Friday’s need-to-know money news

crop380w_istock_000009258023xsmall-dbet-ball-and-chainToday’s top story: How to decide which debts you should pay off first. Also in the news: Financial topics you should never discuss at work, a key tax move you need to check before the end of the year, and how to offer financial advice to your adult kids.

Which Debts Should You Pay Off First?
How to develop a strategic pay off plan.

3 Financial Topics You Should Never Discuss at Work
Keep these conversations off-limits.

Don’t Let December End Without Looking at This Key Tax Move
Preparing for 2015 taxes.

How to Offer Financial Advice to Your Adult Child
Approaching a difficult conversation.

Plan Out a Year of Life as a Retiree To Jump-Start Your Saving
Giving your savings a boost in the right direction.

4 In 5 Millennials Optimistic For Future, But Half Live Paycheck To Paycheck
A look at the financial lives of millennials.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to get the most from your credit card rewards program. Also in the news: What to consider before moving, when to work with a financial adviser, and why low interest rates on student loans are becoming a thing of past.

Maximizing Credit Card Rewards: 5 Ways to Earn Big
Making your credit card work for you.

What Every Retiree Should Consider Before a Move
Consider these before buying boxes and duct tape.

Personal Financial Planning: Do It Yourself or Go With a Pro?
Is it time to bring in the big guns?

Federal Student Loan Interest Rates Heading Up
The days of low interest rates are a thing of the past.

How Much Does a $20K Car Loan Really Cost You?
Buckle up.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Consolidating you debt when you have bad credit. Also in the news: Maximizing child tax credits, what to do in your 20’s to protect your financial future, and the importance of verifying personal finance advice.

Can You Consolidate Your Debt With Bad Credit?
You might need a backup plan.

Are You Missing Out On These 11 Kid-Centric Tax Breaks?
Wringing every penny out of your kid at tax time.

5 Things You Must Do in Your 20s to Protect Your Financial Future
Goals, goals, goals.

Trust But Verify Personal Finance Advice (Huffington Post)
Only you can protect your money.

Study Finds Many of Us Still Lack Basic Personal Finance Skills
And that’s a big problem.

Advisors to women: Don’t quit

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWomen with young children often discover that child care costs eat up much of what they earn. If they’re married to a big earner in a high tax bracket, they could lose most of the rest of their wages to high marginal tax rates.

But advising them to quit working is short sighted, two Certified Financial Planners suggest in the most recent issue of the Journal of Financial Planning.

Jerry A. Miccolis and Marina Goodman note in “Advising Married Women on Investing–in Themselves” (may be restricted to FPA member access only) that child care costs usually drop when the kids enter school while the mother’s income typically rises over time. Stopping out, meanwhile, often leads to lower lifetime earnings. The authors suggest women view those early years, when they’re working for not much financial gain, as an investment in their future–sort of an extended internship, if you will. They write:

“[W]ork experience leads to career advancement, which could have a quantum-level impact on her financial future. Say a woman spends five years working while getting no financial benefit due to taxes and child care costs. Her youngest then enters school and suddenly child care costs plummet. After five years of experience, she may get promoted and now her income may be $75,000. If, instead, she was just starting out at that point, she would be earning $50,000. (We’re ignoring inflation in this simple example—it would, of course, merely magnify the effects.) The difference is not $25,000. It is more like being an entire professional level higher for the next 30 years. Over the course of a career it can be the difference between middle management and eventually being in the C-suite.”

The authors note that “A woman’s ability to earn a decent salary is the most comprehensive insurance policy she can have.” Staying employed, even part time, and keeping up any professional credentials can help her family if her partner loses a job, becomes disabled or suffers a business setback. It can also be an insurance policy for her in the far greater risk of divorce:

“Even among upper-income families, many women would still experience a significant decline in lifestyle upon divorce, especially if they have no means of supporting themselves. The risk that a woman will get divorced is greater than the sum of the risks of her husband’s premature death, disability, or just about any other financial catastrophe all put together.”

This information may be most relevant for the kinds of women financial planners are most likely to advise: college-educated women with careers, rather than jobs. The price for stopping out may be less if you’re in a low-wage, low-skilled job rather than one where significant financial advances are possible. But any parent contemplating time away from work should be looking at the longer term financial picture, and those who choose to stay home should make sure they have significant savings to help offset their greater financial vulnerability.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to protect yourself during online transactions. Also in the news: Finding financial help when you’re not wealthy, saving money at the gas pump, and how to tell if your financial dreams are based in reality.

4 Tips for Secure Online Transactions
Protecting yourself while shopping online.

How to Find a Financial Advisor If You’re Not Rich
You don’t need to be loaded in order to get advice.

3 Secrets to Saving Money at the Pump
Following these tips could save you almost $500 a year.

Financial Goals: How To Tell If Yours Are Truly Realistic
Keeping your head out of the clouds.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Five pieces of personal finance advice from those in the know. Also in the news: Renting with bad credit, how to raise cash in an emergency, and when to admit your finances are out of control. Offering Advice

5 Pieces of Personal Finance Advice From Successful People
Listening to the experts.

How to Rent With Bad Credit
A low credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t rent.

Ways to Raise Cash You Haven’t Thought Of
Tips on how to handle financial emergencies.

7 Warning Signs Your Finances Are Out of Order
When to admit you have a problem.

5 things you’ll pay less for in 2014
Cheaper gas could be on the way.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The key factors to getting the lowest mortgage rate. Also in the news: Personal finance trends for 2014, how to make teaching your kids about money fun, and what you can do to make good financial decisions all day long. girlcoins

The Most Important Factors to Getting the Lowest Mortgage Rate
Your credit score is key.

5 personal finance trends to expect in 2014
Mortgage rates will begin to slowly increase.

Making Financial Literacy Fun
Teaching your kids about money doesn’t have to be torture.

5 Ways to Make Good Money Choices All Day Long
Daily reminders can be a big help.

10 money lessons from elderly Americans
Advice from those who have seen it all.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Understanding your credit reports. Also in the news: Sticking to your financial resolutions, the pros and cons of money apps, and confessing your deep, dark money secrets to your financial advisor. Offering Advice

How to Read Your Credit Reports
How to make sure you’re finding any and all errors.

The 3 Pitfalls Likely To Derail Your Financial Resolutions
Steeling your resolve and avoiding money traps.

Are Apps Helping or Hurting Your Finances?
Could your savings apps cause you to spend more money instead of less?

3 Big Secrets You Should Tell Your Financial Advisor
They’ve seen and heard it all.

5 Tips for Preparing for 2014 Taxes
Time to start getting your paperwork in order.

Great money books to get or give

Christmas shopping woman holding giftsDonna Freedman was kind enough to include a couple of my books in her recent post, “The gift of personal finance,” which made me realize that there was an unusually good crop of money tomes that appeared this year.

I’m delighted to recommend the following for anyone who’s interested in making the most of his or her money:

The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese,” by Brian J. O’Connor. How often do you laugh out loud when reading a personal finance book? Brian is flat-out hilarious, and his ultimately-successful efforts to trim his family’s spending are both entertaining and educational.
Confessions of a Credit Junkie: Everything You Need to Know to Avoid the Mistakes I Made” by Beverly Harzog. I wrote the forward to this book because its author’s message is so important: that you can bounce back from a credit disaster without forsaking plastic for the rest of your life.
The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement: How to Save Your Future Today” by Mary Hunt. Mary is best known for her Debt-Proof Living website and her books about saving money (which always teach me a thing or two). She brings her trademark approachable style to the often scary and sometimes complex world of retirement savings. She offers wisdom, practical ideas and hope to those who may be struggling with how to make their retirement dreams come true.
I’ll have more recommendations in the coming days. Stay tuned!

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to avoid charity scams. Also in the news: Money lessons from retirees, money-saving tips for travelers, and how a grandparents’ gift for college could ruin a student’s financial aid.

4 Ways to Avoid Charity Scams
Protecting your empathy from being preyed upon.

5 Financial Lessons from Retirees
Voices of experience.

3 Smart Money-Saving Tips For Your Travels
More money for souvenirs!

Grandparents’ 529 College Distributions Can Be a Ticking Time Bomb
A loving gesture which could ruin a student’s financial aid.

Laid Off? 5 Tips To Get Back On Your Feet
How not to become complacent during a layoff.