Finance Globe Blog

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

The History of Credit and Credit Cards

The ancient credit and debt system Merchants have been extending credit to buyers since ancient times. Credit was commonly used in Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt thousands of years ago. Since the days when people traded in grains and cattle, merchants have been able to increase sales by allowing consumers to buy now and pay later. Even before the written word, about 9000 years ago, people kept track of debts with tokens. Written language was encouraged...
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Joint Credit Card Accounts

Many happy couples want to share everything…share a meal, share a home, share a credit card. Wait! Share a credit card? Consider the risks and rewards of opening a joint account with someone, before you sign your name on the dotted line. A joint account can be convenient if both people agree on how to handle credit and finances. Unfortunately, the decision to open a joint account may lead to trouble for some, when differences in...
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Understanding Bonds

What is a bond? We’re all familiar with debt; many of us have taken out a loan to buy something that we want to pay for later. We borrow the money, and promise to pay back the amount of the loan, plus interest. We agree to a specific interest rate and agree to pay on a set schedule. Corporations and government entities also need to borrow money for improvements or day-to-day operations. When a company...
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Understanding Stocks

Stockholders Share in the Profits and the Losses Stocks are the smallest unit of ownership in a company. The more shares of stock you have, the more ownership you have in the company. Companies issue stock as a way to raise money for improvements or expansion. If they took out a loan, it would have to be paid back. To raise capital without incurring debt, they offer shares of their company’s stock to the public....
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Mutual Funds Fees Explained

Before making any investment, consider the fees and expenses that will take a cut out of your profits. Some mutual fund fees are completely avoidable, and some fees are necessary. Some types of mutual funds will require higher fees and maintenance costs than others; it’s important to compare similar funds with the same objectives from different fund families. A fee table can be found in the prospectus of any fund you’re considering, request this important reading...
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Mutual Fund Basics

Mutual funds are the investment of choice for many people; they allow an investor to minimize financial risk by spreading money among many different stocks and bonds, without the research and market knowledge required for such a diversified portfolio. By diversifying their investments, they are able to invest in the stock market without taking the risks involved in having money in only one or a few companies’ stocks. Mutual funds may invest in stock of hundreds...
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The Beginner's Guide to Investing

How do you think the majority of wealthy Americans became financially secure? Did their parents leave them an inheritance? Did they win the lottery? Did they invent something the whole world needed? No, they developed a sound financial plan and invested their hard-earned money wisely. Saving is for short-term needs Simply putting your money into a bank savings account or CDs will allow you to save money for an emergency fund, a big family vacation, a...
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The Real Cost of Homeownership

So, you’ve done all your research before buying a home. You’ve checked with mortgage lenders, you’ve improved your credit score, and you’ve paid off other debts. You’ve saved the required down payment and you know how much your house payment will be. You’re on the right track, but don’t forget to consider the additional costs of owning your home. Being aware of, and preparing for all those extras will make owning your home a rewarding experience....
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Financial Preparation for Homebuying

If you’re thinking about buying a home, be sure to prepare for it long in advance; some may want to start working on their financial situation up to a year before home purchase. Improve your credit score. Your credit score will be a large factor in whether or not you can get a traditional loan, what rate of interest you’ll pay, and the minimum down payment required on your mortgage. A big improvement can be made...
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Buying Your Home

Buying a home is exciting! Many people view homeownership as having security, a stepping-stone to financial freedom. Some of the benefits to consider: Owning a home takes a lot of work, money, and commitment, but the rewards are very enriching. It’s easy to get caught up in the open houses and real estate ads without fully thinking it all through, so be sure that purchasing a home is what’s best for you in your current situation....
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