Today, people struggling with debt have far fewer options: lenders are stingier, which makes it harder to avert disaster, or to recover from setbacks like foreclosure, short sales, or bankruptcy. (Meanwhile, people with good credit have more options than ever, including some of the lowest interest rates in decades.) Debtors need an up-to-date guide that can help them assess options, find help, discover opportunities, and take action that works. Liz Weston's Deal with Your Debt, Updated and Revised Edition is that guide. In this extensively updated guidebook, Weston shows which debts can actually help build wealth over time, and which are simply toxic. She presents up-to-date, real-world strategies for assessing and paying off debt, including money-saving insights on which debts to tackle first. She also offers practical guidelines for assessing how much debt is safe -- and compassionate, realistic guidance for people who've gone beyond the safety zone.
In There Are No Dumb Questions About Money, nationally-renowned personal finance journalist and best-selling author Liz Weston answers your most pressing questions, helping you navigate today's more-complicated-than-ever financial world. Through real-life reader questions and clear, to-the-point answers, Weston shows how to manage your spending, figure out what you can and can't afford, and choose the smartest ways to pay off your debt. You'll discover why most investment strategies don't work, and identify better ways to save for retirement. But you'll also learn to handle the trickier, emotional side of money: how to avoid fights with your partner, deal with spendthrift children or parents, and spot con artists or lousy advisors before you get robbed. Using humor, keen insight, and time-tested financial planning principles, Weston can help you wrangle your money into shape -- and find your own path to financial freedom.
Table of contents
- About This eBook
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- Table of Contents
Deal with Your Debt: Free Yourself from What You Owe, Updated and Revised
- Copyright Page
- Dedication Page
- Praise for the First Edition of Deal with Your Debt
- About the Author
- 1. Isn’t Debt-Free the Way to Be?
- 2. Your Debt Management Plan
- 3. Credit Cards
- Myth #1: It’s a Good (or Lousy) Time to Buy a Home
- Myth #2: A House Is a Great Investment
- Myth #3: Buying Is Always Better Than Renting
- Myth #4: Homeownership Comes with Great Tax Breaks
- The Right Reasons to Buy
- How Much House Should I Buy?
- What Kind of Mortgage Should I Get?
- How Do I Get a Good Mortgage Deal?
- When and How Should I Refinance?
- When Should I Prepay a Mortgage?
- 5. Home Equity Borrowing
- 6. Student Loans
- 7. Auto Loans
- 8. 401(k) and Other Retirement Plan Loans
- 9. Loans You Don’t Want to Get—or Give
- 10. Dealing with a Debt Crisis
- 11. Putting Your Debt Management Plan into Action
- FT Press
There Are No Dumb Questions About Money: Answers and Advice to Help You Make the Most of Your Finances
- Copyright Page
- Dedication Page
- About the Author
1. Balanced Budget, Balanced Life: Setting Your Financial Priorities
- How to Stick to a Budget
- For a Budget That Works, Get Control of Your Debt
- What Do Average Families Spend?
- Balancing Your Budget in the Big City
- Income Dropped? Expenses Have to Drop, Too
- How to Beat “Frugal Fatigue”
- Fast Ways to Cut Cable, Cell Bills
- What to Do with an Extra $5,000 a Month
- Planning a Family? How to Prepare Financially
- Facing a Layoff? Rule #1: Conserve Cash
- Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Knock It Off
- Why Your Budget Doesn’t Work
2. Slay the Debt Dragon
- What Comes First?
- What Comes First, Savings or Debt Payoff?
- Why You Shouldn’t Pay Down Your Mortgage
- Don’t Drain Your Retirement to Pay Debts
- Use Inheritance to Pay Down Debt, Boost Savings
- How to Stop Collection Calls
- Garnishments Are Taking Food off This Family’s Table
- Massive Debts Mean Gambling Is More Than a “Habit”
- Debt Doesn’t Disappear After Lender Write-off
- How Long Bad Debt Can Haunt You
- What to Do When You Can’t Afford Your Life
- Young Widow Struggles with Late Husband’s Debts
- Dealing with After-Death Creditors
- Fighting an Aggressive Collection Agency
- Student Drowning in Debt Needs Professional Help
- How to Cope with a Big Medical Bill
- When Bankruptcy Is the Best of Bad Options
- What to Do When Bankruptcy Won’t Work
3. Burnish Your Credit Score
- Improving Bad Scores Takes Time, Patience
- Why “Free” Credit Scores Aren’t
- How Credit Card Balances Affect Your Scores
- Does a Credit Card Make You a Slave to Lenders?
- Why Carrying a Balance Is Stupid
- No Credit Cards? You May Not Get the Best Rates
- How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Scores
- Should You Stay in Debt to Help Your Scores?
- Don’t Close Accounts If You’re Trying to Improve Your Scores
- Close Cards the Smart Way
- Debts Rising? It’s Time to Cut Spending
- Big Debts Mean You Can’t Afford Your Life
- Marriage Doesn’t Combine Your Credit Reports
- Unwanted Time Share Can Lead to Credit Score Hit
- “Piggybacking” Can Pose a Serious Risk
- Skimping on Credit Card Payments Can Damage Scores for Years
- Short Sale Causes Credit Scores to Plunge
- Finding an Apartment After Foreclosure
- Recovering from Bankruptcy Takes Five to Ten Years
- Installment Loans Can Boost Credit Scores
- Not All Loans Help Your Scores
- How to Score 800+
- Credit Scores Not Perfect? Don’t Sweat It
- Zombie Debt May Still Hurt Credit Scores
- Insurance Scores Differ from Credit Scores
- “Too Many Credit Cards” Boosts Insurance Premiums
4. Couples and Money
- When Savers Marry Spenders
- Credit Concerns or Just Cold Feet?
- Fiancé’s Reluctance May Be Just Prudence
- His, Hers, or Ours? Setting Up Finances As a Couple
- Time Share Causes Financial Woes
- Adding Fiancé As “Authorized User” May Help His Scores, but Be Careful
- New Wife Could Help His Credit, but She’s Not Obligated
- Marriage Didn’t Trash Son’s Credit Score
- Spouse’s Debt May Be Yours—or It May Not Be
- Separate Your Finances Before Divorce Is Final
- Couples’ Big Age Difference Affects Retirement Planning
- Choosing Pension Payout? Get Expert Help
- How Marriage, Divorce, and Death Affect Your Social Security Check
5. Family Money: Keeping the Financial Peace
- When Grandpa Reneges on Promised Money
- When a Sibling Wants a Loan
- Supporting the Family Spendthrift
- Quit Trying to Change a Deadbeat
- Helping Parents Support a Freeloader
- Saying No to Handouts for Adult Children
- Daughter’s Family Is Bleeding Them Dry
- Could Son’s Unpaid Bills Harm Parents’ Credit? Maybe
- When It Makes Sense to Let Your Adult Kids Live at Home
- How to Buy Stocks for Children
- Dealing with Parents’ Financial Crisis
- Beware Becoming Trustee of a Sibling’s Money
- Are Family Heirlooms Worth the Fight?
- Stepdaughter Wants “Everything”: What Does She Deserve?
- How Can I Resolve a Spat with My Siblings over an Inherited Home?
6. How to Stop Working Someday: Saving and Investing for Retirement
- With Retirement, There’s No Making Up for Lost Time
- $25 Is Enough to Get Started Saving for Retirement
- There’s No Such Thing as “Risk-Free” Retirement Investing
- Stocks: A Must or a Gamble?
- Dependents Can Fund Roths Even If Their Parents Can’t
- Don’t Tap Retirement Funds for a Bigger Down Payment
- Build Retirement Funds Before Paying Down a Mortgage
- Don’t Suspend 401(k) Contributions to Pay Down Loan
- Retirement Planning Without a Retirement Plan
- Self-employed? You’ve Got More Retirement Savings Options
- Roll Your 401(k) into an IRA? Maybe Not
- Windfall in Your 50s? Don’t Blow It
- Get a Second Opinion Before Buying a Variable Annuity
- Don’t Count on an Inheritance to Fund Your Retirement
- What’s a “Safe” Withdrawal Rate?
- Is a 3% Withdrawal Rate Too Conservative?
- Social Security: Grab It Early, or Wait for Bigger Checks?
7. Protect What You Have
- Should a 29-Year-Old Buy Life Insurance?
- Don’t Buy Life Insurance If You Don’t Need Life Insurance
- Help Your Pet Without Risking Your Finances
- Going Bare on Health Insurance Isn’t Smart
- “Eating Healthy” Won’t Protect Against Medical Bills
- Is Disability Insurance Worth the Cost?
- Why You Shouldn’t Buy Cellphone Insurance
- Get a Second Opinion Before Buying an Annuity
- When You Can Skip Rental Car Insurance
- Stick with Insurance Minimums or Buy More Coverage?
- Is Disaster Insurance Worth the Cost?
8. Identity Theft
- Don’t Trust Your Tax Papers to the U.S. Mail
- Sometimes You Have to Cough Up Your SSN
- Credit Account Closure May Be Cause for Alarm
- Credit Freezes May Be Your Best Defense Against ID Theft
- What Should I Do If My Sister Is an Identity Thief?
- What to Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen
- Do Dead People Have to Worry About ID Theft?
- 101 for Identity Theft Victims
- Redact Your Medicare Card to Reduce ID Theft Risk
- Are Businesses Protecting Your Social Security Number?
9. Home Sweet Home: What You Need to Know About Real Estate
- How Much House Can I Afford to Buy?
- No Down Payment Saved? You’re Not Ready to Buy a Home
- Student Loan Debt May Limit Mortgage
- Shop Hard Before You Refinance
- When to Pay Down Your Mortgage
- Should You Refinance a Mortgage That’s Almost Paid Off?
- When Shorter Loans Make Sense
- Adjustable Mortgage May Not Be Affordable for Long
- Should She Walk Away from Her Home?
- What Foreclosure Does to Your Credit
- Don’t Expect Mortgage Lender to Do the Right Thing
- New Rules May Help More Underwater Homeowners
- Get Help with a Mortgage Modification
- Short Sales Can Trash Your Scores
- A Short Sale Isn’t a Bailout
- How to Speed Up Foreclosure
- Property Loss May Lead to Bankruptcy
- Will You Face a Tax Bill after Foreclosure?
- Finding an Apartment after Foreclosure
- How to Get a House Sold Fast
- How to Dump a Time Share
10. Pay for College Without Going Broke
- If You Can Save for College, You Should
- 529 College Savings Plans Are a Good Option for Many
- Withdrawals from 529s Can Be Tricky
- 529s Aren’t Always the Best Way to Save for College
- Mom Stole College Fund. What to Do?
- Did Grandma Divert the College Fund?
- Don’t Overdose on Debt for a Child’s Education
- “Free Money” May Not Make School Affordable
- It’s Too Late to Borrow for Child’s College Education
- Finding a Way to Pay for School
- Is It Too Late to Go Back to School?
- “Dream School” Can Turn into a Nightmare
- Is a “Dream School” Worth Any Price?
- Ivy League Tuition Waiver Doesn’t Apply to Our “Dream School” Applicant
- Tiny Salary, Big Debt
- Degree from For-Profit School Leads to Big Debt
- How to Make Headway on Student Loans
- Is Graduate School Worth Borrowing For?
- Wrestling with Student Loan Debt? Know Your Forgiveness Options
- Student Loans in Collections? Here’s Where to Find Help
- Settling Student Loan Debt: Tough but Possible
- Student Loan Settlement Won’t Be Cheap
- 11. Find an Advisor You Can Trust
12. At the End: Caring for Elders and Planning Your Estate
- Helping an Indigent Parent Navigate “the System”
- Son-in-Law Badgers Elderly Couple for Money
- Protecting a Parent from Financial Opportunists
- Daily Money Managers Can Help Pay the Bills
- A Reverse Mortgage Could Keep Mom in Her Home
- Asset Transfer Could Delay Medicaid Eligibility
- Incapacitated Parent? Tread Carefully
- Father’s Living Trust Is Missing
- The Documents You Need but Probably Don’t Have
- Who Needs an Estate Plan?
- Why Estate Plan?
- DIY Wills and Trusts Can Backfire
- Can the Guardian of Your Kids Change His Mind?
- Are Unequal Bequests a Good Idea, or Are They a Disaster in the Making?
- Credit Cards Must Be Paid Before Estate Is Distributed
- Executor Won’t Have to Pay Mother’s Debts out of Pocket
- Dad Died Without a Will. What Now?
- A Guide for Executors
- What’s the Best Thing to Do with an Inherited IRA?
- Social Security Benefits Don’t Last Forever
- What Happens to Personal Loans After Lender Dies?
- Title: How to Manage Your Bills (Collection)
- Release date: August 2013
- Publisher(s): Pearson
- ISBN: 9780133739695
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