Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Carrying a credit card balance for the first time. Also in the news: Closing the bank of Mom and Dad, why the starter home is in decline, and an employee benefit that could help with student loans.

Carrying a Credit Card Balance for the First Time
Managing the debt.

Closing the Bank of Mom and Dad
Take your business elsewhere.

More first-time buyers skip starter home stage for bigger, better
The decline of the starter home.

This employee benefit could become as popular as the 401(k)
Seeking help with student loans.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

18ixgvpiu0s24jpgToday’s top story: How to save on your cellphone bill when moving. Also in the news: how to survive a job loss, why millennials aren’t in a rush to buy a home, and why you shouldn’t wait to tackle your debt.

Moving? One Simple Change Could Save You Money on Your Cell Phone Bill in a New State
Taxes and fees vary from state to state.

How to Survive a Job Loss
Getting through a financially difficult time.

Are Millennials the Renter Generation?
Not rushing to buy a home.

Don’t Wait Until Your Debt Starts Hurting to Begin Tackling It
The sooner the better.

Q&A: A dirty problem

Dear Liz: I bought a house four years ago. The previous owner allowed a gentleman to plant flowers every spring and tend them all summer. I allowed the man to continue after I bought the house. He waters the flowers using my water and I help weed every year. He came to me last week and said he was getting too old to tend to the flowers and wanted to sell me the dirt for $1,000. This was never addressed when I bought the house. Presumably the guy did bring in special dirt, but removing it would damage the property. What should I do?

Answer: The dirt goes with the real estate you bought and has long since become part of it, said real estate expert Ilyce Glink of ThinkGlink.com. Without a written agreement, the man was simply doing work for free.

That said, his labor and the flowers he bought enhanced the curb appeal of your home and arguably its value, said Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Homebuyer Should Ask.” Consider offering him $500 as a compromise or “retirement gift” to thank him for his efforts.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: How much should you save for retirement? Also in the news: Tips for buying a home if you have student loans, what to expect from bankruptcy counseling, and how men and women retire differently.

How Much Should You Save for Retirement?
Establishing guidelines.

5 Tips For Buying A Home If You Have Student Loans
Navigating a mortgage and loans.

Bankruptcy Counseling: What It Is, What to Expect
Making difficult decisions.

How (and Why) Men and Women Retire Differently
Taking risks.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

seniorslaptopToday’s top story: Why getting pre-approved for a mortgage is important if you live in these cities. Also in the news: How couples can master the financial balancing act, overcoming income shocks, and how 529 plans can now be used for college supplies.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage — Especially if You Live in These Cities
Where real estate inventory is moving fast.

How Couples Can Master the Financial Balancing Act
Creating an equitable balance,

How to Overcome ‘Income Shocks’ that Wreck Retirement Security
Coping with unexpected surprises.

Now 529 plans can be used for college supplies
Getting your freshman the computer she needs.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: 5 expenses that will change when you retire. Also in the news: Questions for credit counselors, how to budget for a wedding that isn’t your own, and could we be on the verge of another housing crisis?

5 Expenses That Will Change in Retirement
Could you see more cash in your wallet?

7 Questions to Ask a Credit Counselor
Be prepared.

How to budget for a wedding — that’s not your own
Expenses add up quickly.

Are We Heading for Another Housing Crisis?
It’s getting easier to get a mortgage amid increasing home prices.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: What to do when your employer is acquired. Also in the news: Tips for selling your home this summer, surprising things about cellphone insurance, and how to avoid retirement calculator mistakes.

5 Steps to Take When Your Employer Is Acquired
Tips for uneasy times.

Simple Tips to Sell Your Home for the Right Price This Summer
Summer could be the perfect time to sell.

4 surprising things about cellphone insurance
Reading the fine print.

Using These Retirement Calculators The Wrong Way Could Cost You Thousands
Complicated calculations.

Q&A: The pitfalls of renting a house to relatives

Dear Liz: My son and his family are having trouble with money. I see him stepping up since he had my lovely granddaughter. I am getting ready to retire from teaching. I have my teacher’s retirement and a nest egg set aside. I was thinking of buying him a place where he could pay me rent and when the time happens, move to find his future. I was told, though, that I would have to live in the home after purchase or I cannot get a loan. I just want to see where I can stand in this endeavor.

Answer: People get loans to buy rentals and other investment property all the time. But that doesn’t mean you should be one of them.

Taking on a mortgage in retirement is risky, to say the least, and you’d be putting your financial future in the hands of a young man who has “trouble with money” and who hasn’t always been responsible, given your comment about “stepping up.” When his family hits a rough patch, how hard would it be for him to justify skipping a rent payment, or six, to Dear Old Dad? And what would you do about that — evict him and your lovely granddaughter?

If you were wealthy enough to pay cash for this house, take care of all the ongoing costs and not care if he ever paid you a dime, then maybe this scheme would make sense. In your case, you’re inviting financial distress and family trouble at a time in your life when you should be reducing the odds of both.

The Huge, Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

refinancingFirst-time homebuyer Teresa Hair had owned her house less than two months when water started bubbling up through the guest bedroom floor.

“The whole floor was just covered,” says Hair, a 34-year-old attorney who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. “I pulled up all the laminate flooring and there was an inch of water.”

Finding and repairing the broken pipe — it was in a wall shared with the kitchen, behind the dishwasher — cost $1,000. Replacing the flooring may cost considerably more. But the expenses aren’t a crisis, Hair says, because she resisted the urge to buy as much home as lenders said she could afford. She also made sure the purchase, including closing costs, didn’t drain her savings.

“I still had a little bit of money saved up, so I wasn’t strapped,” Hair says. “You have to know when you buy a house that you’re going to need something in addition to what you need to close.”

In my latest for NerdWallet, how the hidden costs of homeownership can equal if not exceed the mortgage payments you send to the bank.

Q&A: Adding daughter as co-owner of mother’s home could trigger costs

Dear Liz: My father passed away last year, and my mother wants to add my name to her house so there is no probate. Do I need to change the title or the deed or both? Are there any negatives to doing so? Also, we already have a durable power of attorney between us. Does that offer me any benefits as far as real estate? What does it offer me in general?

Answer: A deed is the legal document that transfers the title or ownership of a property. Please don’t alter the home’s documents until you consult an estate-planning attorney. Your mother’s desire to avoid the costs of probate could inadvertently trigger much larger costs.

Adding you as a co-owner could mean giving up a big tax benefit, for example. If your mother bequeaths the house to you when she dies, you won’t owe any tax on the gain in the house’s value during her lifetime. If she adds you to the title, she’s gifting you half the house. In that case, you potentially could owe tax on some of that gain even after she dies. If she wants to preserve tax benefits while avoiding the court process known as probate, she may need a living trust.

There could be other complications if you should die or be sued, which is why it’s important to get good advice before proceeding.

As for the durable power of attorney: It isn’t designed to give you benefits. Powers of attorney allow you to make decisions for your mother if she becomes incapacitated. Those decisions need to be in her best interest, not yours.