Monday, 08 July 2013 13:51

Debt Settlement and Mortgage Terms

Written by  Dave Ramsey
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Q.  I’m working on my debt snowball, and I’m trying to settle with a pushy collector. I don’t have the $9,000 I owe, but I have $3,000 I’d like to offer as a settlement. Recently the collector has started asking for a lot of information I don’t feel comfortable providing. What should I do?

 

A.  Lots of times in these kinds of situations collectors are trying to gather up as much information as possible in order to sue you. Even if that’s not the case here, there’s no reason for you to be supplying them with a bunch of extra info. Just offer them the $3,000, and make it clear that your financial coach—which is me—told you not to answer any more of their nosy questions.

 

Make sure they understand that your offer of $3,000 stands as a settlement of the debt today. If they’re willing to accept the offer, get a statement in writing saying that the $3,000 represents payment in full before you cut the check. If they choose not to accept your offer, and they keep asking questions that are none of their business, just tell them to call back when they’re willing to discuss terms. Then, hang up!

 

 

Q.  My son has a $115,000 mortgage at 5.8 percent. He also has a home equity line of credit of $40,000 at 9 percent. Currently, he can get a 30-year loan at 3.5 percent, or a 15-year note at 2.75 percent. His take-home pay is between $70,000 and $80,000 a year, and these are his only debts. Should he combine the mortgages into one loan?

 

A.  First, I only recommend mortgages of 15 years or less. Now we’re looking at a 2.75 percent loan versus a 5.8 percent loan versus a 9 percent loan. I advise people to put home equity loans under Baby Step 2 of my plan, which is pay off all debt except for the house, provided that the loan is less than half of your annual income. Based on the income figures you gave, this situation is kind of on the bubble.

 

If I were in your son’s shoes, I’d probably combine the two loans and refinance. I’d go for a new $155,000 fixed-rate mortgage at 2.75 percent, with no balloons and no calls. This kid can live a good life and get the mortgage paid off pretty quickly with the kind of money he’s making.

 

But if it’s me, I’m getting as short a term as possible on a refinance—maybe even a 10-year note instead of 15 years. Just imagine him getting all this knocked out and still having the majority of his life ahead of him. That’s financial peace!

 

 

Q.  Is it ever too late to get life insurance?

 

A.  The only time it’s really too late to get life insurance is after you’re dead! But seriously, if you’re older than 70 it becomes pretty difficult to get affordable coverage, because insurance companies figure you’ve pretty much got one foot in the grave already at that point.

 

You can get term life insurance pretty easily up until about age 70, and there are a few policies available past that point, depending on your health situation. But you really shouldn’t need life insurance when you’re that age and older. Hopefully, you’ve invested, saved, and set aside enough money to pay burial expenses and for a spouse—if you have one—to live on after you’re gone.

 

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 08 July 2013 14:02
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