Author: Kevin Smith

About Kevin Smith

Kevin is the content manager for Personal Finance Lab and is from Chicago, Illinois. He has a Master's Degree in Economics from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. In addition to an economics background, he has also built training manuals to prepare finance companies for licensing requirements in mortgage loan origination and insurance sales.

Personal Finance Home ST

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Personal Finance Learning Center Browse our collection of articles, videos, and activities relating to Personal Finance. Budgeting All About Budgeting Spending and Savings Plans Pay Yourself First Budgeting and Spending Strategies Building Wealth Planning Large Purchases View More Credit Understanding Credit Credit Cards Credit Reports Buying A Car Understanding Mortgages View More Calculators Compound Interest Calculator Investment Return Calculator Millionaire Calculator Car Loan Calculator Net … Continue reading Personal Finance Home ST »

Economics Home ST

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Economics Learning Center Browse our collection of articles, videos, and activities relating to basic Economics. Economics Comparative Economic Systems What Are Incentives Understanding Interest Rates Government Impact on the Economy Comparative Advantage Understanding Scarcity What Is Economics? The Business Cycle Unemployment Inflation Major Economic Indicators Supply and Demand View More What is Inflation? Interest Rates Explained The Time Value Of Money

Business Home ST

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Accounting Learning Center Browse our collection of articles, videos, and activities relating to basic Accounting. Accounting The Accounting Cycle Financial Analysis Through Key Ratios Asset Valuation Understanding Assets Accounting for Liabilities Operating Ratios Gains and Losses Basics of Equity Revenue and Expenses Payroll Best Practices Key Accounting Terms Cash Flow Analysis View More Management Planning and Vision Leading vs Directing Management Theories Explained Business Ownership … Continue reading Business Home ST »

Investing Home ST

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Investing Learning Center Browse our collection of articles, videos, and activities relating to Investing. Investing 101 Chapter 1Introduction To Investing Chapter 2How and Why The Stock Market Works Chapter 3Making Your First Trade Chapter 4Building Your $100,000 Portfolio Chapter 5Now That I Own It, What Should I Do? Chapter 6Fundamental Analysis – Understanding Financial Statements Chapter 7Technical Analysis – Common Charts and Terms Chapter 8Current … Continue reading Investing Home ST »

BOA – Lessons Complete! UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Lessons Complete! Congratulations, you have finished all the lessons in the Financial Life Simulation! We hope you have enjoyed using the Financial Life Simulation Tool. If you any have questions about a particular bank product or service, be sure to do your research and make informed choices. Bank of America and Northeastern University are not recommending or endorsing any specific product or service to the users … Continue reading BOA – Lessons Complete! UNI »

BOA – Lessons Complete! HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Lessons Complete! Congratulations, you have finished all the lessons in the Financial Literacy Challenge! If you are interested, you can schedule an appointment at a local Bank of America branch to open a checking account, or learn more about everyday banking.

BOA – Documents you need to do your taxes UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Documents you need to do your taxes Taxpayers spend 12 hours on average preparing their tax returns, according to IRS estimates. Yet, you can save time, cut back on stress and have an overall easier experience by gathering the documents you’ll need before it’s time to dive in. Check out this infographic, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Documents you need to do your taxes HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Documents you need to do your taxes Taxpayers spend 12 hours on average preparing their tax returns, according to IRS estimates. Yet, you can save time, cut back on stress and have an overall easier experience by gathering the documents you’ll need before it’s time to dive in. Check out this infographic, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Buy vs Lease UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

The pros and cons of buying vs. renting a home Wondering if you should rent or buy? Understanding all the costs that go into renting or buying a home will set you up to make the right decisions for you. Watch this video, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Buy vs Lease HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

The pros and cons of buying vs. renting a home Wondering if you should rent or buy? Understanding all the costs that go into renting or buying a home will set you up to make the right decisions for you. Watch this video, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – 3 car questions UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Shopping for a car? 3 questions that need answers When you need a new car, the decisions you make on three important issues will help determine your monthly payments and how much you pay for the car overall.  Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue! Tip: Check Question 2 for a breakdown!

BOA – 3 car questions HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Shopping for a car? 3 questions that need answers When you need a new car, the decisions you make on three important issues will help determine your monthly payments and how much you pay for the car overall.  Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue! Tip: Check Question 2 for a breakdown!

BOA – New or Used Car UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Comparing the cost of new and used cars Choosing between buying a new or used car may not be as simple as it seems. Find out what matters beyond simple sticker price. Watch this video, then return here for a quiz question to continue!

BOA – New or Used Car HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Comparing the cost of new and used cars Choosing between buying a new or used car may not be as simple as it seems. Find out what matters beyond simple sticker price. Watch this video, then return here for a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Employee Benefits UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

New job? Make the most of your employee benefits HS New jobs bring new names, faces and responsibilities. In the rush of acclimating to the work environment, you might overlook details like direct deposit forms, insurance coverage and retirement plans. But it’s important to make the most of all your new job’s benefits—from Flexible Spending Accounts to tuition reimbursement programs to 401(k) plans. To help … Continue reading BOA – Employee Benefits UNI »

BOA – Employee Benefits

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

New job? Make the most of your employee benefits HS New jobs bring new names, faces and responsibilities. In the rush of acclimating to the work environment, you might overlook details like direct deposit forms, insurance coverage and retirement plans. But it’s important to make the most of all your new job’s benefits—from Flexible Spending Accounts to tuition reimbursement programs to 401(k) plans. To help … Continue reading BOA – Employee Benefits »

BOA – Balance Transfer UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is a balance transfer and how does it work? A balance transfer moves a balance from a credit card or loan to another credit card. Transferring balances with a higher annual percentage rate (APR) to a card with a lower APR can save you money on the interest you’ll pay. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Balance Transfer HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is a balance transfer and how does it work? A balance transfer moves a balance from a credit card or loan to another credit card. Transferring balances with a higher annual percentage rate (APR) to a card with a lower APR can save you money on the interest you’ll pay. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – What is APR? UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is APR? You may have seen the term APR, or annual percentage rate, used in reference to everything from mortgages and auto loans to credit cards. Understanding how banks calculate APRs and how they work can help you make more informed credit card decisions. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – What is APR? HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is APR? You may have seen the term APR, or annual percentage rate, used in reference to everything from mortgages and auto loans to credit cards. Understanding how banks calculate APRs and how they work can help you make more informed credit card decisions. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – 4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster If you carry credit card balances month to month, paying off that debt fast might be easier than you think. The key is developing a good plan and sticking to it. These four strategies can help you decide which course to take to quickly pay off any credit card debt. Read this short lesson, then return … Continue reading BOA – 4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster UNI »

BOA – 4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster If you carry credit card balances month to month, paying off that debt fast might be easier than you think. The key is developing a good plan and sticking to it. These four strategies can help you decide which course to take to quickly pay off any credit card debt. Read this short lesson, then return … Continue reading BOA – 4 strategies to pay off credit card debt faster HS »

BOA – What is a credit score and how is it calculated? UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is a credit score and how is it calculated? Your credit score affects many areas of your financial life, from getting approved for a credit card to the interest rate you’ll pay on your mortgage. It’s important to understand the number and how it is calculated so you can set yourself up for financial success. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer … Continue reading BOA – What is a credit score and how is it calculated? UNI »

BOA – What is a credit score and how is it calculated? HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

What is a credit score and how is it calculated? Your credit score affects many areas of your financial life, from getting approved for a credit card to the interest rate you’ll pay on your mortgage. It’s important to understand the number and how it is calculated so you can set yourself up for financial success. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer … Continue reading BOA – What is a credit score and how is it calculated? HS »

BOA – Healthy Credit UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Building credit and keeping yours healthy Building good credit takes work, but it can be done. Find out five things you can do to build a healthy credit score while avoiding the pitfalls. Watch this video then return here for a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Healthy Credit HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Building credit and keeping yours healthy Building good credit takes work, but it can be done. Find out five things you can do to build a healthy credit score while avoiding the pitfalls. Watch this video then return here for a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Tips for planning an affordable vacation UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Tips for planning an affordable vacation A vacation offers much-needed relaxation and fun, but if you’re not careful, your travel budget can spiral out of control. Thankfully, you can find ways to save in your vacation budget by being smart about flight and hotel discounts, meal costs and more. Check out this infographic, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Tips for planning an affordable vacation HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Tips for planning an affordable vacation A vacation offers much-needed relaxation and fun, but if you’re not careful, your travel budget can spiral out of control. Thankfully, you can find ways to save in your vacation budget by being smart about flight and hotel discounts, meal costs and more. Check out this infographic, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide You probably know that carrying too much debt for too long isn’t good for your finances. And you may also know that you should have money put away for emergencies and other important goals. So how do you decide what’s more important—paying down debt or building up your savings? Read this short lesson, then … Continue reading BOA – Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide UNI »

BOA – Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide You probably know that carrying too much debt for too long isn’t good for your finances. And you may also know that you should have money put away for emergencies and other important goals. So how do you decide what’s more important—paying down debt or building up your savings? Read this short lesson, then … Continue reading BOA – Pay down debt or save? 5 questions to help you decide HS »

BOA – 10 online and mobile security tips HS #2

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

10 online and mobile security tips We’re living our lives online—from banking to shopping to posting on social media—and proper internet security is more important than ever. While it may seem obvious, safeguarding your information can be as simple as consistently reviewing your bank accounts and reporting any suspicious activity. But there are other things you also can do to stay safer online. Read this … Continue reading BOA – 10 online and mobile security tips HS #2 »

BOA – 10 online and mobile security tips HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

10 online and mobile security tips We’re living our lives online—from banking to shopping to posting on social media—and proper internet security is more important than ever. While it may seem obvious, safeguarding your information can be as simple as consistently reviewing your bank accounts and reporting any suspicious activity. But there are other things you also can do to stay safer online. Read this … Continue reading BOA – 10 online and mobile security tips HS »

BOA – Emergency cash: What are your options? UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Emergency cash: What are your options? When financial difficulties arise, you may need money fast. If you don’t have an emergency fund or other savings to tap into, you may feel as if there are no good options. By carefully weighing your choices, you can make sure you secure the best possible terms for your situation, with the least risk. Read this short lesson, then return here … Continue reading BOA – Emergency cash: What are your options? UNI »

BOA – Emergency cash: What are your options? HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Emergency cash: What are your options? When financial difficulties arise, you may need money fast. If you don’t have an emergency fund or other savings to tap into, you may feel as if there are no good options. By carefully weighing your choices, you can make sure you secure the best possible terms for your situation, with the least risk. Read this short lesson, then return here … Continue reading BOA – Emergency cash: What are your options? HS »

BOA – 8 simple ways to save money UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

8 simple ways to save money Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide can help you develop a simple and realistic strategy, so that you can save for all your short- and long-term goals. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – 8 simple ways to save money HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

8 simple ways to save money Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide can help you develop a simple and realistic strategy, so that you can save for all your short- and long-term goals. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? Have money to set aside and save for your short- and long-term goals? Savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) are two great options. Both help keep your money safe while giving you the chance to earn interest. Break them down to figure out what’s right for you. Check out this infographic and return here to … Continue reading BOA – Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? UNI »

BOA – Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? Have money to set aside and save for your short- and long-term goals? Savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) are two great options. Both help keep your money safe while giving you the chance to earn interest. Break them down to figure out what’s right for you. Check out this infographic and return here to … Continue reading BOA – Savings account or CD: Which is right for you? HS »

BOA – 7 common bank fees explained UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

7 common bank fees explained If you’ve ever felt like your bank charged you for something and you didn’t see it coming, this list is for you. Here’s a rundown of seven of the most common fees banks charge—and tips to avoid them. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – 7 common bank fees explained HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

7 common bank fees explained If you’ve ever felt like your bank charged you for something and you didn’t see it coming, this list is for you. Here’s a rundown of seven of the most common fees banks charge—and tips to avoid them. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – 8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account A checking account is probably the account you’ll use most often every day to pay bills, access cash, transfer funds and probably to deposit your paycheck. Whether you’re paying tuition at school or setting up direct deposit for your first job, knowing a few tips can help you manage your money and get the … Continue reading BOA – 8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account UNI »

BOA – 8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account A checking account is probably the account you’ll use most often every day to pay bills, access cash, transfer funds and probably to deposit your paycheck. Whether you’re paying tuition at school or setting up direct deposit for your first job, knowing a few tips can help you manage your money and get the … Continue reading BOA – 8 tips for getting the most out of your checking account HS »

BOA – Credit vs. debit: What’s the difference? UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Credit vs. debit: What’s the difference? Credit and debit cards may look similar, but their features and uses are very different. Knowing when and how to use each can help you build a stronger credit history and keep your debt levels down. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Credit vs. debit: What’s the difference? HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Credit vs. debit: What’s the difference? Credit and debit cards may look similar, but their features and uses are very different. Knowing when and how to use each can help you build a stronger credit history and keep your debt levels down. Read this short lesson, then return here to answer a quiz question to continue!

BOA – Options for people who don’t like to budget UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Options for people who don’t like to budget Creating a budget may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn about the tools and techniques that can help simplify budgeting and help you reach your financial goals. After watching this short video about tips on making it easier to set a budget, then return here and answer a quiz question to … Continue reading BOA – Options for people who don’t like to budget UNI »

BOA – Options for people who don’t like to budget HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Options for people who don’t like to budget Creating a budget may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn about the tools and techniques that can help simplify budgeting and help you reach your financial goals. After watching this short video about tips on making it easier to set a budget, then return here and answer a quiz question to … Continue reading BOA – Options for people who don’t like to budget HS »

BOA – Save Money Every Day UNI

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Saving Money Every Day Saving starts with just a few simple changes to your spending. Learn how to save money on your everyday expenses, like groceries, transportation and entertainment. After watching this short video about tips on how to save every day, return here and answer a quiz question to continue! TIP: Check around the 2-minute mark of the video!

BOA – Save Money Every Day HS

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Saving Money Every Day Saving starts with just a few simple changes to your spending. Learn how to save money on your everyday expenses, like groceries, transportation and entertainment. After watching this short video about tips on how to save every day, return here and answer a quiz question to continue! TIP: Check around the 2-minute mark of the video!

StockTrak Forex Pair Margin Requirements

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

StockTrak Forex Pair Margin Requirements When trading forex pairs, a portion of your cash will be restricted to cover the risk associated with that particular pair. The amount restricted is a percentage of the value of the trade.  The product of the percentage times the dollar value of the trade will then be adjusted to the currency of your account. The percentages are listed below. … Continue reading StockTrak Forex Pair Margin Requirements »

Intermediate Investing

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Intermediate Investing Once you know the basics of what it means to invest (what is a Stock, how to look up quotes, and some of the other basics), you can begin to think about building a Portfolio, which means understanding what it means to diversify and how to build an investing strategy. This unit will introduce ETFs and Mutual Funds – packaged investments that group … Continue reading Intermediate Investing »

Risk and Financial Decision Making

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Risk and Financial Decision Making Insurance is one of those pesky expenses that you may complain about, but will be so grateful for when you actually need it. Unfortunately, accidents happen everyday, and having insurance ensures those accidents don’t drain your savings.  There are numerous types of insurance to protect individuals. To make things simpler, they are broken down into four main categories: Car Insurance, … Continue reading Risk and Financial Decision Making »

Managing Credit

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Managing Credit Navigating the world of credit is an essential skill. There are numerous decisions to be mindful of, including when to use credit, how to manage loans and debt, and how your credit score can affect future purchases. When it comes to credit, trust and playing the long game are key.  If you’re just opening your first credit account, you might not be thinking … Continue reading Managing Credit »

Income and Taxes

Income and Taxes Acquiring your own income is the first step toward being a self-sufficient adult. Income gives you the ability to pay your day to day expenses, while planning for the future. However, having a job entitles you to more than just your salary. Although it can be enticing to accept any compensation package presented to you, understanding your different options gives you higher … Continue reading Income and Taxes »

HedgEye On The Prize FAQ

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Frequently Asked Questions Basics Trading Other The Basics: Hedgeye On The Prize Q: What is the Hedgeye On The Prize? This is an elaborate, web-based educational tool. Each user account receives an amount of virtual dollars in a virtual brokerage account and simulates managing a portfolio by buying and selling stocks at real-time prices. For the specific amount, please refer to the Rules Page page. … Continue reading HedgEye On The Prize FAQ »

Glossary

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Financial Glossary 1040 The base form to file federal income taxes in the United States. It may be supplemented with additional forms for complex tax returns. 1099 A form provided to contractors to report their income in the United States. 10-K An annual report containing audited financial statements for publicly traded companies. This form is filed with the SEC and is made available to investors. … Continue reading Glossary »

Taxation Overview

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Taxation Overview Taxes are everywhere and are essential in keeping the modern world functioning. For your personal finances, taxes also play a huge role in your financial decision-making. While we have lessons that cover most major types of taxes in detail, to get started we want to give the “big picture” of the types of taxes, and what their impact is on your financial life. … Continue reading Taxation Overview »

Career Development

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map

Career Development There is a world of difference between “getting a job” and “starting a career”, and it comes down to more than just salary. The road to Career Development is all about defining your goals. You need to understand what actions you can take to open doors for tomorrow and build a path to get you from where you are today to where you … Continue reading Career Development »