Advice and guides to help improve your finances!

Life Events

Buying or Leasing Your Next Car

Which is better, buying or leasing my next car?

It depends on factors such as 1) what kind of deal you can make with the dealership, 2) the typical mileage you put on your car...

When buying a car, how can I get the "best buy"?

You first need to decide on the type, size and options of the car you would like...

How can I negotiate for a new car?

Keep in mind that you are not just looking for a car. You also have to select a dealer with whom you will continue a long-term relationship with...

Do I negotiate on a car lease the same as I could on a car purchase?

Like a loan, the monthly lease payment is reliant on the term of the lease, the implied interest rate and the initial "purchase price" of the car...

How does an auto lease function?

Lease arrangements come in two different types: open-end or "finance" and closed-end or "walk-away"...

What is included in the initial costs of leasing a car?

Learn what the total initial costs will be when determining if you want to lease or buy...

What should I ask about the car lease?

Here are a few questions that should be answered before you sign a car lease...

When I lease a car, why is a security deposit required?

If you owe money at the end of the lease or if you miss a monthly payment, the Lessor is permitted to keep the security deposit...

How much will I be charged at the end of an auto lease?

At the end of the lease period, the federal Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) puts a limit on how much the dealer can collect...

What must the dealer disclose about ongoing lease items?

Dealers must disclose the total number of payments, total amount of those payments, a schedule of payments, and the amount of each payment...

What type of lease is a "maintenance lease"?

The dealer bears the maintenance expenses in a maintenance lease. The opposite is true in a non-maintenance lease...

Are there final costs and if so, what are they?

The final costs include...

What is an option for a lease-purchase?

At the end of your lease term, you may have the option to purchase the car...

What are my options for early termination of the lease?

You will need to pay an extra charge if you end the lease before the completion date...

What is implied by a capitalized cost reduction?

It is very similar to a down payment. You may be asked by the dealer to put a certain amount of money down before the lease begins...

Getting Married

How does legal treatment differ between married and unmarried couples?

Unmarried couples don't...

How should unmarried couples protect their estate and financial holdings?

Here are some important steps to take for couples that are unmarried...

Is more insurance necessary for married couples?

In the case of death, life insurance will provide a form of income for your dependents, children or whoever is your beneficiary...

Who needs to be notified if a spouse changes their name after marriage?

All organizations that you had correspondence with while using your unmarried name should be notified...

Should I update my will when I get married?

Definitely. When an important life event occurs such as marriage, it should be updated...

After marriage, what are the tax implications?

You are entitled to file a joint income tax return upon marriage...

Can married couples hold property?

Yes. After marriage, there are many ways of owning property...

Getting divorced

Is it possible to financially prepare for divorce?

A plan for the termination of the financial partnership of the marriage is crucial if you are thinking of divorce...

How should credit card accounts be dealt with during a divorce?

As soon as you know you are going to be getting a divorce...

What can I do when my current or former spouse's bad credit affects me?

It is possible to separate yourself from your spouse on your credit report, if the spouse's credit is hurting yours...

After a divorce, what happens to my credit history?

If the name on your account changes, lenders may appraise the application and credit line to decide if your qualifications meet the credit standards...

During a divorce, what are the legal issues that must be handled?

Make an agreement with your spouse to plan for the legal issues that will be dealt with in the future...

How does the division of property in a divorce work?

Each state has their own laws regarding the division of property between ex-spouses...

With a divorce, what are the tax implications?

Upon completion of a divorce, individual tax returns will be filed...

When retirement plans or IRAs are divided in a divorce, what happens?

If in accordance with the qualified domestic relations order or other order of the court in the case of an IRA, these plans are separated as non-taxable...

Is the cost of getting a divorce a deduction?

Typically no, although specific fees paid for income or estate tax advice due to the divorce may be deductible...

Am I entitled to deduct the dependency exemption of a child after divorce?

Typically, the custodial parent has the right to the deduction...

Death of a Loved One

What will I need if a member of the family dies?

The following is a list of papers that will be necessary...

Should I take any particular steps with regard to the assets of the deceased?

To learn how to handle the following assets of the deceased, speak with your financial advisor. General rules are as follows...

What can I do to avoid overpaying for a funeral of a member of my family?

Planning ahead is the best way to avoid overpaying for a family member's funeral...

Are surviving family members entitled to Social Security benefits?

If the deceased has paid Social Security for a minimum of ten years, he/she is covered...

What is probate?

It is the legal process of allocating the estate to the lawful heirs as well as paying the debts of the deceased...

Upon a family member's death, what taxes are due?

The following sums up the different taxes that may need to be paid upon death of a family member...

May I refuse inherited property in order to reduce taxes?

To refuse all or part of the property that is being passed on to you by a will, intestacy laws or the operation of law...

My spouse died this year; may I file a joint return for this year?

Of course. If the surviving spouse didn't remarry before the end of the tax year...

Do I owe taxes on life insurance profits payable to me?

Typically not. Unless the recipient paid for the privilege to collect the life insurance policies, they are non-taxable income...

Are distributions of a retirement plan or IRA of the deceased taxable?

Typically, yes because it is considered income with regards to the decedent...

If my spouse died without a will, how will his/her assets be distributed?

The law will pass on the jointly held assets with right of survivorship on to the joint holder...

Other situations

What can I do to resolve a consumer complaint?

You should first approach the seller of the item. Then, get in touch with the relevant consumer agency. If neither of the previous provides adequate results, a lawsuit can be filed or you may use arbitration...

What can I do to reduce my bank fees?

The following are a few ways to lessen your bank fees...

What can I do to save money on my insurance costs?

These tips will help you save on all types of insurance...

What can I do to cut my utility costs?

These are a few tips to remember to help save money with utility costs...

What can I do to reduce the cost of my phone bill?

There are many opportunities due to today's cost-cutting competition among phone service providers, such as...

What can I do to reduce the cost of my mortgage?

The options that follow will help in reducing the cost of your mortgage...