Questions tagged [united-states]

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

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20
votes
8answers
7k views

Should I buy a home or rent in my situation?

Let me start off by saying this question has been asked a million times before in a million different ways. I’m asking it now for my own clarity of what is the best thing to do in my situation and ...
19
votes
5answers
7k views

What percent of my salary should I save?

Here is my situation: right now I am living in Puerto Rico, and I am planning to relocate to the mainland US (probably to Seattle, WA). Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the US, almost everything ...
12
votes
4answers
96k views

How can I determine which stores are regarded as supermarkets for a rewards credit card?

I'm considering applying for a credit card which offers additional rewards on supermarket purchases. How do I determine which stores in my area are considered supermarkets by the card issuer? For ...
46
votes
12answers
24k views

How much more than my mortgage should I charge for rent?

We're considering moving at some point in the future, and right now we have a mortgage on our home. So far we've been here about 3 years, and we're considering renting out our home. Obviously there ...
38
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I adjust tax withholding so that I don't get a large Tax Refund?

I'm a few years out of college now. I've filled out my W4 accurately and I still get a tax refund every year of a pretty sizable sum. The thing is, I have student loans and I would much rather have ...
12
votes
2answers
108k views

Will I have to pay taxes in India when I transfer money from a US bank to an Indian savings account?

I am currently in US, and would like to transfer some amount from my US Bank account to a savings account based in India on a monthly basis through a third party like Xoom or Transfast. If I'm going ...
60
votes
10answers
31k views

Pay off car loan entirely or leave $1 until the end of the loan period?

Background information: I have a car loan that doesn't require payments if I'm ahead on the loan (but accrues the interest, of course, on the balance remaining). I still have a year and a half on my ...
57
votes
14answers
10k views

Do Americans really use checks that often?

That might sound a bit silly to people from USA but is it really that common to use checks in America? I am from Austria and here (Austria, Germany, Switzerland) checks play practically no role in ...
15
votes
2answers
42k views

How to determine contractor hourly rate and employee salary equivalents?

I am aware of the general differences between being an employee and being an independent contractor. However, I am unable to easily compare the two when it comes to after-tax compensation. Company A:...
26
votes
8answers
15k views

What's the catch with biweekly mortgage payments?

I just bought a house. Now I'm getting ads in the mail every day or two trying to get me to sign up to pay my mortgage bi-weekly (every two weeks) or weekly instead of monthly. In their words I could ...
21
votes
4answers
10k views

Do altcoin trades count as like-kind exchanges? (Deferred capital gains tax)

2018 EDIT: Although this post was inspirational, US Congress addressed this issue in the Tax Reform law of 2017, and any trades after Jan 1st 2018 cannot have this treatment. The few years of ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Withdrawing qualified HSA expenses many years later, to earn interest?

Say I have $2000 in my HSA account and have a $1000 medical bill in 2012. If I were to pay the $1000 bill out of pocket and let that $1k left earn interest in my HSA for a significant amount of time (...
23
votes
8answers
15k views

How do I know when I am financially stable/ready to move out on my own?

Some background information: I'm 23 and living at home. I have a good full time job as a web programmer that I've been at for over one year. It includes benefits and 401K (which after one year I ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

How much should I fund an HSA? Is there a danger in over-funding one?

I'm reviewing my options for health insurance during open enrollment and one of them is a HDHP/HSA option. I hear these are best for young people without chronic conditions etc. I think I fall into ...
17
votes
3answers
58k views

Can I use an HSA to pay off medical debts incurred before the HSA was funded?

Let's say that in year A I had a medical insurance plan without an associated health savings account, and incurred some medical expenses (co-pays, deductibles). I didn't pay them that year; they may ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Are student loans tax deductible in US?

If I have a student loan from finishing my graduate degree, can I deduct its interest payments from salary for tax purposes? Is there any education related tax credit that can be applied for payments ...
72
votes
5answers
24k views

Why is a friend asking me to make multiple Money Gram transfers in my name using his money?

For the past few months, someone that I know casually is sending money to the Philippines every 2 to 3 days. He mentioned that the money is going to his family so that they can use it to travel to ...
37
votes
7answers
3k views

How to help a financially self destructive person?

My ex-wife is a mess, financially speaking. After the divorce, her house that she won in the divorce was foreclosed on, filed for bankruptcy, owes money to pretty much everyone that tried to help her ...
26
votes
6answers
7k views

Does borrowing from my 401(k) make sense in my specific circumstance?

I know the standard answer and understand that I will be losing out on that compound interest, but I am young and only need to borrow a few thousand. here are some more details: Need to borrow $6500 ...
25
votes
5answers
19k views

What does it mean to run my debit card as credit?

I've been advised to (and have been) running my normal debit card transactions as "credit" transactions. What does this mean in terms of my security, the time a charge takes to settle, and the fees ...
25
votes
4answers
10k views

Isn't the security of credit cards with chip worse than with signature?

(I'd expect this question to be duplicate, but couldn't find any that matches the point) It seems to me that the security of credit card transactions got worse by the switch from signing to chip ...
20
votes
1answer
520 views

Is there a benefit to creating a donor advised fund to make charitable donations instead of simply donating to organizations each month?

I'm looking to set up recurring charitable donations to various groups, and I'm considering using a donor-advised fund through Fidelity or Vanguard. General question: Is there a benefit to placing ...
19
votes
6answers
25k views

Is losing money in my 401K normal?

I had about $10.5K in my Fidelity 401K account invested in their target fund. I started it a year ago. This is my first time with investing in the stock market. For the past 2-3 months, it keeps ...
19
votes
4answers
53k views

How do I opt-out of the Social Security system?

How do I opt-out of the Social Security system and give up my Social Security Number? If I do this, am I then exempt from paying Social Security income tax?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Can someone explain the different kinds of annuities?

So in my retirement and personal investing I have some stocks (very little), a Roth IRA, a Roth 401K and a Traditional 401K (later two are from work and I split things right now). At my age and ...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

Bringing bitcoin into US, what taxes should I expect?

My friend owns roughly $1M USD worth of Bitcoin. These coins are sitting on a (backed up and encrypted) hard drive in Brasil. He bought these coins legitimately, and has the paper trail to prove it. ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Could excess 401(k) contributions be used to game/maximize matches from different employers?

Suppose I max out my 401(k) really early. This avoids the risk that if I lose the job I would have lost the chance to contribute to it fully. However there is another risk. My company doesn't match. ...
16
votes
2answers
21k views

Get a human when calling the IRS hotline 800-829-1040 with a question about your taxes?

How do I get to a human when calling the IRS? I keep hitting stupid automated robots.
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How much money do I need to have saved up for retirement?

I'm 29, and just started a new job with an excellent mandatory retirement plan. I contribute 5.5 percent of my salary and my employer deposits an amount equal to 8.5 percent of my salary. I have a ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to eliminate PMI (Personal/Private Mortgage Insurance) on a mortgage before reaching 20% down on principal?

I am a relatively new home owner, having purchased my first home in October 2009. Overall, I feel I got an excellent deal on the loan, which was 5% no-cost, no points, and 12% down. I had to take on ...
4
votes
2answers
986 views

HSA distributions and tracking receipts

During a presentation regarding HSAs I was informed the IRS can audit one for an indefinite period of time. The presenter suggested we keep records of our claims for 10+ years in paper form. This ...
71
votes
9answers
32k views

If the co-signer on my car loan dies, can the family take the car from me like they're threatening to?

I have a car, both me and by grandpa are on the title. As I cannot get loan on my own, my grandpa is my cosigner. My grandpa is almost 90, and chances are he may not be around till the loan is paid ...
25
votes
3answers
8k views

Am I obligated to file through a tax preparer after an unsatisfactory consultation?

I have been doing my taxes for 25 years with TurboTax. Like others, I was a bit upset at them for doubling the price of their software, so I decided I would make an appointment with H&R Block, ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

Is income from a check taxed according to the date written or the date deposited?

Scenario Let's say I was given a check from an LLC on December 15 that was written to my LLC on that same day, and I cash it on January 15 the following year. Question Will I have to claim the ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

How will I pay for college?

The SAT is coming up soon for me and, with it, everything college. I had held the impression that I was just going to rack up student loans, go to college, and then pay them off with whatever job I ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

What should I do with my credit card debt?

I have almost $20,000 in credit card debt and, though I have stopped accumulating it for quite a while now, I'm trying to figure out the best way forward. Can someone please offer advice based on this ...
19
votes
5answers
52k views

Is it normal to have 28.5% of various income taxes deducted from my paycheck?

I just got out of college, still live with the parents (saving up money) been employed for a year in the industry, and got a not bad starting salary. First check I received was shocking, to see 28.5% ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I pay points on my mortgage?

We're looking into refinancing from a 30 year mortgage at 5.5% (currently 23 years left) to a 20 year mortgage at 4.5%. Paying points will reduce the rate somewhat, but since we don't have extra ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Treat HSA as an IRA?

As I understand it, any funds remaining in a Health Savings Account can be withdrawn for any purpose at age 59 1/2 (subject to ordinary income tax), making an HSA essentially behave like an IRA. Is ...
13
votes
10answers
14k views

Should I stockpile nickels?

As the US dollar continues to be devauled the metal content value of US coins will eventually be worth more than the face value of the coins. There use to be silver in US coins but due to the ...
13
votes
3answers
14k views

How do I make a small investment in the stock market? What is the minimum investment required?

I am not rich, so I am talking one to two hundred U.S. dollars per month only. I would like to know whether I can buy stock using that little amount of money, and how to do that if possible? As an ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

I just moved to the United States. What should I do to develop a good credit rating, fast?

I just moved to the US for working purposes, and found out that for a lot of stuff you buy, you need to have a good credit rating (or pay more, or make a security deposit, etc). I found out also that ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it a gift or not?

IRS rules are not always black or white, and something that I find myself struggling with is what is considered a gift. Hypothetically, suppose I am moving soon and have a broken leg so I cannot do ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Roth IRA: Vanguard vs Free Advisor's Mutual Fund

Background: I recently turned 25 and became applicable to invest into my employer's 401K. Due to no matching, I have 3% allocated in as a supplemental retirement fund. Currently single, rent (no ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Do I end up richer paying down a mortgage or contributing to an IRA?

I have $10,000 extra cash that I can either use to pay down my 5% mortgage, or contribute to my IRA. I'm 30 years old. I hope to pay off the mortgage in about 5 years. I'm stymied, because: Paying ...
10
votes
3answers
667 views

Can you step up your cost basis indefinitely via the 0% capital gains rate?

I had asked a previous question about moving money between mutual funds without taxation due to the 0% capital gains rate for those in low tax brackets. However, I realized that this 0% rate actually ...
9
votes
6answers
15k views

Are COBRA premiums deductible when self-employed?

Been Googling all day and can't find anything definitive. I left my job in January of 2010, and have been working on a 1099 basis since then (as a sole proprietor). I have been paying COBRA premiums ...
9
votes
2answers
948 views

When should I switch from after-tax to pre-tax retirement savings?

I am contributing to my employer's Roth 401(k). The consensus in this question is that when you're young you should make your retirement contributions after-tax so that they grow tax free, and that ...
8
votes
3answers
576 views

How safe will Roth IRAs/401(k)s be going forward re: US's deteriorating fiscal position?

I've on and off wondered how "safe" Roth accounts are and things like this anti-Roth screed in the LATimes and this blog post at the Atlantic talking about the sad fiscal shape of the US has me ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Legal documents required for managing an investment portfolio among friends?

I am considering setting up a personal kind of hedge fund / stock portfolio among friends. I am trying to figure out what kind of a legal agreement I should have them sign for investing with me to ...

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