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Questions tagged [united-states]

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

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12
votes
1answer
885 views

How to claim a minor's income?

When a child earns money babysitting or doing yardwork for neighbors, it's common to ignore claiming the income, as income earned by the minor has its own deduction, and would likely not generate any ...
9
votes
4answers
997 views

How do you find the credit card with the best rewards/points? [US]

I'm using a CC that basically gives me 2% cash back on everything. It adds up, but I have a feeling that I'm not benefiting from how often I use my card. I easily put over a thousand each month on the ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Where to find LEAPS option quotes (full chain)? CBOE & Yahoo! Finance not working

It appears that most sites that give stock option quotes are broken. I'm trying to get a full chain for 3M (MMM) in Jan 2012. I tried CBOE and Yahoo!. CBOE doesn't even show the LEAPS. Yahoo! ...
49
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
13k 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]
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Retroactive COBRA Premium Increase: Can my COBRA health insurance premiums be hiked retroactively?

I hope this is the right place to ask this, but if not let me know and I'll go away. About 6 months ago I left a W-2 position to do independent consulting. Since then, I have been using my previous ...
10
votes
5answers
597 views

Does my company's 401k plan provider matter to me?

My company is about to change the 401k provider it uses from one major provider to another. Does this matter to me, provided my company doesn't change any of it's benefits policies?
27
votes
5answers
2k 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?
11
votes
1answer
11k views

What is the difference between Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae?

What is the difference between the various US housing agencies referred to as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and Ginnie Mae? How were each of them affected by the sub-prime mortgage crisis (or, maybe the ...
3
votes
2answers
321 views

Rules for Broker Behavior with Covered Calls

When selling covered calls, there are a couple of things a broker could do if the stock has a sharp increase. Here's an example: Buy Stock: $100 Sell Call $120@1month: $1 Two days later, the stock ...
11
votes
1answer
541 views

What are the consequences of filing personal income tax return past the deadline of April 15th (i.e. filing late)? [US]

Today – April 15th – is the income tax filing deadline in the U.S. Here in Canada, we still have until the end of the month. Perhaps we get a little longer to figure things out because ...
9
votes
3answers
9k views

Foreclosure process: What happens when a bank forecloses on a home?

I know it is a long complicated process, but what is the high level overview of what a bank does when it forecloses on a house? Beyond credit getting hurt, what else? Where does the bank get it's ...
19
votes
8answers
7k views

Should I wait until I have a 20% down payment to buy a home?

With an FHA loan that only requires a 3.5% down payment, I'm able to buy a home right now and comfortably afford the monthly payments. However, I know that means I'll pay PMI and more interest over ...
4
votes
3answers
412 views

Homeowner's association funding a project in a condo: Bank wants an individual guarantor. What to do?

From time to time my HOA (homeowner's association) needs extra money for a project (eg painting fences, fixing roofs, plumbing repair, etc). They typically respond by raising the monthly HOA dues for ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Rules for FHA loan availability

I'm trying to find the laws on what makes a condo complex available for FHA loans. I hear it has something to do with the amount of money on reserve and the owner/occupancy ratio. Does anyone know ...
6
votes
1answer
384 views

Can I deduct equipment that I'm required to purchase by my employer?

If my employer requires that I own a laptop and other computer equipment, but does not provide them, am I able to deduct the expense of purchasing the equipment? I know that I definitely would deduct ...
3
votes
3answers
374 views

How do I use investments to lower my taxes [US]?

I'm not sure how this works. Do you just report on your taxes which investments you contributed to during that year, and then get a deduction? I want to pay less taxes, and put my income in some ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

What do new Overdraft rules for U.S. banks mean for transactions, when they go into effect July 1, 2010?

The rules will affect ATM withdrawals and debit card transactions, and are meant to protect consumers with an opt-in option. What does this mean?
4
votes
1answer
316 views

Where can I find a list of common US income tax deductions?

Where can I find a list of common tax deductions in the US? I'd like to know so I can keep more receipts and pay less tax.
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How to determine new, lower interest payments after a lump sum mortgage payment, i.e. new amortization schedule?

Here's a financial math problem: I have a mortgage at about $78,0000 with 5.5% interest and 56 of 360 monthly payments were made. I'm currently paying about $360/month in interest charges. If I pay ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

TurboTax is telling me to open an IRA now, and get a $5K deduction this year, is this a smart thing to do?

I'm 21 years old, and 2009's total itemized deduction for me is $1,908. I'm going with the standard deduction, but next year seems like it has a lot of potential to save if I open up this IRA that ...
14
votes
1answer
575 views

If I were to get audited, what would I need?

I've been an independent contractor for about 2 months now. I'm saving receipts for all my business-related expenses, and I use Mint.com to track all my personal finances -- Everything business ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Travelled to New York State & bought something. Can I get sales tax refund back?

I drove to Buffalo, NY over the weekend with some friends, and I bought myself a shiny new Apple iPad. I had to pay New York State sales tax at the Apple Store, as well as declare my iPad purchase at ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between Health Savings Account (HSA) & Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

What is the practical difference between a Health Savings Account and a Flexible Spending Account? What are the pro's and con's of each, and are there situations where either is best?
7
votes
1answer
9k views

My daughter got married last year in late August, can I still claim her part year?

If my 21-yr-old daughter lived at home (and I provided more than half of her support) until her wedding in late August of last year, can't I still claim her as a dependent of some sort?
8
votes
2answers
489 views

Married during the tax year, how does that work

I got married this last year in December. I had done my taxes as if I was not married and had no dependents, which was correct in January. My wife currently does not have a job. Should this effect ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Are there any special rules for charging sales tax in US Territories such as Puerto Rico?

Are there any special rules for charging sales tax in US Territories such as Puerto Rico?
6
votes
2answers
819 views

What can I deduct while assisting in caring for elderly relatives that do not live with me?

I provide all transportation to medical appointments, do their shopping, drive them to church, do their foot care, provide some meals -weekly, assist with ecercising, house cleaning. I do not want ...
7
votes
1answer
234 views

Do Americans still need extra health care / medical insurance after reform to health care? [U.S.]

Does the passage of the recent bill in the US change the way Americans budget for health care? If so who benefits?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it true that Income Tax was created to finance troops for World War I?

I remember hearing that income tax was specifically created to finance the war effort during World War I. Is this true? If so was it originally intended to be a temporary measure?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the best option for an occasional driver in the USA?

I never had a car before, but I'm starting to feel the need of having one. Fortunately, I can bike to work, and would only use the car on weekends (and very occasionally on weekdays). Additionally, I'...
21
votes
2answers
8k views

Need advice recovering money lost due to debit card fraud! Bank wont help!

I was recently the victim of credit card fraud. My number and some of my info was compromised and subsequently used to run up about $500 worth of online charges within a week's time. This was on my ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

An ecommerce retailer forgot to charge my credit card, & I received the package. Legally speaking, must I inform them they didn't charge me?

I recently made a large purchase from an online retailer's outlet store. The online store was having performance problems the day I ordered, but it is large trusted company so I placed the order ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I get a US credit or debit card if I reside outside the US?

I am from Hungary and I would like to purchase sometimes from US web services like iTunes and so on. They require US cards and billing address. Is it possible to have one without traveling to the US? ...
19
votes
6answers
7k views

In what state should I register my web-based LLC?

DISCLAIMER: I understand that as a US corporation, you're required to pay taxes in whatever state you A) do business in, b) pay employees in, and c) have property in. I understand that registering in ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What should I do with the stock from my Employee Stock Purchase Plan?

I've got an employee stock purchase plan program. The details are a little tricksy, but I basically get to buy about 2500 shares of company stock at something like $2.33/share... and the stock has ...
18
votes
3answers
752 views

Is there any way to know how much new money the US is printing?

There is a lot of talk about the Fed printing money. Is there any way to know how much new money is being printed and when?
6
votes
1answer
138 views

What investment strategy would you deduce from the latest article from Charles Munger?

One of the most interesting article I read in the last months was from Charles Munger (vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway). Here is a link: http://www.slate.com/id/2245328/pagenum/all/ I would be ...
5
votes
3answers
811 views

Is there any site to compare the security of (online) banking services?

I work in the computer industry, and I know a few things about security, like the fact that those "security questions" that you're asked for are pretty much completely bogus and not useful as security....
7
votes
1answer
215 views

Is there any site you can find out about the 'bonus features' of credit cards?

I'm doing fairly well financially, and pay my credit cards off monthly, so to me they are less useful for financing and more useful as a matter of convenience. As such, I'd like to know more about the ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

What are good strategies to maximize cross border shopping benefits? [Canada]

Depending the length of one's visit to the US from Canada there are different limits and different exemptions. This also assumes that the price discount is worth it. What strategies have people ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the benefits and downsides to an LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship vs. Individiual?

As a followup to my previous question, what benefits are there for an LLC vs. a Sole Proprietorship? What are advantages and disadvantages to both and also vs. just being paid as a person?
8
votes
2answers
17k views

How do you calculate pretax deduction savings?

I am trying to determine how much money I will save by participating in the TransitChek program. The way the program works is I can set aside a certain amount of money from my pay check before taxes ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

For what dates are the NYSE and U.S. stock exchanges typically closed?

I just noticed the NYSE is closed today for the President's Day (Washington's Birthday) holiday. Is there a comprehensive list of all dates the NYSE would be typically closed for? Would the dates be ...
4
votes
3answers
680 views

Is there a legal deadline for when your bank/brokerage has to send your tax forms to you?

It is mid February and I still haven't received my 1099-div forms from my stock broker. Should I be concerned yet? Is there any regulatory requirement for them to send tax forms out to account holders ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Where can I get a list of ticker symbols that have stock options?

I would like to examine the option chains of almost every stock that has options. Is there some sort of stock screener or application that can give me a list of the ticker symbols that have options?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Bank of the Sierra: Are they legit? How can the checking interest APY be so high?

As of February 8th, 2009, Bank Of The Sierra offers a free checking account which earns a 4.09% APY. It looks like the catch is that you pretty much have to use them as your main bank. You need to ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Can you have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA? What about two separate IRA accounts of the same type?

I'm interested in starting a new brokerage account somewhere. I would like to "test the waters" before transferring my entire IRA to them. Is there any law against having a completely separate IRA ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Offered a job: Should I go as consultant / independent contractor, or employee?

Two partners started a business, and it's grown pretty big (comparatively). Now they've asked me to be the CTO, and I've determined it's a good position for me to take. I'll be getting 90% of my ...