Money Management Basics

For many, money isn't something we talked about with our parents, financial education was non-existent in school or at home, and when it came time to start managing our own money, it was sink or swim. Maybe you've got money all figured out now or maybe you're still barely treading water and your finances are a constant source of stress in your life. When it comes to money, knowledge really is power. Understanding the basics of budgeting, borrowing, saving, and spending puts you in control of your finances and on the path to achieving your goals.

The essentials of financial wellness are rounded up for you on this page. Scroll through to explore, or click one of the categories below to jump to the topic you want to dig into deeper:

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Budgeting is the critical foundation in your journey to financial freedom, and it's all about information and self-control. You need to know your real expenses and income, make a spending plan, and, hardest of all, stick to it. Here's how:


To achieve real financial stability, you need to prioritize saving. It's important for both emergencies—to cover unexpected expenses or loss of income—and your goals—like buying a home or paying for college.


Credit Basics

Borrowing is an important strategy for many financial goals, and your credit score has a huge impact on your ability to take out a loan. Learn more about credit scores and the basics of borrowing: 

  • What Makes up a Credit Score? Explore the key components that go into your three-digit credit score and utilize it as a powerful tool for shaping a brighter financial future. 
  • Tips for New Credit Card Holders Understanding how to manage credit cards is critical for new borrowers. Follow these tips for using your card responsibly. 
  • What's the Deal with Credit Card Rewards? If a credit card is giving you money just to make purchases, that's the best card to have, right? It depends.
  • All about Equity There are a few different types of equity, but what exactly does it mean? We're sharing how to put your equity to work to better benefit you.
  • A Practical Approach to Paying off Debt You've made a budget and you're sticking to it. Now where does debt fit into the picture? We’re sharing two methods to help you pay off debt sooner.
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Your car is both an expense (and a large one for many Americans) and a tool for your financial success. It can help you commute to a better-paying job, attend classes to earn a degree, and shuttle children everywhere they need to go. The more you understand about everything auto, the better equipped you'll be:

Home Buying

Buying your own home is the largest purchase most of us will make in our lifetimes, and it's also a strategy for building wealth. 

  • How to Start the Home Buying Process Are you hoping to buy a home within the next few years and have no idea where to start? Here's your introduction.
  • How Much Mortgage Can I Really Afford? Now that you’ve finally decided to make one of the most important purchases of your life—buying a home—it’s time to crunch those numbers. We’re going to walk you through how to figure it out!
  • Buying a Home in a Seller’s Market Buying a home is equal parts exciting and challenging, especially in a seller’s market. Here are some tips for how you can overcome the challenges of a seller’s market and still get into your dream home.
  • Refinancing Your Mortgage as a Home Equity Loan Refinancing your mortgage as a home equity loan could save you money and help pay off your home faster. These 3 factors determine whether it’s a good idea for you.


Insurance products1 are designed to protect your finances when something goes wrong. While auto and health insurance are familiar, life insurance and credit insurance may be more a mystery to you. Learn what they are and whether you need them: 

These products are not federally insured, are not obligations of the financial institution, are not guaranteed by the financial institution, and are subject to investment risk.
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While we can't help you file your return (always speak with a tax professional for advice on your specific tax situation and return), we do have some tips for what to do if you owe Uncle Sam money and can't afford it, plus some common mistakes to avoid.

Investing & Retirement

If you plan to relax and enjoy your golden years of retirement, you need to invest and save now so that your finances are in shape for the end of your working years. Learn about strategies for both investing and reducing expenses for retirement. 

  • Why Should You Build a CD Ladder A share certificate is a an investment option with a guaranteed rate of return, but it ties up your money for a period of time. Learn how building a certificate ladder combines certainty and flexibility. 
  • CD Investing When the Economic Outlook is Uncertain Certificates are a good investment option to have in your portfolio anytime, but the strategy changes when the rate environment is shifting. 
  • Paying Off Your Mortgage Loan before Retirement If you’re getting close to retirement and want to own your home free and clear, you should consider an aggressive mortgage payoff strategy with a shorter-term mortgage.


These days, you can't be too careful. Learn to recognize the signs of a scam and protect yourself from scammers and fraudsters. 

  • Recognizing 4 Common Types of Fraud Financial fraud is constantly evolving, however, by learning to recognize fraud signs, you can help prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
  • Preventing Elder Fraud and Financial Abuse Elder financial abuse is a common form of abuse that has a devastating effect on senior citizens across the country, but by knowing what to look for, you can help your loved ones stay safe.


Check out our video learning series and Get Money Smart with GOLD!



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