Ask The Experts: Financial 411 for 10/3

Our panel of Certified Financial Planners on October 3rd included:Dennis Hebert, Strategic Wealth AdvisorsTed Sarenski, Blue Ocean Strategic CapitalRichard Jenkins, Diversified Capital Management

Among topics: Sanity in the insane financial world: There are some 'good economic news stories--including increases in construction and manufacturing spending, and big three auto sales dramatically up in September. The advice: don't stress over what you cannot control, like the European financial crisis, and don't go crazy over news stories on things you cannot control. Instead, concentrate on cutting your expenses and developing a sound financial plan for yourself...

Should you refinance your mortgage? It depends: lower rates are just one factor, but also check all the closing costs and whether you'll save in the long run. It depends on how long your mortgage has to run, and how long you plan to stay in the house.

Where to put money you have to invest? You can pay down debt, like credit card debt---which is like giving yourself a pay increase with the interest you've saved. And, don't forget to fund your 'rainy day fund' so you don't have to borrow and go back in debt in case of an emergency. Also, don't forget to keep paying yourself for retirement--401K or IRAs.

Click here to see the outline for the "Love Letter to My Family" which includes important financial information your loved ones will need.

And, five easy ways to trick yourself into savings:{>}Direct Deposit: Save $5 or $10 from each paycheck directly into your savings account.{>}Keep your spare change (nickels, dimes, quarters) and put it into a 'savings jar' nightly--you could collect a couple hundred dollars in a year!{>}Got a raise? Save half, and spend half.{>}Car loan paid off? Keep putting that 'payment' into your savings, to lower the loan amount for your next car.{>}Using rebates or coupons? Take what you've 'saved' and truly save the amount.

Click on the widget below to see the online discussion for Monday, October 3rd. You can also email your questions in advance to

Ask The Experts: Financial 411 10/3/11