What Are Investments?

Investments are things of value, or assets, that you buy now in the hopes they will be worth more later and/or will provide income in the form of cash or other valuable items. Personal investing usually means the purchase of financial securities like stock and bonds, or of physical property such as commodities, collectibles or real estate. Investments are risky and can lose money, so it’s a good idea to research an investment before taking the plunge.

What Are Interest Rates?

Interest rates refer to the amount a lender charges a borrower in return for the privilege of borrowing money. This figure is generally expressed as a percentage of the principal. For example, if the interest rate on a $1,000 loan is 5 percent per year, and you want to pay off the loan in full at the end of a year, you would pay $1050: the $1000 you borrowed, plus $50 in interest. When you put money in a deposit account, you're essentially "loaning" money to the bank, so the bank pays you interest.

What Are Cutbacks?

Cutbacks refer to steps taken to reduce the amount of money being spent. If you're coming up short each month when it comes to paying your costs of living, you probably need to reduce your spending. However, taking the time to budget may reveal some relatively painless ways to do so.

What Are Bonds?

A bond is a type of debt issued by a corporation, government or other organization where the purchaser pays a certain amount to purchase the bond and, in exchange, will receive either a lump sum after a certain period of time or specified recurring payments over a period of time. For example, you might pay $50 to buy a bond that will pay you $75 in 10 years or will pay you $10 per year for the next seven years.

What Are Assets?

An asset is any item that you own that increases your net worth, as opposed to a liability that decreases your net worth. Examples of assets include the money in your bank account, property like your house or your car, and personal items like your TV, fine art or appliances. Knowing what assets you have and how much they are worth helps you make better financial decisions.

What Are Adjustments to Income?

Adjustments to income are expenses that reduce your total, or gross, income. You enter income adjustments directly onto Form 1040 of your tax return. The amount remaining after deducting these expenses is "adjusted gross income." Adjustments to income reduce your tax bill but are not itemized deductions, which you list separately on Schedule A and Schedule C. That means you benefit from adjustments to income whether you itemize deductions or take the standard deduction.

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 bankruptcies and collections.

What Is a Line of Credit?

A line of credit is an amount of money that a lender offers to let you use when you need it, and that you will pay back over time with interest. But, you'll only pay interest on the amount of the line of credit you use.

What Is a Money Portfolio?

Money portfolio has two related meanings. It refers to your investment holdings -- how you spent your investment money -- and software to record, monitor and report your holdings. A money portfolio program should show you a complete picture of your investments, automatically receive and process updates, provide intuitive reporting through comparisons, charts and graphs, and offer information to help you optimize your investments. Quicken delivers extensive capabilities in all of these areas plus a good deal more.

What Is an Emergency Fund?

An emergency fund is an amount of money that you set aside in case of unexpected costs, such as a medical emergency, loss of a job or major car repairs. Having an emergency fund offers both psychological and financial benefits, and using software like Quicken to help you plan your savings benefits both your stress levels and your bottom line.

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