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Stickied postModerator of r/personalfinance

30-day challenges

We are pleased to continue our 30-day challenge series. Past challenges can be found here.

This month's 30-day challenge is to Review your investment asset allocation! Some suggestions on how to do this:

  • Gather data on your fund selections in each investment account that you have. Include any investment account: IRAs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457 plans, TSP accounts, taxable brokerage accounts, and so on.
  • Figure out what percentage of your overall allocation across accounts is allocated to domestic stocks, international stocks, and bonds.
    • You can do this by looking up each fund at Morningstar, viewing the fund information on the company website, or just search for the fund name or ticker symbol plus the word "prospectus".
    • On Morningstar X-Ray or Hello Money, you can enter each of your investments and it will return your overall allocation.
    • If you use Personal Capital and have linked your investment accounts, just click on "Allocation" under the "Investing" menu.
  • Don't panic! Whatever the result is, the last thing you want to do is change your allocation without doing additional research, reading, and figuring out what you want your overall allocation to be.

The goal of this exercise is to ensure that you're invested the way you want to be invested. For example, if you want a 20% bond allocation, is that what you have? If you want 35% of your stock investments to be international, are you reasonably close to that? (These are just examples, not recommendations.)

For more information on allocations, here are some recommended readings:

Use the comments to discuss your allocation, any questions you might have, or if you're wondering what you can do about them.

Challenge success criteria

You've successfully completed this challenge once you've done two or more of the following things:

  • Complete all of the recommended reading from above.
  • Finish your allocation review.
  • Take steps towards researching and changing your allocation if desired.

Alternate success criteria

If you don't have investments yet, you may consider this challenge a success if you do either of the following tasks:

  • Read the "How to handle $" steps up to your current step plus at least one step beyond that (bonus points for doing the recommended reading).
  • Pick any one of the challenges from the last year that you haven't already done and do it this month.
Stickied postModerator of r/personalfinance

If you need help, please check the PF Wiki to see if your question might be answered there.

This thread is for personal finance discussions, questions, and sharing your success stories:

  1. Make a top-level comment if you want to share something positive regarding your personal finances!

    Instead of posting individual threads for positive success stories of how you've funded your emergency fund, made progress on your debt, saved for a future goal, reached a certain net worth, or anything else you would like to share, let's consolidate everyone's stories into one weekly thread!

  2. Please make a top-level comment if you want to ask a question! Also, please don't downvote "moronic" questions! If you have not received your answer within 24 hours, you can feel free to start a discussion.

A big thank you to the many PFers who take time to answer other people's questions!

For past threads, please search the Weekly Archive.


I.e. the low hanging fruit that people should start with? Edit: Incredibly grateful for everyone chipping in, thank you!!!


My 15 year old daughter texted me about a call that she got that creeped her out. It was a message alleging fraud, and she didn't know what was going on. It wasn't the first message they had left. I told her to call them back and they knew who she was, and said they were the IRS and that she was looking at some big trouble. She said "stop calling" and hung up.

When I got home, I called them and they answered the line as "IRS, how may I help you" or some such bullshit. As soon as I mentioned them calling a child, they hung up. A few times.

Please educate your kids and hell, even you parents. the IRS will not call you.


*Edit* Thank you to everyone who responded! Some of it was even helpful!

In all seriousness, though, thank you. This was mostly for my benefit. Telling people you are going to do a thing is actually motivation to do it. I do apologize for being so stubborn right off the bat- I'm opening up more to the idea of focus groups, as well as looking at other car options (though I honestly think my car is great and probably won't change it, but will drive it for the next 10-15 years)

I'm going to skim through the threads and will probably not be replying to many comments after this. I'm gonna fiddle with my budget a little bit, and try to squeeze some more. I am going to post an update (again for my benefit) at the beginning of September with where I'm at.


Warning: Long post. It's mostly for me, to have documentation and start holding myself accountable.

tl;dr: i'm too careless with my money, spending it on things i don't need, or on other people (this one is BIG), or on random take out. Gonna try to make this as succinct as possible.

Education: Student - Law school- part time night program, going into 2nd out of 4 years

Income: Babysitting. Earlier this summer was about $250/week, but I start a second job on Tuesday, so it will be about $335/week until September. Then I'll be at about $500/week.


  • Chase CC - $2,941.93 balance, 16.49% interest rate, $0 interest charged in 2018
  • BoA CC - $792.05, 18.49% interest, $14.38 in interest 2018
  • Barclay CC - $955.94, 0% until August 2018, $0 interest
  • Citibank CC - $1530.10, 20.99%, $1.45 in interest (Only $76 currently subject to interest rate until April 2019)
  • Student loan #1 - $21,311.58, 6% interest, accruing
  • Student loan #2 - $2,582.63, 7% interest, accruing
  • Car Loan - $10,183.80, 3.74%, $205 monthly payment (these are increased payments- I could/should lower it to I believe $150)
  • I'm also behind on my rent $550 for one month, and don't have July's yet. However, my "landlord" is actually a family friend who made it explicitly known that while I'm in school, if I had to do a no interest "loan" for rent for a couple months, that was fine. I do not want to do this, but I know them extremely well, and they genuinely do not need the money, and are very supportive of me in general.

Current Debt - $40,848.03

New Monthly Budget:

  • Rent- $550
  • Health Insurance- $50
  • Electricity - $60
  • Water - $20
  • Internet- $15
  • Netflix- $6
  • Sewer-$20
  • Car payment - $205
  • Car insurance-$92
  • Grocery shopping - $90
  • Cats - $30
  • Gas- $40
  • Maximum fun- $10
  • Go out and do a thing so I don't wanna die - $30
  • Chase CC minimum - $30
  • BoA CC minimum- $25
  • Barclay CC - $25
  • Citibank CC - $25

Total: $1323/month

Total income (until Tuesday): $1,071/month

Total income (Tuesday-September): $1,435/month

Total income (September+): $2,142/month

I included my previous/current income to make myself realize how crazy it was to think I could live on that. There is clearly no reason, once September rolls around, for me to have any struggles as long as I stick to a budget. I'm gonna work out a better budget and repayment schedule based on my summer pay, then come the end of August I can reevaluate and see where I'm at, and make a plan going forward.

I used to work out my payments. Until September I have an extra $112/month (going to Citibank, then BoA). After that, I have $819 a month, but at that point, I'll be driving more and my garden won't be providing any groceries, so we will see. Even if I only have an extra $500/month, it still cuts down my repayment to 4 years (as opposed to 10). My debt will be rising due to student loans, but honestly, once I get my CC debt cut out, I'll be able to be aggressive about my student loans. In fact, just looking at CC, looks like I can be debt free in 6 months if my expenses don't change too much.

Again, sorry for the long post. I really just wanted to get it all on the page, and write it out, and get feedback.


All my colleagues say that this usually happens, but that the company will pay at some point, I see them very calm, I am bankrupt, I do not have the rent and I have been receiving many calls from the landlord.

Now I have several bad credit reports because I have not paid for some services, and the banks do not want to lend me money.

I do not know what to do.

The company is based in Colombia.


So when I was born my grandparents invested stock into apple with the intention of giving every penny to me when I turn 18. They got lucky, and now I am going to have over 70k transferred to me soon.

I have no debts, no monthly payments to take care of (yet), and I just wanted some thoughts on what I should be doing to ensure I don't lose it and how or what to invest in. I'm not planning on splurging on anything with it. My first thought that my dad brought up was to maybe invest in property in another state and charge rent for people to live in it. We still don't know if the money is in stocks or if it's been cashed out yet.


So I just got a sign on for a new job I accepted. Unfortunately as with most payroll, my first couple of checks are live paper checks and not direct deposit. NBD, this has happened in the past and I usually just use my credit union's app to mobile deposit it. From doing this in the past, I knew I would have to write "For Mobile Deposit" on the back, so I did that right away. Opened the app, and low and behold, the app won't let me mobile deposit anyhting over 5K. So now I have a check that says "For Mobile Deposit" on the back that I cannot use for mobile deposit. My bank is closed as many are after 12PM on saturday, so I figured I'd post a question on personalfinance seeing if anyone has had a similar experience. Was your bank OK with taking it? Thanks!


So there's a lot of people saying we're headed to a big recession in about two years. (Despite whatever your politics are) Are there things we should be doing now to prepare? My SO and I are in the lower end of middle class but no debts, currently saving for our first home. What should we be planning for?


Location: Las Vegas, NV
This is an update to the posts I made here:

PF discussions:

We ended up settling before going to court. I'm under a NDA and a non-disparagement as apart of the settlement so I cannot disclose the exact amounts or who the brokerage was, but I am allowed to talk generalities about the case and I can say that the final payout to me was above 500k. I've cleared this post with my lawyer after being really careful knowing that people who have talked about settlements have lost such settlements.

The brokerage fought tooth & nail on absolutely everything about the claim. They tried their hardest to have it go to binding arbitration with FIRNA. They tried claiming the individual account I created to received the TOD bounded the estate to arbitration. They also tried claiming that my dad had agreed to arbitration through a click through agreement, even though they didn't have any signatures of him agreeing to arbitration. It turns out he created the account with the brokerage in 1985 and they didn't require arbitration then. The 1987 Supreme Court case Shearson v. McMahon was making it unclear if arbitration would apply, and for good reason my lawyer was trying to avoid arbitration with FIRNA.

I was able to pull out the original transfer on death form my dad submitted to the brokerage. In the contract it clearly states that they had to liquidate any leveraged position, options position, any position on margin, and any position that is unsuitable for the beneficiary. So this shows a clear fiduciary duty to the beneficiary. Thank you Dad for keeping good records!

Not to excuse them, but their reasoning for not liquidating it was since the TOD was so old the account wasn't marked as a TOD account in their computer systems. They were searching for it and weren't aware of their obligations. No one actually bothered to look into the account to see it had risky speculative bets. They were holding the positions as-is and was only going to let the account go to the estate. Things may have turned out differently if I didn't find the TOD form.

Since Dad's other stock buys like in Rite-Aid tanked we decided to ask for the cash value on the day the broker was notified + punitive damages + acting in bad faith + other securities violations.

I ended up paying my lawyers on contingency and I'm glad I did that instead of hourly. I had both an estate lawyer who hired out a securities lawyer. It aligned both of their interests and with the brokerage fighting on every single point it worked out to about 1,000~ total billable hours for them + associates/paralegals, a forensic accountant, a CPA, etc.

Ultimately it came down to days before our court date the brokerage didn't want to get bad publicity over it. I'm sure they were paying a fortune in lawyers too. I feel the settlement is fair and puts me more than whole. I didn't want to risk a judge ruling against me or ruling that we had to arbitrate, and likewise the brokerage didn't want to risk setting precedence in a court diminishing enforcement of arbitration clauses.

One thing I learned about selecting a lawyer is you don't just want someone who knows the law, you want someone who is a damn good negotiator and who is very hungry. I think he was a bit let down when I accepted the settlement though, as I think he was gearing up for a case that would make his career if we were able to set new precedence. I was just exhausted with the case and just wanted it to be over.


I'm 18 and use my debit card for everything. Just this morning I, thankfully, got a fraud warning from Chase. Somone was trying to wire transfer money out of my account.

I decided I should/need a credit card so if something happens again and they actually do get/use money I won't be so SOL.

I was wondering what credit card I could potentially be approved for with no credit? I know chase rarely approves unless you have 1 year of credit card use.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


So I am going to school out of state and recently left my old bank (Huntington) because it was actually the worst. I am between PNC, Chase, Schwab, and Ally for my next main checking account. Any recommendations or warnings?


I’m currently a state employee with seven years service. I have $30k in employee contribution, $1k in interest, and $10k in employee contribution. I have no debts and have been building an emergency fund. I’m a bit lost when to comes to retirement funds- is it smart to have a 401k in addition to the PERS account? If so, any recommendations/guidelines?


My grandmother just retired and decided she should meet with a "financial advisor". She ended up meeting with the company that managed her 401k/403b and they told her she should have those assets in a "managed" IRA. She informed me that she is paying around $150 per month in fees for this service. She doesn't have enough retirement savings as it is, I'm fearful she is just wasting $1,800 per year on this "service".

Is this "managed" account necessary for her circumstances? Are those fees reasonable? I did a little research and read that 1% annually is about average. They told her if her assets reach $200,000+ they could negotiate the fee down. Spoiler alert - she's not going to reach $200,000...

Details - 64 yo woman, $13x,xxx in retirement savings, had 401k or 403b, was told to rollover into a "managed" IRA.

Lastly, I feel like she should be seeing a real "financial advisor" and not someone that works for an investment firm, am I wrong on that?

Thanks for any help on this.

EDIT - thanks for the input everyone. My first step will be to have her sit down with a fee-only planner/advisor just so she (we) can feel comfortable that she is managing what she does have out to her expected lifespan.

Also, it sounds like a target date fund geared heavily towards stable value could at least save her the $140 or so a month and probably be just as good an option as the "managed" IRA she was sold.

I'll keep checking back, any and all input is appreciated!


My wife and I eat lunch out every single day. We eat dinner out roughly 4 times per month. The rest of the time we cook.

According to mint, we're averaging around $11,800 per year on food over the last 4 years. This counts groceries, restaurants, fast food - basically everything in the food and dining category of mint minus alcohol. I have no comparison so I don't know if that number is shockingly high, or average.

$2100 of it is lunch for the two of us eating out during the work week, which we do almost every day.

$5900 is groceries

$3800 is restaurants

In the past, we have tried saving money by making lunches every day, but I found that we wound up wasting a lot of food because things spoil before getting used up. It's hard to measure that waste, but groceries aren't cheap and considering how little free time we have, we have just given up and go to one of the local delis for lunch.

So long story short: without going crazy coupon clipping and shopping at 4 stores to get the best deal, what's a reasonable amount to budget?

EDIT: So /u/whiteraven4 gave me the exact answer I was looking for when pointing out that the USDA offers a guideline. We can consider this question answered!


Hey PF, just had a two part question that I was looking for a bit of advice on. I recently took out a personal loan (3.5k at 34%) in order to consolidate debt. Current payments are 150~ a month, and I used the loan to pay off 3 credit cards in full (each around 1k in balance). I did this to help my credit by reducing credit utilization on the cards, so basically my question is: did I do the right thing in getting the personal loan, and how long should I wait before trying to switch the loan over to a lower interest rate loan?

I know the interest rate is horrendous, but with a credit score in the low 600's I didn't have many options sadly.


Hi all!

I've had the same Chase card when I first got my driver's license and have had it for the last almost 15 years now. I went full retard when I was younger and maxed out about 6 different credit cards lol

I've now slowly paid all of them off except for one and would like your advice.

  • It's a 14.5 years old Chase Slate Card

  • I have about $5,600 left to pay off

  • it's currently at 12.74% interest

  • According to CreditKarma, my score: TransUnion 700 and Equifax is 703

Should I transfer my balance towards a new card? Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited? I don't really make purchases on the card anymore...I've just been slowly paying this one off while I'm still in school.

Thanks for any advice!


Alright, so, in a few days my wife will have money in a Vanguard Roth IRA... I've not ever had an account like this before. What should we do with the money? How should we set the investment goals? Can I make it do it automatically?

We put in about $1920, and will probably just add a little bit every month to keep it growing. We are in our early 20s and make around 72K annually, pre-tax, but we put a lot towards our student loans (around 50k total in loans) and 15K of that just became a part of our budget last week.


I've heard mixed feedback about paying down student loan debt at a moderately low rate like between 3.5 and 4.5%. The balance is sitting pretty low at ~11k. Trying to decide whether to do a ~20% contribution (still under the 18.5k max) to my ROTH 401k (no match) or pay down the debt (I also have a car loan at 2.24%, also 11k). I like the idea of a risk-free return but I'd like to think I could get a better return than 4.5% in my 401k, is that all there is to it?


I recently applied for a secured MasterCard through my bank and it was a soft inquiry and it has taken them 3 weeks but I still have not gotten it. My question is if I don’t activate the card will my credit show that I ever had it or will my score be negatively affected I already have one got and just got a CA Quicksilver yesterday and no longer want this secured card


I’ve owned an AmEx Blue Cash Preferred Card for 2 years now. Highlight is 6% cash back on groceries with a $95 annual fee.

I’m smarter with grocery shopping now and decided the regular AmEx Blue Cash would be fine (it only offers 3% on groceries, but has no annual fee).

Amex has the option to downgrade the Preferred to the regular Blue Cash. My questions are:

  • If I switch, will that reset card’s length of credit or continue to build on it?

  • Will it be better to open a new Blue Cash card, get the sign-on bonus, and close the Preferred card immediately after? Or is the $100 sign-on bonus not worth stopping the 2 year history the card has.

Any advice is appreciated!

Edit: Elaborated Question.


I have never been good at saving money, I love going out and spending money on stupid shit like food, cigarettes, alcohol and expensive clothing. I tried many saving methods I found on google but none of them seem to stick, I was wondering if any one of you have been in my situation before, and if you made up your own way of saving or investing that you found to be successful?


I did this a few weeks ago, I noticed that I never updated my occupation from full time student, to employed with a college degree. When I updated the information, my rate dropped by about $220 for 6 months.


My dad is in his late 60's and is retiring soon due to health reasons. He will be covered by medicare. My mom (63) works part time ($6000 a year) and cannot get insurance from her work - she was covered by his insurance. She goes to the doctor at least once a month and takes 5-7 medications every month. From what I can see the insurance company pays around $11,000 for doctors and treatment, not including medication. I make about $50,000, but my insurance will not cover my mom.

I currently live with them and according to the ACA website she doesn't qualify for medicaid due to my income. The monthly plans cost $1200/month just to cover her. We can cover it until she's covered by medicare, but do I have any other options?

Any advice is appreciated.


Looking to become a first time homeowner, but I'm lucky enough not to be in a rush. Currently single and renting. No credit card debt or student loans.

Situation: I currently have $27,730.00 in a (relatively) high interest savings account through Discover (earns 1.49% interest annually). I contribute $1,250.00 to that fund monthly and want it to continue to grow until I find a house I like (I'm quite keen on maximizing the equity I have in the home on day 1).

While that's all fine and good, would I be better served investing that money in something low-risk?

Curious to hear opinions, and my sincerest apologies if I've not followed a guideline correctly.


My payments are eating me up and I’m only making the minimum payments most of the time. Any insight? Anyone ever used a consolidation company?


Hi everyone, I had a question regarding using 401k money saved before graduate school to pay for tuition etc. I heard that the 401k could be used without paying the 10% tax penalty for early withdrawal but could not find specific information. Does anyone have any suggestions about this? Thanks!

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