We answer your questions about saving for a home, credit cards, multiple checking accounts, teacher’s pay, and college expenses.
1. Should I use a Roth IRA account to save for a home down payment? No, a Roth IRA is a long term investment geared toward retirement. You can withdraw the principle without penalty but cannot access any gains until you reach fifty nine and a half. Just opening a standard Betterment account will be more useful to earn money towards a down palyment.
2. Is it bad to open a credit card, get the promotion on offer, pay if off and then close it right away? It’s not bad to open the account and can be beneficial. The more available credit you have, the higher your score. The more creditors you have, the higher the score. More people have judged you a good risk. Opening a new account does lower the average age of accounts which is one of the components of a credit score. Closing the account is a bad thing though. It lowers your available credit. All of this advice with the caveat that all cards should be paid in full each month.
3. I have four checking accounts, all with different purposes. None of them have fees. Should I have less? Having multiple accounts makes things more complicated. If you were to need a large sum of money for something, you may have enough but you have to transfer money around so that it can be covered from a single account.
4. I’m a teacher with the option to receive my salary over the nine months I work or over the entire year. I currently spread it out over the year, is this the right decision? This depends on your ability to do the right thing. If you’ll take the extra money from getting paid for nine months and invest it, then that’s the right thing. More time and money to grow the investment. But if you tell yourself you’ll do it and don’t follow up, then you’re going to be mowing lawns over the summer.
5. I have two years of high school before college. What can I do now to cut down on college expenses? Choosing whether or not to got to college is a business decision. Will going cost you more money than you can ever pay back? A state school will be more affordable than a private one. Going to a community college for the first two years and then moving on to get your bachelor’s is also much less expensive. Get a part time job now and while in college and use the money for expenses, not dinners out. Apply for scholarships before and during school. See if you can test out of some classes to save time and money.
We love to answer listener questions. Keep sending them in!
Boulevard Brewing The Sixth Glass: A dark, full bodied ale.
Betterment: An investing tool to help grow your money for anything from retirement to buying a home.
College Info Geek: The real cost of student loans.
College Info Geek: Saving money on text books.
College Info Geek: Tips I learned my sophomore year.
LMM Episode 32: Our interview with Adam Carroll discussing the college loan debt crisis.
LMM Episode 58: Money mindfulness.
Tuition Discounts: A website that shows state and regional college tuition discounts.