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Finance Questions: Spend or invest that government rebate?

We asked: What would you do with your share of the tax rebate?

By Helen Huntley, Times Personal Finance Editor
Published February 3, 2008


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We asked

What would you do with your share of the tax rebate?

Put the money toward a new car.

Bruce Hurwitz, Lutz

Buy a second TV for the bedroom or a new dishwasher. If the rebate is large enough, we might get both.

Warren Carson, Sun City Center

Pay off some of my debts.

Mayra Galvez, Largo

Buy stock. There are a number of undervalued equities out there right now.

John Keller, Lutz

Invest it. I know that is not what the economy needs at this point. However, I cannot see just throwing money on things that we don't need.

Joe Trangata, Holiday

Pay part of the cost for the ever-increasing annual out-of-pocket medical deductible for our health insurance, which is set at $2,400 for our family in 2008.

John McBaine, Indian Shores

Go on a wonderful vacation with my youngster. It would certainly allow us to be a bit more adventurous than Orlando.

Margit Crowell, Spring Hill

Buy my wife the 2007 Christmas gift she really wanted Bose radio and CD player, and take her to Key West for a long weekend.

Chas Lehnert, Riverview

Plan a short vacation or cruise.

April Hill, Gulfport

Put it toward a down payment on rental property.

Lindsay Myers, St. Petersburg

Put it straight into a 2008 contribution to a Roth IRA.

Billy Ball, Pinellas Park

You asked

I have my IRA in trust for my daughter and I have never withdrawn any money from it. Is that wrong? I am 86.

Yes, that's wrong. IRA owners are required to take minimum annual distributions starting at age 701/2 or pay the IRS a stiff penalty - half of what you should have withdrawn but didn't. You need to talk to a tax preparer about your problem.

Note: Roth IRAs do not have required distributions.

I would like to learn all about money. Where can I start?

There are lots of basic books about personal finance and investing to get you started. I particularly like Eric Tyson's Dummies books. There also are some great educational Web sites such as Bankrate.com, Moneycentral.msn.com, and the Web sites of mutual fund companies such as Vanguard, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. Just be careful about signing up for investment seminars, where misleading information often is distributed along with the worthwhile nuggets. The objective is always to sell something.

Next week's question:

Are you doing your own income tax return this year? Why or why not?

To ask a question, make a comment or answer the Money Question of Week, e-mail hhuntley@sptimes.com or write Helen Huntley, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Visit her MoneyTalk blog (blogs.tampabay.com/money) for more money information.

[Last modified February 1, 2008, 21:09:12]


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