Q&A: Social Security survivor benefits

Dear Liz: My husband passed away at age 59 last year. He was sick and unable to work the last four years of his life. I will be 56 in October. My understanding is I will not be able to draw his Social Security benefits until I am age 60. Is this correct? I struggle […]

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Q&A: Changing tax law may have made home trust unnecessary

Dear Liz: I was told my father’s house did not qualify for a step-up in tax basis at his death because he had put the house in a qualified personal residence trust (QPRT). With your recent column mentioning the step-up when a home is inherited, I’m wondering if I paid unnecessary taxes. Answer: In at […]

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Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Credit card preapproval vs. pre-qualification. Also in the news: 3 ways to keep your distance with contactless payments, why sustainable investing could get a lot harder, and a look at your debt options. Credit Card Preapproval vs. Pre-Qualification Pre-qualification is a soft yes on qualifying for a card. Preapproval is a guarantee […]

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Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Sustainable investing could get a lot harder. Also in the news: Why you should file the FAFSA ASAP, why savings accounts and CDs are still worth it despite low rates, and how to find your lost 401(k). Sustainable Investing Could Get a Lot Harder The Labor Department wants to keep socially responsible […]

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Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to pay for a home remodel without tapping your equity. Also in the news: U.S. unemployment shrinks, but recovery varies across race, sex, and age, how to avoid last-minute tax surprises when closing your business, and is COVID-specific travel insurance worth buying. How to Pay for a Home Remodel Without Tapping […]

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Sustainable investing could get a lot harder

Interest in sustainable investing is soaring, as more people become convinced that making a positive impact can be profitable as well as good for the planet and society. Unfortunately, the Labor Department doesn’t think these investments belong in your 401(k). In June, the federal regulator proposed a rule that would restrict workplace retirement plans from […]

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Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Starter credit cards are still a thing but are harder to get. Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on debt and refinancing, debt management as an alternative to credit card relief, and should you let your insurance company track your driving? Starter Credit Cards Are Still a […]

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Q&A: When credit scores take a pandemic dive, how to figure out what caused it

Dear Liz: My VantageScores as reported by TransUnion were in the 780 to 790 range until around February, when they all dropped 40 points for no discernible reason. My FICO 8 and 9 credit scores remained unchanged around 760 and still continue to increase. What would cause that? Answer: VantageScores tend to react more than […]

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Q&A: Learning an expensive car loan lesson

Dear Liz: My grandson bought a new car with a loan that has a 24% interest rate. He owes $17,000, and the car is now worth $5,000. What options does he have to get out of this situation? Answer: The best solution would be to refinance, but that can happen only if your grandson has […]

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Q&A: Social Security isn’t going broke

Dear Liz: You have addressed Social Security in your column recently and detailed the benefits to waiting until age 70 to take payments. I read that Social Security funds are expected to run out around 2035. At that time I’ll be 76 and would only get six years of benefits versus 13 years if I […]

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