It’s a leap year, but what does that have to do with finance? Well it is a great reminder to leap forward with your plans and goals for the year. Do you plan on buying a house or maybe refinancing the one you’re currently in? Do you need to pay off some debt and start planning for retirement? This is a great time to do both. When was the last time you sat down and reviewed your mortgage? Are you stuck in a high interest loan? Rates are at an all time low right now, which makes it a great time to think about refinancing and lowering your interest rate. Colorado Springs is also one of the most stable economies right now, and even with the Federal Reserve reporting that we are facing a dark global economy, we are not facing the same slow down that our neighbors in Denver are experiencing. We won’t stay ahead of this slow down for long though, so it is important to take advantage now of the good equity in your home and the low interest rates. If you are trying to leap forward by looking into the future and planning for retirement, then make 2016 the year you do just that. Do you want to be paying your mortgage when you are 80, or would you rather pay it off at 65 and be able to enjoy a retirement. If you refinance your home now while the rates are at such a low, you can save hundreds of dollars a month. For example, if you own a 200,000 home and you can lower your interest rate by one percentage point you can save around $160 a month. Now what if you already have a low rate, but you still have 20-25 years of payments left. You could still refinance, your goal would be to get into a 15 year loan instead of a 30 year. If your goal for 2016 is to get out of debt, something very simple you can do would be to consolidate all of your monthly payments into one. Take an inventory of all your unsecured debt, ie student loans, car loans, credit cards etc., and see if you have enough equity in your home to be able to consolidate it all into your mortgage payment, with a much lower rate than you could ever get on those unsecured amounts. Once you have all of your unsecured debt consolidated into your mortgage, take whatever you were paying towards those things and apply that money directly to the principle on your home. This gives you the ability to pay off ALL of your debt in the time you would just be paying your home, while keeping the interest rate low. The key to leaping forward in 2016 is to know your financial standing and figuring out what your goals are and how you can best take advantage of the great rates and stable economy we have here in Colorado Springs.