Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Can I shift Roth IRA broker fees?

    Can I shift Roth IRA broker fees?

    Dear Liz: What can I do to stop my broker from deducting trading fees from my Roth IRA contributions, which I make monthly? Let's say I invest $420 each month, but the broker takes $7, or $84 a year. Shouldn't this be payable from a separate source so that I can invest the full contribution each...

  • Credit card law doesn't apply to business cards

    Credit card law doesn't apply to business cards

    Dear Liz: I have a business credit card that offers cash rebates. It has an interest rate of 15.24% on purchases and 25.24% on cash advances. I carry balances in each category. Each month the issuer posts my entire payment to my lower-interest purchases balance and nothing to my cash advance balance....

  • Personal finance Q&A: Can an ex get Social Security spousal benefits?

    Personal finance Q&A: Can an ex get Social Security spousal benefits?

    Dear Liz: Can my 63-year-old ex-husband, who was a slacker who never worked, collect on my Social Security? I am 59 and happily remarried. He hasn't remarried. We were married for 25 years before I left him.

  • State job doesn't guarantee retirement security

    State job doesn't guarantee retirement security

    Dear Liz: After many years of unemployment, I finally got a full-time position. It is a state job with a pension. How much do I need to save for retirement? Can I focus on paying off debt and saving for college, and trust I will be OK in retirement?

  • How to help a family member with mental illness

    How to help a family member with mental illness

    Dear Liz: My son, who is almost 50, is mentally and emotionally challenged. He has been unemployed and homeless for years. Although not a criminal, he's been in jail a few times because of his explosive, combative nature. There seems to be no help for him in the state where he lives. I do send...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: An iffy proposal for an IRA

    Personal Finance Q&A: An iffy proposal for an IRA

    Dear Liz: I went to renew my IRA certificate of deposit and the bank officer suggested that I renew at the greater rate being offered for a five-year term (about 1.5% APR) rather than the lower rate for a one-year term (about 1% APR). She explained that since I am over 59 1/2, I can close the account...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Is too much of my savings in retirement accounts?

    Personal Finance Q&A: Is too much of my savings in retirement accounts?

    Dear Liz: I'm 26 and make $45,000 per year. I currently have about $60,000 saved with no debt. Roughly half of my assets are in retirement accounts, and the other half are in non-retirement accounts. I strive to save 30% of my income (about 15% in pre-tax retirement accounts and 15% in taxable...

  • Will using home equity to buy beach rental pay off?

    Will using home equity to buy beach rental pay off?

    Dear Liz: Eight years ago, we bought a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Now it's mostly fixed up, and property values have soared. We would like to borrow against the equity to buy a beach house we could use and also rent out. This would be a long-term investment. We already own one...

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