Jill on Money: Easter, stock market highs

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Happy Easter weekend! While it pales in comparison to Christmas on the retail level, Americans spend a whopping $17.2 billion ($145 per consumer) on Easter festivities, according to BigInsight. That number includes: 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies, 700 million Peeps and 16 billion jelly beans. All that AND we get to watch Judy Garland in "Easter Parade" and celebrate new highs for the S&P 500!

We started the show with a reminder: when you know that a bill is due, whether it's a tuition bill or a construction bill, it behooves you to keep that money safe--as in, NOT in the market! That's the message to Kelly from IL, who asked about allocation of a 529 plan and Kathy from Washington DC, who is about to start a home renovation.

We fielded lots of allocation questions: Bev from WI is helping her friend plan for retirement, using Vanguard funds; CJ from NC is concerned about having excess cash, but equally worried about losing money in the stock market; Steve wants to know how to invest $500,000; Judd from NY wants an uncomplicated way to put $250K to work; Mel and his wife are in their mid 70's and need a reality check on the right balance for their retirement assets; and "S" wants to make sure his $1.4 million is in the right funds.

On the real estate front, Jerry asked about refinancing programs for loans not guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie; Kathy asked about paying down a home equity loan; and Peter wondered about investing in real estate inside his retirement accounts.

We walked Colleen through the life insurance process and then addressed a tough question from David regarding end of life planning.

Here are web sites and resources mentioned in this week's show:

-- Jill's Blog

-- NAPFA: National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (fee-only advisors)

-- Best CD Rates

-- E, EE and I Savings Bonds

-- The ABCs of Annuities: 6 Questions to Ask

-- The Pros and Cons of Annuities

--Immediate Annuity Calculator

-- Annuity salespeople don't like me

-- Social Security: Manage your account online

-- Social Security estimator

-- When to take Social Security?

--Social Security: File and Suspend

-- Social Security: Double-Dipping

-- Medigap insurance

-- Retirement Calculator

-- Retirement Plan Required Distribution Calculator

-- Long-term Care - US government web site

-- Long term care conundrum

-- Life Expectancy Calculator

-- Life Insurance calculator

--Financial documents: What to shred, what to keep

-- Estate Planning: the Documents You Need

-- NYT Rent vs. Buy Calculator

-- Re-Fi Calculator

-- Another Re-Fi Calculator

-- Reverse mortgage info via HUD

-- Reverse Mortgages: Don't let the Fonz sell you

-- 529 plan info

-- College Loans: What you need to know

-- Student Loan Consolidation

-- Money As You Grow

-- National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE

Send an email: askjill@jillonmoney.com

Tweet me: @jillonmoney

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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