Test Your Knowledge of Financial Basics

Working with a trusted financial professional is one of the best ways to help improve your overall financial situation, but it’s not the only thing you can do. Educating yourself about personal finance concepts can help you better understand your advisor’s recommendations, and result in more productive and potentially more prosperous financial planning discussions. Take this brief quiz to see how well you understand a few of the basics.

The Frugal Habits of Millionaires

The word “millionaire” typically conjures up images of a lavish, jet-setting lifestyle, but behind the scenes, that may not always be the case. Like Warren Buffett, who famously still lives in the relatively modest house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500, many millionaires (and billionaires) live a modest, if not downright frugal lifestyle–a lifestyle that may have helped them become millionaires in the first place.

Think Outside the Shoe Box When Organizing Financial Records

If you’ve ever had trouble finding an important financial document, you know why it’s necessary to keep your financial records organized. Less clutter means less stress, and though you’ll need to commit a bit of time up front to organize your files, you can save time and money over the long term when you can find what you need when you need it.

Buckets of Money: A Retirement Income Strategy

When you were saving for retirement, you may have pursued an asset allocation strategy that balanced your needs for growth, income, and safety. You can take a similar multi-pronged approach to turning your nest egg into ongoing income. One way to do this is sometimes called the “bucket” strategy. This involves creating multiple pools of money; each pool, or “bucket,” is invested depending on when you’ll need the money, and may have its own asset allocation.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) for Federal Student Loans

The federal government’s income-based repayment program (IBR) for student loans allows qualified borrowers to tie their monthly federal student loan payments to their discretionary income. A new version of the IBR program called “Pay As You Earn” took effect on December 21, 2012 (it was originally scheduled to be phased in during 2014, but the Obama administration took regulatory measures to make it available sooner). The potential for IBR to change the landscape for college borrowers is enormous.

Just How Risky is Your Portfolio?

If you’re like most people, you probably evaluate your portfolio in terms of its return. However, return isn’t the only factor you should consider; also important is the amount of risk you take in pursuing those returns. The term “risk” is often understood to mean the risk of loss. However, a portfolio is generally a means to an end, such as paying for retirement or a child’s college tuition. In that context, “risk” also means the risk of not meeting your financial needs