Can you please help summarize this short article please? Please make it easier to understand. Thank you.

Expert Answers
Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

More than just an "article," this is actually a few questions from a financial advice column written by Liz Weston the in L.A. Times.  it is called "Personal Finance Q&A:  Use at least 90% of a bonus to pay off debt."  In this kind of newspaper article, people write in and get free financial advice.  It has a "Dear Abby" type of feel to it, and unfortunately, though, has some jargon in there (especially in the second question). Let me clear up the language in all three questions for you.

The first person is getting a $10,000 bonus and wants to know what to do with it:  pay off $6000 in taxes that haven't been paid yet, or pay off one of many $5000 maxed out credit cards.  Weston's response is that the person should be using a full 90% of the $10,000 (which would be $9000) to pay off the debts with the very highest interest level.  Weston goes on, however, to say that the person is living high above his/her means (which is simply a way of saying he or she is spending too much money on things that aren't necessary).  Weston suggests the person make a budget that will help to live within means.

The second person puts even Weston over her head by asking such specific questions about retirement.  It is incredibly hard to simply a question like this, but here is my attempt:  the person if financially savvy as it is and wants to know whether AFTER RETIREMENT to take money from one form of retirement savings (a 401k from work) to a traditional IRA and then to a Roth IRA.  (A Roth IRA involves money that you have already paid taxes on and, once put into the special Roth IRA, will receive earnings TAX FREE.)  Or the couple is wondering if they should just continue to contribute the max amount to the 401k through work BEFORE RETIREMENT.  Weston's answer is that because "conversions at retirement are particularly tricky," just stick to saving the max through their 401k at work.  However, she does suggest asking a "tax pro."

The last person is absolutely irate.  They disagree with Weston about a previous column, saying that siblings should be FORCED to take financial advice because of the guilt (and or expenses) involved for other family members.  Weston's answer is hilarious and begins with the following:

Thank you for providing a perfect example of why people find unsolicited advice so annoying.

Her point is, despite sound financial advice, people still have to be able to make their own decisions.

michaelsellars784 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having to summarize an article is the best opportunity to understand the thoughts of the author in this piece. Good writers usually start with "a big idea," and then find ways to explain it.  Writers often explain with examples and comments on those examples. Moreover, some writers will restate the main thought, usually in different words. Look for repetition--of words, of the same idea in different words.

Others summarize articles by looking for the topic sentence in each paragraph. Topic sentences are sometimes the first or second sentence. These announce the topic of discussion in a given paragraph. However, you should also be aware that some writers use the "inductive" arrangement of paragraphing...they will place the topic sentence at the end of the paragraph.

Summarizing is one of the more difficult tasks students face. I suggest you find an article on "how to write summaries" and try this on your own.  You will learn more.

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