Our daughters go to college soon. We have $25,000 set aside for each. My financial advisor says to withdraw it or it will affect their chances for scholarships. What do you think? — Ethan
I disagree. It’s like saying you should quit your job to get food stamps. You guys obviously aren’t poor, and any financial advisor who says you need to fake being poor in order to get help is not a person whose advice I want to follow.
When your kids apply for scholarships and assistance, your entire financial picture will be assessed. More funding goes to kids from poor families than rich ones, but that’s only fair. Chances are, you fall somewhere in the upper-middle portion of the scale.
It’s just not honest to try and act like you’re poor when you’re not. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. — Dave
What do you think about the HARP program, and what exactly is it? — Ann
The Home Affordable Refinance Program is designed for people who have made their payments on time but are underwater on their mortgages. Being “underwater” means they owe more on their homes than the homes are worth. So basically it gives them the opportunity to refinance their home loans.
The HARP program is the only part of the Making Home Affordable program that actually worked. And to be honest, it has worked well. In contrast, the recent Home Loan Modification program is a piece of junk and all about political posturing. About 93 percent of the people who applied for a home loan modification didn’t get one. It was just another case of the government pretending to do something.
I’d advise looking into the HARP program if you’ve got a good credit history and you’re underwater on your current home. Lots of HARP program applications are being approved, and the deals are closing. That’s what really matters when you find yourself in a situation like this. — Dave
My wife and I were in an auto accident, and the insurance company doesn’t want to cover the damage due to a technicality. I need a replacement car while we fight this out. We have $7,000 in savings and don’t want to spend it all. What should we do? — John
You can definitely find your wife a good used car for what you’ve got in the bank. However, leaving yourselves with no savings whatsoever is not a good plan.
I realize no one enjoys driving a beater, but that’s what I’d do right now. Just look at it as a rental car. If you spend $1,500 on a little used something, you will have $5,500 left in your savings. Just act as your own insurance company for a while. Then, when the big guys pay up, you could just plug it back into your savings account.
Even if they don’t pay, you’ll still have a nice chunk of change sitting there. It wouldn’t take long to save up enough to upgrade that little hooptie to something nicer and more reliable while still keeping the majority of your savings intact! — Dave