Spotlight on Library Resources: Borrow

Understanding the Mathematics of Personal Finance [electronic resource] : an Introduction to Financial Literacy by Lawrence N. Dworsky

Are you easily overwhelmed by numbers and interest rate calculations? Do you tend to avoid careful planning and decision-making when it comes to your personal finances because you simply have trouble understanding these calculations? If yes, then this is the guide for you!

Understanding the Mathematics of Personal Finance is a highly useful resource for the day-to-day management of personal finances. Even before introducing any of the contexts in which math is used in personal finance, the resource has a primer on the mathematics that serves as the basis for personal finance calculations.

At its root, this book is all about loan calculations, but the author, Lawrence N. Dworsky, has a broader definition of a loan. A loan is not just when an individual borrows money from a bank. A loan can also be an investment, but in that case another party is borrowing money from the individualSo this resource is useful not only for borrowing but also for investing.

Understanding the Mathematics of Personal Finance will equip you with the basic math skills for personal finance that you need to make informed decisions before you borrow money and as you pay it back. Dworsky is clear that this resource does not contain strategies for borrowing or investing. Instead, it gives you the ability to decide for yourself what decisions would be best, solely on the basis of numbers.

Note: This ebook can only be accessed on campus or off campus with your University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign NetID. If you do not have access to this ebook, please request a print copy through your local public library.

Written by Heidi Johnson, University of Illinois Library

Expect the Unexpected – Saving for Emergencies

Planning for the unexpected can ensure that you are able to weather a financial hardship should you lose your job, have a car repair, or any other unplanned expense. By having savings set aside for emergencies, you decrease the need to rely on credit cards or loans to cover emergency situations. Borrowing funds to cover emergencies can create additional financial hardship. Most experts recommend that you have between three and six months of income set aside in emergency funds, but having any money set aside can help when a financial storm arises.

A recent survey has found that “18- to 30-year-olds are the most likely to have up to five months’ expenses saved up since they might have the benefit of lower expenses due to having roommates, living with their parents or being students.” Your college years can be an ideal time to create and build your emergency savings.

If you’re not sure how to start saving for an emergency, here’s a crash course in what to look for:

  • Prioritize your spendingneeds come before wants. If going without something could cause you physical pain or injury (like water, shelter, food, medications or proper clothing), then it’s probably a need. If you could get by without it, it’s likely a want.
  • Analyze areas of opportunityidentify ways you can save. If you cut out a $4 beverage or snack just once a week, you could save over $200 a year.
  • Save extra moneyturn birthday money into a rainy day fund. If you don’t have regular income, putting away gift money or profit you make off selling unused items can help start your emergency fund.

Getting Through Tough Financial Times is a resource developed by University of Illinois Extension to help individuals and families weather financial storms. This site provides information on spending habits, managing finances, and smart savings strategies.

Written by Sheri Williamson and Andrea Pellegrini, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center

Spotlight on Library Resources: Investing

Personal Investing cover

Personal Investing: the Missing Manual [electronic resource] by Bonnie Biafore; Carol Fabbri; Amy E. Buttell

Published by O’Reilly as a part of the Missing Manual series, Personal Investing: the Missing Manual provides step-by-step guidance on preparing to invest, choosing and buying investments, and managing investments in easily understandable, engaging, language mixed with a small dose of humor. The introduction aptly points out the investment is a necessary step in one’s personal financial journey, not a choice. It is impossible to accumulate sufficient funds for costly life events such as retirement, education, and vacations with social security and savings accounts alone, given how rates of interest compare with the rate of inflation.

Part 1 of Personal Investing: the Missing Manual focuses on setting your investment goals and cleaning up your finances so you can be better prepared to invest. Part 2 explains how investments work, including funds, stocks, bonds, real estate and investment trusts (REITs), and ends with a discussion of managing a portfolio. Part 3, on investing for retirement, education for children, and health care, may seem less relevant to college students at this point in their lives. However, it is never too early for college students to begin planning for the future as they prepare to graduate and enter the workforce. This ebook is essential for anyone with a new career or unfamiliar with key investing concepts and advice.

Note: This ebook can only be accessed on campus or off campus with your University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign NetID. If you do not have access to this ebook, please request a print copy through your local public library.

Written by Heidi Johnson, University of Illinois Library

What happens if I get declined for credit?

So, you’ve gotten declined for a credit card…Now what?

Each time you apply for credit, whether it is a credit card or a loan, it is called a “hard inquiry.” This stays on your credit report for two years. While getting declined credit will not negatively impact your credit score or history, a bank or lender will look at the number of “hard inquiries” you have; the more you have, the riskier you are. However, it is important to note that if you are looking for specific types of credit, like an auto loan or a mortgage, multiple inquiries will count as only one for credit scores.

It’s also important to understand why you were declined in the first place. Reasons can include: having too low of an income, owning too many credit cards, a record of late payments, being in collections, or having limited credit history. If you are denied credit, a lender is required to tell you why within 60 days of your application being rejected according to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

If you’re still interested in learning more about this topic, check out these resources: “Credit Inquiries: Hard Inquiries and Soft Inquiries” and “Choosing the right card and what happens to credit scores if you are declined.”

Written by Alex Ziskind & Andrea Pellegrini, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center