Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Federal loans are paused until 2021 – should you pay anyway? Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on pet costs and extreme couponing, what to know about the coronavirus charges on your college bill, and the tough choices renters are facing.

Federal Loans Are Paused Until 2021 — Should You Pay Anyway?
Federal student loan payments are suspended interest-free through the end of 2020.

Smart Money Podcast: Pet Costs and Extreme Couponing
The costs of our furry friends.

What to Know About Coronavirus Charges on Your College Bill
Some colleges are charging for testing.

Renters must make some tough choices in the coming weeks: What to do if you’re at risk
Ways to fight evection.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Can you have too much credit? Also in the news: 5 things to know about gold’s record breaking run, the Equal Opportunity Act and its effect on women’s finances, and negotiating with your landlord during COVID-19.

Can You Have Too Much Credit?
Credit scoring formulas don’t punish people for having too many credit accounts, but too much debt can hurt scores.

5 Things to Know About Gold’s Record-Breaking Run
As COVID-19 concerns continue to rattle markets, investors are turning to one of the world’s oldest currencies.

Women and credit: In the 1970s, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act became law— a key step in financial freedom for women
The law barred shady credit practices including lender discrimination based on race, sex, age, nationality or marital status.

Negotiate With Your Landlord During COVID-19
Be upfront and honest.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Make renting work for your financial goals. Also in the news: Why this investment account is becoming more popular, what millennials get wrong about Social Security, and the common money regimen that can backfire and leave you worse off.

Make Renting Work for Your Financial Goals
Rent reporting can boost your credit score.

Why This Investment Account Is Becoming More Popular
Revisiting the brokerage account.

What Millennials Get Wrong About Social Security
Costly myths.

The common money regimen that can actually backfire and leave you worse off
When dieting doesn’t work.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

2Today’s top story: Six things that scare your financial advisor. Also in the news: How to report a tax cheat, releasing a student loan co-signer, and the top 10 affordable cities for renters.

6 Things That Scare Your Financial Advisor
What keeps them up at night.

How to Report a Tax Cheat and Get a Reward
Helping Uncle Sam and your wallet.

You Can Release a Student Loan Cosigner If You’ve Made Timely, Regular Payments
Sweet freedom.

Top 10 most affordable cities for renters
Is yours on the list?

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

gay-marriage-cake-toppers-485x320Today’s top story: Wallet-stretching tips for renters. Also in the news: Financial advice for newly married couples, why timing is everything with travel rewards credit cards, and how small businesses can be prepared when disaster strikes.

6 Wallet-Stretching Tips for Renters
Keeping a roof over your head without breaking the bank.

10 Pieces of Financial Advice for Newly Married Couples
What to do when you’re back from the honeymoon.

With travel rewards credit cards, timing is everything
Don’t miss out on valuable points.

When Disaster Strikes: 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Prepared
Keeping your business afloat during tough times.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Five pieces of personal finance advice from those in the know. Also in the news: Renting with bad credit, how to raise cash in an emergency, and when to admit your finances are out of control. Offering Advice

5 Pieces of Personal Finance Advice From Successful People
Listening to the experts.

How to Rent With Bad Credit
A low credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t rent.

Ways to Raise Cash You Haven’t Thought Of
Tips on how to handle financial emergencies.

7 Warning Signs Your Finances Are Out of Order
When to admit you have a problem.

5 things you’ll pay less for in 2014
Cheaper gas could be on the way.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Wire cutterWhy would should wait to go school shopping, avoiding overdraft fees, how to prepare yourself for the joys of homeowning and reasons why you’ll drop cable soon.

Hold Off on Back-to-School Shopping
Those great deals could be even greater in August.

Four Ways to Avoid Hefty Overdraft Fees
Don’t let a $10 check become a $35 fee.

How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Discrimination
What to do when your rejection has nothing to do with your credit score.

So You Wanna Be a First-Time Homebuyer?
Mistakes to avoid when taking the leap.

5 More Reasons You’ll Be Cutting Your Cable TV Cord Next Year
Dropping your cable company is becoming easier.

How much should you spend on rent?

Dear Liz: I am wondering about what percentage of your income should your rent be. Ours at the moment is 35% just for rent, not including utilities or anything else.

Answer: In high-cost areas, people regularly pay 40% or more of their income on housing. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

When you spend a big chunk of your income on rent or mortgage payments, there’s often too little left over to save for the future, pay off the debt of your past and live for today.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for what’s affordable, but limiting your housing costs to about 25% of your gross pay or 30% of your after-tax pay will help ensure that you have money left over for other goals. “Housing costs” include rent, utilities and renter’s insurance if you don’t own, or mortgage, property taxes, property insurance and utilities if you do.

If you’re much over these limits, you should look into ways to reduce your costs, earn more income or both. Otherwise, you’re likely to continue to struggle with an unbalanced budget.

Will home sale trigger eviction?

Dear Liz: Our landlady has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. In her precarious health, I find myself concerned that we may have to move if she gives up the duplex and moves to a care facility.

I’m unemployed and my 72-year-old husband has recently been diagnosed with early stages of dementia. I find it difficult to face the prospect of returning to work and finding proper care for him even though I know I need to do so very soon.

If she sells the duplex or leaves it to someone in her will should she die, what protection do we have against having to move out in a hurry or have our rent raised dramatically? Either situation would put us into chaos. What are our options?

Answer: If you have a lease, that contract typically would survive a change in ownership. The new owner would have to honor its terms until the lease was up. If you rent month to month, the new owner would have to follow minimum notice requirements determined by your state to raise your rent or terminate your tenancy. The Nolo website at http://www.nolo.com has additional information about tenants’ rights.

If you can no longer afford your rent, you may be eligible for government housing assistance if your income is sufficiently low. You can find more information by using the Eldercare Locator at http://www.eldercare.gov or calling (800) 677-1116. You should check out this federal service’s resources in any case, since you will have a big task ahead of you in caring for your husband even if nothing changes in your living situation.

Other good sites to explore include the Alzheimer’s Assn. at http://www.alz.org, which has information for caregivers and a “care locator” that can help you find care options in your community such as adult day centers, in-home care and respite care. And speaking of respite, you also should check out the ARCH National Respite Network at archrespite.org for people who can help when you need a break.