Business Columns & Blogs

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.

Business Columns & Blogs

Money Matters: How to handle an inherited IRA

Q. Our 83-year-old dad passed away earlier this year and left the three of us as equal beneficiaries of his IRA. He had not taken his required minimum distribution for 2016 and we know that needs to come out before the end of the year. My brother and I are in pretty high tax brackets and my oldest sibling is retired and living on a small pension and Social Security. She has suggested that we let her take Dad’s required minimum distribution since she is in a lower tax bracket and she also needs the money more than my brother and I. Our oldest sis was the executrix for Dad’s estate and we know this was a lot of extra work for her so we don’t mind giving her the extra distribution and avoiding the tax hit. Three questions: is this permitted, when we take our own distributions do we have to use our older sister’s age to determine the amount we have to take out each year, and can one or any of us convert our share to a Roth IRA? My brother and I would rather pay the taxes in one year and then not have to take distributions in subsequent years or if we decide to take distributions they’d be tax free.

Business Columns & Blogs

Is it better to take a widow’s benefit or your own Social Security benefit? – Money Matters

Q. I was the higher earner and younger than my recently deceased husband. I just retired and started taking my Social Security benefits at age 62 several months ago. He began taking his benefits a few years ago when he turned 62. Since I’ve started my benefit is there a way I can switch to a widow benefit and let my benefit increase until I’m 66 or even 70? If so, does it make any sense to do so?

Business Columns & Blogs

Money Matters: Rules let you donate to charity straight from IRA

Q. This is my first year to take a required minimum distribution from my IRA. Fortunately, I don’t need this money to meet expenses and I really don’t want to pay more income tax than I have to. A friend told me that I could donate all or some of the distribution to a qualified charity and the tax deduction would help reduce my taxes. Another friend told me they read that in the past you could donate directly to a charity from your IRA in the year in which you turn 70 1/2 . Is this still an option and if so, is there any reason to figure out how to do this versus just taking the required minimum distribution and then writing a check to the charities of my choice? If I can make a charitable donation directly from my IRA, do I still get a charitable deduction for the amount donated?

Videos

UNC's Roy Williams: 'We’ve got to be sharper defensively'

Roy Williams talks about the hard-fought win over Boston College on Saturday, January 21, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com
UNC's Roy Williams: 'We’ve got to be sharper defensively' 6:36

UNC's Roy Williams: 'We’ve got to be sharper defensively'

DC official: Estimated turnout for Women's March in D.C. at 500,000 1:55

DC official: Estimated turnout for Women's March in D.C. at 500,000

Women’s rally in Raleigh draws thousands in solidarity with DC march 0:23

Women’s rally in Raleigh draws thousands in solidarity with DC march

What's Next from Barack and Michelle Obama 2:03

What's Next from Barack and Michelle Obama

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