Friday’s need-to-know money news

22856641_SAToday’s top story: How to tackle your holiday debt. Also in the news: Saving time on your FAFSA, how to deal with debt before retirement, and the best financial tips that can fit on an index card.

Pay Off Your Holiday Bills in This Order
Tackling your holiday debt.

5 Hacks to Save Time on Your 2016 FAFSA
File as soon as possible.

5 Ways to Deal With Debt Before Retirement
Preparing for life on a fixed income.

Can The Best Financial Tips Fit On An Index Card?
4 x 6 inches of guidance.

12 Predictions For How Tech Will Change Your Financial Life In 2016
A glimpse into the future.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

321562-data-breachesToday’s top story: The excuses that are keeping you from being debt-free. Also in the news: A major data breach at Time-Warner Cable, smart ways to spend your tax refund, and why most Americans couldn’t handle a surprise $500 bill.

5 Excuses Keeping You From Being Debt-Free
No more excuses.

If you’re a Time-Warner Cable customer, you should change your passwords immediately
The first big data breach of 2016.

9 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
Some are unexpected.

Most Americans can’t handle a $500 surprise bill
Living on the financial edge.

My new job–and a book giveaway!

41ZGOGACDyL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_I’m delighted to announce that I’ve accepted a job with Nerdwallet, the personal finance site, and to celebrate this leap I’m giving away a copy of Tess Vigeland’s wonderful memoir “Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B.”

To enter to win, please leave a comment here on my blog (not my Facebook page).

You can add a comment below. Make sure to include your email address, which won’t show up with your comment, but I’ll be able to see it.

All comments are moderated. So it may take a little while for your comment to show up. But rest assured, it will.

The winners will be chosen at random Friday night. Over the weekend, please check your email (including your spam filter). If I don’t hear from a winner by noon Pacific time on Monday, his or her prize will be forfeited and I’ll pick another winner.

Also, check back here often for other giveaways.

The deadline to enter is midnight Pacific time on Friday. So–comment away!

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

refinancingToday’s top story: What the recent Fed rate hike means for your adjustable-rate mortgage. Also in the news: One state moves to forgive student loans, how to write ironclad financial resolutions, and how to supercharge your retirement savings.

Is It Time to Refinance Your Adjustable-Rate Mortgage?
What the recent Fed increase means for your rate.

If you live in this state, you could have your student loans forgiven
Are you one of the lucky ones?

Your Guide to Writing Ironclad Financial New Year’s Resolutions
Small steps to big goals.

How to supercharge your retirement savings
Learning from the experts.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Scoring a lower credit card interest rate. Also in the news: the one resolution to improve your finances, creating your own financial plan, and why you need a budget, even if you’re broke.

How to Score a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate
Time to negotiate.

The 1 New Year’s Resolution To Improve Your Finances 4 Ways
Getting the most from your resolution.

How to create your own financial plan in 18 easy steps
Emphasis on easy.

Why You Need a Budget, Even If You’re Broke
Controlling your spending even when you don’t have a lot of cash.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

uk-budget-greenest-government_233Today’s top story: How to simplify your finances in 2016. Also in the news: The questions credit carholders should be asking, what homeowners can expect in 2016, and how long different items stay on your credit report.

Four Ways To Simplify Your Finances In 2016
Making your financial life a little easier.

5 Questions Every Credit Cardholder Should Ask Once a Year
No better time to ask than the present.

9 things homeowners can expect in 2016
From higher home values to lower gas bills.

How Long Different Items Stay on Your Credit Report
How long under that late payment drops off?

How to deal with aging parents and money
Starting the conversation.

Q&A: Best savings vehicle for a baby

Dear Liz: I recently gave birth to a little boy. I am wondering about the best savings vehicle that would offer flexibility for when family gives him money. I don’t want to tie it up in a 529 college savings plan in case he doesn’t want to go to college or has other needs.

Answer: If you want your child to have a reasonable shot at a middle-class lifestyle in the future, some kind of post-secondary education will be necessary. It may not be a four-year degree; it could be a one- or two-year training program, and a 529 college savings plan can help pay for that. Money contributed to a 529 plan grows tax-deferred and can be used tax-free at nearly all colleges, universities and community colleges as well as many career and technical schools.

You will remain in control of the account and can withdraw money for other purposes if necessary, although you would owe income taxes and a 10% federal penalty on any gains.

If you really can’t accept any limitations on how the money is used, then you can open a brokerage account in your own name and invest the money there. Putting the money in his name could hurt his chances for financial aid if he does decide to go to college.

Q&A: Authorized credit card users

Dear Liz: I have read that only the primary cardholder is responsible for the balance on a credit card, not the authorized user (such as a spouse). When that primary cardholder dies, there is no obligation for an authorized user to pay off the balance. Is this accurate? What would prevent someone whose primary cardholder is near death from racking up purchases and then, after the primary cardholder dies, refusing to pay it?

Answer: In a community property state such as California, spouses typically are both responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. In all states, the deceased spouse’s estate would have to pay all creditors before any leftover money was doled out to survivors. So a spouse who went on such a spending binge wouldn’t come out ahead, unless the primary cardholder was broke and left no estate.

Other authorized users might have no such restraints, however. Anyone who thinks an authorized user might pull such a stunt would be smart to take that person off the card before it becomes an issue.

Your post-holiday financial recovery plan

best-credit-cards-for-holiday-shopping-2013Holiday overindulgence can lead to throbbing heads, expanded waistlines — and piles of credit card bills. In my latest for MoneyWatch, some suggestions for getting back on track if you overdid it on the holiday spending.

In my latest for Time, a look at what Baby Boomers should do with their finances as they approach 70.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Last-minute tax moves to make on December 31st. Also in the news: How to tell if your financial advisor is giving you good advice, why you should consider freezing your credit reports, and the top 6 financial resolutions for the new year.

4 Last-Minute Tax Moves You Can Make on Dec. 31
Tick tock!

How To Tell If You’re Receiving Good Advice From Your Advisor
Making sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Why you should consider freezing your credit reports
Preventing identity theft.

Top 6 financial New Year’s resolutions and how to fulfill them
Making resolutions that last.