Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What’s love got to do with a Roth IRA? Also in the news: Are you ready for a joint bank account, why America needs black-owned banks, and 3 health insurance tax benefits you can get in 2017.

What’s Love Got to Do With a Roth IRA?
Saving for the golden years.

Two Hearts, One Bank Account: Are You Ready?
Ready to take the big step?

Why America Needs Black-Owned Banks
Honoring history.

3 health insurance tax benefits you can get in 2017
Maximizing your savings.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Pile of Credit CardsToday’s top story: The best credit card tips for January. Also in the news: Less than one month left to shop for Obamacare, how to spend more mindfully in the new year, and what research says about erasing credit card debt.

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for January 2017
How you can make 2017 better than 2016.

Less Than One Month Left for ‘Obamacare’ Shoppers
The deadline is Jan. 31st.

How to Spend More Mindfully in the New Year
Paying closer attention.

What research says about erasing credit card debt
Following the best path.

Q&A: Claiming an adult child as a dependent

Dear Liz: I am paying rent for my adult son in another state. He gets occasional help from various services, but if I don’t want him to sleep on the street, I have to pay his rent and send some emergency food. I don’t see this changing. Can I claim him as a dependent or would that make me responsible for his health insurance, which I cannot afford?

Answer: Yes, you would be responsible for your son’s health insurance coverage if you claimed him as a dependent, said Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner with Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Fla. That would mean either paying for coverage or paying the fine for not having coverage. The fine for 2016 is $695 per adult or 2.5% of your household adjusted gross income, whichever is greater. The penalty is capped at $2,085, which is likely much more than what you’d save with an additional exemption. If you’re in the 25% tax bracket, a $4,050 personal exemption is worth a little over $1,000.

The IRS has many rules about dependents, and standards for claiming adult children are much higher when they’re over 19 (or over 24 for full-time students). To qualify, your son would have to earn less than the amount of the personal exemption ($4,050 in 2016) and you must have provided more than half of his support, among other rules. The IRS has an interactive tool to help people determine dependents’ eligibility at https://www.irs.gov/uac/who-can-i-claim-as-a-dependent.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Pile of Credit CardsToday’s top story: How to choose your second credit card. Also in the news: How home insurance can cover your holiday disasters, how Affordable Care Act plans could change in 2017, and how to calculate how long it’ll take you to get out of the debt.

How to Choose Your Second Credit Card
Finding a card that compliments your spending habits.

No Need to Pout: Home Insurance Can Cover That Holiday Disaster
Saving you from becoming The Grinch.

How Affordable Care Act Marketplace Insurance Plans Will Change in 2017
A new administration could bring big changes.

How Long It Will Take to Get Out of Debt, Depending on Your Monthly Payment
Calculating your escape date.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: How to choose the right amount for your FSA in 2017. Also in the news: The best and worst airports for holiday travel, the pros and cons of free money from a bank, and how long it will take to retire based on your spending.

How to Choose the Right Amount for Your FSA in 2017
Finding the amount that’s right for you.

Best and Worst Airports for Holiday Travel 2016
Preparing for holiday travel madness.

Should you turn down free money from a bank?
Considering the variables.

This Grid Shows You How Long It Will Take to Retire, Based on Your Spending
How many years left to go?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

wall_street_zombie_moneyToday’s top story: Frightening types of 401(k) fees. Also in the news: It’s time for open enrollment, how to avoid bringing zombie debt back from the grave, and the staggering amount of money behind all things pumpkin.

3 Frightening Types of 401(k) Fees
The dark side of retirement funds.

Nov. 1 Means It’s Time for Health Insurance Open Enrollment
Time to purchase health insurance.

1 wrong move can bring ‘zombie’ debt back from the grave

If you thought the pumpkin spice craze was a bit much, look at this number
Pumpkins are a smashing success.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

emergency-fund-1940x900_36282Today’s top story: When to ditch your state’s health insurance exchange. Also in the news: Tailgating blunders your insurance will pay for, how to handle unexpected financial disasters, and how much next year’s Social Security cost of living increase will be.

When to Ditch Your State’s Health Insurance Exchange
When to look off of the exchanges.

5 Football Tailgating Blunders Insurance Will Pay For
Accidentally grill your car? You’re covered!

No Savings, No Backup Plan, No Fairy Godmother: How to Handle a Financial Disaster
This is why you need an emergency fund.

Next year’s Social Security raise? Less than $4 a month
Lowering your expectations.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

o-BOOMERANG-KIDS-facebookToday’s top story: Why not all debt is bad. Also in the news: An explanation of benefits from your health coverage, why your boomerang kid may be sabotaging your retirement, and why it’s time to have the talk about estate planning.

Not All Debt Is Bad
Debt is getting a bad rap.

Check Your Health Coverage With an Explanation of Benefits
Understanding what you’re entitled to.

Everybody Dies. It’s Time to Have the Talk
Avoiding financial disaster.

Your boomerang kid may be sabotaging your retirement
The Bank of Mom and Dad.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

North-Dakota-Oil-BoomToday’s top story: Habits that can help you build good credit. Also in the news: Lessons from the oil boom and bust, replacing your financial adviser, and how to prepare for the new Obamacare tax form.

4 Habits That Can Help You Build Good Credit
Getting in the habit of building credit.

Five personal finance lessons from the oil boom and bust
What you can learn from the volitaile oil market.

Should You Replace Your Financial Adviser In 2016?
How to tell if you’re getting your money’s worth.

Are you prepared for new Obamacare tax forms?
New year, new tax form.

Q&A: Health insurance subsidies

Dear Liz: We’re living on a very tight budget and often have to put groceries and unexpected expenses on a credit card that’s in my husband’s name only. I have no personal income. My husband is on Medicare, but I’m too young to qualify and need to find low- or no-cost healthcare, (I haven’t had any insurance since 2007.) They are using my husband’s total income and coming up with high rates that are supposed to be lowered by tax credit, but we don’t pay income tax because our income is too low. Should they be using what the IRS considers our income to be? Or could I apply using my zero personal income?

Answer:
By “they,” you presumably mean a health insurance marketplace where you shopped for policies offered by private insurers. HealthCare.gov is the federal marketplace and many states, including California, offer their own. When you shop for a policy through a marketplace, you can qualify for subsidies that can dramatically lower the cost of your coverage.

This subsidy, also known as a premium tax credit, is based on your household income, not your individual income. The tax credit is refundable, which means you get it whether or not you owe federal income taxes, and you can opt to have the subsidy paid in advance to the health insurer to lower your premiums. You don’t have to wait until you file your taxes to get the money back.

You’ll want to act quickly, though, because the penalty for not having coverage is rising. The penalty for 2016 is the greater of $695 per adult or 2.5% of income. You still have a short window to avoid that hit: The enrollment deadline is Jan. 31.