Scotsman Guide Top Originators 2019
Congratulations to the Loan Officers from RMS who were recognized as Scotsman Guide 2019 Top Originators!
View the April issue of the Scotsman Guide here: https://www.sg-resdigital.com/resdigital/202004re/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=40#pg40
Springtime Energy Saving Tips
The majority of us are spending much more time in our homes during this public health crisis. Because of this, many of us are using more energy within our households, and looking to save money wherever possible. Living in a more energy efficient home is not only good for the environment, it is also good for your wallet. Energy efficiency can save you hundreds of dollars a year by reducing your utility bills. Read on to see where you can make changes in your home to save your money and the environment at the same time!
- Install low flow faucets and showerheads to reduce water expenses.
- Never leave your bathroom and kitchen ventilation systems running longer than they need to be because these systems replace inside air with outside air.
- Air dry your dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle by opening your dishwasher door after the rinse cycle.
- Avoid using your oven on hot days. Instead use your microwave or grill outside.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Take advantage of warmer days by hanging your laundry out to dry.
- Use blinds and shades in the sunny side of your home during the warmer months to keep your home cooler while using less AC.
- Install a programmable thermostat to use less heat or air conditioning during the hours you are not home.
- Turn on your fan while using the air conditioner so you can raise your thermostat 4 degrees without any difference in comfort.
- Clean and replace your air conditioning system’s filters. Dirty filters can slow air flow and cause your system to use more energy.
- Don’t charge your cell phone overnight since it only takes a few hours to charge.
- Unplug your device chargers when they are not in use.
- Utilize power strips. Even when turned off, electric equipment will still use a small amount of electricity. Using a power strip, you can easily disconnect the power supply to multiple devices when they are not in use.
- Make sure that you are using energy efficient light bulbs like LED’s in all your light fixtures.
- Use a timer on your outdoor lights to ensure they are only on after sunset and before sunrise or install a motion sensor so the light only turns on when someone is present.
- Always turn your lights off when you leave a room.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of electricity and water that you are using in your home. And, if everyone adopted just one or two new ways to make their home more energy efficient, we could make a significant impact on our environment. It's a win-win!
NAMMBA Top 100 Producers
RMS is proud to share that 5 of our Loan Officers made the 2020 NAMMBA Top 100 Producers, distinguishing them as among the top women loan originators in units and volume in the nation. Congratulations to Elise Bare, Debbie Bodwell, Melissa Caci, Elena Campbell, and Amy Goss!
Things to Consider
How financial literacy can affect your kids' homeownership decisions
Many parents are now homeschooling their children for the foreseeable future, and it's virtually impossible to overstate the importance of literacy. The ability to read and write serves as the building blocks to ongoing education, and the earlier parents help their children learn their ABC's, the better off they're likely to be as they grow older.
Similarly as crucial is financial literacy. In many ways, it's the foundation to personal economic prosperity and can provide young people with the intellectual ammunition to make smart, well-informed money-related decisions in their teenage years and into adulthood, including choices that relate to homeownership.
However, based on the infrequency with which financial literacy is taught in many of the country's schools, many students lack the solid grounding they need to succeed. Take this homeschooling opportunity to teach your children basics of personal finance, from looking over a budget, to writing a check and balancing a checkbook.
In the United States at large, only public high schools in just five states - Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Alabama - require students to take personal finance courses, according to statistics compiled by Visual Capitalist. That's the equivalent of only 16% of students overall who must successfully complete personal finance-related curriculum to graduate, a rate that drops to a mere 8.6% when excluding the aforementioned states.
What does financial literacy mean?
As the National Financial Educators Council defines it, financial literacy is the ability to comprehend how money works, both in the macro sense - the world economy, for example - as well as the micro, such as being able to maintain a budget, write a check or understand how interest works.
But financial literacy goes well beyond these basic fundamentals. It also applies to saving. For example, while most Americans anticipate retiring at some point in their lives, their ability to actually do that is almost entirely dependent on building the economic resources they need to draw from to finance the costs of day-to-day living. According to polling conducted by Gallup, more than half of Americans in the workforce at the time of the poll believed they would be able to retire comfortably. Of these individuals, roughly 1 in 3 said they would rely on Social Security as a major source of income.
However, with the worker to beneficiary ratio at 2.8 to 1 - meaning around three people are paying into Social Security for every person drawing from it - most financial experts agree that retirees will not be able to live comfortably off of Social Security income alone.
Of course, well before determining when to retire are decisions about homeownership. For most people, buying a home is the biggest purchase they make in their lives, as the current median in the country overall stands at approximately $274,500, according to recent statistics available from the National Association of Realtors. Aside from the creature comforts that derive from buying a house, homeownership comes with a variety of short-term and long-term advantages. Chief among them is equity, meaning the valuation of a property. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, more than 14 million homeowners in the third quarter of 2019 in the U.S. were considered equity-rich. Being in a state of positive equity typically enables homeowners to sell their house for a higher selling price than they purchased it for and to apply for certain types of loan products, like home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC).
While most polls illustrate that young people want to become homeowners and take advantage of these perks, some of their financial decisions are preventing that from happening. For example, as a survey from Zillow showed, approximately 50% of Americans who currently rent are unable to purchase a home because of student loan debt. The same goes for 39% of buyers, meaning that unpaid tuition is delaying them from moving on from a starter home.
Of course, serious debt - which can come in many forms - isn't necessarily a function of poor financial literacy. Things happen over the course of a lifetime that can't be avoided, like medical emergencies and sudden job loss. Yet at the same time, a firm grounding in the fundamentals of money management can make overcoming life's adversities easier.
Financial literacy can also help individuals decide between whether they should rent an apartment or buy a home. According to estimates from Zillow, in the last decade, tenants spent a combined $4.5 trillion in monthly rent. To give this figure some context, that's a larger amount than the gross domestic product of Germany and the market value of Alphabet - which owns Google - Apple, Microsoft and Amazon - combined!
Because there are no down payments or ongoing maintenance costs that come with renting, it can seem like it makes the most sense from a cost perspective. More often than not, though, buying a home is the better bargain. Indeed, as ATTOM Data Solutions found, it's cheaper to purchase a three-bedroom house than a three-bedroom unit in more than half of the country, or in 455 of the 855 counties that were analyzed.
Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions, said that even though sticker prices are higher these days, homeownership beats renting in the lion's share of the U.S.
"Owning a home can still be the more affordable option, even as prices keep rising," Teta explained.
Given the importance of financial literacy, you may be wondering what you as a parent or guardian can do to improve your children's understanding of money and how they manage it. Here are a few suggestions, as recommended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority:
Consult with your child's school
Depending on their age, your kids spent much of their day within the four walls of a classroom, learning about math, science, history and the like. But what, specifically, are they learning about as it pertains to finances? You may want to ask about that the next time you connect with their teacher(s). If the school isn't adopting some of the lessons you'd like them to, consider reaching out to the school board or PTA to see what can be done to include more financial literacy-related material in the curriculum.
Talk to your kids about money
How you interact with your children in terms of their ongoing education will play a key role in their interests as they grow and develop. Depending on their age, you should talk to them about the value of a dollar and introduce concepts that they'll be able to understand. For instance, if they're in junior high, you may want to discuss the principles of saving, investing, or how interest works for financial products like credit cards or savings accounts. If they're in high school, you may want to introduce slightly more complicated concepts like what a mortgage is or how credit works.
Show them a credit report
Credit, in many ways, is the financial equivalent of your reputation. And a credit report allows lenders to see how effective you are with money management. Your kids may not know how credit works or how to interpret a credit report, so consider showing them one. Again, how in depth you go will largely depend on their age, but it never hurts to provide them with some of the basics, like how credit scores are determined. FICO® has some helpful resources, blogs, charts and short videos available at its website.
Much like a well-built house, your children's ability to learn and grow depends on a solid foundation. You can lay down the necessary groundwork by making their financial literacy a priority.
Scammers are using this time of heightened fear and stress to try to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting people. This article from the FTC will give you tips to stay vigilant against those trying to commit fraud during this public health crisis.