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Should I Use $165K in Child Support to Pay My Kids’ Loans?

Dear Penny,

I will be getting nearly $165,000 in child support arrests from my former husband. I have two kids in college. (Dad doesn’t contribute.)

We’ve taken out private student loans to pay for their college tuition. Should I pay toward the loans, or should I invest in something yielding a higher interest rate than their loan interest? I am currently paying all the interest, so as not to compound their loan amounts. I do intend to use part of a yearly bonus to pay off some of the loans as well.


Dear K.,

Sure, it’s possible to get returns that are higher than the interest you’re paying. In an average year, an S&P 500 index fund produces returns of about 10%, which is probably a lot more than the interest rates on your loans. Of course, you could also lose money, as we’re all painfully aware of in the abysmal stock market year of 2022.

Meanwhile, paying down your kids’ student loans presents a guaranteed return in terms of the money you’ll save on interest. But the biggest rewards aren’t quantifiable.

Think about the enormous burden you’ll be lifting off your kids’ shoulders if they can start their careers owed a combined $165,000 less. Think of how much less stressful living on an entry-level paycheck will be. Think of the dreams they won’t have to delay because you’ve made their debt more manageable.

But this isn’t just about your children. Since it sounds like your name is on

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Invest in I Bonds Now and Earn 9.62% Risk-Free for 6 Months

Freaking out over inflation?

US government-backed Series I savings bonds — also known as inflation bonds or I bonds — are a nearly risk-free investment that’s rocking a record 9.62% interest rate.

That rate is set to drop to roughly 6.5% on Nov. 1, which means there’s only a short time to lock in that 9.62% rate for the next six months.

The interest rate on I bonds changes every six months, on Nov. 1 and again May 1.

But when you buy an I bond, you lock in the current interest rate for six months from your date of purchase.

So, anyone who buys I bonds by Friday, Oct. 28 will earn 9.62% on their deposit until April 28, 2023. After that, the rate announced Nov. 1 (estimated at 6.5%) will go into effect, and so on.

According to the Treasury Department, you must complete your purchase and receive a confirmation email by 11:59 pm October 28 to get the 9.62% rate.

That’s why so many people are pouring money into I bonds this week — they’re trying to secure six more months of 9.62% interest on their savings.

But before you rush to buy I bonds, there are a few things you need to know.

What Are I Bonds?

Series I bonds are the only inflation-protected security sold by the US Treasury Department.

Since I bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government, your risk of losing money is basically zero. (Historically,

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What to Do With Seasonal Pumpkins: 21 Fun, Creative Ideas

Here’s the latest Halloween scoop: Pumpkins have an afterlife just like ghosts.

They aren’t just for jack-o’-lanterns any more. Whether you’re into sustainable composting, pumpkin pancakes or Pinterest-worthy holiday decor, your pumpkin serves so many more purposes than just a scary face.

When you make that all-important fall rite of passage and pick out the perfect pumpkin from a patch or the grocery store, consider all of this fruit’s possibilities. (Yes, it’s a fruit.) Get the most of your money and use that pumpkin for at least two, three or four purposes.

What to Do With Your Pumpkin After Halloween

Whether it becomes a tasty snack or a creative project, you can get a lot more wear out of your pumpkin.

Eat Your Pumpkin

Eating your pumpkin is probably the most enjoyable way to reuse it. There’s a pumpkin recipe for every part of your gourd — even those stringy guts.

While carving pumpkins aren’t quite as flavorful as other varieties (such as sugar or pie pumpkins), they’ll still work for any of these dishes.

Pro Tip

You’ll find the best prices for pumpkins at farmers markets, independent seasonal stands and church pumpkin patches. The average pumpkin costs about $3 but expect to pay more for an oversized gourd.

1. Make Pumpkin Puree

While it doesn’t sound appetizing on its own, pumpkin puree is a the gourd’s gift that keeps on giving.

It’s incredibly versatile: You’ll be able to turn your puree into pumpkin muffins, breads and soups down the

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