This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Smart Money podcast on no-spend month 2.0, and recovering from credit damage. In other news: February mortgage rates on the downslope by end of month, having a conversation about fraud with older adults, and how to save your job from laying off.

Smart Money Podcast: No-Spend Month 2.0, and Recovering From Credit Damage
This week’s episode starts with a conversation about how to do a no-spend month that will work for you.

February Mortgage Rates on the Downslope by End of Month
With inflation in retreat, mortgage rates could follow downward.

Have a Conversation (Not a Lecture) About Fraud With Older Adults
Chatting with older adults about fraud and scams could help everybody in the conversation avoid becoming a victim.

Industries Most Likely to See Layoffs + How to Save Your Job
Money News & Moves: As layoffs escalate, these are the jobs most at risk — and how to protect yours.

How to safely use payment apps

As a frequent PayPal user, I wasn’t surprised to see a payment request on the app pop up. But when I read it, I knew something was wrong. In the message, a stranger asked me to send them $699 in order to get a “refund.” While I instantly recognized the request as a scam, I […]

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Q&A: Are you trying for a perfect credit score? Maybe you don’t need to

Dear Liz: My credit score fluctuates between 799 and 815. It used to be 850. I always pay my bills in full and on time, and keep the credit utilization low. The only comment I can find about why my credit score isn’t higher is that I lack a loan. I don’t owe any money and […]

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Q&A: Survivor Social Security benefit

Dear Liz: When you discuss a survivor receiving 50% of their spouse’s Social Security benefit, are you basing the 50% on gross or net income? Answer: The survivor benefit is up to 100% of what the deceased spouse or ex-spouse was receiving from Social Security, before taxes. If the spouse or ex starts Social Security early, that […]

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Q&A: Surviving spouse’s home gains

Dear Liz: If a surviving spouse is selling the couple’s longtime home, are there any special provisions on the long-term capital gains? Answer: When one spouse dies, their half of the home gets a new value for tax purposes. The value is “stepped up” to the current market value, so that the appreciation that happened on that half of […]

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How to create your retirement glide path

In investing terms, a “glide path ” describes how a mix of investments changes over time. Typically, the mix gets more conservative — with fewer stocks and more bonds, for example — as the investor approaches a goal such as retirement. You also can create a glide path into retirement by making gradual changes in […]

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This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Smart Money podcast on data breaches, and catching up on retirement savings. In other news: How airline elite status saved the day when airline delays and cancellations strike, which airline elite status should you go for in 2023, and how pay transparency may affect your job search or next raise. Smart Money […]

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Q&A: Why you need to pay attention to your credit utilization

Dear Liz: Recently my granddaughter gave birth to twins. I’d like to put $500 into a trust for each of them to mature when they are 18. I’m hesitant to set up an education fund in case they decide not to go on to college. I would like something that includes growth and safety, the least […]

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Q&A: Checking survivor benefit eligibility

Dear Liz: I was widowed at 44, when my children were 10 and 12. I received Social Security benefits for myself and for them for a time. I then went back to work. I started taking Social Security at 65 even though I continued working until 70. I hear a lot about widows’ benefits and wonder […]

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How to tackle holiday debt in January

After years of being in debt, Rachel Kramer Bussel came to a realization: “If I don’t become proactive about it, I will be in debt for the rest of my life.” For Bussel, a freelance writer near Atlantic City, New Jersey, that meant scaling back spending and putting any available money toward the debt principal. […]

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