You’ve done it. You’ve built up a little cushion in your bank account — $1,000! It feels good, right? Those days of checking your account balance in a panic are behind you.Congrats! You’re on the right path. Now it’s time to think about some longer-term goals. What do you want to accomplish next with your money? Do you need to save more? Do you want to buy a home someday? Invest?What’s the next step you should take? What are some specific things you can do to take your finances to the next level?
We’ve got some ideas for you:
1. You Can Cancel Your Car Insurance
Did you know you can save some serious money just by switching car insurance companies?Its true — rates are at historic lows, and you could be paying way less for the same coverage. All you need to do is look for it.But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
2. Give Your Family $1M
Have you thought about what would happen to your family after you die? How will they pay the mortgage? Send the kids to school?We know; it’s not fun to think about. But getting a life insurance policy is one of the most important things you can do if you have people who depend on you.A company called Insure.com can help you get a policy for as little as $10 a month — and in just two minutes.
Maybe you’ve considered it before, but it felt like an expensive hassle — or like something you only need to do when you’re older. But the truth is, even if you’re young and healthy, it’s often smart to lock in a cheaper policy now. Rates tend to go up as you age.Insure.com will show you quotes from different companies so you can compare and find the right policy for you. You never have to leave the house or take a medical exam. You don’t even have to speak to a human if you don’t want to.Take two minutes to answer a few quick questions to make sure you protect the ones you love.
3. Invest in Famous Art (Even if You’re Not a Millionaire)
Here’s the deal: If you’re not investing in contemporary art, you might be missing out on an asset whose prices have outpaced the S&P by 164% from 1995 to 2020. (FYI, the S&P tracks 500 of the largest companies in the stock market) Monets, right?
But a company called Masterworks lets normal people like us invest in multimillion-dollar works of art — something typically only available to the super rich. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a masterpiece outright; with Masterworks, you can invest in multimillion dollar paintings with only $1,000. Investing in contemporary art is a long-term strategy, so patience pays off here — literally. But once your piece of art sells, you get your share of the potential profits.
4. Stop Overpaying at Amazon
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Amazon or Target and are about to overpay? Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
5. Ask This Website to Help Pay Off Your Credit Cards
No, like… the whole bill. All of it.
While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49%.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online . It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it. All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
Creating a budget is an important financial step that can help you get your finances in order and track how much money comes in and out of your bank account every month. While it may seem like a lot of work to create a budget, there are numerous online resources and apps that can help you. Plus, once you have one, the majority of the work is done, and you can tweak it as your spending habits or income change. After you create a budget, it’s important to stick to it. Regularly check-in with your budgeting goals so you don’t spend more than you can afford to repay.
And if you share expenses with someone else, make sure you both have access to the budget and hold each other accountable. Establishing a good credit score is key to qualifying for the best financial products, like credit cards and loans. Plus, the higher your credit score, the better terms you’ll receive, which can save you thousands of dollars in interest in the long-run (we always recommend you pay your balance on time and in full each month). One of the catches of building credit is you need to have some credit history in order to qualify for a credit card, but it’s hard to qualify for a card without any credit history. One option is to become an authorized user on a family member or friend’s credit card.
You could also consider applying for a secured card, which works the same as a regular credit card, but you’re required to put down a deposit (typically $200). There are also a few options that can help you raise your credit score without a credit card, like *Experian Boost™. This is a free feature that lets you link positive payment history for monthly utility, phone and Netflix bills, potentially boosting your FICO® score. Once you have a credit card, the easiest way to improve your credit score is to regularly use the card, be mindful to spend within your means, make sure you pay at least the minimum on time every month and pay in full whenever possible. Check out more tips to improve your credit score.
One of the best steps you can take in your 20s is to establish an emergency fund to cover any unexpected expenses that may arise, such as medical bills or car repairs. The money in your emergency fund can help you avoid taking out a loan or carrying a balance on a credit card, which can save you money on interest charges. When you set up an emergency fund, consider keeping the money in a high-yield savings account, like Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings or Ally Online Savings Account. These online accounts only allow you withdraw money up to six times a month without penalty, which might help reduce the temptation to withdraw money for non-emergencies.
Experts generally recommend putting three to six months of expenses into an emergency fund, but amid the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment rates, some financial experts are offering more realistic advice about how much people should try to save. Instead, you should focus on saving as much as you can afford, after covering necessary bills. It’s OK to start with a smaller goal. Saving $20 a week (roughly $3 a day) adds up to $1,000 in a year, which is a good cushion to get you started. It’s never too soon to start saving for retirement, and the earlier you start putting money toward your future, the more it can grow. When you get your first full-time job, your employer may offer a retirement account, such as 401(k), that you can open and deposit a percentage of every paycheck into each pay period.
Many employers also match your contributions up to a certain percentage, which is a great way to maximize savings. As a general rule of thumb, opt to save at least a percentage that is equal to your employer’s match. So if they match up to 6% of your contribution each paycheck, choose to transfer 6% or more to your 401(k) every pay period.
While employer-sponsored retirement accounts are helpful, you don’t have to wait until you have a full-time job to start saving for retirement. Roth IRAs are a great alternative to a 401(k), and you can set up recurring transfers from every paycheck so you never have a chance to miss the money. If you have student loan or credit card debt, you should make paying it off a priority in your 20s. Owing money to a lender has the potential to hurt your credit by increasing your utilization rate (the percentage of credit you use), which can result in a lower credit score.
Lenders may also consider you a high-risk borrower if you have a large amount of debt, which may reduce your chances of qualifying for other financial products. And beyond affecting your credit score and qualification chances, you’ll wind up paying a lot of money in interest charges the longer you carry debt. Take the time to make a clear debt repayment plan and stick to it. After you create a budget, consider how much money you can put toward your debt every month. Some experts recommend that 20% of your take-home pay should be earmarked for debt repayment and savings. If you want to pay your debt down faster, you might divert more of your income toward that goal.
You can also consider debt consolidation if you have balances spread across numerous cards. Debt consolidation can help you minimize the number of accounts you need to pay each month and sometimes offer lower interest charges than a credit card. While you’re in your 20s, consider ways you can build good money habits and be proactive with your finances. Get into the habit of regularly checking your different account balances. Avoid paying unnecessary monthly fees by switching to a no-fee checking account, like the Capital One 360 Checking® Account, or earning a competitive interest rate with a high-yield savings account like Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings.
Make sure to spend within your means and avoid racking up unnecessary credit card debt and paying high interest charges. You can also consider optimizing the credit card(s) you use and opening a card that has rewards tailored to your spending habits. There are hundreds of cards offering bonus rewards on groceries, gas, dining out, travel and more. You may also want to consider a simple flat-rate cash-back card that earns you the same amount of rewards on every purchase, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card (2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill).
In addition to saving money and earning rewards, you should be proactive and monitor any changes to your credit history. Spotting fraud early can save you time and money in the long run, but it’s not easy to do on your own. Signing up for a credit monitoring service can provide you with an early notice of potential fraud, so you can take steps to protect your personal information. There are a lot of services to choose from, so Select ranked the best free and paid credit monitoring services, so you can make an informed decision before you sign up. IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit services rank as our top picks if you plan on paying for a service, providing alerts for changes to your credit reports from all three credit bureaus, as well as up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
- “ISAs: Guidance Notes for ISA Managers” (PDF).
- “Isas versus Pensions”. Money Observer.
- “Child trust fund savings can be moved to Junior Isas”
- “Child Trust Fund – GOV.UK”
- “PS14/10: Client money held in Individual Savings Accounts and feedback to CP14/9 and final rules”
- “Client money held in Individual Savings Accounts: Feedback to CP14/9 and final rules” (PDF). Financial Conduct Authority.
- “ISA Manager Bulletin 65”.
- “Help to Buy – How does it work?”.
- “Budget 2016”. HM Treasury.
- Help to Buy Isa shambles: so are these accounts still worth it?”.
- Help to buy has mostly helped housebuilders boost profits”.
- Guidance Notes for ISA Managers”
- “Investors free to put Aim shares into ISAs from August”.
- “Income Tax: Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account and peer to peer loans”.
- “Statement on peer-to-peer applications for full authorisation”.
- “Draft legislation: Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account and peer to peer loans”. HM Revenue and Customs.
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