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A study reveals that most Americans lack basic financial literacy. Do you?

By Stacy Johnson Apr 3, 2014 4:05PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf financial literacy were a course in school, many Americans wouldn’t pass.

Man with empty pockets (© Digital Vision/Digital Vision Ltd.)

That’s the key finding of the Financial Literacy Survey, compiled by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

In a press release, Susan Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC, said:

This year’s survey once again confirms what we already know: The need for financial education is great.

Without a solid foundation on which to base everyday financial decisions, Americans are on a slippery slope as they begin to rebuild their financial lives following the Great Recession.

Below are some other findings of the eighth annual survey, which coincides with National Financial Literacy Month. The findings could double as indicators of why so many Americans complain about being broke.


All this time you thought spring cleaning was about getting rid of winter's dust and grime. Read this article to find out the real reason you'll want to clean house this year.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 3, 2014 1:45PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News

If you dread spring cleaning, you’re doing it wrong. 

Rather than think of it as a dreaded chore, tell yourself it’s less about work and more about finding hidden cash in your house. Sure, you may find some change in the cushions, but we’re talking about bigger bucks here.


Not only are US workers not taking as much time off as they could, but most end up taking their work with them when they do manage to get out of the office.

By Money Staff Apr 3, 2014 11:42AM

This post comes from Allison Linn at partner site CNBC.

CNBC on MSN MoneyMore proof that Americans are workaholics: Even when we get paid vacation, many of us don't take it.

A new survey of employees finds that only 25 percent of employees with paid time off took all of their vacation days last year.

Businesswoman working at computer © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc, Blend Images, Getty ImagesWhat's worse, 15 percent took none of their vacation days at all. The rest took some portion of the days they were allotted, according to the data released Thursday by employment website Glassdoor.

Even when employees took vacation, many ended up working. More than half of the employees who took vacation said they did some work while they were supposed to be off, according to the Glassdoor data.

Glassdoor's data are based on a Harris Poll of about 2,000 adults, including about 1,000 full- and part-time employees who were included in the questions about vacation.


A broken heart can last forever. When you get rejected for a card, how long does it take for this financial wound take to heal?

By Apr 2, 2014 4:25PM

This post comes for Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyNo matter how much of a glass-half-full person you are, rejection is an unpleasant experience. You've made yourself vulnerable by asking for something, so hearing "no" can easily break your spirit. It doesn't need to be that way.

A man cutting up credit cards © Stella, fStop, Getty ImagesWhen you apply for a loan or credit card, whether you're approved has no bearing on your credit standing. That's not to say applying doesn't affect your credit — it does — but you don't need to be worried that getting rejected will have an adverse effect on your credit score.

A potential lender will pull a copy of your credit report to assess your risk level and whether to lend you money. That action is called a credit report inquiry, and inquiries used in lending decisions are called hard inquiries (as opposed to soft inquiries, which are not factors in lending decisions).

These hard hits on your credit report will cause a small, temporary drop in your credit score, so applying for credit here and there won't have much of an impact on your score. The result of that inquiry — approval or rejection — doesn't appear on your credit report.


New research suggests being grateful is good for your pocketbook.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 2, 2014 1:12PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyGot gratitude? If you answered yes, chances are you also have more money in savings than your impatient counterparts.

That's the finding of a new study by academics from Harvard, Northeastern University and the University of California at Riverside. "Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience" will be featured in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.

Woman with laptop © Mike Watson Images/CorbisThe basic premise of the study is that impatience has destructive economic implications, while feelings of gratitude can significantly reduce financial impatience.

CBS News said:

But what makes one investor patient and another impatient? The old school answer was willpower. But researchers were flummoxed when trying to explain why one investor had it and another didn't. Now, new research from a team of academics … says it has found the key: Gratitude.

The study went a little something like this: Seventy-five individuals were asked to write about a personal experience that generated emotions (happy, neutral and gratitude), then they were asked to make an economic choice. This is what happened, according to CBS:


There's no need to spend hours on end to adequately manage your finances. Here are 10 small money moves you can make right now that will pay off big in the long run.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 2, 2014 12:15PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHow much time do you spend on your finances each week? A couple of hours? Or do you rarely spend any time at all?

Many shy away from what appears to be a daunting task for a number of reasons, including fear, time constraints and, in some cases, laziness.

Regardless of which excuse, if any, applies to you, one thing's for certain: Choosing to be involved can save you a ton of time, money and headaches in the long run.


There can be a lot of blood, sweat and tears when a kid loses a tooth. How much cash should they find under their pillow the next morning?

By Money Staff Apr 2, 2014 11:00AM

This post comes from Janet Bodnar at partner site Kiplinger.

Kiplinger on MSN MoneyOn the occasion of National Tooth Fairy Day (yes, there is such a thing), I received not one but two studies showing that the tiny sprite is taking a bigger bite out of parents' wallets.

Boy holding money from the tooth fairy © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images
An annual survey by Visa showed that children received an average of $3.70 per lost tooth last year -- an increase of 23 percent over the $3 per tooth left in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, by Delta Dental Plans Association, a provider of dental benefits programs, found that the average gift climbed to $3.50 last year, up from $2.42 in 2012 -- a 45 percent gain that even beat last year's stellar stock market performance, as Delta Dental points out.

Aside from satisfying parents' curiosity, each poll has an ulterior motive. In Visa’s case, "parents should take this opportunity to talk about saving and smart money habits with their kids, and have the same talk with a perhaps overgenerous tooth fairy," says Nat Sillin, Visa's head of U.S. financial education. And Delta Dental says the fairy's visits present an opportunity for parents to discuss good oral hygiene with their children.

How much to give

Why such an inflated cost per tooth?


A new report reveals the true cost of owning and operating a vehicle in the U.S.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 1, 2014 2:51PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you're feeling broke at the end of the month and don't know where all your money disappeared to, just take a peek in your garage. Your car could be sucking your bank account dry.

AAA recently released its 2013 Your Driving Costs report (.pdf file), which reveals what Americans are really paying to drive. It showed an almost 2 percent increase in the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S.

Los Angeles, Calif., traffic on Interstate 405 © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesIf you drive a mid-size sedan, like a Toyota Camry, Chevy Impala or Ford Fusion, you're paying about 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 a year. That is based on driving 15,000 miles per year, which is common for American workers. If you drive an SUV, you're paying about $11,600 per year, AAA said.

That's a lot of money. And more than some people pay for rent.

According to a press release from AAA:

"Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle," said John Nielsen, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair. "This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile."

Here’s a breakdown of the costs that AAA said drove the 2 percent increase in operating and owning a vehicle:



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