Ted Talks Finance

SFEPD 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.

What is your financial game plan for the year?

Check out my 2024 Financial Playbook!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I purchase a stock?

There are two main ways to purchase 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, which offer you advice and can help manage your account, and discount brokerages that 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.

How do I choose an equity (stock) mutual fund?

Choosing a mutual fund can be overwhelming due to the large selection, however, you should 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 YourMoneyCounts.com.

What is a campus-based financial aid program? How much money does a college provide through campus-based financial aid programs?

A Campus-Based Program is financial aid that is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Campus-based aid consists of Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs, 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
  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.

How much debt is too much?

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

What are steps that I can take to reduce the risk of identity theft?
  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 on 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 (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at least once a year and check them carefully for accuracy.
  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.

What is considered a good credit score?

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.

What are the different types of federal loans?
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • PLUS Loans

I am an older student. Am I eligible to receive financial assistance?

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

I am interested in buying a home. How do I determine how much I can afford to spend on a house?

Monthly housing payments 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.

Ask Your Question

Do you have a question that you would like to ask SFEPD about your personal financial strategies, behaviors and resources?
16th Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference: Power Your ProsperityRegister Now
+ +