The 3 biggest money decisions you’ll ever make

Some factors that influence your financial success are beyond your control. Older people tend to be richer than younger people. White U.S. households, on average, have many times the wealth of black or Hispanic households. Those born into the top or bottom of the economic strata typically stay there.

But the decisions you make about three key areas in your life can have an outsize impact on whether you’re able to build financial stability.

In my latest for the Associated Press, the three biggest money decisions you’ll ever make.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How seniors can save money with discounts. Also in the news: Home equity borrowing and taxes, smart ways to save on car expenses, and the 3 times you shouldn’t ask for a raise. How Seniors Can Save Money With Discounts Every penny counts. Is Interest on Home Equity Borrowing Tax-Deductible Understanding the […]

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Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 ways to invest in real estate. Also in the news: What makes small-cap stocks mighty (and risky), why auto insurance could be limited in self-driving cars, and how to negotiate a cheaper cellphone contract. 5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate It doesn’t have to be exhausting. What Makes Small-Cap Stocks […]

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Q&A: Watch out for shady companies promising to help you repay student loans

Dear Liz: I’m 32 and have a little over $100,000 in student debt from undergraduate and graduate school. I’m trying to get my professional life on track, and I can’t figure out how to pay the loans off. Everything I see online seems shady. What are the questions I need to be asking myself? What […]

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Q&A: Avoid running out of money before you run out of breath

Dear Liz: I have two questions regarding the required minimum distributions from retirement accounts at 70½ years old. If I started taking 15% per year at 68, would I still be required to follow the IRS tables and take 27.4% at 70½? Also, can I take the required minimum distributions and roll them into a […]

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Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do when your credit card issuer blindsides you. Also in the news: Watching for snags with free money offers, rock-solid tips for buying a diamond online, and how to make a grab for $150,000 in college scholarships. What to Do When Your Credit Card Issuer Blindsides You Expect the unexpected. […]

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Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 things your credit reports won’t reveal. Also in the news: More credit card issuers are letting you pay off debt for free, everything you need to know about mortgage loan modifications, and how to stay debt-free during back-to-school shopping. 5 Things Your Credit Reports Won’t Reveal What’s missing from your credit […]

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Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The average American saves less than 5%. Also in the news: Strategies for lowering your closing costs, how to make money with YouTube, and should credit card perks coax you to go steady with a bank? Average American Saves Less Than 5% See how you stack up. Strategies for Lowering Your Closing […]

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Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to tackle credit card debt when you’re young and overspent. Also in the news: How to make it work when sharing expenses with roommates, how to honeymoon in style instead of debt, and how to pick a good kids’ savings account. Young and Overspent? How to Tackle Credit Card Debt Sharing […]

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How to stop being the family ATM

If you want someone to stop asking you for money, the worst thing you can do is say no and then give in after persistent pleading. Such “intermittent reinforcement” — granting a reward after an unpredictable number of requests — makes it more likely the person will ask for another handout than if you just […]

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