Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Spreading out the tax hit from capital gains

    Spreading out the tax hit from capital gains

    Dear Liz: We are in the lowest tax bracket. If we sell a capital gains asset worth several hundred thousand dollars, does that put us in a higher bracket and we pay 20% or do we remain in the lower bracket and pay 15%?  Answer: In the two lowest federal income tax brackets, the capital gains rate...

  • How to negotiate the medical bill maze in search of a better deal

    How to negotiate the medical bill maze in search of a better deal

    Dear Liz: My husband and I have run into some serious medical bills recently. We have insurance, but one provider is out of network with a huge deductible and low payout, while another claim was flat-out denied. We're looking at around $16,000 in bills, assuming nothing else is denied. What can...

  • 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...

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