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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's the difference between strategic and financial planning?

In order to succeed in its industry or field, a corporation, institution or organization has to know where it is going and how it's going to get there. That's where strategic and financial planning come into play.

How are mortgage rates determined?

Mortgage rates are complex. When you investigate them, you'll find an intricate and interconnected web of factors that go into what determines mortgage rates.

How Financial Planning Software Works

A good budget can help you save for a new car, a college education or a comfortable 30 years' worth of retirement money. How can financial planning software make it easier to keep your budget in line?

How Financial Planning Calculators Work

It sounds like a dream: You input some data and a computer program spits out what you should do in order to reach a financial goal, whether it's retirement, college or a new vacation home. So what's the catch?

How Investment Diversification Works

Investing may seem complicated, but there are ways to build your portfolio while minimizing risk. What's the best plan for diversifying your investments?

How to Start Investing

You can start investing even with a modest income. There's no need to keep procrastinating until the time is right. As little as $25 a month could get you closer to the life you dream of.

How Asset Allocation Funds Work

You know that to make your money grow you're supposed to invest it wisely, but what you may not know is how to actually do it. How do you protect yourself against huge losses? An asset allocation fund might be the answer.

How Certified Financial Planners Work

If you have debt, if you're saving for retirement, or if you just have general questions about your finances, you might consider a certified financial planner. They're not used only for the rich and famous to keep track of their huge incomes.

How Stock Futures Work

When you buy a stock future, you're not actually buying shares of stock. Instead, you're making a contract to buy or sell shares on a certain date in the future.

How Municipal Bonds Work

If your fantasy is to be a hotshot investor, municipal bonds may give you the chance. These tax-free securities help towns and cities build sports complexes, hospitals, bridges and more.

How Alternative Energy Mutual Funds Work

Oil prices are rising; reserves of oil, coal and natural gas are being depleted; and the continued use of nonrenewable fuels poses threats to the environment. The answer may be alternative energy, but who's going to pay for it?

How Tax Free Mutual Funds Work

Tax-free mutual funds are a good investment option for conservative investors, since they have very little risk. Investors save money on taxes and can also easily convert shares into cash.

How Limited Term Trusts Work

Trust funds aren't just for rich kids, although this concept dates back thousands of years. Limited-term trusts can protect your assets from lawsuits and other threats. It's all up to you.

How International Stock Funds Work

How can you find investment opportunities halfway around the world? Well, you could pack your bags and live as a nomad, sniffing out potential growth in the developing markets of the world. Or you could invest in an international stock fund.

How Estate Sales Work

When you clean out your closet, you may donate items to charity or raise some extra cash with a garage sale. But what do you do when you have to clean out an entire house? An estate sale may be the answer you're looking for.

How Stock Market Trends Work

What goes up most come down. But how much do war, crime and inflation factor into stock market performance -- and is it all psychological? So how can you ride the bull and tame the bear?

How Investment Scams Work

Investment scams are popular fraud among con artists and can take the form of everything from a too-good-to-be true stock investment to the notorious Nigerian bank account e-mail scheme. So what it is about these cons that have us going against our better judgment? And what does it say about our own capacity for greed?

What are liquid assets?

To some people, it may mean clean drinking water or gasoline. Although these are really important commodities, they may or may not qualify as liquid assets. What is as fluid as cash?

How to Determine Your Net Worth

You're worth your weight in gold, even though you may not have the cash to show for it yet. But what you can get right now is your net worth.

How Arbitrage Works

Bartering and swapping are becoming increasingly popular through the likes of Craigslist, Freecycle and other social networking sites. People are going old-school to cop everything from vegetables to home improvements, without tapping into cash.

How Google Finance Works

With just a few clicks, keep tabs on your investments, get the latest market news and peek at the pay stubs of high-paid CEOs. Google Finance offers these features when you set up your personal portfolio.

How Precious Metals Mutual Funds Work

There's more to gold and platinum than just bling-bling. These and other precious metals can be alternative investments that put ching-ching in your pockets in the long run through a precious metals mutual fund.

How Privacy Trusts Work

With so much information available online through public records, almost anyone can find out your personal information like your home's floor plan and where your children go to school. Privacy trusts can shield your information.

How Prenuptial Agreements Work

Most engaged couples believe that their marriage will last "until death do us part." But with two out of every five marriages resulting in divorce, some couples decide that the best way to be prepared for any eventuality is to draw up a prenuptial agreement.

How Treasury Bills Work

Treasury bills are a low-risk investment -- and you don't need a lot of money to get started. How does the U.S. government use these bills to manage its debt?

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