Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
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Oct 3, 2012

Stern Advice-Grandpa has dementia, but he’s still trading stocks

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) – It’s a sad, sticky and
increasingly common situation: An elderly relative insists on
managing his money, but you suspect he’s losing his ability to
handle that.

The older people get, the more likely they are to suffer
cognitive decline. Roughly 14 percent of people over 71 have
some level of dementia, according to the National Institutes of
Health. For those in their 90s, the rate rises to 37.4 percent.

Aug 1, 2012

Stern Advice: GNMA funds have a following despite low rates

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Lately mortgage interest rates
have been hitting one record low after another. At the same
time, we’re seeing increases in mortgage defaults, foreclosures
and short sales in which lenders get less than 100 cents to the
dollar for the loans they’ve let. So why would anyone want to be
a mortgage lender right now?

That would be a good question to ask investors who have
thrown $6.9 billion into Government National Mortgage
Association (GNMA)-backed mutual funds in the year ending June
30, according to figures from Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company.

Jul 25, 2012

Prepping for the summer wave of short sales

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: A late-summer wave of short sales, as homeowners, mortgage bankers and potential buyers all race to settlement on bargain-priced homes that are worth less than the mortgages written on them.

“We’re seeing a rush already,” said Daren Blomquist of Realtytrac, a firm that monitors real estate foreclosures and distressed sales. “There was a big increase in the first quarter and we’re expecting that to continue.”

Jul 25, 2012

Stern Advice-Prepping for the summer wave of short sales

WASHINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) – Coming soon to a
neighborhood near you: A late-summer wave of short sales, as
homeowners, mortgage bankers and potential buyers all race to
settlement on bargain-priced homes that are worth less than the
mortgages written on them.

“We’re seeing a rush already,” said Daren Blomquist of
Realtytrac, a firm that monitors real estate foreclosures and
distressed sales. “There was a big increase in the first quarter
and we’re expecting that to continue.”

Jul 18, 2012

Stern Advice: Designing your own mortgage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Here’s an appealing idea: What if you could design your home loan so the house is paid off exactly when your kids go off to college, or when you retire? Or if you could refinance for 10, 12 or 17 years, instead of the standard 15- or 30-year terms on most fixed-rate mortgages?

Of course, most borrowers are free to prepay their mortgages, but now, some lenders are letting people borrow money for as many – or as few – years as they like.

Jul 13, 2012

Will the Wells Fargo settlement affect your mortgage?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co agreed to pay $175 million to resolve allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that it discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending.

At the same time, the bank said it would stop making loans through mortgage brokers, who the government said submitted loans to Wells Fargo that had varied interest rates, fees and costs based only on race and not correlated to the borrowers’ creditworthiness.

Jul 12, 2012

Stern Advice – Will the Wells Fargo settlement affect your mortgage?

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co
agreed to pay $175 million to resolve allegations by the U.S.
Justice Department that it discriminated against qualified
African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending.

At the same time, the bank said it would stop making loans
through mortgage brokers, who the government said submitted
loans to Wells Fargo that had varied interest rates, fees and
costs based only on race and not correlated to the borrowers’
creditworthiness.

Jul 11, 2012

Stern Advice-Finding income in a low-interest environment

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) – Not everybody gets happy
every time Federal Reserve policymakers promise to hold interest
rates low for years to come.

Savers suffer, and retirees worry about where they will get
any income in an era when 10-year U.S. Treasury yields, at 1.5
percent, are near record lows and one-year certificates of
deposit are averaging 0.32 percent interest, according to
Bankrate.com.

Jun 27, 2012

Stern Advice-A mid-year look at the coming tax mess

WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) – A senior Internal Revenue
Service official says she’s already concerned about what next
year’s tax filing season will look like, because of the mass of
expiring provisions and possible tax changes that could occur
near the end of this year and into next year.

Piling on an additional tax reform bill next year could lead
to “meltdown” that could delay taxpayer refunds, Nina Olson, the
IRS’s national taxpayer advocate, told Reuters reporters and
editors during a wide ranging interview this week. She also sent
a semi-annual report to Congress cataloging the same concerns.

Jun 20, 2012

Stern Advice: The Supreme Court, healthcare and you

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) – Within a week, the U.S.
Supreme Court is likely to rule on the landmark 2010 health care
law that President Obama – for better or worse – made the
centerpiece of his initial time in office.

Conventional wisdom holds that the court will ‘vote’ mostly
along party lines w ith a 50-50 chance of invalidating at least
th e p art of the program that requires Americans to buy health
insurance. But that means the high court is equally likely to
uphold the law, much of which has not gone into effect yet.

    • About Linda

      "Linda Stern is an award-winning personal finance journalist who loves to write about how the big picture affects your pocketbook. A former contributing editor at Newsweek magazine and a long-time Reuters columnist, Stern covers everything from credit cards to retirement planning to investing. As a Washington-based correspondent, she sneaks in as much tax and economic policy as her editors will allow. She tweets at www.twitter.com/LindaStern. And when she expresses opinions, they are her own and not those of her employer."
      Joined Reuters:
      October 2010
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