Financial IQ

How the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Affects Your Tax Return*

Just in case you haven’t watched the news lately, the Senate finally made a bipartisan, long-term budget deal on February 9, 2018. Basically, the government shut down and went MIA for a little while because Congress couldn’t agree on some key budget items. The Senate finally had a meeting of the minds and surprised everyone […]

Couple Credit Score FICO Vantage

What’s the Difference Between FICO and VantageScore?

When you fill out a loan application, the lender will pull your credit to determine whether they should lend you money or not depending on your credit score. The score you receive will most likely come from FICO or their competitor VantageScore. So are these two credit scores the same? Not exactly. FICO The majority […]

Happy Couple in Home

‘Til Debt Do Us Part: How to Discuss Finances with Your Partner

Are you ready to take your relationship to the next level, for richer or for poorer?  It may be time to discuss your finances with your partner. It isn’t the most romantic advice, but to avoid relationship problems down the road it is important to have “the talk” before things start getting more serious.   […]

Home Energy Costs

How to Cut Energy Costs

You know it already—owning a home is expensive. Bills piling up every month can really stress a person out. Don’t let them. Starting energy saving habits and making some small changes in your home can make a real difference in your utility bills and ease the financial burden of homeownership.   Heating and Cooling Heating […]

Steps to Saving Down Payment

6 Steps to Start Saving for Your Down Payment

Thinking about buying a home, but having trouble saving for the down payment? If you are struggling with saving for your down payment, you are not alone. According to a study by Zillow, saving for a down payment was the top hurdle towards homeownership for more than two-thirds of renters, beating out mortgage approval and […]

401k Home Down Payment

Using Your 401k as Your Down Payment: Is It Worth It?

Saving for a down payment can be challenging and seeing your growing 401k sitting there may be tempting to use. While purchasing a home could be the biggest investment you will make, your 401k is key to your long-term financial plan and withdrawing now could leave you ill-prepared for retirement. What to do  Instead of making a withdrawal out of your […]

Defining DTI Ratio

Defining Your DTI Ratio

Do you know your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio? If you’re getting ready to apply for a mortgage, it could come in handy. Lenders use your DTI ratio to assess how credit-worthy you are, so familiarizing yourself with it can help you prepare your finances for the lending process. What is the debt-to-income ratio? The debt-to-income ratio […]

Holiday Black Friday Christmas Spending affect Your Credit Score

Holiday Spending vs. Your Credit Score

The leaves are falling as the winds begin to cool. Lights are hung along the streets while your favorite holiday songs play everywhere you go. You can’t help but get into the holiday spirit and spread cheer amongst your friends and family. We get it; it’s the best part of the season! But before you […]

Things Affect Credit Score

Surprising Things You Didn’t Know Affect Your Credit Score

1. Collections You may not realize that many of your day-to-day outstanding debts that occur are sent to collections. These third-party debt collectors typically report these outstanding accounts to the credit bureaus, which could show up on your credit report and affect your score. These day-to-day outstanding debts may include things like your utility bill, […]

Phishing Scams Mortgage

Phishing Scammers Target Home Buyers

You’ve gone through the journey of finding the perfect home, signed all the closing documents, and you can’t wait to get your hands on the keys to your new home! You receive an email from what appears to be your loan officer providing instructions for a wire transfer. Immediately, you hit the button to send […]