Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 7 ways to ready your finances for divorce. Also in the news: Tips for the Class of 2017, simplifying your savings, and how a credit union raised the roof on credit card rewards.

7 Ways to Ready Your Finances for Divorce
Preparing for a difficult time.

Class of 2017: Get a Jump on Adulthood With These 7 Tips
No more kidding around.

Simplifying Saving with the 52-Week Money Challenge
You can do it!

How a Credit Union Raised the Roof on Credit Card Rewards
A Chicago-based credit union is taking rewards to the next level.

Q&A: IRA maintenance fees

Dear Liz: My son has an IRA at his credit union. He puts in small amounts when he can. Recently they lowered the interest rate and started charging a $25 yearly maintenance fee, which now is taking all the interest back. Is this legal?

Answer: Yes. It’s also a good reason to move the account elsewhere.

Your son’s retirement account was shrinking in real terms even before the fee ate up all his interest. Even though rates are now on the rise, they’re still lower than inflation, which means the money’s buying power is being eroded every day.

Your son needs to invest in stocks if he wants his savings to grow faster than inflation. A few discount brokerages, including ETrade, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, have no account minimums or annual fees.

Your son also should consider making automatic contributions to his retirement account. This is known as “paying yourself first,” and it ensures that those contributions actually get made. Waiting until he sees what’s left over is paying himself last, and the result will be a much smaller retirement fund than he’s likely to need.