What are Student Loan Borrowers Thinking? Insights from Focus Groups on College Selection and Student Loan Decision Making

Johnson, C. L., O’Neill, B., Worthy, S., Lown, J. M., Bowen, C. F. (2016). What are student loan borrowers thinking? Insights from focus groups on college selection and student loan decision making. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 27(2), 184-198.

Brief Description: This study used data from online focus groups to understand college students’ decision-making process when borrowing money to finance their education. Respondents were asked eight questions regarding their college selection and student loan decision-making. Results suggest that (a) …

Monthly Investment Message: March 2017

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

March 2017

Don’t Overwithhold Income Tax Money- Invest It

Many people deliberately have extra federal and state income taxes withheld from their paychecks. Two advantages of overwithholding are that there’s no access to this money and, therefore, it can’t be spent recklessly, and the refund makes a nice windfall once a year to pay off debts or buy “big ticket” items. Two disadvantages are that taxpayers must wait …

Monthly Investment Message: April 2017

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

April 2017

The Rule of 72: Applications for Investors

To quickly estimate how long it will take for a sum of money to double, divide 72 by the expected interest rate that can be earned on a savings or investment product. For example, $2,000 placed in an IRA invested in a stock mutual fund would grow to $4,000 in nine years at an 8% average annual return (72 …

What Are the Minimum and Maximum Amounts That Can be Saved Each Year in an IRA?

Federal tax law limits 2017 contributions to a traditional and/or Roth IRA to $5,500 for a worker with earned income ($6,500 for those who are age 50 or older before the end of the year). An additional $5,500 can also be saved for a worker’s spouse, regardless of whether or not the spouse is employed. In addition, spouses who are age 50 or older can contribute an additional $1,000 ($6,500 total) for a total of $13,000 of contributions if both …

Monthly Investment Message: May 2017

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

May 2017

The Benefits of Being a Future-Minded Planner

Want to be a successful investor? Develop your future-mindedness. That is the conclusion of a recent study that found a connection between positive financial behaviors, such as saving and investing, and impulsiveness and materialism.

When people focus on their future they tend to be less impulsive spenders, regardless of their level of financial literacy. In fact, the strongest predictor …

What Are the Income Restrictions to Qualify to Contribute to a Roth IRA?

Below are the income restrictions for 2017 Roth IRA contributions:

• Roth IRAs are fully available to single filers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $118,000. No participation is allowed if your AGI is more than $133,000. Thus, the phase-out range, where contributions are limited in gradual steps as income increases, is between $118,000 and $133,000.

• Roth IRAs are fully available to joint filers whose AGI is less than $186,000. There is a phase-out range between $186,000 …

Monthly Investment Message: June 2017

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

June 2017

Income Taxes on Investment Profits

A high priority financial goal for many people is to have a comfortable lifestyle in later life. Investing can help. Most people do not become wealthy from their earnings alone but, rather, by investing a portion of their income and letting it grow for several decades. Through a combination of regular investment deposits and compound interest, it is possible to build …

What Are the Income Restrictions to Qualify for a Deductible Traditional IRA?

People with earned income who are not in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, regardless of income level, may qualify for a tax deductible traditional IRA. Another group of taxpayers who can deduct a traditional IRA contribution in full are those with an employer-sponsored plan who have incomes in 2017 under $62,000 (single) and $99,000 (married couples filing jointly). The phase-out ranges (where contributions are limited in gradual steps as income increases) for singles and couples are $62,000 to $72,000 and $99,000 …

Monthly Investment Message: August 2017

Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

August 2017

Retirement Planning is a 40-Year Journey

The retirement planning process has been described as a “40 (or more) year journey” from the start of someone’s working life in their 20s through retirement in their 60s (or beyond). However, it is actually much longer, if you consider how long someone can live during retirement. Unlike shorter-term financial planning goals like buying a car, a house, or saving …

Can Money Withdrawn From a 403(b) Plan in Retirement Be Put Into a Roth IRA?

It depends. You must have earned income to contribute to an IRA of any type, including a Roth IRA. This means that you must have a salary, hourly wage, or net earnings from consulting or a small business.

If you have earned income, the maximum amount that a person over age 50 can deposit in 2017 in a Roth IRA is the larger of 100% of earnings or $6,500 (the regular $5,500 contribution plus an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution). Roth …