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Friday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 20, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Credit dangers faced by single parents. Also in the news: Financial advice on repeat, how saving for retirement is like sports, and the worst financial lessons kids learn from television.

The Credit Dangers That Single Parents Face
Building credit can be difficult.

Why You Need to Hear the Same Financial Advice Over and Over
Hit the repeat button.

The Offense and Defense of Retirement Savings
It takes a team effort.

4 of the Worst Financial Lessons on Kids TV Shows
Too many money trees.

6 Ways to Save on Glasses or Contacts
Save money and get a clearer view of the world.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Thursday’s need to know money news

Jun 19, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How paying off your student loans could actually lower your credit score. Also in the news: What to expect from the Social Security Administration’s new strategy, how you could benefit from a financial pro, and why millennials still aren’t saving enough money.

I Paid Off My Student Loans & My Credit Score Dropped?!
Yes, you read that correctly.

Here’s what the Social Security Administration’s new service strategy means for you
Prepare for long wait times

Top 8 Reasons You Need A Financial Pro
It’s good to have a sounding board.

Why Millennials Still Don’t Save Enough
It’s not too late.

Facing Alzheimer’s? Prepare for the financial punch now
Making the difficult decisions.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 18, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

imagesToday’s top story: Ten YouTube channels that can help you make and save money. Also in the news: How your 401(k) plan can help you decide when to take social security, how the seven deadly sins can hurt you financially, and what to do when you’re too rich for financial aid but too poor to afford college.

10 Must-Watch YouTube Channels for Making and Saving Money
Things to watch in between cat videos.

When to take Social Security? Your 401(k) plan may know best
Help from an unlikely source.

How the 7 Deadly Sins Can Send Your Finances ‘South’
Envy especially.

Restaurant Apps That Will Save You Money
Just in time for summer dining.

Too Poor For College, Too Rich For Financial Aid
What to do when you’re stuck in limbo.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 17, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

money-vacation-saveToday’s top story: Common credit mistakes that could ruin your mortgage. Also in the news: Starbucks will pay college tuition for all of its employees, a young person’s guide to getting rich, and what not to do with your credit cards during your summer vacation.

5 Credit Moves That Could Wreck Your Mortgage
Common mistakes to avoid during the mortgage process.

Starbucks clears college degree path for employees
All employees will receive free tuition to an online University.

A Young Person’s Guide To Getting Rich Slowly
Saving immediately for retirement is key.

5 Summertime Credit Card Blunders and How to Avoid Them
You’ll have to pay for all that summer fun eventually.

Moving Just to Avoid Taking 401(k) Tax Hit
Just a bit extreme.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Monday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 16, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

debt collectorsToday’s top story: How to prove that a debt isn’t actually yours. Also in the news: How your credit score impacts your mortgage rate, the laws debt collectors must adhere to, and how to protect your identity during World Cup madness.

How Can You Prove a Debt Isn’t Yours?
How to determine if a debt is actually yours.

How credit scores impact your mortgage rate
The lower the score, the higher the interest rate.

Know the law when dealing with debt collectors
Don’t let yourself become intimidated.

5 Ways Hackers Could Target You During the World Cup
Stick to well-known sites and be careful with apps.

7 Ways to Help Get Your Child Out of Debt
How to help without burdening yourself.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Q&A: Closing credit cards with annual fees

Jun 15, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Dear Liz: When I opened my airline-branded credit card almost 10 years ago, it was well worth the $50 annual fee. I was able to book many flights for free because of the miles I earned and the airline’s generous rewards program. However, I moved a few years ago to a location that is not serviced by the airline. Now the airline’s reward card is my “last ditch emergency” card since I have two other cash-back rewards cards that offer a better return (I pay all my cards in full every month).

I know that annual fees on credit cards are not good, but I’m struggling with the decision on whether to keep it or not. It is the second-oldest credit account I have and about a third of the amount of credit I can use, and I am concerned about my credit score dropping if I close it. My credit score is excellent, but I am concerned about how much of a drop in my score this would cause. I did try to “convert it” to a cash-back credit card with no annual fee, but the bank wouldn’t do it. So now I’m stuck on what to do. Should I continue to pay the $50 annual fee to keep my credit score intact, or should I close it and see if I can increase my credit on my other cards?

Answer: Most good travel rewards cards these days charge annual fees, and those fees aren’t a big deal if you’re getting airline tickets or lodging that more than offset the cost. Your card may pay for itself with a single trip if it waives baggage check fees (as many airline-branded cards do).

If you can’t even wring that much value from the card, consider closing it. Given how much of your available credit the card represents, though, you might want to open another card first. Available credit matters far more to your credit scores than the age of your accounts. And even if you close this account, your history with it will continue to be reported for many years, so you shouldn’t hold off just because it’s your second-oldest card.

Categories : Credit Cards, Q&A
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Dear Liz: Most of the questions you answer about Social Security come from people who don’t have a lot of money saved. I agree with your advice that those people should delay starting benefits. That way their Social Security checks, which will be the bulk of their income in retirement, will be as large as possible. But what about those of us who won’t need the money? I will receive a good pension and thanks to real estate investments, my retirement income will exceed my current income should I retire at age 62. That means I will never have to touch my capital. I do not have any other debt and am fully insured.

My initial thought is that I should take Social Security as soon as I’m eligible and use it while I’m in good health for travel and other activities. A friend who is in a similar situation says to wait and enjoy the emotional safety that if the need arises, I can turn on the Social Security tap later and let some more money flow. If you don’t need the money now or later, but could have more fun earlier, should you take Social Security sooner?

Answer: The less you’ll need Social Security, the less it matters when you start it.

Starting benefits early locks you into lower payments for life and will result in significantly smaller lifetime benefits for most people. That’s in part because Social Security hasn’t adjusted its payment formulas even as life expectancies have expanded, so most people will live beyond the “break-even” point where delayed benefits exceed the amounts they could have received had they started earlier. Delaying benefits is particularly important for married people, since one partner is likely to outlive the other and will have to get by on a single check. Making sure that check is as large as possible will help make the surviving spouse’s final years more comfortable.

But all that assumes that you, like most people, would receive half or more of your retirement income from Social Security. If your Social Security is truly icing on the cake — you don’t need the money now, you (and your spouse) are unlikely to need it in the future, and you don’t care about maximizing your lifetime benefits — then start it whenever you want.

Categories : Estate planning, Q&A
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Friday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 13, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Some surprising ways that identity theft can hurt you. Also in the news: How your credit card rewards can help pay for your vacation, ways to earn extra money at home, and the complicated tax rules of alimony.

9 Surprising Ways Identity Theft Can Hurt You
Job hunting just got more complicated.

Take a Vacation on Your Credit Card Rewards
Letting your points help you pack.

6 Ways to Earn Money Without Leaving the House
Earn money and help the environment at the same time.

The Tax Rules of Alimony
When “happily ever after” isn’t.

P.F. Chang’s Confirms Some Customer Credit Card Info Was Compromised In A Security Breach
The latest high profile customer data breach.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 12, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

credit-score-repair1Today’s top story: Meet the credit score you didn’t know you had. Also in the news: What to do when you’re debt free, how to break out of a financial slump, and what single people need to do to protect their money.

You Have a “Secret” Credit Score That Could Be Working Against You
That late payment on your rent ten years ago could come back to haunt you.

Life After Debt: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Healthy Finances
Debt free. Now what?

4 Ways to Overcome Financial Inertia
Stop treading water.

3 Things That Make Single People Financially Vulnerable — And How To Beat Them
Because being single wasn’t depressing enough.

Is Your Credit Card Debt Average? And What’s Average?
One of the few times when being below average is a good thing.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Jun 11, 2014 | | Comments Comments Off

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How often should you check your credit report? Also in the news: How not to get duped on your summer vacation, some of the worst ways to handle your debt, and how to construct a realistic debt reduction plan.

How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?
Don’t go overboard.

Summer Vacationers, Beware: 5 Travel Scams That Won’t Die
From souvenirs to scenic tours.

4 of the Most Foolish Ways to Handle Debt
Never pay just the minimum.

A realistic debt-reduction plan for retirement
Mind over money.

Categories : Liz's Blog
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