Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Fees can do serious damage to your retirement

    Fees can do serious damage to your retirement

    Dear Liz: When I changed jobs, I rolled my 401(k) account into an IRA and took it to a financial planner. He invested it initially and now has a management company watching it. So now I am paying quarterly fees to him, the management company and the IRA custodian. The fees average about $2,000...

  • The new reverse mortgage is safer but still expensive

    The new reverse mortgage is safer but still expensive

    Dear Liz: If you have never written about the new reverse mortgages, please consider it. I’m nearly 90 and this Home Equity Conversion Mortgage sounds too good to be true. Is it? I’ve talked to a broker and a direct lender and attended a two-hour seminar on the subject. Answer: Reverse mortgages...

  • How to make sure your financial planner is looking out for you

    How to make sure your financial planner is looking out for you

    Dear Liz: As a recent retiree, I opened an IRA with a well-reputed, independent financial planner. I was assured of our fiduciary relationship and told “besides, it will soon be law” that advisors will have to put their clients’ interests first when offering advice about retirement funds. I guess...

  • How to track down an old retirement account

    How to track down an old retirement account

    Dear Liz: I worked for a company during the late 1990s.  When I left, I had a 401(k) worth approximately $10,000. I recently found an old 401(k) statement and called the plan administrator. I was told my company’s accounts had been transferred to another plan administrator in 2008. I called the...

  • Will closing high-interest cards hurt your credit score?

    Will closing high-interest cards hurt your credit score?

    Dear Liz: I have a few credit cards with very high interest rates — in the mid-teens. My FICO has improved (805 to 830) and I carry little or no balance on the credit cards. I have contacted the issuers asking for lower interest rates but they won't budge. I have other credit cards with single-digit...

  • How to tell if you've got the right financial advisor

    How to tell if you've got the right financial advisor

    Dear Liz: I have met with a financial advisor, but he wants every investment to go through him. Although he is an advisor, he works for a company and wants me to buy their products. I’m a little resistant about this. What’s your advice? Answer: Anyone can call himself or herself a financial advisor...

  • Taking a look at the confusing world of credit scores

    Taking a look at the confusing world of credit scores

    Dear Liz: I was recently denied a credit card and told my score was 150 points lower than what my credit reports show. Why would this be? Am I being deceived by the credit reporting agencies? It was such a low number that it’s a little hard to believe since I have been approved for other cards...

  • When a new spouse brings surprise debt to the marriage

    When a new spouse brings surprise debt to the marriage

    Dear Liz: I’m 58 and got married for the first time almost two years ago. I discovered my wife has several incredibly large outstanding student loans, including a parent Plus loan for her son’s education that she thought was in deferment and that has nearly doubled to well over $100,000. In addition,...

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