I recently asked a question in a Facebook group dedicated to midlife bloggers – “If you could get one question answered right now as it relates to personal finance, what would you ask?” I got some great responses so, without further ado, here’s the answers to my blogging friends’ questions!
“Is it necessary to have a budget for a 2 person family?” The answer is a resounding YES!! Family size has no bearing on whether you should keep track of your spending. How you set it up can vary depending on your relationship with the other person and how you both agree to handle your finances. If your finances are together you should create one budget that both of you agree to each month. If your finances are separate, both parties should agree which expenses they are responsible for and budget their funds accordingly. Which ever way you decide to handle your finances, it’s important that both parties communicate openly and honestly about money.
“How does paying off a credit card and cancelling it affect credit score?” According to Money.com, the exact formula used by the credit bureaus to calculate a credit score is a closely guarded secret. The criteria most commonly used is payment history (35%), amount owed (30%), length of history (15%), new credit (10%), and types of credit used (10%).
Paying off and cancelling a card will affect the amount owed and length of history variables and, to a small degree, types of credit used.
The utilization ratio is a very important factor in determining a credit score-how much credit do you have versus how much credit have you used? If you’re close to being maxed out, your score will suffer.
Whether we like it or not, credit scores are used by a variety of businesses when deciding how much to charge for their products and services. Insurance companies rely very heavily on credit scores when determining their rates. It’s important to keep this in mind when you are thinking about closing credit card accounts.
“Should I have Nursing Home insurance?” According to Forbes, only 8% of Americans have Long-Term Care Insurance. The article states, “The conventional wisdom of financial planners on whether to buy long-term care insurance is this: If you’re wealthy enough to self-insure, you should. If you’re poor, you can expect Medicaid to pay your long-term care costs. But if you’re in … “The Big Middle,” that’s when you need to decide whether to buy or to just count on your savings and good luck to see you through.” Long Term Care Insurance is expensive, even if you purchase it in your 50s, and there are really too many variables to answer this question with a straight “yes” or “no”. I highly suggest you read the article linked here, look at your own situation, and proceed with what you think is best.
“Is there a way to use credit cards to earn points and not get into trouble financially?” The simple answer to this question is, “yes, you can.” I do it regularly. The key is to discipline yourself and not spend money you don’t have just because you can. The issuing bank has given you a credit limit based on whatever qualifiers they have in place. By no means should you look at that as a challenge! Live within your means, pay your balance every month, and reap those rewards.
“What are the rules about “gifting” regarding taxes?” I am not a CPA and cannot advise on tax matters so I went straight to the source for this one. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a gift is “Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money’s worth) is not received in return.” The donor typically pays any tax owed on a gift, and, in most cases, gifts are not tax deductible. This link goes to the IRS “Frequently Asked Questions” page regarding gifts, and a lot of great information can be found there.
I learned a lot researching the answer to my friends’s questions and now I’d like to know what money questions can I answer for you? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a question in the comments. If I don’t have an answer right away, you can be sure I’ll do some research and find an answer for you!
Be well and God Bless – until we meet again…