Facebook Rss Twitter Youtube MSN

Please join me at Lunafest

Nov 05, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

UntitledLunafest is an annual film festival of short films by, for and about women. It’s the main fundraiser for the Bloom Again Foundation, which helps poor working women.

I’ll be joining award-winning artist Sylvia Saint James and my friend Lois Frankel (author of several books, including “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office”) on Sunday, Dec. 7 for the films and the reception at the Autry Center in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for children, and include admission to the museum (which currently has a special exhibition on Route 66).

For more information, please visit Bloom Again’s site.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Nov 05, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

321562-data-breachesToday’s top story: How often you need to change your passwords. Also in the news: The truth about life insurance, annuities, and financial aid, how to catch up on your retirement savings after 50, and the four necessities for a successful retirement.

How Often Should You Change Your Passwords?
More often than you think.

Consumers Beware: The Truth About Life Insurance, Annuities And College Financial Aid
How they all tie together.

Over Age 50? How to Catch Up on Retirement Savings
There’s still time.

4 Necessities for a Successful Retirement
It takes more than just money.

A Prescription for Financial Wellness
Getting yourself financially healthy.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Nov 04, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

financial-toolboxToday’s top story: The best additions to your financial toolbox. Also in the news: Safeguarding your digital assets, saving money on moving expenses, and what you should look for when choosing a new bank.

10 Best Personal-Finance Tools to Better Manage Your Money
Additions to your financial toolbox.

Safeguard Your Digital Assets — In Just 10 Minutes
Ten minutes you can’t afford not to spare.

Moving on a Tight Budget: 7 Ways to Save a Ton of Money
Moving expenses don’t have to break the bank.

7 Tips for Finding a New Bank
The most important things to look for.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Nov 03, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to save money on your upcoming tax bill. Also in the news: Tracking your wasteful spending, how to get the best deal on car insurance, and why it pays to shop around for Medicare insurance plans.

7 Money-Saving Tips to Cut Your Tax Bill
How to make tax season a little less painful.

How to Track Your Most Ridiculously Wasteful Spending
Shame yourself into frugality.

Here’s How to Get the Best Deal on Car Insurance – Eventually
The older you get, the less you’ll pay.

It pays to shop for Medicare insurance plans
Welcome to open enrollment season.

Parents of special needs kids can bank on trusts
Providing for your child’s needs after you’re gone.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Q&A: Paying an incorrect bill to avoid a credit hit

Nov 03, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Dear Liz: I was a volunteer for a research study at a local university. It required a blood draw done at the university’s hospital. A month later, I received a bill for the blood draw, which I questioned. I was told it was a mistake and that I was in no way responsible for costs associated with the research study. Because the hospital was installing a new billing system, I was told it would take a while to resolve and not to worry about any bills that would come to my house.

Now, three months later, the hospital has turned the bill over to a collections agency, with the amount due double the original cost. They have given me 30 days to pay up, or they will report the delinquency to the credit reporting agencies.

The university seems unable to fix the problem, especially now that the debt has gone to collections. Should I pay the bill to save my excellent credit rating? Or should I continue to fight the university and now the collections agency?

Answer: To avoid damage to your credit scores, sometimes the best course is to pay a disputed bill and then sue the creditor in small claims court. Since you have some time to fight back, however, you should do so.

The good news is that medical bills are usually placed with collection agencies on assignment. That means the hospital can take back the account if it’s sufficiently motivated to do so. Your task now is to make the hospital motivated — if not desperate — to help you out.

Write a letter outlining the facts as you’ve done here and send it to the head of the research study, the president of the university, the head of the university hospital, your local newspaper columnist and, if you’d like, your congressional representative. It’s outrageous that doing a good deed has put your credit at risk because of a hospital billing department’s incompetence. You need to stop dealing with front-line billing people, who obviously don’t have the power to help you, and bring your problem to the attention of people who can.

Categories : Credit Scoring, Q&A
Comments Comments Off

Q&A: Money owed on a lease after death

Nov 03, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Dear Liz: I read your answer to the person who returned a car and wanted to be free of that debt. Our situation is somewhat different. My son’s father had a massive stroke and died two weeks after signing a lease for a Camry on which he made a $2,000 down payment. My grown son, who is left to deal with everything, took the car back to the dealership, and they assured him nothing further would be needed. The dealership then sold the car for $18,000 at an auction and said $8,000 is still owed on this car since my son’s father signed a legal contract.

Answer: The money is still owed. Whether the dealership will ever collect is another matter.

This debt is now part of the dead man’s estate, along with any other loans or credit accounts he owed at the time of his death. If the estate has sufficient available assets, the executor is required to pay those bills. If there aren’t sufficient assets, creditors may have to accept less than they’re owed or nothing at all.

If your son is the executor, he should hire an attorney experienced in settling estates to help him deal with these details. Nolo’s book “The Executor’s Guide” also will help him understand his duties and obligations.

Categories : Banking, Q&A
Comments Comments Off

Q&A: Social Security spousal benefits

Nov 03, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Dear Liz: Can you please explain Social Security spousal benefits? Is there a certain length of time a husband and wife need to have been married that will qualify the spouse to get the spousal benefit after divorce? For example, if a couple has been married for 20 years and then divorces, will the spouse still be entitled to collect the spousal benefit, or is the spousal benefit only for those who stay married?

Answer: Spousal benefits are available to divorced spouses as long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years. But you have to be unmarried to get benefits based on an ex’s work record. If you remarry, those benefits end.

The amount you get as a spouse or divorced spouse can equal up to half of what the primary earner gets. As with other Social Security benefits, however, your checks typically will be reduced if you start benefits before your own full retirement age. Starting spousal benefits early also precludes you from later switching to your own retirement benefit, even if that benefit would be larger.

Categories : Banking, Q&A, Retirement
Comments Comments Off

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Oct 31, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Halloween CashToday’s top story: Can your budget survive a serial killer? Also in the news: Hidden money lessons in scary movies, financial discussions you should be having with your kids, and the lesser known factors that determine your car insurance rate.

5 Budget ‘Serial Killers’
Can your budget survive?

5 scary Halloween movies with hidden money lessons.
Norman Bates has some advice for you.

7 Tough Money Topics You’re Not Discussing With Your Kids — But Should
Conversation starters.

The Lesser-Known Factors That Determine Your Car Insurance Rate
Don’t get taken for a ride.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Oct 30, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

avoid-pitfallsToday’s top story: Retirement planning pitfalls you need to avoid. Also in the news: 2014 scariest credit cards, protecting yourself against credit card hacks, and three proposed changes to Social Security.

The Five Scariest Retirement Planning Pitfalls
Try to swing right over these.

2014’s scariest credit cards
How terrifying is a 36% interest rate?

7 Ways To Protect Against Credit Card Hacks
You can’t afford not to protect yourself.

Congress Proposes Three Changes To Social Security That Make Sense
For a change.

5 Things You Own That Cost More Than $500 a Gallon
You’ll never look at eye drops the same way again.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Oct 29, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to come back from a financial crisis. Also in the news: Simple ways to save for a house, tips on how to avoid ATM fees, and why you may be paying more for your home repair costs.

How to Bounce Back From a Financial Crisis
Slow and steady.

10 simple ways to save for a house
Every bit helps.

5 Ways to Avoid ATM Fees
Don’t give the bank any more than you have to.

Why You Soon May Have to Pick Up More Home Repair Costs
Your homeowners insurance deductible may be on the rise.

3 Spooks That Can Haunt Your Credit
Time for some ghostbusting.

Categories : Liz's Blog
Comments Comments Off