Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why traditional credit scores still matter. Also in the news: Staying ahead of travel scams, banks still playing with financial fire, and the benefits to maxing out your retirement contributions early in the year.

Newfangled Data Aside, Credit Scores Still Matter
Those 3 numbers still reign supreme.

Stay a Step Ahead of Travel Scams
Traveling safely.

After ’08 Meltdown, Banks Still Play With Financial Fire
And we’re the ones who get burned.

Should You Max Out Your Retirement Contributions Early in the Year?
A new study shows interesting results.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Bartenders spill secrets for keeping your tab in check. Also in the news: How a remodeling project changes your property tax bill, tips for back-to-school shopping, and how to use your bank’s automatic transfer tools to make budgeting easy.

Bartenders Spill Secrets for Keeping Your Tab in Check
Avoiding a financial hangover.

How a Remodeling Project Changes Your Property Tax Bill
That new bathroom just increased your home’s value.

Cross Items Off Your Back-to-School List With These Tips
Almost time to go back to school.

How to Use Your Bank’s Automatic Transfer Tools to Make Budgeting Easy
Automating your banking can make saving money easier.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 reasons to lease – not buy – your electric car. Also in the news: CD early withdrawal penalties can cost you, how to read between the lines of Airbnb listings, and nearly 100,000 members of Generation Z already own a home.

5 Reasons to Lease — Not Buy — Your Electric Car
Keeping up with the evolution.

CD Early Withdrawal Penalties Can Cost You
How to avoid getting hurt.

How to Read Between the Lines of Airbnb Listings
Spotting the red flags.

Nearly 100,000 members of Generation Z own a home (they’re 23 and younger)
Their average mortgage balance is $140,000.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Selling stocks in a panic could jack up your tax bill. Also in the news: This 5-minute task can protect your banking rep, how to get started with frequent flyer programs, and how your Amazon Echo could be making you spend more money.

Selling Stocks in a Panic Could Jack Up Your Tax Bill
Don’t act impulsively.

This 5-Minute Task Can Protect Your Banking Rep
Using a ChexSystem freeze.

How to Get Started With Frequent Flyer Programs
Start putting all those miles to work.

Your Amazon Echo could be making you spend more money
In addition to laughing at random times.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 good ways to put your tax refund to work. Also in the news: 4 wats to speed up your tax refund, how 3 students got an education on the cheap, and Amazon may be getting into the banking business.

4 Good Ways to Put Your Tax Refund to Work
Use your refund to ease financial stress.

4 Ways to Speed Up Your Tax Refund
Skip the mailbox.

How 3 Students Got an Education on the Cheap
Avoiding years of debt.

Amazon’s next product may be a checking account
The online giant is eyeing banking.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to throw a blockbuster Oscar bash on an indie budget. Also in the news: Checking out your hotel room for safety, the stock market is back on the roller coaster, and why paper bank statements aren’t done just yet.

Throw a Blockbuster Oscars Bash on an Indie Budget
The award for Best Party could be yours.

Check In to Your Hotel Room, Then Check It Out for Safety
Making sure you stay safe on the road.

Stock Market Outlook: Back to a More Volatile Normal?
The roller coaster returns.

Don’t write off paper bank statements just yet
Going paperless isn’t for everyone.

You’re married, but your assets don’t have to be

People who aren’t rich or famous typically don’t have prenuptial agreements, which are legal documents detailing who gets what in a divorce. Even ordinary folks without prenups, though, should think about how to protect their money if something goes wrong.

Planning for divorce may be cynical, but it’s also smart, San Diego certified financial planner Ginita Wall says.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to protect your assets in case the unthinkable happens.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do if the new tax law changes your paycheck. Also in the news: The smartest way to use gift cards, giving up your brick-and-mortar bank, and smart money moves for Black Americans in financial distress.

What to Do If the New Tax Law Changes Your Paycheck
What to look out for.

The Smartest Way to Use Gift Cards
How to get the most value.

Can You Afford to Give Up Your Brick-and-Mortar Bank?
Making the switch to mobile banking.

Smart Money Moves for Black Americans in Financial Distress
Fighting against income disparity.

Should we pay people to save?

Long ago, people were rewarded for saving. Banks contributed something known as “interest” to the amounts deposited in savings accounts.

OK, technically they still do, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing the tiny amounts added in a low-rate environment. The current average interest rate on savings accounts is 0.06 percent.

Anemic rates may not be a major reason why Americans don’t save enough, but there’s some evidence that better rewards could induce more people to save. Two approaches that seem to work: matching funds and prize-linked accounts.

In my latest for the Associated Press, could rewarding people for saving get them to save more?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Cryptocurrency for beginners. Also in the news: How credit card rewards made a couple’s dreams come true, when to tell your partner that you’re in serious debt, and why you should get a new bank if you’re paying fees.

Cryptocurrency for Beginners: 7 Questions to Ask
Understanding the hottest money trend.

How Credit Card Rewards Made Their Dreams Come True
Building rewards with an ultimate goal in mind.

Ask Brianna: Should I Tell My Partner I’m in Serious Debt?
When it’s time to confess.

If You’re Paying Fees of Any Kind, Get a New Bank
Don’t pay for your banking.