Ask Carrie from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 27 Sep 2020 09:48:18 -0700 Ask Carrie from Creators Syndicate a0a155a104a81ec98452abbc205bd5a4 Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You? for 09/23/2020 Wed, 23 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My wife and I are in our 60s and looking at ways to reduce our expenses when we retire. We've considered downsizing, but after 27 years, our house and the neighborhood still fit us. Our home is finally paid for and is pretty manageable, except we worry about being able to pay for major repairs or health care in the future. Would a reverse mortgage make sense for us? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: I'm glad you asked this question, because so many people are in exactly your situation, wanting to "age in place" rather than move to a smaller, less expensive home or a retirement community. But as you point out, maintaining a large home and paying for health care and other potential expenses can be challenging. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 23, 2020</p> cc70604f204593be7ef3f21a27d11b81 What Should You Do If Your Employer Suspends Your 401(k) Match? for 09/16/2020 Wed, 16 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My employer recently stopped offering a 401(k) match. I've always tried to contribute enough to get the entire match, but now I am in a bit of a cash crunch and wonder if it makes sense to keep contributing. Is it still worth it? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: You've probably heard me say many times that specific financial advice depends a lot on your individual circumstances. And this question certainly fits that category. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 16, 2020</p> 1a19f21ed1f63d9922ac3d852cdd12b1 Americans Want Financial Literacy ... Now! for 09/09/2020 Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: Today, I'd like to turn the tables and ask <i> you </i> a question: Let's say you could design a basic high school curriculum. Outside of core courses like science, math and English, how would you rank adding financial literacy as a requirement, compared with other topics such as health and wellness, career development, college planning, arts, music and sports?</p> <p>This is just one of many questions that my team and I recently posed to thousands of Americans through a national poll. If you put financial literacy at the top of your list, you're in agreement with 63% of our respondents.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 09, 2020</p> e5b65fe6cc5ad1ebdfba23ff9b7acc06 Is Your Mother, Sister, Daughter Investing? Are You? for 09/02/2020 Wed, 02 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Readers: Women's Equality Day is celebrated on Aug. 26, and this year, it had a special meaning. It marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the U.S. the right to vote. This important achievement opened the door to other opportunities, and we're now outpacing men in college and advanced degrees; we comprise 47% of the workforce; we're entering previously male-dominated fields; and we're getting elected to public office at unprecedented rates. </p> <p>But in spite of all this improvement, there's at least one area where we still lag behind men: investing. And to me, this is a lost opportunity with long-term consequences. </p> <p>How Women Are Still Financially Behind <p>Updated: Wed Sep 02, 2020</p> 8dff433ec139183953db6a2eaf2c089a How Do You Recognize Financial Abuse? for 08/26/2020 Wed, 26 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I'm concerned that my son is in a financially abusive relationship. Because his fiancee claims to be better with money, she manages all their finances, including his salary, and controls their accounts. As a result, he's totally reliant on her for anything he wants, even spending money. I don't see this as healthy. I worry that she's purposely keeping him dependent on her. Am I being overly concerned? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: You're absolutely right to be concerned. While it can make sense for one partner in a couple to take the lead in managing finances, allowing someone to take total control is another matter. And over time, that control could turn into an abusive situation with long-term consequences. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 26, 2020</p> e9b08ff3064e378eec8ee0d3b928570a Are You Planning a Post-Pandemic Wedding? for 08/19/2020 Wed, 19 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My fiance and I were just starting to plan our wedding when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Originally, we thought we would have a no-expense-spared, blowout wedding and reception sometime next year. We've managed to save up a pretty penny, but given everything that has happened, we're wondering if we shouldn't cut back. We're also wondering what we should do with the money we've saved between now and our (eventual) wedding date. Your thoughts? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: Your situation is a great example of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our personal finances, possibly for years to come. I've heard from several readers and clients who are reassessing their priorities in a similar way, thinking hard about the way they want to spend, protect and invest their money. Hats off to you not only for recognizing this shift in yourself but also for searching for the best ways to respond.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 19, 2020</p> 3bddee6252fc97cdb5566503e10e52a8 Do Asset Allocation and Diversification Still Work? for 08/12/2020 Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: Here we go again. In early March, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the 11-year bull market to a crashing halt. Since that time, the markets have largely recovered but been plagued with extreme volatility, leaving individual investors frightened and confused. While every investor knows that risk comes with the territory, the recent wild gyrations are enough to make even the hardiest investors feel unsure. </p> <p>So it comes as no surprise that I'm getting a lot of questions about how to protect a portfolio. People want to know if the standard advice has changed. The good news is that even though some points of execution have been fine-tuned, the fundamental principles of asset allocation and diversification remain the best ways to control risk. Let's take a look. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 12, 2020</p> 725a10c148529b39709eee08c898bf82 Focusing on a Tax Refund? Do Some Tax Planning Instead for 08/05/2020 Wed, 05 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: When I did my taxes this year, I wound up owing a lot to the IRS. A friend at work mentioned they got a huge tax refund. How can I get a refund next year? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: The end of tax season always brings a host of questions from readers. Mostly they boil down to "How can I pay less in taxes?" or "How can I get a bigger refund?" Many readers don't realize that these are two very different questions. Let's explain the difference and then talk about a few steps you can take to minimize your overall tax bill, keeping more money in your pocket.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 05, 2020</p> 83ca2a93065b81d423c3ea5cac236009 How Do You Rate Your Financial Know-How? for 07/29/2020 Wed, 29 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: If I asked you to rate your financial know-how on a scale of 1-7 (with 7 being the highest), where would you place yourself? If you're like the Americans who participated in the 2018 FINRA National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), you'd probably give yourself a pretty high score. In that study, 76% of respondents placed themselves in the 5-7 range. But self-perception is one thing; reality is another. Because the same study found that only 34% could correctly answer at least four of five basic financial literacy questions on topics such as mortgages, interest rates, inflation and risk. </p> <p>Curious about your own answers? Why not take the Financial Literacy Quiz now? It not only gives you an immediate score but also shows you how you compare to others in your state. <span class="column--highlighted-text">But whether the quiz confirms your knowledge or serves as a personal wake-up call, the generally low results of the NFCS definitely demonstrate the need to improve financial literacy in our country.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Jul 29, 2020</p> ec665443f19d7777d642e5497704d1b5 How Does the SECURE Act Impact Saving After Age 70? for 07/22/2020 Wed, 22 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I turn 70 this year and am working part time. I don't necessarily need the income, but I like my work, and it gives me money to spend on a few "extras." I have a few dollars left over each month and recently read that I can still contribute to an IRA. I'm wondering if this is a good idea. &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: According to a recent Gallup survey, 63% of Americans plan on working part time during retirement. And I think that makes a lot of sense. After all, working part time not only provides some extra income; it's also a way to stay active and engaged. To my mind, it's an ideal scenario.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 22, 2020</p> 45c65ebfd1bcf6fb9c12c1be20164909 Is Market Volatility Keeping You on the Sidelines? Consider Dollar-Cost Averaging for 07/15/2020 Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I have money sitting in a low-interest savings account that I've been planning to invest, but I keep procrastinating. Should I take the plunge now or wait to see if the market falls more? I understand the concept of buying low, but it makes me nervous to invest so much now if the market will go down more. &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: This is a great question, and I'm so glad to be able to respond. I've been hearing from many investors like yourself who are caught off base and not sure how to react. Given the extraordinary volatility of the markets (in fact, March was the most volatile month in the stock market's history), this hesitancy is completely understandable. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 15, 2020</p> 3caea20c8eaa2ad2485906def6d28df3 The Upside of a Down Market for 07/08/2020 Wed, 08 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: This recent market is depressing. It's torture to see the value of my portfolio go down so fast. I'm still making monthly contributions to my 401(k) but don't know if that's wise. Any advice you can offer? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: It's definitely not fun to see losses in your portfolio and possibly even more difficult to continue to make contributions with the markets so volatile. This is part of what makes investing so hard. It can take a long time for investing to pay off, and along the way, there will most certainly be challenges. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 09, 2020</p> cd365519f5d810eab2a0c7e96bc9c378 Laid off and Worried About Money: What to Do Next? for 07/01/2020 Wed, 01 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I'm a single parent with two middle school-aged kids and was just laid off because COVID-19 regulations forced my employer to shut down. I'm worried I may be out of work for a while. I received a small severance and have a 401(k), but that's about it. What's the best way to get through the next few months? Can I draw money from my 401(k)? What about health insurance? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: As I said in a recent column about getting through tough financial times, the current crisis is impacting millions of hardworking and responsible Americans who suddenly find themselves in a financial crunch they could never have imagined only a few months ago. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 01, 2020</p> 5e9ca4340003dec145070c9a6aac8237 Protecting Your Family With Life Insurance for 06/24/2020 Wed, 24 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My partner and I recently had our first child and are trying to get our finances in order. We met with an attorney to put together a will, and she mentioned that we might need life insurance. I do have a policy through work, but now that I'm a new dad, I don't know if it's enough. Can you advise me on how much I need and the best type? &#8212; A Reader </p> <p>Dear Reader: Congratulations on being a new dad! I'm sure you have a lot on your mind, so I'm gratified to hear that you're thinking about your finances at this important time in your life. And I'm especially glad to hear that your attorney brought up life insurance. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 24, 2020</p> c9cd26e2ee0dbb11a0bc5c2f9007e79e Survival Guide for New College Graduates in the Year of COVID-19 for 06/17/2020 Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: I'm hearing from lots of students and recent grads about how uneasy they are about entering the labor force in this difficult economic climate. With unemployment numbers at a record high, it's no surprise that the estimated 4 million new college graduates will have a particularly challenging time this year. But all is not lost, especially for those of you who are determined and smart about your search. Here are a few tips. </p> <p>Be Aggressive in Your Job Search<p>Updated: Wed Jun 17, 2020</p> 6ee52c4de07d4dd4a1565f56a35fb2b4 Redditors Asked Carrie These Financial Questions. Can You Relate? for 06/10/2020 Wed, 10 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: Recently, I did my first ever Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). I was really excited about it, and not just because my kids are Redditors who constantly seek and give advice on the channel. I wanted to have a real-time discussion with people about something that's weighing heavily on everyone's minds: how to manage your personal finances during times of crisis. </p> <p>I had a lively two-hour chat with the Redditors and answered about 40 questions on topics ranging from what to do with stimulus money to advice for new investors to suggestions for recent grads entering the job market during turbulent times to whether I prefer burgers or burritos. It was so much fun, and I hope I offered some actionable advice and helped calm a few fears. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 10, 2020</p> 4aaf51d8a23ec29b4e357ab79317f0f3 The Emotional Benefits of Strong Money Management for 06/03/2020 Wed, 03 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: Even in the best of times, money concerns can cause a lot of stress. But according to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Financial Education, nearly 9 in 10 Americans say that COVID-19 is making money a primary cause of anxiety. Add to that the need to juggle working from home, child care, home schooling and health concerns and people are being stretched to the limit. </p> <p>Understandably, people are worried about their financial future. Equally understandably, they often don't feel like they have the energy to deal with it. But as overwhelming as it can seem, there are strategies to help you cope and stay calm. As I wrote recently, you may have to think differently to get through these times, but there are ways to do it. And it starts with awareness.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 03, 2020</p> 48c915c409f337e4a26988201c2010ff I'm in the Military. Should I Invest in a TSP? for 05/27/2020 Wed, 27 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I'm 26 and in the Navy. I enlisted last year and am currently stationed in South Korea. With some extra cash I'm expecting from my next deployment, I should finally have all my credit card debt paid off and a decent cash cushion. I'm ready to start seriously saving for retirement. Is a TSP a good move? I'm not sure if I'll stay in or go back to school once my contract is up. &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: First, thank you for your service. I'm constantly impressed by the discipline, sacrifice and courage service members provide our country day in and day out. With May being Military Appreciation Month, I hope you get all the recognition you deserve!<p>Updated: Wed May 27, 2020</p> a918d792ee687e828fa6fb01c6520bd6 Stressed About Money? You're Not Alone for 05/20/2020 Wed, 20 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear readers: The recent market plunge has a lot of people feeling more anxious than usual. Not surprising. Feeling out of control of your finances &#8212; and your future &#8212; takes both a financial and emotional toll. And it's not only during times like these that money causes stress. Everyday money management &#8212; or lack of it &#8212; can cause problems in seemingly unrelated parts of your life, from your relationships to your job to your health. </p> <p>With May designated as Mental Health Month, it seems timely to focus on the important part finances play in your sense of well-being. This year's theme is "Tools 2 Thrive" and offers practical tips on things like finding the positive, eliminating toxic influences and creating healthy routines. To me this positive, practical theme is a perfect segue into not only understanding how money management skills affect your happiness but also reinforcing the practical steps you can take to help yourself stay healthy financially and emotionally. Because <span class="column--highlighted-text">even when external events are seemingly out of control, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself on an even keel.</span><p>Updated: Wed May 20, 2020</p> 3c212afa3057e41bc5fb674ff4c2a173 Let's Talk to Our Kids About Money for 05/13/2020 Wed, 13 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: With so many families around the country facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I'd like to devote this column to discussing ways that we as parents can best help our kids through these challenging times. </p> <p>One of the most insidious parts of this pandemic is that it has undermined our sense of personal safety. For millions of Americans, the toll of medical, emotional and financial stress is piling up. And it's not just impacting adults; our kids, regardless of whether they're 5 or 15, are likely feeling the effect as well. Although I can't offer a cure-all, I CAN offer one powerful remedy: TALK. <p>Updated: Wed May 13, 2020</p>