18 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Federal Reserve System

1. The Federal Reserve System is the United States’ version of a central bank. Central banks, also known as reserve banks, are the entities responsible for the monetary policy of a country. The United States has not always had a central banking system. In fact, three separate central banks have operated in the United States at one time or another since 1791.

2. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was a

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Money Slang: Tired of “Money”? Here’s 101 Alternatives.

In 1737, Benjamin Franklin published The Drinker’s Dictionary, a long list of over 200 alternative terms and phrases for being drunk.

As far as I know, old Ben never published a similar list of synonyms for money – which I find to be curious considering that Ben is one of America’s first and most-quoted personal finance experts.

With that in mind, I thought I would challenge myself to put together a fun

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Paying Off the Mortgage Early? Not So Fast…

In January 2009 I wrote one of my most popular posts to-date entitled Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Is A No-Brainer. In that post I did a detailed analysis that justified why paying down my mortgage was the right thing to do.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Of course, that was before all of the corporate and homeowner bailouts approved by Congress.

That was also before President Obama decided to go

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Inflation: How China May Be Forced To Use The Nuclear Option

It’s Inflation Week at Len Penzo dot Com. Follow me over the next several days as I explore the multiple facets and facts about this insidious scourge, the probability of its resurgence, its potential impacts on us, and strategies for protecting yourself and your personal finances. Hey, it’s not as fun as Shark Week at the Discovery Channel, but it’s almost as scary!

Raising taxes to pay for

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Inflation: Your Four Best Defenses For Preserving Your Wealth

I kicked off this series on inflation with a warning about why all of us should fear inflation and why the US government needs it to take root in our economy. But I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Forbes posted an excellent article on the coming cash tsunami that is destined to strike as the United States Treasury printing presses work overtime to cover the multi-trillion dollar budget deficit

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Inflation: Why You Should Fear It, And Why The US Wants It

Ronald Reagan accurately warned us in 1984 to be vigilant against inflation because it can come, “like a thief in the night to rob our savings, rob our earnings, and take the bread off our tables.”

For this reason, the government is usually on guard against the threat of inflation.   In the simplest terms, this is normally done by controlling the amount of money in circulation.  It’s really a matter

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Is It Finally Time to Get Rid of the Penny?

A while back I moved into a new office at work. When I looked in the desk, I found 162 pennies in one of the drawers. I can only assume that the previous owner used the desk as his chosen repository for all the pennies he received in change whenever he went out for lunch.

I can’t really blame the guy who did that. In fact, I think pennies are an

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A Layman’s Guide to Mortgage Application Junk Fees

As many of you know, I recently refinanced my mortgage for the fourth time in ten years.  Since then I have become familiar with that eternal mortgage loan enigma better known as the junk fee.  I always challenge the more questionable junk fees and never take them for granted. You should too.

Junk fees refer to lender or loan broker fees charged to cover company overhead.  Lenders use a variety

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What Girl Scout Cookies Can Teach Us About Mortgages

I love this time of year. The Girl Scouts are out there selling their cookies, and every year I spend at least 15 minutes agonizing between Thin Mints, Lemon Cremes, Do-Si-Dos and Samoas before usually deciding to get ‘em all. With mortgage rates so low, it’s also refinance time.  So why is it that many of you will spend less time reading and signing your loan

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Using a HELOC as an Alternative to Refinancing

Recently I was talking with a buddy of mine, who happens to be a higher-echelon employee for a major bank, about my desire to refinance into a longer-term home loan in order to provide me with additional financial flexibility in the event I ever lost my job.

Eventually, our conversation migrated over to when people want to remortgage with bad credit and then on to the case of my mother-in-law.   I wanted

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