Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to know when it’s time to ditch your starter credit card. Also in the news: How to cover yourself against car theft, tips on paying for your wedding, and how to make a budget if you want to freelance full time.

How to Know When It’s Time to Ditch a Starter Credit Card
Don’t get too comfortable with your first card — once it’s done its job, it’s time to move on.

Car Theft Is Up in the U.S.: Here’s How to Cover Yourself
With the right kind of insurance, you could avoid paying out of pocket if your car or catalytic converter is stolen.

Weddings Are Marching Back: Here’s How to Pay for Yours
It’s best to pay for a wedding with savings, but if you need to finance, look for low-interest options with affordable payments.

How to Make a Budget If You Want to Freelance Full Time
Turning side hustles into main hustles.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tips to keep a landscaping project on time and under budget. Also in the news: The mortgage outlook for June, student loan interest rates to increase July 1st, and how to get Amazon Prime Day prices without a membership.

5 Tips to Keep a Landscaping Project on Time, Under Budget
DIY projects can give your yard a new look on a short timeline, even with a low budget.

Mortgage Outlook: June Rates Could Rise If Bond Market Acts Out
How things look for the month ahead.

Federal Student Loan Interest Rates to Increase July 1
Rates will rise to 3.73% for the 2021-22 academic year after the historic low of 2.75% for the past year.

How to Get Amazon Prime Day Deals Without Paying for a Membership
Prime Day is just around the corner.

How to be a better long-distance caregiver

Long pandemic lockdowns forced many older adults to become comfortable with video calls to stay connected with family. That in turn means that long-distance caregivers have a better way to see how their loved ones are faring.

“You can’t tell on the phone that they’re wearing the same clothes every day, or they’re not bathing because they’re afraid they’ll fall in the shower,” says Amy Goyer, AARP’s national family and caregiving expert and the author of “Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving.”

More than 1 in 10 caregivers look after family or friends from a distance, which can make the task much more difficult and expensive. A 2016 AARP survey found that caregivers in general incur an average of about $7,000 a year in out-of-pocket expenses. Long-distance caregivers — those who live at least an hour away from the care recipient — incur about $12,000 on average, according to the survey. Long-distance caregivers are more likely than local caregivers to hire help, take unpaid time off work and pay for travel, Goyer says.

In my latest for the Associated Press, tips on providing care from a long distance.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Prepare for COVID medical bills this year. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on pandemic savings goals and inheritance taxes, how to save on supplies as kids go back to school, and why your dog needs liability insurance.

Prepare for COVID Medical Bills This Year
Find out what’s covered under the law.

Smart Money Podcast: Pandemic Savings Goals and Taxes on Inheritance
A discussion about consumers’ saving habits during the pandemic.

Save on Supplies as Kids Go Back to School in Person

Why Your Dog Needs Liability Insurance Even if She’s Perfect
Personal liability, umbrella and animal liability coverage can keep your finances safe if your dog hurts someone.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Spring travel ahead? One airline is prioritizing customer safety. Also in the news: Considering elite airline status in 2021, taking some of the mystery out of buying a house sight unseen, and how to build your credit without a credit card.

Spring Travel Ahead? One Airline Is Prioritizing Customer Safety
Delta is now the only major airline blocking middle seats on all domestic flights through the spring.

Is Airline Elite Status Worth Considering in 2021?
The requirements to earn elite status are lower this year, so it’s easier to get these perks for 2021 and 2022.

Take Some of the Mystery Out of Buying a House Sight Unseen
Finding the right agent and getting help from others on the ground can help you buy a house even if you can’t visit it in person.

How to Build Your Credit Without a Credit Card
Credit builder loans can help.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 things to know if you’re new to gig work. Also in the news: How to craft smarter money goals in 2021, the do’s and don’ts of getting and using a paycheck protection program loan, and 5 steps you can take to pay off consumer debt.

3 Things to Know if You’re New to Gig Work
To the IRS, you’re a small business.

How to Craft Smarter Money Goals in 2021
The pandemic has changed everything.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting, Using a Paycheck Protection Program Loan
Best practices that can help small businesses owners get their PPP loan funded and forgiven.

5 steps you can take to pay off consumer debt
Creating the right plan.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: A guide to PPP loan forgiveness. Also in the news: High car insurance rates could be because of bad credit, 4 signs your about to get a tax surprise, and how to budget when you hate to budget.

A Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness

High Car Insurance Rates? Bad Credit May Be to Blame
Not paying bills might hurt you more than you think. Drivers with poor credit pay over 75% more annually in some states.

4 Signs You’re About to Get a Tax Surprise
If any of these things have happened to you, a tax surprise may be coming.

How to Budget When You Hate to Budget
Automation, technology and some simple guidelines can help you budget without a huge amount of effort and stress.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Unpacking the myths of investing in the stock market. Also in the news: A new episode of the Smart Money podcast on buying cryptocurrency and tackling debt, life insurance companies are becoming more marijuana-friendly, and asking for reconsideration after being denied a credit card.

Unpacking the Myths of Investing in the Stock Market
These stock market myths have no place in your portfolio.

Smart Money Podcast: Buying Crypto and Dealing With Debt
Understanding cryptocurrency and how to tackle your debt head on.

Smoke Weed and Need Life Insurance? Some Companies Are Cool With Marijuana
Not every life insurer is willing to cover marijuana users, but some don’t mind — provided it isn’t a daily habit.

Call a Reconsideration Line for a Second Chance at a Credit Card
Taking a second look.

How to make budgeting as painless as possible

Budgeting is a pain. But what’s more painful is a bill you can’t easily pay, debt that costs a fortune or not having enough money to retire.

Fortunately, you can have a useful, working budget without watching every penny. Automation, technology and a few simple guidelines can keep you on track. In my latest for the Associated Press, finding the budget plan that best suits your needs.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 financial experts who could steer you wrong. Also in the news: Treating investing like a subscription, 7 credit card perks to prioritize in 2021, and Disney cancels its annual Passport Program.

4 Financial ‘Experts’ Who Could Steer You Wrong
Be cautious about taking advice from sources who care more about their profits than your financial health.

Want to Invest More This Year? Treat It Like a Subscription
A better financial future for just $49.99 a month sounds like a late-night infomercial, but it’s not as crazy as it seems.

7 Credit Card Perks to Prioritize in 2021
Resolve to examine your cards’ features and ensure they’re still getting the job done and saving you money.

Disney Cancels Its Annual Passport Program
Over one million customers impacted.