Attitudes Toward Insurance
Insurance coverage can be tricky to shop for, because it requires making specific financial decisions about some hazy and unpredictable concepts. Depending on the type of insurance you’re looking into, you might find yourself pondering some downright uncomfortable questions.
Although individual insurance policies and coverage details can seem endlessly complex, the fundamentals of insurance coverage—and your attitude towards it—can be simple. Understanding the expectations you have of your insurance policy can make much of the confusion and second-guessing disappear, so that you can focus in on what you truly need from your insurance provider. Read More >>
Good Credit Behavior is Key
Your credit score can affect everything from the interest rate on your loans to landing an apartment. Understanding good credit behavior is key to boosting your score.
Your credit score is based on the information found in your credit report, and can include fraud alerts, inquiries, credit counseling, bad checks, bankruptcy and late payments. Knowing how long your activity remains on your credit report can help you better manage your credit score. Read More >>
How to Counter the Effects of Inflation
When most people think of inflation, their response is usually similar to when they see a vintage advertisement: reminiscing about the cheaper prices of the past (15 cents for a burger? Awesome!) while simultaneously feeling some resentment towards today’s ever-rising prices. Generally, inflation is seen as a frustrating “financial fact of life” that passively affects everyone as price levels climb and as the dollar’s purchasing power decreases over time.
The reality is that inflation is affecting your finances more aggressively than you might realize—especially when it comes to your savings. Without the proper planning in place, the effects of inflation could actually be costing you your savings. Read More >>
Beware of Predatory Lending
Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower. It is also any practice that convinces a borrower to accept unfair terms through deceptive, coercive, exploitative or unscrupulous actions for a loan that a borrower doesn’t need, doesn’t want or can’t afford.
Predatory lending benefits the lender, and ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay the debt. These lending tactics often try to take advantage of a borrower’s lack of understanding about loans, terms or finances. Read More >>
Know Your Checking Account
Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option).
However, despite their gradual decline in use, checks haven’t become completely extinct. Whether or not checks are on their way out, there are still a couple of check-related best practices that you need to be aware of in order to stay on top of your finances. Read More >>
The Effect of Time on Investing
Investing can seem like a very risky, complex and fast-moving process. With endless combinations of investment vehicles to choose from, it can be difficult to take your first step as an investor—especially with the knowledge that all investments carry the risk of losing some or all of your money. So why bother?
Well, there are many compelling reasons to make investing a part of your overall financial plan. Investing can help preserve your wealth by overcoming the effects of inflation, help you save for long-term goals (such as retirement or your children’s education) and it can even generate income. So how can you get past all the negatives associated with investing and make it work for you? A helpful first step is to realize that, as a young investor, you have time on your side. Read More >>
Finding The Loan That’s Right For You
Loans help finance some of our biggest goals in life. They can provide access to possibilities that we can’t afford upfront—possibilities like going to school, buying a home or starting a business (to name just a few). A loan is also one of the biggest financial commitments we make in our lifetime. Rushing into a loan without fully understanding how it will affect your budget can create a very stressful situation that can quickly spiral out of control.
The good news is that you can avoid this stress entirely by choosing the loan that’s right for you: a loan you can afford, from a reputable lender, with a payment schedule that makes sense.
Not sure where to start? Read More >>
Your Finances Say A Lot About You
How did you decide where to open your first bank account? Where did you learn to budget or pay bills? If you have a money question now, what do you do? Who do you turn to?
If you’re under the age of 30, your answers to the above questions are likely some combination of “my parents”, “the Internet” and “I don’t know—I just kind of figured it out”.
Although you might have been lucky enough to take life skills classes in high school, most young adults don’t receive any kind of formal financial education. So, it’s likely that you’ll need to seek guidance when it comes to money management. Read More >>
Are you ready to make the big move?
There’s more to it than paying rent—living on your own creates new expenses that you may not have considered, such as rental insurance, commuting expenses and furnishing your new place.
You will need a budget before you move. It’s the only way to understand what you can afford, and it will help you make sense of all the expenses that come with your new independence. Read More >>
The Same But Different
The decision to lease or to buy a new car will have an impact on your finances as well as your lifestyle. Understanding the differences will help you make the best decision for you.
Leasing is sort of like renting a car for a fixed period of time. When you lease, you’re paying for the value of the car you use up during your term, plus interest. What’s left is known as the depreciated value of the vehicle. Read More >>
Bulk Up Your Finances
Fitting an emergency fund into your budget can be confusing. How much should you save, exactly? What kinds of situations should it be used for? How is it different from your regular savings categories?
It’s time to get your savings in shape-and having an emergency fund in place is a solid step toward a fit financial future. Read More >>
Paper or Plastic?
Every time you make a purchase, you’re choosing from a wide range of payment methods. Cash, debit or credit? Card A, B or C?
Even though each option represents a way to access basically the same thing (your money), it pays to be smart about when to use each payment type and to understand the differences between them. Read More >>
A Brief History of Credit Unions
For more than 100 years, credit unions have provided financial services to their members in the United States. Credit unions are unique depository institutions created not for profit, but to serve their members as credit co-operatives.
The earliest financial co-operatives date back to the beginning of the 19th century in England.Today there are nearly 7,000 credit unions in the United States, with more than 100 million members and more than $1 trillion in assets. Read More >>
How to make the most of Compound Interest
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t, pays it…” – Albert Einstein
Compound interest means earning interest on your interest. It’s a powerful concept in saving and investing. Time is money when it comes to compound interest. The longer you wait around, the less interest you’ll earn. Smaller, more frequent contributions are better than larger annual contributions when it comes to monthly compounding. Read More >>
Sneaky Expenses to Keep on your Radar
When setting up a budget, it’s easy to list all your major expense categories, like your rent or your student loan payment. The tricky part is keeping track of all those little extra expenses-the ones that most people forget to include in their budget in the first place.
Understanding how to budget for unexpected or sneaky expenses can go a long way in planning in the long term. Read More >>
Preventing Identity Theft is Simple
Identity theft is the fastest growing non-violent crime in North America. Globally, it costs its victims billions of dollars—not to mention the time and hassle involved in recovering a stolen identity.
The key to preventing identity theft is being smart with your personal data in all its various forms. There are five easy things you can do right now to prevent identity theft. Read More >>
What is a Credit Score?
Before the invention of credit scores, the world was a very different place. Shoulder pads were considered fashionable and it was entirely up to individual lenders to make judgment calls on whether or not to approve loans. That was kind of unfair, so a standardized scoring system was introduced to help lenders determine your credit worthiness.
A credit score is a number used by financial institutions and credit card companies to determine your risk-level when issuing a loan or a credit card. Read More >>
Let’s Start with the Basics
As you contemplate moving beyond your piggy bank, the two types of financial institutions that you’re most likely to deal with are banks and credit unions. They offer essentially the same products and services including savings and checking accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and investment products, but their values and motivations are very different.
The main difference between banks and credit unions is in their structure. Banks are for profit, while credit unions are member-owned and operated. This means that banks have numerous expenses that credit unions simply don’t have. Read More >>