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Rickie Houston

Personal Finance Expert

Rickie Houston writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. His expertise includes retirement and banking. Rickie is currently studying journalism at the Boston University. Rickie’s contributed to work published in the Boston Globe and has worked alongside award-winning faculty for the New England Center of Investigative Reporting at Boston University. He’s involved in multiple publications on campus, including Boston University News Service and Verge Campus BU. Rickie enjoys playing the guitar, traveling abroad and discovering new music. He is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.

Posts by Rickie Houston:

by Rickie Houston Apr 24, 2019

Scrounging up the money for a standard 20% down payment on a home can be a challenge for some. If you fall short of this prespecified amount, you will likely encounter private mortgage insurance, or PMI. PMI is there to safeguard lenders from the possible perils that a mortgage with a low down payment could induce. For those that prefer small down payments, though, PMI is virtually unavoidable. Below, we take a closer look at what PMI is, how much it’ll cost you and how to cancel it. Read more

by Rickie Houston Apr 11, 2019

Buying a home can be both an amazing and stressful process at the same time. But tackling the huge expense of a home in one fell swoop is often difficult for an individual or family to handle. That’s where mortgages come in. Typically in exchange for a down payment, a lender will grant you a mortgage loan to allow you to finance your home with an interest rate attached.  Read more

by Rickie Houston Nov 28, 2018

Established in 1957, the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) provides pension, retirement and disability benefits for employees who meet its eligibility requirements. While APERS functions as the state’s primary system for public employees, it also offers additional pension and retirement systems. Below we take you through the ins and outs of the Arkansas retirement system. But if you want extra guidance from an expert, use SmartAsset’s matching tool to get paired with a financial advisor in your area who can best meet your needs. Read more

by Rickie Houston Aug 29, 2018

The Employees Retirement System of Georgia (ERSGA) provides a range of pension plans that mostly come with lengthy eligibility requirements. While each of its systems and plans serve different… Read more

by Rickie Houston Aug 28, 2018

Though Michigan’s pension fund is only the 18th-largest in U.S., that doesn’t stop it from offering its employees an array of retirement plans from which to select. The state of Michigan’s Office of… Read more

by Rickie Houston Aug 28, 2018

Under its Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS), Teachers Retirement Association and Public Employees Retirement Association, Minnesota offers retirement benefits through several different pension… Read more

by Rickie Houston Sep 06, 2018

Betterment is a robo-advisor that allows investors to create and manage their investment portfolios online. Whether you’re building wealth for retirement or other financial reasons, Betterment… Read more

by Rickie Houston Aug 15, 2018

Making a down payment for a new home can be expensive, even for those with decent income. If you’re eyeing a particular home but don’t know whether you can afford to make a down payment to secure a… Read more

by Rickie Houston Sep 12, 2018

When it comes to robo-advisors, both SigFig and Betterment offer a range of products and features to help you build your investment portfolio. The company you choose should ultimately align with your… Read more

by Rickie Houston May 10, 2019

A mortgage interest rate is the cost of borrowing money. It’s given as a percentage. A mortgage annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate plus other costs associated with a mortgage,… Read more

by Rickie Houston May 15, 2019

If you’re looking to minimize your tax liability and capitalize on tax deductions, a tax consultant could help you do just that. Tax consultants, also known as tax advisors, are professionals with… Read more

by Rickie Houston Apr 17, 2019

Though it’s uncomfortable to think about death, it’s crucial to take certain steps to protect your assets before that time comes. Living trusts and wills are two estate planning options designed… Read more

by Rickie Houston Jan 28, 2019

The first-time home buyer tax credit emerged during the 2008 financial crisis to help make buying a home more affordable for Americans. Though various other mortgage programs and loans exist, the tax… Read more

by Rickie Houston Jul 30, 2018

With homeownership comes home equity. Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) use the equity you’ve built up to help you pay off big expenses. You can use these loans to… Read more

by Rickie Houston Nov 19, 2018

Betterment and FutureAdvisor both operate as two of the most popular robo-advisors in online investing. Each company offers similar products to help you reach your investment goals, but the costs and… Read more

by Rickie Houston Apr 30, 2019

Whether you’re investing in mutual funds or simply looking to transform your wealth with a financial plan, you may be considering working with a financial advisor. Investment advisors and financial… Read more

by Rickie Houston Nov 29, 2018

When you’re deciding whether to open a savings account with Chase or Capital One, you should look at the rates and perks each offers and whether they’ll meet your financial needs. Both Chase and… Read more

by Rickie Houston Jul 11, 2018

Both PNC and Chase Bank offer a long list of banking products that can be conveniently accessed across the nation. Whether it’s checking and savings accounts, or branches, ATMs and mobile apps, both… Read more

by Rickie Houston Jul 10, 2018

TD Bank and Chase are two large financial institutions that provide an extensive range of products both through online services and numerous branches. If you’re looking to put your hard-earned… Read more

by Rickie Houston Sep 14, 2018

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Whether you’ve just started working for a company or have been employed for a while, you should take advantage of retirement savings options as… Read more

by Rickie Houston Aug 07, 2018

It’s exciting to know you’re going to be bringing a new member into the family. Decorating the baby’s nursery, buying children’s books and finding that perfect stroller are all important. But, what’s… Read more

by Rickie Houston Sep 05, 2018

Citibank and Chase Bank are two of the biggest names in the banking industry today. Both financial institutions provide easy access with online and mobile banking, plus thousands of branches and ATMs… Read more

by Rickie Houston Sep 05, 2018

Interested in investing in your retirement? You know you should be socking money away for your golden years, but you need to understand the savings vehicle your employer offers. The 401(k) plan,… Read more