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Mark Henricks

Mortgage, Retirement and Investing Expert

Mark Henricks has reported on personal finance, investing, retirement, entrepreneurship and other topics for more than 30 years. His freelance byline has appeared on and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other leading publications. Mark has written books including, “Not Just A Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You A Life.” His favorite reporting is the kind that helps ordinary people increase their personal wealth and life satisfaction. A graduate of the University of Texas journalism program, he lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he enjoys reading, volunteering, performing in an acoustic music duo, whitewater kayaking, wilderness backpacking and competing in triathlons.

Posts by Mark Henricks:

by Mark Henricks Apr 19, 2022

Workers of any age who become disabled may be able to qualify for monthly cash payments from the federal government. However, people older than 50 may find it easier to be declared disabled and eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is similar to but separate from regular Social Security benefits, which are based on age, work history and paying taxes into the Social Security fund. SSI is for people who, because of a change in health, can’t do the work they formerly did. For more help navigating Social Security and SSI, consider working with a financial advisor. Read more

by Mark Henricks Apr 13, 2022

If you die owing money on a mortgage, the mortgage remains in force. If you have a co-signer, the co-signer may still be obligated to pay back the loan. A spouse or other family member who inherits a house generally has the right to take over the payments and keep the home. Alternatively, terms of a will may direct that the estate’s assets be used to pay off the mortgage, and sometimes a life insurance policy will pay off the mortgage if the original borrower dies. If no one will assume the mortgage and there is no provision to pay it off, the lender may foreclose on the property and sell it. A financial advisor can help you deal with mortgage challenges during the estate planning process. Read more

by Mark Henricks Apr 13, 2022

If you sell stocks at a profit, you will owe taxes on those gains. Depending on how long you’ve owned the stock, you may owe at your regular income tax rate or at the capital gains rate, which is usually lower than the former. To pay taxes you owe on stock sales, use IRS Form 8949 and Schedule D. A financial advisor who serves your area can help you with tax planning for your investments and retirement. Read more

by Mark Henricks Apr 12, 2022

Diversifying a portfolio by investing in real estate can help to manage risk and potentially improve long-term returns. It can also boost income and your portfolio’s capital appreciation. Real estate… Read more

by Mark Henricks Apr 11, 2022

Auto and home insurance companies use your credit report to calculate an insurance score that, along with information including your claims history, decides how much you’ll pay for coverage. These… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 31, 2022

The VA loan program is designed to help veterans and active service members purchase homes with no down payments and despite less-than-ideal credit scores and existing debt loads. Federal laws states… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 30, 2022

A mortgage accelerator program can help a homeowner pay off the mortgage sooner and potentially save thousands in interest. These programs can permit homeowners to use a home equity line of credit in… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 24, 2022

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that buy and sell home loans on the secondary mortgage markets. The two help make affordable financing available to home buyers by… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 24, 2022

Ginnie Mae is a corporation owned by the U.S. government that guarantees timely payments on home loans that have been made under various federal housing programs and packaged into mortgage-backed… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 23, 2022

Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae are both key players in the home mortgage business. The two organizations help make home loans available and affordable by increasing lenders’ access to funds through the… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 23, 2022

Lenders ordinarily don’t welcome mortgage applications from recent graduates with lots of debt, limited income and little or no employment history. However, when the borrowers are newly fledged… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 22, 2022

There is no rule against having more than one 401(k) account. For people with a regular job that pays wages as well as a self-employment gig, it can make sense. However, the IRS restricts the total… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 21, 2022

The Hope Credit, which is the previous and perhaps better known name of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, is a federal tax break that can help people pay for college or trade school. This credit… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 15, 2022

Investing in royalty income can provide long-term returns to investors seeking to fund retirement or diversify a portfolio beyond stocks and fixed-income securities. Owning rights to royalties… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 30, 2022

A plan to retire at age 55 and live off the income from stock dividends will let an early retiree refrain from tapping the principal in his or her investment portfolio while also avoiding the need to… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 10, 2022

A home equity loan is a loan using your house as collateral — a somewhat risky move, but useful in some circumstances. Furthermore, you may be able to deduct the interest you pay on a home equity… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 10, 2022

Savings bonds offer a way to start investing in a particularly low-risk, low-cost fashion — making them the favorite investment vehicle of grandparents and grandchildren everywhere. Savings bonds are… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 10, 2022

Buying a second home can be significantly easier and less costly to finance than buying an investment property. Investment properties can offer you tax deductions by claiming operating expenses and… Read more

by Mark Henricks Aug 12, 2022

With the consumer price index increasing during 2021 and 2022, at a rate not seen for nearly 40 years, the investing challenge for the coming year is finding ways to generate real returns during… Read more

by Mark Henricks Mar 04, 2022

Variable annuities offer retirement savers a chance for higher returns than they are likely to get from fixed annuities. But, because variable annuity returns are based on underlying investments in… Read more

by Mark Henricks Feb 28, 2022

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) protects lenders against risk of default on loans to homebuyers. Reducing risk to lenders can mean lower interest rates and better access to credit for borrowers, but… Read more

by Mark Henricks Feb 25, 2022

A 401(k) plan is a powerful tax-advantaged tool for retirement savers. Employer matches offered by some plans make them even more potent. However, except in special cases you can’t withdraw from your… Read more

by Mark Henricks Feb 25, 2022

Tax rules on individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are different for inherited IRAs. Some differences are positive. For instance, someone who inherits an IRA doesn’t pay a penalty for early… Read more

by Mark Henricks Feb 23, 2022

Retirement savers fund Roth IRAs with after-tax dollars but can later withdraw earnings free from income taxes. One Roth IRA benefit compared to other retirement accounts is that savers don’t have to… Read more

by Mark Henricks Feb 23, 2022

The value of your 401(k) or other retirement accounts is one of the biggest components of your net worth. And net worth is one of the most important benchmarks for appraising your financial health.… Read more