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Is the Time Right to Refinance Your Home Mortgage?

October 2014

Over the last two years average home values have continued to rise across the United States. In many areas existing homes have gained back at least half the value lost after the real estate bust of 2007 and during the Great Recession. At the same time, mortgage interest rates have stayed within a range of historic lows. During 2013 when rates were lowest, many people with equity in their homes refinanced their mortgages usually to lower payments and overall interest paid. For a variety of reasons, other homeowners sat tight with the mortgages they had. This year, although many economic analysts have been predicting that interest rates will rise more sharply, that has not happened but the potential must be considered. Taking all these factors into account you may be wondering if the time is right to refinance.

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Protecting Your Money From 2013's Most Common Consumer Complaints

September 2014

Would it surprise you to know that the top consumer complaints of 2013 included problems with new and used auto sales, trouble with home repairs, and scams against the elderly? These selected problems from the latest national report based on data from local and state consumer protection agencies and compiled by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators don’t surprise me at all. In over 30 years as a consumer advocate, I’ve observed many such complaints and have worked to provide useful information to help you avoid such problems. Educators is also a vital advocate for your financial well-being and provides resources to help you in the three challenges I’ve highlighted—buying a new or used vehicle, carrying out successful home repairs or remodeling, and protecting yourself or older family members from targeted scams.

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Where Are You Keeping Your Important Documents and Valuables?

August 2014

We all have important documents. Many of us have items that we consider irreplaceable. Do you know where they are? Are they protected from water, fire, and other threats? This month’s report looks at ways you can keep and protect your important items.

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What's the Catch? Five Popular "Offers" to Beware

July 2014

Enticing offers pop up frequently online, on TV, and in stores for services or goods that you might actually use if they were legitimate. But are they? Is there a catch? If so, what is it? What are your real alternatives? This report looks at five of the most popular advertising come-ons.

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Vacation Travel Tips and Traps

June 2014

Memorial Day has slipped past on the calendar. The great summer vacation season is upon us. Whether you plan to vacation as a family, a couple, a group of friends, or singly, these vacation travel tips can help you get the most satisfaction and value for your money and avoid popular travel traps and scams.

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