Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions that relate to the laws, practices, and products of the United States.

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146 votes
8 answers
28k views

Oversimplify it for me: the correct order of investing

I have been reading the top posts here, and the recommendations for what to invest in are often similar. What I'd like to know, in as simply of terms as possible, is what the consensus is on priority ...
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  • 1,571
51 votes
4 answers
7k views

Recent graduate with new job: Choose Roth 401(k), or traditional 401(k)?

I just graduated, and I'm starting a new job soon. My employer has pretty good policy for matching 401(k) contributions, so I want to invest as much as possible, especially during this first year. My ...
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  • 665
29 votes
4 answers
7k views

How much does credit score matter?

The higher your credit score, the better. If you ever had the choice of two different credit scores, you are always better off preferring the higher one. However, while the utility of a higher score ...
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  • 2,648
19 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why would you not want to rollover a previous employer's 401(k) when changing jobs?

Are there any valid reasons to not rollover a former 401(k) when changing jobs? I have several little ones that I never quite got around to rolling together - with an upcoming job change, should they ...
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  • 3,250
8 votes
1 answer
723 views

What is the HSA contribution limit when you are only enrolled in HDHP for part of the year?

What is the HSA contribution cap for a person that is only enrolled in a HDHP for part of the year? For example, consider a single participant that was not previously enrolled in any other health ...
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  • 1,199
49 votes
12 answers
10k views

Is it ever a good idea to close credit cards?

I have a bunch of credit cards with no balance, while others have fairly high balances. I'd like to close the 0 balance cards, but I know that will reduce my overall balance and hurt my credit rating, ...
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  • 625
34 votes
4 answers
3k views

Started new job. Rollover previous employer 401k to new 401k, IRA or Roth IRA?

I recently started a new job and have a 401k from my previous employer that I don't know what to do with. Should I roll it into my new employer's 401k, a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are multiple hard inquiries for a specific loan type okay?

I'm researching mortgage options for my first home purchase, and I recently had a long call with a loan officer where he encouraged me to get pre-qualified (requiring a hard credit inquiry) as soon as ...
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  • 2,035
66 votes
3 answers
14k views

Saving for retirement: How much is enough?

How to save I'm in my late twenties and am trying to get started off on the right foot saving for retirement. I have learned that retirement savings should usually be placed in retirement accounts in ...
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  • 3,387
18 votes
2 answers
42k views

How do I correct an HSA distribution when I was refunded by a health provider?

At work I'm covered by an HDHP with an HSA. My dentist has the policy of estimating the amount that my insurance will cover and asking for the remainder at the time of service. On my most recent ...
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  • 739
116 votes
7 answers
31k views

Why is stock dilution legal?

What I always heard, since I was a child, was that if you own a stock share, you actually own a small share of a company. That seems to be the general consensus of what a stock share is. Well, that ...
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  • 1,297
33 votes
6 answers
4k views

Strategies for putting away money for a child's future (college, etc.)?

So my wife and I will be having our first child at the end of the year, and I'm trying to devise a strategy for things like putting money away for the little person now, while I have the time and ...
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  • 30.2k
9 votes
1 answer
7k views

Withdrawing HSA excess contributions?

I just got married a couple of weeks ago. I have a self-coverage only HDHP through my employer, with an HSA funded by my employer ($3000 per year). My husband has a family-coverage HDHP through his ...
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36 votes
2 answers
48k views

How are long-term capital gains taxed if the gain pushes income into a new tax bracket?

First, my understanding is that the long-term capital gains tax rate is 0% for those whose marginal rate on ordinary income is 10% or 15%, and (ignoring the highest 39.6% bracket) the rate is 15% for ...
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33 votes
7 answers
124k views

Can I open a US bank account even if I don't live in the country?

I'm Swedish, but living in Switzerland at the moment. Can I open a US bank account? Either when in the US on vacation or through the internet/phone? There are lots of situations when I find myself in ...
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14 votes
3 answers
18k views

Comparing HDHP vs PPO Plans: Am I missing something?

It's that time of year at work that we're needing to renew our insurance carrier. HR decided to continue the two PPO plans we previously had available, while adding an HDHP + HSA plan. I've compared ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can US stocks list on one stock exchange but trade on other US stock exchanges?

I am trying to understand how the US stock market works. From my understanding, there is one stock exchange where a company is "listed". This stock exchange listing requires the company to ...
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  • 14.8k
68 votes
3 answers
16k views

How did this day trader lose so much?

I recently read this article about a day trader that lost $100,000: A trader started a GoFundMe page to pay back $100,000 to E-Trade after a disastrous short Please explain this, because I can not ...
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24 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why is a US credit score based on credit utilization?

As a European citizen I am somewhat puzzled by how American credit scores work. The US is one of the few, possibly the only country where such a strong focus is put on the utilization history of ...
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12 votes
3 answers
5k views

How to avoid having my father's down payment assistance get taxed as a gift

My father has offered to pay up to $70k towards a down payment on a condo for my wife and me. I understand that gifts of over $13k get taxed pretty heavily. Is there a way to avoid this when it comes ...
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  • 235
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is a reasonable salary for the owner and sole member of a small S-Corp?

I am the owner and sole member of a small s-corp. I am a litte confused regarding the reasonable salary the IRS requires. The S-Corp is fairly small and requires very little work to maintain. Would ...
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28 votes
5 answers
3k views

Where should I park my rainy-day / emergency fund?

This is the US companion of the same question for Canadians Where can I park my rainy-day/ emergency fund?. Basically I want to know what options I have for my emergency fund?
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15 votes
1 answer
3k views

How do I freeze my credit?

If freezing your credit is a better way to protect your identity and the associated credit that goes along with it, how do I freeze my credit?
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  • 25.1k
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Best starting options to invest for retirement without a 401k

I'm trying to avoid asking a duplicate question, but I feel my situation is more specific than general beginner's saving or investing. I am a university student with a part time job that does not ...
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7 votes
1 answer
91k views

Money transfer from India to USA

My daughter is a US Citizen. We (parents)are also planning to permanently settle in US. We will go their as Permanent Resident,as per US Law. We have a house here in India worth Rs.2 Crores. We want ...
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4 votes
1 answer
521 views

Tax on money withdrawn from Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA when living outside the United States and over 59.5-year-old

I am over 59.5 year-old and live in the United States. I contributed to Roth 401(k) as well as Roth IRA. Money withdrawn from Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA is not taxed in the United States as I am over 59....
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17 votes
2 answers
2k views

When can I be sure a questionable check has cleared?

Someone has sent me a check for $250 in payment for property damage they caused in a car accident. It would have been better if I had gotten a cashier's check or official check, but I'll have to make ...
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10 votes
2 answers
14k views

Do personal checks expire? [US]

Do personal checks expire in the US? Also, if I stamp the following on it: VOID if not claimed within 60 days. Will that be honored by most banks? Related Do personal cheques expire? [Canada]
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  • 7,806
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

How bad would maxing out my credit card once a year affect my score

I just got approved for a $1500 cash secured credit card from Wells Fargo. This means I have no credit history whatsoever, and am going to use this card to establish one. With fall semester at ...
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2 votes
3 answers
289 views

At what time do you have to pay capital gains taxes in the US to avoid any penalties?

Let's say someone just sold some stock and their total gains on that stock were $5,000. At what time do they have to cut the U.S. government a check to pay the taxes on this gain? Let me clarify: I'...
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  • 163
51 votes
5 answers
27k views

Why is transferring money online to someone else's bank account so difficult in the U.S.?

I used to live in a poor, third world country (India) where I freely transferred money between my bank account (a savings account) to accounts held by my friends in different banks, and different ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Penalty to withdraw from a new Roth IRA for first time home buyers?

My wife & I are 28 and plan on purchasing our first home in the next 1-3 years. Right now our assets are in two places: 403-b that I will not touch for the next 30+ years FDIC-insured savings ...
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  • 653
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

Can I get a rebate after using my HSA?

I used an HSA to buy some contact lenses. They came with a rebate form that I can send in to get a refund of about 1/5 of the purchase price. Is it okay to send away for the refund after using the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
12k views

Received W-2 but was never paid

I just now received a W-2 from a company that I worked for 3 days as a contractor. I had to leave country for 2 months due to a family emergency. Since the employment duration was very short, I was ...
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  • 763
19 votes
3 answers
45k views

Would depositing large cash amounts cause problems?

I saw an article recently where a man withdrew $600,000 USD in cash from his bank. I'm sure many folks here would advise against this move for obvious (and perhaps not-so-obvious) reasons. My ...
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  • 4,456
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the rationale behind an FSA being "Use it or Lose it"?

One of the biggest gripes most people have with the Flexible Spending Account is the rule that you must "Use it or Lose it". This can lead to people frantically running around just before their money ...
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  • 45.6k
10 votes
4 answers
707 views

How do U.S. stock exchanges specifically account for dividends and ex-dividend dates?

At another question about ex-dividend dates and withholding taxes, an answer from Bob Baerker says: Stock exchanges reduce share price by the exact amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend date [...
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  • 31.4k
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do (ACH) payments that withdraw or deposit on my bank account require 1+ business days to complete?

Based on this question, I figured that there might be multiple questions for distinct locales. Why do the most common transactions to or from bank accounts in the US require waiting one or more days ...
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18 votes
3 answers
13k views

How should I handle taxes for Minecraft server donations?

I run a Minecraft server and there is a donation button so players can help support the costs. I pay out of pocket for the rest, it's $125/mo. The money they donate goes right to paypal which is ...
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  • 443
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do HSA qualifying plans have a max deductible?

In order to be eligible to make tax deductible contributions to an HSA account, you must have a qualifying HDHP (High deductible health plan). Among the requirements, is a deductible and max OOP ...
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  • 45.6k
5 votes
2 answers
32k views

Live in Florida & work remote for a New York company. Do I owe NY state income tax?

I have been down in Florida for the past 3 1/2 years and continue to pay New York state taxes out of the money I earn for a company I work remote for that is in New York. Should I be paying New York ...
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131 votes
13 answers
79k views

I'm 23 and was given $50k. What should I do?

Recently I was given 50k from my grandmother in her will. I am 23 years old and have no idea what to do with it. I make $33k a year. I have zero savings. I owe $35k in student loans over 6 years 0% ...
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  • 1,259
91 votes
11 answers
70k views

15 year mortgage vs 30 year paid off in 15

I've found similar questions, but they all seem to focus on a preexisting 30 year mortgage and whether or not it makes sense to refinance to a 15. My question is a bit different. I have not yet ...
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  • 913
51 votes
2 answers
8k views

When is employer 401(k) match not worth it?

I have always read to take full advantage of your employer 401(k) match. But what if the match is lower than most? My employer will match 10% of my contributions, up to the legal contribution limit. ...
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38 votes
5 answers
27k views

After hitting 80% LTV, my mortgage lender refuses to remove PMI. Any recourse?

I recently refinanced my home. At the time based on the appraisal vs. amortization I found I would be stuck with PMI (private mortgage insurance) for about 9 months. I've paid extra on the mortgage ...
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  • 1,286
39 votes
3 answers
64k views

My credit card company is asking for my current income citing "Federal Regulations"

So I received an e-mail today from a bank from whom I have an existing credit card as follows: To consider you for a future credit line increase, federal regulations require us to have your ...
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  • 51.4k
21 votes
2 answers
4k views

Mutual fund value went down, shares went up, no action taken by me

I have no prior experience with stocks so please forgive me if this is a dumb question but I don't even know what to try googling. Two days ago I signed up with scottrade. I put $1000 into ICENX ...
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  • 358
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Need advice about my financial situation

Here is my living situation in a nutshell Live in California 2 kids (7 and 11) Ex-wife I am almost 40. I rent Financial situation: Make about $170k (includes regular job + moonlighting) before ...
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  • 3,767
70 votes
4 answers
28k views

Received an unexpected cashiers check for over $2K from another state - is this some scam?

This is actually about my sister-in-law who lives in Georgia. She just received a "cashiers check" for $2395 from a company in Indiana. It looks like this: She said that she has been doing "mystery ...
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45 votes
12 answers
34k views

Why do Americans have to file taxes, even if their only source of income is from a regular job?

I live in Europe (Czech Republic) and as long as employment is my primary source of income I don't need to file any taxes on my own, as the company's accounting department will do that for me by ...
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  • 5,350

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