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Veteran Services: Finance Questions

Finances

You're working, and you've got a family that depends on you - both now and down the road. Where do you invest your money? Do you borrow against the equity in your house? Through a preferred provider relationship with USAA, The American Legion can provide expert financial advice to just about any question.

Questions & Answers

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Debt - Education - Estate Planning - General - Investing
Real Estate - Retirement - Small Business - Taxes

General

What is the best way to start a withdrawal from my savings? I am 64 and three years into my retirement this October. We have $45,000 taxable yearly income at this time. What is a good plan, tax-wise? Should we pay off our car and mortgage with savings? Our savings totals about $100,000. -Terry

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I am wondering how my credit score is low if I am on time with all of my payments. I have not been late for over 16 months. My credit score seems like it never goes up. Can you please help, Thanks. -Daniel

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I have a mortgage, and I need to get life insurance so if my spouse or I should die the insurance would pay off our mortgage. Any ideas? -Wayne

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In 1998 I bought an older home in Tennessee on more than 20 acres. I lived in the house until 2003 and then bought a doublewide through the same lender and put it on my land. I tried to refinance from a 30-year fixed to 15-year fixed this year and the lender would not do it because I’m living in the doublewide and not in the house. Can I get a VA approved loan? I did use the VA approved loan on active duty in 1985. I have never been late with a house payment, and my credit is around 785. I owe less than $1,000,000 on my mortgage and do not have a second mortgage. I too am a retired E-8 of 28 years. -Herbert

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When inquiring about an auto insurance policy, the agent said that I should inquire about liability insurance for my small business. I have a lawn care service and need liability for applying pesticides. Can you help me find the information I need? -Larry

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I had my IRA in one mutual fund company. The fund was losing money, so I exchanged into another fund with a different company. I asked if I could claim a loss on my taxes as I did not remove any money during the time I had the fund. Their answer was no. About a year later the fund manager was sued by the SEC and lost, so I received money. My question is can I put that money I received back in to my IRA or does that money become ordinary income? Is that money reported on my taxes? It was IRA money to begin with, why shouldn’t it be put back? Thanks. -Tom

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I filed bankruptcy two years ago. How does this affect my chances of a loan? -Michael

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I am holding approximately $40k in government savings bonds. How do I cash them in since the banks no longer provide this service? And what would the approximate IRS tax penalty be on the interest? -John

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I would like to take advantage of the low interest rates available. I tried to find out about available offerings but was not as successful as I thought I’d be. I contacted the company that handles my current mortgage (GMAC), and received a quote from them to lower my interest rate from 6.875% to 4.25%. However, the mortgage rate that they site on their website for VA is 3.5%. Since this is my first home, I have no mortgage experience to rely on in determining whether I should go through with it or continue looking. Any advice is appreciated. - Felix

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Can you tell me the rate on purchasing a new and used vehicle? – Watson

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I’m a widow of a Vietnam vet who was 50-percent disabled when he passed away. The VA gave me widow’s benefits, and I thank you for this. My question is, am eligible for a home loan? – Karen

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I was born 02/05/1949. So how much would term life insurance be? – Terry

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My dad is a member of an American Legion post in New Jersey and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I would like to get his finances in order. Does the Legion offer elder care financial advice? – John

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My wife and I have been looking for a qualified reputable financial advisor. Are there trusted resources you can recommend for us? Thank you. – Steven

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I’ve been retired from the U.S. Navy since 1975. I have had other auto insurance and want to know if I can get USAA auto insurance before my present policy expires? – Raymond

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I am an American Legion member and so is my dad, who is 93 years old and a World War II veteran. Can I sign my dad up with USAA and enroll him in some form of burial insurance? – Lance

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My active-duty husband retires July 1, 2012, and we must make a decision about the Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) soon. USAA endorses SBP, but we’re not convinced the plan makes sense. – Coni

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I am 72 and receive $410 per month in Social Security. My wife is 68 and receives $992 per month. If I predecease my wife, will she receive my benefit or a portion of it? If my wife predeceases me, will I receive her benefit or portion of it? – Jim

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My dad is a World War II veteran in an adult care home with Alzheimer’s. I would like to apply for his health-care benefit but was told selling his house would leave him with too much money to qualify. Is there a way to do both? – James

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Is life insurance coverage available for me at age 83 and, if so, how much? – Raymond

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I have been researching combat related special compensation (CRSC), and I cannot find a calculator that can tell me how much I will make. Could someone please let me know how to figure it out or send me to a website that can do the math for me? – Richard

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Can you claim your dues paid each year on your income tax form? Is it claimed as a donation? – Donald

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I will be 85 yrs old in July 2011 and I have been notified that my annuity with Metlife will be annuitized at that time or I must take this money out. What would you recommend that I do at this time? I do not want to annuitize. – Kenneth

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My brother – retired military – just passed away from a fatal accident. His wife is in nursing recovering from a massive stroke. He has a Thrift Savings Plan; we need funds to pay for his wife’s care. Can I withdraw from the account as her POA? – Robert

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