With the year quickly coming to a close, it may be time to begin rethinking some of the personal finance decisions you have made and figure out if it is still the proper course for you or not.
For example, is there a pesky credit card balance you have that you’ve only been paying the minimum amount on for the past several months? Miscellaneous expenses you know you could do without, yet spend money on anyway? Been paying too much interest on a loan or mortgage that you know you could most likely refinance? Did you buy a stock that you thought was going to fly high, and it hasn’t even gotten off the ground? Now is the time to ponder these thoughts and make action plans for 2010.
According to a post on New York Times’ Bucks blog, this could be a fantastic time to refinance your mortgage due to low interest rates that probably cannot go any lower. The story states the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage with no points reached 5.01 this week, .96 percentage points lower than this time last year. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate dropped slightly to 4.46 percent this week, according to data released by Bankrate.com. The NYT post states these rates are close to the lowest levels since Bankrate.com began tracking them in 1985.
While I don’t have direct experience in holding — or paying off — a mortgage quite yet, I am always for lower interest rates. There are many other factors that you should consider before refinancing your loan, including your break-even point, how many years are left on your current mortgage, how stable you are in your job (and income), etc. Take this as a starting point, and if you believe that a refi is a good option, speak with a financial adviser and get the ball rolling. You’d be surprised at just how much money you could save.
If you’re in the room with a financial adviser and you happen to own some stocks and bonds, print out a copy of this piece from Wall Street Journal and ask some tough questions about where you should be putting your money in 2010.
There are a lot of changes going on with regard to our global financial system, which unfortunately will greatly affect how stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles perform. It’s best to at least go through your current portfolio and ensure that it is balanced to your liking — and comfort level.
This is something I must do as well very soon, as in a couple of weeks I’ll make a yearly contribution to my Roth IRA and take a hard look at my inherited stock, as I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with it all just being in that one stock. I’ll have to look at how it has performed, and what other options are out there with which I’m comfortable.
What are some of the things you will be revisiting and looking to change come 2010?