, by not including those who have a Will that is […]

Music legend Prince died recently and the news has talked a bit about how he apparently died without a will. KQED Forum, a great discussion show on public radio here in the SF Bay area, hosted a discussion in the wake of this event, to talk about wills, who needs them, and related issues. The […]

All those tax-related forms which come with having an IRA, what they mean, and what to do with them. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account (or, possibly, the collection of all such accounts), and each IRA account you have generates a small torrent of paperwork, both throughout the year and after the end of the […]