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Stories written by Nick Maffeo

Smart About Money: Advice on Mortgages

Unless you’re Donald Trump or refinancing is your hobby, getting a mortgage is probably not something you do often. Borrowers tend to see it as a serious commitment to a house and to a loan. And why not? Finding the “right house” and getting a mortgage is a big deal! Something people very much want […]

Smart About Money: Red Flags of a Scam

Sometimes it seems as if there are people in the world who actually have nothing to do all day and all night but think up scams to steal money from complete strangers. Besides being international criminals, these scammers are heartless in the way they target people with highly emotional appeals, which run the gamut from […]

Smart About Money: Financial Planning

The biggest part of successful money management is having a plan. That doesn’t mean you need a formal financial plan. In fact, the vast majority of Americans never do any formal financial planning. And, for most, things work out just fine. Some people do have extremely detailed plans. Many times, that’s just right for their […]

Smart About Money: Mortgage Myths

Bankers hear all kinds of questions about mortgages. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions and flat-out myths, and the truth behind them. “It’s always best to get the lowest rate.” Not true! Unit pricing signs at supermarkets are there to give you a way to compare apples to apples. The “unit pricing […]

Smart About Money: Do One Thing Different

If you’re struggling with your finances — and many people are — December is the perfect time both for reflection and for considering new ideas to bring you closer to where you want to be in 2013. While it’s not presented as an “improve your finances” book, Do One Thing Different: And Other Uncommonly Sensible […]

Smart About Money: A 30-Year Mortgage at Age 81

An 81-year-old man recently came in to talk about taking out a 30-year mortgage on his house in Canton. Given his age, you might be thinking, “What?” But times change. Financial tools change. And the way people can make use of those tools changes too. Some background: Up until about 1985, a homeowner might have […]

Smart About Money: Scam Victim Learns Tough Lessons

A gentleman called and asked if he could get an “objective second opinion” on “something his bank had done.” I said, “Sure.” Here’s what happened: He had received an email from a “mystery shopper company” — and there’s a reason why that’s in quotes — asking if he’d like to participate in their regional program […]

Smart About Money: Mistake That Everyone Makes

First, let’s define what we mean by a “money mistake.” There are events no one can anticipate or fully prepare for — a life-changing tragedy, a major economic catastrophe like the Great Depression, even lesser economic disruptions, like the current Federal Reserve policy of holding down interest rates (which is hurting many seniors) or a […]

Smart About Money: Teaching Teens the Value of Money

A friend whose daughter is turning 13 asked me what I, as a banker, would recommend he and his wife could do to make sure she had solid “money/finance” confidence before she legally becomes an adult at 18. It’s a great question. Community bankers helping customers (of all ages!) work their way out of a […]

Smart About Money: A Wonderful Gift to Give This Year

All the pre-holiday heavy emphasis on buying-buying-buying got me thinking about a gift people can give themselves and their families — something precious, rare, and very, very valuable. Being debt-free. Does that mean being some sort of Grinch and not buying any gifts? Does that mean never using credit cards again and always paying cash? […]

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