Ask Money - Most Recent
I want to apply for a credit card and am looking for one that satisfies the following:
- no annual fee
- cash back
- at least a 20 day grace period for paying the bill
Recommendations for a first time credit card holder?
I never see this topic addressed: What are the retirement options available to the huge percentage of the working population who didn't ever make a living wage, whose daily living expenses even with roommates and scrimping very hard indeed seldom met monthly living expenses much less leave anything to save? And please do not trot out that old cliche about giving up fancy coffee drinks -- those of us who do not even make a living wage are drinking whatever is on sale at Walmart, not purveyed by Starbucks. All the experts want to do is talk to people who make a lot of money -- about their savings, investments and golden retirements. Marketplace Money's experts do need to understand that a very large percentage of working Americans simply do not have these assets but DO face the prospect of a grim retirement. Thank you!
My wife and I are looking to purchase a car and are curious about how taking out an auto loan might affect our credit scores.
We are both fortunate enough to have decent jobs and have been relatively aggressive savers, so it is possible for us to pay for a car in cash. In addition, we have been lucky enough to have been able to get by without incurring any debt (other than credit cards that are consistently paid off each month, no student loans).
As a result, our credit scores are based solely on credit cards and we have not had any debt involving monthly payments. At some point in the next couple years, we would like to buy a house and want to know if it would be a good idea to add an auto loan to our credit history. If so, how does the amount and duration of the loan factor into our credit rating? Are there benchmarks used by the credit rating companies? For example, would financing $10,000 dollars of the purchase be better than $5,000? Would a 24-month loan have a different effect than a 36-month loan?
Enjoy the show - any advice you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.
I'm 33 and just started medical residency. I spent most of my 20's in school, so I don't have much at all saved for retirement or saved for anything really.
Now that I finally have a paycheck, I've figured that I can afford to save about 20 percent of it (or about $700 or so a month, so not a whole lot). Should all of that go directly towards retirement? Or should I save part of that amount for an emergency fund or potentially for a down payment for a house someday, and if so how much?
How do people manage to save for normal life events like houses, etc., while still being smart about retirement on this type of income? Thanks!
What are your feelings on the "Target Date" retirement funds? My husband has several 401(k) accounts at multiple institutions from past jobs, and we'd like to consolidate them into one firm. We have all our other investments in Vanguard, and he has both traditional and Roth IRA accounts there he could roll the 401ks into. At the moment, both are using the Target 2045 funds. Are these types of funds generally fine, or would it be a bad idea to continue putting a bunch of money into them? Amanda, New York
Is there a formula that can predict the amount needed if you're planning to have a moderate retirement? And I assume moderate because we're not planning to travel the world, buy a bigger house or two super cars. Last question, is it unrealistic to assume that expenses will decrease when you're 60-plus? I ask because I see my in-laws which don't have a mortgage, no kids in college, and their only expenses are food, utilities, gas and a few vacations during the year. - Jose, Ohio
What is the difference between pre-tax and Roth after-tax retirement accounts? Will I pay less in taxes in the long run if I put all my retirement savings into a Roth account? How should I decide which type of account is best for me? - Clarissa, Minnesota
Why is it I never hear anyone talk about the full cost of owning a home and why its such a poor investment? By the time you pay all the fees, taxes, upkeep, interest, insurance and figure in lost investment value people will never make a dime. In fact, the house will cost double what you originally paid. It also ties people down to a certain area and helps keep them immobile. Why is it we never hear about the full and true costs of home ownership? Could it be that is not good for the economy?
I love to listen to your podcast while I work in the lab. I'm a doctoral student at MSU and my fiancée works as a technician in another lab. I have three years of school left, and I earn a meager stipend on an assistantship as I work towards my degree which includes health insurance coverage. My fiancée has a savings of about $20,000 that we have wondered what to do with. We will probably buy a house in the coming years, but we're not sure where we'll end up, depending on the position I'm able to get after my graduate work. What's the best thing to do with this money? He has no debt whatsoever, and I have about $37,000 in government student loans that I am making payments on while they are in in-school deferment right now. Is there a better investment to do with his savings than sitting in a low-interest savings account that we could still have access to somewhere in the next 5 years? Amber. East Lansing, MI
I hear all about the recent squabble regarding increasing interest rates on student loans, and then the decision to bring the rate back down. I hear NOTHING about the students who are stuck in high interest rates from recent years past. My son, age 27, graduated with a Master's degree in 2010. His interest rate is over 8 percent on a roughly 70k loan. This was a government loan, not through a bank. He now pays just under one thousand dollars each month. You can only imagine the strangle hold it has on him. Fortunately, he found a job almost immediately and has never missed a payment. On the other hand, his car has over 200,000 miles on it and he is sharing a house with two others to make it "work". At this time when mortgages are refinancing at under 4 percent, what is HIS option? I've tried researching this with local banks and they offer nothing. Please don't tell me that the only folks left paying this ridiculous rate are our ambitious recent students who tried to "do the right thing" by getting an education! Reducing his monthly payment, only to extend his term(!) is not a solution in our opinion.