Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The student loan tip that saves you money year after year. Also in the news: Overlooked small business tax deductions, when you need a cashier’s check and how to get one, and why Americans are drastically under-saved for retirement.

This Student Loan Tip Saves You Money Year After Year
It’s all about auto-pay.

5 Overlooked Small-Business Tax Deductions for 2017
Don’t forget these deductions.

Cashier’s Check: When You Need One and How to Get It
Another form of payment.

It’s worse than you thought: Americans are drastically under-saved for retirement
Are you one of them?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What retirement savers need to know about Trump’s action on the advisor rule. Also in the news: Using your emergency fund to pay off debt, breaking up with your bank, and what to do if the IRS breaks the rules.

What Trump’s Action on Advisor Rule Means for Retirement Savers
The fiduciary rule is now in question.

Emergency Funds: Should You Use Yours to Pay Down Debt?
Making a tough decision.

Sean Talks Money: Don’t Cling to a Bank You Don’t Love
Breaking up with your bank.

Know your rights if the IRS breaks the rules
Taxpayers have rights, too.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Student-LoansToday’s top story: What to buy for every month of the year. Also in the news: Why you should think twice before borrowing for your kid’s college, why you need to stop hoarding your credit card rewards, and why banks are starting to look more like cafes.

What to Buy Every Month of the Year in 2017
Shopping smart.

Think Twice Before Borrowing for Your Kid’s College
You could spend decades paying it back.

Credit Card Rewards Are for Spending, Not Hoarding
Use ’em before you lose ’em.

Decaf with your deposit, ma’am? Reinventing the bank branch
Get a latte with your loan.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

hidden-fees1Today’s top story: Credit card late fees are expected to rise in 2017. Also in the news: 10 New Year’s resolutions for your wallet, will Millennials be ready for retirement, and 3 signs you should switch banks.

Look for Credit Card Late Fees to Rise in 2017
More incentive to pay on time.

Sean Talks Money: 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Wallet
Starting the news year off on the right foot.

Only 30 Years to Go. Will Millennials Be Ready for Retirement?
The clock is ticking.

3 Signs You Should Switch Banks in 2017
Knowing when it’s time to switch.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

2Today’s top story: 4 steps to managing your parents’ bank accounts. Also in the news: How banks boost overdrafts by counting big debits first, how to determine whether to pay down debt or save for retirement, and mistakes to avoid when choosing a financial advisor.

4 Steps to Managing Your Parents’ Bank Accounts
Taking the reins.

Many Banks Boost Overdrafts by Counting Big Debits First, Report Says
Putting transcations in a certain order can guarantee overdraft fees.

This Calculator Will Tell You Whether to Pay Down Debt or Save for Retirement
Which should you choose?

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Picking a Financial Advisor
Selecting the right one for your needs.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

shutterstock_102945899Today’s top story: With a new Education Secretary on the horizon, the outlook for student loan debt relief is unclear. Also in the news: The 5 best ways to invest $10,000, where people are banking off the grid, and 5 apps to make donating easier on this Giving Tuesday.

Outlook for Student Loan Debt Relief Unclear With Education Secretary Pick
What student loan holders need to know about Betsy DeVos.

The 5 Best Ways to Invest $10,000
What to do with your windfall.

Here’s Where People Are Off the Banking Grid
In 2015, 7% of American households were unbanked.

These 5 apps will make donating easy this Giving Tuesday
Help is just an app away.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: How to choose the right amount for your FSA in 2017. Also in the news: The best and worst airports for holiday travel, the pros and cons of free money from a bank, and how long it will take to retire based on your spending.

How to Choose the Right Amount for Your FSA in 2017
Finding the amount that’s right for you.

Best and Worst Airports for Holiday Travel 2016
Preparing for holiday travel madness.

Should you turn down free money from a bank?
Considering the variables.

This Grid Shows You How Long It Will Take to Retire, Based on Your Spending
How many years left to go?

Q&A: Friend erroneously declared deceased

Dear Liz: I have an elderly friend who was recently erroneously declared deceased by the Social Security Administration. She received no notice of this declaration and her first awareness that something might be wrong was when her personal checks and automatic payments to utilities and others began to bounce. When she called her bank, she was informed that all of her accounts had been frozen by the Social Security Administration.

My friend is now faced with multiple returned check charges, threatening phone calls and cut-off services. Efforts to straighten things out with Social Security and her bank have been only moderately successful so far. Although they will probably clear things up eventually, this will take time and quite a bit of legwork on her part.

Under what authority does Social Security freeze someone’s assets? And is this common? Aren’t they required to at least notify someone of impending action? After all, when any one of us does in fact die, we still have financial obligations and such actions can only create headaches for survivors.

Answer: The Social Security Administration doesn’t freeze bank accounts, but it does erroneously declare people dead a few thousand times every year. Financial institutions check Social Security’s death notices and may freeze or close accounts as a result. It can take weeks or months to clear up the confusion.

People in this situation should visit their local Social Security office and bring some identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to establish that they are, in fact, alive. Social Security will issue a letter called an “Erroneous Death Case — Third Party Contact” notice that can be shown to financial institutions, doctors and others who may have been misinformed of their deaths. Your friend should not only ask that services be restored but that bounced-check fees and other costs be waived. There’s no guarantee that they will be, but she should ask.

Your friend also might consider whether it’s time to ask for help in managing her finances. It sounds from your description as if she didn’t notice the problem for quite some time. Utilities don’t shut off service at the first missed payment. Threatening phone calls — presumably from collection agencies — typically don’t start until accounts are months overdue. She should consider adding a trusted person to her checking account or at least sharing online credentials so that another set of eyes is monitoring what’s going on with her money.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

money-under-mattress-istock-630x434Today’s top story: The high cost of being unbanked. Also in the news: What you need to ask when choosing a mortgage broker, how getting a car loan can affect your credit, and how your Facebook account can ruin your finances.

The Cost of Being Unbanked: Hundreds of Dollars a Year, Always One Step Behind
No more stuffing your money under your mattress.

4 Must-Ask Questions When Choosing a Mortgage Broker
Getting the important answers.

How Getting a Car Loan Can Affect Your Credit
For good or for bad.

How your Facebook account can slowly destroy your finances
The modern day Keeping Up with the Joneses.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

22856641_SAToday’s top story: Finding your college savings “magic number.” Also in the news: What to do when your bank isn’t measuring up, what to buy (and skip) over Labor Day weekend, and how teachers are bringing financial literacy into classrooms.

Finding Your ‘Magic Number’ for College Savings
Coming up with a reasonable estimate.

Bank Not Measuring Up? How to Tell and What to Do
You don’t have to stick with a bad bank.

What to Buy (and Skip) Over Labor Day Weekend
Navigating the sales.

How Teachers Are Bringing Financial Literacy Lessons to the Classroom
Getting kids excited about saving.