Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 proven ways to increase your home’s value. Also in the news: Paying off debt while saving for retirement, fresh ways to save some green at the farmer’s market, and how some employers are helping to pay student loans in order to attract workers.

5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value
Enhancing your curb appeal and interior.

Q: Pay Off Debt or Save for Retirement? A: Both
You don’t have to choose.

Fresh Ways to Save Some Green at the Farmers Market
Avoiding high prices at the supermarket.

Employers Help Pay Student Loans to Attract Workers
Now that’s a perk.

Why your teen should work this summer

Summer jobs for teens are an endangered species worth saving.

These seasonal jobs offer more than a paycheck. Summer employment can:

• Improve academic performance, especially among lower-income teens.

• Teach important employment skills, including teamwork and problem-solving.

• Give teens real-world experience demonstrating a work ethic and satisfying bosses who expect them to earn every dollar.

“We don’t naturally know how to be good employees,” says Kathy Kristof, editor of SideHusl, a review site for part-time employment. “We learn, just like we learn the alphabet, with practice.”

In my latest for the Associated Press, how working this summer can prepare your teen for the job market.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Your store credit card wants to be your everyday card. Also in the news: Weathering life’s storms with an affordable disaster kit, how to wring the most business value from a personal loan, and which industries could feel the bite of a trade war.

Your Store Credit Card Wants to Be Your Everyday Card
Making the rewards more enticing.

Weather Life’s Storms With an Affordable Disaster Kit
Don’t be caught unprepared.

How to Wring the Most Business Value From a Personal Loan
Making a personal loan pay off.

These U.S. industries could feel the bite of a trade war
Is yours one of them?

Q&A: Paying for a younger spouse’s health insurance until Medicare kicks in

Dear Liz: My husband and I have started discussing when he’ll retire. I’d like him to retire somewhere around 65 or 67. He thinks he’ll have to work until at least 70, if not longer, for health insurance coverage for me. (It’s possible that he could do so, since his is an intellectual job where experience is highly valued. Several of his colleagues are in their 70s now, and one retired last year in his 80s.) My husband is 51, and I will be 41 this year.

We’ve used retirement calculators, and even restricting the rate of return to 3% or 4%, we’ll have at least $800,000 in his 401(k) by the time he’s 67. If we use the historical return rate, we get well over $1 million. We then made a rough guess of what minimum distributions would be based on current IRS tables. This number alone will cover 70% or more of our retirement budget.

I think we can do this, even if we have to pay for my health insurance, and even if we have to start withdrawing from the 401(k) at 65. Is this a bad idea? If he gets there and wants to keep working, then no problem, but if he’s fed up at age 64 and 355 days, I want him to feel able to walk away.

Answer: That’s a wonderful goal, but you may be underestimating the cost and difficulty of securing health insurance for your future self.

Currently, people without employer-provided insurance can buy coverage on Affordable Care Act exchanges, but the future of those is in doubt. Congress ended the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires most people to have insurance, so costs are expected to rise sharply next year. If enough healthy people opt out, the exchanges will collapse.

It’s not hard to imagine a future that looks like the past, where people had to keep working at jobs that offered employer coverage until both they and their spouses were old enough for Medicare. Under current rules, that would mean your husband working until he’s 75 and you’re 65.

Your husband might be able to quit a bit earlier thanks to COBRA rules, which allow people to continue employer-provided coverage for 18 months if they can pay the full cost of the premiums, plus a 2% administrative fee. The average annual premium is $6,690 for single coverage and $18,764 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The cost is likely to be substantially more in the future if medical cost inflation isn’t brought under control.

If you really want to give your husband the option to quit at 65, you may need to look into employment for yourself that includes health insurance benefits. Another option is to move abroad to one of the many countries that offer affordable healthcare for expatriate retirees. Sites such as International Living at www.internationalliving.com and Live and Invest Overseas at www.liveandinvestoverseas.com can help you identify potential options. You could plan to return home once you’ve qualified for Medicare.

Q&A: Can a teacher get Social Security spousal benefits?

Dear Liz: I’m 54 and will be eligible for a Social Security retirement benefit in eight years but plan to wait at least until age 67 to claim it. My wife is 60 and is a teacher, so she won’t be eligible for a primary benefit. But what about spousal benefits? Would I qualify for one as my wife’s spouse? Would she qualify for a spousal benefit from me?

Answer: You won’t be able to claim a spousal benefit if your wife hasn’t earned her own Social Security benefit. (Many teaching jobs don’t pay into Social Security but instead have their own pension plans.)

Because you’ve paid into Social Security, your wife may qualify for a spousal benefit based on your earnings record, with two important caveats. The first is that you must be receiving your own Social Security benefit before she can apply for a spousal benefit. The other is that if she receives a teacher’s pension, Social Security’s “government pension offset” rules would reduce any spousal or survival benefit she might receive by two-thirds of the amount of her pension. If two-thirds of her pension is greater than the amount of her Social Security benefit, her benefit would be reduced to zero.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Here’s how Millennials can buy retirement income. Also in the news: How to hack your employee health benefits, simplifying the complex rules for flying with pets, and what President Trump’s banking deregulations mean for you.

Here’s How Millennials Can Buy Retirement Income
Introducing personal pensions.

How to Hack Your Employee Health Benefits
Getting the most from what your company offers.

3 C’s Simplify Complex Rules for Flying With Pets

What Trump’s Banking Deregulations Mean for You
What this means for your wallet.

How to hack your employee health benefits

Employee health benefits can have huge value, but you may not be taking full advantage of yours. In my latest for the Associated Press, three hacks that can help you get more of what your company offers.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to snag credit card rewards flights in peak season. Also in the news: Panic-proofing your portfolio for the next bank crisis, how to land the best airfare, and the pros and cons of a debit rewards card.

How to Snag Credit Card Rewards Flights in Peak Season
Don’t be held back by blackout dates.

Panic-Proof Your Portfolio for the Next Bank Crisis
Protecting your portfolio from the unexpected.

Landing the Best Airfare Is a Matter of Timing
How to beat the clock.

Should You Use a Debit Rewards Card?
The benefits and drawbacks.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why new grads shouldn’t snooze and lose on their employer’s 401(k). Also in the news: Ditching debt by working side gigs, how to decide if that life insurance rider is worth it, and how freelancers can save for retirement beyond an IRA.

New Grads, Don’t Snooze and Lose on Your Employer’s 401(k)
One of the biggest steps you’ll take in your new financial life.

How I Ditched Debt: Paying With Cash, Working Side Gigs
One man’s experience paying down his debt.

How to Decide If That Life Insurance Rider Is Worth It
A look at the extra benefits.

How Freelancers Can Save for Retirement Beyond an IRA
Other options to consider.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save money by thinking like a college student. Also in the news: What an average retirement costs, how soon should you worry about your credit, and how to budget for your kids’ summer vacation.

Save Money by Thinking Like a College Student
You can skip the ramen.

Let’s Get Real: What an Average Retirement Costs
Breaking down the numbers.

Ask Brianna: I’m 18. Should I Worry About My Credit Yet?
It’s never too soon.

How to Budget for Your Kids’ Summer Vacation
Summer can get very pricey.