but I just found out that they have finally made  Private Mortgage Insurance better known as PMI or MI tax deductible for all home loans originated in 2007 and beyond.  This will have a profound effect on how mortgages are written.  No longer will you have to get a piggyback or second loan on that home purchase when you are putting less than 20% down at the time of purchase.

It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of homeowners will save a total of $91 million when they file their tax returns in 2008 according to statistics cited in the following article from Bankrate.com.  Check it out it’s a good read.  If you are currently paying mortgage insurance on an old loan you don’t qualify for this new deduction but if you decide to refinance this year or make a new purchase….we’ll let’s just say you now have some options…

Tax deduction makes mortgage insurance more competitive with piggybacks

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but you unfortunately find yourself in a quandry because the current cellular carrier that you use…You know the one that is always dropping your calls and has more dead zones than you care to think about requires you to pay $200 or more to cancel your service.  There are several new companies on the web that can potentially help you shed that cell phone company that you loathe and start fresh with a new service that may allow you to make more than one call without suffering the dropsies….  This article from the Globe highlites some of the pros and cons of these sites and also mentions why the big cell carriers charge the early termination fees.  Believe it or not, they actually have a legitimate reason based on their costs as it pertains to acquiring a client like yourself.  The article is a good read.  Please provide any helpful feedback if you like this post or you try out the service….

Celltrade is the first of a few sites that can help get Out with the Old and in with the New!

Sites help free cellphone users from contracts – The Boston Globe

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    I recently received an email that I thought was from my bank asking for some information because supposedly my online bank account access had been compromised.  The email looked like it was officially from my bank and at the time I was busy multi-tasking so I was not completely paying 100% attention.  To make a long story short I filled out the questionnaire and immediately realized, after submitting their form, that I had been duped by an elaborate phishing scam which had me fooled. After realizing what I had done I called my insurance company, Zander Insurance, who has my Identity Theft Insurance policy, to alert them to what happened.  They were quick to have me put a fraud alert on all three credit agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.  They also outlined several things that I would need to do to ensure that I stay protected from these scammers who troll the web looking for unsuspecting prey.  I almost fell victim to these people and I’ve definitely learned my lesson.  For the longest time I thought identity theft couldn’t happen to me but the moment that you think you are safe is when it can happen.  I am a testament to that.  I would highly recommend that you purchase an inexpensive Identity Theft Insurance policy from Zander Insurance or your local Insurance Agency.  You can reach the folks at Zander by clicking here.

Here are some helpful Identity theft tips for you to consider during the holiday’s….

  • Do not lend your credit/debit card or ATM card to anyone, not even a family member to purchase a gift
  • Never let your credit/debit card out of your sight when making a purchase at a store.
  • Make sure the store clerk swipes the card in front of you.  If they have to take your card somewhere to swipe it, insist on accompanying them
  • Apply for a store credit card online – do not fill out a paper application that requires your social security number.
  • Be careful shopping online or over the phone at work.  Someone could be looking over your shoulder or listening to you give out your credit card information to make a purchase.
  • If you plan to travel during the holidays, stop your mail and your paper.
  • Be aware of your personal space while shopping and protect your wallets and purses.
  • Do not leave personal items in your car at a mall parking lot such as a laptop containing your personal information.
  • Keep track of all your credit card receipts and do not throw them away without shredding them first.
  • Minimize what you carry in your wallet so that thieves do not get much if they steal your wallet
  • Print out any orders you make online as well as email exchanges.
  • You should never need your social security number to make a purchase
  • Approach online auctions with caution.  Before you make a purchase you should know the rules and return policies of the site as well as the seller’s terms.
  • Make sure to shred all credit card offers that come in the mail.
  • Go to www.optoutprescreen.com and remove your name from the “firm offer” credit card offers.

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This article really drives home the point about the culture of debt that we live in here in the U.S.   Our debt situation has gotten so bad that the military has actually prevented enlisted soldiers who hold security clearances from serving in the war because, given their debt situation, they could potentially succumb to bribery or some other action against our country.  This is a wake up call to all of us that we need to get a better handle on our debt and start to take this matter seriously.  The article also talks about the prevelance of Payday lenders around our country’s military bases.  We have got to get control of our situation…

More troops denied duty because of debt – The Boston Globe

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Survey raises concerns on African-Americans’ retirement plans – The Boston Globe

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my wife and I have two cars an Audi that can run on regular unleaded and a Jeep Cherokee Limited with a 5.9 litre V8 engine that can only take premium unleaded gas (92octane or higher).  In the past three weeks I've seen my gas bill jump by $30 per week between the two cars.  My bike is starting to look better and better to me as an alternate means of transportation that won't empty my wallet and a fringe benefit is that I can increase my aerobic capacity at the same time.  If you are struggling like I am with the prices at the pump I just found out about a very helpful website that will help you to identify the cheapest gas in your area.  All you have to do is click on the link below and enter your zip code.  Check it out before you head to the gas station to fill up again.  A special thanks to Sis. Vilince Hohenberger for the tip. 


 Another site to check out is Gasbuddy.com


As a homebuyer educator and Realtor I always remind my clients to count the cost before they make any decisions as it pertains to buying a home.  For most people a house will be one of the largest financial investments that will be made in  our lifetime.  It's important for you to do your due dilligence to make sure that you are ready to buy a home, the home you want to buy is appropriate for your needs, the mortgage product is the right one for you, you choose the right realtor, home inspector, insurance agent, attorney…the list goes on.  HUD put together a great list of 100 questions to ask before you purchase a home.  We have included these questions on the link under "Real Estate."  Please review and make notes and most importantly…Ask questions!