Personal Investment & Financial Planning Q`s/Personal Finances

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My situation:
Louisiana-46 y/o,  Divorced 2years ago, moved to next town, renting $1,200/mo., nurse-have been unemployed those 2 years by choice(was making 60K), I'm raising 15y/o daughter attending gifted public high school program.
Assets:
1.  I'm tenants on common with my sister and her husband 50%-25%-25% of 27 acres & rent house in a non-growing area, valued 1 yr ago at $85,000, total rent income of $450/mo. ($225 income for me) My 50% has clean title (paid).  My sister who raises cattle on it, refuses to 1. buy me out 2. Sell it 3. divide it. 4. split fruits & products from raising calves and selling them. I will NOT get courts involved, period, they're family even though not acting like it,  but I have stated I will no longer invest a dime (upkeep of rent house-when unfit- renters can move out), cattle upkeeps land. They pay ins./ I pay prop. taxes.
2. Sold former primary residence this week for $165,000. Ck in hand for $135,000 (mortgage paid in full) (looking into MMA to store money until residential purchase)
3. $2,000 in checking (last of 50,000 in Exxon stock CASHED in to live on for past 2 years while I mentally recovered from divorce & helped child through transition)
4. $38,000 in 401k left in Former job's retirement. (Poor growth ~1%, fees $1.00/mo.
5. 1/3 owner of "camp" lot valued at $1,500 (none of us use it, but sisters won't sell it or buy me out)
6. $780.04/mo. Child support.
Expenses:
1. Rent=$1,200/mo. In mo. to mo. rental contract.
2. Jeep note= $403.58/mo. owe $10,012.00 @ 5.50%
3. Discover Credit Card= $144.00/mo.
Owe $7,051.00  @ 0%
Total credit line-$9,600. Acct. open.
4. Bank of America Credit Card= $160.00/mo.
Owe-$6,234.00 @ 3.75%. Total Credit Limit was $17,500 Acct. closed.
5. Citibank Credit Card =$20.00/mo. Owe $1,134.00 @ 0% Total Credit Limit was $1,500  Acct. closed.
6. HSBC Credit Card= 0 bal. Total Credit Limit - $9,600
7. Car Ins.= $185.25/mo.
8. AT&T cell phone=$94.93
9.Cable & Internet= $75.56
10.Electric= ~ $200.00
11.Gas= ~$50.00

Would like to purchase & settle into residential home before starting job, but prob can't to get best interest rate on loan!?!
Questions:
1. What to do with credit cards to improve credit score of 680?
2. Any government programs for farm to make more profit off investment? (invested in it to help sister keep all of deceased fathers properties by buying 3rd sister out, 5 yrs later she doesn't want to buy me out at 50% of value appraised 1 yr ago, offered 1 yr ago  to buy at 30,000 & keeping all mineral rights.
3. How much house can I afford if I get a job paying what I was making, and how much down payment and want it paid by retirement age?
4. How much liquid money to use as down payment on residence? Any Gov. Programs? (looking into rural dev. prog. 0% down, 100% financing @ 2.75%.) Then maybe use liquid money to buy rent houses??
5. Should I use part of liquid money as down payment of residence and part as down payment in rental prop. in my growing area (house I'm renting sold for $115,000  8 mo. ago, owner gets $1,200 in rental fee, note is $680)?
6. Who can I see that can move 401k into some other investment for more growth that I can trust to have my best interest and not theirs or line their pockets?
7. Opinion on the best way to capitalize in growth on liquid money?

Answer
Hi Sandra. I appreciate you including all the details in describing your situation, however, some of the questions you are asking are too involved and complex to properly address in a forum such as this. Please see below for the answers I could provide and other thoughts. I hope this helps.  John

1. your credit score can be influenced by a # of factors, including the number of open credit accounts you have, the amount of available credit compared to your income and your consistency of on time payments. Ways to improve your credit score include limiting the # of open cards you have, paying down outstanding balances in order to reduce the amount of overall debt and making sure you pay your bills on time.

2. the rules regarding farm property are complex and although there are different federal credits and incentives, there are also state specific considerations. I am not an expert in this area so its hard to offer specific advice.

3. the general rule of thumb is that the total of your mortgage, taxed and insurance cannot exceed 30% of your income. the amount of down payment to make in order to pay it off by retirement depends on the amount of your loan and when you retire.


4. this is a complex question with many considerations and cannot be answered in a forum such as this.

5. same answer as #4

6. I would visit www.napfa.org for a list of local, fee only investment professionals

7. liquid money (assuming you mean "safe money" ) and growth do not go hand in hand these days. If you want growth you need to be willing to take on some risk.

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John D Smith, CFP

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I can answer detailed questions regarding mutual fund investing, retirement planning, education planning and related comprehensive wealth management and investment concerns.

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I have a degree in Financial Planning & Counseling and I am also a Certified Financial Planner practitioner.

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