Taking out a mortgage makes many people feel as though they are committing to making a monthly payment for the rest of their lives. Recent studies have shown that an overwhelming number of people never pay off their mortgages. Many look at refinancing as the best path to paying off their house. While refinancing can get you a lower interest rate, refinancing can be both tricky and problematic. Take a look at why refinancing may not be your best option, and what other strategies you can take to own your home as quickly as possible.
The Downsides of Refinancing
The hassle of applying for a new mortgage
Refinancing means you are applying for a brand new mortgage, and while this can help with interest rates, the process of applying for a new mortgage can be long and arduous. If you've had changes in your income or credit since you applied for your existing mortgage, this will likely slow the process or bring it to a halt altogether. A lower salary or credit score may cause lenders to reject you or approve you at a higher rate than what you're paying. Having an existing mortgage does not guarantee that lenders will approve your new application. Lenders may also request various forms of paperwork, such as tax returns and pay stubs.
While the idea behind refinancing is to save you money, don't forget that you will be paying for the refinancing. Like with your existing mortgage, you will be required to pay closing costs when you refinance, which can range between 3 to 6 percent of the loan balance. These are typically needed upfront at the time of closing, and if you're refinancing into an FHA loan, you'll also have to pay a fee for mortgage insurance. Consider whether you would be saving enough with the refinancing to more than offset the costs associated with it.
When refinancing, you first have to go through the appraisal process, which will use recent sales in the area to determine your home's value. If the appraiser determines that your property is worth less than what you owe, you may be denied a refinancing.
Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage
Anything extra that you can put towards your mortgage each month will help save you money in the long run and help you pay it off more quickly by cutting down on interest. Just be sure to call your mortgage servicer to ensure that anything you are paying beyond your regular payment is being applied properly towards the loan.
Make extra payments
One option to help you is to make payments beyond your monthly payment. If you can afford to make one full additional payment per quarter, you will be in great shape toward shaving down that mortgage. If once per quarter is too much, try to make one extra payment per year.
Add to your monthly payment
Another option is to divide your monthly fee by 12 and add that amount to your monthly payment, which will then add up to one full extra payment each year. It can even be as simple as rounding your payments up, which will allow you to pay a little extra each month.
Switch up your payment schedule
Contacting your lender to switch to bi-weekly payments instead of monthly payments can also help cut down on cost and time, and you'll barely even notice.
This is because paying bi-weekly means you're making more payments a year, than you would be paying monthly, you can shave up to six years off a 30-year mortgage.
Put extra money to work
If you receive a raise or a bonus, up your payments accordingly, consider putting your tax returns or any “found" money, such as an inheritance or even a winning poker hand, towards your mortgage. If you have investments, such as bonds or CDs, that are maturing, you may think about putting the principle, the earnings, or both towards your mortgage payment, rather than reinvesting. Making a lump-sum payment can make a considerable dent in the interest.
Check your mortgage terms
However, if you do plan on making extra payments towards your mortgage, look into the terms of your loan. Some mortgages have prepayment penalties, which means you could be incurring a fee if you try to make extra payments or increase your monthly payment. Other mortgages may allow prepayments, but only at certain times during the loan. Give your lender a call to help clarify the terms, and to find out if there are any specific actions you must take to ensure that your payments are being put to use correctly.
Your mortgage is most likely the largest loan you will ever take out, and imagining life without a mortgage payment may seem like a far-off dream. Many people who feel this way often turn to refinancing without taking into account the potential disadvantages that come along with it. While refinancing can be a good option for some, it is essential to do your research to find out whether refinancing will truly be worth it for you in the long run. Refinancing is not the only strategy to pay off your mortgage in this lifetime. By giving your mortgage a little extra attention, and making sure that you know the terms of your loan, life without a mortgage payment could be closer than you thought.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.