Understanding And Managing The 4 Types Of Hybrid Workers

Hybrid work isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here’s how managers can better understand and support different preferences and attitudes across their hybrid teams.

The conversation between business leaders and employees about long-term hybrid work plans is a complex one. We’re trying to answer some really big questions: How is our in-person time best used? What tools do people need to succeed, wherever they are? How do we build a sustainable hybrid system?

As we strive to address these big-picture challenges, managers overseeing day-to-day operations are struggling through a messy middle ground. Every day, they’re tasked with guiding different types of employees in an entirely new (and often shifting) work environment that affects individuals differently. Managing hybrid work today can feel like trying to cross a bridge that’s still under construction.

To understand how hybrid work is affecting people, we commissioned a global survey with Economist Impact. One of its central findings was that 77% of hybrid workers agree that their managers need more specific training on managing hybrid teams. To help address this training gap, we took a deep dive into the Economist Impact research and coupled our findings with proven best practices at Google. With the right tools and guidance, hybrid teams can be successful and drive impact together, no matter where teammates work.

Discovering the four types of hybrid workers in your organization

Economist Impact recently categorized employees into four segments based on their relationship to hybrid work: evangelists, pragmatists, fair-minded, and undecided. Interestingly, employees did not fall into categories based on neatly predictable criteria like role, seniority, or industry. Instead, the primary driver was more personal: how hybrid work affects their everyday lives. The study found that feelings about hybrid work are often determined by factors like need for child care, length of commute, and personal work styles.

Here’s a look at the four types of hybrid workers identified by Economist Impact, coupled with tips for managing each one.

The evangelist: Happy with hybrid. They want to sustain the current model.

As you might guess from their name, the evangelists (24%) are the most optimistic about hybrid work and typically very satisfied with the policies, technology, and social dynamics already in place. Many work fully off-site. At Google, we have long had distributed teams who are central to our organization, so we recognize many hybrid work evangelists in our midst by their enthusiasm, productivity, and loyalty. The system is working for them.

The questions we are always looking to answer are: how do we make sure that our most satisfied employees stay that way, and how can we tap into their enthusiasm to help their colleagues see the benefits of a hybrid structure? Here are a few ideas:

  • Empower them to keep working in a way that supports their natural productivity, using centralized tools like Google Drive for easy collaboration and shared calendars so coworkers can clearly see their schedules and availability.
  • Invite them to share their best practices company-wide by creating and moderating Google Spaces dedicated to hybrid work tips, work-from-home hacks, and more.
  • Keep them engaged through short Google Meet check-ins on a quarterly basis, with the agenda focused on how hybrid work practices are functioning and whether improvements can be made.
  • Offer continuing support by making sure they have the right technology, especially if they work fully off-site. Ask: “Is technology helping them stay in the mix across all the ways and places that hybrid work happens?”

The pragmatists: Optimistic, but facing challenges. They need to be heard.

The largest segment identified by Economist Impact were pragmatists (39%), a group who is optimistic about hybrid work, but experiencing significant challenges with it. Their sentiment can be summed up as, “Yes, but …”. Meaning that they want hybrid to work, and they want to be a part of making it work, but they don’t think it’s working well… yet. Pragmatists feel that their organization’s new policies don’t incorporate enough employee input and are more likely to feel these policies are unfair.

Pragmatists are also concerned with blurred work-life boundaries. This demographic includes workers who have less location and/or time flexibility, so they may not be experiencing significant benefits of a “flexible” workplace. Here are some ways to support pragmatists:

  • Gather input by creating an anonymous survey using Google Forms. Ask what’s working or not about hybrid schedules, team processes, technology tools and training, work-life balance, etc. Repeat these surveys at regular intervals to ensure that pragmatists’ voices continue to be heard.
  • To improve flexibility while ensuring collective team work, agree on “core work hours” in which teams determine daily hours when they will typically be online and meetings will take place. Offer flexibility around the “non-core” hours for focused individual work or personal needs such as medical appointments or taking children to school.
  • Enhance transparency and shared understanding across the team about each others’ preferences and schedules using Calendar features like working location and focus time.
  • Enable teams to communicate and collaborate across locations and time zones through shared comments in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

The fair-minded: Feeling good, hoping for continued cultural change. They want to improve the dialogue.

Most concerned about employee wellbeing, fairness, and inclusion, the fair-minded (23%) report an overall positive impact of hybrid work on their lives. Whereas the pragmatists express a “Yes, but…” sentiment, the fair-minded express “Yes, and…”. They like where this is going, and they want more. Over the long term, they are hoping for greater flexibility in their location and work schedule. They believe that better communication and collaboration will strengthen the culture of trust in the workplace and benefit everyone. Here are strategies for managing the fair-minded:

  • Foster social connection by adopting platforms specifically built for inclusivity and get creative in using them – it’s OK to have fun! Choose thematic backgrounds or break into small groups for a quick icebreaker before a meeting.
  • Build an inclusive environment by providing opportunities to bond at in-person events devoted to mentoring, discussion, and socializing.
  • Keep people informed via a “hybrid-work hub” on Google Spaces where management can share the latest policies and employees can ask questions.
  • Strengthen the culture of trust by shifting toward impact-oriented performance evaluations.

The undecided: Craving connection, direction, and better technology. They need to hear from you.

At 13%, the undecided may represent the smallest number of respondents, but they’re a group that need significant support. Why are they undecided? Overall, it’s because they’ve yet to experience significant benefits from flexible work. They’re more likely to be at organizations that have not issued formal hybrid policies, so they’re working in uncertain environments.

This group also reports higher rates of technology challenges, suggesting that they haven’t been equipped with the right tools to connect, collaborate, and communicate remotely. And finally, many are frontline workers who have suffered from limited social interactions or extra strain during the pandemic that has affected their mental health.

With so many challenges, it’s not surprising this cohort is the least confident about the future. Strategies for meeting the needs of the undecided include:

  • Clarify your hybrid policies through active communication. Consider hosting regular “re-onboarding” video calls with small groups to make sure everyone understands hybrid policies and gets training on new processes or tools.
  • Strengthen their sense of belonging with clear, inclusive updates on company wide projects and achievements via Google Meet video conferencing. Use the Q&A function so employees can ask questions and everyone can see answers, or conduct live polling to survey a specific topic. Follow up your meeting with an email recap for those who could not attend.
  • Help teams communicate and collaborate better with instant communication tools like Spaces in Google Chat, which keeps conversations about scheduling, shared tasks, and files together.

Let’s make it work

As leaders, it’s important to understand and acknowledge your team members’ different experiences of hybrid work. Do you know which of the four types your employees fall into? Taking the time to engage with them and learn their preferences allows you to shape policies while also making decisions that help the organization get work done. A thoughtfully planned hybrid work structure can adapt to individual needs, connect distributed workforces, and, ultimately, strengthen your organization. While our global shift to hybrid work was born out of necessity, we can use it to provide opportunity for every type of worker.

Vice President, Digital Work Experience

Source: Understanding And Managing The 4 Types Of Hybrid Workers

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IMF Warns Of ‘Gloomy Outlook’ For Global Economy, Slashing Growth Estimates

The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday of a slowdown in global economic growth as the world economy continues to take a hit from “increasingly gloomy developments in 2022,” including high inflation, a slowdown in China caused by Covid lockdowns and ongoing fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The IMF slashed its global growth projections, now expecting global GDP to grow 3.2% this year and 2.9% in 2023, down from previous estimates in April of 3.6% GDP growth for both years.

The group cited a slowdown in the world’s three largest economies—the United States, China and the euro area—as a reason for the revised estimates, warning that the risks to the outlook remain “overwhelmingly tilted to the downside.”

Several “shocks” have hit the global economy as it tries to recover from the pandemic, including higher-than-expected inflation worldwide––especially in the United States and Europe, a worse-than-anticipated slowdown in China caused by Covid lockdowns and “further negative spillovers” from the war in Ukraine.

The IMF also said that high inflation remains a “major problem” as prices have continued to rise in 2022, led by soaring food and fuel costs, arguing that “taming inflation should be the first priority for policymakers” worldwide.

The group now expects global inflation to hit 6.6% in advanced economies and 9.5% in developing economies this year, though prices are expected to return to near pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.

The IMF also slashed its growth estimates for the U.S. economy, now forecasting GDP to rise 2.3% this year and 1% in 2023, down from previous estimates of 3.7% and 2.3%, respectively, amid the impact of tighter monetary policy and reduced household purchasing power.

“The outlook has darkened significantly since April,” IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas said in a statement. “The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession, only two years after the last one.”

“The slowdown in China has global consequences,” the IMF said. “Lockdowns added to global supply chain disruptions and the decline in domestic spending are reducing demand for goods and services from China’s trade partners.” The group now sees China’s economy growing 3.3% in 2022—its lowest pace in four decades and down over 1% from previous estimates.

The World Bank similarly slashed its forecasts for the global economy last month, predicting GDP growth in 2022 of just 2.9%, down from an earlier estimate of 4.1%.

I am a senior reporter at Forbes covering markets and business news. Previously, I worked on the wealth team at Forbes covering billionaires and their wealth.

Source: IMF Warns Of ‘Gloomy Outlook’ For Global Economy, Slashing Growth Estimates

Critics by Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

The global economy, still reeling from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is facing an increasingly gloomy and uncertain outlook. Many of the downside risks flagged in our April World Economic Outlook have begun to materialize. Higher-than-expected inflation, especially in the United States and major European economies, is triggering a tightening of global financial conditions.

China’s slowdown has been worse than anticipated amid COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns, and there have been further negative spillovers from the war in Ukraine. As a result, global output contracted in the second quarter of this year. Under our baseline forecast, growth slows from last year’s 6.1 percent to 3.2 percent this year and 2.9 percent next year, downgrades of 0.4 and 0.7 percentage points from April.

This reflects stalling growth in the world’s three largest economies—the United States, China and the euro area—with important consequences for the global outlook. In the United States, reduced household purchasing power and tighter monetary policy will drive growth down to 2.3 percent this year and 1 percent next year.

In China, further lockdowns, and the deepening real estate crisis pushed growth down to 3.3 percent this year—the slowest in more than four decades, excluding the pandemic. And in the euro area, growth is revised down to 2.6 percent this year and 1.2 percent in 2023, reflecting spillovers from the war in Ukraine and tighter monetary policy.

Despite slowing activity, global inflation has been revised up, in part due to rising food and energy prices. Inflation this year is anticipated to reach 6.6 percent in advanced economies and 9.5 percent in emerging market and developing economies—upward revisions of 0.9 and 0.8 percentage points respectively—and is projected to remain elevated longer. Inflation has also broadened in many economies, reflecting the impact of cost pressures from disrupted supply chains and historically tight labor markets.

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European Central Bank Raises Interest Rates For The First Time In 11 Years As Global Inflation Surges

The European Central Bank on Thursday authorized its first interest rate hike in 11 years in a bid to help cool rising inflation, becoming the latest central bank to more aggressively unwind policy that fueled economic growth during the pandemic even as global recession fears continue to rise.

In a statement on Thursday, the ECB said it would raise rates by 50 basis points as a “key step to make sure inflation returns to its 2% target over the medium term”—coming in at the higher end of expectations calling for an increase of at least 25 basis points.

Officials also signaled additional hikes to come, saying “further normalization” of interest rates will be appropriate, though they suggested the larger hike on Thursday will allow them to move more slowly with future increases, adding: “The frontloading today . . . allows the Governing Council to make a transition to a meeting-by-meeting approach to interest rate decisions.”

The decision comes after data showing inflation in the United Kingdom skyrocketed 9.4% in June, hitting a new 40-year high and surpassing similarly high inflation of 9.1% in the United States.

In a speech late last month, ECB President Christine Lagarde warned there are “growing signs”—including the ongoing war in Ukraine—that suggest “supply shocks hitting the economy could linger for longer” and further warned unforeseen shocks could de-anchor inflation expectations.

Lagarde doubled down on the message Thursday, telling reporters at a press conference that inflation could remain “undesirably high for some time” while also tempering concerns by saying she still doesn’t believe a recession in Europe is the most likely scenario over the next year.

Though it was initially flat for the day, the United Kingdom benchmark FTSE 100 fell 0.9% to 7,200 points after the announcement. Global stocks didn’t fare much better: S&P 500 futures erased premarket gains to trade roughly flat by 9:15 EDT.

Rising food and energy prices—fueled in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—have elevated inflation around the world, pushing many central banks to raise interest rates, which help lower prices by making borrowing more expensive and thereby curbing demand. Increasingly, however, experts worry aggressive central bank policy to curb ongoing price spikes will usher in low economic growth this year and potentially risk a global recession.

“Excessive rate hikes could push the consumer-led economy into not only a short-term, but also a longer-term recession,” says Nigel Green, the CEO of $12 billion advisory deVere Group, warning of the risk that central banks “hit the brakes too hard” in the coming months.

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I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business

Source: European Central Bank Raises Interest Rates For The First Time In 11 Years As Global Inflation Surges

Critics:

The Ukraine war and Covid supply chain issues have driven up everyday costs across the world, putting pressure on households. The eurozone is vulnerable because it relies heavily on Russia for its oil and gas. This week it urged member states to begin rationing supplies amid fears Moscow will halt gas deliveries this year, causing further price spikes.

Explaining its decision to raise rates, ECB president Christine Lagarde said: “Economic activity [in the eurozone] is slowing. Russia’s unjustified aggression towards Ukraine is an ongoing drag on growth. “We expect inflation to remain undesirably high for some time owing to continued pressure from energy and food prices and pipeline pressures in the pricing chain,” she added.

The bank says further rate hikes “will be appropriate” and that it will take a “meeting-by-meeting” approach to raising rates. The idea is that by making it more expensive to borrow money, people will spend less, bringing down demand and therefore prices. However, there are also concerns that higher rates could push the bloc into recession – which is defined as two successive quarters of economic decline.

These fears helped push the euro to a 20-year low against the dollar in recent weeks. The ECB began cutting interest rates after the 2008 financial crisis to stimulate growth, and took them as low as -0.5% during the pandemic. The idea was to encourage banks to lend rather than deposit money with the ECB.

Earlier this year the bank signalled it planned to increase rates again, although economists had only expected an increase of 0.25 percentage points in July. Some economists have criticised the ECB for moving too slowly, pointing out that the UK and US began raising rates months ago. Carsten Brzeski, chief eurozone economist at ING bank, said: “In hindsight, the very gradual and cautious normalisation process the ECB started at the end of last year has simply been too slow and too late.”

However, there are concerns about how higher borrowing costs will affect highly indebted European nations, including Italy and Greece.

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What Stagflation Is, and How To Prepare For it

Runaway inflation has raised fears that the economy is headed towards a return of stagflation but a host of Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs and HSBC believe there remains opportunities for investors to safely navigate this tricky backdrop. Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s to refer to a combination of high inflation and high unemployment. Recent surveys show economists and fund managers see increased risks of stagflation on the horizon. There are steps you can take now to get in a better financial position in case stagflation or a recession does happen.

The next big risk to the U.S. economy may be summed up in one word. And no, it’s not necessarily recession, though economists are evenly split on the risks one is coming. Instead, 80% of economists in the same survey named stagflation as the greater long-term risk to the economy, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. The next biggest risk they identified was deflation, with 13% of respondents.

Moreover, a recent Bank of America global fund manager survey found fears of stagflation are the highest they have been since June 2008. Stagflation is “by far and away the most popular description of what the economic backdrop will be in the next 12 months,” according to the report.

What is stagflation?

Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s when there was simultaneous high inflation and economic stagnation or high unemployment, according to Jonathan Wright, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. While there were some nasty recessions back then, many economists aren’t expecting a return to anything like that now, he said. “The sense in which you had stagflation in the 1970s is not one that I think is at all in the cards,” Wright said.

However, high inflation is prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates — known as tightening monetary policy. With that, it is “quite likely” the unemployment rate will rise “a fair bit” from the 3.6% it is at now, Wright said. The result may at least be a mild recession, he said. Stagflation may happen if a recession sets in before inflation has gone down to where the Fed wants it to be, Wright said.

For example, if unemployment were to go up to about 5% and consumer price index inflation were also at above 5% in 2023, that would be a kind of stagflation, though not to the degree we experienced in the 1970s, he said. “It certainly would mean that the job market would be a lot less hot than it’s been,” Wright said. In the near term, the labor market may cool simply by having fewer vacancies, he said.

How likely is stagflation?

Despite surveys sounding the alarm on stagflation, not everyone agrees it’s inevitable. “It doesn’t seem like a high probability,” said Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute. To have stagflation, you need both high unemployment and high inflation at the same time, which Bivens does not see as likely.

“If we had a situation where unemployment rose pretty sharply, I actually think that would likely cause inflation to start coming down pretty sharply,” Bivens said. A more likely scenario is that if we end the year with a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, we could be in a recession by 2023, he said. “If that happens, I just expect inflation to relent pretty quickly,” Bivens said.

How can you prepare for a recession or stagflation?

A combination of inflation and shrinkflation, where product companies reduce the contents of everything that we buy, is making it so people’s money just doesn’t go as far now, said Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner and CEO of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta.

Now, stagflation is also a possibility that clients are asking about, Jenkin said. “I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to hit a recession,” he said. “Whether this is a mild recession or we go into stagflation will be the big question.” Consequently, now is a great time to revisit your personal financial plan. “This is the absolute time for people to batten down the hatches and beef up the foundation of their financial house,” Jenkin said.

Try to aim for at least six months’ worth of emergency expenses in case a downturn does happen, he said. Also make sure you have prepared a recent budget to see if there are places where you can cut back. Additionally, take a look at any adjustable-rate debt you may have — credit cards, mortgages, student loans — and see if you can pare those balances down or refinance them. Now that interest rates are poised to go up, those balances will become more expensive.

Moreover, it’s a great time to invest in yourself to be more marketable professionally if layoffs become the norm. “Make sure you’ve really brushed up on your skills and competencies or education so that if the job market gets tighter, you’re marketable,” Jenkin said.

By: Lorie Konish

Source: What stagflation is, and how to prepare for it

More contents:

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If You Have More Than $1,000 in Your Checking Account, Make These 5 Moves

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.

By The Penny Hoarder Staff

Source: If You Have More Than $1,000 in Your Checking Account, Make These 5 Moves – The Penny Hoarder

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.

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