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Personal finance tips: How to qualify for in-state tuition, and more
Three top pieces of financial advice, from how much life insurance is enough to successfully combining finances with your spouse
 
A financial union could be less than happily ever after.
A financial union could be less than happily ever after. (iStock)

How much life insurance is enough?
Plenty of people struggle with deciding how much life insurance to buy, said Leslie Scism at The Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, that means many are "underinsured or have no insurance at all." As a rule of thumb, you should aim to buy "eight to 10 times the breadwinner's annual income." And don't rely solely on a life insurance policy provided through an employer. "Most private-sector workers' employer-sponsored policies pay just a year's worth of paychecks," according to a 2013 Labor Department survey. If that's not enough coverage — and it probably isn't — you can shop around for a basic term-life insurance plan at sites like Term4Sale. A healthy, non-smoking 40-year-old man can get a $1 million policy for as little as $600 a year.

Be careful combining finances
It's important to be aware of the potential money pitfalls of walking down the aisle, said Christine DiGangi at Credit.com. Combining finances after getting married might mean combining debt, which "may limit your financial future together," especially when it comes to buying big-ticket items like a house or a car. Taxes can be tricky, too, and new couples should check out marriage penalty calculators online to determine whether they'll be better off filing jointly or separately. Lastly, there's property. Know your local law, given that nine so-called community property states say any property acquired during the marriage is owned jointly by the spouses. For couples trying to keep things separate, it's critical to know the rules before tying the knot.

How to qualify for in-state tuition
Figuring out how to pay in-state college tuition for an out-of-state student "is the ultimate money hack," said Ron Lieber at The New York Times. At desirable state universities in Michigan and Colorado, the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition now approaches $100,000 per undergraduate degree. And with more stringent residency requirements being established to prevent people from gaming the system, it can be difficult for students to claim a new state as their home. Generally, "it takes a year and requires a child to become financially independent to varying degrees." A new startup called In-State Angels is aiming to help students navigate the process, which varies widely by state. The company's assistance is legal but costly: "Once the company succeeds, it asks for roughly 10 to 15 percent of the ultimate savings as a fee."

 
Sergio Hernandez is business editor of The Week's print edition. He has previously worked for The DailyProPublica, the Village Voice, and Gawker.

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