Homeowners with an existing mortgage may find that refinancing is an attractive option in today’s low rate environment. Older loans often have non-competitive interest rates and lack the flexibility and features available in the current market.

Is Now The Right Time To Refinance Your Mortgage?

Regardless of the age of your loan, it is always helpful to periodically review its terms to determine if it still fits your current situation and meets your financial goals. Refinancing is a process that involves paying out your current loan and replacing it with one that has a lower monthly payment and/or a shorter term.

Refinance Your Mortgage

When to Consider Refinancing

Before taking any action, it is important to establish the underlying purpose of refinancing your mortgage. Lenders offer a variety of different loan packages designed for those seeking lower rates, shorter terms, debt consolidation or equity extraction. Focusing solely on the interest rate may be a mistake. Borrowers are advised to consider every aspect of the loan including the costs associated with changing lenders.

Refinancing your mortgage can make sense in the following situations:

* Your current loan interest rate is no longer competitive
* You would like to recover some of the equity in your home for remodeling, renovations or personal needs
* You want to consolidate several outstanding debts such as personal loans, car loans or credit cards
* There is a significant change in your financial circumstances
* You are interested in additional loan features including redraw facilities, account splitting and flexible repayments
* You want to change to a fixed rate loan
* You want to change the term of your mortgage

Conversely, it is also important to recognize when refinancing your mortgage may not be a beneficial option.

* Your existing mortgage is subject to prepayment penalties
* Refinancing costs are excessive
* You plan on selling the property in the near future
* Your income is unstable or may be declining
* Your loan balance is low and close to being repaid

Other Considerations

Borrowers should also be aware of additional fees associated with refinancing, including application, settlement, loan establishment, loan service, entry, exit, legal and stamp duty fees. If the loan exceeds 80 percent of the property’s value, the borrower should determine if mortgage insurance or a low deposit premium is required.

It is very difficult to know exactly when interest rates will begin to rise, so it always makes sense to calculate the payback period for a new loan. This can be accomplished by dividing the total closing fees by the expected monthly savings. If the payback period is relatively short, it may be time to refinance your mortgage. However, it is important to recognize that extending the loan term can substantially increase the total cost of owning your home even if the monthly payment is reduced.

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Yes, you read that correctly! I recently earned money simply by working toward a long-term health goal. In fact, it only took a month to double my money, simply by losing weight!

How I Reached My Goals With A Simple Bet

Money Food

I am referring to a “diet bet”. This is where you “buy in” to a game with a group of people, and then you all try to reach the same weight loss goal. The basic (and original) goal is to lose 4% of your weight in 4 weeks. That’s not as hard as it sounds…if you are 300lbs, you only have to lose 12lbs in that period (something that is safe and doable at that size). If you are 250lbs, then your goal is to be 240 once the 4 weeks is up.

The person who set up the bet chooses how much money each person has to put in. After the bet is over, everyone who met the goal splits the pot and those who didn’t, get nothing. So this is definitely a challenge where it is all up to you. You don’t have to worry about anyone “cheating” or going up against someone who is doing amazing on their weight loss journey; If you hit your 4% goal, you win, no matter what anyone else does.

I love this format because it helps to develop a level of teamwork and encouragement, while still setting it up as a competition. Everyone was encouraging each other and trying to offer ideas and motivation throughout the challenge!

The Results Of Our Diet Bet

For the bet that I set up through the Renew Show (here is a link to the final bet results), the buy in was $25. There were 40 people who entered, making the pot $1,000! There were 15 of us who hit our goals, 24 who fell short, and 1 who dropped out. From this, the 15 winners were able to each take home $50!

All I had to do was work toward my goal and I was able to double my money in 28 days! This is actually a great investment because it gives you more incentive/motivation to develop and/or continue healthy habits, while giving you a chance to earn money in the process.

You are able to be in 3 bets at once, so if everything turned out the same in each one, I could have turned $75 into $150! This was the 3rd time that I have done something like this, and I definitely think it is a great way to add some excitement and accountability to a long-term weight loss journey, especially when done back to back (which I have yet to do).

If you have any questions about how the diet bet works, or if you think you will want to join one in the near future, leave a comment below.

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