advice http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/277/all en-US The Personal Finance Letter I'd Write to My Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_letter_mail_78316923.jpg" alt="Woman writing personal finance letter to her younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dear Sweet, Naive, Handsome Mikey:</p> <p>You're going to be a real idiot with your money in your 20s.</p> <p>So many people will tell you how to handle your finances better &mdash; more responsibly, even &mdash; but you won't care. Because you think you know everything. You think that because you're only 20-something, you don't have to worry about how much you're spending or how much you're <em>not</em> saving. But trust me, your reckless financial abandonment will catch up with you, and you'll want to crawl under a rock and disappear when it does.</p> <p>Alas, the debt you'll rack up won't just disappear because you want it to. It's going to follow you around like a black cloud for <em>years</em>. Everywhere you go. Everywhere! You can lessen some of this unnecessary stress, however, if you avoid these five missteps (even though I know you're going to do them anyway because you won't listen to anybody, not even yourself.)</p> <h2>1. Do <em>Not </em>Accept Those Credit Card Offers Straight Out of High School</h2> <p>Heads up. As soon as you turn 18, credit card companies will call you and address you like you're somebody important. They'll tell you that you can have free money to take your friends out to dinner, take your boyfriend to the movies, and to go shopping. And we both know how much you love to go shopping. But as appealing as this sounds, buddy, be strong and just say no &mdash; because it's a trap &mdash; a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">23%-interest trap</a>.</p> <p>You're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">max those cards</a> out in six months, but it's going to take you six <em>years</em> to pay them off. In fact, you're going to pay more in late fees and interest than the actual amount you spent. As a result, your credit will be jacked up for most of your 20s. It'll be difficult to rent an apartment and buy a car, milestones that other people your age are having an easier time with because they didn't treat their credit cards like they just won the Mega Millions jackpot.</p> <p>It'll help if you think of your credit cards this way: You were broke before them, and when you get them, you're still broke. <em>Because you don't have the money to pay for them!</em> You're virtually penniless, young, handsome Mikey. Street-corner vagabonds shaking change cups have more money to their name that you do. The net worth of your eight-year-old neighbor who just celebrated a birthday is higher than yours. Finding a shiny quarter on the ground will make you 25% richer than you were before.</p> <p>Get what I'm saying?</p> <h2>2. Stop Spending Money Within Cents of Overdrafting Your Account</h2> <p>A zero balance in your bank account isn't the amount you're striving to reach. It's not a goal or a &quot;caution&quot; amount. A zero balance means you're Oliver Twist poor, teetering on the brink of begging for scraps outside a California Pizza Kitchen just to stay fed. Frankly, it's a good thing you have room and board at college, thanks in part to the United States government. But the joke's on you. Because while you're spending every dollar you earn working semi-part time, and then money that you don't even have, the government is laughing all the way to the bank because it knows it's got you on the hook for the next 20 years.</p> <p>Rein it in.</p> <h2>3. Put More Emphasis on Saving So Your Grandma Doesn't Have to Win You Money at the Casino</h2> <p>Yeah, Mom-Mom likes to go to Atlantic City, but that doesn't mean she wants to hand over all her winnings to help you fix your car because you have a minus sign in front of your entire life. Shop less, eat more at home, and pick up another job so you can be an adult for once and pay for your own mistakes. Seriously, dude &mdash; who wants to be 25 years old calling up Granny for cash because they're acting a fool? You're better than that. Hopefully.</p> <h2>4. For the Love of God, Quit Drinking Away Your Paycheck</h2> <p>You like to have fun &mdash; I get it. But at what price? Spending half your salary on booze (which, by the way, at age 27 is a <em>very</em> good salary by any estimation; count your blessings) is not only irresponsible, it will lead to other problems in the near future. Lack of savings or anything of substance of which to be proud notwithstanding, you're in danger of developing a real drinking problem. You can avoid the severe pain that this will cause you and your family and friends for years to come if you can learn to stay out of the bar on Friday and Saturday nights.</p> <p>You don't enjoy waking up every Sunday with a massive hangover. I should know. I did it for a long time. But you don't have to if you heed this advice as a serious health warning that could have life-or-death consequences.</p> <h2>5. Steer Clear of the Beaten Path and Everything Will Be Okay</h2> <p>At some point, everyone you care about will have an opinion about your future. You can't be mad about that though, because you created a situation where people became concerned. As much as they mean well, however, don't always listen to them. You will make lots of mistakes, but one of your strong suits is following your instincts. Your intuition, work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and built-in business acumen will serve you well once you get all this adolescent immaturity out of your system.</p> <p>You'll go farther faster if you cut all this crap out earlier, which I implore you to do, because who knows &mdash; I could be writing this letter from a corner office in Manhattan right now or on a bright, sunny beach on a weekday. But you'll only live up to your potential if you allow yourself to make your mistakes, learn and grow from them, and press on ever determined. What will happen when you're young will happen, but your future is still being written. Be bold, take risks, and get your financial self back on track sooner than later and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.</p> <p>Good luck, pal, and Godspeed,</p> <p>The Better and Even Handsomer You</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">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/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</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-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About 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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</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-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice debt money management money matters overspending saving younger self Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1778481 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fall_leaves_81399473.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves before the leaves change" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As yet another fun summer season winds down, there's no better time than the start of autumn to take a look at our finances to see where we can make adjustments. Consider these 10 money moves to make before the leaves change.</p> <h2>1. Get Back to Budget Reality</h2> <p>Summer activities can put budgeting on the back burner as we spend more and save less over vacation. A little splurging or a savings vacation isn't the end of the world, as long as it isn't a permanent getaway that drains your accounts. With autumn right around the corner, however, now's the time to get back to basics and rein in spending. Summer can be expensive, but you can regain control of your money by coming up with a spending plan that helps you curb impulse buys and save more of your income for a rainy day.</p> <h2>2. Start a Holiday Fund</h2> <p>The beginning of fall means the holiday season is only three months away. As you revamp your budget, start putting money aside for the end of the year. Whether your plans include taking an end-of-the-year vacation or buying gifts for loved ones, early planning can ensure enough cash so that you don't have to rely on credit cards.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Flat-Rate Billing</h2> <p>If your gas or electric bills trigger heart palpitations, talk to your utility company about flat-rate billing. The company looks at your past electricity or gas usage and uses this information to estimate your expected usage over the next year. Based on this estimation, you're charged a flat rate for the next 12 months. Flat-rate billing protects against higher utility bills during the winter and summer months, and as a result, budgeting is easier because you know exactly what you'll owe each month and there are no surprises.</p> <h2>4. Review Your TV Habits</h2> <p>Fall signifies that start of the new prime time television schedule &mdash; one of my favorite parts of the change of seasons. This is an excellent time to evaluate your TV viewing habits to see if you can do without cable, downgrade your package, or otherwise modify your home-entertainment budget to better suit your needs. With so many options these days, you can likely stream many of your favorite shows at a price that's far less than cable.</p> <h2>5. Pay Off Summer Debt</h2> <p>Carrying credit card debt from month-to-month is expensive. If your credit cards took a beating over the summer, come up with a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminate this debt</a>. Give your credit cards a break and pay for everything with cash, and then cut back on unnecessary spending to free up cash in your budget. Use the savings to double or triple your minimum payments and pay off balances sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">5 Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>)</p> <h2>6. Prepare for Colder Days</h2> <p>Temperatures cool down around September and October, so to trim your heating bill, take steps early in the season to keep the heat in and the cold out. This includes replacing missing insulation in the attic, weatherstripping your doors and windows, sealing any cracks around windows and electrical outlets, installing a storm door, hanging heavy drapes, getting a programmable thermostat, and closing your fireplace flue.</p> <h2>7. Check Your Savings Contributions</h2> <p>If summer fun threw off your savings goals, you can play catch-up by taking advantage of your company's retirement plan, or increasing your contributions if you already have a 401K.</p> <p>&quot;An employer may offer to match a percentage or all of your contributions to a retirement account,&quot; says Jim Poolman, retirement expert and executive director of the lndexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Some employers may even contribute to your retirement account each year whether you save or not.&quot; Any employer retirement contribution is considered &quot;free money&quot; and can maximize your savings at any age.</p> <h2>8. Balance Your Portfolio</h2> <p>In addition to contributing or increasing contributions to your company's retirement plan, you should get serious about balancing your portfolio to protect against market shifts. It isn't enough to have a 401K. Poolman suggests adding more conservative, low-risk products, such as fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) to balance your retirement portfolio.</p> <p>This is important as you become older, because a savings strategy that worked in your 20s might not be the right fit in your 30s or 40s.</p> <p>&quot;Assessing your investment mix at different stages in your life is key,&quot; Poolman warns. &quot;When you're young, a higher-risk investment strategy may be more effective, whereas the closer you are to retirement, the more important a low-risk portfolio may be.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Have a Money Talk With Your Partner</h2> <p>It's also important to sit down with your partner and/or a financial planner to review your overall financial picture and determine where you can improve. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policy? If you've recently tied the knot, had a baby, or purchased a home, can you increase your coverage? Or if you're self-employed, could you increase contributions and max out your IRA, which can grow your money and help you save on taxes? A yearly review can ensure a firm financial foundation and help you hit your goals.</p> <h2>10. Make Doctor's Appointments</h2> <p>A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you set aside a percentage of your pretax pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses. These accounts effectively reduce health care costs for doctor appointments, prescription medications, vision care, and dental care. You can withdraw funds to pay for covered expenses. The catch, however, is that funds in a flexible spending account must be used in the plan year. Some employers don't allow funds to carry over into the next year, or they only allow employees to carry over $500. If you don't use the money, you lose it. So with three months left in the year, schedule your doctor, dental, and vision appointments to avoid forfeiting your unused balance.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to prep your finances for fall?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">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/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</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-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</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-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your 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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should 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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice autumn budgeting debt fall health care money moves organizing paying bills savings seasons Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1775890 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Millennials Can Learn About Saving Money From Gen-X http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_friends_shopping_64269827.jpg" alt="Millennials learning about saving money from Gen-Xers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials think they've got it all figured out &mdash; just ask one and they'll tell you. But while I'm an advocate of the so-called &quot;Me Generation,&quot; allow me to freely admit we still have a few things to learn.</p> <p>Recently, money-saving grocery app Ibotta conducted a three-year analysis on user shopping habits &mdash; they dove deep into 25-million-plus user receipts &mdash; and the findings were interesting. As it turns out, Millennials aren't as financially savvy as they think they are. In fact, they can still learn a thing or two from Gen-Xers, who seem to have the saving vs. spending game down pat. Here are some of the results.</p> <h2>1. Gen-X Shops Where They Get More Bang for Their Buck</h2> <p>According to Ibotta's study, Millennials shop most frequently at beauty/cosmetic stores, nutrition stores, movie theaters, convenience stores, and apparel stores. That tells us that Millennials value quality over cost, and they don't mind paying the price for it. Especially when you consider the places Millennials shop the least, including pharmacies, dollar stores, arts-and-crafts stores, footwear stores, and home improvement stores.</p> <p>I have to admit, as someone who considers myself more Millennial than Gen-X (and I'm right on the cusp of both of these generations being born in 1981), I tend to shop at the places Millennials are least likely to be found. There are incredible savings at dollar stores and arts-and-crafts stores, in particular, and they're too good for me to pass up. Of course, I go to the movies a lot as well (I guess that's the Millennial in me), but you'll very rarely find me in beauty/cosmetics stores or nutrition stores when I know that I get anything I'd find there cheaper at places like Wal-Mart and Target &mdash; and I'm never too proud to shop at either of those establishments.</p> <h2>2. Gen-X Is Perfectly Happy Shopping at Traditional, Lower-Cost Grocery Stores</h2> <p>Millennials shop at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's about 56% more than non-Millennials, the Ibotta study reports. Which means that Millennial shoppers are not only trendy (or &quot;health-conscious&quot; if you want to be PC about it) in their food choices, but their grocery bills are likely much higher considering the steep prices of natural food markets.</p> <p>Personally, I've never understood the appeal of &quot;organic&quot; food. I've been putting nonorganic foods in my body for 35 years, and I feel two ways about it: First, I'm A-okay, healthy as an ox. Second, the damage by preservative- and pesticide-packed foods has already been done; I hardly believe that switching to organic fruits and vegetables now will change whatever is going to happen to me down the road.</p> <p>Plus, organic broccoli is the worst. I hate it, and you can't make me eat it.</p> <p>On the flip side, Gen-Xers still shop at traditional grocery stores &mdash; and use coupons! &mdash; which we'll get into later.</p> <h2>3. Gen-X Values Their Own Hard-Earned Money More Than Making a Political Statement</h2> <p>I'm not at all surprised by this statistic: Millennials are 8% more likely to shop at Costco over Sam's Club. Moreover, they're 13.5% more likely than non-Millennials to shop at Costco.</p> <p>I have a hunch as to why Millennials largely shun Sam's Club, and it has everything to do with being associated with Wal-Mart.</p> <p>Now, I'm not someone who avoids Wal-Mart as a result of its labor practices or other political stances &mdash; I go where the savings are, just like Gen-Xers (yep, I'm fickle) &mdash; but it seems that there's an entire generation of consumers that look down on Wal-Mart as if it's subpar for whatever reason. (Although, one of those reasons might have to do with those unflattering &quot;People of Wal-Mart&quot; memes or the tramplings at Christmastime &mdash; who's to say, really?)</p> <p>In any case, my assumption is especially valid when you consider that Millennials are 27% more likely to shop at Target than users in all other age groups.</p> <p>I will contend that Target is much cleaner and more organized than most Wal-Marts I've been in, but I'm not boycotting a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club to make a political statement if at the end of the day my wallet comes out the winner. That's just common sense.</p> <h2>4. Gen-Xers Are Good at Making the Most of Mid-Level Consumer Goods</h2> <p>Millennials are brand loyalists through and through. Just look at the forever converts Apple has following its cult. The loyalty doesn't stop there, though. Whereas Gen-X is open to trying new brands, especially if they're lower priced or on sale, Millennials are willing to loosen the purse strings for established labels. When it comes to a brand like Sephora, in fact, Millennials are two times more likely to shop there than Gen X &mdash; and it ain't cheap.</p> <p>But perhaps beauty vlogger Raye Boyce can change a few Millennial minds. She recently tested $600 worth of makeup on one side of her face and $60 in makeup on the other side. The results? Well, see if you can tell the difference in her video on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCXwnlOYsfs">makeup that could save you money</a>.</p> <h2>5. Gen-X Clips a Good Coupon When They See It</h2> <p>I don't know if it's the stigma of using a coupon (maybe they feel &quot;cheap&quot; or embarrassed when they hand over a discount?), but Millennials are losing out on a lot of opportunity to save, which in turn is making their lifestyle way costlier than it needs to be.</p> <p>The Ibotta study reveals that Millennials use 20% fewer coupons than Gen-X, and they take advantage of 7.5% fewer in-store discounts. Those numbers are crazy &mdash; especially the disparity in coupon use.</p> <p>If you're a Millennial reading this right now, listen up: Your ego is making you broke, and it's time to come back down to earth.</p> <p>I don't know how anybody can shop without coupons. This is coming from a guy who has and will continue to use coupons on dates (first dates even!). Because wherever I save means extra money for things I like to do, like enjoying new experiences or making investments that make me more money. That full-price pair of expensive shoes will only make you so happy &mdash; and that happiness will run right out when you're sitting in those shoes at home, broke and alone, on a Saturday night.</p> <p>But at least then you'll have time to clip a few coupons with your shears&hellip; and probably a few tears.</p> <p><em>Do you recognize yourself in any of these shopping stats and behaviors?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x">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/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You 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/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</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-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping advice coupons deals gen x generations millennials politics saving money stores Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1775193 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_growing_plants_67145371.jpg" alt="Finding money moves to make before you start investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a staunch advocate for investing &mdash; especially if the alternative is piling up money in a savings account just to have &quot;savings.&quot; Savings are great, but you only need so much in that offensively low-interest account. Put the excess to work, hopefully making even more money out of your investment. Before you take that plunge, however, there are a few financial matters you need to mind.</p> <h2>1. Organize Your Budget and Expenses</h2> <p>If you're considering making an investment &mdash; whatever it may be &mdash; you should have a solid handle on how much money is coming in and going out on a monthly basis. You want to make sure you can afford the investment without teetering on the edge of debt, but this also is a good time to find any weak spots in your budget so you can address them accordingly. Online money-tracking services like Mint.com can make this task much easier on you, and help you stay on track over the long term.</p> <p>&quot;When you know where your money goes, you are in control and can be thoughtful about aligning spending with priorities,&quot; says Carla Dearing CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service. &quot;Mint, for example, gives you complete access to your data through the website and your mobile device, whether you use iOS or Android. Better yet, Mint keeps an eye on your money for you. It even sends alerts to remind you to pay your bills or when you go over budget.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get That Emergency Fund in Order &mdash; Stat!</h2> <p>In almost every &quot;money moves&quot; article I write, the &quot;emergency fund&quot; usually pops up somewhere. That's because it's a critical and indispensable part of your overall financial picture. You should have a sizable cushion in the bank to cover life's little mishaps, and that &quot;should&quot; becomes a &quot;must&quot; when you add investing to the equation. If you don't have an emergency fund, you have no business investing &mdash; bottom line.</p> <p>Just how much dough are we talking for an emergency fund to be considered satisfactory? Six times your monthly expenses, according to Dearing.</p> <p><strong>&quot;</strong>Be disciplined about saving a little every month until your emergency fund is where it needs to be, even if it means sacrificing little luxuries once in a while,&quot; she says. &quot;Remember to replenish the account every time you use it. Having your cushion ready whenever you need it will give you a great sense of security and freedom. It will also free you up to work on other savings goals without getting derailed by unexpected expenses.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your High-Interest Debts</h2> <p>You don't need to be completely out of debt before you start investing. Many financial advisers argue that you should be debt free before you start investing, but that's just not true. Most people don't pay off their homes for up to 30 years, and you wouldn't want to wait that long before you start a retirement fund.</p> <p>You should, however, pay off your high-interest debts. They'll drag you down faster than the Titanic.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's a credit card or student loan, it doesn't make any sense to invest and make a market average return of 7% annually while you're paying 20% on credit debt,&quot; says Nick Braun, founder of a pet insurance company. &quot;Pay off your high-interest debts first, then start using excess income to save for the future.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>4. Contribute to Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings <em>is</em> an investment. It may not seem like it now, because what you're funding seems so far away &mdash; but you'll see it as such when you reach retirement age. Which is why, before you start throwing money at other investment opportunities, you need to invest in yourself. If you don't have a retirement account set up yet, make that a priority. If you have one currently, like a 401K, for instance, take advantage of free, pretax contribution opportunities where available, like matching funds from your employer. Then max those contributions out so you don't miss a single cent.</p> <h2>5. Contribute to an HSA</h2> <p>If you have a health insurance policy that comes with a qualifying Health Savings Account, take full advantage of it and fully fund it.</p> <p>&quot;Most contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals to pay qualifying medical expenses &mdash; at any time in life &mdash; are tax-free,&quot; explains Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Freedom Financial Network in Phoenix. &quot;These accounts are essentially emergency funds devoted to health care costs, and so savings have a double benefit of tax relief and savings.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Refinance Your Student Loans</h2> <p>Are student loans holding you back from building your savings or investment accounts or from making other types of investments? Free up some of your budget by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=internal">refinancing your loans</a> for a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>&quot;The average Class of 2016 graduate owes more than $37,000 in student loan debt,&quot; says financial expert Michael Blattman, professor at University of Maryland. &quot;With 43 million borrowers nationwide, Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Individually, this crushing debt delays borrowers' life decisions, such as getting married, investing in the stock market, buying a house, or having children. Collectively, it's hampering the U.S. economy.&quot;</p> <p>You don't, however, have to be part of these statistics. Take back some of your financial freedom by making a call to your loan provider(s) to discuss refinance options that are right for you.</p> <h2>7. Get Started on a Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>After you've maxed out your retirement accounts, Dearing suggests starting a taxable investment portfolio. You can get started investing with just a few simple steps.</p> <p>To get set up, call one of the high-quality, low-fee money management companies, like Vanguard, Fidelity, or T. Rowe Price, tell them about yourself, and ask them to tell you what type of account or fund you need, and what minimum investment requirements apply. These companies, which are the gold standard in the financial services industry, are extremely knowledgeable and committed to serving their clients (who, in the case of Vanguard, are also their shareholders).</p> <p>&quot;Companies like this get you started with a comprehensive, diversified, low-cost fund that will serve you well as a beginning investor,&quot; says Dearing. &quot;Follow their recommendations and you won't go wrong.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Set Savings Goals for Your Taxable Investment Portfolio</h2> <p>Once you have your taxable investment portfolio established, set goals &mdash; $10,000, then $25,000 and, eventually, $100,000.</p> <p>&quot;When you are just starting out, choose one or two tax-advantaged funds, like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF or the Vanguard Small Cap Index ETF, or similar index funds,&quot; Dearing suggests. &quot;These passively managed funds do a minimum amount of buying and selling &mdash; what the industry calls 'churning' &mdash; which translates into significantly less taxable investment income for you to deal with each year. They also tend to outperform most actively managed mutual funds over time.&quot;</p> <p>Revisiting the goal aspect of this equation, it helps to have a contribution target in place so you have a solid idea of what you're trying to achieve. Likewise, make sure that it's a goal that you <em>can</em> achieve. $10,000 may take a while to reach, but you can do it. If that goal is too steep for you right now, start smaller. There's no harm in that. The most important part of this is that you set the bar just high enough to accomplish it and be motivated by your success to continuing striving further.</p> <p><em>Do you have additional suggestions on money moves to make before investing? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">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-2"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays 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/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</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/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy">The 10 Weirdest ETFs You Can Buy</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/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice emergency funds health savings account money moves Paying Off Debt portfolio retirement savings stock market student loans Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1771628 at http://www.wisebread.com Want to Master Your Debt? Think Like a Maze Runner http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-master-your-debt-think-like-a-maze-runner <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-master-your-debt-think-like-a-maze-runner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_corn_maze_85631953.jpg" alt="Friends learning how to master debt like maze runners" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever been inside one of those massive corn mazes that are carved to look like a famous person or scene? When you were a kid did you collect books of mazes to solve, each more difficult than the last?</p> <p>Mazes can be challenging and fun. And working your way through a maze is very much like working your way out of debt.</p> <p>If you find that you're suffocating under a mountain of financial obligations, it's time to work toward becoming debt-free. And if you're an expert at solving mazes, you'll be able to apply some lessons to changing your lifestyle in order to achieve financial freedom.</p> <p>Here are nine ways that getting out of debt is like going through a complicated maze.</p> <h2>1. It Can Seem Hard at First</h2> <p>The farm that my family travels to each fall has a massive maze, with five sections. It is mind-bendingly complex, and I always start off wondering, &quot;How the heck am I gonna get through this thing?&quot; But inevitably, I do make it out unscathed.</p> <p>All big adventures seem daunting in the beginning, and the process of getting out of debt can certainly fill you with self doubt. The key is to take your time, focus on smaller and achievable goals, and not get discouraged by the bigger picture.</p> <h2>2. There's Always a Way Out</h2> <p>Every maze, no matter how big or crazy, has a way out. You may think that there's no way to escape, but there always is. No one is playing a trick on you and building a maze with no solution. Similarly, when you are fighting to get out of debt, you need to be aware that it's always possible to eliminate what you owe. Nothing is hopeless.</p> <h2>3. There's More Than One Path</h2> <p>There are no rules about how you get through a maze. The only thing that matters is that you make it out. Likewise, the journey toward financial freedom isn't laid out with specific directions. Sure, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you">debt reduction plans</a> that offer detailed steps to follow, but if you deviate from that, it's not the end of the world, as long as you are making progress.</p> <h2>4. You May Want to Give Up</h2> <p>My wife and I once got stuck in a large hedge maze, and couldn't find our way out. Exhausted and angry at one another, we very nearly called it quits and called for someone to rescue us. But we persevered, and methodically made our way through. It took longer than expected, but we escaped.</p> <p>Getting out of debt can be like this. There will be moments when you feel like you're not making any progress. There will be times when you want to just quit and go back to your bad borrowing ways. Ultimately, you will realize that moving forward is the only way to go, even if it takes more time than you planned.</p> <h2>5. You'll Make Mistakes</h2> <p>You may think you are on the right track, but you'll make a wrong turn and end up back near where you started. You will hit dead ends. You may even have to start over from the very beginning.</p> <p>When you're trying to get out of debt, you may not make the best decisions at every key moment along the way. You might overspend on an item, or fail to pay a bill on time. But that's okay, as long as you keep trying to get on the right path. Eventually, you will find yourself heading in the correct direction and closer to your goals.</p> <h2>6. There Will Be Unexpected Obstacles</h2> <p>Some of the trickiest mazes have rough terrain, tree branches, puddles, and maybe even the occasional Minotaur. Your journey to being debt-free will be filled with challenges you can't predict. You may be on the right track, only to lose your job or face an unexpected medical expense. Don't get discouraged!</p> <h2>7. Success Comes Easier When You Have Help</h2> <p>Navigating through a tough labyrinth is easier if you have a buddy. One of you can look at the map, while the other looks for clues. You can communicate about which paths you've already taken, and which way might lead to a dead end.</p> <p>The same goes for getting out of debt. A partner can keep you from overspending on unnecessary items. A friend or family member can remind you about bills to be paid. They can also boost your spirits when the going gets tough. Don't go it alone!</p> <h2>8. You Might Enjoy the Challenge</h2> <p>People love mazes because they like a mental test. The challenge itself can be enjoyable for them. Reducing your debt can feel the same way. You'll make changes to your lifestyle that will be hard, but over time, you may find that you enjoy the tough work of seeing your obligations decrease. The actual process of saving, paying down debt, developing discipline, and achieving financial freedom can be satisfying in and of itself.</p> <h2>9. You'll Feel Great at the End</h2> <p>It's always a wonderful feeling when you complete a hard task. The sense of accomplishment is often unparalleled. Whether it's making your way through a dense and convoluted maze, or working like crazy to get out from under a mountain of debt, you'll want to raise your arms in triumph when it's all over. It's a downright super mixture of sheer joy, relief, and pride from knowing you worked toward a goal and got it done.</p> <p><em>What navigation tricks have you helped escape your debt?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-master-your-debt-think-like-a-maze-runner">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</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/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it">Account in Collections? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</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/10-things-people-without-debt-do">10 Things People Without Debt Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management accomplishments advice challenges mazes obstacles owing money strategy Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:00:17 +0000 Tim Lemke 1773243 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dwayne_johnson_000018755909.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons from The Rock" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whatever Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson is cooking, you better get a hold of his recipe for success! According to Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid celebrities, Johnson earned a cool <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/dwayne-johnson/">$64.5 million in 2016</a>, more than double of what he earned the previous year ($31.5 million).</p> <p>He came from very humble beginnings, hustled his way through professional wrestling, and developed a successful career in the entertainment industry. The Rock never took himself too seriously (remember his role as thug Elliot on <a href="https://youtu.be/y2trL80lJPQ">Be Cool</a>?), and is still quite humble. Here are the six money lessons we could all learn from Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson.</p> <h2>Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>This is one of the most well-known investing maxims. Johnson is a true believer on this mantra and he has diversified his sources of income, including wrestling, acting, and producing a number of reality shows and the HBO series <em>Ballers</em>. While the bulk of his net worth (estimated to be somewhere between <a href="http://okmagazine.com/photos/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-by-the-numbers-his-nine-figure-net-worth-and-more/photo/1001096506/">$150 millio</a>n and <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-athletes/wrestlers/the-rock-net-worth/">$190 million</a>) comes from his movie roles, Johnson still applies the don't-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket concept by working in more roles than his fellow actors.</p> <p>And this strategy has rewarded him handsomely. In 2013, actor Robert Downey Jr. was the king of the box office for his role as Tony Stark in the film <em>Iron Man 3</em>, which earned $1.2 billion worldwide. However, The Rock was able to earn $100 million more than Downey Jr. by working in more movie roles. While Downey Jr. only worked on <em>Iron Man 3</em>, Johnson worked on four movies, including <em>Fast &amp; Furious 6</em> and <em>G.I. Joe: Retaliation</em>. &quot;Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come,&quot; says Johnson.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #1: Get a Side Gig</h3> <p>&quot;I never wanted to stay in one genre; I never wanted to be pigeonholed or defined as the actor who only worked in one genre,&quot; claims Johnson. Just like him, capitalize on your other talents and participate in the &quot;gig economy&quot; to get some extra cash on top of your regular salary. From driving with Uber to online tutoring to assembling furniture, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Who knows, if you're able to make more for doing what you truly love, you'll might even be able to bid goodbye to the good old 9-to-5 and long-commute! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>)</p> <h3>Money Lesson #2: Diversify Your Investments</h3> <p>Like Johnson, generate multiplies streams of income to hedge against the risk of one of them drying up. By using different kinds of investments, you'll achieve, on average, higher returns and lower risk than any individual investment found within the portfolio. While socking away in a savings account is a source of guaranteed income, it'll never allow you to reach your financial goals. So, you need to invest in stocks. Still, don't put all of it on stocks: Experts suggest young savers allocate 10% to bonds and 90% to stocks.</p> <h2>Set Up Sources of Passive Income</h2> <p>While Johnson is able to command up to $20 million for a movie role, his most impressive source of income is his bonus and royalty contract with the World Wresting Entertainment (WWE). In 2016, wrestler John Cena is without a doubt the star of the WWE, with a star caliber <a href="http://www.totalsportek.com/money/wwe-wrestlers-salaries/">$2.75 million five-year contract</a>, including 7% on merchandise sales and hefty share of Pay-Per-View earnings.</p> <p>However, Cena has to make extensive appearances and really work for that paycheck. On the other hand, Johnson has a $3.5 million contract that only requires him to appear on selected WWE dates and earns a 7% bonus for high merchandise sales. Between 2014 and 2015, he only appeared a handful of times at WWE events. Show up, raise an eyebrow, drop a &quot;People's Elbow,&quot; and get paid a couple hundred thousand dollars (before bonuses!). Not a bad deal, at all.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #3: Negotiate More Than Just Salary</h3> <p>Like The Rock, don't just focus on salary when negotiating your employment contract. Think about other ways that you can get paid extra for the same amount of work. Some examples to consider are:</p> <ul> <li>A bump in your employee match to your retirement account;</li> <li>A subsidy to your commuting expenses;</li> <li>A reduction in your health plan monthly fees;</li> <li>A refund on professional fees or certifications; or</li> <li>A bonus in company shares.</li> </ul> <h3>Money Lesson #4: Consider Income-Focused Investments</h3> <p>While The Rock isn't sure whether or not he'll be able to secure $20 million for his next acting role for the big screen, he can always count on that $3.5 million paycheck from the WWE. Having a secure stream of income is key for better budgeting. It's great to invest your money in equities, but it's even better to have a portion in stocks that pay dividends on a regular basis. Whether you're closer to retirement and need to focus on income, or just need to stabilize your portfolio, look for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks">dividend stocks</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-top-mutual-funds-for-income-investors">low-fee mutual funds</a> focusing on income.</p> <h2>Protect the Engine That Powers You</h2> <p>From being evicted from his home during his childhood, to having several run-ins with the law during his adolescence, to only having seven bucks to his name at the end of his football career, Johnson admits that he has had a messy life. So, how was he able to turn things around and achieve success? Johnson admits that the best advice he ever got was &quot;Around every corner always protect the engine that powers you.&quot;</p> <p>For Johnson, his support team consists of his mom Ata Johnson, his girlfriend Lauren Hashian, his ex-wife Dany Garcia, and his ex-wife's husband Dave Rienzi. While the first two make perfect sense, the latter two could leave you scratching your head. Turns out that Johnson and Garcia are co-founders of 7 Bucks Productions (named after the $7 that Johnson had left after his football career, the company is in charge of managing his projects) and Rienzi is Johnson's conditioning and strength coach. &quot;I'm happy to say we're all together working nicely, but it took a lot of work. With Danny, it was going through the sludge of divorce and then having the clarity to say, 'We're still friends, we respect each other, let's do business. And let's do big business,'&quot; says Johnson about his support team.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #5: Buy Life Insurance</h3> <p>When you're the main breadwinner of your household like Johnson, you have to establish a rock-solid plan in case you pass away or are no longer able to provide for your loved ones. Nobody likes to think about their own mortality but you need to realize that right now is when your life insurance is at its cheapest. If you're covering the biggest portion or all of the monthly mortgage payment, who will cover those moneys in your absence? Are you comfortable with the idea that your retired parents or that your children have to take over a debt? That's why you need to protect the &quot;engine&quot; that powers you.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #6: Listen to More Professionals</h3> <p>From executing a will to preparing the taxes of your small business to pulling out a tree, there are many times that you're better off hiring a professional. Not only will you get the job done right, but you'll also &mdash; and more importantly &mdash; prevent any financial damage. Just like in the case of The Rock, you'll have to cede control to somebody who you may not necessarily be too happy with but does an outstanding job, anyway. Two places that you can start with are your investment account and your retirement account. Depending on your accounts, you may already be paying or have access to a financial professional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <p><em>What are other money lessons you've learned from Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">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-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</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-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-money">How to Think Like an Olympian to Master Your 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/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing 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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment Lifestyle advice celebrities dwayne johnson inspiration money lessons net worth role models the rock Tue, 16 Aug 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1773240 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Think Like an Olympian to Master Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/olympic_runners_athletes_79121499.jpg" alt="Olympic athletes learning how to master their money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may not think you have much in common with an Olympian, but when you put these world-class athletes' level of commitment, perseverance, and practice in the context of your own finances, you might be surprised at just how alike you are &mdash; or, at least, how alike you can be.</p> <p>Start looking at the bigger picture and keep your eye on the prize with these ways to think like an Olympian and master your money.</p> <h2>1. Commit to a Goal &mdash; Or Goals</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of an Olympian is to take home the coveted gold medal in their discipline. Your goals, with regards to your money, may vary. Perhaps you want to pay off your consumer debts or school loans, establish a sizable emergency fund, or start making investments. Whatever it may be, you have to set your sights and focus on achieving that goal by contributing to it as best you can. An important part of that process is holding yourself accountable by tracking your spending and saving habits and monitoring progress toward your ultimate goal &mdash; and that often starts with budgeting.</p> <p>&quot;Olympians set goals &mdash; ranging from hitting a turn better in swim practice to winning a medal &mdash; and then devising a training program around the goals,&quot; offers Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Freedom Financial Network in Phoenix. &quot;In personal finance, the idea is to look at what you want to do in life, set goals, and then put together a budget that will help you achieve those goals. Along the way, you may need to modify the goals or the 'training program' that gets you there &mdash; just as an Olympian would.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Put Those Goals in Places of Visibility</h2> <p>Keep track of your goals and put them in places of visibility. Whether it's a dream board with your endgame (i.e. a gold medal) or a cheat sheet of stats, many Olympians visualize the end in mind.</p> <p>Personal finance expert and blogger Cherie Lowe did just when she and her husband committed to paying off $127,000 in debt.</p> <p>&quot;While we were paying off debt, a running tally hung on our refrigerator (four years later, it's still there), reminding us where we've been and where we were headed at the time,&quot; she says.</p> <p>This strategy can work for you, too. Monitoring your progress &mdash; so you can visually assess your small successes &mdash; will provide the stamina and drive you'll need to make it through the long haul.</p> <h2>3. Recognize the Necessary Sacrifices</h2> <p>Nobody likes to make sacrifices &mdash; least of all Olympians who need to stay on the straight-and-narrow if they're to be the best of the best (so long, junk food and booze!). But if you're in a financial pickle, sacrifices are likely in order.</p> <p>These sacrifices will depend on your lifestyle. I don't know what your personal vices are, but when you identify these monetary distractions, it's wise to devise a plan to nip them in the bud, or at least lay off them as you get your situation under control. You won't get very far in achieving your goals if you're constantly sidetracked or diverted by these things that expressly prevent you from your own success. You'll soon realize they're not worth the negative impact they have on you, and you may even feel better than you thought you would without them.</p> <h2>4. Practice, Practice, Practice</h2> <p>Athletes show up to practice every day and continue to perfect their skill. This is according to four-time real-life Olympian Lauryn Williams, who has started a financial planning firm that serves professional athletes and young professionals.</p> <p>&quot;Practice is about working on your weaknesses until they become skills,&quot; she says. &quot;Saving may be something you don't do well, but you show up and practice and sometimes you save a little and others times you save a lot, but to create the habit of saving you must consistently practice it.&quot;</p> <p>Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch echoes that sentiment.</p> <p>&quot;As the popular saying goes, 'practice makes perfect,' and this applies to both athletes striving to be the top talents in their sport and individuals who want to effectively manage their finances,&quot; she says. &quot;Tasks like investing and saving money take practice; proficiency in these areas is not achieved overnight and requires the same tireless pursuit employed by Olympians seeking gold in the games. Do the same thing everyday as it relates to your money, whether that's reviewing your bank and credit card statements or tracking your goal. And when you perfect your process, keep going and never stop.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Show Up Every Day &mdash; Whether You Want to or Not</h2> <p>No matter how tired you are, or beat down, or how woe-is-me you're feeling about your finances, keep pushing every day. Olympians don't skip the gym. They pay attention to their training daily. In the same way, if you're reaching for a financial goal you have to be willing to show up and put in the hard work, even when you don't feel like it. This means balancing the checkbook, working extra hours, and being an active participant in your money goals.</p> <h2>6. Overcome Setbacks</h2> <p>In your pursuit of sound money-management, there will always be setbacks, whether it's a drop in the market or an impulse buy made in a moment of weakness. But you will bounce back &mdash; and you'll be better for it.</p> <p>Let's use a self-imposed moratorium on clothes shopping as an example. You want to commit to your savings goals full force, and eliminating clothing purchases (or at least for a while) are necessary to achieve that goal. Alas, sometimes life gets in the way, but that doesn't mean that all your hard work to this point has to go up in flames.</p> <p>&quot;When you're trying to cut back on spending, but back-to-school season is demanding your funds, for instance, download apps like <a href="http://shopsavvy.com/">ShopSavvy</a> to compare prices or Coupon Sherpa for such in-store savings as $10 off $40 or more with a <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/kohls/">Kohl's coupon</a>,&quot; Woroch says. &quot;Recovering from these mishaps quickly and continuing to practice good financial habits is key to your ultimate success.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Cultivate Self-Discipline</h2> <p>Reaching that podium as a medalist isn't a cakewalk for an Olympian, and neither will be achieving your financial goals. Which is why self-discipline is required, especially if you're going this alone.</p> <p>&quot;It takes discipline to train for hours every day leading up to the Olympic Games and it takes this same kind of strong will to reach your financial goals,&quot; says Woroch. &quot;After all, it's much more fun to spend money on vacations and the latest gadget than it is to put money toward your savings goal or debt payoff plan. Having the control to forgo wants and focus only on your needs is a challenge, but it's a worthwhile pursuit, whether you're striving for gold or financial freedom.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Strive for Consistency</h2> <p>Consistency is key if you want to achieve any kind of goal, whether it's related to fitness or finances. Olympians must be consistent with their training, both mental and physical, to qualify for the games and compete with other top athletes in their sport. Similarly, consumers must be consistent with their savings goals and spending behaviors to stay on track financially. Digital tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> can help you track your spending and keep an eye on your investment portfolio, while the<a href="https://digit.co/"> Digit app</a> automates savings and transfers unused funds from your checking account to your savings account.</p> <h2>9. Stay Positive</h2> <p>There will be days along this journey that you'll want to give up, throw in the towel, close the blinds and hide under the covers. We all get that way sometimes, but it's true what they say &mdash; only the strong will survive. Stay focused and maintain a positive outlook, and you'll come out the other end victorious, just like a U.S. Olympian.</p> <p>Woroch notes, &quot;To compete, Olympians must remain positive through arduous training and in the face of fierce competition. It's easy to feel defeated both as an athlete and as someone pursuing a financial goal. However, positivity can help you endure the low moments and keep your sights set on your goal. This is especially true when the stock market drops and your net worth suddenly takes a dive along with it.&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you an Olympian when it comes to your finances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing 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/the-3-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-oprah-winfrey">The 3 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Oprah Winfrey</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice commitment discipline goals inspiration money olympics Paying Off Debt working hard Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1767117 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_text_94856801.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to improve finances using social media " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Social media is about more than just looking at friends' baby photos, posting what you ate for dinner last night, and watching the most recent viral videos. It can actually help you improve your finances, land a new job, and reach your savings goals more efficiently. That's why we've found some of the best ways to improve your finances by getting the most out of social media. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>&quot;Friend&quot; Your Credit Cards and Bank</h2> <p>Add your credit card issuers and bank to your social media accounts by &quot;friending&quot; or following them. Large institutions usually offer deals to followers, so you can enjoy a lower APR, higher savings interest rate, or other money-saving promos. In fact, according to U.S. News, social media is often the first outlet that banks choose to <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/06/03/why-the-financial-services-industry-started-tweeting">share news about upcoming deals</a>.</p> <p>Social media is also possibly the best way to get in touch with customer service quickly, as it will allow you to get their attention more easily. Just make sure to keep your account information, address, and any other private information off the message boards and social media pages.</p> <h2>Enjoy Travel and Shopping Deals</h2> <p>There are endless travel and shopping deals available through social media. Retailers often choose social media as the first outlet to announce upcoming sales, so their friends and followers are able to take advantage of the biggest discounts first. Followers are frequently offered early deals, as well.</p> <p>You can find Twitter-specific deals that can save you on everything from rental cars and vacations to eating out and even buying gifts. Before going out to make any purchases, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to make sure there aren't any deals that you're missing. You can even check social media hashtags, such as #deal, to find the best deals in your area.</p> <h2>Share Goals</h2> <p>Many financial experts recommend sharing your financial goals online. By setting your goals early and sharing them with the people you love, it can help you articulate what you really want and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. In fact, research has shown that making <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3047432/work-smart/why-sharing-your-progress-makes-you-more-likely-to-accomplish-your-goals">public statements about goals</a> can help you achieve them more efficiently. However, you never want to reveal anything too personal, such as private information that fraudsters can use against you.</p> <h2>Get Money-Saving Tips</h2> <p>By following your favorite finance site on social media, you can find endless free money-saving tips and updates. You can also find forums and group discussions with unique money-saving ideas and encouragement from others. You can even find good financial and investment advice online.</p> <p>Seeing these tips on a daily basis on your social media pages can also be a good reminder each and every day to protect your hard-earned income. After all, we all need a reminder once in a while that we don't really need that new top or expensive latte in the morning.</p> <h2>Find a New Job</h2> <p>LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when you're searching for a new job. You can apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn, perfect your resume, and even reach out to potential employers and former colleagues. Contacting them through Facebook or Twitter won't be as effective or as professional as contacting them through LinkedIn.</p> <p>With LinkedIn, once you have created a professional profile, employers and recruiters can even reach out to you with potential job offers. You can also join LinkedIn groups within your field so you are the first to know about potential opportunities. You can even add examples of your work, recommendations from current or previous coworkers, and any honors you've received to better build your online portfolio.</p> <h2>Make Connections</h2> <p>Networking through social media can result in better face-to-face communication, potential job offers, and endless contacts in your field. Simply following someone or sharing their social media posts can be a great first step in networking and making connections.</p> <h2>Build Your Brand</h2> <p>Whether you're promoting your personal business or services, or just want to build your reputation as the best in your field, posting on social media can be a great start. Just make sure to stay consistent so that you can reach as many followers as possible.</p> <h2>Research More Efficiently</h2> <p>Gone are the days of asking for financial suggestions from friends and coworkers. Whether you're looking for a new financial planner or would like information on which investments to make, you can find more information quickly through social media. With a simple social media search, you can find detailed research on the investment product or financial adviser you're interested in.</p> <p>You can also find suggestions for dentists and other service providers in your area through social media. This will ensure you get what you're looking for and don't waste money.</p> <h2>Sell Your Items</h2> <p>If you create and sell items privately, such as through Etsy, social media can be a great free platform for you to advertise your products or services. This can help you bring in more revenue, reach new customers, and show off your work to a limitless audience.</p> <h2>Make Some Extra Income</h2> <p>There are even ways to make some extra income using social media. If you have a large following, you can publish sponsored tweets or sign up for affiliate accounts, where you will receive your own unique link to earn some extra income when followers make purchases using that link. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you followed Wise Bread on social media yet? What are your best tips for improving your finances through social media? </em><em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">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/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x">5 Things Millennials Can Learn About Saving Money From Gen-X</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You 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/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology advice blogs deals extra money Internet job hunting promotions saving money selling shopping social media travel Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1753337 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_sunset_79384959.jpg" alt="Woman making moves after conquering debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations &mdash; you're debt free! Now what?</p> <p>The road to debt elimination was long and treacherous, but just because the black cloud of lingering bills is no longer hanging over your head, that doesn't mean your financial house is in order. It's in better shape, sure, but you've still got a ways to go. To continue working toward that goal, here are a few smart moves you should make as soon as you get out of the red:</p> <h2>1. Rearrange and Trim Your Budget</h2> <p>Your top priority when getting out of debt is to not get back into debt. To accomplish that, you'll need to make changes to your spending and savings habits. You'll also need to revisit your budget and rearrange your priorities. Now that you don't have credit card or loan payments bleeding you dry every month, you'll have more disposable income &mdash; and you need to decide what you'll do with it to improve your quality of life and set yourself up for the future. Cut out anything that's unnecessary: Maybe it's the cable that you don't watch much of, the gym membership you don't use, or subscriptions to services you can live without. Whatever is it, cut the fat and don't look back.</p> <h2>2. Get Back to Building Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you've been digging yourself out of a negative-money pit, chances are you don't have much of an emergency fund &mdash; and that needs to change ASAP. Building an emergency fund is the best way to avoid a potential debt scenario in the future. You'll be able to draw from that account to pay off life's little surprises in full, so you're not constantly treading water every time something unexpected happens.</p> <p>&quot;I recommend having an emergency fund saved up equal to six months' worth of expenses,&quot; says financial planner Russell Robertson of Alidade Wealth Partners in Atlanta, GA. &quot;This will give you time to get back on your feet if something unforeseen happens without completely disrupting everything in your life.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Check in on Your Credit Situation</h2> <p>Brace yourself. If you've been battling debt for an extended period of time &mdash; especially if you've only being sending in minimum payments &mdash; your credit situation is likely less than ideal. The good news, however, is that you're in the clear now (debt-wise, anyway), and this is the best time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent?ref=internal">start rebuilding your credit</a>.</p> <p>Having a solid credit score puts you in a strong position when you need to finance a purchase, like a house or car, or apply for a new line of credit. It's always a good idea to know where you stand with credit and take steps to improve it.</p> <h2>4. Max Out Your Matching-Dollar Opportunities for Retirement</h2> <p>Like your emergency fund, contributions to your 401K and IRA were probably low (or perhaps even nonexistent) while you concentrated on paying down your debt. With more funds freed up now, it's important to start concentrating on your future &mdash; especially your retirement goals &mdash; and that includes maxing out dollar-matching opportunities to take full advantage of free money.</p> <p>&quot;401K plans in 2016 have a contribution limit of $18,000 a year, plus an extra $6,000 for people over 50, so with no debt to pay, you might have the opportunity to reach that limit now,&quot; says financial planner and investment adviser Jaycob Arbogast of Arbogast Advisers. &quot;Similarly, an IRA has a $5,500 limit for people under 50 and a $6,500 limit for people 50-plus, so maxing out those plans might be a good idea too. For example, with a 6% return, adding an extra $5,000 each year to your retirement savings from age 50 to 60 could add an additional $65,000 to your retirement savings. That's a great boost that someone in debt might not be able to maintain.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Start Investing With Long-Term Returns in Mind</h2> <p>Personally, I recommend investing in real estate, but what you invest in is up to you, so long as you're investing. Outside of your emergency fund, your money should never sit in a savings account earning fractions of pennies. Instead, you'll be better off putting that money in places that promise bigger returns over the long term, so you can meet your savings goals sooner and continue making more investments for (hopefully) a more prosperous life.</p> <p>Alternatively, Robertson recommends the stock market.</p> <p>&quot;If your budget still has room for more saving, put that money to work by investing in the markets,&quot; he advises. &quot;Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get diversified, low-cost exposure, and many online brokerages will offer commission-free ETF options as well.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Put Money Back Into the Investments You Already Have &mdash; Like Your Home</h2> <p>For many people, their homes are their biggest investments. To ensure that investment pays off the way you want and need it to, you have to maintain it. Thus, when you've paid off your debt, start thinking about home improvement projects that will increase value. Just be careful that you're not taking on projects that cost more than the house is worth. The last thing you need is to dump your savings into your home if the project doesn't enhance the house enough to make it worthwhile in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Open a Money Market Account for Higher Interest on Savings</h2> <p>If you have a substantial amount of savings in your emergency fund &mdash; and you should &mdash; that money shouldn't be in a traditional savings account. Contact your bank, or research others, to find savings accounts that offer the best interest rates, like money market accounts or high yield savings. Bottom line, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be getting the most bank for your buck, especially where savings are concerned.</p> <p>Robertson agrees, and in this particular case, rescinds his recommendation to invest in stocks.</p> <p>&quot;If there is something specific you are saving up for &mdash; a celebratory trip to Europe? A wedding? &mdash; within the next two to three years, I would recommend keeping that money out of the stock market,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, consider a money market account or CD from an online bank. In many cases you can get close to 1% interest right now on cash that is still guaranteed up to FDIC limits (currently $250,000). In fact, this is a good idea for that emergency fund as well &mdash; something that earns interest and is separate from your everyday checking account.&quot;</p> <p><em>What else should the newly debt-free do with their money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-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-3"> <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/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</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/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</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-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</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/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Investment 401k advice credit score emergency funds ETFs home improvements IRA money moves retirement stock market Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1752364 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Best Money Saving Channels on YouTube http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tablet_youtube_19991493.jpg" alt="Finding great money saving channels on YouTube" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What don't you use YouTube for? From learning how to reseal your kitchen sink to entertaining yourself with weird cat videos, YouTube has it all. YouTube can also help you save money, and I'm not just talking about saving money on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out">free workout videos</a> or cooking lessons, though those are also great ways to save big.</p> <p>There are several money-saving gurus on YouTube, and their channels are full of moneymaking tips and advice and hacks on how to live frugally. Here are just a few of my favorites. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>1. Do It On a Dime</h2> <p>If you love organizational tips, Dollar Tree hacks, and affordable home décor DIYs, then this is the channel for you. Kathryn from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/DoItOnaDime">Do It On a Dime</a> has hundreds of videos that are fun to watch and provide practical, everyday tips to save money and organize on a budget, as well as recipes and crafts that are inexpensive. She also has a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.doitonadimeblog.com/">complementary blog</a> where she uploads free printables for budgeting and organizing.</p> <h2>2. Fun Cheap or Free</h2> <p>If you ever watched TLC's <em>Extreme Cheapskates</em>, you might have seen Jordan Page as one of the first guests on the show. Jordan Page has a huge personality and her YouTube channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/funcheaporfree">FunCheapOrFree</a> has great saving tips for all areas of your life. Jordan also posts money-saving videos on a collab channel,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOkj-s4rIxaomMRNAnA3aQuZlNCJS5XAF">Millennial Moms</a>. From how to cut boys' hair yourself, to making money with chicken, to taking pictures of all of your receipts so you are never without it when you make a return, you will be entertained thoroughly by all of Jordan's frugal hacks and ideas.</p> <h2>3. The Encouraging Homeschool Mom</h2> <p>Jamerrill Stewart is a mom of seven children and used Dave Ramsey's book to get her family out of debt many years ago. Now, she posts videos on her channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Nurs4jc">The Encouraging Homeschool Mom</a>, on how she clothes her whole family with thrift store finds and feeds them all for under $200 a week through once-a-month shopping. She also has many videos on home schooling and encouragement. She is a sweet soul who will resonate with many mom viewers.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theencouraginghomeschoolmom.com/">Her blog</a> is also full of free or affordable home schooling deals.</p> <h2>4. The Krazy Coupon Lady</h2> <p>You will find fun and engaging videos on how to save from best-selling authors and bloggers, Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer. They are the two women behin&nbsp;<a href="http://thekrazycouponlady.com/">The Krazy Coupon Lady</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/TheKrazyCouponLady">Their YouTube channel</a> is also full of specific money-saving strategies for certain stores and websites.</p> <h2>5. Hip2Save</h2> <p>Love coupon deals and breakdowns but have a hard time keeping up with them? The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/hip2save">Hip 2 Save</a> channel with Collin Morgan uploads the best deals of the week, as well as how to save money at Target. Her DIY videos will also inspire you to make your own Larabars and gift closet.</p> <h2>6. Exploring Alternatives</h2> <p>Mat and Danielle are minimalist nomads who enjoy long-term travel and living in their camper van. Their channel,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/explorealternatives">Exploring Alternatives</a>, offers interesting videos on the extreme side. You will find stories of individuals ditching their mortgage payment to pursue a house on wheels and even a family of five living in a one-bedroom apartment to save money. Along with other people's extreme stories, Mat and Danielle post their tips for downsizing and living minimally. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists?ref=seealso">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a>)</p> <h2>7. Thriving Minimalist</h2> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRIrEykNPOnNIEovgYnvLg">Thriving Minimalist</a> is another channel for those who love a good, extreme money-saving story. Conor McMillen quit his job and found his passion and health after his wife left him. This channel is more interesting than anything, although you might glean some helpful tips on how to become more minimalist minded in your life.</p> <h2>8. ClutterBug</h2> <p>Cas is a stay-at-home mom that turned her clutter into a clean home (and a profitable YouTube channel). Her channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/OrganizedClutterbug/videos">ClutterBug</a> offers cleaning and organizational tips, along with ways to save money. She even has Pottery Barn and other easy DIY hacks.</p> <h2>9. Brian Tracy</h2> <p>It is no secret that I love&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/BrianTracySpeaker">Brian Tracy</a> and his uplifting personal and career advice. You can find his advice on many financial and personal matters on YouTube. I am especially a fan of his time management and goal setting advice. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy?ref=seealso">6 Pearls of Career Wisdom From Brian Tracy</a>)</p> <p>Sure, you can use YouTube for entertainment, but why not take advantage of the great money-saving vloggers, too? YouTube is a great resource for learning almost anything for free.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite channels or vloggers on YouTube?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube">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-2"> <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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (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/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment advice budgeting experts gurus money-saving videos YouTube Mon, 20 Jun 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1728417 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_dad_000071538069.jpg" alt="Little girl learning personal finance skills everyone should master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was happy to see that my son signed up to take a personal finance class in high school next year. I think mastering basic personal finance skills is one of the most important things you can do to improve your happiness and quality of life. But you're a full-fledged adult. If you haven't already, the earlier you start developing and using personal finance skills, the more time you have to reap the benefits.</p> <p>Here is my list of personal finance skills every frugal person should master.</p> <h2>1. Budgeting</h2> <p>Setting and following a budget is probably the most basic personal finance skill, yet only about one-third of people actually have a detailed budget. I went for years without an accurate budget, using my checking account balance as a rough gauge of how much money I had available to spend. Eventually, I realized this was a terrible way to run my personal finances. A detailed budget is necessary to get a handle on where your money is going and to start deciding where you <em>want </em>your money to go &mdash; instead of just watching it go away!</p> <p>Writing out a list of all of your income and expenses is only the first step toward becoming skilled at budgeting. You need to monitor spending and work to stay on track every month. Sometimes unexpected expenses will pop up, and it takes skill to find ways to spend less in other areas to recover and stay on budget.</p> <p>You can get a real budget started by looking at your bank statements and credit card bills from last month and adding up spending by category. I used colored highlighters to mark up my spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc.</p> <p>Food expenses are especially challenging for me, since food cost varies so much depending on what you decide to eat. In my household, we use a money envelope as a tool to help us stay on our food budget. Every payday, I take out cash for the budgeted amount for food spending, both groceries and dining out. All food spending comes out of the money envelope, so we always know how much is left to spend on food.</p> <h2>2. Negotiation</h2> <p>Negotiation is a key skill to master to get the best deal when buying or selling something, or even getting the best salary and benefits when accepting a job offer. Most people do not like to negotiate. It is easiest to pay the asking price, or accept the amount offered from a buyer or employer. But if you become skilled at negotiation, you can end up with lots more dollars in your pocket instead of in the other guy's pocket!</p> <p>Here are some skills that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">successful negotiators master</a>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be willing to walk</strong>. Successful negotiators are willing to walk away if they can't get a good deal. Willingness to walk away gives you the confidence to ask for what you really want and drive a hard bargain. Often, you'll learn things in deals that don't work out that help you get a better deal in the future.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be reasonable.</strong> Good negotiators understand the market value of what they are negotiating and can understand the deal from the other party's perspective. If you seek an unreasonable deal, you are likely wasting everyone's time and won't end up with anything.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be perceptive</strong>. They pick up clues from the other party to determine what kind of offer they would accept and use this information to negotiate the best deal possible.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Separating Needs vs. Wants</h2> <p>Do I need a new computer? My kids say that I do. I am using the same computer they used to play games on way back when George W. Bush was in office. I sometimes use my cellphone to look things up while my computer slowly loads a webpage. But I don't need new computer. I can still get everything done with my old computer, including paying bills, updating my budget spreadsheet, and even writing books and articles for extra income.</p> <p>Separating needs from wants is a key personal finance skill. There is almost no limit to bigger, better, and newer stuff that you could decide to buy. The best way to make spending decisions is to become disciplined at distinguishing needs from wants.</p> <p>I like to think about the consequences of not buying something as a tool to distinguish needs from wants. For example, if I don't buy the new shoes I am considering, will I not be able to go to work? Will I miss events for my kids because I don't have any shoes that are acceptable to wear? Will I not be able to exercise safely? At some point new shoes can become a need, but if your old shoes are still doing everything you need your shoes to do, then new shoes are a want.</p> <h2>4. Driving Down Interest Rates</h2> <p>A lot of people carry debt &mdash; the total credit card debt for Americans is set to hit $1 trillion dollars this year. Of course, your best move is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay off debt as quickly as possible</a> to reduce your interest payments and to free up your money to invest or pursue other opportunities. But while you are paying off debt, it is worth putting in some effort to keep your interest rates as low as possible.</p> <p>The average credit card interest rate is nearly 15%. If you have credit card debt and don't keep an eye on the interest rate, you could easily end up paying 15% or more. Shopping around can almost always result in a better deal. If you have a good credit rating, you can likely find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">a balance transfer offer</a> that will allow you to pay a balance transfer fee of about 3% and 0% interest for a year or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>I count maintaining favorable interest rates as a personal finance skill because you have to keep track of interest rates on your accounts and continuously find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">good deals on balance transfers</a>. This skill can save you thousands of dollars per year on interest.</p> <h2>5. Continuous Investment</h2> <p>People who are financially successful do more than reduce spending and save money. They take the next step and invest money that they free up through smart spending decisions.</p> <p>This investment mentality is what allows the small amount of money you avoid spending to grow into real wealth that can change your lifestyle and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests. Regular saving over time adds up &mdash; even with small investment amounts.</p> <p>Continuous investment requires discipline to keep investing money for the future rather than spending it now. Savvy investors assess what kind of investments to buy and manage their investment portfolio based on economic trends and the performance of their investments.</p> <p>The most important factor in being a successful investor is to make regular investments over the long term and let your wealth grow.</p> <h2>6. Bargain Hunting</h2> <p>Frugal people are known for having good bargain hunting skills. Making a purchase is a challenge to find the way to spend the least amount of money to get what is needed. Bargain hunting usually involves using coupons and shopping around to find the best price.</p> <p>Sometimes buying a used item rather than a new item is the best bargain &mdash; you can save 50% or more buying used instead of new. Items such as tools or vehicles that are useful for years make good used purchases, but technology products often become obsolete so fast that buying new can be the best deal.</p> <p>Buying at the right time can be a key to finding bargains. I am always shocked at how cheap winter clothes and coats sell for in March at clearance sales. I bought most of my winter clothes for 90% off! Keep an eye out for bargains at store closing sales and clearance sales for items you know you will use later.</p> <p>An important part of bargain hunting is deciding on the best item to buy. If you can figure out the least expensive item that meets your needs, and then find the best price on that item, you are on your way to mastering bargain hunting skills.</p> <h2>7. Reuse</h2> <p>There is an old saying &quot;Waste not, want not&quot; that summarizes the personal finance skill of reuse well. If you don't waste anything, you will have plenty and not want for anything. I recently got into a conversation with my father about the oldest clothing item that we are still wearing. I mentioned that I still wear a lot of my 20-year-old clothes I got back in college. My father mentioned that he was currently wearing a shirt that is nearly 40 years old!</p> <p>Reusing things that most people would throw away is a key skill to save money and live well with less. When I was younger, I would always prefer to have new clothes rather than wear old clothes. Now I find comfort from the familiarity of wearing clothes with lots of memories attached to them. It seems like older stuff was constructed better than newer items, anyway.</p> <p>I think a lot of people are in the habit of throwing old things away just because they are old. Learn to keep reusing items until they no longer work, and then use them for something else. When my t-shirts start wearing out, I get sunburned through the holes in the fabric. Is it time to throw the shirt away? No! I use it for a rag.</p> <h2>8. Food Preparation</h2> <p>It is amazing how much restaurant food, fast food, and prepared food items from the grocery store people are buying these days. It does take some planning and work to prepare your own food at home, but you can save a ton of money and eat healthier, too.</p> <p>In addition to having basic cooking skills and equipment, having a plan is key to mastering the skill of preparing your own food at home. I know it works best at my house when we make a list of meals and the buy groceries with these meals in mind. Sometimes we even write on the calendar what is for dinner to avoid not coming up with something and ending up with expensive restaurant food.</p> <h2>9. Do It Yourself (DIY)</h2> <p>It seems like everyone that comes to my house to do something charges about $60 to $100 per hour. I try to minimize paying people to come over and try to take care of maintenance and repairs myself instead to save money. I learned to do basic plumbing repairs and installation, including sweating copper pipes with a torch. I can do basic electrical wiring and repairs. Some people in my neighborhood have landscaping companies take care of mowing and weed control, but not me. The more things you can do for yourself, the more money you can save.</p> <p>Develop skills to do work for yourself instead of paying others to do it for you. You'll save money and get a great feeling of satisfaction when you can do the work yourself.</p> <h2>10. Saying No</h2> <p>Saying &quot;no&quot; is often the key to saving time and money. Would you like to subscribe to a magazine you don't want in order to help your neighbor's kid meet a fundraising goal? How about &quot;no.&quot; Would you like to volunteer to drive 20 miles each way to participate in a committee meeting on your day off? Again, &quot;no&quot; works well here. There are times when you might want to contribute your time and money to a worthy cause, but there are many times you feel pressured into taking on something you don't really want to do.</p> <p>Learning to say &quot;no&quot; and not feel bad about it can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.</p> <h2>11. Efficiency</h2> <p>Efficiency is the skill of doing as much as possible with the least amount of resources. Efficiency can mean making a single trip to do all of your shopping instead of taking multiple trips. Efficiency can mean driving a smaller vehicle that costs less and uses less fuel every day.</p> <p>Often, efficiency keeps paying back over time. For example, the efficient choice to live in a smaller house results in a lower mortgage payment and lower utility bills year after year.</p> <p>Energy savings is another example of efficiency in action. I spent a few hours and a few dollars to upgrade most of my light bulbs to LED. Due to this efficiency, I save money every month since lighting my house now costs almost nothing.</p> <p>Another form of efficiency is simply having less stuff. Do you really need eight different kinds of cleaning products under your kitchen sink? Having less stuff not only costs less, but less stuff takes less space as well. With fewer things around, it is easier to keep things organized and find what you need.</p> <h2>12. Contentment</h2> <p>I am sure that you can live with less, but can you be happy with less?</p> <p>Contentment is living with a positive attitude and being satisfied for all of the things you have instead of wishing that you had blingy stuff. I drive an 11-year-old car that runs well. It even has leather seats and all wheel drive. What more do I need?</p> <p>People might not get a sense of status from the vehicle I drive, but I am clearly beyond worrying about that. Part of being content with what you have is to stop caring about what other people think. People who know me respect my work and my accomplishments, and I am not really concerned about what strangers think about my car.</p> <p>Contentment means setting your own standard for happiness. This can be difficult to achieve as you look at the photos of expensive vacations, recreational vehicles, and new cars that your friends post on Facebook. It is hard not to want expensive stuff when it seems like everyone else is buying it.</p> <p>But the problem with pursuing happiness by buying expensive stuff is that there is always something else you'll need to buy in order to be happy. As soon as you get back from vacation, it is time to start thinking about where to go for the next one. After your new car isn't the newest on the block anymore, the excitement is gone. Buying happiness is like chasing a mirage. You can't really reach happiness through buying things, but you can spend a lot of money trying!</p> <p>Contentment is about finding happiness in the life you have right now, not the life you could have if only you had more money.</p> <p><em>Which personal finance skills would you master to improve your life the most?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">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-2"> <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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</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-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-dave-ramsey">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Dave Ramsey</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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</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-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living advice budgeting investments needs negotiating saving money skills wants wisdom Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1731280 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_000043691962.jpg" alt="Woman wishing she could tell her younger self credit card tips" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a teenager, I associated credit cards with adulthood, so naturally I couldn't wait to get my first one. But like so many young adults, I didn't know much about credit management, and I made several costly mistakes in the beginning. The good news is that I woke up and saw the error of my ways before completely ruining my finances, although I didn't come out the other side completely unscathed. Looking back on my early credit years now, however, I know exactly what I did wrong &mdash; and here's what I would tell my younger self about credit cards.</p> <h2>1. Don't Apply for Too Many Cards at Once</h2> <p>It wasn't long after my 18th birthday &mdash; literally, like days &mdash; that credit companies were calling me with the great news that I qualified for their cards. I worked part-time (as much as someone still in high school could), yet every student credit card issuer was eager to give me plastic. So I took the bait, and I applied for one credit card after another, not realizing the danger of applying for too many credit cards. Being young, I didn't know that each inquiry lowered my credit score by a few points, which, if I'm honest here, didn't mean jack to me at the time. I was approved for most of the cards I applied for, which ultimately led to another problem &mdash; the temptation to spend. Cause and effect should help you deduce that I learned from an early age that the more available credit you have, the easier it is to get into debt.</p> <h2>2. Only Charge What You Can Afford</h2> <p>As a young adult, I didn't always have money to hang out with my friends or go on group trips. I didn't want to feel left out, so I began using credit as an extension of my income. <em>Biiiig </em>mistake. I think a credit card is an excellent way to build credit as a young adult, but I would definitely advise my younger self to set a budget. I'd take a look at my finances and determine what I could realistically afford to spend each month, and then stick with this limit. I could have saved myself a lot of financial heartache had I been as wise back then.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Balances in Full</h2> <p>If I could rewind time, I would definitely pay off balances in full every month, which also goes hand-in-hand with only charging what I could afford. Now that I'm older, I realize that paying off balances is a surefire way to never get into deep credit card trouble. It's easy to accumulate credit card debt, but not as easy to pay it off.</p> <p>Of course, even if we pay off a card in full, a large unexpected expense might result in carrying a balance. There were times when I had to use a credit card for an emergency car repair and then carry the balance from month to month. Another mistake I made was only paying my minimums, even at times when I could afford to pay more. I recall spending $500 for new brakes and rotors for my car, yet it took more than two years to pay off the balance because I was only making $20 minimum payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">How a Smart Balance Transfer Will Help Pay Off Your Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Never Pay Late</h2> <p>Early on, I was more than just late on payments &mdash; I ignored them altogether because I was young, dumb, and incredibly broke. In hindsight, I would tell my younger self to track down due dates, or better yet, pay credit card statements as soon as they come in the mail to avoid a late arrival, which is what I do today. A $35 late fee increases the amount owed and results in additional interest. To put this in perspective, 10 late fees a year equals an extra $350 in credit card fees.</p> <h2>5. Avoid Cash Advances</h2> <p>I relied heavily on cash advances from my credit cards as a college student, especially during my freshman year. I didn't go crazy or borrow thousands of dollars, but I would take $20 or $50 here and there to tide me over until payday. I didn't realize until later that I paid a cash advance fee each time I tapped the ATM. It was also a shock to learn that cash advances carried a higher interest rate than standard purchases. Between the fee and the higher interest rate, it took longer to pay off the card.</p> <h2>6. Don't Let Friends Borrow Your Credit Card</h2> <p>I made the mistake of lending my credit card to a friend. He had permission to purchase one item, but used the card for much more. The card was in his possession for less than a week, yet there were charges for restaurants, movies, fuel &mdash; he even had the audacity to purchase a video game in my name. He eventually paid me back, even though it took nearly two months.</p> <h2>7. Don't Exceed Your Credit Limit</h2> <p>Because of new credit card rules, a credit card issuer can only charge an over-the-limit fee if you opt-in for this fee. If you don't opt-in, any transaction over your limit will be declined. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case in the late '90s when I applied for my first credit card. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to carefully monitor spending and don't go over a credit card's limit. I made this mistake and was hit with an over-the-limit fee plus additional interest. I exceeded the limit by more than $100, and because I didn't have extra money to bring my balance below the limit, I paid the over-the-limit fee for three months.</p> <h2>8. Know What You're Paying</h2> <p>Using a credit card can be expensive if you choose a random card and you don't know what you're paying. Before applying for any credit card, I wish I would have compared interest rates, annual fees, cash advance fees, late fees, etc. Credit card fees add up quickly and increase the cost of using credit.</p> <h2>9. Check Your Credit Score</h2> <p>I didn't get serious about credit monitoring until my mid-20s. When I finally checked my credit report for the first time, there were a couple of mistakes. Mostly minor, but there was one major error dragging down my credit score. Knowing what I know now, I would make a point to check my credit report at least once a year and not rely on my credit card companies to detect fraudulent activity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=seealso">Credit Cards that Offer Free Credit Scores</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make Sure the Bank Reports to the Bureaus</h2> <p>Despite the mistakes I've made, I'm happy that I established credit in my late teens. I was able to learn from my mistakes and repair my credit before financing a car or buying a house. But with regard to applying for credit, I'd also encourage my younger self to get a credit card from a bank that regularly reports activity to the bureaus. One of my earlier cards didn't report my credit activity, which meant that my history of timely payments didn't show up on my credit file, nor help my credit score.</p> <p><em>We all have credit card horror stories. What are some of yours? What can you tell your younger self about credit cards now that you're an adult?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">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/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</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-a-solid-credit-score-saves-you-money">How a Solid Credit Score Saves You 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/7-signs-its-time-to-break-up-with-your-credit-cards">7 Signs It&#039;s Time to Break Up With Your Credit Cards</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-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">What to Expect When You&#039;re Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards advice credit score debt overspending paying bills teens younger self Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1683694 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pearls of Career Wisdom From Brian Tracy http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000085656921_Large.jpg" alt="taking career advice from brian tracy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may have heard of Brian Tracy from his bestselling book on productivity, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1576754227/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1576754227&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FK7VOZTWBN5BNXFT">Eat That Frog!</a> His valuable advice does not stop at that book though. As a world-renowned success expert, Tracy has written 70 books and produced over 300 audio and video programs on the subject. Next time you're feeling a little lost in your professional life, let Brian Tracy be your guide.</p> <h2>1. Success Starts With a Positive Self Image</h2> <p>Practicing positive self-talk might seem hokey, but Tracy has done tireless research on how important our self image is to our success. Tracy talks about self-fulfilling prophecies, and the fact that we can only become what we truly believe we are in his book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684803313/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=06">Maximum Achievement</a>.</p> <p>He says, &quot;We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves.&quot; He explains that just saying a simple phrase like, &quot;I like myself,&quot; automatically raises your self-concept. When your self- concept goes up, you automatically start to perform better and be more effective in several areas of your life, including your personal and work life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-career-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them?ref=seealso">The 5 Worst Career Mistakes &mdash; And How to Avoid Them</a>)</p> <h2>2. Use the Rule of Three to Maximize Your Priorities</h2> <p>It is so easy to get lost on where to start with a long to-do list. However, not everything on your to-do list will be beneficial to your success. Tracy recommends writing down everything you need to do for your job or business for the entire month. Your list might be overwhelming at 40 items long. So Tracy then suggests that you ask yourself, &quot;If I could only do one thing on this list, all day long, which one activity would contribute the greatest value to my business?&quot; Ask yourself this question three times until you have your top three priorities established.</p> <h2>3. Don't Underestimate the Power of a To-Do List</h2> <p>Tracy estimates that you can save yourself, on average, two hours of unproductivity just by starting your day off with a to-do list. Before you start any work, take about 10 minutes to map out what you need to do and how you will spend your time. He says, &quot;You can increase your productivity and output by 25% or more from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.&quot; If you are outperforming your co-workers, you can be certain your boss will take notice.</p> <h2>4. Develop the Right Habits</h2> <p>What separates you from a successful person? You will be surprised to discover that it's your habits. Tracy says, &quot;Successful people are simply those with successful habits.&quot; Research what other successful people develop, and keep, habits that propel them forward. Perhaps you want to make a habit of planning in the morning to be more organized and on top of deadlines, or maybe you would like to establish the habit of reading one book a month to increase your knowledge.</p> <p>You can virtually develop any successful habit, but it will take time and discipline. Try to focus on developing one new habit every two months.</p> <h2>5. First One to Work, Last to Leave</h2> <p>If you want to be more productive at work, Tracy recommends coming into the office one hour before all of your coworkers. This first hour of uninterrupted work can be your most productive hour, since you will not be distracted by coworkers and phone calls. Tracy also suggests to work through your lunch hour and be the last one to leave. He isn't suggesting becoming a workaholic, though. Instead, he advises these three moves so that you stand out from your coworkers.</p> <p>By coming in early, working through your lunch, and staying later, you show initiative and responsibility. Also, you will naturally be more productive than your coworkers, making you a valuable employee and giving you leverage to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-finally-get-that-promotion-this-year?ref=seealso">ask for a promotion</a> or raise.</p> <h2>6. Invest 3% in Your Personal Growth</h2> <p>It is common for many individuals to spend a fortune on college, get their degree, land a good job, and then never think about learning another thing. You should never stop learning and growing personally. Tracy says, &quot;Invest 3% of your income in yourself (self-development) in order to guarantee your future.&quot; He suggests reading and learning from every expert in your field. Invest in books, seminars, audio programs, and courses. The small 3% you invest in yourself each year will have a much higher rate of return in terms of your success.</p> <p>By continually learning and advancing your skills, you become an expert in your field, which means that companies will need you more than other employees and they will be willing to pay for your expertise.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite piece of career advice? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy">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/9-things-that-really-annoy-hiring-managers">9 Things That Really Annoy Hiring Managers</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-career-tips-you-wish-you-could-give-your-younger-self">7 Career Tips You Wish You Could Give Your Younger Self</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/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</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/10-great-jobs-for-people-who-hate-the-9-5">10 Great Jobs for People Who Hate the 9-5</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-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income advice Brian Tracy Brian Tracy tips career advice career tips job search mentor work Fri, 25 Mar 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1678796 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_money_bags_000035094952.jpg" alt="Investing tips you wish you could tell your younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes I look back on my past as a young investor and want to kick myself. I didn't really know what I was doing back then, and made a number of mistakes that cost me money in the long run.</p> <p>I did learn a lot and truly enjoy investing and saving now. But I wish I could go back in time and offer my younger self a few bits of advice. Here's <em>my </em>list of investing tips to the &quot;young me&quot; that'll hopefully spare you the same mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Understand the Value of Compound Returns</h2> <p>Retirement is one of the last things you're going to think about when you've had hardly any time in the workforce. &quot;What? Retirement? I'm only 22!&quot; As crazy as it sounds, investing money in these early years is a crucial part of having a large nest egg upon retirement. The earlier you start investing, the more time that money has to grow. And with a long time horizon, you don't have to be overly concerned about the ups and downs of the market.</p> <h2>2. Familiarize Yourself With Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have some money, it may be tempting as a young person to simply open a brokerage account and begin buying and selling. But it's important first to understand the basics of retirement accounts and the advantages they offer to investors. Individual Retirement Accounts (or IRAs), along with 401K plans can allow you to save for retirement and get great tax benefits along the way.</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy That Thing &mdash; Invest Your Money Instead</h2> <p>I cringe when I think about the useless stuff I bought when I was in my teens and twenties. Articles of clothing, music, movies, computer games, expensive meals with friends... I had a lot of fun, but I could have had as much fun living more frugally, and I think about how much money I'd have now if I'd bought stocks, instead. Even a small amount of money placed in an index fund at age 18 has the potential to grow into a substantial sum. I wish I could go back and tell my young self to put at least <em>some </em>of my spending money in an account that would build value for my future self.</p> <h2>4. Reinvest Those Dividends</h2> <p>As a young investor, I used to get dividend checks from companies that I owned shares of. And frequently, I would use that money to go and treat myself: a movie, a dinner out, a trip to a ballgame, a new pair of jeans. Little did I know that I could have used those dividends to easily buy more shares of a stock. Imagine the growth in a portfolio that is not only seeing share price growth, but an increase in the number of shares. This is also a great way to practice dollar cost averaging, because you are using dividends to buy more shares as prices fall and fewer shares as prices increase.</p> <h2>5. Don't Panic</h2> <p>When you are a new investor, it can be a startling thing to see stock values drop. It's very tempting to pull your money out of the markets when you see your investments lose value quickly. But I look back now on stocks that I sold in a panic, and really wish I had held onto them, as they all would have quickly rebounded in value and made me money over time.</p> <h2>6. Stop Checking Your Investments Every Day</h2> <p>Investments go up. They go down. They go up again. Tracking them each day really serves no purpose, and will only stress you out. By checking your portfolio only once a week or so, you'll be less tempted to buy or sell based on an emotional reaction to the market movements.</p> <h2>7. Don't Try to Pick Stocks</h2> <p>Admittedly, it's fun at first to pick a company you are familiar with, buy some shares of stock, and watch how they perform. It's actually not a bad way to get comfortable with how the stock market works. But if you want to make money long-term, trying to create a portfolio of individual stocks will ultimately be ineffective and perhaps even frustrating. You're much better off as a young person placing the bulk of your money into an index fund that tracks the S&amp;P 500 or total stock market. This will generate solid returns for years to come, and will require a lot less work.</p> <h2>8. Know What You're Investing In</h2> <p>I remember when I first began putting money in a 401K, and had the option to invest in a number of different mutual funds. I spread my money evenly across most of them, believing that it was a path to diversification. After some time, I began to research the holdings of each fund, and realized that many of them invested in the same big companies. It turns out that I wasn't &quot;diversifying&quot; at all. The lesson I learned is that before you invest your money, have a good idea of what you are investing in. Learn how to read mutual fund prospectuses and earnings reports.</p> <h2>9. Learn About Commissions, Fees, and Taxes</h2> <p>When I first began investing, I opened an eTrade account, invested in a few stocks, and left the account alone. About a year later, I got $50 deducted from my account for &quot;inactivity.&quot; Then I exacerbated the problem by selling the stocks in a panic and then incurring short-term capital gains taxes. Brokerage companies try to be transparent about fees and expenses, but it's up to the investor to understand that it costs money to buy and sell stocks. Mutual fund managers will take a cut of every dollar you invest, and there are tax implications every time you sell. None of this should be a deterrent to investing, but young people must have a good grasp of how it impacts the performance of their investment portfolio.</p> <h2>10. Take All of the Company Match</h2> <p>At my very first job, I invested money in the company 401K plan, but didn't feel like I was earning enough to reach a full company match. (The company matched contributions of up to 5% of salaries at the time.) Looking back, I realize that I probably left thousands of dollars on the table because I was too conservative. A company match is <em>free money </em>&mdash; you should always take it if you can. Those extra dollars could add up to a significant amount of money in your retirement account over time. Plus, the match encourages you to save more of your own money, and that's never a bad thing.</p> <h2>11. Don't Get Too Excited About Company Stock</h2> <p>Many companies offer company stock as part of their retirement plans. This is a nice perk, but young people in particular must understand that it's dangerous to put too much stock in their portfolio. Consider the plight of many Enron employees who lost nearly all of their retirement savings when the company went bankrupt in 2001. It's okay to keep some company stock, particularly if it's provided to you for free or you are allowed to buy it at at a discount. But make sure it comprises just a fraction of your overall portfolio. Having too much of your savings tied up in one stock &mdash; particularly one that is already responsible for your financial wellbeing &mdash; is dangerous.</p> <p><em>What investing lessons would you tell your younger self?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">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/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</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-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds">How to Buy Your First Stock(s) or Fund(s)</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-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to 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/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</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-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fees mutual funds returns stocks younger self Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1654016 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Your Financial Advisor Wishes You Knew http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-financial-advisor-wishes-you-knew <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-your-financial-advisor-wishes-you-knew" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_money_000035721100.jpg" alt="Woman realizing what her financial advisor wished she knew" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cat's out of the bag: You don't need boatloads of money to invest like the super rich &mdash; you just need to understand the ins-and-outs of investing well enough. And who better than financial advisors to share the secrets that can help you succeed as an investor? Read on for the coveted tricks of the trade that your financial advisor wishes you already knew. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-advice-you-should-never-hear-from-your-financial-advisor">Investment Advice You Should Never Hear From Your Financial Advisor</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start Early and Stick With It</h2> <p>Believe it or not, the best time to start investing is during your 20s. Yes, it's true that you probably won't have much money to speak of during these years, as you're just getting your feet wet. Nonetheless, your 20s are the ideal decade to start building your wealth, because the compounding power of time is on your side. You may not have access to much in terms of disposable income during these years, but odds are that you have access to something. Even if the spare change you have to work with totals no more than $100 a month, invest it. By the time you're ready to retire, you well may have racked up close to $200,000, assuming a 6% return.</p> <h2>2. Think Long-Term</h2> <p>Generally speaking, wealth generates slowly. So don't pass up opportunities to win small gains. The road to riches will have ups and downs, but there will always be ways to turn around your losses. The trick is to create and maintain a financial safety net, and play within those means. It will take time to build. But your safety net should ultimately be large enough to cover the risk you take on. It's true that big risk leads to big rewards. But it's important to refrain from taking on any risk that's bigger than your safety net. As your safety net grows, you'll be able to shoulder increasingly bigger risks responsibly.</p> <h2>3. Don't Panic</h2> <p>You're playing the long game, remember? Ignore Wall Street's daily temper tantrums. Avoid knee-jerk investments. And, above all, know your risk tolerance. The market recovers from even the biggest of crashes. Just keep your eye on the end game, and don't put all your eggs in one basket. Selling during a market panic is a financial mistake most advisors warn against.</p> <h2>4. Watch Out for Fees</h2> <p>There are few certainties in the world of investment &mdash; one of them is fees. Brokerage fees. Financial advisory fees. Investment service fees. Think of them as money out the window. And, while largely unavoidable, it is indeed within your power to monitor the fees you're paying for investment products and services and make sound decisions based on them. A good advisor will help you minimize these, by selecting low-fee investments and avoiding trading too frequently. The less you spend on fees, the more money you'll have invested that's actually working for you.</p> <h2>5. Don't Get Suckered by Big Names</h2> <p>Don't invest in companies simply because they are well-known as great companies. Invest in those that are great companies and also have stock shares selling at a great price. A good advisor knows that ideally, you want the stocks you buy to be under-priced &mdash; or at least priced fairly. This will give you the leeway you need to actually turn a profit.</p> <h2>6. Max Out Your Retirement Contribution</h2> <p>You can now invest more money into your 401K than ever. The IRS last year raised the maximum limit to $18,000, plus another $6,000 in annual catch-up contributions if you're older than 50. That means you could save for retirement while saving thousands on federal income taxes. But most Americans won't take advantage of it. In 2013, just 12% of folks with 401K plans contributed up to <a href="https://pressroom.vanguard.com/content/nonindexed/How_America_Saves_2014.pdf">the maximum limit</a>. Even if you can't afford to make the maximum contribution, you can still reduce your taxes by boosting your contribution by any amount. Investing in your 401K may not be sexy. But it's smart. And if your employer matches your contribution, you've just doubled your money.</p> <h2>7. Bolster Your Investment Income</h2> <p>The average American worker pays $16,000 a year in federal and state <a href="http://taxfoundation.org/blog/average-us-worker-pays-over-16000-income-and-payroll-taxes">income and payroll taxes</a>. That's a huge and (largely) unavoidable tax burden of 31%! But there's another type of income &mdash; investment income &mdash; that's generally taxed at a lower rate than employment income. Investment income is also exempt from state and local taxes, which means you can rack up significant savings if you live in a high-tax state or municipality. It can be intimidating to think that a significant portion of your total income can be derived from investments. But even if you start small, over time, it can.</p> <p><em>How many of these truths do you stick to?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-financial-advisor-wishes-you-knew">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-2"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</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/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">Best Online Sites for Building Wealth</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/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</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/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k advice contributions fees financial advisors Secrets wealth building Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:00:15 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1649367 at http://www.wisebread.com