Financial Planning

Saving for college, investing in the stock market, online trading, mutual funds for many, these topics are overwhelming. No worries. We'll give you accurate, easy-to-understand information in the Financial Planning section.


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What Is Probate and Can You Avoid It?

A lot of people don't like to think about death, which is why many estates go unplanned. But if someone dies without a will, their survivors may end up in a long expensive fight in probate court.

When Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Refinancing your mortgage may be a great way to lower your monthly bills, but you need to keep these points in mind.

What Is a Fiduciary Financial Adviser?

Not all investment professionals are fiduciaries — we've got four questions that smart investors need to ask a financial adviser before putting him or her in charge of their investments.

How to Get the Best Deal on Your Mortgage Refinance

Mortgage refinance rates can vary from lender to lender. So, how do you know that you've got the best rate you can?

5 Questions to Ask Before You Refinance Your Mortgage

"How low will my new interest rate be?" is not the only question to ask before you refinance your mortgage. Here are five others you should think about.

What You Need to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

So you have homeowners insurance, but do you know exactly what you will need in order to file a claim when the time comes?

How to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

The annual cost of homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars and depend on many different factors. How can you save money on this necessary expense?

Can You Refinance Your Mortgage With Bad Credit?

You'd like to take advantage of the low interest rates out there to refinance your mortgage, but your credit is less than stellar. Is it worth even trying to refinance?

Is Homeowners Insurance Required?

Homeowners insurance generally is required only if you have a mortgage on your home. But even when your home is paid off, you'd be wise to maintain coverage.

Pros and Cons of a Cash-out Mortgage Refinance

Need some extra cash to take care of some debts? You could tap into your home equity through a cash-out mortgage refinance. But what are the pros and cons?

What Are the Options for Life Insurance Payouts?

Many people think the only life insurance payout option is a lump sum after the insured person dies, but there are actually many choices out there. We look at some of them.

How to Figure Out How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

Many people may not have enough homeowners insurance coverage to replace their homes in the event of a disaster. Are you covered?

Can You Take Out Life Insurance on Just Anyone?

Do you have to have a relationship with the person, or can it be any old Joe?

When Is It OK to Leave Kids Unequal Inheritance?

Hurt feelings are likely to result but experts say there are times when you should leave more money to one child in your will. Just don't keep everyone in the dark about it.

A ​Will Is Part of Every Soldier's Battle Plan

In 2000, a document called a military testamentary instrument was recognized by Congress to provide some clear-cut basic requirements for a military will, exempt from individual states' varying laws.

U.S. Adults Are Overwhelmingly Unprepared for Serious Illness or Injury

A new meta-analysis of 150 studies finds that only one in three U.S. adults has a written living will or healthcare power of attorney documents.

Are millennials really the first generation to do worse than their parents?

The American Dream has usually meant that U.S. children will do better financially than their parents. But is this being upended by all the economic downturns of the 2000s? Can millennials overcome their poor economic start?

How Land Trusts Work

Land trusts have been used for both good and bad. They can be created for environmental conservation or to keep housing affordable. Or they can be a way to disguise the true owner of a property. Let's look at the pros and cons of land trusts.

If I change jobs a lot, should I consolidate my retirement accounts?

The average American changes jobs every four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're average, that means you'll have a lot of 401(k)s before you retire. Should you consolidate them into one retirement account?

Retirement Accounts: Transfer vs. Rollover

After you leave a job, what do you do with your 401(k) if you're laid off or going to a job with no similar plan? You can take a transfer or rollover of your cash. We explain the difference between the two.

Just how safe are long-term municipal bonds?

The unsexily named "long-term municipal bonds" are pretty important to our everyday lives. They pay for building schools or highways in our neighborhoods. And almost anyone can buy one.

Are government-backed agencies safe investments?

Government-backed agencies appeal to investors looking for something safe that still gives them a little interest. But are there any drawbacks?

Should I consolidate my credit cards?

Moving all your credit card debt to one card may see like a great deal, and sometimes it is. How do you decide whether consolidation is the best approach to tackling your unsecured debt?

Should I consolidate my student loans?

Most college graduates leave school with a significant debt load, and it often takes years to pay off that education. Is it better to lump loans together? What are the pros and cons?

10 Significant Risk Factors When Investing in a Company

Few people thought the Facebook stock price would slide after its IPO, which goes to show there are many risk factors, even in a so-called sure stock. What are some of the top factors?