emergency funds http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/20120/all en-US How to Earn Money With Your Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-money-with-your-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-earn-money-with-your-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_with_a_piggy_bank_0.jpg" alt="Young woman with a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life is full of unexpected and often unpleasant financial surprises. That's why it's so important to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund provides you the cash to cover everything from a blown water heater to a leaky roof to a bout of unemployment. Ideally, you should have enough dollars in your emergency fund to cover three to six months' worth of daily living expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <p>There's one problem with an emergency fund, though: You need your funds to be liquid so you can quickly get at your dollars when you need them. You also need your fund to be safe and stable. You don't want a blip in the stock market to drain those emergency funds.</p> <p>Because of this, you'll most likely stow your emergency fund in a savings account that pays out a tiny amount of interest. This is unfortunate; it'd be nice if the cash sitting in your emergency account was actually earning some money of its own.</p> <p>Here's a bit of good news: There are two good options for people who want to earn money from their emergency funds. The key, though, is to remember that the primary goal of your emergency fund is to act as a financial safety net. Earning a higher amount of interest is a secondary goal.</p> <h2>The problem with traditional savings accounts</h2> <p>If your emergency fund dollars are sitting in a traditional savings account, they're probably not earning much interest at all. Most banks today pay about .05 percent interest on their savings accounts. This is tiny.</p> <p>To put it in perspective: If you have $20,000 in your emergency fund, at 0.05 percent interest, that amount would grow to just $20,010. That's right, that .05 percent interest rate would earn you $10 in one year. Hardly inspiring.</p> <h2>Try a high-yield savings account</h2> <p>A better option might be to hunt for a bank offering what is known as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal" target="_blank">high-yield savings account</a>. As the name suggests, such accounts offer higher interest rates.</p> <p>The rates with these accounts still aren't particularly impressive. Most high-yield savings accounts come with interest rates of about 1 percent. That won't make you rich, but it is better than .05 percent. A high-yield savings account also meets the main requirement of an emergency fund &mdash; it's not volatile.</p> <p>Just be careful to read the rules of your high-yield savings account. Some might require a minimum balance. If your balance drops below this figure, you might get hit with a fee, cutting into your savings. Make sure, too, that the money in your high-yield account is truly liquid. You want to be able to access it quickly whenever you need it.</p> <h2>Short-term bond funds</h2> <p>Another option is to invest your emergency fund in a short-term bond fund. The benefit of these funds is that they are far less risky than traditional mutual funds or stocks. At the same time, they enjoy much better annual returns than you'd be able to get by leaving your emergency fund in a savings account. You can find short-term bond funds offered by investment companies such as Fidelity and Vanguard.</p> <p>These funds are also liquid. You can withdraw dollars from them whenever you'd like, which is ideal for an emergency fund.</p> <p>Annualized returns will vary, but you can expect your money to earn from 1.7 percent to 3.6 percent every year, according to a recent analysis from Investopedia. Again, this is a much better return than what you'd get from that interest rate of .05 percent with a traditional savings account.</p> <p>There is some risk, though, even with short-term bond funds. Again, your annual returns might fluctuate. If you want more certainty with your emergency fund, stashing your dollars in a savings account might be a better choice for you.</p> <p>No matter where you invest your emergency fund money, remember that stability and quick access remain the keys. Safety matters the most with an emergency fund. Sure, you'd have the potential to earn much more on your emergency fund if this money were invested in a mutual fund, but you'd also have the potential to lose this money. Don't let your quest for more earned interest lead you to investment options that are too risky for an emergency fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-money-with-your-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt">How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-excuses-for-not-saving-money">6 Common Excuses for Not Saving Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking emergency funds interest rates liquidity savings accounts short term bond funds yields Thu, 19 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2038280 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0 http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_jar_of_cash.jpg" alt="Woman with jar of cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Needing an emergency fund when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck feels like a classic Catch-22: You need a savings cushion to protect yourself in case of an emergency, but you don't make enough money to create that cushion before the next emergency strikes. It's enough to make you want to throw your hands in the air and give up.</p> <p>But it <em>is</em> possible to quickly build an emergency fund from zero, even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Here are several ways you can fill up your emergency fund fast so that you are prepared before the next disaster hits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start a coin jar</h2> <p>Throwing change in a jar is the oldest trick in the book for creating a robust savings account, but it's a classic for a reason. Spare change and random dollar bills don't feel like &quot;real money&quot; to us, but they do add up quickly. Go on a treasure hunt through your purse/wallet, your house, your car, and your desk to locate all the spare change you can scare up. Even if the amount isn't huge, it's a great start that can go directly into your emergency fund at the end of the month. (It's also a great opportunity to do some deep cleaning.)</p> <h2>2. Adjust your withholding</h2> <p>In 2017, the average American received a tax refund of $3,050. That's over $250 per month that's taking a trip to the IRS and back. Just imagine how quickly you could build up your emergency fund if that extra money was still in your paycheck each month. Doing so is as easy as adjusting your withholding allowances on your W-4 form with your employer.</p> <p>To do this, first use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS withholding calculator</a> to determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Remember that the withholding allowances you claim do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate.</p> <p>Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W-4 form from your employer's human resources department. It can take about a month for the new paperwork to make a difference in your paychecks, although it could happen as quickly as your next pay cycle, depending on your HR department.</p> <p>While you're at it, set up an automatic transfer of the extra money into your emergency fund so that you are not tempted to spend it.</p> <h2>3. Sell your stuff</h2> <p>When an emergency strikes, it can become clear that some of the stuff you own may be less important than you think. Instead of waiting for an emergency to realize that you don't truly need two gaming systems or 18 pairs of shoes, start looking at your stuff as if the emergency has already occurred. That will help you better understand which items are truly important to your well-being, and which you could stand to live without.</p> <p>The good news is that if you are selling stuff to fill your emergency fund, you have time to get the best prices for your items. From online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook, to local consignment shops and yard sales, there are a myriad ways to reduce your clutter while increasing your bank account.</p> <p>Set yourself a goal of selling at least one item per week and depositing the money into your emergency fund. The additional money will help your emergency fund grow quickly.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate your bills</h2> <p>You might feel reluctant to negotiate with your service providers, but taking the time to call and ask for a better price can result in savings that range from modest to impressive. No matter how much or little you save, you can immediately set up an automatic transfer of the difference into your emergency fund, which will help it to grow more quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-costs-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Costs You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>There are a few service providers that are open to negotiating with their customers.</p> <h3>Cable and internet providers</h3> <p>These companies are generally eager to give price breaks to their customers in order to keep them. The best way to get a better price from your cable/internet provider is to research the lowest going rates in your area &mdash; either the price your provider is offering to new subscribers or the rates offered by the competition &mdash; and use that price as leverage in your negotiation. When you call, ask to speak to the retention/cancellation department, since that staff generally has the most authority to make deals in order to keep you.</p> <h3>Cellphone service providers</h3> <p>Cellphone companies can also offer some wiggle room in their pricing, although timing is important. You are more likely to successfully <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill" target="_blank">reduce your cellphone bill</a> if you negotiate toward the end of your contract when your provider is desperate to hold onto you. Remind your provider of your loyalty, since it costs cellphone providers much more money to gain new customers than it does to retain existing ones, and be willing to actually cancel and defect to a different provider, since having some teeth behind your threat to cancel will give you the upper hand in negotiation.</p> <h3>Landlords</h3> <p>Though it may seem set in stone, your rent payment may also be negotiable, especially if you are a reliable tenant and you have plans to stay put for some time. You can request a longer-term lease in exchange for a lower monthly rental payment, which can be a win-win for you and your landlord.</p> <h2>5. Go on a monthlong spending ban</h2> <p>When you need to fill up your emergency fund in a hurry, a spending ban can help you find the money you need. A spending ban is a period anywhere from one week to one year wherein you refrain from all spending, other than for necessities. Going on a monthlong spending ban can help you to free up money in your budget to pad your emergency fund without otherwise affecting your bottom line.</p> <p>Here's how it would work: Decide at the beginning of the month what your absolute necessities are. These will include your rent/mortgage, utilities, credit card bill, car payment and gas, child care, food, and health care. For the month you are taking part in the spending ban, you will live without anything above and beyond those necessities.</p> <p>The one caveat to a spending ban is recognizing that it can be easy to jump right back into your old spending habits as soon as it is over (or alternately, have a &quot;last hurrah&quot; spending binge before it starts). Don't let your spending ban give you permission to overspend before or after the month.</p> <p>At the end of your spending ban month, your extra money can go into your emergency fund, and you can feel more comfortable with your finances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a>)</p> <h2>6. Hide money from yourself</h2> <p>There is something to the adage &quot;Out of sight, out of mind.&quot; You are much less likely to spend money if you don't know it's there &mdash; just as you are less likely to crave ice cream if you don't know there's a pint of Ben &amp; Jerry's in the freezer.</p> <p>That's why you can help pad your emergency fund by hiding money from yourself through creative accounting. To do this, simply subtract $100 from your account register for your checking account. You won't know the $100 is there, so you'll spend as if you were $100 poorer. But the money is still there, and at the end of the month (or several months), you can put all of your phantom savings into your emergency fund.</p> <p>This method may not work for all savers, however. Anyone who does not bother with an account register will not be fooled by this kind of mental trickery.</p> <h2>7. Hustle</h2> <p>Finding a way to make a little extra money on the side can be one of the fastest ways to build up an emergency fund. While traditional part-time jobs are always an option, modern technology has also made it possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash" target="_blank">find a side hustle</a> with flexible hours or one that allows you to work from home.</p> <p>Since your hustle money is over-and-above your normal paycheck, it can help you bring your emergency fund from zero to impressive as quickly as you are willing to hustle.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Easy%2520Ways%2520to%2520Build%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund%2520From%2520%25240.jpg&amp;description=7%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Build%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20From%20%240"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Build%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20From%20%240.jpg" alt="7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income bills change jars emergency funds paycheck to paycheck saving money selling stuff spending bans taxes withholdings Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2035542 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Good Credit Doesn't Mean You Have Good Money Habits http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad_woman_looking_at_wallet_money_dollars_flying_away.jpg" alt="Sad woman looking at wallet money dollars flying away" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is great. You have no trouble qualifying for auto or mortgage loans. Credit card providers stuff your mailbox with offers for rewards-laden cards. You're obviously practicing good money habits, right?</p> <p>Not necessarily. It is possible to have a high credit score while still struggling with bad financial habits. Don't let your solid score blind you to these key money mistakes that could cause you financial pain.</p> <h2>Carrying a balance on your credit card</h2> <p>If you charge items on your credit cards each month and make at least your minimum required monthly payments, that will boost your credit score. And if you have high enough credit limits, carrying a moderate balance on your credit cards each month won't drag your score down too much.</p> <p>But carrying a balance on a credit card, even if it isn't preventing you from having a high credit score, is a big financial mistake. It's not unusual for cards to come with interest rates of 17 percent, 18 percent, or even 20 percent. If you carry a balance on your cards from month to month, those high rates can cause your credit card debt to soar.</p> <p>The better move? Only charge what you can afford to pay back in full each month. That will help maintain your good credit score without leaving you with an ever-growing pile of credit card debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>You're not saving anything</h2> <p>Maybe you pay all of your bills on time. Maybe you don't have any credit card debt at all. But if you don't have any savings, that's not a good financial sign.</p> <p>How much you've saved, or haven't saved, doesn't impact your credit score. Whether you have $20,000 in a savings account or $100, your credit score won't budge either way. It's important to have a strong credit score <em>and</em> to pay your bills on time, of course. But not having any money leftover to build a savings is a bad money move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn't Growing</a>)</p> <h2>You've never built an emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund is a bit like having savings; only with this kind of fund, you're saving money, usually in a low-risk savings account, specifically to cover unexpected financial emergencies. That way, if you suddenly must shell out thousands of dollars to repair your car, you won't have to resort to charging this expense on a credit card. You can take the funds out of your emergency fund instead.</p> <p>Also like savings, you can have a high credit score and no emergency fund. Having a high credit score is no excuse for not building this financial safety net. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-emergency-fund-and-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Balance Saving for Retirement, Emergency Fund, and Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>You're way behind on saving for retirement</h2> <p>It's possible to enter your golden years with a stellar credit score but no money saved for retirement. That's because the amount of money you've socked away in an IRA or 401(k) plan is not factored into your credit score.</p> <p>Don't let your strong credit score, and your easy access to loans and strong credit cards, blind you to the fact that you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" target="_blank">not saving enough for retirement</a>. It's nice to have a good credit score after you've left the working world, but that score won't mean much if you can't afford to pay your bills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>You're struggling to pay the bills each month</h2> <p>You might never miss a utility bill, mortgage payment, or auto payment. But what if covering these bills each month is a constant financial struggle? What if you never have enough money left over to invest or deposit into an emergency or retirement fund? Your credit score won't suffer, but your financial health is a different story. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a>)</p> <p>Again, it's easy to let a high credit score trick you into thinking you're in solid financial shape. But if paying the bills is a tightrope act each month, your high credit score is merely hiding deeper financial problems. One unexpected financial hiccup &mdash; such as a blown hot water heater or leaking roof &mdash; could suddenly set you back. And then you might not be able to cover every bill when the due dates arrive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <p>The key is to focus on both increasing your savings while continuing to take the steps that have led you to a solid credit score. Cut back on your optional spending to start building savings and an emergency fund. Open a 401(k) plan or an IRA to start saving for retirement. Even saving a little each month is better than doing nothing.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyour-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYour%2520Good%2520Credit%2520Doesn%2527t%2520Mean%2520You%2520Have%2520Good%2520Money%2520Habits.jpg&amp;description=Your%20Good%20Credit%20Doesn't%20Mean%20You%20Have%20Good%20Money%20Habits"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Your%20Good%20Credit%20Doesn%27t%20Mean%20You%20Have%20Good%20Money%20Habits.jpg" alt="Your Good Credit Doesn't Mean You Have Good Money Habits" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt emergency funds financial health good credit score high credit score paycheck to paycheck paying bills retirement savings Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2031776 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_and_daughter_with_piggybank.jpg" alt="Father and daughter with piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are used to hearing all kinds of terrible sky-is-falling news about how regular Americans are getting into debt, failing to plan for the future, and generally falling down on the job of managing their money. But the media rarely reports on the good financial behavior exhibited by Americans, even when there is plenty of great news to cheer about.</p> <p>So before we all assume that Americans are clueless about financial matters, consider the following money skills that we are excelling at:</p> <h2>76 percent of Americans have money set aside for an emergency</h2> <p>You may recall the grim reports just before the 2008 crash that showed Americans had the lowest personal savings rate since the Great Depression. According to The New York Times, as of 2006 the savings rate for the year &quot;was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to pay for purchases.&quot;</p> <p>Americans have since learned their lesson about being ready for an emergency. Bankrate's June Financial Security Index survey found that a full 76 percent of American adults have some money set aside for an emergency like a layoff or a huge medical bill. In addition, 31 percent have built enough of a savings cushion to handle six months of unemployment.</p> <p>And rather than having negative savings, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has found that the personal savings rate of Americans has gone from negative 1 percent up to 5.5 percent as of November 2016. That means that for every $100 Americans are earning, they are putting aside $5.50 toward savings.</p> <p>Not only is this higher savings rate great news for the individual households that may need to rely on their emergency funds in a financial crisis, but the economy as a whole also does better when citizens have savings to fall back on. That's because private savings today mean less government expenditure on social safety net programs tomorrow &mdash; and citizens who save will ultimately have money available to invest since they will not be stuck in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Life Is Amazing With an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>Manage your savings rate better</h3> <p>Whether you are among the top savers or are just starting your savings journey, remember that even increasing your savings rate by 1 percent now can make a big difference in your emergency fund or retirement account. Just remember to revisit that savings rate quarterly or twice a year to make sure you're maximizing the money you can set aside.</p> <h2>59 percent of Americans enjoy saving money</h2> <p>Generally, when you think of enjoying your money, you might imagine the pleasure you get from spending hard-earned dollars on something you love. However, more Americans claim that they derive more enjoyment from saving their money than they do from spending it, according to research by Gallup. As of May 2017, 59 percent of Americans claim to enjoy saving more than spending, while only 38 percent claim to enjoy spending more than building up their savings accounts.</p> <p>Gallup reports that &quot;in the years before the recession, Americans were close to evenly split in how they described themselves.&quot; The economic downturn helped many Americans learn to love the joys of saving money.</p> <h3>Improve your own outlook on savings</h3> <p>It can be difficult to find the fun in saving money if you're a natural spender. However, you can switch your viewpoint on saving money if you can find a way to make a game of your savings. For instance, you could challenge a friend to a save-off, motivate yourself with a savings goal thermometer, or even start saving all your $5 bills. Once you start seeing savings as a fun challenge, you'll be much more motivated to increase your savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-savings-tricks-you-havent-tried-yet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Savings Tricks You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>65 percent of American consumers research products before they make a purchase</h2> <p>Americans are no longer happy to simply buy products without doing research. According to Retail Dive's 2017 Consumer Survey, 65 percent of consumers choose to do research on the products they want online before going shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, 41 percent of Americans practice showrooming, according to an Accenture survey &mdash; that is, examining merchandise at a nearby retail store and then shopping for it online to find the lowest price. Both of these savvy consumer behaviors can save Americans money by helping them find the best product at the best price.</p> <p>Some of this behavior is due to changes in technology. Even as little as 15 years ago, it would have been much more difficult for consumers to apprise themselves of all the product options and price ranges available, and the convenience of purchasing the first product examined overrode the price savings before the smartphone era. However, with the rise in smartphone usage, consumers can now educate themselves on the best-reviewed and lowest-priced options available.</p> <h3>Improve your use of technology and information</h3> <p>Technology can be a double-edged sword. While your smartphone makes it possible to research prices offered by other retailers, it also makes it easy and convenient to buy items you don't need with the click of a button. Make sure you are a savvy consumer by committing to do research before you make a purchase, and to take a timeout before you click Buy Now. Those two habits will help you save money and only get the products that will actually add to your life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F3%2520Ways%2520Americans%2520Are%2520Getting%2520Better%2520at%2520Managing%2520Their%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=3%20Ways%20Americans%20Are%20Getting%20Better%20at%20Managing%20Their%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/3%20Ways%20Americans%20Are%20Getting%20Better%20at%20Managing%20Their%20Money.jpg" alt="3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance americans Comparison shopping emergency funds money moves price comparisons saving money statistics success united states Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2033791 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_financial_problems.jpg" alt="Man with financial problems" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you're supposed to have an emergency fund to help pay for big, unexpected expenses such as a leaky roof or a busted transmission. But what if you don't have an emergency fund? Or your emergency fund balance is too low? You may need to rely on a credit card instead.</p> <p>Using credit cards to handle financial emergencies isn't ideal. Credit cards come with high interest rates: If you can't pay back what you've spent on your emergency by the time the bill comes due, your debt will keep growing.</p> <p>But if you have no other option, here are some tips on lessening the pain when using credit cards to handle life's emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Pay back that emergency spending ASAP</h2> <p>Using a credit card for financial emergencies isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not paying your credit card balance in full each month, however, can really cost you. And you're more likely to not pay that balance off if you've just charged $1,000 or more to handle an unexpected financial crisis.</p> <p>Blame this on interest. Credit cards come with sky-high interest rates. The average interest rate on credit cards stood at 16.7 percent as of September, according to Bankrate. This means that if you don't pay your balance off in full each month, your credit card debt can grow quickly, especially if that balance is high.</p> <p>Don't think paying your minimum required monthly payment solves the problem, either. If you have $4,000 in credit card debt at an interest rate of 17 percent, it will take you 144 months to pay it off if you only pay the minimum each month. You will pay more than $3,000 in interest during this time. And that's only if you don't add any more money to your card's balance during this period.</p> <p>It's so important to do whatever you can to pay off your credit card debt &mdash; including debt generated because of financial emergencies &mdash; as quickly as you can.</p> <h2>Use the card with the lowest interest rates</h2> <p>If you must charge an emergency on a credit card, use the card with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">lowest interest rate</a>. This is especially important when you are charging a large amount that you know you won't be able to pay off in one payment. The math here is simple: The higher your card's interest rate, the faster your unpaid balance will grow. Always use your lowest-rate card for big emergencies.</p> <h2>Create a repayment plan</h2> <p>If you can't repay your emergency charge in one month, you need to come up with a game plan. Determine how much money you can spare each month to cut down on your credit card debt, and apply those extra dollars to it.</p> <p>Your goal is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off your credit card debt as quickly</a> as possible. Maybe you send an extra $100 each month to your mortgage payment. If you have outstanding credit card debt, shift that $100 to your credit card bill instead. Mortgage debt comes with far lower interest rates than debt associated with credit cards. You should always pay off your debt with the highest interest first; it is costing you more, after all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>If you have to cut down on other unnecessary expenses &mdash; everything from eating out to going to the movies or taking a weekend road trip &mdash; do it until you eliminate that credit card debt.</p> <h2>Consider a Balance Transfer</h2> <p>If you've created your repayment plan and feel you can realistically adhere to it, you might be able to pay off the debt even faster and save some money by doing a balance transfer. If your credit is good, you can get approved for a card that offers a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% Intro APR on balance transfers</a> for up to 21 months. That gives you a good chunk of time to pay off your emergency expenses without paying interest. However, keep in mind that you'd need a card from a different bank than the one you're trying to transfer a balance from, and interest rates on these cards are typically very high, which means that if you don't pay off that balance during the intro period, you'll get stuck with a high interest rate debt and make you worse off than before. Finally, there is usually a balance transfer fee, though there are some cards that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">$0 balance transfer fees</a>.</p> <h2>Build an emergency fund</h2> <p>It's time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">build an emergency fund</a> that you can tap to cover unexpected expenses. If you have an emergency fund ready to go, you won't have to worry about putting these expenses on your credit cards again in the future.</p> <p>Building an emergency fund isn't complicated, it just takes discipline. Start small if you must: Put $100 a month into a savings account. If you can put in more, do it. Your goal is to build an emergency fund that can cover six to 12 months' worth of daily living expenses. That way, you'll be covered if your water heater bursts or your refrigerator conks out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Use%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card%2520for%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Without%2520Drowning%2520In%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Use%20a%20Credit%20Card%20for%20an%20Emergency%20Without%20Drowning%20In%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Use%20a%20Credit%20Card%20for%20an%20Emergency%20Without%20Drowning%20In%20Debt.jpg" alt="How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">What&#039;s Better: Less Debt or More Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-money-with-your-emergency-fund">How to Earn Money With Your Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-debt-settlement-can-make-your-debt-worse">Here&#039;s How Debt Settlement Can Make Your Debt Worse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management emergency funds financial emergency high interest debt interest rates repayment plans Mon, 09 Oct 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2031626 at http://www.wisebread.com How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_need_a_break_0.jpg" alt="I need a break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Complacency is not taking action even when you know you should. It tends to be an issue when you're not sure why a decision matters, or when you're overwhelmed by the details and options involved in making a decision. Complacency may seem like no big deal, but it can have a very negative effect on your finances. Here's how it can hurt you.</p> <h2>You're getting a poor return on your investments</h2> <p>When you're complacent about how you manage your long-term savings, you can miss out on a lot of returns. If you put off moving your money into an investment or fund, and leave your accumulated savings in a low-interest savings account instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" target="_blank">you're losing money every month</a>. You could be adding to your savings effortlessly with passive income, and by not doing so, you're drastically diminishing your future earnings potential.</p> <p>Take an hour or two to learn the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">basics of investing</a>. Then set up an account and get started earning a better return. You can always make adjustments later. In the meantime, your returns will be compounding.</p> <h2>Your lack of emergency savings means more financial emergencies</h2> <p>Complacency might make you feel like you don't need to have an emergency fund. Maybe you haven't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">rebuilt your fund after a crisis</a>, or maybe you haven't been able to accumulate one at all. When things are going well and your day-to-day life is predictable, an emergency fund might seem unimportant.</p> <p>However, having an emergency fund keeps a small crisis from becoming a big deal. You can't always predict a big expense or income loss; without a plan and some savings, you may end up using a high-interest loan or credit card to handle a financial crisis. That kicks off a fix-it-quick debt cycle, which can leave you backed into an unpleasant financial corner.</p> <p>It can seem difficult to build up an emergency fund, especially if you're already on a tight budget. But even a very small, regular contribution to your savings will add up quickly. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.</p> <h2>You're not adding as much as you could to your retirement savings</h2> <p>Maybe you're not taking full advantage of your 401(k) or haven't yet set up the IRA you've been thinking about. There can be some details to work through, but in the meantime, you're missing out on savings and, possibly, matching funds from your employer. If you're failing to contribute regularly, or putting off setting up a 401(k) and IRA altogether, you're jeopardizing your retirement. You're also missing out on tax breaks that come with these retirement accounts.</p> <p>Not sure where to start? Our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments" target="_blank">step-by-step guide to choosing 401(k) investments can help</a>. If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k), here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">five Roth IRA accounts</a> you can set up on your own that don't require a lot of money to open.</p> <h2>Your big, unnecessary expenses are increasing your debt</h2> <p>At some point, you made a decision to buy the house or the car or whatever it is. Now, you realize it's not really worth it. The expense is more than you can comfortably handle, and you could live without it. But getting away from this payment &mdash; whether it's a lease, a mortgage, or a car loan &mdash; seems impossible, so you just &hellip; don't.</p> <p>Meanwhile, you're paying interest every month and, if your budget is stretched to the limit, you're not saving like you could be. You may be stuck making minimum payments on debt, or failing to proactively maintain your big purchases because you can't afford to do more. The resulting depreciation can diminish the value of your house or car in a hurry, leaving you with less and less value to recover as time goes on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast</a>)</p> <p>Take the first step by finding out how to get out from under this big expense. There may be an option to end the lease early. Maybe you can sell the car and pay off the loan. Or it might be time to get that house on the market and find something more affordable. The sooner you take action, the sooner you stop losing money.</p> <h2>Your ho-hum career is costing you opportunities</h2> <p>Career capital isn't only about what you make in terms of salary; it's also about the skills and experiences you build, which can add to your marketability. If you're bored, disinterested, or otherwise feeling stuck in your job, but you're staying put, you're limiting your future in terms of finances and fulfillment.</p> <p>The more disengaged and unhappy you are in your job, the poorer your performance will be. You're more likely to do subpar work, miss out on opportunities, and be passed over for promotions. Even if you don't love your job, do your best to gain skills and be engaged while you're there; doing so will open up more opportunities for advancement or a complete career change.</p> <p>Meanwhile, start looking for your next move. It might be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career" target="_blank">start a side hustle</a>, network for a new job option, or get serious about starting a business. Don't let time go by and kill your enthusiasm (and your bank account). The sooner you take action, the sooner you can increase your salary and your enjoyment in the work you do.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Complacency%2520Keeps%2520You%2520From%2520Financial%2520Security.jpg&amp;description=How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security.jpg" alt="How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits">Your Good Credit Doesn&#039;t Mean You Have Good Money Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building complacency debt emergency funds expenses inaction investments job laziness Spending Money stalling Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2029863 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-625592664.jpg" alt="what to expect after financial disasters" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial hardships can happen despite the most careful planning and saving. If you're facing a crisis, read on to learn what you can expect to happen and how you can handle these challenges. There are always options, and you can recover from even the most feared financial situations.</p> <h2>1. You've lost your primary source of income</h2> <p>There are many reasons why you might be facing a sudden, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" target="_blank">devastating loss of income</a>. Sometimes family, personal, or medical situations make it impossible for you to continue working; in other cases, the job itself ends, and you have to start over again. Losing your primary income source, of course, hits you hard financially. Other income &mdash; a partner's salary, perhaps, or side job &mdash; can help alleviate the financial impact. But that help is usually limited, either in amount or in duration. Here are a few things you can expect to happen.</p> <h3>Loss of savings</h3> <p>Losing your income means you quickly start relying on your emergency fund and any other savings you've accumulated. If you're able to quickly reduce your expenses, you can make your savings last longer.</p> <h3>Increased debt</h3> <p>If your savings aren't adequate, or if you face unexpected financial needs, you may find yourself debt-dependent in order to handle incoming bills. The worst case scenario is when you have to rely on high-interest debt (such as credit cards) to keep up.</p> <h3>Financial stress</h3> <p>Dealing with income loss, financial insecurity, and all the changes you have to make as a result quickly leads to stress. Stress, unfortunately, is no friend to you and decreases your ability to make smart, long-term decisions.</p> <h3>Change in lifestyle<strong> </strong></h3> <p>You'll need to cut your expenses as much as possible to handle income loss; though these changes aren't necessarily bad, they can cause emotional pain, personal discomfort, and induce more stress. Change is difficult even in positive circumstances, and change induced by financial crisis exacerbates stress and insecurity.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>There are many ways you can positively handle a loss of income:</p> <ul> <li>Do your best to reduce your immediate expenses, even if only temporarily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call and negotiate for delayed payment plans with creditors or other major billers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get some money coming in; even a small amount of what you used to make will help you deal with bills and expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reach out to your personal and professional network for work opportunities.</li> </ul> <h2>2. You've defaulted on a loan</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-defaulted-on-your-loan-now-what" target="_blank">Defaulting on a loan</a> feels like one of the worst possible financial situations. However, getting in over your head financially can happen to anyone. It doesn't have to end your financial future, but it will have some impact on your financial present. Here's what can happen after defaulting on a loan.</p> <h3>Lowered credit score</h3> <p>Late payments, missed payments, and account closures on debts can all bring your credit score down. A low credit score isn't the end of the world, but it will limit your ability to establish credit, get loans, or even rent a house or buy a car.</p> <h3>Calls from collection agencies</h3> <p>Different lenders have different rules, but after some period of nonpayment, your loan will most likely be passed on to a collection agency. While some agencies maintain a professional tone and approach, some do not and might become intrusive or aggressive. Even with courteous collectors, it's stressful and unpleasant to get letters and calls demanding debt repayment you know you can't afford. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Account in Collections? Here's How to Fix It</a>)</p> <h3>Repossession of collateral</h3> <p>If the loan you've defaulted on has collateral &mdash; such as a mortgage or car loan &mdash; you may find yourself facing repossession. Home foreclosure is usually a last resort, as it's messy and costly for mortgage companies to handle.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>The best way to handle defaulting on a loan is with proactive negotiation. Try these steps:</p> <ul> <li>Negotiate a payment plan for delayed and/or split payments in order to avoid collection agencies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Negotiate a debt settlement with the bank or credit holder. You'll usually need to make a cash payment, but only for a percentage of the total amount owed in order to clear the debt entirely.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contact your mortgage company if the loan defaulted on is your house mortgage; explain your situation and ask them to help you work out an affordable, alternate payment plan. They don't want your house; they want your cash, and they may be willing to negotiate terms and minimum payments.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Examine options to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">consolidate all your debt</a> into a single, smaller payment you can afford.</li> </ul> <h2>3. You've lost money in an investment</h2> <p>So you took some of your hard-won savings and decided to invest. Maybe it was in a friend's startup, a real estate project, or a stock that seemed like a sure thing. It didn't work out, and now you've got to handle the fallout. Assess the impact and start taking positive steps forward. Here are a few things you might initially face:</p> <h3>Loss of money</h3> <p>The most obvious consequence, of course, is the loss of your money; that hurts. Remember, however, that just as you lost money, you can also invest and save money. One painful investment loss does not poison the rest of your savings or investments.</p> <h3>Loss of confidence</h3> <p>The psychological impact of a bad money move can make you doubt your own financial prowess and decisions. It's okay to question yourself, but you want to learn, not stay stuck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a>)</p> <h3>Smaller retirement savings</h3> <p>If you were counting on the return from this investment as a key part of your retirement savings, you're now facing a major blow to your retirement plan.</p> <h3>Less ability to invest</h3> <p>A loss of money means, of course, lowered liquidity. You may not be financially able to build up savings quickly, which reduces your ability to invest and start rebuilding your portfolio.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>You don't have to run away from investing (nor should you!) because you made one choice that didn't work out. Start proactively using these options to recover:</p> <ul> <li>Meet with a financial planner to assess your options and go over any lingering financial questions or doubts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">Rebuild emergency savings</a>, if you've used them up as part of your investment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lower expenses or increase income to replace what you've lost, by cutting back on expenses and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash" target="_blank">adding in some side work</a> for a while.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep your savings steady; build up to a minimum investment amount and examine the safest high-yield options for your next investment.</li> </ul> <h2>4. You've racked up high-interest debt</h2> <p>It's never the plan to get stuck with high-interest debt. But with the right (or wrong) combination of life events and decisions, you can find yourself there. High-interest debt is a particularly bad kind of debt: If you can't make more than the minimum payments, your debt will continue to grow at a very fast rate. It's likely you'll be facing some unpleasant consequences such as:</p> <h3>Poor credit score<strong> </strong></h3> <p>If you've made a late payment or missed one altogether, your credit score can be affected negatively. And if you've accumulated more debt than you can manage, and you're frequently missing payments while you try to keep up, your credit score can take a big hit.</p> <h3>Loss of opportunities</h3> <p>When you're struggling to keep up with debt payments, you're limited. Whether it's an investment opportunity or the chance to enjoy some time off with friends, the burden of high-interest debt can keep you from affording the opportunities that come your way.</p> <h3>Financial embarrassment</h3> <p>Many people still struggle with feeling ashamed or embarrassed about having debt, even though having debt &mdash; a lot of it &mdash; is quite common. In fact, according to a 2017 poll conducted by Northwestern Mutual, 40 percent of Americans spend about half their monthly income on debt payments.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>Being burdened with high-interest debt may feel like a problem you can't solve, but there are steps you can take to reduce its impact on your life. Start with these actions:</p> <ul> <li>Communicate with the debt holder if you've fallen behind on payments. You can often negotiate a split or delayed payment, as long as you can guarantee a payment of some kind.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies" target="_blank">debt repayment strategies</a> and which one might work best for you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whatever you do, don't add any more to your debt! Put away any active credit cards and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses" target="_blank">reduce normal expenses</a> so you can live on your income without adding more debt to your life.</li> </ul> <h2>5. You're recovering from a divorce</h2> <p>Divorce not only has a huge impact on your emotional and psychological state, but also on your financial well-being. First, divorce itself is expensive; the average cost is between $15,000 and $20,000. In addition to footing your part of that bill, you might also face some of these huge costs:</p> <h3>Disproportional expenses</h3> <p>You might find that your expenses, carried over from your pre-divorce life, exceed your current, post-divorce income. You can reduce or eliminate expenses, but sometimes you're locked into agreements (such as a lease or a cellphone service contract) that keep you at a higher expense level than you can reasonably afford.</p> <h3>Lowered investment returns</h3> <p>If you and your former spouse were contributing to a joint account, you'll have to divide that up somehow in the divorce proceedings. If it's an even split, your half in an account by itself will produce reduced returns.</p> <h3>Big tax bills</h3> <p>If part of your divorce was to liquidate and divide all assets, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when tax time rolls around. You may have to pay a hefty capital gains tax on certain investments or other assets that have been liquidated.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>By taking some smart steps forward, you can reduce the negative financial impact that a divorce has on you. Make these moves to take control of your financial life, post-divorce:</p> <ul> <li>Meet with a financial consultant as soon as possible to develop a plan for maximizing your investments and keeping your retirement savings on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call and negotiate with contract holders to eliminate any lingering, too-high expenses. There may be a buyout option you can take.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If possible, delay liquidation of shared assets or investments until you fully understand the taxes or fees that you'll face when they are liquidated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce or Separation</a></li> </ul> <p>It's not easy to recover from a financial disaster, but recovery is always an option. The most important things you can do are, first, face the situation squarely in order to figure out what your best options truly are. You may have more than you think.</p> <p>Secondly, don't be afraid to ask for help, which doesn't necessarily mean asking for money. Rather, you may be able to get help from your creditors (lowered payments), from your network (job opportunities), from your local community (selling your car, building a side hustle), and more.</p> <p>Moving forward and rebuilding takes time, but it's within your power.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Expect%2520After%2520These%25205%2520Personal%2520Financial%2520Disasters.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Expect%20After%20These%205%20Personal%20Financial%20Disasters"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Expect%20After%20These%205%20Personal%20Financial%20Disasters.jpg" alt="What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits">Your Good Credit Doesn&#039;t Mean You Have Good Money Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt default disasters emergency funds expenses income loss investments job loss loans money mistakes side gigs Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2017980 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_having_financial_problems.jpg" alt="Woman having financial problems" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Establishing an emergency fund is the first and most important step in taking control of your finances. This fund makes it possible for you to weather a financial crisis &mdash; anything from a big car repair or medical bill to losing your job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <p>But what if you don't have an emergency fund? Or you have only just started building it when an emergency strikes? Or you have been hit with back-to-back hardships that your emergency fund can't handle? How do you find money in an emergency when there's nothing but cobwebs in your &quot;emergency fund?&quot;</p> <p>Before you assume that dealing with such a situation is basically a hopeless case, remember that your ability to handle an emergency is not limited to the size your emergency fund. Here are several places you can find emergency funds when you don't have an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-prevent-an-emergency-from-driving-you-into-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Prevent an Emergency From Driving You Into Debt</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your own budget</h2> <p>One of the fastest ways to find some emergency cash in your budget is to cut your costs to the bone. Take a look at what you normally spend on groceries, entertainment, gas, and utilities. You may be surprised to find that there is enough money in your monthly budget to cover your emergency if you are willing to eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly, say no to happy hour with your friends, turn off the A/C, take the bus, and switch off your cellphone data plan for a month. This might not sound like much fun, but it will be well worth the short-term discomfort if you can use the savings to solve your emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Spending Too Much on &quot;Normal&quot; Expenses?</a>)</p> <p>As a bonus, you could extend your cost-cutting to last a few weeks after you've taken care of your emergency, and use the freed-up cash to refill (or start) your emergency fund. That will make it much less likely you'll have to deal with this kind of deprivation the next time an emergency crops up.</p> <h2>2. Your stuff</h2> <p>It's very easy for us to forget just how much money is sitting in our homes in the form of all of our stuff. When you are facing an emergency, it can become clear that a lot of the stuff you own doesn't actually add anything to your life.</p> <p>A financial emergency is a good time to sell some of the things you have kept but don't actually need. Craiglist, eBay, and Facebook groups are all excellent options for maximizing your profit if you have some time available before you need the cash. If your emergency has a quick deadline, however, you can take your valuables to a consignment or pawnshop.</p> <h2>3. Your monthly due dates</h2> <p>If your emergency is one you could financially handle if you just had a little more time, it may be worth your while to call your landlord, utility companies, and creditors to see if they would be willing to push back your due date for this month's bills. You may or may not be able to convince them all to accept a delayed payment this month, but it doesn't hurt to ask.</p> <h2>4. Your withholdings</h2> <p>If you regularly get a large tax refund every spring, you could potentially get hold of that money before April 15 by adjusting your withholdings on your W-4 form at work. Doing this, you may see more money in your very next paycheck.</p> <p>Use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS online withholding calculator</a> to figure out exactly what your withholding should be. Once you've adjusted your withholding, you can keep it at the adjusted amount for the rest of the year and save the difference in your emergency fund.</p> <h2>5. Your employer</h2> <p>Depending on your workplace, you may be able to take an advance on your future salary to help you cover a financial emergency. If you work for a small company where your boss is the final authority, you will need to appeal directly to him or her for your advance. If you work in a larger or corporate environment, you will need to discuss the possibility of an advance with your human resources department.</p> <p>Be prepared to explain why you need the money, which may feel awkward. But your boss will want to know that the advance isn't enabling a problem behavior, such as gambling or substance abuse, and you do need to give some background so they will understand that this is a one-time emergency.</p> <p>You can also expect to fill out some paperwork, which will specify the payback schedule and what will happen in the event you leave the job before the advance has been paid off. In most cases, the payback schedule will mean that you receive a reduced paycheck for a few pay periods until you have paid back the advance, although you may be able to negotiate for future overtime in exchange for the advance.</p> <h2>5. Borrowing money</h2> <p>There are several ways to borrow money that can help get you through a financial emergency, although they all have different costs that you need to consider before signing on the dotted line:</p> <h3>A loan from a friend or family member</h3> <p>Borrowing money from someone you know can be a relationship land mine, which is why so many people are leery of asking for that kind of help.</p> <p>It is possible to borrow money from a loved one, but you must be prepared to handle it like a business transaction and actually use a promissory note. This legal agreement will spell out the specifics of payment dates, interest, and other loan details.</p> <h3>Peer-to-peer lending</h3> <p>The modern world has made it possible to borrow small amounts of money through peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. To successfully borrow money from a peer-to-peer platform, you will generally need a credit score of about 660 or above, and you will need a checking account, since your loan will be deposited to it, and your payments will be automatically debited from it.</p> <p>Generally, these loans have a maximum lending period of 36 months. There is no penalty for paying off your loan early, however, so a peer-to-peer loan may be an excellent choice for someone who needs money quickly but whose situation will stabilize soon afterward. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>An emergency overdraft from your bank</h3> <p>Your bank may be able to extend you an emergency overdraft if your emergency occurs within a few days of payday and the amount you need does not exceed your usual payday deposit. Explain the situation to your bank and request an overdraft for the amount you will need to cover your emergency &mdash; but don't forget to ask what overdraft fees you can expect to pay. If your bank approves this course of action and their overdraft fees are reasonable, this could be a relatively inexpensive way to get the money you need.</p> <h3>Take a loan from your 401(k)</h3> <p>Though it's generally not a great idea to borrow from your 401(k) for a financial emergency, it is a good idea for you to know what your rights are in regards to such a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>The IRS allows you to access a portion (generally the lesser of 50 percent or $50,000) of your retirement plan money tax-free for an emergency. If you do take such a loan, the law requires you to repay the amount you accessed, plus interest &mdash; which you are paying to yourself, meaning you are helping to restore at least some of the growth you lost by taking the loan.</p> <p>Loan rules specify a five-year amortization repayment schedule, but there are no prepayment penalties if you would like to rebuild your account quicker. In addition, many plans will allow you to make repayments through payroll deduction, in the same way you make normal contributions.</p> <p>One caveat: If you leave (or lose) your job before paying back the loan, it will be considered an early distribution, which will mean that you owe the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty <em>and</em> tax on your loan.</p> <h3>Take a tax-free rollover from your IRA</h3> <p>While the IRS does not allow investors to take loans from their IRA accounts, a 60-day tax-free rollover allows you to access the money you have in your IRA in case of an emergency. Such a rollover lets you take money out of your IRA with no taxes or penalties, provided you put the money back in that or another IRA within 60 calendar days. If you fail to replace the money within that time frame, it will be considered an early withdrawal and you will have to pay income taxes on the money and a 10 percent penalty.</p> <p>In addition, it's important to note that there is what's known as the one-year rule. You can only do such a tax-free rollover once within any 12-month period.</p> <h2>Emergencies are never convenient</h2> <p>Like death, taxes, and childbirth, financial emergencies don't like to arrive when it's convenient. The key to being able to handle financial emergencies is flexibility. If you are willing and able to make changes to your habits, respectfully ask for help, borrow mindfully, or reduce your spending, you can get to the other side of any emergency with your finances intact. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhere-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhere%2520to%2520Find%2520Emergency%2520Funds%2520When%2520You%2520Don%2527t%2520Have%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=Where%20to%20Find%20Emergency%20Funds%20When%20You%20Don't%20Have%20an%20Emergency%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Where%20to%20Find%20Emergency%20Funds%20When%20You%20Don%27t%20Have%20an%20Emergency%20Fund.jpg" alt="Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance borrowing money budgeting cutting expenses emergency funds loans overdraft peer to peer lending salary advance saving money withholdings Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:01:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2016465 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/budgeting_works_better_when_we_do_it_together.jpg" alt="Budgeting works better when we do it together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retirement for you and your spouse is just a few years away. Maybe you're both eagerly awaiting the days when you no longer must commute to work, sit in long meetings, and turn in reports.</p> <p>But retirement does come with its own challenges, many of them financial. It's important for spouses to have the same expectations of what their retirement years will look like. And it's equally important for each spouse to understand where their income will be coming from and how much money there will be.</p> <p>Here are five key conversations that couples must have before retirement arrives.</p> <h2>1. What kind of retirement do you both want, and how expensive will it be?</h2> <p>There are many different ways to spend your retirement years. Maybe you want to travel the world. Maybe you'd prefer spending more time with your grandchildren. Your version of a dream retirement might consist of days on the golf course or fishing on the lake.</p> <p>But what if you have the travel bug, and your spouse would prefer to sit home and catch up on some reading? These are two radically different versions of retirement. And, when it comes to your retirement finances, one is far more expensive than the other.</p> <p>It's important for you to share your retirement expectations with your spouse before you actually leave the working world. If you both agree that plenty of travel is in your future, you'll need to work hard to make sure you'll have enough retirement dollars to fund these trips. If only one of you wants to spend time traveling or pursuing a more expensive hobby, you'll have to craft a compromise.</p> <h2>2. Where will the money come from, and how much will you have?</h2> <p>As retirement nears, couples must work together on a new household budget tailored to their new life after work. You won't be able to rely on that steady work income after retirement, and Social Security payments probably won't cover all your daily living needs. This makes writing a household budget &mdash; and agreeing to stick to it &mdash; more important.</p> <p>Your new budget should list all of your sources of monthly income and all of your expected monthly expenses, including mortgage payments if you still have them, car payments, utility bills, groceries, and entertainment. Once you've listed your income and expenses, including how much of your retirement savings you'll need to dip into each month to cover these expenses, you'll have a clearer picture of how much you can spend each month after leaving the working world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Where will you live?</h2> <p>Housing expenses can be a challenge after retirement. It's important for couples to discuss where they'll live after leaving the working life behind. Do you want to stay in your current home for as long as possible? The financial ramifications of this will vary depending on whether you've paid off your mortgage or not. It might make more sense to sell your home and move into a smaller condo or apartment. Or maybe you're ready to move into a senior housing facility.</p> <p>Don't put off conversations about housing. This is one of the most important issues couples face after retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <h2>4. Will one of you take on a new job or career?</h2> <p>Retirement doesn't always mean that you or your spouse won't continue to work in some way. Some people take on part-time jobs to occupy their time and earn a bit of extra spending money. Others start the new careers that they've always desired. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-retirement-jobs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a>)</p> <p>It's important for couples to discuss their plans for working after retirement. One spouse &mdash; or both &mdash; holding down a part-time job can make a significant difference in your income and budget after retirement, even if this income isn't essential to covering your daily living needs.</p> <h2>5. How will you handle unplanned expenses?</h2> <p>Unexpected expenses aren't unusual while you're working, with everything from burst water heaters to serious medical problems eating away at your savings. The same unexpected expenses can pop up when you're retired, too. When they do, how will you pay for them?</p> <p>Talk with your spouse about maintaining an emergency fund that can cover at least six months' worth of your daily living expenses after retirement. If you don't maintain this fund &mdash; which you should have had while you were working &mdash; one big unexpected expense could wreak havoc on your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Money%2520Conversations%2520Couples%2520Should%2520Have%2520Before%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Money%20Conversations%20Couples%20Should%20Have%20Before%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Money%20Conversations%20Couples%20Should%20Have%20Before%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement career conversations couples emergency funds expenses housing income jobs marriage spouse Tue, 05 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2013258 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cute_college_student_walking_around_campus_on_sunny_day.jpg" alt="Cute college student walking around campus on sunny day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College is about more than just getting a degree. For many new college students, starting this phase of education is also a time to learn any number of important life skills, from proper laundry care to time management.</p> <p>However, many college students often overlook one important life skill: money management. As a college student, you might assume that money management isn't important, since you've got so little money to manage.</p> <p>Unfortunately, neglecting your money skills in college could have lasting negative repercussions throughout your adult life. Rather than assuming you'll sort out the money stuff &quot;later,&quot; get off on the right financial foot by following these money moves when you start your college career.</p> <h2>1. Open a student checking account</h2> <p>Your brand-new university ID makes you eligible for student checking accounts. This gives you a good home for your money while you're in school, and helps you develop good banking habits.</p> <p>Student checking accounts often have low or no minimum opening deposits, and they also generally do not require you to carry a minimum balance each month. In addition, some student accounts offer perks like a limited number of free out-of-network ATM transactions per month, free checks, and some overdraft forgiveness.</p> <h2>2. Start automating your bills</h2> <p>Once you have a checking account in place, you can take advantage of your bank's online bill paying services to set up automatic payments of your regular expenses. Automatic bill payment allows you to keep your focus on your studies, where it belongs.</p> <p>Of course, the caveat is that you need to periodically make sure your account has enough money to cover your automatically paid bills. One good way to do this is to set up a weekly reminder to check your finances. This will help you establish the habit of keeping an eye on your finances even as they are taken care of automatically.</p> <h2>3. Create a spending plan for your financial aid</h2> <p>Receiving a big chunk of money from your university's financial aid office can be pretty exciting &mdash; whether you're receiving loans you'll have to pay back, or grants that you won't. It's tempting to live it up when you receive your financial aid, but that's a good way to run out of money before the semester is over.</p> <p>Instead, take the time to create a spending plan for your financial aid disbursement before the money hits your bank account. Determine how much of your financial aid will need to go toward tuition, textbooks, lab fees, and living expenses. Having such a plan in place will help you keep your spending in check when you feel the urge to splurge some of your aid money.</p> <h2>5. Keep track of your student loans</h2> <p>Many college students &mdash; including yours truly! &mdash; make the mistake of paying no attention to their student loans until they have graduated. In general, the amount of money you are borrowing can seem unreal, so it's very easy to just ignore the problem until you reach your student loan exit interview just before graduation.</p> <p>However, knowing early how much you owe and how much it will cost you to pay it off is both good for your financial health and can help you remain motivated in your studies. It's much easier to get up for that 8 a.m. chemistry lab when you understand just how much you're paying for the privilege of going to it.</p> <p>If you have federal student loans, you can keep track of how much you have borrowed and what your repayment options will be through the <a href="https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/" target="_blank">National Student Loan Data System</a>. Just select &quot;Financial Aid Review,&quot; log in, and you can view all of your federal student loans in one place. If you have any private student loans, you will need to contact your lender for information regarding your loans.</p> <h2>6. Build up an emergency fund</h2> <p>When I was in college, a classmate's financial aid package was re-evaluated at the end of her first year. The school's financial aid office decided that she could count on an additional $1,500 from her family for her second year, even though she knew that it would be impossible to ask for that additional money. By working some serious overtime that summer and living off tuna fish and ramen, my classmate was able to scrape together the additional money. But this situation could have potentially meant the difference between her returning to school and her dropping out.</p> <p>An emergency fund can make this kind of unanticipated financial change much less stressful than it was for my classmate, especially when you are already living on a shoestring.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">Building an emergency fund</a> might feel impossible when you're in college, but don't forget that small amounts can add up to something really helpful. Start with an automatic transfer of $5 &mdash;$10 per week into a savings account. Add in whatever excess money you come across &mdash; including the cash you get for selling back textbooks or some of the birthday money Nana sends every year.</p> <p>Though your fund will grow slowly, working steadily on it will ensure that a financial aid (or other emergency) does not jeopardize your education.</p> <h2>7. Learn from your financial fumbles</h2> <p>Every time you make a financial decision as a college student, you have the opportunity to learn from your choices. The trick to learning from financial mistakes rather than repeating them, is to look back on the choices you made with curiosity and compassion for yourself. You're a college student, after all, and learning is the entire job description.</p> <p>Take each moment of money regret as an opportunity to figure out where your financial weaknesses are. You'll finish college with a much better understand of yourself and your money temptations, as well as potential solutions for avoiding those temptations.</p> <h2>Learn about finances before you enter the real world</h2> <p>It may feel like adding financial responsibility on top of your educational requirements will be too much to handle, but college is actually a great time to work on your money management skills. Taking good care of your finances as you are engaging in higher learning sets you up for financial success after graduation.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Money%2520Moves%2520Every%2520New%2520College%2520Student%2520Should%2520Make.jpg&amp;description=7%20Money%20Moves%20Every%20New%20College%20Student%20Should%20Make"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Money%20Moves%20Every%20New%20College%20Student%20Should%20Make.jpg" alt="7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training automatic payments bills checking accounts college emergency funds financial aid money moves savings student loans students Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2009181 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_carrying_son_on_shoulders_as_they_walk_in_park.jpg" alt="Parents Carrying Son On Shoulders As They Walk In Park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Raising kids is expensive. The numbers bear this out: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that in 2015 a middle-income family spent an average $12,980 each year on each child. To raise a child from birth through age 17, it would cost married parents an average $233,610. And these figures don't include the cost of a college education.</p> <p>Because raising children &mdash; not to mention buying cars and homes to accommodate them &mdash; is an expensive task, it makes sense to set certain financial goals for yourself before you start a family. Being financially prepared for children can make raising them, and paying for this process, a far easier task.</p> <p>Here are a few money goals to set before you start having children.</p> <h2>1. An emergency fund with six months of daily living expenses</h2> <p>Children come with unexpected expenses; everything from $200 for an emergency room visit to a surprise $500 bill from the dentist. You can prepare for these expenses by creating an emergency fund.</p> <p>As its name suggests, an emergency fund is an account that you only tap to cover unanticipated necessities. With an emergency fund, you won't have to resort to paying for unexpected expenses with a high-interest credit card.</p> <p>Most financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in your emergency fund. That might seem like a daunting goal, but you can get there by steadily putting away even just $100 every month.</p> <h2>2. A credit score of 740 or higher</h2> <p>Your credit score is an important number. Lenders use it to determine if you qualify for mortgage, auto, personal, and student loans. They also rely on it to set your interest rate, with a high score usually equaling lower interest rates.</p> <p>Most lenders today consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be very good. Getting your score to this level, then, should be one of your goals before you start having children. Having a strong credit score means you'll pay less for a mortgage or car loan. That can reduce your living expenses significantly, something that can help ease the financial stresses that come with raising children. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>3. A work history</h2> <p>You'll need a steady income to pay for the expenses involved in raising children. The best way to get this income is to build a stable career in your field. Make sure you have several years logged in your field before you begin having children. While there are no guarantees that you'll never lose your job, the odds will be lower if you've already established yourself in your field. And if you do lose your job, you'll have an easier time finding new work.</p> <h2>4. Saving for retirement</h2> <p>Retirement might seem far off, especially when you're thinking of starting a family. But it's never too early to start saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the more dollars you have once you leave the workforce.</p> <p>Before you have children, start socking away money each month for retirement. The easiest way to do this is to sign up for the 401(k) plan that your employer offers. This way, your retirement funds will be deposited automatically with each paycheck.</p> <p>If you don't have access to a 401(k) fund, open a traditional or Roth IRA. Deposit as much as you can each year to get into the habit of saving for retirement. If you do this, it'll be easier to continue saving for retirement after your children are born. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</a>)</p> <h2>5. A plan for your children's college education</h2> <p>College might seem far away, too. After all, your children aren't even born yet. You're focused more on paying for preschool than on picking a college.</p> <p>But you should start planning for your children's college education before you even begin building your family. The average class of 2016 graduate took home $37,172 in student loan debt, a number 6 percent higher than the year before. That amount continues to rise each year. You don't want your children to be burdened with student loan debt as they become young adults.</p> <p>Consider opening a 529 college savings plan to help you start stowing away money for your soon-to-be-born children's secondary education. You might be surprised at how quickly college costs sneak up on you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Start%2520a%2520Family%2520Before%2520Reaching%2520These%25205%2520Money%2520Goals.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Start%20a%20Family%20Before%20Reaching%20These%205%20Money%20Goals"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Start%20a%20Family%20Before%20Reaching%20These%205%20Money%20Goals.jpg" alt="Don't Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family career college credit score emergency funds expenses goals kids money moves raising children retirement saving money Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2009180 at http://www.wisebread.com Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman_getting_ready_for_race_on_the_track.jpg" alt="Businessman getting ready for race on the track" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently joined a meal delivery kit service, which has completely changed my cooking game. Every week, I receive a couple of boxes of pre-chopped and presorted fresh ingredients, along with a step-by-step recipe that helps me get a meal on the table in under 30 minutes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>As I put together one of these meals last week, I started wondering why we haven't applied this concept to money yet. Where is the deliverable personal finance starter kit that will make handling your finances as easy as putting a quick and delicious meal on the table?</p> <p>Since we probably won't be seeing any &quot;Hello Cash&quot; or &quot;Green Apron&quot; boxes arriving in our homes anytime soon, I figured I could take matters into my own hands and create such a starter kit for adult-level finances. Here are the specific &quot;ingredients&quot; you need to go from broke to bank.</p> <h2>What you need: A checking account</h2> <p>Opening a checking account is the first step to conquering your adult-level finances. That's because having a bank hold onto your money is the safest and least expensive way for you to access and spend it. Putting your money in a checking account gives you several benefits:</p> <ul> <ul> <li> <p>Security and protection of your money: Up to $250,000 of your money is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-fdic" target="_blank">FDIC insured</a> by banks and NCUA insured by federal credit unions, meaning you do not have to worry that your money will be wiped out if the banking institution fails. State-chartered credit unions are backed by private insurers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</a>)</p> </li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free check cashing: Without a checking account, it is nearly impossible to cash a check without having to pay a fee, and those fees can take up to 3 percent of the value of the check. It's tough to get ahead financially if you have to pay to access your own money.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free bill pay: A checking account gives you access to paper checks and online bill pay. Without such an account, you will have to pay your bills with money orders, which also cost as much as $1 per money order. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Paper Checks Are Still Relevant</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Access to a debit card: We live in a digital world, and it can be very difficult to handle your finances without a debit card or credit card. The majority of checking accounts these days come with a check card, which allows you to use your debit card like a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Debit or Credit? Which One Should You Choose at the Checkout?</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>To find the best checking account for you, consider your needs ― do you need an account with a low minimum balance, or do you plan to keep a high balance and want to earn some interest? Will an online bank cover all of your needs, or do you need a local branch? How often will you need to access the ATM? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee</a>)</p> <p>Taking the time to find a checking account and bank that will fit your financial needs will help you keep more money where it belongs ― in your account and in your wallet.</p> <h2>What you need: A savings account</h2> <p>The next financial ingredient you need is a savings account. While the interest rates on savings accounts are still depressingly low, that does not change the fact that an FDIC or NCUA-insured savings account serves as the foundation for financial planning for the future. Here's why.</p> <ul> <li> <p>It makes it easier to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously" target="_blank">pay yourself first</a>: It's very hard to save money without a place to put it that is separate from your checking account. Opening a savings account gives you a more difficult-to-access spot for your money to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn't Growing</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>It can serve as your emergency fund: Financial hiccups, mistakes, and emergencies can hit anyone at any time. The difference between a financial emergency just being a nuisance and it becoming a catastrophe comes down to whether or not you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">an emergency fund</a>. Without one, you will be left scrambling to find money. With one, your emergency fund can simply absorb the cost of the emergency without affecting your usual spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Turn for Help When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>While it may be easy to open a savings account with the same bank where you already have a checking account, you might want to consider an account at a different bank. This can help keep the money out of your reach if you're likely to spend it, and could possibly get you a better interest rate, especially if you're willing to put your savings into an online bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank</a>)</p> <p>Of course, opening a savings account is not enough. You need to actually use it regularly. The trick to getting the most out of your savings account is to set up regular, automatic transfers into it, so that your savings will grow without you having to think about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-more-interest-by-reducing-savings-friction?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn More Interest by Reducing Savings Friction</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A simple budget</h2> <p>Once you have a checking account, a savings account, and automatic transfers into savings, then you are ready for the next ingredient: your budget.</p> <p>This is often the portion of financial adulting that makes the fainthearted run screaming into the distance. But budgeting is really about organizing your money so that you can spend it on the things that matter and scrimp on the things that don't.</p> <p>The basis of budgeting is keeping track of your income and expenses. There are several ways to do this without having to break out a spreadsheet. You can use sites like Mint.com to track your spending for you and declutter the financial information coming in to you so that it's easier to track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>When you have a decent idea of what you bring in and what you spend, then it's time to start managing your funds so that you spend less than you earn. How you manage your money is up to you, but the main idea is to save your splurges for the things you really value, and cut back your spending everywhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Manage Your Money &mdash; No Budgeting Required</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A Roth IRA</h2> <p>Your financial life is really starting to look good at this point, so it's time to add the next ingredient: a Roth IRA. This tax-advantaged retirement account is a great way to save for your future.</p> <p>Roth IRAs are funded with post-tax dollars, which means you will not get a tax break when you make a contribution ― but any investment gains can be withdrawn tax-free anytime after age 59&frac12;. Since it's very likely that you'll be in a higher tax bracket by then, this makes the Roth IRA a great deal for newly-minted financial adults. You may contribute up to $5,500 per year to your Roth IRA, and there is no age limit on contributions since you will never be forced to take minimum required distributions on this account, unlike traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <p>In addition, you can access up to $10,000 of your earnings penalty-free from your Roth IRA to put toward buying your first home. You may also access your principal at any time without having to pay a penalty, which is not possible with traditional IRAs and 401(k)s.</p> <p>That being said, if you do have access to a 401(k) retirement savings account at work and there is an employer match for your contributions, you will want to make sure you contribute up to the full employer match before funding your Roth IRA. The employer match is free money, after all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <p>The best way to make sure you max out your Roth IRA contributions is to make them completely automated, just like your savings.</p> <h2>The optional garnish: A rewards credit card</h2> <p>At this point, your adult-level finances should be working well and taking good care of you. The next level of financial expertise is to start using your regular spending to help you achieve more of your financial goals. You can do this with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-credit-cards-for-newbies" target="_blank">rewards credit card</a> that rewards you for your regular spending. With savvy use of such cards, you can earn anything from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value" target="_blank">flights</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards" target="_blank">hotel stays</a> to plain old <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards" target="_blank">cash back</a>.</p> <p>But, there is a reason why this is an optional garnish, rather than one of the main ingredients of financial adulthood. Banks and credit card companies don't offer rewards cards to be nice to their customers ― credit card rewards can make even the most frugal financial grown-up forget their budget limitations. If you are able to pay off your credit card in full each month and just reap the free rewards, then a rewards credit card can be a delicious topper to your financial adulthood. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-reward-card-spending-traps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape Reward Card Spending Traps</a>)</p> <p>If, on the other hand, you know that you will struggle to pay off your balance every month, then feel free to enjoy your financial adulthood sans rewards credit card. It's not a necessary part of your financial starter kit ― it just makes for a nice addition. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due</a>)</p> <h2>Whipping up a financial adulthood</h2> <p>While it would be convenient if you could order a financial adulthood starter kit to show up at your doorstep, it's actually pretty simple to put together one of your own. Just know the basic ingredients you need, find the ones that work best for you, be consistent ― and, voilà! You'll go from broke to bank before you know it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmoney-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMoney%2520a%2520Mess-%2520Try%2520This%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Starter%2520Kit.jpg&amp;description=Money%20a%20Mess%3F%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Money%20a%20Mess-%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit.jpg" alt="Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking budgeting cash back checking account emergency funds money moves retirement rewards Roth IRA saving money savings account starter kit Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2006372 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Worried young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facing debt can be stressful and overwhelming. But it's important to remember that no matter how much you might feel that you're in over your head, debt is a hole you can climb out of. You can absolutely do this. Here are the first steps you need to take.</p> <h2>1. Figure out how much you owe</h2> <p>The first step can be the most painful. It's time to get an overview of your debt, which means you need to add up everything you owe and take a good look at your total. That, my friends, can be a difficult moment. But that difficult moment will also provide you with the clarity you need to start taking back power over your financial future.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Gather your financial statements or log in to the online portal for each account you owe on: your credit cards, mortgage, student loan, car loan, lines of credit, home equity loan, etc. Create a simple spreadsheet with four columns: one to identify each debt (&quot;Student Loan&quot;), one for the amount owed, one for the minimum monthly payment, and one for the interest rate. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report" target="_blank">Pull your credit report</a> to search for outstanding debts, and compare the information against what you have in your own records.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>2. Sort and prioritize the debt list</h2> <p>Now it's time to start sorting out your spreadsheet entries so you can come up with the best possible plan to get out of debt.</p> <p>You might think that the most important debt to pay off is the biggest one; however, it's often a good idea to identify the debt with the highest interest rate and knock that out first. This is known as the avalanche method of debt repayment. Higher interest rates lead to faster debt accumulation and result in you paying a higher amount over the course of your debt repayment. The faster you can get rid of high-interest debts, the better.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Sort your spreadsheet by the fourth column, the one for the interest rate. You might see anything from a 4 percent interest rate (for example, on a student loan) to a whopping 22 percent interest rate on, say, a credit card. You may owe more principal on your student loan, but relatively speaking, you're wasting more in interest every month on that credit card. The credit card is therefore the higher priority for complete repayment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add up your minimum payments</h2> <p>You don't get to stop making payments on the lower-interest debts, even though they're not the highest priority. Instead, you need to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all lower-interest debts while making bigger payments on your debt with the highest interest rate. Once you knock one high-interest debt out completely, you prioritize the debt with the next-highest interest rate and continue paying minimums on everything else.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Add up the monthly minimum payments for <em>all</em> the debts on your list, including the highest-interest debt. This is the total, bare minimum debt repayment amount that needs to fit into your current budget. This can be a nerve wracking step, especially if you don't have enough income to comfortably afford that total monthly minimum amount. You may need to take steps to cut expenses elsewhere, or bring in sources of additional income.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>4. Determine your needed overage payment</h2> <p>Now it's time to calculate the payment you need to get that highest-interest debt paid off as quickly as possible. If you keep making only the minimum payment on it, you'll keep accumulating interest charges and it will take much longer to pay it off. Instead, think of a target timeline (maybe six months or a year) for paying off the highest-interest debt, and calculate an ideal amount you can pay above the minimum payment to achieve that goal.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Use an online <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">credit card payoff calculator</a>. Enter the information for your highest-interest debt: total amount owed, interest rate, and the minimum payment. You'll see how long it will take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments. Now, instead of minimum payments, enter how many months you'd like to have it paid off in. The result will show you the monthly amount you need to pay in order to clear the debt within your target timeline.</p> <h2>5. Give yourself the best possible conditions</h2> <p>You have the essential numbers that you need. They may be painful, but knowledge is power. The next step is to find ways to reduce the financial impact that these debts have while you repay them. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">Debt consolidation</a> may be the best way to do this; however, you may also be able to lower your interest rates and negotiate better payment plans on individual debts, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>This takes some time, depending on the number of debts you have. Call each creditor and ask how you can reduce your interest rate. You may be able to refinance a home mortgage or car loan for a lower rate, for example. If you have a good repayment history, ask credit card companies to consider your reliable record and give you a better interest rate. If you're able to take out a low-interest loan, such as a line of credit or home equity loan with your bank, you may be able to use it to pay off your high-interest debt and consolidate at least some of your debts into a single, lower-interest loan.</p> <h2>6. Protect your credit and your finances</h2> <p>If you're late on a payment, being proactive can save you from accumulating fees and damaging your credit score. For example, if you call the credit card company and explain that you can't make the full minimum payment on time, they may work with you to split the payment in half for the month so you can avoid late fees. Many times, a phone call and a courteous conversation can reduce or remove a fee, extend a deadline, or result in a more manageable payment plan.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Set up alerts or schedule automatic minimum monthly payments so you don't miss due dates. If you know you won't have the money on time for a particular payment, call in advance to negotiate an extended deadline or set up a split payment plan. Additionally, you may want to keep an eye on changes in your credit report.</p> <h2>7. Protect your financial future</h2> <p>As difficult as it seems to save money when you're trying to pay down debt, it's so important. You need an emergency fund for those unpredictable expenses that will happen. Building an emergency fund will keep you from having to add to your debt when the car breaks down or you don't get that bonus you were counting on. In other words, it's the essential tool that keeps you climbing out of that debt pit, even when life happens. Without it, one setback can set off a downward spiral deeper into debt. You don't want that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>If your budget is absolutely maxed out, you can pick up a side hustle or employ another short-term strategy &mdash; such as selling off a few high-value items, or taking on seasonal work &mdash; to quickly build up an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Easy%2520First%2520Steps%2520to%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt.jpg" alt="7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-being-debt-free-can-cost-you">7 Ways Being Debt Free Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt">How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method budgeting credit report credit score emergency funds interest rates minimum payments negotiating principal repayment Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2001479 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-605778350.jpg" alt="Learning fast ways to restock an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You worked hard to build up your emergency fund &mdash; and then you needed to use it. That's OK! That's why you had an emergency fund in the first place. Now it's time to rebuild that financial safety net (and your peace of mind). Here are six quick ways to replenish the savings.</p> <h2>1. Take on a weekend job</h2> <p>If your regular job is on a Monday-Friday schedule, you could look for a part-time weekend job. Retailers and restaurants are often on the search for dependable staff. You can also look for weekend positions in janitorial work or temp staffing positions. There are often various part-time positions available at any business or service that has to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example, elderly care homes, emergency services, and gas stations all need part-time help.</p> <p>You won't make big bucks at most of these jobs, but if you put 100 percent of your weekend paychecks into your emergency fund, you can rebuild it fairly quickly: If you net $150 per weekend, you can save $3,600 in six months of consistent weekend work.</p> <h2>2. Work retail for the holidays</h2> <p>Seasonable businesses depend on the profits they make in the high season, which is sometimes only a few key months out of the year. For example, retailers depend on holiday sales, so they increase their people power accordingly, hiring thousands of additional workers. You could be one of those workers, bringing in a decent hourly rate for all those extended shopping times. If you're willing to put in overtime, you can seriously raise that seasonal paycheck. Working retail during November and December could net you enough to rebuild your emergency fund, and get you a sweet employee discount for doing your own holiday shopping.</p> <h2>3. Work at other seasonal businesses<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Other seasonal businesses include landscaping and lawn care companies, which get busiest in the spring and summer months. They often need additional help to do the landscaping work, and may also need help with office jobs, such as answering the phone, responding to customers, scheduling appointments, and handling invoicing and billing.</p> <p>Seek out the seasonal businesses in your area and apply for a position. If you have experience in any of the work that seasonal businesses need done, negotiate for a higher rate; since it's seasonal work, they don't have a lot of time to spend on training. If you can jump in at full-speed, you're worth a higher salary, which means your emergency fund gets rebuilt even sooner.</p> <h2>4. Clean out and sell</h2> <p>Cleaning out your house, garage, and yard can be a great way to bring in some funds quickly. For higher-value items, such as appliances, furniture, or specialty wear like a wedding dress, list each one individually. Lower-value items, like books and everyday used clothes, can often be bundled for a faster sale and higher profit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a>)</p> <p>You can approach selling your items in two different ways.</p> <p>First, you can do it yourself using online classified services and social media. With this method, you keep all the money but you have to do all the marketing and work yourself.</p> <p>Second, you can take your items to a resale shop that will take them in on commission or purchase them outright. You'll make less money, but the shop will handle the work of selling.</p> <p>Here's one important note on selling your stuff: If you have specialty items, such as antique furniture, jewelry, or collectibles, seek out an appraisal from a qualified dealer. General resale shops often won't know the value of specialty items. A dealer, however, can help you set a fair price that reflects the value and may even be able to help set up a sale for a fee.</p> <h2>5. Offer your services</h2> <p>If you have any specialized skills or services, you can make the most of them now to rebuild your savings.</p> <h3>Child care</h3> <p>Parents of young children are often searching for dependable, trustworthy care for their kids. And the hourly rate can be much more than minimum wage, depending on the area you live in. Provide references and make your child care services available through your local network of friends and social media.</p> <h3>Tutoring</h3> <p>Kids in school need tutoring, and adults in continuing education or returning to college often need tutoring as well. You can find a local tutoring service in your area and apply for a position, or work solo. Find a public location (such as a library) to meet for your tutoring sessions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-1000-a-month-or-more-as-an-online-tutor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Earn $1,000 a Month or More as an Online Tutor</a>)</p> <h3>Marketing</h3> <p>Local businesses often need help with social media, content marketing, flyer or brochure design, or script-writing for ad or television spots. How can you help? Put together a short list of your services and rates and approach local business owners via email, phone, or at their location.</p> <p>The list of services you can offer is really only as limited as your capabilities. If you have a hobby, special interest, or any sort of experience in something other people need help with, you've got a service to offer.</p> <h2>6. Cut down to minimums</h2> <p>If you have little time to spare, take a hard look at your budget. Cut down to absolute minimums on all your spending for the next three to six months, and dedicate the difference to rebuilding your emergency fund. While living on a bare-bones budget isn't a lot of fun, it helps to know it's only for a limited time. Once you rebuild your savings, you can revert to your normal budget.</p> <p>For maximum speed in rebuilding your emergency fund, combine a couple of approaches. For example, if you can sell some high-value items and also pick up seasonal work, you'll move that much faster toward a replenished savings account.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Fast%2520Ways%2520to%2520Restock%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund%2520After%2520an%2520Emergency.jpg&amp;description=6%20Fast%20Ways%20to%20Restock%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20After%20an%20Emergency"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Fast%20Ways%20to%20Restock%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20After%20an%20Emergency.jpg" alt="6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income budgeting consignment emergency funds making money part-time jobs safety net saving money seasonal jobs selling side jobs Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 1995768 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_boy_nerd_saves_money_in_his_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young Boy Nerd Saves Money in His Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?</p> <p>There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.</p> <h2>1. You've built an emergency fund</h2> <p>Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car's transmission might blow. Your home's furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don't have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <p>But you won't have to do this if you've built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you're making the right money moves.</p> <p>Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you've met this goal, be proud: You're doing something right financially.</p> <h2>2. You're getting better credit card offers</h2> <p>It's rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that's another sign that you're making smart money moves.</p> <p>If you're saddled with tons of debt, or if you've made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards &mdash; if you receive any credit card offers at all.</p> <p>If, however, you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">cut down your credit card debt</a> and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you're becoming a savvy financial operator.</p> <h2>3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates</h2> <p>Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That's another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.</p> <p>Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high &mdash; 740 or more &mdash; you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.</p> <p>Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.</p> <p>You can check your credit score &mdash; usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it's your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit card debt has disappeared</h2> <p>Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you <em>don't </em>have a balance, that's one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. The monthly bills don't make you sweat</h2> <p>When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that's a sign that you're living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>If, though, the monthly bills don't make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you're doing something right with your finances.</p> <h2>6. Your checking account balance is growing each month</h2> <p>The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That's another sign that you're making smart money decisions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Money%2520Moves.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves.jpg" alt="6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit history credit score debt emergency funds good signs money moves saving money Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986886 at http://www.wisebread.com