Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Getting a new mortgage after a foreclosure

    Getting a new mortgage after a foreclosure

    Dear Liz: Is it true that we can't refinance our home until seven years after a foreclosure? We lost a rental property six years ago. Our credit scores now are in the 740 range, and we are anxious to take advantage of lower rates since our mortgage rate is 5.75%. Other than the foreclosure, our...

  • Factors to consider for refinancing into a 15-year mortgage

    Factors to consider for refinancing into a 15-year mortgage

    Dear Liz: I am considering refinancing my home from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year loan and wondered if it would be a wise decision. I am 57, divorced and make a little over $100,000 a year as a high school teacher (and I plan to keep working until at least age 65). Other than a car loan, I have...

  • How to improve your credit scores

    How to improve your credit scores

    Dear Liz: I don’t have a credit score. I have one item on my credit report that’s a court judgment. What can I do to get a score? If I pay the balance due for the judgment, would it be removed? Answer: Paying a judgment doesn’t remove it from your credit reports, but it does limit the amount of...

  • How to handle money disputes after a death in the family

    How to handle money disputes after a death in the family

    Dear Liz: My son recently died. His girlfriend, who lived with him, said he told he would take care of her for the rest of her life. There's nothing in writing that says this. She has his debit card and is using it. I am not sure, but I thought if a family member dies, the money in the person's...

  • Does Social Security pay survivor benefits in same-sex unions?

    Does Social Security pay survivor benefits in same-sex unions?

    Dear Liz: I am 65 and was recently laid off after 26 years with the same company. My life partner of 25 years died in 2010. We had been legally married in 2008. I'd like to wait until I'm 70 to collect my Social Security. Is there any way I can collect her Social Security until then? I don't know...

  • How does a lottery winner find a financial advisor she can trust?

    How does a lottery winner find a financial advisor she can trust?

    Dear Liz: I'm a middle-aged, single, childless woman who won a very nice lottery prize. I took the "cash value" option and after paying federal tax, I was left with $1.2 million. I would like to pay cash for a home, have a tidy nest egg put aside and have money for travel and other occasional luxuries....

  • Money Talk: How to make sure your money-distribution wishes are followed after you die

    Money Talk: How to make sure your money-distribution wishes are followed after you die

    Dear Liz: My first husband died when my oldest child was 1. I remarried and had another child (they’re 5 and 3 now). My husband and I prepared a trust in which I have him and my sister as beneficiaries of my assets. But my husband regrets that he is not the only beneficiary. My argument is that...

  • How to get out from under high brokerage fees

    How to get out from under high brokerage fees

    Dear Liz: I have two accounts at a full-service brokerage. One is an inherited IRA and the other is a Roth IRA that I opened. Both have a mix of stocks and mutual funds that I chose. My accounts have done well, but I am not happy with the commissions that my brokerage charges when I trade, which...

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