Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • 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,...

  • What to do when a financial planner gives bad advice

    What to do when a financial planner gives bad advice

    Dear Liz: I personally like my fee-only financial advisor, who has been managing my portfolio (gained as inheritance) for the last six years. But she has me invested in bonds and gold only and insists that we wait until stock prices fall to get back in the stock market. We have been waiting for...

  • These heirs worry their parents aren't doing enough to minimize estate taxes

    These heirs worry their parents aren't doing enough to minimize estate taxes

    Dear Liz: My parents, ages 75 and 76, have established an irrevocable gift trust for my five siblings and me. Wonderful! With the single trust, they have maxed out their lifetime gifting exemption. What else can they do with their other investments to minimize the inevitable estate taxes that will...

  • The argument for having different caretakers for healthcare and financial decisions

    The argument for having different caretakers for healthcare and financial decisions

    Dear Liz: My mother is 74 and her health is starting to deteriorate. She had a last will made up about 15 years ago when my stepdad left her. I found out that she named me executor and gave me power of attorney for healthcare decisions. After the last year, when she became very contentious about...

  • Don't bequeath trouble to your descendents

    Don't bequeath trouble to your descendents

    Dear Liz: I have two grown children, neither of whom owns a home, and three grandchildren. I would very much like to keep my house in the family for all to use, if and when needed. It is not large, and it would be somewhat difficult for two families to live here at the same time. I have a trust...

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