5.27.20 Staying safe in hotels this Summer; Fiduciary disclosure coming to your mailbox
Support for this podcast and the following message come from Stanford small if you're a small business owner head to stand for small dot. Com for resources offers tools from a growing group of companies. That want to help your business get back to business. Visit STANFORD SMALL DOT COM to get started. I'm so glad you're with us here on the Clark Howard. Show where it's all about you learning ways to save more and spend last whenever rip you off? Our websites are Clark Dot Com and Clark deals dot com and this memorial day week is usually the unofficial kickoff of summer. I know summer actually doesn't officially start 'til right around my birthday in late June but the reality is for a lot of people. This is the kick off to summer and I've talked about how different summer vacations are going to be this year with people doing driving trips usually within five hundred miles of home. The number of people flying on airplanes has reached lows. I think last seen in the nineteen thirties. Maybe I mean it's really unreal. How few people are traveling by airplane? People don't feel comfortable with that so we're going to be on road trips and the idea when you're on the road of stopping at a hotel is one that people feel like they're they're really unequipped to know how safe that is or not now in reality. You are overwhelmingly safe staying in a hotel as long as you keep distance from other people in a hotel room. That's where you can have some risks. The handles you touch and the bathroom things like that. And this is actually easier than you might think for you to be safe. When you're on the road you don't want to congregate in the lobby of the hotel where you'd be in close proximity to a lot of people when you get to the room you want to think about you. Open that door to go into the room. Who's touched that door handle? We don't know yet. How much true danger? There is from touching a surface. Someone else's touched who may be infected with corona virus. But you know you're touching a handle other people have touched when you turn on the sink when you flush the toilet when you touch any handle in your room. The important thing is washing your hands. I mean it's no different than anywhere else. You might be the washing. Your hands is corn key to you protecting yourself as far as Surfaces within a hotel room being infected again when you look at what the CDC has said that the real danger is person to person transmission and the odds are that any surfaces or going to be. Okay but again having disinfectant wipes if you've been able to find them in order to be able to clean a surface the you're going to be. Touching is a great way for you to have peace of mind but the answer to everything in a hotel room or anywhere else is the handwashing. And as long as you do that you're going to be in a position. You should be absolutely a okay and safe to stay in. That hotel and hotels have been running occupancies. That are unbelievably low. So odds are you're going to find very very good deals on hotel. Rooms have been looking around and hotel. Prices are the lowest I've seen since two thousand eight in most places two thousand eight right at the height of Effects OF THE BANKING SCANDALS. And so it sapped all the demand. And I think you're gonNA find that you're going to get these really good deals and be safe at the same time and go enjoy yourself. Go see some part of America. It's time for your questions. And I ask you to post your questions for me at Clark Dot com slash ask producers. Cam and. Joel. Alternate asking your questions for you and Kim. What do you have I? This is from Brian in Florida. He wants to know what's the best way to save? Money for my grandchild. I'm not that much interested in an education account. He's to and who knows what education will look like in eighteen years from now. I'm thinking something like cash or gold or silver or government bonds. What do you suggest well I would say? Actually to open a custodial account at as an example at fidelity investments fidelity which has normally retail offices. You can walk into all over the country. The easiest right now is go to fidelity dot COM fidelity has an account. You can open. You don't have to reopen an account for a kid. You could open an account for yourself. Anybody can do this where you open a no minimum dollar amount account and for that two year old grandchild of yours put the money in the total stock market index fine at Fidelity the fidelity zero find it has no commissions to go into or out of and has no ongoing management expenses over twenty year period even in spite of the uncertainty of today the greatest return you can have that will be heavily tax advantaged this money for your grandchild in an index fund. Where you own little pieces of thousands of companies across the US economy? And that's what I do now. If your grandchild eventually decided to go to college then you have a bit of a problem because it affects your grandchild's eligibility for financial aid having money in in the grandchild's name there would be the case with a custodial account but it's the smartest move and most efficient move. I know when you want to put money aside for a child's future but specifically not for College Joe Clark Jerry says how do I find the best price and value on a fifty inch smart TV so fifty inch? Tv's are a real inexpensive part of the television market. And what I would do is I would start at Walmart. Dot Com Walmart offers very very low prices on off brand. Tv's which is what I'd like you to being looking at instead of a brand name and fifty inch TV's during sale periods will be cheaper than but right now fifty inch. Tv's are starting at around two hundred dollars know black Friday a fifty inch TV. This black Friday may be as little as one hundred dollars but right now around two hundred. The reason TV prices are up some because people are spending a lot more time at home and they've been buying more. Tv's and I'm looking a lot of TV's are actually out of stock right now because people have been buying so many but figure the two hundred dollar price point is about what you look for for a fifty inch and remember. The brand name does not matter. The data shows that these. Tv's are so reliable and the pictures so good one to another save your money. Kim Victoria in North Carolina. Says Hi Clark. My husband and I have had a rental property since two thousand and eight and now because my husband is close to retirement or deciding to sell it we have no idea what kind of taxes GONNA pay. Is it going to be added to our joint incomes? And do they count anything for depreciation for all these years? Yes so if you've been depreciating the property over the years you probably had money that has been Held back because you're limited. How much of the depreciation you can claim each year. That depreciation will ultimately offset Some of the game that you have since you have carry-forwards and this is something that you report the gain on the property where you take what you paid for it. Originally you have the depreciation than what you sell it for net of selling expenses and when you sell an investment property is my belief that this is a time that you don't do your own tax return that when you're selling a property it's when it's all tra- valuable for us either an enrolled agent that someone who is registered as a tax expert with the irs or that you use a CPA udeze tax to do your return for you so that you properly report that rental property I had at one time I had five rental properties now down to one and as I've sold each of those over the last few years I can tell you. The tax computations have been amazingly complicated. And that's why using a tax expert this time if not others would be very valuable to you. Joel Clark Robert says we hear a lot of ads on the radio about fraudsters stealing our home title or and then home equity do you recommend getting tidal monitoring service and then. How can we prevent this from happening? In general so great question. It's one of those things that the marketplace says put in people's minds the reality is and we surveyed five real estate moyer's independently of each other on whether or not they recommended that people buy this kind of Title Protection Coverage and it was unanimous non recommended now the good news. This is a very rare crime and now more and more counties around the country have a procedure where you can register your property for notification of any action against the title and these are free services and counties around the country because they don't want to stand idly by while title fraud might take place so it's possible something goofy could happen. Was somebody trying to steal equity in your property but it is very very rare and One thing that was pointed out by two of the real estate lawyers is even if you had some kind of monitoring service. The reality is that many times they would only be telling you about something that already happened rather than preventing crime from taking place. Kim Sam in Massachusetts says what is the best strategy for a husband and wife to do wills so that they don't conflict with each other in the event that we were both die at the same time who's wishes would be honored for care of the children if there's inconsistencies or conflicts in each other's wills that is a phenomenal question and it is really important that the two of you talk to the through depending on state law in many states if a couple dies thirty one days apart what. The instructions are in the second person's will for the children becomes the superior document however it becomes really a messy situation if a couple dies simultaneously and in each will has different instructions for who you'd like to have raising the children so what I recommend is if it's at all possible to have a meeting of the minds on who would be raising the children and it seems like that's a conversation that needs to involve compromise potentially on the part of both of you and the compromise we'd be is that you really talk through who would be first in line and who would be second line and see if you can come up with an agreement on that it. The good news is it's a very rare occurrence that both people in a couple would die simultaneously that is a very unusual circumstance usually involving a tragic accident and it is thank goodness a rare thing. The alternative is if it's something you can't come to an agreement on go sit down with a lawyer who does wills estates and trusts and see if you can come up to a procedure. The lawyer develops that will see that as best as possible. Both of your wishes are met in some way that you can both be comfortable with. Today's Clark Rave fits the theme of what we've been talking about day after day with our Clark Ravens where individuals around the country of any age or stepping forward to fill needs to protect our fellow Americans as we face corona virus. And today I want to talk about Teenager who's a senior in high school named Jona and he goes to Georgetown Day school which is the prep school somewhat related to or directly related to Georgetown University. Depending on how you look at that school's history but Jona is a kid who loves three D. Printers and there are a lot of people who tinker with them who create products with them or hobbyist with them and he knew that there was such a shortage protective masks for first responders and other people involved in medicine that he had an idea. Why not use three D. printers to make a safe yelled for people involved in providing care and so he found online open source design for it. Looks like a welder's mask. That's a space. It's a face shield that's protective and it has mushroomed around the country. All from this teenagers idea and three D. printers are now doing some is known as print to protect and they're making thousands of shields that are being distributed around the country. I love this teenagers. Adults all joining together to make a difference. A lot of the first orders for these went to firefighters and ambulance crews people that are out there helping you and me stay safe gray tabby here on the Clark Howard show where it's all about you learning ways to save more and spend less and don't let anyone ever rip you off our websites are Clark Dot Com and Clark deals dot com. And I wanNA tell you that. Speaking of rip-offs There's one. That's mysteriously likely to happen in the month of June when we're hopefully turning our brains off taking some time off and all the rest. There's been an inside the beltway fight going on for years that is going to affect you so you may if you have any kind of investment account. Get a notice in the next few weeks. That is one where you'll get legally gobbly gook from a stockbroker financial planning firm investment firm. Whatever that will be a disclosure. That's more like a nondisclosure of weather. They're really working for you or not. So it's a new form that supposed to in theory in a very orwellian kind of way to tell you whether or not the person who is helping you with investing for your future is actually working for you or not so the story is. We've had this fight going on for eight years now over weather when you get investment advice from somebody if they have to put you. I was known. As a fiduciary standard the industry of brokers and also insurance companies are so powerful in Washington. They have been able to destroy the requirement that they work in your for your interest. Only what's known as being a fiduciary so they came up with this Ma'am Be Pam? Be Alternative called best interest which is a bunch of garbage. And you're GonNa get this notice that less than more is going to disclose to you that that individual is not really there serving you now. Here's the thing what you WANNA see. Clear as day is that somebody discloses to you that they are fiduciary if they are not a fiduciary all the rest of this is just a bunch of hogwash. So fiduciary is legally required to put you first when somebody's not a fiduciary they can put you in stuff that benefits the firm. They work for or benefits them rather than you and this is something you gotTa know when you get the form you are investing with any organization and the form starts talking in terms like really. Don't make it clear to you. The only thing you need to know is are they acting as a fiduciary and if it doesn't say so they're not which means that they may put you in something because it gets more commissions they may put you in something because the brokerage firm told them to UN. It they may be putting you in things that have massive commissions which will often be true with anything from any insurance company person. Who's handling things for you? You may even be stuck with things called surrender charges. Where if you get into something and then you later WanNa get out. You have to pay huge fees to get out of it the right way to invest and. I see no gray here is if you want. Somebody's advice needs to be from somebody who puts your interest. I always and only you likely will have to pay for that advice. Typically you pay a fee or you pay percent of what you have to invest that fee will range anywhere from a tiny fraction of one percent usually capped it about one percent and the more you understand about the games that are being played particularly by full commission stockbrokers any bank related Investment Organization in any insurance company. The more you know about the games the more money you're gonNA end up with later on the best thing to do. Avoid any investing with any organization. That's GonNa play games with you and do things that put you in second place or worse now here on the Clark Howard show where alternating asking questions that you posted for me at Clark Dot com slash. Ask and I want to tell you. I'm grateful to you for taking the time to post thousands and thousands of questions for me and it gives us a great sense of what collectively is going on in people's minds right now what concerns people have and what problems are facing an producers can joel taking a an alternating crack. It asking your questions for you. Kim What do you have I I? This is from a line. All he says when refinancing. What's the range of closing costs that I should be looking at to let me know that I'm getting a good deal? What a wonderful question and closing costs can range from zero dollars to a big percentage of the amount of money you're borrowing and so there is no right number if you do zero dollar close. What's knows no closing costs? Refi you take a higher than market interest rate in return for paying. No closing costs. What I like you to do is many people only get quotes from a single lender and that puts you in a weakened position you want quotes from multiple lenders especially on a refi really easy to do with online lenders credit unions mortgage brokers and bankers. And so you're able to lay out three things one the interest rate to if you're going to have to pay any points. Each four point is one percent of the amount of money your borrowing and third the stated closing costs. The lenders have to provide you that information. When you get a quote so you can compare from lender to lender what they're quoting you on rate points closing costs what I'd like you to do you figure out what's the best one based on the cost for each offer over the first thirty months that seems to be the window. That is the best comparison shopping. So if you take what you pay and monthly payments the first two and a half years the point you'd have to pay the closing costs. Add those together for each quote you have. You'll be able to figure out which overall loan is the lowest cost for you and this. What I just said is easier to compute than it. Sounds like and the more you do that kind of homework. The better off you're going to be and the more shopping. You do definitely the more money you'll say then example. Let's say you get multiple quotes but you also have an individual. You've been getting a quote from. Let's say a mortgage broker or loan officer at a Credit Union. And you really liked that individual you like how honest they seem to be How good they are responding to you. But they're quote is not the lowest after you ran the math you go back to them having gotten multiple quotes you can say this is what I found out there. Can You Do this offer. Also and once they're in a competitive environment they very well might be able to Joe Clark. Andrew in Washington says I'm looking to take a job that offers a health insurance stipend instead of traditional health insurance. I don't know yet what the amount of the stipend will be. But I'm wondering if you like stipends as a way of receiving health insurance I have an HSA from a previous job and to which I would deposit the stipend and this job is in a state with a high cost of living. So you can only do that. Hsa deposit if you then by a high deductible health insurance plan on your own in. And I'm following this right Joel. That that the poster would be responsible for buying their own health insurance right. Yeah they're getting the sniping and then they're buying it on their own right so if you're buying on your own you typically would go on the exchange at Healthcare Dot. Gov and you see what essay eligible plans are available when you select one of those that triggers your eligibility to do that deposit into the. Hsa You have up to the limits here allowed to the typically change every year. So you gotTa have the if then you have to have the qualifying. Hsa account and this was this idea you brought to. The table was one that was talked about a what mid last decade you know. Twenty Fourteen fifteen sixteen. There was a lot of talk about people being given health. Stipends that you then use to buy coverage and it really hasn't caught on. There was another idea that employers we give you like a voucher and then you would pick from a number of insurance providers that they made available to you and that really hasn't caught on much either so you're kind of off on your own with an employer offering. This is a way for you to get Health Coverage Kim. Jae In Georgia wants no if you have any recommendations for WIFI booster or an enhancer of sorts. So there's a lot going on with Wi fi and a lot of people who are in that group that have either school kids that were home doing school or you are now. Doing work from home have found the weaknesses the Wi fi and your house pretty glaring. So I'm not into extenders amend you actually if you can afford to rolling out money there will cost you now from about one hundred thirty dollars on up to a guy. She can spend several hundred on this. For what does a Wi Fi mesh system? Why Fi meshes or for more sophisticated than having a router and an range extender and they give you the identifical. Wi Fi signal designed to reach every corner of your home depending on the size of your home. That's what can multiply out. But the basic systems tend to have three Mesh devices and instead of having a signal then extends with a range extender. You have these Mesh devices that work in concert. Typically Bell Cover. A home of three of them will cover a home three thousand square feet or so and give the identical Internet experience everywhere in the home and it is a far superior thing to the old router idea if you just go to any of the technology blogs like seen net or anything. Like that. And you put in Wireless Mesh. You'll see reviews of which ones they like best. My favorite is the or be system. Omar be I which is a neck year product seems to be the most robust and sophisticated but typically is the most expensive of them. You really need reliable internet in your home or be is where it's at Joel Clark. Carroll says I don't usually buy service contracts or extended warranties but there are so many electronics in new cars. So would it be wise suspending close to two thousand dollars for one of these extended warranties on one of my brand new car that I bought. That is a great question. Don't buy it when you buy your car if you're going to decide to keep that vehicle long-term is you get close to the end of the mileage cap on the manufacturer's original warranty or the years cap on manufacturers original warranty let's say baseline most manufacturers three years thirty six thousand mile. Some are significantly longer than that. That's when you WANNA buy the manufacturer's own extended warranty if that's something you would choose to. Do you know the math on an extended service contractor extended warranty on an automobile is no more favorable to you than it is on other things. You might buy one in other words. It's not favorable to you but the expense you can face as an unexpected expense can be quite large. And that's why it's the one form of extended warranty or service contract. I'm neutral on is for vehicle. But the only kind by is from the manufacturer itself maybe through one of their franchise dealers. But make sure you're getting the actual branded warranty for your vehicle not some Ufo when that the dealership is pushing on you and never by when you get the vehicle because remember you have that manufacturers coverage at first and who knows if you'll end up keeping that vehicle for the entire period of the manufacturer's warranty when you have a question for me posted at Clark Dot com slash ask and then producers chem. Joel alternate asking your questions. Kim Europe I. This is from Bob in Connecticut. He wants to know your opinion of the wild computer he here is. It is particularly made for seniors. The computer is looking at a very specialized market kind of like the jitterbug phone is for cellphones that overcomes the complexity of computers. But it's a lot of money. It does not seem to me to be priced right for the marketplace at all it is over a thousand dollars for very basic and the functions that it designs to make it easy to use or these very simple click buttons that are on the left hand side of the screen for you to web serve or to check email that kind of thing but it is a market that although. I think it's very thoughtful to look for something to make easier to use. I think it's a market that is far better served by a chromebook chromebook instead of paying well over a thousand dollars. Chromebooks historically started about ninety nine dollars right now because of the shortage chromebooks you have to about double that but no matter what you will spend a great deal less money and I don't think the supposed- Isa ease of use of the wild computer can even approach the extreme ease of use and the much better cost points. Price points of a chromebook and chromebooks are simple web serving machines ideal for a senior to us. This is the Clark Howard show. Thanks for joining us today. The Clark Howard show is produced by Kim droves. Joel Ours Guard. Debra Reese and Jim Airs and Remember Twenty four hours a day where there to serve you at Clark Dot Com and Clark deals dot com.