Questions tagged [united-states]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Why would I enroll in a Limited Purpose FSA, on top of an HSA?

Open enrollment is coming up and I have the option to open both an HSA and a limited purpose FSA, which only covers dental and vision expenses. Why would I participate in both?
6
votes
3answers
294 views

Average Mortgage Rate vs What I would get

So average mortgage rates are lower and lower. I.e. X-year mortgage rates are 4%. Lets assume I have a greater than average credit score and credit history, greater than average net worth, greater ...
9
votes
3answers
743 views

Saving for a down payment on a new house, a few years out. Where do we put our money next?

We currently have two rewards checking accounts. We are nearing the maximums permitted on each account, after which we receive .5% and .25% APY. It's within our means to perhaps open another one, ...
9
votes
5answers
8k views

Alternatives to Intuit's PayTrust service for online bill viewing and bill payment? [closed]

I've been a long-time user of PayTrust. The idea behind the service is great: I can receive bills through PayTrust, view them online and set up payment rules to pay them automatically. However, Intuit ...
2
votes
3answers
521 views

Is having a job almost mandatory for getting unsecured credit cards or line of credit?

I noticed that all applications for unsecured credit cards ask for your income details as well as any recurring payments like rent or alimony etc that you pay. This does not seem, to me, to be a very ...
2
votes
3answers
228 views

Proper “Legal Services” insurance - is there such thing?

There's the "Prepaid Legal", and my company offers a "MetLaw" program as a benefit, and I wonder how useful are they, and if there are more? I'm looking into a program that will cover my needs for ...
20
votes
1answer
37k views

How does retroactive COBRA coverage work?

I'm voluntarily leaving my job at the end of this month for a new position in a couple of weeks. At my new job, I have health care coverage effective my first day of work. My current coverage ...
19
votes
5answers
772 views

What factors are to be considered when deciding to go with a 15 year fixed vs a 30 years fixed?

What factors are to be considered when deciding to go with a 15 year fixed vs a 30 years fixed? Pretty simple really; I could make the payments on a 15 year fixed, but at today's low interest rates, ...
2
votes
1answer
199 views

In a foreclosing Arizona home, can the bank or anyone hired by the bank access the home's interior premises without permission?

I am residing in an Arizona home that is being foreclosed upon, until the sale confirmation. Does the bank have any right to demand or assume rights to access the interior of my home while I am living ...
5
votes
2answers
109 views

What are the tax implications of improvements to a home that's not primary residence?

How are expenses related to fixing up an investment property treated? Are they deductible? What is a qualified expense? Are they deductible from income, or only used to offset capital gains? USA rules,...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Tax implications on profit/loss from selling a home that's not your primary residence?

What is the tax treatment for profit/loss on the sale of a home that is not your primary residence? Does length of ownership matter? USA rules, please.
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Should I cash out my Roth IRA to pay my mother's property tax debt, to avoid foreclosure on her home?

I'm thinking about liquidating my Roth IRA and taking a loan out against my 401k to pay the property taxes my cancer stricken mom owes on her home. She's several years behind, and the county is ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

If there's no credit report at one of the three agencies does this affect decisions by creditors to offer me credit?

This is a very naive question, but I don't know much about this. I asked a similar question before, but the emphasis was different. I managed to get a credit report through Experian and Equifax (and ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Any advantage to non-deductible Traditional IRA contibutions?

The typical comparison between Traditional and Roth IRAs goes roughly as follows: A traditional IRA allows you to invest pre-tax money into the account and it grows tax free. Once you withdraw the ...
2
votes
1answer
194 views

Employer no longer withholds, how do I self administer 401k

My employer stopped withholding during some restructuring of the business entity, I already maxed out my 5k IRA contribution, I realize I can tax defer another 15k or so in a 401k... how do I simply ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Transunion is “unable to locate credit report.” Should I be concerned?

I've been reviewing my different credit reports (from Experian, Equifax and Transunion). Equifax spelled my name wrong, and it's not extremely clear that I managed to fix that. But that's not the ...
17
votes
6answers
14k views

Why do some companies offer 401k retirement plans?

Why do companies offer 401k (or other) retirement plans? Let me elaborate this... I understand that it could be part of an employee's benefits and that a retirement plan option might increase the ...
5
votes
3answers
615 views

What is the best way to get a “rough” home appraisal prior to starting the refinance process?

Given the tightening of regulations on appraisals in the home financing process, I would like to get an idea of the "rough" value of my home before initiating the refinance process. Since our ...
3
votes
3answers
50k views

How can I trade in U.S stock exchange living in India by choosing the broker in U.S? [closed]

I would appreciate if you kindly suggest an answer for this question.Anything incomplete in this question should be assumed. And also please suggest which is the best brokerage firm/broker for this ...
21
votes
11answers
5k views

Is it bad etiquette to use a credit or debit card to pay for single figure amounts at the POS

This question might be subjective, but I would like to listen to opinions, if possible. Ever since I got mugged on campus, I only carry enough cash to pay for bus travel. All other payments are made ...
6
votes
4answers
425 views

I keep getting denied for high utilization

The last 2-3 years, I have been using a student credit card, and have not had a job. I am a student, and I do freelance work. Before college, my mother gave me a credit card underneath her account to ...
2
votes
1answer
356 views

Tax liability for a non-resident alien (student) working on-campus in the U.S

I get paid as a research assistant by helping my guide write papers and for assisting them in classes and correcting homework. Never got around to thinking about tax but recently, when I noticed that ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

How do secured loans get paid off when selling the asset?

I own a home in California (as tenants in common) with two siblings. My brother took out a loan using the house as collateral. When we sell the house, does the loan get repaid first, or do I get my 1/...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Is it a bad idea to have 3 secured credit card accounts open?

I initially signed up for a Wells Fargo cash secured credit card, last month, but lately with their changing the ToS and extra fee, I am worried about my choice. People have asked me not to close ...
5
votes
3answers
279 views

Which payment plan is better to pay for tuition?

My kids go to a private school that's attached to a religious congregation. As far as paying tuition, they offered me a choice between these 2 deals: $1296 per month (for 12 months). $1156 per month ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Ramifications of closing my Wells Fargo cash secured credit card only 3 months after opening

How do I continue using my Wells Fargo cash secured credit card once they change their ToS and start charging a $15+ monthly account service fee in addition to the $18 secured credit card fee from ...
3
votes
1answer
724 views

Can I borrow against my IRA to pay off debt or pay for a car?

I am going to need a new car soon and I was curious if I can borrow against my IRA to pay for the majority of the car so I don't have to finance much. Also, can I borrow against my IRA to pay off ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Financial Power of Attorney

My mother is getting older, and we decided that I would gradually start taking over her finances, and that we would start getting all our ducks in a row well in advance of her having any type of ...
17
votes
9answers
2k views

What would I miss out on by self insuring my car?

I've been thinking lately that it might make sense to drop comprehensive and collision and self-insure these risks (obviosuly I'd keep the liability insurance). Basically, I'd keep around in a fairly ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

How do I calculate the dwelling coverage I need from the information I have?

I have just finished ratifying a contract for a home purchase. Our timeline for getting everything done is fairly tight and I'd like to start getting the homeowner's insurance squared away as soon as ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

I have a mortgage with PMI, what happens to PMI when I get to the 'safe' LTV ratio?

I have a mortgage with PMI, what happens to PMI when I get to the 'safe' LTV ratio? Does my payment stay the same and more money goes to paying off interest or principal? Does my payment drop?
4
votes
1answer
618 views

Can I use 529 plan funds to pay for a CLEP test? How about CLEP test preparation materials?

Can I use 529 funds to pay for a CLEP test? How about CLEP test preparation materials? Title pretty much says it all.
12
votes
3answers
401 views

Solid reading/literature for investment/retirement/income taxes? [closed]

I'm striving for financial literacy and education. I've been really frustrated with most of the literature that's out there surrounding retirement, income taxes, and investment. Most of it seems ...
3
votes
3answers
228 views

How do I lower my debt-to-credit ratio?

I have a debt to credit ratio of 38% on a credit card with a limit of $1000. I thought I did every thing well: I paid on time, I spent moderately. I understand that %38 is bad. What have I been doing ...
4
votes
3answers
960 views

Can I label my checking accounts? Trying the envelope system with debit cards

I want to use an envelope system and categorize my expenses. So lets say I have 3 checking accounts for: Grocery Restaurant GAS ... each will have its own debit card. I can write a label name for ...
8
votes
3answers
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

Contributing factors to historical increase in trading volume

How can the drastic increase in trading volume that begins in the early eighties and extends to the present day be explained? My guess is that advancement in technology has increased the speed and ...
3
votes
2answers
942 views

How to calculate interest tax deduction for a mortgage?

I am trying to ascertain the effect of the mortgage tax deduction on my bottom line. The various calculators I found are confusing to me. Specifically, I want to know how much less I'll pay in taxes,...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I track 'bartered' rent?

My brother and his wife are renting part of my house from me (in Kansas). Due to financial hardship on their part, I've agreed to let him do some house repairs in lieu of paying rent for a few months....
6
votes
4answers
27k views

Am I being charged taxes on my grocery purchases at Walmart?

Today, I only bought groceries at Walmart and noticed that there is no tax on groceries in California (Google tells me that this is perhaps true for whole of the US?) So far I have always paid tax at ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Calculating savings from mortgage interest deduction vs. standard deduction?

I've read just about anything I can find on comparing cash-flow between owning a house versus renting. One new thing popped into my head yesterday, and I can't shake the feeling that it's an obvious ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What do we need to consider if we're to receive a large cash gift from family abroad?

Are there any rules regarding receiving monetary gifts from family abroad? My fiance's parents want to wire us $25,000 from Brazil to be used on a down payment on a house. What are the tax or other ...
2
votes
2answers
828 views

Do I have to repay the First-Time Homebuyers tax credit if I refinance?

My wife and I bought our first home in April 2010 and received the full $8000 First-Time Homebuyers tax credit. We now want to refinance, given that the current mortgage rates are significantly lower ...
11
votes
2answers
14k views

How many years do you need to contribute to Social Security to be eligible for benefit payments in retirement?

Recently I have been reading many articles about the insolvency of Social Security and how not to factor it in any retirement income. My questions are: How many years does someone need to pay into ...
6
votes
3answers
394 views

Do company-provided meals need to be claimed on my taxes?

Some companies provide their employees with free meals (e.g. Google). Would these meals need to be claimed on my taxes? If not, what if a company provided all meals, laundry, car, house, ...
7
votes
4answers
815 views

What steps should be taken, if any, when you find out your home's market value is underwater, i.e. worth less than the mortgage owed?

What steps should be taken, if any, when you find out your home's market value is underwater, i.e. worth less than the mortgage owed?
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Green Card holder (permanent resident): Should I contribute to my employer-matched 401(k), even if I might leave the U.S. later?

I am a Green Card holder (permanent residence card) and my company offers a matching 401(k). I plan to stay in the U.S. for a long time. However, I can't control the future. If there were a family ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

I have a 401k loan used for a house down payment and now I am changing jobs: What should I do?

I guess this could be a cautionary tale, but I am hoping it can be remedied. I had a job that I am leaving, but I had took a 401k loan to put down on a house. I don't have the money to pay it back ...
3
votes
1answer
301 views

What are some good ways to get paid if you're an American working remotely for a Canadian company?

What are some good ways to receive payment if you are an American contractor working remotely for a Canadian company? The criteria would be to have a) the least percentage of the payment reduced to ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

My friend found out about FBAR some time after the fact. What can he do now?

My friend sold a property in India and he has funds in his bank account in India. He was thinking about either buying another property with that money to avoid taxes or something like that. (You have ...