Government

Could A 4th Grader Understand Your Mortgage?

After the financial crisis, Congress decided that things like mortgage paperwork and credit-card agreements should be clearer and simpler. That decree recently inspired us to ask a bunch of fourth graders to read a credit-card agreement.

As of today, you can check out a couple prototypes for what are supposed to be newer, simpler mortgage documents. They're supposed to tell you the basics: how much you will owe, how much your monthly payments will be, how much the payments may go up over time, etc.

Here's a sample of the paperwork that people get now when they take out a mortgage:

mortgage disclosure i i
consumerfinance.gov
mortgage disclosure
consumerfinance.gov

And here's a sample from one of the new prototypes:

mortgage disclosure prototype i i
consumerfinance.gov
mortgage disclosure prototype
consumerfinance.gov

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created the new prototypes; on the bureau's Web site, you can check out both and vote for the one you think is better.

We don't happen to have a fourth grader handy today. If you know one, we'd be curious to hear what they think.

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