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Financial Education Articles

This section provides useful tips and information on a variety of financial education topics. Please note that this is not professional advice; contact a professional financial advisor to guide you.

Little Changes Can Put More Money in Your Pocket

There's nothing better than saving money and it's easier than you may think. By simply making some small changes in a few areas of your life, you could save hundreds of dollars or maybe even more. That's money you can use to boost your savings, save for a home or pay off bills. (April 2014))

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What's the Difference Between a Secured and Unsecured Loan?

If you're considering borrowing money, it's important to understand the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan. What are the advantages of secured and unsecured loans? By learning more about these two types of loans, you'll be better prepared to choose the loan that fits your needs. (March 2014)

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You've Come into Some Money. Now What?

You've come into some unexpected money. Congratulations! What should you do with your windfall? There are several things you should think about before you buy that new flat screen or book that dream vacation. By making the right money moves with this unexpected cash, you can strengthen your financial future. (February 2014)

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Simple Tips to Help You Get Off on the Right Financial Foot This Year

It's a new year and time for a fresh start. This year, add one more resolution to your list-to get your financial house in order. There are a number of steps you can take that can help you get and stay on the right track, from setting financial goals to updating your insurance, bank accounts, and will. (January 2014)

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Planning to Buy a Car? Take These Five Steps First.

Maybe you've been saving up for a new car or maybe those end of the year model clearance ads have caught your attention. There's more to making a smart car or truck purchase than trying to get the best price. Learn what steps you should take before you visit the showroom or check the classifieds. (December 2013)

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Smart Financial Moves to Make Now

The end of the year is coming up fast. Whether you're working to get out of debt or saving for a home, now's the time to make some smart moves and make sure you're on track financially this year and well prepared for the New Year. (November 2013)

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Refinancing: An Option for More Types of Loans Than You Think

Most everyone is familiar with the idea of refinancing a mortgage to get a better rate, cash out some equity or change the length of the loan. What you may not know is that you can refinance several other different types of loans, which could help you save money on interest or pay off your debt more quickly. (October 2013)

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Five Common Credit Report Mistakes and How You Can Fix Them

You're doing all the right things to build and protect your good credit. But when you review your credit report, you find mistakes that could keep you from getting the credit you deserve at the best rate. What errors should you check for and how can you correct these potentially costly mistakes? (September 2013)

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Cosigning on a Loan? What You Should Know First.

For people without established credit or those with credit problems, it can be difficult to get a loan or other types of credit. In some cases, having a cosigner can help them get the credit they're seeking. But what are the risks and responsibilities of being a cosigner and how can it affect your credit? (August 2013)

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Getting Your Finances Ready for Baby

If you're thinking about becoming a parent, there are a number of financial moves you should make well before your little one arrives to help make sure you'll be able to manage the additional expenses that come with a new family member. (July 2013)

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Are You a Smart Online Banker?

Most of us use our bank's online banking services to check balances, pay bills, and transfer money between accounts. There's no doubt online banking is convenient, but it can also present risks. That's why it's important to learn the basics of safe online banking. (June 2013)

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Starting Off on the Right Financial Foot

If you're in a serious relationship, you've probably talked about vacation plans, moving in together and maybe even marriage. There's one important item that a lot of couples forget to put on that list, though. Have an open, frank talk about your individual finances and your financial future together. (May 2013)

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Avoid Vacation Debt This Summer

Can't wait for summer vacation? You've probably started thinking about where to go and what to do. But have you thought about what your vacation will cost and how you'll pay for it? If you're thinking about using your credit cards and worrying about paying the bill later, there's a better way. (April 2013)

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How to Avoid Surprises on Your Tax Bill

You've probably started gathering your W-2 forms and other information you'll need to file your taxes. You know that you have to pay income taxes on the money you make working or through investments, but there are a number of other taxable types of income you might not be aware of which could increase your tax bill. (March 2013)

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An Emergency Fund can be a Financial Lifesaver

What would happen to your finances if you were hit with a big medical bill, your roof needed to be replaced, or you were laid off? One important way to guard against financial disaster is to build and maintain an emergency fund. Find out why it's essential and how you can get started. (February 2013)

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Is It Smart to Pay Bills with Your Credit Card?

You can use your credit cards to pay for almost anything these days, from a $1 soda to a $1,200 car repair. A growing number of people are also using their credit cards to pay a range of monthly bills like cell phone and utility bills. It's quick and easy, but does it always make good financial sense? (January 2013)

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Online Resources Can Help You Manage Your Money Better

Budgeting and tracking your finances is easier than ever these days. Thanks to a growing number of online tools and websites, you can manage your finances on your computer, your tablet, or your smartphone. Find out how these online tools can help you get a better handle on your money. (December 2012)

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Why What You Don't Know About Credit Scores Can Hurt You

How much do you know about credit scores? There are a lot of misunderstandings about what goes into figuring your score, what it can be used for and more. That's why it's smart to get the facts and understand credit scores better. (November 2012)

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What Lenders Look for When Deciding if You're Creditworthy

If you're thinking about applying for a loan or credit card, it's helpful to know what lenders look for when deciding whether to approve you for credit. Once you know, you can take steps to get your finances in good shape before you put in that application. (October 2012)

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What You Don't Know About Identity Theft Could Put You at Risk

Most people know that strange charges on their credit or debit card bill could be a sign that their identity has been stolen. There are other signs, too, and learning them is a good way to protect your financial well-being. (September 2012)

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Is Debt Settlement the Right Solution for Your Money Problems?

If your debts have built up to the point where you cannot keep up with the payments you need to make, you might be considering debt settlement. But before you choose this option, you should learn what's involved and the serious effect it can have on your credit score. (August 2012)

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Words to Know Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

Debt ratio. Gross income. Collateral. This sounds like a foreign language to a lot of people. But these are important terms to know and understand if you are planning to take out a loan. By learning what these and other key terms mean, you can be a smart borrower. (July 2012)

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Why Building a Strong Credit History Matters

Many people assume that if they don't plan to take out a mortgage or apply for a credit card, they don't need to worry about establishing a credit history. But that's not true. Whether you have good credit is used in other decisions as well. (June 2012)

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How to Turn Your Kids into Smart Savers

Saving money is one of the most important financial habits you can build. If you're a parent, the sooner you start teaching your kids to save, the more ingrained the savings habit will be. It's a great way to kick-start their financial future. (May 2012)

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What You Need to Know about Payday Loans

Bills are piling up and you're short on cash. While payday loans might seem like a quick solution, there's a serious downside to this type of borrowing. That's why it's helpful to understand how these loans work and what alternatives are available. (April 2012)

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What You Need to Know about Your Credit Score

Building a good credit score can make a big difference in everything from your ability to get a loan or rent an apartment to whether you're hired for a job. Learn what steps you should take to boost your score. (March 2012)

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Get Ready for Tax Time

From W-2s and 1098s to receipts for charitable donations, there's a lot to consider at tax time. Whether you do your taxes yourself or have them prepared, this article will help you gather everything you need to get the most deductions on your taxes and make tax time less taxing. (February 2012)

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Resolve to Get Your Finances on the Right Track

This New Year's, make a resolution to get financially fit. It's easier to get started than you think. By taking a few basic steps, you can lower your debt, live within your means, and save money. You can even get a jump on your income taxes. (January 2012)

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Build a Strategy to Avoid Holiday Debt

It's easy to get swept away by the excitement the holidays bring. Unfortunately, that can lead to overspending and debt. But by making and following a spending plan, you can avoid post-holiday debt headaches. (November 2011)

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Managing Debt in Hard Times

You've been doing all the right things to manage your finances. But your financial situation has changed unexpectedly and you're finding it hard to keep up. What steps should you take if you can't make payments on your debts? (October 2011)

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Your Questions - Answered

Over the past year, you've used our feedback corner to send us questions and comments. This month, we're featuring answers to your most frequently asked questions. Maybe you'll find an answer to a question you have, or decide to share your own question or topic. (September 2011)

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Debt Consolidation: Does It Make Sense for You?

Do you owe money on several credit cards or have auto loans and other debt you're working to pay down? In some cases, taking out one, lower interest loan to pay off those debts can save you money in the long run. Learn how to make a smart borrowing decision. (April 2011)

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Why You're Not Making a Dent in Your Balance

Maybe you got a bit behind with your payments, but you're making up all your back payments now. So why isn't your balance getting smaller? Growing interest is the key. (March 2011)

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Cut Costs & Find Small Savings in Your Budget

If money is tight, there could be a surprising source of extra cash right in front of you. Take a close look at your budget and you may find the extra money you need is already in there. (February 2011)

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Don't Let Holiday Bills Throw You Off Track in 2011

January can be a tough month financially. Holiday credit card bills arrive and December's spending can put a strain on your budget. Don't let big bills overwhelm you. Here's a plan to keep them under control. (January 2011)

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