There’s more than one way out of credit card debt

Dear Liz: In your book “Your Credit Score,” you note that one of the best ways to improve your credit score and lighten your credit card load is to get a personal loan with a credit union and pay it off in installments. I have two high-interest credit card balances that are hovering right near […]

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Adjustable mortgage poses risks

Dear Liz: Should my retired wife (age 74) and I (age 78) refinance our home just to lower our monthly payment by $100? I’m considering going for a five-year fixed at 2.74% followed by a 25-year variable. Our outstanding loans amount to $200,000. The value of our home has decreased to $400,000. My wife is […]

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When you should consider bankruptcy

The conventional wisdom—that people who file for bankruptcy are deadbeats who choose not to pay their debts—is typically dead wrong. Ask any bankruptcy judge or trustee. Most people who file for bankruptcy don’t do it as a first resort. Most people, in fact, put off filing for far too long. They struggle for years with […]

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How to bounce back from bad credit

Foreclosure, bankruptcy or a history of missing payments can send your credit scores into the basement. The good news: nothing is permanent in the world of credit and credit scoring. You can rehabilitate your scores over time if you know how. Here’s what to do: Pull your credit reports from all three bureaus. Check for […]

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Will home sale trigger eviction?

Dear Liz: Our landlady has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. In her precarious health, I find myself concerned that we may have to move if she gives up the duplex and moves to a care facility. I’m unemployed and my 72-year-old husband has recently been diagnosed with early stages of dementia. I […]

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Carrying a balance won’t help your scores

Dear Liz: I question your advice to the father whose son was turned down for a car loan. You told the father: “Your children don’t need to take on debt to build their credit histories. A couple of credit cards, used lightly but regularly and paid off in full every month, will do the job.” […]

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The best used cars, from Edmunds.com

If you’re in the market to replace a vehicle, check out Edmunds.com’s list of 2012 Used Car Best Bets, which include: Compact Sedan: 2005-2010 Hyundai Elantra Midsize Sedan: 2005-2010 Nissan Altima Large Sedan: 2006-2010 Hyundai Azera Coupe: 2005-2010 BMW 3 Series Convertible: 2005-2010 Mazda Miata Wagon: 2005-2010 Pontiac Vibe Compact SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Honda CR-V Midsize […]

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Don’t put college savings into custodial accounts

Dear Liz: I opened Uniform Transfers to Minors Act savings accounts for my two boys (now 7 and 10) when they were newborns. I chose not to go with the 529 college savings accounts because I didn’t like the restriction that the money had to be used for education. It has always been my intention […]

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“Authorized user” info may not be enough

Dear Liz: You recently answered a question about a young man who was turned down for a car loan because he graduated from college debt free and had no credit history. This is the same scenario my daughter encountered this past year. Despite having a solid job for three years at a good salary, plenty […]

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How to get free summer travel

My daughter hasn’t seen her cousins in the Northwest for awhile, so I just finished booking us a late-summer trip to see them. The net cost so far? Less than $30. Here’s how I did it: Amtrak roomette. We both love train travel, and the points I earn using my Starwood American Express card transfer […]

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