Los Angeles Times

Liz Weston

Columnist Money Talk

Recent Articles

  • Personal Finance Q&A: An iffy proposal for an IRA

    Personal Finance Q&A: An iffy proposal for an IRA

    Dear Liz: I went to renew my IRA certificate of deposit and the bank officer suggested that I renew at the greater rate being offered for a five-year term (about 1.5% APR) rather than the lower rate for a one-year term (about 1% APR). She explained that since I am over 59 1/2, I can close the account...

  • Personal Finance Q&A: Is too much of my savings in retirement accounts?

    Personal Finance Q&A: Is too much of my savings in retirement accounts?

    Dear Liz: I'm 26 and make $45,000 per year. I currently have about $60,000 saved with no debt. Roughly half of my assets are in retirement accounts, and the other half are in non-retirement accounts. I strive to save 30% of my income (about 15% in pre-tax retirement accounts and 15% in taxable...

  • Will using home equity to buy beach rental pay off?

    Will using home equity to buy beach rental pay off?

    Dear Liz: Eight years ago, we bought a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Now it's mostly fixed up, and property values have soared. We would like to borrow against the equity to buy a beach house we could use and also rent out. This would be a long-term investment. We already own one...

  • Personal finance Q&A: How to cut cost of living when on disability pay

    Personal finance Q&A: How to cut cost of living when on disability pay

    Dear Liz: I've been on disability for over 10 years, and I currently receive $1,527 a month in Social Security Disability Insurance. My rent starting in March will be $1,400. I'm not opposed to moving, but after checking literally thousands of listings, I found that what I'm paying is not unusual...

  • 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...

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