June 21, 2018

What About Your Banking?

Over the past 6 months, I have had a number of clients referred that are just too busy or overwhelmed with taking care of their day to day finances.  Generally speaking, they don’t understand the banking system or how to set up systems to take care of their bill payments.  The end result is this effects their credit score and costs them more money to arrange their mortgage financing.

A big part of the problem is they just don’t have the time to learn how to make the systems work for them, other priorities take precedent over having to learn something new, again.  We are continually having to learn new computer systems and we are overwhelmed by having to digest something else!

Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Make time twice a month to sit down with your banking to pay your bills and reconcile what monies are coming in and what is going out
  • Have your deposits (i.e. pensions) put on automatic deposits and it will save you time instead of having to personally deposit these cheques
  • Put your utilities and other payments on automatic withdrawal and this will ensure that these bills are paid on time
  • Go to your bank and ask them to explain what it is that you don’t understand about the banking system
  • Take a hard look at what it is costing you in bank charges (i.e. NSF fees) by not being in control of your banking balances.

If I can clarify anything for you, please call me and take advantage of my many years working within the banking system!

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  www.mortgagesbycolleen.ca  or call 416-459-2406

Is Mortgage Protection Insurance A Good Idea?

Mortgage protection insurance is a form of life insurance that covers your mortgage debt if you die or become disabled.  It is a very popular sell by the banks because you can just add the premium to your mortgage payment.

So you ask, isn’t this a good thing?  Well most people in the industry would say no for the following reasons:

  1. As your mortgage decreases, so does your payout because it only covers the outstanding mortgage balance however your insurance premiums remain the same
  2. The monies go directly to the lending institution and not to you to decide how you want to disburse the monies.  Maybe paying off the mortgage is not the best decision
  3. In case of disability, the policy will generally cover your monthly mortgage payments until the debt is finished but nothing else
  4. There is no medical, unless you disclose a pre-existing condition and your claim could be denied if they find something that violates the insurance contract

A better option would be life insurance.  Your payout will remain the same through the term of your policy and you can allocate the funds as you wish.  Generally speaking, life insurance is less expensive than mortgage insurance.

Always keep in mind that the banking community is under huge pressure to cross sell services and they benefit quite nicely by selling mortgage insurance whether it is in your best interest or not!

Colleen Saunders is a 25 year veteran in the mortgage industry serving Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 1st & 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  www.mortgagesbycolleen.ca  or call 416-459-2406

Steps To Help You Save Towards Purchasing A Home

Possibly you don’t own a home but you would now like to start saving towards a down payment to purchase a home.  The first thing you need to do is eliminate your debts to start your savings.

Here are some suggestions to take control of your debts:

  1. Assess Your Situation:  Take an honest look at what you owe, the interest rates and the terms of repayment and document everything
  2. Set Goals:  Take some time to work out your short, medium and long-term financial goals i.e. in 1 year you may want to pay off all your debts, in 2 years you may want to buy a car, in 3 years you may want to purchase a house.  Without solid goals, you won’t be motivated to pay off your debts
  3. Create a Household Budget:  Once you have determined how much you owe, you need to identify all your monthly expenditures.  Create a household budget to determine how much you have to spend on basic living costs and subtract that from your monthly income.  Then see what’s left over to pay off your debts
  4. Curb Your Spending:  Determine where you have been wasting money and what changes you could make to amp up your debt repayment.  Maybe you don’t have to buy your lunch or you could take advantage of free coffee at work plus you could put all your change in a jar, then use it to pay down your debts
  5. Stow Your Credit Cards:  Since it was your credit cards that got you into trouble in the first place, you need to stop using them.  You must cut them up except maybe one for emergencies.  Remove the temptation
  6. Learn How To Say No:  Creating a budget is the easy part, sticking to it is something else.  Set yourself a challenge for example, go 30, then 60 then 90 days without shopping.  You have to learn how to say no and stick to your plan because it is so easy to fall back into your old spending habits
  7. Snowball Your Debt Payments:  Tackle your highest interest rate debt first because this is the one that is costing you the most.  You could also pay off the smallest debt first to give you some success to stay motivated.  Once the small debts are gone, you can use that money to snowball the payments on the other cards
  8. Find Extra Sources Of Income:  In order to repay debt as fast as possible, consider other sources of income.  Take a look at your assets to see if you can part with them.  Or, you could look at getting a second job

I offer a totally confidential complimentary 45 minute Financial Consultation to provide you with alternatives and options available towards establishing your financial goals.

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  www.mortgagesbycolleen.ca  or call 416-459-2406

Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approval?

With the spring housing market heating up, you may want to make an offer on a house without a condition on financing.  I wanted to clarify how to receive a valid Pre-Approval.  I have had 2 referrals lately that told me that they had been pre-approved for their mortgage, when in fact it was as good as the paper it wasn’t written on!

Typically, when you go to your lending institution stating you are buying &/or selling a home, they will take your basic information, crunch some numbers and tell you what amount you qualify for.  Unfortunately, this is not an accurate pre-approval.  When I do a pre-approval for my clients, I actually pull a credit check and request income confirmation i.e. T4’s or tax returns.  This is especially important for Business For Self and hourly/contract individuals.

The other aspect to consider is that the house you are buying is an important part of the lending process.  Is it a ‘fixer-upper’ or is it a lovely home that anyone would want to live in?  Because of this fact, most lenders won’t even look at doing a pre-approval without a purchase agreement.

What you really require is a letter of confirmation stating that based on the information provided, you have been approved for a mortgage up to a particular amount to give you the assurance to write an offer without a “Subject to Financing” clause.

With all the variations and permutations within the lending guidelines, for the typical consumer, this is one area where discussion with an experienced broker is time well spent.

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  www.mortgagesbycolleen.ca  or call 416-459-2406

Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours

In his book Extreme Productivity:  Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours author Robert Pozen reveals his secrets and strategies for productivity and high performance, focusing on results produced rather than simply hours worked.

Pozen lays out 6 steps to analyze whether your efforts are supporting your most critical business goals and objectives. We all rush from meeting to meeting or various activities without giving much thought to the rationale for our hectic schedules.

We spend too little time on activities that support our highest goals and have a serious mismatch between priorities and time allocations.  Think carefully about why you are engaging in any activity and what you expect to get out of it.  Establish your highest-ranking goals and determine whether your schedule is consistent with this ranking.  This process has 6 steps:

  1. Write everything down:  Include routine tasks that you have to do daily or weekly and longer-term projects.  Include short and long-term goals.  Add these aspirations to your list.
  2. Organize by time horizon:  Divide your list into 3 time categories:   A-  Career aims:  Long-term goals over at least 5 years  B-  Objectives:  Professional goals over the next 3 months to 2 years  C-  Targets:  Action steps that should guide your work on a weekly or daily basis
  3. Rank your objectives:  Think about what you want to do, what you’re good at and what the world needs from you.  These are distinctly different.  Determining “what you want to do” is critical to your ranking decisions.  “What am I good at”, which objectives play to your strengths.  “What the world needs from you”, determine what your clients, your organization needs most from you
  4. Rank your targets:  Your targets or action steps will typically fall into 1 of 2 categories, which will help you accomplish your objectives.  Decide which targets belong in which category and then try to rank them
  5. Estimate how you spend your time:  Once you have ranked your objectives and targets, determine how effectively your schedule matches your high-priority goals.  Take out your calendar and answer these 6 questions:
  • How many hours do you spend at work vs. other activities?
  • What are the 3 main work activities on which you spend the most time?
  • How many hours each week do you spend on meetings, reports and responding to emails or social media?
  • Will your weekly schedule be similar a year from now?
  • How will you measure success and failure over the next year?
  • Compare your allocations of time with your ranked list of objectives and targets.  What percentage of your time do you spend on activities that help you meet your highest objectives and lower-ranking items?

6. Address the mismatch:  You will likely find that you are spending no more than half your time on your highest priorities.

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.