Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to manage student loan debt without making it worse. Also in the news: How to get credit when you have none, why it may be time to stop itemizing your tax deductions, and the state most burdened by credit card debt.

How to Manage Student Loan Debt Without Making It Worse
Don’t let interest get out of hand.

How to Get Credit When You Have None
Starting from scratch.

It May Be Time to Stop Itemizing Your Tax Deductions
The standard deduction could be enough.

This state is the most burdened by credit-card debt
Is it yours?

New scoring could help credit-shy millennials

Millennials’ aversion to credit cards can make it hard for them to build good credit scores. A recently announced scoring system, the UltraFICO, may someday help them and other consumers get loans and credit based on how they use their bank accounts.

People who don’t overdraw and who keep a few hundred dollars in their accounts could get enough points added to their traditional FICO credit scores to qualify for approvals or better rates and terms. Others who don’t have FICO scores at all could get UltraFICO scores that allow them to get approved for credit.

In my latest for the Associated Press, learn more about UltraFICO.

At What Age Can You Ignore Your Credit Score?

At some point, you’ll buy your last car and refinance your last mortgage. Surely then you can stop worrying about your credit scores.

Well, not really, although there are situations when credit scores shouldn’t be anyone’s main concern.

In my latest for the Associated Press, why credit scores still matter, even when you don’t plan to borrow money.

Why traditional credit scores still matter

Researchers and startups say all kinds of weird data can predict your creditworthiness. What kind of smartphone you have, who your friends are and how you answer survey questions may foretell how likely you are to pay back a loan.

Don’t expect this alternative data to displace the three-digit number most lenders use, however. Credit scores still matter — a lot.

Lenders use credit scores to decide whether you get loans and credit cards, plus the rates you pay. Scores are also used to determine which apartments you can rent, which cell phone plans you can get and, in most states, how much you pay for auto and homeowners insurance.

In my latest for the Associated Press, why traditional, three-digit credit scores still matter.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Intern with a 401(k)? Here’s how to make it pay. Also in the news: 6 big ways credit can affect your life, helping your kid start a business, and a new game show pays off winner’s student loans.

Intern With a 401(k)? Here’s How to Make It Pay
Make long-term gains from short-term work.

6 Big Ways Your Credit Can Affect Your Life
Where you live, work, and play.

Can You Afford to Help Your Kid Start a Business?
Beyond the lemonade stand.

New game show ‘Paid Off’ offers chance to eliminate student loan debt
Welcome to 2018.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save money by thinking like a college student. Also in the news: What an average retirement costs, how soon should you worry about your credit, and how to budget for your kids’ summer vacation.

Save Money by Thinking Like a College Student
You can skip the ramen.

Let’s Get Real: What an Average Retirement Costs
Breaking down the numbers.

Ask Brianna: I’m 18. Should I Worry About My Credit Yet?
It’s never too soon.

How to Budget for Your Kids’ Summer Vacation
Summer can get very pricey.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways to build your credit in less than an hour. Also in the news: Investing in international stocks, why you should invest in the stock market even if it scares you, and where to find the best Memorial Day sales.

6 Ways to Build Your Credit in Less Than an Hour
60 minutes to better credit.

Investing in International Stocks: A Road Map
Diving into the international market.

Invest in the Stock Market, Even if It Scares You
Take a deep breath.

Where to Find the Best Memorial Day Sales
Find the best savings.

Q&A: Does a credit freeze hurt your credit scores?

Dear Liz: I implemented a credit freeze a few months ago. I’m wondering if that could prevent me from having credit scores. I understand that if you don’t use credit, your credit scores can basically go away. I don’t have any loans or a house payment. I do have a few credit cards, used often and paid in full monthly.

Am I at risk of my credit fading away because of neglect with the freeze in place?

Answer: You’ll continue to have credit scores as long as you keep using credit accounts that are reported to the major credit bureaus. The people who are at risk of having their credit die of neglect are the ones who stop using credit.

About 7 million people are considered “credit retired,” which means they no longer actively use credit enough to generate credit scores, according to credit scoring company FICO. Their histories are free from charge-offs and other negative marks that might indicate their lack of credit is involuntary, says Ethan Dornhelm, FICO’s vice president for scores and predictive analytics.

Being credit retired can be costly. People may be shut out of loans they want in the future, or may have to pay higher interest rates. A lack of scores could lead to higher insurance premiums, cellphone costs and utility deposits.

Keeping your credit scores alive is relatively easy — using a single credit card is enough. There’s no need to carry debt or pay interest. Just continue using the card lightly but regularly, and pay it off in full every month.

Your credit freezes will prevent new lenders from seeing your scores and opening new accounts in your name unless you thaw the freezes. Companies where you already have an account, however, will be able to see your reports and scores.

Don’t let your credit die of neglect

Certified financial planner David Rae says he used to think that “anyone who could draw breath” could get an auto loan. Then one of his millionaire clients tried to buy a car — and failed.

The 42-year-old client was turned down for a loan because he had no credit scores , says Rae, who is based in Los Angeles.

Nineteen million American adults are “unscoreable,” lacking enough recent credit history to generate credit scores, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They either have “thin” files, with too few accounts, or “stale” ones that haven’t been updated in a while. In my latest for the Associated Press, find out how having no scores can cost you.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 ways to curb your online shopping enthusiasm. Also in the news: 13 last-ditch ways to avoid the poorhouse in retirement, why you should freeze your child’s credit, and 8 inspirational stories of people who overcame debt.

4 Ways to Curb Your Online Shopping Enthusiasm
Back away from the mouse.

13 Last-Ditch Ways to Avoid the Poorhouse in Retirement
There’s still time.

Why You Should Freeze Your Child’s Credit
Identity theft starts early.

8 inspirational stories of people who overcame debt
Learning from those who have been there.