Don’t fall for the same-as-cash offers

Dear Dave,

My wife and I bough t some furniture a while back on what wetho ugh twasa24-mon ths - sa me- as- cash pla n. Th e orig i- nal purchase price was $1,600. The other day, I got a call from a collec tor saying tha t it was ac tually a 12 -month plan, and the ba lance is now $2,800. We look ed at th e contr ac t, an d it was our mi sta ke on the length of the plan. Still, that makes the interest rate about 30 perc ent. Is the re anything we can do about this? Robe rt Dear Robert,

This is one of the rea son s I tell peop letostayaway from “same as cash” agreements. You may not have agree d to a specific per centage rate, and I’ll bet it’s somet hing le ss when you factor in the time before and af ter the 12- month period ended. Still, I’m pret ty sure that when you signed the contract you did agree to have thi s th ing convert to a fina nced contract if you did n’t pay it of f in 12 month s. These ki nds of deals arereallyscummy. Not onl y have they charge d you int ere st si nce the 12- month period ended, t he y ’ve als o ba ck- charge d you interest for the entir e le ngth of the contrac t.

These same- as- cash contracts are a bea r trap. They’r e designed to mess you over bi g time. You can try to dispute it, but I’ve got a feeling you’ll lose and have to pay about $1,200 in st upid tax on this one. Lots of people thin k they ca n pull one over on a compa ny with the “same as cash” dea l, but stuff almost always come s up— even if you don’t misread the contract . I’ve said it a million ti mes, Rob - ert. If you play wit h snakes, you will be bitten. —Dave

A place for every thing

Dear Dave,

I’ve hea rd you talk about some thin g you call th e Legacy Drawer. What exactly is this, and what goes into it? Lisa

Dear Lisa,

One of the best ways I know to tell your fami ly how much you love them is by having your financial act toget he r and org anized in a centra l loc ation. The Legac y Drawe r is a col lec tion of your essentia l financial do cuments in a safe place wher e they ca n find them when you die, or if you’r e sic k or disabled. All of the piece s of your financia l life should be in th is drawer. I’m tal ki ng about your will, living will, estate plan, investment st at ement s, in surance pol ici es, and prop erty deeds. You should also inclu de stu ff like power of at torney statements, access information to lock boxes, and ot her instructions to family and loved ones.

Make sureit’s really wellor ganized, too. It should be laid out simply enough tha t anyon e who can re ad could open it up and find exactly wh at’s ne eded in just a fe w minutes. The stress of hav ing a loved one die or become ser iou sly ill is bad enou gh. You don’t want to make it any harder on them by leaving your financ es in a mess.


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