- My Dollar Plan - https://www.mydollarplan.com -

Ask Madison: Reader Mail Volume 3

It’s time for another round of reader questions! I often get similar questions from readers, so it helps to share the answers with everyone. If you want to check out previous questions, see:


How do you open an ING account for children? I would like to open one for my 11 year old. Don’t they have a minimum age limit? How do you get around it, joint account? She has a savings account that I would like to link it with. -Thomas

Here’s how I opened the accounts for each of my kids. I use a ING $25 Sign Up Bonus [3], and select the joint account option, which doesn’t have a minimum age limit. I make the kids the primary account owner so the earnings are assigned to their social security number (and essentially tax free). However, kids can’t transfer money, so I link the account to my checking account.

To make the process a more hands on learning experience for the kids, I have them deposit their piggy bank money at our local bank. Then I transfer it to my checking account, and finally to their savings accounts and CDs at ING. It works pretty well.


The premium federal e-file + state TaxCut from Amazon [4] is $40 (at the time of writing). I know that if you e-file the state return through TaxCut it is another $19.95. However in my state (Virginia), I can e-file for free if I fill in the forms online.

Can I prepare my state return with TaxCut so that I know the numbers are correct, and then just plug them into the free e-file at the state site and I am good to go? I had read something about TaxCut forcing you to e-file your state through them if you opted to prepare your state with them. -Joseph

Glad your state offers the e-file for free. You should be fine. I do something similar, I use TaxCut [5] to file my federal return, but then I prepare, print out and send in my state return. TaxCut never forced me to e-file the state return too.


Waitaminit. Do I understand this correctly? If HALF your Social Security plus ALL your gross income from other sources is less than $25,000, you don’t have to file a tax return? In other words, you wouldn’t pay any income taxes? Funny about Money [6] [Referring to How Much Money Do You Have to Make to File Taxes? [7]]

Yep, you read it correctly. All the income includes retirement plan distributions, tax exempt interest and other exclusions from income. Here’s more information from the IRS: Are Your Social Security Benefits Taxable? [8]


I just started using Mint [9] in December after I read about it on your site. It appears to no longer support my financial institution — UGHHH. Do you recommend another budget tracking site, whether the info is downloaded or manually input doesn’t matter, I just need a reliable site. -Ann

That sucks that they pulled your bank. Quicken offers a free online version [10] if you want to give it a try.

I use Microsoft Money myself, but not the online version, the software version that goes on the desktop. I had to purchase it, but I can tell you it’s one of those products I can’t live without.


I love your site as I find it very useful, but some of the information sometimes doesn’t apply because I’m from Canada. Do you have a site for Canadians? Or can you direct me to a site that offers great advice for Canadians? -Pamela

My favorite site for Canadians is Million Dollar Journey [11]. It’s a fantastic site and you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.