Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Linda's Feed
Sep 8, 2011
via Reuters Money

What new jumbo mortgage rules mean for expensive zip codes

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On Oct. 1, the size of mortgages eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will shrink. That isn’t necessarily a big deal in most parts of the country; the new lower limit of $625,500 — down from today’s $729,750 — still is big enough to cover most homes in almost all markets in the United States.

Furthermore, mortgage bankers are stepping up with new money to cover those bigger loans, reports Mortgage Daily. “Programs here and there are popping up,” says publisher Sam Garcia. He reports that some new lenders, including TMS Funding and New Penn Financial LLC, are launching programs that will make mortgages as big as $2 million available to lenders with good credit scores and enough cash to keep up with the payments. And many existing mortgage lenders currently will make those so-called “jumbo” loans and just keep them in their portfolios instead of selling them.

Sep 7, 2011

Stern Advice: It’s time to rock your Roth

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Tax year 2010 lives, at least
for another month, and that means people who made Roth IRA
decisions last year can revisit them until Oct. 17. Savers who
converted retirement money to a Roth IRA last year may find a
little time travel — and reversal of those decisions –
worthwhile.

That’s just one of several significant savings opportunities
presented by Roth IRAs. Because of tax law changes and stock
market gyrations. it’s worth diving into the sometimes-tedious
rules and regulations that govern that whole area.

Aug 31, 2011

Stern Advice: Lessons from my mother’s money

WASHINGTON (Reuters)- My mother passed away recently, a few months before her 91st birthday, after having spent the better part of the last 70 years smoking heavily and avoiding exercise whenever possible. But this isn’t a health article, it’s a financial one, and on that score I have learned a lot from my mother.

She was really smart about money, though she never had huge amounts of it. And she had a real-life experience that departed in many ways from the retirement scenarios that academics and financial companies churn out daily.

Aug 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Are you set to fight your insurer?

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The morning after Hurricane
Irene blew through their Takoma Park, Maryland, neighborhood,
homeowners Michael Desautels and Susan Hearn awoke to find a
giant holly-leafed cherry tree nestled precariously in some
broken tiles on their roof.

Hearn called State Farm, the company that holds their
homeowners policy and boasts on its web site, “we’re here to
help… Ready to respond to Hurricane Irene.”

Aug 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Are you set to fight your insurer?

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The morning after Hurricane
Irene blew through their Takoma Park, Maryland, neighborhood,
homeowners Michael Desautels and Susan Hearn awoke to find a
giant holly-leafed cherry tree nestled precariously in some
broken tiles on their roof.

Hearn called State Farm, the company that holds their
homeowners policy and boasts on its web site, “we’re here to
help… Ready to respond to Hurricane Irene.”

Aug 29, 2011

Irene claims: Are you set to fight your insurer?

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The morning after Hurricane
Irene blew through their Takoma Park, Maryland, neighborhood,
homeowners Michael Desautels and Susan Hearn awoke to find a
giant holly-leafed cherry tree nestled precariously in some
broken tiles on their roof.

Hearn called State Farm, the company that holds their
homeowners policy and boasts on its web site, “we’re here to
help… Ready to respond to Hurricane Irene.”

Aug 29, 2011

Analysis: Are you going to have to fight your home insurer?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The morning after Hurricane Irene blew through their Tacoma Park, Maryland, neighborhood, homeowners Michael Desautels and Susan Hearn awoke to find a giant holly-leafed cherry tree nestled precariously in some broken tiles on their roof.

Hearn called State Farm, the company that holds their homeowners policy and boasts on its web site, “we’re here to help… Ready to respond to Hurricane Irene.”

Aug 29, 2011

Are you covered? Answers to your Irene insurance questions

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Standing knee-deep in your
wet basement is no time to find out that you’re not insured for
floods, but homeowners up and down the East Coast are
experiencing that double trouble right now.

The short, unhappy answer to most of their questions is “no,
you’re probably not covered for flood damage.” Homes located in
flood plains probably do have federal flood insurance; it’s
typically required by mortgage lenders. But the vast majority
of other homes are covered by private homeowners policies that
specifically exclude flood but cover wind, according to the
Insurance Information Institute.

Aug 26, 2011
via Reuters Money

Hurricane investing: You don’t need a weathervane …

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Maybe you’ve already got your lawn furniture stashed in the garage,¬†your water jugs filled and your important papers protected. But have you gotten your investment portfolio ready for Hurricane Irene, currently threatening all the East¬†Coast hot spots?

Three main themes emerge: Selling into the storm; ditching shares facing the most risks and buying into the rebuilding effort. Here are some considerations.

Aug 24, 2011

Stern Advice: Where to put your money now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You’ve got to put your money somewhere, right? Under the mattress doesn’t really work as a retirement program. It’s lumpy, vulnerable to theft and your kids might find it.

But stocks are scary, bond yields are horrible, gold is already stratospherically priced (and selling off as I write this) and real estate? Even President Obama has been predicting further declines in housing prices.

    • 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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