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Down payment assistance

I am saving up for the down payment on a co-op apartment here in NYC. I'll estimate the sum of said payment to be in the $30-$50K range, based on current co-op prices and a down payment requirement of 20%. [more inside]
posted by the hot hot side of randy on Sep 15, 2014 - 17 answers

Business and Economics 101 for a complete newcomer

I want to become literate in two of the major fields that are the most foreign to me, business and finance or economics. Can you help with book or website recommendations? [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Sep 6, 2014 - 5 answers

Leaving the US permanently. What to do with my savings? (non-US citizen)

I'm a french citizen, I've lived in the US for the past 10 months (leaving in a month) and I have ~10k on my savings account. What should I do with the money? [more inside]
posted by eta on Sep 4, 2014 - 13 answers

Whether to spend a whole year's salary on a car

I make $93,000 net a year and want to buy a $95,000 car. I'm 28, and keen to enjoy life before I get tied down with family and other commitments. I'm seeking your wisdom. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 3, 2014 - 92 answers

mo money, mo decisions

What kind of financial planner do we want? I was referred to a financial planned by someone trusted but he's the kind that takes a percentage of your money each quarter and moves it around. This made me nervous. What options are there? [more inside]
posted by beccaj on Aug 26, 2014 - 10 answers

Calculating interest using the effective interest rate?

I need to calculate the interest to be paid on a loan of $300,000 with a term of 4 years where the effective interest rate is 10%, payable monthly in arrears. How do I do this? [more inside]
posted by herschellie on Aug 22, 2014 - 12 answers

How do you compare profits to loss due to inflation?

I'm trying to compare the compounded losses due to inflation to non-compounded profits. E.g. if inflation makes me lose 3% of an investment each year, what % would I need to profit each year in order to exactly keep up? This is tricky because the profit is not compounded the way inflation is. I'm not looking for an answer to this specific question, but rather, looking for a tool or method to do this kind of math. [more inside]
posted by brenton on Aug 21, 2014 - 12 answers

Automatic payment for your bills: What's the catch!?

I haven't used automatic billing/payment for any of my monthly bills - where the company takes out the money to pay a bill from your bank account or credit card - yet. I'm considering to begin doing this because I'm tired of keeping track which bills I have/haven't paid yet and spending time to do so. Is there any catch to using it or things of which I should be cautious? [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Aug 14, 2014 - 22 answers

Financial Ap for Dummies?

Does anyone know of a simple to use financial Ap that can be run by a fairly illiterate to technology woman? The Ap will need to be able to make spreadsheets to present the information! [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 12, 2014 - 5 answers

Loan for renovation of NYC Co-Op Apartment ? (no HELOCs/mortgages)

Loan for renovation of NYC Co-Op Apartment? (no HELOCs/mortgages). [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on Aug 5, 2014 - 4 answers

What is the best thing to do with $10,000?

I have just found out that I will be inheriting $10,000. I want to maximize whatever I do with it, but I am not sure where to start... [more inside]
posted by JoannaC on Jul 29, 2014 - 19 answers

Credit card debt not paid on in a year, repayment plan options?

Large CC debt ignored for nearly a year, going to call all collectors tomorrow to try to get a payment plan. Tips? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 23, 2014 - 10 answers

Moving to SF-Bay Area: Which local bank/credit union should I switch to?

We are moving from Florida to San Francisco and need to change banks- we're not super knowledgeable about this stuff and will definitely research more, but I'd like to get some on-the-ground opinions on how various local banks/credit unions have worked for them. Great customer service and low fees are of course stuff we care about a lot. [more inside]
posted by drd on Jul 8, 2014 - 13 answers

Most interesting science fiction/fantasy monetary or currency systems?

There are lots of interesting SF&F economic systems that are without money -- post-scarcity AI-nano cornucopias, magic subsistence economies, etc. For those who imagine worlds that still have money, though, what are the most interesting speculative monetary/currency/financial systems? (Please feel free to mention the obvious-to-you, as I've got big gaps in my SF&F reading and watching.) Thanks! [more inside]
posted by deathmarch to epistemic closure on Jul 6, 2014 - 18 answers

Personal financial help for student loans and taxes?

I need some financial planning / loan help. I graduated from grad school a year ago, and I'm getting my life together. I'm doing well professionally, juggling freelance gigs -- this doesn't necessarily mean I'm paid well, but I'm happy and fulfilled with what I'm doing. But my personal finances are a total wreck, and I need a professional to help. Who should I be looking for? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 18, 2014 - 4 answers

Explain business to an innumerate child.

I'm working on a novel (yeah, yeah) in which the bad guys are, among other things, a couple of rival business-criminal assholes. I know nearly zero about business, finance, and politics, and I don't want to talk about these folks in ways that show me to be the faffy prancing buffoon I really am. [more inside]
posted by Mister Moofoo on Jun 11, 2014 - 11 answers

Take my money, please!

Manilla is closing, and I'm heartbroken. This app takes care of all of my accounts. Credit union, bank, investments, credit cards, amazon card (which mint can't do), auto loan, mortgage, utilities, subscriptions, everything! So I need a replacement. [more inside]
posted by notaninja on May 29, 2014 - 3 answers

Is Claritas Investment Certificate a good intro to finance / CFA paths?

Mefites who do finance: is the Claritas Investment Certificate a useful certificate if I want to learn the basics of finance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 28, 2014 - 5 answers

I have $5K to invest. What ought I do with it?

It's from my lovely wife's recent inheritance. It's not a lot, I know, but enough that we don't want to just stick it in the bank. [more inside]
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit on May 26, 2014 - 13 answers

How can I protect my money in light of the coming financial collapse?

There has been a lot of talk about an imminent financial markets bubble and I find that I am heavily invested in the S&P500 through an IRA (rolled over from a 401K after I was laid off). I also have a relatively small amount invested through a standard brokerage account, but the majority is in the IRA. I don't know jack about sigma events or black swans, but I can recognize when the chatter is starting to form a cohesive message. I also know that I have a ton more exposure now than in 2009. In fact, the post crash boom years have been quite good to me. My question is obviously, is there a proven strategy to protect against a coming financial crash? At what point do I pull the trigger and put everything into bonds? Is there a hedge against a collapse? My fantasy is that I pick the right time to pull everything and then clean up post crash on rock bottom blue chip stocks. [more inside]
posted by MajorDilemma on May 20, 2014 - 14 answers

Ethical 30-year fixed co-op mortgage in NYC?

NYC MortgageFilter. We want an affordable 30 yr fixed 80% LTV co-op loan that underwrites quickly - but! With either ethical considerations or portfolio from a local lender. Need reccs. for lenders and especially loan officers please; or really savvy NYC mortgage brokers. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on May 20, 2014 - 6 answers

Administrative assistant? Bookkeeper? 1 day a month? I hate paperwork

Ok, I went freelance about 4 years ago…and it’s been great. My problem is this: I spend time avoiding paperwork. I have a small set of tasks that someone could do. I’d like to hire someone for (at the least) handling invoicing and collections. What/who am I looking for? Is that a bookkeeper? [more inside]
posted by Towelie on May 19, 2014 - 10 answers

'right of first refusal' as a real estate tool

This question is following up on one I posted almost a year ago, trying to arrange sale of house to tenants who could not qualify for a bank loan (a resounding NO to self-financing and promissory note). If at all viable, I will follow up with an attorney; otherwise I will let it go. Here's the idea: They can now qualify for a $130K loan. The house is zestimated at $170K. What about selling them a right of first refusal for $40K to buy the house at $130K? They would pay me up front for the right and for my promise to make the house available within x time for them to exercise that right. They would of course still have to come up with a down payment for the bank/mortgagor, but I think it's more their credit than their cash flow that has been a problem in the past. Even as I type this I'm imagining Murphy's Law kicking in, but seems riskier for them (buyers) than for me.
posted by mmiddle on May 9, 2014 - 14 answers

Help us weigh financial priorities.

My family's income has just increased, and we're having trouble choosing between financial priorities. Advice? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 9, 2014 - 17 answers

Australian almost/quasi/kinda self-managed super fund?

I'm a freelancer. I don't yet have enough in my super to make it worthwhile converting to a self managed super fund due to the management costs. Or so I believe. But I figure I have the time to weather some major market wobbles, so I would like my super to be a more aggressive. Is there anyone offering some kind of buffet style super, and with reasonable management fees? The more fine-grained/wider choice the better, though I don't think I need to be picking particular stocks. And if not, I'd be interested in anyone's favourite high growth super funds, or insights into the cost of SMSFs.
posted by hifimofo on Apr 6, 2014 - 2 answers

Final pre-purchase car questions!

Continuing my car questions (1, 2, 3). We’re buying a gently used Forester. Two questions I need to resolve before picking up the car: should I finance any part of the purchase (can pay all cash), and should I pay to extend the bumper-to-bumper warranty to seven years? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Mar 26, 2014 - 14 answers

Savings vs. debt for short-term gap-stopping

If a person is flat broke for a relatively short period of time (<10 days) but some expenses are unavoidable during that time,* is it better to raid a savings account or to use a credit card to pay for the expenses? Assume that the interest rate on the credit card is shamefully high, and that the savings account is very modest (<$500) but nonetheless a good morale booster and safety blanket. [more inside]
posted by magdalemon on Mar 19, 2014 - 28 answers

Please help me organize my investments and finances! (401k Rollover!)

Need help deciding what to do with my investment finances, including rolling over my prior Co. 401k rollover. I hold 2 401ks, 1 Roth IRA and I'm planning maybe on an index Fund. Details inside! [more inside]
posted by PetiePal on Mar 18, 2014 - 8 answers

Who does Mario Draghi remind me of?

Every time I see a picture of ECB president Mario Draghi in the newspaper, I feel a small flicker of recognition. It's starting to drive me bananas. Who does he look like? Google image link here.
posted by rollick on Mar 7, 2014 - 38 answers

Getting cold feet on refinance with unknown 3d party credit union

Does anyone know the skinny on CU Community, a credit union lender based in Springfield, MO? [more inside]
posted by mmiddle on Mar 6, 2014 - 6 answers

Printed bank statement may have fallen into wrong hands. What to do?

My mother still gets her bank statements by paper mail. Her latest one failed to be delivered for 2 weeks now, and she verified the bank mailed it, so we assume it was delivered by the mail carrier to the wrong address, or dropped, or something. Nothing has happened yet, but it seems best to guard against the worst-case scenario, namely that someone else now has her home address, bank address, all account numbers (including retirement accounts), possibly other identifying information, and has the willingness to exploit it. What are the prudent steps we should take? [more inside]
posted by StrawberryPie on Feb 25, 2014 - 9 answers

In search of some intermediate financial advice.

MeFites have always been pretty good at giving basic financial advice, like how to start saving, building a budget, getting out of debt, etc. I'm there already. I find myself in the surprising situation of being comfortable these days, and I'd like to know: what's next? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 20, 2014 - 13 answers

Help me start saving for retirement (U.S.)

I would like to finally start saving for retirement! I'm thinking a Roth IRA is the way to go (unless you think otherwise and can tell me why), but I am a little confused/overwhelmed with how to proceed. A few snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Feb 20, 2014 - 14 answers

What's more important? Parental presence or top schooling?

Okay, this may well be a false choice but I'm trying to sort this out in my mind -- I see two roads ahead of us, one in which we stay where we are currently living -- an underwater house in good shape in a middling-to-poor neighborhood (but with adjacent nicer amenities) -- which is affordable and where we are making enough money to save for all the things we need to save for (retirement, college, cash savings, etc.). OR, we can buy our way into a nicer neighborhood and school district, keeping this house as a rental. Right now my husband and I are both working at well-paying jobs and our 3-year-old is in full-time daycare. My goal, when she starts kindergarten in 3 years, is to work 3/4 or less time, so that I am home with her after school and do to this for the rest of her school years. [more inside]
posted by amanda on Feb 15, 2014 - 32 answers

Teach me things... awful things...

I need to learn about financial instruments and trading at an intermediate level. I have a basic, 101-type understanding of how CDOs and CDS-es work and what hedging is, but I need to get to the next level, because I'm still getting lost in conversations where people are talking about complex synthetic CDO strategies, delta hedging, correlation trading, ABCP, and similar topics. Is there a book I can read, a course I can take online, anything you can recommend I do to start getting much more comfortable with this securities stuff at a high level? Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by prefpara on Feb 13, 2014 - 8 answers

Freelance / self-employed tax deduction for reimbursed travel expenses?

Can a freelance / self-employed person (filing Schedule C) deduct from her taxes the cost of business travel (airfare, lodging) that she was later reimbursed for? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Feb 9, 2014 - 3 answers

is long-term care insurance reliable?

I have been paying $100/mo. for several years now for long-term care insurance with a carrier that is as good a bet as any in the market. But that is a big hit in my budget, and will be even bigger when I retire in a couple of years. It's kind of early in the overall history of this kind of insurance to be drawing conclusions from gathered data, but worst case, it could be just another corporate sleight-of-hand deal for sucking money out of the paycheck-to-paycheck crowd. I can not rely on family as an alternative strategy; I am in fairly good health so far. Should I consider this an essential expense?
posted by mmiddle on Jan 27, 2014 - 18 answers

Financial Management: Spending and Saving

For the first time in my life I'm actually making decent money! How do I balance spending and saving? [more inside]
posted by masters2010 on Jan 26, 2014 - 14 answers

I feel like I’m not good enough. How can I battle my depression

I’m a 25 year old female and have been going through a lot of depression over the past year, mostly in the areas of finance and romance. [more inside]
posted by summertimesadness1988 on Jan 25, 2014 - 19 answers

Unlocking Contracted Recurring Revenues to use for Debt Collateral

Every month my company sells roughly $15,000 worth of monthly recurring revenue contracts with five year term lengths. The service sells for $1,000 per month so every month we sign on 15 new customers. $15,000 * 12months * 5 years = $900,000 (total contract revenue for all 15 contracts sold during the month) We've maxed out our borrowing on physical assets held by the company and I need to find a way to unlock these revenue streams to use as collateral for further growth. What's the best way to do this? I would prefer to not have to go to every customer and amend their contracts in any way. Thanks!
posted by Paalen on Jan 24, 2014 - 16 answers

It takes a (retirement) village. Or does it?

My dad-in-law and his wife are getting ready to chunk out the $ to move into a retirement place. I'm looking for input about these kind of "all inclusive" retirement places, their financial setups, and possible alternatives for them. [more inside]
posted by ecorrocio on Jan 18, 2014 - 22 answers

Socially responsible credit card?

I need to sign up for a new credit card and am looking for one that is as socially/environmentally responsible as possible (i.e. not tied to big banks, corporations and/or oil companies who would be profiting off me as a consumer and doing bad things with that profit). Does such a card exist? I've searched online but am wary of bias.
posted by athousandtelephones on Dec 29, 2013 - 10 answers

Reliable sources of corrective financial advice in South Carolina?

My in-laws in South Carolina, who don't have a stellar history with money, are facing some challenges that are really restricting their circumstances. They're not against cleaning up their act in terms of budgeting and being smarter about money, but don't really have a head for it. What's the best way to help from a distance? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Dec 5, 2013 - 6 answers

How do I find the best rate to refinance my car loan?

My credit is good. My loan on my new-last-year Toyota Yaris is awful; the interest rate is absurdly high. My credit union, who issued the loan, doesn't want to help. How do I find the best rate I can get on a refinance? [more inside]
posted by drjimmy11 on Nov 25, 2013 - 17 answers

I want to set up a fund for the children of a friend who passed away

A very close and dear friend of mine passed away a few days ago at a very young age and left behind a wife and 2 very young children ages 3 and 1. I would like to set up an investment fund for his children in his memory which people can donate to and will accrue interest until they are ready for college. To increase the chances people will donate I want it to be possible to use paypal or google wallet. I know nothing about finance or laws or any of the things that I imagine come with setting this up. Can anyone advise? Thanks in advance
posted by postergeist on Nov 12, 2013 - 5 answers

Best way to buy Twitter stock on IPO day?

I'm a huge fan of Twitter and surprised how quickly they're going to IPO from the announcement just a few weeks ago (the IPO is supposed to happen tomorrow). I have no idea where to start, when to try and do this, how the process works for a layman. Is there any easy way to buy a couple hundred shares of the stock on the first day? [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Nov 6, 2013 - 9 answers

Financial Planning Advice for a Financially Clueless Expat

I am a 29 year old American expat, living and working abroad in BRICs for nearly 6 years now, who needs help in getting my financial act together. Due to limitations of my company- I have not been able to contribute to a 401(k) for at least five years now, and in the last few years my salary has exceeded $135k/year, so I can't even contribute to a Roth IRA. As far as I can understand, there isn't really anything more in the basic United States system for retirement that I can take advantage of… so now what? Am I really on my own now? Are there any websites with info geared towards this? Or should I get a financial/wealth planner? Or an "expat" tax accountant? Or both? How do I even start to find one? I have no idea what to look for! [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 5, 2013 - 9 answers

Bankruptcy attorney near Lynchburg, VA?

My mother is in between work right now, with very sporradic temp gigs that don't pay enough. I think she needs to talk with a bankruptcy attorney, but she's ashamed and intimidated. I'd like to help her by giving her actual referrals. Difficulty: I'm long-distance from her. She is located in Lynchburg, VA. General advice would also be welcome--for example, how long might she be able to drag out the foreclosure and still live in her home? Details inside! [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 31, 2013 - 5 answers

What should my elderly parents do with their only asset, a liquid $250K?

I'm seeking as many opinions as I can get from people with knowledge of financial advising and/or trusts & estates and/or estate planning, about what my parents (in their 80s) ought to do with their $250,000 in liquid assets. I'm NOT looking for the kind of detailed plan we'd get from an advisor whom we hire; I'm looking for short, quite general, common sense answers (such as "These ONE OR TWO types of instruments are good/bad; all others are to be avoided/considered.") I'm also looking for as many answers as I can get. In order to get that assortment of answers, I want to disclose only a very few specific things about the folks: 1. they currently rent an apartment; they do not own a home. 2. they are in their 80s--relatively healthy and can drive, shop, take care of themselves, but I'm not sure how long that'll last. I'd like to see them in a retirement community within a couple years. 3. Their only income (which doesn't amount to much) is social security. 4. They lose about $2,100 in total expenses every month. That's just about equal to what they take in each month. 5. Their one and only significant asset is a liquid $250,000. Okay, at their age, and considering all the above, WHAT IS/ARE THE MOST PRACTICAL THING(s) THEY SHOULD DO WITH THAT LUMP OF LIQUID MONEY? THANK YOU from their worried adult child with a family of my own!
posted by losdavos on Oct 24, 2013 - 14 answers

Should I dump money into my retirement index fund if the market craters?

I have a bunch of money I've been wanting to dump into a low-fee index fund all year. (It's my retirement account.) I've been holding off because of the whole budget/debt ceiling business that's been going on all year. It looks like events will be coming to a head this week. If the market totally craters, would that be a good time to buy? [more inside]
posted by evil otto on Oct 13, 2013 - 16 answers

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