Today on the Ilyce Glink Show, we discussed refinancing your mortgage, and how in my mind, a successful refinancing focuses on the refinancing trifecta:

1. Can you shorten the length of your mortgage term? Can you cut the term of the loan from 30 years to 15 years? Or, can you go from a 25-year mortgage to a 20-year term?

2. Can you lower your monthly payment? If you can lower your monthly payment without taking on a longer mortgage term, you’ll be doing well.

3. Can you lower your interest rate? Although most folks focus on whether they can lower their mortage interest rates – as if they’re winning some sort of water cooler contest – this is really the last thing you should focus on. Because if you can shorten the length of your loan, and lower your monthly payment, it’s almost certain that you’ve lowered your interest rate.

Mike has a 30-year loan and has been paying $100 extra each month for five years. He wants to know how much more he has to pay to shorten the loan to 15 years. Some software that can help you figure this out is from Marc Eisenson, whose book and software package, “The Banker’s Secret,” are very helpful. The book and software are $39. I’ll see if I can find an online version that will be almost as good as this.

If you’re interested in the Cash for Clunkers program, here are some helpful websites:

Read the Cash for Clunkers Bill
Find your car’s official fuel mileage
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration – NHTSA – is responsible for administrating the program. Look for rules to be published later this month or after July 1, 2009.

Fast FAQs:

The Cash for Clunkers is only good for used cars that you have owned for at least a year that are not more than 25 years old.
If your car can be traded in for more than $4,500, you do not qualify.
The program won’t start until July 1, 2009 and runs through November 1, 2009 only.
The program only applies when you trade in your old car for a brand new car.
Whether you get $3,500 or $4,500 depends on how much higher fuel mileage you get with the new car vs. your old car.