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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

Going from Finance to Tech

Tell me about switching from a career in finance to a career in tech. Lots of special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by prunes on Oct 5, 2013 - 4 answers

Principal and Interest versus Interest only.

Please confirm or otherwise guide me about the distinction between a principal and interest versus an interest only home loan, in the important context of 100% offset. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Oct 2, 2013 - 7 answers

What is the name of this book that offers financial advice in a neat way

At the airport a while back, I stumbled onto this book written I think by the people at MSN Finance. The book was called something like "Do this or that?" and the arrangement was as follows. A question was posed such as "Should I rent or stay with my parents to save on rent?" and two colorful pages were devoted to explaining which option was better. Another such question was "Should I rent or buy" as well as "Should I pay monthly for a gym membership or pay everything at all once." Its structure was similar to what one saw in those "Eat This Not That Books" that are so popular among dieters. The book I am talking about is fairly new and probably pretty popular as it was one of the titles at this airport I visited a month ago. The book was in hardback and had lots of colorful pictures. Thanks
posted by RapcityinBlue on Sep 23, 2013 - 3 answers

Advice for first time investor

Changes in my career over the last couple of years have meant that I now find myself, for the first time, being in the position of having a significant amount of spare income at my disposal. Since I have recently entered my forties I plan to invest this in the financial markets, with a initial 15-20 year timescale in mind. I am looking at investing something like $1000 per month into a managed plan split over several funds. Given that I am a total newbie when it comes to investing, what advice can people give me on splitting my pot of money across low to high risk? What are classic first-time investor mistakes? I am currently thinking about something like 90% of my investment split across low to medium risk, with the rest reserved for high risk. Does that sound reasonable? Would I be shooting myself in the foot if all of my pots were in the same currency in the same geographic location or should I diversify as much as possible? [more inside]
posted by teselecta on Sep 16, 2013 - 8 answers

Help me understand credit scores

In aug and this first week of sept, I have managed to pay three of my four cards off completely. I kept the highest balance the one because of it's age and it's the lowest %. So, now I have a credit card and a mortgage. Was paying them off a good idea? I applied for a starwood Amex and got denied. I understand it was too early but when will I see a jump in my credit and will I? I paid about 10k at average of 22%. It is a huge huge deal for me!
posted by femmme on Sep 12, 2013 - 9 answers

Identifying a failing business?

How would I go about finding a failing business/company in real life for a homework assignment? Bonus points if it is in the area of fashion or crafting. It cannot be in the air travel or auto industries. I have done a lot of looking online, but don't know where to look to identify said businesses. Thanks MeFites!
posted by michellenoel on Sep 11, 2013 - 19 answers

Where to take 10 years of Quicken data?

Quicken has always been overly complex for our needs. We have very basic financial management needs. First priority: import 10 years of spending history in Quicken and continue to categorize, track and report on all transactions from a half dozen accounts. Last priority: budgeting (so YNAB may not be for us?). Simple is better. [more inside]
posted by AnOrigamiLife on Sep 6, 2013 - 8 answers

Financial therapy?

Is it possible to see a professional who is kind of a cross between a financial advisor and a therapist? I've spent my life getting deeper in debt and I can't bear it anymore but I feel I need not just practical help but to understand why and sort out my head. I'm an intelligent person with a good job but I'm broke and stressed every month and no matter what I try it just gets worse... I am in the UK.
posted by KateViolet on Aug 31, 2013 - 3 answers

Legal settlement, we don't know where to begin.

My mother endured injuries while working for the post office that left her mostly immobile. She was eligible to retire early due to these injuries. She sued her doctors and they agreed on a settlement of 475,000 (Before misc fees and deductions). I believe its for lost wages. [more inside]
posted by Highest_Of_Fives on Aug 29, 2013 - 13 answers

Where to start when setting up a trust?

My mother has asked me to help her with setting up a trust for some assets. I get that I should contact a lawyer, but where should that lawyer be based? [more inside]
posted by doctord on Aug 23, 2013 - 7 answers

Is there a reason I shouldn't apply for/get a few more credit cards?

Lately I've been thinking I should apply for a few more credit cards in order to take advantage of points, cash back, and other bonuses. Assuming I am not currently in debt, I already own a home and don't foresee needing any loans in the near future, and assuming I pay my bill every month, is there a downside to doing this? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Aug 20, 2013 - 14 answers

How to save some money for a rainy day?

I've recently acquired a small sum of money and I'd like to put it somewhere where I can't touch it, except in emergencies. It's not a massive amount, but its more than I usually have on hand and I'd rather not squander it. If I just leave it in my bank account I know I'll end up using it up. Where can I put it so that its aavailable in emergencies but is still hard to access? If it gains interest that would also be good. I'm in Australia.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Aug 20, 2013 - 6 answers

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