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.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

155403-425x282-Mortgage-LateToday’s top story: Bouncing back after foreclosure. Also in the news: How to piece together the perfect bank, handling the financial consequences of millennials living at home, and a parents guide to insurance for college students.

How to Bounce Back After Foreclosure
Getting through a trying time.

How to Piece Together the Perfect Bank
Ticking all the boxes.

How to Handle the Financial Consequences of Millennials Living at Home
Don’t sacrifice your retirement.

A parents guide to insurance for college students
Evaluating your insurance needs as your child goes to college.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Snip20160808_4Today’s top story: How not to pick a bank. Also in the news: bank accounts that foster independence for disabled people, how to pick the right college to avoid student debt, and newly updated government rules to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

How Not to Pick a Bank
Forget about the free toaster.

ABLE Accounts Help Foster Independence for Disabled People
Building financial independence.

Pick the Right College to Avoid Student Debt
Looking at college as an investment.

The Government Updated Its Rules to Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
What’s new from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Carrying a credit card balance for the first time. Also in the news: Closing the bank of Mom and Dad, why the starter home is in decline, and an employee benefit that could help with student loans.

Carrying a Credit Card Balance for the First Time
Managing the debt.

Closing the Bank of Mom and Dad
Take your business elsewhere.

More first-time buyers skip starter home stage for bigger, better
The decline of the starter home.

This employee benefit could become as popular as the 401(k)
Seeking help with student loans.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

pokemon-goToday’s top story: Protecting your kids and your data while playing Pokemon GO. Also in the news: Bankruptcy means test, the hidden student loan cost no one talks about, and what to do when you’ve been dumped by your bank.

Pokémon Go: How to Keep Your Kids and Your Data Safe
Gotta catch ’em all!

The Bankruptcy Means Test: What It Is, Why It Matters
Determining your bankruptcy eligibility.

The Hidden Student Loan Cost No One Talks About
Introducing interest capitalization.

Help! My Bank Dumped Me
What to do when your bank breaks up with you.