Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: There’s more than one way to slay a debt. Also in the news: How to know when it’s OK to spend, 3 steps to spring cleaning your credit card debt, and what to do when you desperately need help with medical bills.

There’s More Than One Way to Slay a Debt
These key points could help.

How to Know When It’s OK to Spend
Loosening the purse strings.

3 Steps to Spring-Cleaning Your Credit Card Debt
Time to shake the dust off.

What To Do When You Desperately Need Help With Medical Bills
Looking into medical debt forgiveness.

How to know when it’s OK to spend

Some people are much better savers than spenders. That can become a problem.

Certified financial planner DeDe Jones recalls clients, retired schoolteachers, who loved to travel but kept putting off the trip to China and Southeast Asia they’d always wanted to take.

“The husband started having health issues, and they missed the opportunity,” says Jones, managing director of Innovative Financial in Lakewood, Colorado. “The widow is doing fine financially, but is feeling regret.”

The ability to delay gratification is important for building wealth. But in my latest for the Associated Press, why gratification delayed too long can leave us unhappy with the results.

Q&A: How to cut back after spending a windfall

Dear Liz: I inherited a substantial amount of money when a relative died. I put most of it in retirement funds, but as a few stray accounts were found, sometimes I just deposited them in my bank account and lived comfortably on $1,000 to $2,000 over my normal income. I have no debt, but I’ve grown accustomed to this extra cash. What’s the best way to reel back into a lifestyle I can afford on my $62,000 annual salary?

Answer: Those windfalls represented a substantial increase to your regular income, so cutting back may be painful. It’s so much easier to ramp up our lifestyles than to crank them back.

Start by tracking your spending. Once you understand your patterns, you can figure out where to cut back.

Don’t automatically assume that the luxuries you were able to buy with the extra money are now off limits. If you traveled more and enjoyed it, for example, that should still have a place in your budget. You could cut elsewhere to make sure travel is part of your life. If some of your spending didn’t bring you much joy, though, pay attention to that as well. You may have started eating out more only to find your health suffered, or you didn’t enjoy it that much, and you’d be fine doing that less often.

Your goal with any spending plan should be identifying which expenditures are important to you and which aren’t — then reducing the latter so you can have more of the former.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 reasons to be petrified of Bitcoin. Also in the news: A ‘Born Spender’ goes on a spending fast, how to stop your grown kids from ruining your retirement, and how to hide gifts from your partner when you share bank accounts.

3 Reasons to Be Petrified of Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency reaches an all-time high.

How I Ditched Debt: ‘Born Spender’ Goes on a Spending Fast
Changing their ways.

How To Stop Your Grown Kids From Ruining Your Retirement
Protecting your future.

How to Hide Gifts From Your Partner When You Share Bank Accounts
Tips for holiday giving.

‘Smart’ money moves that aren’t so smart

The odds of winning a lottery are infinitesimal. Yet inevitably, someone does. Inspired by the idea of a huge payoff, millions of people burn money on lottery tickets.

The financial strategies below aren’t as much of a long shot as the lottery. More than a handful of people may actually benefit. But many who are tempted to use them don’t understand how high the odds are stacked against success. In my latest for the Associated Press, what seem like smart money moves on the surface may hide perils underneath.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

taxesToday’s top story: A beginner’s guide to filing taxes in 2016. Also in the news: The benefits of a “Walk Away” fund, simple ways to catch up on retirement savings, and the financial choices you’ll regret ten years from now.

A Beginner’s Guide To Filing Taxes In 2016
Don’t be intimidated.

Save money now, so you can fire your boss later
Creating a “walk away” fund.

5 simple ways to catch up on your retirement savings
It’s never too late.

10 Financial Choices You’ll Regret in 10 Years
Things can look a whole lot different ten years down the road.

You Can’t Earn Your Way Out of a Spending Problem
Addressing the spending problem first.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

imagesToday’s top story: The FAFSA changes students and their parents need to know about. Also in the news: Why you shouldn’t increase your spending when you have extra money, podcasts that will teach you about investing, and what your children should know about money at different stages of development.

The FAFSA Changes You Need to Know About
What students and parents need to know.

Don’t Increase Your Spending When You Have Extra Money
Don’t set yourself up.

9 Podcasts That Will Teach You About Investing
Learn about different approaches and strategies.

What your child should know about money by grade school, middle school and high school
Teaching the basics

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: What happens if you get caught lying on your FAFSA? Also in the news: Why your financial life is a mess, which interest rate you should choose, and the credit score every small business owner should understand.

What Happens If You Lie on Your FAFSA?
Resist the temptation.

Fixed or Variable: Which Interest Rate Should You Choose?
Which interest rate is best for you?

The Credit Score Every Small Business Owner Needs to Understand
Introducing the FICO SBSS.

Top Seven Reasons Why Your Financial Life Is A Mess
Getting your financial house in order.

If You Won’t Remember Something in a Week, Don’t Buy It
Smart advice.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Tax credits that can save you a lot of cash. Also in the news: How to make your kids smarter about money, why we overspend with our credit cards, and how to get through the most awkward money conversations.

5 Tax Credits That Can Save You a Boatload of Cash
Don’t miss out.

9 ways to make your kids smarter about money
It’s never too early to start.

How credit cards get us to overspend
Mind games.

The 9 most awkward money conversations and how to get through them
The conversations you can’t avoid.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to wreck someone else’s credit. Also in the news: How much you need to save in case of an emergency, five tax resolutions for next April 15th, and ten steps to a smarter spending plan.

4 Ways You Can Wreck Somebody Else’s Credit
Not that you should, of course.

In Case Of Emergency, You Need To Save… How Much, Exactly?
Preparing for the unexpected.

Make These 5 Tax Resolutions For Next April 15
It’s never too early to start working on next year’s taxes.

10 Steps to a Smarter Spending Plan
Spend wisely.

6 Financial Items to Include on Your Spring Cleaning List
Tidying up your financial life.