• The woes of this car-less worker can't be fixed with junkers or leasing schemes

    Dear Liz: My spouse and I are in Chapter 13 repayment bankruptcy and have a few more years to go. We’re obviously on a tight budget.

    My spouse has the reliable car, but I’ve already paid $1,500 cash each for two junkers and it’s caused major stress. I know we can petition the court and be allowed to get financing, but we do not want to and can’t afford to on our budget.

    I am, however, up for an evaluation and raise soon at the small, private company where I work.

    I am thinking of asking that instead of a raise, they lease a vehicle for me. I do travel sometimes for business so it could be legitimized in that sense. If they leased a vehicle for, say, $200 a month, that would be close to the raise I’m expecting.

    The real question is how to handle insurance and liability. Is it possible for my company to lease a vehicle but have the insurance liability fall on me, meaning would I be able to insure it under my own policy though the lease would be through the company?

    Answer: Probably not.

    A personal auto policy might not even cover your own car if it were used primarily for business. Personal policies typically wouldn’t cover a car owned or leased by your employer.

    Also, businesses usually need more liability coverage than most individuals carry, since companies can be bigger lawsuit targets. You can ask for a leased car in lieu of a raise, but expect the cost of the insurance to be part of the calculation and be prepared for the company to decline.

    It’s unfortunate you bought two junkers in a row, because the amount you ultimately spent could have bought you one decent car.

    Car comparison site Edmunds has advice for finding reliable vehicles for $2,500, which it says is a reasonable budget for buying a solid car.

    The vehicles are likely to be 10 to 15 years old and may have over 150,000 miles on the odometer, but if they’ve been well-maintained they can be reliable rides for several more years.

    You’re likely to get the best deal via a private party sale, and you’ll want a good mechanic to check out any car before you buy. Your mechanic may even have a lead or two on cars that could be good candidates.

    Your raise may allow you to revisit the idea of financing a car, albeit at a high interest rate.

    As you know, you won’t be able to buy anything extravagant, and the purchase will have to be approved by both your trustee and the court. If the car is a necessity for you to get to work and you’ve been in your repayment plan at least two years, you have a good chance of being allowed to finance it.

    If the car is not a necessity, you may have other options.

    If you live in a city, a transit pass may get you to most of the places you need to go and you can rent a car or use a ride-sharing service when you need more custom transportation. Many people have discovered that cars are a costly hassle, and they live just fine without them.

    Dear Liz: I started getting Social Security at age 62. I would have only gotten $327 a month based on my work history, but they gave me $666 based on my husband’s work history. He gets $1,966 but your article said I should get half. Should I be receiving more?

    Your spousal benefit would have been half of your husband’s “primary benefit amount” only if you’d waited until your own full retirement age to apply. Because you started several years early at 62, your check was reduced by 30%.

    His primary benefit amount is what he would have received if he started benefits at his own full retirement age. Full retirement age is currently 66 and will rise to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

    North Korea says the U.S. will 'pay dearly' for new sanctions. Romulo Avelice-Gonzalez on the verge of being deported, but an immigration appeals court has put it on hold. President Trump warned North Korea to stop making nuclear threats. Disney is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix. Glen Campbell, the Grammy-winning country-pop singer, guitarist and TV personality, died at 81. The FBI raided one of the homes of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, last month. The ACLU is suing Washington D.C.'s metro system on behalf of several clients -- including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

    North Korea says the U.S. will 'pay dearly' for new sanctions. Romulo Avelice-Gonzalez on the verge of being deported, but an immigration appeals court has put it on hold. President Trump warned North Korea to stop making nuclear threats. Disney is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix. Glen Campbell, the Grammy-winning country-pop singer, guitarist and TV personality, died at 81. The FBI raided one of the homes of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, last month. The ACLU is suing Washington D.C.'s metro system on behalf of several clients -- including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

    A trio of bills aim to alleviate California's housing affordability crisis. The recreational marijuana business is coming to California soon. 'Hamilton' opens at the Pantages Theatre on Aug. 16. L.A. leaders spent weeks scrutinizing contracts and budgets for the 2024 Olympics.

    Credits: Getty / KTLA / Al Seib

    A trio of bills aim to alleviate California's housing affordability crisis. The recreational marijuana business is coming to California soon. 'Hamilton' opens at the Pantages Theatre on Aug. 16. L.A. leaders spent weeks scrutinizing contracts and budgets for the 2024 Olympics.

    Credits: Getty / KTLA / Al Seib

    The FBI raided one of the homes of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, last month. The ACLU is suing Washington D.C.'s metro system on behalf of several clients -- including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Was Trump's “fire and fury” threat against North Korea reckless or calculated? Manchester Square near LAX is on its way to becoming empty.

    Credits: Jay L. Clendenin / Getty / KTLA

    The FBI raided one of the homes of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, last month. The ACLU is suing Washington D.C.'s metro system on behalf of several clients -- including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Was Trump's “fire and fury” threat against North Korea reckless or calculated? Manchester Square near LAX is on its way to becoming empty.

    Credits: Jay L. Clendenin / Getty / KTLA

    The Rams hosted the Chargers in a combined practice Wednesday at UC Irvine. Three fights broke out between players during the 2 1/2 hour workout. Warning: video contains explicit language.

    The Rams hosted the Chargers in a combined practice Wednesday at UC Irvine. Three fights broke out between players during the 2 1/2 hour workout. Warning: video contains explicit language.

    The illnesses began in the fall of 2016

    The illnesses began in the fall of 2016

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