The Difference Between a Cashier’s Check and a Money Order

Though cashier’s checks and money orders share many similarities, they do have distinct differences. With that, here are some characteristics of each form of payment that separate them from each other.

A cashier’s check is sometimes called a certified check as it is certified by a bank. A money order is always called a money order. However, in this article, we will also call it a letter of credit.

Pricing

When compared in pricing, a cashier’s check cost more to attain. Some banks may charge up to $10. Also, this payment form can only be purchased from a bank.

A money order can cost you less than a dollar to be issued at many different places. It can be purchased at a bank, but may be cheaper to purchase at a convenience store or gas station. It can also be purchased at U.S. Postal Service offices, money transfer or check cashing services, and grocery stores.

Guarantor

A cashier’s check is guaranteed by a bank. The funds come from the bank, and the banker will sign the check and address it to the chosen party.

A letter of credit is guaranteed by the cash you give to have it formulated. It is addressed by you and includes your return address and name.

Stop Payment

A stop payment cannot be placed on a bank certified check. This is a good reason why many exceptional money situations will require you to bring in a certified check versus other payment forms.

Cash Total

Cashier’s checks can be purchased at high dollar amounts. Money orders can only be purchased at $1,000 or lower, but you can always buy more than one if needed.

Mama’s Little Lesson in Finance

“Every young man should have a hobby. Learning how to handle money is the best one.” –Jack Hurley

My mother was a wise woman. Educated as an elementary school teacher back when multiple classes were held in the same room, she understood how to implant a budding idea into a young person’s mind. This talent was not wasted on me. By the time I was 10 years old, she would engage me in topics of budgeting and other financial issues important to the family at the time. Most likely, she did not expect me to give her any insights, but used the opportunity to nourish in me listening and analytical skills. I can vividly recall her often telling me that while money is not the most important thing in life, it is an essential part of life that requires attention.

National polls show that two of the most important financial issues facing American families today are budgeting and investments. My mother’s introducing me to the family budget was the gateway to the investments field that would ultimately affect my life and livelihood. Not a financial expert by far, she understood the fundamental concept of the family living within its means while squirreling away a few bucks here and there as part of a rainy day investment fund.

I clearly remember one day while riding in the back of the family sedan–I was probably 5 years old–my dad saying something about the stock market. At the time, most people did not know much about stocks, but everyone had heard of successful companies like RCA and General Motors. After the Depression and WWII, most people were highly suspicious of the stock market. I innocently asked him what a stock was, but he could not give me a good answer. Years later after I had been drafted into the Army, one of my buddies casually mentioned that he owned some stocks. His comment aroused a lot of curiosity in me, but I did not ask any questions because I did not know enough to ask even a basic question.

About a month before being discharged from the Army, I was on patrol in Vietnam when my unit came out of the jungle into a clearing. For several months prior to that day, I had given much thought to what I would do with my life upon returning home. I had saved my money and knew that I

Style Budgeting – A Foolproof Budget in 15 Minutes

If you’re anything like me, making a budget is something that can be fun and miserable at the same time. It feels great to get organized and make a plan, but when it’s time to figure out how to stick to it things quickly get less exciting. Take the pain and guesswork out of your budget by using this quick and simple method to create a short-term and long-term budget you can stick to.

SPENDING RECON

Before we can figure out how and where to spend our hard-earned money, we have to get an idea of what we’re doing with it now. If you use a credit or debit card for most of your spending, this part will be quick and painless. First, get a copy of your statement showing your monthly charges from the prior 1-3 months. Now, group all of your charges into “buckets” by spending type, such as:

- Groceries
- Gas
- Utilities/TV/Phone
- Dining
- You get the idea…

Now that you’ve created spending buckets, it will be much easier to see where you may be overspending and make adjustments.

GET YOUR ORDERS

Okay, now we have an idea of where we typically spend (and overspend), so let’s figure out what you have coming up in the future that needs attention. In this step, identify all of the upcoming items that you need to have money prepared for. This can include things like:

- Vacation fund
- Emergency fund
- Vehicle maintenance – tires, brakes, etc
- Paying off debt
- Christmas present fund

These are the things that come up in everyone’s life, but most of us aren’t financially prepared and resort to credit card debt to get through. Instead, let’s plan for it so when the time comes it feels like we aren’t really losing that big chunk of cash.

PLANNING IN REVERSE

This method should be nothing new to veterans or the active-duty crowd. Everything we do is planned in reverse order so we can make some sort of deadline – this is the same thing. Take all of those items that you know you’ll need money for in the future, and divide it by the number of months or weeks between now and then. This converts that $600 worth of Christmas presents into 12 easy monthly savings plans of $50! Not as painful as seeing that credit card bill show up in January, huh?

PUTTING OUR PLAN INTO ACTION

Just like any other

Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget – Do You Live Beyond Your Means

It was not that long ago that the prospect of any major purchase, be it a new home or car or even a television set, was a major consideration for the average American. Savings, careful budgeting, and sacrifice were the name of the game. Then came credit and everything changed. Today, wanting something new is and having it is as easy as pulling out a small plastic card and worrying about the repercussions another day.

It’s a slippery slope however and habitually buying that which you cannot afford has a major psychological effect on a person who soon becomes “unable” to cut back on their style of living. We’ve all heard the term “champagne taste on a beer budget,” but how do we tell if that is the case for us?

Here are five hints to help you find out:

You Know What an Overdraft Fee Is Because You Routinely Pay It

There is really no excuse to overdraw on your bank account. If there is no money there, then don’t use it. However, if you have absolutely no idea how much money is in your bank account and/or cannot get through another billing cycle without taking the risk that there won’t be any money, it’s probable that you are living beyond your means.

You’ve Had to Skimp on Essentials

Ever eaten Ramen for a week straight because you didn’t have the money to buy food until your next paycheck? What about choosing between paying the rent and paying for your car? These items need to be the first on your list of bills and yet when people saddle themselves with too much credit card debt they are the first to go. Your living expenses need to be covered before any luxuries and if you still cannot afford them, then it’s clear you need to reevaluate your lifestyle choices including the car you drive or the place where you live.

You Cannot Remember the Last Time You Used Cash for a Purchase

If every pay check you get is already spoken for, that is, there is no cash left after all the bills are paid, then you have a problem. Not only are you failing to save for your distant future, but in the event of an emergency you are dooming yourself to just take on more credit card debt.

You Use Debt to Pay Debt

While credit card companies make it alluringly easy, using cash advance or balance transfer

Securing Your Financial Future

What Have We Learned From Madoff?

It has been a few years since the investment mogul, (Bernard Madoff), was caught in the midst of what has been stated as the largest and most elaborate Ponzi scheme to date. As a result of his demise, the world received an eye opening experience of the U.S. financial community. Now, more financial scams are finding their way into discovery because of the careful eye of the now informed consumer. Nonetheless, there are those who have not really caught on to what the signs are that indicate the possibility of a rip off.

There are underlying indications that, if they are not noticed, can lead the unaware investor down a path of great displeasure and loss. Whether you are a young investor or a soon to be retired person there are ways that financial advisers attempt to take advantage of an investor so they can earn more money. What is needed before entering into any type of agreement with a financial advisor or even an insurance agent is to ensure their credibility and their track record. Stating this means, just because someone has a series of letters behind their name does not mean they are what or who they say they are. In the case of a financial advisor, they should hold a registration with either the SEC, (Securities Exchange Commission), FINRA, (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or CFP, (Certified Financial Planner board), to name a few.

Questions to Raise

When dealing with an investment broker, advisor, or agent, how certain questions are answered can point out reasons not to work with those individuals. For instance, asking them what methods of compensation they work with, fee-based, or commission, as such if they outright refuse to discuss or even hurry through their explanation, this gives just cause to walk away immediately. The thing to keep in mind is that as an investor, you are the boss, which means, that the adviser works for you and should be completely transparent about how they are compensated for their services.

Looking into this aspect further, if they receive payments via commissions from selling products they need to prove there is no conflict of interests. What may occur is they would try to entice an investor to spend money on something that provides a higher commission for them. This is one issue when dealing with brokers or advisers that work with third party entities. It