Money Expert 2017

Expertise From the Experts

Want tips on increasing your 401k? Hoping to get into investing? Need advice on crafting your monthly budget? Our experts are here to help!

Most Recent Answers

  • Q: Is it true that you can put 10% down on your first home? - Sarah M

    A: Yes. Typically, though, if you make a down payment of less than 20 percent, you have to pay for private mortgage insurance. This insurance protects the lender if you can't make mortgage payments, and the premium is typically added to your mortgage payment.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: In your opinion, when is the best time to buy a home (in a major metropolitan city)? - Matt D

    A: The true best time depends on your financial circumstances. Regardless of home prices, you'll pay more if you can't make a down payment of 20 percent. And you'll pay higher interest rates on a mortgage if you don't have a good credit score.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: What other ways I can increase my retirement money. I max my 401k contributions already. - Gloria C

    A: If You want to set aside more, you should consider a Roth IRA. You can contribute up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you're 50 or older) if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $186,000 if you're married filing jointly or less than $118,000 if you're single.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: How do I get my children started on saving early 11yrs and 9 yrs. - Eileen W

    A: One way is to require them to save a percentage of their allowance or any money they get. Simply make it a rule that they have to set aside, say, 10 percent. You can even find piggy banks that have separate slots for spending, saving and giving. And you can agree to match the amount they save dollar for dollar to give them an incentive to save.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: Do I need a six figure salary to successfully pay off my debt? - Brian K

    Tom Zgainer

    GOBankingRates Money Expert says...

    A: You have to have discipline and the desire to pay off your debt. Determine your obligations today and discipline yourself to take care of it.

  • Q: How can I save 20K in a couple of years? any ideas? - Sylvia B

    A: My first suggestion would be to see if your company has a 401k program, and if they match. Contribute as much as you can, that way you will never see the money in your paycheck and you won't be tempted to spend it. Another way is to use an app like Digit, which helps you save money "behind the scenes."

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: Are debt relief programs worth it? - Joseph A

    A: It depends. You should be wary of any group that charges you upfront to settle your debt for pennies on the dollar. Instead, visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling's site,, to find a certified credit counselor who can help you create a debt repayment plan at little or no cost.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: I'm getting a big tax refund this year. What should I do with the money? - Ruth S

    A: If you have high-interest credit card debt, paying it down is the best use of your tax refund. Otherwise, you could use your refund to create an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses without replying on credit.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: What is zero budgeting? - Michael G

    A: Zero-sum budgeting is a budgeting strategy that involves spending every dollar you earn without any waste. For example, if you earn $5,000 per month and have $3,000 worth of expenses, you need to allocate the remaining $2,000 to debt repayment and savings.

    GOBankingRates Money Expert Team
  • Q: What is something you should never do with a paycheck? - Kristen B

    Jean Chatzky

    GOBankingRates Money Expert says...

    A: You should never spend without budgeting. You don't want to be caught at the end of the month without enough for your fixed expenses.

  • Q: What is the best personal finance app? - Laira M

    Josh Felber

    GOBankingRates Money Expert says...

    A: My favorite personal finance app is Mint. It is great for keeping track of finances.

Got a financial question? Ask an expert!

My 401k seems to have been on a steady decline, should I be concerned?

What is the difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA?

See Each Expert’s No.1 Money Tip for 2017
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