Is Tax Time the Right Time?

Recently, W2 forms arrived in the mail, which means it’s time to gather receipts and other needed forms to file income taxes. For many, it’s a dreaded chore. For others, a potentially hefty bill causes them to fearfully drag their feet into the preparer’s office. For some, a bit of a refund drives them to file quickly, and hopefully make wise choices on how to spend or save those extra funds.

We have good news! Right now may be the right time to boost your financial situation, and maybe even turn your dreams of homeownership into reality. Let’s explore several reasons why.

  • Refunds. For those that do receive a refund, when used wisely, it can become a long-term investment. Consider paying down consumer debt, thus improving your credit score, and obtaining a better mortgage rate. Alternatively, a refund could help with closing costs or as a partial down payment on a new home or refinance.
  • Housing market. The housing market is hot. This is good news for the homeowner who wishes to refinance. A higher assessed value can allow a homeowner to eliminate private mortgage insurance, qualify for a better loan or take cash out to pay off other debt. For homebuyers, prices are expected to steadily climb, so now is the time.
  • Convenience. This is a matter of personal convenience, but once the process of gathering financial information for taxes is complete, you may as well use those documents to begin the mortgage process before filing them away.
  • Tax cuts. There won’t be a great deal of change in your 2017 tax return, but the 2018 tax cuts will likely put more money in your pocket soon. New tax rules took effect on January 1, and employers have been asked to use new withholding tables by February 15, 2018. The Treasury Department estimates that 90% of wage earners will see an increased paycheck due to reduced withholdings. While the amount of increase varies depending on income level, Nerdwallet estimates an average raise of 1 to 2%.
  • Bonuses. In response to tax cuts, many companies have announced reinvestment into their employees. This includes AT&T, Bank of America, FedEx, Lowes, Walmart, Southwest Airlines and more. If you’re one of those fortunate employees, refer to our information above regarding refunds.
  • Tax changes that did not occur. It was feared that the mortgage interest deduction would be eliminated, but it was saved, albeit with a lower cap. The standard deduction is now significantly higher, which results in a simpler tax process and lower amount of taxable income for many. Whichever deduction option you choose, 80% of Americans will see overall lower taxes when they file their 2018 returns.

Of course, tax preparation and withholdings are quite complicated. We suggest that you visit a qualified professional to file your taxes quickly, in order to have more money in your pocket, and get prequalified to become a homeowner or refinance for a better financial future.

Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: 10 Benefits of Giving

There is something fascinating and magical about generosity; the benefits of giving are frequently backed up by scientific research. Individuals who give are happier and healthier, and report many benefits of exercising generosity.

Here are ten of the many benefits of giving:

  • A boost in happiness. Multiple studies have concluded that giving triggers an immediate increase in brain chemicals associated with positive, happy feelings.
  • A more satisfying life. Individuals who give and/or volunteer are not just temporarily happy. They report higher long-term satisfaction with their lives.
  • A longer life. Research shows that individuals who give of their money and time tend to have lower mortality rates.
  • Greater connection. Individuals who give and volunteer feel more connected to others, and they often are. This promotes an environment of cooperation and community, and holds true from childhood through the golden years.
  • Increased gratitude. You don’t have to be on the receiving end of a gift in order for it to increase gratitude. Individuals who give have been found to be more thankful for what they have as well.
  • Lower stress levels. Those who give of themselves report lower stress levels and have lower blood pressure, when all other factors are considered.
  • Better health. As already mentioned, research indicates people who give have lower blood pressure. They also may have a reduced risk of heart disease and lower rates of addiction.
  • The greater good. When you give of your time or your money, the community benefits. People are strengthened and supported, health is improved, and the community at large grows stronger.
  • Other people give in response. Giving seems to be contagious. As one person gives, others join in building community and their own happiness.
  • Positive effects on wealth. The tax benefits of giving are relatively simple to claim, and every little bit counts when it comes to taxes. Generosity seems to benefit the wallet beyond this, as people have a positive attitude about finances and become more mindful of working giving into their budget, financial stress decreases.

We believe strongly in giving back to our community; it is one of the most important things we emphasize at Vinson Mortgage.

Shawn Vinson strongly believes, “The most rewarding part of my job is helping others, both through our loan programs and charitable involvement in our local communities.” We are honored to give back to our community through local charities, including The St. Baldrick’s Foundation. We are looking forward to raising $100,000 to help fight childhood cancer. Learn more and donate here.

Sources: https://philanthropy.iupui.eduhttps://news.harvard.eduhttps://www.psychologytoday.comhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.govhttps://greatergood.berkeley.eduhttps://healthplans.providence.orghttp://www.besthealthmag.cahttps://www.huffingtonpost.comhttps://www.forbes.com/http://lifeandabudget.com/

 

Vinson Cares About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Childhood cancer is heartbreaking; it’s unimaginable to those untouched by its devastation. Across the globe, 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer claims the lives of more U.S. children than any other disease. Treatment for childhood cancer leaves two-thirds of those who’ve endured it with loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities, infertility or other long-term effects.

Despite these facts, in the last 20 years, only four new cancer-fighting drugs, specifically developed for children, have been approved. Several factors contribute to this issue.

  • There are dozens of types of childhood cancer and countless subtypes, each of which need a specific research and treatment.
  • Most organizations spread research dollars across adult and childhood cancers.
  • The National Cancer Institute budgets less than 4% of its budget to childhood cancer research.

Vinson Mortgage, once again, is proud to support the organization that contributes most to the fight against childhood cancer, The St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This charity is different in many ways, and we very much support their unique and skillful efforts.

  • Every grant funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is for childhood cancer research.
  • The organization retains a small staff and keeps expenses low – most of the money donated will therefore fund research of childhood cancer. St. Baldrick’s is largely powered by volunteers.
  • They fund more grants than any organization besides the U.S. government.
  • They work closely with leading pediatric oncologists to find the most promising research to fund.
  • In 2017, they raised $36,631,277 to fight childhood cancer.

We’re so excited to announce the TEAM VINSON goal of raising $100,000. Shawn Vinson is a designated “Squire of Hope” for St. Baldrick’s Foundation; he has dedicated at least three years of service to help kids with cancer. In March, at Helen Fitzgerald’s Irish Grill and Pub in St. Louis, Shawn will once again shave his head as part of “Brave a Shave for Kids with Cancer.”

We plan to make this the biggest and best year ever, and we hope you’ll be part of it! Stay tuned for additional details on how you can help!

 

Information and statistics taken from stbaldricks.org

 

Should I Refinance? Five Questions to Ask

December brings cold weather, holiday cheer, and as the month goes on, thoughts of a new year and new goals. As holiday spending takes a toll on your bank account (or worse, credit card balances), it may be time to consider options to improve your financial situation.

Refinancing is not a handful of magic beans that will undoubtedly turn one’s financial situation around. Under the right circumstances, though, it can be a useful tool that saves money each month and in the long term. These five questions will help you decide if it might be time to refinance.

  1. What’s my current interest rate? You’ve heard the news. Interest rates have risen slightly in recent months. Still, they are very low when compared with historical rates, and it is possible that you are paying more in interest than you should be. Consider not only the set interest rates, but also whether your credit scores have improved, which could earn a better rate.
  2. What are my current loan terms? How much longer do you have left on the loan? Are there prepayment penalties? Are you paying PMI? Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage that could rise? What is my current payment and what would my payment be with a new loan? Yes, there are several questions listed there, but all fall under the category of current loan terms. If your current loan no longer meets your needs, it may be time to refinance.
  3. What are my long-term goals? Do you need to remodel in order to sell in a few years? Do you need to build equity quickly in order to later pay for college tuition or other anticipated expenses? How can your home and its equity to meet your future goals?
  4. Do I have debt that is hurting me each month? Consumer debt, such as credit cards, comes with a high price in the form interest and fees. Refinancing to consolidate debt can save hundreds each month, and a great deal more in the long term.
  5. Am I ready to act in accordance with my goals and plans? While debt consolidation can be a great idea, it backfires when people rack up new credit card debt after refinancing. Sit down with one of our experts and discuss your budget. Determine how you can use a refinance to build your financial future.

The professionals at Vinson Mortgage can tailor a loan to meet your family’s financial needs. We can help you save each month, and since it takes just 8 days to close, we can have your future looking brighter before we ring in 2018!

Time is Running Out to Give!

There are just 26 shopping days left until Christmas! While you’re out shopping for your own family, we urge you to consider the thousands of children who, without community help, will not receive a present this year.

While the children within our homes are very excited, awaiting all the wonderful presents they are sure to receive during the holidays, this is not the case for many. The number of children who will go without a gift under the tree is heartbreaking.

This week, we celebrated #GivingTuesday and we now challenge to you extend that giving for just a few more days, if not longer. Yes, there are only 26 shopping days ‘til Christmas, but there are only 3 shopping days left to give to our toy drive. Vinson Mortgage has joined with New Country 92.3 for the 10,000 toys for Girls and Boys: Bikes, Balls and Barbies for the Salvation Army Campaign

This week, we’re excited to highlight the toy collection at West County Mall, as well as four 2-hour community toy drives at local Walmart stores. Stop by, say hello, and donate toys at these events:

December 1st 5am – December 2nd 6pm at West County Mall. Bud and Broadway will be broadcasting their show live on December 1 from 5-9am and December 2 from 9am-1pm. While you give, you can get in on the great fun of this event!

December 1st – Walmart Supercenter St. Peters, 11am-1pm

December 1st – Walmart Kirkwood, 3pm-5pm

December 2nd – Walmart Arnold, 7am-9am

December 2nd – Walmart Collinsville, 11am-1pm

Donations from individuals or companies (toys or monetary contributions) can be dropped off at Vinson Mortgage Corporate Headquarters, 12801 Flushing Meadows Drive, St. Louis, MO 63131.

Vinson Mortgage Group and all of our employees wish you, and all our area’s children, a very happy holiday season!

Corporate Headquarters  |  16100 Chesterfield Parkway, Suite 175  |  Chesterfield, MO 63017  |  314.839.9999

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Vinson Mortgage is an equal opportunity lender. Vinson Mortgage is a division of Executive Lending Group, LLC.

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