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Personal finance tips: The importance of your college choice, and more
Three top pieces of financial advice — from rethinking Roth IRAs to the 'new math' of car leases
 
To lease or to buy, that is the question.
To lease or to buy, that is the question. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Is college choice important?
Your alma mater may not matter, said Mitchell D. Weiss at Credit.com. According to a new Gallup survey, while 80 percent of Americans think school choice is either "very" or "somewhat" important "when it comes to finding well-paying employment," employers don't always agree. "Of the 623 business leaders who were also surveyed, only 9 percent responded that where a job candidate earns a degree is very important, while 37 percent said it is somewhat so." And as college tuitions continue to rise, "that's good news for students and their families" feeling increasingly stressed by education expenses at brand-name schools.

Rethinking Roth IRAs
It may be time to rethink your Roth IRA, said Dan Caplinger at Daily Finance. While paying taxes up front on long-term savings may protect you from higher rates in the future, that benefit could come at "too high" a cost for many taxpayers. For instance, Roth IRAs are a good choice for workers "who are just getting started and are in low tax brackets," since they'll pay a lower tax rate on their savings now and get to withdraw their money tax-free later. But savers in the prime of their career who are currently getting taxed at high rates would be better served by the tax break they can get now with pretax contributions to IRAs or 401(k)s. And if your employer offers a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, that will help you build up your nest egg faster than contributing to a Roth on your own.

The 'new math' of car leases
When you're shopping for a car, does it make more sense to buy or lease? asked AnnaMaria Andriotis at The Wall Street Journal. Many "automobile-makers are trying to make leasing a new car more appealing by lowering the cost of monthly payments," which could translate to "significant savings" over the course of a standard three-year lease. But there are some significant pitfalls to be wary of. While leasing has become increasingly popular lately, it "makes less sense if you are looking at a brand that doesn't retain its value," if you are likely to exceed the mileage limit, or if you "plan on owning a car long-term." But leasing may be worthwhile for drivers who are looking to frequently upgrade to new cars, which should also save on the cost of maintenance "since new cars tend to break down less often."

 
Sergio Hernandez is business editor of The Week's print edition. He has previously worked for The DailyProPublica, the Village Voice, and Gawker.

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