Facebook Chat on Whether to Use 401k Money to Payoff Student Loans

Student-Loans

Here is the text from a recent Facebook chat I had with a friend about whether or not to take money out of her 401k to pay off her student loans:

Her:
If I withdrew money from my 401k to pay off student loans, does that result in double taxation?
TaxAssurances:
There’s a tax on the 401k as income and the 10% penalty for taking it out to early.
TaxAssurances:
Also, with the student loan you lose out on the future deductibility.
Her:
That will happen this year as result of my raise.
TaxAssurances:
Then it’s a cash flow/total savings debate.
Her:
I was thinking about it because we are approaching > $250 combined income and reduction in mortgage interest deduction.
TaxAssurances:
understand. It all comes to your overall comfort level. How much you have saved versus using the money now to get rid of the student loan debt. Are you comfortable for emergencies and general savings.
Her:
It will put me in no debt status…which means more cash flow for savings. I’m not worried about retirement because I plan to work until my brain stops.
TaxAssurances:
Seems like you thought it out….your husband on board?
Her:
Nope
TaxAssurances:
Talk it out.
Chat Conversation End

This chat goes to some of the issues and concerns surrounding the decision to take a lump sum and pay off student loans. Each circumstance is different but ultimately it comes down to what works best of all.

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Financial Living after Bankruptcy

Internecine_BradyAllen_700xBankruptcy for many Americans is the only option that can help them get a handle on their financial life. Most, if not all, of the people in my profession recommend bankruptcy only as a last resort. Therefore, anyone considering it should think long and hard about it. And then, think again.

Why do advisors say this? Bankruptcy hurts a person’s chances of buying in the future.  This includes buying daily lifestyle items like a home, car and other items.

It can hurt a person’s chances of renting an apartment. It may even hurt a person’s chances of landing a job in the future. How? Many employers and landlords make a credit check part of a background review and if they see a bankruptcy on the report they may want an explanation as to why it’s there. If they don’t like the response, they may use that to disqualify an applicant.

Bankruptcy Starts a New Financial Life

Giving advice on what to do after a bankruptcy filing is the situation I found myself in when a very dear friend of mine asked me, “how and where do I begin to rebuild credit as well as devise and develop a budget and retirement plans after filing for bankruptcy.”

The first piece of advice I gave her was to stay upbeat, positive and look forward to her new financial life. This advice is something she and anyone else who files for bankruptcy should embrace. They’ve come out of the filing experience with a fresh start. That being the case, on one hand, they should simply let the past be the past and leave it there.

On the other hand, there new financial life also offers them an opportunity for soul searching. Here’s how. If the bankruptcy was caused by too much spending, then that needs an honest review. If it was caused by a crazy lifestyle, then that’s cause for a long hard look. If it was caused by a health problem (as most are) and it couldn’t be helped, then they need to move on and not look back.

Put a Budget on Paper

The next piece of advice I gave to my dear friend (and anyone else who has filed for bankruptcy) was to create a budget and put it on paper.

The first step in that process would be to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. On the top left hand side of the page, they should write down how much they make every month.

Next, on the top right hand side of the page, they should start writing down how much they spend every month. The important part with this step is that they are brutally honest. If they spend $150 a month on what they call the “Charlie Sheen Lifestyle,” then they need to put that down. Not writing it down does them no favors and only cheats their future.

Once they get all the expense numbers on the page, they need to add them up. The same should be done for the income in the left hand column. Obviously, they want the totals in the income column to be great then the totals in the expense column.

If not, they can start the process of cutting expenses where possible. In doing this they should also keep in mind that the budget is a living breathing document.  Therefore, they should try to keep it in a place where they can reference it quickly and easily.

If they have to spend more than they make, there may be a need for the individual to do a number of things to increase their income. That may include looking for a better paying job or a second job; maybe even starting a side business.

Set Up and Contribute to Savings and Retirement Accounts

The next step in the rebuilding process involves setting up a savings account and a retirement account. The important part about that is that they contribute to the accounts on a consistent basis. The trick being that they contribute whatever works for the budget. Even if that amount is $5 a month (they can always increase the amount), they should do it and not touch it for any reason. To set up the accounts they can without difficulty go to a bank or brokerage and have a representative set up the accounts.

Again, for many Americans bankruptcy is a difficult time on a number of levels. However, it’s not the end of the world. People who file should try as best as possible to learn from the experience and move forward in a positive and meaningful way. Doing that not only helps them and their life but helps the lives of those around them that love and care about them.

 

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What to Do with Extra Money

s127460621275509906_p4_i1_w240For many people saving on a regular basis can be difficult. Typically, the challenge to saving rests in the fact that there is little or no disposable income to use. Everything goes toward paying bills.

Don’t Pay Bills and Waste the Rest

For many however, saving can be part of their daily life. Unfortunately, they may not think about doing it. They would rather spend any extra money on indulgence.  In most cases, the indulgences don’t last long and can’t help in the future. Meanwhile, any extra money that is saved can help in the future with any number of challenges. The money in essence works for the saver.

In this case the best way to save on a regular basis is to do it paycheck by paycheck. Setting the process up that way causes the saver to look at the extra money as a bill.

With it, they can look to deposit the money into any number of accounts. They can put the money into something conservative or they can put it into something risky. They can even do a moderate mixture of both. A little conservative and a little risky.

Give Money to Charity

Along with other options, giving to a charity can be a great way to handle extra money. There are many organizations both locally and internationally for people to give to.  Each organization can benefit greatly from the goodwill and extra spending ability that donors may have.

Reward Yourself for Hard Work

Spending the extra money on one’s self can also be a good reward for a job well done. Many times it can serve as an incentive or even a motivator for doing more in the future. The trick is to not let it get out of hand.

When it comes to handling extra money made from work, the key is to not only look at the short term immediate need but to also look at what the money can do in the short, medium and long term. If it’s balanced the right way, it can take care of any number of needs including a little self indulgence.

 

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