Life insurance for students
It may make sense to take out a life-insurance policy for your child in college, says Stephanie AuWerter at CNN. The key question to ask yourself is whether the student's death "would create financial woes — say, if you had to pay debts incurred for her schooling." On the "sort-of" bright side, government-backed loans are forgiven when a student dies. But only one in six private lenders automatically forgives a student loan upon death, so read the fine print. If your loan contract doesn't have such a provision, or if you borrowed against your home to pay for school, you could be on the hook. Fortunately, college students' young age makes life insurance cheap. "Expect to pay about $100 annually for a 10-year, $50,000 policy from a top-rated company."
The new health-care rules
Are you ready for ObamaCare? asks Karen Blumenthal in The Wall Street Journal. If you're covered through an employer or Medicare or Medicaid, you probably won't be affected by the health-insurance exchanges that are set to launch soon. But for people who buy their own insurance, there are several basic things to know. Plans will be split into four categories — bronze, silver, gold, and platinum — that vary in cost and coverage, and some costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, may vary among plans within the same tier. The best deal for one person may not be ideal for another, so "evaluate your medical needs and calculate what will most affect your budget: Overall deductibles or co-pays for specialists and prescription medicine."
Building your credit profile
It pays to establish good credit while you're young, says Farnoosh Torabi at Yahoo. Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, banks and credit card companies can no longer issue credit to those under the age of 21 without a qualified co-signer. "But if you really want to get a head start" on establishing credit, there are some options. One is to become an authorized user on a parent's credit card. "You get a card with your name and have the same access to the credit line as your parent." But this may not be as ideal as it sounds. You'd better make sure that your parent's credit is good, since you'll get the account's immediate history added to your credit report. If the balance is high or if Mom or Dad fails to pay on time, it can work against you for years to come.