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8 months ago

9 – To Your Credit: Understanding How Credit Scores Work

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Liz Weston - Personal Financial Columnist for NerdWallet

Good credit is important. Bad credit can make it difficult—or more expensive—to get a loan or credit card, rent an apartment, or get cell phone service. Surveys show few people truly understand how the system works: What makes their credit scores go up, and what causes them to plunge. In this episode we’ll demystify the process, and separate credit facts from credit myths.

Special Guest: Liz Weston, a personal financial columnist for NerdWallet, and author of the best-selling book “Your Credit Score.”

Additional resources:

Credit Myths Persist, Even After Pandemic Forces a Closer Look at Finances

New Government Report: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion Rarely Act on Complaints About Credit File Errors

How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam and What You Can Do to Improve Your Credit Scores

Buy Now, Pay Later Spending Traps

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7 days ago

22 – How to Find a Top Doc

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Physicians are at the center of your healthcare experiences. They set up diagnostic procedures, devise treatment plans, guide you through care decisions, prescribe medications, authorize hospital admissions, refer to other physicians and other providers…and much more.

In this episode, we talk about how to find good doctors and the best medical facilities near you, how to take charge of your medical care, and what Checkbook has learned by analyzing data on tens of thousands of doctors across the country.

Additional Resource:

How to Find the Best Doctors

3 weeks ago

21 – Auto Glass Class: How to Get Repairs and Replacements

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

You’re driving along when a pebble kicked up by the vehicle in front of you hits your windshield… and cracks it. Chances are that little rock just cost you $800 to $1,500 or more, depending on your ride. These days, a windshield is more than a big piece of glass; there’s a lot of technology embedded in it or located behind it. These sensors feed data to software controlling automatic wipers, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and advanced steering and braking systems.

No matter how big or small the job, you want it done quickly and for a fair price. In this episode, Checkbook Editor Kevin Brasler explains how to choose a good shop, how to decide about replacement parts—original manufacturer or third-party parts—and how to deal with your insurance company.

Additional Resource:

Auto Glass: Repairs and Replacements

3 months ago

20 – Whatever Happened to Truth in Advertising?

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Bonnie Patton - Executive Director of Truth in Advertising (TINA.org)

False or deceptive advertising costs American consumer billions of dollars a year. Companies big and small now use blatant lies, clever wording, and fine print to confuse or mislead us.

Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), a consumer advocacy group based in Connecticut, points the finger at bad actors and calls them out for their deception. It also works to empower people to protect themselves against false advertising and deceptive marketing.

In this episode, we’ll explore some of the tricks advertisers use to fool us, explain why some big-name celebrities are on the group’s Wall of Shame, and provide tips on how to spot misleading ads.

Special Guest: Bonnie Patten, Executive Director, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org)

Additional Resource:

Think You’re Getting a Deal? 30 Tricks Sellers Use to Make You Pay Up and Pay Too Much

3 months ago

19 – Estate Planning Tasks and Tips

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Most American don’t even have simple wills, and even fewer have living wills or designated healthcare surrogates. While doing this work might seem sobering, once you’ve made an estate plan, you’ll find it calming and reassuring to you and your family. The goal is to communicate your end-of-life healthcare wishes, document what you have and who gets it after you die, and set up a trouble-free way to transfer your assets to your heirs or preferred charities while minimizing payouts to probate courts, attorneys, accountants, and Uncle Sam.

In this episode, some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning what happens after you leave this world. We hope these tips will save you hassles and money—and enable you to avoid some common mistakes.

Additional Resources:

Estate Planning Tasks and Tips

Creating a Roadmap for Your Heirs

Hiring Estate-Planning Experts

Wills and Living Wills: Help with Preparing Yours

3 months ago

18 – Lessons Learned: A Visit with Our Founder

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Robert Krughoff - Checkbook's Founder and President

After more than 45 years, Robert Krughoff, Consumers’ Checkbook’s founder and president, is retiring. Robert joins us to chat about how he got the idea for Checkbook, and the challenges he faced getting it started—and gathering all the relevant data he needed to help readers. Plus, what he learned as he became one of the world’s foremost consumer experts and advocates.

Special Guest: Robert Krughoff, founder of Consumers’ Checkbook

4 months ago

17 – Travel Tips: How to Find the Best Deals on Airfare

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Rising demand for fewer seats has airfare soaring. Hear advice from seasoned traveler Kevin Brasler, Checkbook’s executive editor, in this episode. He shares strategies for finding low rates and warns about common problems when searching for deals. We also tackle frequent air-travel booking questions, such as: When is the best time to book? Should I avoid basic economy tickets?