Jill on Money: Mortgages, life insurance, 401k

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Ben Bernanke spoke, but said very little, while investors got a reprieve from the near-constant onslaught of selling that has occurred over the past six weeks. Meanwhile, with mortgage rates at all time lows, "Jill on Money" listeners were treated to a special guest: Mike Raimi from WCS Lending, aka the "Maestro of Mortgages".

Rose in PA started us off with a question about whether or not to return to part-time work after recently retiring. Sure, she has $1 million bucks saved, but with 30 years or so to fund, earning a little extra income prior to filing for Social Security may be just the ticket.

Speaking of Social Security, it seems we can continually field questions about when to file. While each case is different, there are loads of Social Security strategies to consider (see links below). There's also a nifty new calculator that you should check out here.

John from LA asked about universal life insurance, which allowed me to run down the various life insurance types and for no extra charge, I give my two cents on life insurance agents.

With mortgage rates at all-time lows, we were lucky enough to have Mike Raimi, President of WCS Lending join us as a guest. Mike is the "Maestro of Mortgages," so when he outlines some of the issues to consider about refinancing, I take him seriously. He says that even if you don't have 20 percent equity, you may qualify for a mortgage and of course, these extra low rates may allow you to shave years off your loan.

Although Eric from CA is not considering refinancing, his question was about paying off a mortgage early. Sure, money is cheap, but a good night of sleep may be more valuable!

With the second round of Greek elections looming, Wade from Michigan had a question about a small investment in the National Bank of Greece: should he take the loss now? This led to a great conversation about why buying individual stocks may be a worse bet than a trip to your local casino.

Rhett inherited investments and the money is currently at Wells Fargo, where they are trying to sell him annuities. His question: does he have to stay at Wells? Considering that they are about to charge 3 percent fees for that fat annuity contract, Rhett would be far better off to get out of Wells and head to his favorite no-load fund company or low cost brokerage company.

We reviewed 401(k) rollover options and begged Kathy NOT to withdraw money from her 401(k) to pay off credit card debt.

Finally, James lives in NY, but his advisor is suggesting that he use a 529 plan in another state. By doing so, James will not only pay more to save for college, he also loses his state tax deduction--a double whammy! For more on 529 plans, check out this quick video:

529 plan video...Lumiere ID: 50125554

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)

-- Social Security estimator

- Social Security: Manage your account online

-- When to take Social Security?

-- Social Security File and Suspend

-- Social Security: Double-Dipping

-- Re-Fi Calculator

-- Another Re-Fi Calculator

-- 529 plan info

-- College Loans: What you need to know

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

-- Estate Planning: the Documents You Need

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@moneywatch.com

Tweet me: @jillonmoney

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    View all articles by Jill Schlesinger on CBS MoneyWatch »
    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.