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Balance offers Financial Topics to help in any financial situation. Access financial education anytime you need it! Increase your financial know-how with articles, videos, toolkits and more. Helpful resources for any financial goal you may have!


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Keeping Your Credit Score Aloft

You’ve done all the right things. You’ve made your payments on time for all your obligations. Your balances are low on revolving accounts. You’ve diversified your credit, limited your applications for new credit, and kept old unsecured debt accounts open. As a result, your credit score is in a solid place. The question now is how to keep it there. The good news is that because of the work you’ve already done; the main task is to stay the course. While sticking to the fundamentals is the most crucial part of keeping your credit score high, there are a few external and internal factors to watch out for.


5 Habits Every Budgeter Should Develop

Starting a budget can be a fun and exciting way to get your finances in order. Budgeting can be a tool to help you discover bad spending habits, as well as create smart new ones. If you’re ready to be a smart budgeter and follow a budget that helps you save for your dreams, these 5 important budgeting habits can help you get started.


Buying a Car That You’re Leasing: 5 Important Questions & Answers

If it fits your current situation, leasing a vehicle can make a lot of sense. For example, leasing can mean a much lower monthly cost than purchasing a car, and the manufacturer’s warranty may cover you for the entire duration of your lease. Plus, when you lease, you can spend all your time cruising around in a relatively new set of wheels. Buying your leased vehicle can be a solid financial move if you make sure to arm yourself with the correct information before taking the plunge. Here are some common questions to consider and some ideas for making the best choice for your needs and wants.


Money-Smart Travel: Save Now, Live it Up Later

When you think about it, planning is one of the best parts of taking an exciting vacation. Putting your dazzling itinerary together and daydreaming about all the amazing things you’ll see can really get the juices flowing. However, if you haven’t planned for the financial impact of your trip, money concerns in the months after your excursion can tarnish your happy memories. Preparing well in advance can help relieve the stress and strain of paying for your travel. That, in turn, frees you up to focus on all the fun parts of getting ready for your excursion. Here are a few pointers for assembling funds to ease your mind before, during, and after your incredible vacation adventure.


Costly Mistakes Shoppers Make & How to Avoid Them

Whether you are buying clothes, groceries, or products just for fun, shopping is something you do all the time. You may shop online or visit stores in person, but in the end, you will exchange money for the items you want and need. Making shopping mistakes is common, and the cost of those errors can be quite literal. Here are 6 costly errors shoppers make and how you can avoid them.


A Seller’s Market vs. a Buyer’s Market

Getting into real estate is like dipping your toe in the ocean; you want to know if the water is warm or cool before you jump in. The answer incluences what you do next. When you’re testing the temperature of the real estate market; it’s to see if it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market. If it’s a seller’s market, there is a wealth of hungry buyers but not enough houses to go around. If it’s a buyer’s market, there are plenty of homes for sale but not many buyers. Whether you’re buying or selling, the current marketing climate will affect every step of the process.


Back-to-School Shopping: Delayed Gratification & Other Tricks to Trim Your Spend

If you’ve procrastinated over doing your child’s back-to-school shopping because inflation has made the task seem about as fun as a trip to the dentist, you might be in luck. That’s because waiting until after the summer back-to-school sales may help you save. Learn why and get some additional tips for making your shopping experience as joyful as possible.


After Identity Theft Checklist

Identity theft is the crime of obtaining another person’s information with the intention of assuming that person’s identity to make purchases or borrow money. As a victim of identity theft, you may feel upset and overwhelmed knowing someone has access to your private information. However, remember that recovering from identity theft is possible. By breaking the process down into steps and using the right resources, you’ll protect yourself and move towards life after identity theft.


Deal With Your Debt

Ever want to hide from your creditors and hope your financial problems will just go away? If so, don’t do it! Unpaid, unsecured debts such as credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans will not only cause great credit report damage, but you could also face legal trouble. Never take the prospect of getting sued lightly–the consequences are too severe.


Four Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know About Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARM)

If you’re shopping for a home, you’ve probably heard of an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, or ARM. It’s a type of home loan with an interest rate that changes over time. The main perk is that it usually comes with an initial low rate, making it attractive for new buyers just starting out. Learn and understand more about how ARMs work to see if it may be right for you.


Are Store Credit Cards Worth It?

For good reason, high school students are set on an academically rigorous track towards college. Unfortunately, though, personal finance (a topic they need to understand to survive in life) is rarely taught to them in school. As a parent, the duty often falls on you. Not sure where to start? Here are some topics that will help start your discussions about financial fitness.

tiny house in a large yard

Do you Need to Downsize? A Quick Quiz

Perhaps you’ve heard the call of coyotes from that den you don’t go into anymore, or you’ve seen tumbleweeds congregating in that extra, extra bedroom. Or maybe you’ve just looked at your electric bill lately—and gasped. No matter your reasoning, if you are a homeowner who feels like you have more space than you really need, you’ve probably considered downsizing into a smaller dwelling at some point.

young woman checking her credit score

When to Use Credit (and When to Avoid It)

If used carefully, credit can be a helpful financial tool. For example, using credit to purchase a home now, rather than trying to save up the whole purchase price, makes financial sense. The home provides a place to live that will perhaps increase in value and the mortgage interest offers a tax deduction. Credit may also help you deal promptly with costly emergencies.


The Four Pillars of Financial Health

Are you financially healthy? Many financial experts agree that financial health includes four key components: Spend, Save, Borrow and Plan. It is crucial that you actively work on improving the health of each one. Unsatisfied with your financial health? Here are some valuable tips to strengthen each component.


Ten Money-Saving Tricks for Online Shopping

Chances are you may be doing a little more shopping online than you used to. As online retailers continue to grab market share, more and more consumers are turning to the internet for everything they need. But how do you keep your spending under control? It is easy to get carried away while online shopping, but there are ways to beat the online merchants at their own game, starting with these money-saving tricks.


Personal Finance Topics All High School Students Should Know

For good reason, high school students are set on an academically rigorous track towards college. Unfortunately, personal finance (a topic they need to understand to survive in life) is rarely taught to them in school. As a parent, the duty often falls on you. Not sure where to start? Here are some topics that will help start your discussions about financial fitness.


The Perks and Drawbacks of Timeshares

A vibrant blue ocean, the aroma of sand and surf, and long green leaves blowing in the wind may have you dreaming of owning a property in paradise. But for many, a vacation home isn’t in the budget. One alternative many people consider is a timeshare. As with any major purchase, you should carefully research whether a timeshare is right for your family.


Balancing the Family Sports Budget

According to the National Council on Youth Sports, parents spend an average of $671 per year on youth sports. Often, parents find themselves dipping into savings or reaching for the credit card to pay for kids’ sporting experiences. Before you fork over big bucks for the costs associated with your kids’ sports, consider these tips to help you lower your costs while still having fun!

small businesses hit by flooding

How to plan for financial emergencies

Wouldn’t it be nice to adapt to change easily and gracefully? To offset the wallet-shock an unexpected life change can bring? You can. Whether you have one year or one week to adjust to such monetary upheavals as marriage, divorce, a growing family, or military deployment, you can sail through financial foul weather – as long as you PLAN for it.