There’s money out there to borrow. The sky is not falling. However, you need to be prepared.

Mortgages... Be PREPAREDToday you can’t read a newspaper or watch television without hearing about the sluggish real estate markets, subprime loans and fewer lenders actually lending money. Thankfully, I was a Boy Scout growing up back in Ohio, and I well remember the scout motto: “Be Prepared.” This applies to the residential lending industry now more than ever.

Here’s the great news. There’s money out there  to  borrow. The sky is not falling. However, you need to be prepared. What does this mean?

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Michelle Myhre, CFP® Oak AdvisorsIf the recent volatility in the stock, bond and real estate markets due to the credit crunch has made you lose sleep, it may be time to revisit your overall asset allocation strategy. Determining an appropriate allocation for your assets centers on assessing your risk tolerance, time horizon, and need for income.

Most investors know that a portfolio comprised of 100% stocks carries a great degree of risk, but may not be aware that a portfolio of 100% bonds is exposed to interest rate risk, credit risk, principal risk and purchasing power risk. Additionally, a portfolio of all real estate can also carry an enormous amount of risk due to its potential illiquidity, varying cash flows, dependency on borrowing costs, and fluctuation in value. You will need to assess how much risk you can tolerate.
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Traditional lending products such as home mortgages and home equity credit lines can be important to a financial plan...

Beach First National BankWith the arrival of the New Year, it’s a great time to give your finances an annual physical. Just as you get an annual check up for yourself, it is a great idea to make sure your finances are in good health as well.

Technology is making it even easier for you to keep an eye on your financial planning. While an unlimited transaction checking account is essential for handling day-to-day expenditures, products such as debit cards, telephone banking and Internet banking have taken convenience to new levels. With internet banking products, consumers can transfer funds between accounts, check their balances, pay their bills, and view their account history, all at the click of a mouse, safely and securely. In fact, Internet banking is fast becoming a “must have” service for consumers everywhere due to its ease of use and accessibility.

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Are you interested in learning more about managing your money? The new year is a good time to take on this challenge. Hilton Head-based Certified Public Accountant, Christine E. Cassidy, is hosting a series of free workshops with you in mind, titled Wealth Strategies Seminars. Covering a range of financial and tax topics, each seminar features a regional expert discussing their specialty.

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When most homebuyers begin the process of shopping for financing, they begin their search by comparing interest rates. While this is probably as good a place to start as any, there are several other factors that need to be considered.

Whenever there is a closing on a real estate transaction there will be closing expenses. Lenders, Appraisers and Closing Attorneys will all charge fees for there services. It is critical that the homeowner understands what the fees are and what they cover. These fees can be paid by the homeowner or the lender may absorb many of them.

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In the banking industry, financial institutions offer a full array of investment products and services to meet your wealth management needs. Take a moment to read about the tools available to help you increase your wealth.

Money Market Accounts: A Money Market Account is an interest bearing savings account for investors who want to earn interest and have instant access to their money. There is no monthly fee when the minimum balance is maintained.

Certificate of Deposit (CD): A CD is a certificate issued by a financial institution which indicates that the investor has deposited a sum of money for a specified period of time and at a specified rate of interest. When the time period is up, the CD matures and the investor gets the full amount back, plus interest.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA): An IRA allows an investor to save money for use in retirement while deferring taxes on the account’s earnings. Deposits for traditional IRAs are tax deductible and the investment earnings in the account are not taxable until withdrawn.

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Christopher Corken, a premier agent with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s Citadel Agency located in Bluffton, SC. Corkern can provide you with costs and complete details. He can be reached at christopher corken@prudential.com and (843) 706-2100.

Have you entertained the idea of leaving a sizeable gift to charity after you pass away? Consider using your life insurance policy to support your favorite cause. Here’s how:

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Small business is big business in the Lowcountry. You’re facing important financial issues every day. Your bank wants quarterly financial statements in order to maintain your line of credit; tax returns are due; you do not have time to pay bills.

Managing your money has become a chore and is precluding your ability to run your business If the daily financial demands of running your business are becoming a burden, then team up with a financial service company. Let an expert manage the financial details of your business so that you can concentrate on the success of your business.

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A financial alternative for investors.

If you have a portfolio that may be used as collateral for a loan, you may be able to access liquidity without immediately liquidating securities and still maintain your portfolio’s current exposure to the market. This is known as securities-based lending.

WHAT IS SECURITIES-BASED LENDING?
Securities-based lending is generally a revolving line of credit that uses your eligible investment portfolio as collateral. This strategy allows you to access funds without immediately liquidating your portfolio.

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Employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s are some of the most powerful retirement savings tools available. If your employer offers such a plan and you’re not participating in it, you should be. Once you’re participating in a plan, try to take full advantage of it.

Before you can take advantage of your employer’s plan, you need to understand how these plans work. Read everything you can about the plan and talk to your employer’s benefits officer. You can also talk to a financial planner, a tax advisor and other professionals. Recognize the key features that many employer-sponsored plans share:

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If you believe to the news media, you would think that the financial crisis banks and investment houses have been experiencing, there is no money left to lend for mortgages. This simply is not true.

In the past several years, guidelines were loosened to the point that if an applicant was breathing, they could get a loan. These loans were bundled into mortgage securities and sold and resold into the secondary market. With real estate values increasing at a rapid pace, investors worldwide purchased these securities and believed that there was very little risk, as the properties were gaining value. Loans were made to unqualified buyers and to speculative purchasers who believed they could flip the property in a short amount of time and make a quick profit.

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How is your relationship with your banker? Do you have a true rapport? Or do you only call your banker when you need something?

David Renaker, BankMeridianBusiness experts agree it is important to build and maintain a close, long-term relationship with your banker especially if you own your own business or are an entrepreneur. The more comfortable you are sitting across the table from your local banker, the more support you will find when creative solutions are needed to help you meet your financial goals.

When choosing a bank for your business, look for a banker who has decision-making authority. This enables the banker to personally assist you with the loan, and provide a quicker response time for your loan approval. The better your relationship with the decision-makers at the bank, the greater the chances your loan will be approved.

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Take control of your finances one step at a time.

CoastalStates BankThe inflatable snowman  has been packed away, the last of the fruitcake gobbled. Now all that’s left are the incoming bills that financed your very happy holidays.

Discouraged by your financial state of affairs, you make a resolution to do better with your money. But the best of intentions aren’t going to get you where you want to be. What you need is a sensible plan with realistic goals that fits your current budget.

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Generation to generation, in the financial world, there’s a time to reap and a time to sow.

Our financial activities, and the sphere within which we conduct them, are a potent way we touch and interact with the rest of the world. While a chronological survey can be simplistic, there are issues and strategies that persist throughout a lifetime, sharpening and fading from focus in different decades, as well as some financial concerns that are very specific to a particular period in life.

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