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Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • 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....

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Bad boyfriend plagues grandparents' finances

    Personal Finance Q&A: Bad boyfriend plagues grandparents' finances

    Dear Liz: We have raised our granddaughter since birth. She is the apple of our eyes. Then she fell in love. The boyfriend had no job, no car. My husband co-signed a loan for this boy! He didn't even know the boy's last name. I was devastated, as we are on Social Security so our income is limited....

  • How to deal with debt collectors

    How to deal with debt collectors

    Dear Liz: After struggling financially for seven years, I'm getting a good lawsuit settlement. After taxes, I'll be set. I want to pay my bills but to the actual company — for example, the credit card company, not some bill-collecting clowns that threatened me with "the sheriff will come over and...

  • Helping a car-buying friend build credit history

    Helping a car-buying friend build credit history

    Dear Liz: I am selling my car to an old friend with no credit history. (The used car salesman wanted to charge her 6.5% interest.) Is there a way that I can report her timely payments to the credit reporting services to help her build her credit? Answer: It's not really practical for individuals...

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