Personal finance glossary.

Finance Glossary

Financial terms and jargon can be awfully intimidating! Our Personal Finance Glossary should be helpful in putting this finance lingo into simple, everyday language.

Account: An arrangement at a financial institution for depositing, withdrawing, borrowing or investing money.

Account Statement:  A record of transactions in an account at a financial institution, usually provided each month.

Annual Fee:  A yearly charge or membership fee that credit card companies levy for the right to use or carry their credit card. This amount is payable whether the card is actually used or not.

Asset:  Any possession or property that has value in an exchange.

Budget:  A description of a spending and savings financial plan that lists the estimates of income and expenditures for a stated period of time.

Cash Advance:  A cash advance (sometimes called a payday loan) provides a small, unsecured, short-term cash advance that is usually repaid on the borrower’s next payday.

Cash Flow:  The amount of money coming into a household (in the form of wages, investment earnings, etc.) minus the amount going out (via debts and expenses). A positive cash flow indicates that there is more money coming into a household than being spent.

Credit:  A contractual agreement in which a borrower receives something of value now and agrees to repay the lender at a later date.

Credit Score:  A measure of credit risk calculated from a credit report using a standardized formula. Factors that can damage a credit score include late payments, absence of credit references, and unfavorable credit card use.

Debit Card:  A plastic payment card that's linked to a chequing, savings or pre-paid cash account. As the card is presented for a transaction, it is approved for payment and the transaction amount is almost immediately deducted from the account balance.

Debt:  An amount owed to a person or organization for funds borrowed.

Debt-to-Income Ratio:   A comparison of the total amount of money someone owes in relation to their total income. This ratio is a good indicator of whether someone can afford to borrow more money. In general, lowering your debt-to-income ratio can raise your credit score and help you lower your interest rate.

Direct Deposit:  An electronic transfer of funds into a bank or credit union account.

Fixed Expenses:  Cash obligations that remain the same every month (some examples include rent or mortgage, car insurance or auto payments, student loans, etc.).

Financial Literacy:  The ability to read and understand financial concepts along with the capability to discern financial choices that affect material well-being.

Financial Plan:  A written outline of financial goals and action steps required to achieve those outcomes (examples of goals include: setting up a retirement account, funding children’s education or saving cash reserved for emergencies).

Gross Income:  Total income before adjustments, deductions or exemptions.

Income:  Money you receive from work, business, investments, etc.

Interest:  Additional money paid by a borrower to the lender for the use of the loan amount.

Late Charge/Late Fee:  Charges/fees from the lender when the borrower fails to make timely payment.

Loan:  An arrangement where money or property is borrowed, in which the borrower agrees to repay the money on a specified schedule or return the property, usually with interest.

Net Income:  The amount of your income left after taxes have been deducted.

Non-Sufficient Fund Fees:  Returned or "bounced" cheque fees (also called non-sufficient funds fees) are charged to an account holder when the bank returns a cheque unpaid because there was not enough money in the chequing account to cover the cheque amount.

Prepaid Debit Card:  A card where which cash is paid in advance and the balance declines as you make purchases or withdrawals.

Variable Expenses:  Cash obligations that vary from month to month (examples include: dining out, entertainment, gas, shopping and travel).

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