Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to know if paying for money advice is paying off. Also in the news: 5 inconvenient truths about real estate agents, the 10 fastest-growing metro areas, and Millennials are loading up on personal loans.

How to Know If Paying for Money Advice Is Paying Off
Calculating your return on investment.

5 Inconvenient Truths About Real Estate Agents
What to know before hiring one.

Home Affordability Watch: The 10 Fastest-Growing Metro Areas
The 10 fastest-growing metro areas, ranked from most to least affordable.

Not just student loans: Millennials are also loading up on this kind of debt
Personal loans are a favorite of this generation.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How not to inherit Mom’s timeshare. Also in the news: Why bundling insurance doesn’t automatically mean savings, why your financial advisor has a financial advisor, and 12 documents to prepare now for your heirs.

How Not to Inherit Mom’s Timeshare
Limiting liability.

Will You Save Money Bundling Insurance? Not Always
When bundling isn’t saving.

Why Your Financial Advisor Has a Financial Advisor
Even experts need experts.

12 Documents to Prepare Now for Your Heirs
Making a difficult time easier.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why your financial advisor has a financial advisor. Also in the news: Is a rent-to-own home right for you, what really matters with your first credit card, and why FICO credit scores are now at their highest levels ever.

Why Your Financial Advisor Has a Financial Advisor
Taking off the blinders.

Is a Rent-to-Own Home Right for You?
The pros and cons.

What Really Matters With Your First Credit Card
Knowing the basics.

FICO credit scores are now at their highest levels ever … here’s why
The average score is now 704.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why your parents’ money guru may not be right for you. Also in the news: Home loans with 3% down for 2018, what hotel credit card upgrades mean for your bottom line, and how the student loan grace period works.

Your Parents’ Money Guru May Not Be Right for You
Striking out on your own.

HomeReady and Home Possible: Loans With 3% Down for 2018
What you need to know.

What Hotel Credit Card Upgrades Mean for Your Bottom Line
Sweet new perks.

How the Student Loan Grace Period Works
Interest will still accrue.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Summer is the perfect time for a financial checkup. Also in the news: Why your parents’ money guru may not be right for you, how to get ready for the next recession now, and what you don’t know – but should know – about how your financial advisor is paid.

Summer Is the Perfect Time for a Financial Checkup
A great time to get back on track.

Your Parents’ Money Guru May Not Be Right for You
Your goals may be different.

How to Get Ready for the Next Recession Now
Preparing for the worst.

What you don’t know – but should – about how your financial advisor is paid
Beware of conflicts of interest.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t let your love of logos become a financial faux pas. Also in the news: No-sweat solutions to save money on car fixes, what it’s like to use a financial advisor, and overlooking a risk in your home could cost you nearly $10,000.

Don’t Let Your Love of Logos Become a Financial Faux Pas
A pricey new trend.

5 No-Sweat Solutions to Save Money on Car Fixes
Break out the toolbox.

What’s It Like to Use a Financial Advisor?
Help for planning your financial future.

Overlooking this risk in your home could cost you nearly $10,000
Don’r drown in bills.

Q&A: What to do when a financial advisor doesn’t act in your best interests

Dear Liz: I hired a fee-only financial advisor a year ago. The advisor’s firm also included a CPA who prepared my 2017 tax return.

My tax liability was 100% more than what I paid via my W-2 withholding because the advisor traded constantly, incurring short-term capital gains. He authorized 45 trades in a three-month period. My capital gains for 2017 were more than I have ever earned annually in my 40-plus years of filing returns, yet the overall gain in my account was negligible.

I am 67 and soon to be retired. I do not believe he was acting in my best interests as his client. Is there any action I can take?

Answer: If you’re considering legal action, you’ll need to consult an attorney. If you want to take your beef to a regulatory agency, you can start by contacting the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Just because an advisor is fee-only does not mean he or she is competent or is a fiduciary (someone who is legally required to put your best interests first). Most advisors are held to a lower standard of “suitability,” which basically means their recommendations can’t be unsuitable, given the client’s situation.

Giving an advisor authority to make trades in your account is risky business. When you don’t know an advisor well, it’s better to start with a non-discretionary account that requires your approval for any trades.

If the advisor earns your trust, you can consider switching to a discretionary account that allows trading — but first you should have an investment plan that makes clear, in writing, what your goals for the account are, what investments are appropriate and how often the advisor expects to make trades.

Most people are best served by passive investment strategies that seek to minimize fees and match various market benchmarks. Attempting to beat the market with frequent trading is usually futile, and costly. That’s especially true in taxable accounts because short-term capital gains are taxed at regular income tax rates, while investments held long term can qualify for lower capital gains rates.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Fighting auto loan bias, despite Congress. Also in the news: What you should tell your financial advisor, how much you should spend on a Mother’s Day gift, and why you shouldn’t pay anyone to help with your student loans.

You Can Fight Auto Loan Bias, Despite Congress’ Reversal
Preapprovals are key.

What You Should Tell Your Financial Advisor
Everything they need to know.

How Much Should You Spend on a Mother’s Day Gift?
Making Mom happy.

Don’t Pay Anyone to ‘Help’ You With Your Student Loans
Beware of scams.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How much you should contribute to an IRA and how often. Also in the news: Creating a meaningful financial plan, what you should tell your financial advisor, and how to avoid drunk shopping binges.

How Much Should I Contribute to an IRA — and How Often?
Establishing a schedule.

Ask Why, Not What for a Meaningful Financial Plan
Setting the tone.

What You Should Tell Your Financial Advisor
Important information to share.

How to Avoid Drunk Shopping Binges
Valuable advice.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How your money story can help you break free. Also in the news: Why you should freeze your child’s credit, 4 things that could make you a target for a tax audit, and what happens if you don’t pay a debt.

How Your Money Story Can Help You Break Free
Going way back to the beginning.

Why You Should Freeze Your Child’s Credit
Even children can be victim’s of identity theft.

4 Things That Could Make You a Target for a Tax Audit
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Debt?
Nothing good.