Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Latino Credit Unions: Why They Matter, Where to Find One. Also in the news: When an airport lounge day pass is worth the splurge, helping your parents based on need instead of guilt, and why your money advisor should be a Fiduciary.

Latino Credit Unions: Why They Matter, Where to Find One
Taking care of the underserved.

When an Airport Lounge Day Pass Is Worth the Splurge
Saving your sanity.

Ask Brianna: Help Your Parents Based on Need, Not Your Guilt
Keeping emotions separate.

Make Sure Your Money Advisor is a ‘Fiduciary’
A critical qualifiication.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How grads can get another shot at student loan forgiveness. Also in the news: Spring cleaning your credit cards, how to sidestep 3 unethical financial advisor tactics, and how to handle loaning money to your parents.

How Grads Can Get Another Shot at Student Loan Forgiveness
This could be your last chance.

This Spring, Clear Mediocre Credit Cards Out of Your Wallet
Get rid of the credit clutter.

How to Sidestep 3 Unethical Financial Advisor Tactics
Protect yourself.

How to Handle Loaning Money to Your Parents
Role reversal.

When your parents die broke

Blogger John Schmoll’s father left a financial mess when he died: a house that was worth far less than the mortgage, credit card bills in excess of $20,000_and debt collector s who insisted the son was legally obligated to pay what his father owed.

Fortunately, Schmoll knew better.

“I’ve been working in financial services for two decades,” says Schmoll, an Omaha, Nebraska, resident who was a stockbroker before starting his site, Frugal Rules. “I knew that I wasn’t responsible.”

Baby boomers are expected to transfer trillions to their heirs in coming years. But many people will inherit little more than a pile of bills. In my latest for the Associated Press, what to do when your parents leave behind debt.

Q&A: You may be good with money, but if sister didn’t ask your opinion, butt out

Dear Liz: My sister and her husband are in their 80s. They are not in the greatest health but still able to live on their own. They’ve had some bad luck financially in the past. Last year they decided to convert part of their property to serve as a short-term rental. I questioned the advisability and legality of this. I was told they had checked and it was all right legally. They proceeded, but it wasn’t legal and their homeowners association shut them down. They have now decided to rent the space month-to-month through a property management firm as the HOA will allow rentals of one month or longer.

I shared my experience with rental property, which has been very mixed. Busybody that I am, I also provided information from a friend whose family had invested in rental property. My brother-in-law insists that he had a good experience many years ago with rentals. Am I wrong to call this a bad idea? Should old people try to recoup the money they put into their ill-advised initial rental attempt with another ill-advised rental attempt?

Answer: The answer to both questions is most likely, “It’s none of your business.”

You didn’t indicate anywhere in your letter that your sister or brother-in-law had sought your opinion. You also didn’t mention any signs that they may suffer from diminished capacity or any other cognitive problem that would require intervention.

What you did do was call yourself a busybody. You might want to reflect on what causes you to repeatedly offer advice to people who aren’t interested in hearing it. Those of us who are “good with money” often feel justified in lecturing those who aren’t, or who have had (as you put it) bad luck financially. Our advice is seldom welcomed, though, and can be more about making ourselves feel superior than really helping someone else. Giving unsolicited advice is actually a terrible habit, and a hard one to break since it’s so deliciously enjoyable (although not for the recipient, obviously).

If we want our opinions to truly matter, we should be more sparing with them. We can start by proffering advice only when it’s specifically requested. When we’re tempted to make an exception to this rule, we should do so only after careful thought and preferably after consulting with a friend who already is in the habit of keeping her opinions to herself. We’ll likely discover what she’s already learned, which is that our meddling usually isn’t appreciated.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 ways to invest in your career this week. Also in the news: How to pick stock investments, checking accounts for seniors, and using your emergency savings to pay off credit card debt.

3 Ways to Invest in Your Career This Week
Give your career a boost.

How to Pick Stock Investments
Choosing wisely.

Checking Accounts for Seniors
Know the perks.

Should You Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt With Your Emergency Savings?
Start making short-term sacrifices.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to know before sharing credit accounts with a parent. Also in the news: Required minimum distributions, tax-smart ways to withdraw from a 529 college plan, and high bank overdraft fees prompt a call for plain-English disclosure forms.

What to Know Before Sharing Credit Accounts With a Parent
A generous idea that could backfire.

What Are Required Minimum Distributions?
A taste of your retirement

Tax-Smart Ways to Withdraw Funds From a 529 College Plan
Don’t get hit by a large tax bill.

High bank overdraft fees prompt call for plain-English disclosure forms
No more trickery.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: NerdWallet’s best credit card tips for April 2017. Also in the news: How one man dug out from $30K in debt, seniors are facing rising credit card debt, and should colleges require a financial literacy class?

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for April 2017
The best cards for spring.

How One Man Dug Out From $30,000 in Debt
You can do it, too.

For Seniors, Rising Credit Card Debt Squeezes Tight
Medical debt is pushing seniors to the limit.

Should colleges require a financial literacy class?
Two experts weigh in.

Q&A: Financial help for seniors

Dear Liz: In your response to the person whose friend was erroneously declared deceased by the Social Security Administration, you suggest that the older person consider finding help in managing her finances. Please recommend checking the American Assn. of Daily Money Managers for such help. I have a certification from this professional organization and we help thousands of people in this predicament. You can find more information at www.aadmm.com.

Answer: Handling the details of daily finances can get challenging as we age. Many people have trusted family or friends who can help monitor their accounts, make sure bills are getting paid and keep an eye out for signs of financial abuse. For those who don’t, a daily money manager can be a godsend.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

help-parents-manage-moneyToday’s top story: The problem with how whole life insurance is sold. Also in the news: How to save money on your commute, debt snowball vs debt avalanche, and how to stop senior citizen financial scams.

This Is What’s Wrong With How Whole Life Insurance Is Sold
Don’t get talked into pricey policies.

Save Money on Your Commute With This Often Overlooked Employee Tax Benefit
Turning your commute expenses into work expenses.

Debt Snowball Or Debt Avalanche: How To Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Which method is best for you?

5 Ways to Stop Senior Citizen Scams
Protecting your loved ones.

Q&A: Bad boyfriend plagues grandparents’ finances

Dear Liz: We have raised our granddaughter since birth. She is the apple of our eyes. Then she fell in love. The boyfriend had no job, no car. My husband co-signed a loan for this boy! He didn’t even know the boy’s last name. I was devastated, as we are on Social Security so our income is limited. Our granddaughter couldn’t afford the payments and the boy was useless. They got so far behind that we ended up having to mortgage our home to pay off the truck. We hoped to sell it but of course the kids have broken up and the boy disappeared. When I asked the Department of Motor Vehicles what I could do to get him off the title, they said I couldn’t do anything.

Answer: Your husband is showing signs of cognitive impairment. Co-signing a loan can be (and often is) a lapse in judgment; co-signing for a virtual stranger indicates a more serious problem.

A study for the Center for Retirement Research found that people’s financial decision-making abilities peak in their 50s. By our 70s, our problem-solving abilities typically have declined enough to make us more vulnerable to bad decisions and fraud.

That’s why it’s important to simplify our financial lives in retirement and to consider safeguards that can keep us from being victimized.

Freezing your credit reports at the three major credit bureaus is one good option. That can keep criminals from opening accounts in your names. You would have to thaw your reports to apply for a loan or credit card, and adding that extra “speed bump” to the process could give you time to rethink a bad decision.

If you had children you could trust, you might have your financial institutions send them duplicate statements and discuss any large purchases or investments with them. If you don’t have someone you trust, a licensed fiduciary could serve a similar function. California has a Professional Fiduciaries Bureau within its Department of Consumer Affairs where you can learn more.

At this point, you should check the vehicle title to see if the names are listed with an “and” between them or an “or.” If it’s an “or,” your husband should be able to transfer title to the new owner. Otherwise, you may need to get an attorney to help you get a legal order to remove the boy’s name from the title. Check with your local bar association to see if there are any pro bono or legal aid services that can help you.