Category Archives: Finance

Pregnant woman seating at the park

U.S Has Worst Maternal Death Rate: High Medical Costs May Be Why

Pregnant woman seating at the parkThe United States has the one of the worst maternal and neonatal death rate worldwide. In fact, up to 900 women die because of childbirth-related complications. Personal finances and high medical costs may be the reason behind it.

Confirming a pregnancy should be one of the most exciting times in life. But, for many women, it comes with anxiety about how they will pay their medical bills. Not all pregnancies are planned so there may not be money set aside for maternity care.

The Unaffordable Price of Maternity Care

Pregnancy and childbirth are heavy on personal finances. A single visit to an obstetrician could cost 150 dollars. An ultrasound scan could be 250 dollars, while a full battery of blood tests may set you back another 300 dollars — that’s not including the delivery which sets expectant moms back by thousands of dollars. The average natural birth costs 30,000 dollars. Meanwhile, the bill soars up to 50,000 dollars for a cesarean session, an important factor since 31 percent of U.S births are surgical.

Low paid workers and the unemployed are the least likely to be able to afford such costs. They may not be able to afford large insurance co-pays either. Consequently, low-income women may have fewer antenatal visits or avoid the doctor altogether.

Open Access for All

The Affordable Care Act marketplace can help expectant mothers find cheaper insurance so they can see an obstetrician. The act offers a range of plans that have smaller premiums or co-pays and many of them have maternity coverage.

In addition, since 2014, it is illegal for insurance companies to charge women more than men. Previously, a 25-year-old woman without maternity coverage on her plan could be charged 81 percent more than a man of the same age, a situation that marginalized women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to bring equality in medical care to all.

No woman should die in childbirth in the 21st century. Sadly, America has one of the worst maternal death rates in the developed world. High costs are one reason for this. The ACA can help lower wage women access the maternity care they need.

bottle full of coins with greenery

Investing in Real Estate: How Does a 1031 Exchange Work?

bottle full of coins with greeneryWith a Section 1031 Exchange, also commonly known as a like-kind exchange, you have the chance to defer your property sale taxes by exchanging your investment property for someone else’s property that’s similar to yours.

According to IRS rules, the property you got in exchange would be considered as a continuation of the investment property you exchanged. This results in the IRS postponing your gains taxes, which means that you defer paying taxes on the profit you obtained from the exchange, but get to own new property.

Basic Example of a 1031 Exchange

Let’s say you traded a rental home that has an adjusted basis of $300,000 for another investment property. So both properties’ fair market value is $600,000. And since the basis of your new property, which is $300,000, is equal to your old property, there’s no recognized gain for the transaction.

To benefit from a 1031 exchange, the IRS states that you might only trade property for another property similar to yours, called “like-kind” properties. Investment expert 1031 Exchange Place says that 1031 exchange properties have a similar character or nature, even if they have varying qualities or grades.

Generally speaking, all investment properties in the U.S. are deemed like-kind with other properties in the U.S., regardless of location or type. For instance, an office building in Utah is like-kind to a rental building in San Francisco.

What’s Not Covered

If you continue trading an investment property for another with the same value, you won’t ever recognize gains that you would need to pay taxes on. However, if you sell your exchanged property to obtain cash, your original deferred gains, along with any extra gains would be deemed taxable by the IRS, because the succeeding transaction, involving cash, won’t be covered under the IRS’ 1031 exchange rules.

By entering into a 1031 exchange, you could trade properties to raise or reduce your exposure to specific property sectors, while also deferring capitals gains taxes until such time that you sell your properties for cash.

Understanding the game of property investment and the rules set forth by the IRS, 1031 exchanges are an excellent way to rebalance your property investment portfolio.

woman using calculator on top of documents

Considerations for Computing the Stamp Duty Land Tax

woman using calculator on top of documentsWhen buying a house or any property, there are closing costs associated with the transaction. Typically, contracting a conveyance solicitor would help in filing the papers, and making sure that all the procedures, processes and paperwork were adhered to. This includes payment of any stamp duties.
Before hiring a conveyance solicitor, due diligence has to be done, as well as an estimate of the duties to be paid. A stamp duty calculator for the UK is highly recommended to get an idea of the stamp duty due on the sale of a property.

What is the stamp duty?

Officially, it is called the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), and it is the amount of money that buyers pay upfront as taxes when they purchase real property. It is a requirement if you buy land or property worth above a certain price in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, there is no longer any STLD. Instead, property buyers pay a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.


The SDLT is paid when the residential property is worth more than £125,000. For non-residential land, buildings and properties, the SDLT is paid when the transaction is for more than £150,000. The SDLT is paid when the buyer buys a freehold property, a new or existing leasehold, a property bought through a shared ownership scheme; or a transferred land or property in exchange for payment.

For first time buyers, there is a discount or relief if the price is less than £500,000. Another consideration is given if the property is non-residential or mixed-use.
The stamp duty is usually paid as soon as possible before the settlement of the sale. It should be settled within 30 days of completing the purchase of the property, home or land. If it cannot be paid within 30 days, the late payment will entail penalties and interest.

an fha loan form

Interested In An FHA Loan? Here’s All You Need To Know

an fha loan formFHA loans are one of the most popular loan products today. They are very attractive to home loan borrowers, especially those who will be buying a house for the first time because the requirements are much lower compared to private lenders.

In case the borrower defaults, the FHA loan lender like Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. can get back the money from the Federal Housing Administration. Before rushing to get an FHA loan, keep these facts in mind when applying for one.

Low Credit Score and Down Payment Requirement

A typical private lender will first check your credit rating. It’s also the same with FHA loans, but you only need a minimum credit score of 580 to qualify. Also, you need to make 3.5 percent down payment. Those with credit scores below 580 but not lower than 500 can still be eligible, but this time, the down payment requirement is 10 percent. There are cases, however, where an applicant with a credit score of below 500 can get an FHA loan.

FHA is the Insurer, Not the Lender

Some people have the misconception that the FHA itself is the lender. The government agency only guarantees that it will pay the loan in case of default. This is why you need to make sure that the lender you are dealing with is FHA approved. The rates offered by these FHA-approved lenders are also not the same.

Pay Two Mortgage Insurance

On all FHA loans you pay, not one, but two mortgage insurance premiums. The first premium is equivalent to 1.75 percent of the loan. Pay this premium once you get the loan. If it’s possible, you can include this premium to the FHA loan.

The other one is the annual premium, but you pay for it monthly. The rate will depend on the size of the loan, the length of the loan, and the initial loan-to-value ratio.

FHA Loan For Home Repairs

Homeowners in need of cash for repairs can apply for a special loan known as 203(k). The loan amount you can get is not based on your home’s current appraised value. Instead, it’s based on the expected value after you have made the repairs.

Financial Relief Option

FHA loan borrowers who are undergoing financial hardships can apply for relief. If approved, lenders then can offer to lower the interest rate or extending the payback period. They may even allow deferring part of the loan without interest.

Possible Coverage of Closing Costs

Borrowers can include the closing costs in their loan application. The lender charges typically a higher interest rate if you choose this option. There are instances though that a home seller or builder will shoulder the closing costs to finalize the deal.

What Amount of Reverse Mortgage Can You Get?

reverse mortgageThere are advantages of owning a home than just saving the rent you were paying. You can take a loan against your home to undertake your projects. Reverse mortgage in Missouri is a loan that uses your home equity to give you money.

Although it is not the cheapest method to borrow, it’s worth comparing other options before getting one. The duration of the loan depends on certain calculations, and the amount of money that you can get depends on various factors.

Four of these determinant factors include:


The more the home equity, the higher amount of loan money you can get. It works best for some borrowers who have been paying down their loan for many years, and their current mortgage is almost paid.


Older borrowers are likely to get a higher loan amount compared to the young. A younger spouse will be required to vacate should the older borrower die, and the younger one is not in the loan processing documents. Your choice to acquire the loan is as vital too. You can select on various payouts.

Time-To Time Payments

You can prefer to get regular payments, say monthly. Such payments would last for good or for a specified time like ten years. If you are required to pay the loan because all borrowers have left, the payments are fully paid.

About lifetime payments, you can end up getting even more than expected if you live longer.

Line of Credit

You can decide on taking a line of credit that will allow you to get funds when you need them. The benefit is that you only pay interest on money you have indeed borrowed, as it increases your credit line with time.

You now know of an alternative way of getting money as a homeowner. Consult a reverse mortgage lender in Missouri with information concerning the above factors and increase your chances of securing a loan.

Mortgage Application: Don’t Forget Fees and Penalties

Loan on the monitor of a macbookWhen applying for a loan, most borrowers tend to focus more on their down payment, interest rates, and monthly payments. Many fail to evaluate hidden fees like closing costs and prepayment penalties. If you’re applying for a mortgage and don’t think about them, you may set up yourself for extra expenses before you can finally own your home.

Avoid Surprises Related to Closing Fees

Whether you’re purchasing a home or refinancing a loan, you will need to pay closing costs. A lender or mortgage company should give a Good Faith Estimate (GFE), which lists all related closing costs. Altius Mortgage Group and other mortgage companies in Utah note that these differ based on the type of property, its location, and your loan type. In most cases, buyers pay about 2% to 5% of home’s value in closing fees.

It’s good to know that some fees in the closing costs are unnecessary and negotiable. You can ask your lender to have some of those fees removed or ask them to explain why they are necessary. There is also the no-closing cost mortgage, which may cost you more in the long run. This is because the lender may charge you with a higher rate or include the closing fees into the total loan amount.

Extra Payments and Penalties

Some loans carry prepayment penalties when you may extra mortgage payments. Note that not all loans have this, so it means that you may have agreed on this when you close the purchase. If you’re not sure, it’s best to check with your lender. The penalties could apply if you pay the entire balance (by selling or refinancing) or pay a large amount all at once.

If you, for instance, received an inheritance or get a promotion, making extra payments can reduce financial burden in the long. This also reduces your total payment and helps build equity faster. Before agreeing to a loan, you may want to ask your lender to have this removed if possible. Note that paying extra can also lower the number of interests paid.

Buying a house is a financial decision, so you shouldn’t overlook other fees that can affect your payment in the future. Talk to a reliable lender to learn more about your mortgage options and all other associated fees.

Avoid Committing Major Car Buying Mistakes in 4 Steps

man checking out a car with car salesman behindThe process of buying a car — be it new or used — can be extremely overwhelming. It involves many things including the price, the type of service you want, and the maintenance cost. This is practically the reason many people commit mistakes as they go through the process.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a vehicle, here’s what you need to know to avoid the possible blunders of this transaction:

Do Your Own Research

This is the most basic and essential step for every consumer. Whether it’d be a car or a small item, doing proper research could take you a long way. You can’t simply enter a dealership or a car shop without knowing what you need and want. If you do this, you’ll be more confused and scammers may likely take advantage of you. At least show them that you’ve done your homework and you’re knowledgeable in the field so they can’t push you over.

Test Drive the Car

Whether it’s new or pre-owned, test driving the vehicle would allow you to check the overall performance of it. Get behind the wheel and be sure you put the car into a test. Don’t simply drive in a straight, boring route.

Instead, go the same route that you often travel. This would provide you with accurate insight on the car itself. In fact, most used car dealers in Jacksonville give their customers 100% freedom in testing the car for their customers’ own satisfaction.

Don’t Focus on the Price

Money might be everything, but your search must not simply revolve around it. Although car buying is considered as a major investment, looking into the price of the car will never get you anywhere.

Instead of solely concentrating on the tag, you need to pay more attention to checking the functionality and condition of the car. This is especially true if you’re planning to buy a secondhand vehicle. This way, you’re 100% sure that you’re choosing a ride that would match with your lifestyle and would meet what you need.

Look at Financing Terms

Another major mistake you must avoid is failing to review the repayment terms. Don’t get easily swayed by the big and eye-catching tags, which say 0% interest or big discounts. Chances are they are hidden costs, which lie beneath them. Be sure you look into them thoroughly to avoid surprises. Don’t be afraid to ask questions whenever you want to clarify and know something.

Never skip any of these steps to ensure you’re making a smart choice for your ride. If you think you help, don’t hesitate to consult an expert or an auto mechanic you truly trust to assist you throughout the process. After all, this is all about your own money, comfort, and safety.

The Coldest of Winter: Keeping Utility Bills from Ruining the Homeowning Experience

Man at desk in shirt and tie holding his head and worrying about money.Many homeowners find that the joy of owning a home fades quickly when they are faced with high utility bills every month. The situation arises during the inevitable winter period when you have to turn on the heat or freeze to death.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), households that use electricity to heat up their home spend an average of $930 during winter. If propane is your go-to heating medium, you are likely to spend $1,437 to keep warm. On the flip side, households that rely on natural gas for heat spend an affordable $578 during winter.

Make the right choice of heating method

Pay close attention to the type of heating system before making a purchase. Systems older than 20 years are likely to cause you grief in the long run. They are often inefficient and could lead you to incur a fortune in energy bills due to inefficiencies that lead to heat loss.

Again, you are likely to suffer frequent breakdowns, which are both costly and uncomfortable. If unsure, have an expert examine the system and advise you accordingly. For instance, you need to understand whether the home uses a hot water or a forced air heating system.

Factor in your creature comforts

Having a fireplace at home is a great way to create a warm and cozy environment for your family. Unfortunately, the idea of stacking logs and idea of having the house smelling of smoke is a deal breaker for many.

Luckily, Comfort Solutions says that you can now have a fireplace in Utah without worrying about the smoke. All you need is to replace your traditional one with a new fireplace that runs on natural gas or even electricity.

With the help of the installation experts, you can convert your old and probably unused fireplace into an excellent source of heat.

Making the right choice of a heating system is the key to keeping your home warm in the dead of winter without incurring a fortune in heating bills. With the help of a credible heating expert, you can make the right choice or modifications to suit your needs.


Algomi Investment: Collaboration is Key

a businessmen writing down notes for financial technologyWhen financial technology companies began to gain some reputation and speed, the incumbent market infrastructure refused to embrace the newcomers’ technological advances, fearing their monopoly over the financial world could be compromised.

But, in today’s highly technological era, it would be impossible for financial institutions to ignore the impact that technology can have on the way they go about business. Ignoring these technological advances would also impact negatively on their customer service.

According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, partnerships between well-established financial institutions and up-and-coming financial technology companies is the key to gaining shares. The report states that brand new market platforms don’t often challenge the incumbent institutions and that partnerships are the way forward when attempting growth.

Euronext and Algomi

A great example of this partnership is the recent Algomi investment. Euronext, the pan-European exchange recently invested $10 million in UK-based software developer Algomi. They have entered a 10-year development plan to create a trading platform to increase liquidity.

Algomi’s new software does this by aggregating software from all of its existing software designed for buy-side and sell-side traders. All of Algomi’s software shares anonymous data in huge quantities to give traders a better picture of the overall market.

Euronext has chosen Algomi investment because the company have been on the up and up since their founding in 2012, and they can develop software with Algomi that will directly affect their company in a big way.

Euronext has extended its licence with Algomi beyond 10 years, securing Algomi’s future as a big player in the financial technology industry.

Many large financial institutions have chosen to diversify in this way, like Goldman Sachs acquiring Honest Dollar, the digital retirement savings platform, to roll it out to their customers worldwide.

Huge renown in the financial technology world

Algomi and its founders have been awarded countless accolades and awards for their innovation and exciting technology.

Euronext plans to release this new trading platform soon and intends to develop it further and build the network to break into the North American market. This is definitely a partnership to keep an eye on.

Factors to Consider When Looking for the Best Mortgage for You

MortgageA mortgage takes many years to pay in full. Thus, you have to make sure that you find one that you can manage well.

Getting the best mortgage rate in Salt Lake City would be an advantage. But, there are other factors to consider. Here are some of them:

Mortgage Type

There are two main types: fixed and adjustable rate mortgages.

Fixed Rate Mortgage – The interest rate remains the same throughout the term of the loan. It allows you to budget your payments. The downside is when there is a general decline in interest rates. Interest on your loan does not go down.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – At the start of the loan, the interest rate for an ARM is often low. It will then fluctuate throughout the rest of the term. You will pay less if the prevailing interest rate goes down. If it rises, you will pay more. 


It is best to compare offers from different lenders. Interest rates and terms may vary from one lender to another. Compare mortgage products with the same features to make sure you are getting the best offer.

Mortgage Rates

Various factors influence the interest rate on a mortgage. These include economic and market conditions, as well as your financial profile. You can qualify for preferential rates if you have an excellent credit score and a steady job.

Mortgage Fees

Aside from interest, other costs come with a mortgage. These may include loan administration and processing fees. Thus, it is also important to consider the “junk” fees when comparing mortgages.

Lock Period

Offers from lenders are only good up to a given period. Interest rates are locked-in during this time. Beyond the lock period, the interest may go up or down, depending on prevailing conditions.

Consider these factors when looking for the ideal home loan to get. This will help you land the right mortgage for you.