It's A Money Thing
Intro to Insurance
Insurance is a contract that offers full or partial financial compensation for loss or damage caused by an uncontrollable event. In exchange, the insured individual pays a sum of money known as a premium. Insurance coverage can be tricky to shop for, because it requires making specific financial decisions about some hazy and unpredictable concepts.
Read more about the attitudes toward insurance.
Student Loans 101
If you’re considering financing your college education with the help of a student loan, the smartest thing you can do for yourself is to only borrow what you truly need. (This advice applies to pretty much all loan products, by the way.) Pursuing post-secondary education should be an exciting time in your life. You’re making decisions and opening up possibilities that will shape your future — a future that is adventurous and fulfilling and that decidedly does not include years and years of crippling debt.
Discover techniques for lowering the cost of tuition.
How to Spot Scams
If you use a cellphone or have an email account, you’ve almost certainly been exposed to an attempt at mass marketing fraud. Unfortunately, mass marketing scams persist because they work — at least enough to justify the attempts made. In a 2015 Data Breach Investigation report conducted by Verizon, it was found that it takes an average of 82 seconds from the time a phishing campaign is launched for the first victim to fall for the trap.
Learn more about the tactics scammers use.
Buying a Used Car
Auto dealers are expected to sell cars that meet certain consumer protection criteria. This may include providing a warranty that will cover the buyer’s costs if a car turns out to be a lemon. Unfortunately, some unethical dealers may attempt to bypass these laws by curbstoning. Curbstoning is when a dealer poses as a private seller to sell a car. By curbstoning, an unethical dealer can avoid having to comply with the regulations that apply to dealers. To a buyer, this could mean buying a car that has a salvaged title (a car that’s been declared a total loss by an insurance company). It could also mean unknowingly buying a car that has been in a flood and suffered severe water damage.
The term curbstoning comes from the way these transactions typically occur. When a dealer is trying to pose as a private seller, they will often sell cars from the curb or a parking lot, just as an individual would. A curbstoner often gets away with scamming buyers because he or she sells the vehicle and then disappears. With no office or contact information, a buyer can end up with a lot of headaches to deal with.
Experts say up to 80% of used cars sold through online classified ads are orchestrated by curbstoners.
Follow these eight tips to protect yourself.
This infographic guide
will show you what to check for and how to get the best deal on a used car.
Saving for Retirement
Think back to your most recent savings goal. How long did you have to save in order to reach it? Was it a concert ticket or some new shoes that took a few weeks of budgeting? Was it a big ticket item like a new computer or a summer vacation that took a year or two of planning in advance? Perhaps you’re currently saving for an even more ambitious goal: a car, a wedding, a down payment on a home? Although savings goals vary from person to person and range in size and scope, it’s likely that your longest-term savings goal will be your retirement.
Saving for retirement poses some unique challenges: How are you supposed to prioritize retirement savings against the long list of more immediate goals? How are you supposed to find the motivation to prepare for something that’s decades away? How can you quantify the amount you will need to save when you have no idea what your future will look like?
The good news is that you can boost your retirement savings by practicing the same good money habits that apply to smaller savings goals. Read on to find out which money skills will also level up your retirement savings plan.
Learn five good money habits to boost your retirement savings.
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). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)
However, despite their gradual decline in use, checks haven’t become completely extinct. We still keep our money in checking accounts, we still balance our checkbooks, and new banking technologies (mobile check imaging is one example) are being introduced to improve the process of paying by check. Writing checks continues to walk the line between permanence and obsolescence.
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.
Learn more about hold periods and balancing a checkbook.