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Other financial sources...that might be helpful!

There is a ton of stuff throughout the Internet that touches, one way or another, on matters of personal finance… some of it good, some of it just so-so. The sites listed below run the gamut— from budgeting advice to real time stock quotes. We offer them here for whatever help they might be to you. But they come with no particular endorsement. From here, you’re on your own.

Auto Shopping

These are some of the leading car-buying sites (there are undoubtedly many more!). Before you buy another car, visit any of them…heck, visit them all. You’ll find specifications (for every make and model), current prices (for new and used), car buying advice (usually pretty good!), interesting articles, model comparisons, consumer evaluations, photos…and “a whole lot more!”

Also, check the website of any maker you are particularly interested in. Google to find blogs, both general and specific (re make/model). There are many car maintenance sites— usually Q & A forums— that dish up considerable info direct from owners. And don’t forget the car magazines all have websites, too.

If you are looking at a particular used car, write down the VIN # (it’s on a small plate somewhere under the windshield) and Google it to get some historical info about your prospect. There are also sites that provide this info for a fee.

Kelly Blue Book
Long the standard for checking prices.

NADA Guides
This is the one most dealers subscribe to…new edition comes out every month.

Consumer Reports
You know Consumer Reports. Requires a fee or subscription, but the reviews are very reliable, might be worth it.

E-Bay Motors
Go here to see what the market looks like nationally…get an idea of what to expect on the used-car side… and a really good way to get an inside feel for price.

New York Times Autos
Always full of current and interesting articles…much good reading here.

Looking for something a bit exotic…like a collector car, perhaps? Check in with Hemmings.

Kruse International
One of the popular auction sites. Fun to visit whether you’re car shopping or not.

Federal Government Auto Sales
Worth knowing about!

All of these (below) are good shopping sources:

(PS: If you come across additional sites that might be helpful to other members, please send them to us!)

Budgets and Spending Plans
Oh boy! If you want to focus on any specific aspect of personal finance, with the idea of gaining some useful insight into problems and solutions-- some BALANCE, shall we say-- this is a wonderful source to look into. This link will connect you with a package of mini courses that will guide you through to solid plans for solid financial commitments and decisions. Reach CU subscribes to this service on behalf of our members. It is a non-profit source, designed specifically to provide credit union members with objective, unbiased financial information and assistance. We highly recommend it to you!
Building Wealth (Financial Planning Advice)
Some really very good money management tools and info presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It says it is all for beginners, but the substance is there! This is good stuff for anybody. There is other interesting stuff at this website (as is the case for all twelve of the Federal Reserve Bank sites). But if you’d just like to get to the heart of their very good book about personal finance…download it here!

Credit Reports
Two things you should definitely do: 1) find out what’s said about you in your credit reports...and 2) fix anything that needs fixing! Your credit report tells employers, financial sources, auto dealers, mortgage companies, credit card companies, etc., etc. what they want to know about you and your financial situation. Whatever is in your report, it should at least be accurate. And often, for a variety of reasons, it simply isn’t! You are entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This site provides an easy way to get copies of your report from all three sources.
Credit Management
SavvyMoney Checkup
“SavvyMoney Checkup” is a program created by credit union people...for credit union people. And it’s very good! It runs you through a simple online financial analysis of your debt-to-income ratio and suggested strategies to keep you moving forward financially. We like this program. Check it out!
Employee Benefit Research Institute: (Good Retirement Advice!)
A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1978 to provide credible, reliable, and objective research, data, and analysis. EBRI’s comprehensive program includes policy forums, round tables, briefings, testimony, interviews, and speeches. Major studies in process include Social Security reform, individual investment education and results, health insurance coverage, health policy reform, and pension design and investment trends. Produces the annual Retirement Confidence Survey. The Institute’s mission is to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. (Very Good Site!)

Federal Student Aid
Yes, there is an agency within the U.S. Department of Education that provides help with college expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. It can also help pay for a computer, even dependent childcare expenses. Find out what specifically is available...and if you qualify.
Google Finance (financial News, Stock Updates, etc.)
A website launched on March 21, 2006 by Google-- features business and enterprise headlines for many corporations including their financial decisions and major news events. Stock information is available, as are Adobe Flash-based stock price charts[1]. The site also aggregates Google News and Google Blog Search articles about each corporation, though links are not screened and often deemed untrustworthy. Google launched a revamped version of their finance site on December 12, 2006, featuring a new homepage design which lets users see currency information, sector performance for the U.S. market and a listing of top market movers along with the relevant and important news of the day. A top movers section was also added, based on popularity determined by Google Trends. The upgrade also featured charts containing up to 40 years of data for U.S. stocks, and richer portfolio options. Another update brought real-time ticker updates for stocks to the site, as both NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange partnered with Google in June 2008.[3][4]

Government Paychecks?
This useful site, presented by the U. S. Treasury Department, is loaded with helpful information. Here’s where you sign up for Direct Deposit of Government Paychecks, get info about paying your federal taxes online...and finding out more than you probably ever wanted to know about things like how much money is in circulation, how much we owe to other countries, and other such useful(?) facts and figures.
Home Buying Resources

Buying a home is definitely one of the most important financial decisions most people will ever make. Reach CU provides a full array of home financing options. Our team is ready to help you meet your home financing needs.

We have several tools to help you get informed and make the right decision for you:

You may also call or email your personal banker,
or contact us at or call 888-673-3288.

Identity Theft
It’s become one of the frightening problems of our modern, high-tech age. This one-stop national resource provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against the crime of identity theft.
The Mortgage Professor
If you're planning to buy or sell a home anytime in the future, this is a site you want to know about. It's owner, Jack M. Guttentag— the "Mortgage Professor"— has been a student of the home loan market for years. He is Professor of Finance Emeritus, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. And he was Chief of the Domestic Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, on the senior staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and managing editor of both the Journal of Finance and the Housing Finance Review. He’s also consulted with government agencies and private financial institutions, and has been a director of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Guild Mortgage Investments, and First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rochester. Obviously, he knows his stuff. The site is loaded with articles, information and good advice, and is independent and objective.
Personal Financial Management Sites

Money is typically not the topic of discussion for a group of twenty-somethings wanting to have fun with their lives. But that's only because today's finance applications make it difficult and boring. That's what we have set about to change! We want people to effortlessly understand their finances. And have fun while doing so.  Keep all your accounts updated at one single place, securely. Get transactions automatically downloaded to your account without giving away your online banking credentials. Buxfer lets you store your private information on your local computer, and not on our server. Buxfer has added peer to peer payments to its money management system-- supported through Amazon’s new Flexible Payments web service. Social payment sites like these aren’t meant to replace beefier accounting applications like Quicken or Wesabe, but rather easily track account balances with a heavy social networking component. You can add payments to Buxfer manually or import a payment statement from your bank, Quicken, or Microsoft Money. Having your payments on Buxfer lets you manage your balances with friends and analyze your expenses over time through pie charts and graphs. Buxfer has added a Facebook, mobile, and iPhone application.

Thrive.Com: Computer-Based Financial Planning for Next-Gen
Thrive brings all your credit card, checking, savings, retirement, and investment accounts into one place so you can easily see what you have, what you owe, and where you can grow. Your spending is automatically categorized so you can see exactly where your money is going. For example, We analyze your financial information and calculate your financial health, which accurately predicts your financial stability in the long term. Based on this understanding, Thrive will then give you specific advice to help you improve. It’s the first on-line, 24/7 financial advisory for young adults. We help people in their twenties and thirties gain control over their financial lives by helping them figure out what to do with their money- other than spending it! We start by organizing your financial life and highlighting the pieces that matter the most; the results may surprise you! Then, by learning about your lifestyle and your unique perception of money, we provide highly personalized advice to help you achieve your goals. You'll learn a lot about yourself too, like how much you save month-to-month, where you spend the most, and how financially fit you are. We keep you up-to-date with valuable alerts so you can avoid major snafus before they happen, making sure that your money is in all the right places so it can grow.

Voyant@Home —offers a holistic view of how your current savings and spending rates might affect your long-term goals. Voyant’s singly innovative feature is that within minutes it can help you visualize the big-picture outcomes of key life decisions. Once you have identified a goal — say, buying a house — and input your current account balances and the value of any other assets you may have, the tool crunches the numbers and forecasts how close you actually are to fulfilling that goal. In addition, a timeline feature shows you potential obstacles and opportunities, such as market performance, that may affect your success. Over time, the application can help you measure progress against your established goals. A core component of Voyant is the application’s social-networking platform, which allows users to exchange ideas and seek solutions from other members with similar interests. Voyant users can embed their actual plans and snapshots into personal messages, forums and chat rooms (anonymously, if they choose). To register on the Web site, all you need is a valid e-mail address.

Wesabe is part money management tool, part community. The easy and free way to manage your money. Wesabe gives you the tools and the insights to take control of your finances. See all your bank and credit card balances in one place and learn ways to get ahead, in a few easy steps. Founded in December 2005, Wesabe is in San Francisco, California. Our easy-to-use, Web-based software gives members a better understanding of how they spend money. The Wesabe community shares tips and advice to help each other make better financial decisions. Wesabe’s latest new feature, a Cutback Tool, performs some simple analysis across imported transactions to pick out monthly fees such as gym memberships or bank fees.

Retirement Planning
If there’s ever wanted to know about IRAs, those tax-deferred, tax-deductible, and in some cases— tax-exempt savings plans, you’ll find it here. IRAs are (still!) one of the best savings tools available today. And more people than ever before are now eligible to take advantage of the incredible tax advantages available through IRAs. 17
Savings Bonds
This website lets you buy and redeem securities directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in paperless electronic form. You’ll also find product information and research about the entire line of Treasury Securities, from Series EE Savings Bonds to Treasury Notes. New “TreasuryDirect” accounts offer Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), and Series I and EE Savings Bonds in electronic form in one convenient account. You can also purchase some of these items online.
Yahoo! Finance (financial News, Stock Updates, etc.)
A haven for armchair investors and money junkies, Yahoo! Finance has everything you need to keep up with business — news, stock-specific research, charts, even press releases. In late May, Yahoo! Finance resumed free real-time quotes instead of the standard 20-minute delays on rivals like Google Finance. (The service had been suspended a couple years ago in a dispute with the major stock exchanges.) Power brokers can shell out $10.95 a month for real-time stock charting. For all the criticism about Yahoo!'s failure to innovate, its finance site showcases the best of what the company has to offer.

Other Helpful Sites

America Saves
Provides adult education to encourage savings and advise to assist Americans build wealth and plan for unexpected expenses.

American Financial Services Association
Teaches consumers the benefits of responsible money management and middle and high school students basic money management skills.

American Savings Education Council
This program has been developed to raise public awareness about what is needed to ensure long-term personal financial independence

Department of Education
Education program that provides resources and information focused on reading comprehension, math skills and other academic subjects.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Buying and Financing a Home
The home buying process can seem complicated, but taking things step-by-step will assist you in holding the keys to your own home!

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Escrow Account Information
Answers frequently asked questions on escrow accounts.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Reverse Mortgages for Seniors
What to know if you're interested in a reverse mortgage.

Department of the Treasury
Developed the MoneyMath program to educate middle school children about savings, investing, spending and credit

Department of the Treasury-Office of Financial Education
The Office of Financial Education focuses the Department of the Treasury's financial education policymaking, raises awareness about the need for financial education, and provides information about financial education resources throughout the federal government.

Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)
The EFFAK is a simple tool that helps identify and organize key financial records and provides a quick reference file for your most important financial documents.

eXtension Financial Security for All
The Financial Security for All eXtension website is a source of reliable, unbiased and up-to- date financial and consumer information. Resources consist of learning modules, factsheets, and commonly asked questions that have science-based, peer reviewed answers.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Comprehensive financial education program suitable for adults and high schools students. Includes 10 separate modules ranging from money skills to credit issues.

Federal Trade Commission: Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Lock-Ins
Explains lock-in mortgages and their advantages to consumers.

Foreclosure Resources for Consumers
If you are having difficulty making your mortgage payment, one of the most important things you can do is seek assistance. The following resources provide information and links to agencies and organizations that may be able to help you.

Jump Start
Comprehensive education program teaching children Pre-K-12 life skills and money management techniques.

Junior Achievement
Program to educate children K-12 about basic life skills, critical thinking and solving complex problems.
Personal financial education resources provided by federal agencies and the federal Financial Literacy Education Commission.

National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)
Works directly with non-profit organizations to help promote community and economic redevelopment in low- to moderate-income areas.

National Council on Economic Education
Program works through a network of teachers to provide youngsters grades K-12 the principles of economics including savings, investing, uses of money and credit.

National Endowment for Financial Education
Offers a high school financial planning program that provides practical money-management skills and an introduction to financial planning, covering the fundamentals of insurance, investments, tax, retirement and estate planning.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling
Promotes the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and builds capacity for its members to deliver the highest quality financial education and counseling services.

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp.
Works directly with non-profit organizations to provide consumer financial education through collaboration with National programs. Site provides general information and resources to other programs.

Operation Hope
Help revitalize inner-city communities through adult education, community resource information and economic literacy for teens and young adults.

Understanding Taxes
The IRS has developed an interactive, instructional tax program to provide high schools, community colleges, and the general public with a technology-based instructional tool.