Life After the Equifax Hack

Life After the Equifax Hack

Q: It seems like everybody is talking about the Equifax hack. How do I know if my information was involved and what should I do about it?

A: On September 7, Equifax revealed that it had been hacked. Hackers stole personal information on 143 million people which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the adult population of the United States. If you are an adult with a financial life, you should probably assume your information was stolen. You can protect yourself by doing three simple things.

Live Long and Prosper - planning for longevity

Live Long and Prosper - planning for longevity

Q: My financial advisor recently suggested I buy an annuity. He said it would help make sure I don’t outlive my assets. I was surprised by the recommendation because I have always been told to avoid annuities (they are expensive and illiquid, etc.). I’m in my late 50’s and I would like to get ready for retirement. Can an annuity help?

Avoiding Costly IRA Mistakes

Avoiding Costly IRA Mistakes

My column from last week (“Inheriting My Husband’s IRA”) generated several questions. One reader wanted to know if his daughter could inherit his IRA with the same rules that apply to spouses. (Sorry, she can’t.) Another reader, this one from Salzburg, Austria, wondered tongue-in-cheek what the Irish Republican Army had to do with retirement savings. (I assured him we were discussing Individual Retirement Accounts, not terrorist organizations.) As I thought about these and other questions, I decided it would be worthwhile to review three costly mistakes people make in their IRAs and how to avoid them. They are listed in order of increasing severity.

Inheriting My Husband's IRA

Inheriting My Husband's IRA

Q: My husband turned 70 ½ years old on March 7th of this year, but unexpectedly died in June. I understand that IRS rules would have required him to take a required minimum distribution from his retirement accounts this year. I am the sole beneficiary of his IRA, but I am only 57 years old. Do I need still need to start taking RMD’s this year on the inherited IRA?

What Should I Do with My Home Equity ?

What Should I Do with My Home Equity ?

Q: My wife and I bought our first home a few years ago. The home has gone up in value, so now we have some pretty good equity in our home. What do you think about using our home equity to buy stocks?

A: Congratulations on the timely purchase of your home. I am glad to see that rising home values have given your wealth a solid boost. Many first-time home buyers find themselves in a similar situation. The stock market rally has many of them asking the same question.