Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways to budget using your bank account. Also in the news: Checking your finances now to avoid falling behind, how video games can level up kids’ money skills, and four questions to ask yourself before any big purchase.

6 Ways to Budget Using Your Bank Account
Your bank account can do more than store your money. It can help you control your spending, too.

Check Finances Now to Avoid Falling Behind
Financial experts recommend taking a close look at your retirement savings, planning for 2022 goals and more.

How Video Games Can Level Up Kids’ Money Skills
These four conversations can help your video game-loving kids learn about money.

You Should Ask Yourself These Four Questions Before Any Big Purchase
You need a game plan.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: To raise financially savvy kids, give money lessons a reboot. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on 2021 money goals, how to discuss family finances in a crisis, and giving your wallet a good cleaning.

To Raise Financially Savvy Kids, Give Money Lessons a Reboot
Going beyond the piggy bank.

Smart Money Podcast: How You Can Achieve Money Goals in 2021
Starting off on the right foot.

How to Discuss Family Finances in a Crisis
Honesty is key.

Take These Cards Out of Your Wallet Right Now
Give your wallet some breathing room.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files. Also in the news: 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic, Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud, and what to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week.

People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files
One mistake could lower your credit score by nearly one hundred points.

Use these 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic
A unique opportunity.

Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud — and that’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
Scammers never rest.

What to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week
You have a few options.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Now is the time to teach your Gen-Z kids about credit. Also in the news: 1 in 4 retirees say COVID-19 may force them to go back to work, when and how should you report your no-show stimulus check to the IRS, and how to set up a zero-based budget.

Now Is the Time to Teach Your Gen-Z Kids About Credit
Preparing them for the real world.

1 in 4 Retirees Say COVID-19 May Force Them to Go Back to Work. What This Could Mean for You
A dramatic change in plans.

When and how should you report your no-show stimulus check to the IRS?
Tracking down your check.

How to set up a zero-based budget
Making your income and expenses match.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Capital One letting you use miles on takeout, delivery, and streaming. Also in the news: Coronavirus auto insurance refunds – how much to expect, how to school kids on money lessons during the outbreak, and how to check if you’re eligible for food stamps.

Capital One Letting You Use Miles on Takeout, Delivery, Streaming
New categories for reward redemption.

Coronavirus Auto Insurance Refunds: How Much to Expect
Why some insurers are giving money back.

How to School Kids on Money Lessons During the COVID-19 Outbreak

How to Check If You’re Eligible for Food Stamps
Getting assistance during this tough time.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How credit unions fit in your financial life. Also in the news: How to recover from being rejected for a personal loan, 5 simple ways to get out of credit card debt faster, and 9 ways to teach kids about money.

How Credit Unions Fit in Your Financial Life
More personal banking.

Rejected for a Personal Loan? Here’s How to Recover
Start asking why.

5 Simple Ways to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Faster
Tips to hack away at your debt.

9 Ways to Teach Kids About Money
Get them started early.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How kids influenced by social media push parents to overspend on back-to-school shopping. Also in the news: How one man paid off nearly $120K of debt in 5 years, the number one airline rewards program, and the pros and cons of giving your child a credit card.

Back-to-School Shopping: Kids Influenced by Social Media Push Parents to Overspend

How I Ditched Debt: Whipping Up a Payoff ‘Tornado’
How one man paid off nearly $120K of debt in 5 years.

This is the No. 1 airline rewards program
Did your favorite airline make the list?

How young is too young for a kid to have a credit card?
The pros and cons of giving your child access to your card.

Q&A: Adding a child as a credit card user

Dear Liz: I’ve read that adding a child as an authorized user on your credit card could help build his or her credit history. But I was specifically told that this was not the case, as the child’s Social Security number was not primary.

Answer: Whoever told you may not have understood how authorized user activity typically is reported, or may have been talking about a specific issuer’s policy.

Adding someone as an authorized user to a credit card typically results in the history for that card being added to the authorized user’s credit report. That in turn can help the authorized user build credit history and improve his or her credit scores.

Some smaller issuers, such as credit unions or regional banks, may not report authorized user activity to the three credit bureaus, but all of the major credit card companies do. Some of these big issuers, however, don’t report the information if the authorized user is younger than a certain age or if the information is negative. The age cutoff varies by issuer. For American Express and Wells Fargo, for example, it’s 18; for Barclays, it’s 16 and for Discover, it’s 15. Other major issuers don’t have an age cutoff. American Express and U.S. Bank also won’t report to the authorized user’s credit file if the account is delinquent.

The credit bureaus, in turn, have their own policies. TransUnion includes whatever the issuers report. Equifax adds the information to the credit report if the authorized user is at least 16. Experian adds the information supplied by the issuers, regardless of age, but will remove it if the original account becomes “derogatory” — which typically means payments are skipped or the account is charged off.

If you want to help a child build credit by adding the child as an authorized user, you’ll want to make sure you’re adding him or her to a card that will actually do some good. A quick call to the issuer can help you find out its policy on reporting authorized user activity.

Q&A: This son’s failure to launch is hurting his parent’s finances

Dear Liz: I have a 24-year-old son who has been trying to get through college for nearly seven years. I have helped him with direct gifts and by co-signing loans, but I am pretty tapped out. He tells me he has one year left but has no way to pay for it. He is disorganized and not particularly motivated, although he does talk about things he’s learning and I think is at least somewhat committed to school (he maintains about a B to C average at the state school he attends). He has moved back home to save money and is working full time but had gone many months without a job in the last year. He accumulated credit card debt and generally is a financial disaster.

Do I take out a second mortgage or co-sign another loan, which would be a stretch for me, or do I watch him drop out of school, which seems a really harsh life lesson? I know he might be able to take a year off and then go back, but let’s be honest — if he takes a break, it becomes less likely that he’ll ever return.

Answer: You sound like you’re more than tapped out. You already may be overextended because those private education loans you co-signed are just as much your responsibility as his — and he doesn’t sound like a terrific credit risk, at least at this point. Doubling down by borrowing more money doesn’t seem like the wisest choice for either of you.

Taking a break from school could increase the chances he won’t get his degree, but it also could give him time to get his financial life in better shape and perhaps tackle some of the issues impeding his progress. His disorganization and slow pace through school could point to an underlying problem such as a learning disability or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His college may have a counseling center that could connect him with resources to help, or you could ask your family physician for a referral.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to decipher your college aid. Also in the news: What to do when your income peaks before you’re ready, 9 tips for 2019 college grads anticipating their first paychecks, and how your child’s sports could be sabotaging your financial health.

Accepted! How to Decipher Your College Aid
Making sense of the fine print.

Your Income Can Peak Before You’re Ready
Taking stalled wages into account.

9 Money Tips for 2019 College Grads Anticipating Their First Paychecks
How to spend, save, invest, and pay down.

Your child’s sports could be sabotaging your financial health
The high cost of youth sports.