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Pursuing student loan forgiveness entails a decade of meticulously recorded payments, hours on hold with your servicer and infinite patience. Success, however, arrives without much fanfare.

Public defender Shelly Tomtschik was in court when she got the email notifying her that the quest was over:

“Congratulations! After final review of your Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) application and payment history, we have determined that you have successfully made the required 120 monthly payments in order to have the loans listed below forgiven.”

“It wasn’t hitting me,” says Tomtschik, 40, of Baldwin, Wisconsin. “I thought it would be more official or something.”

Tomtschik is among the first federal student loan borrowers to get their loans canceled tax-free through the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The program, launched in 2007, forgives any outstanding balance after 120 qualifying payments for borrowers who take traditionally lower-paying public service jobs.

Related: How wiping out $1.5 trillion in student debt would boost the economy

But the process is tricky. Just 864 of the 88,006 applications filed had been approved as of March 2019, based on the most recently available data from the Education Department. The average amount forgiven: $59,244.

What it takes to get public student loan forgiveness

To qualify for PSLF, borrowers must make 120 monthly, on-time payments while working full time in public service for a qualifying employer. You also must:

  • Ensure you have only federal direct loans. Some borrowers will need to consolidate into a direct loan. Private loans aren’t eligible.
  • Enroll in an income-driven repayment plan. Your payments will be a portion of your discretionary income.
  • Make sure your loans are serviced by FedLoan Servicing, the only company that processes PSLF applications. You can do this by submitting an employer certification form.
  • Submit employer certification forms to prove you worked for a qualifying government or nonprofit employer while making all 120 payments.
  • Apply while you’re still working for an eligible employer.

Tomtschik and another successful applicant, Bonnie Svitavsky, a librarian in Washington state, might add another requirement: Document everything.

Svitavsky, a 38-year-old supervising librarian at Pierce County Library, made payments for two years before she found they wouldn’t count toward PSLF. That’s because her loans weren’t enrolled in an eligible repayment plan.

“It was disappointing, to say the least,” she says.

To avoid any future surprises, Svitavsky set alarms to submit certification forms and logged the details of calls to FedLoan.

“It felt crazy, but it was useful to go back and see I’ve had these conversations,” she says.

For five years Tomtschik didn’t submit employment certification forms, though she got credit for most of her payments. But once she started, she realized the benefit: ensuring every payment would count.

“Make sure you do the annual certification so if there’s any discrepancy in the number of payments eligible that you address it right away rather than try to go back,” Tomtschik says.

More than half of PSLF applications were rejected because they did not meet the number of qualifying payments, according to the Education Department. Some of the other reasons include missing information (25%), ineligible loans (16%), invalid employment dates (2%) or an ineligible employer (2%).

Read the rules — all of them

Tomtschik and Svitavsky could make a good argument for another requirement: Pay attention to the details.

Before submitting her first employment certification form, Tomtschik made extra payments up to $800 to pay down $70,000 in debt. “I was willing to do whatever just to be done with it,” she says.

Also read: Where the 2020 candidates stand on student debt and college affordability

But making more payments won’t help you reach 120 qualifying payments faster. Once Tomtschik started working toward PSLF, she stopped sending additional payments.

When Svitavsky learned about a new program – Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness – she realized forgiveness could come sooner than she thought. It’s a $350 million allocation for borrowers who met all of the criteria for PSLF but were making payments under the wrong plan.

This meant the two years of payments that hadn’t counted toward Svitavsky’s forgiveness now could. Last fall she applied, was denied and had to contact FedLoan to say she believed she qualified (this is required practice when applying for the temporary expanded program). In the spring, after months of wrangling, she finally won forgiveness.

The headaches are worth the payoff

By the time Tomtschik’s loans were forgiven last spring, her balance was $86,200 – which was $16,000 more than she originally borrowed.

Read: The true cost of that student loan

“I am happy to know it’s gone. My husband still has some student loan debt that we will pay off eventually,” Tomtschik says.

Svitavsky, meanwhile, says she had $80,971 of her original $97,115 in debt forgiven. Between submitting her first certification form in 2013 and getting forgiveness in April 2019, she paid nearly $20,000 in interest and less than $7,000 toward the principal.

“It’s been this weird long blur,” Svitavsky says.

More from NerdWallet:

Anna Helhoski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski.

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The auto industry is constantly changing and as such, automakers consistently introduce new models while doing away with older nameplates with every passing model year. One of the recent trends has been a move away from small cars and sedans toward bigger, taller, more practical SUVs, with a number of automakers announcing the discontinuation of small, medium and large sedans that had just a few years ago made up the bread-and-butter of their respective lineups. They aren’t all sedans, though, and below we’ll look at many of the cars being discontinued for the coming 2020 model year. As dealers will likely want to clear these lame-duck models from their lots to make room for fresh new products, expect to be able to get a great deal on any of the vehicles on this list.

Audi A3 Cabriolet

The A3 Cabriolet was introduced here in the U.S. back in 2015 as a 2-door, drop-top version of the A3 sedan. Unfortunately, though, the convertible market is shrinking and Audi has found that buyers tend to flock to the more expensive A5 Cabriolet over the smaller A3. With a new A3 on the way soon, the current A3 Cabriolet will go away – at least here in the U.S. — after the 2019 model year.

Audi TT

Built on the same platform as the A3 and the Volkswagen VWAGY, -0.85%   Golf range, the original Audi TT introduced a revolutionary design when it first went on sale back in 1999. 20 years later though, its appeal is waning, and Audi has opted to discontinue the TT ahead of the 2020 model year. Given its funky, spherical design, though, we think it would make a great electric vehicle, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a battery-powered revival of the TT down the road. Meanwhile though, there are new TTs still listed for sale on Autotrader.

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

Based on the outgoing “F30”-generation 3 Series, the funky hatchback 3 Series Gran Turismo carried on for one year after the all-new generation 3 Series sedan was introduced. Alas, the writing was on the wall for the 3 Series GT, and it goes away after 2019.

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo

The new BMW 8 Series effectively replaced the 6 Series in BMW’s lineup, and thus the 6 Series has played a bit of an odd role in recent years. A successor to the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo was offered under the 6 Series nameplate over the past few years, but like the 3 Series Gran Turismo, goes away for 2020.

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

While the BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible were discontinued last year, the 6 Series Gran Coupe carried on for another model year. With the unveiling of the 4-door 8 Series Gran Coupe though, its time has come, and the 2019 model year will be the 6 Series Gran Coupe’s last.

Buick Cascada
Buick
The Buick Cascada

The convertible Cascada never had much success in the U.S. A rebadged Opel, the Cascada was overpriced and impractical and thus failed to attract many buyers, especially given that it was often sold on the same lot as the more exciting Chevrolet Camaro. Accordingly, the Cascada will be laid to rest after 2019. As it was never very popular, there aren’t as many new Cascadas still out there as there are other vehicles on this list. Right now on Autotrader, they are still listed for sale. 

Buick LaCrosse

GM GM, -0.20%   has announced the discontinuation of its line of large, front-wheel-drive sedans, which means the end for the semi-luxurious LaCrosse. A comfortable, spacious sedan, the current-generation LaCrosse just went on sale for the 2017 model year, and was available with all-wheel drive and a potent V6 engine. Alas, the LaCrosse falls victim to the rise in popularity of SUVs, and 2019 will be its last model year.

Cadillac XTS

Like the LaCrosse, the Cadillac XTS is another one of GM’s large FWD sedans that is going away after 2019. A little more polished and a little more luxurious than the LaCrosse, the XTS offered comfort and style, although it had been made virtually obsolete in the Cadillac lineup in recent years by the new CT6 and redesigned CTS. While it’s going away soon, the XTS isn’t quite dead yet, and there are still many listed for sale on Autotrader. 

Be sure to read: The ultimate car-buying checklist—for even the most experienced shopper

Chevrolet Impala

The most economical of GM’s triumvirate of midsize sedans is being discontinued in 2019, the Chevrolet Impala offers comfort and serenity just like the LaCrosse and the XTS, but at a lower price and with fewer luxurious features. Don’t worry though if you’re hoping to get behind the wheel of a brand-new Impala in the coming year, as there are currently tons of new examples still listed for sale on Autotrader. 

Chevrolet Cruze

While it offers an attractive design, good technology and a fuel-efficient powertrain, the Cruze is another sedan that has fallen victim to the SUV onslaught, and production is set to end after the 2019 model year There are still loads of new Cruzes listed for sale on Autotrader, many of which are the practical hatchback body style, and a few of which come with the diesel engine. 

Chevrolet Volt

The original Chevrolet Volt came out back in 2011 and paired a small electric powertrain with a range-extending gas engine. Sales of the original were strong enough to justify the introduction of a second-gen Volt that came out for 2016, but as GM is turning its focus to fully-electric vehicles heading into the future, there’s no longer a place for the Volt in Chevrolet’s lineup going forward, and the 2019 model year will be the Volt’s last. Fear not if you’re looking to still get your hands on one of these plug-in hybrids, as there are close to 700 new Volts still listed for sale on Autotrader. Looking for a fully-electric GM product? Check out the Bolt. 

Fiat 500
Fiat
The Fiat 500

With the economic downturn and sky-high gas prices seen in the U.S. at the beginning of this decade, automakers scrambled to introduce small, efficient city cars. Fast forward a few years though, and a stronger economy means that the market for these microcars has all but dried up, and Fiat-Chrysler FCAU, -0.40%   has announced that sales of the diminutive 500 will end in the U.S. after 2019, citing a lack of demand.

Ford Fiesta

While an all-new Fiesta was introduced last year, it won’t be sold in the U.S., leaving the nameplate to die here with the discontinuation of the current-gen Fiesta after 2019. Even though it’ll be going away soon, there are still loads of new Fiestas sitting on dealer lots.

Ford Taurus

Introduced way back in 2010, the current-generation Ford F, +0.34%   Taurus soldiered on here in the U.S. for nearly a decade. But as all good things must come to an end, the full-size Taurus will end production after 2019. While news of the Taurus’ demise has been out for a while now, there are still over 600 new Taurus’ listed for sale on Autotrader, some with AWD, and some of which are even the high-performance SHO model. 

Jaguar XJ

Long serving as Jaguar’s flagship model, the big XJ won’t live to see the 2020 model year. While no immediate successor has been formally announced, there are rumblings that Jaguar will introduce a new, electric-powered sedan in the next few years that will effectively take the XJ’s place in the lineup (and it might even bear the XJ name). If you’re interested in getting your hands on what will likely be the last of the big, gas-powered Jaguar sedans, there are plenty of brand-new XJs still listed for sale on Autotrader. 

Nissan 370Z Roadster
Nissan
The Nissan 370Z Roadster

The 370Z is ancient, having been introduced way back in 2008 as a 2009 model. Clearly on its last leg, Nissan NSANY, +0.90%   has discontinued the 370Z Roadster for the 2020 model year, while the Coupe version will soldier on for at least another year. While it’s been known for a while now that the 370Z Roadster would be going away, there are still new examples listed for sale.

Nissan Titan Single Cab and XD Diesel

Nissan is in an odd place with the Titan, which is firmly entrenched as the fifth-place midsize pickup in terms of sales here in the U.S., behind Ford, GM, GM, -0.20%   Ram and Toyota. TM, +0.47%   As such, they’ve tried to mix things up from a product standpoint in recent years, introducing a Cummins diesel-powered Titan a few years back. The diesel never caught on, and it goes away for 2020, as does the Titan’s slow-selling single-cab body style.

Also read: Buying a car is more expensive than ever — here’s why

The entire Smart brand
Smart USA
The Smart car

As Smart’s entire brand is built around tiny microcars, it’s been left pretty exposed with the plummeting popularity of small cars here in the States. Earlier this year, it was announced by parent-company Mercedes-Benz that the Smart brand would be exiting the U.S. market after 2019. This is probably for the better, as Smart’s only offering here for the 2019 model year was the electric-powered EQ fortwo.

Toyota Prius C

Toyota introduced the subcompact Prius C earlier this decade as part of the company’s attempt to create a Prius subbrand of uniquely-styled hybrid-powered vehicles. This plan seems to have been scuttled, and the Prius C has soldiered on well past its sell-by date, as its fuel economy and cabin tech is barely competitive by today’s standards. Not surprisingly, the 2019 model year will be the Prius C’s last.  

Read: Why buying a 10-year-old car is a savvy move

Volkswagen Beetle

The second-generation of VW’s VWAGY, -0.85%   reincarnated Beetle wore a new muscular design and offered some fun turbocharged powertrains. With the rise in popularity of SUVs though, not to mention the fact that it was sold alongside the Golf, which was always a much better overall package, there really isn’t a place for the Beetle in VW’s lineup anymore. While we suspect it’ll reappear as an EV down the line, the Beetle as we know it goes away after 2019. If you’re hoping to pick up a new Beetle before these unique hatchbacks disappear from dealer lots, you’re in luck, as there are currently many new examples still listed for sale.

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen and Alltrack

Out of all the cars being discontinued for 2020, this one hurts the most. As VW gets ready to launch an all-new Golf in Europe in the next few months, the company’s Golf-related offerings are being pared down in the U.S. for 2020. While the current-generation GTI will carry on, sales of the Golf Sportwagen, the Golf Alltrack and the Golf R will end after 2019. While an all-new Golf R should be introduced soon, things aren’t looking good for fans of the Sportwagen and the Alltrack, as VW will likely look to fill their spots with increased SUV sales here in the U.S. There are plenty of brand new Sportwagens and Alltracks still listed for sale though.

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.

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Don’t miss these top money and investing features:

The money and investing features popular with MarketWatch readers this past week include a look why you might consider financial therapy, which aims to help us become more mindful about savings, spending, and other money matters. Plus, check out stories about how the U.S. stock market is holding up against this latest wave of economc, political, and housing-market uncertainty. Also, watch reports on picking retail stocks and how to keep your FIRE (financial independence – retire early) plan from flaming out.

— Jonathan Burton

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What does living in the middle class really look like today?

Income statistics say you’re middle class if your family makes $45,200 to $135,600 a year, according to the Pew Research Center. Social tradition holds it’s having a steady job, owning a home and car, being able to save for retirement and send the kids to college, and taking an annual vacation.

But, as the standard picture of middle-class shifts — or in some cases disappears — there’s perhaps no better way to understand the changes than by looking at the real-life budgets of families across the country.

The New York Times recently did just that by comparing and contrasting the budgets, line by line, of four families from around the U.S. All four households fit into that middle-class bracket, but their circumstances vary widely.

On the lower end of the income scale, for instance, there’s a Sheboygan, Wis., family of four, including two toddlers. The parents earn $4,000 a month after taxes from both a part-time retail job and a line cook gig, neither of which offers paid time off or health insurance. Their monthly expenses include:

  • $600 in rent on a two-bedroom house
  • $550 in student loans
  • $800 on groceries and dining out (which includes the supermarket tab, toiletries and supplies for three cats)
  • $482 on transportation (includes 2 cars, one is paid off)
  • $340 in credit card debt

The complete list of expenses adds up to $3,232 a month, leaving them with $738. They take turns watching the kids to save on child-care costs, and the children are covered by a state-run health insurance program. Mom and dad are uninsured, however. “We have such high levels of stress from juggling our schedules,” mom Lauren Koch told the Times.

But they’ve got more left over at the end of the month than the San Francisco couple with an infant daughter who earn more than twice as much. Amanda Rodriguez and David Allen take home $9,675 a month, which gets gobbled up by:

  • $3,535 for rent on a two-bedroom apartment
  • $2,800 for a nanny-share
  • $500 on clothing, haircuts and happy hour
  • $425 for retirement savings (plus $550 pretax)
  • $380 for health insurance (pretax, not in total)
  • $210 on transportation

Their list totals $9,760 at the end of the month, meaning they break about even. “It’s a very expensive city,” said Rodriguez, noting that, “we are actively making a choice to be here.”

Of course, sharing such itemized budgets opens the floor for plenty of debate about where people choose to spend, and where they scrimp and save.

MarketWatch recently shared a budget drawn up by Sam Dogen of the Financial Samurai blog that showed how a family of four earning $350,000 a year in an expensive metropolitan area barely qualifies as middle class. Dogan said that the budget line items were vetted by thousands of people living in pricey coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Washington.

But it was hard for many readers to wrap their heads around a family dropping $24,000 a year on preschool, or $70 a day on food, especially considering that the median household income in the U.S. is $57,782, and some 95% of U.S. households don’t pull in anywhere close to $350K.

Read more: This budget shows how a $350,000 salary barely qualifies as middle class

“They spend more on childcare than I and most other people make in a year,” wrote one reader in the story comments.

Another person, who claimed to also live in southern California, noted that the housing and childcare costs are realities of the region, but many other line items suggested this family should more accurately be described as upper class.

“If you can afford entertainment, vacations (multiple), and date nights (as part of food?!) as THREE separate line items, while still saving for college AND retirement, and STILL have over $1,400 net cash every month, there is no way you’re struggling,” this person wrote. “You’re not ‘barely middle class.’ You are doing very well.”

Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter with ‘Struggling’ … with what? Math?”

People will always have opinions about the best ways to save, spend and invest money, but the reality is that different households have different needs.

The cost of living varies across the country, and many households with incomes that look rich on paper are burdened by student loan and credit card debt, child-care bills that eat into their earnings, as well as housing costs that continue to outpace wage growth. That’s why some people who earn $90,000 a year don’t consider themselves rich, even though they earn more than 87% of the U.S. population.

Family size can also weigh down finances. A couple earning $43,693 to $131,078 could be considered middle-income, according to Census Bureau and Pew Center data crunched by personal-finance website HowMuch.net. But if they have a kid, they need to make another $7,000 to meet the minimum threshold of being middle class (which jumps to between $50,697 and $152,092 for a family of three, and $60,499 to $181,496 for a family of four.)

Read more: Who is really middle class in America? This chart shows just how much family size matters

Bottom line: even as the U.S. has been in a decade-long bull market, the middle class — as traditionally defined — is shrinking, and what it means to be middle class is being redefined in different ways all over the country.

This post was originally published on this site
Coinbase

Coinbase has announced that it will increase fees on its Coinbase Pro platform as well as resuming support for UK deposits and withdrawals.

Coinbase Pro, the cryptocurrency exchange’s platform for professional and institutional traders, will adopt a new fee structure that will see an increase in fees on all transactions under $10,000 USD and between $10,000 USD and $50,000 USD. The new structure will see maker fees rise by 233% for the lowest tier of transactions, from 0.15% to 0.50%, while taker fees will go from 0.25% to 0.50%, an increase of 100%. The maker and taker model is a way to differentiate fees between trade orders that provide liquidity (maker orders) and take away liquidity (taker orders).

The new fee structure has caused outrage in the crypto community, with many users saying the only solution is to simply abandon Coinbase in favor of a rival platform, such as Kraken. One Reddit user stated“Meanwhile stock brokerages are all going fee-free.. I emailed support blasting them. If they don’t change, I’m going to Kraken,” while another said, “Conbase is the correct spelling.” Coinbase has said that the aim of the new fees is to increase the depth and liquidity of the market; however, some users have said the platform is continuing to favor big traders.

>> PayPal Might Quit Facebook’s Libra Project: Key Implications

Meanwhile, Coinbase has also announced that it has resumed support for the British pound sterling (GBP) following months of backup. Back in July, the exchange was dropped by British bank Barclay’s, a partnership that was once hailed as the most prestigious in crypto, after the bank lost its appetite for cryptocurrency. However, Coinbase UK was immediately picked up by ClearBank, a considerably smaller “challenger bank” in the UK.

Coinbase UK was unable to immediately recommence operations with ClearBank as it had to meet several requirements first, including the delisting of Zcash (ZEC). The exchange has also revealed that UK users will now be able to trade five new coins, including Ripple’s XRP.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © dennizn

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The latest research paints a grim picture of what retirement could look like for millennials — and we should all be concerned. In the developed world, no country has a higher concentration of millennials than the United States. They represent America’s future, but many have gotten off to a worse start than previous generations.

Millennials earn less annually on average ($40,500) than similarly aged individuals just a decade ago ($43,300). They have less wealth than previous generations at the same age and more debt than young workers owed 30 years ago.

Projecting the retirement future of millennials

The Urban Institute’s “Retirement Security in 2050” report takes a close look at how today’s retirees compare to projections about millennials when they begin to hit retirement age 30 years from now. It is anticipated that millennials will have higher average annual lifetime earnings ($50,000 versus $37,000 for those who have already reached retirement). Retirement incomes are also projected to rise from an average of $60,000 a year now to $73,000 for millennials.

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Dear Moneyist,

I met my husband 17 years ago online. We have been married for 15 years and have a 12-year-old son. I am from another country, and my husband sponsored me to come to the U.S.

I already had a business degree from my home country. But I have always wanted to be a nurse, and my husband encouraged me to go back to school, which I did. I am now a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing, and will have my master of science in nursing in a few months.

He said a divorce would be devastating to our son; he’s our only child. My husband was married twice before, but I found that out after we got married.

When I was in school for those five years, I didn’t have to work. My husband paid all the bills. I took on a lot of student debt, which I’m now paying back. But ever since I started to work, my husband seems to believe he shouldn’t work anymore.

Seven years after we got married, I asked my husband for a divorce. He said a divorce would be devastating to our son; he’s our only child. My husband was married twice before, but I found that out after we got married.

We went to couple’s counseling and decided to stay together, but his lies and deception have taken a toll on our marriage. The mortgage for our current home is in my name only, and I pay all the bills.

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He left his job in 2012 and got a little over $200,000, putting that money in an account with his name. It now has just $10,000. He refused to tell me what he did with the money, and he has since closed the account.

I have had three surgeries since our marriage and my husband was not by my side during any of those difficulties. He believes that I owe him my life and achievements because he sponsored me to come to this country.

He believes that I owe him my life and achievements because he sponsored me to come to the U.S. I am willing to split everything 50/50 with him. My brother says I should take 70%.

I am willing to split everything 50/50 with him. My brother says I should take 70% and give him 30%, but I believe that’s too harsh. I want to be fair with him.

Sometimes, I feel like walking away from everything and starting over fresh. I am 10 years younger than my husband. Our home is valued at more than $450,000 and currently has a mortgage of less than $100,000.

I have no family in this country except my husband, his family and our son. I have to pay for all our vacations, but he finds the money to take his mother and sister to the Caribbean. He also flies all over the country for family reunions while I work. We are going on vacation in two weeks, and I am paying for all of it.

He started working again last May. He puts his salary in our joint account and then writes a check to withdraw the exact amount of money. What type of person does things like that? I know in my heart that he’s ruining me financially. I’ve not been able to save any money for the last 10 years.

Florida Wife

Dear Wife,

I have taken the liberty of writing down on a large sheet of paper all of the things you owe your husband. I have even taken a photo of the page and included it below as part of my answer. It’s what we call in the business “the takeaway.”

Your husband, on the other hand, has taken enough. It’s time to make appointments — in no particular order — with a lawyer, an accountant, your bank manager and a therapist. You need a team to help you take action.

Gather bank statements and all documents, tax returns, mortgage statements, property tax statements, stocks and bonds you own, check stubs and letters to make your case. Copy them and bring them to your lawyer’s office.

Also see: My sister oversees my mom’s business and $3 million estate — should she have all this power?

Enough is enough. You have one life, and it’s insane to allow him to hold you to ransom for the rest of it. I could talk about how your husband has taken you hostage and used your son and/or your good nature as collateral, but let’s not spend any more time on him.

You need to put yourself first. Your story reads like a bad dream where you want to open a door and walk through it, but every time you try, you’re back where you started. Gathering documents and making appointments will be a good first step.

Sometimes, taking action is the toughest thing to do. We become imprisoned by other people’s expectations and our own sense of responsibility, guilt and inadequacy. Filing for divorce and advocating for yourself is the best example you can set for your son.

A list of everything this woman owes her husband of 15 years.

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There’s only one good time to file for divorce from your husband: now. As soon as possible. Once the wheels start to turn, you will need all the advice and support you can get from your professional team and friends. Your husband will try everything to get you to stop. Don’t.

He has appealed to your good nature, and he may eventually believe you have earned his anger. Nothing he does should stop you — it should merely confirm that you are making the right decision for yourself and your son. You have contributed more than enough.

Florida is an equitable-distribution state. I am optimistic that your lawyer and a divorce court will determine what is community property — assets to be distributed 50/50 — and what is yours to keep. I suspect that his keeping his $200,000 savings and salary will be a big part of that decision.

There is one thing that is precious than money: your time. You have a life to live. Go get it.

Also see: My fiancé’s father is custodian of his IRA — how can I get him to relinquish control?

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

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Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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This post was originally published on this site

Over the last few months, this column has laid out many ways to build your own personal pension, which used to be the norm but now, at least in private industry, is nearly extinct. This time, we put it all together to show you how it can be done.

But first, to refresh your memory, here are the elements we’ve discussed that should go into such a pension:

• Social Security benefits.

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