Bankrate’s Financial Literacy Index Page

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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 bombs
Q&A: Anna Cabral signs our currency
On budgeting: Celebrities speak out
Celebrity spending power
Poll: 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 patterns
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 age
Take action
6 steps to credit card serenity
5 balance transfer trip-ups
Improve credit scores
Smart ways to use credit
Robert Manning: Our love affair with plastic
Susan Keating: Get help with debt early
Celebrities and credit
Diana DeGarmo’s ID theft issue
Poll: 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 months
Tools & 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 loan
Take action
5 types of mortgage loans
Finding a mortgage lender
5 mortgage mess-ups
Some surprises found in mortgage contracts
Refinancing an exotic mortgage
‘Millionaire’ author: David Bach
Celebrities & real estate
Oprah’s fitness guru: Bob Greene
Poll: 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 rate
Tools & 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 101
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
What is home equity?
Types of home equity loans
Take action: When to hold, when to tap
Home equity borrowing requirements
FAQ on home equity uses
Understanding cash-out refinancing
Barbara Corcoran’s line of credit
Richard F. DeMong on home equity
Homeowners & their home equity
Poll: How do you value home equity?
Money Makeover
The problem: Upside down in home
The plan: Strategically create equity
Tools & 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 score
Take 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-nos
Craig Watts
Evan Hendricks
Bobby Braddock
National poll
Online poll
Money 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 savings
Take 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 drains
Sharon Epperson on couples and money
Q&A with “Oprah’s” Jean Chatzky
Author Ian Rankin’s special-needs son
Celebs share their money challenges
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 fund
Tools & 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 mistakes
Take action: Insurance
5 easy steps to finding an agent
Denied insurance. What now?
Slash insurance costs
Test your insurance knowledge
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 power
National poll: Americans love/hate insurance
Online poll: How do you feel about insurance?
Tools & 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 route
Take 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 tips
Tamara Draut: Trouble with debt-based aid
Joe Hurley: 529 plans make the most sense
On college financing: Celebrities speak out
Poll: 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 saving
Tools & 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.
Use investments to reach your goals
Building blocks for successful investing
How to build a sound portfolio
Take action:
10 top investment blunders
Investing shortcuts for the DIY investor
Finding a financial planner
Quiz: What is your risk tolerance?
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, investing
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 portfolio
Tools & 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.
What you need to know about wills
Components of an estate plan
Trusts can save time and money
8 types of trusts for everyday people
Take action:
8 ways to leave a mess for your heirs
Accidental disinheritance a common problem
Tricks to keeping life insurance in force
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 plans
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 future
Tools & 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.
Understanding your tax bracket
Legal ways to reduce your tax bill
Avoid these 10 common tax-filing mistakes
Take action:
Do taxes yourself or hire a pro?
Withhold the right amount from your paycheck
Making payment arrangements with the IRS
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 taxes
Poll: Americans feel duty-bound to pay taxes
Take our online poll: Are taxes necessary?
Money Makeover
The problem
The plan
Tools & 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.
Tallying the true costs of debt
Impact of debt over a lifespan
Why we spend and what we can do about it
Take 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 debt
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, savings
National poll: What, us worry about debt?
National poll: Americans want to save more
Online poll: Gauge your debt comfort level
Money 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 debt
Tools & 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.
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 rise
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 attachments
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 mortgage
Tools & resources
Work sheets, glossary and much more
PART 15: Securing a comfortable retirement today June 2008
Learn a life-stage-focused approach to investing in your future. Are you saving enough?
Rethinking retirement in tough times
The 411 on 401(k) accounts
Investments that outsmart inflation
Take 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 spouse
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, retirement
Poll: Most Americans have low expectations
Online poll: Will retirement distress you?
Tools & resources
Work sheets, glossary and much more
Art by Paul Zwolak / Marlena Agency