Reverse Mortgage Pros and Cons

Like most financial products, borrowers should proceed with caution

A reverse mortgage can be a powerful tool for seniors struggling to make ends meet in retirement. That being said, it can also be damaging if used incorrectly.  The good thing about this products is that prior to receiving a loan an individual is required to receive counseling from a HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) counselor.  Your counselor will educate you about the process, what to expect, and answer any questions you may have.

This week’s Personal Finance 120 video (available here) provides an overview of reverse mortgages, so I recommend you review it as part of the learning process. What I wanted to focus on in today’s post is the pros and cons.  So, without further adieu:

Reverse Mortgage Pros:

  • Use funds to pay off existing debts (mortgage / credit cards)
  • Receive income based on your equity
  • Reverse mortgage funds are generally tax free
  • No restrictions on fund usage 

Reverse Mortgage Cons:

  • Product is a loan; therefore, interest will accrue
  • The loan will diminish the equity in your home
  • If you do not maintain taxes or insurance you run the risk of foreclosure.

Is a reverse mortgage for you?  It all depends. The best way to assess the product’s usefulness is to speak with a Reverse Mortgage Counselor.  Feel free to contact one of Cambridge’s counselors who would be happy to answer your questions – contact Cambridge.

Until Next time I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.

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Don’t Talk Yourself Out of a Job

What NOT to do during your interview!

It’s normal to be a little nervous during a job interview, but sometimes our anxiety pushes us to make mistakes which jeopardize our chances at employment. I recently read an article where a few HR directors dished on the most frequent mistakes made by interviewees, and it was enlightening. 

Top of their list – talking over the interviewer.  In an effort to paint the best portrait of themselves, many interviewees fail to engage in active listening.  They blurt out how they’ve ‘conquered this’ and ‘championed that’ all the while steamrolling their interviewer.  If you can’t listen to people, or read their conversation cues, HR folks have little faith in your communication skills.  Best advice… listen, listen, listen and speak when spoken too.

Another faux paus is badmouthing a former employer.  This generally occurs if the wounds of departure are still a raw.  When asked why you left your last job, take a second to respond with a tactful response.  Badmouthing your employer is a sign of immaturity, and the workplace has no room for kindergarten antics.

Lastly, don’t try too hard.  You cannot be all things to all people.  There will be some positions that fit your skills and passion, and other that do not.  An interview is not a ‘bull in a china shop’’ experience, it’s a harmony of insight and need.  Be the best possible version of yourself.  Be humble, confident, and authentic.

Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

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Interview Tips for Senior Workers

Telling an energetic story can make all the difference.

So, you’re an older worker, but you still have a lot to offer.  Thankfully the tide is changing in your favor.  As we reported in this week’s Personal Finance 120 video, older workers are back in demand.  Just because you’re marketable it doesn’t mean the offers will come rolling in.  Even if they do, you still have to interview for the job, which presents some challenges for older workers. Instead of the old dog and pony show, older Americans have to tell the story of their experience.  Build a narrative describing your skills and real world experience.  Sprinkle in talking points of your more challenging projects, talk about your leadership style, or how you’ve mentored subordinates throughout your career.   

As an older interviewee you’ll also have to breakdown stereotypes. Some folks see people in their 50’s and 60’s as walker-bound silver-hairs waiting for Wheel of Fortune to sign-off so they can hit the sack.  Obviously, this is not the case, so bring your energy to the interview. Leave them thinking you’re a 20 year old with the mind of a sage.

Interviewing can be challenging for anyone, so don’t feel discouraged by the process.  By projecting the best of what you have to offer you’ll increase your chances of success.  Until next time I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

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Interview with Confidence

Simple tips for a killer job interview. 

A job interview can be intimidating. It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college or you’re a seasoned professional — we each get butterflies while we’re waiting in lobby.   Aside from the obvious advice of dressing professionally and bringing extra copies of your resume to the interview, there are a few things you can do the increase your confidence.

Practice makes perfect.  Role-play interviews with your friends and family members.  Don’t let them take it easy on you either. Job interviews are a free for all, and you never know what questions will be thrown at you.  This is also a great opportunity to show off your research skills.  Have your mock interviewer ask you questions about the company you’ll be interviewing with.  You should research their mission, offerings, and media releases to get an overall understanding of their business philosophy and work in the community.  While conducting your research be sure to make a list of questions for your interviewer (the real one.)  Most people fail to ask questions during an interview, and this is a big no-no.  You can’t possible understand every facet of the business, so don’t be shy to speak-up.  You’ll stand out for your inquisitiveness.

When you get to your interview, keep a cool composure.  Blend into the crowd.  Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect, and as a “member of the team.” Sure, the Senior VP may have the final say on hiring you, but he or she will rely on input from their team members.  Making a good impression with everyone from the receptionist to mid-level managers can go a long way.

Lastly, don’t get discouraged if you left anything out of the interview, or think you could have done a better job at making a point or two.  You should send a follow-up ‘Thank You’ note to your interviewers, and it’s a great opportunity to “sell” yourself… again.  Take notes during the interview to reinforce anything you’d like to clarify, and opportunities to show why you are the right person for the job.

Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

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Success Comes from Mastering the Unknown

Career growth is experienced when you embrace being ‘uncomfortable.’ 

Although employment is an important aspect of financial stability, many jobseekers gloss over the economic implications of their skills (or lack thereof.) Most of the folks I chat with are focused on ‘What’s In It For Me’ instead of what they bring to the table.  Sure, we could all use more money, but a good paying job is not an entitlement… it’s something you earn.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of supply and demand. In a competitive market the price of goods and services are dictated by the value they represents. Essentially, not everyone can step into a high-salary position without possessing the necessary skills.  That’s not to say you can’t get there, but it requires honing your craft and, more importantly, establishing leverage.

Leverage is created by developing your Career Capital. Career Capital is the unique skill-set you possess.  For instance, throughout my career at a Cambridge I’ve done everything from authoring personal finance books to producing national television commercials.  There are not many Community Outreach Directors that can transition from writing books to scripting, story-boarding, and filming a commercial; therefore, my skill-set is unique – and in the right situation, a tremendous value.

So, how do you build Career Capital? Start by getting uncomfortable. I can tell you tackling a national ad campaign is scary; but, the process taught me a lot. If I avoided the experience, I would have lost an awesome opportunity to add those skills to my own Capital. That project not only added to my marketability, it gave me a deeper appreciation for my accomplishments – and confidence goes a long way. Go… learn something new.  Get involved in the process, and become a student of whatever craft you pursue. This way you build your uniqueness and increase your chances for lucrative employment.

Until next time I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.

 

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You Pay For What You Don’t Know!

Making blind financial decisions costs you in the long run. 

On my desk I have a diagram of ‘Information,’ which is represented by a large circle.  In the middle of that circle is a dot with the tagline – ‘More Than You Could Ever Dream of Knowing!’  No one knows it all, and this is especially true when it comes to finances.  We have jobs to do, families to raise, and lives to live; we’re busy!  So busy… we sometimes lose focus.

When it comes to our money, we have to be focused. That’s not to say we have to dawdle over every financial decision, frozen by information persuasion. But, we do need to know how to use financial resources to reach our goals.  In today’s fast moving world we have to be lifelong learners. Aside from seeking good advice, we have to do our research.  Thanks to the internet, it’s extremely easy to locate relevant information.

To stay on top of your financial game, do your homework.  Whatever you’re looking to do, Google it.  Whether it’s buying a house, a car, or planning for retirement, you will find loads of helpful information to aid you in your decision.  Also, read financial blogs.  There are hundreds of knowledgeable experts offering insight into the world of money.  To get you started, here is a list of the Top Personal Finance Blogs compiled by Wisebread.com. Take a look around, and find a few blogs to follow.

Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.

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Three Steps to Salvage a Bad Job Interview

Interviewer inexperience, workload, and boredom can derail your job interview.  

Looking for a job is stressful, especially the interview process.  Many job hunters spend hours polishing their ‘pitch’ and researching talking point.  But, what if these efforts are for naught?   That just might be the case in some instances.

Many times, the person conducting your interview is not a professional interviewer.  It is merely an additional duty to them – and can be viewed as an interruption to their day.  This can be crushing, so you have to be prepared to deal with inexperienced interviewers.  For instance, novice interviewers spend an inordinate amount of time discussing themselves, or the organization.  Sure, this is less stressful; BUT, you don’t have the important opportunity to focus on WHY you are the best fit for the position.  You’ll have to find creative ways to recapture the conversation to refocus the interview.  Use your personality, research, and anecdotes to get them focused on what’s important – YOU!

As this is someone’s additional duty, you may also have to combat the interviewer’s inattention.  Let’s face it; if they have a deadline, or are dealing with an internal crisis, you are the furthest thing from their mind.  If you notice the interviewer is checking the time frequently, or seems distant, you’ll have to bring them back to the table with some ‘dazzle.’  Be affable, tell an impactful story, do whatever you can to grab their attention.

Lastly, be sure to provide a copy of your résumé at the onset of the interview.  You would imagine interviewers would read your résumé prior to you meeting, and most do, but it could have been days earlier.  When you greet each other, hand them a copy of your résumé and don’t be bashful about guiding them through it.  This is your show, and you require your audience to be engaged so they can properly assess your value.

Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

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