The Prime 10 Pricey Penny Columns of 2022

Pricey Reader,

Each week I depend on you to ship your thorniest cash questions my method. And as soon as once more, you definitely delivered. Some themes from my inbox in 2022:

  • For the third consecutive 12 months, essentially the most generally requested query was “Can I get my ex’s Social Safety?”
  • The abysmal efficiency of the inventory market had lots of you asking: “Ought to I simply money out already?”
  • Inflation and stagnant wages had a number of us on edge.
  • As typical, letter writers sought recommendation about making issues work with a accomplice who’s broke, lazy or each.
  • Inheritances had been a sizzling subject. However recently the burning query has been: “Do I’ve to share my inheritance with my partner?”

Obtained a burning cash query? Submit it right here. Although I can’t reply to each query, I’ll do my greatest to reply if I’ve one thing useful to say. Test again on Wednesdays and Sundays to see if I answered your letter. Whilst you’re at it, subscribe to my weekly e-newsletter for bonus Pricey Penny content material.

Thanks for studying and for trusting me along with your most perplexing cash questions. Cheers to a affluent 2023!



Prime 10 Pricey Penny Columns of 2022

Earlier than we ring in 2023, let’s look again upon some highlights from the previous 12 months. These had been the ten hottest Pricey Penny columns of 2022.

1. Can I Cease My Ex-Spouse From Claiming Half My Social Safety?

Pricey Penny, 

I used to be married 22 years. The wedding led to 2002. When my ex-wife retires, will I be capable of gather half of her Social Safety? If that’s the case, how do I am going about that? I’m 61; she is 62 now.

Additionally, would she be capable of come after half of my Social Safety? How can I stop the latter? (I earned lower than she did.)


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

2. Do I Should Pay Mother’s Debt With My $1M Life Insurance coverage Payout?

Pricey Penny,

My mother handed away final 12 months with numerous debt in her property. This debt features a mortgage, IRS tax liens, bank card money owed and different heirs who would must be notified of her property. The property seems to be in debt slightly below $200,000 with no different property out there to pay for these money owed. 

Unknown to me, my mother made me the only real beneficiary below a number of insurance coverage insurance policies (effectively over $1 million), together with her lifetime pension/annuity. Per her final needs, by way of video recordings, she didn’t need another members of the family to be notified of her dying, not even my different half siblings. She stated that I ought to merely stroll away from all of the money owed, and all different belongings, together with the mortgage. 

I’ve carried out precisely as she wished, by submitting all claims and paperwork, together with the lifetime pension/annuity that I’m now receiving. All proceeds from these claims at the moment are deposited into my very own private accounts as the only real beneficiary. 

The one liquid money that she had was $3,000 in a checking account with no financial savings or different supply of funds. All the contents of her property amounted to round $5,000 of non-public belongings. At the moment the home has gone by way of foreclosures, together with all of the furnishings and private belongings left inside. 

I’ve not made any effort to inform any debt collectors or any events who would have a declare as a creditor, together with any heirs or members of the family. (Our household has had a nasty relationship for over 10 years, and I used to be the one one who saved in touch.) I additionally haven’t filed any of her tax paperwork for the prior 12 months for her remaining taxes. Her remaining paychecks had been issued out to the property, round $9,000, and would want to undergo probate. 

I’ve basically walked away from every part as she has instructed, besides to comply with by way of with submitting claims for each the insurance policies and her annuity. My principal query is, will I be accountable for something due below her title equivalent to again taxes or another obligations that would pop up sooner or later? 

I’ve already requested two attorneys, however each of them have merely stated that I can stroll away. However I’ve some reservations in doing so, because it simply doesn’t really feel regular. As the only real beneficiary of each the insurance policies and lifelong annuity, am I obligated to pay any taxes or liens that will current themselves sooner or later? 


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

3. Can My Deadbeat Son Battle My Choice to Disinherit Him?

Pricey Penny,

I’m 73 and have one son who’s single and lives in the identical city. I even have 5 siblings. I’m very near my youngest sister, who’s on incapacity. I paid my residence off two years in the past, and I’ve some 401(ok) financial savings. 

I’m planning on leaving my residence and all of my 401(ok) and financial savings accounts to my sister. I owe no cash to anybody. I’ve a $10,000 life insurance coverage coverage I put in my son’s title. 

I do know he will likely be upset, however he has been stealing from me for years as he did along with his dad when he was dwelling. He has a set of grasp keys and will get in even after I’ve modified my locks and in addition stole my additional automotive key! Can he combat my determination in courtroom to get the cash and home after I cross on?


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

4. Am I Accountable for My New Husband’s Secret $200K Debt?

Pricey Penny,

I’m 59 and was lately married. I simply discovered he’s in debt for over $200,000. As of proper now, all of our monetary stuff is separate. If he passes away, am I liable for his debt despite the fact that it was acquired earlier than our marriage? Additionally, are we higher off submitting our taxes individually?


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

Obtained a Burning Cash Query?

Get sensible recommendation to your cash challenges from Robin Hartill, a Licensed Monetary Planner and the voice of Pricey Penny.

DISCLAIMER: Choose questions will seem in The Penny Hoarder’s “Pricey Penny” column. We’re unable to reply each letter. We reserve the suitable to edit and publish your questions. However don’t fear — your identification will stay nameless. Pricey Penny columns are for normal informational functions solely, however we promise to offer sound recommendation based mostly on our personal analysis and insights.

5. I Can’t Afford a Divorce Lawyer. Am I Caught With My Spouse Eternally?

Pricey Penny, 

I’ll have been married for 30 years in July 2022. My spouse and I haven’t been intimate in over 10 years. We’re each 58 years of age. 

I haven’t been in love together with her for nearly half our marriage. I’ve informed her for the final 10 to 12 years that I need a divorce. However I can’t break up legal professional right now as a result of I’ve been making an attempt to repay hospital payments and different loans. 

I’ve been disabled since near the top of 2016. My incapacity is extra in my extreme melancholy and my migraine complications. Stress normally causes my migraine complications.

When my dad died, my siblings and I obtained an inheritance of about $100,000. My inheritance cash paid off our home. 

I’m afraid if I proceed with divorce that I’m going to be homeless. I had been hoping that my spouse would go away as a substitute of me leaving, however I’m nearly 100% positive she’s not going anyplace. 

My spouse and I wouldn’t have any extra youngsters dwelling with us. I actually can’t stand to be round her anymore. When she speaks to me, her voice drives me nuts. I simply don’t need her to say something to me. 

Penny, I don’t know if I’m asking you for recommendation or actually what I’m doing. I cry nearly each day as a result of I’m so unhappy and alone. I actually don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t wish to be homeless, however I don’t wish to be unhappy and alone anymore. Are you able to give me recommendation on what I have to do, please?


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

6. Was I Mistaken to Give My Daughter’s Faculty Fund to a Relative?

Pricey Penny,

When my daughter didn’t go to varsity even after taking a “hole 12 months,” I used her school fund (nonetheless legally my cash) to repay a relative’s pupil loans. My daughter was livid, and this quickly translated right into a normal anger towards “deadbeats” who don’t wish to pay again their pupil loans. 

I identified that many individuals had been coerced into pupil mortgage debt. She stated they need to “develop up” and assist themselves. This was fairly ironic coming from a twentysomething who lives at residence rent-free. 

To show her a lesson, I attempted to cost her hire. When she didn’t pay, I threatened to kick her out, however she knew I didn’t imply it. I assumed possibly she had discovered her lesson, however she simply now made an indignant publish relating to the cost pause extension. I’m fairly positive she reads this column, so possibly you might assist her to see the issue together with her perspective?


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

7. Can I Kick Out My Boyfriend if We’re in a Frequent Legislation Marriage?

Pricey Penny,

I’m in a little bit of a large number and don’t know what I ought to do. My boyfriend and I’ve been courting for about seven years. Final 12 months we determined to purchase a home and eventually transfer in collectively. 

Sadly for private causes (not bad credit report), he isn’t capable of have something in his title. Due to this fact, the home is below my title alone. After shifting in, we purchased a automotive. We additionally wanted furnishings for the home, so I opened just a few strains of credit score additionally below my title to furnish the home. 

Six months later, our relationship isn’t doing so effectively. We consistently combat, and it has gotten to the purpose the place I’ve severely thought-about ending the connection. 

The problem is, I concern ending the connection as a result of I do know I can’t afford the mortgage, automotive cost, payments and bank card debt on my own. On prime of that he has informed me that if I finish the connection, he is not going to go away as a result of we’re in a “frequent legislation marriage” and, due to this fact, this home is simply as a lot his as it’s mine. 

I don’t wish to keep in a poisonous relationship, however I can also’t afford to finish it. Is that this true? Does he have a declare to the home below frequent legislation marriage? What can I do concerning the debt I can’t afford alone? I really feel like such a failure. Please assist!

– L.

Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

8. My Greatest Pal Died. Is Her Husband Answerable for Her Secret Debt?

Pricey Penny,

My greatest pal was lately killed by a drunk driver. I’m serving to her husband kind every part out, and we’ve found she was hiding bank card debt. She additionally had a number of pupil loans he didn’t learn about. 

His title wasn’t on any of it. Is he accountable for these money owed?

-Selecting Up the Items

Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

9. Ought to My Husband Refuse to Pay $600 for His Mother’s Cremation?

Pricey Penny,

My 72-year-old mother-in-law handed away final month. She had most cancers, and, sadly, it took her in a short time. Earlier than she died, she had made her needs identified to my father-in-law as to what she wished after dying, which was no funeral, simply cremation, and for the household to go and have a meal collectively.

The issue is that my in-laws dwell in Britain, the place my husband is from. His complete household nonetheless lives there. My husband has lived within the U.S. for 27 years. My one brother-in-law and his spouse organized every part for my father-in-law.

Cash is tight for us so we might solely organize for my husband to go. He had sufficient frequent flyer miles to assist deliver down the prices a little bit for us, however there are nonetheless charges and taxes concerned with these tickets. The ticket value round $450. My brother-in-law provided to choose him up from the airport and take him again as a result of he will get free diesel in his firm van. My husband took $300 with him to cowl meals and his share of the funeral meal. Whereas he was there, he took out his dad after which his dad, brother and his household.

Quick ahead to 2 weeks later, and we obtained an bill for one-third of the price of the cremation, which involves round $600. The crematorium holds the ashes till the invoice is paid. My husband is a little bit pissed off at this. He has two brothers, one who lives in the identical city as his dad and mom and the opposite who lives inside driving distance of his dad and mom. Neither spent a fraction of what my husband spent to get there.

We don’t know what to do. We don’t have the cash instantly to pay. We are able to save, however it’s going to take a few months. We lastly paid off all of our bank cards by way of a consolidation mortgage so we don’t wish to use credit score. Within the meantime, my father-in-law awaits my mother-in-law’s ashes, and it’s inflicting a rift in relationships. The brothers aren’t extraordinarily shut already, however my husband hoped his mum’s passing may assist bridge the hole.

Can we inform them it’s going to take just a few months to save lots of? Or can we inform them we simply can’t afford it?

-Pissed off at Funeral Prices

Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

10. My Husband Refuses to Pay for the Prices of Elevating Our Child

Pricey Penny, 

My husband makes not less than twice as a lot cash as I do and we each pay payments. He refuses to pay for something for our baby. Not faculty provides, garments, lessons, or birthday and Christmas items. He’ll even keep away from me when I attempt to speak to him about it. 

I by no means have cash as a result of I pay payments additionally and pay for every part for our baby. What ought to I do?


Learn Pricey Penny’s response right here.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your tough cash inquiries to [email protected].

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