Got a raise. Now what?

Feb 14, 2012
I'm thirty-seven. My home is paid off but needs repairs. My cars are old but paid for. I recently changed jobs and will be making about $25,000 a year (nearly $8,000 more a year than my old job). My sons (single parent) are sixteen and seventeen. Making more money, should I focus on saving or fixing my house and a new car in preparation for a time when health and limited income will make it hard to do? Paying for college is off the table; they know that. I have about a thousand dollars in credit card debt that I plan to pay off. I plan to have nearly eighty dollars a week or three hundred dollars a month toward these goals. I live off so little, I want this extra to really count. First Name: Charlie, Columbus, GA
Posted In: Savings, college

The allure of homeownership

Feb 13, 2012
My husband and I are both church pastors. We have been married for a year and half and we both work full time. Our gross income is about $84,000 and we tithe 10 percent to our churches and charities, which we will continue to do. We are trying to decide whether or not to purchase a home, and whether we are saving money in the proper places.... Is this a good time to buy a home? What if we needed to sell it in four years? Should we be putting less money into savings and more into the Roth IRA's? Thank you for your help! Emma, Beverly Hills, MI
Posted In: home, mortgage, Savings, retirement savings, Roth-IRA

The skinny on secondary market annuities

Feb 10, 2012
I am retired and would like to safely increase income. What is a secondary market annuity? Is it a suitable vehicle for putting a portion of retirement funds to safely increase guaranteed retirement income? Are there issues to be aware of with the secondary market annuities? How should this product be purchased? Thanking you in advance for any light you can shine on this topic. Ronald, Rhinebeck, NY
Posted In: retirement savings, Savings, annuity

Figuring out student loans and a home

Feb 9, 2012
I have a dilemma that I hope you can offer some advice on: I am currently in the process of paying off some hefty student loans I accumulated while earning my bachelor's and master's degrees. I pay almost twice the required payment. (Please let me know if you need specific figures.) My husband and I would like to save for the down payment on a home to be purchased within 5 years. Would it be more advantageous for me to continue aggressively paying down the loans (fixed interest rate of 4.25 percent) or save as much as possible to apply to a home to be purchased in the near future? Michelle, Indianapolis, IN
Posted In: Savings, home, student loan, emergency savings

Good education. Good job. Now what?

Feb 2, 2012
After close to a decade in graduate school, a post-doc, 24 job interviews, and almost as many rejections, I am elated to have started my first bone-fide adult job. Which in this day and age is not only a blessing, but a miracle, for which I am truly grateful for. While I have mastered the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level, I am pretty clueless about how to manipulate my finances. My question: what should my financial priorities be? repayment of school loans? saving for retirement? putting money into an emergency fund?... Romas, Berkeley, CA
Posted In: Savings, retirement savings, student loans

Thrift is in

Jan 30, 2012
People are still trying to save more.
Posted In: Savings, personal savings rate, consumer spending

Putting a priority on savings goals

Jan 30, 2012
I recently bought a house for the first time. I am in my early 50s and have a son in high school. I don't have life insurance. I have been receiving lots of advertisements in the mail telling me I should have life insurance or mortgage insurance. Should I buy term life insurance to protect my son? It is very hard for me to save money, and I'd rather save what I can for future college bills and my retirement. Thank you, Erika, Salisbury, CT
Posted In: life insurance, term life, Savings, retirement savings, college savings

Shopping for good financial fortune

Jan 27, 2012
USC professor and East Asian cultural expert Gene Cooper takes us on a money tour of L.A.'s Chinatown, explaining all the trinkets and symbols that foster prosperity.
Posted In: superstition, Savings, prosperity, lai see, li xi, hong bao, Money, luck, chinese, Chinatown

A Vietnamese New Year

Jan 27, 2012
Lunar New Year isn't just a Chinese celebration -- how a Vietnamese-American family marks the season.
Posted In: New Year, Money, lai see, Savings, family

For saving more and spending less

Jan 27, 2012
This week's young winners are making sound money decisions with their New Year's lai see.
Posted In: Savings, kids, children