Easy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want out of Life by Liz WestonEasy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want out of Life by Liz Weston

Easy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want out of Life

byLiz Weston

Paperback | November 9, 2007

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Pulliam Weston (Your Credit Score), columnist for MSN Money and author of the nationally syndicated column "Money Talk," provides a practical, easy-to-understand guide to taking control of personal finances and establishing financial security. Like most financial advice books, this collection covers the basics, such as creating a financial toolkit, investing, planning for retirement and saving for college. While Pulliam Weston provides insights into these areas-especially for those without a financial background-she also charts new territory with her "60 Percent Solution" and "50/30/20 Plan," both aimed at spending control, as well as getting the most out of your credit cards and what to do if you've overspent on a car purchase. An advocate of online banking, Pulliam Weston maps out the right way to pay bills and advocates account aggregation and consolidation. She also provides a useful resource guide for finding a financial planner, a tax professional and an estate planning attorney. Checklists are included in each chapter, as well as helpful charts and tables that aid in getting and staying organized. This book will be a valuable guide on the path to financial control and security.

                                                --Publishers Weekly



“If you want to simplify your life and make solid decisions—fast—this book is your answer. It’s one more reason Liz remains one of America’s most trusted financial columnists. Quick, easy, and empowering!”

—Jennifer Openshaw, Author of The Millionaire Zone and CEO, WinningAdvice.com


“As usual, Liz cuts to the chase to provide readers with practical, easy to implement tips for living a rich life. If you follow only half of her on-the-money recommendations you’ll be exponentially better off tomorrow than you are today.”

—Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., Author of Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich and

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office


Simplify your financial life…

now and forever!


• By the Internet’s #1 personal finance expert, MSN’s Liz Pulliam Weston

• Stop feeling overwhelmed by your finances: take control, the easy way!

• Save time, avoid mistakes, and help secure your future


Common sense. Easy solutions. Plain English. Best selling author,

Liz Pulliam Weston, takes on the problem everyone has, and nobody talks about: the sheer hassle of managing your money! Weston offers practical guidance and easy checklists for every decision: investments, credit cards, insurance, mortgages, retirement, college savings, and more! Discover how to consolidate, delegate, and automate your finances…save time and money…and live a more rewarding, secure life!



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...
Title:Easy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want out of LifeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 5.95 × 0.6 inPublished:November 9, 2007Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0132383837

ISBN - 13:9780132383837

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Read from the Book

Introduction Have you paid a late fee on a credit card or bounced a check in the past year? Did you misplace a bill, a statement, or some other financial record that you desperately needed to find? Are you confused about how much insurance you should buy, which health plan you should choose, the right way to save for college or retirement? Do you ever wish you could spend less time worrying about money? If so, you're in good company. People today have to make a lot more financial decisions and keep track of far more details than they did even a generation ago. Instead of one health care plan, you may have to choose from half a dozen—or you may have no insurance at all. Instead of a traditional pension plan provided by an employer, you probably have to save for retirement on your own—and figure out how much to contribute, where to invest the contributions, and eventually how to take your money out. Instead of a credit card or two, you have access to literally tens of thousands of options, all with different rates, terms, and due dates. Even mortgages, which used to come in one basic flavor—fixed rate, for 30 years—have multiplied into a bewildering array of alternatives. At the same time, the penalties for making mistakes seem to be escalating every day. It's not just that late fees, bounced-check charges, and over-limit penalties are skyrocketing. There are bigger issues. Choose the wrong health coverage, for example, and you could become one of the hundreds of thousands of people each year who have to file bankruptcy, in part because of medical reasons. Mess up on your retirement, and you could be working well past the age when your peers are on the golf course. If you're like most people, all of this is simply overwhelming. Even if you do have time to research and understand all your options, you probably feel like you don't have time to properly manage every aspect of your finances the way you'd like while still holding down a job, caring for a family, and enjoying a minute or two of leisure time every once in a while. The good news is that there is hope. You can winnow down your choices, streamline your financial systems, and take control of your money. A few hours spent with this book and a little time invested in today's personal finance technology can put you on track for your goals and alleviate your anxiety about the details that could otherwise trip you up. Let's get started. © Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

            Introduction  1

Chapter 1       Setting Up Your Financial Life  3

Your Financial Toolkit  3

Consider Two Checking Accounts  8

The Right Ways to Pay Your Bills  8

Build Your Control Panel  16

Set Up Your Command Center  20

Staying Up-to-Date  22

Your Checklist  25


Chapter 2       Take Charge of Your Spending  27

The 60 Percent Solution  28

The 50/30/20 Plan  31

How Do I Prioritize My Goals?  39

Couples and Money  41

Your Checklist  45


Chapter 3       Get the Most Out of Your Credit Cards  47

If You Carry a Balance  47

How to Find the Best Card(s)  57

Your Checklist  60


Chapter 4       The No-Sweat Guide to Retirement (and other) Investing  61

How to Manage Risk  62

Why Beating the Market Is So Tough  65

The Three Keys to Successful Investing  66

Why Life-Cycle and Target Maturity Funds May Be the Answer  70

Which Account Do I Use?  73

Coordinating Your Approach  75

Getting Help  76

How Much Should I Save for Retirement?  77

Ballpark E$timate®  78

As You Approach Retirement  83

Your Checklist  85


Chapter 5       The Easy Way to Save for College  87

Why 529 College Savings Plans Rock  90

Picking the Right College Savings Plan  92

Prepaid Tuition Plans  93

Your High School Game Plan  95

What to Do If You’re Starting Late  95

Your Checklist  97


Chapter 6       Insurance: Protecting What You Have--And Will Have  99

Auto Insurance  99

Renters Insurance  103

Condo Owners Insurance  104

Homeowners Insurance  104

Umbrella Liability Policies  107

Health Insurance  107

Disability Insurance  109

Life Insurance  110

Your Checklist  115


Chapter 7       Buying Homes and Cars  117

When You’re Ready to Buy a Home  117

The Home-Buying Timeline  119

Picking the Right Mortgage  121

The Smart Way to Buy Cars  128

Why We Overspend on Cars  129

What to Do if You’ve Already Overspent  132

Your Checklist  134


Chapter 8       When You Need Help  135

How to Find a Financial Planner  135

When You Need a Tax Pro  138

Working with an Estate Planning Attorney  141

Your Checklist  144


Chapter 9       Be a Savvy Shopper  145

Sites Worth Paying For  145

Price Comparison Sites  146

Internet Shopping 101  146

Sites to Bookmark  148

Check for Coupons  149

When You’re in the Market for Real Bargains  149

A Word about Price Guarantees  150

How to Be a Savvy Traveler  151

When Things Go Wrong  152

Your 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”  162

Money and Your Brain  164

Your Checklist  166


Chapter 11     Setting Goals, Or What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?  167

Visualizing Your Ideal Life  170

Setting the Timer  170

The End Game  171

What It’s All About  171


Resources and Recommendations  175

The Basics  175

College  175

Couples & Money  176

Credit & Debt  176

Estate Planning  177

Investing  177

Real Estate  178

Retirement  178

Savings Tips  179


Index  181

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.