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.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: Choosing the best student loan refinancing offer. Also in the news: Taking 15 minutes a month for your financial health, using your 1040 for a retirement savings check-up, and how couples can financially prepare for the inevitable.

How to Choose the Best Student Loan Refinancing Offer for You
Sorting through the options.

15 Minutes a Month to Maintain Financial Health
Easy steps that can build longterm success.

Use Your 1040 For A Retirement Savings And Investment Tax Check-Up
The perfect time to take stock of your finances.

Widow/widower financial preparedness 101: 5 things to do right now
Making a difficult time less complicated.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

financial doomToday’s top story: Five major threats to your retirement. Also in the news: Classic money habits you should be using today, seven potential financial time bombs, and how getting married will affect your taxes.

5 Major Threats to Your Retirement
The threats coming from both inside and outside the house.

5 Old-School Money Habits You Should Start Using Today
Time-tested success.

Don’t Ignore These 7 Financial Time Bombs
Tick…tick…

4 Ways Getting Married Will Change Your Taxes
Uncle Sam couldn’t be happier about your wedding!

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

siblingsToday’s top story: How your taxes have changed if you’re recently divorced. Also in the news: What every LGBT taxpayer needs to know, financial goals every GenXer should have, and five tools to get your budget in order.

Here’s How Your Taxes Changed If You Just Got Divorced
It’s a different tax world.

Every LGBT Taxpayer Needs to Read This
Marriage equality hasn’t made filing taxes any easier.

7 Financial Goals Every GenXer Should Have
Welcome to middle age!

5 tools to get your budget in order
And how to stick to it.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: The key tax changes for 2015. Also in the news: Costly mistakes that can destroy your credit, smart estate-planning steps to avoid probate, and why combining your finances in a relationship might be a bad idea.

Key 2015 Tax Changes to Know About
Don’t wait until the last second.

5 Smart Estate-Planning Steps to Avoid Probate
Protecting your assets.

4 Costly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Credit Score
Small mistakes that can cause major damage.

When Combining Your Finances In a Relationship Might Be a Bad Idea
What to consider before taking that big step.

Q&A: Why your W-4 forms are likely ‘wrong’

Dear Liz: After being an unmarried couple for 15 years, we were married in February 2014. Though I sent this information to my company’s benefits department, I neglected to change my W-4 status from “single” to “married.” I’m crossing my fingers that when all is said and done, we have paid the correct taxes when we filed for 2014 (we filed jointly as married) regardless of what was withheld pursuant to the W-4. Or do I need to inform the IRS of the oversight for the 2014 and 2015 tax years?

Answer: Best wishes on your marriage, and don’t worry. Since you were married as of Dec. 31, 2014, and you filed as a married couple for 2014, you’re good — assuming, of course, you used current tax software or IRS tax tables for married filing jointly.

The W-4 form is meant to tell your employer how much of your paycheck you want withheld. Most people’s W-4s are “wrong” in the sense that they have the government withhold too much. They get fat refunds that average close to $3,000, but they aren’t penalized for doing so (other than not having access to their own money until they get that refund, of course).

If you’re getting refunds, you can tweak your withholding when you visit your benefits department to update your W-4. The IRS and TurboTax, among other sites, have online calculators to help you figure out what you should have withheld.

While you’re there, check your beneficiaries for any workplace retirement plans and life insurance. Federal law says your spouse must be the beneficiary of your retirement plan unless he or she signs a waiver. Life insurance, by contrast, goes to the named beneficiary even if you subsequently marry.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Tax mistakes newlyweds make and how to avoid them. Also in the news: What financial documents are safe to shred, how to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy, and tips on negotiating a higher salary.

5 Tax Mistakes Newlyweds Make
It’s a whole new tax world.

Drowning in bank statements, etc.? Here’s what you can toss
Fire up the shredder!

How To Rebuild Your Credit Before Turning 45
Life post-bankruptcy.

Negotiate a Higher Salary With This Simple Formula
Getting what you’re worth.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The pros and cons of e-gift cards. Also in the news: Why you’re likely to pay more for auto insurance in 2016, why couples should tackle estate planning now, and a guide to holiday tipping.

Are E-Gift Cards Safe? Here’s What to Know
Making holiday shopping easier.

Here’s Why Your Auto Insurance Will Likely Cost More Next Year
Get ready for higher rates.

5 Ways Couples Can Tackle Estate Planning Now
Don’t put it off.

How Big a Tip to Give for the Holidays
Who should get what.