Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How not to run out of money in retirement. Also in the news: How bountiful is tax-loss harvesting, what the (almost) end of credit card signatures means for you, and how your spouse’s student loans affect you.

How Not to Run Out of Money in Retirement
Making it through the long haul.

How Bountiful Is Tax-Loss Harvesting?
A gimmick or an advantage?

What the (Almost) End of Credit Card Signatures Means for You
Less time at the register.

How Your Spouse’s Student Loans Affect You
Everything from taxes to mortgages.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 7 gifts that help your grad stash more cash. Also in the news: Why rideshare insurance is a must, how credit card issuers pursue wary Millennials, and how to know if you qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

7 Gifts That Help Your Grad Stash More Cash
Cool and practical.

Why Rideshare Insurance Is a Must
Minding the gap.

How Credit Card Issuers Pursue the Wary Millennial
Brand trust and unique experiences.

How to Know If You Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Making sure you’re on the right track.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How grads can get another shot at student loan forgiveness. Also in the news: Spring cleaning your credit cards, how to sidestep 3 unethical financial advisor tactics, and how to handle loaning money to your parents.

How Grads Can Get Another Shot at Student Loan Forgiveness
This could be your last chance.

This Spring, Clear Mediocre Credit Cards Out of Your Wallet
Get rid of the credit clutter.

How to Sidestep 3 Unethical Financial Advisor Tactics
Protect yourself.

How to Handle Loaning Money to Your Parents
Role reversal.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to maximize your Priority Pass Select. Also in the news: Tap your credit cards for spring break savings, how to avoid a spring break money hangover, and why the death of the fiduciary rule is bad news for your retirement.

How to Maximize Your Priority Pass Select Membership
Getting the most from your membership.

Tap Your Credit Cards for Spring Break Savings
Save on foreign transaction fees and more.

Ask Brianna: How to Avoid a Spring Break Money Hangover
Not the souvenir you want to bring home.

The Death of the Fiduciary Rule Is Bad News for Your Retirement
Less protection means more scams.

Q&A: A husband’s death. A pile of bills. Now what?

Dear Liz: After my husband died, I was in shock and really not in my right mind for at least a year, but really more. During this time I didn’t pay attention to bills. Only the ones that were getting shut off got paid. Now I’m behind on several credit cards that I’ve had for years. I can’t keep up anymore, but I don’t know what to do.

Answer: It’s natural in your situation to be overwhelmed and not know where to start. Your first task should be determining if you can realistically pay what you owe.

If your unsecured personal debt — credit cards, medical bills, payday loans and personal loans — equals half or more of your income, then you may not be able to dig yourself out. If that’s the case, consider making appointments with a credit counselor and a bankruptcy attorney to review your options. You can get referrals from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org or (800) 388-2227 and the National Assn. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys at www.nacba.org.

Even if your debts don’t total half your income, you may find it helpful to discuss your situation with a credit counselor or an accredited financial counselor (referrals from the Assn. for Financial Counseling and Planning Education at www.afcpe.org). These counselors can review your situation and help you craft a plan to get your finances back on solid ground.

Social Security survivor benefits also can be a way to restore your financial stability, depending on your age. You can receive survivor benefits starting at age 60, or age 50 if you’re disabled, or at any age if you’re caring for your husband’s child if the child is younger than age 16 or disabled.

Applying for survivor benefits doesn’t preclude you from applying for your own retirement benefit later. You could take a widow’s benefit at 60 and then switch to your own benefit when it maxes out at age 70, if your own benefit would be larger at that point.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: More credit cards pile on rewards for mobile wallet spending. Also in the news: Dog-friendly designs attract home buyers and remodelers, new rules to help protect old Americans from financial fraud, and the reckless financial habit that will ruin your chances of ever finding love.

More Credit Cards Pile on Rewards for Mobile Wallet Spending
Perks for paying with your phone.

Dog-Friendly Designs Attract Home Buyers and Remodelers
Not your typical dog house.

These new rules will help protect older Americans from financial fraud
New protections put in place.

This reckless financial habit will ruin your chances of ever finding love
Show some restraint.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Before doing your taxes, gather these documents. Also in the news: 3 things to do when buying a house as an unmarried couple, how credit cards can help you save on buses and trains, and 4 money lessons every teenager needs to know.

Before Doing Your Taxes, Gather These Documents
Putting your paperwork together.

Buying a Home as an Unmarried Couple? Do These 3 Things
Buyer beware.

Credit Cards Can Help You Save on Buses and Trains, Too
Discounts everywhere.

4 money lessons every teenager needs to know
The sooner the better.

Q&A: How to get a higher credit limit after the card company turns you down

Dear Liz: I asked for a credit limit increase on my Visa card from $5,000 to $20,000. I was turned down because of not enough income. I was very disappointed and wonder what if anything I can do to reverse the situation.

I am a 77-year-old retired widow who owns my home with no mortgage. My annual income is around $50,000 from Social Security and my required minimum distributions from IRAs. I have no debt. My investments and savings obviously don’t count. I was about to charge $12,000 in airline tickets and wanted to take advantage of the cash back on the credit card. I always pay my credit card bill in full every month. I feel discriminated against.

Answer: Imagine you’re a lender and one of your customers suddenly demands that you quadruple the amount you’ve agreed to lend her, with the resulting credit line equal to 40% of her income. That might give you pause.

Or perhaps not. Credit card issuers have different policies about when to grant or deny credit, and those policies can change over time as they try to manage the risks of their lending portfolios. Also, issuers may be less generous to their longtime customers than they are to the new customers they’re trying to attract.

Understanding all that can help you formulate a game plan to get what you want. One option is to call the issuer, explain your situation and ask for a temporary credit line increase so you can book those tickets.

Another (and certainly more lucrative) option would be to apply for a new credit card with a fat sign-up bonus from a different issuer. Several cash-back cards offer rewards of $150 to $200 once you spend a certain amount within the first few months, and you would meet that requirement easily with your ticket purchases.

If you’re willing to consider something other than a cash-back card, you can check out travel rewards cards that offer points or miles. Several have bonuses that can translate into $400 or more of free travel.

Applying for a new card might temporarily drop your credit scores a few points, but that shouldn’t be a concern if you’re not planning to apply for a major loan in the next few months.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tips to get back on budget after the holidays. Also in the news: Thinking twice about that in-flight credit card offer, how a Roth IRA works, and how paying your child an allowance can pay off in the long run.

5 Tips to Get Back on Budget After the Holidays
Reigning in the spending.

Think Twice About That In-Flight Credit Card Offer
Reading the fine print.

How Does a Roth IRA Work?
Know this important retirement tool.

Paying allowance can pay off, if you do it right
How much is enough?

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why you should hit the stores on the day after Christmas. Also in the news: Online colleges, tips to help you choose the right credit card, and how much you actually save when you write something off on your taxes.

Why You Should Hit the Store on the Day After Christmas
Putting those gift cards to good use.

Is Online College for You? Answer 5 Questions to Find Out
Weighing the pros and cons.

7 Tips That Will Help You Choose The Right Credit Card
Be selective.

How Much You Actually Save When You Write Something Off on Your Taxes
Calculating your savings.