Student Loans

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What is a Student Loan? A student loan is exactly what it sounds like – a loan given to students to finance their studies. This is most common for college or university students, but also works for trade schools and other vocational studies. Most of the time when a person takes out a loan, they are using it to invest in an asset that they … Continue reading Student Loans »

Property Rights

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Property rights is the foundation of all free-enterprise economic systems. It is what allows people to profit from capital and ideas, without fear of seizure by the government or theft. Definition “Property Rights” usually refers to a set of fundamental rights giving citizens control over their own land, capital, and ideas. Land Property Rights The property right to Land gives a landowner exclusive use of … Continue reading Property Rights »

Building Wealth

There are hundreds of small tips and rules you will hear about managing your personal finances, but putting everything together into one coherent plan can be a daunting task. You have probably already heard about budgeting, spending plans, savings strategies, credit cards, and all points in between – now we will put everything together to make a plan to build lifelong wealth. Manage Your Income … Continue reading Building Wealth »

Mortgages

Your home will probably be the biggest purchase you make in your lifetime. Buying a home not only saves money on rent, but is a serious asset that can appreciate over time. Since homes are so expensive, (almost) no-one buys them in cash. Instead, homes are typically purchased with a special type of loan, called a “Mortgage”. What is a Mortgage? A mortgage is a … Continue reading Mortgages »

Buying a Car

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Buying a car is usually the first big purchase a person will make. There is also no shortage of horror stories of people immediately regretting the decision, either by buying a new car and later struggling to meet payments, or a used car with hidden mechanical problems demanding costly repairs. When you need to buy your first (or next) car, make sure these factors weigh … Continue reading Buying a Car »

Preparing for Spending Shocks

“Spending Shocks” are large, irregular expenses. According to CBS, more than 60% of Americans cannot absorb a $500 spending shock: spending shocks are the #1 reasons why budgets end up abandoned, and being prepared for large spending shocks is the best thing you can do to keep your personal finances healthy. Types of Spending Shocks There are two types of spending shocks: Budgetable and Unbudgetable. … Continue reading Preparing for Spending Shocks »

Unemployment and Other Assistance Programs

Everyone needs to start from somewhere. While you build your personal finances from the ground up, you may already have faced times when you had low (or no) income, trying to get any advantage to pull yourself up. There are several public programs specifically designed to help people get out of these situations. In the real world, many people suffer for months simply because they … Continue reading Unemployment and Other Assistance Programs »

Budgeting and Spending Strategies

Building a budget or spending plan is tough. Sticking to the plan is even tougher. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can game the system to make sure you stay under budget, and your savings continues to grow. Budgeting Strategies A “Budgeting Strategy” means different ways to approach your budgeting to build something that works for you. There is no silver bullet budget: every … Continue reading Budgeting and Spending Strategies »

Bankruptcy

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If you are severely behind on your bills and all other debt management plans have failed, the last option available is declaring Bankruptcy. What is Bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is a type of forced debt settlement, and is a legal procedure. When you declare bankruptcy, the courts will gather all your unsecured creditors together, and hear the debts you owe. They will then examine all your assets, … Continue reading Bankruptcy »

Debt Management Services

If you find yourself over your head in debt, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Credit counseling agencies, both for-profit and non-profit, exist in every state to help people build a clear, workable path back to healthy personal finances. If you do need the help of a credit councilor, this is what you can expect. What is Credit Counselling? Credit … Continue reading Debt Management Services »

Consolidating Debt

If you start falling seriously behind on your bills with simple prioritization and negotiation not enough to catch up, you still have some options available to keep your finances under control. One of the most straight-forward options is Debt Consolidation. When to Consider Debt Consolidation Most adults have at least half a dozen creditors, such as credit card companies, banks for a mortgage, car loan … Continue reading Consolidating Debt »

Debt Negotiation

Everyone has had financial emergencies, when a huge spending shock breaks your budget or spending plan into pieces. If you have more than one emergency in a short time, such as if you lost your job, your outstanding debt balances might start to spiral out of control. Even in extreme circumstances, it is still possible to keep your personal finances under control. With some ingenuity, … Continue reading Debt Negotiation »

Researching Purchases

Every person makes hundreds of purchases every week. Think about how many individual items you have when buying groceries, how often you eat out or use a vending machine, or how often you buy new clothes. Each purchase has a reason, but each purchase costs money. One of the cornerstones of strong personal finances is knowing why you buy what you do, and knowing how … Continue reading Researching Purchases »

Work Versus Study

Every high school student makes a choice when they are about to graduate – enter the job market right away, enter a trade school, or enroll in a university? Everyone will make the same kind of choice many times throughout their lives. If you first choose to work, the option is usually still available later to go back to school. University graduates sometimes feel like … Continue reading Work Versus Study »

Homeowner’s Insurance

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Homeowner’s Insurance is a broad type of insurance coverage designed to cover a home and the property it sits on. This insurance is very broad, wrapping many different types of coverage into one package. If you want to take out a mortgage on a home, the institution you borrow from will probably require you to have some level of Homeowner’s Insurance, if only to make … Continue reading Homeowner’s Insurance »

Renter’s Insurance

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“Rental Insurance” is taken out on property you rent to insure against damage. Rental insurance works like a lighter version of Homeowner’s Insurance. Why Would I Need Rental Insurance? As a renter, this insurance does not do you much good. For example, if there is a fire at your apartment caused by one of your neighbors, your landlord’s insurance would cover the repairs to the … Continue reading Renter’s Insurance »

Car Insurance

car crash

If you drive a car, you need to be covered by some sort of car insurance. You have probably seen dozens of advertisements from insurance companies claiming to help lower your rates, improve your coverage, or just help you compare, but before you buy your first insurance (or change providers), the first step is knowing how exactly car insurance works. Types of Car Insurance There … Continue reading Car Insurance »

IRS Audits

Once you file your income taxes, the IRS will review all the forms you submit, and either issue your return or refund, usually with very little turnaround time. However, occasionally the IRS will ask you to provide some supporting documentation before your return is accepted. The Basics of an Audit An “Audit” is what happens when the IRS picks your return out from the pile … Continue reading IRS Audits »

All About Sales Tax

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What Is Sales Tax? “Sales Tax” is a tax that is charged on goods sold to end customers. The Sales Tax is a set percentage of the price of the goods sold. In the United States, all states except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon charge a sales tax, but the sales tax will vary widely by state. In Canada, there is also a … Continue reading All About Sales Tax »

Short Term Financing

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Short Term Financing “Short Term” financing means taking out a loan to make a purchase, usually with the loan term at less than a year. There are many different types of short-term financing, the most common of which are “Buy Now, Pay Later”, “Unsecured Personal Loans”, and “Payday Loans”. Short Term Financing VS Credit Cards Short-term financing has many similarities with credit cards – there … Continue reading Short Term Financing »

Credit Cards

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What are Credit Cards? Credit cards is a form of unsecured credit (meaning a loan without collateral) that you can use to make everyday purchases. All credit card purchases are made using a loan – you borrow money from your credit card issuer, and later pay it back with interest. Credit Cards Vs Debit Cards Credit cards can be used at all the same places … Continue reading Credit Cards »

Good Debt, Bad Debt

Beginners trying to tackle their personal finances for the first time see debt as sort of a “boogeyman”, a specter that looms overhead, trying to trap people into inescapable cycles of minimum payments and late fees. Or at the very least, something to be avoided whenever possible. Deep down, we all know this is not really the case. Having a healthy amount of debt is … Continue reading Good Debt, Bad Debt »

Budgeting

When learning about managing your finances, many experts will recommend you begin with a budget. A budget is a tool that tracks income and expenses, and it allow you to set goals and make plans for the future. Developing a budget for a specific project, for a special event, or to help you with your monthly spending are all examples of using a budget to … Continue reading Budgeting »

Reconciling Accounts

Your parents probably have experience reconciling their checkbook by comparing your own written records with their bank statements. In today’s world, reconciling your checkbook isn’t a common activity for two reasons: Paper checks probably only account for a small amount of your total expenses per month You probably have an automatic record with your bank’s online services showing how much you paid for anything purchased … Continue reading Reconciling Accounts »

Managing Debt

To be “In Debt” means to owe money to someone else, usually making fixed payments to pay back the amount over time, plus interest. Debt means different things to different people – having some debt is perfectly healthy for your personal finances, but too much can leave you buried. There is also a major difference between debt held by people and businesses. Personal Debt Your … Continue reading Managing Debt »

Building An Investing Strategy

An “Investing Strategy” is a plan for how to save money to help it grow. Sometimes an “investing strategy” can just mean “plan for trading stocks”, but it really means a lot more. Liquidity, Risk, and Potential Returns All investments balance liquidity (how easily it can be converted into cash for other use), risk (the chance of the investment to lose value), and potential returns … Continue reading Building An Investing Strategy »

Planning for Retirement

Retirees

When should someone start planning for retirement? Fidelity Investments recommends most young people try to save up 2x their annual salary by the time they turn 35, which is a pretty good benchmark to shoot for. Unfortunately, retirement is so far off the mind of most young people that they find their retirement account is completely empty after turning 30. What can a person do … Continue reading Planning for Retirement »

Contracts

Definition A “Contract” is a legally binding agreement between two parties (people, companies, or both). Having a contract means that if one party does not keep their word, the other can sue them in court to either force them to fulfill their side of the agreement, or pay back compensation. What Makes A Contract Binding? Not every agreement is a binding contract, but every contract … Continue reading Contracts »

Banks, Credit Unions, and Savings & Loan Institutions

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When talking about Banking, people generally group Banks, Credit Unions, and Savings & Loan companies all in one group. They do provide similar services, but they each have specific differences that might make them a better or worse fit for your financial needs. What They Have In Common All three of these institutions can do all the things you would normally associate with a “bank” … Continue reading Banks, Credit Unions, and Savings & Loan Institutions »

Spending Plan

Definition of Spending Plan A “Spending Plan” is exactly as it says – a plan of what you will be spending each month. There are usually two parts – your “fixed” spending and your “variable” spending. The fixed part is usually the same every month, with things like rent/mortgage payments, grocery bills, insurance, and car payments. The variable part changes a lot from month to … Continue reading Spending Plan »

Money – Types of Stored Value

Definition When we think of money, stored value means anything that isn’t cash, but you can still use to transfer value – checks, debit cards, gift cards, and forms like that. These are used to transport some dollar amount which we can later exchange for goods and services. Each of these forms of stored value have their advantages and disadvantages, along with some properties that make them … Continue reading Money – Types of Stored Value »

Wealth

Definition of Wealth “Wealth” means having an abundance of something desirable. This can be tangible, like money and property, or intangible, like good health or freedom. Intangible Wealth Just because something does not have a monetary value does not mean it is worthless. Having strong connections with friends and family is often considered a major component of wealth – since these things cannot be bought … Continue reading Wealth »

Financial Records

As you begin working with financial institutions to secure your money and process your financial transactions, it is important that you learn to keep good financial records. These records, both on paper and electronic, will allow you to know where your money and assets are and exactly how much you have at a given time. You may choose to print these documents and keep them … Continue reading Financial Records »