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Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2)

[Transcribed and adapted from the YouTube video:Money & Coronavirus: How Much to Save’]

Key takeaways:

  • Emergencies are not the time to worry about savings rates—if you have the money, use it. 
  • It’s recommended that you see if halting 401k contributions, HSA contributions, or student loan payments are right for you. 
  • Do not take out any money from your 401k unless you’re absolutely desperate.
  • If you have variable income, build a buffer and plan accordingly.

On the last episode of ‘Money & Coronavirus: How Much Money to Save… ‘

Last time, we talked all about emergency funds, how to get one, why you should have one, and the psychology of saving your money. But, there’s a crucial component to owning your emergency fundyou actually have to use it when it’s an emergency!

Be honest, the pandemic is an emergency. It is 100% OK to use money from your rainy day fund—we just need to be smart about it. 

Let’s go now to the psychology of using your emergency fund. I see a lot of people who have money saved up, but they are terrified to use it. This is the opposite of people who have a spending problem.

Bonus:If the COVID-19 pandemic has you worried about money, check out my free Coronavirus Proofing your Finances guide and protect your money during this pandemic!

Don’t feel bad for spending your emergency fund

I hear a lot about these hyper frugalistas whose entire life is logging into their personal capital account and looking at it: “Oh no, I had a 29% savings rate last month, but my average is 33.3%. I’m really slipping. What’s wrong? I’ve got to get back on track because the community is not going to respect me enough. I need to get to 40%.”

Get a life. Please, do not end up on your deathbed feeling morally superior to other people because you have a 38% savings rate. 

I have heard people still going to work even though they have a huge emergency fund account. Why? You ask them, “Why are you still going to work and exposing yourself and potentially exposing other people?” “Well, what do you mean? That’s my job.” Then you say, “Don’t you have a savings account you’ve been saving for like 10 years?” and they don’t make the connection. It’s called an “emergency fund” for emergencies.

Don’t you think maybe a global pandemic that has stopped virtually 100% of businesses across the world would be classified as an emergency?

If you’ve got the money, it’s time to use it. Use it to live. Use it to help other people. Remember, you can always refill it later, but the craziest thing is that you have people who have done the right thing and saved, but they never built the muscle of spending it. 

It’s an emergency fund. If you need it, spend it. That’s the basic framework for how much to save right now.

What to do if you don’t have a emergency fund

Remember, one year’s worth of necessary expenses is my recommendation for how much should be in your rainy day fund. If you take a look at your numbers and you say, “You know what? That’s impossible, but I think I can do eight months over the course of the next six months,” pat yourself on the back. 

What I want you to do is take action. I don’t want you to hear this number and get demoralized because you can’t do it overnight. 

Part of money is its patience. 

In fact, one of the biggest parts of earning a lot of money is being patient. In this case, you focus on what you can control, cut your expenses, earn more. Optimize your spending on all your bills. Call them up, negotiate, and take control.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

401k contributions, student loan payments, and HSA contributions during COVID-19

One question I’ve heard recently: “Would you recommend halting or minimizing your 401k contributions, your student loan payments, your HSA contributions until we build up at least one year of an emergency fund?” 

Yes, I would. Crazy to hear myself saying this, but yes, I would.

For example, your HSA contributions may be worth $10,000 over the course of the next 20 years. Okay, that’s a lot of money, but guess what? Today, in an employment scenario like this, I would rather have a couple thousand bucks now sitting in that savings account relative to $10,000 later.

Remember what I’m saying: You have to live to fight another day. If you have to take a little bit of a haircut on your $10,000 over the course of the next 30 years, it’s not a big deal. You can take the $2,000 that’s in your pocket and you can invest a little bit more aggressively next year or the year after, whenever things recover. 

If you’ve got that one-year emergency fund, you have earned the right to keep investing your money and you will benefit drastically from that opportunity over the long term because you did the work ahead of time. For those of you don’t have that, focus on that first. 

Should you take out the $100K with no penalty out of your 401k right now?

I would not do that unless it’s a dire case. I would say 50% of the time, I hear from people who took a loan against their 401k or pretty much took a loan, they never repay it. People who take loans out of their 401ks, in general, have poor behavioral control over their money. 

Even though they’ve done some amazing things to be able to waive some of the fees and penalties that used to be there, unless you absolutely need to, I would not recommend it.

Why? A couple of reasons. 

Number one, it’s a bad sign, overall. If you go raid your 401k it shows  that you haven’t done the other things, like saving properly. For most people, the other things can actually sustain you.

Second, don’t forget I talked about all these things you can do: call up your credit card company, talk to your landlord, research unemployment. If you’re unemployed, take advantage of it, please. It’s there for you. 

If you have to raid your 401k, then something has really gone wrong. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever do it, but it’s one of the sources of last resort. It might tide you over in the short term, but it will cost you dearly in the future. That money there will be highly lucrative to you in the long term if you can live to fight another day.

Bonus: Having more than one stream of income can help you through tough economic times. Learn how to start earning money on the side with my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

How do you save for an emergency fund if you don’t have a fixed income?

There are some guidelines for how much you can afford to spend on rent. In general, 28% is a good recommended number. These guidelines show how much people can spend on a rent or a mortgage, basically housing, a car, all debt combined, including student loan, credit card, et cetera. 

If you have a variable income that adds an extra layer of complexity. The way that you do it is you want to build a buffer. If your minimum expenses are $1,000 a month, you want to target 6 to 12 months of emergency fund. In this case, if you have $5,000 a month, you take $1,000 away, pay off your stuff, put $4,000 in your emergency account, and then next month if you make zero, you can draw from there. In general, you want to build up a buffer and effectively simulate a standard 9-to-5 income.

Now, what does that mean specifically for you? It really depends on the numbers we’re talking about. If your variable income is $1,000 to $2,000 a month, that’s going to be a pretty low rent. Some freelancers, some months, make $30,000then they make zero for two months.

In general, I would err on the side of being conservative. Look at how much you’ve made over the last year just as a benchmark and then I would take a steep haircut for the next 12 months, again, depending on your industry.

Closing thoughts on saving and spending money during emergencies

We dove way deeper than just cutting back on $3 lattes. We talked about the structure and how much you need to actually save.

The psychology of an emergency fund goes even deeper: what does it mean to build an emergency fund? A lot of people go, “That’s overwhelming. I can’t do that.” Do not give up. Even if you get 70% of the way there, it’s better than zero. You have to save money right now. You can achieve itit will just take some time.

Finally, we talked about the psychology of spending. If you have an emergency fund, you have earned the right to deploy it. Spend it so you don’t have to go to work, spend it on your loved ones, and even continue investing if you have additional money.

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Ariel Winter Debuts Platinum Blonde Hair and Channels Game of Thrones' Daenerys Targaryen

Ariel WinterAriel Winter is channeling her inner Daenerys Targaryen.
On Saturday, the Modern Family actress debuted a dramatic new lewk to her 4.4 million Instagram followers. The 22-year-old star…

Brigette’s $98 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

My older sister, Brigette, shares her shopping trips and menu plans every week! You can go HERE to see all of her weekly menu plans and you can go HERE to read all about her family!

ALDI

Aldi

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.19

1 gallon Milk – $1.19

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.55

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1/2 gallon Orange Juice – $1.59

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.29

1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89

2 cans Chicken Breast – $3.98

1 8-oz pkg Sliced Cheese – $1.33

1 can Parmesan Cheese – $1.99

1 pkg Goat Cheese Crumbles – $1.79

1 Watermelon – $2.89

2 pkgs Zucchini – $4.18

2 cartons Strawberries – $2.58

1 bag Spinach – $0.99

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $2.15

1 Cauliflower – $1.99

1 large carton Organic Spring Mix – $3.19

1 bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.99

1 bunch Bananas – $0.74

1 pkg Broccoli Crowns – $2.22

1 bar Green Grapes ($0.99/lb) – $2.43

1 jar Organic Salsa – $1.94

1 32-oz carton Egg Whites – $2.95

1 bag Gluten-Free Pretzels – $1.85

1 canister Black Pepper – $1.49

1 large box Corn Flakes – $0.99

1 large box Rice Squares – $1.19

1 16-oz bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $2.49

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.99

5 individual cartons Greek Yogurts – $2.95

2 dozen Eggs – $1.12 (great price, but limit 2)

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.65

Total: $65.30

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Harris Teeter

I also made a quick stop at Harris Teeter on my way home from Aldi…

2 pkgs Rice Cakes – $4.00 (Aldi has been out of rice cakes for 3 weeks now!)

5 pkgs Steamable Frozen Broccoli/Cauliflower – $6.45 (Aldi has also been out of frozen vegetables for weeks)

1 pkg frozen Okra – $1.69

2 pkgs Green Giant Cauliflower Rice – $4.58 (really horrible price, but Aldi has been out for forever, and I miss cauliflower rice!!)

1 HUGE pkg fresh Pork Butt (on sale $0.99/lb, plus reduced) – $16.23 (I divided this into 4 large chunks and froze them individually)

Total: $32.95

Weekly Grocery Total: $98.25

Weekly Menu Plan

(We’ll be out of town 2 days this week, so I didn’t plan meals for the days we will be gone)

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfast. Choices include:

Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled/Boiled/Fried Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Smoothies, Yogurt, Toast, Fruit, Cottage Cheese

Lunches

Pretzels and Peanut Butter, Cheese Sticks, Mini Cucumbers, Strawberries

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Tossed Salad

Shredded Pork Sandwiches, Steamed Broccoli/Cauliflower, Fried Potatoes

Chicken Gravy over Rice, Roasted Parmesan Zucchini

Pancakes, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs

Build-Your-Burrito (homemade tortillas, shredded lettuce, salsa, black olives, shredded cheese, seasoned ground venison), Steamed Broccoli/Cauliflower, Watermelon

Bacon

19 Black-Owned Banks and How to Support Them

Banking Black isn’t a new concept, but it’s gaining momentum amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. But what does it mean to bank Black? According to the Urban Institute, a Black financial institution provides services to minority communities and is 51% or more Black-owned.

Black financial institutions have been around for centuries, with initial meetings among African Americans interested in establishing their own banks held as far back as 1851 — before the Civil War. However, the first Black-owned bank in the U.S. didn’t materialize until after the war, in 1888. 

The first Black-owned banks enabled African Americans to accumulate enough capital to start other service-oriented businesses like nursing homes, catering businesses and insurance companies. And they provided an opportunity for African Americans to learn accounting skills and other techniques required for handling large volumes of cash. 

Today, there are roughly 19 Black-owned banks in the U.S. offering the same services as other financial institutions, such as loans, certificates of deposit, online and mobile banking assistance and more. This number used to be much higher — in 2001, there were 48 Black-owned banks — but, as with other community banks, the numbers have dwindled over the years partially due to regulatory restrictions that often favor larger financial institutions. 

Why you should consider banking Black

It’s no secret there’s a wealth gap between minority and non-minority households. As of 2016, the median wealth for a White family was $171,000 compared to $17,600 for a Black family. 

This is partly attributed to a lack of financial services in minority communities. Without financial inclusion, minorities can’t affordably save, invest and insure themselves, which is required to grow and sustain wealth. This lack of experience also places them at a disadvantage. 

“I believe it is vital that African Americans make financial literacy a priority in 2020 and beyond, especially because of the effects of the coronavirus. Over 67% of Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test. African Americans, on average, can only answer less than 40% of financial literacy questions correctly. According to research, African Americans have the lowest levels of financial literacy,” states Dr. JeFreda R. Brown, personal finance consultant, educator and CEO of Provision Financial Education.

Because of financial exclusion, minorities often resort to expensive financial services, such as check cashing stores and pay-day lenders, because there are fewer banks in their neighborhoods. There are roughly 41 financial institutions per 100,000 people in a White community compared to only 27 in non-White majority communities. And the financial institutions present in minority neighborhoods often make it difficult to open and maintain an account. For example, a bank may require higher account balances to eliminate service charges or a larger minimum account balance. According to one study, the average minimum account balance at banks in Black neighborhoods is $871, compared to $626 in White communities. 

Because of this, nearly half of Black households are either underbanked or lacking access to such institutions. 

“Earning money is not a problem for African Americans,” says Dr. JeFreda R. Brown. “However, there is a large gap for African Americans when it comes to personal finance education, understanding how money works, understanding economics and economic indicators, understanding time value of money and understanding wealth building.”

Many Black-owned banks aim to combat the wealth disparity gap through:

  • community development lending
  • supporting minority businesses and nonprofits
  • offering financial literacy workshops for community members
  • providing financial aid to underserved Black communities

“I think banking with Black-owned banks is good because many of them give people a second chance who can’t get bank accounts with other banks,” says Dr. JeFreda R. Brown. “Also, Black-owned banks offer the same services as other banks and credit unions.”

In 2016, there was a rise in support for Black-owned businesses following the Black Lives Matter movement. One initiative was the Black Money Matters movement, headed by rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render. He made a call for action in July 2016 during a town hall meeting televised by BET, asking Blacks to “bank Black.” It was an effective yet short-lived effort that led to 8,000 new accounts at Atlanta’s Black-owned Citizens Trust Bank. In addition, One United Bank reported receiving $3 million in deposits at branches across the country, and Carver Bank witnessed $2.4 million in deposits thanks to the movement.

There is also the Bank Black Challenge, which was launched by One United Bank, that is challenging one million people to open a $100 savings account at a Black-owned bank to generate $100 million of economic power. This challenge started in 2016 and is still ongoing today. 

Initiatives like these are significant, but it requires ongoing support to make their effects long-lasting. In 2020, the current Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is motivating people to support the Black community in new ways. And by banking with Black financial institutions, you can now play your part in reinvesting in the Black community in the U.S. 

“Black-owned banks should be given a chance to grow and be a strong financial staple in the communities they serve. Also, Black-owned banks are a great option for anyone because they promote economic revitalization. Banking with Black-owned banks helps increase community development and economic development. This is why they need support from everyone,” states Dr. JeFreda R Brown. 

Black-owned banks and credit unions

If you’re considering banking with a Black financial institution, check out this list of Black-owned banks and credit unions in the U.S. If you don’t see a bank listed in your area, keep in mind you may still be able to use the bank’s digital banking services.

  1. Alamerica Bank – located in Birmingham, Ala.
  2. Citizens Trust Bank – located in 15 cities across the U.S.
  3. Columbia Savings and Loan – located in Milwaukee, Wyo.
  4. Commonwealth National Bank – has two locations in Mobile, Ala.
  5. Broadway Federal Bank FSB – two locations in Los Angeles, Calif. and one in Inglewood, Calif. 
  6. Carver State Bank – two locations in Savannah, Ga.
  7. Carver Federal Savings Bank – located in three cities in N.Y.
  8. Columbia Savings & Loan ASSN – located in Milwaukee, Wyo.
  9. GN Bank – located in Chicago, Ill.
  10. First Independence Bank – located in two cities in Mich.
  11. Harbor Bank of Maryland – located in three cities in Md.
  12. Liberty Bank & Trust CO – located in 10 cities across the U.S. 
  13. Industrial Bank NA – has multiple locations in N.Y., Md. and N.J.
  14. OneUnited Bank – located in three cities across the U.S.
  15. Optus Bank – located in Columbia, S.C.
  16. Mechanics & Farmers Bank – located in five cities in the Carolinas
  17. Tri-State Bank of Memphis – located in Memphis, Tenn.
  18. Unity National Bank – located in three cities in Texas and Ga.
  19. United Bank of Philadelphia – located in Philadelphia, Pa. 

Considering making the switch?

Black-owned financial institutions are struggling. In 2013, 60% of Black banks lost money, and they were especially hit hard by the 2008 recession. As we enter yet another economic downturn, now is a great time to invest in Black banks. In doing so, you can help keep these entities afloat so that minority communities can continue working to close the disparity gap. 

Together, Black banks control $5 billion in assets, which is a fraction of what the banking giants have (for example, Wells Fargo has $1.7 trillion in assets alone). It’s up to the people to help grow Black financial institutions in the U.S. If you’d like to make a difference, then follow these simple steps to switch to a Black-owned bank. 

Step 1: Identify your banking needs

Are you currently banking with another bank? What do you like and dislike about it? Keep this in mind as you’re shopping for a new, Black-owned bank.

Maybe you like the mobile banking options your current bank offers but hate the high monthly fees. Or perhaps you want to do your banking with an institution that has more involvement in minority communities. 

Make a list of your must-haves to help you decide on the best Black banking solution for your needs. 

Step 2: Choose a new banking institution

After you’ve identified your list of banking needs, it’s time to search for a Black-owned financial institution that meets those requirements. Use the list of Black-owned banks and credit unions above to start your search. Create a list of options and mark off the ones that don’t make the cut. 

Step 3: Take note of your automatic payments and deposits

Do you use automatic withdrawals for your billing? How about direct deposits from your employers (or clients)? If so, you’ll need to make a list of these automatic transactions so you can set them up with your new bank.

Step 4: Open up your new account

Once you’ve found a bank that meets your needs, it’s time to create your new account. Go through the application process and schedule to make a deposit (if required). Also, check with your new bank to determine what process they have to make  transferring funds from your old bank easier. Once your account is up and running, don’t forget to schedule your automatic payments and deposits.

Looking ahead

Deciding to bank Black isn’t just about choosing where you keep your money. It’s a way to take a stand against inequality in minority communities that lack financial inclusion. And it helps push the Black Lives Matter movement forward. 

In 2012, Wells Fargo was sued for pushing Blacks toward more expensive mortgages with higher fees and rates (compared to white borrowers with similar credit). Then in March 2018, Bank of America was fined for racial discrimination in its hiring and lending practices. 

Unfortunately, this is an ongoing issue for people of color who receive less than 1% of mortgages from white-owned banks.

Banking Black isn’t a choice only available to African Americans, either. It’s a viable option for anyone who wants to make a difference in their financial prosperity, as well as the prosperity of those in underserved communities.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

The post 19 Black-Owned Banks and How to Support Them appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Here Are 10 Options for Finding Free or Cheap Audiobooks

I’m a relatively new homeowner with a wife, a job, and 2-year-old twins. Though I own hundreds of books, I rarely find time to sit down and crack one open. I do, however, make use of my time in the car to listen to audiobooks.

But how do you get the audiobooks you want without paying a lot of money? There are a number of audiobook services available, but the options can be overwhelming. Do you want to rent or buy? How many audiobooks can you get per month?  Finding the right audiobook service is a matter of finding the right one for how you like to read.

10 Services for Cheap Audiobooks

Here’s our rundown of some of the best services where you can grab a book for your ears.

1. Audible

Audible is a big name out there when it comes to audiobooks. As a part of Amazon, it’s heavily marketed and easily available, but it has its pros and cons.

Pros

  • Audible boasts one of the largest audiobook libraries out there with 540,000 titles according to a company spokesperson. Whatever you like to read, you can probably find it on Audible.
  • You get to keep any titles you read even if you cancel your subscription.
  • Your membership also gets you access to a number of podcasts, as well as subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
  • You also get daily deals and an extra 30% discount on additional book purchases.
  • You can download the books you choose and listen offline.
  • You can try Audible out with a no-cost, 30-day trial period.

Cons

  • Audible is a subscription service with four different subscription plans. At a minimum of $14.95 per month, that’s tied with Audiobooks.com for the most expensive of the audiobook services listed here.
  • For your money, you get one audiobook title per month, as well as one “Audible Original.” Audible Originals are content that Audible produces itself, so you won’t find any titles from the bestseller lists. That’s pretty limited for an avid reader.
  • Unused credits expire after one year.

Works For: The eclectic reader who is willing to pay a bit more to find all of the titles she wants.

2. Audiobooks.com

Audiobooks.com is another subscription service, much like Audible, but there are a few differences.

Pros

  • Very large selection with over 150,000 titles.
  • Access to over 700,000 podcasts for free.
  • You get two books per month, rather than just one compared to Audible.
  • You can buy extra credits as needed, but they’re another $14.95 a pop. One credit equals one book.
  • You get free extra VIP books each month with no additional charge. VIP titles are older, less popular books, but they aren’t all obscure. Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” and Dave Pelzer’s “The Lost Boy” are currently featured as VIP titles right. Both were former New York Times bestsellers.
  • Your free 30-day trial comes with three books: one premium title and two from the VIP collection.
  • You can stream books or download so you can listen offline.

Cons

  • It’s expensive at $14.95 per month.
  • VIP titles are limited and may not be of interest to you.

Best for: People want a big selection and want more than one title per month.

3. Scribd

A woman listens to something on her headphone while laying on a bean bag chair.

Scribd is a subscription service that allows you to read “unlimited” audiobooks and also offers features like ebooks and podcasts.

Pros

  • At $9.99 it’s cheaper than Audible or Audiobooks.com and you get to listen to as many books as you want.
  • There are a lot of extras like Kindle books, magazines and even sheet music available with your subscription.
  • It includes a 30-day free trial.

Cons

  • The term “unlimited” isn’t 100% accurate. Users in the iPhone app store complain that after two or three popular books, your ability to find more becomes very limited for the rest of the month.
  • You’re renting, rather than buying, the books, so you cannot keep them.
  • The platform is not loaded with extras like some of the other services.

Best for: The audiobook fanatic who cranks through them quickly and wants new, popular titles.

4. Downpour

Downpour is a subscription service in which $12.99 gives you one credit (good for any one book) per month. You can spend them as you go or save them up. It’s a different sort of subscription service. Or, if you like, you can simply rent or buy books without a subscription, but you’ll pay a little more for each title.

Pros

  • Less expensive than Audible or Audiobooks.com.
  • You can save up your credits when you’re not able to listen to audiobooks to use them at a better time, like when you’re on vacation. So if you don’t have time to read in the summer, you can stash those monthly credits and use them all in December on those cold nights.
  • Each credit is valid for 12 months. It expires at the end of that time.
  • You own the books and can keep them even if you cancel.
  • You can download and listen offline.
  • You have the option to buy or rent books outside of the membership. Rentals are less expensive, but, if you buy the book, you’ll pay more than you would with a membership.

Cons

  • Smaller selection with just 80,000 titles (and counting)
  • No free trial.
  • Books for purchase are pricy, though there is a tab for “Daily Steals” with sections for downloads under $15, $10 and even $5 that changes daily and randomly.

Best For: People who don’t listen to audiobooks consistently, but who still want access to new and popular titles.

5. Chirp

Chirp is a newer player on the audiobook scene. A sister site of Bookbub, an e-book site, it arrived in the spring of 2019. Chirp is an email subscription service that sends you daily deals for audiobook titles. You get a daily email with two special deals per day. If you click it, however, it will take you to the website where there are a lot more of the deals. Many of the deals are $3.99 or less for each book.

Pros

  • No subscription needed, so you only pay for what you buy.
  • You buy, rather than rent, the books so they’re yours to keep.
  • You can purchase other books, but at regular price.
  • There is a “my wishlist” section where you can list out the books you want to listen to and get alerts when and if they go on sale.

Cons

  • The deals are completely random and not catered to your taste, so you may or may not see books on sale that you actually want to read.
  • Regular price books can cost anywhere from about $10 to over $40 for some titles.

Best for: The not-so-picky reader who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money, but likes to own the audiobook titles.

6. Apple Books

A couple listen to an audiobook from one of their devices.

Apple Books is basically a store for iPhone and Mac users to purchase audiobooks. It’s not a subscription site, just a pay-for-what-you-want store.

Pros

  • New and popular books are available, as well as classics.
  • Apple editors curate general lists to help readers find new books.
  • You keep your audiobooks right on your phone.
  • Download books and listen to them from your Apple Watch while you workout.
  • No pressure to download books to justify a monthly expense.

Cons

  • Limited to iPhone and Mac users.
  • Individual books can be expensive, with most ranging from  $8.99 and $16.99.

Best for: Apple fans who want to use their audiobooks on various Apple products and prefer to pay just for what they want.

7. Google Play Books

Google Play Books is much like Apple Books, but for Android and PC users, and with a few more perks.

Pros

  • No subscription, just buy what you like.
  • Listen to previews before committing.
  • Good sales and prices overall.
  • Can be used on iPhones and Macs
  • Large selection of audiobooks

Cons

  • No freebies

Best for: Anyone who wants to purchase books as they go rather than being tied to a subscription.

8. Librivox

On the Librivox website, it says “Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain.” So what does that mean? Basically, it’s a free library of audiobooks that are old enough to have outlasted their copyright and read by volunteers.

Pros

  • Completely free to use.
  • Lots of great classics like “Moby Dick,” “Frankenstein” and “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglas.”

Cons

  • Very limited selection (14,000) with no recent titles.
  • No extras like podcasts, etc.
  • No phone app.

Best for: The cost-conscious listener who’s looking to catch up on the classics.

9. Project Gutenberg

Much like Librivox, Project Gutenberg is another volunteer-created collection of free audiobooks and ebooks.

Pros

  • Listening to audiobooks on Project Gutenberg is completely free.
  • You’ll be able to find some great classics like “The Velveteen Rabbit,” “Call of the Wild” and “Anne of Green Gables.”

Cons

  • The selection is very limited. When you cross-reference “audiobooks” with “English” in the advanced search, you’ll get just over 500 titles.
  • Project Gutenberg does not have a dedicated app.

Best for: The at-my-desk listener of classic literature.

10. Your Public Library System

Of course, you can go to your local library and check out audiobooks on CD, but that’s so 2005. These days most library systems are hooked up with apps like Overdrive or Hoopla so you can check out audiobooks digitally on your phone.

Pros

  • As long as you have a library card, it’s completely free.
  • Not limited to your local library but connected to a large network of libraries, so there are many titles available.
  • You can place holds on titles you want if they are not currently available.

Cons

  • You may not find every book you want.
  • Books are checked out just like non-digital copies, so they are limited and you may have to wait for certain books.
  • New and popular books frequently have a very long waiting list.
  • You do not keep the titles, just borrow.

Best for: The budget-conscious person who’s flexible on what she reads.

Happy listening!

Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2)

[Transcribed and adapted from the YouTube video:Money & Coronavirus: How Much to Save’]

Key takeaways:

  • Emergencies are not the time to worry about savings rates—if you have the money, use it. 
  • It’s recommended that you see if halting 401k contributions, HSA contributions, or student loan payments are right for you. 
  • Do not take out any money from your 401k unless you’re absolutely desperate.
  • If you have variable income, build a buffer and plan accordingly.

On the last episode of ‘Money & Coronavirus: How Much Money to Save… ‘

Last time, we talked all about emergency funds, how to get one, why you should have one, and the psychology of saving your money. But, there’s a crucial component to owning your emergency fundyou actually have to use it when it’s an emergency!

Be honest, the pandemic is an emergency. It is 100% OK to use money from your rainy day fund—we just need to be smart about it. 

Let’s go now to the psychology of using your emergency fund. I see a lot of people who have money saved up, but they are terrified to use it. This is the opposite of people who have a spending problem.

Bonus:If the COVID-19 pandemic has you worried about money, check out my free Coronavirus Proofing your Finances guide and protect your money during this pandemic!

Don’t feel bad for spending your emergency fund

I hear a lot about these hyper frugalistas whose entire life is logging into their personal capital account and looking at it: “Oh no, I had a 29% savings rate last month, but my average is 33.3%. I’m really slipping. What’s wrong? I’ve got to get back on track because the community is not going to respect me enough. I need to get to 40%.”

Get a life. Please, do not end up on your deathbed feeling morally superior to other people because you have a 38% savings rate. 

I have heard people still going to work even though they have a huge emergency fund account. Why? You ask them, “Why are you still going to work and exposing yourself and potentially exposing other people?” “Well, what do you mean? That’s my job.” Then you say, “Don’t you have a savings account you’ve been saving for like 10 years?” and they don’t make the connection. It’s called an “emergency fund” for emergencies.

Don’t you think maybe a global pandemic that has stopped virtually 100% of businesses across the world would be classified as an emergency?

If you’ve got the money, it’s time to use it. Use it to live. Use it to help other people. Remember, you can always refill it later, but the craziest thing is that you have people who have done the right thing and saved, but they never built the muscle of spending it. 

It’s an emergency fund. If you need it, spend it. That’s the basic framework for how much to save right now.

What to do if you don’t have a emergency fund

Remember, one year’s worth of necessary expenses is my recommendation for how much should be in your rainy day fund. If you take a look at your numbers and you say, “You know what? That’s impossible, but I think I can do eight months over the course of the next six months,” pat yourself on the back. 

What I want you to do is take action. I don’t want you to hear this number and get demoralized because you can’t do it overnight. 

Part of money is its patience. 

In fact, one of the biggest parts of earning a lot of money is being patient. In this case, you focus on what you can control, cut your expenses, earn more. Optimize your spending on all your bills. Call them up, negotiate, and take control.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

401k contributions, student loan payments, and HSA contributions during COVID-19

One question I’ve heard recently: “Would you recommend halting or minimizing your 401k contributions, your student loan payments, your HSA contributions until we build up at least one year of an emergency fund?” 

Yes, I would. Crazy to hear myself saying this, but yes, I would.

For example, your HSA contributions may be worth $10,000 over the course of the next 20 years. Okay, that’s a lot of money, but guess what? Today, in an employment scenario like this, I would rather have a couple thousand bucks now sitting in that savings account relative to $10,000 later.

Remember what I’m saying: You have to live to fight another day. If you have to take a little bit of a haircut on your $10,000 over the course of the next 30 years, it’s not a big deal. You can take the $2,000 that’s in your pocket and you can invest a little bit more aggressively next year or the year after, whenever things recover. 

If you’ve got that one-year emergency fund, you have earned the right to keep investing your money and you will benefit drastically from that opportunity over the long term because you did the work ahead of time. For those of you don’t have that, focus on that first. 

Should you take out the $100K with no penalty out of your 401k right now?

I would not do that unless it’s a dire case. I would say 50% of the time, I hear from people who took a loan against their 401k or pretty much took a loan, they never repay it. People who take loans out of their 401ks, in general, have poor behavioral control over their money. 

Even though they’ve done some amazing things to be able to waive some of the fees and penalties that used to be there, unless you absolutely need to, I would not recommend it.

Why? A couple of reasons. 

Number one, it’s a bad sign, overall. If you go raid your 401k it shows  that you haven’t done the other things, like saving properly. For most people, the other things can actually sustain you.

Second, don’t forget I talked about all these things you can do: call up your credit card company, talk to your landlord, research unemployment. If you’re unemployed, take advantage of it, please. It’s there for you. 

If you have to raid your 401k, then something has really gone wrong. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever do it, but it’s one of the sources of last resort. It might tide you over in the short term, but it will cost you dearly in the future. That money there will be highly lucrative to you in the long term if you can live to fight another day.

Bonus: Having more than one stream of income can help you through tough economic times. Learn how to start earning money on the side with my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

How do you save for an emergency fund if you don’t have a fixed income?

There are some guidelines for how much you can afford to spend on rent. In general, 28% is a good recommended number. These guidelines show how much people can spend on a rent or a mortgage, basically housing, a car, all debt combined, including student loan, credit card, et cetera. 

If you have a variable income that adds an extra layer of complexity. The way that you do it is you want to build a buffer. If your minimum expenses are $1,000 a month, you want to target 6 to 12 months of emergency fund. In this case, if you have $5,000 a month, you take $1,000 away, pay off your stuff, put $4,000 in your emergency account, and then next month if you make zero, you can draw from there. In general, you want to build up a buffer and effectively simulate a standard 9-to-5 income.

Now, what does that mean specifically for you? It really depends on the numbers we’re talking about. If your variable income is $1,000 to $2,000 a month, that’s going to be a pretty low rent. Some freelancers, some months, make $30,000then they make zero for two months.

In general, I would err on the side of being conservative. Look at how much you’ve made over the last year just as a benchmark and then I would take a steep haircut for the next 12 months, again, depending on your industry.

Closing thoughts on saving and spending money during emergencies

We dove way deeper than just cutting back on $3 lattes. We talked about the structure and how much you need to actually save.

The psychology of an emergency fund goes even deeper: what does it mean to build an emergency fund? A lot of people go, “That’s overwhelming. I can’t do that.” Do not give up. Even if you get 70% of the way there, it’s better than zero. You have to save money right now. You can achieve itit will just take some time.

Finally, we talked about the psychology of spending. If you have an emergency fund, you have earned the right to deploy it. Spend it so you don’t have to go to work, spend it on your loved ones, and even continue investing if you have additional money.

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Florida Republicans still encourage LGBTQ hatred four years after Pulse

A few blocks from my home is the site of the Pulse massacre. We time extended the 4-year remembrance. In the six months that led up to the kill, Florida Republicans had introduced more than 200 invoices assaulting openness of the lesbian, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender societies. But it’s okay: my right-wing friends tell me everything’s all better now, and that they don’t even notice any more hatred toward the LGBTQ community.

Admittedly, some things did alteration after Pulse. Shops now openly and proudly display the rainbow flag, parties are becoming more vocal about their subscribe, and even so-called “religious” politicians–sensing a turning tide–have largely stopped slandering the community as evil. I’ll note that all of these changes are due to Floridians evolving on the questions, as opposed to the Republican party. Unfortunately, that is the real issue here, since the Republicans are in solid self-restraint of all facets of our authority.

Although few conservative politicians still frankly extol the belief that homosexuals are outright scourge, their aggression on the lesbian society has never stopped. They still support the same discriminatory and nasty policies toward the LGBTQ community as they ever have, along with a few “evangelical” Democrats who desperately need to be primaried. The only difference is now many of them say they don’t hate gays, they just want to protect others who might because their preconception is based on “religious freedom.”

The rationales are likely to have shifted, but those legislators are still in lockstep fighting against humane treatment of the LGBTQ community. For example, even though 82% of all Americans believe it is wrong to be able to hire or shell person based on sexual direction, Florida was one of the few states that allowed this to go on until June 15, when the Supreme Court ruled that civil rights cares is necessary to universally extended to LGBTQ craftsmen.

auto credit v1 Rally at United states supreme court

It’s a damn good thing. Florida Republican were never going to allow that to happen. After the Pulse massacre, the business community mobilized behind a greenback called the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would have finally prohibited discrimination based on sex direction and gender identity in the workplace.

This was significant because for the first time, every major Florida company put out statements in providing assistance to the greenback. This included Disney, CSX, Darden Restaurants( study Olive Garden and Red Lobster ), Marriott, AT& T, and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Unfortunately, Republicans weren’t having it, and they cause it die in committee.

The LGBTQ community couldn’t even get this basic protection from their own state government. When Gov. Ron DeSantis, a well-known bigot, tried to improve his image by publish an director order disallowing discrimination within his administration, he purposefully left out sex direction and gender identity. When this was pointed out to him, DeSantis refused to fix it.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Giving fundamental human rights shouldn’t have compelled a judicial ruling, but it did. Yet Florida discriminates in a multitude of ways–and it remains to be seen how far the Supreme Court ruling can reach. For example, a gay marry in Florida has no legal protection from eviction. There is also no statute against a bigoted doctor denying management to someone from the LGBTQ community. Even worse, the Republican House tried to pass a proposal specifically be said that physicians would have “immunity from liability” if traumata or demise passed from denial of medical treatment. You know–religious discretion.

Not even children are immune now from permitted hatred. There are 83 publicly funded charter schools that can legally refuse admission to LGBTQ students and/ or children of gay couples. A student can be expelled for just stating support for the LGBTQ community. This statement is directly taken from page 16 of the 2020 Trinity Christian Academy student guidebook 😛 TAGEND

TCA retains the right to refuse enrollment or to ostracize any student who engages in sexual sin, including any student who proclaims homosexual, bisexual or transgender name or be engaged in homosexual, bisexual, or transgender attend, as well as any student who forgives, subsistences, or otherwise promotes these practices( Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27 ).

TCA is a taxpayer-funded school, so we are paying for this bigotry. Of route, Democrat tried to introduce monies to prohibit this kind of discrimination against children, but Republicans ever shot them down.

Fortunately, there has been a type of pressure that even the GOP listens to: fund. Harris Rosen, a rich local hotelier, had been allowing his corporation’s tax money to fund Florida’s charter voucher programs–which is an option in this state. After learning about the discrimination, he put a stop to it. Republicans defamed him for doing so, but there wasn’t much they could do since the overwhelming majority of us rightfully believe it’s wrong to punish children because of who they are.

Being out of step with the rabble is sort of the Republican mantra. Many Florida conservatives insist that hatred toward gays isn’t their primary incitement, but their bag isn’t facilitated when their own politicians joke about having lesbians performed .

IAC/ AAm offended& outraged to discover a peer who IAC/ AAve worked closely with would joke about rewarding me by extinction for being lesbian. As a survivor of anti-gay hate violence, I know the consequences of homophobia are real. @MikeHillfl should apologize to LGBTQ Floridians or RESIGN. https :// t.co/ BqMoxLc6Vo

— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@ CarlosGSmith) May 31, 2019

As Rep. Carlos Smith pointed out, he had worked with Republican Rep. Mike Hill on a legislation to protect greyhound racing pups. He detected it sarcastic that Hill supposed dogs deserved basic cares from cruelty, but not gay parties.

Sadly, Florida has had a long and humiliating history when it comes to the homosexual community. The infamous “Johns Committee” was originally launched right here by the Florida legislature in the mid-’5 0s. The purpose was originally to root out communism in the commonwealth by targeting Florida civil rights constitutions. They failed to find any associates, so they turned their are concentrated on an easier target. The committee argued that gays and lesbians were much more of security threats to national defence, and get after them with extreme derision. The committee dismissed due process and right to counsel, and had no hesitations exerting tricks like entrapment and coerce. They interrogated everyone, including young students and lecturers, and they were even allowed to seize medical record is to find lesbians. Lives were spoilt.

YouTube Video

Even recently, Florida legislators still carried the kindle for bigotry against gays. When public opinion significantly shifted on gay union a decade ago, then-Gov. Rick Scott and his attorney general, Pam Bondi, spent millions to prevent same-sex marries from being married . Florida also maintains the dishonor of being the very last state to cancel the ban on gay adoption. This was particularly reprehensible when factoring how it lastly purposed.

The Florida Department of Children and Category contacted out to a lesbian couple to take in two severely abused four-year-olds because of the good work they did for many prior foster children. The beings were able to heal the children, and decided that they should adopt them. Republican actually made them to tribunal to stop them, even though the state had asked for their help. So desperate was the GOP to prevent gay adoption that they “ve brought” the co-founder of the Family Research Council, George Rekers, are of the view that gays should never be allowed to adopt. He couldn’t argue against the men, but instead ranted against homosexuals in general. After a lot of meter and money was wasted, the case was thrown out and the support censor lastly abolished. Not that it matters, but Rekers was caught soon afterward traveling with a male sex.

Even now, after witnessing the savagery targeting the LGBTQ community, Florida Republican still won’t change. Their rhetoric and anti-gay legislation fuel the hatred, which is why the number of anti-LGBTQ hate radicals have flown.

In fact, on the very last day of the 2020 period, seven Florida Republican lawmakers entered various anti-LGBTQ legislations a few moments before the end-of-day deadline, and I don’t know which one is worse 😛 TAGEND

One would jail a doctor with a trespas who adds health care for transgender children.

Another goes after Florida municipals and districts who took their own initiative to ban discrimination against LGBTQ employees by forced into to repeal any protections that were granted.

Two greenbacks would decriminalize the medically discredited, widely discredited and excessively damaging ”gay conversion therapy.”

June is Gay Pride month. If you are sick and tired of witnessing right-wing politicians continue their assault on this embattled society, start by raising your articulations to OUR Democratic masters at the federal level. As long as Republican principle Tallahassee , nothing will change. However, it’s looking more and more likely that Democrats “re going to win” the trifecta in national place. Now is where Democrats can make a difference.

Counsel Pulse shooting preys

As soon as Democrat restore balance to the courts by computing fannies that were stolen, they need to get busy on legislation that will protect people and destroy the harm caused by targeted legislative strikes on vulnerable populations. Democratic officials need to pursue an vigorous plan to mission LGBTQ discrimination nationwide, allow access to health care for everyone no matter who they are, and be protected against savagery are enshrined in law.

It really is the very least we could do.

Same-sex marriage and homosexual adoptions became law years ago, and as “youre seeing”, our society didn’t collapse. There is no argument to give a portion of our society the right to be seen by physicians, educated in taxpayer-funded schools, or live somewhere without the concerns of get knocked out because of who they are. To my Republican friends who merely can’t support the push for equality: how about exactly leaving them alone? Stop blocking human rights of your fellow citizens, and cease substantiating all these abominable legislations that only serve to increase the violence.

It really is the very least YOU could do.

Darden Restaurants

Read more: feeds.dailykosmedia.com

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2)

[Transcribed and adapted from the YouTube video:Money & Coronavirus: How Much to Save’]

Key takeaways:

  • Emergencies are not the time to worry about savings rates—if you have the money, use it. 
  • It’s recommended that you see if halting 401k contributions, HSA contributions, or student loan payments are right for you. 
  • Do not take out any money from your 401k unless you’re absolutely desperate.
  • If you have variable income, build a buffer and plan accordingly.

On the last episode of ‘Money & Coronavirus: How Much Money to Save… ‘

Last time, we talked all about emergency funds, how to get one, why you should have one, and the psychology of saving your money. But, there’s a crucial component to owning your emergency fundyou actually have to use it when it’s an emergency!

Be honest, the pandemic is an emergency. It is 100% OK to use money from your rainy day fund—we just need to be smart about it. 

Let’s go now to the psychology of using your emergency fund. I see a lot of people who have money saved up, but they are terrified to use it. This is the opposite of people who have a spending problem.

Bonus:If the COVID-19 pandemic has you worried about money, check out my free Coronavirus Proofing your Finances guide and protect your money during this pandemic!

Don’t feel bad for spending your emergency fund

I hear a lot about these hyper frugalistas whose entire life is logging into their personal capital account and looking at it: “Oh no, I had a 29% savings rate last month, but my average is 33.3%. I’m really slipping. What’s wrong? I’ve got to get back on track because the community is not going to respect me enough. I need to get to 40%.”

Get a life. Please, do not end up on your deathbed feeling morally superior to other people because you have a 38% savings rate. 

I have heard people still going to work even though they have a huge emergency fund account. Why? You ask them, “Why are you still going to work and exposing yourself and potentially exposing other people?” “Well, what do you mean? That’s my job.” Then you say, “Don’t you have a savings account you’ve been saving for like 10 years?” and they don’t make the connection. It’s called an “emergency fund” for emergencies.

Don’t you think maybe a global pandemic that has stopped virtually 100% of businesses across the world would be classified as an emergency?

If you’ve got the money, it’s time to use it. Use it to live. Use it to help other people. Remember, you can always refill it later, but the craziest thing is that you have people who have done the right thing and saved, but they never built the muscle of spending it. 

It’s an emergency fund. If you need it, spend it. That’s the basic framework for how much to save right now.

What to do if you don’t have a emergency fund

Remember, one year’s worth of necessary expenses is my recommendation for how much should be in your rainy day fund. If you take a look at your numbers and you say, “You know what? That’s impossible, but I think I can do eight months over the course of the next six months,” pat yourself on the back. 

What I want you to do is take action. I don’t want you to hear this number and get demoralized because you can’t do it overnight. 

Part of money is its patience. 

In fact, one of the biggest parts of earning a lot of money is being patient. In this case, you focus on what you can control, cut your expenses, earn more. Optimize your spending on all your bills. Call them up, negotiate, and take control.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

401k contributions, student loan payments, and HSA contributions during COVID-19

One question I’ve heard recently: “Would you recommend halting or minimizing your 401k contributions, your student loan payments, your HSA contributions until we build up at least one year of an emergency fund?” 

Yes, I would. Crazy to hear myself saying this, but yes, I would.

For example, your HSA contributions may be worth $10,000 over the course of the next 20 years. Okay, that’s a lot of money, but guess what? Today, in an employment scenario like this, I would rather have a couple thousand bucks now sitting in that savings account relative to $10,000 later.

Remember what I’m saying: You have to live to fight another day. If you have to take a little bit of a haircut on your $10,000 over the course of the next 30 years, it’s not a big deal. You can take the $2,000 that’s in your pocket and you can invest a little bit more aggressively next year or the year after, whenever things recover. 

If you’ve got that one-year emergency fund, you have earned the right to keep investing your money and you will benefit drastically from that opportunity over the long term because you did the work ahead of time. For those of you don’t have that, focus on that first. 

Should you take out the $100K with no penalty out of your 401k right now?

I would not do that unless it’s a dire case. I would say 50% of the time, I hear from people who took a loan against their 401k or pretty much took a loan, they never repay it. People who take loans out of their 401ks, in general, have poor behavioral control over their money. 

Even though they’ve done some amazing things to be able to waive some of the fees and penalties that used to be there, unless you absolutely need to, I would not recommend it.

Why? A couple of reasons. 

Number one, it’s a bad sign, overall. If you go raid your 401k it shows  that you haven’t done the other things, like saving properly. For most people, the other things can actually sustain you.

Second, don’t forget I talked about all these things you can do: call up your credit card company, talk to your landlord, research unemployment. If you’re unemployed, take advantage of it, please. It’s there for you. 

If you have to raid your 401k, then something has really gone wrong. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever do it, but it’s one of the sources of last resort. It might tide you over in the short term, but it will cost you dearly in the future. That money there will be highly lucrative to you in the long term if you can live to fight another day.

Bonus: Having more than one stream of income can help you through tough economic times. Learn how to start earning money on the side with my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

How do you save for an emergency fund if you don’t have a fixed income?

There are some guidelines for how much you can afford to spend on rent. In general, 28% is a good recommended number. These guidelines show how much people can spend on a rent or a mortgage, basically housing, a car, all debt combined, including student loan, credit card, et cetera. 

If you have a variable income that adds an extra layer of complexity. The way that you do it is you want to build a buffer. If your minimum expenses are $1,000 a month, you want to target 6 to 12 months of emergency fund. In this case, if you have $5,000 a month, you take $1,000 away, pay off your stuff, put $4,000 in your emergency account, and then next month if you make zero, you can draw from there. In general, you want to build up a buffer and effectively simulate a standard 9-to-5 income.

Now, what does that mean specifically for you? It really depends on the numbers we’re talking about. If your variable income is $1,000 to $2,000 a month, that’s going to be a pretty low rent. Some freelancers, some months, make $30,000then they make zero for two months.

In general, I would err on the side of being conservative. Look at how much you’ve made over the last year just as a benchmark and then I would take a steep haircut for the next 12 months, again, depending on your industry.

Closing thoughts on saving and spending money during emergencies

We dove way deeper than just cutting back on $3 lattes. We talked about the structure and how much you need to actually save.

The psychology of an emergency fund goes even deeper: what does it mean to build an emergency fund? A lot of people go, “That’s overwhelming. I can’t do that.” Do not give up. Even if you get 70% of the way there, it’s better than zero. You have to save money right now. You can achieve itit will just take some time.

Finally, we talked about the psychology of spending. If you have an emergency fund, you have earned the right to deploy it. Spend it so you don’t have to go to work, spend it on your loved ones, and even continue investing if you have additional money.

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Startups Are Winning the Remote Work Game. Here’s the Data That Proves It.

Today the State of Remote Work 2017 report revealed that 63% of people in product and engineering roles work remotely at least once per week, which is 21% more than the average.

Along with key findings on how remote work is changing the workplace, the report also revealed that startup environments may be a particularly strong match for remote work. Why might that be? 

State_Of_Remote_Work_3.png

When breaking down remote work by company size, the report found that smaller companies are 2X more likely to hire remote workers than larger companies. 

Considering stage, sense of innovation, hiring needs and nimble state, startups have the upperhand when adapting to this cultural shift toward flexible work. In fact, I believe that startups are uniquely positioned to transition to remote work much more fluidly than other companies, and thus are likely to get far more benefit.

Here’s why. 

1. Remote work expands the startup talent pool. As a leader of a startup, recruiting the best possible team is arguably one of the most important parts of the job and could make or break your long-term success. Finding the right person also can be incredibly difficult, especially if you are limited by your own network and local community. 

One of the most effective ways to maximize your talent pool is to remove all geographic limitations. Think about it … perhaps your perfect VP of Engineering isn’t a reasonable commute away.

Companies who are open to growing their team by hiring remotely are much more likely to find the unique skillsets needed for the job. In fact, the State of Remote Work found that fully-distributed (or fully remote) companies hire 33% faster than other organizations. Use it to your advantage.

State_Of_Remote_Work_1.png

2. Expands diversity of thought. Here’s another key benefit when hiring outside your bubble. When you remove geographic barriers, you will most likely find people from different parts of the country (or world) with varied perspectives — and these individuals can bring strong diversity of thought.

Harvard Business Review examined the impact of diversity on business. The article cited a study by the London Annual Business Survey, which found a strong correlation between diversity and effective innovation. The report discovered that, “businesses with culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products than those with homogeneous leadership.”

Lean into this opportunity. Hiring a remote team can be an effective forcing function to find candidates and employees who bring experience much different than yours.

3. Remote work builds trust. When leaders work with remote employees for the first time, it’s common to be concerned about productivity. Will the remote person use her time effectively? How will you know if you can’t see her working at her desk?

Pause right there. What’s the real issue here? Is the problem that the person’s desk is 1,000 miles away? No. The issue is an absence of trust. In this case, the manager needs to back away from the compulsion to “monitor work.” That’s a cultural poison, and it also doesn’t scale.

Dr. Peter Hirst of MIT Sloan’s Executive Education Department spoke to the growth in trust after piloting a remote work program for his team: “We went from a culture of assuming people were working because you could see them working to having a clearer understanding of what outcomes we’re trying to achieve and trusting everyone to be a professional. …The [employee] engagement that we got from that change of management relationship was really tremendous.”

Building a culture of trust early will be especially impactful as the company scales. Startups don’t have time to babysit. Let your teammates results speak for themselves.

4. Drives flexibility. Employees at an early stage startup most likely have the propensity to work long and odd hours — and most likely from anywhere. The State of Remote Work report found that 51% of remote workers choose to work remotely to support their work-life balance. Work-life balance is a challenge in any startup. (Let’s be real, our startup is our life.) However, supporting remote work to add flexibility to one’s life does make it easier to balance personal goals with professional. And happier employees will work even harder.

State_Of_Remote_Work_4.png

5. Develops culture. The larger an organization gets, the more difficult it becomes to make substantial cultural changes. If a later stage company wants to transition to a remote or flexible work environment for the first time, while possible, it will take significant planning and communication across the full employee base to make it work.

Remote work is also a forcing function that makes startups scale communication early. Think about it. When you have a small startup collocated in the same space, you can rely on your close proximity to communicate well.

If your organization is distributed, you need to learn how to communicate effectively across multiple locations, time zones, and technologies. These skills will prepare you to communicate effectively when your company is 10X its current size.

6. Lowers office costs. As a startup, every penny counts. Leaders need to make smart investments and keep a close look on the impact of their investments. While saving money shouldn’t be the primary advantage of supporting a remote work culture, it certainly can be a perk.

For example, in Boston (where I’m located), the average yearly cost to rent office space per employee is $6,080. In San Francisco it’s $13,032. While of course you should financially support your remote employees’ work-from-home office setups, the costs will be substantially lower.

7. Retains employees. The most striking data point in the State of Remote Work was that companies that support remote work see 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t.

State_Of_Remote_Work_5.png

Considering the points earlier, perhaps you aren’t so surprised. As we discussed, companies that support remote work are more diverse, flexible, and practice trust. If you build your startup with those building blocks in your DNA, you’re off to a great start.

This was a guest post by Rebecca Corliss of Owl Labs. She and I had the pleasure of working together for eight years at HubSpot, and she’s since rejoined the startup ecosystem.

If you’re as passionate about remote work as she is and want to learn more about the data cited in this post, check out Owl Labs’ State or Remote Work 2017 report

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10 things in tech you need to know today

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

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Leaked emails show Amazon is retarding Prime Day again to October as concerns grow that a new COVID-1 9 expect spike may reach supply bonds. Amazon is postponing its annual Prime Day shopping event to October, the third delay this year. A Facebook recruiter registered a federal grumble alleging the company is biased against Black employees and job nominees. The recruiter and two repudiated occupation applicants registered a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the company of discriminating against Black workers. Police say they cracked trade secrets, world chitchat structure used to plot murders and coin laundering and have established the thousands of arrests. The UK’s National Crime Agency on Thursday said it had impelled 746 arrests and impounded PS54 million in currency, 77 pistols, and 2 metric tons of drugs. Elon Musk conceives the surge in coronavirus contingencies is due to testing mistakes, but a virologist is debunking that as ‘dangerous misinformation.’ The Tesla boss said on Twitter that testing wrongdoings, rather than new infections, are causing the new upsurge of coronavirus disputes. Palantir has raised more than $ 500 million in fresh fund as the secretive and contentious startup works toward a possible IPO. The firm was said to be preparing for a September IPO, and it’s unclear how the new funding affects those intentions. UK investors are potting on a depth tech thunder after startups across automation, AI, and quantum computing heightened $3.3 billion in 2019. Venture capital investors say cheaper access and improvements in underlying technology make it easier to bet on deep technology startups. The UK’s Future Fund bailout packet for startups during COVID-1 9 is being extended and won’t have a formal cap either on amount or the number of business who can receive aid. One startup founder told Business Insider that it took around ten days from applying to the fund to receiving the money. India’s Reliance Jio is launching a video chat service called JioMeet to compete with Zoom. The Facebook-backed company, which recently elevated $15.2 billion, will let up to 100 customers onto calls in HD quality, TechCrunch reported. Ethiopia’s government shut down the entire country’s internet and 80 parties have been killed in demonstrates after the assassination of a popular musician. The precede demonstrates have been successful in an internet shutdown for around 102 million people. Social care startup Lifted has almost$ two million in seed fund from Fuel Ventures. Lifted’s app tells users who will be providing their care and lets them leave feedback.

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for “Business Insider” in your Alexa’s flash brief settings.See the rest of the tale at Business Insider

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