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Finance questions: Gas prices pare back road trips

We asked

Will you spend more or less on your vacation than you did last year?

Due to gas prices, we will take only one week of vacation rather than the normal three, and we will use credit card points for our hotel stay.

Don and Bo Hall, Spring Hill

This year it's England, Portugal and Germany in June with a cruise in December. But at the rate of exchange for the euro and the British pound, it may be my last trip to Europe for a while.

Bob Lartz, St. Petersburg

We are going on a cruise over the summer. Since food and fuel are higher, the flights and costs are higher than a standard vacation from the past.

Nancy Schreimann,

Tarpon Springs

We have eliminated our driving vacations to see family in Missouri because of gas prices.

Steve Weiss, Tampa

My mom and I had planned to fly to Nashville and drive the surrounding states in a rental car. Due to the price of gas, we are changing our plans and will only stay in Nashville and will shorten the trip.

Heather Joie, St. Petersburg

We plan to travel to the Midwest to visit friends and family, as we have in the past. Our expenses will be above last year's because of the higher energy prices. The economy will not affect our plans in any way.

Bob Bucklin, Zephyrhills

We've decided on Sanibel instead of Hilton Head this summer, primarily to cut down the driving time. It will save a lot of gas money, and the lodging is a lot cheaper on Sanibel.

Peter Ford, Tierra Verde

I plan to visit my son in Chicago in July and will undoubtedly make reservations for a long weekend in Florida for a golfing retreat by summer's end. I'm not going to let a bunch of selfish bankers determine how I view and live my life.

Mike Rosenthal,


You asked

I need to start drawing from my IRA when I turn 701/2, but I don't need the income. Can I deposit my withdrawal back into my IRA and use it as a tax-deductible contribution?

No. You cannot make a contribution to a traditional IRA once you reach 701/2. There is no age limit to contribute to a Roth IRA as long you have earned income. But you can't get a tax break for your Roth contribution.

I have a fixed-term IRA annuity yielding 7 percent that ends in July. What can I invest this in? I am 80 years old and need this income to live on. My health is good.

Consider an immediate annuity that will pay you a monthly income you can't outlive. You'll get the largest payment if you choose the option with nothing for your survivors. If you opt for CDs and money market accounts, you could withdraw principal as needed, but risk running out of money. Or consider a reverse mortgage.

Next week's question

How confident are you that you'll have enough money

to live comfortably throughout your retirement years?

Elaborate with a few sentences and tell us whether

you are retired or working.

To ask a question, make a comment or answer the Money

Question of Week, e-mail or write

Helen Huntley, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Visit her MoneyTalk blog ( for more

money information.

Finance questions: Gas prices pare back road trips 04/05/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2008 5:31am]
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