Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Will your taxes go up or down under the new tax rules? Also in the news: Freezing your child’s credit, 3 safe, easy ways to gift money for the holidays, and how much you should have saved at every age.

Will Your Taxes Go Up or Down Under the New Tax Rules?
Where do you stand?

Should You Freeze Your Child’s Credit?
Protecting your child’s identity.

3 Safe, Easy Ways to Gift Money This Holiday Season
Easy holiday giving.

How Much Should You Have Saved at Every Age?
How are you doing so far?

How to ‘death clean’ your finances

The phrase “death cleaning” may sound jarring to unaccustomed ears, but the concept makes sense. It’s about getting rid of excess rather than leaving a mess for your heirs to sort out.

“Death cleaning” is the literal translation of the Swedish word dostadning, which means an uncluttering process that begins as people age. It’s popularized in the new book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson.

Magnusson focuses on jettisoning stuff, but most older people’s finances could use a good death cleaning as well. In my latest for the Associated Press, how simplifying and organizing our financial lives can make things easier for us while we’re alive and for our survivors when we’re not.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Learn the truth about overdraft fees and save money. Also in the news: Beware the Dead Cat Bounce (and other stock market jargon), students breathe easy on the tax bill, and what will be more (and less) expensive in 2018.

Learn the Truth About Overdraft Fees — and Save Money
Looking at alternatives.

Beware the Dead Cat Bounce (and Other Stock Market Jargon)
Learning the language of Wall Street.

Students Breathe Easy on Tax Bill but Other Battles Loom
A momentary reprieve.

What will be more (and less) expensive in 2018
Travel prices are going up.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways the tax plan could change homeownership. Also in the news: Bad loans lurking under Christmas wrap, checking your state’s unclaimed property list, and robocalls soar to a new record.

6 Ways the Tax Plan Could Change Homeownership
Important things to know.

Bad Loans Lurk Under ‘Christmas’ Wrap
A payday loan wrapped in a bow.

Hey, Harold, Pick Up Your 300 Bucks
You could have unclaimed property waiting for you.

Phone spam soars to a new record
Fraud calls are at an all-time high.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How that new store card could torpedo your credit score. Also in the news: Insuring expensive gifts, the right mortgage to ask, and how to quickly figure out how much spending money you’ll have for the year.

That New Store Card Could Torpedo Your Credit Score
That immediate discount could cost you in the long run.

Splurged on an Expensive Gift? Don’t Forget to Insure It
Protect your purchase.

13 Mortgage Questions to Ask — and the Answers You Want
Everything you need to know.

How to Quickly Figure Out How Much Spending Money You’ll Have for the Year
Calculating discretionary income.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways the tax plan could change homeownership. Also in the news: What the Fed rate hike means for student loans, what it means for your CDs, and how Donald Trump is shrinking your paycheck.

6 Ways Tax Plan Could Change Homeownership
Analyzing the impact.

Fed Rate Hike: What It Means for Student Loans
Checking your rates.

December 2017 Fed Rate Hike: What It Means for Your CDs
Impacting your savings.

Here’s How Donald Trump Is Shrinking Your Paycheck
Looking at the nuances of the tax plan.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do about the Fed rate hike. Also in the news: How to deal with credit card fraud, driverless cars, and how your credit card debt is costing you nearly $1000 a year.

Fed Rate Hike: Here’s What to Do
Don’t panic.

First Time Dealing With Credit Card Fraud? You Got This
Important steps to take.

Are Fully Self-Driving Cars Just Around the Corner?
Should we fear the driverless car?

Credit card debt is costing you nearly $1,000 per year
Interest piles up.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 steps to tame your debt in an hour or less. Also in the news: 10 housing and mortgage trends to watch for in 2018, how one woman ditched over 50K in debt, and why to be wary of instaloans in stores.

3 Steps to Tame Your Debt in an Hour or Less
Concrete steps.

10 Housing and Mortgage Trends to Watch for in 2018
What to keep an eye on.

How I Ditched Debt: A Wish List Kept Her Going
Read a success story.

Retailers now offers Instaloans to pay for purchasesBuyer beware,

Refusing to pay could hurt you more than them

Oh, the injustice of it all.

Who among us hasn’t felt abused as a consumer? We get billed for stuff we didn’t receive, or that doesn’t work, or that didn’t live up to its hype. Companies charge us unexpected fees and insist the costs were revealed in the fine print. Health insurers take customer disservice to a whole new, awful level, inexplicably refusing to pay for services they promised to cover and deluging us with impossible-to-decrypt paperwork.

It’s understandable if you feel that enough is enough. But taking a righteous stand against paying an unfair bill can boomerang on you — hard.

In my latest for the Associated Press, situations where you might be tempted to refuse to pay, and what you might want to consider doing instead.