Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Your one true credit score doesn't exist: There are several

    Your one true credit score doesn't exist: There are several

    Dear Liz: I've been using a free credit site to learn more about credit reports and credit scores. Recently I looked around and found reviews about how "horribly inaccurate" these free scores are. Where can I go to find my real FICO credit scores? I need the ones that matter, the ones that lenders...

  • MONEY TALK: Retirement calculators are a wake-up call for undersavers

    MONEY TALK: Retirement calculators are a wake-up call for undersavers

    Dear Liz: Are retirement calculators a hoax? It seems that the published estimates for the amount of savings required are insanely high.  If most U.S. citizens haven't saved much and have a decent standard of living in retirement, where is the misperception? Let's say an individual is resolved...

  • The pitfalls of renting a house to relatives

    The pitfalls of renting a house to relatives

    Dear Liz: My son and his family are having trouble with money. I see him stepping up since he had my lovely granddaughter. I am getting ready to retire from teaching. I have my teacher's retirement and a nest egg set aside. I was thinking of buying him a place where he could pay me rent and when...

  • Co-signing for a student loan backfires

    Co-signing for a student loan backfires

    Dear Liz: My wife and I both had excellent credit scores. Now mine are in the dump. I co-signed for a friend's daughter's school loan 10 years ago. I know now this was a bad mistake. I guaranteed $25,000. Now two things have happened: The daughter quit paying the loan and the friendship took a...

  • Adding daughter as co-owner of mother's home could trigger costs

    Adding daughter as co-owner of mother's home could trigger costs

    Dear Liz: My father passed away last year, and my mother wants to add my name to her house so there is no probate. Do I need to change the title or the deed or both? Are there any negatives to doing so? Also, we already have a durable power of attorney between us. Does that offer me any benefits...

  • How much does a fee-only financial planner cost?

    How much does a fee-only financial planner cost?

    Dear Liz: You frequently suggest consulting a fee-only financial planner, such as those who are members of the Garrett Planning Network, which seems like great advice. Can you provide any guidance on how much one should expect to pay for the services of this type of planner? We are a couple living...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Letting car be repossessed will make debt problem worse

    Personal Finance Q&A: Letting car be repossessed will make debt problem worse

    Dear Liz: I own a car that I can no longer afford. Unfortunately, buying it was a poor decision and came with terrible interest rates and terms. I've been 30 to 60 days late on the payments for close to a year and have other debts that I haven't been able to pay. Because of this, my credit is already...

  • The pros and cons of converting life insurance to an annuity

    The pros and cons of converting life insurance to an annuity

    Dear Liz: I have a life insurance policy that is worth $16,000 if I cash out. Our agent says if we convert this to an annuity, we would eliminate our monthly fee of $25. The policy is worth $35,000 if I should die with it still in effect. We purchased this only for the purpose to have me buried....

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