Carrie Schwab Pomerantz

Posted October 01, 2015

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

Posted September 23, 2015

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

Posted September 17, 2015

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

Posted September 09, 2015

Dear Carrie: Everyone advises the newly retired person to keep a cash reserve on hand for emergencies.

Posted August 27, 2015

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

Posted August 13, 2015

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.

Posted August 07, 2015

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

Posted July 23, 2015

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.

Posted July 09, 2015

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

Posted July 01, 2015

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

Posted June 24, 2015

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

Posted June 17, 2015

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?

Posted June 10, 2015

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

Posted June 03, 2015

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

Posted May 21, 2015

Posted May 06, 2015

Posted April 22, 2015

Dear Readers: Last week, I talked about investing concepts that people want to understand but are too often afraid to ask about -- things such as asset allocation, diversification and risk. But if you're unclear on a concept, I say ask. And ask again if you don't completely understand.