Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Holiday-tipping-in-tough-times-7FKMMIM-x-largeToday’s top story: For international travel, MasterCard has a slight edge on Visa. Also in the news: How to build a multi-million dollar retirement fund, 10 ways to end 2016 on a financial high note, and 8 ways to keep a leash on your holiday spending.

For International Travel, MasterCard Has Slight Edge on Visa
Which card has the best rates?

How to Build a Multimillion-Dollar Retirement Fund
Step-by-step.

10 Ways to End 2016 on a Financial High Note
Ending the year strong.

8 Ways To Keep A Leash On Holiday Spending
Don’t go overboard.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: How to make the 10 years before retirement count. Also in the news: Tips on reining in holiday spending, which generation has the best credit score, and which insurance most car renters can say no to.

5 Ways to Make the 10 Years Before Retirement Count
Fattening your nest egg.

5 Frugality Pros Help You Rein In Holiday Spending
Avoiding the after-holidays sticker shock.

Average U.S. Credit Score Rises; ‘Silent Generation’ Wins Bragging Rights
The older you are, the better your score likely is.

Which insurance most car renters can just say no to
Deciding which insurance you need.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

babytrollToday’s top story: Why your newborn doesn’t need to be on your credit card account. Also in the news: Why paying more tax today could be your best AMT strategy, common retirement mistakes seen by financial planners, and how credit card minimum payments are meant to keep you in debt forever.

No, Your Newborn Doesn’t Need to Be on Your Credit Card Account
No need to build credit that early.

Paying More Tax Today May Be Your Best AMT Strategy
Understanding how AMT works.

Seven Common Retirement Mistakes Seen by Financial Planners
And how to avoid them.

Credit card minimums: Perfectly calibrated to keep you in debt
A cycle of perpetual debt.

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?

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Pile of Credit CardsToday’s top story: NerdWallet’s best credit card tips for November. Also in the news: How credit card rewards can help pay for the holidays, what to do if your parents don’t have a retirement plan, and the pros and cons of a joint checking account with your parents.

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for November 2016
Preparing for holiday spending.

How Credit Card Rewards Can Help Pay for the Holidays
Every little bit counts.

What to Do If Your Parents Don’t Have a Retirement Plan
An important conversation.

Helping out Mom or Dad with a joint checking account? Watch out
The pros and cons.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

stack-of-billsToday’s top story: Why minimum payments on credit cards are designed to keep you in debt. Also in the news: Retirement planning rules Millennials can break, how to choose the right health insurance plan “metal tier,” and why it’s so hard to stick to a budget.

Credit Card Minimums: Perfectly Calibrated to Keep You in Debt
The card companies aren’t on your side.

4 Retirement Planning Rules Millennials Can Break
Or at least bend.

Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan ‘Metal Tier’
Sadly, no rose gold.

Why Is It So Hard to Stick to a Budget?
Answering the age-old question.

Q&A: What to consider when investing in target date retirement funds

Dear Liz: I have 100% of my 401(k) in a fund called “Target Retirement 2030.” This fund is made of several other funds, so does that qualify as “diversified”?

Answer: It does. Target date funds have become increasingly popular in 401(k) plans because they do the heavy lifting for investors. The funds select asset allocations and grow more conservative in their mix as the retirement date approaches.

Target date funds aren’t perfect, of course. Some are too expensive. The typical target date fund charges about 1%, but Vanguard and Fidelity charge as little as 0.15%.

Another issue is the “glide path” — how quickly the funds get more conservative. There’s no consensus about what the right glide path should be, and investment companies offer a lot of different mixes. Any given glide path may be too steep for some people and too shallow for others, depending on their circumstances. As an investor, you can compensate for that by choosing funds dated later or earlier than your targeted retirement date. If the 2030 fund gets too conservative too fast for your taste, for example, you could choose the 2040 fund instead.

Despite the downsides, you’re likely to be much better off in a target date fund than you are in some of the other options. Too often novice investors take too much or too little risk without realizing it. They may have all of their money in “safe” low-return options, which means they’re losing ground to inflation. Or they may have all their money in stocks, including their own company’s stock, and would be unprepared for a downturn wiping out a good chunk of their portfolio’s value.

Even those who know they should diversify often do it wrong by randomly distributing their contributions across their investment options. If you don’t know what you’re doing, or you simply prefer investing professionals to take charge, target date funds are a good way to go.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

common-retirement-mistakesToday’s top story: How to tell if your 401(k) is a dud. Also in the news: How to find unclaimed property, great tax deductions for retirees, and how to sneak more savings into your budget.

How To Tell If Your 401(k) Is a Dud
Reviving your retirement fund.

Are You Owed Money From a Forgotten Bank Account?
You could have unclaimed property.

5 Great Tax Deductions and Credits for Retirees
Maximizing your deductions.

How to Sneak More Savings Into Your Budget
You won’t even notice it’s gone.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

best-emv-chip-credit-cardsToday’s top story: How your credit score affects your mortgage rate. Also in the news: Why free shipping isn’t always free, how people are feeling about chip credit cards, and the four personal finance questions you need to ask yourself before retiring.

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate
Borrowing at higher rates.

Why Free Shipping Isn’t Always Free
Building the price into your purchase.

How much do people really hate chip cards?
Not as much as you may think.

4 Personal Finance Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Retiring
Answers you need before taking the big step.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: How to teach your kids about money. Also in the news: How money market accounts could drag down your retirement, how to deal when your student loans are more than your yearly income, and why you should start thinking about your taxes immediately.

3 Ways to Teach Kids About Money
Raising financially smart kids.

Money Market Accounts Could Drag Down Your Retirement Savings
Beware low returns.

How to Deal With Student Loans When You Owe More Than Your Annual Salary
Don’t get overwhelmed.

Why You Should Start Thinking About Your Taxes Now
It’s never too early.