Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The benefits to joining a credit union. Also in the news:Image9 When to sign up for a financial advisor, apps that will make next year’s taxes easier, and how to build your credit from the ground up.

6 Perks You Can Get at a Credit Union
Free checking!

When To Sign Up A Financial Advisor
Knowing when it’s time.

10 Apps to Use Now to Make Taxes Easier Next Year
Help is just an app away.

6 Ways to Build Your Credit From the Ground Up
Needing credit to get credit.

6 Ways You’re Cheating on Your Budget
Removing your hand from the cookie jar.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

bigstock-U-s-Income-Tax-Return-Form-28476797-e1390508229663Today’s top story: How to finish your taxes before the deadline. Also in the news: How to file for a tax extension, when your employer can check your credit, and why you need to pay close attention to your parents’ financial advisors.

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Finishing Your Taxes
The clock is ticking.

How to File for an Extension
Buying some time.

When Can Employers Check Your Credit?
Far less often than you might think.

Hidden Dangers With Aging Parents’ Financial Advisors
Paying close attention is vital.

The Ultimate Tax Day Guide: Post Office Hours, Freebies and Expert Tax Refund Tips
Free shredding!

Q&A: Talking money before marriage

Dear Liz: My daughter is getting married in September. She recently confided that she and her fiance have never discussed their respective debts (if any), credit scores or financial goals. She is hesitant to bring this up with him but realizes it’s a discussion that needs to happen before they marry. I suggested they consider meeting with a financial counselor so they can have an honest talk about money as a practical matter rather than an emotional one. Would a fee-only financial planner be appropriate in this instance?

Answer: Absolutely. If you’d like, you could make a session with such a planner your engagement present to them.

Of course, they don’t need a professional to start talking about their financial situations. Presumably she knows him well enough by now to have some idea about how best to broach the topic. It could be as simple as “Hey, I was just paying some bills and I realized we probably should talk about our financial situations.”

A way to start the decision is to talk about dreams and goals. Would they like to raise a family? Buy a home? Start a business? Travel a lot? Retire early? All financial planning stems from knowing what your goals are, and then you can figure out how to achieve them. Your daughter shouldn’t be too worried if they aren’t on exactly the same financial page, since few couples are. What’s important at this stage is knowing what’s important to each person.

It can be trickier to talk about the present. Most people have made mistakes with money, and many have more debt and less savings than they’d like. Being a sympathetic listener and suspending judgment can go a long way toward putting a partner at ease in these discussions.

After they’ve had a few talks and feel comfortable, they probably should take a look at each other’s credit reports. Those would give them a fairly good idea of how much each person owes. That can help them understand roughly how much of the family budget will need to go toward retiring those debts and how much is available to achieve their goals.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Wills-in-TexasToday’s top story: Tips for writing your will. Also in the news: The most important thing to ask your financial advisor, how to spend the rest of your FSA money, and how to calculate your tax refund by checking out your pay stubs.

5 Tips for Writing Your Will
An unpleasant but absolutely necessary task.

The Most Important Question To Ask Your Financial Advisor
No, it’s not “can you make me rich?”

3 Tips to Use Remaining Health Flexible Spending Account Money
Don’t let your FSA money go to waste.

3 Ways to Calculate Your Tax Refund Using Your Pay Stub
Get a preview of next year’s bounty.

How to Stop Making Excuses and Finally Get Your Finances in Order
Excuses are for wimps.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

life isurance blank bar chart and glasesToday’s top story: Life insurance mistakes you must avoid. Also in the news: The gift tax, how to get better financial advice, and seven credit card strategies that can improve your credit.

Five Life Insurance Mistakes That Can Haunt You
These mistakes can be costly for both you and your loved ones.

Remember, Some Gifts Are Taxed
The gifts that keep on giving (and taking).

A Simple Tool for Getting Better Financial Advice
It’s about more than just your money.

7 Credit Card Strategies to Help Your Credit
Using your cards to give your credit a boost.

4 Great Ideas from Hanging Around with Financial Bloggers
Tips from those in the know.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

istockphoto-break-the-bankToday’s top story: How to build your financial flexibility. Also in the news: What to do before you take that walk down the aisle, how to save money using one of the internet’s biggest time vampires, and why caregivers need to enlist a financial advisor.

Downward Dog, Downward Debt: Building Your Financial Flexibility
No mat necessary.

What To Do Before You Say ‘I Do’
So that you don’t end up wishing you hadn’t.

How to Save Money With Pinterest
Your four thousand pins on six hundred boards could finally pay off!

Why Caregivers Should Enlist A Financial Advisor
The day-to-day care is difficult enough.

When to Spend Your Time Versus When to Spend Your Money
Both are valuable, but only one can’t be replaced.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

co-signer-penToday’s top story: How to trick yourself into saving money. Also in the news: Tips for mortgage borrowers, why you should read bank reviews, and when to consider hiring a financial planner.

5 Clever Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving More Money
You won’t feel a thing.

Top 10 Tips for Mortgage Borrowers in 2014
How to get through the year managing your mortgage.

You’re More Likely to Read Reviews for Restaurants Than for Banks
And that’s a problem.

5 Reasons to Consider Hiring a Financial Advisor
You don’t have to go it alone.

Can You Get Out of a Loan You Co-Signed?
Don’t bet on it.

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.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should real estate be a part of your retirement plan? Also in the news: How to avoid resetting the mortgage clock, finding the right financial advisor, and how to manage erratic prescription drug costs. Offering Advice

How Real Estate Fits Into Your Retirement
The risks and rewards of including real estate in your retirement plan.

How to Refinance Without Resetting the Mortgage Clock
Don’t turn the clock back 30 years.

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Financial Advisor
Making sure you find the right person to serve your financial interests.

The Zig-Zag Pricing of Prescription Drugs
What to do with erratic prescription costs.

Are credit cards more expensive now?
How did the CARD Act affect what’s in your wallet?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Credit Check 1Today’s top story: How to avoid the worst credit cards of 2013. Also in the news: A new debt collection law, five things you should ask your financial advisor, and three investing mistakes retirees must avoid at all costs.

How To Avoid The Worst Credit Cards Of 2013
Easy credit can come at a gigantic price.

A New Debt Collection Law: What It Means for You
If you live in California, debt collection just became more consumer friendly.

5 Things You Should Ask Your Financial Advisor
Determining if your financial advisor is a good fit for your situation.

3 Investing Mistakes Retirees Must Avoid At All Costs
What to do in order to protect your lifelong earnings.

How social media ruin insurance claims
Not everything requires a status update.