Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Ditching debt while budgeting for a baby. Also in the news: What to do if Hurricane Florence hits your home and/or mortgage, five people who are crushing student debt, and what you can learn from the last financial crisis to help you with the next.

How I Ditched Debt: Changing Habits, Budgeting for a Baby
A shift in priorities.

What to Do If Hurricane Florence Hits Your Home, Mortgage
The Category 4 storm is heading towards the Carolinas.

Meet 5 People Who Are Crushing Student Debt
Tips from the masters.

Here’s what you can learn from the last financial crisis that will help you with the next
Planning ahead.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do if Hurricane Florence hits your home, mortgage. Also in the news: How to choose a college major with loan debt in mind, the pros and cons of product subscriptions, and the 10 cities where Millennials have the most debt.

What to Do If Hurricane Florence Hits Your Home, Mortgage
Things to do immediately.

Razors, Makeup, Hot Sauce — You Can Subscribe to Almost Anything. But Should You?
Are the discounts truly worth it?

These 10 Cities Are Where Millennials Have The Most Debt
San Antonio leads the way.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 ways to get a sales price when there isn’t a sale. Also in the news: What to buy and skip in September, why your kid’s after-school job may mean tax homework for you, and why your credit card debt is worse than your mortgage debt.

4 Ways to Get a Sale Price When There Isn’t a Sale
It can be as simple as just asking for one.

What to Buy (and Skip) in September
Skip the televisions.

Your Kid’s After-School Job May Mean Tax Homework for You
When to file a return.

Your Credit Card Debt Is Worse Than Your Mortgage Debt
The difference between good and bad debt.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Plug into your car’s computer to save money and drive safer. Also in the news: How to reset retirement plans to weather a downturn, the easiest way to earn 6,000 Rapid Rewards point, and why you should pay off all of your debt before investing in stocks.

Plug Into Your Car’s Computer toonboardney, Drive Safer
Your on-board computer can tell you a lot about your driving habits.

How to Reset Retirement Plans to Weather a Downturn
Making the adjustments.

Quite Possibly the Easiest Way to Earn 6,000 Rapid Rewards Points
All it takes is a newsletter.

Pay off all your debt before investing in stocks
Credit card debt is the worst.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 simple things anyone can do to stay out of debt. Also in the news: Summer is the perfect time for a financial checkup, how to ace back-to-school shopping, and how stashing receipts saved one man over $1000 in 7 months.

3 Simple Things Anyone Can Do to Stay Out of Debt
Knowing your limits.

Summer Is the Perfect Time for a Financial Checkup
Checking your financial health.

Ace Back-to-School Shopping With 6 Smart Moves
Starting the school year off right.

How stashing receipts saved one man over a $1,000 in 7 months
Hold on to every single one.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Home loans with 3% down. Also in the news: How one man paid off nearly $100K in debt, a travel rewards bucket list, and the possibilities of postal banking.

HomeReady and Home Possible: Loans With 3% Down for 2018
You’ll need a good credit score.

How I Ditched Debt: Smart Solutions for ‘Stupidest Decision’
How one man paid off nearly $100K in five years.

Travel Rewards Bucket List: Showering on a Plane
Hope the water pressure is good.

What Is Postal Banking?
New legislation could add banking services to your local post office.

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.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Managing debt in retirement takes some planning. Also in the news: Why your credit score means both everything and nothing, 5 ways to save on energy during the dog days of summer, and what the Dept. of Ed’s proposed new rules on debt forgiveness requirements means.

Managing Debt in Retirement Takes Some Planning
What you can do to still retire comfortably.

Your Credit Score Means Everything — and Nothing
Don’t be afraid to look.

5 Ways to Save Energy During the Dog Days of Summer
Baby, it’s hot outside.

What the Department of Ed’s Proposed New Rules on Debt Forgiveness Requirements Mean for You
Rules are tightening up.

Managing Debt in Retirement Takes Some Planning

Owing money in retirement isn’t ideal — but most people do.

Seventy percent of U.S. households headed by people ages 65 to 74 had at least some debt in 2016, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances. So did half of those 75 and older.

Paying debt usually gets more difficult on a fixed income. Mortgage debt, especially, can be a huge burden in retirement. Retirees may have to withdraw larger amounts from their retirement funds to cover payments on debt, which can trigger higher tax bills and increase the chances they’ll run short of money.

People have the most options to deal with debt if they create a plan before they retire, financial planners say. Refinancing a mortgage, for example, is usually less of a hassle while people are still employed. It’s also typically easier to generate the extra income that may be needed to pay off debt.

“It is much easier to keep working for another year or two than to try and come back into the workforce when they are older and the employer needs have changed,” says Linda Farinola, a certified financial planner in Princeton, N.J.

In my latest for the Associated Press, three loans to consider before you stop working.

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.