Money questions

Money questions: Credit crisis not hurting cash users

We asked:
How has tighter
credit affected you?

I've always been able to get equity lines of credit against
my income properties just
by supplying a list of the properties' values minus their debts and gross rents minus
expenses. Last summer, I had two equity lines verbally approved by Fifth Third Bank when a manager said I would have to supply a considerable amount of additional documentation to get them approved.
At that point I went to Wachovia. After I did two lines with them, my representative called and said if I wanted to do any more I needed to close before the end of October. After that everything was going to be full documentation only.

Rick Kaough, St. Petersburg

Tight credit conditions won't affect us, as we have good credit, a great mortgage, always pay our bills on time and don't abuse our credit cards. We pay off any monies due each month.

Billy Ball, Pinellas Park

Not at all. Everything is paid for and I pay cash for everything.

Michael Reilly Sr., Largo

You asked

We've had our phone number printed on our personal checks for many years because the stores where we shopped asked for it. Recently I ordered new checks, which arrived today with no phone number printed on them. Also, the names were not printed the way I expected. I wanted each of our names printed on a separate line but instead the names are written "William T. or Betty A. Jones." Should our phone number be shown on the checks? Does the way the names are shown on the checks make any difference?

Security experts say printing extra information on checks makes identity theft easier. They advise leaving off phone numbers, driver's license numbers, middle names and, of course, Social Security numbers. Having an "or" between names makes it clear that either one of you can sign checks. An "and" between names means both have to sign. Talk to your bank if you want your checks printed differently.

Can CD accounts being used as IRA income be transferred to the Roth IRA form of account? If so, what are the steps or procedures?

You can do a traditional IRA-to-Roth conversion if your income is $100,000 or less. First ask your IRA trustee (the bank) to change the designation on your account from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. If you want to transfer only part of the money, ask the bank to open a Roth IRA for you and tell them how much to transfer. You will owe income tax on the amount you are converting. This is reported on IRS Form 8606, which you would attach to your 2008 tax return. The amount of your required annual distribution (if you are 701/2 or older) cannot be converted to a Roth IRA.

Next week's question: Are lower interest rates good or bad for you and the economy?

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.

Money questions: Credit crisis not hurting cash users 03/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2008 7:29pm]

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