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Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Wrong address leads to credit card default

    Personal Finance Q&A: Wrong address leads to credit card default

    Dear Liz: A debt collector says I owe a small debt from a store credit card I opened about six months ago. The wrong address was on file, so I hadn't received any documentation at all. After opening the account I had called the store customer service line to arrange a payment, but the representative...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Use at least 90% of a bonus to pay off debt

    Personal finance Q&A: Use at least 90% of a bonus to pay off debt

    Dear Liz: I'm expecting a bonus this year of about $10,000. Should I pay off $6,000 in back taxes on which I'm currently paying $428 per month on a never-ending installment agreement? Or would it be better to pay off one of our $5,000 credit cards accruing 19% to 22% interest? Answer: You didn't...

  • Personal finance Q&A: When family members don't take budgeting advice

    Personal finance Q&A: When family members don't take budgeting advice

    Dear Liz: I am 30 and have two sisters, ages 31 and 27. My wife and I both have good jobs that allow us to live comfortably and save for retirement. My sisters, on the other hand, have severe money problems. My older sister works a low-paying retail job. She is unable to save and is currently at...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Risks of keeping entire nest egg at one brokerage

    Personal Finance Q&A: Risks of keeping entire nest egg at one brokerage

    Dear Liz: I recently retired at 56 and am receiving a pension. My wife is set to retire next year at 56 and will also receive a pension. I chose to leave my 401(k) in my employer's plan but am planning to consolidate it with my wife's 457 and four 403(b) accounts once she retires. We also have...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Is couple saving enough to buy a decent house?

    Personal finance Q&A: Is couple saving enough to buy a decent house?

    Dear Liz: My wife and I are young (25 and 22). We owe no one money and have built up an emergency fund with six months of expenses. We both contribute enough to our 401(k)s to get the maximum match, and I contribute the maximum to my company's stock purchase plan. Currently we are saving $2,500...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Executor has a stake in how estate is settled

    Personal finance Q&A: Executor has a stake in how estate is settled

    Dear Liz: Our mom did a wonderful job of preparing her estate, but she made a mistake in that she started giving away her real estate holdings to her two children a few months before her untimely death. She died before she had the chance to equalize these transactions. As her son and executor,...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Eliminating private mortgage insurance

    Personal finance Q&A: Eliminating private mortgage insurance

    Dear Liz: I bought my first home about a year ago. Because I had very little money for the down payment, I have to pay private mortgage insurance, which is a whopping $385 each month. My burning question about this is: How can I get rid of it? There must be a way to pay the loan quicker or pay...

  • Personal finance Q&A: Consider tax implications when downsizing

    Personal finance Q&A: Consider tax implications when downsizing

    Dear Liz: My mother just turned 75 and wants to downsize from her four-bedroom house. My father passed away six years ago. She owns her home outright, and at the time of my father's death the value of the house was estimated at $1.2 million. Right now she has enough income from retirement accounts...

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