For many reasons, the end of the year is a common time to make charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations. Some are inspired to participate in Giving Tuesday, while others are thinking ahead to their tax returns. Whatever your reason for getting caught up in the spirit of generosity, there are free resources available to help you make informed decisions about the organizations you choose to support:
April is Financial Literacy Month and a great time to get your financial affairs in order. Clear, accurate information is of utmost importance when making financial decisions such as working to improve your credit score, taking out a loan, investing your savings, planning for college or selecting a bank to open a checking account. Be sure to find recommendations and ratings from trusted sources.
The library offers online access to some key financial resources. Access to these resources is available in the library or at home with your library card number and PIN:
Weiss Financial Ratings – Find ratings for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, or even Medigap plans. Get help with topics such as managing debt, creating a budget, buying a car, calculating the cost of college and more with Weiss Financial Literacy Basics eBooks (click on “Financial Literacy Basics.”)
Morningstar – Morningstar provides information on stocks and mutual funds for potential investors and researchers, including access to popular investor newsletters
Value Line – Used by financial professionals and individual investors, this investment research service offers detailed reports on individual stocks and mutual funds.
There are also some great freely available sources for financial information. With these non-library sites, be on the look-out for embedded advertising, also called “sponsored content” or “native advertising.” Clicking through those links will bring you to a commercial site whose purpose is not to inform but to sell products.
FINRA – As the regulating body for the financial industry, FINRA offers resources to educate investors and advocate for market integrity. Get help with calculating retirement savings or estimated loan payments with tools and calculators or find background information about a financial professional or firm through Broker Check.
Nerdwallet– This popular personal finance site offers articles, “best of” lists and guides to assist in navigating financial decisions. On commercial sites like this that offer recommendations for specific products, it’s a good idea to check the editorial guidelines to learn more about how they arrive at their suggestions and ratings.
Virtual Money Smart Week 2021 will be held Saturday, April 10 – Saturday, April 17 . This week-long free virtual campaign aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s line-up includes:
Saturday, April 10 @ 10 a.m. Talking Cents (The University of Chicago Financial Education Initiative)
Sunday, April 11 @ 10 a.m. Savings: A Little Can Make a Big Difference (FINRA Investor Education Foundation)
Monday, April 12 @ noon Bank On It: Finding Safe + Affordable Bank Accounts (The Economic Awareness Council)
Tuesday, April 13 @ 12:30 p.m.
Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans (U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid)
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently announced that the second installment payment of property taxes is due August 3 but because of the pandemic, Cook County residents can pay without charge through October 1. Partial payments are accepted. Property owners can pay online at the Treasurer’s website. They can also search for refunds and verify tax exemptions there. To check for information about your property simply enter your address; a Property Identification Number is not required. Any balance due after October 1 will be charged 1.5% per month as required by law.