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Low and No Payment Mortgages

mortgages

Low and No Down Payment Mortgages

Low and No Down Payment Mortgages

~ written by Clever Dude

Hi Money Nerve readers! Thought this “Clever Dude” article about mortgages was very informative. Check out the details.

Many years ago, mortgages required a good credit score and a large down payment of at least 20%. That’s no longer the case since the Federal Government created several home loan programs making it easier for borrowers to attain a mortgage loan.

Here are some loan programs that allow for a low, or no down payment.

FHA Loans
The Federal Housing Administration was introduced to help encourage home ownership in the U.S.You may qualify for an FHA loan with just a 580 credit score and a low down payment of just 3.5%. That’s a much lower down payment than conventional loans which require between 10% – 20% down.

One of the great things about FHA loans is that the down payment can be a gift from a friend or family member. Up to 100% of the down payment amount can be gifted to the borrower allowing for 100% financing to those who are receiving a gifted down payment.

The FHA also allows for higher debt-to-income ratios than other types of home loans. In some cases, lenders can allow for DTI ratios up to 50%. With this calculator, you can figure out how much house you can afford factoring in PMI and property taxes.

Pros and Cons of FHA Loans

Pros

Low down payment
Low 580 credit requirement
Lower interest rates
Higher debt-to-income ratios allowed
Up to 6% of closing cost can be paid by the seller
Non-occupying co-borrowers allowed
Many FHA approved lenders nationwide
Higher allowed debt-to-income ratios

Cons

Low loan limits
Fixer-upper homes can’t be financed
Mortgage insurance premium required
High MIP costs, up to 1% of loan amount
Up-front MIP required

VA Loans
If you’re a Veteran you may qualify for a VA mortgage. VA loans are the cheapest type of mortgage loan available. They require no down payment and no mortgage insurance is required. In order to qualify, you must be an active, or retired Veteran or a Veteran spouse.

Like FHA loans, VA loans come with lower mortgage rates than most conventional loans do. They do require a higher credit score than FHA, most lenders require a minimum 620 credit score to receive 100% financing.

USDA Loans
The U.S. Department of Agriculture created the USDA rural housing program to help loan to median-income borrowers become homeowners in rural parts of the country. USDA loans do not require a down payment.

Because they are 100 % financing lenders have higher credit score requirements. Typically you will need a minimum 640 FICO score to qualify for a USDA mortgage. When you think of the term “rural” you generally think of farms and ranches. However, about 97% of the country is in an eligible USDA location. Most areas that are 30 miles outside of major cities are USDA eligible.

Conventional 97 Loans
Fannie Mae is one of the largest buyers of mortgage in the U.S. Fannie Mae has started the 97% LTV conventional mortgage loan which requires just a 3% down payment. That’s even lower than FHA. To qualify for this loan program you must have at least a 620 credit score.

Some of the benefits of conventional loans are the higher loan limits than Government backed mortgages. In low-cost areas of the country, the loan limit is $424,100 which is over $150,000 higher than the FHA limits. Like FHA loans, conventional 97 loans also allow 100% of the down payment to come from gift funds.

The Bottom Line…
There are many mortgage programs besides just FHA that offer low or no down payment loans. USDA and VA are the only two mortgages that offer 100% financing. If you’re not eligible for either you may qualify for FHA or a conventional 97 loan with low down payment requires, much lower than traditional financing.

Knowing your options is an important part of the process especially before speaking to a loan officer. Not all lenders offer all types of loans, knowing the different types of loan programs can help you save a bundle on your home.

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Powerful Change: Fake It Until You Become It!

Mind Over Matter

Powerful Change: Fake It Until You Become It!

Do you always accept circumstances as they appear to be?  When you resign yourself and take everything at face value, you leave many doors with better or different options shut. By opening your mind, investigating new ideas, finding new ways to tackle a challenge and visualizing a different perspective, you can make intentional changes. You can fake it until you become it!

Here are some thoughtful solutions for beginning a new journey of personal assessment and growth. Baby steps can create massive change.

Begin exploring personal and financial growth

· What are your strengths?
· Is your internal view of yourself realistic?
· Do your values align with your goals?
· Are there mental/ emotional barriers that need overcoming to be successful?
· What do you need to take the next step?

Examine your story and ask questions. Does this story (well worn and comfortable) still fit your life? If not, how do you take stock of the past and re-frame that internal vision of yourself?

Reflect on these questions below to determine where you are:

Who are you?
What are your values?
What are you passions?
What is your purpose?

Have you ever browsed through old photos and marveled how people and places have changed so dramatically? Notice the changes in you over time. Begin to investigate ways to realign your passion and purpose to reach your goals. Life is about change;  knowing who and where you are in life will assist you to move in a new direction.

You have the power to change

If you allow other people’s stories to define who you are, it is time to take responsibility for who you are. Embrace who you are, own your choices and begin to make proactive decisions and adjustments to reach your goals.

We all have different wants and needs. Some people have a strong desire to invest in their future. Others want to live exuberantly at the moment. We all have unique emotional reactions regarding our present situation. When we feel pain or guilt, are scared and ashamed of our actions, it is a sign to do somethingdifferent. Use this pent-up power to make a mental change; drawing from this mindset results in astounding physical changes.

Fake it until you become it!

I want to share this video of Amy Cuddy speaking about powerful change, on both an emotional and physical level. If you have ever felt inadequate or that you are a “fake” – and it’s just a matter of time before “everyone” finds out, watch this clip! It is life changing! In addition to focusing on a new shift in perspective, Amy shares scientific evidence that simple changes in your body language can effect other people’s opinions about you and enhance your success! It certainly affected me, and I hope you will also find it valuable.

Video: Don’t Fake it ‘till you make it; Fake it until You Become it!

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Teaching Yourself to Say NO to Debt

Today’s Guest Blogger is Matthew Woodley, creditexpertrepair.com.

Be sure to implement some of his insightful tips for dropping debt!

Teaching Yourself to Say No to Debt

If you are struggling with debt then you have to make a commitment to change the way you spend your money. There are many places you can turn for help, such as financial advisors, and there are many ways to help turn your finances around with programs involving debt management, refinancing, or even debt consolidation. Tapping into professional assistance and teaching yourself to say no to debt can pave a new path to financial freedom.

With that said, no matter what options you choose you need to commit to saying no to any more debt. No matter how tempting it may be to spend, if you want to get out debt you have to stop adding to it.

It is true that it can be hard not to take on new debt, especially if you are used to using your credit cards and are living pay-check to pay-check. To get started here are a few suggestions for teaching yourself to say NO to debt and changing your habits.

Avoid New Loans

When you are having trouble paying bills, it can be very tempting to seek out a new loan in order to cushion yourself and have a sense of security. However, you are much better off reducing your expenses in other ways and creating a monthly budget. This can show you how easy it can be to save money and allow you to learn how to live within your means.

Begin teaching yourself to say no to debt by using cash for all of your expenses. You will begin to realize just how much of a crutch your credit card and loans have been. If you have a lot of debt and cannot afford to buy something in full using cash, then you should not be allowing yourself to buy it.

Breaking Bad Habits

It is very important to allow yourself to put paying off debt before anything else. By avoiding loans and only spending the money that you have in your account you will be able to break away from your spending habits and stand up to your finances.

Another great way to learn new habits is to start paying yourself before you turn to other expenses. You can do this by setting up a deposit into your savings account on the first of the month. When you start to see this money disappearing each month you will begin to treat it like any other payment, and even forget that you are actually saving money. This is one of the best habits to get into and is a great way to save for an emergency or start to build up a nest egg.

Even if you set up a withdrawal that puts $50 a month into your savings – you will have at least $600 in an emergency fund at the end of the year. While that may not seem worth it right now, it can be the difference between bankruptcy and making it through any difficult times. Something as simple as avoiding buying a cup of coffee each day can allow you to pay yourself first, and is more than worth it in the long run.

Reducing Toxic Debt

Aside from putting away a bit of money, you should always do your best to target toxic debt with any extra money you have from your budget. Toxic debt refers to the high interest payments that you have in terms of credit card balances or pay advance loans. You should always being focusing on paying off this kind of debt first before upping your payments on things such as student loans or car payments. Tackle the worst debts first and then you will be in better shape to slowly pay off other debt such as your mortgage.

The fact is that most of us have more money than we think we do, we are just guilty of impulse buys and not having our priorities straight. By teaching yourself to spend in cash, avoid loans, pay yourself first, and attacking toxic debt, you can form all new habits and in many instances find out just how much extra cash you will eventually have lying around at the end of each month.

Be smart, stick to your guns, and that dream retirement or debt-free future could be closer than you think.

Matthew Woodley is the founder of CreditRepairExpert.org which provides users with free and unbiased information on how to repair and improve their credit score. Make sure to follow him on Twitter for the latest on credit repair and debt management.

For more info, please visit CreditRepairExpert.org

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Radical Abundance Workshops

Radical Abundance Workshops are happening this September in Montreal and Toronto!

Radical Abundance Workshops in Montreal and Toronto
Find Radical Abundance with The Money Nerve

Join us in Montreal September 15-17, and in Toronto September 22-24!

Do you have limiting money beliefs? Are you ready for a path to create financial freedom? Want to heal your relationship with money in a creative, collaborative and supportive way?

FINANCIALLY TAPPED, EMOTIONALLY TRAPPED?
You CAN create a new path for financial freedom. If you feel the heat rising when you pay those monthly bills, that could be your money nerve alerting you that it’s time to make a change. The Money Nerve concept will inspire you to make a real change in your perspective about money. I love working with groups and leading workshops – to help each of you navigate your emotional response to money, create a healthy budget and chart a new course!

Our Radical Abundance Workshops have been engineered to create a transformation of your limiting financial mindset and help you to uncover new pathways for creative solution and a richer life experience.

Join us…

Join me  and colleague CORE Energetics professional Josee Martel, for an incredible mind-opening experience that will change your life! You will be given tools and techniques for personal and professional success, while learning to live a life of proactive abundance!

Be a part of this weekend workshop in either Montreal or Toronto

Take advantage of this opportunity to evolve your capacity to play big in life and relationships. We’d LOVE to have you at our Radical Abundance Workshops!

Select Your Location

Montreal911 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal, QC H2R 1V5, Canada

Montreal Facebook Event Info HERE

Toronto: Colt Paper Building, 151 Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON M6R 2B2, Canada

Toronto Facebook Info HERE

Schedule both weekends:

Friday: 7-9:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 am – 5 pm

Radical Abundance Workshops
Bob Wheeler & Josee Martel

 

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Lending Money to Family Members: Yes or No!

Lending Money to Family Members

Should You Lend Money to Family?

A loan is an investment, and you need to be sure that lending your hard earned cash to others doesn’t put your finances at risk. Dave Ramsey says, “don’t do it! People who let family members borrow money have their hearts–not–heads in the right place.

When we love people, we want to see them succeed, and we want to lend a helping hand. Strong emotions can quickly derail the best of intentions when dealing with family or close friends.  As a result, when family members come to us for a loan, we empathize; thinking about how we would feel having to ask for cash. And, if life got tough for us, we would expect others would have our back and help us! But that is not always the case.

Is It Safe?

It’s best to use caution when lending money to family. And it is wise to determine if the money is a gift or a loan. A loan should have requirements or agreements regarding the dollar amount and the payback schedule. The IRS allows $14,000 as a gift among family members so that a couple could give a family member $24,000 ($14,000 apiece). And theoretically, you do not pay a gift tax unless more than $5.23M is handed out over the course of your life. If you elect to loan the money, it’s best to set the interest rate, along with a payment plan for tax purposes.

Is it always the same person who needs help? Or do you have multiple requests from both sides of the family? If you are “the bank of choice,” you may need to re-think how you help relatives. In today’s turbulent economy, many older Americans are loaning money to their children. But is that the right call? Essentially, anytime someone asks you for money, it is fair to ask, “why do you need the money?”

Does the Loan Empower or Enable?

When an adult child relies on Mom and Dad to come in and save them from the latest crisis, but the root of the problem is overspending, or under earning, the parent becomes an enabler. This habitual pattern of letting other people take care of one’s careless financial choices, will never stop. It is important for all parties to learn a new set of habits. By clarifying the request for money without emotional turmoil, parents maintain enough money to retire and adult children will become more independent and began making more intentional choices.

On the other hand, a valid need such needing help with tuition can boost the earning power of a graduating student. Or lending money for a substantial down payment to purchase a house can provide a safe opportunity to invest the future. Providing the funds for a loved one to create a better life can be empowering!

Shall We Shake on It?

Take time to talk about the obligation and requirements of borrowing money. Prepare a formal agreement defining the amount loaned and details for repayment. Putting the financial commitment on paper gives the transaction more weight – often resulting in a positive outcome. The majority of people that sign a written contract are much more inclined to fulfill that agreement. For more personal finance info: Follow the Money Nerve 

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Put the Cold Freeze On Shopaholic Spending

 

Put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

This is a challenge for all of us who battle overspending on the latest trends:

You May Say

I really want to own a home, not just an ordinary home – but a gorgeous one that I LOVE! But with a credit card in your wallet that has a growing balance, it won’t happen. Making small changes to your spending habits will free up more cash to invest in your bigger life goals. Owning a home is more important than having every color of the newest designer shoe or “tricking out” your 1969 Dodge Charger.

Fear Can Hold You Captive

If the only thing keeping you from cutting up your credit cards is fear that you might desperately need them in an emergency, this tip is for you. Using credit cards to manage your daily budget can quickly lead to high monthly bills – with little cash in the bank. Making minimum payments maintains your credit standing, but will never make a dent in the outstanding balance. This habit is one of the universal recipes for long-term debt.

Deep Freeze Technique

Here’s a simple solution! Fill a large container half full with water, and put it in the freezer. Wait twenty-four hours, put your credit cards in there, fill it up with water, and place it back in. The result? A giant ice cube with credit cards stuck in the middle. The benefit? You have set yourself up to be more intentional with your financial choices. And, you still have your cards in the event of an emergency. You have put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

Plastic vs. Cash

Many Americans are spending far too much of their “perceived money” with credit cards. When you use the cards for unnecessary purchases, your shopaholic spending habit places more value on “wants” rather than long term needs. Put your money to work for value-based decisions. You need to add a saving habit, and lower card balances to ensure that you can handle costly emergencies. That’s why this easy concept works. Instead of cutting up our “plastic,” you put the cold freeze on those cards.

By freezing credit cards, you still have a line of credit, but it’s harder to use.
The best part: It’s an ingenious and effective psychological trick to get yourself out of the plastic mentality.

Now, emotions aren’t driving your spending habits. You are making a conscious choice to manage your money.

Instant Willpower

Freezing several lines of credit gives you instant willpower, even when you are blindsided by emotional impulses. Now, if you feel the urge to use credit, you have to wait until the ice melts. Hopefully, during that time you may come to your senses and realize you don’t need one more “widget.”

Try it! Let me know how it goes.

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Easy Hacks For A New Financial Habit

The Money Nerve

Easy Hacks For A New Financial Habit

Today is the best day for starting a new habit. Try these easy hacks for a new financial habit. You may have decided that it is time to do “things” differently, but the thought of making lots of significant changes at the same time can be overwhelming. Let’s break it down to make it easier to stick with a new mindset.

Keep It Simple

Let’s say you have decided to start an emergency fund and your long-term goal is to save three months of salary. When thinking about such a big hairy goal, it would be so easy to admit defeat before you ever started. So, take $50 and open that savings account. Tell all your friends that you are working on saving more money. When you talk about your goals, you plant the idea more firmly in your head.

Now automate a small amount of money, how about $25, to be directed into this new account with every paycheck. You will be surprised at how quickly your account will grow, and how little you miss that small amount you may have been spending on “junk.”

Starting with small steps makes a change of financial habits easier.
One glass of water a day. One extra vegetable. Three pushups. One sentence of writing a day. Two minutes of meditation. Voila! You now have a habit that lasts.

Keep Your Focus Positive

We all know a friend or colleague that seems to be “practically perfect!” They work out every day, eat healthy, volunteer at the local shelter and blog about their good deeds. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and begin to tear apart all the good work YOU are doing.

Keep your positive attitude; you are making one small step toward a more positive outcome.
Only you can make a personal change. When seeds of doubt begin to grow, you need to squash those negative voices that pop into your head; demanding you to quit, taunting you with past failures or demoralizing you with doubt and fear. Shove those thoughts into a box and mentally throw the box out! Embrace your new habit and nurture your small wins.

Keep It Real

Every week or two, hold yourself accountable and move forward a few steps. If you didn’t do as well as you wanted, jot that down and try again with a slightly different approach. Did you spend your “emergency fund” money on a movie and popcorn? Next week, add fifty percent more, you will still be ahead.

Did a great job of saving each paycheck for the past month? Tell yourself what an awesome job you are doing. Acknowledge your good work, reward yourself, and enjoy the success. Share your success with others, it may motivate them to start a new habit too. It often takes less time to create one simple habit than it does to make excuses for your inability to change.

For insight and motivational tips to create a healthy relationship with your money, AND for easy hacks to develop a new financial habit – sign up for the monthly Money Nerve newsletter.

You can do anything for one month!

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The A B C’s of Setting Up Your 401(k)

 the money nerve

The ABC’s of Setting Up Your 401(k)

What is a 401(k)?

Essentially, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. This plan allows workers to select whether they want a larger paycheck now or to defer some of their money by saving and investing a portion of revenue from their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Different from pension plans where companies managed employees assets, 401 (k)s give workers more autonomy to manage their retirement funds.

Matching Funds, Take It! It’s Free Money.

Many companies also match contributions, often with a 3% or 6% cap. With this type of 401(k) account, taxes are paid when a person begins to withdraw money. If you put in 3% of your $50,000 salary, or $1,500, your company puts another $1,500 in the pot. You can add more than that $1,500 yourself, but the company won’t match beyond 3%.

What is the best type of 401 (k) to open?

Choosing whether to use a Roth 401(k) or a Traditional 401(k) is often determined by age and by salary level. If you are in a higher tax bracket, you may prefer lowering your salary by investing now and paying taxes later, thus the traditional approach may work best. For many people already in a lower tax bracket, it may make more sense to open a Roth 401(k) where you pay the taxes now. This plan also offers some qualified tax-free withdrawals. Just be sure to select a beneficiary or the person who gets your money if you die when you set up your 401(k). And, find out the percentage of fees for your account. You want to keep that below 1 % for maximum savings power.

How Much Can I Invest?

For 2017, the maximum amount of compensation that an employee can defer to a 401(k) plan is $18,000. Employees aged 50 by the end of the year and older can also make additional catch-up contributions of up to $6,000 for a total of $24,000. The maximum allowable employer/employee joint contribution limit remains at $53,000 for 2016 and $54,000 for 2017 (or $59,000 for those aged 50 and older). The employer component includes matching contributions, non-elective contributions, and profit-sharing contributions. Via Investopedia

401(k) resources

This 401(k) calculator can help you figure out how much you should be saving
The 401(k) fee analyzer can show you how the investment fees in your plan stack up to others
The NerdWallet IRA vs. 401(k) guide can help you maximize your retirement savings dollars in both types of accounts at once

Make it Easy to Save
Make your 401(k) contributions automatically. You can even set up your plan to raise your level of saving each year. The more automated your financial plan is – the more likely you are to have a substantial nest egg when you get ready to retire! Check out this list of investing and saving hacks.

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Raise Your Credit Score

Raise Your Credit Score

Raise your credit score for better interest rates and easy lending from banks and financial institutions.
If you have never checked on your credit score, it is now easier than ever to see how you rate when lenders are looking at your financial record. Your credit score is based on your financial history in your credit record with all activity, both good and bad, influencing your score.

Three easy tips for maintaining or raising your credit score:

Pay off debt

Okay, I understand! That sounds much easier to say, but you can do it! I advise my clients to look at all of their credit card balances and pick the smallest debt. Changing your habits with small steps and small wins will increase your confidence and give you a chance to pat yourself on the back for a successful step toward financial health. Pay off the smallest debt and then tackle the next lowest bill. It is so gratifying to know one account has been paid off and with each paycheck, you whittle down more debt without intense emotional pain.

Keep low balances on bank-issued credit cards and revolving credit cards

According to Nerd Wallet, in 2016, the average U.S. household had nearly $17,000 in credit card debt. You are not alone. But you can reduce that debt. Pick one of your accounts and be sure to pay more than the minimum balance each month. Get one card down to a reasonable amount and then lower the balance on another card.
Not able to pay more than the minimum? It might be time to put those credit cards on ice. Literally! Take all but one of your credit cards, throw them in a container, fill it up with water and DEEP FREEZE those plastic cards. Now you can make payments on the cards each month and get that balance down.

Don’t open an excessive number of credit cards you don’t really need, in an attempt to increase your available credit.

If you have recently established credit, opening up four or five new accounts within two-three years could hurt your credit score, because you don’t have enough of a “track record” for the loan companies to make an educated decision as to your ability to manage your finances. In comparison, when a person has a few credit cards for eleven to fifteen years and later opens several new accounts, it may not have an adverse effect. What is more important than a lot of credit cards is the ability to make payments on time and demonstrate self-discipline in spending activity.

Don’t close several unused credit cards at the same time attempting to raise your credit score.

Positive credit scores are enhanced by a long credit history, so even if your account is not active, keeping an old card in your credit history gives you longevity and counts for about 15% of a FICO score.
A closed account will fall off your credit report sooner than an open one. In most cases, negative credit information will remain on your credit files for seven years from the time the debt first became delinquent. Here’s the good news: Positive credit information can stay on record indefinitely; however, closed accounts in good standing often drop off the credit report within ten years.
You can check your three credit reports for free once a year. 

Here’s a timely bonus that will raise your credit score this year.

Beginning September 15, 2017, the three credit reporting companies will phase in a host of changes that will lower the number of “mixed files,” which often had a negative impact on credit reports of people with similar names, and will update procedural changes aimed at improving the accuracy of these reports.
Find more tips for investing in you!

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Investing In a Volatile Market

Guest Blogger George Diaz

Investing In a Volatile Market

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, markets have been very volatile, hitting record highs one minute, and then experiencing massive selloffs the next. For this reason, it is imperative to know “how and where” when investing in a volatile market.

We are living in turbulent times.

Market volatility should be a reminder to regularly review your investments and make sure you have a diversified investment strategy that matches the overall risk in your portfolio to your personality and goals. Here are some guidelines for you to invest in an unpredictable market.

1. Stand firm: Crises happen on a regular basis and are usually of short duration.

Market crashes can be annoying, but history shows that the stock market has been able to recover from declines and can still offer investors a positive return in the long run.

In fact, in the last 35 years, the market has experienced an average decrease of 14% from highest to lowest during each year, but still had a positive annual return more than 80% of the time.

2. Be at ease with your investments

If you are nervous when the market goes down, you may not have the right investments. Your time horizon, goals and risk tolerance are key factors in ensuring that you have an investment strategy that works for you. Even if your time horizon is long enough to justify an aggressive portfolio, you have to be comfortable with the bumps you will encounter.

However, you should be mindful of not being too conservative, especially if you have a long-term horizon because strategies that are more conservative can not provide the growth potential you need to achieve your goals.

 

Attempting to enter and exit the market can be costly.

3. Do not try to time the market

4. Invest regularly despite volatility

If you invest regularly for months, years and decades, short-term crises will not have a big impact on your bottom line. Instead of trying to judge when to buy and sell based on market conditions, if you take a disciplined approach to investing, you avoid the dangers of market timing. Seize opportunities!

Bear Market Strategies

During a general downturn in financial markets as a result of economic uncertainty, investors rush and seek security in their investments.

There may be some actions to take while the markets are down, to help you have a better position for the long term. These strategies are complex, and you may want to consult a professional before making any investment or tax decisions.

1. Avoid positioning yourself in volatile funds or ETFs of complex nature, even more so during a full correction.

2. Say goodbye to the losers. Now is the right time to do a portfolio cleaning. If these stocks did not perform well in boom times, why would it be any different now?

3. Reduce your stock positions. If the market continues to decline, you will be able to go hunting for undervalued securities, because you will have sufficient liquidity.

4. Buy bonds. Debt securities can be great allies in the midst of bearish gaps in the market.

5. If the stock market continues to move down, try to avoid constant monitoring, as fear will make you anxious and often results in people making hasty decisions about their assets.

6. Taking short positions is one way to make money in a bear market, such as selling futures, betting on declines or helping to reduce your portfolio exposure to the market.

Guest blooger George Diaz writes for finance sites: sobredinero.com and Myfinancialwisdom.com. He can be reached at george@sobredinero.com or via Twitter @sobredinero1