I heard from a family the other day that wondered about taking a loan out of the 401(k) — or maybe a hardship withdrawal. Did somebody lose a job? Was it hard to pay the mortgage? The car note? No. The mom told me the son needed braces that would cost about $5,000. Bad idea? Not necessarily.
More than a million people have been able to benefit so far from first-time home buyer credits, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Internal Revenue Service. The rush is likely to hit full throttle in the next few weeks, though, as taxpayers try to close their purchases on a first home by Nov. 30 to qualify for the credit.
As employers review offering buyouts or making changes in their 401(k) plans, they need to realize that they could be looking at two audiences.
The younger-than-50 crowd remains worried about layoffs but not retirement after living through the worst single year for stocks since the 1930s.
Investors who consider themselves fairly savvy would never touch a stock that they've heard about through a message board or spam e-mail. Those same investors, though, might end up handing thousands of hard-earned retirement dollars to a financial adviser they meet through friends at their union or church or bowling league.
Q: I am a widow, stretched to my paycheck's limits. After cobbling together unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford loans with private loans cosigned by my father, I was able to get my only daughter through a private college. But she graduated with what amounts to a small mortgage. She hasn't yet found any real work—only bartending and teaching dance part-time. I don't know how she'll repay these loans. Any advice?
In domestic-abuse situations, abusers use money or finances to prevent victims from leaving. Advocates of domestic violence victims are concerned that the difficult economy could lead to more cases of financial abuse — especially if the abuser is out of work, too.
A foreclosure can be reported on your credit report for seven years from the date the foreclosure was filed in the court, according to Gerri Detweiler, author of "Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress." The book is $14.95, and an ebook is available at www.ReduceDebtReduceStress.com.
Upon reaching full retirement age — now 66 — a married individual is able to pick and choose some benefits. Married workers are entitled to a retired worker benefit based on their own earnings. Or they are entitled to a spousal benefit equal to one half of their spouse's benefit claimed at the full retirement age.
The good news now is that GM is not terminating its pension plan. GM said the company does not expect any immediate changes to the qualified pension plans and health and life insurance benefits that GM provides to retirees, survivors and beneficiaries.
Amy Whiteman, 27, wanted to have extra assurance that she could get her 2000 Chevy S-10 truck repaired if it broke down. She regularly drives from her home in Clarkston, Mich., to Wayne State University in Detroit, where she is taking courses toward a master's degree.
While interest rates on savings hit ugly lows, interest rates on credit cards are flying to even higher double digits for many households. The bad economy - and high consumer defaults - mean that credit card issuers are likely to continue to tighten standards, as well as increase rates and fees, said Bill Hardekopf, chief executive of LowCards.com.
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