Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • 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...

  • Deciding which student loan to pay off first

    Deciding which student loan to pay off first

    Dear Liz: I am going to pay off one of my daughter's private student loans. One has a balance of $8,500 at 4% interest and the other is for $7,500 at 6%. Which one should I pay off? Answer: You have a lucky daughter, either way. In addition to balances and rates, the other variable you need to...

  • Why your W-4 forms are likely 'wrong'

    Why your W-4 forms are likely 'wrong'

    Dear Liz: After being an unmarried couple for 15 years, we were married in February 2014. Though I sent this information to my company's benefits department, I neglected to change my W-4 status from "single" to "married." I'm crossing my fingers that when all is said and done, we have paid the...

  • You can't keep your money safe and grow it at the same time

    You can't keep your money safe and grow it at the same time

    Dear Liz: What is the best way to protect my 401(k) now and in the future when I draw from it for retirement? What is the least risky place to "bank it"? I have a fear of a crashing stock market in the middle of my retirement years. Answer: The bigger risk is that the stock market will crash early...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Health insurance subsidy is based on household income

    Personal Finance Q&A: Health insurance subsidy is based on household income

    Dear Liz: We're living on a very tight budget and often have to put groceries and unexpected expenses on a credit card that's in my husband's name only. I have no personal income. My husband is on Medicare, but I'm too young to qualify and need to find low- or no-cost healthcare, (I haven't had...

  • Using Roth IRA earnings for a first-time home purchase

    Using Roth IRA earnings for a first-time home purchase

    Dear Liz: My 29-year-old son recently married, and as a gift I pledged $20,000 as a down payment on a house. My daughter-in-law is beginning a career as a registered nurse and I know they will not be buying for a few years. Is there any type of account that will grow tax-free or tax-deferred for...

  • What is the best savings vehicle for a child?

    What is the best savings vehicle for a child?

    Dear Liz: I recently gave birth to a little boy. I am wondering about the best savings vehicle that would offer flexibility for when family gives him money. I don't want to tie it up in a 529 college savings plan in case he doesn't want to go to college or has other needs. Answer: If you want your...

  • Credit union's maintenance fee erodes IRA's value. Is this legal?

    Credit union's maintenance fee erodes IRA's value. Is this legal?

    Dear Liz: My son has an IRA at his credit union. He puts in small amounts when he can. Recently they lowered the interest rate and started charging a $25 yearly maintenance fee, which now is taking all the interest back. Is this legal? Answer: Yes. It's also a good reason to move the account elsewhere....

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