24 AprCurrent Mortgage Rates Remained Flat at US Bank Corp on April 16, 2014

For the potential home buyers, who are troubled by their poor credit score, or are unable to deal with the expensive down payment requirements, the bank is offering its FHA approved 30 year fixed rate mortgage home loans at an interest rate of 4.375% and an APR yield of 4.879% this Wednesday. However, the relatively shorter, 15 year FHA fixed rate mortgage home loan packages are coming out an interest cost of 4.000% and are backed by an APR yield of 4.565%.

Sometimes, the borrowers need larger finances for investing in their expensive home dreams; the lender is offering jumbo versions of its popular 30 year fixed rate mortgage home loan options at an interest rate of 4.625% and an APR yield of 4.777%. In the short term home lending section, the bank is offering 15 year counterparts of the 30 year jumbo fixed rate mortgage plans at a lending rate of 3.750% and an annual percentage yield of 4.008% this Wednesday.

As far as the adjustable rate mortgages are concerned, the interested customers can find 3 year variable rate home loans published at an interest rate of 2.250% and are accompanied by an APR yield of 3.261% on the principal amount of home loan secured from the bank. On the other hand, the more flexible, 5 year adjustable rate loans can be locked in at a starting rate of 2.625% and an APR yield of 3.250% during the initial years of the home loan tenure.

24 AprSave for retirement first, college later

About six years ago, Brian Appelbaum’s savings plan was focused mainly on his own retirement. But now he is married and the father of two young children.

So Appelbaum, 53, has reassessed his outlook, as he and his wife try to save money for their retirement as well as for their children’s education.

The couple contributes regularly to a college fund, and plans for Appelbaum to work longer, because the children will be college age when he is in his 60s.

“The overall package of things you have to consider at my age is different,” said Appelbaum, owner of a Scottsdale, Ariz., business that makes cutting blades for the construction industry.

Saving for retirement and a college education at the same time is a challenge for many families, but financial planners advise that if funds are limited -

and for most people, they are – it is crucial to fund retirement first before contributing to an education fund.

The reasoning? You, or your child, can always take out loans for college, but you cannot borrow for retirement. Planners liken the approach to the instructions given to air travelers: Put the oxygen mask on your own face, before putting it on your child’s. While many parents balk at the idea of burdening their offspring with student debt, shortchanging yourself now to help pay for college can backfire. You may simply be increasing the likelihood that your children will have to support you later in life.

“It sounds coldhearted, but you have to put yourself first and not derail your retirement money,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, a senior vice president at Charles Schwab amp; Co., who has a book coming out this spring on finances for those older than 50.

She advises that those with a workplace 401(k) plan should contribute at least enough to get the maximum employer match, and preferably up to the maximum annual contribution. A fund for emergency expenses and paying off non-deductible debt, like credit card debt, also should take priority over saving for college, she said. She even suggests that putting additional money away, outside of a formal retirement plan, should take precedence over starting a college fund.

If that is hard to accept, consider this, said Richard S. Kahler, an investment adviser in Rapid City, SD: Retirement costs do not just include money to pursue hobbies or travel. The cost of leaving the workforce to care for an elderly parent can top $300,000, according to a study from the MetLife Mature Market Institute. And the cost of having professional caregivers and nursing homes do the job over a typical five-year period can be more than double that amount, according to an analysis by CarePlanners, which helps families coordinate care. By comparison, the cost of attending a “moderate” public university as an in-state student now averages about $23,000 a year, or almost $100,000 over four years.

“It costs kids way more to take care of a parent who

A common mistake parents make when their children are in high school is to take them to see schools that cost $60,000 a year or more, without knowing if they can really afford it, said Cheryl A. Costa, a principal with Forteris Wealth in Framingham, Mass. Those campuses tend to look quite different from state schools with more affordable tabs.

“We all know which one they’ll like best,” Costa said, so parents should do some homework before visiting a school that could break the bank.

If, after analyzing the numbers, parents do find a shortfall in their retirement savings, they face tough choices – including spending less now, working longer before retirement or looking at less expensive schools.

Ann Garcia, a financial planner with Beacon Rock Partners in Portland, Ore., said parents need to zero in on their priorities and ask themselves: “Am I willing to work a year longer, to let my kids have the education I want them to have and graduate with less debt?”

Lynda Gordon, 47, said she and her husband recently took a hard look at their finances with Garcia’s help, to see if they were sufficiently prepared for college costs for their three children, including a high school junior. The couple has been diligent about saving for retirement in a 401(k) plan, and they want to continue maximizing those funds, particularly because Gordon, a computer consultant, is 58, relatively close to retirement age.

The couple have been contributing to tax-favored 529 college savings plans for their children, but they have also decided to make changes to save more money.

In addition to 529 plans, some financial planners say Roth IRAs can be a good tool for families that qualify, because they can be used for either retirement or college. Rules vary depending on age and other factors. You can withdraw contributions you’ve made to a Roth IRA at any time, without paying taxes or early withdrawal penalties, to pay for college expenses. If you tap the earnings before age 59 1/2, however, you’ll pay taxes on that money, but not an extra 10 percent early withdrawal penalty, if the withdrawal is used for education.

However, Garcia at Beacon Rock Partners noted, funds withdrawn from the Roth for college may count as income in calculating eligibility for need-based financial aid; money withdrawn from 529 plans does not.

Along those lines, others advise saving some funds in a taxable account, like a brokerage account, for maximum flexibility. You may lose some tax breaks, but you have the option of spending the funds for either retirement or college, as needed.

“Save for yourself, and earmark it for education,” said Mitchell Reiner, an investment adviser near Atlanta.

Appelbaum, the Arizona business owner, said he continued to contribute to his 401(k) plan through his company, and he and his wife had opened 529 savings plans for their children. They initially put in $100 a month per child, but recently raised that to $300 a child each month.

“Yes, it detracts from the money I would normally put away for myself,” he acknowledged.

He said he thought it was unlikely he would retire until he was close to 70, but that was a reality he was comfortable with: “We’ll get by, and my goal is to get them off to the best start that I can.”

23 AprObama, end rampant deportations

Todays Republicans seem perpetually willing to alienate increasingly vital Latino voters — and even big business interests who favor immigration reform–in favor of continuing to placate their loyal, but dying, old, white and socially narrow-minded voting base. The final argument against stopping deportations is that President Obama doesnt have the legal authority to do so. He does.

Everyone from top constitutional lawers to The New York Times editorial board agree the President is well within his authority to determine how immigration enforcement resources are prioritized and deployed. And President Obama has already used his executive authority to grant temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants brought to America by their parents when they were young, so-called DREAMers who grew up in the United States and yet legally cant find a place in the only nation theyve ever called home.

What President Obama did for DREAMers is wonderful; now many of these kids can get in-state tuition or federal loans for college and go on to get good jobs as teachers and engineers our nation needs. But to only use his authority to grant relief for these most-sympathetic of immigrants would reflect the sort of political risk aversion that has so often typified our 44th president.

The White House indeed has said it is using its executive discretion to only deport those immigrants with dangerous criminal records. As The New York Times reported, this is simply not true. Of the nearly 2 million immigrants the Obama administration has deported — a milestone were expected to hit any day– at least 1.6 million of those deported were for minor offenses like traffic violations.

In other words, overwhelmingly, were not kicking violent offenders out of the country but moms and dads and hardworking aspiring Americans who got parking tickets and now are being ripped away from their families. The White House could legitimately and wisely reprioritize those law enforcement resources to investigate unsolved murders or sexual assaults or prevent terrorism or mass shootings.

The arguments against stopping deportations are weak at best and getting weaker every day. We need comprehensive immigration reform in the United States to finally fix our broken immigration system and create a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans. But until Republicans are willing to do the right thing by immigrants, our economy and our nations values, President Obama can and must stop the excessive deportations under his watch. Not one more.

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23 AprBB&T Declines as First-Quarter Profit Misses Analysts’ Estimates

BBamp;T Corp. (BBT), North Carolina’s
second-biggest bank, fell the most in 17 months after reporting
first-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

BBamp;T slumped 3.9 percent to 37.80 at 10:03 am in New York
after declining as much as 4.4 percent, the most since November
2012. The Winston Salem-based lender was the worst performer in
the 24-company KBW Bank Index, which slid 0.8 percent.

First-quarter profit rose to $501 million, or 69 cents a
share, the bank said today in a statement, falling short of the
70-cent estimate of 32 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Revenue
slipped 6.7 percent to $2.3 billion as fees tied to home lending
declined.

“Consistent with industry trends, mortgage-banking income
declined as originations were down from last year’s record
levels,” Chief Executive Officer Kelly King said in the
statement. “Insurance revenues were very strong for the
quarter, credit results continued to improve and expenses were
down.”

BBamp;T joins other regional banks such as US Bancorp and
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. that have struggled to
increase revenue with interest rates near historic lows and
demand for US home loans declining.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at
edexheimer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Peter Eichenbaum at
peichenbaum@bloomberg.net
Steven Crabill, Dan Kraut

22 AprInstant Bad Credit Home Mortgage Refinance Now Offered by Trusting Lending …

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22 AprAre you financially ready to retire?

Millions and millions of Americans are moving closer to retirement each year, awaiting that joyous day when they can leave work behind and enjoy the carefree life. No time clock, no bosses and certainly a lot less stress.

At the same time, many on the cusp of retirement have no clear idea of where they stand financially #x96; or have done little to prepare for the next stage of their life.

#x93;Too many people turn age 62 or 65 and immediately retire without having any financial plan in place,#x94; says Sacramento certified financial planner Elfrena Foord. #x93;They just don#x92;t connect the dots and end up with money problems just a few short years into retirement.#x94;

She says that while retirement runs smoothly if you develop a long-term financial plan early in life, it#x92;s never too late to get started. #x93;We#x92;ve had clients come in our office at age 60 without any plan at all and if they have to work until they#x92;re 70, they do have 10 years to build their investment portfolio,#x94; she adds.

Rancho Cordova resident David A. Ivazian says the key for his family was to plan for retirement from the get-go. The former Air Force captain and ex-Aerojet employee had a simple plan to fund his retirement:

bull;#xA0;Never spend more than you make.

bull;#xA0;Save as much as you can, but if you get some extra money, it#x92;s OK to blow half as long as you save the other half.

bull;#xA0;When working, invest to the maximum allowed in your 401(k) and/or IRA.

bull;#xA0;Pay as little taxes as possible.

#x93;While some complain that you should be careful getting company stock, take advantage of such programs,#x94; he advises. #x93;Once you turn 55 you can take disbursements from IRAs without a penalty; however, you might have to pay a tax. That is why I use Turbo Tax the last week of December to know my exact tax status and how much I can withdraw from my IRA and still pay no taxes.#x94;

Ivazian#x92;s first rule of investing is to buy a home, but says not to think of it as an investment and never borrow against the equity you have in it. #x93;Pay (off) the mortgage as soon as possible,#x94; he advises.

Another key investment is education, he says, as in learning about stocks and bonds, which pays off over the years. Ivazian has learned to invest in high-grade stocks such as Disney, IBM and Boeing that provide more dividend income than savings accounts yield.

For Placerville resident Jon Bromenschenkel, planning was the key to his easing into retirement.

The former engineer says he #x93;learned early in life that the dream job could become a nightmare with the change of only one key manager, and I knew that there would be no pension for me so I had to create my own in order to not try and live on Social Security alone.#x94;

Fortunately, Bromenschenkel, now 70, says he had been investing since his 20s so when things turned from bad to worse, he left the workplace at age 61. And he#x92;s never looked back.

#x93;The best investments I made were the houses I bought to live in and the mutual funds I chose to own. The worst were the investments that so-called advisers got me into. Fortunately, I did not let any of them have all my eggs,#x94; he says. Now he acknowledges that he#x92;s #x93;found a couple of investment groups working for us that are actually fiscally responsible, but it took a lot of time for me to educate myself and I did have that luxury of time while working.#x94;

He also notes that #x93;advice from friends and relatives can be terrible because they haven#x92;t done due diligence.#x94; Hot stock tips from friends and neighbors rarely pay off, financial experts say.

But as Sacramento financial adviser Bob Dreizler notes, Bromenschenkel#x92;s success story isn#x92;t common enough.

When Dreizler meets with a new client, the first question is when can they retire.

#x93;I think the word #x91;comfortably#x92; is implied in this question and for some people, I tell them that they will need to keep working as long as they humanly can.

#x93;For others who have a big public pension or two coming in, plus Social Security and money in retirement account, I tell them not to get frivolous and not to worry too much,#x94; Dreizler says.

But most people fall somewhere in between, and their best strategy is to spend and invest intelligently, he adds.

#x93;There are so many factors that impact how long your money lasts during your retirement years: longevity, large medical or long-term care expenses, investment performance and inflation,#x94; he says.

#x93;In our perpetual microscopic interest-rate environment, it#x92;s hard to find safe investments that keep up with inflation. I think that you have to have a higher portion of your investments in stocks and diversified income-producing mutual funds than in bonds and CDs, but this scares most people.#x94;

Dreizler notes that those working longer have the opportunity to build up their retirement savings and can delay taking Social Security, thereby giving them a larger payout down the road.

#x93;I think the general rule is that you should wait as long as possible to start taking Social Security, particularly if you are in good health and don#x92;t really need the extra money yet. If you have serious health problems or are a whiz at managing money, you might want to start earlier.#x94;

Money manager Dan Seidman, who has offices in Sacramento and the greater Boston area, says that those building up their assets for retirement need to look at their complete financial picture.

He says the first step toward a safe financial retirement is to pay down your debts. #x93;You certainly don#x92;t want to have any credit card debt on the books and your car should be free and clear as well,#x94; Seidman says. #x93;In addition, in a perfect world, you#x92;d own your home outright or only have a few years left paying off the mortgage.#x94;

Financial planner Foord agrees and points out that while you may meet the goal of paying off your house, you#x92;ll need to have money set aside for repairs and updates. #x93;If you#x92;ve lived in that same house for 10 to 20 years, chances are you#x92;ll want to update the kitchen or put on a new roof and that can be costly so you#x92;ll need to have a cash account set up to handle such major expenses in retirement,#x94; she says.

Seidman says that in retirement, #x93;you are going to need personal savings, pension and Social Security. Some people won#x92;t get a pension so they#x92;ll either have to work longer, giving them more Social Security income, or invest better to achieve higher returns.#x94;

Or, he notes, they might have to use their home as part of their financial picture. #x93;By this I mean that they can downsize their home after the kids leave and/or move to a lower-cost area. If they do so, they#x92;ll likely have extra cash that they can either invest or use to pay their bills going forward.

#x93;An investor doesn#x92;t have to be aggressive if they have a long-term horizon. If you get a reasonable return, 6 percent to 8 percent over 30 years, and save regularly via a 401(k), IRA or ROTH IRA, a person should be in reasonable financial condition to retire.#x94;

On the flip side, he says #x93;you really cannot bulk up in five years if you have neglected the prior 20 to 25.#x94;

His advice for those five years from retirement?

Step one would be to focus on eliminating debt. Then you should maximize all retirement payments into your 401(k). #x93;Once that#x92;s done, start an IRA or Roth IRA. You are allowed to make extra payments after age 50 #x96; you can contribute $6,500 per year (to an IRA or Roth IRA) as opposed to $5,500 for those not yet 50.#x94;

Contrary to what many might think, #x93;your house would be the most likely place to look for extra cash in those last years,#x94; Seidman says. #x93;Can you go to a smaller place? Pay cash for that place, and then use the residual as personal savings. You get $250,000 as an individual or $500,000 as a couple in #x91;free appreciation#x92; before capital gains taxes are due,#x94; Seidman explains.

The new retirement for many likely involves part-time work and not a life of playing golf day after day. Or it also might mean serving on boards or volunteering, he adds.

Read more articles by Jack Sirard

21 AprValuation of Mariners continues to skyrocket while team’s payroll remains steady

Inside sports business

The enthusiasm that accompanies every young baseball season helped the Mariners attract some larger-than-usual crowds last week.

It was a welcomed reminder of what a filled Safeco Field feels like, given the team lately hasnt been much of a draw. Fan interest and trust had eroded amid slashed payrolls and losing seasons.

And yet, despite those struggles, the Mariners today find themselves in the best financial shape of their 37-year history.

Their value keeps growing, while revenue skyrockets from new local and national television deals. Even with long-term commitments of $240 million to Robinson Cano and $175 million to Felix Hernandez, the teams moneymaking shows no signs of slowing.

Given all that, its fair to ask whether the Mariners can afford a payroll much higher than their current $92 million.

Theyve cooled since a surprising start, which initially helped them avoid deeper scrutiny. Injuries and spending limits have created issues in the rotation, outfield, designated hitter and elsewhere that now are becoming more glaring.

Unlike the thriftier Oakland Athletics, the Mariners enjoy ballpark and television infrastructures similar to big-payroll division rivals like the $155-million-payroll Angels and $136 million Rangers. Despite prolonged losing, the Mariners likely doubled their franchise value the past five years and might already have joined baseballs billion-dollar clubs.

They just dont spend like them.

The Mariners growth coincides with a Major League Baseball revenue jump from $1 billion to $8 billion the past 20 years.

It initially came from new ballparks, like Safeco Field, where taxpayers funded most construction costs while teams kept most revenues. More recently, regional sports network (RSN) deals have given teams unprecedented local television rights fees for games where advertisers know viewers still would rather watch live instead of recording.

Some teams, like the Mariners, acquired their own RSN to directly pocket premium TV ad money and carriage fees. Their reported 71 percent acquisition of ROOT Sports NW last April also lets them potentially shield some TV income from MLB revenue sharing by declaring it part of a separate network business.

Forbes reported the deal at $2.5 billion over 18 years, saying the Mariners doubled previously estimated local TV rights fees to an average $103 million annually. New national TV deals also give each team approximately $25 million more annually, funding mega-contracts for Cano, Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, Prince Fielder and others.

Oh, yes, teams can afford them.

Even with Cano and Hernandez, Seattles payroll climbed only modestly from the $84 million of last year. Its less than they opened 2011 with and is dwarfed by their 2008 high of $117 million.

Its worth noting that, right after 2008, Forbes valued the Mariners at $426 million. But in its latest valuations last month, Forbes put them at $710 million.

The Mariners likely are worth even more, because yearly Forbes valuations dont include team-held RSN stakes like ROOT.

Bloomberg began its own team valuations last October and did include TV stakes. It valued the average team-held RSN stake at $360 million and not surprisingly listed 10 clubs worth $1 billion or more, compared to only five named by Forbes.

The Mariners have long dismissed such valuations as guesswork. But recent sales of the Dodgers, Astros and Padres suggest previous Forbes estimates actually undervalued teams a disparity Bloombergs new methodology attempts to address.

Bloomberg didnt include the Mariners as a billion-dollar team putting them at $720 million because calculations were based on figures from 2012, before the ROOT acquisition.

If the Mariners were to hit the open market, they could get a billion dollars, said Maury Brown, founder of the Portland-based Biz of Baseball website and a frequent Forbes contributor.

A $1 billion valuation would be tenfold the $100 million paid for the team in 1992 by current owners.

Besides the RSN stake, Brown says the Mariners boosted value by eliminating debt.

They let multiyear deals expire on Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Silva, Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista and Kenji Johjima, replacing them with cheaper prospects and journeymen. The Mariners kept losing, but spent less doing it and pared other debt in the process.

They also finalized their RSN deal, then waited for the cash to roll in.

From a flexibility standpoint, Brown said, the Mariners are in a financial position where if they have a need and free agency can fill that, there should be no limits on them.

As staggering as $415 million for Cano and Hernandez seems, its barely altered payroll dynamics.

Two seasons ago, the Mariners spent $47 million on franchise faces Hernandez and Ichiro and overpriced utility player Figgins. This season, theyll spend $49 million on Cano and Hernandez and utility man Willie Bloomquist.

In other words, theyve swapped a declining Ichiro for Cano, maintained talent levels at the other two spots and costs barely budged.

Bigger payrolls dont guarantee winning. But right now, Cano and Hernandez could use a deeper supporting cast. Over 162 games, quality depth can separate true contenders from sub-.500 teams.

This is, after all, a cash-drunk sport with only a vague notion of its financial ceiling. And these increasingly valuable Mariners, even with Cano and Hernandez, still cant spot their ceiling with a telescope.

Geoff Baker is a sports enterprise and investigative reporter who will write columns on the business of sports.

20 AprNew home sector seeing strong growth in Australia

lsquo;This strong growth in housing finance is consistent with other leading indicators of the residential construction sector, including dwelling approvals and new home sales. The owner occupier segment of new home lending is showing encouraging signs, said HIA economist Diwa Hopkins.

The data also shows that while the number of owner occupier loans for the construction of new dwellings increased, loans for the purchase of new dwellings declined by 5%. As a result the total number of new home loans to owner occupiers eased by 1% during the month.

Over the three months to February 2014 new home lending to owner occupiers still increased by 2.7% to a level that is 15.4% higher than 12 months previously.

Another strong result was the value of lending to investors for the purpose of constructing new dwellings for rent or resale. In the three months to February 2014, the value of this form of finance increased by 13.2%.

lsquo;The housing finance results auger well for much needed further growth in new home building. A sustained increase in new home building activity which provides Australia with an appropriate supply of housing is a necessary condition for addressing the persistent problems around housing affordability, explained Hopkins.

20 AprStrouse, Naughton debate

The two emphasized their biographies in trying to illustrate how theyd bring change to the district, while also discussing their policy priorities.

For Strouse, who has the backing of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, that meant playing up what he described as a problem-solving background developed during four tours overseas in the Army and eight years in the CIA. He also discussed the need to invest in infrastructure and education, raise the minimum wage, and said he supported the Affordable Care Act, even though he thought its roll-out was flawed.

I have shown Im willing to fight for principles, Strouse said Tuesday. And thats what Im going to fight for when I go down to Washington.

Naughton, whos been endorsed by the Democratic womens group EMILYs List, emphasized the skills shes gained leading her family publishing business for 10 years, while also playing up her college training in chemistry and the fact that she believes more women should be elected to Washington. She described the Affordable Care Act as a good first step, but said improvements can be made, without elaborating on specifics. She also pitched the idea of an Apollo-type program for energy innovation, hoping it spurred new, clean technology, and she said student loans for college should be more affordable.

I present a stark contrast to Mike Fitzpatricks politics as usual, Naughton said in her closing statement.

A handful of voters said after Tuesdays debate that they didnt find any statements from the event particularly surprising, but they appreciated the chance to see the candidates in person.

Another campaign item of note: the Naughton, Strouse, and and Fitzpatrics campaigns were due to submit campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission by Tuesday evening.

20 AprHome Lending Products Performing Well

Performance improved during the final three months of last year on bank-owned home lending products, though mobile home loans didnt fare so well.

The 30-day composite rate of delinquency on eight categories of consumer loans at banks as of Dec. 31, 2013, was down 4 basis points from the third quarter.

Consumer categories include home-equity products, property improvement loans and personal loans as well as bank cards and auto loans. Also considered are mobile home loans, RV loans and marine loans.