Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Buy a real car now before they become extinct. Also in the news: How Shea Couleé of ‘Drag Race’ fashions her finances, 8 credit card strategies, and 3 things to do when you get a salary increase.

Buy a Real Car Now Before They Become Extinct
Sedans are disappearing.

Money/Makers Q&A: How Shea Couleé of ‘Drag Race’ Fashions Her Finances
Drag isn’t cheap.

8 Credit Card Strategies — And Some Surprises, Too
Strategic uses to improve your life.

3 Things to Do When You Get a Salary Increase
Celebrate, then plan.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Writing a will? How to stop stalling and get it done. Also in the news: Hidden financing traps in car shopping, how to protect yourself in the Words with Friends data breach, and the big wedding expense nearly half of married couples regret.

Writing a Will? How to Stop Stalling and Get It Done
Make things easier for your loved ones.

Car Shopping? Don’t Fall for These Hidden Financing Traps
Avoiding the extended warranty trap.

How to Protect Yourself in the ‘Words with Friends’ Data Breach
200 million users are affected.

Nearly half of married couples regret this big wedding expense
This one might surprise you.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Car buyers could save thousands with just an hour of research. Also in the news: Home affordability is boxing out Americans who dream of relocating, the 15 best and worst US cities for young families, and why you should plan now to deal with holiday credit card debt.

Car Buyers Could Save $2,000 (or More) With an Hour of Research
60 minutes could save you thousands.

Survey: Home Affordability Boxes Out Americans Who Dream of Relocating
Almost 25% of Americans would like to relocate.

The 15 best—and worst—US cities for young, growing families
Is the West Coast the best coast?

Make a plan now to deal with holiday credit card debt. Here are four tips to follow.
The holidays are right around the corner.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why your credit score isn’t the only gage of financial health. Also in the news: Car buying tips from an undercover salesman, 8 things that won’t hurt your credit, and how to control what could take a big bite out of your retirement nest egg.

Your Credit Score Isn’t the Only Gauge of Financial Health
The numbers you need to pay attention to.

5 Car-Buying Tips From My Days as an Undercover Salesman
How to navigate the car buying process.

8 Things That Won’t Hurt (Whew!) Your Credit
Starting with checking your credit score.

Here’s what could take a big bite out of your retirement nest egg — and how you can control it
Pacing yourself for the long haul.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t be afraid to test-drive your car salesperson. Also in the news: How your net worth compares and what matters more, 5 family vacation planning tips learned on the fly, and creative strategies for lowering your debt-to-income ratio.

Don’t Be Afraid to Test-Drive Your Car Salesperson
Switch when you need to.

How Your Net Worth Compares — and What Matters More
It’s just a just a high-level picture of your financial life.

5 Family Vacation Planning Tips I Learned on the Fly
Stay on budget while still having fun.

Try these creative strategies for lowering your debt-to-income ratio
It could be the deciding factor when applying for a loan.

Q&A: When buying a car, be strategic with your money. Here’s how

Dear Liz: My son, 27, has a 2009 car that needs a new engine and is not running. The engine would cost $6,100 to replace, which is money he doesn’t have. He owes $10,000 on his car loan at 6% interest. The car would be worth only about $4,500 if it were running.

Should he sell the car to a junkyard for $200? Should he refinance the car loan for the remaining months he’ll make payments and also try to get the interest rate reduced?

He also wants to buy a 2016 car for around $18,900. He needs the car to get to work every day. Should he buy this car and have two car loans? Or should he look for an older car for now, until he gets the “upside-down” loan paid off?

Answer: It’s unfortunate that your son’s response to overspending on one car is to overspend on a replacement.

Let’s go over some basics of smart vehicle ownership. In general, we should avoid borrowing money to pay for assets that lose value — and a car is pretty much the definition of an asset that loses value. New cars depreciate by about 20% as soon as you drive them off the lot and lose roughly half their value in the first three years. The vast majority continue losing value until they’re sold for scrap. Only a handful of classic cars ever appreciate.

That means paying cash for cars is usually the smart move. Since most people can’t swing that, at least at first, the next best policy is to make large enough down payments so the cars we buy aren’t upside down, or worth less than what we owe.

When people are upside down on vehicles, the best practice is typically to “drive out” of their loans. That means continuing to make payments until they own the cars free and clear. Ideally, they would then keep the cars until they’ve saved enough to make substantial down payments on the replacement vehicles or buy a replacement outright.

Pouring more money into this particular car probably doesn’t make much sense. Your son probably won’t be able to refinance, since he has no equity in the vehicle. He might be able to roll the negative equity into a loan on a new car, but that would leave him in an even worse financial position: more deeply upside down and probably paying a higher interest rate.

Your son should consider getting a personal loan, perhaps from a credit union, to pay off the balance. Instead of spending nearly $20,000 on a 2-year-old replacement, he should aim to spend $3,000 to $5,000 on a good, reliable older car. If he can pay cash, great. If not, he should work to get both loans paid off as quickly as possible and start saving for the next car.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Stocks at a crossroads: 3 things to watch for in June. Also in the news: Why kids should stash summer job cash in a Roth IRA, millennials are stressed about their finances, and why now is the time to buy a used car.

Stocks at Crossroads: 3 Things to Watch for in June
Watching the market.

Why Kids Should Stash Summer Job Cash in a Roth IRA
It’s never too early to save for retirement.

Study: Millennials are stressing about their finances
Feeling worse off than their Baby Boomer parents.

Why Now Is the Time to Buy a Used Car
Getting the most for your money.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Using your tax refund to spring clean your finances. Also in the news: A money conference for women, why the IRS wants their share of your March Madness winnings, and how Millennials can make car buying easier.

Use Your Tax Refund to Spring Clean Your Finances
Tidying up your money.

Lola: A money conference for women.
How to better deal with financial issues unique to women.

You Won! Congratulations — Now Pay Your Taxes
The IRS wants their share of your March Madness winnings.

5 Ways Millennials Can Make Car Buying a Smoother Ride
Making the process easier.

9 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
Buying yet another overpriced gadget isn’t one of them.

How Much More It Costs to Own vs. Rent in Your State
Where does your state rank?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Financial-PlanningToday’s top story: Financial planning for the 21st century. Also in the news: Tips for buying life insurance with a pre-existing condition, mistakes people make when buying furniture, and the best new car deals for Labor Day weekend.

Financial Planning for the 21st Century
Catching up with the future.

7 Tips for Buying Life Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition
Working your way through a complicated system.

6 Mistakes People Make When Buying Furniture
Pay close attention to financing.

4 best new car deals for Labor Day weekend
Getting the most bang for your buck.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Amazon launches a car comparison site. Also in the news: HARP loans get extended through September of 2017, 4 finance apps every college student needs, and what to do if you can’t afford your kids’ school supplies.

Amazon Launches Car Comparison Site
The online giant gets in the car game.

HARP Loan Extended Through September 2017
Struggling homeowners have more time to refinance.

4 Finance Apps Every College Student Needs
Sticking to a budget while on campus.

What if You Can’t Afford Your Kids’ School Supplies?
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.