Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Pile of Credit CardsToday’s top story: The hidden bonuses of paying off credit card debt. Also in the news: Financial tips for the sandwich generation, how to start preparing your taxes, and the changes coming to your credit card perks.

The Hidden Bonus of Paying Off Credit Card Debt
Your credit score will thank you for it.

The Sandwich Generation: 5 C’s To Deal With Your Financial Challenges
The financial challenges of taking care of your young and old.

11 Tax Moves Every Taxpayer Should Make Before the End of the Year
Time to get organized.

Big Changes Coming for Your Credit Card Perks
What’s in and what’s out.

6 questions to ask before getting a store credit card
Know what you’re signing up for.

Does paying down installment loans help your credit?

Dear Liz: I know a high balance on a credit card hurts your credit score and that it’s best to keep balances low and pay them off each month. But does the same theory hold true for installment borrowing such as auto or student loans, which obviously have a higher balance in the beginning of the loan repayment period?

Answer: Paying down installment loans will help your credit score, but typically not as dramatically as paying down balances on revolving debt such as credit cards.

The leading FICO credit scoring formula is much more sensitive to balances on revolving accounts. The wider the gap between your available credit and the amount you’re using, the better.