NEW CASTLE —
Dear Dave: Is it better to keep your emergency fund in a certificate of deposit or a money market account? — Tiffany
Dear Tiffany: Right now, a short-term certificate of deposit (CD) pays about the same as a money market account. The problem is you’re only going to make about 1 percent with either one. The good thing about a money market, though, is that there are no early withdrawal fees attached.
In my mind, an emergency fund isn’t there for the purpose of making money. It needs to just sit safe and sound until it’s needed. It should also be in a program where it’s easily accessible and there are no stupid fees or penalties for simply using your own money.
So, yeah, savings interest rates right now are aggravating. But you don’t have 3- or 4-percent-home-mortgage world without a 1-percent CD world. They kind of go together. Just remember that interest rates aren’t the end game when it comes to your emergency fund. You want three to six months of expenses just sitting there, waiting for life to happen. Trust me, it will! — Dave
Dear Dave: I’m in the military, and my wife and I have $13,000 in the bank along with $35,000 in a Roth IRA. We also have no debt, and we put $3,500 into our savings account each month. Our new baby is due to arrive in January, so do you think this would be a good time to buy our first home? — Tom
Dear Tom: Based on the market alone, it’s a great time to buy a house. Interest rates are fantastic, and prices are recovering but still buyer-friendly.
However, considering your wife’s delivery date and the fact that it takes a while to find and complete the process of buying a home, I think I’d wait on this. Moving is stressful enough under normal circumstances, but combining that with a pregnancy could shoot your wife’s stress levels into the stratosphere. I really don’t think you want to do that to her. And speaking as an old married guy, it’s something you don’t want to experience, either.
Another thing to consider is if there’s a good chance you’ll be reassigned in the next four or five years. We work with the military a lot, and that means we see people who buy, and get stuck with, homes all over the country. These places usually become rental homes because they don’t sell quickly. And this is a situation you want to avoid because being a long-distance landlord is a real pain.
If everything falls into place, you could easily have enough set aside for a big down payment a few months after the baby arrives. At that point, things will feel a little more settled. I know the temptation is great right now to move into a place you can call your own, but you want buying a home to be a blessing, not a curse. Take a little more time, and see how things feel career- and family-wise in a few months. That’s my advice. — Dave
NEW CASTLE —
Culinary Conversation: It’s a hole new recipe with this banana pudding cake
Last week, while on vacation, I was fortunate to have lunch out at three different restaurants. But I skipped dessert every time. Then Anita Guyton sent me a message on Facebook, and a sweet craving began that hasn’t actually stopped
Mitchel Olszak: IRS email fight clouds the issue
A scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service is now focused on missing emails. The absent data could represent the smoking gun Republicans have been seeking in their endless efforts to discredit the Obama administration.
John K. Manna: Harrisburg passes the buck to local taxes
By the time you read this, Gov. Tom Corbett may have signed the state budget. Or, he may have done nothing. Or, he may have vetoed it.
Culinary Conversation: Try these treats at your summer celebration
There’s no doubt about it — this is a busy time of year. There are graduation parties still going on, wedding and baby showers, engagement and birthday parties, bridal and bachelor luncheons, and lots of get-togethers.
Dear Reader: Efficiency overlooked in Pennsylvania budget crisis
Politicians in Harrisburg are rounding up the usual suspects while crafting a balanced budget for the new fiscal year.
Culinary Conversation: Reader shares more of her favorite recipes.
I think — no, I know — that I want to eat at Kristine Suber’s house. The busy wife and mother submitted eight recipes to Culinary Conversation this week. Eight. But today, there’s room for six of Kristine’s selections.
Mitchel Olszak: Iraq is good argument for fracking
A friend of mine is a big advocate of shale gas drilling. It’s not because he owns land and is looking forward to royalties. He owns no property.
Culinary Conversation: Just peachy! Time for fresh fruit pies
The peaches sat on the kitchen table for a few days. But when they were fully ripe, I knew the wait was worth it. They tasted exactly the way eating a peach out of hand should be — juicy and delicious.
Mitchel Olszak: Government officials can’t dismiss Sunshine Law rights
There’s a fundamental problem I frequently see with government. It has to do with the people who hold positions of authority. Too often, they seem to overlook the real reason they are there.
Culinary Conversation: Jell-O still a cool summer choice
Turning on the stove or oven in hot weather is not appealing. It’s summer, and lighter meals consisting of salads and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are easy and healthy.
- More Columns Headlines
- Culinary Conversation: It’s a hole new recipe with this banana pudding cake