70 government Web sites you should bookmark NOW!
You've paid your taxes, now reap the benefits.
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
Government Web sites provide a wealth of information about money-related topics. But finding what's out there can be a chore. This resource provides links to 70 government Web sites about everything from finding a job to buying a home and paying for college.
Buying a home and mortgages
- Buying a Home -- HUD. A step-by-step guide to the home-buying process.
- FCIC: How to Buy a Home With a Low Down Payment. This brochure describes how families can get into their own homes with little cash upfront. It explains mortgage insurance and how it works, and looks at the two options -- private mortgage insurance and government mortgage insurance.
- Buying a Home: It's a Big Deal. Information on selecting a real estate agent, commissions, and choosing real estate-related services.
- Home-Equity Credit Lines. Everything you'd want to know about a home-equity line of credit, including costs, interest rates, upfront closing costs, and how much you can borrow.
- Home-Equity Loans: Borrowers Beware! According to the FTC, "Homeowners -- particularly elderly, minority and those with low incomes or poor credit -- should be careful when borrowing money based on their home equity. Why? Certain abusive or exploitative lenders target these borrowers, who unwittingly may be putting their home on the line. Abusive lending practices range from equity stripping and loan flipping to hiding loan terms and packing a loan with extra charges."
- HUD -- 100 Q&As for Homebuyers. Covers just about any question a homebuyer could have.
- Mymoney.gov. A collection of real estate-related articles.
- Interest-Only Mortgage Payments and Payment-Option ARMs -- Are They for You? Information on exotic and risky mortgages, including interest-only mortgages and option ARMs.
- Understanding the Process and Your Right to Fair Lending. Information on the mortgage process and your right to fair lending.
- When Your Home is on the Line: What You Should Know About Home-Equity Lines of Credit. More information on home-equity lines of credit.
- Looking for the Best Mortgage. Information on finding the best home mortgage.
- Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Refinancing. Lengthy article on home mortgages, covering just about any question you might have.
- Looking for the Best Mortgage? Shop, Compare, Negotiate. How to compare, shop for, and negotiate a home mortgage.
- Reverse Mortgages: Get the Facts Before Cashing In On Your Home's Equity. Information on reverse mortgages, including descriptions of the three types of reverse mortgages.
Credit reports and scores
- Credit Reports and Scores. Information on the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which gives consumers the right to obtain their credit report for free once a year.
- 5 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score (click here for .pdf version). Very basic information, but helpful if you are unfamiliar with what factors impact your credit score.
- Beginner's Guide to Investing. A great list of SEC resources on investing.
- Calculating Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses. Mutual fund fees and expenses are one of the most important considerations when selecting a fund. This article tells you what you need to know.
- Mymoney.gov. A long list of articles on saving and investing.
- Get the Facts: The SEC's Roadmap to Saving and Investing. A good source of information if you are just starting down the road to saving and investing.
- For Students and Teachers. Great article if you are looking to teach children about saving and investing.
Finding a job
- Finding a Job : USA.gov. Links to articles that can help both adults and teenagers find a job.
- WelcometoUSA.gov -- Employment. More job-related links, including tips on how to write an effective resume.
- Resumes, Applications, and Cover Letters (click here for .pdf version). Excellent resource on how to build a resume. The .pdf version is much easier to read.
- How to Get a Job in the Federal Government (click here for .pdf version). If you are interested in working for the federal government, this resource is a must-read.
- FRB: Choosing a Credit Card. Links to everything you could ever want to know about credit cards, and more.
- Choosing A Credit Card: The Deal is in the Disclosures. A good explanation of some common terms in credit card agreements.
- Credit Card Answers from the OCC. Links to Q&As about credit cards.
- Consumer Action Handbook -- Credit -- Credit Cards. More information on the terms and conditions of credit cards.
- 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement. A must-read if you are nearing retirement.
- Consumer Information on Retirement Plans. A complete list of resources about retirement plans, including 401(k) accounts.
- A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees ... for Employees. The information contained in this booklet answers some common questions about the fees and expenses that may be paid by your 401(k) plan.
- Pension and Health Care Coverage ... Questions and Answers for Dislocated Workers. You may have rights to certain retirement protections and health benefits even if you lose your job. If your company provided a group health plan, you may be entitled to continued health benefits for a period of time if you cannot find a job immediately. When you find a new job, you may have fewer barriers to health care coverage. And with a change in employment, you should understand how your retirement benefits are affected. Knowing your rights can help you protect yourself and your family until you are working full time again. This booklet addresses some of the common questions dislocated workers ask.
- How to File a Claim for Your Pension, Health Care or Other Benefits. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 protects the interests of participants and their beneficiaries who depend on benefits from private employee benefit plans. ERISA sets standards for administering these plans, including a requirement that financial and other information be disclosed to plan participants and beneficiaries, and requirements for the processing of claims for benefits under the plans. This article outlines the steps you may take to file a claim and what to do if you are denied benefits.
- Protect Your Pension. This handbook focuses on those private-sector pension plans for which someone, such as a trustee or investment manager, is responsible for investing the plan's assets. Although many of the same rules apply, special rules can apply to employee stock-ownership plans and to pension plans where participants personally direct investment of assets in their individual plan accounts.
- Retirement Savings Education Campaign. The Retirement Savings Education Campaign has information for employees, small businesses and employers about saving for retirement and the tools to get started.
- Simplified Employee Pensions: What Small Businesses Need to Know. Simplified Employee Pension plans can provide a significant source of income at retirement by allowing employers to set aside money in retirement accounts for themselves and their employees. Under a SEP, an employer contributes directly to traditional individual retirement accounts (SEP-IRAs) for all employees (including the employer). A SEP does not have the startup and operating costs of a conventional retirement plan and allows for a contribution of up to 25% of each employee's pay. This article provides more information on SEPs.
- Women and Retirement Savings. Planning and saving for retirement may seem like goals that are far in the future. Yet saving, especially for retirement, should start early and continue throughout your lifetime. Here are four reasons why saving matters to women.
Scholarships and education
- Student Aid on the Web. Scholarships are available throughout your college education. A number of privately operated scholarship search services charge fees ranging from $50 to more than $500 to aid you in locating scholarships, often with varying degrees of success. Here are some sources of free information about scholarships.
- Students.gov -- Student Gateway to the U.S. Government. A great overall source of information for college students.
- Student Jobs. This is the source of information for college students looking for jobs and internships within the federal government.
- Student Aid on the Web. The U.S. Department of Education's federal student aid programs are the largest source of student aid in America. If you're interested in financial aid for college or a career school, this site is a must-read. These programs provide more than $80 billion a year in grants, loans and work-study assistance.
- Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students. The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program provides scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are enrolled in health professions and nursing programs. Participating schools are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, making reasonable determinations of need, and providing scholarships that do not exceed the cost of attendance (tuition, reasonable educational expenses and reasonable living expenses).
- Student Loan Consolidation. Consolidation loans allow you to combine different types of federal student loans to simplify repayment. Even if you have just one loan, you can also choose to consolidate it. Both the FFEL and Direct Loan programs offer consolidation loans. There are several advantages to consolidating or rehabilitating your loan as described here.
- Student Financial Aid. Online applications for student financial aid.
- College Planning Calculators. Online calculators for college students.
- Scholarships and Grants. Links to a ton of resources about college student scholarships and grants.
- My Money. A great personal-finance site run by the government.
- Gov Gab : Your U.S. Government Blog. The federal government's own blog.
- Government Benefits. GovBenefits.gov is the official benefits Web site of the U.S. government, with information on more than 1,000 benefit and assistance programs.
- Grants. Grants.gov is your source to find and apply for federal government grants.
- Expect More: Interesting site that provides information on which government programs have been deemed successful or unsuccessful
- USA. This is your portal into the federal government, with links to many money-related programs and Web sites.
Kids and money
- Kids .gov -- Main Page. A federal government site dedicated to kids.
- U.S. Treasury -- For Kids. This is a must-read site that contains links to federal government Web sites built especially for kids, including sites about the White House and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
- The U.S. Mint's Site for Kids. An interactive site that helps kids learn about money.
- Online Games That Teach Kids About Money. Links to online games for children that will help teach them about money.
- Talking to Your Kids About Money -- Consumer Focus -- FCIC. If you're like many parents, you probably dread talking to your children about certain subjects. If you'd rather talk to your kids about the birds and the bees than about money, here's some information and tips that may make it easier for you.
The following IRS guides provide exhaustive information on tax-related matters important to many individuals:
- Selling Your Home.
- Tax Information for Homeowners.
- Tax Guide for Seniors.
- Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities.
- Bankruptcy Tax Guide.
- Complete List of IRS Tax Guides.
Here are some helpful financial calculators maintained on government Web sites:
- Social Security and Benefit Calculators.
- Student Financial Aid Calculators.
- House Price Calculator.
- Mortgage Calculator.
- Home Ownership Calculators.
Federal legislation pending in Congress
- Govtrack. This is one of my favorite Web sites, and the only source listed here that is not a government-sponsored Web site. If you are looking for information on pending federal legislation, this is the site. You can even track legislation as it moves through the House and Senate.
Related reading at The Dough Roller:
- A 12-month balance-transfer offer with no balance-transfer fee
- Best high-yield savings account offers
- Tutorial: How to start a moneymaking blog
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