Getting Personal

Getting Personal

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Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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I spent this week reviewing my portfolios to assess my exposure to potentially failing investments. I found I have a bond that matures in 12 months that my broker tells me is AIG's. (It's called American Financial General.) My broker says the bailout loan makes it safe. This is the same broker that talked me out of my request to sell my Bear Stearns holdings 5 days before they melted. How safe are AIG investments these days?

What ever happend to "private mortgage insurance" (PMI) requirement for those who had less than a 20% downpayment and why hasn't that prevented the mortgage crisis and the resulting meltdown of the housing market?

I understand that it is a good idea to have a home-equity line of credit as insurance just in case something bad happens. We don't need the money at this time, and as long as I keep my job we won't need the money.

We have savings equal to a year's worth of salary in an investment account. We also have a 2/3 equity stake in our home -- even using an extremely conservative valuation (using 75% of the value in Zillow).

We had an home-equity line of credit that has expired (we had 5 years to draw on it -- we used a little for a remodel and are now in the pay-down stage.) Should we go out and get another line of credit?

I own 2000 shares of stock in Lehman Brothers. I keep hearing that the stock is gone, but it is still trading around $0.20/share and 100 million shares per day. What do entity do my shares represent? Could the rescue plan change the fate of Lehman? The share price went from $0.05 to $0.22 on 9/19.


would this be a good time to refinance our home mortgage? we have an interest only loan that is fixed for 10 years currently at 6.375 that we're 2 years into. we have little debt, great credit but no major assets and our pymt. is as high as we can take as my husband only works part time since he is also watching our newborn.

My question is about common stock in Fannie Mae (FNM). I purchased the stock years ago at between $40-$50 a share and sold most of it not long ago at about $25 a share. The thing is: all that time and up until this time I've been buying shares by automatically transferring $100 a month from my checking account to buy additional shares. Should I stop doing that in light of recent developments, or keep going -- since $100 buys a lot more shares at -$1 than it did when share prices were 40 or 50 times higher?

If I have a $100,000 CD with 4 beneficiaries named, does the FDIC insurance cover each beneficiary up to $100,000 also? In other words, would that account have up to $500,000 in FDIC insurance?

I have a 403b account in VALIC, a subsidiary of AIG. The total is just under $100,000. Most of it is in a fixed income account and some is in large cap stocks. I am already of retirement age but have not started taking money from this annuity. What is going to happen to my money? Will I still get the guaranteed income under the fixed account?

My husband & I are facing bankruptcy due to a variety of accumulated circumstances. We have an opportunity to settle with our credit card holders (there are MANY) but still cannot afford to settle the full amount. Would there be any benefit in terms of our credit score to resolving some of these on our own and limiting the number of accounts that are involved in the bankruptcy, or does it not matter?

I have a large portion of my deferred comp invested in fixed income through AIG-Valic and cannot move it until I retire in two years. Is my money guaranteed by a governmental authority or do I have any options? My calls to Valic don't go through.


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