Personal Finance

Personal finance encompasses the whole universe of managing individual and family finances, taking responsibility for your current and future financial situation, and setting financial goals. It also includes handling individual financial tasks and saving for emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What Is personal finance?

    Personal finance is about meeting your financial goals and understanding all the routes to do this, from saving and investing, and keeping debt under control, to buying a home to planning for retirement—and  coming up with a plan to accomplish these goals.It’s also the name of the industry that provides financial products to meet these goals.

  • Why is personal finance important?

    Not getting control of your personal finances can leave you unprotected when a crisis comes along–whether it’s an illness, an unexpected job loss, or the death of the family breadwinner. The pandemic that began in March 2020 showed all of these issues in sharp relief and showed the importance of planning for emergencies.

  • Should I be managing my finances differently since COVID-19?

    What the pandemic showed is that people are a lot more secure if they have an emergency fund, have learned to budget and have created a financial plan–one with a Plan B and Plan C. Those who haven’t done these things, should get busy doing them. It–and the war in Ukraine–are both wake-up calls that stock market crashes can happen abruptly in a crisis and that everyone needs a crisis investment plan.

  • How much liability insurance do I need for my car?

    For starters, you need to buy at least the minimum amount for your state. The two types of liability coverage for an auto accident are bodily injury liability (for injury to other people) and property damage liability (for property damage). Bodily injury liability specifies  both a per-person liability and a total liability per accident. For any damage outside of that you will need to pay personally, unless you have an umbrella insurance policy to make up the difference.

  • Do you need a smartphone to handle your money today?

    It's certainly looking that way. Even Warren Buffett had to switch to one in 2020. Banking is increasingly done online, budgeting apps are more convenient to use with a phone than a desktop or laptop, and it’s easier to check on your investments. And at work and elsewhere, two-factor authentication pretty much requires having a phone. So goes getting an Uber or Lyft.

  • How do I wire money to someone?

    If you need to move large amounts of money, a wire transfer–either bank to bank or via an agent such as Western Union–is the safest way to go. Expect to pay a fee and review the fine print before you agree to the transfer. It may take a few hours or days, depending on the details. Note that a wire transfer is different from an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer. Those are used to pay bills or move money between linked accounts.

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