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.

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.