News from the Reference Desk Category: Finance

DIY Research: Financial Information

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: 

magnifying glass showing the word research
  • 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. 

  • Investopedia – Investopedia is a great general resource for news and background information, including helpful dictionary of financial terms. To get started with creating a following a budget, check out their picks for best budgeting apps for 2022
     
  • 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. 

Find more sources for financial information on the Business and Financial Research Guide. With questions about accessing any of these resources, please contact the Research Desk to request a reference appointment. 

Minding your money with library resources

There is a lot of economic news to keep track of these days. If you’ve got your mind on your money, the library has some helpful resources to put those economic indicators in perspective. 

These databases are freely available from any public computer in the library, or from home with your library card. 

Value_Line_wr_iconValueline: This investment research service creates reports on stocks and mutual funds, including their popular one-page reports.  

 

Morningstar_wr_iconMorningstar: The premier source for mutual fund information, Morningstar is known for their comprehensive star ranking system.  

 

weiss iconFinancial Ratings Series Online (Weiss): Find information about investments as well as ratings for banks, credit unions, Medigap plans, and much more.

 

The library also has a number of financial newsletters available in the Business Section. 

For more business and financial resources, visit the Business and Financial Research GuideWith questions about accessing these or any of the resources available from the library, or to schedule a reference appointment with the Business Librarian, contact the Research Desk. 

Money Smart Week goes virtual, April 10-17

Virtual Money Smart Week, April 10 through 17, 2021Virtual 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)
  • Wednesday, April 14 @ 1 p.m. 
    Tax-Related Fraud + Identity Theft (Internal Revenue Service)
  • Thursday, April 15 @ 1 p.m.
    Managing Personal Finances During Covid-19  (Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center)
  • Friday, April 16 @ noon
    Housing Protections + Resources (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
  • Saturday, April 17 @ 10:30 a.m.
    Tips for Managing Money Ups and Downs (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension)

View more details at www.moneysmartweek.org. Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised. Questions for the panelists can be submitted during the registration process.

Cook County Property Tax Bills

cartoon house surrounded by moneyCook 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.

Weiss Ratings Medigap Report

Our newest web resource is Financial Rating Series Online, “powered by Weiss Ratings and Grey House Publishing.”
Apart from bank, credit unions, and stock ratings, probably the most exciting aspect is the Weiss Ratings Medigap Report. “Build Your Own Customized Medicare Supplement Insurance Planner,” is how they subtitle it. These reports are available for people age 65 and older, though if you are younger you can still run the report to see what Medicare coverage you will get and to what extent you will need to cover your medical expenses. There are ratings in the report for a large number of insurance companies. Financial Rating Series Online is really just amazing!