Paying For College, Financial Aid, Student Loans and Grants

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Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

Pay the Piper

Credit card debt can be overwhelming. As interest accrues, your balances may keep increasing even if you’re...

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FICO vs. VantageScore

Settle the Score

FICO and VantageScore are two of the most common credit scoring models. Contrary to popular belief, you...

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HMO vs. PPO

Bill of Health

HMOs and PPOs are two different types of health insurance plans. HMO (or Health Maintenance Organization) plans...

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Sticking to a Budget

In It to Win It

Budgeting can be a lot like dieting. You start out with big hopes for dramatic changes in...

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Filing for Unemployment

Pink Slip

Unemployment insurance is a government program that gives you money if you lose your job. Sometimes, life...

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Credit

Permanent Record

Credit is, simply put, your financial reputation. Your credit history describes your record as a borrower, including...

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Paying Down Debt

Get Low

Paying down debt can make you more financially secure and give you more flexibility when deciding what...

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Target-Date Funds

Bullseye on Retirement

A target-date fund is an investment fund that’s based on your expected retirement date. These mutual funds...

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Roth IRAs

Road to Retirement

A Roth IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is one of the most common types of retirement savings...

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Income Taxes

Pay the Piper

Personal income tax is money the government collects from people based on how much they earned or...

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Emergency Fund

Cash Cushion

An emergency fund is your stash of just-in-case money. Along with your insurance coverage, it’s a vital...

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Hard vs. Soft Credit Inquiries

Extra Credit

Banks, lenders, and others use your credit report and scores to determine your creditworthiness. In other words,...

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E-Filing

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

E-filing means filing your taxes online. You’ll still need all the same documents you’d use to file...

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IRA vs. 401(k)

Nest Eggs

IRAs and 401(k)s are two popular types of retirement savings accounts. Most people who work in the...

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Budget

Nickels and Dimes

A budget is a plan you can use to better manage your spending and saving. When you...

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Debt

It All Adds Up

Debt is money that you owe to another person or a financial institution. When you borrow money,...

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Credit Cards

Swipe Right

A credit card lets you buy now and pay later, all without the hassle of counting out...

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Banks

Bank on It

Banks are institutions that take deposits, cash checks, and make loans. They are essentially home bases for...

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Savings

One Penny at a Time

Savings represent that portion of your income or earnings that is put aside and not spent. Life...

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Interest

Pay Up

Interest is the cost of borrowing money. For a borrower, interest is the price of taking on...

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APR

Another Day, Another Dollar

An annual percentage rate (APR) represents the annual cost of borrowing money, including fees. Because the APR...

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FICO

Score Some Points

Although you might hear the phrase “your credit score” tossed around, you actually have multiple credit scores—potentially...

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Car Insurance

Tighten Your (Seat) Belt

Car insurance is an agreement between you and an insurance provider. In exchange for regular payments from...

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Prepaid Card

Top Off

A prepaid card lets you spend money that you’ve already added to the card. It’s similar to...

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Deductibles

Cut Rate

A deductible is the amount of money you must spend out of pocket before your insurance company...

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Tax Refunds

Check’s in the Mail

If you pay more than your fair share in taxes over the course of a year, you’re...

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Improving Credit

Extra Credit

Your credit report and credit scores describe whether you have a good track record of repaying borrowed...

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Mutual Funds

Join Forces

A mutual fund is a professionally managed fund that pools lots of investors’ money in order to...

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Interest Rate

At Any Rate

Interest is what a lender charges you to borrow money. It is usually expressed as a percentage...

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Bonds

Bonds, James Bonds

Bonds are essentially IOUs. When you buy a bond, you become a lender to whatever entity issued...

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Tax Withholding

To Have and Withhold

Tax withholding is money your employer takes out of your paycheck each pay period. Your employer then...

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Building Credit

Bit by Bit

Credit is money that’s available to you to borrow whether through a credit card, mortgage, car loan,...

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Buy vs. Lease a Car

Joy Ride

When you need a car, you have two options: buy or lease. If you buy a car,...

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The Stock Market

Greed Is Good

The stock market is the collection of physical and electronic markets where buyers and sellers come together...

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1099 vs. W-2 Employee

Bring Home the Bacon

1099s and W-2s are both types of tax forms. If you’re a contractor, you should receive one...

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Form W-2

Company Man

The W-2 is a tax form your employer must complete at the start of each year to...

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Insurance

Cover Your Assets

Insurance is financial protection. Along with your emergency fund, insurance makes up your safety net so that...

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Tax Returns

Not-So-Happy Returns

Most people pay taxes throughout the year. When you file a tax return, you calculate how much...

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Student Loans

Old College Try

A student loan can be any kind of borrowed money that’s used to pay for education. Although...

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Stocks

Buy Buy Buy

Stocks are pieces of ownership in companies. If you bought one stock of, say, Amazon, and Amazon...

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The simple information you need
to clean up your not-so-simple finances.