Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Know your rights if the IRS breaks the rules. Also in the news: How to avoid an early withdrawal penalty on a CD, could Amazon Go change the way we shop, and how much community college students save by state.

Know Your Rights if the IRS Breaks the Rules
You can fight back.

How to Avoid a CD Early Withdrawal Penalty
Look for more flexible options.

Tap, Shop, Walk. Could Amazon Go Change the Way We Buy?
Stores without checkout lanes?

How Much Money Community College Students Save, Depending on the State
Where does yours rank?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: NerdWallet’s best bank accounts and credit unions of 2017. Also in the news: Tips for investing in your 30s, using apps to save money without thinking, and the five biggest tax breaks for the self-employed.

NerdWallet’s Best Bank Accounts and Credit Unions of 2017
Where you should do business.

5 Tips for Investing in Your 30s
Taking the long view.

Want to Save Money Without Thinking? Try These Apps
You won’t even notice.

5 biggest tax breaks for the self-employed
How to keep more of your money.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do when you haven’t received your W-2s. Also in the news: When you should use your emergency fund, how overborrowing can add over $100 a month to your student loan payment, and how a millennial couple paid off $20,000 in debt in two years.

Haven’t Gotten Your W-2? Take These Steps
Getting your tax docs in order.

When You Should Use Your Financial Emergency Fund
Determining true emergencies.

Overborrowing Could Add $119 to a Typical Monthly Student Loan Payment
Only borrow what you truly need.

How This Millennial Couple Paid Off $20,000 in 2 Years
Sticking to a plan.

How 3 People Changed Their Financial Lives

Lauren Greutman’s moment of truth dawned when she sneaked $600 worth of clothes into her closet. She didn’t want her husband to see what she had bought — or to know that they were $40,000 in debt.

J.D. Roth hit bottom after buying a home he thought he could afford

Zina Kumok’s epiphany came when she saw her student loan payment eating 20 percent of her paychecks.

The catalysts were different, but the reactions of these three people in different parts of the U.S. were the same. Years of incurring debt made them realize that they couldn’t continue to spend like before.

In my latest for the Associated Press, learn how these three people changed their financial lives.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

holiday-tipping-dont-let-it-wipe-you-outToday’s top story: Tips to save more for retirement in 2017. Also in the news: Why the key to saving may be in your head, why skipping a payment at the holidays is a bad idea, and a guide to holiday tipping.

Retirement Anxiety? 3 Tips to Save More in 2017
Starting the new year off on the right foot.

The Key to Saving May Be in Your Head
Time to look inward.

Skip a Payment? Those Offers Are No Holiday for Your Budget
Reading the fine print.

Tips on Holiday Tipping
Who and how much?

Wednesday’s need-to-need money news

Image9Today’s top story: Ten smart money moves that take only ten minutes. Also in the news: Healthy money habits to teach your kids, money management apps that automate your finances, and the power of the Get Lost Fund.

10 Smart Money Moves That Take 10 Minutes
You can spare the time.

5 Healthy Money Habits to Teach Your Kids
It’s never too early.

5 money-management apps that automate your finances
Letting your phone do the work.

The Power of the Get Lost Fund
Having the ability to get up and go.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

hidden-fees1Today’s top story: Costly financial fees you might not know you’re paying. Also in the news: Why Millennials love auto leasing, ten smart money moves that take ten minutes or less, and why nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

Costly Financial Fees You Might Not Know You’re Paying
A closer look at hidden fees.

Why Millennials Love Auto Leasing
Does it make financial sense

10 smart money moves to make that take 10 minutes
Take ten minutes to get closer to your goals.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings
Where do you stand?

Q&A: How to build a cushion against all those pesky expenses

Dear Liz: We’re both retired and live on retirement checks. When expenses exceed our income, we draw from savings, but the balance is going down fast due to a new air conditioning unit, real estate taxes, etc. How do we put that money back and build a cushion in the checking account so our savings isn’t used to cover us month to month?

Answer: You need an emergency fund for truly unpredictable expenses, but you also should have a bunch of savings “buckets” to cover less regular but still predictable expenses. These would include property taxes, insurance, home repairs, car repairs, vacations, medical bills, holiday expenses and any other bill you face regularly but not monthly. You can track these buckets in a spreadsheet or set up separate savings accounts for each goal. Online banks typically let you set up multiple savings subaccounts for free.

Here’s how it works. If your next property tax installment is due in six months and you’ll owe $3,000, you transfer $500 a month into the property tax savings account to cover that bill. If you’re planning on a vacation in nine months, divide the expected cost by nine and transfer that amount to savings each month.

Estimating some costs can be tricky. You often can use last year’s spending as a guide, or seek out authoritative sources. Edmunds.com’s True Cost to Own feature, for example, can help you estimate repair and maintenance costs for many vehicles. With home repairs, Consumer Reports can help you calculate how long various systems tend to last and how much they cost to replace, which will allow you to save accordingly. Or you can just use the rule of thumb to put aside 1% of your home’s value each year into an account to cover maintenance and repairs.

You may not always guess correctly, but setting aside something throughout the year can help you meet these big expenses as they arise without having to dip into your emergency fund.

You may discover that you can’t set aside enough to cover these less regular expenses and still pay your monthly bills. If that’s the case, you may not be able to afford your current lifestyle and may need to trim some costs.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save for 2017 and 2057 at the same time. Also in the news: What new prepaid debit card rules mean for you, life insurance strategies for families with special needs children, and the high cost of using an ATM.

How to Save for 2017 and 2057 at the Same Time
Saving for the immediate and long-term future.

What the New Prepaid Card Rules Mean for You
Easier to understand terms and more security.

A Life Insurance Strategy for Families With Special-Needs Children
Making sure your loved ones are taken care of.

You won’t believe average cost of using an ATM
The crazy cost of accessing your own money.

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.