Avoid tax refund ripoffs, and think twice about getting married

My recent MSN Money columns, in case you missed them: How to avoid tax-return rip-offs Beware of promises to get your refund faster. Refund anticipation loans are gone, and what’s replaced them isn’t worth the cost. Gay marriage can muddle finances Gay and in love? You might want to wait to marry. ‘Boomerang’ kids: Moving […]

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Graduating without student loans is tough

A few months ago I gave a verbal spanking to a woman who equated college loans with handouts. She wondered why people didn’t just delay college for a year and earn enough money to pay for their entire education, as she did back in the day. I pointed out that there weren’t many jobs available […]

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Protect those who look after your kids

A woman who works as a nanny and housekeeper wrote into the Wall Street Journal recently. Her employers had paid her under the table for years. As a result, at she’s facing retirement with only a miniscule Social Security benefit. This drives me nuts. If you can afford to hire a nanny or a housekeeper, […]

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So is it pointless to try to fix credit report errors?

Dear Liz: I watched 60 Minutes last night regarding the 3 credit bureaus and was amazed at what I learned.  I was hoping to spend time trying to repair our credit score, but according to the report last evening, it sounds like a total waste of time as the three credit bureaus basically are not […]

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“Cheap” insurance could cost more in the long run

Dear Liz: My homeowners insurance just went up 25%. I’ve made no claims and made no changes. I want to get quotes from other providers, but I’m afraid I’m going to get some type of “teaser” rate. I tried changing companies a few years ago and the rate was good, but when it came time […]

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Should you remodel before you sell?

Dear Liz: It has been almost one year since my domestic partner passed away, and our home of 43 years is fully paid for. I am ready to sell. The house is structurally in good shape but needs upgrades and a backyard redo. I have heard that painting both inside and out is a plus, […]

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Free money advice

You have questions about money–everybody does. Now you have the opportunity to get answers from some of the best financial planners in the business. Fee-only planners from NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, will be answering your questions from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, February 7 and Tuesday, February […]

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Don’t close accounts; pay off debt instead

Dear Liz: I’m 22 and a graduate student with only one year left before I enter the “real world.” I have four credit cards — one store card, two Visa cards and one MasterCard — only one of which carries a balance. I want to make the best decisions regarding my financial health. Which would […]

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You don’t have to be in debt to have good scores

Dear Liz: How deep in debt must a person get before he or she is able to get a mortgage on a home? My grandson, age 26, has been steadily employed by the same company for nearly six years. He rents a place he can afford, buys used cars for cash, has a nice savings […]

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