Follow our financial experts' tips for spending less and saving more, and your family's finances will soon be solid.
By Chris Taylor
For many Americans the biggest expense is paying off the mortgage, and that's where you can save big time if you're not planning to move anytime soon. "Interest rates are still at historic lows," says Gary Schatsky, a Manhattan-based, fee-only financial planner and founder of ObjectiveAdvice.com, who notes that 30-year fixed mortgages are now hovering at around 5.13 percent, and 15-year loans at roughly 4.5 percent. "If you can save 1 percent or more by refinancing, then it's a slam dunk." On a $200,000 mortgage, for instance, reducing your rate from 6.5 to 5 percent would save you $250 every month. You'll take a one-time hit on the closing costs, but the long-term savings will likely far outweigh that. Time is of the essence, though. Some money experts, including those at Morgan Stanley and Freddie Mac, are predicting rate rises of up to 8 percent within a year.