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Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

10 Reasons to Continue Working After Retirement

By Kira Botkin

working seniorWhen you picture yourself in your golden years, are you sitting on a beach, hitting the golf course, or working behind a desk? For many people of retirement age, continuing to work makes perfect sense.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t balance your work life with enjoyable activities, such as vacation and family visits. Instead, going back to work can be a complementary activity to a fulfilling life. And whether it’s done voluntarily or out of necessity, working after retirement can offer many benefits. In fact, check out some of the best job ideas for retirees.

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How to Prepare and Plan for Retirement

By Kira Botkin

enjoy your retirementWhether your retirement is fast approaching or decades away, it is likely that you do not spend much time pondering what will happen when you stop working. Unfortunately, many people are unable to retire when they’d like to because of their financial situation.

With careful planning, you can avoid this predicament. Planning ahead for retirement allows you to decide when and how you will retire, and whether you will continue to work. Even if you have not begun to plan, you can still start preparing yourself at any time – whether you plan to retire in the next few years, or in the next few decades. It is important to give yourself the best chance for a happy and secure future!

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8 Best Job Ideas for Retirees & Seniors

By Kira Botkin

retired coupleWhile at work, many of us dream of having time off to fill our days vacationing, playing golf, and relaxing with loved ones. But when retirement comes, we may actually find that we miss the work!

There are myriad reasons to continue to work after retirement: it can help you stay physically and mentally healthy, and provides an additional source of income. You may wish to find a job in your field with more flexibility, fewer hours, and less stress, or you could get started in a new career field. Instead of fitting your life around your job, you can look for jobs that allow you to pursue your interests. This can be a dream come true for a retiree.

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What Is a Piggyback 80-10-10 Mortgage – Pros & Cons

By Kira Botkin

piggyback mortgage house familyA piggyback mortgage is exactly what it sounds like – one mortgage on top of another. This set of two mortgages was commonly used prior to the mortgage crisis to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), when homebuyers didn’t have a large enough down payment.

Now, this loan combo is much harder to come by. However, it can still be an option for homebuyers with good credit who have at least a 10% down payment and would prefer not to pay PMI.

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What Is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – Definition, Pros & Cons

By Kira Botkin

adjustable rate mortgageWhen shopping for a mortgage, you have a variety of options. Mortgages can be structured differently and many factors are negotiable, such as the interest rate, closing costs, the loan’s length, a pre-payment penalty, and a balloon payment, to name a few.

One type of loan that has recently become popular is the ARM, or adjustable rate mortgage. On this loan, the interest rate starts out very low and adjusts over time according to an interest index, such as the LIBOR (London InterBank Offered Rate). Typically, the interest rate adjusts up because a margin is added to whatever current rates are.

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Shopping Nanny Review – Find Sales & Coupons for Your Grocery List

By Kira Botkin

Important Note: Please be advised that the Shopping Nanny website is no longer maintained. For a similar service, check out our Savings Angel Review.

shopping nanny logoMaking a grocery list and sticking to it can save you money every time you shop at the grocery store. When you have a list, you always come home with everything you need, and the list helps you stick to a budget. Getting the best deals on the grocery items you need involves a lot of comparison shopping and coupon organizing.

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What Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – How to Avoid Paying It

By Kira Botkin

house calculatorIf you look at your monthly mortgage statement and see a line for “PMI,” you’re paying for private mortgage insurance. It probably costs you between $50 and $200 per month, depending on the balance of your loan and your PMI rate.

But why are you paying it? Essentially, your lender is requiring you to pay the premiums for an insurance policy that partially reimburses them should you default on your mortgage. We’ll discuss when you’re required to have PMI, what this insurance protects, who needs to carry it, and ways to avoid paying it.

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When Should I Refinance My Mortgage Loan?

By Kira Botkin

mortgage keysRefinancing your mortgage can be a money-saving move, but not in every situation. Since there are costs associated with all refinances, sometimes getting a lower interest rate can actually be more expensive than keeping your current loan. Plus, sifting through all those lender offers can be overwhelming and even misleading.

So how do you determine if a refinance is right for you? First, you need to understand how refinancing works. Then, consider your financial situation and what you want to accomplish with a refinance. Finally, take a look at loans you’re eligible for in the context of your long-term financial goals.

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What Is a Balloon Payment Mortgage?

By Kira Botkin

balloon house mortgageMortgages come in many different varieties and if your situation is unusual, you may be best served by an unusual type of mortgage.

One of these lesser-used mortgage types is known as a balloon mortgage, also referred to as a balloon payment mortgage.

In this article, we’ll discuss what it is and how it’s different, when you might use it, and its benefits and drawbacks.

What Is a Balloon Mortgage?

When you purchase a home with a balloon mortgage, you will begin making monthly payments for an amount that is similar to a standard 30-year fixed mortgage at the same rate.

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How to Refinance a Mortgage on Your Home

By Kira Botkin

mortgage statement checkRefinancing your mortgage can save you thousands in interest over the years and lower your payment. But while you’ve probably seen commercials with mortgage lenders claiming that they’ll take care of everything, you’ll only get a “great” deal if you do your homework first.

Before applying, understand what the mortgage lender will be asking you to provide, what type of mortgage you are (and aren’t) looking for, and whether it make sense to refinance now or wait.

If you’re ready to refinance, follow these steps to get the best possible deal on your new mortgage.

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Should I Save for a Down Payment on a House or Pay Off Debt?

By Kira Botkin

down payment houseWhen you’re preparing to buy a home, it’s important to get your finances in order. Not only will you have to be organized to fill out the loan application, but you want to otherwise streamline your finances to improve your chances of being approved for a loan and qualifying for a lower interest rate and a larger mortgage amount.

In fact, how much you have for a down payment is pivotal to this determination as is an assessment of your existing debt. But this creates a conundrum. If you have both a healthy down payment and a fair bit of debt already, what do you do? Do you pay off the debt and put up a smaller down payment, or do you keep both the debt and down payment intact?

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Best New & Used Car Buying Services Online

By Kira Botkin

woman buying carIf you want to buy a car, but don’t want to haggle with salespeople or spend weeks reading the classifieds, using a car buying service may be exactly what you need. It could save you time, aggravation, and even get you a better deal.

With that in mind, there are several national services available to help you find both new cars and used cars that fit your needs and budget.

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Beware of the Mortgage Prepayment Penalty

By Kira Botkin

mortgage loan agreementApplying for a mortgage can be tricky. There are many things to consider, including something known as a prepayment penalty. A loan with a prepayment penalty may also come with a lower rate and so can seem more attractive.

However, the prepayment penalty will hurt you if you want to refinance or even sell “early.” For this reason, it’s imperative to understand how much the penalty is as well as when and under what circumstances you’d have to pay it. Only then can you make an informed decision regarding whether or not a mortgage with a prepayment penalty is really worth it.

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What Is Comprehensive Coverage Auto Insurance

By Kira Botkin

car break in theftIf you run into a tree or cause an accident of some sort, the cost of repairing your own car is paid for by your collision coverage.

But what if a tree falls on your car, or a deer rams into the side of your vehicle, or a thief smashes in your window to steal the radio?

To cover these repair costs, you’ll need to add comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy.

What Is Comprehensive Coverage?

Essentially, comprehensive coverage pays for repairs to your car when it’s damaged outside of an accident. This includes damage as a result of theft, vandalism, acts of nature, animals, and falling objects.

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What Is Collision Coverage – Do You Need It in Your Auto Insurance?

By Kira Botkin

car accident frontIf you’re like me, you probably spend more time shopping around for a car than for the insurance you need to protect it. Most states require at least a minimal amount of coverage to protect other drivers from bodily injury or property damage you might cause them while driving. But carrying your state’s minimum insurance requirements may not be enough. After all, it’s primarily designed to protect other drivers and their cars. What about you and your vehicle?

When it comes to car insurance options, there are many. To better protect yourself, you can decrease your deductibles, increase your existing coverage amounts, or add additional coverage, just to name a few.

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