As chief strategist/consumer education for Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., Schwab Pomerantz is a leading advocate for individual investors. She speaks and writes extensively about personal finance issues and is a driving force in the movement to improve financial literacy in America. As president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, she also oversees the company's philanthropic strategy and resources.
With her father, company founder, chairman and CEO Charles R. Schwab, Schwab Pomerantz co-authored "It Pays to Talk: How to Have the Essential Conversations With Your Family About Money and Investing," which Publishers Weekly called "a well-rounded primer that provides one-stop shopping for the many phases of financial understanding and planning."
Schwab Pomerantz is a sought-after speaker whose public appearances have included appearances on "The Today Show," CNBC and NPR. In 2001, Working Woman magazine recognized her as one of four “Market Movers” in America who are “rewriting the rules of finance,” and she was also recognized as one of the “25 power Elite” in the financial services industry by Investment News. For four consecutive years, The San Francisco Business Times has named her one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Schwab Pomerantz later earned a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University. She holds NASD Series 7, 63 and 8 registrations.
Dear Readers: Fall is in the air and that means three important things: summer vacation is over, the kids are back in school, and it's open enrollment for most employer health care offerings. While you may have mixed feelings about the first two, the opportunity that open enrollment offers you to plan for health care costs while saving on taxes is nothing but positive to me. So if you're lucky enough to have an employer that provides a health savings account, a flexible spending account -- or both -- I recommend looking into them at the first opportunity.
Dear Carrie: I'm retiring. My wife retires in four years. We don't plan to pay off our "good" home mortgage debts, seeing as they provide tax relief. But my instinct is to settle all major "bad" debts (associated with credit cards, home equity lines of credit, etc.) in order to start retirement with a clean slate. Trouble is, we don't have cash in hand to pay off these "bad" debts. My wife thinks that my instinct to start retirement debt-free is a crackpot idea. Is she right? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: My wife and I are both turning 66, and I understand that this is "full retirement age" according to the Social Security Administration. Should we both file on our birthdays, or is it better to wait? And could a spousal benefit help us collect more? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: Everyone I know seems to be setting up a living trust, even my friends who aren't that wealthy. My husband and I have wills, but that's it. How do we know whether we need a trust? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: Everyone advises the newly retired person to keep a cash reserve on hand for emergencies.
Dear Carrie: I'm turning 65 in a few months and getting close to retiring. My ex is also turning 65, and as far as I know, he's still working. I would like to file for my ex-spouse's Social Security benefits but don't really want to talk to him about it. Does he have to be involved? -- A Reader
Dear Readers: When it comes to money, marriage changes things -- a lot. From owning property to retirement planning to estate planning to filing taxes, the rules are different -- and largely more favorable. And now that the Supreme Court has paved the way for same-sex couples to marry, millions of additional Americans will be able to receive the advantages heterosexual couples have enjoyed for years.
Dear Carrie: It seems pretty clear that after many years of below-normal levels, interest rates are about to start climbing. What does this mean for my investments and for my finances in general? -- A Reader
Dear Readers: When the stock market plummeted in 2008, I got a lot of questions about the wisdom of investing in stocks. Now that the market has had a pretty good run, I'm getting questions from stock investors who are nervous about the future.
Dear Carrie, Two and a half years ago my husband and I moved from a home we had owned and lived in for ten years. At that time we bought a new house and have been renting out the old one. Will we have to pay capital gains if we sell the old house? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: My daughter just graduated from college. Although she took several economics classes, she really doesn't have a clue about handling her own money. How can I help her start out on the right foot? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: A friend recently told me that her financial adviser suggests using age 95 as a life expectancy when planning for retirement. Is this realistic? If so, my wife and I would be afraid to spend a dime. What about living for today? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: My husband died recently, and it's just me now. Who will look out for me if I have issues with Medicare or Social Security?
Dear Carrie: My husband and I are both 62 and trying to prepare for retirement. He was a stay-at-home dad (no paycheck and no retirement account), and I plan to continue working for at least another five years. Can I now open an individual retirement account for him? Also, can he receive Social Security benefits on my work record? Do I have to retire for him to be eligible? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: We are expecting our first child soon and trying to get financially prepared. We know college is high on the list, but that's so far in the future. What about now? What should we focus on first? -- A Reader