Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Does having a student loan affect ability to buy a home?

    Does having a student loan affect ability to buy a home?

    Dear Liz: I recently completed a master's degree in counseling and am now paying student loans. I am punctual and consistent in my payments. How does having a $30,000 outstanding student loan look to home lenders? We recently sold our home and moved. We are planning to buy another home and have...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Why teens shouldn't drive convertibles

    Personal Finance Q&A: Why teens shouldn't drive convertibles

    Dear Liz: My son is almost 16 and has his heart set on a used luxury convertible. We have found a few that are priced at about $23,000 with about 50,000 miles. We are debating whether this is the right choice for him. The type he wants is not overpowered (it has a six-cylinder engine), has many...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Don't ignore a deceased spouse's credit report

    Personal Finance Q&A: Don't ignore a deceased spouse's credit report

    Dear Liz: How does one get credit reports for someone who is dead? My deceased husband is still on my mortgage and I'd like to review his report to make sure it is correct. The estate went through probate, so I have court documents showing I am the executor. I looked at credit bureau websites and...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Tax refunds may take longer amid IRS budget cuts

    Personal finance Q&A: Tax refunds may take longer amid IRS budget cuts

    Dear Liz: How long is too long for an IRS tax refund to be disbursed? I got my state tax refund in a matter of weeks. The IRS refund has been "under review" for almost five months. Answer: A sizable surge in tax refund theft as well as a database breach that exposed more than 300,000 taxpayers'...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Mature savings bonds should be redeemed

    Personal Finance Q&A: Mature savings bonds should be redeemed

    Dear Liz: I have savings bonds that have achieved full face value. What should I do? Keep them indefinitely or cash them in to fund my Roth account or what? Am I correct that once they have matured, there's no more money to be made off them? Answer: You are correct. Once savings bonds have matured...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: How do Social Security rule changes affect you?

    Dear readers: The changes Congress made to the "claim now, claim more later" Social Security strategy generated so many questions from readers that I'm devoting a second column to answering some of those queries. Next week, we'll get back to the usual mix of personal finance topics. Dear Liz: I...

  • Social Security rule changes may affect retirement strategy

    Social Security rule changes may affect retirement strategy

    Dear readers: Congress just killed the Social Security strategy known as "claim now, claim more later" that allowed married couples to boost their benefits by tens of thousands of dollars. The changes, which were part of the budget deal signed into law last week, also eliminated the option of getting...

  • Automatic payments may cause more problems than they solve

    Automatic payments may cause more problems than they solve

    Dear Liz: Since I lost my second job, we have fallen behind on our bills. Although we get paid on Friday, by Monday our checking account is in the red even without buying anything. It's all going to automatic payments for things like insurance and college savings for our child. I think the bank...

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