Why are the credit scores that I get from the three major credit report agencies different from the score that a financial institution uses when I apply for a loan? Why are the scores different on all three bureaus' reports even when pulled on exactly the same day? — Curtis S.
The three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—use proprietary algorithms to generate your credit score. And your lender may MOREJul 31, 2012 6:30 AM ET
I just graduated in May and started my first job this past week. I plan on putting the maximum amount that my company will match into my 401(k). But what should my allocation be? Will a standard 60% stock, 40% bonds allocation work for a brand new investor? — Robert F.
First, congratulations on your decision to start saving right away. By starting early, your savings have more time to benefit MOREJul 30, 2012 6:30 AM ET
I know that withdrawals on earnings in a Roth IRA are non-taxable once the IRA is over five years old. If I fund a Roth IRA now, do I still need to wait five years before earnings withdrawals are tax-free, since I am 67 and already at retirement age? — Dan B.
Although 59 ½ is the age after which most people can withdraw Roth IRA earnings tax-free, no matter what your MOREJul 27, 2012 6:30 AM ET
I own a house worth $400,000 and have $160,000 outstanding on my mortgage. Is it a good idea to refinance the mortgage at about 3% for a 15-year mortgage and cash out about $100,000 equity to pay for my kids' college? Because the interest rate is so low and mortgage interest is tax deductible, I thought this might be a good plan. I am 48 and my wife is 45. MOREJul 26, 2012 10:46 AM ET
I forgot to file my 2010 income tax return. I just found out when it came time to prepare my 2011 taxes. I didn't have enough income to owe anything, however. Should I file anyway? ― James H.
You're required to file only if you make more than $9,500 (if you file individually) or $19,000 (if you're married and you file jointly). If you earned less than those amounts in 2010, MOREJul 25, 2012 6:30 AM ET
I've been looking for the right kind of investment tool for college savings. My son is eight years old, and my husband is 56. Does it make sense to consider college savings plans, such as a 529 plan, when we have old 401(k) plans we could withdraw from after we reach 59 ½? ― Nancy C.
Yes, it makes sense to consider college savings plans rather than planning to withdraw from MOREJul 24, 2012 5:50 PM ET
I recently put all of my retirement funds into TCW Emerging Markets Income fund (TGEIX). It is a Morningstar-rated, five-star fund with a yield around 6%. This allows my $2 million nest egg to generate enough income live comfortably without reducing my principal. The fund owns over 100 different bonds from several countries, so I feel there is some diversification built in. Am I making a mistake putting all my MOREJul 23, 2012 6:30 AM ET
My daughter is planning to start at the University of Illinois at Chicago this fall. She did not qualify for assistance, due to my income level. The college is giving her $5,500, leaving her with a balance of $27,912 per year. My wife and I cannot afford to pay any portion of her tuition and we have no savings. When she was turned down for Stafford loans the loan officers MOREJul 20, 2012 10:43 AM ET
I understand the tax code may have major changes next year, especially where inheritance and gift taxes are concerned. How do you decide how much you can gift while alive to lower estate taxes? — Elinor A.
If Congress doesn't extend the tax law provisions set to expire at the end of 2012, there will indeed be changes to the gift and estate tax rates and exclusion amounts, says Gil Charney, MOREJul 19, 2012 6:30 AM ET
Could you tell me the easiest way to get an updated Social Security statement? When I called on the phone I was put on hold and never got through. ― Bruce C.
The Social Security Administration's new online statement is the best way to keep track of your Social Security information, according to Kia Green of the SSA's press office.
Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on the "Get Your Social Security Statement MOREJul 18, 2012 4:25 PM ET
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