A New Year's resolution: Eliminate debt

Jan 3, 2012
My husband and I have made pretty bad and spontaneous financial decisions that have brought us a lot of debt. Our plan for 2012 is to get out of debt and start saving more, since we depleted our savings in the past 2 years. I would like to know how to start getting rid of this debt in the smartest way and how to save significantly at the same time. Carla, Boston, MA
Posted In: Savings, debt, Credit card

What are you? A stock? A bond? Something else?

Jan 3, 2012
The uncertainty is unavoidable, but you can come to a more reasoned savings decision by starting from a different place than market history and investing insight. Forget about investing and asset allocation. Think about your job and your career instead. Are you a stock or a bond?
Posted In: Investing, Retirement, college savings, Savings

A retirement savings catch-up

Dec 27, 2011
I am a 58-year-old female, currently employed. I've got approx $100,000 saved in a 401(k) plan. I've had to take out a student loan to cover the cost of one year toward my MBA, which I have completed. Because of the student loan, I've decreased the 401(k) contribution -- normally 25 percent of my pay -- to 6 percent. I'll have the student loan paid off by April 2012. Since I am worried sick that I won't have enough when I retire, do you have suggestions about how to catch up? Danica, Houston, TX
Posted In: Savings, Retirement, retirement savings, Education

A sad personal finance end to 2011

Dec 27, 2011
The U.S. Treasury unveiled today its online 76-year timeline for U.S. savings bonds. It's a fun look at an historic program. U.S. savings bonds rank among the great brand names in American finance.
Posted In: Savings, savings bonds

Advice for conservative investors

Dec 23, 2011
We have saved some money for a house deposit in 2-3 years. We have a 3.99% mortgage on our current place. Should we invest our down payment for our next house or should we pay off our current mortgage? We are both conservative investors. Tom, Boston, MA
Posted In: home, Savings

Life insurance and savings

Dec 19, 2011
I went to a financial advisor in hopes someone else could do more with my money. He suggested that I take full advantage of my employer's 401(k) when I am eligible (next year), but since I have been a good saver and expect an increase in income, I should consider using life insurance as a vehicle for tax-free retirement savings. I have mixed feelings about this. Christina, Atlanta, GA
Posted In: Savings, family finances, life insurance

When to get aggressive with the mortgage paydown

Dec 15, 2011
My question is, if your mortgage rate is higher than what you could expect from investing, wouldn't it make more sense to pay on the mortgage? This is almost the same as the concept of paying off the credit card with the highest rate first. What are your thoughts on this? John, Rapid City, SD
Posted In: mortgage, home, Savings, Investing

Good reads

Dec 12, 2011
Here are some recent stories on a variety of personal finance subjects.
Posted In: Savings, Taxes, hospice, gift cards, financial advisor

Focusing on debt, but which one

Dec 6, 2011
My husband and I have extra money each month, a healthy emergency savings account, and we save for retirement through our work plans. (I should point out we are in our 20s.) We recently bought a home and now have a mortgage of $130,000 at 4 percent interest. We also have approximately $80,000 in student loan debt for our graduate degrees at 6.8 percent interest. With our extra spending money each month, should we tackle the student loan debt first? Pay down the mortgage? Both? Or some other option? Carolyn, Duluth, MN
Posted In: student loans, mortgage interest deduction, Savings

Working toward financial flexibility

Nov 22, 2011
I max out contributions to my workplace 401K and a traditional IRA (I no longer qualify for a Roth). Should I be doing more to save for retirement? Are there other retirement vehicles available to me or should I continue investing in non-retirement accounts (e.g., direct purchase of mutual funds and/or stocks through my brokerage account)? Sandra, Silver Spring, MD
Posted In: Savings, Retirement, retirement savings, Taxes