Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: You could be getting more from your employer benefits. Also in the news: Paying attention when paying your bills, Medicare and mental health services, and 4 neobanks that show up for their communities.

You Could Be Getting More From Your Employer Benefits
Health insurance, paid leave and retirement should be the baseline, not the bar, for employer-provided benefits.

Don’t Just Pay Your Bills — Pay Attention
Spending in a more mindful way starts with tracking a month’s expenses and temporarily turning off autopay services.

Does Medicare Cover Mental Health Services?
Medicare does cover both inpatient and outpatient mental health care, but be aware of the limits.

4 Neobanks Show Up for Their Communities
Financial technology firms emerge to serve the needs of historically marginalized groups.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Are cash offers better for home sellers? Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on savings tips and the Child Tax Credit, 4 smart insurance moves for hurricane season, and how to find unclaimed money that’s owed to you.

Are Cash Offers Better for Sellers?
An all-cash offer for your home might seem like the golden ticket, but take the time to weigh all your options.

Smart Money Podcast: Savings Tips and Updates to the Child Tax Credit
Saving money can involve both cutting expenses and knowing how to make saving easier for you.

4 Smart Insurance Moves to Make for Hurricane Season
Checking your coverage and deductibles in advance can help you protect yourself financially.

How to Find Unclaimed Money That’s Owed to You
Finding your unclaimed property.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should you save less for retirement? Also in the news: Can student loan forgiveness happen, a new congressional proposal would require IRA/401(k) withdrawals to start at 75, and how to spot fake reviews on Amazon.

Should You Save Less For Retirement?
An extremely early retirement goal may rob you of the joy of living now. Consider a revised path and second career.

Can Student Loan Forgiveness Still Happen?
Debt forgiveness of $10,000 would cancel debt entirely for about 15 million borrowers, according to a NerdWallet analysis of federal data.

Required IRA, 401(k) withdrawals would start at age 75 under congressional proposal. Here’s who would benefit
How your retirement savings might be affected.

How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon
Those five stars might be bought and paid for.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Google, Walgreens and H&R Block want to be your bank. Also in the news: 6 packing and planning tips for long-term travel, the imminent return of international travel, and Verizon’s new children’s money management app.

Google, Walgreens and H&R Block Want to Be Your Bank
Companies are working with partner banks to offer FDIC-insured accounts through their own apps and platforms.

6 Packing and Planning Tips for Long-Term Travel
No matter how long you plan to work abroad, these preparations can help set you up for a smoother trip.

Ask a Travel Nerd: I’m Vaccinated — Can I Finally Go Abroad?
The return of international travel is imminent, but you’ll have to book soon and be flexible with your plans.

Verizon introduces a children’s money management app
It’s never too early to start teaching financial responsibility.

Should you save less for retirement?

Gwen Merz was fresh out of college in 2014, working an information technology job she hated, when she decided early retirement was the answer. She socked away every dollar she could, saving as much as 70% of her income so that she could quit when she was 35.

Now 30, Merz thinks she may have saved too much. Her job and life goals have changed, but most of her $300,000 savings is in retirement accounts that can’t be touched without tax penalties. If she could do it over, she says she would either save less aggressively or put some of the money into a taxable investment account with less strict withdrawal rules.

“I would pay a little bit more in taxes on my salary but I would have that money available for me,” says Merz, who lives in St. Louis.

Some people save prodigious amounts so they can retire early or because they’re worried they won’t have enough for a comfortable retirement. But aggressive saving can have significant and sometimes unexpected costs. In my latest for the Associated Press, why it’s important to strike the right balance between saving for the future and living your life today.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 small-business innovations that will outlast the pandemic. Also in the news: Banking tools that can help boost savings while paying off debt, preparing for an intense wildfire season in the western United States, and the best kind of car to buy in this inflated market.

4 Small-Business Innovations That Will Outlast the Pandemic
The innovative adaptations small-business owners were forced to make to their operations during COVID-19 may offer benefits for the future.

Banking Tools Can Help Boost Savings While Paying Off Debt
Common banking tools to use that can help you pay off debt while adding to your savings.

Get Ready for an Intense Wildfire Season in the Western U.S.
You should have an emergency plan, prepare your property and make sure your belongings are insured.

What’s The Best Kind Of Car To Buy In This Inflated Market?
Getting the most for your money.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The pros and cons of selling your home to an iBuyer. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on travel insurance and buying an electric car, 5 pandemic credit card habits to carry forward, and preparing your wedding budget for the reception resurgence.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to an iBuyer
Figuring out your priorities — such as having a flexible schedule, getting the best price or minimizing stress — can help you decide whether selling to an iBuyer could work for you.

Smart Money Podcast: When Travel Insurance Is Worth It and Buying an Electric Car
What it offers, how much it costs and when you should purchase it.

5 Pandemic Credit Card Habits to Carry Forward
Among credit card holders whose credit limits were cut during the pandemic, 93% say their financial views or strategies changed because of it.

Is Your Wedding Budget Ready for the Reception Resurgence?
Wedding celebrations are back.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do if you save too much for retirement. Also in the news: The ins and outs of starting a car, financial pros are hanging on to stocks, and why you need multiple savings accounts.

What to Do If You Save Too Much for Retirement
Saving too much for retirement can cause problems as well as saving too little. Beware of IRS rules and penalties.

So You Think You Know How to Start a Car
It’s become much more complicated

Selling Stocks on Inflation Fears? Financial Pros Wouldn’t
The inflation sirens are wailing, but financial pros say there’s no reason to panic.

Why You Need Multiple Savings Accounts
Multiple accounts make it easier to reach your savings goals.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to know when it’s time to ditch your starter credit card. Also in the news: How to cover yourself against car theft, tips on paying for your wedding, and how to make a budget if you want to freelance full time.

How to Know When It’s Time to Ditch a Starter Credit Card
Don’t get too comfortable with your first card — once it’s done its job, it’s time to move on.

Car Theft Is Up in the U.S.: Here’s How to Cover Yourself
With the right kind of insurance, you could avoid paying out of pocket if your car or catalytic converter is stolen.

Weddings Are Marching Back: Here’s How to Pay for Yours
It’s best to pay for a wedding with savings, but if you need to finance, look for low-interest options with affordable payments.

How to Make a Budget If You Want to Freelance Full Time
Turning side hustles into main hustles.

What to do if you save too much for retirement

Many Americans don’t save enough for retirement, but it’s entirely possible to save too much — at least according to the IRS.

Tax laws limit how much you’re allowed to contribute to retirement accounts, and excess contributions can be penalized. Uncle Sam doesn’t want you to leave the money in the account too long, either. Those who fail to take enough out of their retirement accounts also face heavy penalties.

In my latest for the Associated Press, what you need to know to stay on the right side of the IRS’ rules.