Ask Ted?

SFE&PD Founder and President Ted Daniels is a global financial educator often called upon for his personal financial management expertise. Ted Daniels serves as a regular contributor to national publications and as a media commentator on financial literacy issues.

There are two main ways to purchase a stock, by using a stock brokerage firm and DRIPS & DIPS. The most common method is to use a brokerage. There are two types of brokerages—full service brokerages, that offer you advice and can help manage your account, and discount brokerages which are cheaper, but do not offer consultation and management services. The internet offers many discount brokers, making the costs lower and buying and trading stocks simple.

Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPS) and direct plans (DIPS) are plans that individual companies use, for a minimal cost, to allow shareholders to purchase stocks directly from the company.

Choosing a mutual fund can be overwhelming due to the large selection, however, you should generally stick to these 4 simple rules when choosing one:

  • No sales charges (front loads, contingent deferred sales loads, level loads)
  • A low expense ratio (below 1.00%)
  • Low turnover portfolio, no higher than 50% a year, and preferably closer to 20%
  • Full investment policy. Cash reserves of nearly 0%.

For more information on mutual funds, please visit

Refer to the following link for the eligibility, interest rate, fee, loan amount, and repayment differences between a Federal Stafford Loan and a Private Loan.

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Campus Based Programs is aid that is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Campus based aid consist of Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins Loan programs. Not all schools participate in all three programs. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out which programs they participate in.

The amount of aid you receive depends on (1) your financial need, (2) the amount of other aid you receive, and on (3) the availability of funds at your college. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards are made from that program for that year. Make sure you apply for these campus based programs as early as possible.

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness
  • Teacher Loan Cancellation
  • Total and Permanent Disability Loan (TPD)
  • Federal Government Student Loan Repayment Plan
  • Child Care Provider Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Other Loan Discharge Provisions

If your total monthly debt payments, excluding rent and mortgage, exceeds 20 % of net take home pay you have too much debt.

  1. Keep your Social Security card in a secure place and give out the number only when necessary. Ask to use other identifiers whenever possible.
  2. Guard your purse or wallet. Never put either one down unless your hand is connected to it.
  3. Limit the number of checks and debit / credit cards you carry to only what you will actually need.
  4. Check credit card and bank statements carefully for unauthorized charges.
  5. Close credit card accounts you don’t use on a regular basis.
  6. Shred all documents containing personal information — especially pre-approved credit card offers — with a cross-cut shredder.
  7. Before revealing any identifying information, ask how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others.
  8. Order copies of your free credit reports from the three credit bureaus at least once a year and check them carefully for accuracy. (See numbers on the left sidebar)
  9. Place passwords on credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information such as mother’s maiden name, birth date, phone number, etc. Instead use an eight-character combination of letters and numbers.
  10. Use a locked mailbox or a post office box to send/receive mail.

Source: Parker Associates: Business & Career Coaching. Top 10 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft. August 2004.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Vantage scores, 501 to 990. Vantage Scores:

  • A: 901-990
  • B: 801-900
  • C: 701-800
  • D: 601-700
  • F: 501-600

With most credit scoring systems the higher the number, the better. Generally, a score of 720 and above is a good one.

  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • PLUS Loans

Age is not a factor in determining eligibility for the Federal Student Aid programs

Monthly housing payment should not exceed 28% of a borrower’s gross income. For example, with a monthly income of $3,000, the 28% limit would allow a monthly housing payment of $840.

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