Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to protect your bank account. Also in the news: How to financially survive moving, how to rebuild your credit, and how to curb your impulse buying.

5 Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Bank Account
Defending your assets.

Married and moving? Heed these money tips
Packing is stressful enough.

How to build, or rebuild your credit
Starting over.

Put a 30-Day Delay on All Impulse Purchases to Ensure You Really Need It
Find out how much you really want it.

Q&A: Paying off student loans vs saving for retirement

Dear Liz: I’m engaged to be married and need your advice on getting started in the world of shared finances.

My fiance is 43, I’m 31. He’s debt free, with a savings account but no retirement fund. I have $34,000 in student loans (consolidated at 4.25%) and it weighs heavily on my mind as I’m desperate to become debt free. I’m debt free otherwise with $10,000 in savings.

We both make good money but my income as a freelancer is sporadic, while his is steady with periodic bursts of additional income.

We want to be debt free as a couple, save up a solid emergency fund and start making up for lost time on retirement savings, all while being aware that a family and a house might not be far away.

He’s very supportive and wants to pay off my student loans. Should I let him and pay “us” back to the emergency fund or maybe a house down-payment fund? What’s our best course of action to start on a solid financial footing?

Answer: You’re already behind on retirement savings, which should have started with your first job. Your fiance is even farther behind.

Don’t let your zeal to repay your debt blind you to the very real risk that you might not be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement if you don’t get started now.

If your education debt consists of federal student loans, then your low rate is fixed. The interest probably is tax deductible, which means the effective rate you’re paying is just a little over the inflation rate. It isn’t quite free money, but it’s pretty cheap.

You don’t need to be in a rush to pay it off, particularly with all your other financial priorities looming.

Instead, get going on some retirement accounts. Your fiance should take advantage of his workplace plan, if he has access to one.

Most employer-sponsored workplace plans have company matches, which really is free money you shouldn’t leave on the table. An individual retirement account or Roth IRA can supplement the plan or be a substitute if he doesn’t have access to a workplace plan.

As a freelancer, you have numerous options for setting aside money for retirement, including Simplified Employee Pensions (SEP), Savings Incentive Match for Employees (SIMPLE) and solo 401(k)s that would allow you to contribute more than the standard $5,500 annual limit for an IRA.

Ideally, you would be saving around 15% of your income and your fiance 20% or more.

If you can’t hit those targets just yet, start saving what you can and increase your contributions regularly. Work your other goals around the primary goal of being able to afford a decent retirement.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: The most important personal finance rules. Also in the news: How to hack away at your student loan debt, what couples need to know about their finances before moving in together, and how to prevent a tax audit.

The Most Important Personal Finance Rules Never Change
The rules that matter most are the ones that never change.

Hacking away at student loan debt
Chipping away at the albatross.

Moving in together? Read this first
Laying all the financial cards on the table.

25 Ways to Prevent a Tax Audit
How to avoid the excruciating experience.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

love-and-moneyToday’s top story: How to fall in love with your finances. Also in the news: Filing your taxes for free, the worst money mistakes you can make in the name of love, and how you can create a will for your social media accounts.

To Fall in Love With Your Finances, Do This
It’s like Match.com for your money.

IRS Free File 101 – How to File your Taxes for Free
Why pay for the privilege of paying.

7 Worst Money Mistakes People Make in the Name of Love
How to protect both your finances and your love life.

You Can Now Create a Will for Your Facebook Profile
Leaving a digital legacy.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: The money questions you need to ask before popping THE question. Also in the news: The importance of renter’s insurance, why online tax filers need to pay attention to the fine print, and how to answer your child’s tough money questions.

Getting Serious? Five Important Money Questions to Ask
The questions to ask before you pop the question.

Here’s the Cheap Insurance That Could Save You Money
If you’re a renter, this one’s for you.

Online Filers: Pay Attention to the Fine Print!
You could be signing away important protections.

Tough Money Questions Kids Ask, and How to Reply
How to be appropriately honest.

5 Tips for Tackling Your Student Loans as a Couple
It’s better than going it alone.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

downloadToday’s top story: There’s been a massive data beach at Anthem Insurance. Also in the news: Personal finance questions that should be answered before you say “I do”. learning your investment vocabulary, and assumptions that could hurt your retirement plans.

Massive breach at health care company Anthem Inc.
As many as 80 million customers have had their personal information stolen.

Personal Finance Questions Before Marriage
Questions to ask before walking down the aisle.

The Many Different Types of Investments, and How They Work
Learning the investment vocabulary.

4 Dangerous Assumptions That Could Hurt Your Retirement Plan
You know what they say about assuming…

7 Home-Selling Mistakes to Avoid
Keeping your sale trouble-free.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

HopeToday’s top story: When it’s time to look for a new bank. Also in the news: Personal finance questions you need to answer, how to upgrade your financial life, and ten ways to have a financially happy marriage.

6 Signs It May Be Time to Switch Banks
Time for a new relationship?

8 Personal Finance Questions Most of Us Flunk
How did you do?

10 Steps to an Upgraded Financial Life
Give yourself a boost.

10 Ways to Have a Financially Happy Marriage
There are better things to argue about.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

22856641_SAToday’s top story: The three things you should do before tackling your student loan debt. Also in the news: Three tax changes for 2015, how to protect your finances during a late-in-life divorce, and how changing the order in which you deduct from your paycheck could save you more money.

3 Things to Do Before Tackling Your Student Loan Debt
There’s a lot to do before you start making payments.

3 Tax Changes for 2015 You Need To Know About
Tax time is right around the corner.

Protect finances in later-in-life divorce
Divorce after 50 can come with a special set of financial issues.

Subtract Savings from Your Salary Before Expenses to Save Better
Subtracting your savings first could help keep your expenses in check.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score This Month
Just in time for the holidays.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

download (1)Today’s top story: The best low interest credit cards in America. Also in the news: How to have the money talk with your new significant other, why a new IRS rule could change your 401(k) contributions, and how to choose investments for your retirement account.

The Best Low-Interest Credit Cards in America 2014
The lower the better.

How To Bare Your Finances To Your New Love
Tips on having The Talk.

New IRS Rule Can Make Big Difference in 401(k) Contributions
Understanding the new rules.

How To Choose Investments For Your Retirement Account
Choosing for the future.

15 Personal Finance Experts Tell Us: ‘The Best Thing I Ever Bought for $20 or Less’
What to do with the twenty that’s burning a hole in your pocket.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: Why couples should consider keeping some of their finances separate. Also in the news: Ten ways to give your credit score a boost, six ways to save $1000 by the end of the year, and what the financial world could look like in 2019.

Why Couples Shouldn’t Merge All Their Finances
The benefits of financial autonomy.

10Best: Ways to improve your credit score
Easy steps that could give your score a boost.

The 2019 Forecast: Way More Millionaires, Way More Inequality
What will the financial world look like five years from now?

6 ways to save $1,000 by the end of the year
It can be done!

How much should you tip housekeeping? A travel tipping guide
Unraveling the mysteries of tipping while traveling.