Category Archives: Nicholas Scheibner

The Pros and Cons of VA Loans

A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: The federal government has provided qualified veteran home buyers with a few mortgage-buying options to help purchase a home.  Below are some of the Pros and Cons for Veterans Affairs (VA) loans.

An important note VA loans are for primary residences only.

To determine if you are eligible for a VA loan, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/purchaseco_eligibility.asp

The first step in getting a VA loan is to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the VA: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/purchaseco_certificate.asp

Pros:

  • 0% down payment, if desired
  • No Monthly Mortgage Insurance
  • Can generally qualify for a larger mortgage than a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan

Cons:

  • The only person that can co-sign is a spouse
  • An additional fee is rolled into the loan. Depending on the situation, first time use of a VA loan could be anywhere from 1.5% – 2.4%.  The next home mortgage could be anywhere from 1.25% – 3.3%.

Baron Financial Group consults with independent mortgage professionals in order to explore options available to clients.  If you are thinking of purchasing a new home, refinancing a mortgage, or consolidating a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit), lean on us to help you through the process. Please contact your Baron Team if you have any questions.

The Pros and Cons of FHA Loans

A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: The federal government has provided home buyers with a few mortgage-buying options to help purchase a home.  Below are some of the Pros and Cons for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.

An important note:  FHA loans are for Primary Residences only.

Pros:

  • Flexible qualification criteria-Minimum down payment is 3.5%. Keep in mind that the less money you put down on a mortgage, the higher the monthly payments will be.
  • Anyone can cosign, if needed, including a friend or parent. However, from a practical perspective, usually the co-signor is a family member.  If a friend co-signs for you, you need to put at least 25% down.  Note: If you are purchasing a multi-family house, even if a family member co-signs, you still need to put at least 25% down. 

Cons:

  • Monthly Mortgage Insurance never goes away for low-down-payment mortgages. If the borrower puts at least 10% down, the mortgage insurance will remain for 11 years. If they put less than 10% down, it will remain for the life of the loan. 
  • An additional fee of 1.75% is required. This can also be paid at closing or rolled into the loan.

Baron Financial Group consults with independent mortgage professionals in order to explore options available to clients.  If you are thinking of purchasing a new home, refinancing a mortgage, or consolidating a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit), lean on us to help you through the process. Please contact your Baron Team if you have any questions.

10 Long-Term Care Terms You Should Know

A 60-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: As people are living longer, paying for health care costs is becoming a top concern.  Many people are beginning to consider if a Long-Term Care Insurance policy is best for them. 

Before you look at purchasing a policy, here are ten terms that you should know:

  1. Elimination Period: Most Long-Term Care policies require you to “pay your own way” for a specified number of days (generally ranging between zero and 120 days) before an insurance company will begin to pay benefits.
  2. Waiver of Premium – When you begin receiving coverage, the premium will be waived. For a shared policy, if one person goes on claim (begins receiving coverage), the premium would be waived only for that person.
  3. Joint Waiver of Premium – If one person goes on claim, all premiums stop.
  4. Survivor Waiver of Premium – If one passes away, the survivor’s premium would be waived.
  5. Flex Credit – If the company does well on their investments, they may pay down your premium or you can save the extra for waiver of premium.
  6. Activities of Daily Living – Assistance with 2 of the 6 activities of Daily Living is required for most Long-Term Care policies to become active: Dressing, Eating, Transferring, Toileting, Bathing, Continence.
  7. Inflation Protection: Since costs inevitably increase each year due to inflation, most policies will offer a provision that will allow your daily benefits to increase annually by a certain percentage.
  8. Portability: The policies should be portable between states. Some will cover worldwide.
  9. Home Care: Does the policy offer home-care coverage? Some companies offer it as a rider to the policy for an additional premium.
  10. Pooled/Shared Policy: This is a policy that can be used between couples.  The benefit can apply to either one or both spouses.

Please lean on us when considering a long-term care policy.  We can help you go through the pros and cons of the decision.  We can also help you determine how much you can afford in yearly premiums.

What is the Best IRA for a Young Investor?

 A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  Before deciding which kind of IRA to open, the first thing you would want to do is check with your employer about 401(k) offerings. If your employer provides any company match into a 401(k) you will want to contribute to that account before you start an IRA. That way, you are able to take advantage of the “Free Money” provided by your employer. A Roth IRA is usually best for someone who is in a lower tax-bracket.  The idea is that you want to pay taxes in the lowest bracket possible.  So if you are making a lower income than you may in the future, you would want to pay taxes now, using a Roth.

Also, if you expect to be making less income now than in the future, a Roth is a good way to “prepay” taxes. You can’t avoid paying taxes, and the decision between a Roth and a Traditional IRA is, “pay taxes now or pay taxes in retirement?” Since a Roth provides tax-free withdrawals in retirement, the account provides for “tax diversification” that compliments your 401(k), traditional IRA, and taxable brokerage accounts.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Baron Financial Group team.

New Jersey Public Employees – Things to Know About Your Retirement Income

 A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:    As public employees for the great state of New Jersey, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to your retirement income.

Regarding Your Pension:

New Jersey Pensions fall into two categories: “I contribute to my pension” or “I do not contribute to my pension”

  • For those employees who say, “I do not contribute to my pension” the entire portion of your pension in retirement will be taxable to New Jersey.
  • For those employees who say, “I do contribute to my pension”, when you retire, a portion of your pension will be taxable and a portion of your pension will be excluded from New Jersey state tax. Note: This is the reason your gross income is higher on your New Jersey tax return if you contribute to a pension. The federal government allows pension contributions to be deducted, but NJ State does NOT allow your pension contributions to be deducted.

Regarding Social Security:

Your Social Security may be greatly reduced if you have only worked as a public employee your entire life. The calculated estimates can be difficult, so it is important to speak with your financial planner about the possible impact a pension may have on your social security income.

As always, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Baron Financial Group team.

NJ Tax Payers: Make Sure You Always Claim Your Medical Expenses

A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  New Jersey is certainly not known as a “tax-friendly” state.  However, the garden state has a much lower threshold on Medical Expense deductions than the federal government. New Jersey allows certain non-reimbursed Medical Expenses to be deducted after they exceed only 2% of your gross income. 

A few examples of things you should make sure you keep track of throughout the year:

  • Medicare Insurance Premiums
  • Dental Insurance Premiums
  • Doctor Co-pays
  • Out-of-pocket Prescription Costs
  • Eyeglasses and vision exams

This is commonly overlooked  by taxpayer’s who do not itemize their deductions.  However, if you make $60,000 gross income per year, 2%  is only $1,200.  For most people, their medical expenses will exceed that 2% as long as they keep track of all of them.

As always, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Baron Financial Group team.

What to do if you filed for Social Security and you changed your mind

A 40-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  If you began taking Social Security before full-retirement age, and are looking to postpone payments until a later time, there is a solution: the 1-year payback rule. The 1-year payback rule gives you the ability to pay back the amount of benefits you have received, and delay your social security check until age 70. You have 12 months from the day you began collecting Social Security to do this. This would ultimately increase the monthly payments you would receive, and would maximize your social security. Continue reading What to do if you filed for Social Security and you changed your mind