What Is a Stipend?

A stipend is a payment made to a trainee or learner for living expenses, unlike a salary or wages, which are paid to an employee.  Though the terms "stipend" and "salary" are often used interchangeably, the U.S. Department of Labor has a specific stipend definition with several criteria that must be met to pay a stipend. Continue reading

What Is a Stop Payment?

A stop payment is an instruction you give to a bank or financial institution to cancel the payment of an "item," which may be in the form of a check, electronic payment or some other type of bank draft. You must be the holder, either individually or jointly, of the account from which the item was drawn. A stop payment order is only effective if you issue it before the bank processes the item.... Continue reading

What Is Financial Discipline?

Merriam-Webster defines "discipline" as "a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders." Though most people associate discipline with social behaviors, it also applies to how you manage your money. Financial discipline refers to how well you are able to conform your spending and saving to the plans that you have set to achieve your monetary goals. Continue reading

What Is a 401k?

A 401(k) is a retirement savings account offered by for-profit employers to help their employees save for retirement. A 401(k) offers tax breaks for diligently saving for retirement, according to the Internal Revenue Service, but isn't the easiest account to withdraw from if you need money before you retire. Using a 401(k) for your retirement savings increases the growth of your nest egg because... Continue reading

Personal Finance: Making the Most of Your Money

Personal finance refers to how you manage your money. Personal financial management can include everything from budgeting, to saving, to improving your credit. Continue reading

What Is a Surcharge?

In common usage, a surcharge refers to an additional payment or tax heaped upon an existing charge. Surcharges can arise due to a variety of reasons, such as a locality's need to collect money for extra services. Surcharges can be assessed by governments, corporations and organizations. Continue reading

What Are Financial Goals?

Financial goals are the priorities and targets you set for how you want to spend and save your money. They aren't one size fits all, because everyone has different priorities. However, if you don't set your financial goals, you'll probably be left wondering where all your money went. Continue reading

What Is Financial Planning?

Financial planning refers to a wide range of activities that help you take control of your financial life, such as figuring your net worth, outlining a budget for your spending and savings goals, and exploring different financial products that can help you meet those goals. Although some people use a professional financial planner to help them, easy-use-programs like Quicken are a more cost... Continue reading

What Is a Credit Score?

Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents how well you've handled credit in the past and how likely you are to repay future debts. Your credit score is calculated from the information found in your credit report, which includes your trade lines -- your loans, credit cards and other debts, inquiries from when you've applied for credit in the past, and public records like... Continue reading

What Is Recurring Debt?

A recurring debt is the requirement to make a payment for a loan or other obligation on a continuing basis. The debtor cannot easily cancel recurring debt. Some familiar examples include credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, alimony and child support. Continue reading