investment columnist; reporter; and personal finance columnist
February 2008, 1st Edition
The book offers easy to read, practical advice on planning your family’s finance. Learn how to rework the family budget and get a handle on the most pressing financial issues your family faces. The book covers concise, sensible information on how to:
Simple steps to take control of your family's finances.
Most of us are so busy living our day-to-day lives we don’t always have time to think through important financial decisions.
Written by top USATODAY personal finance columnists Sandra Block and John Waggoner and reporter Kathy Chu, The Busy Family’s Guide to Money cuts to the chase with real, practical financial solutions - fast. Learn how to rework the family budget or shop around for the best college savings account and get a handle on the most pressing financial issues your family faces.
The book covers concise, sensible information on how to:
discuss money with a spouse
create a budget the family can stick to
get the best mortgage
take control of debt
teach kids about money management
get the most out of healthcare
plan for college and retirement
simplify investments and avoid mistakes
You'll also find out how to claim kids as tax breaks, deal with major one-time expenses, save for retirement and protect your loved ones with basic legal documents.
Filled with helpful charts, checklists and resources, The Busy Family's Guide to Money makes managing finances a snap!
John Waggoner covers investing and mutual funds for USA TODAY. His column "Smart Investing" appears weekly in USA TODAY. He's also the author of Money Madness and The Fast Forward MBA in Investing.
Reporter Kathy Chu covers Asia for the Wall Street Journal. Previously, she reported on a variety of economic and personal finance topics for USA TODAY, ranging from disaster insurance to rising banking fees.
Sandra Block, one of the country's most respected personal finance journalists, is a senior associate editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Before joining Kiplinger's, she covered a variety of financial issues, including mutual funds, taxes and IRAs, as a reporter and columnist for USA TODAY.
Table of Contents
I Your Money Management Companion
1 Just You Two: Talk About Your Approach to Money
Conflict and Compromise: How Each of You Behaves With Money
It’s Not Just the Money: Agreeing on Your Life Goals
Isn’t There a Right Way for Everyone?
2 Create a Family Spending Plan You Can Live With
Just the Facts: Tracking Your Cash
Plugging the Leaks: Where Too Much Money Is Going
We Could Do That With Our Money? Changing Goals and Spending Habits
Making It Happen: Living by Your Chosen Plan
3 Draw the Line: Take Control of Your Debt
In Over Your Head? How Much Debt Is Too Much
Aim for the Stars—Or at Least a 700+ Credit Score
Pay the Worst First: Prioritize Your Debts
Dig Out From Under Credit Card Debt
Manage Your Student Loan Debt
Avoid a Relapse: Be a Smart Borrower
4 Set Aside a Rainy-Day Fund
How Much Is Enough?
Where to Stash Your Cash
If All Else Fails: Drawing From Your IRA or 401(k)
5 From Piggy Banks on Up: Your Kids and Money
They’re Watching You: Messages About Money
From Dimes to Dollars: Allowance
When Grandparents Dote: Smart Ways to Make Financial Gifts to Your Children
Money 101: Teach Your Children Well
Burger Flipping: Summer Jobs for Teens
The College Years: Beyond Tuition
Cutting the Cord: When to Stop Supporting Young Adults
6 That’s Just My Co-Pay? Manage Your Health Care Expenses
Going Uninsured? That’s Fine Until You’re Sick
Already Insured? Don’t Pay More Than You Have To
Save Money With Flexible Spending or Health Savings Plans
7 April Refund Showers: Claim the Tax Breaks You Deserve
How Much Will Tax Deductions Help You?
Your Children as Tax Breaks
Your Parents as Tax Breaks
Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses
Your Home as a Tax Break
The Charitable Deduction
Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid
8 Get a Grip on Real Estate
Are You Ready to Buy?
So Many Choices! Kinds of Mortgages
Shopping for the Right Loan
All in the Family: Borrowing From Relatives or Friends
Borrowing Against Your Home
When to Refinance—and Why
9 College or Retirement? Get Your Savings Goals Straight
Honey, Remind Me Why We’re Saving?
Looking Ahead: Retirement Saving Strategies
Tuition, Room, and Board: Who’ll Pay?
10 Invest Intelligently (Without Obsessing About It)
Where to Begin? Your Investment Choices
Three Things to Remember When You Invest
Getting Help: Financial Planners, Advisers, and Brokers
11 Protect Your Family
Planning Your Estate: The Three Documents You Need (and One You Might Want)
Get Life Insurance
In Case You Can’t Work: Get Disability Insurance
Own a Home? Double-Check Your Homeowners’ Insurance