savings http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/387/all en-US How to Retire Rich http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-retire-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-retire-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich_man_money_000026485996.jpg" alt="Man learning how to retire rich" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here at Wise Bread, we've told you a lot about how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today" target="_blank">grow a retirement fund</a> that will allow you to live comfortably after you stop working. Usually, this means saving enough to be able to maintain your current lifestyle and prepare for your long-term care.</p> <p>But what if you want to really live it up in retirement? How can you accumulate enough wealth to be considered among the truly rich? There's no magic bean to help you get super-wealthy. But smart and disciplined investors <em>can </em>amass retirement accounts in the tens of millions of dollars, simply by earning a bit more, investing more aggressively, and for a longer period of time.</p> <p>Let's take a look at these strategies for building serious wealth in retirement.</p> <h2>Earn More</h2> <p>While it's certainly possible to build a very nice retirement fund even if you earn a modest salary, the path to top-tier wealth usually comes from having a high income. So get to work!</p> <p>Those with very large retirement accounts often have the ability to max out their 401K plans each year ($18,000 annually) and likely a Roth IRA, as well ($5,500 per year). Earning more money also helps you avoid debt, and it expands your ability to move into other great investments, such as real estate. Even an extra few thousand dollars a year will give you the ability to invest more aggressively in order to accumulate more over the long haul.</p> <p>&quot;I think people would be surprised to learn how hard the 1% work,&quot; said David Schneider of Schneider Wealth Strategies in New York. &quot;You've got to work long and you've got to work hard.&quot;</p> <h2>Start Investing Early and Stay in the Game</h2> <p>One of the most important tools for building wealth is time. We've written a lot about the power of compound interest, and time is arguably more important than the rate of investment return and contributions.</p> <p>Let's say you start with $50,000 and contribute another $5,500 each year. Assuming a 7% annual return, you'll have $280,000 in 20 years. In 30 years, you'll have $631,000. In 40 years, you'll have $1.3 million. In 50 years, it's $2.6 million. So you can imagine how important it is to begin saving for retirement right when you begin earning money.</p> <h2>Own Your Own Company</h2> <p>It's nice to own shares of companies and see their value grow over time. But if you want to get super rich, you will want to own the whole business. If you work for a company and take a salary, there's a ceiling to how much you can earn and invest.</p> <p>Most of the wealthiest people on Earth are people who started their own companies and watched them grow into huge enterprises.</p> <p>&quot;By building something, that's where you see the biggest successes,&quot; said Andrew Rafal of Bayntree Wealth Advisors in Scottsdale, AZ.</p> <h2>Don't Do Stupid Stuff</h2> <p>While all investing comes with risk, there are certain things that every person should avoid if they plan to retire rich. Financial advisers say it's imperative that investors avoid major mistakes that wipe out large portions of their savings. This means staying away from more complicated and risky things like options, or trading on margin (which Rafal called &quot;a recipe for disaster&quot;).</p> <p>Don't place all of your money with one investment, and stay away from get-rich-quick schemes or products that claim to be able to time the market.</p> <p>&quot;You have to sort of put a garbage detector on,&quot; Schneider said.</p> <h2>Invest in Small Cap and Value Stocks</h2> <p>Conventional investment wisdom suggests that people invest in a mix of equities from varying industries, often weighted toward stable, large-cap stocks. This is good advice, but those who are willing to take on a little more risk may be able to supercharge their returns.</p> <p>Investing more heavily in smaller companies and looking for undervalued stocks will help lead to longer returns over time, financial advisers said.</p> <p>Schneider noted that between 1972 and 2015, small cap value stocks generated an average return of 12.9%, compared to 10% for large cap. That 3% gap may not seem like much, but if you started with $10,000, it was the difference between $600,000 and nearly $2 million.</p> <p>&quot;Over time, smaller companies do better than large stocks, and if you combine that with value stocks, you get more bang for your buck,&quot; Schneider said.</p> <p>He acknowledged that there is more volatility with small cap stocks, but said the higher returns were &quot;compensation for taking the bigger risk.&quot;</p> <h2>Live Within Your Means</h2> <p>In order to retire rich, you will need to live modestly in your younger years. Maxing out retirement accounts requires the discipline to put money aside rather than spend it. It means avoiding debt, especially high-interest debt from credit cards.</p> <p>Financial advisers said that some of their best and most successful clients were those that lived humble, non-flashy lives, but ended up with massive retirement funds because of their disciplined spending habits.</p> <h2>Be Born Into It</h2> <p>There are plenty of stories of wealthy people who started with nothing and grew their fortune on their own. But the truth is that many of the world's ultra-rich started off with a certain level of financial comfort, thanks to the success of the generations who came before them. Presidential candidate Donald Trump likes to boast of his wealth, but his father was a successful businessman and loaned him money early on in his career. While he's become a successful businessman in his own right, it didn't hurt to have early loans from wealthy family. Billionaires like the Koch brothers, members of the Walton family, and Lilliane Betancourt all inherited much of their wealth.</p> <p>A 2013 report researchers at the University of California and London School of economics concluded that entrepreneurs are more likely to be born into privilege. And Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reports that 80% of funding for new businesses comes from savings or from friends and family.</p> <h2>Use Debt Intelligently</h2> <p>Most financial advisers will say that staying out of debt is a key part of building wealth. After all, you can't put money into the stock market if you're too busy paying off high-interest credit cards or auto loans. But there are several instances in which borrowing money may help you build wealth over the long term.</p> <p>Rafal said using leverage to acquire real estate can be a sound wealth-building strategy, especially with interest rates at historic lows. He also said that if interest rates are lower than stock market returns, most people will be better off in the long run investing their money than paying off debt early.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to retire rich?</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/how-to-retire-rich">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-resolutions-6-ways-to-take-control-in-2013">Money Resolutions: 6 Ways to Take Control in 2013</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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</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/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement getting rich investing millionaires one percent savings wealth Wed, 25 May 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1715215 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_grads_diplomas_000059226250.jpg" alt="College grads making money moves after graduation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've thrown your mortar board and ditched that gown. Now the real work begins: It's time to develop the good financial habits that you'll need to follow all the way through retirement.</p> <p>Yes, you've just graduated from college and full-fledged adulthood seems a long, long way off. But you'll be surprised once you enter the working world how fast time can move.</p> <p>Here are five money moves you should make the moment you graduate from college. They'll help you save for a home, build an emergency fund and, yes, amass a nice nest egg for your retirement years.</p> <h2>Develop a Strategy for Paying Off Your Student Loan Debt</h2> <p>You'll graduate with a degree. But the odds are high that you'll graduate with plenty of student loan debt, too. The federal government says that nearly 70% of college graduates with bachelor's degrees leave college with student loan debt. Edvisors adds that the graduating class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,051 in debt, the largest amount ever.</p> <p>Most graduates will have to begin paying off their student loans six months after they leave college. Don't miss your first payment. That will hurt your credit score, and that number determines if you'll qualify for car and home loans and at what interest rate. Make sure, though, that you repay your loans in the best way for you. You can choose a standard repayment plan of 10 years with a fixed monthly payment. If you are struggling to make a solid income after you graduate, you can also choose an income-based repayment plan. Under these plans, your monthly payment is based on your income, rising (or falling) as your pay changes.</p> <p>The best choice, of course, is to pay off your loans as quickly as possible, which means taking the 10-year term. You'll pay far less in interest with this approach. But you'll have to take a close look at your finances first. If you can't afford the bigger monthly payment, it's better to stretch your loan out over more years than it is to miss a payment because you didn't have enough money to cover the bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>Create a Budget</h2> <p>Drafting a budget isn't much fun. But it's important; without one, you run the risk of spending more money than you bring in each month. That could lead to credit card debts as you turn to the plastic to cover your living expenses.</p> <p>Fortunately, drafting a budget isn't that challenging. First, calculate how much money you bring home each month. Then, calculate your fixed expenses: your student loan payment, rent, car payment, and anything else you pay the same for each month. Finally, determine your variable expenses. These are expenses that you have each month but that fluctuate. This could include your utility bill, grocery bill, and the money you spend on entertainment.</p> <p>The difference between your expenses and income is the extra money you have each month. You now know how much you can save each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>Start Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>You'll learn quickly after graduation that financial emergencies pop up all too often. You might suddenly need to pay for a new transmission for your car. Or maybe your laptop dies and you need a quick replacement. The worst thing is to pay for these emergencies with your credit card. The best approach: To steadily build an emergency fund that you can dip into when emergencies arise.</p> <p>You can start small: Even $50 or $100 a month will add up over time. Deposit this money in a savings account and only withdraw from it for emergencies. An emergency fund is a great way to build financial peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">A Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Eliminate That Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Some debt is worse than others, but no debt is worse than credit card debt. That's because credit card debt comes with interest rates that can be as high as 24%. If you don't pay your credit card bill in full each month, that debt has a bad habit of growing out of control.</p> <p>The smart move, then, is to always pay more than your required minimum monthly payment. It's best to pay off your credit card debt in full every month so that you aren't carrying a balance. But if that's not possible, always pay a bit extra each month until you whittle away that high-interest-rate debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>Open a Retirement Account</h2> <p>Again, retirement is a long way away. But the sooner you start saving, the easier it is to build the financial cushion you'll need after you leave the working world.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401K plan, <em>be sure to enroll in it!</em> And be sure, too, to contribute the maximum amount from every paycheck. This is a great, and surprisingly painless, way to build retirement dollars. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">don't have access to a 401K plan</a>, open an IRA or a Roth IRA, and make regular contributions. As with building an emergency fund, you don't have to make huge investments in your retirement accounts right now. Simply contributing small amounts now &mdash; whatever you can afford within your budget &mdash; will pay off big in the future.</p> <p><em>What smart money moves do you think recent grads should make?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">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-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</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-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</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-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college graduates money moves post-graduate retirement savings student loans young adults Tue, 24 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1716261 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Can Buy With $5,000 http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-can-buy-with-5000 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-can-buy-with-5000" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kitten_cash_000008767834.jpg" alt="Learning you can buy a kitten and more for $5,000" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>If I had a million dollars&hellip;</em></p> <p>So the song by Canadian alt rockers Barenaked Ladies goes. While it may be fun to imagine what you would spend a cool mill on, it's a lot more realistic to imagine that you may find yourself with $5K to dispose of as you wish. Maybe you got a big tax refund this year, or an unknown uncle left you a little something.</p> <p>Whatever the backstory, here are 11 fun and/or responsible things you could do with $5,000.</p> <h2>1. Pay Off Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>The average American household with credit card debt owes about $15,000. If this is you, making only the monthly minimum payment at a very typical 15% annual interest rate, it could take you seven years to pay off &mdash; and you'd end up wasting $8,000 to $9,000 on interest.</p> <p>Pay down $5,000 of that debt now, and you could finish paying the rest in half the time, for only about $3,000 total interest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso1&amp;utm_campaign=article">Use a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Debt Faste</a>r)</p> <h2>2. Get a Cat</h2> <p>Half leopard, half house cat, the Bengal is a beautiful animal and can be yours for <a href="http://adorablekittens.com/20-of-the-most-expensive-cat-breeds-in-the-world/18/">just about $5,000</a>.</p> <p>If being ignored by one feline doesn't cut it for you, you can get more cat for your cash by adopting. With an average fee of around $100, you could bring home <a href="http://www.thecatsite.com/a/how-much-does-it-cost-to-adopt-a-shelter-cat">50 felines for $5,000</a>. Then again, maybe you'll need to save some money for litter and food &mdash; and a really good vacuum cleaner.</p> <h2>3. Start a Business</h2> <p>There are a number of low-overhead businesses you could start with a $5,000 or smaller investment, many of them work-from-home gigs such as being a <a href="http://www.cheatsheet.com/business/15-businesses-you-can-start-with-5000-or-less-2.html/?a=viewall">virtual assistant</a> (expenses include computer, phone, Internet, and possibly training and marketing). You could also buy a small franchise, such as a <a href="http://www.thefranchisemall.com/franchises/details/13818-0-all_american_hot_dog_carts.htm">hot dog cart</a>, for $5,000 or less.</p> <h2>4. Take Your Inner Geek on a Vacation of a Lifetime</h2> <p>For about $5,000, you can take the <a href="http://www.firstlighttravel.com/group-tours/new-zealand-adventure-tours-new-zealand/new-zealands-lord-rings-location-tour">Lord of The Rings New Zealand Tour</a>. The trip includes staying at the adorable Hobbit Hotel &mdash; but second breakfasts and elevenses are on you.</p> <h2>5. Bank It</h2> <p>Interest rates are still low, but you can get <em>some</em> return on your money if you deposit it.</p> <p>EverBank currently pays 0.61% on its money market accounts and compounds interest daily, so after five years of compounding interest, you would have $5,154. So basically, after five years of saving, you'll have earned enough interest to buy a scooter or have your house cleaned once.</p> <h2>4. Give It to an Old Person: Future You</h2> <p>If you're not regularly depositing money in an IRA from your paycheck, you can meet almost the entire year's <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-IRA-Contribution-Limits">maximum deposit</a> with a $5,000 lump sum contribution.</p> <p>Because traditional IRAs grow tax-free, you might be amazed at how much your $5,000 deposit could blossom into by the time you retire. Assuming a 7% annual return, if you deposit $5,000 at age 20, you could have more than $50,000 by age 65. Not bad!</p> <h2>5. Indulge Yourself for a Year</h2> <p>For $5,000, you could get a one-year subscription to a <a href="https://www.caskers.com/clubs/whiskey/">whiskey club</a> ($600), a <a href="http://www.1-800-kobebeef.com/48ozkobestpe.html">Kobi beef of the month club</a> ($1,250), a <a href="http://thefreshlobstercompany.com/product-category/seafood-of-the-month-club/">seafood of the month club</a> (about $1,660), a <a href="http://www.sweetemotionscandy.com/">candy of the month club</a> (about $300), and order one <a href="https://www.soothe.com/sf?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=san+francisco&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw0pa5BRCLmoKIx_HTh1wSJABk5F_4CGfgwWvoqqotkCvC7pNOm8aG4rKMnxmebDmV5JZU7BoCyJDw_wcB">in-home massage</a> per month ($1,200). A great deal for xenophobes, freelance writers, or folks on house arrest!</p> <h2>6. Donate to Charity</h2> <p>It will make you feel great, and you can deduct your gift from your taxable income. Make sure your recipient is a qualified nonprofit &mdash; you can look it up on the <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/">IRS website</a> &mdash; and remember that you need a letter of verification from the charity for all donations over $250.</p> <h2>9. Eat a Burger</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.alux.com/most-expensive-burger-in-the-world/">Fleurburger 5000</a>, served at Hubert Keller's Fleur eatery in Las Vegas, is made with Wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, and truffle oil. It comes with a bottle of fine wine &mdash; and fries.</p> <h2>10. Grill Your Own Burgers In an Outdoor Kitchen</h2> <p>While you can flip burgers on the most inexpensive hibachi, making your yard into a <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-outdoor-kitchen-cost.htm"><em>plein air</em> living space</a> where you can comfortably cook starts around $5,000 for a decent grill, an island with a built-in refrigerator, and a dining set.</p> <h2>11. Skip Waiting in Lines for a Year</h2> <p>Estimates for how much time Americans spend waiting in line in a lifetime vary from <a href="http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1657807,00.html">two to five years</a>. That boils down to hundreds of hours per year! You can pay line waiters about $25 per hour on TaskRabbit or through local services. So for $5,000, you can get out of 200 hours of line waiting. Pro tip: Don't blow it all on one phone.</p> <p><em>What would you do with $5000?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">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/8-free-things-that-arent">8 &quot;Free&quot; Things That Aren&#039;t</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/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</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/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine&#039;s Flowers</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-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free">6 Ways Life is Wonderful When You&#039;re Debt-Free</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-surprising-ways-to-save-money-during-your-pregnancy">5 Surprising Ways to Save Money During Your Pregnancy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping donating extra money Food Paying Off Debt pets savings Splurging windfalls Wed, 18 May 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1703944 at http://www.wisebread.com The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-month-get-richer-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_catching_cash_000050636792.jpg" alt="Man following 12-month get richer plan " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It's a good thing it's all over the TV for us to gawk at and covet 24/7, because most of us will never attain that kind of excessive wealth. What we can do, however, is try to improve our own financial lot to the best of our abilities. Sure, that may seem like settling for second (or even farther down the line) best, but we can't all have everything &mdash; and at least we have a little <em>something</em>.</p> <p>Alas, even if we can't be swimming-in-gold-like-Scrooge-McDuck rich, there are ways to be wealthier at any income level. Simple moves we make for the betterment of our personal finances can increase our net worth. If you start today, you can be richer by this time next year. Here's what to do.</p> <h2>1. Get Rid of (or Reduce) One Expense Per Month</h2> <p>It's simple mathematics. The fewer expenses you have, the more money you'll have. Eliminating or reducing one expense every month may seem impossible, especially if you think you can't live without certain comforts, but the truth is, we don't need as much as we think. The problem, however, is that we don't realize how little we need until we start letting stuff go.</p> <p>Be honest about your needs. For example, out of 300+ television stations you might have in your cable package, how many do you watch on a regular basis? If you're spending $150 a month on cable, getting rid of this expense means you'll save about $1,800 a year. You can eliminate or reduce your cable bill one month, decrease your grocery bill by 10% or 20% the next month, get rid of a monthly subscription a month later, and so forth. The savings are there if you start looking for them, and they'll start to stack up quickly.</p> <h2>2. Get a Better Savings Account</h2> <p>As you cut or reduce expenses every month, don't leave the savings in your checking account. Keep track of how much you're saving every month and then automatically transfer this money into a savings account. Since the idea is to become richer in 12 months, a regular savings account won't do. You need a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">high-yield savings account</a>, which offers a better savings account rate.</p> <h2>3. Think Outside the Box When Saving and Investing</h2> <p>Several banks offer programs to help customers build their personal savings. Wells Fargo offers a Way2Save account. For every debit card transaction, the bank transfers $1 from your personal checking account into your Way2Save savings account. Bank of America has Keep the Change, which rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference into your savings account.</p> <p>You can also take a round-up approach with investing. Using apps like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop">Acorns</a> makes it easy to invest and grow your money. Download the app and then link a debit or credit card to your account. Each time you use this debit or credit card for a purchase, Acorns rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference.</p> <h2>4. Make Transactions With Cash Only</h2> <p>Nowadays you can use credit and debit cards everywhere, including fast food restaurants and vending machines. But although credit cards are simple and convenient, a cash-only policy can help you become richer in a year.</p> <p>When using plastic for purchases, physical cash doesn't leave your hand. And because there isn't a physical exchange of funds, there's a tendency to spend more. A study conducted by Dun &amp; Bradstreet found that people spent &quot;12% to 18% more when using credit cards instead of cash.&quot; If you only have cash, you can only spend a specific amount, thereby reducing the overall amount you'll spend in a transaction. Keep this up for a year, and you could see a significant reduction in overall outflow &mdash; and perhaps a change in your spending habits altogether.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you can commit to paying off your credit card balances <em>every month</em>, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">cash rewards credit card</a> will put money back into your pocket for spending on the things you normally would anyway. Using the right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card for your everyday purchases</a> can easily <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">save you over $1,000 a year</a>.</p> <h2>5. Sell Everything You Never Use</h2> <p>We can accumulate a lot of stuff over the years, and in some cases, we don't use half the items in our possession. If you want to become richer in the next year, stop hoarding junk and sell everything you never use. Personally, I sell everything for which I no longer have a use and which still has some value. Even if you think your item is worthless, it's worth trying to sell it because you never know who wants your junk. Case in point: I sold a box of used bottle caps for, like, $50 once. Cha-ching!</p> <p>Deposit whatever you earn from the sale into a high-yield savings account. Items you can sell include clothes, furniture, and electronics. I had a friend with a garage and two storage units packed with stuff. He had a massive yard sale over three weekends and walked away with over $3,000.</p> <h2>6. Increase Your Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>Some people think they don't earn enough to increase their retirement contributions. But even if you can't increase contributions by a lot, upping your contributions by 1% or 2% can make a difference over a year, and you'll be better prepared for the future.</p> <p>Yes, extra money will be taken from your paycheck &mdash; and at first, you may feel the pinch &mdash; but I'm willing to bet that after a couple of months you'll adjust and no longer miss the money. It's just like getting hit with a new bill. You may not like the idea of a new expense, but you do whatever it takes to make room in your budget.</p> <h2>7. Skip Your Vacation for One Year</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with a little fun away from home. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without a vacation or mini-getaway here and there. But if you want to build your net worth over the next 12 months, you can make headway by sacrificing a vacation for one year. You should continue to save just like you would for the trip. But instead of spending the cash on airfare and hotels, put it toward building a bigger nest egg. Remember, rich people didn't get where they're at by spending their time on vacation, but they do get to go on more vacations now that they're rich. Keep this philosophy in mind when you're feeling the pinch to keep going the extra mile.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to get richer this year? I'd love to hear your ideas 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/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">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-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting expenses get rich investing retirement savings vacations Mon, 16 May 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1709580 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Do Money Like a Grown-Up http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-money-like-a-grown-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-do-money-like-a-grown-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_falling_cash_000089352907.jpg" alt="Kid learning how to do money like a grownup" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us aren't money experts &mdash; especially as young adults. So it comes as no surprise that our individual money matters can get a bit messy at times. But while it's one thing to have questionable, disorganized financial habits in your late teens and early 20s, as you move into your late 20s and early 30s, it's time to clean up your act and do money like an adult. Here's how, slacker:</p> <h2>1. Set Up Autopay to Prevent Missing a Payment</h2> <p>For the longest time I was afraid of using autopay, primarily from fear that I would forget about a bill and accidentally overdraw my account &mdash; and that the government was going to steal all my cash while I was sleeping. I recently put my fears aside and took advantage of this service, and let me tell you, it has simplified my life for the better (even though I'm still keeping a close eye on Big Brother.)</p> <p>Autopay is great because it puts your financial life on autopilot. I select the dates to have funds automatically drafted from my account, and as long as funds are available, my bills get paid &mdash; and I don't have to lift a finger. I do have to set reminders, however, to make sure that the necessary funds are available when needed, but that's much easier than all that check-writing and envelope-licking I used to do.</p> <h2>2. Start Making Digital Copies to Cut Down on Paper Clutter</h2> <p>Bank statements, credit card statements, and other bills can pile up on your desk, and if you don't have a system for keeping up with paperwork, finding important documents might require the help of a professional search team.</p> <p>I'm all too familiar with this scenario. But since getting rid of the clutter and investing in a digital scanner, I'm in better control of my finances. Being self-employed, I have to keep good, accurate records throughout the year and maintain receipts for tax time. I used to have a shoebox, but that system was anything but organized, and it made calculating expenses at the end of the year a royal pain in the neck. Digitally scanning receipts and other important paperwork has saved me a lot of time and headache and there's less paper all over the place.</p> <p>Whenever I receive a document that I need to keep, it takes less than a minute to scan and categorize. And when I need to retrieve a document, I can usually find it in less than 30 seconds, which is a lot better for my sanity than 20 minutes of ranting, raving, and clawing through piles of paper.</p> <h2>3. Consolidate Your Loans and Other Payments</h2> <p>Consolidation is your best friend, especially when you're juggling multiple bills with different due dates and payment amounts. If you have multiple federal student loans, ask your provider about consolidating all your loans into a single loan. And if you have multiple credit cards, see if you qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">0% APR balance transfer credit card</a>, and then combine your balances onto a single card. This reduces your chance of forgetting to pay a bill.</p> <h2>4. Use Banking Apps</h2> <p>A smartphone isn't only good for checking social media accounts, email, and playing games. It also provides a way to stay on top of your money and manage your finances anytime, anywhere. Just about every major bank has a mobile app that allows customers to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money, and monitor their account balances. You may not always have access to a computer to check your account balances, but you'll most likely always have a smartphone in the palm of your hand.</p> <p>Having instant access has helped me make financial decisions in an instant, it's prevented me from buying something I wanted but couldn't afford (I look at my balances to keep myself in check), and it cuts down on all the traveling back and forth to the bank I used to do to deposit checks and other business &mdash; which in itself is a Godsend.</p> <h2>5. Consider Hiring a Financial Adviser</h2> <p>You don't need a lot of money to have a financial adviser. Whether you need help with retirement planning, paying down debt, or buying insurance, a financial adviser can point you in the right direction and help clean up your financial life. Your adviser will stick by your side year after year, occasionally following up to see how he can best serve you. If you're just starting out and don't know much about money, mistakes are inevitable. Advisers are knowledgeable in various areas of money management and can provide a step-by-step guide for improving your finances.</p> <h2>6. Look for a Better Checking and Savings Account</h2> <p>A student checking or savings account might have worked when you were in high school or college, but now that you're an adult, it's time to explore adult accounts.</p> <p>A regular savings account is an excellent place to house cash you need for emergencies, but don't expect to earn an impressive rate with a regular savings &mdash; you'd be lucky to earn more than 0.01%. If you're thinking long-term savings, or if you're looking for a better return on your money, you need an account with a higher yield, such as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">high-yield online savings account</a>, a certificate of deposit, or a money market account.</p> <p>Additionally, don't settle for a checking account that offers nothing in return. Some people don't think of their checking account as a tool for growing their money. But for anyone who maintains a large balance in their checking, it only makes sense to find a bank that offers interest checking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts?ref=seealso">Best Online Checking Accounts</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you do money grown-up style?</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-do-money-like-a-grown-up">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/the-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</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-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-lenders-that-love-millennials">4 Lenders That Love Millennials</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-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance adulthood autopay bills checking account financial advisers loans millennials money matters savings Fri, 13 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1708166 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Places to Stash Your Money Besides a Savings Account http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/star_wars_lego_000021962705.jpg" alt="Finding places to stash money besides a savings account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The long-awaited interest rate hike from the Fed finally arrived on December 16, 2015. But as of May 2016, it still hasn't affected the interest rate of most savings accounts. The national average savings account interest rate currently stands at a measly 0.06%, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). And some brick-and-mortar banks are offering rates as low as a pitiful 0.01%!</p> <p>There are far better places to park your hard-earning savings. Let's review 10 places to stash cash besides a traditional bank savings account.</p> <h2>1. Online High Yield Savings Account</h2> <p>With the Internet taking over pretty much everything, it's not a surprise that it has also taken over banking. By putting your funds in an online savings account, you'll have access to higher yields. As of April 2016, you can find high-interest savings accounts with yields ranging from 0.75% with the Capital One 360 Savings Account, to 1.05% with the Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings Account. Make sure to read the fine print, though, because they may require minimum deposits and limit the times you can access funds per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso">5 Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>2. Certificate of Deposit</h2> <p>By tying up your money for a longer period of time, banks and credit unions are willing to offer you a higher interest rate. With terms ranging from one to 60 months, a certificate of deposit (CD) is a financial vehicle insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per account per depositor. Certificates of deposit can easily beat that 1.10%. For example, a credit union in Honolulu, Hawaii is currently offering 16-month and 60-month CDs with a 1.20% and 1.78% APR, respectively.</p> <h2>3. Series I Savings Bond</h2> <p>Backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, Series I Savings Bonds (also referred to as &quot;I Bonds&quot;) are adjusted for inflation every six months so the purchasing power of your savings stays intact. Earnings are exempt from state and local taxes and can be entirely tax-free when used for qualifying post-secondary education expenses. I Bonds are available on small denominations starting at $50 and can be bought online via <a href="http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/prod_ibonds_glance.htm">TreasuryDirect</a> or through your tax return using <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8888.pdf">Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases)</a>.</p> <h2>4. Gold</h2> <p>For a long time, several countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., committed to fix the prices of their domestic currencies in terms of the market value of a specified amount of gold. Even though the market price of gold has proven to be quite volatile, it still could work as a good way to stash your savings, depending on your timing. When it comes to gold, history has proven that it's best to buy and hold for a long time. On May 1, 2006, the price of gold per ounce was $670.30 and on April 18, 2016, it was $1,245.68. That's a 85% total return for about 10 years. This is why investors still use gold to hedge against uncertainty and inflation.</p> <h2>5. Exchange Traded Fund for Precious Metals</h2> <p>Of course, buying and selling coins, bars, or privately minted coins of gold and silver requires skill, storage space, and knowledge of the commodities market. An alternative way to put your savings in gold and silver is to buy an exchange traded fund (ETF) that tracks the market price of those precious metals. Some examples include the iShares Silver Trust [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SLV">NYSEArca: SLV</a>], SPDR Gold Shares [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GLD">NYSEArca: GLD</a>], ETFS Physical Silver [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SIVR">NYSEArca: SIVR</a>], and iShares Gold Trust [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=IAU">NYSEArca: IAU</a>].</p> <h2>6. Lego Sets</h2> <p>If the investment returns from gold impress you, wait until you hear that of Lego Sets:</p> <ul> <li>Imperial Star Destroyer was <a href="http://time.com/money/4162059/lego-investment-compare-gold-return/">worth $249.99 in 2002</a> and today is worth about $2,185 (return: 774%)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Death Star II was worth $372 in 2005 and today is worth about $2,270 (return: 510%)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Taj Mahal was worth $134 in 2007 and today is worth about $2,753 (return: 1,954%)</li> </ul> <p>Of course, you'll have to do some research to identify the most promising sets. With about 80 stores in the U.S., you'll have plenty of opportunities to play&hellip; ahem!... I mean, research.</p> <h2>7. Discount Gift Cards at Costco</h2> <p>Bulk buying 170 oz. detergent jugs and $4.99 roasted chickens aren't the only ways to let your dollar go the extra mile at Costco. You can stash your savings in discounted gift cards. For example, you can currently get two $50 gift cards for Buca di Beppo for $76.99 ($74.99 plus $2 for shipping and handling) at the Costco website. By planning out your purchases of discount gift cards for restaurants and other retailers, you can get a better return than that of a savings account.</p> <h2>8. Christmas Club</h2> <p>Another alternative to savings accounts is the Christmas club, which will hold money put aside for future holiday spending. Also known as Christmas savings accounts, Christmas clubs are available at over 70% of U.S. credit unions. By committing to hold your funds in the account for a predetermined period (e.g. November 1st), a credit union will pay you a higher interest rate than that of its regular savings account. The catch is that if you withdraw the funds before the deadline, you'll be charged a steep fee that nullifies all your interest gains. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <h2>9. Peer-to-Peer Lending</h2> <p>Banks make a profit by taking your deposits and offering those monies as loans to other individuals at a higher interest rate. You, too, can take a crack at profiting from lending through peer-to-peer lending at sites including <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper">Prosper</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-peer-to-peer-investing-with-lending-club">Lending Club</a>. With a minimum investment of $25, you could start investing in loans with an average annual interest rates ranging from <a href="https://www.lendingclub.com/info/demand-and-credit-profile.action">5.23% to 9.11%</a>. By sticking with the highest grade of investment loans, you have a good chance at beating the annual percentage yield (APY) of any savings account.</p> <h2>10. Secured Credit Card</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-secured-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">secured credit cards</a> can be useful to building or repairing your credit history, some of these cards also allow you to gain interest on your security deposit. For example, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/usaa-secured-card-american-express?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">USAA Secured Card American Express</a> lets you gain 0.54% per year through a two-year CD. If you're considering to apply for a secured credit card, getting one that lets you make money on your secure deposit would let you kill two birds with one stone.</p> <p><em>What are other great places to stash away your savings?</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/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account">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-smart-ways-to-use-old-savings-bonds">6 Smart Ways to Use Old Savings Bonds</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/11-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-emergency-fund">11 Ways Life Is Amazing With an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-manage-your-finances-before-during-and-after-a-military-deployment">12 Easy Ways to Manage Your Finances Before, During, and After a Military Deployment</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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-money-like-a-grown-up">How to Do Money Like a Grown-Up</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance certificate of deposit christmas funds gift cards gold peer to peer lending savings savings bonds Tue, 10 May 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Damian Davila 1703947 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Wasting Up to $42,532 by Not Investing Your Gasoline Savings http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-up-to-42532-by-not-investing-your-gasoline-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-wasting-up-to-42532-by-not-investing-your-gasoline-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000074872237_Large.jpg" alt="she can invest the money she saves at the pump" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gas prices are as low as they have been in a long time. In April 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasted that the average full price of regular grade gasoline will be lower in July 2016 (<a href="http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/">$2.07 per gallon</a>) than at the same time last year ($2.79 per gallon).</p> <p>That means the average American will <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/10/news/economy/gas-savings/">save about $1,000</a> on gas this year. But unless you're banking those gas savings, you're wasting an opportunity to improve your financial situation. That's because money saved and invested compounds over time, and a mere $1000 could turn into tens of thousands, instead.</p> <p>Here is why you're wasting up to $42,532 by not making smart use of your gas savings.</p> <h2>Make an Investment</h2> <p>Among the best pieces of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">financial wisdom from Warren Buffett</a> is, &quot;someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.&quot; Whether it's by dining out more often or buying more clothes, spending that extra $1,000 per year instead of saving or investing it is a decision that your future self will regret dearly.</p> <p>Today is the best day to start an investment, even if it's with a small amount. If you were to invest $83.33 every month (about $1,000 a year) for 20 years in an online high-yield savings account with a 1% annual interest rate, you would have a total of $22,137.21 at the end of the 20-year period.</p> <p>With such a long-term investing period, you would do even better with alternate forms of investment. For example, if you were to make the same string of deposits in an investment account paying a 4% annual rate of return, your investment would be worth $30,418.19 at the end of the 20-year period.</p> <p>Of course, you would do best by putting that series of monthly $83.33 deposits in an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is a marketable security tracking a market index, such as the S&amp;P 500 or Russell 2000 indexes. The <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042415/what-average-annual-return-sp-500.asp">historical average annual return</a> for the S&amp;P 500, adjusted for inflation is around 7%. So, if you were to put $83.33 every month in an ETF tracking the S&amp;P 500 for 20 years, you would end up with $42,532.14 after 20 years before applicable fees or taxes.</p> <p>Making a consistent monthly deposit over a long period of time allows you to leverage the power of interest compounding, making the most of your gas savings.</p> <h2>Pay Down High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>Of course, you may want more immediate gratification with your gas savings. By using your gas savings to pay more than your minimum monthly payment on high interest credit cards, you can potentially save up to a few thousands of dollars every year.</p> <p>Let's assume that you have a total balance of $4,534 on a credit card with a 25.24% annual percentage rate (APR) and that your monthly minimum payment is $140.56. By making only the minimum payment, you wouldn't pay off the total card balance for 18 years, and would end up paying an estimated total of $12,592!</p> <p>By just increasing your monthly payment an extra $40.44 (about half of the estimated gas savings), you would pay off the credit card in only three years and save an estimated $6,081.</p> <p>Another reason to pay down those high-interest credit cards is that those interest payments aren't tax deductible. Unlike your interest payments on mortgages, home equity loans, and student loans, your interest payments on credit cards or auto loans offer no tax advantage.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">How to Use a Balance Transfer to Save on Credit Card Interest</a></p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Gas prices will eventually go back up. For now, the EIA predicts that the average retail price for U.S. regular grade gas will be around the $2 mark until December 2017. Make the most out of your gas savings for the next year by investing the extra cash or paying down your high-interest debt.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to make the most of your gasoline savings?</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/youre-wasting-up-to-42532-by-not-investing-your-gasoline-savings">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/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</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/a-beginner-s-guide-to-investing-in-frontier-markets">A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Frontier Markets</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/2010-predictions-from-wall-street-and-main-street-whos-smarter">2010 Predictions from Wall Street and Main Street: Who&#039;s Smarter?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas?</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/etfs-offer-incredible-benefitswith-a-dark-side">ETFs Offer Incredible Benefits...with a Dark Side</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment compound interest debt ETFs gas prices price per gallon savings stock market Mon, 02 May 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Damian Davila 1700679 at http://www.wisebread.com Why "Opportunity" Funds Are the New Emergency Funds http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_piggy_bank_000091361933.jpg" alt="Women learning how opportunity funds are the new emergency funds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know your emergency fund is important to your financial well-being. In fact, it's a bit like flossing is to dental health. We know it's important. In fact, we know it is hugely beneficial. But do we do it? Well, no &mdash; or at least not like we should.</p> <p>The emergency fund is a classic example of what has become known as the &quot;<a href="http://www.wenell.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/thinking_knowing.pdf">knowing-doing gap</a>.&quot; These are cases where know we should take action, yet we don't. That's because abstract thoughts about future emergencies &mdash; auto repairs or a leaking roof &mdash; are hardly compelling. An emergency fund, as vital as it may be, just isn't sexy.</p> <p>If it's time for you to bridge the knowing-doing gap, and start future-proofing your finances, here's a smart trick to try.</p> <h2>Bridging the Gap</h2> <p>When it comes to an emergency fund, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">size matters less than habit</a>. If you think that it's not worth starting because you can only spare a small amount, then you're kidding yourself. Small amounts regularly saved do mount up.</p> <p>In reality, what prevents many people from saving is not a shortage of spare cash, but a lacking desire to build an emergency fund in the first place. After all, if you were really committed to saving, and prepared to fully audit your budget, you could probably find ways to trim your expenses a few dollars a week, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-extra-cash">bring in some extra cash</a> on the side.</p> <p>But saving for an emergency fund is an inherently pessimistic and abstract thing. There is no conclusive rule to tell you how much you should have. You're saving for things that might never happen, and anyway, isn't just thinking about emergencies a little like tempting fate?</p> <h2>Opportunity Fund</h2> <p>The real barrier to saving an emergency fund, often, is in the mind. So instead of saving for an emergency fund, why not shift your thinking into a more positive groove? Decide instead to save an <em>opportunity fund</em>, so that you never need to fear missing an opportunity for want of cash.</p> <p>How much more would you be motivated to save for some unknown opportunity that might present itself in future? Instead of saving as insurance <em>against </em>the stuff of nightmares, think about saving so you can grab an opportunity when it arises.</p> <p>It is a whole lot easier (and more pleasant) to think about the opportunities that might come up in the future than it is to speculate about the disasters that might befall us. Imagine these scenarios, both with and without the financial cushion provided by your opportunity fund:</p> <ul> <li>Your dream job comes up, but the salary doesn't stack up. What do you do? Your savings give you choices.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You have the opportunity to start your own business in an area you're passionate about, but starting out means living on less to begin with. Now you can weigh your options.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You decide to study again, and need to flex your finances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your best friend is about to embark on some pretty major travel plans, and you really want to join. Guess what? Now you can.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You choose to drop hours at work to care for family, to travel, or to focus on a hobby. Having an opportunity fund means that you can consider different routes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You need (or want) to relocate suddenly. This could be for a good reason like a new job, love, or family. Don't feel stuck &mdash; your opportunity fund gives you the control you need to make the decisions that matter.</li> </ul> <p>While an emergency fund feels like an exercise in damage limitation, your opportunity fund will feel like control, flexibility, and financial confidence. With those motivating factors on side, you are far more likely to make a savings plan and stick to it &mdash; even if it means trimming the spend a little elsewhere.</p> <p>Naturally, once you have saved your financial cushion, it is there for you if an emergency should ever arise. But more importantly it's there as a comfort, an assurance that money worries do not need to be a reason to walk away from a great idea or opportunity. Doesn't that sound better?</p> <p><em>What do you think? Do you have an emergency fund? Would you consider using it for a great opportunity instead?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds">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-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">6 Emergency Fund Myths You Should Stop Believing</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/is-your-emergency-fund-big-enough-to-keep-you-afloat">Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough to Keep You Afloat?</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/cash-is-king-now-what-should-i-do-with-it">Cash Is King: Now What Should I Do With It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</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-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance emergency funds fun money opportunity funds savings spending habits traveling Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Claire Millard 1699422 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Life is Wonderful When You're Debt-Free http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_carefree_smile_000074865831.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways life is wonderful when debt-free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people think debt is the norm rather than the exception. To each his own. Just know that this type of mindset can become dangerous, especially if you develop the habit of financing anything and everything.</p> <p>Credit cards and other loans can put what you want within financial reach, but a life without debt can be rewarding. Here are six ways life is frickin' awesome when you're not burdened by a negative net worth.</p> <h2>1. You Have the Freedom to Work Less</h2> <p>The more debt you have, the more you have to work to keep up with monthly payments. Whether it's a house payment, a car payment, or credit cards, debt holds your freedom hostage and keeps you stuck in a career or job you don't like. Think of how great life could be if you had fewer bills. Rather than working a 40- or 50-hour week, you might get by working only 20 or 30 hours a week. With fewer financial pressures, you can quit a high-stress job and find satisfying work, although you might earn less.</p> <h2>2. You Can Retire While You're Still Young</h2> <p>Even if you know the importance of early retirement planning, debt can limit how much you stash for the future. Eliminating needless debt and reducing monthly expenses frees up disposable cash, allowing you to grow your retirement account faster. A sizable account might be the difference between working into your 60s and retiring young while you're still healthy and energetic. And that's not even considering how good the &quot;everybody envies me&quot; factor is gonna feel.</p> <h2>3. You Can Finally Have a &quot;Real&quot; Savings Account</h2> <p>Not only can debt-free living boost your retirement account, there's also an opportunity to grow your personal fund. Imagine what you could do with a &quot;real&quot; savings account. I'm not talking about $500 or $1,000, but rather tens of thousands of dollars. This is money that can be used for an emergency, home improvements, investments, or a good time. You can take a much-needed (and deserved; do you, boo!) vacation or deal with home repairs without relying on a credit card.</p> <p>If you're struggling to build your personal account, be honest and consider whether your lack of savings has anything to do with debt payments eating up your extra cash. If you could eliminate $1,000 a month in debt payments (between credit cards, student loans, and automobile loans), you could save $12,000 in just one year.</p> <h2>4. You Will Become a Smarter Spender</h2> <p>I've learned something from my own experience with debt: It is easier to accumulate new debt when I already have debt. Whenever I have a zero balance on my credit card, I'm more cautious and conscious of how I spend my money and use the card. I'll second-guess or rethink the smallest purchases. It doesn't matter if it's only $5 or $10, I'll wait until I have cash to avoid using the card. But the moment I give in and use the card, I stop second-guessing myself and I continue using the card.</p> <p>I've had debt discussions with others and found that some people feel the same. Maybe it's just our experiences, or maybe there's a connection between existing debt and new debt. Either way, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">getting rid of debt</a> can make you more aware of your spending habits. Debt elimination can be a long process. Reflecting on the effort it took to become debt free (and the benefits) is motivation to remain debt free.</p> <h2>5. You Will Experience Less Financial Anxiety</h2> <p>Debt keeps you enslaved to a bank. And sometimes, the amount you owe can heighten your anxiety level. This might be the case if payments stretch your budget beyond a comfortable limit. If you get into hot water, you could lie awake worrying about late payments, a damaged credit score, or collection calls. On the other hand, when you live within your means and don't rely on financing, you enjoy an inner calm and better financial security. When you own your stuff outright, you don't have to worry about anybody taking your items, unless, of course, you fail to pay taxes on your home or car. Then, well, you better hide.</p> <h2>6. You Don't Have to Pay to Borrow</h2> <p>One of the best things about avoiding debt is that you avoid interest. Interest is the cost of borrowing, and most banks charge some form of interest when you take out a loan or use a credit card. The longer you carry the balance, the more interest you pay, which can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the amount financed.</p> <p>Borrowers with superb credit may qualify for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases">0% financing</a> for furniture, credit cards, or automobiles. But these promotions are short-lived and only beneficial if you pay off the balance during the introductory rate period. If not, interest kicks in. In the case of financing furniture, if you miss a payment or don't pay off the balance during the promotion period, you could end up paying retroactive interest. All this equates to extra money you're spending for which you have nothing to show. A fool's game, for sure. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Use a 0% Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p><em>What would you do if you were debt free? Travel? Retire? Throw the party to end all parties? Let's talk about it 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/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free">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/goal-setting-getting-out-of-debt-once-and-for-all">Goal Setting: Getting Out of Debt Once and For All</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/beyond-debt-free-getting-by-in-the-new-economy">Beyond Debt-Free: Getting By in the New Economy</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/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</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-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt">8 Signs You&#039;ve Crossed From &quot;Healthy&quot; Debt to &quot;Problem&quot; Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Lifestyle borrowing debt free early retirement financial freedom net worth savings Tue, 19 Apr 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1691580 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000048349718_Large.jpg" alt="wasting money on his commute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="126" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Commuting to work can be a real hassle, but have you ever added up what it's costing you financially?</p> <p>With gas prices on the low side right now, it's easy to lose sight of the cost of driving. But if you have a commute and choose to drive, you may be losing out on hundreds of dollars a year and potentially <em>hundreds of thousands of dollars</em> over the course of your working life.</p> <p>How is that possible? Well, let's crunch some numbers.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the mean <a href="https://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/files/2012/Paper-Poster_Megacommuting%20in%20the%20US.pdf">commuting distance in America</a> is about 38 miles. There are some parts of the country where commuters travel much further, and some mega commuters are known to average more than 200 miles each day.</p> <p>Let's assume you're an average person driving that average 38 miles to and from work each day. And let's also assume you're paying an average amount for gas, which is currently about $2 per gallon. If you drive a car that gets 30 miles per gallon, you're spending about $2.50 a day on gas, or about $12.50 a week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-the-high-cost-of-cheap-gas-hurts-you?ref=seealso">This Is How the High Cost of Cheap Gas Hurts You</a>)</p> <p>Assuming you may take a couple weeks off throughout the year from driving, this adds up to $625 annually.</p> <p>That's a nice chunk of change, but it's not the end of the story.</p> <h2>Compound Interest Is Your Friend</h2> <p>Having an extra $625 in your pocket at the end of the year is great. But you could actually end up with a lot more, without doing a thing.</p> <p>If you put that extra money away in a run-of-the-mill savings account with a 1% interest rate, that could be $631 by year's end. Okay, so just $6. No big deal. But extrapolate that out to 30 years and you end up with $842. And if you put in $625 every year during that period, it's a whopping $22,000, thanks in large part to interest compounding on itself.</p> <h2>Invest and Build True Wealth</h2> <p>So now we're at $22,000. That seems like a nice addition to the nest egg. But imagine tripling that total.</p> <p>If you take $625 annually and place it in an index fund or another investment that mirrors the broader stock market, you can boost your savings significantly. Assuming a typical annual return of 7% from the S&amp;P 500, <em>you'll end up with nearly $68,000 at the end of 30 years</em><strong>. </strong></p> <p>That's $68,000 by not spending money on gas, even with prices as low as they are now. And that's just for an average commuter. Someone who drives 60 miles round trip for work could save $108,000 over 30 years. A long-distance commuter who goes 90 miles a day could save $163,000.</p> <h2>Total Commuting Costs</h2> <p>Keep in mind, too, that gas is not the only expenditure when you commute. The Citi ThankYou Commuter Index last year said the average American <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/citi-thankyou-premier-commuter-index-reveals-us-consumers-spend-an-average-of-2600-per-year-on-their-commute-300095179.html?tc=eml_cleartime">spent $2,600 a year commuting</a>. This includes people who might pay for public transit, and also factors in the cost of repairs and depreciation on your car.</p> <p>Using the same calculations as above, that $2,600 could turn into $3,504 over 30 years if placed in a savings account. And $2,600 placed annually in an index fund could turn into $281,000 within three decades.</p> <p>Keep all of this in mind when figuring out how you'll get to work, what job to take, and whether you can get away with working from home or even being self-employed.</p> <p><em>How much are you spending on a daily commute to work? Share with us 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-driving">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Driving</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-benefits-of-a-walkable-neighborhood">The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood</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-steps-for-a-womans-financial-self-defense">6 Steps for a Woman&#039;s Financial Self-Defense</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/common-currency-a-primer">Common Currency: A Primer</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/behind-the-times-i-learn-about-keep-the-change">Behind the Times - I learn about Keep the Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Investment compound interest gas index funds interest savings Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Tim Lemke 1687442 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thrifty_woman_money_000033605098.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to strengthen her finances before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If retirement is only a few years down the road, hopefully you already have the right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50">retirement savings</a> in place. And nothing can beat a well-funded retirement account that was started early in your career.</p> <p>There <em>are</em> a few more moves you can make before you close the door on your career for good, though. Doing these five things will ensure you have a more comfortable retirement and help stretch your nest egg a little further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-products-that-arent-worth-your-money?ref=seealso">6 Retirement Products That Aren't Worth Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Rid of Debt</h2> <p>How much debt do you have right now besides a mortgage? If you have any credit card or other loan debt, now is the time to take serious steps to getting rid of it. Once you move to a fixed income, you do not want your precious savings to fund debt repayment or to be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">wasted on interest payments</a>.</p> <p>Treat your debt seriously. Taking debt into retirement is like entering a marathon with a broken leg. You will exert too much energy dragging your bad leg around, and might not even cross the finish line.</p> <p>First things first: calculate how much debt you have. Consider transferring your high-interest credit card debt to a promotional credit card that offers 0% APR and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">0% balance transfers</a>. This will allow you to pay more towards your debt without wasting money on interest payments. A word to the wise, however: Only transfer as much debt onto our 0% APR card as you can pay off during the promotional period. Otherwise, you'll find yourself in the same position again once the 0% APR promotional period ends and your rate rises.</p> <h2>2. Rethink Your Mortgage and Home</h2> <p>Take a look at your current home and assess it. How much do you still owe on it &mdash; and is it too much house for your retirement needs? Will this be a good home for you when you are in your 80s and have difficulty going up and down stairs?</p> <p>Before you retire, consider the benefits of downsizing your home and mortgage. A smaller home will be less work to maintain and cost less to live in. Not only do smaller houses generally come with smaller mortgages, but they also cost less to heat and cool.</p> <p>If your home is the right fit for your retirement needs, then focus on the mortgage. Paying off your mortgage before retirement is not a small task, but it will free your budget significantly each month.</p> <h2>3. Build an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Just because you're retired doesn't mean you don't have a need for an emergency fund any longer. Your Social Security benefits, retirement savings, and/or pension are meant to cover your daily living expenses. But how will you pay for an emergency, such as an unexpected hospital visit or car expense? Even a $1,000 emergency can derail your budget and land you into debt if you aren't careful.</p> <p>While you're still working, start saving money in a separate account for emergencies. This money should be easily accessible for small financial disasters that occur before and after retirement.</p> <h2>4. Boost Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>If you have five to 10 years left until you retire, you still have the special opportunity to boost your retirement savings. Of course, your retirement savings will have seen the most benefit from investing in your 20s and 30s, but taking advantage of catch-up contributions are also wise.</p> <p>Once you turn 50, you become eligible to make additional catch-up contributions to your retirement plan of up to $6,000 more per year. Take advantage of this opportunity to correct for lackluster retirement savings.</p> <p>Remember, temporary cutbacks now can mean a more comfortable and worry-free retirement. Don't forget that contributing the full $24,000 each year after you turn 50 allows you certain tax benefits that can make the extra contributions less burdensome on your budget.</p> <h2>5. Draw Up a Budget and Do a Trial Run</h2> <p>When you first enter retirement, $1&ndash;$2 million dollars can seem like a luxurious amount. But retirement isn't the time to throw out your budget. In fact, your should stick closely to your budget to ensure you don't outlive your money.</p> <p>Once you draw up a realistic retirement budget, try adhering to that budget before you actually need to. Work out your budget kinks before you retire.</p> <p>While many individuals have established retirement savings funds, many have also underestimated what their financial needs will be during the last 20&ndash;30 years of their life. Applying these principles before entering retirement can ensure that your finances stay strong and healthy.</p> <p><em>What are your plans to better yourself before you retire? </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/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</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-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</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/retirement-accounts-and-money-to-spend">Retirement accounts and money to spend</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/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</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-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss">The SEP-IRA Is How the Self-Employed Do Retirement Like a BOSS</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k budgeting debt emergency funds IRA mortgages savings Fri, 26 Feb 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1661857 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Misconceptions About Millennials http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-misconceptions-about-millennials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-misconceptions-about-millennials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_millennial_man_000057999652.jpg" alt="Learning common money misconceptions about millennials" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a Millennial myself &mdash; though, admittedly, at the very outskirts of the spectrum (younger Millennials are keen to point that out to me; can't we all just get along?) &mdash; I can tell you that we're unjustly dragged through the mud by the press. We're lazy, entitled, self-absorbed, and demanding &mdash; or so claims the media.</p> <p>Much of the shade that we're thrown, as far as I can tell anyway, is just that &mdash; shade. Because contrary to popular belief, we Millennials are savvier and more responsible, especially where money matters are concerned, than we're portrayed. To tips the scales back in our favor a bit more, here are six money misconceptions about Millennials, and why they're wrong.</p> <h2>1. Millennials Will Be Renters for Life</h2> <p>I'm 34 years old, born in 1981, and I purchased my first home with my husband at 28 years old. Most of my Millennial friends own their homes, too. The idea that Millennials will be renters for life is an outdated belief, perhaps established during the housing crisis of the last decade, but it's held on nonetheless. That's all changing now.</p> <p>Trulia's Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin is an expert on Millennials and the housing market, and he says that recent research suggests that 18- to 34-year-olds are on the path to homeownership, though the prospect is contingent on affordability.</p> <p>&quot;A recent Trulia survey found that 80% of Millennials said that owning a home is part of their personal American Dream, and of the young people who plan to buy, 35% plan to buy within the next two years,&quot; he says. &quot;However, saving up for a down payment is the biggest obstacle to homeownership. Many say that a new job, promotion, or raise would be the deciding factor on taking the leap from renting to owning.&quot;</p> <p>Trulia's research is supported by a study from the National Association of Realtors, which reports that<a href="http://www.realtor.org/reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends"> 32% of homebuyers in 2014</a> were Millennials (Gen Y), and the median age group was 29 years old</p> <h2>2. Millennials Aren't Serious About Setting Savings Goals</h2> <p>While Millennials are focused more on obtaining material status symbols than older generations &mdash; 32% of Millennials said <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/american-dream-suffering/397475/">having luxury items</a> was crucial to their attainment of the American Dream &mdash; they're also focused on saving, and setting goals to do so.</p> <p>Chantel Bonneau, a wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual, says, &quot;Millennials are a little more financially conservative than maybe their parents, and they act much more like their grandparents. Millennials feel goal oriented, more so than other generations even. Millennials are realistic about taking responsibility and want to see themselves achieve and progress. They want options in retirement and are hopeful that they'll achieve their goals.&quot;</p> <p>The Northwestern Mutual<a href="https://www.northwesternmutual.com/about-us/studies/planning-and-progress-2015-study"> 2015 Planning and Progress Study</a> supports Bonneau's claims. The report details that:</p> <ul> <li>Nearly two-thirds of Millennials classify themselves as more inclined to save than spend, and more than half (53%) of Millennials have set financial goals, compared with 38% of Americans age 35 and older.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Almost half of Millennials have spoken to their partner, friends, family, or an advisor about retirement, taking a step toward successful planning.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Millennials know that safety nets won't be there for them in old age, with 73% of those expecting to need to work past age 65 doing so because Social Security won't take care of their needs.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Millennials Live to Work</h2> <p>Americans live to work, and work to live. That's how Europeans perceive our &quot;no-vacation nation&quot; anyway, but Millennials are poised to change that mindset.</p> <p>According to Bank of America's <a href="http://newsroom.bankofamerica.com/files/doc_library/additional/2015_Millennial_Snapshot_White_Paper.pdf">2015 Year-End Millennial Snapshot</a>, Millennials are just as likely to balance saving for a dream vacation as they are investing &mdash; 32% and 37%, respectively.</p> <p>It's likely this behavior will carry into Millennials' golden years, as nearly half of Millennials (49%) are spending less today so they can ensure a stress-free retirement where they envision time spent traveling and with loved ones. While investing and saving for the future, Millennials are willing to shoulder burdens in the short-term to ensure professional success by delaying compensation in an effort to make ends meet &mdash; so say 64% of Millennial small business owners.</p> <h2>4. Millennials Have No Buying Power</h2> <p>While older generations still think of Millennials as &quot;kids,&quot; the 18- to 34-year-old demographic actually has major influence over the rebounding economy.</p> <p>PayPal reports that 21% of Millennial shoppers opening PayPal Credit accounts in 2015 are in the high-spending power bracket.</p> <p>&quot;This tells us that the 'broke millennial' stereotype may be outdated,&quot; says Rob Skinner, director of marketing strategy at MSLGROUP, a marketing and public relations firm that targets Millennial consumers. &quot;In fact, Millennials spend more money online in a given year than any other age group and represent a quarter of the population.&quot;</p> <p>PayPal also found in a study that Millennials are changing their behavior with regards to using credit. They tend to steer clear of the commitment that comes with credit cards, but will use credit if it is integrated into the technology landscape.</p> <h2>5. Millennials Can't Focus on One Career</h2> <p>Millennials <a href="https://www.recruiter.com/i/its-your-fault-that-millennials-are-job-hoppers-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it/">hop jobs more frequently</a> than older generations &mdash; but that's because Millennials have no interest in staying in dead-end careers that show little promise of upward mobility&hellip;or the paycheck to match.</p> <p>&quot;Now that they've graduated and are on their own, Millennials are the group that placed the most importance on having a job that paid well, with 46% saying high wages are crucial to their attainment of the American Dream,&quot; says generation expert Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit organization focused on youth leadership development. &quot;Every age group wants to attain financial freedom, of course, but it appears Millennials are more 'direct' than others about their futures and pressuring employers for better wages.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Millennials Don't Save Enough for Retirement</h2> <p>There are plenty of articles that bash Millennials for their retirement plans &mdash; or the perceived lack thereof &mdash; but as Millennials age, they're becoming more concerned with saving for retirement, even if it may not look as traditional as it has in the past. Which is totally fine, by the way. Considering that Millennials will likely have to work until age 75 before they can retire &mdash; thanks to several factors, including high student debt, rising rents, and skittish investors &mdash; the no-rules approach to retirement saving is a perfectly acceptable compromise. And it's working.</p> <p><a href="https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/individual-investing/americas-savings-rate-improves">Fidelity's Retirement Savings Assessment</a> shows that, overall, Millennials are outpacing other generations when it comes to increasing their savings rate. Millennials are now saving 7.5% of their income versus just 5.8% in 2013. Generation X and Boomers are still saving larger percentages of salary but have not stepped up their contributions by nearly as much.</p> <p>&quot;Millennials also have the benefit of time on their side to save and invest, and the most single powerful step they can take for retirement readiness is to increase their savings,&quot; the Assessment states.</p> <p><em>Do any of these misconceptions ring true for you?</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/6-money-misconceptions-about-millennials">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-things-millennials-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-retirement">4 Things Millennials Should Do Today to Prepare for Retirement</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-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</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/will-forced-frugality-last">Will &quot;forced frugality&quot; last?</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/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living careers Economy generation y lifestyle millennials misconceptions retirement savings Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:30:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1654791 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_bags_000084069437.jpg" alt="Woman working at company with best employee benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Only 29% of U.S. workers are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2013/10/10/only-13-percent-of-people-worldwide-actually-like-going-to-work/">engaged and emotionally invested</a> in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve. Given that most employers are only planning to raise wages by an <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/26/pf/best-cities-for-pay-raise/">average 3% in 2016</a>, consider companies that provide other ways to make your dollars go further.</p> <p>Here are eight companies with some of the best employee discounts.</p> <h2>1. American Apparel</h2> <p>If your friends look to you for advice on the latest fashion trends, and choosing your wardrobe is one of the most important parts of your day, consider looking for a job at American Apparel. Its store managers even pay attention to what applicants wear during interviews.</p> <p>Buzzfeed reported that employees working at American Apparel receive a cool <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/which-retail-chains-have-the-best-employee-discoun#.ycwYEN6ezd">50% off on all store items</a>, no exceptions. Since it's company policy that you wear only American Apparel clothes to work, you also receive a $200 stipend to buy their clothes when you first start.</p> <h2>2. Apple Store</h2> <p>Receiving a discount at an Apple store is really hard. The only two common ways to get a discount are either through the <a href="http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/campaigns/education_pricing">Apple Education Pricing</a> program &mdash; which allows students, parents of students, and teachers to save up to $200 on a new Mac, and up to $20 on a new iPad &mdash; and the Black Friday sales event.</p> <p>On the other hand, Apple Store employees are eligible for a 25% discount on the iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro on their first day of employment. Additionally, you can receive a 25% discount on each purchase of one item from the iPod, iPad, Airport base station, and Apple Display models, provide your friends and relatives a 15% discount on up to three products, save 50% on software and 10% on third-party accessories, and receive an additional $250 off an iPad or $500 off any Mac computer every three years.</p> <h2>3. Bed Bath &amp; Beyond</h2> <p>The 20% off coupon from Bed Bath &amp; Beyond is so legendary that even actress <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities">Kristen Bell is a fan</a> of it. Imagine if there was a way to get that discount every day without having to wait to find a coupon in a magazine or an email &mdash; there is! Bed Bath &amp; Beyond associates receive a straightforward 20% discount on all purchases and a 30% discount once a year during Christmas. Associates can also choose from a monthly list of random items that are priced at cost.</p> <h2>4. Best Buy</h2> <p>After a three-month period, employee are eligible to buy a wide selection of items sold at Best Buy stores at wholesale cost, plus a 5% to 10% markup, depending on item. Former Best Buy employees report on Reddit that you can make substantial savings on batteries and tech accessories. For example, the black housing for a GoPro H4 camera retails for $50 and an employee was able to <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/gopro/comments/3fmhnb/best_buy_employees_what_do_the_accessories/ctpxvcn">purchase it for $15 to $20</a>.</p> <h2>5. Brooks Brothers</h2> <p>Clothing retailer Brooks Brothers offers a great 60% employee discount on all merchandise with no cap on items of dollar amount, according to a reddit poster. At Brooks Brothers you can shop clothes for kids, men, and women so you won't have a hard time finding gifts for friends and family. This employee discount is perfect for those looking to start building or completely revamping their entire wardrobe.</p> <h2>6. J. Crew</h2> <p>Just like at American Apparel, employees at J. Crew stores receive an employee discount on items for their work wardrobe. Every month you can receive a 50% employee discount on five items that you plan to wear at work, so outerwear isn't eligible for this discount. However, you can receive a storewide 30% employee discount on all full-priced merchandise. J. Crew also provides a list of slow-selling or overstock items each week that employees can get 60% off the retail price on.</p> <h2>7. Whole Foods</h2> <p>All Whole Foods employees are eligible for a default <a href="http://fortune.com/2011/05/18/5-reasons-why-its-great-to-work-at-whole-foods/">20% discount</a> on all store purchases. By meeting certain ranges for blood pressure, BMI, and total cholesterol, and not using nicotine products, Whole Foods employees are able to pump up their employee discount from 20% up to 30% through the <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/about-our-benefits">Team Member Healthy Discount Incentive Program</a>. Spouses and eligible domestic partners of Whole Foods employees are also eligible for the employee discount. Given that there are some foods that are actually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">cheaper at Whole Foods</a>, employees are able to save on organic and socially responsible food items even more.</p> <h2>8. Zappos</h2> <p>Known as one of the companies with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service">best customer service</a>, Zappos aims to please its employees as well. Among the many employee benefits that the company offers, Zappos provides a <a href="http://about.zappos.com/jobs/why-work-zappos/our-benefits">40% employee discount</a> on the Zappos.com website and several discounts with local businesses. Another employee perk worth mentioning is that Zappos covers 100% of an <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/03/11/companies-offer-all-healthcare-coverage/">employee's health care premiums</a> and 71% of his or her dependents' health care premiums.</p> <p><em>What are other companies that offer excellent employee discounts?</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/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">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/part-time-jobs-that-can-get-you-serious-discounts">Part-Time Jobs That Can Get You Serious Discounts</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/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</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/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</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-5-best-power-banks">The 5 Best Power Banks</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-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting Shopping benefits electronics employee discounts perks retail savings Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1653343 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000018814419.jpg" alt="Realizing it&#039;s time to stop making bogus retirement savings excuses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving for retirement can often feel like a drag, and many of us come up with excuses for avoiding it. After all, who wants to think about finances at age 70 when you're decades away and enjoying life <em>now</em>?</p> <p>But no matter what excuse you come up with, there's no denying that putting as much money aside as you can &mdash; as early as you can &mdash; will help you maintain your lifestyle even after you stop working.</p> <p>Here are some of the top excuses people use to avoid saving for retirement, and why they're way off-base. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a>)</p> <h2>1. &quot;I Have a Pension&quot;</h2> <p>If your company is one of the few remaining organizations that offers a defined benefit plan, that's great. But it should not be a reason to refrain from saving additional money for retirement. Having additional savings on top of your pension can make retirement that much sweeter. And pensions have been under assault in recent years, with companies and governments backing off of promises to retirees due to financial troubles. Protect against this uncertainty by opening an individual retirement account (otherwise known as an IRA).</p> <h2>2.&quot;I'm Self-Employed&quot; or &quot;My Company Doesn't Offer a Retirement Plan&quot;</h2> <p>You may not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but that does not mean you can't save a lot for retirement. Any individual can open a traditional IRA or Roth IRA and contribute up to $5,500 annually. With a traditional IRA, contributions are made from your pre-tax income. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes up-front, so that you won't have to pay them when you withdraw the money at retirement age. In addition, the federal government now offers a &quot;<a href="https://myra.gov/">myIRA</a>&quot; plan, which works like a Roth IRA and allows anyone to invest in treasury securities with no startup costs or fees.</p> <h2>3. &quot;I Won't Be at This Company for Very Long&quot;</h2> <p>One of the key advantages to 401K plans offered by employers is that they are portable. This means that any money you contribute to a plan will follow you wherever you go. In some cases, contributions from your company need to &quot;vest&quot; for a certain amount of time before you get to keep the them, but usually only for a year or so. There's no real downside to contributing to a company retirement plan, even if you don't plan to be there for very long.</p> <h2>4. &quot;The Expenses Are High&quot;</h2> <p>It's very true that many investment products, including mutual funds, have high costs tied to them. It's annoying to buy funds and notice an expense ratio of more than 1%, thus reducing your potential profits. But fees are not a good enough reason to avoid investing, altogether. Over the long haul, your investments will easily rise in value and more than offset any costs. And if you direct your investments to low-cost mutual funds and ETFs, you'll likely find the fees aren't so objectionable. Look for mutual funds with expense ratios of less than 0.1%, and for those that trade without a commission.</p> <h2>5. &quot;I Need to Fund My Kids' College Education&quot;</h2> <p>Putting money aside to pay for college is a wonderful idea, but it should not be done at the expense of your own retirement. Your kids can always work to pay for college or even take out loans, if necessary. But you can't borrow for your own retirement, and you don't want to find yourself working into old age because you didn't save for yourself. In an ideal world, you can save for both college and your own retirement, but you should always think of your own retirement first.</p> <h2>6. &quot;My 401K Plan Isn't Very Good&quot; or &quot;My Company Doesn't Match Contributions&quot;</h2> <p>I'll occasionally hear someone say that they won't contribute to their retirement plan because it's a bad one. No employer match, bad investment options, or high fees can kill any motivation to save. But contributing to even a bad 401K is better than not saving at all. And if you're not thrilled with the offered 401K plan, you can take a look at traditional or Roth IRAs, or even stocks and mutual funds in taxable accounts. There are many bad retirement plans out there, but they are almost all better than nothing.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I Don't Understand Investing&quot;</h2> <p>There's no question that investing can be a very intimidating thing. It takes a while to grasp even the basics of how to invest, and the number of investment products can be bewildering. Don't let fear hold you back from achieving your dreams in retirement. These days, there's a lot of great free information about investing that can help you get started. And many discount brokerages, such as Fidelity, offer free advice if you have an account. Certified Financial Planners are also plentiful &mdash; and often reasonably priced &mdash; and can help you establish a plan to save for retirement and keep you on track.</p> <h2>7. &quot;I Don't Earn Enough&quot;</h2> <p>It's definitely hard to think about retirement when you're having trouble making ends meet now. But it's important to recognize setting aside even a modest amount of money each month can help you achieve financial freedom. Consider that even $25 a month into an index fund can grow to tens of thousands of dollars after 30 years.</p> <h2>8. &quot;I'm Young &mdash; I Have Plenty of Time&quot;</h2> <p>If you're not saving for retirement when you're young, you are costing your future self a lot of money. Thanks to the magic of compound interest and earnings, someone who begins saving in their early 20s can really see big gains over time. If you have $10,000 at age 20 and begin setting aside $200 a month until age 65, you'll have nearly a million dollars, based on an average market return. But if you wait until age 35, you'll end up with barely one-third of that.</p> <h2>9. &quot;It's Too Late for Me&quot;</h2> <p>It's true that the earlier you start investing, the more money you'll likely end up with. But hope is not entirely lost for those who are approaching retirement age but have not saved. Even five to 10 years of aggressive saving and the right investments can result in a nice nest egg. Older people can take advantage of higher limits on contributions to retirement plans including IRAs and 401Ks.</p> <h2>10. &quot;I'll Get Social Security&quot;</h2> <p>You've been contributing to Social Security all your life, but that doesn't mean it guarantees a comfortable retirement. A typical Social Security benefit these days is about $1,300 a month. That's enough to keep you from starving, but you won't be able to do much else. Moreover, concerns over federal budget deficits suggest there is no guarantee of Social Security funds being available when you retire. For certain, there is constant talk by lawmakers of entitlement reform, which could mean to lower benefits or other changes.</p> <p><em>What's your excuse for not saving for retirement?</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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">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/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</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-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</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-to-guarantee-income-in-retirement">6 Ways to Guarantee Income in Retirement</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-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k compound interest excuses IRA pensions savings social security Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1649873 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 New Year Money Resolutions Anyone Can Keep http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_winter_holidays_000051693820.jpg" alt="Woman making money new year resolutions anyone can keep" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every New Year brings the usual New Year's resolutions. Time to lose weight, exercise more, get a promotion, and of course, save money. I'm not going to tell you to cut out cups of fancy coffee, or contribute more to your 401K &mdash; you've heard that before, and no doubt will again. These are some easy resolutions that absolutely anyone can keep. If you want to save money in 2016, start right here.</p> <h2>1. Use Money-Saving Apps</h2> <p>There are so many great apps that make it effortless to save money. Most of the time, you don't even know you're doing it. For example, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop">Acorns</a> automatically rounds up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar, and applies the difference (what you would call spare change) to an investment account. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more">Digit</a> will monitor your spending habits, and safely move some of your money into a savings account when you can afford it (it comes with a no-overdraft guarantee as well). Do a quick search in the App Store or Google Play Store, and download the apps that you are most comfortable with. Then, set it and forget it. The money soon adds up.</p> <h2>2. Buy Used</h2> <p>Sure, it's nice to have brand new things, but often it's not essential. By buying used, you'll save yourself a whole lot of cash over the year. Pick up gently used clothing at thrift stores or on eBay at a fraction of the price they retail for brand new. Cars should always be bought used, as new ones depreciate in value the second you drive off the lot. For electronic items, kitchen appliances, and even furniture, look for factory seconds, or manufacturer refurbished. Every time you buy used, you are making significant savings.</p> <h2>3. Sell Unwanted Items</h2> <p>During the year, you'll acquire new things, and throw away old ones. Well, not so fast. Although it's easier to just put items in the trash or the donation bag, it is also very easy to sell them. Sites like Etsy, Craigslist, and eBay make it very simple. All you need to do is take a few good snapshots using your smartphone, and list using the templates provided. You can make hundreds of dollars a month from an investment of just 10&ndash;15 minutes a few times a week.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Clip&quot; Coupons</h2> <p>It used to be a chore to go through the circulars every week and cut out coupons. These days, you can &quot;clip&quot; coupons electronically, and it is so easy your kids can do it for you. Apps like Cartwheel by Target, Cellfire, Coupons.com, and Grocery IQ make it painless. Many of them apply the coupons directly to your grocery store loyalty card, and others send scannable coupons to your phone for easy access. It's free money just waiting to be collected.</p> <h2>5. Make Big Batches of Your Favorite Foods</h2> <p>Making spaghetti and meatballs for 12 people is almost as easy as making it for four. It can save time and money by preparing meals in large batches. Take advantage of bulk pricing, especially on meats and canned goods (those 10 for $10 deals can be invaluable). And, you're creating meals that can be frozen and reheated at a later date, perhaps for lunch at work, or for dinner again later in the month. Even if you live alone, cook for a big group of people. It's way cheaper than buying ready meals, and easier than cooking every night.</p> <h2>6. Use Cash When You Can</h2> <p>Credit and debit cards are very convenient, but they make spending money mindless. If you withdraw cash, you can see it being spent as you go, and this makes it easier to understand your own spending habits. Make sure you use either a free ATM, or go into your branch to make the withdrawal to avoid fees. By all means, carry an emergency card, but it really should be for emergencies only. If you get brave, try leaving the house without it now and again. Sure, you may not have enough cash for everything you want, but maybe you don't need all of those items anyway.</p> <h2>7. Take Advantage of Your Library</h2> <p>Books, CDs, and movies are cheap enough to rent or own, but almost every title you can think of will be available for free at your local library. What's more, you don't even have to physically go into the library. An app called Hoopla lets you borrow digital copies of movies, audiobooks, ebooks, albums, and more. After a set amount of time, the items come due and are removed from your account. No late fees, no hassle. You'll be surprised at how much you save.</p> <h2>8. Raise Your Deductibles</h2> <p>You can pay a lot less for your insurance policies simply by raising the deductible. If it's currently at $500, raise it to $1000, or even $2000. You will see a massive drop in the monthly premium. Now, you may think &quot;But if anything happens, I'll have a bigger bill.&quot; Yes, you will. However, consider the fact that on homeowners insurance, the average household makes a claim <a href="http://finance.zacks.com/average-homeowner-file-insurance-claims-8387.html">every 10 years</a>. For auto insurance, the average is <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/06/17/heres-how-many-car-accidents-youll-have/">every 17.9 years</a>! Think about that. You are paying a lot extra to keep that deductible low, and the chances are, you'll only ever need it a few times in your life. Still, to protect yourself, beef up your emergency fund to cover the deductible.</p> <h2>9. Buy Generic Whenever Possible</h2> <p>It's one of the simplest things you can do to save money at the grocery store, and takes little to no effort on your part. From laundry detergent and cereal, to breads, cheeses, and coffee creamers, there is usually a generic version for almost everything. They can be less than half the price of the name brand, and 99% of the time, you won't notice the difference.</p> <h2>10. Program Your Thermostat</h2> <p>If no one is home, there is no reason to have your heat set to comfortable temperatures. A programmable thermostat will set you back as little as $50, and can save you big. You can set the heating, or A/C, to less aggressive temperatures when you're out, and program the temperature you prefer to kick in about a half hour before you arrive home. If you really want to go all out, pick up a learning thermostat, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0131RG6VK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0131RG6VK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=REANDTTRTBQMVIVT" target="_blank">Nest</a>. It will adjust the temperature automatically for you based on your habits. And, it's also hooked up to the web, so you can adjust it using your smartphone.</p> <p><em>What are your New Year money resolutions?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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