The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

A recently published article seems to indicate 651 non natural deaths occurred in Mexico last year, however, when the reader digs deeper into the article he finds that the data was obtained over a three year period from 2006 through 2008, resulting in about 220 non natural US deaths per year in Mexico. Of the 220 non natural deaths per year, approximately 50 are homicides, the balance being auto accidents, drownings, suicides, etc. per the US Department of State.Next, the reader needs to understand that approximately 20 million Americans visit Mexico each year, far more than any other country in the world per the US Dept Commerce. Therefore, we know that about 50 individuals out of every 20 million US visitors to Mexico are murdered during a violent crime every year while in Mexico.Okay, let’s take it a step further; let’s determine where in Mexico these violent crimes take place. When reviewing the data presented by the US Department of State, you’ll see that the majority of these violent crimes occur in the border towns such as Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. Therefore, the next time you plan your winter vacation you might want to avoid these areas; they’re probably about as dangerous as Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles! Instead of vacationing in beautiful downtown Juarez, you might want to consider a resort destination such as Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Huatulco, or Puerto Vallarta.As 13 year residents of Puerto Vallarta, we can attest to the safety of this magnificent resort destination south of the border where the possession of hand guns is prohibited and violent crime is virtually nonexistent. For proof of this claim, we’ll first determine the number of US citizens that visit PV annually and then get the facts related to violent crime in the area.There are in excess of 200 cruise ships that visit PV from the US every year with an average of more than 2,000 passengers each; i.e. approximately 400,000 passengers arriving annually. During the six month “high season”, PV receives more than 50 international flights daily. Let’s assume that 40 are from the US carrying an average of 100 passengers on each plane; that’s more than 700,000 passengers arriving by air during the six winter months. Next, let’s assume that 30 planes arrive daily in PV during the six summer months of which 20 are from the US; that’s another 350,000 passengers arriving by air during the “low season”. Finally, we’ll assume that another 50,000 people drive to PV every year. Totaling these conservative numbers, we find that at least 1.5 million tourists from the US visit Vallarta annually. A number of websites such as put the total number of visitors at 2 million, others such as peg it at 2.2 million and assuming at least 75% are from the US, our estimate of 1.5 million US visitors to PV per year is quite accurate.Now, let’s return to the data from the US Department of State. You will notice that during 2008, there were merely five non natural deaths of US visitors in Puerto Vallarta and only one was a homicide. (Chances are that he was doing something or involved with something that he shouldn’t have been!). That’s one violent death out of 1.5 million visitors for the year or less than 0.7 per million.According to US government provided data, the US has 6.2 violent deaths annually per 100,000 residents. This information is readily available at the US Bureau of Justice and on other websites such as In other words, we have 62 homicides or violent crimes resulting in death per million residents in the US, or 93 homicides per 1.5 million; i.e., 93 times as many as in Puerto Vallarta!There have been plenty of knowledgeable folks that have read preposterous articles such as the one addressed above and they too, are voicing their opinions and commenting on websites such as For the most part, these are people with intimate knowledge of Mexico and if it were dangerous for Americans in Mexico, they probably wouldn’t be living or vacationing there on a routine basis. (Yes, I am biased and yes, I have an axe to grind [representing real estate buyers in Puerto Vallarta]; but more importantly, I feel it imperative for someone to set the record straight and not allow misleading propaganda to be published on the Internet without being challenged)Finally, the above data tends to indicate that living in Mexican resort areas such as Puerto Vallarta is nearly 100 times safer than living in the US, however this is really not the case since the data is skewed by the element of time. The millions of Americans living in the US are permanent residents spending 52 weeks per year at home whereas the Americans visiting PV are only temporary. In order to adjust for this time differential, the following assumptions must be made: Those 400,000 cruise boat passengers spend only one day in town, those 1,050,000 passengers arriving by air spend an average of 10 days in town, and half of the remaining 50,000 that consider themselves to be American expats live in PV only during the “high season” while the other half live here year round resulting in an average for this group of 40 weeks per year in Vallarta. The following calculations show that this is equivalent to 68,200 Americans living full time in Puerto Vallarta.400,000 cruise x 1day/yr + 1,050,000 air x 10 days/yr + 50,000 expats x 280 days/yr400,000 days/yr + 10,500,000 days/yr + 14,000,000 days/yr = 24,900,000 days/yr24,900,000 days/yr x year /365 days = 68,200 full time expats in PVOne American homicide per year in PV per 68,200 American expats equates to 14.6 per million or les than 1/4 as many as in the US.In summarizing, the next time someone insinuates that traveling to or vacationing in Mexico is dangerous for Americans, you can present the facts to them. Hopefully, after reviewing this analytical approach with the documented facts and figures provided by the US government, you’ll feel much more comfortable and inclined to visit our beautiful Paradise south of the border, where you have four times better odds of surviving than in the good old US of A!(Please refer to links for all data provided herein)

Who Should Consider Home Refinance

When you start to look into home refinance you’ll be given all of the reasons that you should consider this process. You may even be given all of the reasons that you should not refinance and when you should consider refinancing, but you may have a hard time finding anything that tells you who should refinance. There is a reason for this, and that is because refinancing is a very personal choice and everyone has a different reason to do it. There are some things that you can think about or look into to find out if you are one of the people that should consider refinancing.Should You Consider Home Refinance?There is a basic rule of thumb that can help you determine if home refinance is right for you. When you start looking into your options you need to determine if you can actually save money by going through this process. To make it all worth the effort and the money that you may need to pay for this process you should only be considering home refinance if you will be able to refinance and get a loan that is at least two to three percentage points lower than your current interest rate.The reason for this is that anything less will only mean very little in the way of monthly payment changes while the charges that you will encounter as a result of the refinancing will cost you more than you will save, in most instances. When you begin looking around, you might find that a lot of lenders are not able to offer you a home refinance loan for two to three interest points less than you are paying now, and right away that shoots down the timing and the options of refinance for you, at least if you are doing this to save money.Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if mortgage refinance is right for you. Most people are doing this to save money and you have to remember to account for the money that you will have to pay out to have the refinance done. While saving one percent sounds good, when you think about how much you will have to pay to get one percent less you may actually be losing money.The only time when you may not need to consider this is when you are considering home refinance to do away with an adjustable-rate mortgage for a fixed-rate mortgage. It can be difficult to match one of the lower adjustable-rate mortgage rates, but when you do the math you will find that when that rate adjusts that you will be able to save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of just one year, let alone the course of the whole loan!Each home owner has to determine when is the best time for them to refinance their home. You may find that you are ready to refinance the first time you consider it or you may find that this is never the best option for you, your home loan, and your financial situation. Keep the option out there, but don’t assume that it is something that everyone should just jump into because this could not be further than the truth!

Does It Make Sense To Refinance Home Mortgage?

To refinance home mortgage or not to refinance home mortgage – that is the question. A great way to free up equity in your home is to refinance home mortgage. If rates are favorable, you can lower your monthly payments by reducing your interest rate. This can also be done if you refinance home mortgage. As you can see, there are a lot of benefits in choosing to refinance home mortgage. Another good reason to obtain new financing for your home is to use the cash to pay off other debts like credit card bills. This not only saves money on interest rates, but reduces the overall monthly payment amount as well.It Makes SenseNew financing is an optimal solution. It is an excellent method of lowering the investment cost in a piece of property. However, the equity left in the property will then be non-existent. So if the property appreciates, the return on your investment will be a lot more than you could have made in another market.If you need capital, then getting a new financial arrangement for your property is the way to go. For a lot of people, home equity is the only viable source for new capital. This type of arrangement can be obtained at a reasonable expense. If you choose this path, you are probably wondering where to go to obtain such an arrangement.Your decision is made a lot easier today by the availability of such arrangements from banks and brokers alike. Even television is full of ads for such services. Doing a Web search will also yield numerous results. There are so many choices to pick from for a potential borrower. Oftentimes, the differences are in the fine print and closing costs. What are the penalties in the arrangement? Is the rate fixed or adjustable? Is the rate competitive when compared to what other lenders are offering? How much trouble will you have to go through to qualify? All these specifics differentiate one lender from the other. That is why it is a good idea to study all these specifics in great detail. Hiring consultants or brokers to help you is thus, a good idea. You can let the professional shortlist the choices for you.Other ConsiderationsYou should consider making the home very presentable so you can get good offers for new financing. Doing this helps the appraisal process and that is certainly to your advantage. You should correct obvious problems as soon as possible. A new paint job and a thorough clean-up will do wonders towards making the home look better.So check with your broker or bank. You should be able to get a good proposal if you shop around. After studying all your options carefully, make the choice that fits your situation best. Only you can determine if you should really take new financing or not. Just make sure you have a good reason and a good plan for going down whatever path you eventually choose. Good luck!

Second Mortgage – Home Equity Vs Refinance

Why should you take out a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit instead of refinancing?Well…You Shouldn’t!Why Not?1. Second Mortgages usually have an interest rant that is twice or even three times as high as your first mortgage rate. You can refinance instead and keep a very low rate. In the long run a second mortgage will just cost you money in interest charges.2. Home equity lines of credit are designed for mortgage account executives (salespeople) to sell you on using it like a credit card attached to your home. They will try to convince you to use it over and over again.3. A refinance loan is better for the equity in your home. Very few companies will refinance your home at 100% of it’s value without forcing you to take out a second mortgage. You don’t want to use 100% of your equity because that means you no longer have that equity to fall back on in emergency situations.4. Second Mortgages and Home Equity lines of credit are designed to provide account executives (salespeople) with another tool to sway you into putting another commission in their pocket.5. Your equity is a precious thing and should not be used for unnecessary add ons or impulse buys. If you don’t need it and there is even a slight chance you can’t afford it, then don’t get a second mortgage to buy it.The only reason that I would ever recommend a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit is in an emergency situation. Only when there is no other option and you must take out a loan would I recommend either one of these options.

Benefits of Home Refinance

There are many benefits of home refinance and when you start to look into it you may find that now is the time for you to consider refinancing. A lot of people refinance for a whole variety of reasons and you’ll have to determine when and why you want to go through this process. This is a very personal decision and with the benefits comes some risk or disadvantages so you have to weigh the benefits with your specific situation.Home Refinance Has Many BenefitsOne of the most well known benefits of home refinance is lowering your interest rate. When you bought your home you might have thought you were getting a good rate, but when you compare the rates that were great with the rates that are considered to be outstanding now, you may find that you are paying too much interest on your loan. If you look into refinancing and you find that you can reduce your interest by two percentage points, this is a great time to make your move and refinance. Even the two points can save you a bundle on the cost of your mortgage over the years.Another reason that people look into home refinance is to limit their risks associated with their mortgage. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage because that is all you could qualify for when you bought your home, you may want to look into refinancing to see if you can be approved for a fixed-rate loan now. Going with a fixed-rate loan is a great option because you have more stability and you don’t have to worry about your interest rate increasing along with your monthly payment.Many people look into home refinance because it gives them the option to pay off their loan sooner without paying a penalty. Many mortgage loans have a pre-payment penalty, which means that if you pay off the loan early you will be charged for the early payment. For most of us this wouldn’t be an issue as we would not be paying off the loan early, but if your financial situation has changed or you have just adjusted your finances and you would like to pay off your loan sooner rather than later, you may want to refinance and get a loan with a shorter term as well as no pre-payment penalty.A lot of people choose to refinance simply because they owe less on the home and when they get a loan for 30 years with the lesser amount, their monthly payment can be dropped drastically. For the majority of the population our housing payment is by far our most expensive payment, and when you are able to reduce this payment suddenly life becomes a lot more affordable.As you can see, there are simply a lot of benefits to refinancing your home. You need to consider the pros and the cons when you refinance, as this is not the best option for every home owner out there. With all of the benefits though, if it is a good option for you, you can truly save a lot of money and make your mortgage something that is affordable and not a strain on the rest of your finances. Remember to weigh all of these benefits with the risks to make the best decision for you and your specific situation.

Why You Should Consider A Home Mortgage Refinance Today

There are many reasons why homeowners are seeking out a home mortgage refinance. These reasons vary from simply wanting to have more money to pay off debt, all the way to lowering your monthly mortgage monthly payments. While there are many different reasons why you may want to refinance your home mortgage, there are several things you must know about this process that could save you time and money. The first of these is to understand all of the benefits of refinancing your home mortgage. Even though you probably have a good understanding of why you want to refinance, if you don’t know all of the benefits you may be missing out on some of them.The first benefit to refinancing your home mortgage is to give you control over how much interest you will actually be paying. If you are like many homeowners, then your mortgage probably has an adjustable rate. While this may have seemed like a great idea at the beginning of the loan, throughout the years you have probably experienced an increase of interest, which can ultimately cost you thousands of dollars.This type of instability causes many people to worry about their next month’s mortgage payment, and whether or not it will stretch their finances too slim. When you have an adjustable rate on your home mortgage, you can refinance your mortgage to a fixed rate, which will allow you to have stability with your monthly payments.Some individuals feel that an adjustable rate mortgage is the way to borrow your home loan, however, if you have experience an interest peak then you quickly understand why this is a hassle you just don’t want to deal with. When you go with a refinanced, fixed rate, mortgage, you may have a slightly higher interest rate, however, you will have confidence in knowing that this rate will never rise.One of the main reasons why you would want to use a home mortgage refinance for this use is if you are planning on living in your current home for quite some time. Otherwise, you may want to consider another benefit of a refinanced mortgage.If you want to refinance your mortgage, but you don’t want to settle with a fixed rate interest plan, than you can choose to have a cap put onto an adjustable rate mortgage. This is perfect if your current adjustable rate loan does not have a cap because it allows you to have semi-control over how high your interest rates will actually go. With a capped adjustable mortgage, you will be able to experience lower interest rates, and the interest will never increase past your pre-determined cap.This type of home mortgage refinance option is perfect for individuals who want more security within this mortgage, but aren’t planning on living in their current household for many years. When you refinance your home mortgage, you are able to help streamline your finances and are given an opportunity to grasp onto financial freedom. Whether you want to consolidate your various debts, or if you simply want more security, a home mortgage refinance is definitely a great way to do so.

Refinance Mortgage Loan Rates

Anytime a person is thinking of refinancing their mortgage, there are several things that they should consider. Due to the global financial crisis and recession, very many people are asking for help on the best refinance mortgage loan rates. Refinancing is a method that can help anyone that has a mortgage to be able to save their homes from foreclosure.By researching and reading reviews from the people who have used these companies, you will be able to make a sound decision on which company you can use. Long term rates are different when you are refinancing such that refinance mortgage loan rates going lower is highly unlikely. That is why such skeptics are being advised to refinance before the rates start to rise again.There are very many online mortgage companies that can be found on the internet. From these sites you will be able to find which companies will work best for you. You can contact them and inquire with a few questions before you make up your mind.Online refinance companies are easier to research as they are on the internet and in a few hours you will have gotten one that suits you. Once you have found out that you are going to be secure financially, you will find that you will decide to stay in your home for some years. During this time, it would be advisable to change your adjustable rate to a fixed one. This will ensure that your monthly payment will always be the same regardless of the changes in the market environment.This can be very helpful so that you can be bale to survive when the rates go up. Once you get an institution that will offer you the loan, be sure to carefully read the fine print. You can also ask the lender to give you something called GFE. This is what is known as a Good Faith Estimate. Though such estimates are not required by law to be guaranteed, you ask the lender to guarantee it for you.This is because a non guaranteed GFE is worthless. To show commitment, a lender will have no problem in guaranteeing your estimates. Once you have made these steps, you will be well informed and you can have refinance mortgage loan rates that will not be heavy on you financially. For those who have no idea what the interest rates entail, you can consult with any financial institution and they can advice you.

VA Refinance Mortgage Rates

The VA refinance mortgage is also known as an interest reduction loan. It has been known to be one of the best mortgage loans that one can get today.Another name for it is the VA streamline refinance home loan. If you go through all the available refinance loans, you will find there is no other type of refinance loan that is easier to qualify for than the VA refinance mortgage loan.This is because this type of loan is backed by the government. The sad part about this loan is that it is only for those veterans who are in active duty or those that were prior in service.They should also have a previous VA loan to be able to qualify for this VA refinance mortgage loan. It gives such veterans a method to refinance their current VA loan.It has been known to be very easy to get and it does not have the common hassles involved with other methods of refinancing.You will find that if you are a veteran, you will be lucky to find that these loans have the lowest interest rates in the market.Another advantage of the VA loan is that it does not require you to have a good credit score to qualify. Most other forms of refinancing loans have the credit score requirement for anyone to qualify.This means that even when a veteran has had a bad credit report, they are eligible to get the VA refinance mortgage. Even if the veteran has had several thirty day late payments in the past twelve months they will be eligible for the refinance package.You will find that requirements for this refinancing are different from the other normal methods of refinancing.In this case, you will not be required to have income documentation, job verification and appraisals. With the current global financial crisis, you will that the interest rates for such loans are at an all time low.This is because most governments are keen to make sure that they help the economy jump start.For those who happen to have an adjustable VA mortgage, they should reconsider to having it readjusted so that they can be able to get a permanent fixed low rate.For those who already have a fixed low rate VA loan, the option of refinancing can help them save a lot of money on the current mortgage payments that they are making.

4 Reasons NOT to Refinance Your Home

It is no secret that mortgage interest rates are at historically low levels, leading many homeowners to consider refinancing their mortgage. But it is important to remember that refinancing is not a contest to get the lowest rate. You need to decide if a refinance works fits your personal financial circumstances. Before deciding to refinance, find out the answers to the following four questions.1. Is the equity in your home declining? The foreclosure crisis has flooded the market with unsold and has driven home values down in almost all areas of the country. It is quite possible that even though you want to refinance, a lack of home equity may prevent you from doing so. Before paying several hundred dollars for an appraisal, ask the real estate agent who sold you the house what they it is worth in today’s market. Then your mortgage lender can help you decide whether or not it even makes sense to apply for the refinance.2. How much are the closing costs? When you consider the cost of the appraisal, the new title insurance, and fees to your lender, the cost of your new mortgage may exceed any savings you can expect from the lower interest rate. To determine how many months you would need to stay in your home before you recover your upfront costs, take the monthly savings from your new monthly payment and divide that number into the total closing costs being disclosed by your lender. Is that a realistic time frame for your circumstances?3. What is the new loan term? If you only have 20 years left on your current mortgage and you refinance a new mortgage over 30 years, you have just gone backward 10 years. You may have improved your monthly cash flow, but put your retirement off by another 10 years.4. How certain is your future? Life has become a bit iffy for all sectors of the workforce. Jobs aren’t stable, entire industries have disappeared in the last three years, and unfortunately, the divorce rate remains high. Any of these factors could lead to selling your home sooner than you had anticipated, in which case, the benefits of the refinance have gone down the drain.If refinancing your mortgage does not make sense right now, consider taking the money you would have spent on the refinance and put it against the principal balance of your existing mortgage. Every thousand dollars that you reduce your mortgage balance makes the interest rate less and less of a factor. So stop comparing mortgage interest rates at your neighbors and start focusing on your overall financial health.

Risks of Home Refinance

Generally speaking, when you look into home refinance there are more benefits than risks. This being said, it is important to understand the risks and educate yourself to limit or eliminate some of the risks or pitfalls of refinance. Many of the people that suffer from these pitfalls are people who did not get all of the information that was needed about refinancing to make the best decision for their situation.Understanding the Pitfalls of Home RefinanceMany people get caught up in the idea of saving money when they are going through the process of or considering home refinance. They forget that they need to slow down and look at everything carefully and consider the front- and back-end expenses and specifics of the new loan. There are countless people out there that find that refinancing actually ends up costing them more money than they saved. You do not want to be one of these people, so make sure that you go about refinancing with care.One of the biggest risks or pitfalls associated with home refinance is the fees that are associated with them. Not only do you have closing costs that are associated with the new loan, you may actually have to pay a pre-payment penalty on your first mortgage loan. This can be a small sum or it can be in the thousands of dollars, depending on the way your original home loan was set up. This is something that you should absolutely look into because if you have a pre-payment penalty, it can do away with all of the benefits of refinancing with one fell swoop.Another of the risks associated with refinancing is the instability of some loans that are out there. For instance, if you refinance and you choose to go with an adjustable-rate loan you have taken on a new risk of an increasing or fluctuating interest rate. A lot of people do just fine with these loans, but other people do not and they end up losing their home after they have gone through steps to save money. These loans can be very appealing because the interest rate starts out so small but then it grows and grows. Make sure that you understand how the loan will change in the future, if at all, so you are sure that the new loan is something that you will be able to maintain in the future.Something that a lot of people suffer from when it comes to home refinance is the fees that are associated with a new loan. Many people don’t realize that there are closing costs that are associated with the new loan, just like there was with the original home loan. This home refinance loan will have the same costs associated with it, and perhaps some others, and you need to be prepared for this. These costs can run in the thousands of dollars and can make the difference between being able to afford the process of refinancing and not being able to afford it. You also need to determine if the savings of refinancing justify the costs that you will occur as a result of the whole process. This is something that you will need to consider carefully to guard yourself from the pitfalls of refinance as well as possible.