March 23, 2023
Listen to Podcast Episode:
On this episode of Ask Suze & KT Anything, Suze answers questions about settling student loan debt in default, trust beneficiaries, mortgage interest, cost of living adjustments and more!
KT: Good morning. Everybody. Welcome to the Ask K T and Suze Anything Women and Money podcast. Today is March 23rd, 2023 it's the third month. So we have a 3 23 23
KT: and I'm looking at Suze and I don't think she's awake yet. So I'm not supposed to be doing all this until she's, she's like kind of totally awake. I said, Suze, everyone missed me so much. Let me just get in there and say hi to them.
Suze: KT, It was only one week that you weren't on.
KT: Did you miss me? Did you did everyone miss me. Let them wright in
Suze: Trust me. I don't have
Suze: to ask them. I know that they did, but you know who KT missed and has been missing the past week?
KT: Suze is so busy. She's figuring out bank failures. She's figuring out what people should do right now. She is so busy. We don't see each other, we see each other for a cup of coffee
KT: in the morning, which we just had to start this. Then we see each other at night and at night I'm so tired. I just fall asleep.
Suze: But it is what it is. But KT, you have to admit
Suze: that it's been really a crazy week or so... roller coaster and with everybody really being worried about their money, the safety of their money, what should they do? What should they not do? And I think it's really important that we're doing everything that we're doing.
KT: I mean, have you all seen her on TV? She's been on TV for the past week.
Suze: Yes. But the last thing I did, she said, oh, you don't look so good. You looked a little blotchy, didn't you tell me?
KT: I did tell you that and she told me it was my TV screen. That's what she told me so.
Suze: Well, I don't want to think I'm the one who's blotchy with the lighting or something. Anyway, we're going to do a normal Ask KT and
Suze: Suze Anything, meaning it's not gonna be about the FDIC. It's not gonna be about SPIC, it's not gonna be about all of these things. It's going to just be about questions that all of you need to know the answers to. So KT let's get ready ready. All right, let's do it.
KT: First question Suze, is from Lauren. Good morning, Suze and KT, I have a question regarding defaulted student loan debt.
KT: My significant other defaulted on his loans greater than five years ago. He has about $100,000 to pay. What is the best way to pay the loans back? Is it best to hire a lawyer or pay the third company debt agency directly? Love your advice and always look forward to listening. Lauren.
Suze: The advice I really hope to give you is that I hope the significant other isn't somebody that you're legally attached to like your spouse. Because when you see somebody has defaulted on a student loan
Suze: and now you're the one writing me to ask me, how do I fix it for this person? It just concerns me, Lauren, but that's all I'm gonna say about that. Here's what I would do if I were you, I would not hire a lawyer because a lawyer can't do anything for this situation.
Suze: A third company debt agency directly cannot do anything for this situation. The only person that can do something for this situation is your significant other period. They need to get it out of default. So therefore, and for those of you who don't know what default is default means, you have just stopped paying on it and the student loan company is loving you
Suze: and they're loving you because when it is in default, the interest rates still accrue and maybe you owed $30,000 to begin with. And then it goes to 50,000. And now as Lauren just said, it's at $100,000
Suze: and given in most cases currently, you cannot just charge this in bankruptcy. Oh, they'll just let it go from 100,000 to 150,000 and so forth. And then one day they come knocking at your door, they even have the rights, not only
Suze: to garnish your wages, but to garnish your social security check. So this kind of debt currently follows you all the way into old age. And in most cases, there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it. Therefore, this person, he is to contact,
Suze: right, the student loan company and find out what does it take to get this loan out of default. Chances are he will go on a pay as you go method.
Suze: Where a certain percentage of his income currently, it's only about five or 10% goes towards this debt, but it has ruined his credit. That means if you were to marry him and you were to ever apply for a mortgage or something in both your names. I'm sure his FICO score is down the drain that would affect everything that you do.
Suze: So what you need to do is get him to call, not you but him, to get on this and call the student loan company that he owes this debt to and find out what does he have to do to get it out of default. You are not to save him in this situation. Do you hear me, girlfriend? KT next question? OK. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Suze: So I realized we started the podcast but I didn't make a really important announcement.
KT: I know what it is. Next week, a week from today.
Suze: Do you want to tell everybody?
KT: Suze's doing an unbelievable webinar called Prepare For the Financial Climate Change.
Suze: Do you like that? Do you like that title?
KT: Yes. Yes.
Suze: Do you want me to tell everybody what you're doing? So I am, it's free, everybody and to register, you would simply go to Suze S U Z E Suze Orman dot com slash webinar. It is a week from today, Thursday, March 30th. It will be live at three PM Pacific time, six PM, East coast time.
Suze: Do you know how many people have already registered? And we just announced it?
KT: I think it was like 18,000 or something right around. It's great and we didn't even do any promotions yet.
Suze: No, all the emails and everything.
KT: Is there a limit?
Suze: No, but we are expecting about 50,000.
KT: Sign up everyone, free, free, free, free, free. She's gonna really impart some pretty important advice to about climate change.
Suze: KT, it's not, it's financial climate change. I'm not talking about the environment here, right? Bu
Suze: every single podcast, I impart some really important information. So here's the thing. Everybody join us and have fun because you never know what will happen. All right, KT, next question.
KT: Ok. Next question is from Robin. Suze and KT, I love your podcast. Both of you and your Unstoppable theme song. So I'm learning so much and I'm a federal retiree and fine with the Thrift Savings plan, which is T S P and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, which is F E G L I,
KT: the standard order of precedence beneficiary assignments being a spouse, then Children in equal shares. I understand this order of precedence is followed when no beneficiary forms are on file. So, Suze, what are the advantages and disadvantages to naming a revocable living trust as beneficiary?
Suze: So here's the bottom line girlfriend. There are tremendous disadvantages to you if you do not name a beneficiary because if you don't name a beneficiary on and everybody listen to this: a thrift savings plan or a 401k or a 403 B or whatever it may be or your Roth IRAs or your life insurance policies,
Suze: those investments will have to go through probate. You never ever, ever want to go through probate. And when you have a designated beneficiary, it avoids probate. So if you don't have anybody, you don't have a spouse, you don't have children, you don't have anybody like that
Suze: that's automatically designated, then yes, you absolutely should name your living revocable trust as your beneficiary and then whoever you have named in that trust to receive this money they will receive it without probate. There you go. Next question, KT.
KT: Ok. This is from Mel. Hello to the Fabulous Suze and KT. Speaking of interest, can you please explain how mortgage interest works? If I have a low mortgage interest rate of 3%
KT: and are only four years into a 30 year mortgage, is it better to put an extra 10,000 yearly to pay off the 400,000 loan or invest the 10,000 safely with T bills or CDs at 5%?
Suze: Oh, Mel this is an interesting one for me to answer because the financial institutions that you all get your mortgages from
Suze: are kind of a little tricky if you ask me. And I say that because
Suze: it's assumed that you most likely will be selling your home within seven years of purchasing it. And even though you got a 30 year mortgage
Suze: And you would think that they would spread that interest equally over all 30 years, that's not how it works. It works where they load the interest up front so that if you happen to sell your home, they got paid far more interest than if they had done it any other way.
Suze: So maybe I can make a little bit of sense here for you. You say that you have a $400,000 mortgage
Suze: 30 year mortgage and it's at 3% and you have only been paying on it for four years if you were to look at your amortization schedule. You would find out that your payments on that are probably about $1,686 a month.
Suze: However, in that first year, only $686 of that went to pay down your principal, $1,000 went for interest. Here you are four years later
Suze: And now only about $771 is going towards principal. $914 is still going towards interest. Now,
Suze: if you were to put $10,000 a year, every year,
Suze: at the beginning of the year into this mortgage, you would pay off this mortgage in about 15 or 16 years versus, you still have another 26 years to go if you just keep paying the 1686 a month that you're paying right now.
Suze: So that's something for you to think about because a ten-year difference is a tremendous difference. Now, you're asking me what would be better financially doing that or taking that $10,000 and investing it?
Suze: Do you understand how it's impossible for me to answer that question?
Suze: Because I would have to assume that what you invested that $10,000 a year in, gave you a return of 3%, 4%, 5% whatever it may be. But I can't make that assumption because I don't know, I don't know your investment skills. I don't know if these markets start to go crazy. Will you sell out? Will you get afraid? I don't know about that.
Suze: But let me tell you what I do know something about. I know that nothing makes a woman in particular feel more secure than owning her own home outright.
Suze: And what have I told you year in year out is the goal of money. The goal of money is to make you feel secure. So, here's the question back to you. How would you feel knowing
Suze: that in another 15 years or so you would own that home outright? How would that make you feel? Not how much money would you have if you invested $10,000 a year?
Suze: But how would owning your own home outright in 15 years make you feel? Now what you didn't do is you didn't tell us in the email, how old you are. How many years you're gonna continue to work? Are you gonna keep this home forever? Are you not? So there's so many things that go into this answer that I can't answer because I don't have enough facts about you. However,
Suze: I can say this, think about what just happened with S V B, Silicon Valley Bank. And could it go on and what happens in the markets? Are you sure you want to go on an emotional roller coaster with investing over a long period of time? I'm not sure you have what it takes, but you know your emotions and what kind of investor you are.
Suze: And remember my law of money, it's better to invest in the known versus the unknown. The known is if you put $10,000 towards this mortgage, Oh, you will have it paid off sooner than later.
Suze: The known is it will make you feel secure. The known is if you happen to get sick or in an accident or something and now you can't work and you can't afford to pay the mortgage. You don't have to worry about it because hopefully it will be paid off by then. Now, obviously, if you're gonna sell the home in a few years, if you're gonna move whatever, then you would not pay off the mortgage.
Suze: But assuming you're gonna keep this home and this is your forever home and you have an extra $10,000 to do so, even at this low interest rate, I most certainly would pay it off. Not because it's the right thing to do possibly financially. It is the right thing to do psychologically emotionally personally. And therefore in the end financially. So that is my answer to you girlfriend.
KT: I like this name, Leslie Anna. I have a pension which today I can take $635 a month with COLA or 832 without COLA.
KT: My thought is to take $832 without Cola as the better option. Lifespan in our family is in your nineties just like you, Suze. Suze, tell everyone what COLA means. I thought it was a drink when I started reading it. I thought she forgot Coca Cola and Rum
Suze: COLA, KT, C-O-L-A stands for cost of living adjustment. And what we don't have here, Leslie Anna is even though your lifespan in your family is till the 90s. How old are you?
Suze: We also don't know if you were to take that money, the 8 32 right now, what would you do with the difference between the 635 that you would get with COLA versus the 832 without COLA? However, I want to say something to you.
Suze: Inflation is pretty high right now, which means the cost of living adjustments for social security and things like that is also very high in about the 8% area. If it continued at, let's just say 8% in just four or five years, you would be at the 832, if you took the 635 with COLA.
Suze: She wants to know, should she take $635 a month with the cost of living adjustment or just get 832 a month right now with no cost of living adjustment? So the question has to be how long if she took the one for 635 with the cost of living adjustment,
Suze: would it take her with inflation to equal the $832. But it all depends on what the cost of living adjustment is. If it's at 8%, it will take her about five years. If it's at 4%, it will take her about seven years. If it's only at 3%, it will take nine years.
Suze: So, what you Leslie Anna have to know is that over the past 20 years, the average cost of living adjustment has been 2.2%. But many of those last 20 years, we were in a period of time where there was no inflation whatsoever. Look at where we are right now. Look at where they just raised the social security checks by over 8%
Suze: So I have to tell you if you're in your 60s or even early 70s and you don't need that extra $200 a month right now, which by the way is taxable. So that's not exactly what you put in your pocket. Does that extra $2400 a year,
Suze: the difference between the pension without COLA the pension with COLA, which is about $200 more a month or $2400 a year. Does that put you in a higher income tax bracket? Does that make your social security taxable? Does that make your Medicare B premiums taxable?
Suze: I have a feeling if you are in your sixties or again, early seventies, you are in good health. And your lifespan carries over to you. I would absolutely do the cost of living adjustment at 635. That surprised you.
KT: It did because I would go for the money. But what you just said, makes total sense. I can't imagine it going down dramatically to 2%.
Suze: It could and they want it to. But as all of, you know, nothing is working on inflation. So I just would think that it's going to take a number of years and all she would have needed in that situation would have been four or five years at the current cost of living adjustment and she'd be at what she is now. So
Suze: that's given the economic circumstances, that's what I would do, given her personal circumstances that's up to her because I don't know, does she have money? Does she not? Can she pay her bills? Can she not? But that will be up to her. And next question my KT.
KT: This next question is from one of the best...
Suze: Oh, we're at that time. Again, you need a haircut. I'm looking at you
KT: I am getting you getting one in two days, a short one for the summer. Ok. This next question is from Laurie V and Laurie is probably one of your very top of the class Suze students.
KT: She goes on, I'm not gonna share this with all of you because it's a really long update on how well she's doing with her money, but she ends it with this sentence, I try to always stand in my financial truth, live within my needs, but below my means and spend according to my needs versus wants, great student. So here's your question, here's Laurie's question. What happens Suze, when you retire? Do you want me to answer it, Suzie?
Suze: What does that mean? What happens?
KT: You have fun.
Suze: Is that how she ends it?
KT: No, no, no. This was after she told me all about her.
Suze: But is her question, what happens after you retire?
KT: For instance, taking out RMDs. Can you take it out from just one retirement account or do you take it out across all retirement accounts? So how are you taxed with your Social security and RMDs? But to
KT: the question is what happens when you retire? You're supposed to have fun, Laurie.
Suze: Well, the real question there was not that KT her real question really is about RMDs, required minimum distributions if you have more than one retirement account, meaning you have money in a 401k. Maybe you have money in a traditional IRA. Maybe you have an Ira rollover. Maybe
Suze: you have a SEP IRA, a simple IRA. Any money that you have that is in a traditional IRA, meaning you've never paid taxes on it. All of those sums have to be added together and your required minimum distributions are figured out on that. You can take that amount from one account, but it's on all the money that you have, which is again why
Suze: I happen to love Roth retirement accounts because with a Roth IRA or now, even because of the Secure Act two point oh, Roth 401k s, you do not have to take out R M DS anymore. And that's a big deal then why is that a big deal? Because you ask here, Laurie, how are you taxed with your social security and R M DS
Suze: when you take out required minimum distributions from a non Roth retirement account, they are absolutely counted towards your income. So depending on your income and the level that it's at, you will pay income tax on your social security and probably your part B of your Medicare premium. That's what you need to know. Next question KT.
KT: This is from Karen.
Suze: Do you know that I love, say next question KT!
KT: If I have a three month CD at 3% and the maturity rate has gone up to 4% and I decide to leave that CD there, do I automatically get the new higher interest rate for the next three months or do I have to cash it out and buy a new CD to get a new higher rate?
Suze: So let me give you an example using the Alliant Credit Union CDS when you sign up for them right now and you would do so by going to my alliant dot com slash ultimate, you have the ability to renew the CD. So currently, let's say you did a three month CD at 4.85%
Suze: and it absolutely matures in three months. If you signed up to have it renewed, it would automatically roll over into whatever the interest rate is being given on the new three month CD. So that's how it works. If you don't want that to happen,
Suze: then you usually just contact your firm wherever you bought it from and you make sure that it doesn't renew if you don't want it to automatically roll over.
KT: Ok, Suze, one more question before my quizzie time. Ready? This is rather long. It's from Lindsay. Hi, Suze and KT, on the March 2nd podcast Suze answered a question about paying financial advisors.
KT: I have a financial advisor who charges a set percentage on my portfolio, but he has all of my money in eight different mutual funds.
Suze: Danger, sign, danger, sign, danger.
KT: Wait, wait, wait. Well, she's already in danger zone. It doesn't seem like he's actively managing my money at all.
Suze: He's not.
KT: Wait, wait, Suze, he just took my money and purchased mutual funds that sit long term.
Suze: He did.
KT: I can tell where this is going everyone. Last summer when I started to realize this, I stopped DCA, Dollar cost averaging into the account and opened my own vanguard account that I now manage. Yeah, baby. Yeah. You rock girl. Now, my question is, what do I do with the money in the portfolio that he manages. Wait, she has a big question mark after the word manage.
KT: So anyway, she said the mutual funds he has me and aren't available through Vanguard. So I don't know what the equivalents are, blah, blah, blah. Should I wait until the account recovers what has been lost since January 2022? I really want to get away from this guy so I can start saving more money.
Suze: If you really want to get away from him. It's like you're in a relationship, just image this Lindsay, right? You're in a relationship with somebody that you really want,
Suze: to get away from because it's a bad relationship. You know, they don't really pay attention to you. They're not doing anything, they're costing you money, you're providing for them, you're supporting them. What are you gonna do? You're gonna wait until you think one day that relationship may get good. No, you are going to leave right now and go wherever you can. N aybe vanguard doesn't do the mutual funds that this person did for you.
Suze: But chances are maybe another brokerage firm might. So you would check with Fidelity or Schwab and things like that or if you have a loss in these. Now, listen to me closely. You have a loss in these accounts
Suze: and you don't want to continue paying the management fee to him as well as the management fee, believe it or not within the accounts and they're outside of a retirement account, which I think they are because you didn't say they were in a retirement account. Sell them.
Suze: Sell them at a loss. Now, you have a loss that you can take off your taxes. If you have nothing to offset that loss, you can offset $3,000 a year of income
Suze: until that entire loss is used up. Now, you have that money and you can invest it however you want, you might decide you want to simply keep it safe and sound right now because the markets very well could continue down
Suze: and put it in either a certificate of deposit or a treasury bill or you may decide to continue to dollar cost average into your Vanguard companies that you're in or even if you were to open up another company at a discount brokerage firm, another one if you wanted to into
Suze: some good dividend paying ETFs and they're out there. So no, you are not to stay with somebody who's being disrespectful to you. You are paying isn't paying any attention to you and you don't even want to be with this person anymore. Break up. Financial divorce court has just decided.
KT: I like that. Ok. Quizzie time.
Suze: All right. Quizzie time is where I pick out a question that I think all of you should know. And I ask KT the question, she has to think about it
Suze: and then you should also be thinking about it and I tell you whether or not she has it right. Are we ready, KT? Are your financial engines roaring?
Suze: Are they started at least?
KT: Yes. But I'm never real excited about quizzies, which everyone knows. But go ahead, I'm willing to play.
Suze: Shall we all play a guess? Here? She's got to get it right. She's got to get it wrong?
KT: Don't ever bet with Suze everybody
KT: Ever don't ever ever bet because Suze always wins.
Suze: If I were a betting woman here, I would say KT is going to get it wrong, but I really hope you get it right. All right. Hi, Susie and KT, I had a question about protection on your money.
Suze: FDIC covers anything issued by a bank, not anything Lisa up to 250,000. Unless you have multiple beneficiaries. Then it's more and credit unions by N C U A. What is SIPC, S-I-P-C?
Suze: Does it cover investments if they are held in a brokerage account only? Are there any other protections to look for? Can you explain? Thank you both, Lisa.
KT: Ok. Can I answer it? But do I have to explain? I don't know exactly what it stands for but it has to do with my statements I get for my stock portfolio. I see it all the time. It's on like every one of them.
Suze: And you've never asked what it's about?
KT: I figure. No, I figure it's something that has to do with protecting me. There's a p in it. Protection.
KT: Really. I, I don't know exactly what it means but I think it has to do with my stock portfolio.
Suze: But you don't. So, for instance, if your stock portfolio were to go down, would it protect you against those losses?
KT: I'm not sure. I'm not sure.
Suze: I told you she wouldn't know.
KT: I'm not sure.
Suze: That that means (wrong answer noise) you either know or you don't know. I'm not sure is not an answer.
KT: Security s wait, what is it? What's the initials?
KT: Security Protection Investment company?
Suze: That's close. But anyway, it stands for securities investor protection Corp. Ok. Company. Right. So you got that part, right.
Suze: But what it does everybody is, it gives you up to $500,000 of insurance per customer. But that includes up to only $250,000 in cash. For instance, Lehman Brothers went under and you had money in there, right? That protected you.
Suze: However, it does not protect you against loss with investments and many people make that mistake. It only protects you if the brokerage firm essentially goes under or something happens to them.
Suze: If you bought stocks and let's say you bought $250,000 of stocks and now those companies went belly up, the companies themselves were bad, they just went belly up. All of them. Too bad. Investments are not protected against investment loss. SIPC protects you against the brokerage firm itself
Suze: going under. And again, a lot of times when there's a loss like that, another brokerage firm will buy all the assets that are in there. So then everybody really is protected. But KT that is a perfect lead in to what Suze School this coming Sunday is going to be all about. I'm going to go into detail
Suze: about the difference between a money market account and a money market mutual fund. Got that everybody? You have got to know the difference of the two and the difference of what is covered by FDIC as well as what is covered by SIPC and what does it really mean? So that's what Suze School is gonna be about. All right, KT, that ends this.
Suze: Are you ready? You know how we end it, right?
KT: I do. Are we ready?
Suze: Are you ready? Are you sure?
KT: Wherever we go today...
KT: whatever we do today... today we will create... All right, you do it.
Suze: All right, everybody. So there's only one thing that we want you to say every single day and it is as follows: today, wherever I go, I will create a more peaceful, joyful and loving world. You bet we will and if you do, you will be unstoppable.
*Save Your Spot for Suze's Webinar on 3/30 at suzeorman.com/webinar
Get Suze’s special offers for podcast listeners at suzeorman.com/offer
Join Suze’s Women & Money Community for FREE and ASK SUZE your questions which may just end up on her podcast!
To ask Suze a question, download by following one of these links:
Answer Yes or No to the follow statements.
I pay all my credit card bills in full each month.
I have an eight-month emergency savings fund separate from my checking or other bank accounts.
The car I am driving was paid for with cash, or a loan that was no more than three years, and I sure didn’t lease!
I am contributing at least 10% of my gross salary to a retirement plan at work, or I am saving at least that much in an IRA and/or regular taxable account.
I have a long-term asset allocation plan for my retirement investments, and once a year I check to see if I need to do any rebalancing to stay on target with my allocation goals.
I have term life insurance to provide protection to those who are dependent on my income.
I have a will, a trust, an advance directive (living will), and have appointed someone to be my health care proxy.
So how did you do?
If you answered yes to every item, congratulations. If you are working on improving on a few items, I say congratulations as well.
As long as you are comitted to truly creating financial security, I applaud you. If that means you are paying down your credit card balances, or are building up your emergency fun with automated payments, that’s more than fine. You are on your way!
But if you found yourself saying No to any of those questions, and you’re not working on moving to Yes, then I want you to stand in your truth. No matter how good you feel, you have some work to do before you can honestly know what you are on solid financial ground.