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FOX2 and American Equity Mortgage: Pay it Forward, March 25th - AJ Hornsey

ST.LOUIS, MO (KTVI - - Fox 2 is proud is to kick off a brand new segment called "Pay It Forward." Every other Thursday we ...

How to lower your monthly mortgage payment

While homeownership has many benefits and continues to be part of the American Dream, it is not without costs. Several surveys have found that the majority of first-time homebuyers - over 80 percent according to one study - put less than 20 percent down. For these borrowers, there is usually the added expense of MI, which may give some of these borrowers pause.

But there is good news: the monthly private mortgage insurance premiums do not last forever on most conventional loans. And when private MI (PMI) cancels, homeowners will have more cash in their pockets each month - money that is available for home improvements or other goals. It is important to understand, however, that not all MI is the same, and not all MI can be canceled.

There are numerous low-down-payment mortgage options available that include MI. The two most common are: (1) home loans backed 100 percent by the government through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that include both an upfront and annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP); and (2) conventional loans, which are typically backed at least in part by private sources of capital, such as private MI. The key difference is that one form can be canceled (PMI) while the other (FHA) typically cannot be canceled.

See what a rate hike means to 3 consumers

See what a rate hike means to 3 consumers

The prospect of a Federal Reserve rate hike loomed over the heads of some people like a ferocious blizzard. For others, it was more like a walk in a winter wonderland.

Either way, the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase its key interest rate is going to impact your finances.

But how? We found three people with circumstances that may reflect yours. See what the Fed hike means to them.

Carrying debt on variable-rate credit cards

Ajmal Saleem is the founder of a tutoring startup in Houston. For him, credit card debt is inevitable; he has office supplies to buy and employees to pay. Typically, he carries about $6,000 in debt on his variable-rate credit cards.

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