What the experts say
Airlines debut new fee
“There’s a new snag at the airport catching fliers by surprise: the gate-service fee,” said Scott McCartney in The Wall Street Journal. The new fee is being used by United and American “to discourage travelers who buy their cheapest fare, Basic Economy, from bringing a carryon bag that doesn’t fit under the seat.” With these cheap fares, passengers don’t have the right to store their bags in an overhead bin. If you try to bring anything that won’t fit under your seat, either on purpose or because you didn’t know about the restriction, you’ll have to check it at the gate. That means you’ll have to pay the standard baggage fee, usually $25 for your first checked bag, plus an additional $25 penalty. Altogether, the fees could wipe out the savings from buying a bargain fare.
Debit cards’ unearned trust
Don’t be so quick to whip out your debit card in place of a credit card, said Natalie Daher in CNBC.com. “Here’s why: Most credit cards offer $0 fraud liability, meaning you won’t be out any money” if you’re a victim of fraud or theft. Debit card users, however, “may be liable for any lost money, depending on when the fraud was reported.” Nevertheless, 66 percent of Americans say they’re more likely to trust debit cards than credit cards, a mistake that could cost them. “A bad guy who gets ahold of a debit card can access real money from a real account,” said Matt Schulz, a senior analyst at CreditCards.com. “If you’re missing $500 for two days, it can cause some real hardship if you have bills due at that time.”
Plan to retire early
The best retirement plans take into account the fact that you could end up leaving work earlier than you expect, said Anne Tergesen in The Wall Street Journal. While many Americans say they want to keep working past age 65, it’s not always up to them. “Between 37 percent and 52 percent of retirees polled annually since 1991 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute say they left work before they had intended—often due to a health issue or job loss.” Workers should have an emergency fund of three to six months’ pay to help ease them into the transition to retirement. Long-term disability insurance, which typically covers about 60 percent of a disabled employee’s salary, is also worth exploring. Many employers offer some form of long-term disability. Individuals can also buy it directly from an insurer. ■