New week, new president. Today on the show we talked about the inauguration and how the stock market dived about 4 percent that day — the most on any inauguration day ever. Why? It had little to do with Barack Obama being inaugurated and a whole lot to do with the Royal Bank of Scotland’s numbers.
We didn’t get to it on the show, but this week is going to be interesting from a financial standpoint. The Federal Reserve’s Open Markets committee meets this week to consider what to do about the short-term federal funds rate. Given that the federal funds rate is already less than 1 percent, it will be interesting to see what the Federal Reserve will do.
We took some interesting calls on the show today:
Jacob owns 6 properties, including a primary home and a vacation residence. New rules from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have reduced how many total properties you can own to refinance with them from 10 to 4. He wanted to know how he can refinance and still hold onto his properties. There isn’t much help for folks like Jacob. If you are in this situation and have other options to suggest, please leave them here in a comment.
Oliver is looking to finance the purchase of a used car. His options: 9 percent on a $7,000 personal loan; 0 percent from a car dealer for the purchase of a much more expensive new car; 6 percent on a $13,000 loan. What should he do? I told him to check out a credit union for another quote.
Diane called about (www.ajc.com/services/content/business/stories/2009/01/09/sunshine.html) Sunshine Mortgage, which folded last week. At its height, Sunshine Mortgage had 19 offices in 8 states. They shut their doors overnight, after they couldn’t extend their line of credit or secure new financing. What should borrowers do? I suggested calling the Georgia Dept. of Banking and Finance (www.dbf.georgia.gov or 770-986-1633) for guidance. Kelly, a former employee, said there are a few people at the corporate HQ taking checks and that folks should send in their monthly payments. This could get confusing and we’ll try to find out additional information for you this week. Good news: Recent (www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/01/24/fidelity0124.html) news stories indicate at least some of the former Sunshine Mortgage employees in the Buckhead and Alpharetta area have been picked up by another mortgage company.
Adam called in about Streamline Modifications. He said that his lender won’t do it. I explained that the game has changed, and the words “streamline modification” or “streamline loan mods” are being reserved entirely for folks in trouble financially. Most lenders are not simply downgrading people’s interest rates on their loans. If I find out new information, I’ll let you know.
We’ll post the entire show so that you can listen to it online, as a podcast.
Oh, and by the way, we continue to offer the FREE BOOK DEAL: You can get free copies of my books, 50 Simple Steps You Can Take to Disaster Proof Your Finances or The REALLY Useful Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder. Go to the ThinkGlink.com store and place your order. If you want more than 20 books, email [email protected] for details.
Jan. 25, 2009.