Getting life insurance sounds like a real adult thing to do. Unless you don’t need it. Then you’re just wasting money. Don’t waste money.

It doesn’t get much more adult than buying life insurance. Coming to terms with your own death is a rite of passage as we grow older, and purchasing a life insurance policy is a sign that you care about what happens to your family after you’re gone.

But sometimes, it’s also a waste of money.

Accepting the reality of your own mortality and looking to protect your loved ones after you die is noble, but the funds you would spend paying for a policy can often be put to better use.

Life insurance has a very specific function, financially, and it often just doesn’t make sense to pay for it if you’re not at a certain stage in life. Imagine paying for car insurance when you haven’t even gotten your license – that’s the kind of situation many people put themselves into.

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s financially sound for you to purchase a life insurance policy, read ahead for more information.

When you don’t have kids or a mortgage.

I called my insurance agent the week after my husband and I got married and asked him if we needed to buy life insurance. He only asked me two questions: did we own any property together and did we have any kids? The answer to both questions was no, so he suggested we hold off.

Yes, if either one of us dies, the surviving party would have to change his or her lifestyle to compensate living on one income. Rent would be a bigger struggle, but neither of us would have to think about how to support a child or how to carry a mortgage by ourselves. Some days it seems odd that I don’t have life insurance even though I’m married, but I know it makes more sense to keep it this way.

However, we’re preparing to purchase life insurance next year once we buy a house. Getting out of a mortgage can take a while depending on the housing market, so it’s more necessary for a childless couple with a mortgage to buy life insurance than a couple that’s renting. If your partner dies while renting, it’s pretty easy to get out of the lease and move to a more affordable spot.

When you buy it for your kids.

During a staff meeting at my last job, someone brought up the idea of buying life insurance for your kids. I was confused. “Isn’t the whole point of life insurance to replace someone’s income?” I asked. But they disagreed.

Most of the parents in the room said they had bought life insurance for their children, in case something happened. But buying life insurance for your children, who don’t provide any financial value, is a waste of money.

Think about it: life insurance should prevent a family from having money problems if one of the earners dies. Since children don’t bring in any money (unless your kid is a famous child actor), your income would stay the same in the event of their passing – and your expenses would decrease. It’s also incredibly rare for a child to die before the parent, especially in their youth, so the odds of actually benefiting from a policy are extremely low.

Instead, you’re better off saving any money you’d pay for life insurance in an emergency fund, which will cover any potential funeral expenses. You can also put that money towards a college fund.

When you’re buying whole life insurance.

Most financial experts, including the legendary Dave Ramsey, tell people to buy term life insurance instead of whole. Whole insurance bills itself as a life insurance policy combined with a savings account. They claim that a user can build up cash value in his or her policy that the family can redeem once they pass away.

Because a whole life policy is designed to cover the customer for their entire life, it’s much more expensive than a term life policy. For example, when I input my information into a life insurance form, it tells me I qualify for a $25/month term life policy with a $500,000 payout. A whole life policy with the same benefit would cost $408.45 /month.

If you invest the $383 difference every month in an index fund earning 7% annually, you’ll have $1,011,550.80 in 40 years, or more than double the cash value of the whole life policy. Plus, you’ll have access to those funds any time – no waiting for an insurance company to pay out.

When you’re retired.

A few years ago, a friend of mine lost her father. As we were commiserating about the situation, she mentioned that his insurance policy had lapsed only within the last year. She remarked on what a shame it was that her mother wouldn’t be able to get any life insurance money.

Most retirees don’t need life insurance, especially if they don’t have a mortgage. Remember, the point of insurance is to substitute lost wages or pay for current bills. Since a retiree usually has few expenses, it’s not necessary for them to have a life insurance policy.

Have you purchased life insurance yet? What factors did you consider before taking that step? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Let’s be real. Stock funds are probably your best bet. But here are some other ideas for investing to build wealth.

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After you’ve been through a couple stock market crashes, it’s hard to get excited about investing. In fact, many millennials are wary of investing — especially investing in stocks.

On the other hand, we’re told that investing is an effective way to prepare for the future. So, can you build wealth without stocks?

It’s possible, especially if you forget notions of stock-picking. In this episode, we’ll look at how to build wealth without stocks, providing different ideas that you can implement to help you grow your nest egg.

Concepts

  • Reasons many people don’t like the stock market.
  • How the news can influence how you think about the stock market.
  • A look at some of the ways people feel the stock market is stacked against them.
  • Why you need to develop multiple sources of income.
  • How to use real estate to build wealth without stocks.
  • Different business ideas that can help you grow your wealth.
  • Using P2P lending as a way to build wealth without stocks.
  • Exotic alternatives like cryptocurrencies, forex, and precious metals.
  • The risks you need to be aware of if you decide to try to build wealth without stocks.
  • Why you should consider funds (even if they are stocks) as one way to grow wealth over time.

Use this week’s DO NOWs to evaluate your situation, figuring out what kind of risk tolerance you have and thinking about what investments might be most appropriate for you.

Our listener question this week deals with the investing systems you are likely to see advertised everywhere. We talk about how you can tell legit systems from the shady offerings.

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Resources

Millennial feelings about investing

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Crush those student loans.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Chonce Maddox joins us to talk about paying down student loans. Like many saddled with student loan debt, Chonce has struggled to make ends meet. In this special episode, recorded live on the Ally podcast stage at FinCon.

Chonce is a successful freelance writer who covers personal finance topics for a variety of outlets and writes at MyDebtEpiphany.com. In this episode, we talk with Chonce about setting intentions, changing your money mindset, and using all the tools available to you in order to pay down debt and crush student loans.

Listen to the audio podcast above.

Hosted by Harlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Rent due but bank account empty? Before you start packing your bags, let’s look at your options.

Sometimes there are moments when money is a little tighter than usual. A check is coming in late, your hours were cut unexpectedly, or an unplanned expense pops up. Typically, when those moments happen it’s at the most inconvenient time possible. And, it’s especially stressful when these situations crop up around the first of the month when rent is due.

If you’re finding that there is more month than money and that it’s painfully, glaringly obvious that you’re going to be late for rent, there are a number of actions that you can do to take control of the situation before the situation takes control of you.

Don’t panic.

First, and most importantly, don’t panic. I’ve made my worst financial decisions every single time that I’ve allowed panic to dictate my actions. One of the constants about money is that it ebbs and flows. If you’re in a low-income flow situation and you begin to panic, you will begin to make choices that will be more expensive over time. Some of those decisions include:

  • Borrowing money – If you’re already broke, borrowing money is just not going to work out for you in the long-run. Umm….because you’re already broke. You will then be on the hook for any overdue rent money and the money that you borrowed.
  • Payday loans – I’ve had these and it feels like they should be helpful. Basically, you borrow on upcoming income. But, you are also charged a ridiculous amount of interest that you already can’t afford because you’re broke. Just avoid these like the plague.
  • Shutting down mentally – This one is hard. I actually struggle with this a lot. Sometimes I will just shut down and kind of avoid what’s going on. Not good. Again, this will make a bad situation even worse. You have to be mentally present in order to deal with the financial issue at hand – you’re going to be late for rent.

Take control.

Fortunately, there are a number of actions you can take to take control of the situation and hopefully never be late again.

If you’re going to be late on your rent because you need an extra $100 dollars, spend some time thinking about where you can get that extra money and begin hustling. If you’re late because you just don’t have the entire amount…again, start hustling. The sooner you begin working to bring more cash in the sooner you can resolve the issue.

If you are one month out and you can already tell that you don’t have money for rent-you’re in luck. Thirty days out is plenty of time to focus on growing your income. Not sure what you could do to bring in more cash? Here are some ideas:

  • Animal sitting – I’m not a huge animal person, but if it came down to it, I could doggy sit for a couple of days. I can love on the dog and then return it to its owner and get paid to take care of it. It’s a win-win because I would get puppy time without dealing with all of the long-term stuff and get paid. If you live in an animal crazy city like Denver, you could get started pretty quickly on earning some extra cash in about a week.
  • Sell your stuff – Americans are notorious packrats. We have a ridiculous amount of stuff in our homes. Sell it via:
    1. Craigslist – But, do it at a safe location. There are many cities where you can do the pick ups and drop offs of items at designated safe areas (typically police stations)
    2. Have a yard sale – if it’s still warm enough to rock a yard sale, DO IT! I’m continuously amazed by all of the stuff people will buy.
    3. Sell your clothes – For this to work, you need to have really nice clothes with good resale value.
    4. Sell your bigger items – If your situation is especially dire, sell: your car, your high-end electronics, etc. If you sell your car, you will also free up additional cash because you won’t have to pay for insurance, car maintenance, or gas.
  • Sell your expertise – Necessity is the mother of invention. Sell your expertise. If you are looking to grow your income, think about what you are considered an expert at and set up a day to teach people how to do what you do.

Talk it out.

Review your rental agreement. Again, if you’re going to be late because you’re a little short of cash, also look at what you will be charged in regards to late fees. Late fees vary but could make a bad situation much worse really quickly.

Communicate. There is nothing worse than catching your landlord off-guard. If you’re hustling, and the money is just going to come in after your rent is due (and you know it) talk to your landlord and continue to hustle your ass off.

There is nothing worse than being late for rent, but, there are a number of ways to manage the situation proactively. Good luck!

Have you been late on your rent, or close to it? How did you handle it? Let us know over in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Choose one of these best bank accounts to handle your finances like an adult.

If you don’t have a bank account yet, you should open one. (Continue reading for some suggestions.) Anyone who earns money from a job or any other source — even if there isn’t a lot of money to spare — should be using a checking account at the very least.

My bank tells me I’ve been a customer since the year I turned 13, so whether it was from an allowance, from taking care of my neighbor’s cat while they were on vacation, or from my first job in retail, I was at least trying to have a positive money attitude, inspired by my parents.

It’s possible to be successful without a bank account, but without one, you’ll have obstacles in today’s society. You can work at a job where you’re paid cash, or you can use check-cashing services at Walmart or storefronts. Prepaid debit cards can help you buy things in an increasingly cashless environment. But all these workarounds are expensive and limit your financial possibilities.

Bank accounts can be expensive, too, and many of these financial corporations will try to fleece you at any opportunity with overdraft fees, minimum balance requirements, maintenance fees, and ATM fees. The list of hidden fees seems to go on forever. Avoiding fees sometimes requires some attention, but when you can, checking and savings accounts are much better than “alternative banking products.”

You don’t need to go crazy. You can do everything you need with one checking account, but to make the most out of benefits banks have to offer, you’d need one savings account as well. That will help you earn interest on the money of yours you let the bank use — yes, when you deposit money in a bank account, you’re letting the bank use your money, so they should be giving you something in return (in addition to your ability to withdraw any amount of your money at any time).

I prefer the KISS strategy when it comes to bank accounts: Keep It Simple, Stupid. (No offense.)

Choose one of these best bank accounts to open.

Best Overall Bank Account for an Adult.

Fidelity Cash Management Account. This is the best example of the KISS method of banking. It’s a checking and a savings account in one, though the amount of interest you earn is minimal. But for a primary bank account, that’s just fine. Everything is free. Let me repeat: Everything is free. There’s no minimum balance. When you want to use an ATM, the owners will charge a fee, but Fidelity pays you to cover that fee.

You receive free checks to use. (You should learn how to use a checkbook and how to write checks if you don’t already know.) You can deposit any checks you receive using an app on your phone. Of course, you receive a debit card to access your money using an ATM or for purchases. Open a Fidelity Cash Management account.

Best Bank Account for an Adult Who Doesn’t Trust Banks.

Your local credit union. Not a fan of the financial industry? Credit unions don’t answer to Wall Street, so they’re not always trying to profit from their customers. Credit unions are owned by their members (who are also their customers), so it’s a system that makes the needs of the customers their priority.

Many community credit unions are open to anyone, but some have restricted membership. Navy Federal Credit Union is one of the best-reviewed credit unions out there, but you need to be affiliated with the military or the Department of Defense (or have an immediate family member who is) in order to join.

The Navy Federal Credit Union e-Checking is that organization’s best option taking all the facets of banking into account.

An independent credit union may also be the best option for Socially Conscious Adults. (Trump fans should head to CitiBank or Wells Fargo; the president owns stock in these companies.) Search for a credit union.

Best Bank Account for an Adult With Limited Mobility.

The branch that’s local to you. For a while in my adult life, I didn’t own a car. That really limited my ability to get around to a distant branch. This might apply to someone who lives in a walk-able city, too, like New York City.

Convenience is an important factor in choosing a bank account, sometimes more than a tiny bit of interest you might earn. So if you have a bank within a walking distance of 60 seconds, no one would ever judge you for choosing that bank’s free checking option over another bank.

Almost every bank account in existence today can be managed online, so there should be very few things you need to actually travel to a branch for. But sometimes, something comes up. But any online account should also be good for someone without access to transportation. Ally Bank is a strongly-reviewed online bank with a standard checking account. Simple is another interesting choice.

Best Bank Account for Adults Who Earn Interest.

Synchrony High Yield Savings. If you want just one bank account, choosing a checking account like one of the above. If you’re ready to have both a checking account and a savings account, and you’re moderately good at managing your money, a high yield savings account is a good choice for a second bank account.

And in recent years, Synchrony has offered one of the highest interest rates around. As of right now, that’s 1.05% APY (annual percentage yield). What does that mean? If you deposit $1,000 on day one and do nothing else, on day 366, your balance will be $1,010.50.

Not a huge increase, but it’s better than ending up with less. And we’ve been at a low point in interest rates. They will rise in the future — we just don’t know when. Open a Synchrony High Yield Savings account.

Best Bank Account for Adult Entrepreneurs.

Citizens Bank Clearly Better Business Checking. It’s important to separate your business finances from your personal life. If you develop a business, or you start earning money from your hobby in a serious way, you’ll want a business checking account. Make your business official with the state and federal governments, then open this account.

There are no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirement, so it’s perfect for your side hustle. The bank offers 200 free check transactions, which should be sufficient for most small businesses. Open a Clearly Better Business Checking account.

If you have a bank account, which account do you have?

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Don’t let your fate rest in one person’s hands.

A recent study in the U.K. showed that kids no longer aspire to be singers, actors or athletes. They’d rather be business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Well, that’s just dandy. No, it really is.

Sure, I wanted to grow up to be Madonna or even Stevie Nicks. But, for many reasons (obvious and not so obvious) that was never going to work out. I got into business — much to the relief of my parents. That worked out pretty well. I made it to middle-management and life was easy.

Then, I got the bug!

I couldn’t work for someone else any longer, wanted to do my own thing, and I knew what I wanted to do. Then, life wasn’t so easy. The life of an entrepreneur is a roller coaster. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world because now that I’ve survived the good, the bad and the ugly, it’s excellent.

One of the reasons my business is good to me is that I’m no longer reliant on one stream of income. The second and better reason is I’m no longer reliant on one person for my income. Finally, there’s diversity in what I do. Today, alone, I’m working on three of the incomes streams I mention below. If I wanted to, I could choose to do none of them.

To me, that speaks to the power when you diversify your income streams if you want to be an entrepreneur today. Here are my recommendations for you to consider and how I’m using (most of) them.

1. Monetize your blog.

You already know that I want you to become a blogger. I want everyone to become a blogger. I think blogs are as important as resumes. Plus, they can create the opportunity for you to go solo. There are many benefits to having your blog, some of which I’ll include in the following.

One of the easiest ways to make money from blogging is to monetize your blog. Google Ad Sense and Amazon Affiliate Links are probably the two most popular and accessible ways to monetize your blog. There are other companies you can you, but these are the only two I’ve used, so I don’t want to mention them.

When I first started blogging, we used Google Ad Sense that included a banner ad at the top and bottom of our blog and a square ad on the right rail of our blog. Choosing specific parameters, I permitted Google to rotate ads carousel-style on my blog.

Because you make money when people who visit your blog click on these ads, the more traffic you have, the better your return on your investment (ROI). Over time Google Ad Sense and their competition have decreased in their ROI, but they’re still an easy way to make money when you start blogging.

I use Amazon Affiliates for two reasons. The first is I have more control of what I promote on my blog. I don’t run the risk of advertising the vacuum cleaner of the week to my audience who has no interest in vacuum cleaners.

On top of that, I don’t have unrelated banner and square ads taking up real estate on my blog. Amazon Affiliate links are a better way than Google Ad Sense to make money in our experience. We have a blogger friend whose whole business is based on Amazon Affiliate Links.

2. Add affiliate marketing to your blog.

The most lucrative marketing strategy, at least for me, is affiliate marketing. Affiliating marketing is when you establish a relationship with a company to promote or sell their product on your blog.

The reason affiliate marketing is lucrative is two-fold. First, the affiliate payouts are better — at least for the companies I partner. My blog is about personal finance for the LGBTQ community, and all my affiliates are finance related.

The second reason affiliate marketing is lucrative is because I only affiliate with partners that can serve my niche. For example, when I talk about the benefits of refinancing a loan, I can link directly to an affiliate of mine that does that. My readers don’t see an ad for the vacuum cleaner of the week when I’m helping them lower their interest rates.

Another friend of mine has a course about making money with affiliate marketing. If this is something you want to learn, check it out.

3. Start freelance writing.

Freelance writing has been good to me, but it took me a while to earn credentials to become a freelance writer. I’m glad about that. Of course, I wanted to get paid for my writing the first day I started blogging. When I look back on my first blog articles, though, I recognize that they’re horrible.

Blogging for myself for years helped me find my voice and style — learn more about being a better writer. That time was valuable.

When you’re ready to write for others, it’s worth it. It’s helpful, though not necessary, to find clients in the niche you’ve established for yourself on your blog. I’ve seen it’s easier to sell yourself because your portfolio aligns with your potential client’s needs.

That said, I write for Adulting, which isn’t exclusively about personal finance. It’s been fun and worthwhile for me.

Another friend of mine has a course that teaches you how to become a freelance writer, even making it your primary income stream. If this interests you, I highly recommend her course.

4. Connect with brands for brand partnerships.

Brand partnerships are fun! I’ve done everything from simply attending an event to being part of a game show.

As your following grows on your blog, and as your email list gets bigger, and as your social media presence grows, you’ll become an “influencer.”

Fancy, huh?

Simply advertising on television and radio aren’t marketing strategies anymore. Brands partner with people or other businesses that have a following to generate interest and excitement in their products and services.

For this income stream, Twitter has been invaluable. Twitter’s struggling, and many think Twitter’s dead, but for me, it’s been great because it’s the primary way that I’ve been able to connect with top brands in my niche.

Again, I’ve only partnered with brands I believe in, and that align with my business’s mission. I don’t want to bring my readers to an event where they’ll be sold something that will sabotage their goals and our relationship.

As my social media following has grown, I’m having discussions with brands that aren’t in my niche but with whom there could be a symbiotic relationship.

5. Become a public speaker.

Public speaking is also fun after the nauseous pit in your stomach goes away, at least for me. Now that I’ve overcome that feeling, public speaking has been good to me.

Having a voice on your blog makes getting into public speaking because people and businesses want to know what you have to say before they hire you to say it. Again, having a social media following helps, too. Companies like it when you can attract an audience to an event.

Public speaking can be very lucrative once you’re even slightly established. If you get into public speaking, you’ll do some gigs for free. Just like with your first articles, you’ll eventually feel that not getting paid for your first public speaking gigs is a good thing.

Once you’ve gotten better at the craft, the trajectory to earn good money is slightly less than vertical. An added perk with public speaking in cities where you don’t live is that the people and businesses that hire you expect to pay for your travel, hotel, and some food.

Another friend of mine has a public speaking course, that’s all about how to get into the public speaking space. It’s the course I use and some of his templates I still use today.

6. Become a podcaster.

Honestly, I fell into podcasting totally by accident. Thank heavens I did fall into it.

I love podcasting because it’s a wealth of information. I’m gay. My husband’s gay. Our platform is personal finance for the LGBTQ community. One might think that I know my community inside and out. But I don’t. There is so much that I don’t know — and my podcast helped me see that.

When I learn something new on my podcast, I research it and learn how my business can help. This new knowledge gives me content for future podcasts, freelancing writing, and articles for my blog that link to affiliates with solutions. See the cycle?

Podcasting has also been a good income stream for me. Some of my brand partnerships have happened in part because I’ve included my podcast as a selling feature with the partnership. Also, because brands want to connect with my niche, the LGBTQ community, brands have asked to sponsor my show.

7. Sell courses.

I’m creating my first course now. As you can see from all my recommendations above, many online entrepreneurs create courses on topics they’re capable of teaching. Even before you start doing any of the above, you may already be an expert in something you can teach.

That’s great! Don’t wait. Create your course. Make your course your main platform.

Is it easier to sell your course after you’ve generated a steady stream of traffic to your site and after you have a substantial social media following? Yes.

Is that the only path? No.

I have another friend/colleague, who established her course as her platform and her blog traffic and social media following followed.

Being creative with marketing your course may make my above recommendations easier or unnecessary.

8. Be a social media manager.

My next two recommendations aren’t income streams for me, but I know many people for whom they are.

Social media is essential for bloggers. It can be a full-time job itself. In fact, for many bloggers, it is. That’s why they hire out their social media to social media managers. As your business, brand and social media following grow, it’s harder to stay engaged with your social media followers personally. Your blog traffic and your social media following are your bread and butter. Don’t dismiss it.

The good thing about becoming a social media manager is that if you like (or are already good with) one or more social media platforms, research on YouTube and with podcasts how to become a social media manager for someone else, and you can make yourself a nice income.

As with anything, you may need to start at the bottom of the income ladder, but it won’t be long before you can make this a part of your income stream.

9. Help others by becoming a virtual assistant.

Though I haven’t been a virtual assistant, I desperately need one. The job description for a virtual assistant is broad, and you can define it on your terms. Virtual assistants:

• Manage emails
• Manage calendars
• Manage social media
• Help with editing
• Website/blog design
• Research
• Act as personal assistants
• Other random items

What and how much service you provide will help determine how much you charge, commensurate with experience. If you need, start out simple and small. As time goes on, add more skills to your resume and increase your prices.

The most significant selling point of being a virtual assistant, in addition to the income stream, is that you virtually assist from literally anywhere in the world. It’s in the job title. Want to work from Idaho Falls? Do it. Want to work from a beach in the Caribbean? The option is yours.

These are just nine ways you can diversify income streams. They’re not the only ways. Hopefully, these nine will get your entrepreneur brain churning on all the ways you can make money in addition to working for your boss or working for yourself.

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Being a single mom doesn’t have to be depressing. Here’s how to love it.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Emma Johnson, author of The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children and blogger-owner of http://wealthsinglemommy.com/ joins Harlan and Miranda today to share tips about living a great life while being the single parent of children.

We talk about dating, money, and how you can feel empowered and love being a single mom without hating men. We also look at taking charge of your finances and rebuilding your life on your own terms.

Emma Johnson is the author of THE KICKASS SINGLE MOM: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, creator of the immensely popular blog, WealthySingleMommy.com, and host of the podcast, “Like a Mother,” where she explores issues facing professional moms like herself. She is a writer, journalist, entrepreneur, former small-town Midwesterner, and current New Yorker. Since launching her blog four years ago, she has become the leading voice of single motherhood in the popular media and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Day, and NPR, among others.

Book: https://adulting.tv/a/014313115X
Twitter: @JohnsonEmma
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646747051
Website: http://www.wealthysinglemommy.com

Listen to the audio podcast above.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Does the thought of investing scare you because you need a lot of money to get started?

That’s one of the biggest reasons people are missing out on the best way to build wealth over the course of their lives. It’s hard to just take that first step when you’re also concerned about feeding yourself or your family, covering your rent or mortgage, and affording every other necessity in life.

But you don’t need a lot of money to start investing. For example, $10 a week can turn into $75,000 if you give it some time. Here are a few ways to make that happen for you.

WealthSimple. WealthSimple arrived in the United States after its success in Canada, and its strength is its cost. When you’re starting out with investing, you don’t want fees digging into into your profits.

There’s no charge to transfer money from a bank account into your WealthSimple account. I started out with a $10 weekly investment, but you could start with $5 a month if you want, or if that’s all you can afford right now.

And there’s a special deal right now. If you open an account, you will receive a $50 bonus. Open an account today and get that $50.

When you sign up, you fill out a short questionnaire to determine how your money should be invested with a mix of exchange-traded funds — one of the most frugal ways to invest in stocks and bonds. You can accept their suggestions — and if you’re new to investing, that’s what we would suggest you do — or change them to suit your tastes if you have a little more experience with investing.

If your account stays under $5,000, you will not be charged any fee for the first year. Above or after that, the management fee is a small 0.5% — though, if you find yourself with more than $100,000 invested, they’ll reduce your fee to 0.4%. This is a great deal when it comes to investing, especially if you’re starting out with just a little bit of cash to invest.

LendingClub. If you’re open to a different kind of approach to investing, take a look at LendingClub. Rather than investing in stocks and bonds, you’re investing in loans. The returns are similar to stocks, and the risk is managed. The only drawback is that your investment is a little less liquid. That means if you need the money you’ve invested in an emergency situation, it might be hard to withdraw immediately. (That’s why it’s always best to have an emergency fund.)

LendingClub helps you pick out the best investments and gives you a good idea of what you can expect to return. You can use your investment to create an income stream. There’s a higher minimum investment of $1,000, but you can save up in a savings account until you are ready to start. After that, you can increase your investment with only $25.

Open an account with LendingClub today.

Ally Invest. Ally Invest is a discount brokerage with truly low prices. Yes, the $4.95 fee per trade will cut into your profits if you invest small amounts in stocks or ETFs. If you want to invest frequently, WealhSimple mentioned above might be a better option, though your investment selection is limited. On the other hand, Ally Invest really lets you take control of your investments. There’s less guidance, but more flexibility.

Ally Invest used to be known as TradeKing, which made its name as one of the most popular discount online brokerages.

Open an account with Ally Invest today.

There are three great options above for getting started with your investment portfolio. This is something every adult should have, and every adult should invest for their future, regardless of how difficult it might feel to let go of even $1 of cash today. Your future-you will thank your today-you if you just take one simple step forward today, even if it’s not a huge step. Thankfully, these resources are here to help you out.

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Credit is a lot like a game. You don’t want to lose.

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Everywhere you look, someone wants to know your credit score. The credit game is serious business. It can impact whether or not you can get a loan for your home, and can even influence your auto insurance rate in some states.

In fact, there is some indication that your credit matters when you’re looking for a date. Increasingly, the credit game is part of the dating game.

So, what do you need to know about credit? And how can you make sure that your credit is good credit? Harlan and Miranda tackle this issue in this week’s episode.

Concepts

  • Your credit report vs. your credit score.
  • The basics of how a credit score is calculated.
  • Different scoring in the credit game.
  • What has the biggest impact on your credit score?
  • How to check your credit report and credit score.
  • Tips for staying on top of your credit situation.
  • How to develop good credit habits that can result in a good score.

For this week, our DO NOWs are about making sure you are checking your credit and financial accounts regularly. Check your credit report, set up with a consumer credit site, and create a schedule for monitoring your accounts.

This week, a reader asks how they can repair their credit. With the credit game, though, you don’t always need someone else to take care of business. We talk about what a credit repair company can — and can’t — do.

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Resources

Check your credit report.
Credit scores matter in dating

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If you can handle a credit card like an adult, you might as well maximize the benefits! These best credit cards offer bonuses and other perks.

Updated for October 2017! Handling your finances like an adult includes knowing how to deal with credit cards. We all make mistakes sometimes. For me, it was taking a cash advance from a credit card when I hit my personal rock bottom. I felt like I didn’t have any other choice.

But years later, I’ve turned the tables on the credit card industry and now use credit cards to earn cash back and collect points for free travel, which I do often.

Here are my picks for the best credit cards across the different types of credit card offers that are available today. Note: all credit card deals are only worthwhile if you pay your balance off in full each month, like a proper adult. If you have to pay interest or a late payment fee, forget about maximizing credit card offers. Focus on getting your finances in shape first.

Best credit card bonus (for the not-so-typical adult).

Chase Sapphire Reserve 50,000 Bonus Points. Unfortunately, Chase has ended its 100,000 bonus points offer that was available when applying from within a Chase branch. What Chase offers now is the reduced bonus point offer of 50,000 points, for which you can still apply online. That’s still pretty substantial. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card, not waived the first year, but you will receive a reimbursement of up to $300 for certain travel expenses like checked-bag fees.

The rest of the benefits may be worth the $150 difference between the reimbursement maximum and the fee. You’ll need to spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months to receive the bonus. Get the 50,000 bonus points and you’re straight fire.

Best cash back credit card offer (for adults who like money).

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. The keys to a good cash back card are avoiding the annual fee, eliminating any hassle to retrieving the cash you earn, and finding a cash-back rate that’s above the average offer. 1% cash back is easy to find, but Blue Cash Everyday beats that with 3% cash back on groceries (limited), 2% at gas stations and certain department stores, and 1% on everything else.

There is currently a bonus offer, too. Apply now to earn $200 in cash back after spending $1,000 within the first three months.

Best travel rewards credit card offer (for adults who have places to be).

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card. If you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card, you should expect to find features that make travel easy. The biggest benefit, especially for the world traveler, is having no foreign transaction fee. Bank of America’s offer makes that happen, and does not charge an annual fee, either.

You earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend, unlimited, and those points are redeemed for a statement credit that covers flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees. There’s no need to convert points to miles or points with a specific airline or hotel chain. Because you use the card normally to pay for your travel expenses, there are no black-out dates.

Right now, this card is offering 20,000 bonus points which can be used to book airfare or hotel stays without restrictions.

Best balance transfer credit card (for adults who need to simplify).

Bank AmeriCard. If there’s one thing you want from a credit card you wish to use to transfer a balance, it’s the lack of a fee. If there’s another thing you want, it’s a low interest rate so you can pay off that balance transfer without any extra costs. BankAmericard has the perfect offer. For the first 60 days, you can transfer balances from your other cards for free, and you’ll have 15 months to pay off that balance without paying a cent in interest (0% APR) as long as you pay at least the minimum due each month.

This is the perfect opportunity to consolidate your balances across several cards and create one manageable, monthly payment. But pay the balance in full within the 15-month period! As a bonus, your purchases during the first 60 days will also be treated to the same 0% APR for the first 15 months.

Best credit card offer for students (for adults who are trying to adult).

Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students. I got my first credit card in college. I signed up and got a free tee-shirt. You get more when you are approved for Citi’s card for college students, probably the credit card offer with the most chill. There’s 2,500 bonus points available for those who sign up, and you have to spend only $500 in the first three months to qualify.

The purpose of a student card is to help you build credit, so don’t expect too many frills besides the basic rewards and introductory 0% APR for 7 months.

Best small business credit card (for adults who think they’re important).

Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express. This is the standard, and if you’re building your business beyond yourself, this is a great choice. Watch out for the $175 annual fee (waived for the first year) with the AmEx Business Gold Rewards Card. But, there’s currently a 50,000 bonus points offer, requiring only $5,000 in purchases over the first three months.

This is a charge card, not a credit card, so you pay your bill in full every month.

Best credit card for building credit (for adults who are just starting to adult).

Discover it Secured Credit Card. Building credit can be difficult if you didn’t have certain advantages growing up, like parents who had their own solid credit and a desire to ensure you were starting your adult life with good credit. Without those benefits, creating a solid financial future for yourself and your family will have more obstacles.

Secured credit cards help establish credit, which allows you to qualify for better mortgage rates (or a mortgage at all) when the time comes, better interest rates for other loans, better prices on insurance, and even better apartments. While you’ll be approved for the Discover it Secured Credit Card without a credit history, this is more than just a basic card. You earn cash back on every purchase (limited) and receive your FICO credit score for free.

What’s in your wallet?

Tell us what kind of card (or cards) you have. And what’s the best feature or you? Cash back, travel rewards, or something else?

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