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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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.

HowStuffWorks: Avoid the Holiday Spending Hangover With These 10 Tips

Ah the winter holidays! The lights, the eggnog, the goodwill and cheer. Oh, and the debt. We here at HowStuffWorks partnered with the United Way and the Sun Trust Foundation to provide a few tips to help you avoid a holiday spending hangover.

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?

What should you include in a living will?

An emergency situation may call for legal documents that state personal preferences regarding medical treatment and other decisions. Learn what you should include in a living will in this article.

How Stocks and the Stock Market Work

While it can be both volatile and unpredictable, the stock market can be a lucrative source of income for savvy investors. What exactly is the stock market, and where do you get the stocks you need to enter it?

How to Get a Copy Of Your Social Security Card

You lost your wallet and would like to find out how to get a copy of your Social Security card. Read this article to learn how to get a copy of your Social Security card.

How to Set Up a Roth IRA Account

You'd like to set up an IRA and are wondering how to set up a Roth IRA account. Learn about how to set up a Roth IRA account in this article.

How to Apply for Social Security

You are approaching retirement age and you would like to learn how to apply for your Social Security benefits. Read this article and learn about how to apply for Social Security.

How to Minimize Estate Tax

It's well worthwhile knowing how to minimize your estate tax. Learn how to minimize estate tax in this article.

How Exchange-Traded Funds Work

Mutual funds are a wonderful investment, but they can be frustrating at times. Luckily, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can be traded on the open market like stocks -- but are they as shaky as stocks?

10 Aggressive Investments

If you're young enough to ride the ups and downs of market, some financial advisers recommend you put some of your money in more aggressive investments. But what makes one investment more "aggressive" than another?

Can investments be risk-free?

You want to make money with your investment portfolio, not lose it in the next market crash, right? So are there really any investments that are considered risk-free?

Why would you disclaim a bequest?

Most of us would love a windfall, especially if it means something good can come out of a sad situation. But in fact, there are plenty of reasons to disclaim a bequest. So why would you pass up an inheritance?

What is a trustafarian?

There have always been wealthy kids living off money they've inherited, but a trustafarian is a rich kid like none other. So who are these trustafarians and where did the term come from?

10 Reasons to Disclaim an Inheritance

It may sound crazy, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to give your inheritance a second thought before cashing that check. Why would you disclaim an inheritance?