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Q&A: Is it OK to tap my 401(k) to pay off Credit Card Debt?


When I wrote “The Recession Diaries” column at the Chicago Tribune and later for AOL.com, I loved responding to mail because questions raised by one reader often reflect the dilemmas of many.I recently received this letter from one reader, Nick from Michigan: “I have a question regarding credit card debt and I was hoping to […]

Big Medical Bills: How to Cope When You Can’t Afford to Pay the Docs

Doctor office.sxyblkmn.Flickr

Every year, I have thousands of interactions with readers, friends, and other bloggers about personal finance. Over the years, I think the thing that has scared me most is the potential for a major illness or injury to wipe out your finances. Think about it: One day you’re on your way to work, the next […]

Taxes and Unemployment; How to Avoid Surprises and Owe Less Tax


Did you know that unemployment benefits are subject to income tax? It comes as a surprise to many people. But don’t fret too much because there are also special tax breaks for the unemployed, such as job search deductions and the earned income credit.