Rachel’s car is nearing its end of life and she’s short on cash. Should she sell before she’s hit with a major repair?
Kris has tried all the budgeting apps but they’re cumbersome and time-consuming. Is there a better way to track his monthly expenses?
An anonymous caller feels stretched thin with a high mortgage on a single income. Should she sell off some stocks to lower her monthly payments?
Cam wants to arbitrage a hefty low-interest loan with a three-year payback period. Is this the opportunity of a lifetime or a disaster waiting to happen?
Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these four questions in today’s episode.
P.S. Got a question? Leave it here.
Here are the details:
Rachel asks (at 2:33 minutes): The new and used car market has been so crazy that I’m not sure when I should replace my aging car.
I’ve driven my 2011 Mazda3 sedan for over 10 years. I own it free and clear.
I’ve kept up with regular maintenance, so I’ve had to make almost zero major repairs.
But my car recently reached 200,000 miles and I’m bracing myself for something to go really wrong.
Should I sell it now before I’m in for a major repair? Or should I drive it into the ground and then sell it or donate it for a tax credit?
The current Kelley Blue Book value is $3,000.
I don’t have the money to spend on a new car, so I’d need to finance whatever I buy next. I’m aiming to spend around $15,000.
What should I do?
Kris asks (at 25:04 minutes): What are your suggestions to simplify monthly expense tracking?
I’ve tried web-based software programs like Mint and Quicken.
They automatically download data from my financial accounts, but the process is incomplete and cumbersome:
- Not all financial institutions allow third-party access to data.
- Two-factor authentication can cause challenges for certain card issuers.
- The categorization of expenses is very time-consuming. For example, purchases made at Costco, Target, or Amazon can span several categories. These expenses have to be reviewed and categorized manually.
Is there an easier way to track spending?
Anonymous asks (at 47:21 minutes): I’m in escrow for a $510,000 fixer-upper house in Southern California.
I have $300,000 in a brokerage account, and I’m wondering if I should sell some assets to put toward the mortgage.
I plan to put 5 percent down to save some money for repairs.
Even so, my monthly payment including property taxes and fees will be $4,000, which is the maximum I can afford on a single income.
I’ll continue contributing to my 401k, but I won’t be able to set much else aside for savings.
Should I keep the money growing in my brokerage account, or would it be better to put it towards lowering my monthly mortgage payment?
Cam asks (at 1:01:21 minutes): I’m an American working in the Middle East. I save and invest as much as I can with the goal of retiring early in three years.
I recently learned that ex-pats working for my company are eligible to take up to a $200,000 loan from a local bank. It has a 1.75 percent interest rate and a three-year payback period.
Many of my colleagues have taken these loans to buy a house or invest.
I could put the money in a savings account that’s earning 4.1 percent, and still come out ahead. Or I could invest it for a much bigger upside.
Is this a good idea? If so, what’re some investment options that aren’t overly risky?
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