US Department of Urban Housing and Development

The federal department that formulates and enforces housing policy and governs the Federal Housing Administration.

Underpayment penalty

The penalty for not paying enough total estimated tax and withholding. You can avoid underpayment penalties by paying a percentage amount of last year's tax due or of the current year's expected tax due.


When you owe more on the loan for a property or car than the asset is worth; you have a feeling of being underwater.


The process by which the lender decides if they will lend money. This decision is based on the value of the property, the borrower's credit history and any other relevant factors. It is also used to mean the process of issuing insurance policies.

Unearned income

Income which comes from interest, dividends, capital gains or rents, as opposed to earned income, such as wages, tips and salaries.

Universal default

Universal default is a policy of some lenders that allows them to punish borrowers who pay any creditor late.

Unrecorded deed

Document that transfers title to property, but which is not filed with a county recorder.

Unsecured claim

Claim or debt for which a creditor holds no special assurance of payment, unlike a mortgage or lien; a debt for which credit was extended based solely upon the creditor's assessment of the debtor's future ability to pay.

Unsecured debt

Debt that is not guaranteed by the pledge of any collateral. Most credit cards are unsecured debt, which is a main reason why their interest rate is higher than other forms of lending, such as mortgages, which employ property as collateral.

Unsecured loan

Advance of money that is not secured by collateral.

Up-front costs

Costs that must be paid at the time of signing a car lease agreement. These can include the first month's payment, a refundable security deposit, a capitalized cost reduction or down payment, taxes, registration and other fees.


Options that allow buyers of newly built houses to select higher-quality floor coverings, cabinets, windows and other amenities for more money.

Upside down

An unwanted financial position that consumers find themselves in when the outstanding balance of a loan is higher than the current fair market value of the property.


A controversial process of changing the zoning in an area, usually to allow greater density or commercial use. This term can also be used to mean the opposite: changing the zoning in a broad area to limit growth and density.

Usurious rate

An interest rate based on unlawfully high interest. Also, the act or practice of lending money at high interest.


Illegal and excessive interest.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, is a federal department that establishes and enforces the country's housing policies. The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, is part of HUD.

Underinsured driver

Underinsured driver is an optional coverage type available on auto insurance policies. Underinsured driver coverage pays the insured for any medical expenses or auto repair expenses that exceed the insurance limits on the at-fault party's policy.

Unearned interest

Unearned interest is an account on a lender's balance sheet that represents interest amounts that were collected in advance of being accrued.

Unified Managed Account - UMA

Unified managed account, or UMA, is a fee-based investment management product that includes all of the assets in an investor's portfolio, including stock positions, mutual funds, hedge funds, separate accounts, etc. A unified account makes it easier for the investor or money manager to employ a comprehensive investing strategy and maintain proper asset allocations.

Uniform Gift to Minors

Uniform Gift to Minors, also known as UGMA, is a trust that allows minors to invest in securities. Parents establish UGMAs on behalf of their children, and any funds deposited by the parents are considered irrevocable gifts. When the child reaches the age of 18 or 21 (depending on the state), he receives full control of the assets in the account.

Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

Uniform Premarital Agreement Act is state legislation that gives the parties to a premarital contract the option to choose the state that will have jurisdiction over the premarital contract. The state can be one in which either party lives or plans to live. It can also be the state in which the couple is to be married. Not all states have passed the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which limits the legislation's effectiveness somewhat.

Uniform Transfer to Minors Act - UTMA

Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, or UTMA, is legislation that allows parents to establish a trust account for their children. The trust account can invest in securities, as well as real estate, patents, royalties, and fine art on behalf of a minor child. Assets deposited to the account are subject to gift taxation laws. When the child reaches the age of 18 or 21 (depending on the state), she receives full control of the assets in the account.

Uninsured driver or motorist

Uninsured driver or motorist is an optional coverage type available on an auto insurance policy. Uninsured driver or motorist coverage pays the insured for injuries or damages that result from being hit by another driver who doesn't have auto insurance.

Universal life insurance

Universal life insurance is an insurance contract that remains in force for the insured's lifetime, pays a benefit to designated beneficiaries upon the insured's death, and builds a cash value over time. A portion of the premium goes towards the death payment, and a portion is directed into yield-generating investments. The insured has the ability to transfer funds between the two parts of the policy, such as using investment earnings to pay premiums.

Unpaid dividend

Unpaid dividend is a profit distribution to owners that has been declared but not yet remitted.

Unscheduled recast

Unscheduled recast is a recalculation of payments due on a loan that's triggered by something other than the passing of time since funding. Unscheduled recasts are usually triggered by certain events, which would be specified in the loan documentation. Negative amortization mortgages are subject to unscheduled recasts; when the balance reaches an upper limit on the negative amortization, a recast is triggered. In this case, the recast will increase the payment amount substantially.


Unsecured describes a loan that's not supported by collateral. Unsecured debt is riskier for the lender, because there's little recourse available if the borrower doesn't repay as promised. A traditional credit card is unsecured.

Unsecured personal loan

An unsecured personal loan is a debt obligation that's made based on the integrity and credit history of the borrower; no collateral is taken by the lender. Generally, an unsecured personal loan is structured with a fixed-rate and fixed payment amount. The funds can be used for business start-up, debt consolidation, or even college tuition.

Usage data

Usage data is information related to how a customer navigates through the pages of a website. This data can be used to improve the information flow on the website, and to help advertisers understand how their ad is being shown.

Use tax

Use tax is an assessment placed on goods purchased in another state where no sales tax is charged. If an individual purchases an item outside of his residence state and doesn't pay sales tax, that person's home state may charge a use tax if the item is going to be used in the home state. The use tax rate is generally equivalent to the home state's sales tax rate.

Useful life

Useful life refers to the length of time in years that a depreciable asset will be productive. The IRS defines useful lives for most business assets, including computers and vehicles. The useful life determines how the asset is depreciated, which in turn affects the business's taxable income.