Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why you should name a ‘trusted contact.’ Also in the news: How to pay off your car lease, and how COVID grants, relief programs impact 2021 business taxes.

Why You (and I) Should Name a ‘Trusted Contact’
Helping your brokerage, bank or insurer connect with someone who knows what’s going on in your life could protect your money and prevent financial catastrophe.

Ending Your Car Lease Is Tricky, But Can Still Pay Off
Despite dealers and carmakers making it harder to buy leased cars, you can make the most of your car’s equity.

How COVID Grants, Relief Programs Impact 2021 Business Taxes
Tax treatment for PPP loans and coronavirus grants varies state to state.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What a payroll tax deferral may mean for your paycheck and taxes. Also in the news: 4 ways to end your car lease early, what to do if losing your job means losing life insurance, and don’t skip these estate planning moves during the pandemic.

What a Payroll Tax Deferral May Mean for Your Paycheck and Taxes
Things to keep in mind.

4 Ways to End Your Car Lease Early
You can transfer your lease, sell to a dealer or take out a loan to buy the car and then sell it yourself.

What to do if losing your job means losing life insurance
Consider your needs.

Don’t Skip These Estate Planning Moves During Coronavirus
Important moves to consider right now.

In case you missed it: car leases, celebrity estate disasters and how to choose your first credit card

Chevy VoltHere’s a column I never thought I’d write: “Sometimes, leasing a car is the right option.”

Most people are way better off financially if they buy cars slightly used and own them for at least 10 years. Even if you want to buy new, you’ll save a fortune (at least $250,000, by my calculations) by not trading your car in every few years. In most cases, leasing just encourages you to overspend on your wheels and ties you to never-ending car payments. Not good.

But there are situations where leasing actually makes sense, and those are outlined in the column.

Plenty of famous people have left seriously messed-up situations when they died. Lawsuits over the estates of Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix continued decades after they died. A court recently overturned a settlement in the James Brown estate, a situation complicated by the question of whether he was actually married when he died. Jerry Garcia’s estate plan appointed his third wife as a fiduciary for the second wife and the second wife’s children, legally requiring Wife #3 to put Wife #2’s interests ahead of her own…even though Wife #3 was also a beneficiary. Yikes.

I chose five other more recent but equally spectacular cases of celebrity estate disasters in “5 celebrities who messed up their wills.”

Back in June I wrote about “Why young people hate credit cards.” The good news, that people in their 20s and 30s have less credit card debt, is offset by the bad news, which is that credit cards, responsibly used, help build your credit scores and qualify you for better rates on mortgages, auto loans, insurance and more. If you’ve decided you do want some plastic after all, check out Doughroller’s “5 steps to choosing your first credit card.” Just remember that there’s no reason to carry debt to improve your scores, and that you should pay off your balances in full every month.