Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t skip life insurance because of cost when having a baby. Also in the news: Wells Fargo could owe you money, crooks are targeting ATMs, and what you need to know about special needs financial planning.

Having a Baby? Don’t Skip Life Insurance Because of Cost
The sooner the better.

$110 Million Wells Fargo Payout Could Put Money in Your Pocket
If you got caught up in the fake fees scam, it’s time to get your money back.

Better Check Your Balance: Crooks Targeting ATMs
The return of the skimmers.

What to Know About Special Needs Financial Planning
Preparing for the unknown.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 ways to manage the cost of raising a baby. Also in the news: How to take advantageof post-purchase price drops, SelfScore launches rewards card for international students in the United States, and why bank tellers won’t become extinct any time soon.

4 Ways to Manage the Cost of Raising a Baby
They’re cute, but costly.

How to Take Advantage of Post-Purchase Price Drops
Getting back the difference.

SelfScore Launches Rewards Card for International Students in US
New rewards.

Why bank tellers won’t become extinct any time soon
Keeping it old school.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Student-LoansToday’s top story: A 3-step plan for new grads with student debt. Also in the news: Answers to money questions from college students, student loan mythbusting, and how to cut the costs of raising a baby.

A 3-Step Plan for New Grads With Student Debt
Congratulations! Now, pay up.

Money Talk: How to Go From ? to ?
Answers to money questions from college students.

4 Student Loan Myths You Might Believe
Mythbusting.

Old school vs. new school: How to cut the costs of raising a baby
Keeping costs down.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

1403399192000-retire-workToday’s top story: One third of Americans have nothing saved for their retirement. Also in the news: How to pick the right bank, preparing financially for having kids, and how to get the best money market rates.

A third of people have nothing saved for retirement
You really shouldn’t be one of them.

How to pick a bank, in 7 steps
One of your most important relationships.

Babies Are Expensive: How to Prepare for Having a Kid
Adorable, but expensive.

How to Find the Best Money Market Rates
Getting the most for your savings.

3 Financial Firsts All Parents Should Prepare Their Children For
The sooner, the better.

Baby coming? What to consider before you quit

Dear Liz: My husband and I have decided that next year we want to have a baby. So we have at minimum a year and nine months to make sure we’re financially prepared. I did some cursory Googling and I’m already a bit overwhelmed. I’m not sure where to start.

I know I should figure out how much the medical costs will be, but how do I figure out how much everything else costs? Do you have a checklist of things we should be aware of and consider? One thing I could use some guidance on is whether I should stay home or put our baby in daycare so I don’t miss out on work benefits like healthcare and 401(k) matching. I like my job and bosses, and if I leave I will have to find a new job that may not be as good when I decide to reenter the workforce. But if we decide to have a second child, I’m worried that childcare costs will be too much for two young children. Know of any good books on this subject?

Answer: By leaving work you wouldn’t be missing out only on benefits. Research by economist Stephen J. Rose and Heidi I. Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, found that women’s average annual earnings decline 20% if they stay out of the workforce for one year and 30% if the absence stretches to two or three years. Many find it tough to rejoin the workforce after extended absences.

Quitting work is the right choice for some parents, but you shouldn’t do so simply because you fear childcare costs. For a few years, those costs might eat up most or all of your paycheck, but such expenses decline over time. If you continue to work, your earning power and retirement contributions will continue to grow.

Meanwhile, some parents find they can reduce childcare costs by staggering their work schedules, tapping family members or sharing a nanny. Research the childcare options in your area so you have an idea of what’s available and the costs.

You can continue your research into budgeting for a child with the excellent, constantly updated book “Baby Bargains” by Denise and Alan Fields. This field guide offers product reviews and realistic assessments of what you actually need to buy for your child and what you don’t.

Another good resource is financial writer Kimberly Palmer’s “Baby Planner,” available on Etsy.

With all your planning, keep in mind that parenting always presents surprises. You may decide to stop after one child or keep going until you have a houseful. The important thing is to remain flexible and don’t assume you know how your future self will choose to live.

One of the best pieces of advice in Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book, “Lean In,” is that women not cut themselves off from career opportunities because of how hard they think combining work and child-rearing will be. “What I am arguing is that the time to scale back is when a break is needed or when a child arrives — not before, and certainly not years in advance,” she writes.