Dear Carrie: I'm 26 and in the Navy. I enlisted last year and am currently stationed in South Korea. With some extra cash I'm expecting from my next deployment, I should finally have all my credit card debt paid off and a decent cash cushion. I'm ready to start seriously saving for retirement. Is a TSP a good move? I'm not sure if I'll stay in...Read more
Dear readers: The recent market plunge has a lot of people feeling more anxious than usual. Not surprising. Feeling out of control of your finances -- and your future -- takes both a financial and emotional toll. And it's not only during times like these that money causes stress. Everyday money management -- or lack of it -- can cause problems ...Read more
Dear Readers: With so many families around the country facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I'd like to devote this column to discussing ways that we as parents can best help our kids through these challenging times.
One of the most insidious parts of this pandemic is that it has undermined our sense of personal ...Read more
Dear Readers: From singing on the balcony to community cheers for those on the front lines to young people grocery shopping for elderly neighbors, people around the world are reaching out in support of others during these difficult days. If there's a bright spot to what we're all going through, it's that a crisis seems to bring out a positive ...Read more
Dear Carrie: I just lost my job and received my final paycheck with a small amount of severance money. I'll probably need the money over the next few months, especially if my job search takes a long time, but would like to invest it in the meantime. Where's a good place to put it? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: I'm sorry to hear about your losing ...Read more
Dear Carrie: With interest rates dropping, I'm thinking of refinancing my mortgage. What do I need to know? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: Interest rates are on a lot of people's minds these days. For savers, rising interest rates are a plus, but borrowers benefit more when interest rates are low. For homebuyers and existing homeowners with a ...Read more
Dear Readers: Today we often hear the phrase "extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures." And while it's usually used to refer to large-scale problems and solutions, I think it can apply much closer to home as more and more people are faced with a fast-changing financial reality. It's not just about the markets and investors. This ...Read more
Dear Carrie: I find myself in the unfortunate position of needing some cash in the midst of this horrible pandemic and the resulting market decline. I have a small emergency fund, but that's not enough. What's the best way to generate additional cash? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: First, congratulations on having a rainy day fund. Even if it's not...Read more
Dear Carrie: My husband and I plan to retire in the next five years or so. He thinks we should move away from stocks because they're too risky, especially given all the recent market volatility. I don't want to miss out on the potential for gains once the markets straighten out. What are your thoughts? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: It's a fair ...Read more
Dear Readers: The widespread impact of the novel coronavirus has everyone on edge. And while the health and safety of our families and communities is the top concern, I've been hearing from many of you who are taken aback by the resulting market turmoil, and the speed and breadth of the decline.
Seeing your portfolio balance drop overnight is...Read more
Dear Carrie: I heard that there are some recent changes to FICO scores. What's different, and how will it affect me? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: FICO scores are odd creatures. We've all heard of them. We may even worry about them, but few of us actually understand what they mean in practice or how they are calculated. And sometimes, as you point...Read more
Dear Readers: As you may know, I'm a big champion of financial independence, and the month of March gives me a special opportunity to talk about the importance of women taking control of their finances. Why March? Two reasons.
First, the entire month is declared Women's History Month, this year honoring women who have fought and still fight ...Read more
Dear Carrie: I've heard that, generally speaking, you can get by on 70-80% of your annual income in retirement. Is that really a reliable estimate? -- A Reader
Dear Reader: A lot of people would certainly sleep better knowing they had enough money to live comfortably in retirement. That's why we have approximations like the 70-80% guideline. ...Read more