Why premium gas is a total waste of money
Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
Premium at the pump? Don't bother.
"Drivers are wasting their money on premium gas," said Eli Blumenthal atUSA Today. Americans spent more than $2.1 billion over the past year pumping expensive premium-grade gas into cars designed to run on regular fuel, according to a new study by AAA. In tests run by the driver advocacy organization, premium fuel offered "no benefit" to engine life, fuel economy, or emissions control compared with regular gas. Cars with turbocharged engines need the higher-grade fuel, but they are in the minority on American roads. Cars with engines built for regular fuel make up 70 percent of U.S. vehicles. Using premium gas in a car that doesn't need it, said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering, is like "putting dollars out the tailpipe."
New deadline for financial aid
College students and their parents have only just unpacked the U-Haul for this school year, but already they're facing "the unexpected chore of tackling the mind-boggling paperwork for financial aid for the 2017-18 academic year," said Susan Tompor at the Detroit Free Press. Beginning this year, the filing season for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, starts Oct. 1 instead of in January. The earlier timeline is designed to better line up with the college application season, so that high school seniors and their parents have a clearer understanding of what their aid package might be as they figure out which schools they can afford. It's important not to wait too long past the October kickoff; in many cases, "financial aid is offered on a first come, first served basis."
Finding a lost 401(k)
"It's surprisingly easy to lose track of your retirement savings," said Ben Steverman at Bloomberg. It's estimated that nearly a million workers lose track of a 401(k)-style account each year, but currently there is no central database where you can look up old retirement accounts or pensions. Congress is now considering a bill that would create a retirement "lost and found" for abandoned accounts. In the meantime, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. — the federal agency that insures traditional private-sector pensions — is planning to expand its searchable database for lost pensions to include 401(k) plans that have been shut down. Beginning in 2018, the agency will add information on stranded assets to its database, then look for account owners and pay out the benefits when it finds them.