Money Bus provides financial advice in the Loop

September 2, 2010 7:40:37 AM PDT
Dozens of local financial advisors volunteered their time and expertise on Tuesday as part of Money Smart Week at Harold Washington College.

"This is a great opportunity to sit down with a counselor one-on-one and have those tough questions answered," said Stephanie Neely, Chicago treasurer.

Carol Taylor came for guidance on retirement savings.

"I know I want to continue working for sometime. I want to look at what my options are for with what I now have, what I can further do to support my retirement," said Taylor.

Advisors say for all Chicagoans saving is key.

"Where can I trim a little bit to start saving so I can have that rainy day fund? That's the first thing. That's the basic thing for financial planning," said financial advisor Leisa Brown Aiken.

ABC7 posed some of our viewers' questions to the advisors.

Sandra Simon asks: "I had a 401k at my former employer till I got laid off. I was told I need to transfer it to somewhere else. But where? IRA? IRA Roth? Something else?"

Advisors suggest rolling it over to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA and make sure the check isn't made out to you. Instead the check should go to the new account. If you get the check you'll have to pay taxes.

Amy Awe asks: "I recently accepted a severance package and want to keep the money liquidable. What is the best way to hold the money while perhaps making some interest?"

"You can go to a place like BankRate.com and you can look at banks and compare interest rates Most are paying 10 to 15 percent. Just make sure the bank has FDIC insurance and most of these banks do," said financial advisor Chris Long.

Nelson Ho wanted some guidance with his investment allocations. In his 30s and a father of two, he got the green light to take put more stock into his portfolio.

"I'm on the younger side so I can afford more equity. I need to take some risk, given I have a long investment horizon," said Ho.

Financial advisor Sidney Blum had some advice about taking that risk.

"Into the market a little at a time so that you're not worried and you see that the market goes up and down and you don't lose faith," said Blum.

Bethanne Portala asks, "What is the best way to begin building a credit history? I cannot obtain a credit card due to insufficient accounts on my credit report."

Advisors like Lazetta Braxton say a secured credit card, which may require a deposit, may be the best way to start. Then keep up with payments, or the balances can accrue hefty finance charges.

"The disposable income you could use to build savings is going to go to service debt, and obviously we're seeing a lot of people who are unable to service their credit card debt," said Braxton.

Susan Schlink and Tenley Smith had questions about debt consolidation companies. Susan asks, "Is there a credit consolidation company you would recommend or just don't do it?" Tenley asks, "Is there a reputable debt consolidation company that you would recommend?"

Money Bus advisors recommend several credit counseling agencies. They advise checking out any organization and be wary of an organization that wants money up front.

"Is there a retainer fee for just using their services? So what value are you getting based on the hidden costs that are in the contract?" said Braxton.

Money Bus stops in the Chicago Area:

April 20, 2010
9:00-7:00 p.m.
Free Financial Advice Event
Harold Washington College
30 East Lake Street
Chicago, IL

April 21, 2010
12:00-6:00 p.m.
Free Financial Advice Event
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137


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