What is Financial Literacy?

Being responsible members of society and wanting to make the most of what we have, we need to be educated consumers.  Preparing you to be a Financial Wizard is beyond the scope of this web site, but it is our hope that you will be encouraged to continue your journey to financial competency.

This site will discuss some basic skills and knowledge you need to be financially literate. Financial Literacy Presentation (PDF)

Disclaimer: Nothing in this site should be considered authoritative financial advice. Your circumstances are unique and you may want to consult a financial advisor.

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy is important, no matter what age group you belong to, whether you are just starting 5th grade, funding your college education, planning for a family or retiring. Financial Literacy will help you achieve your goals whether they are to own your own business, raise a family, or to retire to a desert island.

About one in every 53 households file for bankruptcy, according to Lundquist Consulting, an industry group that tracks bankruptcy statistics. [http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/11/pf/personal_bankruptcy/]

Financial literacy may not prevent bankruptcy, but it will give you better tools to make wiser financial decisions.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants developed a site www.360financialliteracy.org, with articles and tools appropriate for different stages in life, from childhood through retirement and estate planning.

Financing Your College Education

Not everyone has the desire or opportunity to pursue a college education, but a college education will provide you with better opportunities in the future.

Lack of money should not prevent you from pursuing a higher education. Have you considered:

  • Scholarships and Grants
  • Student and Parent Loans
  • Employment

"The Federal Government provides aid to more than 10 million students each year with grants, low interest loans and work-study programs... The Department's Federal student aid programs are the largest source of student aid in America. ... These programs provide more than $80 billion a year in grants, loans, and work-study assistance." [http://studentaid.ed.gov/]

Understanding College Costs (external site)

Scholarships may be also available from the Federal and State government, your college, and even local companies or your parent's workplace.

A College Planning Checklist can be found at https://studentloan.citibank.com/s/slcsite/fr_calen.asp.

Wise Investment

If you need to borrow for higher education, smart borrowing for education is a wise choice.

Consider student loans needed to complete your post-secondary education as an investment in your future. A college degree in any subject will usually pay for itself, many times over during your career life. Some types of degrees more than others. The value of borrowing for any purpose should be carefully evaluated. Educational loans, especially those which are federally subsidized, have low or subsidized interest and the repayment duration of 10 years usually allows ample time to settle into a good career.

In economic terms, the advantage of borrowing as an investment in future wealth is of most benefit to those who have a long earning horizon, namely the young college graduate. Once firmly settled into a good career, with educational loans repaid, your strategy will change. At this point in life the advantage of investing changes from wise borrowing to wise lending. What is wise lending? Saving and investing to put your money to work to increase wealth is wise lending.

Whenever your earnings make it possible; plan to use some part it for savings and for investments. You may, for example, combine savings and investment in a longer term money market account. This is like a savings account, but you are restricted from taking the money out for certain period of time with the advantage that the savings will earn a higher interest and rate of return. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying "compound interest is the strongest force in the universe." There are many types of investments and this paper is not aimed at describing any investment strategy, except to stress that the return on money wisely invested over a long period of time will compound and grow into wealth that can be used later in your life when your earning horizon before retirement is short.

Applying for Financial Aid

The first step to apply for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as the FAFSA.

Budgeting

Budgeting is basically a way of seeing if what you have to spend is (hopefully) greater than or equal to what you spend. Once you create your budget, using one of the sample budgeting forms or worksheets below for example, you will be able to see more clearly how your financial resources or wealth and expenses, compare. But there is another element to be considered before you start this process. Time, or more precisely for what period of time are you measuring wealth versus expenses.

Once the element of time is added to the equation, wealth, while still a part of the planning part of budgeting, must be replaced by income for the period being measured. If your wealth is based on for example, savings, investments, inheritance or borrowings, you must consider how much you are willing to use for each period of time you are budgeting. Wealth then becomes income, once time is added to the budget. If your income is primarily based on earnings from work then someone else (your employer) determines how much you have to spend for a period of time.

The most useful periods of time to budget are; the length of time between paychecks if you work, an academic term or year if you are in school or a fixed period of time such as one month or one calendar year. If you are running a business, the important periods of time may be a quarter (three months) or a fiscal year. Like the calendar year, fiscal years are normally twelve months but normally not beginning in January. The most often fiscal year used is measured from July 1 through June 30 (July through June). Quarters are usually like seasons; July-September, October-December, January-March and April-June. Income and expenses for a quarter are important for tax reporting purposes for businesses

More Budgeting

The worksheets below are a good place to start. They are based on a period of one month, but can be easily adapted for any of the other periods of time. However, the items of wealth and expenses to consider will change and the budgeting process will become more complicated, the longer the period of time being measured. In fact, once you have for example, constructed your monthly budget you might want to think about how you would budget for a longer period such as a part of your life; duration of time in school, time of your career up to retirement and/or after retirement, or you entire lifetime or if you want to leave an inheritance to your children or a foundation, even longer.

* This and other templates are available on the Microsoft Office Online web site.

While budgeting for these long periods of time the same basic principles apply but an additional element of uncertainty or the unknown requires that predictions or forecasting about your future be made. These types of budgets must be modified as more certainty about your predictions of spending or earnings, for example are discovered.

So let's get started on your first budget. We'll discuss budgeting for a month for our example. What is the amount you have to spend for a typical month? We can call this your income for simplicity. Does your income come from more than one source? What are your typical expenses? Can we itemize each expense and use something like averages per month for each item for our monthly budget? What about unknown expenses? Can we budget for these? We start by listing all these items and assigning a monthly dollar amount (average, estimated or known) to each.

To start with, let's take a look at the Monthly Spending Worksheet and the Monthly Budget Worksheet. The spending worksheet will give you some ideas on the items which make up the expense section of your budget. The budget worksheet then combines these expenses with your income to determine the answer to the first question asked above � "a way of seeing if what you have to spend is (hopefully) greater than or equal to what you spend".

Income

If your income is primarily from earnings, your pay check stub may have these items already itemized for you. Gross earnings are what you earn per hour times the number of hours worked or it may be a flat amount of money for the period of time you are paid for, regardless of the number of hours worked. That same pay check stub will usually list deduction amounts which are subtracted from your gross income. The typical ones are federal, state and local income tax, FICA (federal retirement - Social Security and Medicare contributions), group medical, dental, prescription individual contributions and personal retirement investment deduction. Your spendable income is your gross income minus these deductions and contributions. We will refer to spendable income as simply income for the rest of this document.

You may have additional income items other than earnings. You may have no earnings but are instead living off financial aid combined with investment earnings, a monthly savings account withdrawal, inheritance, allowance, etc. Whatever money is available for spending, add it all up or divide it into monthly amounts to determine your total monthly income.

Expenses

Expenses may be more challenging to manage. Examples can be found on the Monthly Spending Worksheet. They can be classified as:

  • Fixed Expenses - such as rent and mortgage
  • Variable Expenses - such as food and groceries, and utilities and repair bills
  • Periodic Expenses - such as yearly or bi-annual car insurance
  • Emergency or unplanned for expenses

You need to identify your expenses. Where does the money really go? Saving receipts for a month or longer will help you keep track of your expenses. If you categorize your expenses, you may notice that some of these "expenses" are not critical. They are more of a "want" than a "need". Your emergency or unplanned expenses may be an item on your budget such as a monthly savings account amount which you can accumulate to be used in case or when the unplanned expense occurs. Don't forget items that require payments annually or semi-annually such as car insurance or registration, for example. Count the equivalent monthly portion of these in your budget.

It is extremely important for you to track all items of both income and expenses, whether you are collecting everything in a shoe box, or by using computer software. To begin the process use the examples given in the worksheets, add or remove items as they apply to your situation. Think about what you spent money on last year to remember expenses which may not show up in one month's saved receipts. Remember any other money you can count as income such as tax refunds and divide it into monthly portions. At the end of this process, you will know how much you money you have for discretionary spending each month. If you spend too much one month, you know that you will need to make it up in another. You will now have the security in knowing where your money goes and how much you can spend on extras without breaking your bank.

Your College Budget

  1. Calculate Income

    Calculate your projected income by estimating the amount of money you will have to cover your expenses for the semester. This includes savings, job earnings, financial aid, and any funds from parents.

    TIP - Protect your future: Don't borrow more than you need. There is no need to be paying interest on those loans you borrowed years after graduation for material things you could do without now. What is the interest on your loans?

    TIP - If you're not working, consider working 15 hours a week which could earn you $100/week or more. In addition to providing that income, your job could help you budget your time and build your skills and resume for your future career. Are you eligible for Federal Work-Study?

  2. List Your Fixed Expenses

    These expenses do not vary, such as tuition and fees. Chesapeake develops standard budgets for categories of students (dependent at home with parents, independent not at home with parents, for example)

  3. List Variable Expenses

    Variable expenses are subject to a certain amount of control from you. These include housing and meals, books and supplies, transportation, personal expenses, insurance, and clothing.

  4. Total Expenses

    Add your fixed expenses to your variable expenses to obtain your total expenses.

    TIP - Be careful with credit cards! If you don't have the cash for the purchase, you probably can't afford it (and do you really need it?).

    TIP - Don't use an ATM card for an individual purchase if a fee is involved. Do you really want to pay $2.25 for a $1.50 taco? These little fees add up fast.

  5. Balancing Your Budget

    Subtract your total expenses (Step 4) from your projected income (Step 1). If your estimated expenses are higher than your projected income, you should find ways to reduce your spending.

    TIP - Direct deposit! Direct deposit! A check in hand is easily spent. Take your earnings and any financial aid credits and deposit then into your savings account, and take it out only when you need it.

  6. Identify Spending

    Using your budget, identify your spending patterns. Where does your money really go? Write down within a week every item you buy. Identify your NEEDS vs. WANTS and limit the wants. For each expenditure; ask yourself if you really need this. Think twice about that new iPod that just came out; or a spring break trip that everyone else is taking, cigarettes, the latest cell phone. Financial aid is intended to cover a modest student lifestyle, including your basics: tuition and fees, room and board, books, and a small amount for personal expenses such as clothing, laundry, haircuts, long distance charges, an occasional movie or dinner out.

    TIP - Give yourself an allowance. Know what you can afford to spend for goodies each month and stick to it. Divide that into weekly envelopes to help you stay within your budget.

    Know your debt. Where does your debt come from? Student Loans, Credit Cards, Car payments? Go to NSLDS for a history of your loans. Contact your loan servicer if you do not know the terms and details of the loan's repayment.

  7. Financial Planning. What's in your future?

    Write down your short-term and long-term goals. Start by planning for one goal.

    TIP - Saving money in and out of college. Establish your spending habits, control your impulses and bank the rest.

    TIP - Tracking paperwork. Knowing where to find your financial records regularly will help you spot mistakes and be able to successfully communicate with lenders and banks.

Tips on Saving Money

The key to saving money is spending less than you earn. This may seem like a basic concept, but many fall short of actually doing so. Below are some ideas on how to save more of your hard earned money.

  • Save gas by taking public transportation, bike or carpool to work
  • Have a garage sale
  • Quit smoking
  • Adjust your thermostat
  • Downgrade your television, cell phone, or other services
  • Take advantage of your employer's flexible spending account
  • Use coupons or other promotional codes
  • Buy in bulk
  • Limit eating out
  • Rent a movie instead of going to the theater. Catch a matinee.
  • Share with friends. You can trade books, magazines, or movies
  • Check out free things to do in your city for entertainment
  • Take your lunch to work, drop your $4 latte habit
  • Make a list BEFORE going to the store
  • Pay bills on time in order to avoid late fees
  • Get a library card
  • Buy used (car, bike, lawn mower, etc). Check out ebay, craigslist, or similar sites
  • Get a roommate or rent out a room
  • Forgo your gym membership and run outside or exercise at home
  • Use cash instead of credit cards for daily purchases
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled
  • Consider a taking a vacation closer to home

The best way to save money is to learn how to distinguish between your needs and wants. Impulse buying is the number one culprit of over spending. Take some time before making major purchases and try comparison shopping. Then pick out a few tips from the list above that will work for you and incorporate these money saving habits in your daily routine.

Credit and Loans

Thinking of buying a car? Paying for college or buying a new home?

Few individuals can purchase these outright, and instead, may have to borrow the money. You may need to consider borrowing a loan or using credit.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Ad Council have launched a multimedia web site aimed at young adults. The site features an interactive online game which teaches about debt management, credit history and credit scores.

Credit Cards

Almost every day, you're involved in some type of financial transaction requiring an educated decision. Credit cards are often more convenient to use than paying cash. But use of credit cards may get out of control. Credit is a loan, a debt that must be repaid. So why use a credit card? They are great for emergencies and can help you establish a good credit history. Your credit card statement can help you keep track of your expenses and might even categorize the type of expense.

Should you have a credit card? Probably. Should you have multiple credit cards? Probably, but not too many. Every credit card application is recorded on your credit report whether or not you actually use the card.

When shopping for a credit card, and yes, you should shop around, consider the following

  • What is the annual percentage rate (APR)? hint -lower is better
  • Is the APR fixed or variable?
  • What are the fees?
  • Is it a "secured" or "unsecured" card? Secured cards are useful when you are trying to establish a credit history, but they require a deposit. Unsecured cards are usually obtained when you already have a good credit history.
  • Read the fine print! Every credit card comes with a disclosure summary that will discuss the grace period for repayments, annual fees, transaction fees, and other very important details.

Paying off your credit card?

Just as compound interest increases your savings accounts, interest rates on your credit card also mount up. Suppose you purchased a new laptop for $1000 on your credit card which charges 18% interest each month. If you choose to pay only the minimum each month it would take over 12 years! to pay it off.

Remember - Don't confuse debit and ATM cards with credit cards though they are physically identical. Debit and ATM cards are linked directly to a checking or savings account. Purchases made with them are immediately deducted from your account, with or without fees. This differs from the credit card which effectively incurs a debt.

Loans

Like credit, a loan is a debt that has to be repaid over a period of time. There are usually fees attached to the loan and the lender charges an interest rate. As an educated consumer, you would shop around for a loan.

There are many types of loans, for instance, there are loans

  • to be used for a specific purpose, e.g. educational loans
  • with fixed rates, variable rates and adjusted rates
  • with different loan periods
  • with different attached fees
  • installment versus line of credit

So why bother getting a loan? Obviously because you don't have the finances currently available for some purchase. Your choice is to get a loan (or use credit card) or wait until you have saved enough. Not many individuals have ready cash to pay for their college tuition.

Thinking of buying a car? My bank has new and used auto loans for as low as 4.99% APR *. If you read the fine print it probably includes "your actual rate may vary." Often, the actual rate you are offered is influenced by the lenders estimation of your ability to repay the loan. The lender usually consults a credit reporting agency to get your credit score.

Your Credit Report

Financial transactions such as credit card applications and payments, installment loans, mortgage payments, tax liens, bankruptcies are reported to credit reporting agencies. The Federal Trade Commission oversees the nation's credit reporting agencies: �Equifax and TransUnion. Lenders consult these agencies when you buy a car, or apply for a mortgage loan. Your credit report may affect whether you get that loan and what interest rate you will be charged.

Get a copy of your credit report. "The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months� [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm]

You can even stagger your requests, for instance, in January request a copy from Equifax, in May request a copy from Experian, in September request a copy form TransUnion, and then the following January request a copy from Equifax, etc. These reports are available free by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

Review your credit report.

  • Is it accurate?
  • Does it list credit cards not in your possession?
  • Are your balances accurate?
  • Have there been inquiries into your account that you don't recognize?

Discrepancies should be reported back to the credit agency.

In addition to requesting your credit report from each of the three agencies, you may elect to "freeze" the report. This security freeze prevents other people and companies from accessing your file unless they have a prior relationship with you. This service is free to Maryland residents who are victims of identity theft; otherwise there is a $5 fee for each agency.

Your Credit Score

Creditors use credit scoring systems to determine if you'd be a good risk for credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and insurance. A higher credit score means you are likely to be a good risk, which, in turn, means you will be more likely to get credit or insurance-or pay less for it.

What Is Credit Scoring?

Credit scoring is a system creditors use to help determine whether to give you credit. It also may be used to help decide the terms you are offered or the rate you will pay for the loan. Information about you and your credit experiences, like your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, whether you pay your bills by the date they're due, collection actions, outstanding debt and the age of your accounts, is collected from your credit report. Using a statistical program, creditors compare this information to the loan repayment history of consumers with similar profiles.

Your free credit report does not usually include your credit score. A fee is usually charged to obtain your credit score. Each credit reporting agency has their own formula for calculating your credit score. Your score may determine whether you get a loan, what interest rate you will pay. A low score may result in a higher interest rate, costing you thousands of dollars in interest.

Managing Debt

Credit cards can be a convenient way of managing your money when handled properly. However, if not managed carefully, your spending habits can actually cause big problems. Here are two great articles that highlight the warning signs of too much debt. Warning Signs

Avoiding Debt...If You've Assumed Too Much

Now What?

Once you realize that your credit card debt may be out of control, don't panic! The most important thing is to do something about it. There are several steps you can take to gain control of your financial future again. However, you will more than likely have to alter your spending habits. Here are a few tips you can do to regain control of your debt:

  • Set a Budget and stick to the plan. Revise your spending and look for ways to reduce your expenses.
  • Call your credit card company and see if they can work with you on an acceptable payment plan that fits into your budget.
  • Use your savings and other assets to pay down your debt.
  • Look to the government for additional resources for which you may be eligible.
  • Talk to a credit counselor

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, don't lose hope. There are options out there if you are willing to act. Click here for more ideas on how to manage your debt.

Financial Safety

Conducting any financial transaction, whether it is in person, over the phone, by mail, or on the internet, should be done in a safe and secure manner.

Here are some tips

  • Be wary of any unsolicited request for personal information no matter how trivial. Does the call want just the last 4 digits of your social security number? Don't do it. The next caller may just want the first 3 and so on.
  • Don't use shared computers to conduct financial business. This includes just checking up on your account. Perhaps the son or daughter of your friend installed software unknown to the parents.
  • When using your own personal computer, keep it up to date. Installing security patches ought to be done daily.
  • Are you running virus protection software?
  • Suppose you receive mail from your banking institution saying there has been suspicious activity and they need you to log in and confirm your zip code.. They give you a web address and it looks legitimate. Don't. If there is a phone number attached, give them a call or better yet, call the customer support number on your recent bill.

Even if you follow the most aggressive security recommendations, you may still become the the unfortunate victim of fraud, identity theft, or scam. It is important to promptly report the suspicious or fraudulent activity immediately to the relevant authorities. If you are unsure, contact your local police department or Consumer Protection Agency. And please keep a record of all your correspondence, it may be needed later.

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a crime.

In a recent press release by the Maryland Attorney General

"Identity theft occurs frequently through fraudulent credit accounts, or even utility and phone accounts. Identity thieves are able to steal personal information such as name, address, social security number, and use that information to open accounts in a consumer's name. Often, identity thieves will use their own address and consumers are unaware of the crime until they check their credit report. When a consumer places a credit freeze, the credit report is blocked. Most retailers and financial institutions will not grant credit without first checking the credit report; once it is frozen, a thief will be unable to open new lines of credit in the consumer's name. A frozen credit report can only be accessed by the consumer or businesses with which the consumer has an existing relationship."

Consumer Protection

"The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection works For The Consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace. The Bureau:

  • Enhances consumer confidence by enforcing federal laws that protect consumers
  • Empowers consumers with free information to help them exercise their rights and spot and avoid fraud and deception
  • Wants to hear from consumers who want to get information or file a complaint about fraud or identity theft"

Additional Information can be found

Long Term Financial Planning

Long Term financial planning will help make your future goals a reality. It may be useful to set goals for specific time periods, for example for 5, 10 and 15 years in the future, or to set goals for specific life events such as college, family, and retirement. With rising health costs, many people also include plans to cover medical costs such as nursing home and assisted-living care.

What is long term financial planning? Financial planning is making conscious decisions to save and/or invest money for your future security. A financial plan might include a list of your goals, the cost, their time horizon, savings/investment method(s) and anticipated rate of return needed to achieve these goals. Long-term planning is a mutable, iterative process. It must be perceived as such, and it must be understood that a plan's importance lies not in its ability to predict with perfect foresight the future, but rather in establishing a secure and logical position from which to confront that future.

Saving

Do you have a checking or savings account? With a Bank, Credit Union, Savings and Loan? Is the money in your checking account safe?

These are "banking" questions, where banking is a general term describing some sort of financial transaction with a regulated institution. It is important to know the type of institution with which you are dealing and how it is regulated.

Checking accounts allow unlimited deposits and easy withdrawals using checks. These accounts earn little or no interest.

Savings deposit accounts also allow unlimited deposits, but withdrawals are usually limited. The account typically earns greater interest than a checking account.

Certificates of Deposit are secure investments that exist for a specific time period (for example 6 months or 5 years). At the end of this time period, the money and accumulated interest is withdrawn.

Before choosing an account, please consider the following

  • is the institution federally or state insured?
  • are there fees attached to the account?
  • what is the rate and how often is it compounded?

Interest

Suppose you have $100 to invest in a savings account. The bank offers two plans. Plan 1 pays you a fixed interest amount of $100 each day. Plan 2 pays you 5% compounded each day. Which do you pick?

To answer our question, plan 1 pays you $100 interest after the first day, an additional $100 interest the second day, and an additional $100 each day you maintain the account. That sounds really attractive. If you deposited the $100 on Monday, your total on Friday would be $500!!!

Plan 2 doesn't sound as attractive. It earns $10% interest on the current balance each day. On the first day, it would earn only $10 in interest, far below the amount you would have received under plan 1. By Friday, the account would only total $146.41. Obviously, plan 1 is better, right? The answer is not necessarily.

When evaluating the plans, it is important to consider not just the rate, but also the expected time period. On the 38th day after deposit, the balance in plan 1 would be $3,900. The balance in plan 2 would be only $3,740.43. But starting the 39th day, plan 2 becomes the better choice. Plan 1 would add $100 in interest bring the total to $4,000. Plan 2 would add $374.04 in interest bringing the total to $4,114.48.

So which plan would you select? If you planned to keep the funds in the account for over 39 days, you ought to pick plan 2.

The example here is highly exaggerated, it is doubtful you would find a bank offering an account earning 10% compounded daily.

While compound interest on your savings works to your advantage, compound interest on your loans and credit cards will work against you.

Check to see the math behind these plans

The Power of Compound Interest

How does compound interest work and why is it so powerful?

Remember the popular algebra problem using a checkerboard where you put a penny on square one, two pennies on square two, etc. Every checkerboard square is double the previous square. Because the checkerboard has 64 squares, you would need 18446744073709551615 pennies to fill the entire checkerboard!

Compound Interest is powerful because your previous interest gets to earn interest.

Investing

It is beyond the scope of this site to teach the art and science of investing, but it is important to have a grasp of some investing fundamentals.

Investing involves both opportunity and risk. Investing is putting away funds now and expecting a future payoff. This page will not offer investing advice except to say

  • Invest safely
  • Invest within your budget
  • and Don't invest what you can't afford

Investments may be short or long-term, may pay a fixed amount every period, may be relatively safe or very risky. Each type of investment has its own advantages and disadvantages.

There are three broad categories of investments

  • cash and cash equivalents are short-term assets
  • stocks or equities which represent a share of ownership in a company
  • bonds which are issued by companies to raise money for a company. In exchange, the company pays interest for the life of the bond.

The SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education, a not-for-profit organization promoting investor education, maintains a web site which includes articles, games, and quizzes. Use their compounding calculator to calculate your return on investment of $10,000 calculated before and after the adjustment for inflation.

Resources

This web site includes many references to outside resources. We found these resources to provide intelligent and informative articles, videos, and tools that you may find useful. Nothing in this site is intended to direct you to purchase any product or service from these vendors. Chesapeake College is not affiliated with these resources. If you find problems with any of these sites or find other useful sites, please contact us so that we may continually improve this site.

Adventures in Education located at www.aie.org features articles for students and parents. The Credit Card Skills Builder site takes you on a virtual credit card buying spree. You will learn what it really costs to buy that MP3 player, laptop, and cell phone on credit. Paying the minimum balance on some cards would end up costing over $10,000 and take almost 50 years to pay off!!!

CNNMoney.Com has a Money 101 web site with 23 lessons. There are lessons on Banking and Saving, Investing, Buying a Home, Health Insurance, and more.

The web site, http://www.360financialliteracy.org, run by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants includes many articles, for example, ABCs of financial aid.

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that works to enhance education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services. During the year ending Sept. 30, 2007, USA Funds guaranteed education loans totaling $25.8 billion for students and parents throughout the nation. USA Funds serves as the designated guarantor of federal education loans in eight states: Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming. USA Funds also invests $16.3 million annually in scholarships and outreach programs that advance its mission of support to higher education. For more information about USA Funds, visit http://www.usafunds.org/.

Feed the Pig - http://www.feedthepig.org/

Contact Us

The Financial Aid staff is dedicated to providing you with the necessary tools and information needed to fund your education. If you need assistance or have a question or comment, please contact us. We are available by phone, appointment, email, during normal business hours.

To make an appointment with a staff member call 410-822-5400, 410-228-4360, 410-758-1537 ext 2252 or email us at finaid@chesapeake.edu.