Mortgage Shift Downward, Though Slightly: 30-Year At 4.18 Percent

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates moved downward slightly in the past week, with 30-year rates averaging 4.18 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.30 percent nationally, according to date released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.20 percent and 15-year rates 3.31 percent.

The numbers in New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.18 percent
15-year: 3.30 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.19 percent
15-year: 3.31 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 3.95 percent
15-year: 3.06 percent

How To Make A Million After You Turn 70 (Or What Happens If You Start Young)

by Categorized: Personal Finance Date:

I don’t like the odds, but here it goes, via Bankrate.
Better to start younger. Here’s an example of someone who saves $1,000 a year, or only $19 a week, starting at age 25. Now let’s say that person stops saving at age 35. If the money goes into a retirement account earning 8 percent a year, the total investment will be $169,000 by the time that person turns 65.

Review: Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:


This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

Nikon’s new entry-level D3300 camera takes a lousy selfie, doesn’t fit in your back pocket on the dance floor and can’t reserve a table for two at Chez Josephine.

This $649.95 DSLR, obviously, is neither cellphone nor point-and-shoot but a digital version of the single-lens-reflex camera long used by professionals and serious amateur shooters. Although they’re distinctly bigger, and heavier, than a point-and-shoot, DSLRs have several advantages:

More . . .

This Is A Refurb Laptop? How ‘Deal’ Turned To Dud

by Categorized: Consumer Electronics (TV, Credit Cards, Customer Service Date:

This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

Daniel Reis of East Hartford couldn’t believe it when he ordered a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with a 15.6-inch screen and solid-state hard drive for $450 from the deal-a-day 1Sale website just before Christmas last year.

“I thought I had just gotten the deal of a lifetime,” he says.

Reis was so excited that he also ordered an Android tablet for his father for Christmas.

“I expected both items to be in my hands, as advertised, by Christmas Day,” says Reis.

More . . .

Hiring A Lawn Service: What You Need To Know

by Categorized: Consumer Complaints, Customer Service Date:

Tips from the Better Business Bureau on hiring a lawn service:

In 2013, BBB received more than 3,400 complaints against lawn care services. Many of the complaints were about shoddy workmanship, damage to lawns, failure to honor warranties, and billing and collection issues. Another issue is “ghosting,” in which lawn care employees show up, put some signs on the lawn indicating they did work, and simply drive off.

Consumers can avoid most of these problems by researching prospective lawn care companies and keep the following tips in mind:

Know what you want – Have in mind the types of services you are seeking (fertilizing, weeding, aerating, mowing). Ask about the products used (seed, fertilizer, weed killer), request a lawn inspection and estimate, and be wary of any company that quotes a price without first seeing your yard.

Understand pricing – While price is certainly a major factor in any purchasing decision, find out exactly what you are getting. Do you pay by the mow or by the week? What happens when it rains? Does mowing include edging? Do they mulch or bag the clippings? Are services performed by employees or sub-contracted out?

Check first - Make sure the company has an up to date license as required by your jurisdiction, when appropriate. Always check the company’s BBB Business Review at Ask for references and check the company’s affiliation with national franchises or associations.

Scrutinize the contract – Some contracts automatically renew unless you specify otherwise – If you do choose to sign a long-term contract, make sure you get information about cancellation rights in writing, in case you find the services to be unsatisfactory.

Understand the warranties and guarantees – If the service is not to your liking, or the lawn doesn’t look as you anticipated, understand what recourse you may have.

Shop around - Get written estimates from at least three different companies. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option. You may have to invest a little more for higher quality products and services.

Mortgage Rates Bump Slightly: 30-Year Averaging 4.30 Percent

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates increased, as did Treasury yields, in the past week with 30-year rates averaging 4.20 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.31 percent, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.14 percent and 15-year rates averaged 3.23 percent.

The numbers in New England

This week:
30-year: 4.19 percent
15-year: 3.31 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.23 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 3.97 percent
15-year: 3.06 percent

Review: Garmin HUD+ beams directions on windshield

by Categorized: Travel Date:


Another tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

Smartphones killed more than the phone booth. Look what they’re doing to the navigation-device industry, once ruled by Garmin and TomTom.

Now there’s a GPS-enabled app in every smartphone. Worse, no full-featured new car has a dashboard without a built-in navigation system. Garmin still makes stand-alone navigation devices for vehicles, but it’s also producing GPS-enabled watches, GPS-equipped computers for bicycles and specialty products for the aviation and marine industries.

Its latest in-vehicle device, the HUD+, is Garmin’s second Head-Up Display that beams information from the company’s navigation app onto a vehicle’s windshield.

More . . .

The Best, Worst U.S. Cities For Families

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

WalletHub’s Best and Worst Places for families to live in 2014, using 31 key metrics that included everything from crime rates and school system ranks to housing costs:

2014’s Best Cities for Families ///// 2014’s Worst Cities for Families
1 Plano, Texas ………………….. 141 Hialeah, Florida
2 Sioux Falls, South Dakota ………………….. 142 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
3 Overland Park, Kansas ………………….. 143 Newark, New Jersey
4 Fremont, California ………………….. 144 Providence, Rhode Island
5 Irvine, California ………………….. 145 Cleveland, Ohio
6 Virginia Beach, Virginia ………………….. 146 San Bernardino, California
7 Lincoln, Nebraska ………………….. 147 Jackson, Mississippi
8 Anchorage, Alaska ………………….. 148 Birmingham, Alabama
9 Gilbert, Arizona ………………….. 149 Miami, Florida
10 Amarillo, Texas ………………….. 150 Detroit, Michigan