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Personal Finance For Dummies, 7th Edition

Book Description

The proven guide to taking control of your finances

The bestselling Personal Finance For Dummies has helped countless readers budget their funds successfully, rein in debt, and build a strong foundation for the future. Now, renowned financial counselor Eric Tyson combines his time-tested financial advice along with updates to his strategies that reflect changing economic conditions, giving you a better-than-ever guide to taking an honest look at your current financial health and setting realistic goals for the future.

Inside, you'll find techniques for tracking expenditures, reducing spending, and getting out from under the burden of high-interest debt. Tyson explains the basics of investing in plain English, as well as the risks, returns, and options for popular investment strategies. He also covers ways to save for college and special events, tame your taxes, and financially survive the twists and turns that life delivers.

  • The bestselling, tried-and-true guide to taking control of finances, now updated to cover current economic conditions

  • Provides concrete, actionable advice for anyone facing great financial hardship

  • Helps you avoid or get out of debt and budget funds more successfully

  • Eric Tyson, MBA, is a nationally recognized personal finance counselor and the author of numerous For Dummies titles, including Home Buying For Dummies, Investing For Dummies, and Mutual Funds For Dummies, among others

There's no need to stress over an uncertain economy — just read Personal Finance For Dummies and protect your financial future!

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Title Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Part I: Assessing Your Financial Fitness and Setting Goals
    1. Chapter 1: Improving Your Financial Literacy
      1. Talking Money at Home
      2. Identifying Unreliable Sources of Information
      3. Jumping over Real and Imaginary Hurdles to Financial Success
    2. Chapter 2: Measuring Your Financial Health
      1. Avoiding Common Money Mistakes
      2. Determining Your Financial Net Worth
      3. Examining Your Credit Score and Reports
      4. Knowing the Difference between Bad Debt and Good Debt
      5. Analyzing Your Savings
      6. Evaluating Your Investment Knowledge
      7. Assessing Your Insurance Savvy
    3. Chapter 3: Managing Where Your Money Goes
      1. Examining Overspending
      2. Analyzing Your Spending
    4. Chapter 4: Establishing and Achieving Goals
      1. Creating Your Own Definition of “Wealth”
      2. Prioritizing Your Savings Goals
      3. Building Emergency Reserves
      4. Saving to Buy a Home or Business
      5. Funding Kids’ Educational Expenses
      6. Saving for Big Purchases
      7. Preparing for Retirement
  6. Part II: Spending Less, Saving More
    1. Chapter 5: Dealing with Debt
      1. Using Savings to Reduce Your Consumer Debt
      2. Decreasing Debt When You Lack Savings
      3. Turning to Credit Counseling Agencies
      4. Filing Bankruptcy
      5. Stopping the Spending/Consumer Debt Cycle
    2. Chapter 6: Reducing Your Spending
      1. Unlocking the Keys to Successful Spending
      2. Budgeting to Boost Your Savings
      3. Reducing Your Spending
    3. Chapter 7: Trimming Your Taxes
      1. Understanding the Taxes You Pay
      2. Trimming Employment Income Taxes
      3. Increasing Your Deductions
      4. Reducing Investment Income Taxes
      5. Enlisting Education Tax Breaks
      6. Getting Help from Tax Resources
      7. Dealing with an Audit
  7. Part III: Building Wealth through Investing
    1. Chapter 8: Considering Important Investment Concepts
      1. Establishing Your Goals
      2. Understanding the Primary Investments
      3. Shunning Gambling Instruments and Behaviors
      4. Understanding Investment Returns
      5. Sizing Investment Risks
      6. Diversifying Your Investments
      7. Acknowledging Differences among Investment Firms
      8. Seeing through Experts Who Predict the Future
      9. Leaving You with Some Final Advice
    2. Chapter 9: Understanding Your Investment Choices
      1. Slow and Steady Investments
      2. Building Wealth with Ownership Vehicles
      3. Off the Beaten Path: Investment Odds and Ends
    3. Chapter 10: Investing in Funds
      1. Understanding the Benefits of Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds
      2. Exploring Various Fund Types
      3. Selecting the Best Funds
      4. Deciphering Your Fund’s Performance
      5. Evaluating and Selling Your Funds
    4. Chapter 11: Investing in Retirement Accounts
      1. Looking at Types of Retirement Accounts
      2. Allocating Your Money in Retirement Plans
      3. Transferring Retirement Accounts
    5. Chapter 12: Investing in Taxable Accounts
      1. Getting Started
      2. Understanding Taxes on Your Investments
      3. Fortifying Your Emergency Reserves
      4. Investing for the Longer Term (A Few Years or More)
    6. Chapter 13: Investing for Educational Expenses
      1. Figuring Out How the Financial Aid System Works
      2. Strategizing to Pay for Educational Expenses
      3. Investing Educational Funds
    7. Chapter 14: Investing in Real Estate: Your Home and Beyond
      1. Deciding Whether to Buy or Rent
      2. Financing Your Home
      3. Finding the Right Property
      4. Working with Real-Estate Agents
      5. Putting Your Deal Together
      6. After You Buy
  8. Part IV: Insurance: Protecting What You Have
    1. Chapter 15: Insurance: Getting What You Need at the Best Price
      1. Discovering My Three Laws of Buying Insurance
      2. Dealing with Insurance Problems
    2. Chapter 16: Insurance on You: Life, Disability, and Health
      1. Providing for Your Loved Ones: Life Insurance
      2. Preparing for the Unpredictable: Disability Insurance
      3. Getting the Care You Need: Health Insurance
    3. Chapter 17: Covering Your Assets
      1. Insuring Where You Live
      2. Auto Insurance 101
      3. Protecting against Mega-Liability: Umbrella Insurance
      4. Planning Your Estate
  9. Part V: Where to Go for More Help
    1. Chapter 18: Working with Financial Planners
      1. Surveying Your Financial Management Options
      2. Deciding Whether to Hire a Financial Planner
      3. Finding a Good Financial Planner
      4. Interviewing Financial Advisors: Asking the Right Questions
      5. Learning from Others’ Mistakes
    2. Chapter 19: Using a Computer to Manage Your Money
      1. Surveying Software and Websites
      2. Accomplishing Money Tasks on Your Computer
    3. Chapter 20: On Air and in Print
      1. Observing the Mass Media
      2. Rating Radio and Television Financial Programs
      3. Finding the Best Websites
      4. Navigating Newspapers and Magazines
      5. Betting on Books
  10. Part VI: The Part of Tens
    1. Chapter 21: Survival Guide for Ten Life Changes
      1. Starting Out: Your First Job
      2. Changing Jobs or Careers
      3. Getting Married
      4. Buying a Home
      5. Having Children
      6. Starting a Small Business
      7. Caring for Aging Parents
      8. Divorcing
      9. Receiving a Windfall
      10. Retiring
    2. Chapter 22: Ten Tactics to Thwart Identity Theft and Fraud
      1. Save Phone Discussions for Friends Only
      2. Never Respond to E-Mails Soliciting Information
      3. Review Your Monthly Financial Statements
      4. Secure All Receipts
      5. Close Unnecessary Credit Accounts
      6. Regularly Review Your Credit Reports
      7. Freeze Your Credit Reports
      8. Keep Personal Info Off Your Checks
      9. Protect Your Computer and Files
      10. Protect Your Mail
    3. Glossary
  11. Cheat Sheet