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Dead Prez's Stic and wife Afya talk why they eat 'good on a hood budget'

Dec 13, 2013
When we grow up and create a new way of living In response to the bad habits of those around us, going against the grain can be exactly what we need to move forward. With that in mind, this blog caught our eye: "7 Ways To Eat Good On A Hood Budget."
vbraband picture

Question: How to prepare for an approaching mortgage balloon payment?

Submitted by vbraband | Dec 10,2013

In about 2.5-3 years my husband and I have a balloon payment due on a second mortgage. The mortgage amount is 42,000 that we will need to pay back. After the addition of twins to our family in dec. 2011 I became a stay at home mom and while we are mostly breaking even we aren't making a dent in that balloon and have no idea at this point how we are going to pay it back. Our house value is underwater and all attempts so far at refinancing have not resulted in anything. The solution seems to be to take a loan from our 401K but I am sure that there are all sorts of things that I am not realizing or thinking of since the number one rule of retirement finance seems to be "don't touch the 401K". My husband currently makes 100K a year at a stable job. That will never increase but he gets variable bonuses twice a year equaling about an additional 30K. He is 31 and has 190K in his 401K. I have about 90K in retirement savings between a roth IRA and my 401K that I rolled over after leaving work. In a few years I may go back to work but right now that is up in the air. We are just worried that when the balloon payment hits our only option at that point will be to borrow from the 401K and were wondering whether doing it now versus then made more sense. We would certainly save a lot of interest in the mean time on the mortgage.

We have several other debts as well that we are working on including car payments, student loans, and an IVF loan. In a few years our financial situation will be greatly improved with paying some of these off but we will still have the second mortgage to contend with.

Any thoughts would be appreciated,
Thanks, Gin Braband

Txteresa picture

Question: What should we do with our disposable income?

Submitted by Txteresa | Dec 20,2013

My husband and I have no credit card debt but we have $130,000 in student loan debt. We have a 4.5 percent fixed interest on our mortgage and 26 more years on the loan. We have $15,000 in savings. After our bills (not food, clothes, entertainment etc) are paid we have about $3,000 a month. What is the best way to budget that money? We do not have any investments and we have an infant baby.

Jae picture

Question: I need cash. Is it better to sell a home or liquidate a 401k?

Submitted by Jae | Dec 08,2013

I have been unemployed or underemployed for several years now. I'm ineligible for unemployment and not likely to be hired anytime soon. I am 54 years old and own a home with an adjustable-rate mortgage. The monthly mortgage payment is far lower than rent would be if I were to move. I also have some money in a 401K retirement account.

The sad fact is that I need money for living expenses, and that means either sell stock from my 401k or sell my home. But I have no idea how to quantify which of these bad options is worse. Can you help?

jkhanson picture

Question: How much is too much when saving for retirement?

Submitted by jkhanson | Dec 07,2013

My husband and I are both public school teachers. We have 403b retirement accounts, state-supported teacher retirement system pensions, and other savings accounts, including a 529 plan for our 12 year old child. It seems to me that we are putting a significant amount of money into these accounts, but have little left over to spend on things we can enjoy now such as family vacations. How do we know how much to save without compromising our current quality of life? I would like to be able to enjoy life more now, not save everything for the time when we retire. I do not want an extravagant lifestyle, I'd just like to enjoy our time together as a family while we still have it.
Thank you,
Jill Hanson

elvis picture

Question: How do I know if my financial adviser is doing a good job?

Submitted by elvis | Nov 06,2013

I have about a quarter of my retirement money with a financial advisor who charges the following: The advisor gets 1 percent of assets under management; 0.2 percent goes to the third-party custodian; 0.3 percent goes to the company that decided the asset allocation that was set up, based on my age, answers to questions about risk, volatility.

Now I find out there is an expense ratio for the ETFs; as well as the costs of commissions when buying and selling the ETFs to rebalance, as well as something called the bid/ask spread. I am thinking of moving this money to Vanguard. 

augustm picture

Question: Can I afford to go back to grad school to make more money?

Submitted by augustm | Oct 23,2013

I am 35 years old and only began saving for retirement this year through a combination of a 401k and Roth IRA. I would really like to return to school in three or four years to get a double-Masters in economics and finance, taking off one year to study Chinese in China. I know that I will earn twice as much once I complete my degrees as I earn now, but I am concerned about stepping away from full-time work and benefits for five years while only taking part-time jobs or internships in my new field. While I am in school and traveling, although I will be able to support myself financially, I won't be saving for retirement. Can I really afford to go back to grad school to make more money?

August Mileaux

bomgd3 picture

Question: Can accepting so many credit card offers hurt my credit?

Submitted by bomgd3 | Nov 06,2013

Hi, I love your show and never miss an episode! It's a great way to learn something new while I'm working out.

I have a question. I'm a 25-year old medical student in my final year of school. I have $100k in school debt, and I have five credit cards with a TransUnion credit score of 771. I've always heard that I shouldn't sign up for too many credit cards because it will ding my credit. Despite those vague warnings, I probably sign up for two per year and cancel them as I go. The terms are just too tempting. I get something like $700 per year in introductory bonuses, 2 to 5 percent cashback on all daily purchases, and other great perks.

One of the best perks has been to put daily purchases on credit cards with very long zero percent APR introductory rates, saving me a significant amount of loan interest accrual. I think my credit has not suffered too much, but at the same time I realize that the biggest factor dragging my score down is a short history.

I will graduate from school in six months and would like to buy a house/condo perhaps in 18 - 24 months. I have never paid a dime of interest in my life, nor have I ever had a late fee. Is there a major downside to taking advantage of these credit card offers?

Additionally, is there a period before buying a home that I should stop obtaining new cards in order to optimize my credit?

BobAmes picture

Question: Are private student loans an option for me?

Submitted by BobAmes | Nov 04,2013

I am 30 years old, married, and wanting to return to school to finish my degree. I have no current debt. Since my marriage I no longer qualify for financial aid due to the increase in household income, so we paid for a few classes ourselves, which is unsustatinable, so my plan was to take the bare minimum of student loans I need and work part time. However I've hit a snag.
In 2011, someone got a hold of my SSN and filed a false tax return in my name (kind of. My legal name is Philip Robert, but they filed under just Robert). They received a huge refund (they claimed $12k in mortgage interest alone). I've moved a couple of times since then, so I received a letter this past March saying that my current refund is going towards the debt I just found out about in that same letter. I currently "owe" around $8,000.
My father in law is a CPA and has been a huge help in getting the proper paperwork filed. We got everything in and I received a letter from the IRS last March saying they received and accepted my paperwork and I could expect resolution within 180 days. That time has come and gone by far. I called last week and was told it has not even been looked at and should expect to wait another four months. I contacted my senator and his office responded very quickly. Other than the IRS debt, no credit was taken out or any other debt rung up.
I am now ineligible for financial aid or student loans due to "owing" money to the government. I do not want to have to skip a semester and wait to August to continue my schooling.
Are private student loans a viable option? My credit isn't fantastic but my wife's is. Also, if I choose the private loans for only a semester or two until my tax situation is handled, will I have to pay those back immediately, or will they be like the other loans where I can wait until after graduation assuming I meet certain criteria (stay enrolled, etc.)

iversonwhite picture

Question: Should I pay off a low-interest loan or save for an emergency?

Submitted by iversonwhite | Dec 15,2013

I recently paid off my car, then it was totaled. Bought a new used car with a very low interest rate for 48 months. I could pay off this loan early, but I wonder if I should save the extra money for a rainy day or put it in my 403(b) account. My only other installment loan is a 15 year mortgage, also with a very low interest rate. Thanks.

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From American Public Media's Marketplace, a blog devoted to listeners and readers who want to understand and talk about Wall Street. This blog supplements our stream of Wall Street coverage with a Marketplace perspective by New York bureau chief Heidi N. Moore.