mortgage

Are We on Track for Retirement?

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We start the show this week with Nick from Wisconsin who had a few questions regarding his current mortgage which also led to a discussion about his retirement savings strategy.

Next up was a great retirement planning discussion with Michelle from Georgia. She and her husband are in great shape, sometimes it just helps to hear that from an unbiased third party, like yours truly!

Who's a better financial planner, a man or a woman?

That was the gist of the story when today’s guest, Blair duQuesnay, penned an op-ed in the New York Times.

I’m guessing she didn’t think it would go viral. Welp, it did.

Consider Firing Your Male Broker took off like gangbusters with reaction coming down on both sides of the aisle.

What follows is from Blair’s blog, The Belle Curve, and it explains why exactly there was so much reaction:

Some criticized the use of the term broker, which applies only to registered representatives of brokerage firms, commissioned sales agents. Those of us who work for independent RIA firms are advisers who adhere to a fiduciary standard. That is a different and equally important topic for an NYT op-ed. Maybe they will let me write it. Bottom line, the investing public uses the words broker/advisor/adviser interchangeably. They do not know the difference, and the article met them where they are.

Other criticism revolved around the use of research on investment performance to justify the argument. In my mind, the research was not central to the thesis there should be more women advisors. Barber and Odean found that among individual investors, women outperformed men because the traded less often and incurred less trading costs. That information is fascinating and led to additional work on the affect of overconfidence on investment performance. It is not the sole basis of my argument, merely additional ammunition.

Less than 20% of financial advisors are women, a statistic that has not changed in the 15 years I have been here. It’s about time for more.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Will Dovish Federal Reserve Boost Housing?

Will Dovish Federal Reserve Boost Housing?

Last week, the Federal Reserve decided not to raise interest rates. The more dovish Fed outlook pushed down interest rates, which led mortgage rates to 14-month lows. The current 30-year fixed rate loan stands at just under 4.3 percent, just in time for the spring home buying season.

Do I Need a CFP?

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We kicked things off this week with Brad from Missouri who's wondering if he needs to enlist the help of a CFP as he tries to get his financial life in order.

Next up was Risa from Scottsdale, AZ who wanted to know whether or not she and her husband should pay off the mortgage on a piece of rental property they have.

As we've been doing, hour two was devoted to the email inbox.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

First Time Home Buyer

We start this week talking real estate.

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Buy versus rent is one of my favorite topics. While owning property can certainly make for a great investment, I don’t always think it’s the right move. Sometimes it makes far more financial sense to rent.

That’s the case with our first caller this week, Lamar from New Jersey. Lamar and his wife have already gone down the road of buying a house, and while I certainly hope it works out for them, I don’t necessarily think it was the best. Give it a listen and you’ll hear what I mean.

Yep, you guessed it, hour two is nothing but emails as we continue to dig out from an overflowing inbox.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Retirement Planning, ARMs and An Inside Account of the Financial Crisis

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We opened the show with Ben from Houston who wanted to run his retirement plan by us. He’s got a variety of accounts, an adjustable rate mortgage and some college funds for the kids. As you’ll hear, this guy is a risk taker. Is he taking too much risk? What about that mortgage…should he pay it off? Or should he consider refinancing and locking in a long-term rate?

The rest of the hour was spent on emails. The good news is that we’re actually making some serious progress. We’re finally into the month of October. That’s the good news. The bad news is that next week is already November. A good problem to have!

In hour two we get the inside account of the financial crisis from Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

As you’ll hear, the discussion is basically a play-by-play of how the Treasury Department bungled the financial bailouts.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the inspector general in charge of overseeing administration of the bailout money.

It’s fascinating to hear him talk about how from the onset, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts.

Barofsky offers an insider’s perspective on the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. There’s no holding back as he reveals the extreme lengths to which our government officials were willing to go in order to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public, and at the expense of effective financial reform.

Just like the book, this interview delivered an incredible account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political hot-seat of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Save for Retirement or Pay Off Mortgage

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So you just got a raise and are trying to decide if you should put that extra money into the retirement pot or put it toward the mortgage? I love this question. Paying down the debt seems like a no-brainer, right? Take a listen my friends as we walk through it with Nick from the Bay Area.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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First Time Home Buyer

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Few things are bigger than buying your first home. That's why you want to make sure you approach it in the right way. That's the chat I had with Mariana on the latest BONUS call. 

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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Timing the Market + 529 Plans and College Savings

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Buying a home can seem like a daunting task, especially when you're doing it in a city like New York, where prices always seem to go up and never down. That's how we kicked off the show this week with Chris, a recent transplant from Chicago looking to find a new home in the Big Apple. 

Next up was Jeff from Georgia who has the bright idea of timing the market. You know, buying low and selling high, and knowing exactly when it's going to happen! 

Hour two was a deep dive into 529 plans and college savings in general with one of the foremost authorities on 529 plans, Andrea Feirstein, founder and Managing Director at AKF Consulting Group, a leading strategic advisor to public administrators of state investment programs.

Andrea was extremely knowledgeable and we touched on several topics, including:

What is a 529? A tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. 529 plans are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

What’s the tax benefit of a 529 plan? Withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses and earnings in the account are not subject to federal income tax and, in most cases, state income tax. Additionally, some states offer residents of the state specific incentives, like the ability to deduct contributions from state income tax or a matching grant.

What does a 529 plan cost? Fees and expenses vary widely from plan to plan and can include start-up fees, maintenance fees, or sales charges. In general, advisor-sold plans cost more than direct-sold plans. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has developed a tool to help you compare how these fees and expenses can reduce returns.

What happens if my kid doesn’t go to college? Most states allow you to tap the accounts for other children in the family or even for the parents. Those withdrawals that are not used for qualified higher education expenses will be subject to state and federal income taxes and an additional 10 percent federal tax penalty on earnings.

What has changed with the 2018 tax law? Americans can now withdraw funds tax-free from 529 plans to pay for K-12 tuition and other eligible expenses at private and religious schools, up to $10,000 per year. But there’s a caveat: Not all states will conform to the new federal rules. That means before you pull money, be sure to double check with your state.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Annuities, Mortgage Payoff + Loving Capitalism with Ken Langone

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We kick things off this week with Roland who had a question about my favorite topic ever, annuities! Having purchased one back in 2008, he's now being told what he feels is some sketchy advice by his advisor. Is his BS meter correct?

Next up was Rod, already retired, and trying to decide if he should pay off the mortgage. Good move or better idea to keep some of that cash liquid? 

Every once in a while I chat with somebody who makes me realize just how cool my job really is.

That’s the case this week with Ken Langone, the legendary financier, who helped take a bunch of companies public before co-founding Home Depot. Ken has also became a philanthropist extraordinaire, helping to rebuild the New York University hospital.

Ken dropped by for an in-studio to talk about his new book, I Love Capitalism!: An American Storybut really it was just a fascinating conversation with a guy who grew up in a working-class family on Long Island, put himself through school, and after some hard work and smart decisions and a few guardian angels, became one of the most successful businessmen in the country.

Ken Langone has seen it all on his way to a net worth beyond his wildest dreams, now in excess of $3 billion dollars.

In a series of captivating stories, Langone shows how he struggled in academics, broke into Wall Street, and scrambled for an MBA at night while competing with privileged competitors by day. He also shares how he learned to evaluate the value of a business and apply his street smarts to negotiate enormous deals.

And what happened when Langone was approached by Bernie Madoff for an investment, just weeks before the Ponzi scheme came to light? You’ll have to tune in for that chestnut...

Langone says that the book is his love song to capitalism..."Absolutely anybody is entitled to dream big, and absolutely everybody should dream big. I did. Show me where the silver spoon was in my mouth. I’ve got to argue profoundly and passionately: I’m the American Dream.”

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.