Jill on Money: Sandy, investing, market timing

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As everyone recovers from Sandy, there were some valuable lessons about insurance that even those not affected by the storm should learn. To help victims of Sandy, you can donate to the American Red Cross.

Rich from Buffalo has $150,000 which could be used to pay down his 2.875% mortgage or to invest in a non-retirement account.

Jim from Woodstock, NY has an old variable annuity (VA) in non-qualified account, which has $121,000 in gains. This brings up one of the many problems of VAs: they convert capital gains into ordinary income! We also discussed how Jim should be managing his "fun money" account.

Beth from MI is recently divorced and is wondering whether to use index funds or a target date fund for the proceeds from a retirement account.

Jeannie NY is wondering about choosing a financial planner. Although her friend recommended someone, how should she "check her out"? A few resources for those in a similar situation: FINRA.ORG, CFP.net and when you meet the potential advisor, don't this to bring this handy-dandy post: "How to choose a financial advisor: 10 questions"

Ruben from CA may be the youngest caller ever on the show. At age 22, he's juggling repaying his student loans with a desire to move out of his parents' house.

David wrote in to ask about how to save in a tax-efficient way after he has maxed out his employer-based plan, and Bev raised an interesting tactic: contributing to a non-deductible IRA and later converting it into a Roth IRA.

Jennifer from VA and her husband own a home and a rental property. They want to move to better school district and need a strategy for accumulating a down payment versus paying down their existing mortgage.

John is worried about the market going down after the election -- should he get out of stocks and move into fixed and bonds? This led to one of my usual warnings about market timing...and why you shouldn't do it!

Here are web sites and resources mentioned in this week's show:

-- Jill's Blog

-- NAPFA: National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (fee-only advisors)

-- The ABCs of Annuities: 6 Questions to Ask

-- The Pros and Cons of Annuities

-- Annuity salespeople don't like me

-- Retirement Calculator

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE

Send an email: askjill@moneywatch.com

Tweet me: @jillonmoney

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    View all articles by Jill Schlesinger on CBS MoneyWatch »
    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.