Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How digital estate planning can protect your online life. Also in the news: How to afford the summer of your dreams by building a budget, child tax credits start hitting US families’ bank accounts, and why you should negotiate your real estate agent’s commission in a hot market.

How Digital Estate Planning Can Protect Your Online Life
Name a digital executor and make sure you leave an inventory and login info so valuables and keepsakes aren’t lost.

Afford the Summer of Your Dreams by Building a Budget
To have fun in the sun without getting financially burned, set up a budget for now and later.

Child tax credit starts hitting US families’ bank accounts
Help arrives for parents.

Why You Should Negotiate Your Real Estate Agent’s Commission in a Hot Market
Taking advantage of a seller’s market.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 7 changes to make when planning COVID-era travel. Also in the news: How to travel cheap(er) for a wedding, child tax credit payments go out July 15th, and how color can affect your car’s resale value.

7 Changes to Make When Planning COVID-era Travel
Because travel demand is back up, you might have to be flexible about your rental car and accommodations.

How to Travel Cheap(er) for a Wedding
These strategies can help you save on flights, hotel rooms and even bag fees when traveling for a wedding.

Child tax credit payments go out July 15. Here’s what you need to know
Check your status through the IRS website.

How Color Can Affect Your Car’s Resale Value
Who knew yellow was so popular?

Who gets the keys to your digital estate?

You may not own cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens. You may not have a big Instagram following or run an online business. But if you do almost anything online, you probably have digital assets — electronic records that you own, control or license. Failing to make arrangements for those assets while you’re alive could cause unnecessary costs, stress and heartache to those you leave behind.

In my latest for the Associated Press, what you should consider and do to make this job easier for the person who winds up doing it.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do if Chime or other neobanks close your account. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on fighting inflation and the risks of small mortgage lenders, 6 essential terms to understand in your homeowners policy, and what millennial parents want their kids to know about money.

What to Do if Chime or Other Neobanks Close Your Account
Customers are being left with no way to access their accounts.

Smart Money Podcast: Fighting Inflation and Risks of Small Mortgage Lenders
Learns the ins and outs of inflation.

6 Essential Terms to Understand in Your Homeowners Policy
Words like “endorsements” and “exclusions” don’t need to be confusing.

What Will You Teach Your Kids About Money?
The money lessons five millennial parents around the country want their children to learn

Q&A: Why delaying Social Security is the smartest retirement play

Dear Liz: If someone delays applying for Social Security after their full retirement age, the common thought is that their benefit grows by 8% a year until the age of 70. It accrues by that much only if you continue to work, right? I was unceremoniously laid off during the pandemic and I am holding off as long as I can before applying. I will be 67 at the end of this month. But because I am not working, that 8% is not a reality, right?

Answer: Wrong. The 8% delayed retirement credits apply whether you’re working or not. Those credits will help you maximize the benefit you receive for the rest of your life and potentially the rest of your spouse’s life, if you are the higher earner in a marriage. This effect is so powerful that many financial planners recommend their clients tap other resources, such as retirement funds, if it allows them to put off claiming Social Security.

It may help to think of retiring as a separate event from claiming Social Security. Many people link the two, but you can work while claiming Social Security or retire but delay Social Security.

If you did continue to work, your benefit might be increased somewhat by the additional earnings. This typically happens if you had a low-earning year included in the 35 highest-earning years that Social Security uses to calculate your benefit. If you had earned more in 2020 than in one of those previous years, then your 2020 earnings would replace that past year’s earnings in the formula and boost your benefit.

The 8% delayed retirement credit probably will have a much bigger effect on what you ultimately get, though, so don’t fret about any missed opportunities. Just try to delay your application as long as you can.

Q&A: Different Roths, different rules

Dear Liz: I have a Roth 401(k). Are withdrawals from it the same as from a Roth IRA? And how do I move it to a Roth IRA?

Answer: Roth 401(k)s are a type of workplace retirement plan that, like Roth IRAs, allow tax-free withdrawals. But the rules for Roth 401(k)s are somewhat different from those governing Roth IRAs.

For example, a Roth IRA allows you to withdraw an amount equal to your contributions free of taxes and penalties anytime, regardless of your age. Earnings can be withdrawn from a Roth IRA tax- and penalty-free once you’re 59½ and the account is at least 5 years old. The clock starts on Jan. 1 of the year you make your first contribution.

To withdraw money tax- and penalty-free from a Roth 401(k), you typically must be 59½ or older and the account must be at least 5 years old.

In addition, Roth 401(k)s — like regular 401(k)s and traditional IRAs — are subject to required minimum distribution rules that require you to start taking money out at age 72. Roth IRAs aren’t subject to those rules.

Many people roll their Roth 401(k)s into Roth IRAs to avoid the required minimum distribution rules or to have more investment choices. Such a rollover resets the five-year clock that determines whether a withdrawal incurs taxes and penalties, however. If you wait until you retire to roll over your Roth 401(k) and need access to the money, that waiting period could be problematic.

You can roll over your Roth 401(k) after leaving the employer that offers the plan. But you also could ask if your plan allows “in service” rollovers — in other words, rollovers while you’re still working for the employer. Some Roth 401(k)s allow these, although they may be restricted to people 59½ and older.

Q&A: Finding a fee-only advisor

Dear Liz: I need help locating a fee-only financial advisor. My search only comes up with advisors with investments.

Answer: It’s not clear what you mean by “advisors with investments.” Some fee-only planners charge a percentage of the assets they manage and often require you to invest a minimum amount with them. Others charge a monthly retainer (check XY Planning Network) or by the hour (visit Garrett Planning Network).

If you’re primarily looking for help with issues other than investing, such as budgeting or debt management, you could consider hiring an accredited financial counselor or accredited financial coach. Visit the Assn. for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. Another resource is nonprofit credit counseling agencies affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Smart strategies for fighting back against inflation. Also in the news: Easing into credit cards with a simple cash-back card, Medicare and dental implants, and these 6 psychological biases may be holding you back from building wealth.

Wary of Credit Cards? Ease In With a Simple Cash-Back Card
No-fee, flat-rate cash-back cards offer useful rewards and benefits as beginners learn about credit cards.

Smart Strategies for Fighting Back Against Inflation
Plan purchases carefully and trade variable-rate debt for fixed interest rates to help offset rising prices.

Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental implants, but you may be able to find coverage elsewhere.

These 6 psychological biases may be holding you back from building wealth
How to overcome them.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How COVID-fueled crowdfunding can revive small businesses. Also in the news: How point and mile values have changed over the pandemic, the one trick to traveling cheaply, and this tool tells you what you owe the IRS before they come looking for it.

How COVID-Fueled Crowdfunding Can Revive Small Businesses
Tips for launching an effective campaign.

How Have Point and Mile Values Changed Over the Pandemic?
For the most part, airline miles are worth more than they were last year, while hotel points are worth less.

There’s Just One Trick to Traveling Cheaply: Flexibility
To fly for the lowest price, you should try searching without a specific destination or date in mind.

This Tool Tells You What You Owe the IRS Before They Come Looking for It
Beating the IRS to the punch.