3 money tasks you need to do right now

Most financial to-do lists focus on what you need to get done by Dec. 31, but there’s also a brief window early in the new year to save yourself some significant cash.

In my latest for the Associated Press, three tasks to consider doing now.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 9 housing and mortgage trends to watch for in 2019. Also in the news: Your easiest New Year’s resolution, a DNA test sends a family of 5 on a journey of a lifetime, and how often your credit score is updated.

9 Housing and Mortgage Trends to Watch for in 2019
What to expect next year.

Your Easiest New Year’s Resolution: Make Your Savings Grow Faster
This is a resolution you should keep.

DNA Test Sends Family of 5 on Journey Around the World
One family’s journey of a lifetime.

How Often Your Credit Score Is Updated
Timing is everything.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: With money goals, multitasking pays off. Also in the news: Snagging hotel loyalty perks, what to know about high yield reward checking accounts, and how to not let debt ruin your holiday.

With Money Goals, Multitasking Pays Off
There needs to be more than just paying off debt.

Snag These Hotel Loyalty Perks, Even if You’re Disloyal
It all depends on the right card.

What to Know About High Yield Reward Checking Accounts
Some accounts offer interest as high as 5%.

Don’t Let Debt Ruin Your Holiday
Some people are still paying off last year’s gifts.

With money goals, multitasking pays off

Tackling money goals one at a time cost financial literacy expert Barbara O’Neill at least $1 million.

That’s how much O’Neill, a distinguished professor at Rutgers University, figures she lost by starting saving for retirement only after she had created an emergency fund, bought a car with cash and purchased a home.

“I tell students that eventually, 30 years later, I hit the million-dollar mark, but I could’ve had $2 million,” O’Neill says.

Too often, financial experts say, people want to attack their money goals one at a time: “As soon as I pay off my credit card debt, then I’ll start saving for a home,” or, “As soon as I pay off my student loan debt, then I’ll start saving for retirement.”

These folks don’t realize how costly the words “as soon as” can be. In my latest for the Associated Press, paying off debt is a worthy goal, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of other goals, particularly saving for retirement.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tax tips for military members and veterans. Also in the news: How to save $500, how Black Friday prices stack up, and what student loan debt does to people.

5 Tax Tips for Military Members and Veterans
Tracking your expenses.

How to Save $500
Every bit helps.

How Do Black Friday Prices Stack Up?
Real savings or holiday hype?

What student loan debt does to people
It’s not pretty.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to score luxury travel for less. Also in the news: Target’s Black Friday ad, how to save money on health care, and breaking down the three new tiers of economy airline fares.

How to Score Luxury Travel for Less
Luxury travel at less-than-luxurious prices.

Target Black Friday 2018 Ad, Deals and Store Hours
Start your list.

How to Save Money on Health Care
Important questions to ask.

Breaking Down the Three New Tiers of Economy Fares
Even economy has tiers now.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to dispose of a credit card. Also in the news: Costco’s Black Friday ad, 3 simple ways to boost your savings, and how to tell when a sale isn’t actually worth it.

How to Dispose of a Credit Card — No Burying Required
Put the shovel away.

Costco Black Friday 2018 Ad, Deals and Store Hours
Start your Black Friday planning engines.

3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Savings
Letting your money do the work.

When a Sale Isn’t Actually Worth It
Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean it’s saving you money.

How to score luxury travel for less

Let’s shatter one myth right now: Airline passengers typically can’t talk their way into upgrades from the cheapest coach seats to first class just by dressing up and asking politely.

Travel providers usually save their best experiences — comfortable seats, spacious hotel suites, quick check-in lines — for those willing to pay more. When upgrades are handed out for free, the goodies typically go to frequent travelers who spend a lot with those providers.

There are ways, however, of getting a much better travel experience without paying top dollar.

In my latest for the Associated Press, a few approaches to consider if you want to make your next trip a little more luxurious.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Overcoming your fear of your college debt. Also in the news: 3 simple ways to boost your savings, tools and tactics to do your own financial planning, and overcoming your financial fears.

Are You Afraid of Your College Debt?
Start by knowing where you stand.

3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Savings
Easy peasy.

Tools and Tactics to Do Your Own Financial Planning
Tackling it on your own.

Things people seem to fear financially are not always worth worrying about
You can relax.