Quick Steps to Financial Stability

Quick Steps to Financial Stability

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Quick Steps to Financial Stability

Find money you didn't think you had

Deal with your debt

Make the most of tax breaks

Boost your investment returns

Get your kids through college

Ditch the job and retire

Choose the right loan

Save time and money by using our easy-to-follow templates

No time to figure it all out on your own? Let Quick Steps to Financial Stability be your guide.



"When it comes to financial self-help advice, Al Lavine and Gail Liberman are as good as it gets. Whether it's setting up a budget, reducing debt, or taking out the right loans, Lavine and Liberman boiled it all down in this latest book to a series of practical steps to make complicated financial planning simple."

-David Callaway, editor-in-chief, MarketWatch



Looking to get your finances on track? It's as easy as following the steps outlined in this book. You needn't be an accountant or a financial planner. Get the straight and simple scoop on how to take the bull by the horns yourself-just follow the step-by-step approach outlined in Quick Steps to Financial Stability. Have access to a computer? If so, it's even easier. And there are several online calculators you can use to help you get the job done.



Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman are husband-and-wife syndicated columnists. Their columns run in the Boston Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Palm Beach Daily News, several Scripps Howard newspapers, and several online websites. They also write a biweekly consumer banking column for Dow Jones MarketWatch. They have been guests on CBS's The Early Show, Fox and Friends, CNN, CNBC, The 700 Club, and PBS. Their book, Rags to Riches, was featured on Oprah's television show and hit two best-seller lists. They live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 177.8 x 226.1 x 15.2mm | 181.44g
  • Que Corporation,U.S.
  • Indianapolis, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0789735083
  • 9780789735089

Back cover copy

Quick Steps to Financial Stability Find money you didn't think you had Deal with your debt Make the most of tax breaks Boost your investment returns Get your kids through college Ditch the job and retire Choose the right loan Save time and money by using our easy-to-follow templates No time to figure it all out on your own? Let "Quick Steps to Financial Stability" be your guide. "When it comes to financial self-help advice, Al Lavine and Gail Liberman are as good as it gets. Whether it's setting up a budget, reducing debt, or taking out the right loans, Lavine and Liberman boiled it all down in this latest book to a series of practical steps to make complicated financial planning simple." -David Callaway, editor-in-chief, MarketWatch Looking to get your finances on track? It's as easy as following the steps outlined in this book. You needn't be an accountant or a financial planner. Get the straight and simple scoop on how to take the bull by the horns yourself-just follow the step-by-step approach outlined in "Quick Steps to Financial Stability." Have access to a computer? If so, it's even easier. And there are several online calculators you can use to help you get the job done. Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman are husband-and-wife syndicated columnists. Their columns run in the "Boston Herald," "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette," "Palm Beach Daily News," several Scripps Howard newspapers, and several online websites. They also write a biweekly consumer banking column for Dow Jones MarketWatch. They have been guests on CBS's "The Early Show," "Fox and Friends," CNN, CNBC, "The 700 Club," and PBS. Their book, "Rags to Riches," was featured on Oprah's television show and hit two best-seller lists. They live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
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Table of contents

Introduction

Part I Are You Ready?

Chapter 1 Examining Your Financial Condition

Net Worth: Finding Your Bottom Line

Step 1: Round Up Your Assets

Step 2: List All Your Liabilities or Debts

Step 3: Subtract Your Liabilities from Your Assets

Reviewing Income and Expenses

Step 1: Calculate Your Monthly Income

Step 2: Categorize Monthly Expenses

Step 3: Determine Where You Stand

Setting Your Financial Goals

Freeing Up Quick Cash

Controlling Your Debt

Trimming Expenses

Beefing Up Your Income

Summary

Chapter 2 Identifying Your Financial Goals

Preparing for Life

Identifying Your Insurance Needs

Setting Financial Goals

Considering Your Savings Plan

Planning for Big Goals

Buying a Home

Having a Baby

Saving for Your Children's Education and Retirement

Summary

Chapter 3 Zeroing In on Your Debt

Over Your Head in Debt? Try These Fixes

Controlling Debt Yourself

Credit Counseling

Consolidating Your Debts

Bankruptcy

Understanding Your Credit Score

Getting Your Score

Check Your Credit Report to Raise Your Credit Score

Correcting Mistakes on Your Credit Report

What If Your Bad Credit Score Is Accurate?

Summary

Part II Creating a Simple Investment Plan

Chapter 4 Weighing the Pros and Cons of Simple Investment Options

Understanding Basic Investments

Cash

Bonds

Stocks

Basic Investment Rules

What Kind of Investor Are You?

Investing in Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds

Summary

Chapter 5 Creating a Plan That Works for You

Choose Low-Risk Investments for Short-Term Goals

Bank Deposits

U.S. Treasury Securities

Other Lower-risk Investments

Stocks: More Risk for Better Long-Term Returns

Choose Mutual Funds to Help You Diversify

Analyzing the Risk of Mutual Funds

Pinpoint Your Strategy with Life-Cycle and Target Funds

Take a More Conservative Approach with Balanced Funds

Boost Your Performance

Stick with No-Load Funds

Use Index Funds

Opting for Actively Managed Funds

Consider Dollar Cost Averaging

Rebalance Your Investments

Always Consider Taxes

Summary

Chapter 6 Protecting the Downside: Insurance and Other Safeguards

Finding Financially Secure Companies

Health Insurance

Policy Types

What to Examine Before Buying a Policy

Cut the Cost of Medical Insurance

Disability Insurance

Life Insurance

Low-Load Companies

Getting Professional Help

Long-Term Care Insurance

Property Insurance

Automobile Insurance

Homeowner's Insurance

You Need a Will

Summary

Part III Supercharging Your Savings Plan

Chapter 7 Saving for Retirement

Determine What to Expect from Your Retirement Income Sources

Your Retirement Plan Options

401(k)

IRAs

Roth IRA

Annuities

Can You Retire?

Need More?

Other Ways to Retire

Summary

Chapter 8 How to Pay for Your Children's Education

Getting Your Hands Around the Cost of College

Step 1: Determine What You Can Save

Step 2: Examine Your Investment Options

529 Plans

Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act

Other Tax-Advantaged Options

Tax Breaks for College Savings

The Hope Scholarship Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit

Tax Deduction for Student Loan Interest

Rules for College Investing

Financial Aid

If You Must Borrow

Other Ways to Get Your Children to College

Summary

Chapter 9 Save by Choosing the Right Loans

Your Loan Objectives

The Scoop on Credit Cards

Understanding Car Loans and Leases

Picking a Mortgage

Checking Out Loan Upfront Costs and Fees

Choosing a Mortgage Type

Finding Information on Special Mortgage Programs

Home Equity Loans and Lines

Other Low-Cost Ways to Borrow

Beware When You Borrow Money

Eliminating Debt from Your Financial Life

Refinance Your Home

Prepay Your Mortgage

Consider a Biweekly Mortgage

Summary

Chapter 10 Your Keys to the Good Life, Now and Later

Evaluate Your Income and Spending

Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage

Review Your Investments

Review Your Tax Situation

Update Your Estate Plan

Enjoy Your Great New Financial Life

Summary

Part IV Appendixes

Appendix A References and Resources

Appendix B Finding the Right Help

Appendix C Mortgage Shopping Worksheet



0789735083 TOC 10/19/2006
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About Alan Lavine

Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine are husband-and-wife columnists and best-selling authors based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Their columns run on Dow Jones MarketWatch and in the Boston Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, several Scripps Howard newspapers, MyFinancialAdvisor.com, Fundsinteractive.com, Allaboutfunds.com, and Quicken.com.



Liberman and Lavine's book Rags to Riches: Motivating Stories of How Ordinary People Achieved Extraordinary Wealth! (Dearborn, 2000) was featured on Oprah and hit two best-seller lists.



You might have seen or heard the couple on television and radio. They have been guests on CBS's The Early Show, CNN, CNBC, The 700 Club, NBC, Fox, and PBS. They also have been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, USA Today, the New York Times, Business Week, Investor's Business Daily, The Washington Post, Redbook, First, Town and Country, Bride's, and Elle.



Their other books are The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Money with Mutual Funds (Alpha Books, 2000), Rags to Retirement (Alpha Books, 2003), More Rags to Riches (Dearborn, 2002), Love, Marriage and Money (Dearborn, 1998), Improving Your Credit and Reducing Your Debt (Wiley, 1994), Short and Simple Guide to Life Insurance (Authors Choice, 2000), and Short and Simple Guide to Smart Investing (Authors Choice, 2003).



The two have contributed to Consumers Digest, Your Money, and Worth magazines, as well as the Journal of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Financial Advisor, and Financial Planning magazine.



Liberman's own column,"Managing Your Fortune," runs in the Palm BeachDaily News. She helped launch Bank Rate Monitor (now Bankrate.com) in North Palm Beach and was editor of the publication for 15 years. An award-winning journalist, she began her career with the Associated Press, United Press International, and United Features Syndicate. She also was a reporter for the Courier-Post, a Gannett newspaper in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Liberman obtained her Bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She holds a Florida real estate license and a Florida mortgage broker license.



Alan Lavine, author of the nation's longest-running mutual fund column, was on the ground floor of the mutual fund industry as the former director of research for IBC/Donoghue, now iMoneyNet.com, of Westborough,Massachusetts. His columns have been running in the Boston Herald for more than 24 years. A former Registered Investment Advisor, he also pens a regular column for the Journal of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Individual Investor, American Banker, Trusts and Estates, American Lawyer, and Financial World. During the 1980s, his family finances research was cited by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. A guest lecturer at Cornell University, Lavine has spoken before such groups as the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, and Morningstar, Inc.'s Mutual Fund Conference.



Lavine has a Master's degree from the University of Akron. He did post-graduate studies in finance and economics at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts.



Lavine has authored Getting Started in Mutual Funds (Wiley, 1993); 50 Ways to Mutual Fund Profits (McGraw-Hill, 1996); and Your Life Insurance Options (Wiley, 1992). He also coauthored, with Gerald Perritt, Diversify Your Way to Wealth (McGraw-Hill, 1993), an alternate selection of the Fortune Book Club; and Diversify: Investors Guide to Asset-Allocation Strategies (Longman Financial Services Publishing, 1989).



Both Liberman and Lavine are listed in Marquis's Who's Who in America and are members of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
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