Simply Money: Pay student loan or fund 401(k)?

Nathan Bachrach
Nathan Bachrach

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - FOX19 Financial News expert Nathan Bachrach stopped by the FOX19 Morning News Thursday for our weekly Simply Money segment.

Question: "I'm working full-time as I earn my doctorate. I have $100,000 in student loan debt. Should I focus on paying that down or add to my 401 (k)?"

Nathan: "I'd recommend you start funding your 401 (k), particularly if your employer is offering a match.  You also need to make sure you have an emergency fund. Assuming you don't have a lot of high-interest credit card debt, you can then start focusing on paying off those loans. If you do, send in extra money, make sure you make it clear that you want it applied to the principal of the loan."

Question: "I'm 64 and retired. I collect Social Security (without taxes taken out) and a pension (no taxes taken out.) I have a yearly income of $23,000 and my wife doesn't work. Do I need to file a tax return?"

Nathan: "We talked to our simply money tax expert, Al Pearlman, to answer your question. He said that it depends on a few things. First, you don't say if the $23,000 of income includes Social Security. If you and your wife are both under age 65, you file jointly, and you have a gross income of at least $20,000 not counting Social Security, then yes, you need to file a return. You can find more information in the 1040 instructions on the IRS website at "

Nathan's tip of the day

Nathan: "Check out a mobile app called "check." It offers real-time alerts about bills that are due, overdrafts and big or unusual purchases that might be fraud.

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