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Financial Questions and Answers

Q: I bought two box seats for a baseball game during a charitable auction. Can I deduct the full value?

A: If you receive anything more than a good feeling for helping others, you will likely only be able to partially deduct the donation. To figure how much, learn the fair market value of, in your case, the baseball tickets. Then subtract the value of the tickets from your total donation. The remainder is your tax-deductible donation. Use the same formula to learn how much you can deduct from a donation to a not-for-profit group that includes a magazine or tote bag in return.

Q: I’m a healthy 45-year-old woman who owns a term life insurance policy, but premiums keep rising. Should I switch to whole life insurance?

A: Your answer depends on a variety of personal information not presented here, but there are a couple of generalities you might consider as you weigh your choices. Ask yourself how long you expect to keep the insurance. If you intend to keep the policy throughout your working years, for instance, you might consider whole life insurance. Premiums start higher, but remain the same, and you can’t lose coverage if you pay premiums on time. If you have a short-term life insurance need, term insurance may be a more cost-efficient alternative.

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