Ask Amy: Concern About Credit Card Accounts |

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Dear Amy: I need advice. For the past five years, my husband has used credit cards (opening credit card accounts only for the opening bonus and then closing them after receiving the bonus). He opens cards in his name and mine.

It’s legal, to my knowledge.

He is very organized and we have never accrued interest or fees.

I’ve recently started to feel uncomfortable about this and want him to stop using my name.

When he started doing this, I was young and thought he knew best, so I didn’t question him.

I’m afraid he gets mad at me because suddenly I don’t feel good about it. I’m afraid he will be upset by my sudden interest in financial matters and that he will lose half of the bonus money he receives by opening these accounts.

Thank you!

– Churning concerns

Dear churning: Credit card “churning” is the practice of opening a new card that offers a bonus (for example: “Earn a $ 200 bonus after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account. “)

Churners open the card, spend the $ 500 in expenses they would have paid anyway, get the bonus back in the form of cash back or reward points, then stop using the card (or close it) once. times the bonus received and spent.

It is not illegal, although it is frowned upon (by card issuers) and can negatively affect your credit score if you miss a payment or hold too many cards.

Since these bonuses are issued by credit card companies who aggressively market their products for people to use their cards (including taking advantage of people who do not pay them back quickly, which allows them to drive up credit rates). ‘interest), it seems logical that some savvy consumers will find a way to scavenge all that predatory energy and redirect it directly to the business. Your husband is one of those informed consumers.

The most important thing to know is that you have the right to disagree with any financial decision, especially one that involves your name and your credit.

He should not be opening credit card accounts in your name.

Your fear that your husband might be “annoyed” or “angry” with you for making a decision that affects both of you is a red flag that you don’t have an equal voice in your relationship.

Yes, you should be intensely interested and intimately involved in your marriage finances.

You should also check your own credit score to see if it has affected your credit.

Dear Amy: My son met a woman online about 18 months ago.

Their relationship progressed to a point where he visited her for a few weeks and has now decided to leave the state to be with her and her children.

I haven’t met his girlfriend or kids yet, but at some point we’ll probably have a video call with them.

With the holidays approaching, my wife and I don’t know what we should do with the gifts because we’ve never met them.

It is uncharted territory for us.

– Ed

Dear Ed: You should ask your son for advice. For a while, it will be her job to help build a bridge between her parents and her partner and her children.

Keep your offerings modest, and as an extra nod to her new partner, you could send her a specialty from your home region: a piece of locally made pottery, or honey, syrup, or hot sauce. Let her know that you can’t wait to meet her and the kids.

Dear Amy: I love your column. I have a comment on “Southern Bride,” whose husband wants her to clean up his retirement account to fund their house.

Taking money from retirement accounts such as 401 (k) s before the age of 59-1 / 2 will incur a 10% penalty. And while this is (ideally) a temporary withdrawal, the money can’t just be re-deposited once she gets it back, as there are limits to annual contributions.

– Aware

Dear connoisseurs: “Southern Bride” didn’t note where her retirement savings were invested, but thank you very much for considering the tax implications.


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