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.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

money-vacation-saveToday’s top story: Overcoming the obstacles between you and retirement. Also in the news: What the President wants to tell college students, what happens when your debt goes to collections, and how to pay less for staying cool this summer.

5 Obstacles Between You and Retirement (and How to Overcome Them)
Clearing the pathway to a solid retirement.

5 Things the President Wants to Tell College Students
Messages for students and student loan borrowers.

What Happens When Your Debt Goes to a Collector?
Not every debt collection process is the same.

Stay cool, but pay less for electricity this summer
Your wallet’s hot enough.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

types-of-scholarshipsToday’s top story: Most families don’t plan ahead for college costs. Also in the news: The Brexit effect on mortgages begins to fade, the pros and cons of partial payments, and common money mindsets that are holding you back.

Most Families Don’t Plan Ahead for College Costs, Study Finds
High school graduation is just around the corner.

Brexit Effect Fades; Loan Applications Fall
The Brexit effect on mortgages begins to fade.

Does Making Partial Payments Help?
Is paying someting better than paying nothing?

Common Money Mindsets That Hold You Back
Breaking out of old misconceptions.

Is Debt-Free College Really Possible?

A reader in her 70s once asked me why kids today don’t do what she did: Work for a year after high school and save up enough to pay for a bachelor’s degree.

If you just busted out laughing, then you’re familiar with how high today’s college costs are compared with five or six decades ago. Even with substantial financial aid and one heck of a work ethic, it’s hard to imagine a high school graduate earning enough in a year to pay for four (or usually five or even six) years of college. The average annual sticker price for a public university is close to $20,000, while private schools average over $40,000.

In my latest for NerdWallet, a debt-free college reality check.

College scholarships aren’t free money

types-of-scholarshipsIt is National Scholarship Month, which means high school seniors are being exhorted to scoop up free money for college.

What they are often not told is that scholarships won from corporations, non-profits and other “outside” sources can reduce — dollar for dollar — the grants and cost-reducing financial aid they might get from colleges.

In my latest for Reuters, why college scholarships can put students who need financial aid at a disadvantage.

In my latest for Bankrate, how women can reduce the odds of ending up old and broke.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Important financial steps to take before the end of the year. Also in the news: Alternatives to gifting a housing down payments to your kids, making your holiday donations pay off, and how to pay for college without student loans.

Critical List: Key Financial Steps to Take Before Year End
Tick tock.

Options for Parents Helping Adult Kids Buy a Home
Alternatives to gifting a down payment.

3 Tips to Make Your Holiday Donations Pay Off
Time for end-of-the-year giving.

7 Ways to Pay For College Without Student Loans
Taking an unconventional route.

Q&A: The value of associate degrees

Dear Liz: Please continue to encourage people to look into two-year technical degrees. I got my associate’s degree in mechanical engineering and in my first job earned more than my father.

Later I worked for a company that made touch-screen point-of-sale terminals. Time and time again, I trained waiters who had bachelor’s or master’s degrees but couldn’t find better jobs. I now work for a large computer company and have folks sitting around me with those same higher degrees.

Answer: On average, people with two-year degrees are paid less than the average four-year degree holder. One in four people with associate’s degrees, however, earns more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These jobs are often in the technical and health fields. Four of the BLS’ 30 fastest-growing job categories require two-year degrees. Those positions include dental hygienist (median annual earnings of $70,210), diagnostic medical sonographers ($65,860), occupational therapy assistants ($53,240) and physical therapist assistant ($52,160).

Other well-paying jobs with good growth prospects requiring two-year degrees include funeral service managers ($66,720), Web developers ($62,500), electrical and electronics drafters ($55,700), nuclear technicians ($69,060), radiation therapists ($77,560), respiratory therapists ($55,870), registered nurses ($65,470), cardiovascular technologists and technicians ($52,070), radiologic technologists ($54,620) and magnetic resonance imaging technologists ($65,360).

Four 529 college savings traps to avoid

imagesPutting money into a 529 college savings plan is relatively easy. Getting it out can be tricky.

This may come as a surprise to the families who have piled money into accounts, hoping to reap tax and financial aid benefits.

“People get tripped up and don’t realize it until it’s too late,” said consultant Deborah Fox of Fox College Funding in San Diego.

Assets in the plans topped $224 billion at the end of 2014, according to research firm Strategic Insight, up from about $13 billion in 2001.

In my column for Reuters, I list the four 529 traps to avoid in order to get the most from your account.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

1403399192000-retire-workToday’s top story: What you cannot ignore on your retirement statement. Also in the news: How to improve your finances in a single day, how teens can save money on car insurance, and why mental accounting can be dangerous.

4 Things You Can’t Ignore on Your Retirement Statement
Pay close attention.

10 Ways to Improve Your Finances in One Day
It only takes a day!

One way teens can actually save on car insurance
Letting your teen behind the wheel doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Be Aware of “Mental Accounting” When You Save Money on a Purchase
Convincing yourself you’re saving money is a big mistake.

5 Simple Ways to Save Money as a New College Student
The more they save, the fewer times they’ll call looking for money.

Should you send your kid to college with a credit card?

teen-creditSavvy parents know the importance of building a good credit history. They also know that paying with a credit card can be more convenient and secure than other methods.

But personal finance expert Janet Bodnar has one word of advice for parents thinking of providing their college-bound children with a credit card: don’t.

“It’s dangerous and it’s not necessary,” said Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and mother of three college graduates.

On the other hand, personal finance columnist Kathy Kristof—who also writes for Kiplingers and who has sent two children to college—says students who have been taught how to handle money can be responsible credit card users. She added her kids as authorized users to one of her credit cards, and said it’s worked out well.

You can read more in my Reuters column this week, “Start college kids with bank accounts, not credit cards.” Bodnar has more tips for parents at “Rules for raising money-smart kids.”