Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 quick financial wins you can score in an hour. Also in the news: Why getting a mortgage may be easier now – and riskier, how to protect your savings from inflation, and why trip insurance may not help if Hurricane Florence ruins your cruise.

Got an Hour? Chalk Up 4 Quick Financial Wins
Four tasks under fifteen minutes each.

Why Getting a Mortgage May Be Easier Now — and Riskier
It’s all about your debt-to-income ratio.

Inflation Erodes Your Savings. Here’s How to Shore Them Up
Strategies to keep inflation at bay.

Why trip insurance may not help if Hurricane Florence ruins your cruise vacation
The itinerary deviation clause.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Want to become a millionaire? These choices can get you there. Also in the news: Use points and miles on ordinary expenses, being partners in finances and life, and how to shore up your savings against inflation.

Want to Become a Millionaire? These Choices Can Get You There
The road to a million.

Go Ahead, Use Points and Miles on Ordinary Expenses
Leave some wiggle room in your budget.

Be Partners in Finances As Well As in Life
Understanding the big picture together.

Inflation Erodes Your Savings. Here’s How to Shore Them Up
Don’t be caught short.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 simple things anyone can do to stay out of debt. Also in the news: Summer is the perfect time for a financial checkup, how to ace back-to-school shopping, and how stashing receipts saved one man over $1000 in 7 months.

3 Simple Things Anyone Can Do to Stay Out of Debt
Knowing your limits.

Summer Is the Perfect Time for a Financial Checkup
Checking your financial health.

Ace Back-to-School Shopping With 6 Smart Moves
Starting the school year off right.

How stashing receipts saved one man over a $1,000 in 7 months
Hold on to every single one.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 steps to change homeowners insurance paid through escrow. Also in the news: Getting by on the average retirement income, TSA-Approved ways to cut the airport screening lines, and how to tell if your company’s 401(k) plan is any good.

5 Steps to Change Homeowners Insurance Paid Through Escrow
Seamless transition.

Could You Get By On the Average Retirement Income?
Will you have enough?

TSA-Approved Ways to Cut the Airport Screening Line
You can leave your shoes on.

How to Tell if Your Company’s 401(k) Plan Is Any Good
Is it worth contributing to?

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: One couple’s journey from debt to $1.5 million in savings. Also in the news: What to buy and skip in July, Whole Foods joins Amazon’s Prime Day, and how the lawsuits against student loan service Navient could affect you.

One Couple’s Journey From Debt to $1.5 Million in Savings
Communication is key.

What to Buy (and Skip) in July
Making the most of midsummer sales.

Prime Day Alert: 10% Back at Whole Foods with Amazon Prime Visa
Whole Foods joins the Prime Day excitement.

How the lawsuits against student loan servicer Navient could affect you
Four states are currently suing the student loan giant.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to make June’s Fed rate hike work for your savings. Also in the news: What the Fed rate hike means for your CDs, how to save money on wedding music, and making it easier for your loved ones to figure out your finances if you die.

How to Make June’s Fed Rate Hike Work for Your Savings
Time to reevaluate your savings?

June Fed Rate Hike: What It Means for Your CDs
Look for a little bump.

To Save Money on Wedding Music, Scratch the DJ and DIY
Create the ultimate playlist.

Could your loved ones figure out your finances if you died?
Making things easier during a difficult time.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Here’s how much you should have saved by 30. Also in the news: Taking the smart investor’s vow: to buy and to hold, getting real about the cost of an average retirement, and the MyHeritage hack affects 92 million customers.

Here’s How Much You Should Have Saved by 30
The magic number.

Take the Smart Investor’s Vow: to Buy and to Hold
In it for the long haul.

Let’s Get Real: What an Average Retirement Costs
Breaking down the numbers.

MyHeritage hack affects 92 million customers, reveals more risks with genealogy sites
Another day, another data breach.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 proven ways to increase your home’s value. Also in the news: Paying off debt while saving for retirement, fresh ways to save some green at the farmer’s market, and how some employers are helping to pay student loans in order to attract workers.

5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value
Enhancing your curb appeal and interior.

Q: Pay Off Debt or Save for Retirement? A: Both
You don’t have to choose.

Fresh Ways to Save Some Green at the Farmers Market
Avoiding high prices at the supermarket.

Employers Help Pay Student Loans to Attract Workers
Now that’s a perk.

Don’t get taken for a ride this summer at the theme park

The best way to save money at theme parks this summer is simple. Don’t go.

Peak season means peak pricing. Admission discounts can be hard to find, and nearby hotels jack up their rates. Add in the always-inflated prices of food, souvenirs and parking, and you’re buying a pretty expensive day out. At the mega-parks operated by Disney and Universal, a family of four can easily spend $1,000 per day.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to rein in costs while keeping your sanity.

How to build your ‘Oh, crap!’ fund

The emergency fund is a bust.

Millions of Americans don’t have one, and some of those who do resist tapping what they’ve saved. I’d like to propose an alternative for both sets of people: The “oh, crap!” fund, a savings account for not-quite-emergency expenses.

One of the reasons people don’t have emergency funds is misplaced optimism. People think that if they’re healthy, they’ll stay healthy. If they’re employed, ditto. The car will keep running, the roof will never need to be replaced and, since everybody’s a better-than-average driver, there won’t be any accidents. Behavioral scientists call that “recency bias,” which is the delusion that whatever happened in the recent past will continue into the indefinite future.

Everyone, though, has experienced “oh, crap!” moments: the no-parking sign they didn’t see, the crown the dentist says they need, the smartphone dropped in the toilet. In my latest for the Associated Press, how to build a fund that will take the sting out of emergency expenses.