Personal Finance News Round-Up for Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Personal Finance News

Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.

Refinancing before retirement could be a good option… for some homeowners

Many people are taking advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance mortgages, but it’s not as simple a decision if you’re nearing retirement. While it could be a smart choice, it’s important to take a close look at the tradeoffs. Reducing monthly payments makes sense for some homeowners, but for others, extending payments deeper into retirement years is not ideal.

Read the full article at MarketWatch

Money-saving tips when dining out

According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend an average of $2,500 each year on meals outside the home. Everyone loves to go out to dinner, and sometimes it’s unavoidable to join co-workers for lunch, so dining expenses can easily add up for most. But there are ways to manage your bill reasonably. Keeping your eye out for deals, being smart when ordering drinks, and trying new spots for lunch or early dinner are a few of the tips that will make dining out costs shrink.

Get all the tips at Yahoo! Finance.

Health care costs misunderstood

As concerned as Americans are about the cost of Medicaid, surprisingly few are actually fully informed about their options in retirement, while many hold to some common misconceptions. Nationwide Financial recently conducted a survey of financial advisers and found that 42% say their clients plan on dumping assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. While not illegal, giving away assets can result in less control of long-term care planning, which goes against rules of responsible retirement planning.

Read more articles related to healthcare at The Wall Street Journal

Making finances work in marriage

Lots of money talk takes place in preparation for marriage, but promises and even the best intentions don’t always pan out. If one partner likes to spend and the other is much tighter with money, conflict often results but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nancy Holt of LearnVest shares money management lessons for couples – from 20 years of marriage.

Read the full story at USA Today.

Rising costs underscore importance of traveling smart

According to Travelocity, the price for round-trip airfare between mid-December and New Year’s is $423 on average. In 2011, the cost was $355 during the same time frame – a nearly 20% increase. And it’s just going to get more expensive the longer you procrastinate. The good news is there are some cost-saving methods which can ease the financial burden of traveling during this busy season and, as is often the case, flexibility is key.

Read the 4 ways to save at CNN Money.

Cellphone-type pricing plans emerging for college tuition

Some schools are implementing pay-as-you-go payment plans in an attempt to be more competitive as ever-increasing tuition costs are becoming unaffordable for many students. The non-traditional monthly plans resemble those of cell-phone or cable providers. One new online school, New Charter University, charges $199 for one month of unlimited classes, or about the same cost of a single credit at typical colleges.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch.

Unconventional ways to boost your credit score

Most people are familiar with the normal ways to maintain decent credit: pay off full balances each month when possible, never let accounts become delinquent, and keep total debt to credit limit at a minimum. But there are quite a few not-so-well-known factors that influence credit scores too, and getting acquainted with these valuable pieces of info will help you manage yours.

Read the full article at Bankrate.com.

 

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