Q: I would like to start investing in the stock market. I am 25 years old, have $20,000 in student loans left and I also owe $15,000 in credit card debt because of being unemployed. I now have a good job and want to start saving. My employer offers a 3 percent contribution in its 401(k). W.C., Orlando
A: I applaud you for being interested in getting started in the investment world. Based on your current situation however, I would advise you to pay off your credit card debt, continue to work on your student loans and then set a goal to accumulate three months of savings. Since your employer provides a 3 percent match on your 401(k), I also would advise you to contribute at least that amount. After you have achieved those goals you would be in a much better position to start with your investment objectives. Jerry Thompson
Q: I am a widow and am currently receiving the maximum amount of family survivor's benefits from Social Security on behalf of my children. Because of this, I personally do not qualify for widow's benefits. If I wanted to go out and get a job, would there be any impact on the benefits? M.G., Orlando
A: If you make more than $1,180 a month in gross wages, Social Security may deem an "overpayment of benefits" to the children. A reduction in benefits would depend on how much you make. Cary Carbonaro
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