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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec 20, 2007 / 11 Teves 5768

Dump your bank escrow account, earn some interest

By Vicki Lee Parker


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Many homeowners are stunned to see an updated property assessment for their homes. Some might be inclined to throw the paper with the ominous figure into the drawer and try to forget about it. That would be costly, said Ricardo Cobos, vice president of Cary Towne Mortgage in Raleigh, N.C.

"This is where you need to be a savvy and proactive consumer," Cobos said.

Homeowners often make the mistake of not notifying their mortgage companies when their property values change, he said.

No one knows how much tax bills will rise. The mortgage company does not adjust the escrow account - the money held by the company to pay your yearly property taxes and insurance premiums - until it gets the tax bill. If the account has a deficit at that point, the homeowner usually gets a hefty bill, due upon receipt.

To avoid another shock, homeowners should contact their mortgage bank now and talk to someone in the escrow department. Fax the lender a copy of the home's new value. The bank representative should be able to estimate the new monthly payment, which is better than getting hit with a big bill later.

A higher tax bill might make some homeowners rethink the idea of escrow altogether.

Many people prefer to have their taxes and insurance in escrow, because they worry that they won't have the discipline to save the money themselves.

But if you are like me and enjoy watching your money grow, here's another option: Find out whether you are eligible to waive your escrow account.

Typically, banks will allow you do this if you have at least 20 percent equity in your property. If you qualify to close your escrow account and you have the discipline to save, you could put that money into an online banking account. Internet banks continue to battle for market share, and they are paying as much as 5 percent interest, even on plain old savings accounts.

This option is ideal for people with large tax bills. But even if your annual tax bill is, say, $1,500 and you find a savings account paying 4.5 percent, you could earn $67.50 a year. That might not seem like much, but that money could pay one of your monthly household bills.

Amy Bonis, a certified mortgage planner in Raleigh, N.C., said that creating your own escrow account is a great savings plan, but there are some caveats.

"Because lenders aren't making money, some will charge you a fee to waive the account," she said. The one-time fee typically is about a quarter of 1 percent of the loan amount, she said. So if your loan amount is $250,000, the fee would be $625.

Cobos said that some of his clients have closed escrow accounts and were not charged a fee, particularly if they had had their loan more than a year.

To get the full benefit, you have to save the money throughout the year. Plopping money into an account a couple of months before the bill is due will not yield much cash.

"If you are somebody who is financially secure and like to control your own money, this is absolutely a good idea," Bonis said. "But you have to have the discipline to put the money aside."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Vicki Lee Parker is a columnist for The News & Observer. Comment by clicking here.

Previously:

Enticing e-mail may lead to viruses, ID theft, malware
Ask to receive discounts
Learn from a con man
Nitrogen: pricey way to keep tires pumped
Buying private health coverage
Better Business Bureau ramps up
Two beeps, one item: Listen for overcharges
Recalls: What to do next
Do your homework before home repairs
To tip or skip it: Gratuity must be earned
Advice is free, if you look
Hire a cleaner who won't clean you out
Teach children smart money tips that will keep them busy all summer long
Warning: Don't trust the ATM
Reasons to beware of ‘We Buy Homes’
Too wise to fall for a scam
Untethering cell phone from carrier
Re-check your credit card rewards
Treasure might be buried in medical bills
Tax-time saving tip: Free filing is available
College money is waiting; don't procrastinate
Extended warranties rarely worthwhile
Too busy for tax planning? It'll cost you


© 2007, The News & Observer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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