If you ask almost anyone to list their lifelong goals, one of them would most likely be learning a new language. But this is much easier said than done. You can take classes for years in another language, but without proper and consistent use of those skills, you'll never become fluent. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to retain information and put your new language skills to use.

1. First, determine your ultimate goal in language learning

Before you start any vocab or grammar practice, you should decide why you ultimately want to learn the language. Do you just want to be able to communicate with others on social media? Do you want to hold a conversation with a native speaker easily? Do you want to add the skill to your résumé? Do you just want to be able to read your favorite book in a new language? Whatever the reason, you should know it before you start. This will give you focus and motivation to keep learning when things get a little tough.

2. Research tools that can help you learn

Everyone has a different learning process and how you want to learn the language can change based on your personal goal. For the basics, you want an app like Duolingo. If you just want to read and write, you should focus on more vocabulary based tools like Memrise or Rosetta Stone. If you want to be able to talk with a native speaker, tools like Pimpsleur and iTalki are your best bet. You can also do freeform learning with Readlang or Google Translate. Just read articles or watch programs in your target language and look up anything you don't understand.

3. Set aside time in your schedule for practice

You can't possibly become fluent in a new language if you only practice it once every other month. However you're learning, you need to be diligent to see any progress. Many language learning apps encourage you to do lessons once every day, but just practicing a few times a week should do it. As long as you're learning consistently, you'll retain more information and be able to build on skills you've already developed.

4. Listen to your target language as much as you can

One way to passively pick up new things in the language is by listening to it. There are plenty of podcasts, songs and shows you can listen to and watch. Studies have shown that the best way to learn a new language is through immersion. However, you don't have to travel to another country to get that experience. Listen to Spanish radio in your car or put on German music in your spare time. You could also find a few YouTubers you like that speak the language you want to learn. The goal here is to understand as much as you can of what they're saying.

5. Have conversations in the new language

Especially if you want to become completely fluent in the new language, holding conversations with others is crucial. You can do this online, but you can probably find a group that meets in person near you to practice their language learning. Even if you don't have anyone to practice with, you can still talk to yourself. When you're home alone or in the shower, act out a conversation in your new language. Pretend you're asking where the train is or what a person's dog is like. This is a great, stress-free way to practice new vocabulary and grammar.

6. Ultimately, don't be afraid to make mistakes

Don't expect perfection right off the bat. It takes time to learn anything new, especially a second language. Anyway, no one really speaks English that perfectly, even native speakers. Don't be too hard on yourself or you'll get frustrated and give up. Allow yourself to make mistakes. After all, that's how you learn.


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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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