Wednesday’s need to know money news

Today’s top story: How insurers are mobilizing to help Hurricane Harvey victims. Also in the news: How to get relief from college costs after Hurricane Harvey, how small businesses can cope post-Harvey, and how to get a tax break for going back to school.

How Insurers Are Mobilizing to Help Harvey Victims
Covered losses are expected to be more than $1 billion dollars.

How to Get Relief From College Costs After Hurricane Harvey
What current students and student loan holders can do.

Your Small Business’s Post-Harvey Return Starts Now
Steps you can take to start the recovery process.

How to get a tax break for going back to school
Save on taxes while getting an education.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to lower your monthly mortgage payment. Also in the news: 5 things to do before changing careers, a Labor Day look at America’s workforce, and 3 myths that could tank your credit score.

How to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment
Taking the first steps.

Want to Change Careers? Do These 5 Things First
Preparing for change.

Hard at Work: A Labor Day Look at America’s Workforce
Where we’ve been and where we’re going.

3 myths that could tank your credit score
Don’t believe the hype.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Millennial enthusiasm for stocks is at a record high. Also in the news: How to choose a financial advisor, why flood insurance comes with a waiting period, and how to survive college without surprise debt.

Millennial Enthusiasm for Stocks at Record High, Index Shows
Millennials play the market.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor
Making the wise choice.

Flood Insurance Comes With a Waiting Period
Don’t wait until the last minute.

How to graduate college without surprise debt
A most unpleasant surprise.

Debt settlement a bad alternative to bankruptcy

Debt settlement isn’t the Wild West industry it was a decade ago, when people routinely paid hefty upfront fees to companies that failed to deliver any relief.

Thanks to increased regulation and enforcement, the much smaller number of settlement companies that remain often do what they promise: persuade at least some of a borrower’s creditors to forgive part of the debt, typically in exchange for a lump sum payment.

Several people I’ve interviewed lately reported positive experiences with debt settlement, so I decided to take another look at the industry. It turns out that hiring a negotiator could be a reasonable alternative to bankruptcy for some. But debt settlement is not as consumer-friendly as the industry presents it, and some of the people who praised the companies didn’t fully understand their alternatives or the longer-term consequences of settling debt.

In my latest for the Associated Press, a look at the biggest problems with debt settlement.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to buy (and skip) in September. Also in the news: How to choose an airline credit card, how to help parents pay off college debt, and why the average American saves less than 5%.

What to Buy (and Skip) in September
Need a new mattress?

How to Choose an Airline Credit Card
Maximizing your miles.

Ask Brianna: How Do I Help My Parents Pay Off College Debt?
Contributing to the costs.

Average American saves less than 5%. How do you stack up?
How much do you save?

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 back-to-college lessons on building credit. Also in the news: Focus on just one thing in order to retire early, 4 salary negotiation tactics that actually work, and what you need to know before switching to a cheaper phone plan.

5 Back-to-College Lessons on Building Credit
Preparing for a solid future.

To Retire Early, Focus on Just One Thing
Save like mad.

4 Salary Negotiation Tactics That Really Worked
How to get what you’re worth.

What You Need to Know Before Switching to a Cheaper Phone Plan
There will be changes.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Costly subprime credit cards offer little help. Also in the news: Take charge of your credit score with your credit report, why you should consider a mortgage recast, and four ways to manage your credit card debt.

Costly Subprime Credit Cards Offer Little Help, NerdWallet Study Finds
Just digging a deeper hole.

If You Want a Good Credit Score, Read Your Credit Reports
Studying up.

Why You Should Consider a Mortgage Recast
Save on your monthly payment.

4 ways to manage your credit card debt
Getting it under control.

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 rules.

Smart Ways to Save on Car Expenses
Tips to find savings.

3 times you shouldn’t ask for a raise
When the timing is right.

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 Mighty (and Risky)
How to get started.

With Self-Driving Cars, Auto Insurance’s Time Is Limited
Being a backseat driver in your own car.

How to Negotiate a Cheaper Cell Phone Plan
Don’t pay for what you don’t use.