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Introduction to There Are No Dumb Questions About Money: Answers and Advice to Help You Make the Most of Your Finances

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Liz Weston introduces her book, which is a series of Q&As based on personal finance questions she has answered over the years in her newspaper column.
This chapter is from the book


Everybody has questions about money. The more questions you have, the more reluctant you may be to ask them.

That’s because there’s a myth in our society that some people are just naturally “good” with money. So naturally, everybody else must be “bad”—or, at least, dumb—if they’re not sure what to do.

The reality is, no one is born a money expert. Those who are “good” with money had to learn—by reading, asking questions, and consulting people who know more than they do. No one knows everything, and the only dumb questions are the ones you don’t ask.

When I have questions about money, I’m lucky enough to be able to consult some of the best financial minds in the country. I can call on financial planning legends such as Harold Evensky, Deena Katz, and Ross Levin (and they’ll answer my calls!). If I’m puzzled about a credit issue, I can turn to the folks at FICO who helped create the leading credit score or the experts at Credit.com, including Gerri Detweiler, who live and breathe this stuff. For supremely complicated issues, such as our ever-changing tax laws and the intricacies of planning for incapacity, I can talk to the supremely smart analysts at tax research firm CCH and the equally brilliant lawyers with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

So what you read in my columns is definitive, authoritative, and well researched. I’m not just opining or telling you what worked for me. I’m giving you solid information from the best sources available so that you can feel comfortable you’re getting straight answers to your questions.

The Q&As in this book are based on questions I’ve answered over the years in my newspaper column, “Money Talk,” which appears in the Los Angeles Times, Stars & Stripes, and the Oregonian, among other papers. You can find the original versions of my answers on my Web site, AskLizWeston.com.

So why buy this book if you can read those posts for free? Here are a few reasons:

  • Newspaper column space is limited. I get only a few inches to respond to often-complicated questions. This book format allows me to expand on my original replies, offering more context, more detailed explanations, and lots of links so you can research further, if you’d like.
  • This book is organized. Each chapter tackles an important financial topic and develops it from start to finish. The information you need is right at your fingertips—you don’t have to sort through a pile of posts to find it.
  • This book is timely. Laws change. Economies shift. Companies alter their policies. So I’ve updated where necessary, reflecting new laws and new industry practices where applicable.
  • This book benefits from your follow-up questions. If I haven’t answered a question clearly or I’ve missed an important component, I’ll hear about it immediately. You’ll send me an email, make a comment on my site, or post on my Facebook page. I’ll usually respond to those questions either right away or in another column, but here I’m able to incorporate the additional information right from the start.

This book may not answer every question you have, but it will answer many of them and point you to resources that can help you answer the rest. Not everybody is “good” with money—but anybody can be, by asking the right questions.

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