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So you’re making more than $65,000 a year — that’s great! Here are 9 smart money moves you can tackle today to keep more cash in your pocket, grow what you have, and protect your family.
1.) Save thousands in interest rate costs by refinancing your student loans
While the coronavirus seems to have everyone on edge, there is one piece of good news that comes from all of this: falling interest rates. Now is the time to make sure you’re taking advantage of this extraordinarily low rate environment.
We’re in the midst of a situation that has never happened before – the Federal Reserve announced two emergency rate cuts in March to drop the federal funds rate to virtually 0%. Most student loan interest rates are based on these rates, and that means lenders have access to cheaper funds. The good news is that they can pass those savings on to you.
Credible.com stands out because they make shopping around and refinancing very simple. They have a useful comparison tool so you can check out top lenders side-by-side. The website is simple to use and all of the terms are transparently displayed. Consider it your one-stop-shop for all your student lending needs.
2.) Move any credit card debt to a low interest loan…
Do you have some credit card debt that’s been creeping up on you? It may be the right time to pull the trigger on a more general-purpose personal loan. Fiona has an easy to use interface that helps to match you with a loan offer from its comprehensive network of providers that’s right for you. Fiona offers loans from $1,000 to $100,000, APRs from 4.99%, and terms from 2 years to 7 years payback. You don’t have to take a loan, but at the very least, it’s valuable information for you to have. Best of all, there is no impact to your credit score for seeing what you’re qualified for!
3.) Learn about the stock market and make an investment
The past few weeks have either confirmed how much you know about the stock market or, they’ve confirmed how much more there is to learn.
It’s not too late to learn, and it’s definitely not too late to still make money. Market sell offs create huge buying opportunities. A Motley Fool Stock Advisor membership provides you with the market research you need to navigate these difficult times. As a bonus, it’s currently free for 30-days and 50% off for a yearlong membership.
Once you figure out what to buy, you’ll need to figure how to buy. In just a few years, Robinhood has become one of the largest stock trading apps in the country, offering commission free trading and an easy way to start investing. They offer you the ability to start with as little as $1 and buy fractional shares, so if your favorite company’s stock is a little too expensive, you can still get involved.
4.) Stop putting it off, you have time right now to actually compare prices on your car insurance
When was the last time you looked at the cost of your insurance? If the answer is anything more than a year ago, you’re probably overpaying.
Insurance companies know that people don’t like to reshop. In fact, they count on its — which is why these companies are more than happy to raise your rates every single year.
Young Alfred is part of a new crop of insurance startups that can do the heavy lifting for you. As an independent agency, they’re authorized to quote and sell insurance for dozens of different insurance companies. According to Young Alfred, the average household that buys insurance through them saves over $350 a year. They’ll also show you ‘bundled quotes’, unlocking even more potential savings by allowing you to package your auto and home insurances into one policy.
“For most households, we can save them an additional 20-25% by bundling their home insurance with their car insurance. So I always recommend that our users at least check to see if that’s the case,” says Evan Pearson, Licensed Insurance Agent at Young Alfred.
If you don’t own a home, but are still looking to save some money, getting an updated car insurance quotes is a great way to find savings. MONEY’s recent article The Best Auto Insurance for 2020 is a great place to find a few companies to get quotes from. Even if you don’t end up switching, it’s a good idea to see what you can save.
5.) Open a high-yield savings account
We’re in the golden age of savings accounts right now, so why not take advantage and start getting better use out of your salary? High-yield savings accounts offer interest rates at a much higher rate that your traditional savings accounts — so much so, you’ll actually be able to see your accounts grow by the month.
Barclays offers one of the most competitive interest rates in the country, is FDIC insured up to $250,000, and has no minimum balance. Now let’s get your money working for you.
6.) Make your investing ‘Automatic’
These are crazy times in the market. And no matter what anyone tells you, short term moves are impossible to accurately predict.
According to David Bach, 10x New York Times bestselling author including The Automatic Millionaire, the easiest way to do this is to “make it automatic”, he explains.
Betterment allows you to do just that. They’ll create a portfolio of broad based indexes, based upon your savings goals, and you can set up automatic contributions that you don’t even have to think about.
7.) Write Your Will
Fact: No one wants to write a will. But it’s one of those peace-of-mind adult things that once you get it done, you’ll feel a sense of relief — knowing that your assets are in good hands and your kids are taken care of, should you unexpectedly pass. And it’s not as time consuming (or expensive) as you might think, either.
Trust & Will can help you to create a legally binding will in under 15 minutes for $69.
Even if you think you have a straightforward situation, it’s important to have a will. Those who don’t, run the risk of having their assets go through what’s called probate, which is the process of determining who gets your home and your money. This can take weeks, months, or even years to sort out.
Get 10% off with “MONEY10” and make sure your family is protected today.
8.) Make your credit card work for you
While traveling may not be on your list of things to do anytime soon, we think there may be a vacation in your future. Let’s make sure you’re ready.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering 60K points, worth about $750 (!) if you spend $4,000 on your card within the first three months. You’ll also earn 2 points on every dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point on everything else.
9.) Leave your family $1 million in case something happens
Have you considered how your family would fare without your income when you’re no longer around?
Life insurance provides a tax-free lump sum to your loved ones in the case of your death. It allows them to pay rent or a mortgage, put food on the table, and send your kids to college. And it may not be quite as expensive as you think. Depending on your age and health, you may be able to get up to $1 million in coverage for less than $10 a month.
Check out Bestow, a new company in the life insurance space offering term insurance — meaning it’s for a set period of time. You can get a quote from your couch and get covered fast, without salespeople or medical exams.
Founded in 2016, Bestow’s insurance policies are issued by North American for Life and Health Insurance®, a company that has been around for more than 100 years and has an A+ from AM Best, a top financial strength rating from this prestigious firm (meaning they think the company is in really good shape).
10.) If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage yet, waiting could have paid off!
If there is one word on the mind of every homeowner and financial planner right now, it’s this one: “Refinance”.
Mortgage interest rates are near historic lows but Rex Salisbury, an Andreessen Horowitz’s partner, reported that “some lenders have actually raised rates, as demand exceeds [banks] ability to process applications.’
That surge in demand is subsiding, so if you waited until now it might mean you could get a better rate today than even last week.
If you’re looking for a company to provide some extra help with the refi process, MONEYrecommends Quicken Loans for their great customer service. Quicken also owns Rocket Mortgage, which has a smooth online platform and experience.