Business Columns & Blogs

Business Columns & Blogs

Digital revolution could put us on Mars

Go back 50 years or more and the future looked to be full of flying cars, atomic-powered robots and holidays on space colonies. Even during the Apollo era, Mars seemed likely within a decade or two, with human exploration around Jupiter a cinch by 2001, or so Arthur C. Clarke implied. That sense of post-Apollo letdown many felt in the following years has tended to persist, but all the while networking technologies were transforming our lives.

Business Columns & Blogs

Grandma wants to roll Coverdell IRAs into 529 plans for all 10 grandkids

Q. I have been contributing to Coverdell IRAs for my grandchildren for several years. It now seems apparent that they will all go to college and money for K-12 education will not be required. I am also contributing to 529 plans for all of them. Just to simplify the paperwork as I get older I’d like to get rid of the Coverdell IRAs. Do I have to cash these out to add to each of their 529 plans? If so, who pays the taxes and any penalties? Is there a way to roll the Coverdell IRAs directly into the 529 plan? Do you see any benefit to keeping the Coverdell IRA’s? I have 10 grandchildren so keeping up with 10 accounts would be much easier than my current 20!

Wake County

NC’s nonprofits need succession plans

When Marjorie Menestres announced in January 2015 that she was stepping down as executive director of SAFEchild, Wake County’s child abuse prevention organization, the nonprofit’s employees and supporters had every reason to be nervous.

Business Columns & Blogs

Turning a hobby into a business could help with taxes

Q. I have a real passion for photography and if I say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. I’ve had a few nature scenes published in magazines and friends and family have hired me to document special events. The money I make is insignificant but my equipment is pretty expensive. A friend suggested that I turn my hobby into a business so I can deduct all of my equipment and other expenses. My husband’s income is pretty high so could this help our tax situation and if so, how do I go about declaring my hobby as a business?

Business Columns & Blogs

Websites that act like apps – only better – are a gift to mobile users

Mobile gadgets like smartphones are liberating when they help us do things that would have required a desktop computer otherwise – I learned this lesson again when the power was out after the hurricane. But they’re also confining in that we’re working with the mobile web, a small browser on a midget screen. Getting things done on some mobile websites can be like pulling teeth, a complicated, painstaking process in which you don’t want to make a mistake.

Business Columns & Blogs

Siblings don’t want to squander generous gifts from parents – Money Matters

Q. In the past, our parents have been very generous to my 30-year-old twin brother, our wives and me with random gifting of cash. Last year they gave each couple enough money to make a 20 percent down payment on a $250,000 home. Both he and I have a 30 year $200,000 mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate. Neither of us have any other debt; we pay off our credit cards in full every month. They have now told us that they plan to gift $14,000 to our wives and $14,000 to each of us every year for the next five years. The four of us want to make wise choices with this gifting and are worried that without a good plan the $28,000 a year will be frittered away on stuff rather than helping us get ahead financially which is what we know would make our parents glad that they made these gifts. We know they are also contributing to 529 plans for their grandchildren but don’t plan to fully fund college. So, do you have any suggestions as to what would be best to do with for this money? We would like to use some of it for fun and a replacement car may be needed but anything that would help motivate us to be wise with most of it will be appreciated!

Business Columns & Blogs

80-year-old wants to know if she should sell her former home – Money Matters

Q. I am 80 years old, live alone and have two adult children. I own two homes, one here in North Carolina in which I live and another in New York, my former place of residence. At one time, I thought I might move back to N.Y., but N.C. is my home now and I can’t imagine making any kind of move at my age let alone back up north! My home here will be paid in full next June which will eliminate over $1,200 in monthly payments. I have a home equity line on my N.Y. home and the interest only payments are under $400/month. My N.Y. home is rented and I receive around $2,000 a month but after taxes, insurance and other expenses. I don’t have a lot of spendable income. Money is tight; I can’t afford vacations, a new or used car or much of anything else beyond the essentials. After real estate commissions and paying off the home equity line I think I’d clear over $100,000. My adult children think I should keep the N.Y. home as an investment but I think I should sell. They think I should at least wait until my N.C. home is paid for and then see if I really need any more cash flow. If I wait, that will be one more year of living on a shoestring; what do you think is the best solution to my cash flow problem? If I do sell, what should I do with the proceeds?

Business Columns & Blogs

Here’s what you should know before you sign onto a debt management program

Q. My wife and I are considering obtaining help with our debt by hiring a company that offers a debt management program. We both take responsibility for letting things get out of hand and realize we need to take some action and change our spending habits. Do you think such programs are worthwhile and if so, what should we look for when deciding on a company? We’ve received solicitations from three companies and they all see a little different in the type of plans they offer and the fees vary. We really don’t want to declare bankruptcy but we are in over our heads in debt.

Business Columns & Blogs

We’re part of Samsung’s battery problem

There’s no telling what will happen when your phone catches fire. A Florida couple named Nathan and Lydia Donacher saw their Jeep Grand Cherokee engulfed in flames recently after Nathan left his new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 charging in the vehicle with the engine running while he unloaded it. The Donachers hope to get restitution from Samsung, who I suspect will admit to the problem given their announcement of a global recall on the smartphone.


Pooch a little paunchy? Here's a place to help him, and you, get in shape

VIDEO: Woofinwaggle, a fitness center and dog spa in North Raleigh, where people squat, lunge and lift weights while their pooches of all sizes and breeds stretch and balance on Bosu balls alongside them.
Casey Toth
Pooch a little paunchy? Here's a place to help him, and you, get in shape 0:52

Pooch a little paunchy? Here's a place to help him, and you, get in shape

Weather forecast for central and eastern NC 0:41

Weather forecast for central and eastern NC

Memorial Day wreath laying at State Capitol 1:42

Memorial Day wreath laying at State Capitol

N&O reporter conquers NC Beer Mile 1:40

N&O reporter conquers NC Beer Mile

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