October 27, 2019

Nearly 8 million homeowners could benefit from a mortgage refi

Does a refinance make sense for you? A new report suggests it could be the right move for millions. But to properly answer the question "should I refinance?", it's smart to do the math, assess your finances, and shop around for the best mortgage interest rates.

A recent report by Black Knight had some interesting findings. It calculated that, in July 2019, an average of nearly 8 million homeowners could have qualified for and benefited from a refi. (That's assuming a 30-day window from application to closing.) That's a 10% rise from the June number of homeowners who could have qualified and benefited.

Learn more by reading my newest story published by HSH.com, available here.

October 15, 2019

Believe it or not, Ripley's first film is 40 years old

For Cineversary podcast episode #16, host Erik Martin is joined by not one but two great guests: Mike Muncer, the UK-based film journalist, producer, and host of the Evolution of Horror podcast, as well as Andrea Subissati, the Toronto-based executive editor of Rue Morgue magazine and co-host of the long-running Faculty of Horror podcast. Together, they honor the 40th anniversary of "Alien" and examine why this horror/sci-fi classic is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

To listen to this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

October 13, 2019

Still on the fence about renting vs. owning? The former is getting more expensive

It’s an age-old question that gets asked time and again by folks on the fence: Is it better to buy a home or rent? The answer, of course, has always depended on personal circumstances and market conditions.

But lately, many experts say the verdict is becoming more evident. That’s because rent prices are through the roof in many metros. In fact, rent values have risen for nine straight months and are up year-over-year in 49 of the country’s top 50 markets, per the most recent Zillow Real Estate Market Report issued at the time of this writing. Looking closer, the median U.S. rent increased 3% on an annual basis to $1,483 a month. Compare that to about $1,372—the national average paid monthly for mortgage principal and interest plus taxes and insurance, according to an HSH.com report issued in May.

In my latest article for CTW Features, I explore this topic in greater detail. Check out its publication in the Kansas City Star here.

October 6, 2019

What's your biggest spending regret?

Life sometimes comes with regrets. Maybe it was not pursuing a desired career path. Or staying too long in a doomed relationship. But often, it's buyer's remorse that sticks out: the shame, frustration or distress felt after purchasing something you wish you hadn't. That begs the question: What's your biggest spending mistake?

New research suggests that many people rue the day they forked over major funds for big and small items alike. Learning which kinds of purchases lead more often to regret and what to consider carefully before investing in certain items can help prevent financial guilt. Check out my latest AmOne.com article on this topic, available here:

October 1, 2019

Brew coup

It has long been known that coffee is our country’s favorite beverage, with 63 percent of Americans consuming it daily, per National Coffee Association data. But despite the popularity of joe bought at fast food restaurants, eight in 10 still drink coffee prepared at home—courtesy of a coffee-making appliance.

But not all java machines are alike, and some make coffee better or more conveniently than others. Which begs two questions: Does your kitchen countertop lack a worthy contraption? And are you tired of throwing money away at the coffeehouse or donut shop? If the answer is yes, there are plenty of quality coffee makers on the market to choose from today.

For guidance, read my newest article (available here) for The Costco Connection on this topic, published in the October issue.