Today’s top story: The best additions to your financial toolbox. Also in the news: Safeguarding your digital assets, saving money on moving expenses, and what you should look for when choosing a new bank.
10 Best Personal-Finance Tools to Better Manage Your Money
Additions to your financial toolbox.
Safeguard Your Digital Assets — In Just 10 Minutes
Ten minutes you can’t afford not to spare.
Moving on a Tight Budget: 7 Ways to Save a Ton of Money
Moving expenses don’t have to break the bank.
7 Tips for Finding a New Bank
The most important things to look for.
Today’s top story: How to save money on your upcoming tax bill. Also in the news: Tracking your wasteful spending, how to get the best deal on car insurance, and why it pays to shop around for Medicare insurance plans.
7 Money-Saving Tips to Cut Your Tax Bill
How to make tax season a little less painful.
How to Track Your Most Ridiculously Wasteful Spending
Shame yourself into frugality.
Here’s How to Get the Best Deal on Car Insurance – Eventually
The older you get, the less you’ll pay.
It pays to shop for Medicare insurance plans
Welcome to open enrollment season.
Parents of special needs kids can bank on trusts
Providing for your child’s needs after you’re gone.
Dear Liz: I read your answer to the person who returned a car and wanted to be free of that debt. Our situation is somewhat different. My son’s father had a massive stroke and died two weeks after signing a lease for a Camry on which he made a $2,000 down payment. My grown son, who is left to deal with everything, took the car back to the dealership, and they assured him nothing further would be needed. The dealership then sold the car for $18,000 at an auction and said $8,000 is still owed on this car since my son’s father signed a legal contract.
Answer: The money is still owed. Whether the dealership will ever collect is another matter.
This debt is now part of the dead man’s estate, along with any other loans or credit accounts he owed at the time of his death. If the estate has sufficient available assets, the executor is required to pay those bills. If there aren’t sufficient assets, creditors may have to accept less than they’re owed or nothing at all.
If your son is the executor, he should hire an attorney experienced in settling estates to help him deal with these details. Nolo’s book “The Executor’s Guide” also will help him understand his duties and obligations.
Today’s top story: Can your budget survive a serial killer? Also in the news: Hidden money lessons in scary movies, financial discussions you should be having with your kids, and the lesser known factors that determine your car insurance rate.
5 Budget ‘Serial Killers’
Can your budget survive?
5 scary Halloween movies with hidden money lessons.
Norman Bates has some advice for you.
7 Tough Money Topics You’re Not Discussing With Your Kids — But Should
The Lesser-Known Factors That Determine Your Car Insurance Rate
Don’t get taken for a ride.
Many have maxed out their 401(k)s at work, or had their contributions limited because they’re considered “highly compensated employees.” Some don’t have a workplace plan at all, while others want to save more than IRAs allow. Even catch-up provisions–which allow people 50 and over to contribute an extra $5,500 to 401(k)s and an extra $1,000 to IRAs–aren’t enough for some of these super savers.
So here are options for those who have maxed out and caught up:
Opt for an HSA. Health savings accounts, which are coupled with high-deductible health insurance plans, offer a rare triple tax advantage: contributions are tax deductible, gains grow tax-deferred (and can be rolled over from year to year), and withdrawals are tax free if used for medical expenses. Withdrawals are also tax free in retirement, which makes HSAs a potentially better vehicle for saving than the much-loved Roth IRA. (Some say yes, others no.) Speaking of which:
Consider a back-door Roth contribution. If you make too much money, you can’t contribute directly to a Roth. There is a workaround, according to IRA guru Ed Slott, that takes advantage of the fact that anyone regardless of income can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth. You can read more about the strategy here and the potential drawbacks here.
Start a side business. Small business owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to tax advantaged plans. The options range from SEP IRAs to solo 401(k)s to full-on traditional pensions (and baby, you can save a ton of money in those—as in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually). Talk to a CPA about which plan makes the most sense for you.
Use a 457 plan. These deferred compensation plans are often available to state and local public employees as well as people who work for some nonprofits. Like a 401(k), you’re allowed to contribute pre-tax money. Unlike a 401(k), you don’t get slapped with early withdrawal penalties if you take the money out before age 59 (although you will owe income taxes).
Contribute to a regular brokerage account. There’s no upfront deduction, but investments held at least a year can qualify you for favorable capital gains tax rates. This, by the way, is typically a much better option than variable annuities, which tend to have high costs and limited tax advantages for most people.
Today’s top story: The most depressing number in personal finance. Also in the news: The secret language of finance, the changes coming to IRAs and 401(k)s in 2015, and the money moves you should make by the end of the year.
This Is the Most Depressing Number in Personal Finance
Take a guess.
Translate This! How To Decode The Secret Language Of Finance
Like Rosetta Stone for banks!
IRA and 401(k) Changes Coming in 2015
You’ll be able to contribute more next year.
When Refinancing Your Student Loans Can Backfire
Thorough research is essential.