Are you looking to get smart quickly on money basics? The sheer amount of financial information out there can be daunting to sift through, and it takes a lot of time to research one topic at a time to find informative, credible explanations.
In this ultimate guide, our team does that heavy lifting for you. The structure is based on the federal government’s MyMoney.gov “MyMoney Five” – five areas identified as “building blocks for managing and growing your money” – and we agree that these are the key topics to understand as an informed consumer. But, as useful as the MyMoney.gov framework is, there are many other sources that explain some of these financial concepts in a more accessible and rich way than the government sites do.
This guide combines the best of both worlds: coverage of the MyMoney Five topics, so you can be sure the basics are all there, and great explanations that are well-written and in many cases visual and easy to digest.
This article defines social security tax and describes how it’s calculated, how it determines take-home pay and how self-employment impacts amount paid by the employee.
Readers will find a detailed description of what’s included on a paycheck stub, and why it’s important to understand payroll deductions, including tax withholding.
The IRS provides a thorough description of tax withholding and how to properly fill out the Form W-4 to determine how much tax is withheld with each paycheck.
CNN addresses dozens of retirement plan concerns and questions including how funds are invested, how vesting works, what happens if you leave your job, the differences and similarities between 401 (k)s and Roth 401 (k)s, and how to decide how much to contribute to your own 401 (k).
This site offers a comprehensive glossary of mortgage terminology, videos and graphics all aimed at helping consumers understand loan terms when borrowing for a home.
You’ve most likely seen the term “APR,” but this primer from Bank of America describes what an APR is and how it applies to you in this easy-to-understand explanation.
Compiled by Federal Student Aid, this guide aims to help federal student loan borrowers understand how to repay federal student loans, including managing and understanding repayment, finding the right payments plan and finding out who their loan servicer is.
This guide offers credit history and credit score basics and discusses in detail why they matter. Readers will also learn how to avoid dings to their credit scores.
Save & Invest
For families living paycheck to paycheck, building an emergency fund could be a solid way to move away from using credit cards for unexpected expenses that normally derail a budget. This How-to guide from Nerdwallet takes readers step-by step in starting and building an emergency fund.
The official state of Indiana website offers a downloadable guide and workbook geared towards teaching users the savings principle of “pay yourself first.” Users learn this basic principle of saving and why is it important.
It’s never too early to save for retirement. This sweeping guide on saving for retirement guides readers through the incredible principle of compound interest and how putting away even a modest amount of money can yield impressive results. Readers will also learn the seven steps to earning retirement income, and a retirement expenses calculator helps drive the point home.
This guide on savings account starts at square one for savings newbies, and explains savings accounts and what they are, how they are used, what are the most common types, and how to open one.
How to get started on investing and how to find good professional help
This exhaustive guide from the website of personal finance guru Clark Howard offers detailed, concrete advice and examples on tracking spending and creating a budget based on your tracking. Tracking software and apps are also recommended.
One of the basic tenets of financial security is living within your means. In a nutshell, this means living on what you earn, including saving and investing. The Huffington Post offers an entire section chock full of advice and news for readers interested in living within and even below their means.
This easy-to-use guide walks user through the steps involved in creating a budget and offers an example family budget along with expert advice.
You can save money at the grocery store without having to bring a fistful of coupons with you by learning to compare prices at stores in the area, stock up during sales and shop the perimeter.
Learn the basics of car insurance, including what kind of insurance to get, what’s required by law, how to save on car insurance and shopping around for the best deal on insurance.
Discover how to prevent scams such as telephone, IRS, housing and charity scams, along with pyramid schemes and identity theft.
An important element of organizing household financial records is knowing what to keep and what to throw away. Learn what to save, where to store and suggested items for your financial information binder.
There are ways to get health insurance even if your employer doesn’t offer it. This site walks user through the steps on applying for insurance, paying premiums and how to use your insurance.