PART 1:The simple art of budgeting January 2007 Learning to live within your means creates opportunities for financial growth. Organize your income and expenses with a budget. Keys to budgeting •Would a budget improve your life?•7 secrets to creating a budget•6 budget bombsSpotlight •Q&A: Anna Cabral signs our currency•On budgeting: Celebrities speak out•Celebrity spending powerPoll: Americans relationship with budgeting •National results: Who believes in budgets•Experts react to poll•Take our poll: How important is a budget?Money Makeover •Problem: Single mom worries about future•Plan: Change spending/saving patternsTools•Tools and resources PART 2:Mastering credit cards February 2007 Americans revolve nearly $900 billion in debt, mostly credit cards. Virtually everyone can learn to use credit cards better. Tips & tricks for mastering your cards •Take charge of your cards•Kick the debt habit•4 types of credit cards•The card best for your ageTake action •6 steps to credit card serenity•5 balance transfer trip-ups•Improve credit scores•Smart ways to use creditSpotlight •Robert Manning: Our love affair with plastic•Susan Keating: Get help with debt early•Celebrities and credit•Diana DeGarmo's ID theft issuePoll: Americans' credit card habits •National results: America's credit card habits•Take our poll: How are you handling credit?Money Makeover •The problem: Drowning in balances•The plan: Debt-free in 18 monthsTools & resources•Tools and resources PART 3:Understanding mortgages March 2007 Purchasing a home is the biggest investment most of us ever make. Choose your mortgage wisely. Financial value of buying a home •Why buy a home?•Match a mortgage to your lifestyle•Credit scores and mortgage rates•3 steps to the best loanTake action •5 types of mortgage loans•Finding a mortgage lender•5 mortgage mess-ups•Some surprises found in mortgage contracts•Refinancing an exotic mortgageSpotlight •'Millionaire' author: David Bach•Celebrities & real estate•Oprah's fitness guru: Bob GreenePoll: Homeowners and their mortgages •What Americans say about mortgages•Poll: Are you a homeowner or renter?Money Makeover •The problem: Option ARM•The plan: Refinance to fixed rateTools & resources•Tools and resources PART 4:Mapping a retirement plan April 2007 Retirement saving strategies for people of all ages, incomes and lifestyles: Decide your goal, put a plan into action and enjoy the journey. What's your retirement sweet spot? •Retirement: Why you need to save for it•10 ways to hit your goal•5 steps to figure your 'big number'Take action: Ways to hit your goal •5 ways to jump-start savings•20-somethings: Start now and be rich•Retirement savings tips for 30-somethings•Retirement savings tips for 40-somethings•Retirement savings tips for people 50 & over•Impact of divorce on retirement accounts•Juggling retirement when buried in debt•Feeding savings while on caregiver leave•10 golden rules for your 401(k)•Interactive: Retirement planning 101Spotlight •Christopher Cox: Seniors & scams•Ed Slott: IRA guru•Stephen Pollan: 'Die Broke' author•Jennifer Openshaw: 'Millionaire Zone' author•Famous folks & retirement plans•How does a star plan for retirement?Poll: American's retirement attitudes •Retirement attitude and planning•Poll: What's your retirement attitude?Tools & resources•Tools and resources PART 5:Dealing wisely with home equity May 2007 As your home grows in value and your loan principal slowly shrinks, your home builds equity. Treat it with respect. Financial value of home equity •Trends in home equity•Types of home equity loans•Other ways to tap equityTake action: When to hold, when to tap •Hurdles facing new borrowers•4 steps for getting a loan•Pluses & pitfalls of tapping equity•FAQ on home equity uses•Making home equity work for you•Understanding cash-out refinancing•5 bad equity-borrowing movesSpotlight •Barbara Corcoran's line of credit•Dave Ramsey on home equity loans•Richard F. DeMong on home equityPoll •Homeowners & their home equity•Poll: How do you value home equity?Money Makeover •The problem: Upside down in home•The plan: Strategically create equityTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 6:Credit scoring demystified June 2007 Knowing the importance of your credit report and credit score. Understanding the value of good credit •ABCs of credit reports•Credit scores made simple•What you don't know can hurt you•How much would you save with a better scoreTake action: Tips for improving your credit score •Maximizing free resources•Correcting credit reports•5 tips to improve your credit score•4 smart ways to tame debt•Credit scoring no-nosSpotlight •Craig Watts•Evan Hendricks•Bobby BraddockPoll •National poll•Online pollMoney Makeover •The problem: Bride-to-be needs help•The plan:Tools & resources •Tools and resources PART 7:Creating an emergency fund July 2007 It's not a luxury vessel; it's the ballast that keeps your financial ship from capsizing. Learn how to keep your finances afloat. Do you have an emergency fund? •Why you need an emergency fund•6 ways to sabotage savingsTake action: Creating an emergency fund •7 small steps to big savings•Lucky 13 savings strategies•Making money real to you•28 ways to build an emergency fund•Top 10 money drainsSpotlight •Sharon Epperson on couples and money•Q&A with "Oprah's" Jean Chatzky•Author Ian Rankin's special-needs son•Celebs share their money challengesPoll •National poll: Men save more than women•Online poll: How do your savings compare?Money Makeover •Problem: Single mom's savings are scattered•Plan: Prioritize and build emergency fundTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 8:Understanding insurance needs August 2007 Insurance needs change with age and lifestyle. We help you discern the essentials from the superfluous. Insurance overview •5 insurance must-haves•7 common insurance mistakesTake action: Insurance •5 easy steps to finding an agent•Denied insurance. What now?•Slash insurance costs•Test your insurance knowledgeSpotlight •Q&A: Insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger•Comic Kathy Buckley on insurance•Expert Stephen Pollan likes certain insurance•Celebrities not ambivalent about insurance•Nascar drivers' spending powerPoll •National poll: Americans love/hate insurance•Online poll: How do you feel about insurance?Money Makeover •Problem: Filling the health-insurance gap•Plan: Work part-time to get benefitsTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 9:College funding September 2007 Nearly two-thirds of American high school students enroll in college, but paying for it is an issue for all. This chapter will offer some smart ways to fund your education. Keys to financing college •How to pay for college: the savings route•How to pay for college: the loan routeTake action: Where to find the money •Make it a family affair•Go to school for free•13 financial aid traps•25 can't-miss funding tipsSpotlight •Tamara Draut: Trouble with debt-based aid•Joe Hurley: 529 plans make the most sense•On college financing: Celebrities speak outPoll: Where does college rank as a priority? •National results: We sacrifice for college•Take our online poll: What matters to you?Money Makeover •The problem: Retirement or college?•The plan: Prioritize your savingTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 10:Time for an investment tuneup October 2007 To a certain extent, you can set things up on auto-pilot. But occasionally you need to examine whether your investments and goals are on course. Overview •Use investments to reach your goals•Building blocks for successful investing•How to build a sound portfolioTake action: •10 top investment blunders•Investing shortcuts for the DIY investor•Finding a financial planner•Quiz: What is your risk tolerance?Spotlight •John Bogle shares his wisdom•Gail MarksJarvis: Investing is simple•Keith Cameron Smith on millionaires•Phil Town's rules on investing•Celebrities talk about money, investingPoll •National poll: Investing is confusing•Online poll: How do you stack up?Money Makeover •Problem: Couple faces multiple decisions•Plan: They need to reposition their portfolioTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 11:Planning for your loved ones November 2007 Don't give your family more grief than they can handle. Make it a priority to organize your financial affairs. Overview •What you need to know about wills•Components of an estate plan•Trusts can save time and money•8 types of trusts for everyday peopleTake action: •8 ways to leave a mess for your heirs•Accidental disinheritance a common problem•Tricks to keeping life insurance in forceSpotlight •Suze Orman likes revocable living trusts•Cass Warner shares her family's legacy•Ted Kurlowicz says you should see a pro•Celebrities discuss their future plansPoll •Poll: Americans don't act on convictions•Take our online poll: Is a will vital?Money Makeover •Problem: Woman faces life event•Plan: She gets help to gear up for the futureTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 12:Get a handle on taxes December 2007 Some people would rather face the jaws of a mad beast than tackle a tax return. No worries. Bankrate helps you conquer taxes. Overview •Understanding your tax bracket•Legal ways to reduce your tax bill•Avoid these 10 common tax-filing mistakesTake action: •Do taxes yourself or hire a pro?•Withhold the right amount from your paycheck•Making payment arrangements with the IRSSpotlight •Rep. Charles Rangel's new tax reform bill•Tax policy expert: Tax code is too cluttered•OMB Watch says get engaged in taxes•Kinky Friedman doesn't mess with taxes•Celebrities talk taxesPoll •Poll: Americans feel duty-bound to pay taxes•Take our online poll: Are taxes necessary?Money Makeover •The problem•The planTools & resources •Tools and resources PART 13:Out of the red and into the black February 2008 Debt can be a distant friend or enemy, but savings is always a dear friend. Overview •Tallying the true costs of debt•Impact of debt over a lifespan•Why we spend and what we can do about itTake action: •Money management 101•6 powerful debt-paydown strategies•Tackling debt as a family•7 deadly sins that lead to debt•Borrowing options that offer a lifeline•Bankrate readers: How to dump debtSpotlight •Radio host Clark Howard disses debt•Dave Ramsey's advice: Be abnormal•Greed causes debt, says Howard Dvorkin•Gerri Detweiler: Save, even while in debt•Celebrities talk debt, savingsPoll •National poll: What, us worry about debt?•National poll: Americans want to save more•Online poll: Gauge your debt comfort levelMoney Makeover •Profile: The Kellys racked up major debt•Problem: They live paycheck to paycheck•Plan: They should use a systematic approach•Lauren Heller improves her savings efforts•Wendy Reck makes big progress against debtTools & resources •Work sheets, video clips, glossary and more PART 14:Protecting your identity April 2008 Your identity is sacrosanct. Don't let a fraudulent twin take over your life. Overview •Costs of ID theft to consumers, society•Safeguard your Social Security number•8 tips to limit your exposure to ID theft•Risks of online public records•Identity theft risks in a lifetime•New red flag rules to stem ID theft•26 red flags revealed•Filing a police report: futile exercise?Take action: •10 tips to computer security•How to surf and shop safely•Already a victim? Follow these 12 steps•7 easy ways to lose your identity•Do-it-yourself vs. ID theft protection services•Readers tell ID theft tales•3 more ways thieves exploit identities•ATM and debit card fraud on the riseSpotlight •Linda Foley: former victim helps others•Chris Jay Hoofnagle wants banks to fess up•Bob Sullivan blames the credit card industry•Expert Steve Gibson won't open attachmentsPoll •National poll: Americans worry about ID theft•Online poll: Is ID theft on your radar screen?Money Makeover •Profile: "Mike" suffers a security breach•Problem: An ID thief uses Mike's information•Plan: Mike follows steps to restore his name•Update: The Flemings get a new mortgageTools & resources •Work sheets, glossary and much morePART 15:Securing a comfortable retirement today June 2008 Learn a life-stage-focused approach to investing in your future. Are you saving enough? Overview •Rethinking retirement in tough times•The 411 on 401(k) accounts•Investments that outsmart inflationTake action: •How to wreck your chances to retire•Smart ways to downsize your life•How millennials can juggle debt and investing•Congratulations! You're retired. Now what?•Protect your surviving spouseSpotlight •Barbara Corcoran on ideal retirement locales•Nancy Schlossberg: Assess your other portfolio•Dave Ramsey says debt is deadly in retirement•Bud Hebeler on retirement myths and realities•Celebrities talk about money, retirementPoll •Poll: Most Americans have low expectations•Online poll: Will retirement distress you?Tools & resources •Work sheets, glossary and much moreArt by Paul Zwolak / Marlena Agency advertisementRelated Links:Building blocks for successful investingMoney management 101How to bounce back from adversityRelated Articles:Lucky 13 savings tacticsTips for ID theft victims5 cool and lucrative jobs
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The national homeownership rate is at its lowest level in 48 years, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
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