Jill on Money: Real estate, saving, annuities

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The Facebook IPO was all the rage, but not for "Jill on Money" listeners, who wanted to talk about real estate, savings and annuities. If you want a quick summary of the Facebook IPO, check out: "Facebook IPO: Should you buy the hype?"

The housing market is still in the doldrums. Last week, we learned that prices are down 33.5 percent from the peak and at the same time, mortgage rates are at all-time lows. The combination brought a slew of real estate questions.

Seth from Washington owns one home and is building another one. He wanted to talk about financing options, while Darrell, like many real estate professionals, got lured by the bubble. He owns three properties and doesn't know what to do.

Helena's situation is a little easier, because she can rent one of her two properties. But does she have the patience to be a long-distance landlord? Jana from CA can't qualify for a traditional refinance, but she may have some other interesting options and Eleanor from CT has run the numbers and wants to know whether she should buy a condo or continue renting? Joe from Michigan, who gets our vote for the best son of the week, bought a home and assumed a mortgage for his parents, but what happens when he wants to buy his own home?

Dee wants to blow out of her variable annuity, while Will is thinking getting into one. A week can't go by without an annuity moment! Instead of getting stuck in an expensive investment vehicle like a VA, it might be worth considering what I like to call "Jill's Wimpy Portfolio":

-- 20% CDs

-- 15% Cash

-- 20% Bond Fund (Vanguard's Intermediate Term Bond Index fund (VFICX), Vanguard Short-Term Investment Grade fund (VFSTX), Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX), Schwab Total Bond Market (SWLBX), Fidelity U.S. Bond Index (FBIDX)

-- 15% International Bond Fund T. Rowe Price International Bond Fund (RPIBX) or if you want to assume more risk, you can add the T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond (PREMX)

-- 10% Total Stock Market Index Fund (Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index, Schwab 1000 Index Fund Investor or Vanguard Total Stock Market Index)

-- 10% International Stock Index Fund (Fidelity Spartan International Index (FSIIX), Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX)

-- 5% Emerging Markets (Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX) or T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock (PRMSX)

-- 5% Commodity Fund (Harbor Commodity Real Return Strategy (HACMX) or for gold bugs out there, Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining (VGPMX))

It was great fun talking to Ellis from Indiana. He's 62 yrs old and wants to know if he should take social security now or wait until he's 66, but that simple question turned into a more interesting conversation about retirement planning.

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

-- Jill's Blog

-- 9 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

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

-- Best CD Rates

-- E, EE and I Savings Bonds

-- Where to Stash Your Cash

-- How to generate income from your portfolio

-- When to take Social Security?

-- NYT Rent vs. Buy Calculator

-- Earned Income Tax Credit (IRS)

--Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world and our new intern, Sehar. 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.