Is a Warehouse Store (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s) Membership Worth It? – Costs, Pros & Cons

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Smart-shopping blogs and magazines teem with stories about the great deals you can get at warehouse stores. Shopping experts say joining a warehouse club can save you money on nearly everything — groceries, tires, even vacations. 

But there’s one obvious snag. Before you can fill up your cart with these bargains, you have to pay an annual fee of around $50 just to get in the door. How can you tell if your annual savings will be enough to offset this membership fee? 

To answer that question, you need to delve into the murky depths of warehouse store shopping. That means getting the details on how warehouse clubs work, what they cost, and how good the prices are on the items you buy most.

How Warehouse Stores Work

Warehouse stores use a different pricing model from other retail stores. Regular retailers, such as Walmart, make their money from the markup they charge. That’s the difference between the wholesale price they pay to their suppliers and the retail price they charge to customers.

According to Entrepreneur, the markup at a typical retail store is around 50%. In other words, the price you pay is twice what the store paid.

By contrast, warehouse stores charge a much lower markup. For instance, Costco’s markup is only 14% to 15%, according to Forbes. They make up for the lost profits by charging a fixed yearly fee to each customer. 

That’s why these stores sometimes refer to themselves as buying clubs. You pay upfront to become a member, and in return, you get to buy products at rock-bottom prices. In addition, you gain access to various other special deals on everything from health care to travel.

Top Warehouse Store Chains

There are three major warehouse chains in the United States. The biggest is Sam’s Club. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, started this store in 1983 as a supplier for small businesses.

Today, Sam’s Club is a nationwide chain with nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and millions of members. Its products range from groceries and office supplies to big-ticket items like jewelry and furniture.

The closest competitor to Sam’s Club is Costco. This chain started in Seattle in 1983. Ten years later, it merged with another club store called Price Club, which had been catering to business owners since 1976. 

Today, Costco boasts over 100 million members and has hundreds of stores stretching across the United States and beyond. The chain sets itself apart from other warehouse stores with its focus on high-end goods, such as organic food and designer jeans.

The third major chain is BJ’s Wholesale Club. BJ’s is a smaller chain than its competitors, with 200-plus stores in the eastern U.S., Michigan, and Ohio. But like Sam’s Club and Costco, it offers a wide range of goods and services, from groceries to vacation packages.

Warehouse Stores Work

People who love warehouse stores really love them. Forbes reports that Costco members are extremely loyal, with more than 9 out of 10 choosing to renew their membership each year.

And they have many good reasons to feel this way. Warehouse stores offer a plethora of benefits, including the following:

1. Low Prices — At Least on Certain Items

The main reason shoppers love warehouse stores is their low prices. Independent studies have found that warehouse clubs really do offer great bargains in certain areas, such as:

  • Groceries. In 2018, Consumers’ Checkbook went grocery shopping at warehouse clubs and supermarkets. It found that prices at both Sam’s Club and Costco beat major supermarket chains by 17% to 41%. (However, BJ’s prices failed to beat Walmart’s.)
  • Gasoline. A 2020 analysis by CSP compared prices across gas stations around the country. Costco was the winner, beating the national average price by nearly $0.25 per gallon.
  • Prescription Drugs. In 2018, Consumer Reports checked retail prices on five drugs at over 150 U.S. pharmacies. The complete set cost over $900 at CVS, but only $153 at Sam’s Club and $105 at Costco. And some generic drugs at Sam’s Club are only $4.
  • Car Tires. In a 2021 analysis by Clark Howard, Sam’s Club was second only to Walmart for the lowest average price on car tires. All three warehouse clubs were in the top six.
  • Booze. According to Spoon University, Costco offers the lowest unit prices on all types of alcohol. For those willing to buy in bulk, the club charges significantly less for Skyy vodka and Blue Moon beer than other retailers.
  • Pet Food. In a 2019 analysis of name-brand pet food prices by Consumers’ Checkbook, Sam’s Club and BJ’s topped the list for lowest average prices. (Costco, which mainly sells its own Kirkland Signature brand, was not covered.)

2. Access to Services

When you join a warehouse club, you don’t just get access to its products. These stores also offer a variety of services exclusively for members.

For instance, a Costco membership gives you access to Costco’s car-buying service. It provides haggle-free low prices on new and used cars and RVs from approved dealers. It also gives you 15% off car parts and services from participating providers.

Costco members can also save on vacations with Costco Travel. It provides special deals on airfare, hotels, auto rentals, cruises, and travel packages. The store also offers photo printing, banking services, insurance, home renovation, eye care, and bottled water delivery.

Other warehouse clubs offer a similar menu of services. Sam’s Club doesn’t provide banking or insurance services, but it gives members discounts on concert and theater tickets, theme parks, and attractions. 

Sam’s Club also offers discounts on various subscription services. Members can get lower prices on music streaming, video streaming, educational apps for kids, and fitness apps.

Likewise, BJ’s offers travel, vision care, home improvement, and photo services for members. One special perk it provides is free technical support for all its electronics.

3. High-Quality Store Brands

Shoppers are impressed with the quality of warehouse stores’ house brands — especially at Costco. In a 2019 Consumer Reports survey, Costco was one of only three out of 96 grocery chains to earn top marks for the quality of its store brands. 

The magazine’s editors get more specific in a 2017 article. They call several Kirkland products  as good as or better than name-brand competitors. These include laundry and dishwasher detergent, batteries, toilet paper, bacon, mayonnaise, and organic chicken stock. 

Another product that gets high marks from reviewers is Kirkland Signature dog food. According to DogFood.Guide, this brand has “surprisingly high quality” for a store brand. It’s made by Diamond Pet Foods, a leading manufacturer of high-end foods like Taste of the Wild.

Both Kirkland and Member’s Mark, the house brand from Sam’s Club, get good reviews for some wines and liquors. The Beverage Tasting Institute gives ratings of at least 90 points out of 100 to several Kirkland wines and to Member’s Mark tequila, vodka, and gin.

4. One-Stop Shopping

Warehouse stores allow you to condense many errands into one. You can pick up your glasses, shop for shoes, get new tires, book a vacation, and buy groceries all in one trip.

5. Free Samples

On weekends, shoppers at warehouse stores can stroll through the aisles noshing on samples of assorted food items. Naturally, the stores hope that trying the products will inspire you to buy them, but there’s no obligation. You’re perfectly free to chow down and walk away.

6. A Pleasant Shopping Experience

On the whole, warehouse club members are satisfied shoppers. In a survey by Consumer Reports, Costco shoppers reported being more satisfied with their experience than shoppers at nine other major retail chains. 

A 2021 report by the American Customer Service Index found similar results. Costco topped a list of 20 retailers, with 81% customer satisfaction. Sam’s Club and BJ’s came in a bit lower down the rankings, with a respectable 79% and 77% respectively.

7. Good Returns Policies

One likely reason why warehouse store shoppers are so satisfied is that if they’re ever unhappy with a purchase, it’s easy to return. Both Costco and Sam’s Club offer an absolute 100% money-back guarantee on virtually everything they sell.

If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can return it with your receipt at any time. One exception is electronic items, which can’t be returned after 90 days. BJ’s policy is a bit more restrictive, allowing returns only up to one year.

Costco Warehouse Good Returns Policies

Although warehouse stores have undeniable benefits, they have their drawbacks too. Here are a few good reasons not to do your shopping at a warehouse store:

1. Membership Fees

The most obvious downside of warehouse club membership is the membership cost. The standard annual membership fee for a household or a business is $45 per year at Sam’s Club, $55 per year at BJ’s, and $60 per year at Costco. 

In addition, all three of the major warehouse chains offer higher-tier memberships. They’re called Executive Membership at Costco, Plus at Sam’s Club, and Perks Rewards at BJ’s.

These tiers cost roughly twice as much as a regular club membership. In exchange, they give you 2% back on nearly everything in the store. That means you have to spend between $2,750 and $3,000 per year before the higher-level membership will pay for itself.

2. Oversized Packages and Quantities

Warehouse stores are known for their jumbo-size packages. Buying in bulk to save money makes perfect sense with nonperishable goods, such as soap or paper towels. You can safely stock up on these bulk items as long as you have the space to store them. 

However, bulk buying can be a problem with products that don’t keep well. A five-pound bag of shredded cheese is no bargain unless you can (and actually want to) eat that much cheese before it goes bad.

3. Limited Selection

Warehouse clubs are good for grocery shopping, but you can’t always buy everything on your shopping list there. In the 2018 Consumers’ Checkbook study, the three warehouse stores only carried about half the items in a standard basket of groceries.

BJ’s was the best of the lot, with about 57% of the items available. Sam’s Club had 52% of them, and Costco had only 44%. Moreover, most of the items at all three stores were only available in bulk containers, not standard sizes.

4. Impulse Buys

Warehouse stores are huge and crammed with an incredible variety of goods. Even if all you need is cereal, milk, and toothpaste, you’ll probably have to walk past jewelry, clothes, and toys to get to those three staples. 

This makes it very easy to fall victim to the temptation of impulse buys. You could easily go in with your three-item shopping list and walk out with a whole cart full of unplanned purchases. Worse, some of these could be big-ticket items like a TV set.

5. Restrictions on Coupons

If you’re in the habit of using coupons to save money on groceries, the warehouse store isn’t the place to do it. Neither Costco nor Sam’s Club accepts manufacturer’s coupons at all. BJ’s takes them, but it only accepts select coupons in digital form.

5. Deals That Aren’t So Great

With such a vast assortment of goods gathered together in one store, warehouse stores seem ideal for one-stop shopping. However, if you buy everything on your list there, you’ll probably spend more than you need to.

My local Costco has great prices on a few staple foods, such as nuts. But its fresh foods, such as produce and eggs, are nearly always more expensive than the ones at nearby supermarkets.

Even paper goods like paper towels and toilet paper aren’t such great deals. Two dozen rolls of toilet paper at Costco cost more per roll than one dozen of the store brand from Trader Joe’s.

Warehouse stores also tempt buyers with big-ticket items like appliances, furniture, and electronics. But these products are almost never bargains. 

For instance, the current Costco savings brochure advertises LED TV sets for $700 to $3,000. But the top-rated LED TV in the same size range at Best Buy costs just $600. And a laptop Costco advertises for $700 is similar to one Lenovo sells for $565.

Deals That Arent Great

Deciding Whether It’s Worth It

The best way to figure out whether a warehouse club membership is worth it for you is to check it out in person. Scout up and down the aisles, check prices on the items you buy regularly, and  compare them to the prices at your local supermarket.

There’s just one problem with this plan. Most warehouse stores won’t even let you in the door to check prices without a membership card. One way to get around this problem is to ask a friend who’s a member to let you tag along on their next trip. 

Also, nonmembers are allowed to shop at Costco with a store gift card. However, only Costco members can buy these cards. To get around that rule, ask a friend to buy one for you or buy one secondhand through a gift card exchange site.

Two Real-Life Examples

Back in 2006, my husband and I took advantage of a free day pass to check out the prices at our local BJ’s Wholesale Club. We found that for most items we buy, BJ’s didn’t have lower prices than other stores. 

For instance, the $18 DVDs and $700 laptops in the electronics section couldn’t beat online deals. A 12-pound bag of baking soda cost more per pound than a supermarket store brand. And 24-roll packs of toilet paper cost nearly twice what we paid per roll at Trader Joe’s.

We still found good deals on a few items, like cereal, rice, and chocolate chips. But crunching the numbers, we found that we wouldn’t save enough on these items in a year to pay for the club membership.

But in 2017, we decided to give Costco a try. My husband needed new glasses, and we found the savings on those would more than pay for the $60 membership cost. 

Once we were inside the store, we started finding deals on all sorts of other things we buy regularly. Organic sugar, raisins, nuts, oatmeal, milk, and olive oil were all cheaper at Costco than at local supermarkets.

Here’s a sample of our savings from a single Costco trip. For each item, I’ve listed the amount we bought, the price, and what the same amount would have cost at the next cheapest store.

Product Costco Price Competitor’s Price Savings

Raisin Bran (14.34 pounds) $21.87 $24.38 (Aldi) $2.51

Brussels Sprouts (2 pounds) $4.99 $4.99 (Trader Joe’s) $0

Clementines (5 pounds) $5.49 $5.49 (supermarket sale) $0

Birdseed (80 pounds) $27.98 $31.96 (Lowe’s) $3.98

Organic Raisins (4 pounds) $10.79 $11.96 (Trader Joe’s) $1.17

Walnuts (3 pounds) $10.89 $14.97 (Aldi) $4.08

Canola Oil (6 quarts) $7.69 $9.00 (Shop-Rite) $1.31

Organic Sugar (10 pounds) $7.99 $17.45 (Trader Joe’s) $9.46 (less packaging waste as well)

On this one trip, we saved a total of $22.51 on a bill of $99.54. That means we saved about 22% off our entire bill. According to our credit card statement, we spent a total of $723.50 at Costco in 2018. If we saved 22% on everything we bought there, that’s a savings of $159.17.

In addition, by becoming members, we qualified for a Costco credit card. It offered 4% cash back on gas, 3% on restaurants and travel, and 2% on everything at Costco. Those rewards save us another $34 per year or so.

So, all told, our Costco membership is saving us over $193 per year. That’s more than three times the cost of the membership card. 

Factors That Affect Your Choice

As you can see from our experience, warehouse stores aren’t all the same. BJ’s Wholesale Club definitely wasn’t a money-saver for us, but Costco definitely was.

However, what works for our family isn’t necessarily what will work for yours. It depends largely on what you buy and how much you pay for it.

Based on our experience, these are the factors most likely to make a warehouse club membership a good deal for you.

Bulk Buying

On our initial trip to BJ’s, we had to pass up a lot of deals because the containers were too big. A 30-pound sack of rice cost less per pound than a 10-pound bag, but it would have taken us years to go through it all.

However, if you have a large family or a small business, you probably go through supplies faster. That makes these jumbo-sized packages a more reasonable deal for you. All you need is enough storage space to hold them and keep them fresh.

Brand Loyalty

My husband and I usually prefer to buy store brands rather than name brands. For most products, we find their quality is just as good and their price is much lower. Most of the products we buy at Costco are the ones that come in the Kirkland store brand. 

That’s one reason we didn’t have much luck at BJ’s on our first trip. Most of its products, at least at the time, were name brands. The store’s price for Star-Kist tuna was cheaper than the price for Star-Kist at our local Stop & Shop, but no cheaper than the Stop & Shop store brand.

However, many people are loyal to specific brands. For instance, your family may insist on Heinz ketchup or Downy fabric softener. If so, there’s a good chance that a warehouse store can offer you a better price on it than your regular supermarket. 

But before you sign up for a membership, make sure the warehouse store actually stocks the specific brands you want. If you shelled out $50 for a membership card and then find out the store doesn’t carry Heinz ketchup, you’re out of luck.

Few Local Supermarkets

Nearly all our food savings from Costco come from just a few items. On most foods, especially fresh foods, the warehouse can’t beat the prices at our area supermarkets. Even if their regular prices are higher than Costco’s, we can always wait for a sale.

However, in some areas — especially rural areas — there are no big supermarkets. The main food sellers are local grocery stores and convenience stores with high prices and few great sales. If you live in an area like this, the regular prices at warehouse stores look a lot more appealing. 

A Convenient Location

Finally, location matters. If the nearest warehouse store is 50 miles away, it isn’t practical to shop there more than once or twice per year. That hardly gives you a chance to get your money’s worth out of your membership. Plus, the cost of gas will eat into your savings. 

But if the distance to the store is less than 10 miles, regular trips become practical. You can visit every few weeks to stock up on everything you need. 

Factors Affect Choice

Avoiding the Pitfalls

If you decide to invest in a warehouse club membership — or you already have one — use it wisely. To get the most for your money, maximize the benefits of warehouse shopping and minimize the drawbacks.

Don’t Give In to Temptation

Impulse buys are one of the biggest hazards of the warehouse store. This can happen at the supermarket too, but Costco and Sam’s Club have a much wider array of shiny toys to tempt you. 

However, you can avoid them the same way you would in any other store. Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you see something that looks irresistible, don’t stick it right in your cart. Instead,  jot down the item and the price and walk away. 

The next day, take another look at your note. If you still want the item, you can go back to the store and get it. But chances are, by the time you’ve had 24 hours to cool off, the new toy will have lost a lot of its appeal.

Check Unit Prices

Warehouse stores don’t always beat the supermarket on price. However, comparing prices is tricky because the containers at the warehouse store tend to be so much larger. 

To be sure you’re getting a good deal, compare unit prices. That’s the cost per ounce, quart, or whatever unit the product is measured in. 

Some stores have the unit prices of different products marked on the shelf. However, if your warehouse store doesn’t, it’s easy to calculate. Just whip out your phone and divide the total price by the container size. 

Then compare this number to the price you’re used to paying at your regular store. It helps to keep a grocery price book that lists each store’s unit prices for items you buy often. That way you don’t have to try to remember one number while staring at another.

Don’t Overbuy

When you compare unit prices, the biggest container often looks like the best deal. However, a five-gallon tub of mayonnaise is no bargain if it goes bad before you use it up. 

If you’re buying something with an unlimited shelf life, such as shampoo, then buying by the case is no problem. But when you’re shopping in the food department, try to be realistic. Go for a size you can handle, even if the unit price is a bit higher.

Focus on the Best Deals

It’s tempting to take advantage of the warehouse’s store’s variety and do all your shopping in one trip. But if you do this, you’re almost sure to overpay for something. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on the items that are great deals at your particular store. 

This goes double when you’re shopping for a big-ticket item, such as jewelry or electronics. Don’t assume the warehouse store’s prices are lowest. Take the time to shop around and look for the best deal.

Focus Best Deals

Final Word

A single visit may not be enough to figure out whether a warehouse club membership is a good deal for you. If you’re still on the fence, try signing up on a trial basis. 

From time to time, BJ’s Wholesale Club offers a free 90-day membership to give shoppers a chance to get to know the store. Keep your eyes out for these offers in your mailbox and in coupon circulars.

If you don’t want to wait, try BJ’s discounted membership offer. It gives you all the benefits of membership for $25 — less than half the regular price. It’s not free, but it’s a chance to try the store without risking the full $55.

Moreover, all three warehouse chains — BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club — promise a full refund of your membership fees at any time if you’re not satisfied. You can give any of these stores a try for a month or two, then cancel if you decide it’s not for you.

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Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, “And from that you make a living?” She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

Source: moneycrashers.com

5 Mortgage REITs for Yield-Hungry Investors

In the search for rich dividend yields, mortgage REITs (mREITs) are in a class all their own. 

These are companies are structured as real estate investment trusts (REITs), but they own interest-bearing assets like mortgages and mortgage-backed securities rather than physical real estate.

One of the biggest reasons to own mortgage REITs is their exceptional yields, currently averaging around 8% to 9%, according to Nareit – the leading global producer on REIT investment research – more than four times the yield available on the S&P 500. These outsized yields are enticing, but investors should approach these stocks with caution and hold them only as one part of a larger, more diversified portfolio. 

One reason for this is their sensitivity to changes in interest rates. When interest rates rise, mortgage REIT earnings generally decline. The Federal Reserve is signaling plans for multiple rate hikes in 2022 that could create headwinds for these stocks.   

And increasing interest rates hurt mREITs because these businesses borrow money to fund their operations. Their borrowing costs rise with interest rates, but the interest payments they collect from mortgages remain the same, causing profit margins to compress. Some of this risk can be managed with hedging tools, but mortgage REITs can’t eliminate interest-rate risk altogether.  

Another caveat is that mortgage REITs frequently cut dividends when times are tough. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 30 of this sector’s 40 companies either cut or suspended dividends. On the flip side, dividends were quickly restored in 2021, with 20 mREITs raising dividends.

We searched the mortgage REIT universe for stocks whose dividends appear safe this year.

Read on as we explore five of the best mREITs for 2022. A few of these REITs are reducing interest-rate risk via acquisitions or an unusual lending focus, while others have strong balance sheets or outstanding track records for raising dividends. And all of them offer exceptional yields for investors.

Data is as of Jan. 12. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price. Stocks are listed in order of lowest to highest dividend yield.

1 of 5

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital

green investing conceptgreen investing concept
  • Market value: $4.1 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.9%

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (HASI, $48.56) is a bit of an oddball for a mortgage REIT in that it specializes in clean energy and infrastructure rather than pure real estate. Specifically, the real estate investment trust invests in wind, solar, storage, energy efficiency and environmental remediation projects – making it not only one of the best mREITs, but also one of the best green energy stocks to own.

Its loan portfolio encompasses 260 projects and is valued at $3.2 billion. In addition to its own loans, Hannon Armstrong manages roughly $8 billion of other assets, mainly for public sector clients.   

This mREIT boasts a $3 billion pipeline and is ideally positioned to capture some portion of the spending from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was passed by Congress in late 2021.  

Over the last three years, Hannon Armstrong has generated 7% annual earnings per share (EPS) gains and 1% yearly dividend growth. Over the next three years, HASI is targeting accelerated gains of 7% to 10% yearly earnings per share growth and 3% to 5% in dividend hikes. Future earnings growth should be enhanced by the firm’s prudent 1.6 times debt-to-equity ratio.

Hannon Armstrong produced exceptional September-quarter results, showing 45% year-over-year loan portfolio growth and a 14% increase in distributable earnings per share. 

Analysts expect earnings of $1.83 per share this year and $1.91 per share next year – more than enough to cover the REIT’s $1.40 per share annual dividend.

HASI is well-liked by Wall Street analysts, with five of the six that are tracking the stock calling it a Buy or Strong Buy. 

2 of 5

Starwood Property Trust

little red house surrounded by little white houseslittle red house surrounded by little white houses
  • Market value: $7.7 billion
  • Dividend yield: 7.6%

Starwood Property Trust (STWD, $25.44) has a $21 billion loan portfolio, making it the largest mortgage REIT in the U.S. The company is affiliated with Starwood Capital Group, one of the world’s biggest private investment firms. 

STWD is considered a mortgage real estate investment trust, but it operates more like a hybrid by owning physical properties as well as mortgages and real estate securities. Its portfolio comprises 61% commercial loans, but the REIT also has sizable footholds in residential loans (11%), properties (12%) and infrastructure lending (9%), a relatively new focus for the company.

The mREIT benefits from access to the databases of Starwood Capital Group, which makes over $100 billion in real estate transactions annually and has a portfolio consisting of 96% floating-rate debt. This high percentage of floating-rate debt and unusually short loan durations – averaging just 3.3 years – minimizes Starwood’s risk from rising interest rates. 

STWD is also one of the nation’s largest servicers of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans; sizable, reliable loan servicing fees help mitigate risk if loan credit quality deteriorates.

Starwood Property Trust closed $3.8 billion of new loans during the September quarter and generated distributable earnings of 52 cents per share – up sequentially from June and slightly above analysts’ consensus estimate. After the September quarter closed, the mREIT booked a huge $1.1 billion gain on the sale of a 20% stake in an affordable housing real estate portfolio.   

The company has made 12 consecutive years of quarterly dividend payments, and unlike many other mortgage REITs, held its ground in 2020 by maintaining an unchanged dividend.

Of the seven Wall Street pros following STWD, one says it’s a Strong Buy, five call it a Buy and just one says Hold. Adding fuel to the bullish fire, CNBC analyst Jon Najarian recently tapped Starwood as one of his top stocks to watch, given its impressive 7.6% dividend yield.

3 of 5

Arbor Realty Trust

mortgage-backed securities conceptmortgage-backed securities concept
  • Market value: $2.8 billion
  • Dividend yield: 7.7%

Arbor Realty Trust (ABR, $18.70) stands out as one of the best mREITS given its six straight quarters of dividend hikes and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 18% for dividend growth over the past five years. 

What’s more, Arbor Realty Trust has delivered 10 straight years of dividend growth while maintaining the industry’s lowest dividend payout rate.

This mortgage REIT is able to steadily grow dividends thanks to the diversity of its operating platform, which generates income from agency and non-agency loans, physical real estate (including rentals) and servicing fees.

Agency loan originations and the servicing portfolio have grown at a 16% CAGR over five years. And during the first nine months of 2021, Arbor Realty Trust set a new record with balance sheet loan originations, coming in at $7.2 billion – 2.5 times its previous record. Loan volume rose 45% over its previous record to total $13.2 billion over the nine-month period.

While September EPS declined year-over-year due to a reduced contribution from equity affiliates, earnings for the first nine months of the year were up 164% from the year prior to $1.56 per share.

Arbor Realty Trust earns Buy ratings from two of the three Wall Street analysts following the stock, and Zacks Research recently named ABR one of its top income picks for 2022. 

Valued at only 10 times forward earnings – which is 15.4% below industry peers – ABR shares appear bargain-priced at the moment.   

4 of 5

MFA Financial

person looking for business loan on laptopperson looking for business loan on laptop
  • Market value: $2.1 billion
  • Dividend yield: 8.2%

MFA Financial (MFA, $4.68) just closed an impactful acquisition that reduces its exposure to interest-rate changes and accelerates loan growth. This REIT was already hedging its bets by investing in both agency and non-agency mortgage securities. 

Agency securities are guaranteed by the U.S. government and tend to be safer, lower-yielding and more sensitive to interest rates than non-agency securities. By combining these in one portfolio, MFA Financial generates nice returns while reducing the impact of changes in interest rates and prepayments on the portfolio. 

Through the July acquisition of Lima One, MFA Financial becomes a major player in business purpose lending (BPL), an attractive niche comprised of fix-and-flip, construction, multi-family and single-family rental loans. 

An aging U.S. housing stock is creating demand for real estate renovations and causing BPL to soar. BPL loans are good quality and high-yielding, but difficult to source in the marketplace. With the purchase of Lima One, MFA Financial gains a $1.1 billion BPL loan-servicing portfolio and an established national franchise for originating these types of loans. 

Lima One’s impact was apparent in MFA Financial’s September-quarter results. The REIT originated $2.0 billion of loans, the highest quarterly total on record, and grew its portfolio by $1.5 billion after runoff. 

Net interest income increased 15% on a sequential basis, and gains recorded on the Lima One purchase contributed 10 cents to the mREIT’s earnings of 28 cents per share. MFA Financial also took advantage of the strong housing market to sell 151 properties, booking a $7.3 million gain on the sale. MFA’s book value – the difference between the total value of a company’s assets and its outstanding liabilities – rose 4% sequentially to $4.82 per share, a modest 3% premium to its current share price.

Raymond James analyst Stephen Laws upgraded MFA to Outperform from Market Perform – the equivalents of Buy and Hold, respectively – in December. He thinks the Lima One acquisition will accelerate loan growth and reduce the mortgage REIT’s borrowing costs.

MFA Financial has a 22-year track record of paying dividends. While payments were reduced in 2020, the REIT recently signaled improving prospects with a 10% dividend hike in late 2021.

5 of 5

Broadmark Realty Capital

real estate contract with keys and penreal estate contract with keys and pen
  • Market value: $1.3 billion
  • Dividend yield: 8.6%

Broadmark Realty Capital (BRMK, $9.77) is unusual for its zero-debt balance sheet, robust loan origination volume and sizable monthly dividends. This mortgage REIT provides short to mid-term loans for commercial construction and real estate development that are less interest-rate sensitive. As such, BRMK is a solid play on America’s housing boom.  

Lending activities focus on states with favorable demographics and lending laws. Plus, 60% of its business comes from repeat customers, ensuring low loan acquisition costs.

Broadmark Realty Capital achieved record loan origination volume of $337 million during the September quarter, roughly twice prior-year levels and up 68% sequentially. The overall portfolio grew to $1.5 billion. Broadmark Realty Capital also originated its first loans in Nevada and Minnesota, with expansion into additional states planned during the December quarter. 

Despite rising revenues and distributable EPS, Broadmark Realty’s results came in slightly below analyst estimates and its share price declined in reaction. However, this price slip may present an opportunity to pick up one of the best mREITs at a discount. At present, BRMK shares trade at just 12.7 times forward earnings and 1.1 times book value – the latter of which is a 15% discount to industry peers.

The mortgage REIT cut its dividend in 2020, but continued to make monthly payments to shareholders. And in 2021, it raised its dividend 17% in early 2021. While dividend payout currently exceeds 100% of fiscal 2021 earnings, analysts are forecasting a 17% rise in fiscal 2022, which would comfortably cover the current 84 cents per share annual dividend.     

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Tech Leads on Turnaround Tuesday

Markets opened Tuesday in the red, suggesting another day of selling on Wall Street ahead, but bounced off their mid-morning lows to blaze a trail higher into the close.

One potential catalyst for the rebound in stocks was Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s reconfirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee this morning, where he told lawmakers that the central bank is prepared to “raise interest rates more over time” if inflation continues to run high.

Powell’s testimony comes ahead of the latest inflation update: December’s consumer price index is due out tomorrow morning. Gargi Chaudhuri, head of iShares Investment Strategy, Americas, thinks the data will show a broad-based increase in prices and come in well above the Fed’s comfort level.

“We expect to see core inflation breach 5% – the highest in 30 years – as well as headline inflation above 7%, the highest in almost 40 years,” she adds.

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led the charge higher, gaining 1.4% to end at 15,153 – thanks in part to a big earnings boost for genome sequencing stock Illumina (ILMN, +17.0%). The S&P 500 Index rose 0.9% to 4,713, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% to 36,252.  

stock price chart 011122stock price chart 011122

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 gained 1.1% to end at 2,194.
  • U.S. crude oil futures jumped 3.8% to $81.22 per barrel, sparking gains in the likes of Exxon Mobil (XOM, +4.2%) and APA (APA, +8.8%).
  • Gold futures also finished solidly higher, up 1.1% to $1,818.50 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin spiked 2.6% to $42,818.79. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.) 
  • International Business Machines (IBM, -1.6%) was off Tuesday following a downgrade from UBS analyst David Vogt. Despite the company’s spinoff of its legacy IT lines in Kyndryl Holdings (KD, +0.7%) to focus on higher-growth businesses, Vogt says “our detailed bottom-up analysis of IBM’s remaining segments supports our view that roughly 50% of IBM’s top line is unlikely to grow long-term and could decline.” The analyst also cited “an elevated valuation that leaves the shares vulnerable over the next 12 months” in cutting the stock to Sell from Neutral (equivalent of Hold) and dropping his price target to $124 per share from $136.
  • E-commerce stocks, which have largely been battered over the past few months, enjoyed a brisk relief rally on Tuesday. Amazon.com (AMZN, +2.4%) was the largest such name with the wind at its back; PayPal (PYPL, +4.7%), Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com (JD, +10.3%) and Latin American marketplace MercadoLibre (MELI, +10.7%) were among other notable industry names making advances.
  • A day after Moderna (MRNA, -5.3%) popped after its CEO said the biotech firm was working on a vaccine booster targeting the omicron variant, the stock suffered a bout of outsized profit-taking on no other news.

Keep an Eye on Chip Stocks

One of the biggest pockets of strength today was in semiconductors, which surged 1.7%, and there could be more where that came from. 

True, chipmakers have sold off alongside their fellow tech stocks in 2022, but several Wall Street firms see big things for the industry.

iShares’ Chaudhuri, for one, says “Investors may need to be increasingly selective in their equity allocations, with a preference for value and quality, as well as industries with pricing power, such as semiconductors,” adding that “semiconductors are the backbone of powerful emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and digital payments, and the subsector offers a relatively high free cash flow yield.”

Meanwhile,  BofA Global Research strategists “see a worthwhile 2022 setup” and highlights several “top themes” to watch out for, including cloud – gaming and the metaverse, for instance – and automotive, namely electric vehicles (EVs).

For those looking for opportunity among semiconductor stocks, consider this list of names that are poised for growth this year and beyond. While some are established leaders, others offer investors the chance to find under-the-radar gems.

Source: kiplinger.com

Factoring Inflation into Your Retirement Plan

Right now, inflation is top of mind for everyone, perhaps especially retirees.

Inflation is important. But it is only one of the risks that retirees have to plan for and manage. And like the other risks you have to manage, you can build an income plan so that rising costs (both actual and feared) do not ruin your retirement.

Inflation and Your Budget

Remember that in retirement your budget is different than when you were working, so you will be impacted in different ways. And, of course, when you were working your salary and bonuses might have gone up with inflation, which helped offset long-term cost increases.

Much of your pre-retirement budget was spent on housing — an average of 30% to 40%. Retirees with smaller or paid-off mortgages will have lower housing costs even as their children are busy taking out loans to buy houses, and even home equity loans to pay for home improvements.

On the other hand, while health care looms as a big cost for everyone, for retirees these expenses can increase faster than income. John Wasik recently wrote an article for The New York Times that cited a recent study showing increases in Medicare Part B premiums alone will eat up a large part of the recent 5.9% cost of living increase in Social Security benefits. As Wasik wrote, “It’s difficult to keep up with the real cost of health care in retirement unless you plan ahead.”

Inflation and Your Sources of Income

To protect yourself in retirement means (A) creating an income plan that anticipates inflation over many years and (B) allowing yourself to adjust for inflation spikes that may affect your short-term budget.

First, when creating your income plan, it’s important to look at your sources of income to see how they respond directly or indirectly to inflation.

  1. Some income sources weather inflation quite well. Social Security benefits, once elected, increase with the CPI. And some retirees are fortunate enough to have a pension that provides some inflation protection.
  2. Dividends from stocks in high-dividend portfolios have grown over time at rates that compare favorably with long-term inflation.
  3. Interest payments from fixed-income securities, when invested long-term, have a fixed rate of return. But there are also TIPS bonds issued by the government that come with inflation protection.
  4. Annuity payments from lifetime income annuities are generally fixed, which makes them vulnerable to inflation. Although there are annuities available that allow for increasing payments to combat inflation.
  5. Withdrawals from a rollover IRA account are variable and must meet RMD requirements, which do not track inflation.   The key in a plan for retirement income, however, is that withdrawals can make up any inflation deficit. In Go2Income planning, the IRA is invested in a balanced portfolio of growth stocks and fixed income securities. While the returns will fluctuate, the long-term objective is to have a return that exceeds inflation.
  6. Drawdowns from the equity in your house, which can be generated through various types of equity extraction vehicles, can be set by you either as level or increasing amounts. Use of these resources should be limited as a percentage of equity in the residence.

The challenge is that with these multiple sources of income, how do you create a plan that protects you against the inflation risk — as well as other retirement risks?

Key Risks That a Retirement Income Plan Should Address

A good plan for income in retirement considers the many risks we face as we age. Those include:

  1. Longevity risk. To help reduce the risk of outliving your savings, Social Security, pension income and annuity payments provide guaranteed income for life and become the foundation of your plan. As one example, you should be smart about your decision on when and how to claim your Social Security benefit in order to maximize it.
  2. Market risk. While occasional “corrections” in financial markets grab headlines and are cause for concern, you can manage your income plan by reducing your income’s dependence on these returns.  By having a large percentage of your income safe and less dependent on current market returns, and by replanning periodically, you are pushing a significant part of the market risk (and reward) to your legacy. In other words, the kids may receive a legacy that reflects in part a down market, which can recover during their lifetimes.
  3. Inflation risk. While a portion of every retiree’s income should be for their lifetime and less dependent on market returns, you need to build in an explicit margin for inflation risk on your total income. The easiest way to do that is to accept lower income at the start.  For example, under a Go2Income plan, our typical investor (a female, age 70 with $2 million of savings, of which 50% is in a rollover IRA) can plan on starting income of $114,000 per year under a 1% inflation assumption. It would be reduced to $103,000 under a 2% assumption.

So, what factors should you consider in making that critical assumption about how much inflation you need to account for in your plan?

Picking a Long-Term Assumed Inflation Rate  

Financial writers often talk about the magic of compound interest; in real numbers, it translates to $1,000 growing at 3% a year for 30 years to reach $2,428. Sounds good when you’re saving or investing. But what about when you’re spending? The purchase that today costs $1,000 could cost $2,428 in 30 years if inflation were 3% a year.

When you design your plan, what rate of inflation do you assume? Here are some possible options (Hint: One option is better than the others):

  • Assume the current inflation of 5.9% is going to continue forever.
  • Assume your investments will grow faster than inflation, whatever the level.
  • Assume a reasonable long-term rate for inflation, just like you do for your other assumptions.

We like the third choice, particularly when you consider the chart below. Despite the dramatically high rate of today’s inflation that affects every result in the chart, the long-term inflation rate over the past 30 years was 2.4%. For the past 10 years, it was even lower at 2.1%.

A Long-Term View Smooths Inflation Spikes

A table shows what a $1,000 item would cost today if purchased in years ranging from 2020 to 1991, showing inflation rates of 6.9% currently, down to 2.4% for 30 years.A table shows what a $1,000 item would cost today if purchased in years ranging from 2020 to 1991, showing inflation rates of 6.9% currently, down to 2.4% for 30 years.

Managing Inflation in Real Time

Whether you build your plan around 2.0%, 2.5% or even 3.0%, it is helpful to realize that any short-term inflation rate will not match your plan assumption. My view is that you can adjust to this short-term inflation in multiple ways.

  • Where possible, defer purchases that are affected by temporary price hikes.
  • Where you can’t defer purchases, use your liquid savings accounts to purchase the items, and avoid drawing down from your retirement savings.
  • If you believe price hikes will continue, revise your inflation assumption and create a new plan. Of course, monitor your plan on a regular basis.

Inflation as Part of the Planning Process

Go2Income planning attempts to simplify the planning for inflation and all retirement risks:

  1. Set a long-term assumption as to the inflation level that you’re comfortable with.
  2. Create a plan that lasts a lifetime by integrating annuity payments.
  3. Generate dividend and interest yields from your personal savings, and avoid capital withdrawals.
  4. Use rollover IRA withdrawals from a balanced portfolio to meet your inflation-protected income goal.
  5. Manage your plan in real time and make adjustments to your plan when necessary.

Inflation is a worry for everyone, whether you are retired or about to retire. Put together a plan at Go2Income  and then adjust it based on your expectations and investments. We will help you create the best approach to inflation and all retirement risks you may face.

President, Golden Retirement Advisors Inc.

Jerry Golden is the founder and CEO of Golden Retirement Advisors Inc. He specializes in helping consumers create retirement plans that provide income that cannot be outlived. Find out more at Go2income.com, where consumers can explore all types of income annuity options, anonymously and at no cost.

Source: kiplinger.com

Titan Invest Review – Advanced Strategies for Everyday Investors

At a glance

Titan Logo

Our rating

  • What It Is: Titan Invest is a set-it-and-forget-it investment platform designed to give the average investor a simplified way to invest with a hedge fund-like style.
  • Advantages: The platform offers an aggressive investment style capable of yielding market-beating returns, an insured and secure investing experience, an intuitive mobile app, and multiple account types.
  • Disadvantages: Investors are sometimes turned off by the high cost compared to robo-advisors, relatively high account minimum requirements, and a lack of financial planning tools.
  • Price: Titan Invest charges a monthly or annual fee depending on your account balance. If you have under $10,000 invested, you’ll be charged a $5 monthly advisory fee, while accounts with a value of $10,000 or more are charged a 1% annual fee.

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Additional Resources

Created by Clayton Gardner, Joe Percoco, and Max Bernardy, Titan Invest is a platform designed to give the average investor the ability to follow a hedge fund-like investment strategy without having to manage their portfolios on their own. 

Gardner — the CEO of Titan whose long list of credentials includes a history as a financial analyst for a hedge fund — and his team of investment advisors, analysts, and traders manage your portfolio for you. 

The goal is to give you the upper hand in the stock market, regardless of whether you’re an accredited investor or not. Although Titan Invest is young, it is already building a history of compelling performance. 

Key Features of Titan Invest

Titan Invest is quickly becoming a popular option among the investing community, and for several good reasons. Some of the platform’s most important feature are:

Aggressive Investment Style

The number one reason to consider investing with Titan is the sheer scale of returns the firm has generated for its customers. In 2020, even in the face of the COVID market crash, the firm delivered a 44.42% rate of return, outpacing the S&P 500’s 18.39% and the average robo-advisor return of 14.90% by a wide margin.

On an annualized basis, the company’s investment portfolio has generated 22.4% growth since inception. That’s more than double the long-term average return of the stock market. 

Titan generates these returns through an aggressive investment style that’s focused on picking high quality individual stocks and using inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for hedging.  

When you sign up, a percentage of your assets is placed in the equities side of the portfolio. The remainder of your portfolio value is invested in inverse ETFs, acting as a personalized hedge. From there, you can either watch your money grow or make regular contributions to increase your earnings potential, leaving the legwork to the pros at Titan Invest.

Three Portfolio Options

When you sign up, you’ll have the option to choose from three different portfolio styles. These include:

  • Titan Flagship. The company’s Flagship portfolio invests in a small group of large-cap domestic stocks. The average market cap in the portfolio is around $500 billion, with stocks being chosen for their potential to beat the returns of the S&P 500. 
  • Titan Opportunities. The company’s Opportunities portfolio provides access to domestic small- and mid-cap stocks. The average market cap in the fund is about $9 billion, and stocks are chosen for their ability to provide exceptional returns. After all, small-cap stocks have a long history of outperforming their large-cap counterparts. However, for access to the Opportunities portfolio, you’ll need to maintain a minimum account balance of $10,000. 
  • Titan Offshore. The Titan Offshore portfolio gives you access to a select list of international stocks outside the U.S. in both developed and emerging markets. As with the Opportunities portfolio, the stocks are chosen based on their potential to deliver exceptional returns. 

Safety Is a Top Priority

When deciding where you’re going to invest your money, safety should be a consideration. As technology becomes more sophisticated, hackers and con artists do too. So it’s important that no matter where you park your money, it’s both safe and insured. 

All Titan investment accounts are covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance on balances up to $500,000. So, if your money becomes lost for any reason other than general losses in the stock market, you can rest assured that you’re covered. 

All Titan accounts are held and cleared with APEX Clearing. APEX is one of the largest financial technology companies in the world, with a history of providing the tech necessary for the safe clearing of stock market transactions. 

Finally, on Titan’s website, your information will be safeguarded by several layers of security. Titan uses an SSL connection with 256-bit encryption and a firewall to ensure the safety of your data.  

User-Friendly Mobile App

Everything happens on the go these days, and the same is true when it comes to investing. 

If you enjoy having on-the-go access to your investing accounts, you won’t be disappointed. The Titan Invest mobile app is intuitive and user friendly, offering everything you get when you log in to the platform on a desktop. 

Multiple Account Types

Titan offers multiple account types. Whether you’re simply investing for the sake of investing or you’re building a retirement account, there’s an option available for you. The available account types include individual taxable brokerage accounts, traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs. 

Popularity

While a fund or investment service’s popularity should never be the determining factor as to whether you’ll invest in it, it is nice to see that the platform is popular. After all, if investors were losing money, it would be hard to build a buzz around the opportunity. 

Titan Invest has already attracted more than $600 million in assets under management (AUM), which is impressive when you think about the fact that the company just launched in 2017.


Advantages of Titan Invest

Considering the fact that so many investors are flocking toward Titan’s services, there’s obviously plenty to be excited about. Here are the biggest advantages to working with the firm:

  1. Low Cost Compared to Typical Hedge Funds. Hedge funds and other active investment managers generally charge performance fees. Sometimes, these fees can be as high as 20% of the profits earned. Compared to these funds, Titan’s 1% per year and $5 monthly fees are far easier to swallow. 
  2. Not Just Available to Accredited Investors. Aggressive strategies that lead to gains that significantly outpace the market are typically only accessible by high net worth individuals and other big-money investors. The Titan Invest platform makes these exclusive returns available to the masses. 
  3. Compelling Performance. Titan has only been around a few years, but in that time it has generated multiples of the average market returns. The potential to consistently and significantly outperform the market is very appealing to investors. 
  4. Referral Program. Titan offers an opportunity to get rid of fees entirely and unlock the Titan Opportunities portfolio without the $10,000 minimum investment through its referral program. Refer two members and you’ll have access to the Opportunities portfolio with a minimum investment of $100. Refer four new members and you’ll get rid of your advisory fees entirely. Even if you only refer one person to the platform, you’ll enjoy a 25-basis-point (0.25%) reduction in your annual fee. 

Disadvantages of Titan Invest

So far Titan may seem like a platform built of sunshine and rainbows, but there are some dark clouds in the sky to consider too. 

  1. High Risk. The strategies used by the pros at Titan Invest are high-risk/high-reward strategies. Without the use of fixed-income investments and heavy diversification, conservative investors with a low risk tolerance or investors with a short time horizon who can’t afford to absorb market downturns will find the volatility associated with the strategy to be a turnoff. 
  2. High Cost Compared to Robo-Advisors. While there are no performance fees, investing with Titan is more expensive than the average robo-advisor. For example, Betterment charges a management fee of 0.25% per year, which makes 1% seem like an exorbitantly high fee. For smaller accounts, $5 per month can actually be pretty pricey. To put it into perspective, if you have a $500 starting balance, $5 per month works out to annual fees of 12%. (Once you have between $6,000 and $10,000, $5 per month works out to an annual fee of 1% or less.)
  3. Account Minimums. All Titan accounts have a $100 minimum investment, which isn’t a big deal. However, if you want access to the Opportunities portfolio, you’ll need to maintain a minimum balance of $10,000, which is too high for some investors. 
  4. Lacks Additional Features. Titan Invest doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting, financial advisors, or financial planning, all of which are generally available when working with the company’s competitors.  

You Should Invest With Titan Invest If…

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all investing product. Everyone has different goals, a different risk tolerance, and different amounts of capital to put into the investing process. These factors make an investor a perfect fit for the Titan platform:

  • You Have $6,000 or More to Invest. With balances under $6,000, the fees you’re charged will work out to be more than 1% annually. That’s an expensive pill to swallow, and chances are that you’ll find better opportunities elsewhere. 
  • You Have a High Risk Tolerance. Only investors with a healthy appetite for risk should ever consider an aggressive investing strategy that’s solely focused on investments in stocks. Risk-averse investors should consider other opportunities. 
  • You Are Young. Due to the high risk associated with the Titan Invest strategies, younger people are the best candidates for this investing style. The younger you are, the more risk you can accept because you’ll have more time to recover should a significant drawdown take place. Investors nearing retirement or with short-term time horizons simply don’t have the time to recover from significant losses and should consider investing in a product or assets with limited volatility. 

Final Word

All told, the Titan Invest platform is a great option for the audience it was designed to serve. Young investors with a high risk appetite will benefit greatly from the firm’s aggressive investment strategies. 

Regardless of your age, it’s important to keep a sizable balance in your account if you’re going to use Titan to ensure that fees don’t eat into too much of your profits. 

On the other hand, if you’re not a young investor or don’t have a healthy appetite for risk, it’s likely best to look into low-cost, highly diversified ETFs and choose an asset allocation that fits your investing goals and timeline. Also, it won’t hurt to mix some fixed-income assets in to further shield your portfolio from volatility. 

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The Verdict

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Our rating

Titan Invest is a great option for investors with $6,000 or more to start with who are willing to accept increased risk for an opportunity to beat the market. Offering up a hedge-fund investment style with a history of compelling performance, the platform has become a popular option for individual investors.

The platform offers compelling returns on stocks, but that’s about it. Without fixed-income allocation and financial planning features, the platform leaves much to be desired for the average investor.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Joshua Rodriguez has worked in the finance and investing industry for more than a decade. In 2012, he decided he was ready to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race. By 2013, he became his own boss and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Joshua enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with up and comers to help enrich the financial lives of the masses rather than fuel the ongoing economic divide. When he’s not writing, helping up and comers in the freelance industry, and making his own investments and wise financial decisions, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife, son, daughter, and eight large breed dogs. See what Joshua is up to by following his Twitter or contact him through his website, CNA Finance.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Stock Market Today: Rising Rates Put Another Scare Into Stocks

More commotion in the bond markets sent equities off to a rocky start for the week – though what was shaping up to be a significant gashing turned out to be just a scrape.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped yet again Monday, to as high as 1.808% after starting 2021 at 1.510%.

“While rates have been volatile throughout 2021, the 10-year has not reached this level since prior to the pandemic,” says Lindsey Bell, chief money and markets strategist for Ally Invest. “Information received since the start of the new year is making the case for Mister Market that the Fed is going to raise rates and remove liquidity from the market at a faster pace than what was thought just over a week ago.”

Remember: The Federal Reserve’s members have signaled expectations for at least three hikes to the central bank’s benchmark interest rate in 2022. Kiplinger forecasts the Fed will raise rates four times, and over the weekend, Goldman Sachs predicted the same. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon upped the ante Monday, saying “I’d personally be surprised if it was just four.”

However, heavy selling pressure Monday morning mercifully relaxed into the afternoon as 10-year rates backed off their highs.

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Fresh off its worst week in 11 months, the Nasdaq Composite dropped by as much as 2.7% at its nadir, to 14,530 – just about 80 points from official correction territory (a drop of 10% or more from a peak) – but managed to finish with a marginal gain to 14,942. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.5% to 36,068) and S&P 500 (-0.1% to 4,670) closed down but well off their intraday lows.

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Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 slipped by 0.4% to 2,171.
  • Gold futures posted a marginal gain, settling at $1,798.80 an ounce.
  • U.S. crude oil futures slipped 0.9% to end at $78.23 per barrel.
  • Bitcoin, which sat at $41,912.19 on Friday afternoon, dropped below $40,000 earlier in Monday’s session but recovered to $41,714.45, a 0.5% decline. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.) 
  • Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) is upping its stake in the mobile video game world, announcing today that it is buying Farmville creator Zynga (ZNGA) for $12.7 billion in cash and stock. This works out to $9.68 per ZNGA share – a 61.3% premium to last Friday’s close. “This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity,” said Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive. “We believe that we will deliver significant value to both sets of stockholders, including $100 million of annual cost synergies within the first two years post-closing and at least $500 million of annual net bookings opportunities over time.” The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter as long as it gets the green light from regulators and shareholders. ZNGA shares soared 40.7% on the news, while TTWO fell 13.1% – potentially creating an attractive entry point for investors looking to pick up one of the best communication services stocks for 2022 at a discount.
  • Moderna (MRNA) was a rare splash of bright green today, jumping 9.3% after the biotech’s CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that the company is working on a COVID-19 booster that will target the omicron variant. Bancel said MRNA believes this will be the “best strategy for a potential booster for the fall of 2022” after discussions with various public health officials. This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said immunocompromised individuals are now eligible for a fourth vaccine dose, as detailed Monday in our free A Step Ahead newsletter.

Will Earnings Jolt the Market?

Interest rates might be dominating headlines now, but a new potential market mover kicks off later this week.

It’s the unofficial start of the fourth-quarter earnings season – and while you can check out a schedule of major reports here, big names to watch include Delta Air Lines (DAL), Wells Fargo (WFC) and BlackRock (BLK), which we’ve previewed here.

According to FactSet, analysts’ estimated earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies in Q4 2021 is 21.7% – if achieved, that would be the fourth consecutive quarter that earnings growth has topped 20%, which should give investors something to look forward to.

“While there are real risks, expectations for continued hiring and spending will support growth in expected earnings,” says Jeff Buchbinder, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial, who adds that despite the risks of continued volatility “higher rates have usually been associated with strong market performance” too.

Investors looking for ways to potentially buy on the dip during short-term volatility could consider Kiplinger picks for the year ahead – such as our top stocks for 2022 or our best exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

That said, if you have a greater thirst for risk, and a speculative portfolio allocation you can afford to lose, you might consider swinging for the fences – with the pros’ help, anyway.

While Wall Street analysts typically don’t make bombastic calls, they have identified a few stocks that they see, ahem, “going to the moon” over the next year or so. These 30 names in particular have consensus buy targets implying at least 100% returns – and in many cases, much more. But watch out: This is a volatile bunch.

Source: kiplinger.com

Wells Fargo Stock: Earnings Season Kicks Off With WFC in Focus

Here we go again. The earnings calendar is set to start filling up, with travel name Delta Air Lines (DAL, $41.76) and big banks BlackRock (BLK, $890.90) and Wells Fargo (WFC, $55.01) among the first companies slated to report fourth-quarter results.

“Earnings are expected to grow 20% in the fourth quarter – which, while down from prior quarters, is still quite strong – and end the year with nearly 40% growth,” says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.

And if this metric exceeds that 20% estimate in Q4, it will mark the fourth straight quarter of earnings growth above 20%, according to John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet Research Systems.

Still, “Analysts and companies have been less optimistic compared to recent quarters in their earnings estimate revisions and earnings outlooks for the fourth quarter to date,” Butters adds. As of mid-December, 56 S&P 500 companies had issued negative earnings per share (EPS) guidance, compared to 37 that had issued positive guidance, on average, for the quarter.

Analyst Sees Solid Q4 Earnings for Wells Fargo

Big banks will dominate the earnings calendar early on, and these lower earnings estimates are found throughout the industry. 

“All the large banks show the upcoming fourth quarter as the lowest estimated revenue and EPS to date in 2021,” says CFRA Research analyst Kenneth Leon. “We are likely to see continued low-to-moderate credit risk to credit cards, commercial and industrial loans, commercial real estate and trading and counterparty losses.”

However, for Wells Fargo, which is slated to unveil its fourth-quarter results ahead of Friday’s open, Leon is confident the big bank will deliver a turnaround that will result in higher capital returns. 

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“We think WFC should benefit from favorable industry trends, and management’s focus on execution has improved. While the pandemic remains uncertain, we expect Q4 2021 and 2022 to show improved loan activity and higher net interest income than the first half 2021.”

Leon also expects “a rebound in consumer loan demand, card activity, and higher loan balances, as well as personal and small business loans,” and points to Wells Fargo’s technological innovations, including its mobile, cloud-based consumer banking platform, as reasons to be upbeat toward the big bank. 

He has a Buy rating on the financial stock and he’s certainly not alone. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, 11 analysts say Wells Fargo is a Strong Buy and five call it a Buy. This compares to 11 Holds and not a single Sell or Strong Sell.

As for WFC’s fourth-quarter results, the Wall Street pros, on average, are targeting a 4.3% year-over-year (YoY) improvement in revenues to $18.7 billion. Earnings are expected to arrive at $1.09 per share, up 70.3% from the year prior.

BlackRock Stock Choppy Ahead of Earnings

BlackRock is another large financial institution set to report ahead of the Jan. 14 open. Shares of the world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) operator have been choppy over the past six weeks or so, but still remain up roughly 22% on a 12-month basis.

Can a strong earnings report be the catalyst for BLK stock’s next leg higher?

Analysts are a little scattered on the subject. On average, the pros expect BLK to report fourth-quarter revenues of $5.1 billion, a 14.5% YoY improvement. Earnings, on the other hand, are expected to decline 1.4% from the year-ago period to $10.04 per share – though analysts’ Q4 EPS estimates range from a low of $9.50 to a high of $10.45.

Still, there are several analysts who see reason for optimism. “BLK remains well-positioned for growth across a broad array of products (ETFs, Aladdin and Private Markets) and themes (sustainability, China, retirement gap and democratization of alternatives),” says BMO Research’s James Fotheringham. He has a Market Perform rating on the financial stock, which is the equivalent of a Hold. 

“We expect BLK to continue to steal share from its traditional asset management peers,” he adds.

And CFRA Research’s Catherine Seifert (Strong Buy) thinks favorable fund flow trends, like the nearly $328 billion of net inflows BLK recorded in the first nine months of 2021, will lead to a 15% rise in revenues for fiscal 2021. 

“BLK shares trade at a premium to peers and we expect the firm’s dominance in the asset management industry, coupled with its solid execution, and growing technology services division, to enable the shares to retain this premium,” she adds.

Analyst Estimates Vary for Delta Air Lines Earnings

It’s not only about big banks this week. Airline giant Delta Air Lines will unveil its fourth-quarter results ahead of the Jan. 13 open.

DAL stock sold off sharply in late 2021, falling from its mid-November peak around $45.50 to an early December low near $33.50, though it has since recovered back up to the $42 per-share price point.

This selloff was in part related to uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant of COVID-19. However, Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth believes “the indiscriminate selling” created buying opportunities for investors looking to “gain exposure to high-quality airline stocks,” such as Strong Buy-rated DAL.

For DAL’s fourth quarter, Syth is expecting the airline to record a per-share loss of 40 cents – a vast improvement over the $2.53 per-share loss it suffered in Q4 2020. 

The consensus estimate among Wall Street pros, though, is for DAL to swing to a fourth-quarter profit of 12 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to land at $9.1 billion (+130% YoY).

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Health Insurers Lead Another Slide in Stocks

Investors didn’t get a full reprieve from yesterday’s heavy selling, but they were at least allowed to catch their breath in a calmer Thursday session that saw the major indexes finish modestly lower.

The first unemployment-benefits data of the new year was a tad disappointing, with the Labor Department reporting 207,000 initial claims for the week ending Jan. 1, higher than estimates for 195,000.

Treasury yields also continued to rise, with the 10-year touching 1.75% from 1.68% yesterday; that helped lift the financial sector (+1.5%), primarily regional bank companies such as Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB, +4.2%) and PNC Financial Services (PNC, +3.9%).

Heading in the other direction were health insurers, which tumbled as a group after Humana (HUM, -19.4%) drastically lowered its membership-growth expectations for Medicare Advantage products, to 150,000 to 200,000 members from 325,000 to 375,000 previously. Names including UnitedHealth Group (UNH, -4.1%), Cigna (CI, -3.8%) and Anthem (ANTM, -4.1%) fell in sympathy.

The indexes were far less rowdy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the decline, off 0.5% to 36,236, while the S&P 500 (-0.1% to 4,696) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1% to 15,080) also slipped again.

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stock chart for 010622stock chart for 010622

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 was up 0.6% to 2,206.
  • Gold futures plunged 2% to end at $1,789.20 an ounce after Wednesday’s minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting suggested the central bank could hike interest rates sooner than anticipated.
  • Bitcoin dropped yet again, by 1.8% to $43,217.10, amid unrest in Kazakhstan, which is actually the world’s second-largest source of bitcoin mining. That mining was disrupted as Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered the national telecom provider to shut down internet service, taking numerous miners offline. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) stock jumped 8.0%, even after the home goods retailer reported dismal fiscal third-quarter results. Over the three-month period, BBBY recorded an adjusted per-share loss of 25 cents versus analysts’ consensus estimate for the company to breakeven on a per-share basis. On the top line, Bed Bath & Beyond brought in $1.88 billion, falling short of the $1.95 billion analysts’ were expecting. Pouring salt on the proverbial wound, same-store sales fell 10% year-over-year and the retailer lowered its full-year forecast to account for continued supply-chain headwinds.
  • MGM Resorts International (MGM) improved by 3.0% after Credit Suisse analysts Benjamin Chaiken and Sarah Murray named the casino stock a “top pick” for 2022. “We see upside to MGM based on accelerating trends in Vegas, a more simplified operating structure that should aid valuation, an attractive capital structure (net cash position), upside to 2023 estimates and improving investor sentiment,” they wrote in a note. With today’s pop, MGM stock is now up more than 46% on a 12-month basis.

A Big Year for Energy Ahead?

Tops today, though, were energy stocks (+2.2%), which were the best S&P sector in 2021 with 53% total returns (price plus dividends) and are again leading the way with a 9.0% gain this year.

Thursday’s gains came on the back of crude oil futures’ 2.1% gain to $79.46 per barrel amid the aforementioned turmoil in major oil producer Kazakhstan, where protests over fuel prices have turned into broader anti-government riots.

It’s a temporary tailwind for a sector most of Wall Street was bullish about heading into 2022 – though the pros had their own, longer-term reason. Specifically, an eventual full reopening of the global economy whenever COVID finally fades is expected to bolster energy demand, which should keep prices on the upward trajectory they traveled throughout 2021.

Today, we provide the last of our 11 annual sector look-aheads – our best energy stocks to buy for 2022. The energy sector often moves in unified fashion, with a rising tide of high commodity prices typically lifting most boats. But a few stocks seem better positioned than others to leverage those prices into shareholder gains in 2022.

Source: kiplinger.com

How to Compare Mortgage Refinance Offers

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If you own a home, you probably see a lot of advertisements or get mail about refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing your home loan can help you save money, lower your interest rate, or convert an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.

To get the best deal on your refinance, you need to compare offers from multiple lenders. Read on to learn how to evaluate these offers and select the option that best fits your needs.

How to Compare Mortgage Refinance Offers

When you apply for any type of loan, whether it’s a mortgage, car loan, or personal loan, you should take the time to comparison-shop. If you look at multiple loan offers, you’ll usually find a better deal.

1. Check Your Credit Score

The first thing to do when you’re thinking about refinancing your loan is check your credit score. Credit scores are one of the first things that a lender will look at when a borrower submits a loan application.

The better your credit score, the better your odds of getting approved for a loan. A good credit score also gives you more loan options to choose from and may help you secure a lower interest rate on the loan you eventually chose. And that’s likely to save you some money in the long run.

If you have a poor credit score, the loans you qualify for might involve higher upfront fees and a higher interest rate than your existing loan. That could defeat the purpose of refinancing. 

It’s easy to check your credit report for free. If you find errors on your report, work with the reporting credit bureau to remove them. And if you find your credit isn’t as strong as you thought, table the idea of refinancing for the time being and work on boosting your FICO score.

2. Consider Your Goals for Refinancing

Before you apply for a new mortgage loan, think about your goals for refinancing. Your reason for refinancing will make a huge difference in the loan you choose. 

For example, if you want to lower your monthly payment, you wouldn’t want to refinance to a loan with a shorter term. If you want a lower mortgage interest rate, you wouldn’t choose a loan with a higher rate.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons you might want to refinance your mortgage.

Lower Monthly Payments

Refinancing your mortgage can help you reduce your monthly payment, giving you more flexibility in your budget. Extending the term of the loan or reducing its interest rate are two ways to do this.

Lower Interest Rate

If rates have decreased or your credit has improved since you got your current loan, refinancing your mortgage can help you reduce your interest rate, which will save you money in the long run.

Remove PMI

If your down payment for your current mortgage was less than 20%, you likely have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If your current loan-to-value ratio has risen above 20% due to your loan payments or increasing home values, refinancing can help you get out of paying PMI.

Cash Out Home Equity

If you’ve built a lot of equity in your home and want to use it for something else, like home improvement or investing, use a cash-out refinance to turn your home equity into money you can spend.

Adjust the Loan Term

Refinancing your mortgage lets you reset its term. You can extend the loan’s term or shorten it based on your financial goals.

Add or Remove a Co-Borrower

If you want to add a co-borrower or remove someone from a loan, the easiest way to do so is likely to refinance your loan. For example, you might refinance to remove an ex-spouse from your loan.

Convert an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate or Vice Versa

Refinancing is an opportunity to switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate or vice versa, reversing the choice you made when you got your original mortgage. 

Switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage prevents a potential interest rate spike after the adjustable-rate loan’s rate lock period ends. Meanwhile, converting to an adjustable-rate mortgage could temporarily lower your rate — as long as you plan to sell during the rate lock period.

3. Compare Mortgage Lenders

Once you’ve made sure your credit is in good shape, take a look at a few different lenders. You can consider lenders in your local area like banks and credit unions as well as online lenders.

To find the best mortgage for your needs, look for a lender that is advertising the type of loan you want. 

Do you need an FHA loan? Make sure the lender offers that type of mortgage. If you have an expensive home, you’ll want to make sure the lender offers jumbo loans.

You can also do some preliminary comparison of the loan terms, such as the annual percentage rate the lenders are advertising for their loans.

4. Request Quotes From Multiple Lenders

Once you’ve settled on a few lenders that you’re interested in working with, ask each of those lenders for a quote.

As part of providing the quote, the lender will probably ask you for some basic information, such as the loan amount that you’ll need, your annual income, the amount of home equity you’ve built, and so on.

Based on the information you provide, each lender will give you a sample mortgage loan offer. This will include things like the interest rate, fees, and monthly payment for the new mortgage they are offering.

One of the best ways to do this is to use an online loan broker or quote website like LendingTree. These sites take your information and search for lenders that work with people like you. You can get a quick look at offers from multiple lenders this way.

If you only get a couple of quotes from these sites, you can then move on to approaching lenders on your own.

Keep in mind that these sites make money by referring you to lenders, so they’ll give your contact info to lenders. You’re likely to start getting calls and emails after requesting quotes, so be prepared for that.

5. Compare Loan Estimate Terms

After you get loan estimates from each lender, sit down and compare them to find the best deal and to make sure that the terms of the new loans beat the terms of your current mortgage.

The important things to look at include:

Interest Rate.

The interest rate of the loan determines how quickly interest accrues. The lower the rate, the lower your monthly payment and the overall cost of the loan because less total interest will accrue over the life of the loan.

Mortgage Points

Mortgage points are paid upfront when you close on the loan. Points are a type of prepaid interest and each point you pay usually reduces the rate of your mortgage by 0.25%. Paying points can save you money in the long run if you plan to stay in your home for a long time.

Fees

You’ll have to pay various fees as part of getting a new mortgage, including underwriting fees, home appraisal fees, application fees, and origination fees. The higher the fees charged, the more expensive it will be to refinance your loan.

Loan Term

The term of a mortgage is the amount of time it will take to repay the loan if you follow the minimum payment schedule. The most common terms are 15 years and 30 years. A 30-year mortgage will have a lower monthly mortgage payment while a 15-year loan will cost less overall. Which you choose depends on your refinancing goals.

Interest Rate Type

When you get a mortgage, you can choose from an adjustable-rate loan or a fixed-rate loan. Fixed-rate mortgages have steady interest rates which offer predictability over the life of the loan. Adjustable-rate mortgages usually have lower initial interest rates, but rates could rise in the future, increasing the cost of the loan and its monthly payment.

Closing Costs 

Closing costs are all of the costs you have to pay to get your new mortgage, including things like mortgage points and fees. You want to make sure that you can afford any closing costs your refinance lenders will charge.


Mortgage Refinancing FAQs

Mortgages and refinancing can be complicated. Make sure you understand the process and why you might want to refinance before starting the process.

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Whether you should refinance your mortgage depends on your personal financial situation and your goals for refinancing.

You shouldn’t refinance just for the sake of refinancing. In most cases, refinancing only makes sense if it saves you money over the life of the loan, lowers your monthly payment, or helps you get out of debt faster. You’ll have to run the numbers to see if any of these situations apply to you.

How Much Money Can I Save by Refinancing?

Depending on the interest rate of your old loan and whether you’re paying PMI, refinancing could save you a lot of money.

Imagine you have a mortgage with a $250,000 balance and fifteen years remaining in its term. The interest rate of that loan is 4%. Your monthly payment before taxes will be $1,849 and you can expect to pay $332,820 over the remaining life of the loan.

Refinancing to a 15-year loan at 3% interest will drop your monthly payment by more than $100 to $1,726. Over the life of your new loan, you’ll spend $310,680, saving you $22,140 overall. If the closing costs and other fees are less than that amount, refinancing means saving money and adding flexibility to your monthly budget.

Does Refinancing Remove Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

If you’re able to eliminate PMI from your loan payment, you can save even more. According to a study from the Urban Institute, the average loan that includes PMI had a principal balance of $289,700 in 2020. The Urban Institute reports that PMI averages between 0.22% and 2.25% of your loan’s value. Even if you’re on the lower end of that range and paying 1%, refinancing to eliminate PMI can save you almost $2,900 per year on an average loan.

For conventional loans, you can remove PMI by refinancing to a loan with a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or less, meaning you have at least 20% equity in your home. That equity can come from paying down your original loan’s balance or due to appreciation in your home’s value.

Unfortunately, mortgage insurance is difficult to avoid on some types of mortgages, includinge Federal Housing Administration loans. Depending on when the loan originated, mortgage insurance can be permanent or fixed for 11 years regardless of the equity you build. 

The only way to get out of these payments when you refinance is to refinance to a conventional loan. If you refinance to another FHA loan, you still have to pay for mortgage insurance.

Can I Refinance if I’m Underwater on My Mortgage?

If you wind up underwater on your mortgage, meaning you owe more than your home is worth, it can make refinancing more difficult. Many lenders require that you have some equity in your home before refinancing.

However, there are some lenders that will let you refinance, especially if you can put some extra cash toward the loan balance to get out of being underwater. 

In the past, the federal government has offered special refinance programs for borrowers with government-secured loans, such as the Enhanced Relief Refinance Mortgage program and HARP. Programs like these could appear once more in the future, though that’s not guaranteed.

Can I Refinance if I Have a Second Mortgage?

Some people wind up having multiple mortgages at one time. This can happen if you get a home equity loan or home equity line of credit on top of your current mortgage.

Refinancing with a second mortgage is possible, but can be more difficult than refinancing when you only have one loan.

One common solution is to refinance both loans into a single loan when you refinance. This has the added benefit of leaving you with just one monthly payment to make. It’s also relatively simple to refinance just your second mortgage.

Refinancing your primary loan is more complex. You need to work with both the new lender and the lender who provided your second mortgage and have the second mortgage lender agree to remain subordinate to the new loan. That means that the lender for your refinance loan has first priority to recover its losses in the event that you stop making payments.

If your second mortgage lender won’t agree to this, you won’t be able to refinance just your primary loan alone.

Can I Refinance More Than Once?

Yes, it’s possible to refinance your mortgage more than once. You can refinance as often makes sense for you financially so long as you can find willing lenders.

In reality, you don’t want to refinance your mortgage often. Refinancing incurs major costs, and the process can reduce your credit score in the short term, potentially impacting your ability to qualify for other loans or credit lines.

What Information Do I Need to Provide to a Mortgage Broker?

One option if you’re looking to refinance is to work with a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers are middlemen who look at your financial situation and try to match you with lenders that will best help you meet your financial goals. This saves you the effort of having to research dozens of lenders to find the best deals.

Your mortgage broker will need much of the same information you’d need to provide to a lender, including:

  • Proof of Income. Bring your two most recent pay stubs and information about any other income you have so the broker can confirm your annual income, which can affect your ability to qualify for loans. 
  • A List of Bank and Loan Accounts. This shows your broker and would-be lenders how much cash you have on hand and your current liabilities. Lenders want to know that you have enough in the bank to deal with upfront refinancing costs. They also need to know your debt-to-income ratio, a key measure of your ability to afford your loan.
  • Details About Your Home and Current Mortgage. Bring your most recent mortgage statement so the broker can see your remaining balance, interest rate, monthly payment, and other details. 
  • Your Goals for Refinancing. Make sure to explain why you’re refinancing, such as to lower your monthly payment or to convert an adjustable-rate loan to a fixed-rate loan. This helps guide the broker as they look for the best loan for you.

Final Word

There are many reasons to refinance your mortgage, but most involve saving money — either by lowering your monthly payment or reducing the total cost of the loan. Understanding why you’re refinancing and knowing how to effectively compare loan offers from mortgage refinance lenders increases the odds that you’ll choose the loan that’s the best choice for your personal financial situation.

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TJ is a Boston-based writer who focuses on credit cards, credit, and bank accounts. When he’s not writing about all things personal finance, he enjoys cooking, esports, soccer, hockey, and games of the video and board varieties.

Source: moneycrashers.com