Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Buying home insurance after a wildfire starts. Also in the news: Why good credit might not be good enough for a mortgage, a quick quiz to test how you’re doing financially, and why Americans are more afraid of student debt than they are of Kim Jong Un.

Can You Buy Home Insurance After a Wildfire Starts?
It could be too late.

Want a Mortgage? Good Credit Might Not Be Good Enough
What else you might need.

How Are You Doing Financially? Take This Quick Quiz
How’d you do?

Americans are more terrified of student debt than North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
When your debt is scarier than a nuclear weapon.

Q&A: Sinking under a heavy debt load? There’s help

Dear Liz: I am trying to get my finances in order and, like many, I am struggling. The majority of my debt comes from student loans, but I also have unsecured debt that is weighing me down. I work for a nonprofit and know I need to contact my lenders to try to enroll in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but my debt has me completely frozen. Every few months I try to do something and then I end up back where I am now, feeling overwhelmed.

Answer: You’re not alone. Credit counselors often deal with people who are so paralyzed by debt problems they can’t even open their bills. These people bring in sacks of unopened mail to their first appointments with the counselors.

If you haven’t been able to deal with your debt alone, then by all means, get help. A nonprofit credit counselor is an option; you can get referrals from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org. A financial planner, a financial coach or even a money-savvy friend also can help you.

If you can force yourself to simply call your student loan servicers — the companies that process the payments on your education debt — you can get the ball rolling. These companies can determine if you’re eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and help you start on the paperwork.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness can erase the balance of your federal student loans after 10 years of payments if you work in the public sector. To get the maximum benefit, you would need to sign up for an income-based repayment plan and you may need to consolidate your loans. All this involves effort, but if you’re planning to stay in public service, it can be worthwhile.

The Trump administration has proposed ending the forgiveness program for future borrowers. Even if Congress enacts such a change, it should not affect those who have already taken out loans. But you’d still be wise to enroll as soon as possible.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to invest $50,000. Also in the news: Ditching student debt through monster payments, funding a wedding while paying student debt, and what we can learn from rich people who are bad with money.

How to Invest $50,000
Making the wise choices.

How I Ditched Student Debt: ‘Monster Payments’
Using monster payments to pay off your student debt faster.

Ask Brianna: How Can I Fund a Wedding and Pay Student Debt?
Managing two large expenses.

What We Can Learn From Rich People Who Are Bad With Money
Learning from other people’s mistakes.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: NerdWallet’s best credit card tips for March. Also in the news: Sane ways to pay down student debt, how to avoid a credit check scam while looking to rent, and how to save when you don’t have any extra cash.

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for March 2017
Finding the best cards.

4 Sane Ways to Pay Down Student Debt
Paying your loans without losing your mind.

Looking to Rent? Avoid a Credit Check Scam
Watch out.

7 Ways to Save When You Don’t Have Any Extra Cash
Every penny counts.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: IRS changes you should know about before filing taxes. Also in the news: How to avoid your parents’ money mistakes, how to avoid tax scammers, and what to do when you’re struggling with student debt.

IRS Changes You Should Know About Before Filing Your Taxes
New rules for the new year.

How Can I Avoid My Parents’ Money Mistakes?
Charting your own financial path.

As Tax Season Approaches, So Do Scammers
Be on the lookout.

Struggling with student debt? Here are 6 things you should know
Don’t ignore the problem.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

bankruptcy_formToday’s top story: Careers that can help you conquer your student debt faster. Also in the news: What a good credit card company will offer people with bad credit, how to pay for bankruptcy when you’re broke, and five apps that automate your money.

Some Careers Can Help You Conquer Student Debt Faster
Kissing your student debts goodbye.

4 Things a Good Credit Card Issuer Will Offer People With Bad Credit
Getting on the path to better credit.

How to Pay for Bankruptcy When You’re Broke
A classic Catch .22

5 apps that automate your money and make you richer
Building your savings a few cents at a time.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Student-LoansToday’s top story: A 3-step plan for new grads with student debt. Also in the news: Answers to money questions from college students, student loan mythbusting, and how to cut the costs of raising a baby.

A 3-Step Plan for New Grads With Student Debt
Congratulations! Now, pay up.

Money Talk: How to Go From ? to ?
Answers to money questions from college students.

4 Student Loan Myths You Might Believe
Mythbusting.

Old school vs. new school: How to cut the costs of raising a baby
Keeping costs down.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Snip20160808_4Today’s top story: How not to pick a bank. Also in the news: bank accounts that foster independence for disabled people, how to pick the right college to avoid student debt, and newly updated government rules to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

How Not to Pick a Bank
Forget about the free toaster.

ABLE Accounts Help Foster Independence for Disabled People
Building financial independence.

Pick the Right College to Avoid Student Debt
Looking at college as an investment.

The Government Updated Its Rules to Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
What’s new from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

College SavingsToday’s top story: What to buy and what to skip in April. Also in the news: What all those terms and conditions you ignore really mean, how to save for a home when you have student debt, and steps for helping kids become financially savvy.

What to Buy (and Skip) in April
Spending your cash wisely.

What those terms and conditions really say
You could be giving up many consumer protections.

How To Save For A Home When You Have Student Debt
There are ways to manage both.

9 steps to helping kids and teens become financially savvy
A great way to celebrate National Financial Literacy month!

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

taxesToday’s top story: What you need to look for in a tax professional. Also in the news: Banks made $11 billion dollars in overdraft fees in 2015, strategies for starting out with student debt, and how to balance saving for college and retirement.

What to Look for in a Tax Professional
Finding the right person to trust.

Banks Made $11 Billion From Overdraft Fees Last Year
How much of it was yours?

Strategies For When You’re Starting Out Saddled With Student Debt
Starting off on the right foot.

Balancing Act: Strategically Saving For College And Retirement
Finding a way to do both.