Benefits of Paying off a Mortgage Early

Robert M. Ryerson
Robert M. Ryerson

The nonprofit organization hosts workshops to increase financial literacy among the general public and dispenses sound financial advice for achieving common financial goals, such as paying off large debts and mortgages.

Mortgages are often a household’s largest debt and can take decades to pay off. However, if there are no other large outstanding debts, it may be prudent for homeowners to focus on paying off their mortgage early. There are several strategies that homeowners can use to pay off their home more quickly.

Many tactics can be applied without changing the terms of the loan. For example, homeowners can commit to diverting all future income increases and tax refunds to making additional mortgage payments. Mortgage holders can also add a bit extra to their normal monthly payments toward the principal or make payments more frequently.

Homeowners interested in refinancing can convert from a 30-year to a 20 or 15-year loan period, which typically results in higher payments with a lower interest rate. Another strategy is to switch from monthly to bi-monthly payments, which can result in significant interest savings over the life of the loan.

Provisional Income and Retirement Planning

Provisional Income pic
Provisional Income
Image: investopedia.com

For more than two decades, Certified Financial Planner Robert M. Ryerson has worked with a team of tax, mortgage, and insurance professionals for the financial services firm New Century Planning. Robert M. Ryerson is a noted financial planning expert and has written articles for leading publications such as Forbes covering a number of important retirement topics, including required minimum distributions and provisional income.

Provisional income is a figure calculated by the IRS to determine if a Social Security recipient’s benefits should be taxed. Provisional income is derived by combining pension payments, IRA and 401(k) distributions, capital gains, and tax-free investments with 50 percent of the anticipated annual Social Security benefits. If this number exceeds $44,000 for a couple or $34,000 for an individual, only 15 percent of Social Security benefits can be collected tax-free.

If not planned for thoughtfully, provisional income can cause retirees to face unexpected penalties and taxes, which can reduce their living standards. With the assistance of a qualified financial planner, high-earning families and individuals can arrange their post-retirement income in order to minimize the tax liabilities.

Financial Education from the Society for Financial Awareness

Society for Financial Awareness pic
Society for Financial Awareness
Image: sofausa.org

A Certified Financial Planner at New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey, Robert M. Ryerson advises clients on retirement, estate and legacy planning. Additionally, Robert M. Ryerson serves as a financial strategist at the Society for Financial Awareness, a non-profit organization that provides financial education across the United States.

Comprising financial professionals with diverse areas of expertise, the Society for Financial Awareness offers educational resources designed to make Americans more financially literate. In addition to a vast database of articles related to financial education, the organization offers “content-rich” workshops that inspire and inform. Delivered by professionals in their field, these workshops address common financial concerns such as planning for college and how to create a balanced investment portfolio. Seminars also delve into complex real estate topics such as buying a foreclosure property and avoiding common mistakes as a first-time home buyer. For more information or to schedule a free seminar, visit www.sofausa.org.

Identity Theft Statistics

 

What's the Deal with Identity Theft pic
What’s the Deal with Identity Theft
Image: amazon.com

Since 1998, Robert M. Ryerson has served as a Certified Financial Planner with New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey. Holding certification as a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, Robert M. Ryerson also penned a book titled, “What’s the Deal with Identity Theft?” in 2016 and is a recognized expert in the field.

According to data from Experian, upwards of 179 million records were compromised in 1,579 data breaches in 2017. This represents a 44 percent increase in breaches and a 389 percent increase in total records compromised over 2016. The resulting risk from these breaches is significant, since just a year prior approximately 31.7 percent of stolen records led directly to identity theft. As these types of breaches receive more prominent media coverage, more Americans than ever (73 percent) say they are worried their information could be stolen.

Identity theft still most commonly takes place in the form of credit card fraud, with employment and tax fraud coming in second. The two most vulnerable groups are people age 19 and under, and citizens aged 60 and older. In total, $905 million was lost last year by consumers as a result of identity fraud. Those who find themselves victims of identity theft or other financial fraud should report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 438-4338 and consult an experienced financial professional to determine their next steps.

Basic Tips for Establishing a Debt Repayment Plan

 

Debt Repayment pic
Debt Repayment
Image: investopedia.com

Robert M. Ryerson is a certified financial planner (CFP) with New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey, and a financial strategist with The Society of Financial Awareness in San Diego, California. Robert M. Ryerson, an economics graduate of Rutgers University, has maintained his certification as a financial planner for nearly three decades.

The Society of Financial Awareness (SOFA) is a registered not-for-profit that promotes financial literacy on the national stage. The organization is primarily known for providing a six-hour course that is split into two sessions that address a number of pressing financial concerns, including retirement distribution planning, estate and legacy planning, and social security taxation. The organization also offers resources regarding debt resolution.

When it comes to resolving debt, there are no quick or easy solutions. Any organization or professional who promises immediate relief from debt should be regarded with considerable skepticism. Fortunately, there are a few steps individuals and families can take to get the repayment process started.

Firstly, individuals need a base understanding of their overall financial situation. By collecting all available statements and relative documentation, including annual credit scores, a person can fully assess their debt and draft a workable repayment plan. Any aspect of debt eligible for lower interest rates, such as a low rate balance transfer credit card, should be converted immediately. High interest rates are one of the most challenging aspects of the debt cycle, sometimes making it impossible to make any progress towards repayment.

Next, individuals must formulate a strategy. This is easier said than done, of course, and may necessitate some professional help. However, elements of a debt repayment plan should include basic math to determine how much debt can be comfortably paid off each month and setting up auto payment services whenever possible. Individuals who feel their debt is too much to handle should reach out to a trusted credit counseling agency or bankruptcy attorney.

What Are Bitcoins?

 

Bitcoin pic
Bitcoin
Image: investopedia.com

Certified Financial Planner Robert M. Ryerson has published and spoken extensively on financial topics. One innovation which Robert M. Ryerson has taken an interest in is cryptocurrency, a form of digitally-based currency backed by computing power.

Bitcoin, the first and most popular cryptocurrency, uses a shared public ledger called a blockchain to store all confirmed transactions. Bitcoin wallets use the blockchain to calculate their spendable balances, making sure all transactions are legitimate and individuals cannot fraudulently increase their balances. When users transfer Bitcoins between one another, they use a private key and signature to maintain the integrity of the transaction, and transactions are confirmed through a process called mining, in which computers on the network perform computations.

While secure, this transaction process has a significant energy footprint. Each transaction conducted through Bitcoin averages out to approximately 215 kilowatt-hours of power usage, about one quarter of what a typical American household uses monthly. Due to the high level of distrust built into the system and the numerous times each transaction is computationally verified, it also requires a large amount of computing power.

Things to Consider before Retiring in Another Country

 

Retiring pic
Retiring
Image: investopedia.com

Robert M. Ryerson, a Certified Financial Planner in New Jersey, works with clients at New Century Planning and teaches topics on retirement and cryptocurrency. Passionate about travel, Robert M. Ryerson recently visited Ecuador and is interested in establishing an office in the city of Cuenca to address the financial planning needs of the many American expats in the area.

For American retirees who are thinking of moving to a foreign land, researching the visa requirements and health care in the destination country is important. Visa requirements vary by country and can cause problems with a retiree’s plans.

Several countries, including Mexico and Ireland, maintain special retirement visas that may be granted if a person’s health, ability to speak the language, and retirement funds are adequate. Some countries provide health care to retirees if they have a retirement visa. However, the standard of health care may be lower than that to which Americans are accustomed.

Finances may also be tricky for retirees abroad. One of the major benefits of retiring in another country is the ability to enjoy a good lifestyle on a moderate budget. To prepare for this, individuals should lower their cost of living early. Further, expats should keep most of their cash in a bank in the United States.

Health Care Companies Hard Hit by Data Breaches

What's the Deal with Identity Theft pic
What’s the Deal with Identity Theft
Image: amazon.com

Robert M. Ryerson serves as a Certified Financial Planner with New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey. He has additionally earned certification from the nonprofit Institute of Consumer Financial Education as a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist. Robert M. Ryerson book What’s the Deal with Identity Theft? appeared in 2016.

In the book, he gives numerous examples of the threat that the crime of identity theft poses to ordinary people, using examples such as recent data breaches at major health care companies.

In 2015, Premera Blue Cross announced that a cyberattack against its data the previous year may have compromised the personal information of as many as 11 million people. Information that may have been exposed to hackers included individuals’ Social Security numbers, financial institution details, addresses and phone numbers, and information on specific medical claims.

A similar attack in early 2015 targeted fellow health care company Anthem, potentially compromising the data of some 78 million consumers.

A 2017 report issued by Accenture consultants revealed that more than one-fourth of all United States consumers have been personally affected by a data breach involving a health care company. More than half of these victims later suffered medical identity theft, which involves the fraudulent use of names and health insurance information to receive medical care, file claims with an insurance provider, or obtain prescription drugs.

Reports of Identity Theft, State by State

Identity Theft

Robert M. Ryerson is the author of the book What’s the Deal with Identity Theft? A Plain English Look at Our Fastest Growing Crime. A Certified Financial Planner who serves with Freehold, New Jersey-based New Century Planning, Robert M. Ryerson has leveraged his expertise on the topics of identity theft, cryptocurrencies, and other facets of contemporary financial life to give numerous public presentations and college lectures.

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2017, Michigan led the nation in the number of identity theft reports per capita that year. The state experienced 151 reports for every 100,000 residents. Florida and California ranked second and third, with 149 and 140 reports, respectively, for every 100,000 of their citizens. Rounding out the top five were Maryland and Nevada.

Had it been ranked as a state, the District of Columbia would have taken first place, with 192 reports of identity theft per 100,000 residents.

The complete FTC data can be viewed, state by state, on the agency’s website.

When to Visit Ecuador

 

Ecuador pic
Ecuador
Image: tripadvisor.com

Robert M. Ryerson, a CFP at New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey, provides clients with information and guidance about identity theft, retirement distribution planning, and estate planning. Outside of work, Robert M. Ryerson loves traveling and is particularly fascinated by Ecuador, a small but extremely diverse country.

Due to Ecuador’s diverse geography, it has no universal winter and summer season. Instead, the country has a dry season and wet season. The wettest time of the year for most of Ecuador runs from January through May. Rain levels are particularly high in the Amazon, thus causing periodic flooding in the forest, road closures, and plenty of mosquitoes. Still, the mild temperatures in the forests between these months appeal to many tourists.

Meanwhile, Ecuador is driest between June and September. Since these months correspond with summer vacation in North America and Europe, flights, accommodations, and crowds usually increase during this time. There are also several festivals held between June and September that draw in even more crowds. Crowds are also high between October and December due to the many national holidays celebrated during these months.

During both Ecuador’s dry and wet season, weather in the highlands and the Galapagos vary a bit. Between January and May, the highlands still experience higher levels of rain, but tend to be warmer. The same is true of the Galapagos and the water around the islands. Temperatures decrease between June and September. Along with cooler temperatures, the island’s less friendly waters keep many tourists away.

Cryptocurrency Prices Spike in Response to BlackRock Involvement

BlackRock pic
BlackRock
Image: zerohedge.com

A co-author of What You Don’t Know About Retirement Will Hurt You!, Robert M. Ryerson is a certified financial planner (CFP) and certified identity theft risk management specialist (CITRMS). In addition to providing clients with financial advice as a CFP at New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey, Robert M. Ryerson hosts seminars and presentations about such topics as cryptocurrency.

On July 16, 2018, the cryptocurrency market saw a sudden spike in price for the three top digital assets: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. These three assets increased in trading value by about 4.5 percent. The new trading value of Bitcoin was raised to $6,631.70; meanwhile, Ethereum’s trading value increase to $476.81, and Ripple’s value increased to just under $0.50. An increase in trading value was also noted for Litecoin. This asset rose about 7.09 percent to trade for about $83.

These rapid increases are supposedly the result of BlackRock’s interest in the cryptocurrency market. The 10th largest hedge fund in the world, BlackRock is also responsible for managing upwards of $6 trillion. According to sources, the fund developed a department dedicated to investigating cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. While this department was formed in 2015, the recent series of large-scale hacks caused investor confidence to drop, thus giving it a chance to increase again based on the news that BlackRock is interested in the industry.

This high level of volatility in the cryptocurrency market isn’t new and is responsible for keeping people’s confidence in the industry low. However, many experts expect this to change as more institutional investors become interested in cryptocurrency.

Essentials of Estate Planning