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Easy Money


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1Chapter 1 Setting Up Your Financial Life 3Your Financial Toolkit 3Consider Two Checking Accounts 8The Right Ways to Pay Your Bills 8Build Your Control Panel 16Set Up Your Command Center 20Staying Up-to-Date 22Your Checklist 25 Chapter 2 Take Charge of Your Spending 27The 60 Percent Solution 28The 50/30/20 Plan 31How Do I Prioritize My Goals? 39Couples and Money 41Your Checklist 45 Chapter 3 Get the Most Out of Your Credit Cards 47If You Carry a Balance 47How to Find the Best Card(s) 57Your Checklist 60 Chapter 4 The No-Sweat Guide to Retirement (and other) Investing 61How to Manage Risk 62Why Beating the Market Is So Tough 65The Three Keys to Successful Investing 66Why Life-Cycle and Target Maturity Funds May Be the Answer 70Which Account Do I Use? 73Coordinating Your Approach 75Getting Help 76How Much Should I Save for Retirement? 77Ballpark E$timate (R) 78As You Approach Retirement 83Your Checklist 85 Chapter 5 The Easy Way to Save for College 87Why 529 College Savings Plans Rock 90Picking the Right College Savings Plan 92Prepaid Tuition Plans 93Your High School Game Plan 95What to Do If You're Starting Late 95Your Checklist 97 Chapter 6 Insurance: Protecting What You Have--And Will Have 99Auto Insurance 99Renters Insurance 103Condo Owners Insurance 104Homeowners Insurance 104Umbrella Liability Policies 107Health Insurance 107Disability Insurance 109Life Insurance 110Your Checklist 115 Chapter 7 Buying Homes and Cars 117When You're Ready to Buy a Home 117The Home-Buying Timeline 119Picking the Right Mortgage 121The Smart Way to Buy Cars 128Why We Overspend on Cars 129What to Do if You've Already Overspent 132Your Checklist 134 Chapter 8 When You Need Help 135How to Find a Financial Planner 135When You Need a Tax Pro 138Working with an Estate Planning Attorney 141Your Checklist 144 Chapter 9 Be a Savvy Shopper 145Sites Worth Paying For 145Price Comparison Sites 146Internet Shopping 101 146Sites to Bookmark 148Check for Coupons 149When You're in the Market for Real Bargains 149A Word about Price Guarantees 150How to Be a Savvy Traveler 151When Things Go Wrong 152Your Checklist 156 Chapter 10 Changing Your Uneasy Mind 157"The One Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins" 158"We'd Be Fine If Our Income Was Just a Little Higher" 159"I'll Never Have Enough" 159"I'm Such a Loser; I'd Be So Much Farther Ahead If I Hadn't Made So Many Mistakes with Money" 160"I'll Never Understand This Money Stuff" 162"It's Not My Fault" 162Money and Your Brain 164Your Checklist 166 Chapter 11 Setting Goals, Or What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? 167Visualizing Your Ideal Life 170Setting the Timer 170The End Game 171What It's All About 171 Resources and Recommendations 175The Basics 175College 175Couples & Money 176Credit & Debt 176Estate Planning 177Investing 177Real Estate 178Retirement 178Savings Tips 179 Index 181

(c) Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Promotional Information

Today, individuals have to make more financial decisions than ever before. They must keep track of more details, too - about everything from retirement investments to credit cards to health insurance and the penalties for making mistakes just keep on escalating. But there's a solution! In Easy Money, award-winning personal finance columnist Liz Weston introduces the "three pillars" of money simplification --consolidate, automate, and delegate. Learn how to winnow down your choices, streamline financial systems, and select strategies that will work as simply and efficiently as possible. Weston offers up-to-the-minute advice on using technology to alleviate money stress (and warns against the technologies that can put individuals even further behind!) Discover practical tips for reducing paper clutter, getting records under control, and even safeguarding finances against identity theft. Along the way, Weston offers advice for simplifying every aspect of financial life: spending, credit cards, mortgages, college and retirement savings, insurance, estate planning, and a whole lot more.

About the Author

Liz Pulliam Weston is the most-read personal finance columnist on the Internet, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. She's also an award-winning, nationally syndicated personal finance columnist who can make the most complex money topics understandable to the average reader. She is the author of the national best-seller Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Improve and Protect the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future and of Deal with Your Debt: The Right Way to Manage Your Bills and Pay Off What You Owe. She also was a contributor to The Experts' Guide to the Baby Years. Liz's columns run twice a week on MSN Money, which reaches more than 12 million readers each month. Millions more read her question-and-answer column "Money Talk," which appears in newspapers throughout the country, including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Palm Beach Post, the Portland Oregonian, the Newark Star-Ledger, Stars & Stripes, and others. Liz appears regularly on numerous television and radio programs, including American Public Media's "Marketplace Money" and NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and "All Things Considered." She was for several years a weekly commentator on CNBC's "Power Lunch" and has been quoted in numerous publications, including Consumer Reports, Real Simple, Family Circle, Men's Health, Woman's Day, Parents, Christian Science Monitor, the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe,, and others. Weston is a graduate of the certified financial planner training program at University of California, Irvine. She can be reached via the "contact Liz" form on her Web site,

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