Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to pay for a home remodel without tapping your equity. Also in the news: U.S. unemployment shrinks, but recovery varies across race, sex, and age, how to avoid last-minute tax surprises when closing your business, and is COVID-specific travel insurance worth buying.

How to Pay for a Home Remodel Without Tapping Your Equity
Paying for a renovation equity-free can help you expedite the funding process and even start the project sooner.

U.S. Unemployment Shrinks, but Recovery Varies Across Race, Sex and Age
The recovery isn’t universal.

Thinking of closing your business? Avoid these last-minute tax surprises
Your state may also have requirements for dissolving your business, including canceling registrations and licenses.

Is COVID-Specific Travel Insurance Worth Buying?
What to consider before your next trip.

Sustainable investing could get a lot harder

Interest in sustainable investing is soaring, as more people become convinced that making a positive impact can be profitable as well as good for the planet and society. Unfortunately, the Labor Department doesn’t think these investments belong in your 401(k).

In June, the federal regulator proposed a rule that would restrict workplace retirement plans from investments that include environmental, social and governance considerations. Popularly known as ESG or socially responsible investing, this approach considers the sustainability of a company’s business practices.

The Labor Department says only returns, not business practices, should matter. But its proposal is unusual for a number of reasons, including its wide range of opponents. In my latest for the Associated Press, a look at how the opponents of sustainable investing could make things much more difficult.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Starter credit cards are still a thing but are harder to get. Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on debt and refinancing, debt management as an alternative to credit card relief, and should you let your insurance company track your driving?

Starter Credit Cards Are Still a Thing but Harder to Get
Starter credit cards have gotten harder to qualify for in recent years — but not impossible. And more options exist now.

Smart Money Podcast: The Psychology of Debt, and When to Refinance
People are having complicated feelings about plastic.

If Credit Card Relief’s a No-Go, Check Out Debt Management
Not everyone will qualify for hardship programs or find the terms affordable.

Should You Let Your Insurance Company Track Your Driving?
You could get a significant discount.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Fear of bankruptcy holds too many people back. Also in the news: Saving for a down payment is only the start for homeowners, pressing pause on private student loans, and it’s time to revise your pandemic budget.

Fear of Bankruptcy Holds Too Many People Back
Many people could benefit from bankruptcy relief but don’t file because of fear, myths or misplaced optimism.

For Homeowners, Saving a Down Payment Is Only the Start
The down payment is just one cost to save for.

Should You Press Pause on Private Student Loans?
Forbearance isn’t the only way to get a more manageable private student loan payment.

It’s Time to Revise Your Pandemic Budget
Budgeting is more important than ever.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Ask a Points Nerd: What Will Holiday Travel Be Like? Also in the news: Starter credit card options, how to avoid common and costly home renovation mistakes, and what to know about Sam’s Club’s new telehealth program.

Ask a Points Nerd: What Will Holiday Travel Be Like?
It’s hard to say how pent-up demand might affect this holiday travel season.

Starter Credit Card Options: Student Card or Secured Card?
They can both help you establish your credit history, but they function differently.

How to avoid common and costly home renovation mistakes
The key lies in good planning and financial strategizing

What to Know About Sam’s Club’s Telehealth Program
24/7 access to doctors.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Are cash management accounts safe? Also in the news: 6 items to add to your packing list for COVID-era travel, 5 myths about high-yield savings accounts during COVID-19, and how to talk about debt as newlyweds.

Are Cash Management Accounts Safe? How CMAs Protect Your Money
What to know about FDIC insurance.

6 Items to Add to Your Packing List for COVID-Era Travel
You don’t want to leave home without some of these less obvious items for travel.

5 Myths About High-Yield Savings Accounts During COVID-19
Mythbusting.

How to Talk About Debt as Newlyweds
Starting with a clean slate.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 National Parks to visit this fall and where to stay on points. Also in the news: How to find travel insurance that offers COVID coverage, 7 Personal Finance Rules it’s OK to break during a pandemic, and How to save the economy for everyone.

6 National Parks to Visit This Fall, and Where to Stay on Points
National parks waive fees on National Public Lands Day. Here’s where you can take advantage of the discount.

How to Find Travel Insurance That Offers COVID CoverageHere’s what to look for when seeking a travel insurance policy to cover coronavirus-related cancellations.
Reas the fine print.

7 Personal Finance Rules It’s OK to Break During a Pandemic
Almost half of Americans reported a reduction in income and need to adjust how they manage household bills.

How to save the economy for everyone
It’s worse than the 2008

Fear of bankruptcy holds too many people back

The mystery isn’t why so many people file for bankruptcy each year. It’s why more people don’t.

Each year, only a fraction of the Americans who could benefit financially from bankruptcy actually seek relief. Economists say some don’t file because collectors aren’t aggressively pursuing them, while others may strategically delay filing because bankruptcy could benefit them more down the road.

Many bankruptcy attorneys have a much simpler explanation: Fear, a lack of information and misplaced optimism keep people from getting a fresh start. In my latest for the Associated press, why bankruptcy may be the best option for those struggling with debt.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast featuring Drag Race All-Star winner Shea Couleé talking about the drag economy. Also in the news: Online banking FAQs, how to invest in the S&P 500, and how to plan for interest rates staying low through 2023.

Smart Money Podcast: Used Cars in Short Supply, and Shea Couleé Talks About Money
The winner of season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars discusses their plan for their $100K winnings.

‘When Can I Shred This Check?’ and Other Online Banking FAQ
What to keep and what to toss.

How to Invest in the S&P 500
The S&P 500 is an index comprised of 500 leading U.S. companies, and it powers some popular index funds.

How to Plan for Interest Rates Staying Low Through 2023
The impact rock-bottom rates could have on you.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How frugal fashionistas can stay on trend. Also in the news: What Biden or Trump could do for your student loans, why you need an investment policy statement, why you need an investment policy statement, and college student argue distance learning should cost less.

How Frugal Fashionistas Can Stay on Trend
Style doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

What Biden or Trump Could Do for Your Student Loans
A look at both plans.

Why You Need an Investment Policy Statement
Start with your goals.

College students argue distance learning should cost less as some schools are charging more
Students say they aren’t getting what they paid for.