Why Is Financial Planning Important?

Without a financial plan, it's hard to know whether you're sinking or swimming when it comes to your finances. If you aren't tracking your cash flow, your debt could be growing without you even realizing it. "If you are digging yourself further in the hole every month, nothing else matters," says Brian Frederick, a certified financial planner practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Having negative... Continue reading

Personal Finance Planning: Creating and Protecting an Emergency Fund

Personal Finance Planning: Creating and Protecting an Emergency Fund Life is full of surprises, many of which come with adverse financial consequences. Whether it's your car breaking down, your child getting sick or you losing your job, one of the fastest ways to pile up high-interest debt is if you don't have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected expenses. If you don't, you might be... Continue reading

Cents & Sensibility: The Real Cost Of Paying Bills Late

You might think leaving your bills for later is an easy way to avoid pain and suffering, but you're going to end up hurting even more when you realize how much damage you're really doing to your wallet and your credit. For example, did you know late fees are often more than what you pay in interest? That is already way too much. Before you know it, you'll be sliding down the slippery slope of... Continue reading

Put Your Finances on Autopilot

When you lived at home, your biggest financial concern was probably how to spend your weekly allowance. Now that you're on your own, you've got a slew of new financial responsibilities. You have to pay for utilities and other household expenses, manage your credit cards, pay off debts such as your student loans and car loan. Plus, you know you should start saving for a rainy day and investing for... Continue reading

What Is Portfolio Management?

Portfolio Choices A financial portfolio holds your investment collection. Building this portfolio means choosing from several options: certificates of deposit, money market funds, company stocks, corporate and government bonds, mutual funds and cash. Each has risk characteristics; bonds, for example, will fall in price if interest rates rise, and "safe" cash will lose big if inflation kicks in.... Continue reading

Achieving Your Long-Term Financial Planning Goals With Less Risk

Achieving Your Long-Term Financial Planning Goals With Less Risk The commonly held perception of risk centers on the potential for the stock markets to crash or a bear market wiping out part of your savings toward your personal finance goals. Market professionals, on the other hand, look at risk as the comparison of potential returns to possible losses. To reach a certain level of return on... Continue reading

Cash For Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers bill recently became law. Many people are excited because it essentially gives auto dealers the ability to provide you with a $3,500 (in some cases $4,500) rebate towards the purchase or lease of a new energy efficient vehicle. All you need to do is trade in your older, less energy efficient vehicle. Some see it as a way to help our environment; others simply see it as... Continue reading

How to Pick a Financial Planner

It's not always easy to take a dispassionate view of your own financial situation and decide on the proper mix of insurance, investments and the like. A good stockbroker can help. But if you'd like someone to make broader-based investment recommendations based on extensive knowledge of your financial situation, you may be in the market for a financial planner. Candidates aren't hard to find;... Continue reading

7 Ways to Curb Your Spending

If you find that what you spend each month exceeds your household income, it's definitely time to sit down, analyze what your actual expenditures are and choose expense items to reduce or cut. Continue reading

Adding It All Up: Determining Your Net Worth

Adding It All Up: Determining Your Net Worth Given recent economic history, it's not surprising that people are paying close attention to their net worth. The dip and rebound in the stock market, the uncertainty over home prices and the gathering financial recovery has many people asking what's happened to their net worth over the past few years. While changes to your net worth can stem from... Continue reading