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 Carrie: I'm thinking of taking a distribution from my Roth IRA. What do I need to know? Are there any taxes or penalties? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: After several years as an employee, I'm launching my own construction business as a sole proprietor. I've got a great accountant for the business side, but need help figuring out the personal side of my money. Can you help? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: I've just had a baby! Things are pretty crazy in my house right now, but I want to be sure I give my daughter every opportunity I can. I have a little bit of money saved up, but I'm uncertain what the best use is for it. Should I buy a savings bond, a CD, open an investment account or put it all in a college fund? -- A Reader
First, no matter your age, all 401(k) distributions are taxed as income according to your tax bracket the year that you withdraw the money, unless you have a Roth IRA.
Dear Carrie: My daughter is 16 and has her first paying job. Does she need to file a separate tax return? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: My mother is quite independent and does a lot of her financial business online. I hear about fraudsters preying on seniors all the time and worry about her falling for a scam. How can I protect her?
Dear Carrie: I've been carrying a number of both federal and private student loans for several years. While I've been able to keep up on payments, I'm thinking about consolidating to make things simpler. Is that a good idea? -- A Reader
Dear Readers, Here we go again. Just when we thought we could put the worries of 2008 and its aftermath behind us, market volatility once again has individual investors spooked and wondering what to do. While every investor knows that risk comes with the territory, the recent wild gyrations are enough to make even the hardiest investors question their approach.
Dear Carrie: I'm thinking of refinancing my mortgage since I know interest rates are going up. Does it still make sense or have I missed the boat? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: My husband and I can't come to an agreement on whom to appoint as a guardian for our three young children. He says his brother, I say my sister. How can we reach an agreement? -- A Reader
What You Can Give Tax-Free Annually
Dear Readers: With time rushing by and the end of 2015 in sight, you may be lamenting that you haven't accomplished all that you had planned. But even if you'll have to put off certain things until 2016, you still have time this year to make some smart financial moves.
Dear Carrie: I have a question regarding my Social Security benefits from my deceased ex-spouse. We were married about 16 years, we divorced and I remarried. I am now divorced from my second spouse. Am I now able to receive survivor benefits from my first (deceased) ex-spouse? -- A Reader
Dear Readers: If you're like most people, you've made a few hare-brained money decisions in your time. That's just being human. However, if you're striving to get yourself on track, I suggest that you review these ten smart money management tips. This Halloween, treat yourself to a more secure financial future!
Dear Carrie: I'm turning 62 this fall and looking forward to starting Social Security. My good friend told me it's better to wait, but I'm eager to supplement my income. How do I decide? -- A Reader
Dear Carrie: I would like to open a savings account or a Roth IRA for my 6-year-old son. What do you think? -- A Reader
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