An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, is a loan where the interest rate is adjusted based on certain variables. These variables include the LIBOR, the COFI, the T-Bill, the CMT and sometimes the MAT. The nice thing about an ARM is that you generally have lower interest payments, assuming those factors work in your favor. If rates rise because the indices don't change in your favor your payment goes up, sometimes dramatically. If you don't understand what the LIBOR is or how these indices work and you took out an ARM, you may be reading this from the back seat of your car because you can no longer afford to live in your house. When we asked today how you survived childhood road trips we were treated to a story by Mike The Dog of how he avoided a different kind of arm in the backseat of his parent's car.
We would alternate games of 'who can piss Dad off first?' with rounds of 'who can sit quietly the longest?'. Extra points for avoiding Dad's flailing arm coming over the front seatback (he had remarkably good aim for someone whose gaze never left the road).
Gotta watch out for those arms. [Photo David McNew/Getty Images]