Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tips to get back on budget after the holidays. Also in the news: Thinking twice about that in-flight credit card offer, how a Roth IRA works, and how paying your child an allowance can pay off in the long run.

5 Tips to Get Back on Budget After the Holidays
Reigning in the spending.

Think Twice About That In-Flight Credit Card Offer
Reading the fine print.

How Does a Roth IRA Work?
Know this important retirement tool.

Paying allowance can pay off, if you do it right
How much is enough?

Why you should save for something fun

Financial planners tend to have firm ideas about the most important goals: You should save for retirement, pay off debt and build an emergency fund. Buying a pair of $200 sneakers or an ultra-high definition TV is probably not on that list.

But maybe saving for something you really, really want isn’t frivolous. It may be exactly what you need to get your financial life on track.

In my latest for the Associated Press, the financial benefits of saving for something fun.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How that new store card could torpedo your credit score. Also in the news: Insuring expensive gifts, the right mortgage to ask, and how to quickly figure out how much spending money you’ll have for the year.

That New Store Card Could Torpedo Your Credit Score
That immediate discount could cost you in the long run.

Splurged on an Expensive Gift? Don’t Forget to Insure It
Protect your purchase.

13 Mortgage Questions to Ask — and the Answers You Want
Everything you need to know.

How to Quickly Figure Out How Much Spending Money You’ll Have for the Year
Calculating discretionary income.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 reasons to be petrified of Bitcoin. Also in the news: A ‘Born Spender’ goes on a spending fast, how to stop your grown kids from ruining your retirement, and how to hide gifts from your partner when you share bank accounts.

3 Reasons to Be Petrified of Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency reaches an all-time high.

How I Ditched Debt: ‘Born Spender’ Goes on a Spending Fast
Changing their ways.

How To Stop Your Grown Kids From Ruining Your Retirement
Protecting your future.

How to Hide Gifts From Your Partner When You Share Bank Accounts
Tips for holiday giving.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to rebound from natural disaster debt. Also in the news: Quitting your job without another lined up, a 5-step recipe for financial success, and how to get in the holiday spirit without going into debt.

How to Rebound From Natural Disaster Debt
Slow and steady recovery.

Ask Brianna: Should I Quit My Job Without Another Lined Up?
Escaping a job you hate.

Your 5-step recipe for financial success
Five simple steps.

How to get in the holiday spirit without going into debt
A budget is essential.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Feds, 11 states crack down on student loan scams. Also in the news: Adding a loan to your shopping cart, 5 top benefits of a Roth IRA, and setting your holiday spending budget in October.

Feds, 11 States Crack Down on Student Loan Scams
Cracking down.

Should You Add a Loan to Your Shopping Cart?
A new option at the register.

5 Top Benefits of a Roth IRA
What you should know.

Get Christmas budget set for holiday spending in October
The holidays will be here before you know it.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The best cities for recent college graduates. Also in the news: Why paying bills is a grind for almost half of Americans, how to trim expensive wedding frills without cutting guests’ fun, and everything you wanted to know about your credit report but were afraid to ask.

Best Cities for Recent College Grads
Starting someplace new.

Paying Bills Is a Grind for 43% of Americans, CFPB Finds
Living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Trim Expensive Wedding Frills Without Cutting Guests’ Fun
Concentrating on the important things.

Everything you wanted to know about your credit report — but were afraid to ask
No dumb questions.

Predict ‘surprise’ bills, no crystal ball needed

It doesn’t take much to upend many Americans’ finances. A car that won’t start, a furnace that dies or a trip to the hospital can leave households struggling to make ends meet.

According to the Federal Reserve, 44 percent of U.S. adults say they would have trouble coming up with $400 to cover an unexpected expense. Even families who have more in the bank can flounder. Surveys by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that 51 percent of families with at least $2,000 in savings reported trouble paying the bills after a financial shock.

Yet it is hardly a shock if an appliance wears out or a car breaks down.

It’s time to rethink what we mean by unexpected expenses. In my latest for the Associated Press, how to predict surprise bills without a crystal ball.

How to ruin your finances fast

Some financial disasters are a long time in the making. It typically takes years of unfortunate choices — minimum credit card payments, forgone savings opportunities — to create suffocating debt or a poverty-level retirement.

Other disasters you can trigger almost instantly. The decision itself costs money, or the clock starts ticking toward a consequence you might not have foreseen. In my latest for the Associated Press, three common ways to trash your finances fast, plus how you may be able to undo or limit the damage.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Only 1 in 10 Americans are at Peak Financial Health. Also in the news: How to dodge stock market scams, when a tax refund means bankruptcy, and millennial parents face the reality of baby costs.

Only 1 in 10 Americans at Peak Financial Health
Where Americans are falling short.

How to Dodge Stock Market Scams
Protecting your investments.

When a Tax Refund Means Bankruptcy
Using a refund as a budget tool or a chance at a fresh start.

Millennial parents face the reality of baby costs
Babies are both adorable and expensive.