Guard Your Home Equity With Your Life

Home ownership is the foundation of middle-class wealth. The home equity asset is created when mortgages are paid down. It represents the difference between what your house is worth and what you owe on your mortgage. African Americans are less likely to own homes than others — fewer than half of all African Americans own their homes, compared with 66 percent for others. With fewer assets, however, we often have more pressure to tap into home equity than others. >> …

Time to Have That Talk With Your Children About Money

Whether your children are 14 or 40, if you are at or near retirement age you must have a conversation about money. The conversation should be age-appropriate, and designed not to frighten, but to inform. Still, 13-year-olds need to know how much college you can afford for them, and 30-year-olds should have a sense of how much money you will have to support yourself when you will retire and what kind of help you may need from them. Lots of …

Congress Extends a Few Tax Breaks for You

So Congress wasn’t totally Scrooge-like this holiday season, as members tossed a few tax breaks to the rest of us. They passed legislation to extend a number of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. If they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be able to take various deductions and credits when filing your 2014 tax return. >> Discussion: How do you make the most of your money? Among the key tax breaks for individuals: IRA charitable deduction. Those 70½ and older …

Help Your Grandchildren in College Without Breaking the Bank

What do you do to help your grandchildren who are in college? A big quandary for many grandparents this time of year is how to show their love and support for grandchildren who are in college. Sure, you want to help, but you want to do it in ways that are both appreciated and effective. And, you can’t afford to give them a blank check. See also: 99 Great Ways to Save Over the years I’ve chatted with a lot …