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5 Financial Benefits of Owning a Home February 17, 2020

woman wearing pink shoes standing by welcome mat that reads "home sweet home"

You want to make smart financial choices for your future. Do those include buying a home? Here are five financial benefits that point to yes.

1. Tax breaks:

As a homeowner, you may qualify for tax benefits. These deductions can help offset other costs of homeownership. Potential deductions include the interest on your mortgage, property taxes, and home equity lines of credit.
 
2. Stability:

If you take out a fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll know what payments to expect for the life of the loan. Rent, on the other hand, often increases annually. When you own a home, you also typically have more control over expenses such as utilities, so you can make choices that encourage efficiency and save money each month.
 
3. Forced savings:

Each month, as you pay down your mortgage, you are adding equity. This can be an excellent way to build wealth. In the future, you can sell the home for a profit or borrow against the equity to obtain needed funds. Medical emergencies, college tuition, and home repairs or renovations are common uses for these funds.
 
4. Good credit:

A mortgage is considered “good debt,” meaning that it looks good on a credit report and can help you establish a healthy credit score. As you faithfully pay off the loan, your score can increase. This can prove helpful in obtaining lower insurance rates and qualifying for lower rates on future purchases.
 
5. Final payment:

When you buy a home, there will come a day when you no longer have to make your mortgage payment. It will eventually be your property, free and clear. (Time to celebrate!) This scenario is much different than paying rent, which will continue for a lifetime.
 
Are you wondering if a home purchase makes sense for your financial future? We would be happy to discuss these and other benefits to help you. Contact a Mortgage Lender today!

Does Your Hobby Need Insurance Coverage? February 5, 2020

collection of pez dispensersGary and Nancy Doss of Burlingame, CA have been collecting Pez dispensers for two decades. They now have more than 500 of the small candy containers. The rarest product, a “Make a Face” Pez from the 1970s, is worth $5,000.
 
Do you have a hobby that has grown larger than you may have anticipated? You don’t have to be as dedicated as the Dosses to find yourself heavily invested in a hobby. A model locomotive could be valued at $300. One guitar can easily cost $1,500.
 
Whether you collect, build, or play, funding for hobbies can quickly add up to significant amounts. If you think you’ve invested quite a bit in your hobby, do a quick review.
 
Consider the value of your items and supplies. Is it more than $500? If you have invested more than $500 so far, you should make sure it is properly protected.
 
Review your insurance policies to make sure the items are covered under your homeowners or renters policy in the event they are damaged or stolen.
 
Keep in mind there are certain limits to most policies, and high-value items might max out the coverage. You may need to purchase a rider to add a particularly valuable piece of equipment to your insurance coverage.
 
If your hobby investment is less than $500, you should still make sure any high-priced items are included in your home inventory.
 
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to update this list.  If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or needs, feel free to contact a Forward Insurance agent. 

 

Forward Insurance to Merge with Precour Insurance January 27, 2020

Forward Insurance Agency_FIA_logo-horizontalForward Insurance has signed a definitive agreement to merge Precour Insurance into the Forward organization. The addition of the Precour office in Phillips brings the total reach of Forward Insurance to six communities in central and northern Wisconsin.

Customers will be contacted directly by Forward Insurance with details in the coming weeks and will continue to have access to the same insurance agents that they have developed a relationship with over the years.

William W Sennholz, President and CEO of Forward Bank – the parent company of Forward Insurance, stated “Precour customers will not need to do anything different during the transition to Forward Insurance.” Sennholz continued, “Forward Insurance is excited to join forces with an agency that shares our dedication to community and customers. We are also thrilled to have the opportunity to offer the services of Paul Precour and his team to our bank customers in the Phillips area.”

“We at Precour Insurance are excited to work with the Forward organization, to continue serving Price County with a broad range of insurance products,” commented Paul Precour, Owner of the Precour Insurance Agency. “We believe Forward is committed to our wonderful community, that we have been proud to serve the past 35 plus years.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in by the end of March 2020.

Student Debt Could Buy Every Home on the Market January 21, 2020

If you wanted to buy all the homes on the US real estate market, you’d need around $780 billion, according to Realtor.com. To pay off all the outstanding student loan debt in the US, you’d need $1.5 trillion.

Why is student loan debt nearly double today’s real estate market? It’s because almost 43 million Americans are shouldered with student loan debt, and this burden is blocking many of them from homeownership.

This statistic isn’t surprising when we compare the typical down payment for a home to average student loan amounts: $26,000 versus $34,500. Twenty-six percent of Millennials say student loans are the main obstacle they face when trying to save up for a down payment on a home.

woman holding mobile phone reading article on student debt

 

Fortunately, there are many options for buyers in this situation. If you’re among them, here are some steps you can take to put yourself on the right track.

Improve your debt-to-income ratio: This ratio is key to qualifying for a mortgage. Lenders want to make sure you can handle the additional house debt with your current income. To improve your ratio, pay down (or pay off) any debts where you can, and increase your income if possible. Consolidating your student loans may also help.

Improve your credit score: Your credit score is another critical number that lenders consider. To increase your score, pay all your bills on time, avoid opening new lines of credit, and lower your use of credit. It’s also a good rule of thumb to check your credit report at least once each year to ensure it is accurate. If there are any errors, report them to the credit bureau immediately.

If you or someone you know is facing student loan debt and are interested in learning more about your options, connect with one of our mortgage experts who can help you make owning a home a reality.

Forward Bank’s Charitable Money Market Account Reaches Over $1 Million in Donations January 17, 2020

Local charities are a key component in keeping our communities strong. They fill unique and important niches in helping us all with the educational, spiritual, cultural, social and health aspects of our lives. To provide a consistent donation stream for our local charities on behalf of our customers, Forward Bank created the Charitable Money Market Account (CMMA). This month over $160,000 was donated back to over 278 worthwhile organizations participating in the program, bringing the grand total to over $1 million since the program launched.

“2019 has been a year of milestones – we celebrated our 100 year anniversary, grew to $500 million in assets and now we’ve reached over $1 million in donations through the Charitable Money Market Account program,” said Bill Sennholz, CEO/President at Forward Bank. “The donations from the CMMAs continue to grow each year because of the thoughtfulness of our customers and the relationships we’ve built in our communities.”

 

CMMA 2019 Donation - Marshfield Hockey AssociationCMMA 2019 Donation - School District of Owen-Withee

 

To open and maintain a CMMA, all the customer needs to do is open the account, designate a participating non-profit organization, school, or church, and keep a balance in their account throughout the year. At the end of the calendar year, Forward Bank will make a donation to the designated charity on behalf of the customer based on their average account balance. 33 organizations received donations over $1,000 this year thanks to customers who designated them as their charity of choice!

 

Open a CMMA today to start saving for YOURSELF and your favorite CHARITY!

GET – Checking Account with these features:

    • No minimum deposit to open
    • No monthly fee
    • No minimum to earn interest
    • Free online banking
    • Fee debit/ATM card
    • Free direct deposit
    • Free bill pay

 

SAVE Earn interest at a competitive rate similar to a savings account with the convenience of a checking account.

                Check out current rates.

 

GIVE Forward will make a donation to a charity on your behalf based on your average balance – no money is taken from your account.

 

Open your CMMA at a location near you or open it online!

Or log into your Online Banking account to get started.

 

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