Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • 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...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Don't cash out retirement fund to pay off credit card debt

    Personal Finance Q&A: Don't cash out retirement fund to pay off credit card debt

    Dear Liz: I owe about $49,000 on my credit cards and now have the money to pay them off in full. Should I? Or should I slowly pay them in large amounts? Answer: There's typically no reason to delay paying off credit card debt. Carrying balances costs you money and doesn't help your credit scores....

  • GAP coverage may not pay off your car loan

    GAP coverage may not pay off your car loan

    Dear Liz: In 2012, I financed a 2008 Honda at my credit union. The car was priced at $16,500. With a trade-in, the loan came to $22,000. GAP coverage was factored into the loan payments, which were $464 a month. Last year, the car was wrecked and deemed a total loss by the insurance company. They...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Taking out a loan to boost credit scores

    Personal Finance Q&A: Taking out a loan to boost credit scores

    Dear Liz: I have little to no information — good or bad — in my credit reports. I am considering obtaining a secured loan from my credit union to establish better credit. Does it make any difference to my credit score if the credit union reports the loan as "secured"? Answer: Credit scores don't...

  • Use a credit card that offers purchase protection

    Use a credit card that offers purchase protection

    Dear Liz: A few months ago, I purchased a large television from a nearby store. I was offered no interest for 12 months using the store's credit card. The TV was stolen from the back of my pickup truck before I was able to bring it into my apartment. I called the police and filed a report. The...

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