Michael Finney answers your consumer questions

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Fed up? Curious? Furious?! If you need help, just ask Michael Finney, your own consumer expert from 7 On Your Side!

7 On Your Side's Consumer expert Michael Finney answers your questions, every weekday on ABC7 Mornings. Submit your video questions and tune in at 6 a.m.

Question 1
Mike from San Mateo asked: Care to recommend a charity that supports family members of police officers killed on duty? I want to donate, but searching online is a maze. Finding reputable charities online can be daunting.

Answer
I'm going to give you two non-profits that keep your donations somewhat local.

Bay Area Law Enforcement Assistance Fund, or Bay Leaf, gives immediate financial and grief support to law enforcement agency employees and their families in the nine Bay Area counties. Its focus is on those who've experienced loss of life, serious injury or illness.

State-wide the California Police Officers Memorial Foundation gives immediate financial assistance to the primary survivor of a fallen officer and educational scholarships to their dependents. Now, this one also pays for those families to attend a two-day memorial ceremony in Sacramento. That's when fallen officers' names are added to a monument outside the capitol building and the governor, lieutenant governor and other state dignitaries meet with the families.

Contributions to both of these organizations are tax deductible.

Question 2
Donna from Fremont asked: What's the difference between a standard IRA and a Roth IRA? How do I know which one to choose?

Answer
A traditional IRA contributions are tax deductible on both state and federal returns for the year you make the contribution while withdrawals in retirement are taxed at ordinary income tax rates.

A Roth IRA provides no tax break for contributions, but earnings and withdrawals are generally tax-free. The Roth IRA is a better choice if your tax rate during retirement will not be lower than your current tax rate, as it allows you to pay the taxes now and receive tax-free distributions when your income tax rate is higher.

Question 3
Jason from Petaluma asked: My landlord waits three weeks to a month to cash my rent checks. I'm sometimes faced with paying two months at a time. How can I get him to give me 30 days in between cashing checks?

Answer
First, I want you to get into the habit of keeping detailed financial records. That way, when you write a personal check, you'll know the money in your bank account is earmarked for that specific expense and not to spend it.

You can also try talking to your landlord, but he or she does not have to cooperate. Also, think about paying with a cashier's check or money order or even cash if your landlord will accept it. Just always get a receipt.

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society7 On Your Sideconsumerconsumer concernsmoneypersonal financebusinessinvestingpolicescholarshiprental propertyrenters
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