Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to bounce back from a credit card mistake. Also in the news: Why you should pack a travel guidebook even in 2021, 4 traits that helped small businesses survive the pandemic, and how charitable donations can earn you an added tax deduction this year.

How to Bounce Back From a Credit Card Mistake
Errors happen to even the most seasoned credit card users. They can be costly, but they’re not irreversible.

Why You Should Pack a Travel Guidebook, Even in 2021
The pages of an actual guidebook often offer a level of quality and convenience that the internet can’t.

4 Traits That Have Helped Small Businesses Survive the Pandemic
Expanded delivery and online services, among other features, have been attractive to consumers during the pandemic.

How Charitable Donations Can Earn You an Added Tax Deduction This Year
Hold on to those donation receipts.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The pros and cons of selling your home to an iBuyer. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on travel insurance and buying an electric car, 5 pandemic credit card habits to carry forward, and preparing your wedding budget for the reception resurgence.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to an iBuyer
Figuring out your priorities — such as having a flexible schedule, getting the best price or minimizing stress — can help you decide whether selling to an iBuyer could work for you.

Smart Money Podcast: When Travel Insurance Is Worth It and Buying an Electric Car
What it offers, how much it costs and when you should purchase it.

5 Pandemic Credit Card Habits to Carry Forward
Among credit card holders whose credit limits were cut during the pandemic, 93% say their financial views or strategies changed because of it.

Is Your Wedding Budget Ready for the Reception Resurgence?
Wedding celebrations are back.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What Biden’s free college plan could mean for you. Also in the news: Overrated travel gear that you should (probably) never pack, what to do with extra money, and how to get a refund on federal student loan payments you made during the pandemic.

What Biden’s Free College Plan Could Mean for YouThe president announced plans for more student aid, including free community college and higher Pell Grants.

Overrated Travel Gear That You Should (Probably) Never Pack
Don’t waste money or suitcase space on these unnecessary items for travel.

What to Do With Extra Money
Extra cash is great, but what should you do with it? Investing is often the answer.

How to Get a Refund on Federal Student Loan Payments You Made During the Pandemic
It’s your money until the moratorium expires.

How to Line Up Rent Aid — and a Backup Plan

Congress has appropriated more than $46 billion in emergency assistance to help cover back rent and utilities owed by struggling renters. But getting a share of that money isn’t automatic or guaranteed.

Not everyone who’s behind on their rent qualifies for help. In addition, some states and cities require more paperwork than others, which can make accessing the funds more difficult. Also, landlords and tenants typically must work together to apply for the aid, and some landlords are refusing to help.

For now, most renters are protected by various eviction bans — at national, state and sometimes local levels — but someday those will end. In the meantime, owing your landlord can lead to credit damage, collections calls and lawsuits. If you’re behind on your rent, you’d be smart to start exploring your options for dealing with this debt.

In my latest for Nerdwallet, how to work through the rent aid process and create a backup plan.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How the pandemic has shaken up retirement. Also in the news: 6 steps for financial spring cleaning, what to know if you’re listing your home in 2021, and how to avoid having to pay back the $3600 child tax credit.

How the Pandemic Has Shaken Up Retirement
When to retire isn’t always in our control, but too early an exit can bring financial instability.

6 Steps for Financial Spring Cleaning, Pandemic-Style
This year, spring cleaning includes reevaluating your budget, updating insurance and setting new goals.

Listing Your Home in 2021? Here’s What to Know
Roughly 1 in 6 (17%) homeowners plan on selling their home in the next 18 months.

How To Avoid Having to Pay Back the $3,600 Child Tax Credit
Find out how the credit works.

How the pandemic has shaken up retirement

Pandemic-related job losses forced many older Americans out of the workplace i n the past year, perhaps permanently. But the COVID-19 crisis also seems to have delayed some retirements.

Remote work eliminated commutes and often allowed more flexible schedules with fewer interruptions. At the same time, the pandemic restricted many traditional retirement activities, including travel and visits with family. While some employed older workers look forward to retiring when restrictions ease, others say teleworking has made staying on the job more tenable.

in my latest for the Associated Press, a look at how the pandemic has shaken up retirement in both good and bad ways for Americans.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to handle debt in an unequal recovery. Also in the news: 6 ways to save at the pump, worrying about the right thing with estate taxes, and 4 in 10 Americans are struggling financially one year after the pandemic began.

How to Handle Debt in an Unequal Recovery
Navigating the K-shaped economy.

Put the Cap on Gas Prices: 6 Ways to Save at the Pump
Here’s how experts recommend managing your fuel budget with oil prices on the rise.

Worry About the Right Thing With Estate Taxes
Few people pay estate or gift taxes, but many benefit from an inheritance tax break that may be axed.

4 in 10 Americans struggling financially, one year after coronavirus struck the U.S.
How things look a year later.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why you may not want to be an executor. Also in the news: 5 ways to foil catalytic converter thieves, 3 money habits to carry forward from the pandemic era, and how to avoid fees when paying your taxes.

Why You May Not Want to Be an Executor
Settling someone’s estate can be time-consuming and difficult, plus you could be sued.

5 Ways to Foil Catalytic Converter Thieves
Catalytic converter thefts have soared during the pandemic.

3 Money Habits to Carry Forward From the Pandemic Era
According to a new survey, 78% of Americans report that the pandemic spurred them to take financial action.

How to Avoid Fees When Paying Your Taxes
Some options are better and cheaper than others.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to prioritize debt payments in the pandemic. Also in the news: The fairness of airline fees, the influence of 2020 on investing, and how to avoid paying certain car dealership fees.

How to Prioritize Debt Payments in the Pandemic
The rules have changed.

Ask a Travel Nerd: Are Airline Fees Fair?
The process of buying a plane ticket can be misleading because you aren’t shown all of the fees upfront.

Will 2020 Make Us More Empathetic Investors?
Investment dollars can make an impact, so be sure your impact is a good one.

Avoid Paying These Car Dealership Fees
Know which fees you have to pay, which ones you can negotiate, and which ones you can avoid altogether.

How to prioritize debt payments in the pandemic

A singular crisis has led to extraordinary relief options for borrowers. Interest and payments have been paused on federal student loans. Homeowners can request nearly a year of mortgage forbearance. Credit card issuers and other lenders dramatically expanded hardship programs.

Still, many Americans say they took on more debt last year because of the pandemic, according to NerdWallet’s household debt survey.

If you are one of them, or if you have other household debt that’s been put on hold, you may not want to rush to pay that money back even if you can. In my latest for the Associated Press, how to be strategic when dealing with pandemic-related and other debt.