REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the Money Insider
interactive financial guide (http://www.moneyinsider.MSN.com/) , a unique new Microsoft® Internet product that gives consumers the tools and information to make smart financial decisions more easily.
“With Money Insider, we wanted consumers to have access to information that is both compelling and relevant to their lifelong financial needs and goals,” said Lewis Levin, vice president of the desktop finance division at Microsoft. “Every week, Money Insider provides fresh editorial material written by leading personal finance writers and journalists. The editorial content, combined with data-rich resources and interactive tools, allows consumers to personalize the information they’ve learned and apply it in real life.”
What Consumers Are Asking For
The complexities of money management have grown exponentially in recent times, even as the stakes for individuals have gotten higher. Consumers are barraged with information on investment options, insurance products, credit card offers and a myriad of other money-related opportunities, and usually there’s no one to help them make sense of it all.
The mission of Money Insider is to bring essential information to consumers, present it in easy-to-understand terms and break down tough decisions into easy, step-by-step tasks. The site is organized into topic areas that focus on three main goals:
Taking Charge. This section helps consumers take the first step in getting a grip on their finances – figuring out where their money is going and where it could or should be going. Consumers will find articles such as “How Much Risk is Right” and great tools such as a debt ratio calculator and a risk tolerance quiz. Topics in this section include saving, investing, credit and taxes.
Living Well. Here, consumers will find new ways to think about time and money that will help them make big decisions confidently, such as buying a home or planning for college tuition. Calculators help consumers compare buying vs. renting, the money value of their time and the true advantage of having a second income. Topics in this section include home ownership, tuition and travel.
Looking Ahead. This section focuses on helping users build a secure future with articles such as “How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?” and “Can You Retire Early?” Consumers also will find useful tools such as a life insurance calculator and retirement expenses calculator. Topics in this section include insurance, retirement and estate planning.
From the Experts
One of the key strengths of Money Insider is its editorial panel of expert journalists, authors and industry professionals. Consumers will recognize the sage reporting of Mary Rowland, former columnist of The New York Times and frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC personal finance correspondent Ginger Applegarth. Other noted columnists include Jeff Schnepper, author of “How to Pay Zero Taxes” and several other books on finance and taxation, and Adriane G. Berg, author of 22 books including “Your Wealth Building Years” and “Financial Planning for Couples.”
A Wealth of Special Resources and Features
Money Insider also provides a variety of resources, data and access to experts that help consumers scope out their options and make informed decisions:
Up-to-date rate information – Consumers who are shopping around for the best rates on loans, credit cards and savings instruments will find a listing of rates on products from more than 2,500 banks on Money Insider. Rate information is supplied and updated daily by Bank Rate Monitor.
Professional financial advisors – Consumers needing help in achieving their short-and long-term financial goals can search the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) member database, which includes more than 625 fee-based financial advisors. “Through Money Insider, consumers can search for financial advisors by geographic location,” said Mark Spangler, NAPFA chairman.
Answer Guide – an extensive database that provides answers to consumers’ most frequently asked personal finance questions such as “Is mortgage interest on a second home deductible?” Users can browse through a list of topics or do a full-text search.
Article database – an archive of more than 100 articles covering the 10 topic areas that most interest consumers, including estate planning, insurance, taxes, credit, college tuition, home ownership, retirement, saving, investing and travel.
– an online forum for consumers to get answers to their specific personal finance questions. Money Insider columnists and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors financial planners take turns answering over 100 questions a week on specific financial topics.
Reality Check – profiles of actual financial problems and plans of families, couples and individuals across America.
Financial Fitness Quiz
From Oct. 17 to Dec. 31, consumers can participate in the Money Insider Financial Fitness Quiz. Each Friday during this period, a personal finance question will be posted on the site. Visitors will be able to find the correct answer to the question within the Answer Guide, and then send their answers to Microsoft through the Internet. Detailed contest rules can be found on the Web site.
In a weekly random drawing, Microsoft will select a winner from the list of people who answered that week’s question correctly to win a copy of Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite. Anyone who submitted a correct answer to any of the questions during the contest will be eligible for the grand prize drawing: a financial-planning session valued at $500 with a certified local financial planner.
Money Is Where It’s At
Consumers who obtain Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite financial planning software may enjoy special privileges with Money Insider, including the latest headlines each time they access Money Insider. Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite is available in retail stores around the country.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft and Money Insider are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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