Q&A: More reasons why adding an adult child to a deed is a bad idea

Dear Liz: I’m an estate planning attorney and I agree with your warning to the couple who wanted to add their daughter to their house deed to avoid probate. The daughter’s share of the home would lose the step-up in tax basis she would get if she inherited instead, plus there are several other issues. […]

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Q&A: Here’s a way to fight Social Security fraud

Dear Liz: To make us less likely to become victims of fraudulent activity, years ago I froze our credit bureau files. I assume the Social Security Administration could be hacked as well. Can those files be frozen? Answer: No, but you can create an online account to track and monitor your Social Security records — […]

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Q&A: Don’t jump into early retirement without considering these things

Dear Liz: I am almost 59½. Can I retire at 60½? I have $570,000 in a 401(k) and $180,000 in an IRA. I owe $253,000 on a condo that would sell for $600,000. I plan to buy a home next year for $400,000 and pay off the mortgage with the proceeds of the condo. Then […]

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Equifax hack: Freezing your credit isn’t enough

The Equifax hack exposed the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers of up to 145.5 million Americans. Drivers license information for 10.9 million people was also exposed, according to a Wall Street Journal report. This is the sensitive, private information that’s used to establish your identity, which is why freezing your credit reports — […]

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Q&A: Help your son by helping yourself

Dear Liz: I’m a new mom and want to start saving for my son’s college/car/other life expenses while also planning a secure future for him. If I only had, for example, $300 a month to put toward this goal, what would you recommend I spend it on? Life insurance? Savings accounts for him? Savings accounts for […]

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Q&A: Adding daughter to home could create a tax burden

Dear Liz: My wife and I are both 80 and we are contemplating adding our 56-year-old daughter as a co-owner and borrower to our home. The house is now valued at $600,000 and our mortgage balance is $196,000. If it is advisable, and I am able to do this, will it prevent the house going into […]

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Today’s must-read: Run–don’t walk–out of this store

Everybody knows that renting-to-own furniture, televisions and electronics is an expensive way to buy. What you may not know are all the other ways these transactions can hurt you. It’s not just ruined credit and aggressive collection tactics. In some states, you can even go to jail. NerdWallet’s investigative reporting team exposes the horror stories […]

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Q&A: Saving for retirement can’t wait

Dear Liz: I have a family member who at 57 has no savings, a house whose value is 58% mortgaged and debt from a family member of $180,000. This person is just starting a new job that will cover expenses with about $1,000 left over each month. The job offers a 401(k) but doesn’t allow […]

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Q&A: Free credit monitoring won’t prevent identity theft

Dear Liz: I thought I would share some information in light of the Equifax disaster. Two of my credit card issuers provide free credit monitoring. Capital One scans my TransUnion file and Discover uses Experian. Both send email and text alerts about new activity and a monthly “reassurance” email when no such activity turns up […]

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Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Rent-to-Own: Be informed before you sign. Also in the news: How Rent-A-Center torments customers, the pros and cons of subscription meal boxes, and how to “credit surf” to score huge reward bonuses. Rent-to-Own: Be Informed Before You Sign Reading the fine print. Kicking in Doors and Crushing Credit: How Rent-A-Center Torments Customers […]

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