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Whether you have your own children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or other kiddos in your life, summer can be an expensive season. Day care, camps, travel, summer classes and entertainment are just a few of the costs that need to be planned for. Here are a few of the tips from the experts (cue parents!) to alleviate some of the financial stress and maintain the fun vibes of summertime. Research shows that kids learn the most about money matters from watching their parents. Including them in your budgeting process takes the mystery out of how much it costs to enjoy the summer. As you know, it doesn’t just magically get funded! A good exercise is to ask your kids to write down how much they think it costs to go on vacation or go to camp. Then spend some time walking through a budget that includes all expenses. Start by asking them to list categories for the budget. This might include clothes for camp, gas costs for traveling, air fare, eating out, or movie tickets and other entertainment. Don’t forget the little items that add up like sunscreen, sunglasses, and snacks. Once you have identified the categories, it’s time to involve your young adults in the research to get the best deals and discounts. Is that cheaper airfare worth it if the schedule requires you…Read More
An escrow account is set up by your mortgage servicer to cover certain property-related expenses, like your property taxes, homeowner’s insurance premiums, and other charges related to your loan. Part of your monthly mortgage payment goes into this account over the course of the year. How mortgage lenders handle escrow accounts is regulated by a federal agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Why are you being contacted about your escrow account? Every year, lenders who service mortgage loans have to conduct an analysis of escrow accounts — and the CFPB mandates that every servicer must use the same method in analyzing escrow accounts. This analysis is done to ensure enough funds are collected by borrowers to pay upcoming insurance premiums, property taxes and fees. The borrower is then sent details about this annual review, and any resulting changes to their monthly escrow payment for the upcoming 12 months. Big changes in property values affect state taxes, which can result in more significant changes to your escrow payments. How does your escrow analysis affect you? Mortgage lenders require a minimum account balance – also known as a “cushion” – in escrow. These reserve funds are meant to cover unanticipated charges. Every year, lenders compare expected escrow account disbursements over the coming 12 months to show a projected escrow balance for this period of…Read More