Refers to a credit rating (not roadside assistance), and it tells you if a company, a state or local government, or even a country is likely to repay its debts. The grades help you decide if you want to take your hard-earned cash and invest in those places. The AAA is the best grade there is and it goes down from there, AAA-, AA+, AA, AA-, A . . . you get the point. Anything with a BB+ grade and below is so risky that it’s actually called “junk.” But this can sometimes be a good thing—“the higher the risk, the greater the reward.” In finance it might be good to have a little junk in the trunk. These grades help you make the choice to play it safe or take a gamble.

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