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Becoming Financially Literate
Studies show that women in general—and college-age women in particular—tend to avoid dealing with matters of personal finance. Here are some helpful resources to get you started.
50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2011: Pragmatic financial saving plans are as powerful as your New Year's resolution.
360 Degrees of Financial literacy: 360 Degrees of Financial literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation's Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor - from children learning about the value of money to adults reaching a secure retirement.
FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection: This section of the FTC website offers practical information on a variety of consumer topics. The information here can help you avoid rip-offs and exercise your consumer rights.
International Cost of Living Comparison: A website that compares the comprehensive information from food to entertainment. You can make smarter choices for where to live with this help of cost of living comparison.
MyMoney.gov: A website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education, including buying homes, investing in 401(k). It also provides important information from 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus.
Personal Finance Calculators from Bankrate.com: A page full of personal finance calculators, covering everything from auto loans to retirement savings.
Practical Money Skills: Offers financial literacy lessons, resources, games and calculators.
There are two important components to a budget: income and outflow. Check out any one the following resources designed to help you track your every dollar ensure that your outflow doesn't exceed your income.
A Budget for Today and Tomorrow: Online interactive table to help you make a clear budget worksheet and construct future budget plans.
Budgeting 101 from About.com: Everything you need to know about budgeting.
Budgeting for the College Student: Budgeting for the college student: statistics and information on college debt and how to work around it. Describes how a budget works and provides a sample sheet and savings goal calculators.
Financial Management for Graduate Students: Thinking about going to graduate school, or already in grad school? This site offers tips for managing your money while you're there.
Making a Budget: CNN Money analysts provide a step-by-step guide to gaining control over your financial life. Tips for keeping your spending under control so that you get the most of every dollar.
Student Budget Calculator: Simple easy to use budget calculator especially designed for students.
Student Budget Plans that Work: Creating a student budget plan is an important step every student can take to assess his or her financial wellness. A college student budget can help you keep track of your expenses, analyze your assets and income and set financial goals for yourself.
Young Money Magazine: Young Money is a personal finance magazine for students and young adults, with articles on student financial issues and information/tips on saving, budgeting and smart spending.
If you're thinking about hiring a professional to help you manage your money, the following resources may be useful to you. Since there are quite a few financial planning services available to people at different income levels and life stages, it's always a good idea to investigate your options before getting involved with a particular financial planner.
All Financial Matters: The blog site of a fee-only financial planner in Texas "dedicated to discussing such topics as budgeting, asset allocation, 401K, IRA, cash flow, insurance, financial planning, portfolio management, and other areas in personal finance."
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Personal Financial Planning Center: Information on CPA/PFS (Certified Public Accountant/Personal Financial Specialist) professionals, how to find one, as well as general information and resources for financial planning.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards: Provides information and resources both to financial planning professionals and to consumers. A list of "Top Ten Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner"
Financial Planning Association: Find a CFP professional near you. Helpful questions to interview a financial planner provided.
News and Commentary: Online home of Financial Planning magazine and offers news, commentary and community for financial planners and financial planning professionals.
North American Securities Administration Association: Contact information for NASAA regulators all over North America, as well as additional links to consumer protection resources and general financial planning information.
Securities and Exchange Commission: Check Out Brokers and Advisers: Advice and links for investigating the record of a financial adviser or planner.
If you're renting your living space, you want to make sure you know what to expect and what is expected of you when you sign a lease or rental agreement, and you also want to know what your rights are as a renter. If you're buying a home, which is often the single most expensive purchase a person will make, there are many factors to consider - getting a mortgage, types of mortgages available, interest rates, how your credit rating affects the home buying process, to name a few.
10 important questions to ask before renting an apartment: Questions to ask yourself and your future landlord before you make a commitment.
Ginnie Mae: Created by Congress to provide mortgages to low- and middle- income households.
Fannie Mae: Contains information for homebuyers, including lender and mortgage finders.
Freddie Mac: Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress to increase the supply of funds that mortgage lenders, such as commercial banks, mortgage bankers, savings institutions and credit unions, can make available to homebuyers and multifamily investors.
Legal Support for Real Estate: Provides legal information for both landlords and tenants on their rights to possess, use, and enjoy land and the permanent manmade additions attached to it.
Loans and Mortgages: This website from FDIC provides helpful information about choosing the right mortgages and loans for your housing needs.
Mortgage-Calc.com: Contains a wide range of calculators, both for home buying, as well as for car leases, AMT Tax Calculator, Tuition Savings Calculator, and more.
Mortgage Pages from Bankrate.com's: Contains information on mortgage basics; a glossary of mortgage terms; mortgage calculators; articles on obtaining mortgages; and current interest rate information as well as analysis of the housing/mortgage markets.
Rentlaw.com: Provides a landlord/tenant guide and gives you the option to look up specific laws that deal with renting by state.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development: Contains FAQs on home buying, buyers' rights, mortgages, home improvement and more.
Yahoo! Real Estate: Includes articles on types of loans andÂ mortgages, trends and analysis of the housing market, and how-to guides for novice consumers.
Whether you're still a student, a recent graduate, or have been out in the world for a long time, figuring out where your money is going and planning where you want it to go is the first step toward achieve your financial goals. The below resources are intended to help you save money on living expenses, and design budgets and saving plans that suit your needs now and for the future.
190 Resources for Saving Money: Comprehensive guide to 190 of the best budgeting tools, deals and coupon sites, rate comparison engines, and personal finance resources online. This list has everything you need to start saving money immediately.
Budget Traveling: You can often find discounted airline tickets on these sites. Once you find a good deal from these websites, go directly to the official site of the flight company, and you will get an even cheaper price most of the time.
Debt-Proof Living: Articles, resources and advice to debt-proof your life, together with time, money-saving and frugal living tips.
Thrifty Fun: An online community you can post questions and contribute answers to others who are trying to have fun while saving money.
The Dollar Stretcher: Assortment of articles and advice on making your money go as far as possible, as well as information on current money issues. Offers an expansive searchable archive of articles.
The Frugal Village: Tips on frugal living from cooking to recycle used stuffs in a smart way.
The Shoestring: Occasionally humorous and often ingenious tips on cutting costs without compromising fun.
Resources Just for Women
Because women are more likely to move in and out of the work force, act as primary caretakers for their children, be affected negatively by divorce, and save less for retirement than men—though also more likely to start their own businesses and become affluent—there is much information that is of specific interest and use to women as they plan their financial present and future.
Catalyst: Studies women and men across levels, functions, and geographies to learn about women's experiences in business, barriers to their career advancement, and individual and organizational strategies leading to success.
Corporette: Fashion and lifestyle blog for corporate women: lawyers, bankers, MBAs, consultants and "otherwise overachieving chicks."
Daily Worth: A personal finance and business site for women updated daily with money tips and blog posts.
Dames Bond: A networking site for women in business. In addition to feature articles on advice, it features an extensive business directory of female services and businesses.
LearnVest: Easy-to-understand financial advice, information and tools for women hoping to take control of their financial lives.
Ms. Financial Savvy: Stocks and mutual funds 101, stocks/mutual funds glossary, chart reading, literature, and research. Financial calculators, mortgages, scholarships, careers, books.
Ms. Money: A personal finance resource for women that covers everything from investing and budgeting to debt reduction, all to give financial peace of mind to its users.
Pretty Young Professionals: A career advice hub for the Gen-Y careerist, the newly redesigned site features accessible (and entertaining) advice for recent grads and working gals.
WIFE: Women's Institute of Financial Education.
Women and Retirement FAQ: This site, specifically for women, comprehensively answers questions about pensions and social security benefits. It is also linked to articles concerning when to retire, how best to estimate expenses, how to budget during retirement and how to safeguard your pension.
Women for Hire: A hub of recruitment services for women, this site offers career expos, blogs and feature articles as well as an online job board that connects leading employers with professional women.
Women on Business: The goal of Women on Business is to expand the international network of businesswomen online by promoting conversation on common issues.
Women Success Coaching: A blog from success coach Bonnie Marcus, Women's Success Coaching weighs in on the many building blocks of empowering women in business, from assertive communication to self-promotion to sensitivity training.
Womenetices: A networking platform for professional women that features daily content on business and personal relationships.
Wi$e Up.com: A website sponsored by Texas A&M University about financial planning for Generation X & Y Women.
Filing taxes can be a confusing process, especially if you've never filed your own income tax return before. General information and links to tax forms are below, as well as information specifically for students who are filing their own returns.
Federal Tax Forms and Publications: This section of the IRS website contains links to tax forms, new changes, instructions, previous year forms and more.
Free Tax Help and information: Tax questions, answers, and info. Advice on returns, deductions, tax rebates, and credits. Tax strategies on federal IRS forms and state tax return.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on tax filing: An index covering a wide array of tax information and common questions/concerns.
Getting the most from the Itemized Deductions: A list of often overlooked itemized deductions that you may be eligible to use the next time you file.
How to Prepare Tax Returns: Information on state and federal taxes, deductions and the filing process. Step-by-step instructions for filling out W-2 forms.
IRS e-file Using A Tax Professional (Internal Revenue Service): Questions and answers about filing your federal income tax return electronically using an authorized IRS e-file Provider.
IRS Tax Information for Individuals: Provides links to tools and information regarding taxes. Some links include a withholding calculator, information about late payment, tax extensions, locating refunds, and resources to help with tax filing.
IRS Tax Guide For Students: A comprehensive resource to assist you in understanding your obligations as a tax payer. Includes information about tax forms, filing returns, and much more.
IRS Withholding Calculator: Not sure how much federal tax to have taken out of your paycheck? This calculator is intended to help taxpayers decide how many withholding allowances to take in their paychecks, based on your income, pay frequency, filing status and other factors.
Massachusetts Tax Forms and Publications: The MA Department of Revenue site contains links to current tax forms, instructions, previous year forms and more.
Midyear Tax Savings Moves: Tips for cutting your tax bill.
Paycheck Withholding Calculator: Wondering what the difference between your gross pay and your net pay will be? The personal calculators on this site will allow you to estimate what your take-home pay will be, based on your inputs
Recovering Excess FICA Payments: Provides information on how you can get your Social Security tax money back as a credit on your individual tax return.
Tax Basics: Step-by-step instructions on filing taxes
A Tax Guide for Students and Parents: Guide to deductions and savings opportunity available for college students and their parents.
Tax Information for International Students and Scholars: Binghamton University's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) offers information and guidelines for preparing income tax returns international students and scholars.
Yahoo Finance: Tax Center: Provides links to federal and state forms, tax tools such as tax calculators and tax education resources.
Your taxes from A to Z: ABC: List of terms and definitions
Teaching Kids About Money
Teen spending was $189.7 billion in 2006 and is estimated to reach $208.7 billion by December 2011. Despite this incredible spending power as few as 12 percent of high school students in the U.S. receive a formal education in personal finance. Source: Womens-finance.com.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: A fun interactive site that teaches kids about banking and the FDIC.
Federal Reserve Board: Kids can learn about the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States, and take a fun quiz at the end to test their knowledge.
Lucky Dog Investing: Teaches kids helpful investing skills.
Kids.Gov: The official government site for children that links to sites where kids can explore future careers and learn about entrepreneurship.
PBS Kids.org: Introduces various concepts about managing money: whether to save or spend, what is a want versus what is a need, how to create a budget, and much more. Also has ideas for those under 14 to work and make money.
Sense & Dollars: Kids can test their knowledge about money and find more links and resources to learn about money.
Social Security - Kids Place: Teaches kids what social security is and how it works.
Teens and Income Taxes: The five most significant things you can explain to your teenager to help him/her understand income taxes.
The Mint: Packed with all kinds of tips for kids about what to do with their money. Offers information about earning, saving, investing, opening a business, and philanthropy. Has a section for parents and educators as well.
Wise Pockets Clubhouse: A fun site where children meet new friends, read stories and do fun activities about earning, saving and spending money.