Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 8 million student loan borrowers must do this in 2020. Also in the news: 5 ways to get credit-healthy in the New Year, how to take charge of your credit this year, and where to file state and federal taxes for free.

8 Million Student Loan Borrowers Must Do This in 2020
Time to renew your income-driven repayment plan.

5 Ways to Get Credit-Healthy in the New Year
No better time to get started.

How to Take Charge of Your Credit This Year
How to make your credit shine.

Where to File State and Federal Taxes for Free
Filling begins January 27th.

Q&A: Credit scores measure Dad’s accounts, too

Dear Liz: I recently added myself onto my 95-year-old father’s two credit card accounts as an authorized user. I am his agent under a power of attorney and handle his finances. I noticed that after being added to those accounts, my credit scores increased. When he passes on, I plan to close those accounts. Will my credit score be negatively affected?

Answer: Possibly. Closing accounts doesn’t help your scores and may hurt them. Scoring formulas are sensitive to the amount of credit you have versus how much you’re using. Closing an account shrinks your available credit, and the formulas don’t like that.

If you have good scores and plenty of other open accounts, though, the damage from closing these accounts probably will be minor and short-lived.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t let holiday shopping sink your credit score. Also in the news: 10 housing and mortgage trends or 2020, money habits that are doing you more harm than good, and the No. 1 job of 2019 pays $140,000 – and its hiring growth has exploded.

Don’t Let Holiday Shopping Sink Your Credit Score
Not the kind of gift you should give yourself.

10 Housing and Mortgage Trends for 2020
What to watch for in the new year.

These money habits in your ‘financial junk drawer’ are probably doing you more harm than good
New year, better habits.

The No. 1 job of 2019 pays $140,000 — and its hiring growth has exploded 74%
The robots are coming.

Q&A: Too many credit cards? Protect your credit scores while closing accounts

Dear Liz: Over the years, my husband and I have accumulated a number of credit cards. All have had a zero balance for years. I want to start canceling these cards, but I’m concerned that will hurt our great credit scores. How should I go about this, or should I?

Answer: As you probably know, closing credit accounts won’t help your scores and may hurt them. That doesn’t mean you can never close a credit card, but you shouldn’t close a bunch of them at once or close any if you’ll be in the market for a major loan, such as a mortgage or auto loan.

If you’re not planning to borrow money in the near future, then you can start closing accounts one at a time. You’ll probably want to keep the cards with the highest credit limits, and perhaps your oldest card as well. Monitor your scores to see how long they take to recover from each closure. You may need to wait a few months before shutting the next account.

Be sure to use your remaining cards occasionally by charging small amounts and paying the balance in full. That will keep the cards active and help prevent the issuer from canceling them.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: One credit score factor to check twice during the holidays. Also in the news: How to give back without busting your budget, how not to get hustled in the holiday bustle, and the best apps for tracking your credit card rewards.

One Credit Score Factor to Check Twice During the Holidays
Utilizing your credit wisely.

How to Give Back Without Busting Your Budget
Create a giving plan.

Identity Theft: Don’t Get Hustled in the Holiday Bustle
‘Tis the season for identity theft.

The Best Apps for Tracking Your Credit Card Rewards
All your rewards in one place.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 places to shop on Black Friday. Also in the news: Is a 580 credit score good or bad, a new bill would make for-profit colleges ineligible for federal student loans, and what to do if a stranger sends you money on Venmo.

6 Places to Shop on Black Friday — Big-Boxes and Beyond
Thinking outside the big box.

580 Credit Score: Good or Bad?
Steps to take to get out of the bad place.

Bill would make for-profit colleges ineligible for federal student loans
Many of these schools aren’t accredited.

What to Do If a Stranger Sends You Money on Venmo
The latest scam.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Wake up to the truth about ‘dream schools.’ Also in the news: 4 things to stop doing online immediately, recognizing the signs of financial abuse, and why carrying a balance won’t boost your credit score.

Wake Up to the Truth About ‘Dream Schools’
Thinking beyond the elites.

Stop Doing These 4 Things Online — Immediately
It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Don’t Ignore the Signs of Financial Abuse
Nearly 70% of millennial women have experienced financial abuse.

Carrying a Balance Won’t Boost Your Credit Score
Busting a myth.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Be first in line for college aid by filing the FAFSA now. Also in the news: What to expect when requesting a credit line increase, four ways to supplement your college financial aid, and preparing your finances for the holidays.

Be First in Line for College Aid by Filing the FAFSA Now
Get it done today.

Requesting a Credit Limit Increase? Here’s What to Expect
You could see a “hard pull” on your credit report.

4 ways to supplement your college financial aid
Covering the costs beyond tuition.

It’s Time to Prepare Your Finances for the Holidays
Stores are already decorating for Christmas.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Decode your credit card’s fine print like a pro. Also in the news: How to turn your upside-down car loan right-side up, a handy trick to help you save more for your next vacation, and what to do if your credit score drops.

Decode Your Credit Card’s Fine Print Like a Pro
Understanding the small type.

Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety
Don’t get pulled off the road.

Try this handy trick to help you save more for your next vacation
It’s all in the name.

What to Do if Your Credit Score Drops
Make sure there isn’t a security issue.

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.