6 Ways Financial Reform Will ChangeYour Personal Finances

New rules will affect everything from credit scores and student loans to whether you use credit or debit cards to pay for your morning cup of coffee.

After months of bitter debate and a Congressional all-nighter to hammer out a final agreement, President Obama signed legislation that overhauls financial regulation. Here's how the measure will affect your family finances in ways big and small.

A new consumer watchdog will be looking out for you. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will regulate financial products and services, including mortgages, credit cards, student loans and debt collection. It may sound like just another government bureaucracy. But an agency focused on consumers is a big deal because existing financial regulators, scattered among a half-dozen agencies, have traditionally been focused more on the institutions they regulate than on the well-being of their customers.

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Anne Kates Smith
Executive Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Anne Kates Smith brings Wall Street to Main Street, with decades of experience covering investments and personal finance for real people trying to navigate fast-changing markets, preserve financial security or plan for the future. She oversees the magazine's investing coverage,  authors Kiplinger’s biannual stock-market outlooks and writes the "Your Mind and Your Money" column, a take on behavioral finance and how investors can get out of their own way. Smith began her journalism career as a writer and columnist for USA Today. Prior to joining Kiplinger, she was a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist for TheStreet. Smith is a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., the third-oldest college in America.