Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Bucking tradition at your wedding can help you save money. Also in the news: How schools can teach kids to be smart consumers, what to buy (and skip) in April, and how to save for retirement without a 401(k).

Engaged? Bucking Tradition Can Help You Save Big
Thinking outside the box.

How Schools Can Teach Kids To Be Smart Consumers
Learning lifelong skills.

What to Buy (and Skip) in April
Be careful with that refund.

How to save for retirement without a 401(k)
Options for the self-employed.

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.

How schools can teach kids to be smart consumers

Most financial literacy efforts in schools don’t improve people’s behavior later in life. That could be because we’re focusing on the wrong things.

Trying to teach teenagers how to shop for a mortgage, for example, may be an exercise in futility. The information simply isn’t relevant to them — yet. By the time they are ready to buy a home, the loans available and the rules surrounding them may have changed.

Instead, we should be teaching kids the habits that make savvy consumers. In my latest for the Associated Press, four skills that make a difference regardless of someone’s circumstances or the economic climate.

Why you should freeze your child’s credit

For years, identity theft expert Eva Velasquez warned parents that freezing their children’s credit reports was difficult, problematic and probably unnecessary.

Velasquez, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, has since changed her mind. Or rather, the sheer volume and severity of database breaches — including last year’s breathtakingly huge compromise at Equifax credit bureau — changed it for her. She now recommends that parents “strongly consider” credit freezes for their kids.

“The landscape has changed,” Velasquez says.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to protect your child’s credit.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The single parent’s guide to life insurance. Also in the news: How to pay your taxes with a credit card if you must, life insurance and suicide, and how to prepare your kids for “adulting.”

The Single Parent’s Guide to Life Insurance
Protecting your children’s future.

If You Insist on Paying Taxes With a Credit Card, Here’s How
Don’t pay more than you already have to.

Does Life Insurance Cover Suicide?
Practical issues to address.

Here’s how to prepare your kids for ‘adulting’
Having the “money talk.”

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tips to get back on budget after the holidays. Also in the news: Thinking twice about that in-flight credit card offer, how a Roth IRA works, and how paying your child an allowance can pay off in the long run.

5 Tips to Get Back on Budget After the Holidays
Reigning in the spending.

Think Twice About That In-Flight Credit Card Offer
Reading the fine print.

How Does a Roth IRA Work?
Know this important retirement tool.

Paying allowance can pay off, if you do it right
How much is enough?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to make a money resolution that succeeds. Also in the news: Cashless kids’ allowances, 3 things to know about Spotify’s IPO, and why you should prioritize your job’s 401(k) benefits over offers of student loan help.

Ask Brianna: How Do I Make a Money Resolution That Succeeds?
How to stick with it.

For Kids’ Allowance, No Cash Required
Preparing your kids for life in the digital world.

Spotify’s Oddball IPO: 3 Things to Know Before You Buy
The streaming service is going public.

Prioritize Your Job’s 401(k) Benefits Over Their Offers of Student Loan Help
Taking the long view.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Is Bitcoin safe? Also in the news: How to buy better gifts with credit card rewards, must-have tools and tips for year-end retirement planning, and smart money lessons for kids that can last a lifetime.

Is Bitcoin Safe?
A roundtable debate.

How to Buy Better Gifts With Credit Card Rewards
Using your rewards strategically.

Must-have tools and tips for year-end retirement planning
Getting on the right track.

Smart money lessons for kids that can last a lifetime

Make your teen a millionaire this summer

Gary Sidder set up Roth IRAs for his sons when they turned 13. Each year, the Littleton, Colorado, certified financial planner and his wife, Francie Steinzeig, a school psychologist, contributed an amount equal to whatever the two boys earned cutting lawns, shoveling snow and doing odd jobs. As the sons’ earnings increased, so did the parental contributions.

“Initially we started with $400, and now we do $5,500 for each,” the annual maximum allowable contribution, says Sidder, whose sons are 32 and 27. “Now that their accounts are worth more than $100,000 and $65,000, respectively, they do see the value of saving and starting early.”

Even if no further contributions are made, both sons could see their accounts top $1 million by retirement age, assuming conservative 7 percent average annual returns.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how setting up your kids with an IRA could pay off big dividends for their future.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Learning how to ditch debt. Also in the news: How to prepare for the change from corporate career to entrepreneur, how to teach your kids to be better with money than you are, and why Millennials are paying attention to their 401(k)s.

How I Ditched Debt: Making Sense of Cents
Every penny counts.

Corporate Career to Entrepreneur: How to Prep for the Leap
Making a big change.

How to teach your kids to be better with money than you are
Learning from your mistakes.

Millennials may be far from retirement, but think ahead with 401(k)
Planning for the future.