Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Plug in 3 numbers to plan your financial future. Also in the news: 10 questions to ask a financial advisor, how to stop scammers from stealing your down payment, and shopping around for car loans.

Plug in 3 Numbers to Plan Your Financial Future
A retirement calculator can help.

10 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor
Finding the best match.

Stop Scammers From Stealing Your Down Payment

Don’t Forget, You Can Shop Around for Car Loans
You don’t have to accept the first offer.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do when you’ve reached your savings goal. Also in the news: What to do when you’re upside down on a car loan, Social Security surprises that may leave money on the table, and what to do if you need $100 fast.

Reached Your Savings Goals? Here’s What to Do Next
Don’t stop now.

What to Do When You’re Upside-Down on a Car Loan
How to get right side up.

3 Social Security surprises that may leave money on the table
Make sure you get what you’re owed.

What to Do When You Need $100, Fast
Almost half of Americans would struggle to cover a $100 emergency.

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.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

crop380w_istock_000009258023xsmall-dbet-ball-and-chainToday’s top story: Mortgage application forms will look different next year. Also in the news: 5 times you shouldn’t use a credit card, why you should say no to 72-84 month auto loans, and why you need to stop being delusional about debt.

It’s Coming: The First Change to Mortgage Application Forms in 20 Years
An easier to understand application is on the way.

5 Times You Shouldn’t Use a Credit Card
High interest rates could leave you in a debt spiral.

5 Reasons to Say No to 72- and 84-Month Auto Loans
Long term loans set you up for years of negative equity.

Don’t be debt delusional: Quit buying stuff you can’t afford!
Time for a reality check.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: What to do when your car loan outlasts your car. Also in the news: What to buy during this weekend’s Memorial Day sales, how to plan for semi-retirement, and how to trick yourself into spending less by using direct deposit.

What to Do If Your Car Loan Outlasts Your Car
Your options are limited, but they exist.

Best Things to Buy at Memorial Day Weekend Sales
Get the most bang for your buck.

How to Plan for Semi-Retirement
Choosing to work instead of having to work.

Direct Deposit Into Your Savings To Trick Yourself Into Spending Less
You won’t even miss it.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: The most common mistakes tax filers make. Also in the news: The terms every student loan borrower should know, how to handle early-year medical expenses, and six apps that’ll help manage your money.

The 8 Most Common Mistakes When Filing Annual Taxes
How to avoid making them.

5 Student Loan Terms Every Borrower Should Know
Know what you’re getting into.

5 tips for handling early-year medical expenses
Understanding your coverage.

6 Great Financial Apps That Will Make Managing Your Money Easier
A little help from your smartphone.

How Getting a Car Loan Affects Your Credit Report
What those new wheels mean for your credit.

Q&A: Debt obligations and voluntary surrender

Dear Liz: My husband returned a car to the dealer when he lost his job. Now the company says he owes it more than $7,000 (the difference between what he owed to the dealer and the price for which the car was sold). He refuses to pay any amount, but recently he received a letter from a law office demanding payment or they will take him to court. Is he obliged to pay this money? What options does he have to get rid of this debt?

Answer: A debt doesn’t disappear simply because someone decides not to pay it.
Your husband signed loan paperwork to buy the car, and this paperwork obligated him to repay a certain amount. Voluntarily surrendering the car didn’t change his obligation. Also, the surrender probably is being reported to the credit bureaus as a repossession, which is a big negative mark on his credit reports. Some people mistakenly believe that a voluntary surrender avoids credit damage. Typically, it does not.

Your husband could make matters worse if he continues his stubbornness. The law firm can take the collection to court, where it’s likely to win. That will add a judgment to your husband’s credit files and cause further damage to his scores. His wages could be garnished to pay the debt.

Your husband may be able to settle this debt for less than he owes, especially if he can offer a substantial lump sum, but negotiations with a collector can be tricky. He may want to consult an attorney for help or at least arm himself with more knowledge about what to do from sites such as DebtCollectionAnswers.com.

If this is just one of a number of unpaid bills, though, you both may benefit from talking to a bankruptcy attorney about your options.
In the future, keep this experience in mind when you go to buy another car. Making at least a 20% down payment and limiting the loan term to four years or less will help ensure that you’re never “upside down” like this again.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How paying your credit cards early and often can protect your credit score. Also in the news: How to save your kids from spending their 20’s in debt, six home renovation mistakes to avoid, and tips on getting the best car loan.

Charge a Lot? Pay Early and Often to Avoid Score Damage
Your score will thank you for it.

5 Ways My Parents Saved Me from Spending My 20s in Debt
How to do the same for your kids.

6 Home Renovation Mistakes That Could Cost You
DIY isn’t always the cheaper route.

5 tips to get the best deal on a car loan
Don’t be afraid to shop around.

Can You Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points in a Month?
That’s a tough one.

Q&A: Using a car loan to establish credit

Dear Liz: Our son is graduating from college and needs a car for his new job. Is this an opportunity to help him establish a good credit rating? His credit union offers loans to first-time auto buyers who don’t have a credit history, but the interest rate is 8.4% (6 percentage points more than standard auto loans). We parents intend to help pay for the car, so we could provide a larger down payment or help with larger payments to pay off the loan sooner as a way to reduce the higher interest costs. Would doing either of these, however, lower the credit rating he might earn? He has no other debt and has two credit cards (co-owned by us) on which he pays monthly in full. Are there better ways to help him establish his own credit rating?

Answer: If your son is a joint account holder on two credit cards, he might not have to bother with a “credit builder” loan. He should already have credit histories and credit scores that would qualify him for better rates.
He should first check his credit reports at http://www.annualcreditreport.com, the federally mandated site where people can check their credit histories annually for free.

If he has credit histories, he can take the additional step of buying at least one of his FICO scores from MyFico.com. (He can buy a total of three, one for each credit bureau.) There are other sources for free scores, but they’re usually not the scores used by most lenders. He then can ask the credit union for a quote on the interest rate he’d be charged, given his score or scores. It probably will be lower than 8.4% if he has a good history with these cards.

If he doesn’t have credit reports in his own name, he probably is an authorized user rather than a joint account holder on your cards. (Some issuers don’t export the primary cardholder’s history with a card into an authorized user’s credit files, although many do.) In that case, the credit-building loan could be a good idea, particularly if you were willing to help him pay off the loan quickly. Although there’s some advantage to paying off a loan according to schedule, your son will get most of the credit-scoring benefit just by having the loan, and he’ll save by paying it off fast.

Another way you could help is by co-signing the loan, but then you’re putting your credit at risk. If he makes a single late payment, your credit scores could suffer. If the credit union is willing to make the loan, that’s usually a better way to go.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to get the most from your credit card rewards program. Also in the news: What to consider before moving, when to work with a financial adviser, and why low interest rates on student loans are becoming a thing of past.

Maximizing Credit Card Rewards: 5 Ways to Earn Big
Making your credit card work for you.

What Every Retiree Should Consider Before a Move
Consider these before buying boxes and duct tape.

Personal Financial Planning: Do It Yourself or Go With a Pro?
Is it time to bring in the big guns?

Federal Student Loan Interest Rates Heading Up
The days of low interest rates are a thing of the past.

How Much Does a $20K Car Loan Really Cost You?
Buckle up.