Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

siblingsToday’s top story: How couples can talk about money without a blowup. Also in the news: Amazon Prime Day, tax mistakes to avoid, and how to make good financial decisions.

How Couples Can Talk Money Without a Blowup
Remembering what’s important.

Prime Day Kicks Off With Low Prices on Amazon Kindle, Echo and More
Bargain hunting.

11 Big Tax Mistakes to Avoid
Proceed with caution.

How to Make Good Financial Decisions
Thinking before you spend.

Q&A: No wedding, no Social Security benefits

Dear Liz: I’m a female who has been with her male partner for 20 years. We are not married. In the event one of us dies, is the other entitled to the partner’s Social Security benefits? Or do we have to be legally married to qualify for benefits?

Answer: Your genders don’t matter. Your marital status does. To get Social Security benefits based on the other person’s work record, you need to make it legal.

Marriage offers hundreds of legal, financial and estate-planning advantages, and Social Security is certainly one of those. With married couples, lower-earning partners may qualify for bigger benefit spousal benefits than the retirement benefits they would receive on their own work records. After a death, the surviving spouse gets the larger of the couple’s two benefits. Social Security makes up more than half of most elderly people’s income, so this is no small deal.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: Why debt-to-income ratio matter when buying a house. Also in the news: Crucial insurance changed to make after divorce, how to manage your finances when you’re separated, and a bill in congress that would remove credit report strikes after four years.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Matters When You’re Buying a House
How to improve your DTI.

5 Crucial Insurance Changes After Divorce
Things to address immediately.

Managing Your Finances When You’re Separated
You may be apart, but your money is still together.

This Bill in Congress Would Remove Credit Report Strikes After Four Years
Significant changes could be ahead.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

seniorslaptopToday’s top story: Why getting pre-approved for a mortgage is important if you live in these cities. Also in the news: How couples can master the financial balancing act, overcoming income shocks, and how 529 plans can now be used for college supplies.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage — Especially if You Live in These Cities
Where real estate inventory is moving fast.

How Couples Can Master the Financial Balancing Act
Creating an equitable balance,

How to Overcome ‘Income Shocks’ that Wreck Retirement Security
Coping with unexpected surprises.

Now 529 plans can be used for college supplies
Getting your freshman the computer she needs.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

emergency-fund-1940x900_36282Today’s top story: Debunking emergency fund myths. Also in the news: How filing separately could give some couples a lower tax bill, the financial benefits of living with less, and how much down payment you should have to buy a home.

Debunking 5 Emergency Fund Myths
Separating fact from financial fiction.

Filing Separately Could Give Some Couples a Lower Tax Bill
Splitting up your tax returns could save you money.

The Financial Benefits of Living With Less
Downsizing your way out of debt.

How Much Down Payment Do You Need to Buy a Home?
How much do you really need?

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

o-CREDIT-REPORT-facebookToday’s top story: Should you pay for credit repair? Also in the news: Tips on raising financially savvy kids, credit scores and dating, and why it might make sense to pay down debt slowly.

Should You Pay for Credit Repair?
The pros and cons.

11 Tips to Raise Financially Savvy Kids
Starting them off right.

Nearly 40% of Americans want to know your credit score before dating
Should credit worthiness determine date worthiness?

Why It Might Make Sense to Pay Down Debt Slowly
Slow and steady might win the race.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

gay-marriage-cake-toppers-485x320Today’s top story: Wallet-stretching tips for renters. Also in the news: Financial advice for newly married couples, why timing is everything with travel rewards credit cards, and how small businesses can be prepared when disaster strikes.

6 Wallet-Stretching Tips for Renters
Keeping a roof over your head without breaking the bank.

10 Pieces of Financial Advice for Newly Married Couples
What to do when you’re back from the honeymoon.

With travel rewards credit cards, timing is everything
Don’t miss out on valuable points.

When Disaster Strikes: 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Prepared
Keeping your business afloat during tough times.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to save money by refinancing your mortgage. Also in the news: How to spice up your retirement recipe, avoiding the financial pitfalls of divorce, and must-know money tips for new graduates.

Tips to Save Money by Refinancing Your Mortgage
What to consider when deciding to refinance.

6 key ingredients to spice up your retirement recipe
Strategies for investors.

Avoiding The Financial Pitfalls Of Divorce
Navigating through tough times.

5 Must-Know Money Tips for New Grads
Now comes the hard part.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

interest-rates-300x225Today’s top story: How to find the best mortgage interest rate. Also in the news: How to financially prepare for a spouse’s deployment, the biggest credit card mistakes made by millennials, and where to find the best St. Patrick’s Day deals.

How to Score the Best Mortgage Interest Rate
Finding the best interest rate on a mortgage that suits your needs.

How to Plan Financially for a Spouse’s Absence
Getting your finances in order before a spouse is deployed.

The 4 biggest mistakes millennials make when it comes to credit cards
Mistakes that can have long-term consequences.

The Best St. Patrick’s Day Sales and Deals of 2016
There are deals to be found at the end of the rainbow.

Before Filing Your Taxes With IRS, Consider This
There’s such a thing as too much information.

Q&A: Financial benefits of marriage

Dear Liz: My registered domestic partner and I are both 64. We have similar incomes, similar 401(k) accounts and own a home together. We plan on retiring at 66, at which time we will also get similar Social Security benefits. We are each other’s beneficiary on all insurance, accounts, etc. My question: Now that the Supreme Court has made it legal, would it benefit us financially to get married? We’ve never felt an emotional need for that validation but are questioning whether it would make sense for other practical reasons.

Answer: When incomes are dissimilar, there’s a strong argument to be made for marriage. The lower earner may get more from a Social Security spousal benefit than from his or her own retirement benefit. In addition, the lower earner could get a much bigger survivor benefit, since a survivor gets the larger of the couple’s two Social Security checks.

If either of you had a traditional pension, a spouse would be entitled to survivor benefits that an unmarried partner can’t claim. And if you were of dramatically different ages, marriage would allow a younger survivor to put off starting mandatory withdrawals from inherited accounts.

Marriage also has estate planning advantages, but those primarily benefit wealthy couples (see above). If you do remain unmarried, you’ll want to make sure you both have powers of attorney for healthcare and finances so you can make decisions if the other becomes incapacitated.

There are many other benefits to marriage, which the self-help legal publisher Nolo has summarized at http://bit.ly/1mOmpZA. You also might want to talk to a fee-only financial planner who has experience with same-sex couples to make sure that your assets and rights are adequately protected if you remain unmarried.