Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 ways to save on housing costs in your 20s. Also in the news: Billions in free college money went unclaimed this year, the complications of putting plastic surgery on your plastic, and how being lazy can actually help you save money.

4 Ways to Save on Housing Costs in Your 20s
Skipping avocado toast won’t cut it.

$2.6B in Free College Money Went Unclaimed by 2018 Grads
Fill out the FAFSA.

Putting Cosmetic Surgery on Your Plastic? Avoid These Complications
Sizing up the costs.

How being lazy can actually help you save money
Yes, you read that correcly.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 questions to ask before buying life insurance at work. Also in the news: Why credit cards should get another chance after you pay off debt, how not to get spooked by your credit card bill this Halloween, and setting up your financial accounts like you’re going to be hacked.

Answer 5 Questions Before Buying Life Insurance at Work
What to ask yourself before signing up.

Why Credit Cards Should Get Another Chance After You Pay Off Debt
The rewards are worth it.

This Halloween, Don’t Get Spooked by Your Credit Card Bill
How to avoid sticker shock.

Set Up Your Financial Accounts Like You’re Going to Be Hacked
Beat hackers to the punch.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Travel survival secrets for introverts. Also in the news: How to live with your credit card’s low limit, the pros and cons of a rent-to-own home, and how to protect yourself after Facebook’s recent hack.

Shh! Introverts Share Travel Survival Secrets
Self-care in a noisy world.

How to Live With Your First Credit Card’s Low Limit
Earning increases over time.

Is a Rent-to-Own Home Right for You?
A look at the pros and cons.

How to Protect Yourself After Facebook’s Recent Hack
Locking down your private information.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t let magical thinking jinx retirement. Also in the news: How to live with your first credit card’s low limit, legal complaint puts student debt relief companies in the crosshairs, and a decade after the housing crisis, foreclosures still haunt homeowners.

Don’t Let Magical Thinking Jinx Retirement Planning
Money won’t suddenly begin growing on trees.

How to Live With Your First Credit Card’s Low Limit
No, your limit isn’t missing a zero.

Legal Complaint Puts Student ‘Debt Relief’ Companies in Crosshairs, and Borrowers Can Help Make the Case
Borrowers have a way to fight back.

A decade after the housing crisis, foreclosures still haunt homeowners
Long lasting repercussions.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why your financial advisor has a financial advisor. Also in the news: Is a rent-to-own home right for you, what really matters with your first credit card, and why FICO credit scores are now at their highest levels ever.

Why Your Financial Advisor Has a Financial Advisor
Taking off the blinders.

Is a Rent-to-Own Home Right for You?
The pros and cons.

What Really Matters With Your First Credit Card
Knowing the basics.

FICO credit scores are now at their highest levels ever … here’s why
The average score is now 704.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t make this common – and costly – credit card mistake. Also in the news: Paying by credit card will increase college costs, free credit freezes, and when to buy travel insurance.

Don’t Make This Common — and Costly — Credit Card Mistake
Even a day late can be costly.

To Make College Cost Even More, Pay by Credit Card
Interest rates can be even worse than through student loans.

Free Credit Freezes: Time to Rethink Your Protection?
Credit freezes will be free for everyone starting September 21st.

When to Buy Travel Insurance
When is it worth it?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Insurers turn to technology to woo drivers. Also in the news: Beemers, Benzes and other luxury used-car bargains, 7 tactics to help car-buying newbies bargain like a boss, and credit cards still charge interest after you die.

Insurers Turn to Technology to Woo Drivers
Gadgets that can keep your rates down.

Beemers, Benzes and Other Luxury Used-Car Bargains
Luxury for less.

7 Tactics to Help Car-Buying Newbies Bargain Like a Boss
Don’t let them see you sweat.

Credit Cards Still Charge Interest After You Die
Inescapable interest.

Q&A: Do credit scores punish you for not carrying debt?

Dear Liz: I am fortunate to be able to afford homeownership without having to obtain a mortgage. The same is true of owning cars without a car loan. I pay my credit card bills in full each month. In short, I do not carry any debt.

However, it seems to me that I am being “punished” by not carrying a load of debt. My credit score is reduced by this lack of debt and I am wondering why this is.

Answer: The most commonly used credit scores don’t “know” if you’re carrying credit card debt or not. The balances used in credit score calculations are the balances the card issuers report to the bureaus on a given day (often your statement balances). You could pay the balance off the next day, or carry it for the next month, and it would have no impact on your scores.

A small part of credit scoring formulas measure your mix of credit, or whether you have both revolving accounts (such as credit cards) and installment loans (mortgages, car loans, student loans, etc.) You may get higher scores if you added an installment loan to your mix. If your scores are low, it can be worth adding a small personal loan to boost them. If your scores are good, though, it may not be worth the effort and interest expense.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: This could be the biggest blow to your retirement. Also in the news: How one couple ditched their debt, why good credit is essential when remodeling a home, and how to apply for a credit card with no credit.

This Could Be the Biggest Blow to Your Retirement
The battle with healthcare costs.

How I Ditched Debt: ‘It Became Like a Game to Us’
One couple’s story.

Remodeling Your Home? Good Credit Offers a Strong Foundation
The better the credit, the better the offers.

How to Apply for a Credit Card With No Credit Score
Exploring the options.

Q&A: Credit freeze may be inconvenient, but it’s effective

Dear Liz: Is freezing one’s credit reports the safest bet even though it’s inconvenient to get it temporarily unfrozen? Plus you have to pay a fee. At my son’s urging, I had my credit reports frozen since the Equifax incident but I find it very inconvenient whenever some financial firms need to look into my credit score.

Answer: Credit freezes remain the best way to prevent new account fraud, which is when criminals open up bogus credit accounts in your name.

It is somewhat inconvenient to have to remember to thaw the freezes when you apply for credit or other services, and you have to keep track of the personal identification numbers (PINs) that allow you to do so.

The good news is that the fees for instituting and thawing freezes will go away as of Sept. 21. The Dodd-Frank reform that Congress passed this spring included a clause requiring credit bureaus to waive those fees.