Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How one airline is prioritizing customer safety. Also in the news: Getting your money resolutions back on track, treating your third stimulus differently, and the IRS expands eligibility for $10,2000 unemployment tax break.

Spring Travel Ahead? One Airline Is Prioritizing Customer Safety
Delta is now the only major airline blocking middle seats on all domestic flights through the spring.

Make a Plan to Get Your Money Resolution Back on Track
It’s not too late.

Why You Might Treat Your Third Stimulus Check Differently
Immediate needs come first, then savings. Consider gifts to those in need and teaching your children about money.

IRS Expands Eligibility for $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break
Find out how the tax break works.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: IRS Free File and how to get free tax preparation or free tax help in 2021. Also in the news: How women investors can rewrite their financial futures, options for people who can’t afford their tax bills, and beware of lender’s mistakes in your credit report.

IRS Free File & How to Get Free Tax Preparation or Free Tax Help in 2021
Here’s where to get free tax software, free tax preparation and free tax help this year.

How Women Investors Can Rewrite Their Financial Futures
When preparing for a secure retirement, women can be disadvantaged. But careful planning and intentional actions can help reduce roadblocks to financial health.

5 Options for people who can’t afford their tax bills
If you can’t afford your tax bill, consider an installment plan or an offer in compromise if you qualify.

Beware of Lenders’ Mistakes in Your Credit Report
Another reason why it’s important to monitor your credit report.

Will you really run out of money in retirement?

Many U.S. households retire without enough money to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. Once retired, though, people often reduce their spending enough to make their money last, according to a recent study by David Blanchett, head of retirement research at Morningstar, and Warren Cormier, executive director of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association’s Retirement Research Center.

“People are finding a way to make it work,” Blanchett says.

The findings challenge a common financial planning assumption that retirees’ spending will increase at the rate of inflation each year. But the research also indicates many people retire without a realistic understanding of how much they can safely spend. In my latest for the Associated Press, a look at running out vs. running short.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to reclaim money lost to COVID disruptions. Also in the news: How phone calls can save you money, start early to get your house retirement-ready, and which states have extended their tax deadlines.

It’s Not Too Late to Reclaim Money ‘Lost’ to COVID Disruptions
A chargeback can be a helpful tool, particularly if the pandemic has affected the delivery of a good or service. But there are rules and limits to be aware of.

Deep Breath and Dial: How Phone Calls Can Save You Money
It’ll take a little patience.

Start Early to Get Your House Retirement-Ready
Most homes aren’t ready for “aging in place,” but you could take steps now to make your home better for retirement.

Which States Have Extended Their Tax Deadlines?
See if yours is on the list.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Start early to get your house retirement-ready. Also in the news: Why these federal student loan borrowers are out of luck, 5 options for people who can’t afford their tax bills, and why big tax refunds aren’t as great as they seem.

Start Early to Get Your House Retirement-Ready
Most homes aren’t ready for “aging in place,” but you could take steps now to make your home better for retirement.

These Federal Student Loan Borrowers Aren’t Getting Relief
FFEL borrowers are out of luck.

5 Options for People Who Can’t Afford Their Tax Bills
If you can’t afford your tax bill, consider an installment plan or an offer in compromise if you qualify.

Why Big Tax Refunds Aren’t As Great as They Seem
You’re giving the IRS a loan.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: College costs far outpace wages many students could earn. Also in the news: A look at earning hotel elite status in 2021, how California theme parks have adjusted to the pandemic, and how to claim your $10,200 unemployment tax break.

College Costs Far Outpace Wages Many Students Could Earn
Working can help cover college costs, but avoiding student loan debt with a part-time job is nearly impossible.

Is Hotel Elite Status Worth Considering in 2021?
With reduced elite status qualifications, this might be a good year to earn status that’s valid until ’22 or ’23.

Traveling to California? At Theme Parks, Food Is Main Attraction
For now, theme parks are turning into outdoor food venues.

How to Claim Your $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break
THere’s an important new provision in the American Rescue Plan.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How many funds you should own to save for retirement. Also in the news: COVID tax breaks could open door to student loan forgiveness, better savers spend less money on these 3 things, and how to track your third stimulus payment.

How Many Funds Should I Own to Save for Retirement?
How many mutual funds investors should have depends on the type of fund — owning shares in one fund may be enough.

COVID Tax Break Could Open Door to Student Loan Forgiveness
Could we see student loan forgiveness this year?

Better Savers Spend Less Money on These 3 Things
Better savers spend less, as a percentage of income, on housing, food and beverage, and transportation.

How to Track Your Third Stimulus Payment
Payments have begun hitting bank accounts.

Start early to get your house retirement-ready

Many people want to remain in their homes after they retire rather than move to a senior living facility or community. Unfortunately, most homes aren’t set up to help us age safely and affordably.

If your goal is to “age in place,” some advance preparation could help make that possible — or point to better alternatives.

“Somewhere in your 50s, hopefully, you’re starting to think seriously about are you going to be able to stay in the house you’re in? Or are you going to need to make changes?” says DeDe Jones, a certified financial planner in Denver.

In my latest for the Associated Press, changes you need to consider to get your house retirement ready.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Does Medicare cover COVID testing and vaccines? Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on procrastination and paying student loans vs investing, 3 ways COVID has reshuffled our finances, and how the car you drive can raise your auto insurance rates.

Does Medicare Cover COVID Testing and Vaccines?
In general, Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans cover COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

Smart Money Podcast: Procrastination, and Paying Student Loans vs. Investing
How to stop procrastinating on big money tasks.

3 Ways COVID-19 Reshuffled Our Finances
Three financial trends we can chalk up to the coronavirus pandemic.

How the Car You Drive Can Raise Your Auto Insurance Rates
The cost of your car isn’t the only way your vehicle affects your auto insurance bill.