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What is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant?

The Federal Government will give college students who have filled out a FAFSA and are found to be in dire financial need a grant of up to $4,000 a year. The grant does not have to be repaid. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant provides funding for educational expenses to students with expected family contributions (EFCs). The maximum annual amount that can be received in a SEOG is $4,000 per student. Continue reading...

What is a Student Loan?

Expenses for tuition, room, and board at a secondary education institution can be loaned to a student and paid off over time in the form of a student loan. Tuition and other college expenses have inflated at a much faster rate than the rest of the consumer price index. These institutions can charge more and more as they experience student housing crunches and an ever-growing demand for college education. Continue reading...

What is Lifestyle Inflation?

Lifestyle inflation is a term used in personal financial planning for the tendency of people to increase their spending and standard of living right along with any raises and monetary resources, even if it’s is at the detriment of any plans for debt reduction or long-term savings. Monetary inflation describes the phenomenon when more money has no more utility value than a lesser amount used to because the cost of goods is going up. Lifestyle inflation is when people select higher-priced goods and lifestyle spending habits when they have the money available to do so. Continue reading...

What are Financials Stocks?

Financial stocks are those that make up the financial sector, which encompasses banks, lenders, wire houses, and other companies that facilitate the flow of capital and debt. Real estate companies can also fall under this category. Financials tend to do well when yield curves are steep and the regulatory environment favors banks. When credit markets aren’t under strain financials tend to perform well. Continue reading...

What is Financial Liquidity?

Financial liquidity refers to the ease with which an asset can be converted to cash. Assessing financial liquidity is important on a corporation’s balance sheet, as it serves as an indication of how readily a company can pay off debts or weather a crisis. Continue reading...

What is a Financial Advisor?

The term "Financial Advisor" applies to professionals who are compensated for helping to implement investment strategies, but it is a broad and non-specific term. There are thousands of people who are called “Financial Advisors” – but within this category are various professions with different specialties and compensation structures. There are Financial Advisors, Financial Planners, Investment Managers, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and at times even CPAs, insurance agents, and lawyers are included in this umbrella term. Continue reading...

Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

What are the Best Financial Programs to Use?

There are many apps and online programs that investors can use, often for free, to help keep an eye on their holdings and to track their investment portfolio. In addition to the software accessible through your custodian, you might want to look at the programs available through Morningstar, Microsoft Money, and others. Apps on your phone (CNBC, TheStreet, Barron’s, MarketWatch, etc.) can keep you updated on market news related to your stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. You can also subscribe to market commentaries delivered via email. Continue reading...

Where Do I Find a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor can be found through an online search, at events, or through the recommendation of friends. Believe it or not, while there are thousands of resources and databases, the best way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. You will need to determine a few basic criteria when looking for a Financial Advisor, such as geographical location, his or her age bracket, years of experience, frequency and medium of communication, and the amount of fees you are willing to pay. While there are thousands of resources and databases, sometimes the easiest way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. Continue reading...

What are the Best Internet Sources for Financial Information?

The internet is overflowing with the advice, analysis, and chest-pounding of millions of self-purported gurus and market commentary services. There are plenty of well-informed and trustworthy sources out there, too. There are literally millions of websites providing you with various kinds of financial information, advice, recommendations, opinions, rumors, get-rich-quick schemes, and “facts.” There is a short list of companies that are well-established with a reputation worthy of trust: Morningstar, Moody’s, Fidelity, Schwab, Goldman Sachs, etc. Continue reading...

What is a Good Financial Advisor?

A good financial advisor should care as much about your investments as you do, and be personable and knowledgeable enough to make the relationship worth your time, money, and trust. Choosing a Financial Advisor is a bit like choosing a caretaker for your child: you would want someone who gives you a sense of security, who has professional references or the recommendation of a trusted friend, years of experience, is reliable and honest, can foster growth, and ideally, will care about your child almost as much as you do. Continue reading...

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a financial advisor capable of investment and insurance/estate planning. For an advisor that wants the “CFP” designation, they must complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements, which include extensive exams in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning and retirement. They must also complete continuing education courses. Continue reading...

Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

It’s easy to become drawn in by the financial media, but it’s important not to let them do your thinking for you. Commentators on the most reputable financial channels will always be sharp-looking, smooth-talking, and quoting a barrage of statistics that makes it seem like you didn’t know anything before you tuned in. Is this an indication of being camera-friendly? Without a doubt. Is it an indication of sound financial advice? Absolutely not. Continue reading...

How many financial advisors do I need?

It’s good to have the opinion of advisors who are knowledgeable in various areas of your planning and portfolio, but for most portfolios this can be reasonably accomplished with one advisor. It’s a good idea to have one Financial Advisor who oversees all of your assets, and if the individual parts of your portfolio are of significant size, you might consider having a specialist in those fields to oversee them. Continue reading...

What is Cash-Flow Financing?

Cash flow financing is an alternative method of securing a loan, in which cash flows are the collateral, not assets. In cash flow financing, also known as cash flow loans, a lending institution will base their decisions regarding the size of the loan and the loan repayment schedule on future expected cash flows of the company. The cash flows serve as collateral instead of assets, as in an asset-backed loan. Continue reading...

What is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Financing companies can step in and take over the accounts receivables of a company who no longer wants to wait to be paid on their receivables. Financing companies, who are sometimes called Factoring Companies or Factors, will pay about 75% of the amount due to companies who want to offload or outsource their Receivables. The factoring company will then take over the task of collections, and will transfer most of the money received back to the original company, after their fees have been deducted from the proceeds. Continue reading...

How Do I Calculate my Net Worth?

Calculating your net worth is a simple and worthwhile endeavor, and should be done once a year to measure your progress. Generally speaking, your net worth is the sum of all of your assets, minus the sum of your liabilities. For example, to calculate your net worth, you would need to add up the dollar values of all of your assets – usually consisting of your house, your cars, savings accounts, retirement accounts, CDs, cash, etc…, and your most valuable possessions (you don’t need to include your desk lamp into the calculations). Continue reading...

What are Mid-Cap Mutual Funds?

Mid-cap mutual funds invest in medium-size companies. A middle capitalization mutual fund invests mostly in medium-size companies. While the definition of “medium-size company” varies, most professionals define it as a company with a market capitalization from $2 billion to $10 billion. Companies you may have heard of within this size range are Eaton Vance, Guess, and others. In general, mid cap companies are more volatile than large cap companies, and the choice of the right fund managers becomes more important. Continue reading...

How often should I call my financial advisor?

While a client should be involved in communication efforts as well, it’s really the advisor that should be reaching out with information and scheduling appointments at least once a year. You should definitely discuss your investment portfolio with your Financial Advisor at least annually. Even if nothing has changed, it’s important to keep communication lines open. On the other hand, doing that more than once a quarter without a pressing need to do so might lead you to make poor decisions based on emotions and shortsightedness, rather than on investment discipline. Continue reading...

Should I pay for financial planning services?

Any professional that you work with for financial planning is going to be compensated for the work they do, but there are different ways they earn their pay. Whether it’s worth it to you is another question. If you have enough knowledge and time on your hands, and your investment portfolio is not very complicated, you may be able to manage it on your own. This can save you some money on financial advisor fees. Continue reading...

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