Money - Consumer Information

Money - Consumer Information

Consumer Information Center
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Featured Consumer Guides and Resources: Money

Cars | Computers | Education | Employment | Family | Federal Programs | Food | Health | Housing | Money | Small Business | Travel | And More...

Consumer Guide to Check 21 and Substitute Checks. A new law, Check 21, allows banks to send you "substitite checks" in place of your original cancelled checks. Find out your rights. 2 pp.

Electronic Banking. Learn more about electronic transactions, such as debit cards and online account access, including how transactions are processed, their timing, security, and legal protections. 15 pp.

Establishing a Trust Fund. Learn what different kinds of trusts can and can't do, their benefits, the role of a trustee, and more. 10 pp.

Living Trust Offers. Find out if living trusts are right for you and how to protect yourself from scams when planning your estate. 2 pp.

Personal Financial Choices. Explains the basics of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how to set up a sound financial plan, how to rebuild your credit, and much more. 98 pp.

Planning Your Estate. How to estimate the size of your estate, minimize taxes, and provide for your heirs. 10 pp.

Privacy Choices for Your Personal Financial Information. Explains your right to opt out of sharing some of your personal information and lists the types of information that financial companies can share about you. 8 pp.

Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced Check Fees (graphic only). Find out how much overdraft and bounced check fees can cost you and learn how to avoid these fees. 2 pp.

There's a Lot to Learn about Money. Simple tips to help you set goals, develop a budget, and manage your credit. 6 pp.

What You Should Know About Buying Life Insurance (graphic only). Describes various types with tips on choosing a company, an agent, and a policy that meets your needs. 23 pp.

When Is Your Check Not a Check?. Merchants can now use the information from your checks to withdraw money directly from your bank account. Learn about your rights when it comes to electronic check conversion and what to do if you have a problem. 2 pp.

Building a Better Credit Record. Learn how to legally improve your credit report, how to deal with debt, how to spot credit-related scams, and more. 16 pp.

Choosing a Credit Card. Compare the features and costs, and learn your liability limits when using a credit card. Covers what to do if there is a billing error or other problem with your credit card. 20 pp.

Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws. This guide explains how consumer credit laws can help you shop for credit, apply for it, keep up your credit standing, and more. 44 pp.

Credit Matters. How to qualify for credit, keep a good credit history, protect your credit once you have it, and more. 2 pp.

ID Theft: What's It All About?. Thieves can steal your personal information and use it to commit fraud for long periods without your knowledge. Hereís how to protect yourself, and what to do if you are a victim. 18 pp.

Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number. Someone illegally using your Social Security number can steal your financial identity and your money. Find out how to prevent identify theft, how to report it if you suspect it, and how to get a new Social Security number if you are a victim. 8 pp. (2004. SSA) 675M. Free.
Investing & Saving

66 Ways to Save Money. Practical ways to cut everyday costs on transportation, insurance, banking, credit, housing, utilities, food, and more. 10 pp.

Before Disaster Strikes. Suggests ways to be financially prepared to deal with a natural disaster. Information on buying insurance, preparing a household inventory, filling an evacuation box, and more. 8 pp.

Building Financial Freedom. Features a worksheet to help track your spending, tips on creating a financial plan, and an investor's checklist. 12 pp.

Certificates of Deposit: Tips for Investors. Learn how CDs work, how to purchase them, and questions to ask before buying. 6 pp.

Consumer's Almanac. Organize your expenses, save for the future, and manage your credit with monthly calendars and worksheets. 32 pp.

Get the Facts on Saving and Investing. Use this guide's helpful tips and worksheets for calculating net worth, income, and expenses. 18 pp.

Hands on Banking. Interactive CD-ROM helps you build the money skills you need for life. Four separate programs from 4th grade through adult, in English and Spanish, cover budgeting, saving, investing, buying a home, and more.

How SIPC Protects You. If your brokerage firm closes due to bankruptcy or other financial difficulties, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) works to return your assets. Find out what SIPC does and does not cover. 10 pp.

Insuring Your Deposits. Find out if your bank or savings institution is insured, what types of accounts are covered, and how much of your money is protected. 2 pp.

Introduction to Mutual Funds. What they are, how to compare them, what to consider before investing, and how to avoid common pitfalls. 36 pp.

Investors' Bill of Rights. What you should know about investments and what information you are entitled to before investing. 7 pp.

Questions You Should Ask About Your Investments. The secret to investing wisely is knowing what to ask about investment products, your brokerís history, your investmentís performance, and how to handle problems. 8 pp.

Ten Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner. Covers credentials, costs, services, an interview checklist, and resources to contact for more information. 12 pp.

What You Should Know About Financial Planning (graphic only). Discusses the benefits of financial planning for life-changing events, such as buying a home or retirement. 13 pp.

Your Rights as a Financial Planning Client (graphic only). Hereís a checklist of your rights, what to expect from your financial planner, and what to do if you have a problem. 5 pp.
Retirement Planning

401(k) Plans. Explains what these plans are, what happens when you change employers, and what to do if you need the money before retirement. 14 pp.

Annuities. Learn the different types of annuities and take a helpful quiz to see if annuities are right for you. 11 pp.

Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future. Create your personal savings plan and prepare for retirement with this step-by-step guide. 20 pp.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement. Gives practical tips to build your retirement savings and lists resources for more information. 2 pp.

Variable Annuities: What You Should Know. Explains what they are, how they work, what you have to pay, and questions to ask before you invest. 20 pp.

Women and Retirement Savings. What women need to know about retirement benefits, including plan type, eligibility, penalties, spousal benefits, and more. 6 pp.

Your Guaranteed Pension. Frequently-asked questions about the security of private pension plans, including benefits and plan termination. 12 pp.

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This information is provided by the Consumer Information Center of the U.S. General Services Administration.