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Patrick Villanova

Personal Finance Expert

Patrick Villanova is a writer for SmartAsset, covering a variety of personal finance topics, including retirement and investing. Before joining SmartAsset, Patrick worked as an editor at The Jersey Journal. His work has also appeared on NJ.com and in The Star-Ledger. Patrick is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he studied English and developed his love of writing. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, trying out new recipes in the kitchen and watching his beloved New York sports teams. A New Jersey native, he currently lives in Jersey City.

Posts by Patrick Villanova:

by Patrick Villanova Sep 22, 2022

As of today, September 22, the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed hit 6.29%, the highest since October 2008, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s up 27 basis points from last week and 3.41% from a year ago. The average mortgage rate for a 15-year fixed is 5.44% (up from 5.21% last week), and for a 5/1 ARM, it’s 4.97% (up from 4.93% last week). Amid sky high inflation, which clocked in at 8.3% in August compared to a year prior, and a slowdown in economic growth that is hurting consumer confidence and an attendant slowdown in the housing market, mortgage rates are still buoyant in this environment. That’s because the Fed boosted its benchmark interest rate 0.75% in June to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, its largest rate hike since 1994. The Fed yesterday also announced another rate hike of 75 basis points today, as it tries curb inflation. The Fed may ultimately ratchet up the federal funds rate to 4% or higher to contend with unchecked inflation. That… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 20, 2022

If you own a home, chances are your net worth has shot up in the last year. Skyrocketing home prices caused by a pandemic-fueled real estate frenzy have led to a scenario where homeowners in the U.S. are sitting on a record $22.7 trillion worth of home equity after gaining $2.7 trillion in equity over the last year, according to a new report. If you’re approaching retirement and looking to tap your home’s equity, there are several strategies you may want to think about, from downsizing to taking out a reverse mortgage. You can speak with a financial advisor to help you integrate your home equity into your full retirement plan. Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 20, 2022

When you put 20% down on the purchase of a home, you don’t have to borrow as much money as someone whose down payment is only 5% or 10%. And as a result, your monthly mortgage payment may be considerably lower. But 20% down payments, while common, are by no means mandatory or the norm. In fact, the National Association of Realtors says the median down payment in 2020 was just 12%. So if you are hoping to save for retirement in addition to buying a home, you could opt for a 10% down payment and invest the remaining cash. Your monthly payments and interest will be higher, but your invested assets will grow into a substantial nest egg over the next 30 years. Let’s compare how a 10% and 20% down payments could affect your retirement. If you need to figure out how big your down payment should be, a financial advisor may be able to help you decide. Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 20, 2022

A new proposal from U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) calls for a benefit bump for current and new Social Security beneficiaries, an overhaul to how the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 14, 2022

How much will you spend in retirement? This is a vital question to ponder as you approach your golden years. After all, a successful retirement plan not only focuses on the accumulation of money and… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 06, 2022

If $1 million was once the consensus target for retirement savings in the U.S., that appears to be changing. A recent Schwab Retirement Plan Services survey found that 401(k) plan participants across… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 06, 2022

  In 2022 the S&P 500 had its worst annual first-half in five decades. With the tailwinds that buoyed global economies during the pandemic recovery gone, those who are saving for retirement should… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 06, 2022

Though retirees are only required to take a certain portion of their retirement savings out as distributions each year, a study from JPMorgan Chase shows that there is likely good reason to take out… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 06, 2022

Creating reliable streams of retirement income is one of the most important elements of a person’s financial plan. A retirement industry giant says it now has a new way for retirees to meet this… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Sep 06, 2022

Congressional Democrats want to slam shut a tax loophole known as the “backdoor” Roth IRA. In one of several proposed changes that target the retirement accounts of wealthy Americans, Democrats on… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 30, 2022

Rampant inflation and rising consumer prices aren’t just impacting Americans’ finances today, it’s worrying them about tomorrow. Americans now view inflation as the biggest financial threat to their… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 30, 2022

The key to financial wellness may be a cool half mil. Though the factors determining financial stability may be different to each investor and retirement saver, a recent Empower Retirement and… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 30, 2022

If you’re already retired, it may be time to rethink the role that stocks and bonds play in your portfolio. While conventional wisdom suggests that investors should shift more assets to bonds as they… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 30, 2022

Yet another financial services firm has rolled out a new way to add a guaranteed lifetime income stream to your retirement portfolio. TIAA last week announced the launch of its Secure Income Account,… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 04, 2022

Households that make over $200,000 annually comprise just a sliver of all tax returns that are filed in a given year, but their movement between states can have a significant financial impact. When a… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Aug 03, 2022

Contributing to a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) isn’t the only way to save for retirement. While most people think of health savings accounts (HSAs) as tools for covering annual… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 22, 2022

Investors looking to diversify their portfolios with alternative investments have two new options courtesy of Fidelity. The financial services giant is expanding its lineup of alternative investment… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 19, 2022

Despite nationwide lockdowns and sudden economic instability unleashed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. economy showed resiliency, roaring back in the months that followed. But inflation and… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 14, 2022

If you’re a young professional, chances are that you haven’t hit your peak earning years yet. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings for people ages… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 13, 2022

Social Security increased by 5.9% in 2022, the biggest cost-of-living hike in four decades. And next year, it could go even higher depending on inflation. Larger payments, however, may come with a… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 13, 2022

Investors holding cash and waiting for interest rates to rise before buying bonds may be making a significant mistake. With the Federal Reserve poised to keep interest rates near zero for at least… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 12, 2022

When it comes to retirement savings, American workers have a lot of work to do. A recent Insured Retirement Institute survey found that workers between ages of 40 and 73 have insufficient retirement… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 12, 2022

With the recent arrival of a bear market, the newly retired are facing a sobering reality: having to sell investments during a downturn to meet their income needs. This nightmare scenario, known as… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 07, 2022

It should come as no surprise that a computer-related profession is the fastest-growing occupation among people ages 25 to 34. However, other jobs that have seen the significant growth among young… Read more

by Patrick Villanova Jul 06, 2022

A recent Supreme Court decision could result in improved options in your retirement plan. The court sided with Northwestern University employees who alleged the university’s retirement plans had… Read more