These days, money and personal finance advice is easy to find. There are literally hundreds of books out there about managing your money. But finding good and practical personal finance advice? Now that’s a little more difficult. If you’re catching up on your reading, here are 10 great places to start when it comes to getting a handle on your money and personal finance. There is something here for everyone, from individual investors to couples and driven young professionals to those with less confidence in money management.
If you tend to carry a credit card balance rather than pay off your balance every month, then you’ve seen a finance charge added to your balance. Finance charges are applied to credit card balances that aren’t paid before the grace period. Unlike most other credit card fees, finance charges aren’t a flat fee. Instead, the finance charge is calculated for each billing cycle based on your balance and interest rate. Generally, higher balances and interest rates result in higher finance charges.
These include: Attention Bias: There is evidence suggesting that people will invest in companies that are in the headlines, even if lesser known companies offer the promise of better returns. Who among us hasn’t invested in Apple or Amazon, simply because we know all about them? National Bias: An American is going to invest in American companies, even if stocks overseas offer better returns. Underdiversification: There is a tendency for investors to feel more comfortable holding a relatively small number of stocks in their portfolio, even if wider diversification would make them more money.
If you continued making minimum payments and no additional charges on this account, you’d pay $18.00 in finance charges over the course of a year. Why Does the Billing Cycle Matter? Credit card companies state your interest rate in terms of an annual percentage rate, or APR, to make it easier to compare various credit cards and loans. However, you are not charged interest on an annual basis. You’re charged interest periodically based on your billing cycle. Including the billing cycle in the finance charge calculation ensures you are charged interest only for that specific period of time.
The average daily balance method uses your balance during the billing cycle multiplied by the APR for that balance. The average daily balance method can be less expensive compared to some other finance charge calculation methods. Your average daily balance is the sum of your balance on each day of the billing divided by the number of days in the billing cycle. Here is the calculation for the average daily balance method: average daily balance * APR * days in billing cycle / 365
Finance Charges You Can’t Avoid. You’ll typically only get a grace period when your previous balance was paid in full and you started the billing cycle with a zero balance. If you had a balance at the beginning of the billing cycle, you may not be able to avoid a finance charge. You will have to bring your balance to $0 before the grace period applies again.
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