You are previewing Deal with Your Debt: Free Yourself from What You Owe, Updated and Revised.
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Deal with Your Debt: Free Yourself from What You Owe, Updated and Revised

Book Description

Struggling with debt? Get realistic help that's actually useful, from Liz Weston, one of the most popular and respected personal finance experts! Today, people struggling with debt have far fewer options: lenders are stingier, which makes it harder to avert disaster, or to recover from setbacks like foreclosure, short sales, or bankruptcy. (Meanwhile, people with good credit have more options than ever, including some of the lowest interest rates in decades.) You need an up-to-date guide that can help you assess options, find help, discover opportunities, and take action that works. Liz Weston's Deal with Your Debt, Updated and Revised Edition is that guide. Weston reveals why most "conventional wisdom" about debt is just dead wrong. For most people, it's simply impractical to pay off every dime of debt, and live forever debt free. In fact, doing that can leave you a lot poorer in the long run. You're more likely to give up, or pay off the wrong debts. You could leave yourself too little flexibility to survive a financial crisis. You could neglect saving for retirement. You might even wind up in bankruptcy -- just what you're trying to avoid! For most people, it's smarter to control and manage debt effectively. In this extensively updated guide, Weston shows how to do that. You'll learn which debts can actually help build wealth over time, and which are simply toxic. You'll find up-to-date, real-world strategies for assessing and paying off debt, money-saving insights on which debts to tackle first, and crucial information about everything from debt consolidation loans to credit scores and credit counseling. Weston offers practical guidelines for assessing how much debt is safe -- and compassionate, realistic guidance if you've gone beyond the safety zone. If you've ever worried about debt, you'll find the new edition of Deal with Your Debt absolutely indispensable.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Praise for the First Edition of Deal with Your Debt
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. About the Author
  8. Introduction
  9. 1. Isn’t Debt-Free the Way to Be?
    1. Debt Isn’t the Enemy
    2. When “Good Debt” Isn’t
    3. Which Debts Should You Tackle First?
    4. Why Debt Management Sounds Strange
    5. When Debt Repayment Plans Go Awry
    6. Addressing the Ants as Well as the Grasshoppers
    7. Debt-Free Is the Way to Be—Eventually
    8. Summary
  10. 2. Your Debt Management Plan
    1. Get Intimate with Your Debt
    2. Assess Your Financial Situation
    3. Save or Pay Off Debt First?
    4. Case Studies
    5. Create Your Game Plan
    6. If You’re Already Drowning
    7. Summary
  11. 3. Credit Cards
    1. Our Love Affair with Credit
    2. The True Cost of Carrying a Balance
    3. Gotchas for Those Who Pay Their Balances
    4. The Right Way to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
    5. Getting the Right Reward Card
    6. Summary
  12. 4. Mortgages
    1. Myth #1: It’s a Good (or Lousy) Time to Buy a Home
    2. Myth #2: A House Is a Great Investment
    3. Myth #3: Buying Is Always Better Than Renting
    4. Myth #4: Homeownership Comes with Great Tax Breaks
    5. The Right Reasons to Buy
    6. How Much House Should I Buy?
    7. What Kind of Mortgage Should I Get?
    8. How Do I Get a Good Mortgage Deal?
    9. When and How Should I Refinance?
    10. When Should I Prepay a Mortgage?
    11. Summary
  13. 5. Home Equity Borrowing
    1. The Dangers of Home Equity Lending
    2. Home Equity Loans Versus Lines of Credit
    3. Questions to Ask Before You Borrow
    4. Summary
  14. 6. Student Loans
    1. So What’s the Good News?
    2. How Much Should I Borrow?
    3. Where Should I Get My Loans?
    4. What If It’s Already Too Late?
    5. What About Paying Off My Student Loans with Home Equity Debt—or Credit Cards?
    6. Summary
  15. 7. Auto Loans
    1. How Cars Cost Us
    2. Why It’s Bad to Owe More on Your Car Than It’s Worth
    3. How Often You Buy Cars Matters, Too
    4. The Proper Role of Cars in Our Spending
    5. Ways to Keep Costs Down
    6. Summary
  16. 8. 401(k) and Other Retirement Plan Loans
    1. Types of Plans That Offer Loans
    2. The Real Cost of Retirement Plan Loans
    3. Cracking Your Nest Egg Early
    4. The Hidden Cost of Withdrawals
    5. Summary
  17. 9. Loans You Don’t Want to Get—or Give
    1. Three More Loans to Beware Of
    2. Why You Don’t Want to Cosign a Loan
    3. The Right Way to Make a Personal Loan
    4. Summary
  18. 10. Dealing with a Debt Crisis
    1. Dealing with Your Creditors
    2. Dealing with Collection Agencies
    3. What If Your Creditors Won’t Budge?
    4. Summary
  19. 11. Putting Your Debt Management Plan into Action
    1. Lower Your Interest Rates
    2. Track Your Spending
    3. Trim Your Expenses
    4. Look for Cash
    5. Review Your Priorities
    6. Stay on Track
    7. Some Final Thoughts
  20. Index
  21. FT Press