Personal Finance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6/all en-US 4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying-new-car-Dollarphotoclub_53578392_0.jpg" alt="couple buying new car" title="couple buying new car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With 2015 just around the corner, it's time to plan ahead to set yourself up for success in the New Year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-you-need-to-make-before-the-end-of-the-year?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before the End of the Year</a>)</p> <p>However, not all money resolutions are good ones. Some of them might become an obstacle towards your financial wellbeing and, even worse, undo any benefits that you accumulate throughout the year.</p> <p>Let's start the New Year with a bang by avoiding these four bad money resolutions.</p> <h2>1. Buying a Brand New Car</h2> <p>New year, new you. So, by extension &mdash; new year, new car, right? Not so fast.</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, a new car is always a bad idea because a car loses over 10% of its value in the first year due to depreciation. A car is not an investment because it virtually always loses money due to maintenance, insurance, and registration costs. According to Edmunds.com, a $25,000 new automobile purchase generates an estimated total cost of $33,604.</p> <p>It's true that the average interest rate on a 60-month new car loan is now lower than in the last five years, but that's not the full picture. As more Americans are taking out car loans, the prices of cars are increasing. This means that the <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031914/americans-are-borrowing-more-buy-cars-should-they-be.asp">average car loan principal is getting larger and larger.</a></p> <p>By purchasing a car that is over a year old, you avoid the 10% depreciation hit and the higher tax and insurance costs. It's a good idea to buy used cars from a dealership that you trust and that offers a comprehensive warranty. Remember that <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0055-buying-used-car#warranties">not all automobile warranties are equal</a>.</p> <p>Also, consider buying a car only when you can pay cash for it. Assuming a loan balance of $20,000 and a car loan rate of 5%, you would pay $1,000 in interest in the first year. That money would be better used towards paying down other debts. However, If you are in dire need of a reliable vehicle and need to take out a car loan, then limit your monthly car payment to <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-buy-a-car.html">20% of your monthly income after taxes</a>.</p> <h2>2. Withholding (Too Much) Taxes</h2> <p>Here's the scenario: When you file your taxes at the very last minute in April, you suddenly realize that you owe Uncle Sam a lot more than you expected. You promise yourself this won't ever happen again, so you update your W-4 form with your employer to withhold more than last year. The problem is that now you withhold way more than it's actually necessary. In fact, every year, <a href="http://business.time.com/2013/03/18/why-were-so-irrational-when-it-comes-to-tax-refunds/">75% of Americans withhold too much tax</a>.</p> <p>It's a good idea to withhold a <em>little bit</em> extra in order to avoid owing taxes on April 15th. But the average tax refund in 2013 was over $2,800, meaning that &quot;little bit extra&quot; was probably too much. The IRS isn't a bank and it won't pay you interest for your taxes. You're better off withholding the right amount of taxes and putting the extra in an interest-bearing savings account.</p> <p>Updating your W-4 takes very little time. Before filling it out, figure out <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator">how much you need to withhold in federal taxes</a> based on your income and set your W-4 accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Saving &quot;More&quot;</h2> <p>In theory, this sounds great. In reality, you're setting yourself for failure by not defining any specifics. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail?ref=seealso">Why Your New Year's Resolutions Will Fail</a>)</p> <ul> <li>How much is exactly &quot;more&quot;? $100? $1,000? $5,000?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is your time frame? Summer? Your birthday? Christmas?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your other resolutions prevent you from saving? If you're planning to join a gym and bike to the office, are you going to have money leftover?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you cutting back on other expenses? If so, which ones?</li> </ul> <p>The concept of &quot;go big or go home&quot; doesn't apply to saving. If you want to improve your chances of saving this year, you need to be as specific as possible.</p> <ul> <li>Establish your reason to save. For example, &quot;I'm saving for a mortgage down payment&quot; or &quot;I'm saving to replace my desktop computer.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Specify a dollar amount. Unless you have that number, you won't be able to know if you have reached your objective.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate how much you need to put away per week or per month to achieve your target number.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a separate account, such as a savings account, every week or month to force yourself to save.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of mechanisms to block the access to your stash until the deadline. For example, if you're saving to buy Christmas gifts with cash, you could use a Christmas savings account (also known as a &quot;Christmas Club&quot; at some credit unions).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Determine what activities and expenses you need to cut back. Remember that the savings money has to come from somewhere!</li> </ul> <h2>4. Borrowing From Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>More and more Americans are treating their retirement accounts as revolving lines of credit.</p> <p>There are several statistics that show why borrowing from your retirement account is a bad idea:</p> <ul> <li>As many as <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168824/fewer-rely-401-retirement-pre-recession.aspx">48% of non-retirees</a> are planning to use retirement saving accounts as a major source of income during retirement;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Yet, Americans took about <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-06/early-tap-of-401-k-replaces-homes-as-american-piggy-bank.html">$57 billion from retirement funds</a> before they were supposed to;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Even worse, every year Americans default on <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/17/retirement/401k-loan-defaults/">about $37 billion on 401(k) loans</a>;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Unpaid balances become part of your taxable income and receive an additional 10% tax penalty from the IRS.</li> </ul> <p>This partly explains why <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/">more than one-third of al</a>l<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/"> working-age adults have no retirement savings</a>. There are very few times when it makes sense to borrow from your retirement account. If you find yourself borrowing from retirement accounts, you need to resolve to kick this habit next year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>Let's start 2015 on the right foot!</p> <p><em>What are some other bad money resolutions to skip next year? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">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/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</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/my-one-favorite-frugal-living-tip">My One Favorite Frugal Living Tip</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-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands">5 Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Luxury Brands</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/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</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/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-money-really-is-do-you">A Lot of People Don&#039;t Understand What Money Really Is — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance Frugal Living Personal Development goals money goals resolutions Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:00:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1270229 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Inspiring Couple Paid Off $48,000 in 2.5 Years http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-couple-paid-off-48000-in-25-years <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-inspiring-couple-paid-off-48000-in-25-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-family-house-Dollarphotoclub_36832642.jpg" alt="happy family house" title="happy family house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It would be easy to assume Mark and Lauren Greutman were living the American Dream. They had a growing family and had just built a 3,200 square foot home in a lovely Charlotte suburb. They appeared to have it all. What friends and neighbors couldn't see from the outside, though, was the $42,000 in consumer debt they'd racked up over time, much of it on high-interest rate credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000?ref=seealso">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</a>)</p> <h2>Falling Separately Into Debt and Together Into a Short Sale</h2> <p>When things were at their worst, the Greutmans owed a whopping $1,000 per month more than they were earning. Like most credit card debtors, their burden had grown slowly over time, until it swelled to the point where they couldn't ignore the balance any longer. At the time, the Greutmans weren't consulting each other before making purchases and they weren't on the same page about their financial goals. &quot;It was a breaking point for us when we realized we didn't have enough money to pay our bills,&quot; says Mark. &quot;We were so accustomed to paying the minimums on our credit cards that we didn't even realize the hole we were in. We realized we were in debt,&quot; he adds, &quot;but we never sat down and added it all up.&quot;</p> <p>Around the same time, the Greutmans received more bad news. The company Mark worked for was restructuring and his job was on the line. Even worse, he was the family's primary income earner, their house was under water (they owed more on it than it was worth), and they had a preschooler and newborn to care for.</p> <p>In an incredible stroke of good fortune, Mark received an unsolicited job offer the following day &mdash; from a previous employer from the Greutman's hometown in upstate New York. The Greutmans were thrilled by the job opportunity and also for the chance to move back home. They were able to sell the Charlotte house in just two months by enlisting the help of a short sale specialist. The process added an additional $6,000 to their debt burden but, at the same time, the sale helped them shed responsibility for a sizable monthly mortgage payment. &quot;The quick short sale was a miracle,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;We were so tired of being house poor. [Building that home] was a bad financial decision from the beginning.&quot;</p> <h2>A New Life in Repayment</h2> <p>With the move, the Greutmans were determined to make a financial change and wipe their debt clean. The general cost of living was lower in their new upstate New York town, but they also downsized considerably. After a few weeks of living with family, the Greutmans set their sights on an 800 square foot townhome that was large enough for their family yet modest enough to decrease their housing expenses by more than $1,000 per month.</p> <p>Once settled into the new house, the Greutmans got serious about their budget. &quot;We had budgeted in Charlotte to tread water but in New York we were in a position to make a difference with our debt,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;I learned to coupon and to meal plan. For years, I fed our family on $50 per week.&quot;</p> <p>The Greutmans cut other unnecessary expenses to boost their monthly debt payments. &quot;We never went out on dates, we didn't have cable,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;We got down to the bare bones minimum. We didn't have a home phone line, we didn't have smartphones. We just used our inexpensive, dumb phones,&quot; she laughs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today?ref=seealso">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a>)</p> <p>Then, Lauren started looking for creative ways to supplement the household's income. She took online surveys that paid $10 &ndash; $20 each and, over the course of a year, put that income aside for that year's Christmas gifts. &quot;I saved about $400 and we didn't have to go into more debt for the holiday,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Lauren also boosted the family income by reselling garage sale antiques on eBay, attending marketing company focus groups that paid up to $100 per session, and eventually, by sharing her newly acquired couponing skills on her blog, <a href="http://www.iamthatlady.com">Iamthatlady.com</a>.</p> <p>It took about 10 months for the blog to start generating revenue. &quot;We wanted to send our son to private school but it was $350 per month and we didn't have the money,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;In 10 months, the blog grew so I was bringing in enough to pay for the tuition.&quot; Eventually her online income grew to thousands per month and the Greutmans funneled those additional funds toward their debts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24?ref=seealso">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</a>)</p> <h2>Getting Strategic</h2> <p>At the start of their journey, the Greutmans owed $25,000 in credit card debt, $10,000 for student loans, $7,000 for a car loan, and $6,000 from expenses related to the short sale of their Charlotte home.</p> <p>To stay on track with their plan, the Greutmans created what they call a financial bucket list. &quot;It includes all the things you want to do with your money before you die,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;It helps you discover where your values lie.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It also helps to have your long-term goals in mind when you're making short-term decisions,&quot; adds Mark. &quot;For us, not being on the same page was what created a lot of our trouble. Getting on the same page is what got us out of debt.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-questions-that-reveal-if-you-and-your-partner-are-a-money-match?ref=seealso">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</a>)</p> <p>Relationships first. While at the settlement table, the Greutmans discovered they were $4,000 shy of the amount they needed to complete their short sale &mdash; and they didn't have the money. At the last minute, they were able to borrow the funds from a family member and the sale went through. &quot;We paid that off first,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;It was a personal issue and we didn't want to muddle that relationship.&quot;</p> <p>Then the credit cards. Next the Greutmans tackled their hefty credit card debt. They'd added $2,000 in moving expenses to their total and were eager to pay it all off. &quot;We paid the cards with the smallest balances first,&quot; says Lauren, explaining the modified <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0">debt snowball method</a> they used as a repayment plan. Instead of tackling the credit card bill with the highest interest rate first, the snowball method suggests paying the minimum for all bills, except for the one with the smallest outstanding balance. That bill should be tackled with all available funds. Once the first bill is paid off, the debtor moves on to the next smallest balance, and so on. &quot;We liked seeing small wins along the way,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;We were always throwing as much as possible toward our debts.&quot;</p> <p>And then the car, and finally the student loan. After the credit card bills were repaid, the Greutmans tackled their car payment, even though it was a larger debt than their student loan. They knew they were highly motivated at that point and were happy to see the interest savings add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-college-graduate-paid-off-28000-in-three-years-on-a-30k-salary?ref=seealso">How One College Graduate Paid Off $28,000 in Three Years on a $30k Salary</a>)</p> <h2>Life After Debt</h2> <p>Eventually, the Greutman family of four grew to a family of six and they moved to a larger home. &quot;We bought a house that was far under what we could afford,&quot; says Mark. &quot;It's very modest. It was a third of the price of the big house,&quot; he says, referring to the house they'd owned in Charlotte. Today their only debt is their mortgage, which they plan to pay off in 11 years.</p> <p>Earlier this year, Mark left his day job to join Lauren as a full-time online entrepreneur. Together they run <a href="https://markandlaureng.com">MarkandLaurenG.com</a>, a personal finance site for couples embarking on their own debt reduction journeys. The Greutmans took a pay cut with the change, but, because their monthly obligations are now so low, it's a move that's well within their budget. &quot;We wanted a simpler, happier lifestyle where we could spend more time with our family,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;Now we can go on field trips with our kids. It was a lifestyle decision and not one we could have made before.&quot;</p> <p>They're also working together to accomplish the goals on their financial bucket list. For the Greutmans, long-term financial plans include being able to maximize time with their kids, private school tuition, an annual vacation, remaining debt free, and, eventually, retirement. &quot;What's not on our list is the desire to move to a nicer house,&quot; says Lauren. &quot;No matter how much money we make, we want to continue to live simply and spend simply.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have plans to cut expenses or boost income in the new year? What strategies do you have in mind for your own debt elimination journey? Tell us about it in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-couple-paid-off-48000-in-25-years" class="sharethis-link" title="How One Inspiring Couple Paid Off $48,000 in 2.5 Years " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-couple-paid-off-48000-in-25-years">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/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-college-graduate-paid-off-28000-in-three-years-on-a-30k-salary">How One College Graduate Paid Off $28,000 in Three Years on a $30K Salary</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</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-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance debt debt repayment debt stories Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:00:09 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1270228 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-commute-cellphone-Dollarphotoclub_69906586.jpg" alt="businessman commute phone" title="businessman commute phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's be honest: commuting stinks. I spend more than an hour each way into work every day, and I often feel like it's a waste of time. But I've also learned that the time can be very valuable, if I use it smartly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning?ref=seealso">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a>)</p> <p>If you're wondering how to fill the time between home and the office, consider these financial moves to keep you occupied and on the right money path.</p> <h2>1. Listen to Financial Podcasts</h2> <p>There are a host of podcasts centered on personal finance, and many of them are useful and entertaining. I am partial to the <a href="http://www.stackingbenjamins.com/">Stacking Benjamins</a> podcast and <a href="http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=94411890">NPR's Planet Money</a>. <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/media/audio/podcast/podcast_itunes.xml">Dave Ramsey</a> has one of the most popular podcasts out there, and even getting caught up on financial news with podcasts from Bloomberg or CNBC will be worth listening to if you're stuck in traffic.</p> <h2>2. Monitor Gas Prices</h2> <p>If you have a long drive to and from the office, consider paying close attention to the prices at gas stations along the way. Be sure to take note of which gas stations have lower prices on certain days. By doing this, you'll be able to plan your next fill-up to nab the lowest price. Apps like <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/">GasBuddy</a> can also help you find the cheapest gas near you.</p> <h2>3. Do Some Banking</h2> <p>If you commute by public transit, it's easy to use your smartphone or tablet to check balances or transfer money. These days, it's even possible to deposit checks using banking apps (though it may not be a good idea to wave your paycheck around a crowded subway car.) This is also a great time to surf the web for information on interest rates and credit cards.</p> <h2>4. Read Personal Finance Blogs</h2> <p>Of course, we believe Wise Bread is the best website for getting great personal finance information. But we're humble enough to acknowledge that there are scores of other great blogs. In fact, Wise Bread <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/">maintains a helpful list of the Top 100 Personal Finance blogs</a>, based on a combination of six different metrics.</p> <h2>5. Buy and Sell Investments</h2> <p>Most online brokerages have robust apps that allow you to trade stocks and other investments using your smartphone or tablet. In most cases, it's possible to perform all of the necessary research and execute a trade without hopping on a computer or calling a live broker. Text alerts will allow you to be notified when a trade is executed or when investments hit a certain price threshold. It's also possible to transfer cash between accounts and adjust automatic contributions.</p> <h2>6. Read Stock Filings and Annual Reports</h2> <p>Admittedly, you could probably get more enjoyment out of reading a good novel or magazine. But public companies release a lot of information, much of which can be very useful to investors. In fact, some of the most savvy investors can get an edge by finding little nuggets in 10-Q or 8-K reports, or other communications. Most documents are available in PDF format on company websites, or by searching <a href="https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html">the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR portal</a>.</p> <h2>7. Search for Online Coupons</h2> <p>If you take the bus or train to work, consider taking the time to surf the web for deals on things you buy. Sites like <a href="http://www.coupons.com/">coupons.com</a> or <a href="http://thekrazycouponlady.com/">krazycoupnlady.com</a> are easy to scan. It's also worth searching for coupon apps such as <a href="https://ibotta.com/">Ibotta</a> or <a href="http://www.snipsnap.it/">SnipSnap</a>.</p> <h2>8. Review Your Spending and Budgets</h2> <p>There are several great apps that help you review your financial situation, track spending, and set up budgets. I like to use the <a href="https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/anywhere/">Mint app</a> to go over my spending and make sure things are being categorized correctly. Some apps also allow you to enter or scan receipts.</p> <h2>9. Earn Money</h2> <p>Yes, it seems odd to suggest you can earn money while commuting, but it makes sense when you think of using the time to advance a side business. Maybe you can use the commute time to call potential clients. If you have an eBay business, use the time to respond to emails and check auctions. Freelance writers may be able to write during their commutes.</p> <h2>10. Call Your Financial Advisor</h2> <p>If you've got a long drive, consider popping in your Bluetooth earpiece and setting up a call to get some financial advice. A quick review of your portfolio can be done in less than a half-hour, and this will save you from having to make that call during your lunch break or after hours.</p> <p><em>How do you put your commute to good use? Switch off talk radio and let us know in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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-questions-that-reveal-if-you-and-your-partner-are-a-money-match">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</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/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</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-things-people-who-are-good-with-money-never-say">5 Things People Who Are Good With Money Never Say</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/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance commuting investing money management saving Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1269785 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Profit From Obama's Cuba Announcement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/president%20obama.jpg" alt="president obama speech" title="president obama speech" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The historic executive order issued by President Obama heralds a new era of eased relations between the United States and Cuba. After over 50 years of iciness between the two neighbors, Obama's order establishes official diplomatic ties, reduced some travel and financial restrictions, and paves the way for greater humanitarian support, as well as trade in some areas, such as communications equipment.</p> <p>While the executive order still doesn't mean all Americans can travel to Cuba for tourism or bring back as many Cuban cigars as they'd like, it does pave the way for stronger economic and social ties between the two countries. Even better, there are a few simple ways you can profit from this historic accord. Read on to learn five ways the Cuba announcement can boost your pocketbook.</p> <h2>1. Consider Travel Stocks</h2> <p>At just 90 miles from the U.S., Cuba was an American tourism hotspot before the embargo, and remains a top travel destination for many Canadians and Europeans. That's why easing of restrictions to the island nation is likely a boon for travel companies. Cruise lines such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CCL&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uhb2">Carnival Cruise Lines</a> and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AkV8CgTowyRCTxgevM741TEnv7gF?uhb=uhb2&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;s=RCL">Royal Caribbean</a> have rallied on the news, seeing their stock prices boosted in anticipation of liberalized travel restrictions. Keep in mind, however, that this executive order is not a lifting of the Cuban embargo &mdash; that's up to Congress. American tourism to Cuba would be limited until such a time, so assess travel stocks accordingly.</p> <h2>2. Buy into a Caribbean ETF or Fund</h2> <p>Today's historic announcement triggered a spike in the <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylc=X1MDMjE0MjQ3ODk0OARfcgMyBGZyA3VoM19maW5hbmNlX3dlYgRmcjIDc2EtZ3AEZ3ByaWQDBG5fZ3BzAzUEb3JpZ2luA2ZpbmFuY2UueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMxBHBxc3RyAwRxdWVyeQNDVUJBLARzYWMDMQRzYW8DMQ&mdash;?p=http%3A%2F%2Ffinance.yahoo.com%2Fq%3Fs%3DCUBA%26ql%3D0&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uh3_finance_vert&amp;s=CUBA">Hertzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA)</a>, a fund which invests in companies throughout the Caribbean, including Cuba. Its price was up over 30% in intraday trading. Consider investing in ETFs or mutual funds with exposure to the island nation's businesses.</p> <h2>3. Look at Wire Transfer and Remittance Companies</h2> <p>The executive order increases the amount Americans may send in remittances to Cuba to $2000 per quarter, up from $500 today. That'll mean brisk business for remittance and wire transfer companies such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WU&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;uhb=uhb2">Western Union</a>. Its stock was up nearly 4% in intraday trading on the news.</p> <h2>4. Consider Credit Card Companies and Banks</h2> <p>The new rules will also be to the benefit of many financial services companies, since it'll now enable American debit and credit cards to be used on the island. That could be a boost to credit card companies and card processing services. Shares of <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AwrBJR9565FUrSEA0UCTmYlQ?s=V">VISA</a> and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AXP">American Express</a> also saw gains.</p> <h2>5. Consider Telecommunications</h2> <p>An authoritarian regime, Cuba has long been plagued by controls on its communications technologies which have been exacerbated by the embargo. The new executive order promises improved access to American telecommunications and Internet technology imports. That means stock of companies such as Verizon could see a boost. And when combined with further easing on travel to Cuba for import/export reasons, it means Americans involved in trade of communications products and devices may see improved business, as a result.</p> <p>To be sure, there is no guarantee all of the executive order will be implemented easily, nor that any of these investments will bear significant returns. Already, some Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration with Obama's executive order, creating a potential Congressional showdown and hampering the likelihood of repealing the embargo. Still, this remains a historic opportunity to get in early on what may be one of the biggest investment stories of the next few years.</p> <p><em>Will you make changes to your portfolio to profit from normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Profit From Obama&#039;s Cuba Announcement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-al-saad">Janet Al-Saad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">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-4"> <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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-questions-that-reveal-if-you-and-your-partner-are-a-money-match">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</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/book-review-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing">Book review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</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/not-free-to-be-poor">Not free to be poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance cuba investing travel Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:36:08 +0000 Janet Al-Saad 1270232 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-calculating-bills-Dollarphotoclub_51139826.jpg" alt="happy woman calculating bills" title="happy woman calculating bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finance rules can serve as handy means for guiding your money behavior. But rules of thumb that don't fit your situation can be a waste of time &mdash; or worse, actually worsen your finances. Here are 15 personal finance rules that, depending upon your circumstances, you should consider breaking.</p> <h2>1. Before Investing or Saving for Retirement, Be Debt-Free</h2> <p>Although this is a generally sound rule, there are a few justifications for breaking it.</p> <p>First of all, personal finance isn't an all-or-nothing practice. Good financial planning involves balance and attentiveness to your unique situation. If your debt is low-interest, it might behoove you to pay it off more slowly in favor of saving money first (such as for retirement or major expenses). Remember: compound interest has immense value, so the more money you can invest earlier in life, the less money you'll have to invest overall. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-important-financial-lessons-people-learn-in-their-20s-did-you?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Important Financial Lessons People Learn in Their 20s</a>).</p> <p>Also, if your company matches 401(k) retirement plan contributions, it almost always pays to save for retirement, even if you're concurrently juggling debt. Though it can be tempting to forego 401(k) contributions when your paycheck is lean, remember that you're leaving money on the table and jeopardizing your future financial security if you do. Plus, some retirement plan contributions are tax deductible, so you can use your tax refund towards your debt.</p> <p>Lastly, if you wait until you're entirely out of debt, you may never start investing. For various reasons (none of which we recommend, of course), some people are practically never able to extricate themselves from the clutches of debt. Maybe your income is low and expenses too high, or perhaps you unexpectedly lost your job or had large, unexpected medical bills to contend with. If you're one of these people, then it's best to start setting aside a little money now and balance your cash outflows between debt payment and investing. I have a friend who is in her 60s with no savings whatsoever. Why? Because she always had debt to contend with, and spent a lifetime waiting until it was clear before saving money. Now, she's in trouble.</p> <h2>2. Pay off Your Mortgage Before Saving for Retirement</h2> <p>This builds on the above rule about eliminating debt before investing. I had some clients who were so intent on paying off their mortgage that they did it at the expense of everything else in their lives, including retirement savings and emergency funds. They thought if something went wrong and they needed money, they could borrow against their house (even in retirement). But when tough times hit, their house had declined in value and they couldn't borrow anywhere near the amount of money they needed.</p> <h2>3. Don't Borrow Money to Invest</h2> <p>Borrowing money to invest is known as leveraging, and is generally considered risky &mdash; if your investment declines in value, you've still got a full debt-load and a disproportionately low asset to show for it.</p> <p>However if the item/investment is tax-deductible, and/or loan is low-interest (which might also be tax deductible), such that the tax saved equals more than the interest paid on the loan, you can work this scenario to your benefit and use your refunds to pay off your debt more efficiently. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/borrowing-to-invest-helpful-or-hurtful?ref=seealso">Borrowing to Invest: Helpful or Hurtful?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Save 10% of Your Income</h2> <p>This is a somewhat arbitrary rule, since 10% may or may not be enough for you to reach your savings goals. Focus on the amount of money you need saved in the end and work backwards from there; you may need to break this rule if you've waited so long to start saving that 10% won't help you reach your goal, or if you need to save more money than 10% of your income will allow.</p> <h2>5. Go to University to Get a Good Job</h2> <p>Unless you're tracking for a career that specifically requires a university degree, you could save the six figure expenditure of a university education in favor of something more practical and less expensive, such as trade schools or alternative forms of education. Not all good jobs are borne of a university education. I didn't go to university (but I am indeed educated), and in some ways it <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/10/how-not-going-to-university-or-buying-a-house-saved-my-life/">saved my life</a>.</p> <h2>6. Don't Use Credit Cards</h2> <p>Using credit cards responsibly can be beneficial if you're collecting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">frequent flyer miles</a> or other credit card rewards that allow you to get extra value from charging expenses. The trick is to pay the entire balance off as soon as you receive your statement; that way you don't accrue interest and you thus avoid the credit card debt trap. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-debt-management?ref=seealso">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is Your Debt Management?</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get the Biggest Mortgage the Bank Will Give You</h2> <p>What the bank will lend you and how much mortgage you can afford can be two very different things. The bank only takes your income and existing debts (and sometimes assets) into account when calculating the mortgage you can qualify for. What about your cash flow, expenditures, and the additional costs of home ownership, like maintenance, property tax, etc?</p> <p>Depending on the area you live, real estate might be easily affordable or prohibitively expensive. Don't let the bank lure you into a mortgage larger than you can truly afford, because ultimately they win if you can't make payments.</p> <h2>8. Tax Refunds Are Good</h2> <p>Tax refunds mean the government is holding onto your money (and earning interest on it) during the course of the year! I had a client who loved to get tax refunds so much that she deliberately overpaid her taxes each year through payroll just so she could get a refund, which she inevitably squandered since she saw it as &quot;found money.&quot;</p> <p>Consider selecting fewer exemptions on your tax forms at work. You won't get a fat tax refund in the end, but you'll have more money in your pocket now, and will be less likely to splurge than you would with the &quot;found money&quot; of a refund.</p> <h2>9. Build Credit by Carrying a Balance With Your Credit Card</h2> <p>This rule is just plain wrong. You build a good credit rating by using &mdash; and paying off &mdash; your credit card. You don't need to carry a balance.</p> <h2>10. You Have to Spend Money to Make Money</h2> <p>Unless you have disposable cash to spend, this rule reeks of high-risk business offers, gambling, and mail-order scams. Although sometimes a prudent investment (in a business or financial vehicle) can reap rewards, don't use this phrase as a rule of thumb for <em>your personal finances</em>.</p> <h2>11. A Budget Keeps Your Spending on Track</h2> <p>I wish it did, but unless you're unnaturally disciplined, it often it doesn't. Budgets are more often than not made of abstract categories with arbitrary amounts of money that don't account for things like irregular expenses, quarterly payments, and other elements.</p> <p>More important than a budget (and an essential first step to creating a workable budget) is keeping track of your expenses so you actually know what you spend. The longer you keep track of your expenses, the better you can understand and control your spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget?ref=seealso">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a>)</p> <h2>12. Choose Index Funds for Passive Investing</h2> <p>Although index funds carry lower management fees than mutual funds, this is for a reason: They are not actively managed. Although active management doesn't guarantee higher returns, it can help with asset allocation, re-balancing, and other investment activities you may not wish to undertake yourself.</p> <p>When choosing investments, instead first focus on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/asset-allocation-for-all-markets">asset allocation</a> (which is the biggest factor affecting your returns &mdash; not investment picking as you might suspect), then choose a basket of diversified investments that satisfy your asset allocation plan. (For more information on mutual funds and index funds, see: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mutual-funds-for-wise-bloggers?ref=seealso">Mutual Funds for Wise Bloggers</a>).</p> <h2>13. You Need to Have a lot of Money to Invest</h2> <p>How do you think people who have a lot of money got it (if they weren't born into it)? They saved &mdash; and invested! Don't belittle your own finances by thinking you don't deserve to invest or don't deserve the help of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-you-need-to-fire-your-financial-planner">financial planner</a> because you don't have money. You have start somewhere, and you can start investing with as little as $25/month.</p> <h2>14. Your Emergency Fund Should Be Six Months' Expenses</h2> <p>While this is an apt rule of thumb, depending on your situation it might not be suitable. Evaluate your expenses and what would need to be paid if you found yourself in an emergency situation; you may find you need more or less, depending on various factors, such as the quality of your insurance, level of regular cash outlays, and so forth.</p> <h2>15. Leasing a Car Is Bad Value</h2> <p>The general school of thought is that leasing a car costs more (after all is said and done) than buying one outright. Depending on your situation however, this might not be true. For example, if you can deduct the car as a business expense, leasing could reduce your income and increase your cash flow more effectively than deducting the capital costs of buying a car. Also, if your business is new and cash flow is tight, leasing might get you into a necessary set of wheels for a lower monthly expenditure than buying.</p> <p><em>Have you ever broken a personal finance rule in a way that served you well? Please share in the comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">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-5"> <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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</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/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</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/book-review-spend-til-the-end">Book review: Spend &#039;til The End</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever</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-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance budgeting financial rules investing money rules saving spending Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 1269092 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Personal Finance Tips for Animal Lovers http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-couple-dogs-Dollarphotoclub_74155837.jpg" alt="young couple pets" title="young couple pets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The pet industry is big business &mdash; <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-spent-a-record-56-billion-on-pets-last-year/">$56 billion</a> in 2013 to be exact. And while you want your pet to be happy and healthy, you don't need to contribute any more to that $56 billion than is necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies?ref=seealso">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a>)</p> <p>So check out this set of personal finance tips that will help you care for your furry best friends without breaking the bank.</p> <h2>1. Perfect Your Grooming Skills</h2> <p>I've never taken any of my pets to a professional groomer for their coats. You can easily buy salon-quality products and gadgets that make taking care of your pet's fur an inexpensive and even fun task. I make sure my pup gets a bath every week (with conditioner) and a brushing every day to keep his coat and skin healthy. Once a month I have his nails clipped and every six months I have his teeth cleaned by professionals. This regular maintenance and preventative care, the majority of which I do at home in my bathtub, keeps him looking and feeling his best.</p> <h2>2. Maintain Proper Diet and Exercise</h2> <p>Being overweight is one of the main causes of premature death and illness among pets. To keep your pet healthy and to keep your vet bills low, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and eats just the right amount of food. Also, avoid table scraps. While your pet may love them, their systems are not attuned to the human diet and can cause severe digestive issues.</p> <h2>3. Get Training</h2> <p>Training will save you from the expense of having your house and/or yard torn apart, and it will keep your pet safe from harm as well. There are a variety of options when it comes to training. When I first adopted my dog, I read every Cesar Millan book and followed his advice to the letter. Because my pup had terrible separation anxiety, I found tremendous value in Nicole Wilde's book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0981722733/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0981722733&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GVRPI2RWW7NEE6AX">Don't Leave Me!</a> You can also enroll your pet in group classes or get private sessions with a trainer.</p> <h2>4. Get Pet Insurance</h2> <p>When I adopted my dog, I immediately got pet insurance. Though he's only five, that insurance has more than paid for itself and given me tremendous peace of mind. Veterinary care is expensive. It will undoubtedly get more expensive as my little guy gets older because he will develop health issues through the natural process of aging.</p> <p>I have an excellent plan through <a href="http://www.healthypawspetinsurance.com/">Healthy Paws</a>. I pay a low monthly fee, a $50 annual deductible, and then they pick up 90% of the tab beyond the basic doctor visit cost. It's important to note that you must get insurance while your pet is still young because pre-existing conditions are often not covered and most plans won't start coverage if your pet is beyond a certain age.</p> <h2>5. Shop Around for Care</h2> <p>Speaking of veterinary care, make sure to shop around to get a feel for average pricing. When I first adopted my dog, I just went to the closest vet because I assumed they were all pretty much the same. Not so. There are huge variations in the level of care as well as the cost. There is also a wide spread on quality and cost of care when it comes to dog grooming, walking, daycare, and boarding. Do your homework online and in-person to get the best value and quality for your dollar.</p> <h2>6. Visit Clinics for Simple Stuff</h2> <p>Even once you find a high-quality, good value vet, there are other options for certain types of pet care. I used to happily take my dog to my vet for his vaccines. Then I discovered <a href="http://www.luvmypet.com/">LuvMyPet</a>, a mobile unit that makes stops at my local Petco every weekend. LuvMyPet's vaccines are exactly the same as the ones from my vet, but they're literally half the price.</p> <h2>7. Shop Around Online for Supplies</h2> <p>Do not buy medicine, food, or supplies from your vet or a brick-and-mortar retailer unless it's an emergency. These establishments generally have a huge markup. You can get a much better deal online from <a href="http://amazon.com">Amazon</a>, <a href="http://www.1800petmeds.com/">1800PetMeds</a>, and <a href="http://wag.com">Wag.com</a>.</p> <p><em>What cost-effective ways have you found to take care of your pets?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Personal Finance Tips for Animal Lovers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers">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-6"> <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/pet-peeves-part-1-couture-critters-are-expensive">Pet Peeves Part 1: Couture Critters Are Expensive!</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-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</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/pet-peeves-part-3-vet-visits">Pet Peeves Part 3: Vet Visits</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-6-least-expensive-dog-breeds-to-own">The 6 Least Expensive Dog Breeds to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-tips-for-traveling-with-pets">23 Tips for Traveling With Pets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance cats dogs pet care pet insurance pets veterinarian Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1268205 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Boost Your Finances While You Sleep http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-boost-your-finances-while-you-sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-boost-your-finances-while-you-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-sleeping-bed-Dollarphotoclub_70087199.jpg" alt="woman laying on bed" title="woman laying on bed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you work from 9-to-5, but your income just isn't cutting it. You need to earn more money, but there are only so many hours in the day. Your problem could be solved with passive income, or money you can earn without needing to be physically present &mdash; even in your sleep. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <p>Check out these strategies for increasing and diversifying your income without having to take on another &quot;real&quot; job.</p> <h2>1. Sell Products Online</h2> <p>It's easy to setup an ecommerce store for selling products online, or you can <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html">partner with a big company like Amazon</a> to do the selling for you. Selling items on auction sites like eBay is also easy. Even monetizing your hobbies via sites like <a href="https://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a> can pay off big time. There is no need for you to be present &mdash; or even awake &mdash; to receive orders or payments.</p> <h2>2. Create Awesome Online Content</h2> <p>It's definitely possible to make money while blogging or producing YouTube videos, especially if you're consistently producing awesome stuff. Of course, scientists have yet to discover a way to blog while sleeping. So, the work itself has to happen with your eyes wide open. But the money-making part of the operation can happen while you're sound asleep.</p> <p>People can read your content at any hour and click on your site's advertisements. You can also make money through affiliate marketing, in which users click on a link to a product or service, and you get a cut from any sale. It's possible to schedule social media updates to direct people to your site at any hour. Waking up to see a robust new traffic and revenue report can be a truly exhilarating experience.</p> <h2>3. Rent a Property</h2> <p>Being a landlord can often be more difficult than people expect, but it can be a great passive income stream if you have a low-maintenance property and great tenants. Ideally, the amount of rent you collect will exceed whatever payments you have to make on the property, making it a profitable venture that you can manage on the side.</p> <h2>4. Peer-to-Peer Lending</h2> <p>Websites such as <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22959155&amp;fot=1184&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Lending Club</a> allow you to earn some passive income by lending to people who need cash and earning interest on those loans. Once you select who you want to lend to, the income will come on its own as long as the borrower can pay you back.</p> <h2>5. Invest in International Stocks</h2> <p>Imagine waking up to find that your investments made money overnight. That's what can happen if you place money in investments from around the globe. Some international investments &mdash; especially those in Europe &mdash; have performed sluggishly in recent years, but others offer strong growth potential.</p> <p>If you are intimidated by the idea of investing internationally, don't worry: There are some very solid mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that mirror international markets, meaning you avoid the need to research individual stocks. The <a href="http://www.ishares.com/us/products/244048/ishares-core-msci-total-international-stock-etf">iShares Core MSCI Total International ETF</a> is well regarded and has low fees. Funds from the Lazard Fund Family have also performed well.</p> <h2>6. Trade Currencies</h2> <p>The foreign exchange market (or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_market">forex</a> for short), is open round the clock, six days a week, and it's possible to schedule trades to take place while you're asleep. Before jumping into the Forex, it helps to know the difference between the Euro and Yen, of course. And <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencytrading/">trading currencies</a> isn't for everyone &mdash; it's volatile, and often requires strong knowledge of global markets. Check out reputable forex courses, such as those offered by TD Ameritrade, first.</p> <h2>7. Just&hellip; Sleep</h2> <p>There is some evidence that sleep, by itself, can at least indirectly help you financially. There's no question that getting adequate sleep can make you more alert and productive. But the benefits of sleep may go much deeper. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of ailments ranging from obesity to cancer, so getting enough sleep could be a way to avoid costly medical bills.</p> <p>Some new research suggests <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleep-loss-precedes-alzheimers-symptoms">there's a link between inadequate sleep and Alzheimer's disease</a>. Thus, getting enough sleep will help you remain mentally sharp as you age, possibly extending the length of time you can work and earn money.</p> <p><em>How do you make productive use of your time sleeping? Perk up and and tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-boost-your-finances-while-you-sleep" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Boost Your Finances While You Sleep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/7-ways-to-boost-your-finances-while-you-sleep">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-7"> <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/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren&#039;t Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Legit Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads to Earn Some Extra Cash</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-10-words-and-phrases-are-keeping-you-from-getting-a-raise">These 10 Words and Phrases Are Keeping You From Getting a Raise</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/another-path-to-recovery-higher-incomes">Another path to recovery: higher incomes</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-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance blogging extra income income lending online sales renting Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1267801 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Personal Finance Tips for Extroverts http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-tips-for-extroverts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-personal-finance-tips-for-extroverts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-businesswoman-partner-Dollarphotoclub_66012862.jpg" alt="happy businesswoman" title="happy businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like every personality type, extroverts have their own special style of personal finance management. In many ways, you go-getters have a great advantage when it comes to executing your saving, spending, and investment goals. But extroverts can also be too quick to act, sometimes leading themselves into a booby trap in financial regret. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-tips-for-introverts?ref=seealso">8 Personal Finance Tips for Introverts</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the extrovert's natural strengths to savor and weaknesses to cautiously avoid when it comes to money matters. You never know, it just might pay off in the future.</p> <h2>Maximize Your Strengths</h2> <p>If you're an extrovert, use the things you're already good at to improve your financial fortune. Just don't let someone more cautious scare you out of them!</p> <h3>1. Negotiate Prices Like the Master Smooth-Talker You Are</h3> <p>Extroverts know how to navigate conflict with a certain finesse that makes it seem there's no conflict at all. And that's a priceless skill when it comes to negotiating everything from your car payment to your salary. It's not that extroverts are good at lying, it's just that they have a way of figuring out the best case scenario for themselves and then painting it like a win-win for both parties.</p> <p>So whenever possible, you should negotiate in person. Your charm and charisma are best employed in face-to-face showdowns. Just don't forget to be gracious as you talk your way into getting what you want.</p> <h3>2. Get Aggressive</h3> <p>Extroverts aren't afraid to pull the trigger when they get the feeling that it's right. When applied to the stock market, credit card rewards programs, and investment properties, that astute sense of intuition can be a major bonus. Many <a href="http://www.learnvest.com/2013/07/why-introverts-make-better-investors-123/">introverts missed out on low stock prices</a> at the end of the recession for this very reason. They weren't sure that the market had really bottomed out, so they weren't sure whether they should buy.</p> <p>But while it pays &mdash; literally &mdash; to have a good handle on your intuition, you also mustn't get cocky. The same cause of crash-and-burn among world-class poker players applies to extroverts, too.</p> <h2>3. Take Risks</h2> <p>Extroverts are more comfortable taking risks because they're more comfortable engaging with the ever-changing world around them. As compared to introverts, they simply have more experience throwing themselves into uncertain situations and coming out alright on the other side. Every <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201406/do-extroverts-really-take-more-risks-0">habitual risk-taker</a> develops some sense of resiliency.</p> <h2>4. Brand Yourself</h2> <p>Extroverts know there's no shame in using well-designed business cards and social media platforms as a means of attracting positive attention to their work accomplishments. In fact, they know it's one of the best ways to line up future job prospects before they may decide they even want them.</p> <h2>Work Your Weaknesses</h2> <p>While using your strengths will take you far, learning to overcome your weaknesses can make for an even better bill of financial health.</p> <h3>5. Play the Long Game</h3> <p>As an extrovert, you're likely not so good at delaying gratification. This means you sometimes fail to grasp that wealth generally generates slowly. Often you pass up on opportunities to win small gains because you're not imagining how big they can stack up over time.</p> <p>So teach yourself that the road to riches will have its ups and downs &mdash; maybe even a few colossal ones &mdash; but there are still many ways make gains on your losses. And always be sure to have a sizable financial safety net, should one of those colossal downs trip you up so badly that you're unable to recover right away.</p> <h3>6. Do Your Homework</h3> <p>It's tempting to jump into investing with your own strategy, or with one you haven't really researched yet. So many people think they can beat the market, yet so few actually do. As an extrovert, you have gusto to go with your gut. But what you're sometimes lacking are the listening skills to hear what has worked for others before you, what has worked and what hasn't, and to craft your own investing strategy around the successful strategies of others.</p> <p>So remember: there's no harm in getting a second opinion from someone in-the-know.</p> <p><em>Are you an extrovert? Has it helped you manage your finances?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-tips-for-extroverts" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Personal Finance Tips for Extroverts" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-tips-for-extroverts">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-8"> <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-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-truths-the-rich-live-by-and-you-should-too">5 Money Truths the Rich Live By (and You Should Too)</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/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</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-lessons-i-learned-from-watching-wheel-of-fortune">5 Money Lessons I Learned From Watching Wheel of Fortune</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/15-things-to-get-done-before-year-end">15 Things to Get Done Before Year-End</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance Personal Development extrovert financial management introvert personality Fri, 12 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1267666 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Credit Card Benefits Every College Student Must Have http://www.wisebread.com/5-credit-card-benefits-every-college-student-must-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-credit-card-benefits-every-college-student-must-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-student-credit-card-Dollarphotoclub_18681440.jpg" alt="college student credit card" title="college student credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College is a place for many firsts. One of these firsts is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-getting-your-first-credit-card-0">first credit card</a>. Since the Credit Card Act in 2009, many protections have been created to shield students from the dangers of credit cards. However, it's still necessary to enter into this new realm of financial responsibility with the tools and knowledge to start off on the right foot.</p> <p>Parents and students should be looking for these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">credit card benefits</a> to build a good credit history. The length of credit history is a large component of a credit score, so it's best to get started with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users?ref=inarticle">healthy credit habits</a> as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>1. Limited Credit Line With Room for Growth</h2> <p>Look for a credit card that has a low credit line (some can be as small as $500) that can grow over time if you make monthly payments on-time. Keeping a card for a long time will boost your credit score, so be picky about which credit card to sign up for first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Cards to Your Improve Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>2. Strong Fraud Protection</h2> <p>While most cards carry strong fraud protection if the card is lost, stolen, or compromised, that's not true for every card. Make sure to seek out a card that offers it. Some credit cards will watch for suspicious activity and alert you immediately. Another way to monitor your account for fraudulent activity is to review your statements carefully. Make sure you recognize each of the transactions, and promptly contact your credit card issuer if you see a charge you did not authorize.</p> <h2>3. Payment Due Alerts</h2> <p>Many cards allow you set up a variety of alerts via text or email that let you know when a payment is almost due or you are nearing your card's credit limit. The payment reminders are especially important because it's easy to miss a payment date when you're busy (or just not used to paying bills). A late payment on a card <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=inarticle">negatively impacts your credit score</a>, so take every advantage to make those payments on time.</p> <h2>4. Free Roadside Assistance</h2> <p>Whether you're driving an old car or you're driving a long distance to get home for the holidays, knowing you have roadside assistance provides peace of mind. Many credit cards carry this benefit (though often you must pay for any service charges if you need them.)</p> <h2>5. Cash-Back When and Where Students Need It Most</h2> <p>There are many options today when it comes to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back rewards</a>. You can have rewards automatically deposited into a savings account, redeemed for gift cards at specific retailers, or simply as a statement credit to help pay the bill. Decide what types of rewards would be most helpful. Then, seek out a card that offers the right redemption opportunities.</p> <p>A rock solid start to your credit history is the basis for a bright financial future. Learning to use credit cards responsibly is the best way to achieve that.</p> <p><em>What common credit card benefits have helped you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-credit-card-benefits-every-college-student-must-have" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Credit Card Benefits Every College Student Must Have" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-credit-card-benefits-every-college-student-must-have">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-9"> <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/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Comparing Miles: Which Airline Loyalty Program Is Better?</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-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</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/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</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-choose-a-credit-card">How to Choose a Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit card benefits responsible borrowing rewards student finances Fri, 12 Dec 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1267188 at http://www.wisebread.com Comparing Miles: Which Airline Loyalty Program Is Better? http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-man-airport-Dollarphotoclub_68548189.jpg" alt="happy man airport" title="happy man airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be really hard to place a value on airline frequent flier miles compared to other types of credit card rewards. For instance, we all know how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">cash back offers are worth</a>, and most other rewards points typically offer a fixed value, often one cent per point towards merchandise or gift cards. But the value of travel rewards miles depends on the carrier as well as which class you're flying. Also, international flights will net you a much higher value per mile.</p> <p>Nevertheless, there are some ways to compare the value of different airline mileage programs so that cardholders can choose the best credit card for their needs. Let's take a look at the major US airline frequent flier programs, and come to a reasonable value of what their points and miles are worth for various types of awards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>American/US Airways</h2> <p>These are the last two major carriers to merge, which should be complete within months. Even now, you can already redeem miles for one airline through the other's awards flights.</p> <p>When considering the value of these miles, keep in mind that American continues to offer some of the best award availability on its domestic routes, and it's often possible to find several award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Furthermore, if you have their co-branded credit card, you can get reduced mileage awards, that can result in a savings of 5,000 to 7,500 miles round trip. So for most domestic travelers in economy class, these miles are worth about two cents each.</p> <p>On the international side, American offers few economy class awards and barely any business class award seats at the lowest mileage levels. Worse, its partner British Airways imposes huge fuel surcharges on award tickets that cost travelers nearly as much as an economy class ticket. Nevertheless, American miles are good for redeeming flights from other OneWorld partner carriers which get about three cents per mile from international economy class awards, about four cents in value from business class travel, and even more when booking awards in international first class. American's award chart offers better value than its competitors. For example, business class flights to Europe are still just 100,000 miles, while United and Delta are 20 to 40% more.</p> <h2>Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1265967"><img width="154" height="98" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiAAdvantagePlatinumSelectMasterCard.jpg" alt="" /></a>To start earning AAdvantage Miles, <a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1265967">sign up for the Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.tqlkg.com/image-2822544-11982958" alt="" /> and get 50,000 bonus miles and two Admirals Club Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Earn 2X points on American Airlines purchases and get a $100 Flight Discount every year. You can also earn 10% of your redeemed miles back (up to 10k per calendar year). Other benefits of this card include first checked bag free, Group 1 boarding, and 25% savings on in-flight purchases. There is a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.</p> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1265967"><strong>Click here to sign up for the Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg; today!</strong></a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.tqlkg.com/image-2822544-11982958" alt="" /></p> <h2>US Airways Premier World MasterCard</h2> <p>The US Airways Premier World MasterCard allows you to earn 2X miles on US Airways and American Airlines purchases. You also receive 25% off on US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases. Get first checked bag free for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights, as well as one companion certificate good for up to two guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each. There's a current sign up offer that gives you 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee.</p> <h2>Delta</h2> <p>Delta has gone through several rounds of devaluation, which is when they change their award chart to ask for more miles. Furthermore, Delta has the worst reputation for offering vanishingly few award seats at the lowest mileage levels, and few award seats from its partners Air France and KLM. To top it all off, Delta's award search engine offers very unreliable results, which makes booking an award an exercise in frustration. Travelers also have to find a return flight, since Delta doesn't allow one-way awards for half price.</p> <p>Therefore, I would value SkyMiles at one and a half cents for domestic travel in economy class. It's even very hard to find more than two cents in value per point in international business class, except for those who travel alone and are extremely flexible and persistent.</p> <p>The good news is that Delta claims it will make more award seats available at the lowest mileage levels in 2015, offer one-way awards, and fix the problems with its website.</p> <h2>Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card From American Express</h2> <p><a title="Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=598429" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/73/598429.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" /></a>American Express offers the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card</a> which offers 2X miles on Delta purchases, first checked bag free for up to four companions, and Priority Boarding. There is a current sign up offer for 30,000 bonus miles after you use your card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months, plus a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first three months. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year. Terms and restrictions apply.</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>United</h2> <p>When it comes time to redeem miles, United's domestic award availability is not nearly as good as American's, but it's far better than Delta's. So I value their miles at 1.5 to 2 cents each for domestic economy class travel.</p> <p>Internationally, their award availability is much more reasonable than American's. Travelers can rely on its strong partnerships with Star Alliance airlines, although United does charge more miles for some international partner awards than it does for the flights it operates. Therefore, I would value their miles at 3 to 4 cents each for international flights in business class.</p> <h2>Sample Mileage Valuation and Comparison Chart</h2> <p>And now here's a helpful chart to compare all the data above.</p> <p><img width="605" height="361" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/Airline Table_0.png" alt="" /></p> <p>*Domestic data based on one RT ticket from JFK (New York) to LAX (Los Angeles). International data based on one RT ticket from LAX (Los Angeles) to CDG (Paris, France).</p> <h2>Other Carriers</h2> <p>These smaller or regional airlines don't offer the great miles programs of the larger carriers, but there are still deals to be had.</p> <h3>Southwest</h3> <p>Southwest offers several versions of its Rapid Rewards credit card from Chase, and each point earned is worth 1.4 cents each towards flights in its &quot;Wanna Get Away&quot; fare class. However, cardholders who have earned Southwest's Companion Pass can always get a second seat, doubling the value of these points to 2.8 cents each.</p> <h3>Alaska Airlines</h3> <p>Alaska's Mileage Plan credit card from Bank of America offers triple miles for Alaska purchases, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Its frequent flier program is much like the major legacy airlines, and it has quite reasonable award availability and some great partnerships. I would value their miles at about two cents each for domestic and international economy class travel, and four cents each for business and first class travel both domestically and internationally.</p> <h3>Jetblue</h3> <p>Jetblue offers a credit card from American Express that earns double points for Jetblue purchases and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points tend to be worth about 1.5 cents each towards their fares, but sometimes slightly higher or lower.</p> <h3>Virgin America</h3> <p>This arm of the Virgin franchise offers a credit card from Comenity Bank that earns triple points for Virgin America flights, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are worth 2 to 2.5 cents each towards flights.</p> <h3>Frontier</h3> <p>Frontier offers a credit card through Barclays Bank that earns double points for Frontier purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points tend to be worth just about 1-2 cents each as cardholders now have to pay for both checked and carry-on bags, even on award tickets.</p> <h2>Other Considerations</h2> <p>Unlike other reward cards, there is never just one airline mileage card that can offer the best value for everyone. Those who have the most flexibility and travel as a single or a couple, can often find great value with the major airlines that have finite award seats. Otherwise, families who travel in larger groups and have less flexibility need a program that doesn't control awards so tightly like Southwest, JetBlue, or Virgin America. And of course, where you live and travel will often dictate which airlines that can most conveniently reach your destination. But by understanding the value of each airline's loyalty program, you can choose the best credit card for your needs.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better" class="sharethis-link" title="Comparing Miles: Which Airline Loyalty Program Is Better? " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">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-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying">How to Earn Tons of Frequent Flyer Miles Without Flying</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-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards airline rewards credit card rewards miles rewards Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:00:10 +0000 Jason Steele 1265967 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Pick the Bank That's Right for You http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-pick-the-bank-thats-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-pick-the-bank-thats-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-meeting-bank-advisor-Dollarphotoclub_64228585.jpg" alt="couple meeting bank advisor" title="couple meeting bank advisor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many options, picking the right bank isn't always easy, leaving some people to pick a bank at random without giving much consideration to whether the institution meets their banking needs. (Personally, I chose Bank of America because of its abundance of locations across the country; I was tired of paying all those ATM fees from other banks while I was traveling). But while this a quick way to pick a bank, it doesn't guarantee the best banking experience. (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>1. How Do You Prefer to Bank?</h2> <p>Some people prefer going to an actual branch and speaking with a banker face-to-face, so they need a brick-and-mortar location. And if you travel a lot for either work or pleasure, you might need a big bank with locations in most of the country. When I first moved to New York City, I had to switch banks specifically for this reason. The bank I was with had very few branches in Manhattan, and I would have to take a 15-minute subway ride to deposit a $25 check.</p> <p>On the other hand, if you're primarily banking within your community, and you prefer personable service and a hometown feel, a regional or community bank might provide a better banking experience.</p> <p>Then again, maybe you can't remember the last time you stepped foot in a bank branch. Or perhaps you conduct most of your bank transactions electronically &mdash; thank goodness for mobile deposit, amiright? &mdash; so an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts">online checking</a> or savings might be right up your alley.</p> <h2>2. Check for FDIC Backing</h2> <p>Even a big bank can shut its doors. Remember 2008? No matter the type of bank you choose, you need to be confident that your money is safe. Therefore, only bank with institutions that are insured by the FDIC. Your funds are protected up to $250,000 per account, so you know your cash is safe if the bank goes under.</p> <h2>3. What Are the Hours and Locations?</h2> <p>Choose a bank with locations and hours that work with your banking schedule and location, since you probably don't have time to drive 10 or 15 minutes out the way to find a branch. Also, factor in a bank's lobby and drive-up teller hours. When are you most likely to visit branches? If you prefer visiting a branch before or after work, a bank that opens before 9 a.m. and remains open until 6 p.m. might be a better fit. Or if you conduct most of your transactions on the weekends, a bank that offers Saturday or Sunday hours may be a better option.</p> <h2>4. What Are the Fees and Interest Rates?</h2> <p>If you're switching banks because you're fed up with high fees and low rates, you need to be more selective this time around. Besides, if you're looking to grow your money and reach a financial goal, the last thing you need are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-annoying-bank-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them">fees eating away at your balance</a>. Speak with a banker or visit the bank's website for information on fees and rates.</p> <p>Is there a monthly maintenance fee for checking and savings account? If so, is there a way to avoid this maintenance fee? Does the bank offer free overdraft protection? What's the returned check fee? What type of rates can you anticipate for a checking or savings?</p> <h2>5. Does the Bank Offer a Variety of Investment Options?</h2> <p>Regular savings accounts don't earn much interest, but with a certificate of deposit, a money market account, or interest checking, you'll usually get more bang for your buck. Does the bank offer these products?</p> <p>Some small banks only have one type of checking or regular savings, whereas other banks offer a variety of accounts to accommodate different customer needs. Some banks offer accounts specifically for students or senior citizens. You should thus consider your banking needs and determine whether your chosen bank offers adequate options. The goal is finding a bank with accounts that match your savings or checking needs.</p> <h2>6. Do You Need Other Financial Products?</h2> <p>You may prefer using your bank for all your financial needs. So, when choosing a bank, make sure you inquire about other products. If you're planning on getting a mortgage or auto loan in the near future, you might choose a bank that offers these products as well. As an existing account holder, you might be eligible for better rates on loans and credit cards.</p> <h2>7. What Services Are Important to You?</h2> <p>Make a list of must-have banking services. Big banks offer a massive selection of services, such as online banking, bill pay, wire transfers, and direct deposit. These institutions usually have the resources to provide the most innovative products. But if you're working with a community or a regional bank, services might be limited. Visit the bank's website to make sure the institution offers the services you use.</p> <p><em>How did you choose your bank? Did any other these suggestions factor in? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-pick-the-bank-thats-right-for-you" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Pick the Bank That&#039;s Right for You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-pick-the-bank-thats-right-for-you">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/that-sneaky-bank-almost-got-me">That Sneaky Bank Almost Got Me</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/new-tools-for-the-unbanked">New Tools for the Unbanked</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-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</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/capital-one-360-black-friday-sale-get-100-when-you-open-an-account">Capital One 360 Black Friday Sale: Get $100 When You Open an Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-lower-the-cost-of-banking">10 Tips To Lower The Cost of Banking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Banking bank fees banks interest rates loans money management Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1267058 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Reinvesting Dividends Really Save You on Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/can-reinvesting-dividends-really-save-you-on-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-reinvesting-dividends-really-save-you-on-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-finances-Dollarphotoclub_64190436.jpg" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing and taxes are understandably confusing to many investors &mdash; many of us have big questions about how our investments impact our taxes. That's why it's important to clarify some of the most common misconceptions, such as the belief that reinvested dividends aren't subject to taxation. In fact, according to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ten-common-tax-misconceptions.html">it's one of the top 10 misconceptions about taxes</a>. And it's a misconception that could cost you big bucks at tax time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-tax-moves-you-can-make?ref=seealso">The 10 Worst Tax Moves You Can Make</a>)</p> <p>Read on to take better control of your money by learning some basics about investing and taxes and banishing some common myths.</p> <h2>What Dividends Are</h2> <p>Cash dividends are distributions of a business's profits to its investors. Typically, the board of directors announces a dividend and issues payments on a quarterly or annual basis. Stock investors receive dividends based on the number of shares held. For example, <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/ko/dividend-history">Coca-Cola paid quarterly dividends of $.305 in 2014</a> or $1.22 on each share; if you held 100 shares, then you received $122 in dividends.</p> <p>Not all profitable publicly-held companies issue dividends. Typically, dividend-paying corporations are stable ones who have a history of generating enough cash to pay the bills, set aside money for future needs, and share profits with shareholders.</p> <p>Some companies declare <a href="http://beginnersinvest.about.com/od/dividendsdrips1/ss/dividends-and-dividend-investing-101_4.htm#step-heading">stock dividends</a>, which are similar to stock splits. In these situations, investors receive shares (or partial shares) of a company's stock based on the number of shares held. In some cases, shareholders are given the option to receive these dividends in cash.</p> <h2>What Reinvesting Is</h2> <p>Reinvesting dividends involves using money generated by cash dividends to purchase additional shares of stock in the dividend-paying company.</p> <p>Many brokerage firms make reinvesting dividends super easy. When you open an account, you simply check a box to indicate that you want to reinvest dividends. If it's the default selection, you may already be signed up for this service without knowing it.</p> <p>When dividends are distributed, additional shares of the original investment are automatically purchased for your account. You can determine if you are buying shares in this manner by reviewing your statements or viewing detailed transactions on the dashboard of your brokerage account. If you have elected to reinvest dividends, then you will notice that shares (generally small amounts or partial shares) have been purchased automatically on your behalf.</p> <p>Many younger investors opt to reinvest dividends in order to acquire additional shares and continue growing their wealth, without needing extra cash. Alternatively, many retired investors may choose to take dividends in the form of cash as a means to help cover living expenses.</p> <h2>Why Dividends Are (Sometimes) Subject to Tax</h2> <p>Dividends may be subject to taxes because they represent income to you, the investor. Again, the folks at the IRS don't care that your brokerage firm reinvests the cash for you. What's significant is whether you are <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p550.pdf">eligible to receive cash within a taxable account</a>. What you do with the money is irrelevant to the tax situation.</p> <p>However, if the investment is held in a tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA, 401(k) plan, or 529 plan, then generally you don't owe taxes on dividends. So, your tax situation in this case depends on the type of account, not whether you receive cash or automatically reinvest the dividends.</p> <h2>More on Investing and Taxes</h2> <p>Another area of confusion in regard to investing and taxes is the treatment of stock market losses. Specifically, many taxpayers are mistaken when they believe that they don't have to report losses &mdash; or that the losses they do report can offset all of their ordinary income.</p> <p>While you typically don't need to report &quot;<a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/paperprofitorloss.asp">paper losses</a>&quot; (declines in investment values) or losses that occur within a tax-advantaged account, you should report any losses realized in a taxable account. These <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/reporting-your-capital-gains-or-losses-1.aspx">losses can offset capital gains and ordinary income</a>, saving you money at tax time.</p> <p>Generally, you can counteract just $3,000 of your ordinary income with stock losses, not the entire amount of your annual earnings (which is likely to exceed that number anyhow); however you can carry over your losses and deduct them from income in subsequent years.</p> <p>Understanding taxes on investments isn't always intuitive, and regulations change frequently. Protect your pocketbook by staying up to date with any changes and consulting an investment or tax professional when in doubt.</p> <p><em>Are you clear or confused about investing and taxes? How do you stay on top of tax regulations and constant changes?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-reinvesting-dividends-really-save-you-on-taxes" class="sharethis-link" title="Can Reinvesting Dividends Really Save You on Taxes?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-reinvesting-dividends-really-save-you-on-taxes">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-12"> <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/slow-drip-into-investing">Slow DRIP into investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-easy-ways-to-invest-your-first-1000">4 Cheap, Easy Ways to Invest Your First $1000</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/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-an-investment-really-is-do-you">A Lot of People Don&#039;t Understand What an Investment Really Is. Do You?</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/4000-8000-or-even-453500-in-5-years-a-low-risk-investment-plan">$4,000, $8,000, or Even $453,500 in 5 Years: A Low-Risk Investment 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/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you">Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Investment dividends investing reinvesting taxes Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:00:08 +0000 Julie Rains 1265970 at http://www.wisebread.com The Top 5 ETFs You Should Buy Now http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-5-etfs-you-should-buy-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-top-5-etfs-you-should-buy-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-stock-surprise-516251593-small.jpg" alt="businessman stock surprise" title="businessman stock surprise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since their launch just a couple of decades ago, Exchange Traded Funds have quickly grown in popularity among investors due to their low expense ratios, tax efficiency, and potential for easy diversification. Today, there are more than 5,000 domestic and international ETFs trading in the global marketplace, holding baskets of assets such as stocks or bonds across a wide variety of sectors.</p> <p>As with any investment, the funds you choose should be reflective of your risk-tolerance and investment goals. That said, we've rounded up a few ETFs we believe are worth a look, based on today's market conditions and performance.</p> <p>Here are the top 5 ETFs you should own now.</p> <h2>VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market</h2> <p><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=VTI">VTI</a> invests in large, mid, and small cap stocks, and tracks the overall stock market. It's an ideal fund for investors new to ETFs, since it provides ample diversification through broad stock market exposure. It's returns are nothing to sneeze at, either; for 2014, it's offered over 12% gains year-to-date, and posted a whopping 33% return in 2013. And with its strong 4-star Morningstar rating, it also balances its rewards with suitable levels of risk.</p> <h2>VOO Vanguard S&amp;P 500</h2> <p><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=VOO">VOO </a>invests in stocks in the S&amp;P 500 Index, tracking the performance of some of the largest U.S. companies. This low-cost fund has high potential for growth, but potentially greater volatility than VTI. Still, it also has a solid 4-star Morningstar rating, indicating reasonable levels of risk for its year-to-date returns of nearly 14%.</p> <h2>VNQ Vanguard REIT ETF</h2> <p><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=VNQ">VNQ</a> invests in stocks issued by real estate investment trusts (REITs), companies that purchase office buildings, hotels, and other real estate property. Use it to diversify the risks of stocks and bonds in your portfolio. REITs can offer good long-term returns and offer a hedge against inflation because real estate values tend to rise with inflation. The 4-star rated fund has delivered returns in excess of 27% year-to-date.</p> <h2>MUB iShares S&amp;P National AMT</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ishares.com/us/products/239766/ishares-national-amtfree-muni-bond-etf">MUB iShares</a> provide exposure to more than 2,000 US municipal bonds, with top holdings in California and New York. The fund offers growth potential with lower volatility, making it ideal for long-term growth investment goals. In 2014, this 4-star rated fund has delivered returns in excess of 8%. This is a tax-efficient bond fund which can help hedge your equity exposure.</p> <h2>TDN Deutsche X-trackers 2030 Target Date</h2> <p><a href="https://etfus.deutscheawm.com/deutsche-x-trackers-2030-target-date-etf">TDN</a> is a hybrid ETF that invests in both domestic and international stocks, bonds, currency, and commodities, with the majority of its holdings in U.S. based stocks. This target-date fund is designed for those seeking retirement in the year 2030, and automatically rebalances its holdings' risk profile as you approach your 2030 retirement. DTN is a low-cost fund with broad diversification that has realized annual returns in excess of 15%.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite ETF not listed here? Tell us what your hottest ETF picks are!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-5-etfs-you-should-buy-now" class="sharethis-link" title="The Top 5 ETFs You Should Buy Now" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-5-etfs-you-should-buy-now">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-13"> <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/exchange-traded-funds-the-low-fee-investment-option-you-dont-know-about">Exchange Traded Funds: The Low-Fee Investment Option You Don&#039;t Know About</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/best-investment-yourself">Best investment: yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</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-cheap-easy-ways-to-invest-your-first-1000">4 Cheap, Easy Ways to Invest Your First $1000</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/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-an-investment-really-is-do-you">A Lot of People Don&#039;t Understand What an Investment Really Is. Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Investment diversification ETF exchange traded fund funds investing Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1264950 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-buying-home-178728490-small.jpg" alt="couple buying home" title="couple buying home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After several years of sluggish growth, it appears that the economy is getting better. Unemployment has dropped. The stock market has been setting record highs. But are you poised to take full advantage of the rebound? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-rising-interest-rates-can-help-your-wallet?ref=seealso">8 Ways Rising Interest Rates Can Help Your Wallet</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight ways to position yourself for the best result once the economy kicks into high gear.</p> <h2>1. Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>If the economy is getting better and you find yourself earning more, getting rid of debt should be your first priority. The last thing you want is to miss out on an economic boom because you're handcuffed by loans and credit card bills, so pay that stuff off. And do it fast, because a good economy often comes with higher interest rates. So if you have debt, it's best to rid yourself of it before it gets pricier to pay down later.</p> <h2>2. Spend Less</h2> <p>The flipside of higher interest rates is that you'll be making more on any money you have in your bank account. So there's an incentive to save now. What's more, you may be earning more in general during strong economic times, so you have the double whammy of stashing more money into those saving and retirement accounts, plus a higher return.</p> <h2>3. Pump Those Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>There's never a truly bad time to begin investing, especially if you have a long savings window. So get started now, before stock prices get too out of hand. Consider upping your 401(k) contribution. And if you have an IRA, you have until April 15 to make contributions that count toward 2014's tax bill.</p> <h2>4. Lock In Whatever Prices You Can</h2> <p>A good economy often comes with some inflation. So it might make sense to explore ways to secure long-term price stability on items or services you use frequently. Locking in a price on a cable or mobile phone bill might make sense, and you may even be able to lock in prices on electricity and other utilities.</p> <h2>5. Build Up Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you are fortunate enough to have some extra money come your way, consider using it to build up your savings to protect yourself. Opinions vary on how much liquid cash you should have socked away, but at least three months of salary is a good rule of thumb.</p> <h2>6. Consider Buying That House</h2> <p>If interest rates do go up, mortgages could get pricier. So it may be wise to try and purchase a home now while rates are still historically low. If you've been on the fence about when to buy, now may be the time.</p> <h2>7. Ask for That Raise</h2> <p>When the economy was slow, employers were loath to give out pay raises. &quot;Times are tough, we've got to tighten belts,&quot; was the common response. Now, with things improving, it's harder for your boss to make the argument that you're not worth a bump in pay. If your organization has done well financially and you feel you've played a role in that, go ahead and ask for that increase.</p> <h2>8. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>If things are getting better, employers may starting looking for new hires. Take advantage of the situation by updating your online presence and doing what's necessary to look good to recruiters. If you stopped working during the downturn, maybe its time to get back into the workforce. If you hate your job, maybe now is when you find a better one. And if you like your job, it never hurts to build up your network and see what else is out there.</p> <p><em>Are you ready for a better economy? How do you plan to profit from it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy" class="sharethis-link" title="Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">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-14"> <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-weird-logic-of-economic-growth">The weird logic of economic growth</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/why-inflation">Why Inflation?</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/another-path-to-recovery-higher-incomes">Another path to recovery: higher incomes</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-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</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/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Financial News debt Economy employment growth income spending Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1264105 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-credit-card-478818267-small_0.jpg" alt="couple credit card" title="couple credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many credit card users reach a certain point when they realize that they are able to get more benefits from credit cards that have an annual fee than they are from those that don't. Perhaps these cardholders use travel benefits, or maybe they find themselves spending enough to justify paying for a card that offers a lot more rewards.</p> <p>For those who are willing to pay an annual fee, the question then becomes how to find a card that offers the most valuable features relative to the cost of the annual fee.</p> <p>Here are five cards that have the most competitive cost to benefit ratios.</p> <h2>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=586975" rel="nofollow" alt="Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;" title="Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217189/586975.jpg" /></a>With the <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</a>, new cardholders receive 40,000 bonus miles, worth $400 in travel, after spending just $3,000 on their card within three months of opening an account. Each mile is then worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel expenses such as airfare, hotel, and car rental. Cardholders also earn double miles on all purchases with no limits. In addition, customers receive a 10% rebate on the miles redeemed. Finally, this card is equipped with the Chip and PIN system already being deployed around the world, and there are no foreign transaction fees. There is a $89 annual fee that is waived the first year.</p> <p>What makes redeeming rewards as statement credits valuable is that you earn rewards on the purchases that your rewards are paying for. For example, if you've earned enough rewards to pay for a $300 plane ticket, you would purchase the plane ticket, and then redeem the $300 statement credit. But the $300 purchase is eligible for earning rewards! Some travel rewards credit cards require you to redeem only through their partners or travel portal. Although often you are able to get further discounts when redeeming your rewards that way, you are also limited by the partners offered through your credit card. With this card, you get a statement credit for the travel expense that you want to get.</p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <h2>The Platinum Card&reg; from American Express</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050772&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=568915" rel="nofollow" alt="The Platinum Card&reg; from American Express" title="The Platinum Card&reg; from American Express"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/156/568915.gif" /></a>While this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards">premium card</a> does have a $450 annual fee, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050772&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">The Platinum Card&reg; from American Express</a> offers rewards that can be worth far more to frequent travelers. To start, cardholders receive an annual $200 airline fee credit for incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, and a $100 credit towards membership in the Global Entry program which speeds access through immigration when returning to the United States, and lets you use the PreCheck line to clear domestic security much faster. Cardholders also gain access to the airport lounges of the Delta SkyClub, the Priority Pass Select network, and American Express's growing network of Centurion airport lounges. This is also one of the few American Express credit cards that does not have foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Cardholders also earn points in the Membership Rewards program which can be transferred to miles with several different frequent flier programs or points with hotel programs. Throw in numerous purchase protection and travel insurance programs, and it is easy to see how the benefits of this card can be worth considerably more than its annual fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050772&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for The Platinum Card&reg; from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card From American Express</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=536598" rel="nofollow" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/536598.gif" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</a> offers an amazing 6% <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">cash back at U.S. supermarkets</a> on up to $6,000 spent each year, 3% <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">cash back at U.S. gas stations</a> and select department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is a $75 annual fee for this card, which is easily justified by those who spend just over $100 a month on groceries, without considering any additional spending at grocery stores, gas stations, or qualifying department stores. Its current sign up offer includes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-year-amazon-prime-offer-with-american-express-credit-cards">a year of Amazon Prime and $100 cash back</a> (as a statement credit) after you spend $1,000 within the first three months. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1178&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred Card&reg; from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1263798"><img width="154" height="98" border="0" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiAAdvantagePlatinumSelectMasterCard.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" /></a>The cost to benefit ratio of this mid-range airline card is nearly off the charts. The <a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1263798">Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.lduhtrp.net/image-2822544-11982958" alt="" /> offers group 1 Priority boarding, a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases, and first checked bag free for cardholders and up to four other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">traveling companions</a>. Cardholders earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every year and earn 10% of redeemed miles back (up to 10,000 miles each calendar year).</p> <p>Currently, new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus miles and two Admirals Club Passes after using their card to spend just $3,000 within three months of account opening. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Credit Cards With the Best Sign-Up Bonuses for Airline Miles</a>)</p> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11982958?sid=steele-1263798"><strong>Click here to apply for the Citi&reg;/AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg; today!</strong></a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.lduhtrp.net/image-2822544-11982958" alt="" /></p> <h2>Chase Sapphire Preferred</h2> <p>Chase offers this popular travel rewards card that earns double points for travel and dining expenses, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points can then be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, or travel reservations, or transferred to points and miles with several airline or hotel programs. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">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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