Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

847_interestrates1Today’s top story: The everyday things that are hurting your credit. Also in the news: Whipping your 401(k) into shape, how to cope with low interest rates, and the ten best places to retire on Social Security alone.

5 Everyday Things That Hurt Your Credit
Your furry best friend could be trouble.

How to Whip Your 401(k) Into Shape
Unlocking your 401(k)’s full potential.

4 Strategies for Coping with Low Interest Rates
Counteract low interest rates by avoiding risky investments.

10 Best Places to Retire on Social Security Alone
The locations may surprise you.

8 secrets to building a budget you can live with
Budgeting doesn’t have to be painful.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

847_interestrates1Today’s top story: The importance of understanding interest rates. Also in the news: Protecting your identity while shopping online, the pros and cons of retirement annuities, and what you should ask before paying your medical bills.

Misunderstood Money Math: Why Interest Matters More Than You Think
Understanding the complicated world of interest rates.

8 Ways to Protect Your Identity While Online Shopping
While you’re shopping for deals, hackers are shopping for you.

Who Benefits From Retirement Annuities
The pros and cons of a retirement annuity.

6 Questions You Should Ask Before Paying Any Medical Bill
Analyze every single penny.

The Right Way to Tap Your IRA in Retirement
RMDs can trip you up.

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.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Making sense of your credit report. Also in the news: Protecting your credit cards from data theft, four bills you may be able to eliminate in 2014, and the benefits of joining a credit union.The hacker

The 5 Most Confusing Things on Your Credit Report
Unlocking the mysteries of your credit report.

How to Protect Your Credit Card from a Data Breach
Don’t let your credit become a target.

You May Be Able to Eliminate these 4 Bills
Not everything needs to be insured.

The Benefits of Joining a Credit Union
Lower fees and higher interest rates.

How To Profit From Gift Cards, Pay It Forward With Frequent Flier Miles
Don’t let unwanted gift cards collect dust.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Choosing the best credit card. Also in the news: Financial predictions for 2014, financial resolutions for Millennials, and how to manage ballooning credit card debt.

Which credit card is the best?
Don’t get sucked in by perks you’ll never use.

3 Financial Predictions For 2014 That Will Be Good For Your Wallet
Credit scores are about to become more realistic.

Nine Financial Resolutions For Millennials
How to start 2014 off right.

Manage Ballooning Credit Card Debt
What to do when that 0% interest rate runs out.

A Little-Known Credit Card Perk That Can Save You Big
Disputing charges is much easier when you’ve used a credit card.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Chevy VoltPreparing for rising interest rates, making your charitable donations go further, and why having extra liability coverage is essential.

Extra liability coverage is cheap, cheap, cheap
Buying as much car insurance as humanly possible is essential.

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Personal Finances
Simple things you can do to take control.

Charitable Donation Tips for Boomers
Establishing a charitable plan can make your donations go further.

Top 10 fastest-growing jobs in the U.S.
Thinking of changing careers? Try one of these.

How to Prepare for Rising Interest Rates
After years of record lows, the party is almost over.

Adjustable mortgage poses risks

Dear Liz: Should my retired wife (age 74) and I (age 78) refinance our home just to lower our monthly payment by $100? I’m considering going for a five-year fixed at 2.74% followed by a 25-year variable. Our outstanding loans amount to $200,000. The value of our home has decreased to $400,000. My wife is fearful of the 25-year variable.

Answer: As she should be. According to mortality tables, she’d have to live with it longer than you will.

You two are old enough to remember the double-digit inflation of the 1970s and the havoc that wreaked. If inflation like that (or anything close) were to return, your mortgage payment could quickly become unaffordable.

Economists are concerned that all the cash that’s been pumped into the economy to fight the downturn could spark inflation if growth resumes. Too much cash chasing too few goods is what traditionally has led to serious inflation.

In any case, lenders know that today’s record low interest rates won’t last. That’s why they’re so eager to push loans that will become variable at some point — so that the borrowers will be the ones to shoulder the interest rate risk.

Some borrowers can take that risk, but they tend to be younger folks whose incomes are also likely to rise if inflation returns. For people on fixed incomes, the math really doesn’t work.

Do yourself and your wife a favor. If your current loan has a fixed rate, stay with what you have. If it doesn’t, consider refinancing to one that does.