Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What every parent should know about investing for retirement. Also in the news: To fight inflation, take down food expenses, a new episode of the Smart Money podcast on small business benefits and buying a hybrid, and these U.S. cities are seeing the biggest drop in home prices.

What every parent should know about investing for retirement
Don’t make these mistakes when it comes to saving and investing for yourself and your kids

To fight inflation, take down food expenses
February food prices were 7.9% higher than they were a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Smart Money Podcast: Small Business Benefits, and Buying a Hybrid
Learn the perks of shopping small. Then hear whether high gas prices make now the time to switch to a hybrid.

These U.S. Cities Are Seeing the Biggest Drops in Home Prices
What this means for those looking to buy and sell houses.

Q&A: Tax tips for hybrid owners

Dear Liz: Not a question, but a tip for your readers. I bought a plug-in hybrid in 2018. I couldn’t take advantage of the $7,500 federal tax credit because my income was too low to pay much in federal taxes. So I converted $30,000 of my IRA to a Roth IRA, which added that money to my income for 2018, allowing me to take full advantage of the credit. Hey, I even got some money back. I can’t touch that Roth account for five years, or else the income it generates won’t be tax-free, but when the time comes for my mandatory withdrawals, I’ll tap into the remainder of my regular IRA. This might be of help to some of your readers.

Answer: Normally conversions from a regular IRA to a Roth trigger a hefty tax bill, but your credit allowed you to convert tax-free. Leasing is another option to consider with hybrids and other cars that offer a federal tax credit. The value of the credit typically is built into the deal, so you benefit even if you don’t have a federal tax bill to offset.