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Quick Steps to Financial Stability

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Quick Steps to Financial Stability

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  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Adobe DRM)
  • ISBN-10: 0-7686-6840-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7686-6840-7

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.

Sample Content

Table of Contents


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


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


Chapter 3 Zeroing In on Your Debt

Over Your Head in Debt? Try These Fixes

    Controlling Debt Yourself

    Credit Counseling

    Consolidating Your Debts


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?


Part II Creating a Simple Investment Plan

Chapter 4 Weighing the Pros and Cons of Simple Investment Options

Understanding Basic Investments




    Basic Investment Rules

What Kind of Investor Are You?

Investing in Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds


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


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


Part III Supercharging Your Savings Plan

Chapter 7 Saving for Retirement

Determine What to Expect from Your Retirement Income Sources

Your Retirement Plan Options



    Roth IRA


Can You Retire?

    Need More?

    Other Ways to Retire


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


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


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


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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