I received a call from a real estate agent who had asked me if I could help her 83 year-old widowed aunt who faced foreclosure. She had a tax sale date two months away for $84,000. Aunt Diane’s house was worth $2 million dollars but her fixed income was too low to qualify for a traditional loan and her family did not have the financial resources to help. Aunt Diane was competent, but had health issues due to complications from hip surgery, her paperwork was not very organized and when she experienced financial trouble she was too proud to tell her family that she was behind on her taxes and living without insurance or gas for heat.
WestCal Mortgage Reverse attained a contractor that did minor home repairs and waited till the loan closed for payment. This arrangement help Aunt Diane become qualified and approved with a week to spare. The lender held an escrow so that property taxes and insurance were funded for the next 20 years and there was money at closing to modernize her heating and air conditioning. In addition, funds where available to increase her monthly income and guarantee that she would age with dignity in her home.
These are real stories about people like you who have benefited from a mortgage program designed by Mathius Marc Gertz. Only their names have been changed or omitted.
Article By Elena Botella
Article Originally Appears in The New Republic
The first thing you should know about a woman I know, who I’ll call Annie, is that she volunteers to sit at the hospital with people who are going to die alone, who have no family or friends to be with them during their last moments. “It’s obviously sad,” she told me, “but I feel like I have enough positive energy that I can share some.” And share she does: She cooks her coworkers’ favorite desserts for their birthday; she organizes anti-racism workshops and attends racial justice protests; she teaches ESL classes to recent immigrants. Annie is, in short, a very nice person. She works hard at being good, to be friendly and kind to everyone she meets.
She also, for a time, made a living selling credit cards with high interest rates to people who were barely making ends meet.
Annie and I worked together at Capital One for three years. For a few months, I was her boss. I oversaw the bank’s “secured card” product—a credit card marketed to people whose credit is so bad they can’t get a credit limit of $300 at a 27 percent interest rate without putting down a security deposit. Ironically, at Capital One, the more of a positive-energy type you were, the more likely it was that you’d work in the subprime division. There, people like Annie and myself reasoned, the choices you made could, hypothetically, make things easier for struggling families. We told ourselves that such families likely didn’t have any better lending options. And for poor, under-banked households, many lending options are far worse than Capital One.....
Read the rest of the article here.
If you always run out of money before the month is over, you may need to take some drastic steps to get your finances under control.
Consider the following:
You need to decide that no one is going to take care of you financially and accept the fact that that responsibility falls solely on your shoulders. This goes for both men and women! This thinking is required since at some point in their lives most adults will be managing their money on their own because they are unmarried, divorced, or widowed.
Single is defined as adults who have never been married, are divorced or are widowed. There are 110 million people in the United States who are single, and that means over 40 percent of adults are single. Fifty-three percent are women and 47 percent are men. For every 100 single women, there are 88 single men. A growing number of single Americans are living alone, and they make up one quarter of all households.
Of the singles, 60 percent of them have never said "I do." Twenty-five percent of singles are divorced. About half of first marriages end in divorce, and 40 percent of those end within 10 years.
Half of all couples have a spouse die, and this often occurs before one is 62 years of age. Seventeen percent of singles are widowed, and 18 percent of singles are 65 years or older. To cope with these life events, all men and women must start in their twenties-by themselves—to take actions to create a successful financial future. Smart people should always think single!
How do some people enjoy the good comfortable life and still find ways to save 20 to 30 percent of their incomes? Like most people, such super savers have home mortgages, pay tuition bills, and take vacations. Also, they tend to have peace of mind about their finances because they have built up a sizable cushion of savings and investments.
Some of the secrets of Super Savers include:
- Tips from Dorothy B. Durband Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Variable Expenses VS Fixed Expenses
Variable expenses (or flexible expenses) are expenditures over which an individual has considerable control. Food, entertainment, and clothing are variable expenses Some categories, such as savings, can be listed twice, as both fixed and variable expenses.
The following are examples of fixed and variable expenses that you might include in a cash-flow statement:
There is no rigid list of categories to be used in the expenses section, but you do need to classify all of your expenditures in some way that suits your needs. Rather than just use fixed and variable expenses categories, you might also separate expenditures into savings/investments, insurance, taxes, and household expenses. The more specific your categories, the deeper your understanding of your budget.
Americans place much of their focus on managing their existing debt over saving for the future, which results in their overall loss of focus on adequately saving enough money for retirement.
This is according to Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research at Carson Wealth in a piece at Forbes.
"Most parents list paying down existing debt as their number one financial priority over longer term goals like saving for college or retirement," Hopkins says in citing a study conducted by New York Life Insurance Company. "However, the number of American parents focused on primarily paying down debt is astonishing, with roughly 72 percent of parents saying their primary financial focus in 2019 will be debt management."
Because Americans lack general focus in planning for their long-term financial health, many of them are forced to seek out the guidance of retirement professionals in later years, Hopkins says. However, many of the same individuals in the New York Life survey who stated their focus on debt management also display an unwillingness to get professional guidance on their long-term saving plans.
"Only 30 percent of the respondents stated they plan to seek expert help in 201, down from 38 percent in 2018," Hopkins says.
All of these issues feed into a series of larger problems, putting many Americans in a difficult financial situation by the time they get into a vulnerable position without adequate savings in retirement.
"Americans don’t view financial advice as a solution to their financial woes, yet they have difficulty planning for the future," Hopkins says. "Nearly 42 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement."
In order to try and better prepare more people for their financial futures, there are three key recommendations Hopkins makes in order for people to more adequately secure them. The first is for people not to spend money they don’t have, and people can start better looking toward this goal by visualizing their spending habits, Hopkins says.
Saving any increases in income and pushing for consumers to educate themselves concerning investment options are also advised by Hopkins, who has also advocated for the wider contemplation of reverse mortgages as a financial tool in retirement funding.
Article written by Mathieu Turle
These days very few families need a complicated tax avoidance trust also known as an A-B Trust. Many trusts were set up over the years to help protect wealth from death taxes. The old A-B Trust allowed you to double the tax savings by creating 2 trusts. However, the federal death tax exemption has risen steadily in recent years from $600,000 to $11,400,000 for 2019 (or to over $22,000,000 for couples). Congress has made the death tax exemption permanent until 2026 and indexed it for inflation. As a result very few people need estate tax planning, and many A-B Trusts that were created years ago are no longer necessary.
But what if you set up an A-B trust years ago? You may want to act now to get rid of it and avoid unnecessary expense and hassle for your family. The current laws make A-B trusts less desirable than they have been in the past when the exemption amount was $600,000.
How does an A-B trust work? When one spouse dies the trust is split into two (2) trusts, Trust A for the surviving spouse, and Trust B for the deceased spouse. Trust B is irrevocable, the surviving spouse cannot change its terms. When one spouse dies the survivor must hire a lawyer or an accountant to determine how to best divide the couple's assets between the deceased spouse's irrevocable trust and the surviving spouse's revocable trust. This decision can have important tax consequences.
The irrevocable “B” Trust is a separate tax paying entity. The surviving spouse must get an employer identification number issued by the IRS for the trust, and file annual trust tax returns (both a 1041 and a 541). These returns are in addition to the 1040 and 540 returns required for Trust A. Therefore the surviving spouse will need to file four (4) separate income tax returns for the rest of her life! The surviving spouse must keep separate records for the irrevocable trust property.
The surviving spouse would need two bank accounts: one for Trust A and another separate bank account for Trust B. The A-B trust becomes complicated after the death of the first spouse, and most surviving spouses are upset about these complications. The children are upset with the A-B Trust because the assets in the B trust are subject to income taxes that could have been avoided if their parents had busted the A-B Trust.
As long as both spouses are alive you can revoke your old A-B Trust and avoid the expense and hassle that will come after one spouse dies. To do it correctly, you should restate your old A-B Trust and update it to a simple probate avoidance trust with disclaimer provisions. You will also want to update your wills, health care directives, and powers of attorney for property. The title and date originally used for the trust will stay the same, so you don't have to worry about changing title to any of your assets.
Educating seniors, professionals, caregivers, and the public on abuse is critical to prevention. If you’re an older adult, you can stay safe by:
Here are some sources for Legal Assistance in California:
Here are the second three of the six categories of elder abuse.
Neglect By Caregivers and Self-Neglect
In most states, professions that engage in regular contact with children are listed as mandatory reporters. In at least 18 states, however, there are no listed mandatory reporters – anyone and everyone who knows or suspects that child abuse has occurred is required by law to make a report.
Mandated reporters are healthcare providers, licensed or unlicensed social service providers for vulnerable adults, paid or unpaid caretakers, care custodians, the clergy, and other professionals in a position of trust who suspect elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect, including self-neglect.
In states with defined mandatory reporter lists, however, the following professions are frequently listed:
The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) maintains a list of mandatory reporters by state.