Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Victim of ‘Divorce Season’? Protect Your Finances. Also in the news: Mixing up these student loan terms could cost you, why deductions aren’t the only way to save on real estate taxes, and why you still need to cut up your canceled credit cards.

Victim of ‘Divorce Season’? Protect Your Finances
March and August are bad months for marriage.

Mixing Up These Student Loan Terms Could Cost You
Know your student loan vocabulary.

Deductions Aren’t the Only Way to Save on Real Estate Taxes
Alternative tax incentives.

Do You Still Need to Cut Up Your Canceled Credit Cards?
Get the scissors.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Creating a budget isn’t as scary as it sounds. Also in the news: How filing separately could give some couples a lower tax bill, the history of the credit card, and how to protect your family business during a divorce.

Creating a Budget Isn’t as Scary as It Sounds
Taking the first step.

Filing Separately Could Give Some Couples a Lower Tax Bill
When it makes sense to file separately.

The History of the Credit Card
The origins of our favorite plastic.

How to protect your family business during a divorce
Protecting a legacy.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 things you should know about the Dow hitting 20,000. Also in the news: Starting 2017 with a financial cleanse, how to protect your finances during a divorce, and tax-preparation tips for early birds.

3 Things You Should Know About the Dow Hitting 20,000
Breaking the 20K mark.

Start 2017 With a Financial Cleanse
Resetting your financial baseline.

4 Ways to Protect Your Finances During a Divorce
Protecting yourself during a difficult time.

January Tax-Preparation Tips for Early Birds
Getting an early start.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

stack-of-billsToday’s top story: Trump’s student loan repayment play vs. Obama’s REPAYE. Also in the news: What to do if you’re rejected for a checking account, how divorce can affect your credit score, and how easing your financial stress could help you live longer.

Trump’s Student Loan Repayment Plan vs. Obama’s REPAYE
Understanding the differences.

Can’t Get a Checking Account? Don’t Give Up, Get Moving
Doing the repair work.

3 Ways Divorce Can Affect Your Credit Score
Be prepared.

Don’t Let Money Worries Shorten Your Life
Easing your financial stress could help you live longer.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

twrmn81mopj80nvlk4zqToday’s top story: Manage your debt for a smoother divorce. Also in the news: Giving your child the gift of stocks, how to donate credit card points and miles to charity, and six ways to make the most of your holiday bonus.

Manage Your Debt for a Smoother Divorce
Making a difficult situation a bit easier.

Give Your Child the Gift of Stocks
The gift that keeps on giving.

How to Donate Credit Card Points, Miles or Cash Back to Charity
Put those forgotten miles to good use.

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Holiday Bonus
Stretching it out.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

phone-scammerToday’s top story: How to tell if that IRS tax collection call is fake. Also in the news: Strategies to maximize your child’s financial aid eligibility, how to lower your cell phone bill, and how to prevent a divorce from ruining your finances.

7 Ways to Tell If That IRS Tax Collections Call Is Fake
Don’t get duped.

Strategies to Maximize Your Child’s Financial Aid Eligibility
Increasing your odds.

4 Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
The telecoms are rich enough.

10 Ways to Prevent a Divorce From Ruining Your Finances
Protecting what’s yours.

Q&A: Removing a quit-claim house mortgage from your credit

Dear Liz: I recently divorced and quit-claimed my house over to my ex-wife. She has been making all the payments on time but the mortgage still shows up on my credit. Because of this, I can’t borrow as it is considered my indebtedness still. Do you know of anyway of having it expunged from my credit reports?

Answer: She will have to refinance the mortgage in her own name to get you off the loan. The contract you signed with the lender otherwise remains in force and isn’t affected by the divorce agreement.

It’s good that she’s making payments on time, since a single skipped payment could trash your credit scores.

It’s unfortunate your attorney didn’t advise you of the consequences of quit-claiming the property while remaining on the mortgage. It’s rarely a good idea to give up an asset while keeping the liability. A better approach is to separate your credit before the divorce is final. That means closing all joint accounts and transferring the debt to separate accounts in the name of the person who will be responsible for the payments. If your ex wasn’t able to get approved for a refinance, the house could have been sold so that you wouldn’t be on the hook indefinitely.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways you’re sabotaging your mortgage preapproval. Also in the news: the top 10 car buying apps, how to keep from going broke when you get divorced, and your financial to-do list for September.

Stop! 6 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Mortgage Preapproval
Stop it!

10 Top Car-Buying Apps
Savings at your fingertips.

6 ways to keep from going broke when you get divorced
Protecting your finances during a difficult time.

Your September Financial To-Do List
New season, new tasks.

Q&A: Divorced, and in debt

Dear Liz: I recently got divorced and found myself in about $50,000 of credit card debt. While I’m struggling to slowly pay off this debt, I do have some money saved in a tax-sheltered annuity as well as a small Roth IRA. Should I use those, take a personal loan or file for bankruptcy?

Answer: A good rule of thumb is to leave retirement money alone for retirement. Early withdrawals can trigger taxes and penalties that eat up one quarter to one half of what you take out. You can always withdraw your contributions tax free from a Roth, but any earnings can trigger taxes and penalties. The biggest cost, though, is the loss of future tax-deferred compounding that can equal 10 times or more of what you take out.

If your credit is good, low-rate balance transfer offers could help you lower the interest rate on your debt so you can pay it off faster. A personal loan from a credit union, your bank or an online lender could work if it offers a low, fixed rate and a repayment term of five years or less.

If you can’t pay this debt off within five years, then you should talk to both a credit counselor (visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org) and a bankruptcy attorney (referrals from the National Assn. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys at www.nacba.org).

Friday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: Why debt-to-income ratio matter when buying a house. Also in the news: Crucial insurance changed to make after divorce, how to manage your finances when you’re separated, and a bill in congress that would remove credit report strikes after four years.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Matters When You’re Buying a House
How to improve your DTI.

5 Crucial Insurance Changes After Divorce
Things to address immediately.

Managing Your Finances When You’re Separated
You may be apart, but your money is still together.

This Bill in Congress Would Remove Credit Report Strikes After Four Years
Significant changes could be ahead.