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  1. Score is sensitive to both overall utilization and to individual account utilization. So if you are wanting to focus on score in the short term and not on paying the least amount of interest in the long term, you should focus on getting those first three down to under 80% (and preferably under 60%).
  2. A couple of questions come to mind: Is that income gross or net? Are you paying insurance premiums other than auto, like renter's or medical? What about utilities? Do you never need new clothes, haircuts, gadgets? How much are you putting into a retirement plan each month, either through your employer or on your own? Does your estimated grocery bill include things like toilet paper, or is it just food? What are you estimating as your total cost of ownership for this new car you want? Taxes, gas, oil changes, repairs, parking fees, tolls, etc... Are you still putting charges on that credit card or are you just paying it down now? It appears by the numbers you are sharing, that your rent is only going to go down about $55 a month, but you say you'll have over $1000 monthly left over when this happens. Which means you should have over $900 extra a month right now. Where is that money going? Why aren't you using it to pay down your credit card? I understand wanting your own car. But first I think you both need to take some time and track where every penny is coming in and going out for a month or two to get a clearer view of your financial health. It's OK if you don't want to share the numbers here (though it makes it harder for others to help), but you need to make sure you know the real numbers yourselves, and not just guesstimates.
  3. When signing up for Informed Delivery, if they can't verify your identity online, either because you answer the questions wrong or your reports are frozen, they have an in person option. For that you show up with the barcode they email you and ID like a drivers license showing the correct address, and they link the data in their computer. I didn't even have to go to "my" post office to do it, I did it at one more convenient to work. I don't think your average postal counter clerk is on the lookout for fake ID, so it's possible that the person who was stealing hdporter's cards also had a fake hdporter ID which they could use to establish the Informed Delivery account.
  4. Generally, no. The answer to you question is found here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8889.pdf Specifically: Expenses incurred before you establish your HSA are not qualified medical expenses. If, under the last-month rule, you are considered to be an eligible individual for the entire year for determining the contribution amount, only those expenses incurred after you actually establish your HSA are qualified medical expenses.
  5. Heck I was on a cruise where a woman fell in the shower and we had to divert on the last night to airlift her off the ship. They couldn't make up the time (something to do with tides and bridge clearance IIRC), so many of us missed our flights home, and we got no compensation for it. Mostly, the people who were angry were the ones that had bought insurance directly from the cruise line without reading it and were shocked to find out that it didn't cover costs associated with missing your flight home unless you also let the cruise line book your flight. So bonus tip: don't just figure out what you are already insured for, figure out what the insurance you are buying really covers!
  6. My personal choice for IRAs is Vanguard. Of the ones on your list, the only one I have experience with is Fidelity which holds my HSA and my 401k, and they do an OK job, just more expensive for the same things I get at Vanguard. I'm not using them for active wealth management services, and I doubt you would be either for an amount that low, so all of them are going to have the same type of basic funds (S&P, target date, blended, bonds). The thing to really look for is the actual costs of the fund(s) you are looking at, and any "low balance" fees they may have (some places will waive those if you do electronic delivery of account information). I can't answer the IRS questions, sorry.
  7. I'm about to renew, or perhaps not. They raised their rate, and also sent out a tax increase. I got them to cut the rate in half last year, but who knows if that'll happen again. Any tips? I don't know if they would do this for your account if you shut it down or not, but I let my free trial of SiriusXM expire last year, and I'm now constantly getting email offers for 5 months for $25 (total) with activation fee waived. They started out with a higher price, but once I was offline for about 2 months, that's the price they seem to have settled on.
  8. Kat's suggestion of cruise.com is a good one since you can search via departure port on there. I use a similar site to narrow down cruises in a region or starting port. Once you find the cruise you want, you can then book however and wherever you please. Comparing lines as well as destination ports, I usually use cruise critic. They have boards for each cruise line as well as port of call boards. Flyertalk does have a cruise board but it is pretty sparse.
  9. You missed the part about they can contact you one last time to let you know where they intend to go from here (ie "since you won't even let us validate like you requested, we'll see you in court"). Until they actually make contact, and not just make unanswered calls, they haven't done anything you can/should take action on.
  10. The withholding calculator is expecting gross and not net income and has an entry for you to indicate how much you are putting into the 401k. If you are using those entries correctly it is already taking into account that your net income is reduced by the amount you put in. Make sure that you aren't accidentally taking your contributions into account twice (once through the contribution entry and once by reducing your expected income) or you will have that nasty tax bill you are wanting to avoid.
  11. Does it really matter if the front page isn't https? There isn't any important secure information there. You only really care once you start entering in your credentials and viewing reports, and both the http and https front page take you to the same https login page.
  12. I have the longer-term portion of my HSA invested in the Fidelity version of that fund, and for my 15+ year time table it's been great. There were a few times in the early going when the investment was worth less than what I put in, but I was able to ride it out and recover. Based on what you said you put in an IRA last year, you may have enough ($10k) to qualify for the Admiral version of that fund which will give you even lower costs. If you don't have that much right now, you can open with investor shares and then once you reach the minimum you can do an in place "upgrade" to the better version. When I was starting out with my IRA, I chose to go with one of the more aggressive blended funds. I've since moved on to managing things more closely myself, but it was a great "starter" fund when I didn't feel confident in what I needed to be doing. It is all down to the question of whether your chosen investment has the ability to leave you with enough money when you retire as well as whether you can handle the projected losses if the market tanks. As an aside, take a look at any hidden resources you may have available to you. My local CU has free wealth management folks that can act as a sounding board, and my employer gives us access to both a free robot advisor, a different free advisory service via telephone, and financial literacy classes. None of these services were as well publicized as they could have been, and I mostly found out about them by accident.
  13. I really depends on your risk tolerance. I'm pretty sure what you've got now isn't even keeping up with inflation. Using Vanguard as an example, the savings is in the mutual funds and ETFs and not in the individual stocks (unless you have enough invested to waive the trading fees). They also don't allow automatic investment in EFTs, only in the mutual funds. So to build your own portfolio to match a particular investment strategy you'd have to have the minimum required for each mutual fund or do manual investing. But even going with a single blended fund like the conservative or income life strategy funds would blow your bank returns out of the water. I am not a financial planner, and my only experience is in managing my own investments, so do take care to carefully examine your own financial picture prior to making any changes.
  14. They are much less likely to do this on a new account, but sometimes Amex will let you spend over the limit. On the web page in the Statement Balance tile, look for a link called "Check Spending Power" next to your available balance. You can see there if a charge of $1200 is likely to be approved. But you'd better be darn sure that either you have the cash to temporarily cover it yourself or that your company will reimburse you near instantaneously, because you do NOT want that over limit charge to report! Also check with the course provider. Sometimes they will have options to pay with multiple forms of payment so you could charge some to your Amex, and the rest to another card to avoid going over limit.
  15. By their thinking, just because you were denied at one point doesn't mean you weren't approved later. By any chance, is your daughter enough of a pack rat that she still has her copy of the lease? That would be the definitive answer to show that you weren't somehow listed as responsible.

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