Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: For self-employed, filing for unemployment benefits is getting easier. Also in the news: How to pay rent when you can’t afford it, what to keep in mind with credit card payments during the pandemic, and how to find out what you owe the IRS.

For Self-Employed, Filing for Unemployment Benefits Is Getting Easier
What you need to know before filing a claim.

How to Pay Rent When You Can’t Afford It
Exploring your options.

COVID-19: What to Keep in Mind With Credit Card Bill Payments
Reach out to your card issuer.

Use This IRS Tool to Check What You Owe Them
Making sure you’re up-to-date.

Start thinking bankruptcy now, not later

If you’ve lost your job or struggle to pay your debt, you may need to file for bankruptcy. If that’s the case, you should ignore some common financial advice and start thinking defensively.

The coronavirus pandemic that upended the economy is also expected to send unprecedented numbers of people and businesses to bankruptcy court. Millions are out of work, and economic disruptions could continue until a vaccine is widely available, something that may be more than a year away.

“I am gearing up for having a tsunami of new cases,” says Jenny Doling, a bankruptcy attorney in Palm Desert, California, who serves on the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Chapter 13 Advisory Committee. “I think there will be a whole lot more people filing than what anyone’s ever seen before.”

In my latest for the Associated Press, what you need to know now if bankruptcy is in your future.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How states are helping student loan borrowers during the Coronavirus. Also in the news: Making a financial recovery kit to rally faster after disaster, a new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on buying a first home in an expensive area, and why your credit limit just dropped.

How States Are Helping Student Loan Borrowers During the Coronavirus
Find out what your state is doing.

Make a Financial Recovery Kit to Rally Faster After Disaster
Using all this free time wisely.

SmartMoney Podcast: ‘How Can I Buy My First Home in an Expensive City?’
Important factors to take into consideration.

Why Your Credit Limit Just Dropped
Reducing risk.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Can your credit card help you get a refund on a canceled trip? Also in the news: 9 alternatives to payday loans to consider during the COVID-19 crisis, what to do before adopting or buying a puppy, and how to earn more reward points on your next grocery run.

Can My Credit Card Help Me Get a Refund on Canceled Trips?
Your card may have travel protection.

9 Alternatives to Payday Loans to Consider During the COVID-19 Crisis
Other options to high interest loans.

Do This Before Adopting or Buying a Puppy
What to do before getting a quarantine buddy.

How to Earn More Rewards Points on Your Next Grocery Run
Cards are offering more practical rewards.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: IRS Data shows agency, filers slow down. Also in the news: How to ask your bank or lender for help, how to protect your health with a clean car, and what to do if you get a bill for your Coronavirus test.

IRS Data: Refunds Lag as Agency, Tax Filers Slow Down
You should get in line for your refund.

How to Ask Your Bank or Lender for Help
Don’t be intimidated.

Protect Your Health With a Clean Car
Protecting your health and your investment.

What to Do if You Get a Bill for Your Coronavirus Test
Navigating your way through the red tape.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why family loyalty shouldn’t apply to your credit cards. Also in the news: What you should do with your travel credit card, what you need to know about roadside assistance, and what the near zero interest rates mean for you.

Why Family Loyalty Shouldn’t Apply to Your Credit Cards
You could be missing out on valuable rewards.

Ask a Points Nerd: What Should I Do With My Travel Credit Card Right Now?
A little retention attention.

Roadside Assistance: Where to Get It, What to Ask
We’ll be back on the roads eventually.

Fed holds rates near zero — here’s what that means for you
Historically low rates continue.

How to ask your bank or lender for help

Many banks, credit card issuers and other lenders have promised to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. They’re offering to defer or reduce payments and waive interest charges and rebate fees for those who have lost jobs, had their hours reduced or otherwise lost income to the COVID-19 crisis.

The help usually isn’t automatic, however. You have to ask for it — and ask the right way.

In my latest for the Associated Press, the important questions to ask your bank or lender.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Can I buy or sell a house during the Coronavirus pandemic? Also in the news: How to manage your credit score during a crisis, Coronavirus cancellation and change policies for credit card travel portals, and how to get all your credit card payments deferred in one call.

Can I Buy or Sell a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
New regulations you’ll contend with.

How to Manage Your Credit Score During a Crisis
Looking at alternatives.

Coronavirus Cancellation and Change Policies for Credit Card Travel Portals
Everything you need to know.

Get All Your Credit Card Payments Deferred With One Call
A credit counselor can help you.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should you use your emergency fund during the COVID-19 outbreak? Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on the Coronavirus relief checks, why you should join a money community for financial support, and 13 tips to help protect your online financial information.

Should You Use Your Emergency Fund During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
Don’t be afraid to use it when you actually need it.

SmartMoney Podcast: ‘Where’s My Coronavirus Relief Check?’
Finding your $1200.

Why you should join a money community for financial support
Strength in numbers.

13 Tips To Help Protect Your Online Financial Information
Cybercrime never rests.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to get cash from your life insurance policy. Also in the news: How to manage your credit score during a crisis, how to tell if your financial advisor is really helping you, and how much a credit card cash advance will really cost you.

How to Get Cash From Your Life Insurance Policy
Four ways to tap into your policy.

How to Manage Your Credit Score During a Crisis
Strategic choices.

Crisis Test: Is Your Financial Advisor Really Helping You?
Are your best interests being put first?

Here’s What a Credit Card Cash Advance Will Really Cost You
Check that APR.