Ask our Experts

We invite you to submit your questions about personal finance, particularly those that might be of interest to many.  We'll have our experts respond to your question by private email and post those that we feel to be of general interest.  We strive to provide a response to every question submitted.

Responses to "Ask Our Experts" submissions are developed by one or more volunteers of the Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin and are reviewed, edited, and approved, prior to issuance, by a committee of at least three FPA-WI members who are experienced Certified Financial PlannerTM certificants (learn more about the process).


Browse through the topics below or submit your own question to our financial planning experts.

Business Owner Issues

  • "Last year I took advantage of an early retirement...and recently began to give some thought to purchasing a small business.  Do you have some tips or guidelines for me to follow?"...Get the answer!
Cash & Debt Management

  • Last year, we paid our mortgage off! YEAH!  Now we want to buy a new (translation: bigger) house. I anticipate that we will sell our current house for $130,000 and will buy a $250,000 home. I only want a $120,000 mortgage, vice a $250,000 mortgage.  What type of mortgage do I need so that I can use the proceeds from the anticipated sale of my current home (without selling it first) so that I can get a lower loan amount?...Get the answer!

  • I'm 22 and just started my first job as a teacher. I have inherited ten thousand dollars. My student loans from college will be about fourteen thousand. My question is: what do i do with this money? Which would be more beneficial for me to do: pay off a large amount of my student loans right away or put the ten thousand away in a CD to save for the future, i.e. wedding, house?...Get the answer!

  • "How do I estimate savings by consolidating all our loan into one? I would like to refinance the mortgage and also roll in car loan and a home equity loan. Current mortgage has 10 more years, car loan at 4 years, home equity at 4 years. How should I evaluate the savings, since I would essentially be stretching out the home equity and the car loan?"...Get the answer!

  • "My partner and I are not married.  What general advice can you provide for us and couples in similar circumstances?"...Get the answer!

College Planning

  • "My child will be attending college next year and she insists that she should have her own credit card...Can you help me sort it out?"...Get the answer!

Consumer Issues

  • "My husband and I work with a "strip mall" financial planning company. We have been with this company for at least 5 years and feel like we are getting nowhere. We are looking for a planner that is not biased with one company over another because that is who is paying them the largest commission. Are there independent agents that will work for us? Should I be working with a planner associated with our bank? ...Get the answer!
  • "My spouse and I differ on how long we should retain our financial records.  What do you recommend?"...Get the answer!
Elder Care Planning

  • "...I'm concerned about planning for [my parents] if they decline in health or mental capacity.  What can I do now to prevent problems later?"...Get the answer!

Employee Benefit Planning

  • "...A representative from an investment firm has been after me to enroll in a tax shelter plan sponsored by my employer.  Is this a good idea? "...Get the answer!
Estate Planning

Income Taxes

  • We typically receive a large income tax refund every year... We're told all the time that this is a poor way to plan.  What are your suggestions?...Get the answer!
Investment Planning & Management

  • "My co-workers tell me I'm wasting my time (and money) by using socially responsible mutual funds in my portfolio.  Can you settle the argument?"...Get the answer!

  • "I'm confused by knowing when to be in the stock market and when to be out.  How do professionals make this decision?  How should I?"...Get the answer!

Personal Risk Management

  • "My insurance policy...was supposed to be paid-up after 9 years of premium payments.  I've recently learned that my policy will not last as long as my expected lifetime unless I start paying (significant) premiums again.  What gives?"...Get the answer!
Retirement Planning

  • "What percent of my income do I need to save for retirement?"...Get the answer!

  • "How much money does someone need to retire comfortably?"...Get the answer!

  • "...A representative from an investment firm has been after me to enroll in a tax shelter plan sponsored by my employer.  Is this a good idea? "...Get the answer!