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When it comes to savings, money market accounts are among the most popular. They offer better returns than most standard savings accounts, yet still allow easy access to your money when you need it. These accounts are often confused with money market funds, but the two are actually very different.
Whereas a money market account is guaranteed not to lose value, there is no such guarantee with a money market fund. That’s because instead of a bank-backed savings account, a money market fund is an investment vehicle. Some banks offer money market funds as well as money market accounts, adding to the confusion.
One of the most attractive aspects of money market funds is that they carry much less risk than most investments. They are required … continue reading.
Credit and debit cards are the ultimate in spending convenience. They make it easy for us to buy online, by phone or by mail. They help us reserve cars, hotel rooms, plane tickets and more. They eliminate the need to carry large amounts of cash. And when we need cash but don’t have it, we can take them to the ATM and withdraw money in a snap.
Credit and debit card issuers institute certain security measures to prevent cards from unauthorized use. One of the most important of these measures is the personal identification number, or PIN. Cardholders are required to select a PIN number when their cards are issued. They must enter this number when withdrawing cash from an ATM. With debit cards, it … continue reading.
If you’ve ever been hit with an unexpected expense, you know that you need some source of funding to fall back on at all times. A savings account makes the most sense, because it gains interest. But many consumers use their credit cards as a safety net, even though they know it will cost them more in the long run.
Those who are saddled with credit card debt, either because of using them for emergencies or simply overusing them, are painfully aware of how interest and fees accumulate. They swear that when they get out of debt, they will start saving money to avoid having their finances fall back into ruin. And if they’re serious about it, they might put every spare dollar toward paying … continue reading.
Savings should be a part of everyone’s financial plans. We all need some money put back for a rainy day. Saving for our children’s college education is also important. And having a retirement fund is a must.
Putting our savings under a mattress isn’t a very good strategy. Not only could it be stolen or burned up in a fire, but it doesn’t earn interest. Putting our savings in the bank keeps it safe and allows it to earn interest, allowing us to come out ahead. But how far you come out ahead depends on the bank and the account you choose.
When it comes to general purpose savings, most people opt for a regular savings account. Such accounts earn rather low interest, but they give … continue reading.
When you hear about someone investing in CDs, do you imagine them going to the music store and stocking up? That’s probably not the case. In financial terms, “CD” stands for certificate of deposit, a popular instrument for earning interest on one’s money in the short term.
Certificates of deposit are issued by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Their purpose is to raise money for lending purposes. For this reason, CD holders must commit to leaving their money on deposit for a certain amount of time. It is usually possible to make an early withdrawal, but doing so will result in a penalty.
The maturity date of a CD is simply the length of time that the depositor agrees to leave his money in … continue reading.
For those who work on Wall Street, stock trading is an everyday occurrence. For many of the rest of us, it is an enigma. It just seems so complex, especially when you don't have a clue what goes on behind the scenes.
Actually, stock trading isn't terribly difficult to understand. Here are the basics.
How Stocks Are Traded
The actual trading of stocks takes place at a stock exchange. The most familiar stock exchange for most Americans is the New York Stock Exchange. This is the place that we often see on the financial report on the news. It is full of traders working to facilitate smooth, quick transactions between buyers and sellers.
But not every stock exchange operates like the New York Stock Exchange. Today, many stock … continue reading.
It's never too early to start thinking about your children's college education. The sooner you start saving, the greater the chance your child will have enough money to get through college with no worries. But when considering college savings, many parents are unsure just what they should do with the money.
You could stuff it in a sock drawer, but it would have no chance of drawing interest there. A savings account might be slightly better, but any interest earned would be taxed. A 529 plan is a much better option.
529 plans are similar to 401K plans, but they're for higher education instead of college. Parents, grandparents or anyone else can put money into one for a specified beneficiary. Any interest earned is tax-deferred, and … continue reading.