Author Archive admin

Britney Spears Leaves Mental Health Treatment Facility After 1 Month

  • Five Dollar Posts by Ron Douglas Five Dollar Posts - advanced lead generation training for Facebook advertisers.
  • ProfitBuilder Academy Payment Plan ProfitBuilder Academy - Discover the Secrets of Legends as Sean grills industry experts to reveal their secrets and shares some of his own secrets in this explosive advanced training...
  • VideoWhizz Elite-edition A Revolutionary Video Personalization, Customization, Notification, and Monetization Technology that Drives Maximum Engagement, Conversions, Opt-Ins, and Sales.

Britney Spears, 2018 GLAAD Media AwardsBritney Spears is returning to the comfort of her home.
E! News has learned Britney has been checked out and is headed home. The singer was seeking treatment at a mental health facility…

Blake Lively's "Vintage" Red Carpet Outfits Were Actually From Forever 21

  • Covert Copy Traffic Pro OTO This plugin allows you to automatically insert links and text when people copy and paste or scrape your blog content. The Pro version includes the ability to use the plugin outside of WordPress.
  • SQZin Pro Gold Generate Qualified Leads From Popular Content with Your Call-To-Action Overlay Without Having To Write A Single Word!| Squeeze – Share – Profit! You know that content is king and that high-quality content leads to the best conversions.
  • aAffiliate Extreme

Blake LivelyBlake Lively can really rock a look–no matter its cost.
Thanks to a newly published InStyle interview, the Hollywood style star proved her fashion prowess when she revealed a little fib…

We Found the 26 Best Ideas for Home-Based Businesses in 2019

You fantasize about ditching the daily commute and starting a business from the comfort of home.

The only problem with your entrepreneurial daydream? You don’t have any idea what kind of business to start, much less how to make it profitable.

No worries, we’re here to help.

You’re not alone in wanting to go it alone. Of the 30.2 million small businesses operating in the U.S., about half were home-based businesses, according to the most recent government numbers.

Whether you’re looking for a little side-hustle income or dream of quitting your current job and the daily commute for good, here’s your guide to home-based business ideas.

The 26 Best Home-Based Business Ideas

Choosing your business can start with something as simple as picking an activity you enjoy.

If your passion is travel, for instance, you could follow the path of stay-at-home mom Cheryl Cavalli, who told us how she started a home-based travel agent business.

However, if you don’t already have a passion you want to profit from — or you’d rather keep your hobbies and work separate — you can still start a successful home-based business on your own as a sole proprietor, or one-person business.

Pro Tip

A sole proprietorship doesn’t need to register with the state to exist (unlike corporations, partnerships and LLCs). However, you still must comply with registration, license, tax and permit laws.

Local social media groups like Nextdoor can be a source of ideas. There you’ll find everyday services that are in demand, although it may not be the most glamorous work.

Mundane chores make for good business because they’re tasks that many people are willing to pay someone else to do, whether it’s mowing lawns as a groundskeeper or setting up bounce houses as a kids’ party planner.

We’ve come up with a list of ideas that have relatively low barriers to entry and startup costs but offer real income potential.

Ready to start your journey toward self-employment in the comfort of your own home? Let’s get to work.

Businesses That Don’t Require You to Leave Your Home

A woman types on a lap top.

Online businesses let you make money with little need to leave the house. You may need a personal website where potential customers can find you, although you can also find work for your specific skills through sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

1. Freelance Writing

Use your wordsmithing skills to quit your day job and start a freelance writing business. We have advice for how to pitch a story if you’re looking for your first byline.

To make writing your full-time business, you’ll benefit from expanding your repertoire to incorporate multiple types of writing (adding editing skills also increases your value). Here are just a few options:

  • Creative writing. Share your literary talents by submitting to these seven literary magazines that pay for short stories and poetry.
  • Technical writing. Who doesn’t love a well-written instruction manual? Although technical writing might not offer as many creative options, the median pay as of 2017 was $34.10 an hour.
  • Resume writing. Use your writing prowess to help other people get jobs. Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder she earned $30 to $800 on Fiverr as a freelance writer creating resumes and cover letters as well as optimizing clients’ LinkedIn profiles. Pocek has made $2.4 million from work she’s found on the site over the past six years, according to Abby Forman, a Fiverr spokeswoman.

2. Virtual Assistant

Administrative assistants typically answer to a boss, but start your own business, and you’ll be calling the shots.

Virtual assistants perform similar tasks to in-person assistants, but you can offer your services to one or multiple companies. You might be doing data entry one day and proofing articles on WordPress another, so be prepared for a variety of tasks.

Danielle Greason wrote in this post that she made up to $60 per hour as a virtual assistant after she and her husband moved to Costa Rica.

3. Bookkeeper

Life makes more sense in spreadsheets. If this statement sounds like something you’d say, a bookkeeping business could be in your future.

Rather than targeting a big business account, start by focusing on small businesses that need help managing their finances. You don’t need to be a CPA to start, but decent computer and customer service skills help.

Ben Robinson, who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers, told The Penny Hoarder that you can earn up to $60 an hour as bookkeeper.

4. Tutor

Jen Ross of VIPKID teaches from her home office in Mount Dora.

Enjoy all the fun of teaching without leaving home.

An online tutoring business lets you offer your expertise, whether it’s teaching math and English to elementary kids or prepping high school students for the SAT.

These 10 online tutoring companies are a good place to start. Promote your expertise in a subject or grade level in your bio — teaching certifications will also add to your credibility (and bottom line).

Pro Tip

Most online tutoring platforms require instructors to either have or be working toward a bachelor’s degree, and previous teaching experience is preferred. Check the requirements before you apply.

Spelling ace Cole Shafer-Ray went the solo route and started his own online business by creating a website where he posted tips for competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee (he was the 2015 runner-up). The then-17-year-old told us he earned $100 an hour tutoring kids who want to compete.

5. Affiliate Marketer

If you have a website or blog that already gets traffic, affiliate marketing should be part of your business plan.

The basic concept: You can make money by including affiliate links to products you recommend on your site. When your readers click on the link and buy the product, you receive a commission from the company.

The Penny Hoarder’s Branded Content Editor Dana Sitar suggests checking out affiliate marketplaces to connect with brands who’ll pay you to promote their products and services. Among the many marketplaces is ClickBank, which says on its website that commissions range from 1% to 75%.  

6. Social Media Consultant

Got a knack for words and a knowledge of the latest trends in social media? Consider becoming a social media consultant. Only three out of five small businesses reported they use social media marketing to reach customers, which translates to plenty of opportunities for you to pitch your services to local businesses.

Most small businesses don’t have the budget for a full-time media consultant, but they want a presence on social media to attract and engage customers. Sell your social savvy — and expertise with publishing software — to local businesses by writing blog posts. You can grow your portfolio and your business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps social media consultants into the general category of public relations, listing a median pay rate of $28.85 an hour.

Focusing your business on one area, at least early on, can help build your expertise. Research the local online business landscape to discover where the need is, whether it’s helping establish social media accounts for local businesses, contracting for a specific number of posts per week or setting your sights on a specific industry (restaurants, for instance).

7. Web Developer

If you can balance aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, your next business could be as a web developer.

Technically, there are differences between web designers and developers, with designers tending toward the visual aspect while developers focusing on the coding. The BLS, which doesn’t differentiate between the two, states the median pay is $33.38 an hour.

Even if businesses in your area don’t have a big budget for complicated web sites, they may need a simple landing page. If you have the basic web design and coding skills, you can start small and expand your business based on referrals and your portfolio.

Kelly Vaughn taught herself to code as a kid and ended up quitting her job to become a full-time web developer — she earned $137,000 in her first year.

8. Graphic Design

Unleash your creativity — and use your art degree — to create a graphic design business.

Whether it’s designing logos or layouts, you’ll need to invest in the proper equipment and programs to give your designs a professional look. But you’ll at least be able to find colleagues to consult — in 2016, about 1 in 5 graphic designers were self-employed, according to the BLS.

Prospective clients will want to see past design work to determine if you’re a good fit, so a portfolio is essential. You can find free places to post your work at sites like Coroflot and Carbonmade.

If you’re just getting started, add to your portfolio by volunteering to create brochures and programs for nonprofits like your church or kids’ school.  

Once you’re established, you’ll be able to set hourly or per-project rates. Graphic designer Miranda Marquit told us that a common hourly rate for freelance graphic design work is $75 to $150.

Work at Home… and Beyond

Sure, you enjoy working from home, but sometimes you miss human interaction. No worries — there are plenty of options that let you run your business from your couch but also allow you to escape the confines of home.

9. Local Tour Guide

Bike tour guide Greg Stanek, leads cyclists down 6th Avenue South to tour murals in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Do you love showing off your city? Make it your business by becoming a local tour guide.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to museums and monuments — although that’s an option, too.

Brendan Smith told us he makes $10,000 a year with his side gig leading craft coffee tours around St. Petersburg, Florida, while Greg Stanek leads bike tours to check out the many murals around the city.  

If you already have a passion for arts, food or other features that make your town special, you can start by offering free tours to friends, as Smith did, then expand your reach by promoting your tours on social media and through your local tourism office.

10. Cleaning

Cleaning other people’s places may not be everyone’s dream job, but that’s what increases its potential as a profitable business.

Housekeeping is one option, but if you’re willing to get your hands a little (or a lot) dirty, your services can be invaluable to clients who want you to clean out decades of accumulated trash in their basements, attics and barns.

Pro Tip

Make your business stand out by including your personal story. Share how you got started and why you love what you do to connect with customers looking for a reason to choose you over the competition.

Alex Broches overcame depression and previous failed business attempts, turning one one junk removal gig into a full-time job. He now makes up to $30,000 a month hauling away other people’s trash.

11. Personal Chef

Your dinner parties are always a hit, and people form a line for your bake sale contributions.

Bank on your culinary prowess with a personal chef or catering business.

You don’t need a culinary degree to start plating, but a few referrals could help fire up your business.

Offer to cook for the school fundraiser or church picnic, and be sure to display your business cards at the serving stations.

Catherine Nissen told The Penny Hoarder that she charged up to $65 per plate as a personal chef hosting dinner parties in her Washington, D.C. home. She suggested one way to attract customers is to post professional-looking photos of your mouth-watering dishes on your website — and leave room for lots of (positive) reviews.

12. Photography

Let your photography skills help you take a shot at starting a business.

Besides taking photos of babies, parties and weddings, you can work from home by selling your work to stock photo sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.

Stock photographer Eliza Snow told The Penny Hoarder that making $1 off a photo may not sound like much, but when these sites tout hundreds of downloads of the same photo, the money can start to add up.

13. Home Staging

Kristy Anderson, of Dwell Home Staging, organizes a home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Live out your HGTV dream.

Homeowners hoping to get the highest price need to make their humble abode look its best. And that’s where you, the home stager, come in to rearrange the furniture, hide the million toys in a storage unit and replace all those framed cat photos with tasteful art.

Think you have what it takes?

Kristy Anderson told The Penny Hoarder that after years of dabbling in decorating, she started her home staging business with a $3,000 investment and built her client base by doing the following:

  • Using Google Adwords for online advertising.
  • Asking for word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Creating a social media presence.
  • Networking with local homebuilders and realtors.

Her hard work paid off. In its first year, Anderson’s company brought in $180,000 in revenue.

14. Babysitter

Love kids? Love having kids running around your home?

If your home is prepared for the rough-and-tumble world of children, babysitting in your home is a good way to get around the whole “nanny tax” thing (that’s where the parents have to pay you as a domestic employee because you’re working in their home).

Each state has its own regulations about what age and how many kids you can watch at one time before becoming a daycare, so check out your state’s rules before you start. Learning a few basics — like CPR and first aid — can also help you demand a higher rate.

How much you can make varies based on how many kids and your location, among other factors. The Care.com calculator suggests the rate for babysitting one child in San Francisco, California, is $21 per hour.

15. Musician

Let’s start with the assumption that you aren’t a rock star musician prepared to tour the world.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be in the music business. In fact, we have 25 ways to make money off your music here.

16. Personal Trainer

Turn your love of fitness into cash by becoming a personal trainer who works from your own home studio or by travelling to clients’ houses. Increase your credibility (and pay) by getting certified by a nationally accredited organization like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Expect the business of personal training to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Accreditation training can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars, along with liability insurance, and you’ll have to maintain your certification with continuing education.

The BLS says the median pay for fitness trainers and instructors is $18.85 per hour, but pay can vary widely depending on your location and specialization — IDEA Health and Fitness Association notes the average rate for personal trainers in New York CIty is $32 an hour.

17. Massage Therapist

Work with your hands… and arms… and elbows… as you massage away clients’ muscles.

Starting a massage therapy business requires more than one of those cool tables and a towel — although you should definitely expect to do a lot of laundry (all the sheets, you know).

Before flexing those fingers, you’ll need schooling and licensure — check here for your state’s massage therapy licensing requirements.

According the latest numbers from the BLS, employment in massage therapy is projected to grow 26% from 2016 to 2026, with a 2017 median pay rate of $19.23 per hour.

Home Business Ideas for Selling Stuff

No, these aren’t the dreaded cold-calling telephone sales jobs — instead you’re selling your own stuff or other people’s stuff through third-party sites.

18. Amazon Seller

A person holds an Amazon box in downtown St. Petersburg.

Considering it seems like you can buy nearly anything on Amazon, it makes sense that you should be able to sell almost anything on Amazon, right?  The Penny Hoarder found 12 ways to make money on Amazon.

If you want to do more than sell your old stuff, you have plenty of options for selling on Amazon:

  • Private-label products: Generic products you resell with your own packaging and logo.  
  • Retail arbitrage: Items you purchased elsewhere — like clearance items or Craigslist freebies — that you sell on Amazon for a higher price.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon: Items you purchase for resale are shipped directly to Amazon, which stores the inventory in its warehouse.

Wondering which option will be the most profitable business for you? Estimate your revenue with this Amazon calculator.

19. eBay Seller

Use your eye for fashion to resell thrift store finds at a profit as an eBay seller.

To get started, check out eBay’s listings for similar items to determine the demand for your product and a pricing strategy. How you price your item affects how it shows up in a search — the lower the price, the more eyes, but setting a higher minimum guarantees a greater return on investment if the item sells.

Pro Tip

Good reviews are essential for any online seller. Invest in thank-you cards to include with each order to remind your customers to add their feedback to your site.

Attract more buyers (and higher prices) by using good lighting and a professional presentation in photos of your product. Kat Tretina wrote about how she started out making $45 off a pair of designer jeans she found at a thrift store. She ended up regularly earning $500 to $800 a month in profit for 10 to 15 hours of work per week.

20. Etsy Marketer

Crafting a business from your love of, well, crafting, doesn’t mean you need to drag your wares to a table at the farmer’s market every Saturday. Setting up shop with the online marketplace Etsy allows you to sell your custom jewelry, refinished furniture and custom gift baskets without leaving your home.

As experienced sellers will tell you, a big part of being a success on Etsy is re-creating the experience for a buyer who is used to handling the merchandise.

Instead of discovering your handmade jewelry or macrame plant holders through a tactile experience, buyers are looking at your photos and descriptions on your Etsy store to decide whether to buy. High-quality photos and in-depth descriptions are essential for attracting customers, as is sharing your personal story.

Beth Gates told The Penny Hoarder that she made $400 on Etsy in her first six months selling Southern-style sundries and crochet items, then decided to work on improving her site. Within three years, she was making more than $4,000 a year.

21. Sewing

Sew you want to start a business (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Turning your threads into a profitable business can start with adjusting hems and making alterations for family and friends, but there are plenty of other ways to use your needle and thread to follow your passion.

Deisha Strater told us that she found enough work to make a side gig by sewing cosplay costumes. She charges $300 or more per costume, depending on the level of detail.

22. Airbnb Host

Terence Michael, a Hollywood producer, sits at his desk in his home in Los Angeles. He also makes extra income as an Airbnb super host.

If you ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast, but never quite got your hands on that country estate, you can still channel your inner hostess by transforming a guest room (or your home) into Airbnb accommodations.

Instead of selling physical merchandise, you’ll be selling your space, but you’ll still need those same marketing skills to make your Airbnb attractive to potential guests. Think: inviting photos and a well-organized space that will garner great reviews from previous guests. Here are nine more tips from an Airbnb superhost.

Figure your potential earnings with this Airbnb calculator.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

Home-Based Businesses That Let You Work Outdoors

There’s no need to limit your home business to the confines of your house. Here are some ideas for operating a home business while enjoying some fresh air.

23. Pet Sitter

Prefer your clients to be the four-legged variety? Starting a dog walking business could be an easy way to start a profitable business in your own neighborhood.

Connect with fur babies and their parents through apps like Rover to build up a client base. There, you can add your profile and let owners see your experience.

Diana Sanchez told The Penny Hoarder that she made just under $10,000 in 2018 between her part-time dog walking gig and pet-sitting business.

24. Small-Scale Farming

A farmer feeds his chickens on his farm in Florida.

Got a backyard with some room to breed?

Tim and Chelsea Clarkson started raising four chickens in the backyard of their home. Now, they’re living on a six-acre farm raising 900 chickens and 400 Grimaud Pekin ducks.

Pro Tip

Regulations vary for raising livestock, which is considered any domesticated animal that’s raised to produce labor and/or commodities. Visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website for details.

If a full-size farm is a bit beyond your reach, you could go the (much) smaller animal route and install a beehive. Turn it into a business by selling your tenants’ honey at the local farmer’s market.

Yes, there’s the setup costs and licensing required after you buy the bees to factor in. But considering the high price local honey can demand, beekeeper Chris Anderson told us that he could have broken even his first season raising bees by selling the sweet stuff.

25. Seasonal Operator

Maybe you’re more of a fairweather businessperson. Or rather, a fair-weather businessperson. (Hyphens matter!)

Seasonal businesses offer you the chance to operate when you prefer to be outdoors — think shoveling snow during the winter or hauling beach gear during the summer.

And if the holiday season offers more free time for a business venture, think Christmas lights.

Light installers make the majority of their money hanging those twinkling lights during the holiday season, according to Joshua Trees, who travels the country teaching people how to properly hang lights. By his third year in business, Trees said he made $138,000.

26. Garden Consultant

You’ve probably heard of business consultants, who bring their decades of knowledge to advise a company on whatever their issue is. You might not be a CEO, but if you’ve had years of growing gardens, you could turn your planting know how into a garden consulting business.

Home gardening is, ahem, growing in popularity as 77% of American households says they are gardening, according to a 2018 National Gardening Survey.

But although people may dream of growing their food, most backyard gardens end up a little on the sad side, if alive at all. Your knowledge of soil acidity, fertilizer composition and sunlight needs — plus a willingness to dig around in the dirt — could pay off as a garden consultant.

Stephanie Spicer’s green thumb paid off for her — she made $1,200 in one year by growing seedlings in her parents’ backyard and selling them out of the garage.

Consider these ideas the jumping off point for your home business. Slso know that starting a business requires more than just a good idea, so you’ll first want to check out our step-by-step guide to starting a business.

And no matter how tough the business world might be, isn’t it easier weathering the ups and downs in the comfort of your own home?

What a great idea.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then say hi to her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.

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.

College Students: Here’s Your Cheat Sheet to Budgeting 101

As if writing papers and studying for exams weren’t enough, there’s one more thing college students should  add to their workloads: budgeting.

A budget is the system that tracks what money comes in and what money goes out. It can keep you from getting in the red, spending more cash than you have available.

And let’s face it, once your parents are no longer in charge of keeping you alive from day to day, money becomes pretty important. That mini-fridge isn’t going to restock itself.

You don’t want cluelessness about money management to cause you to struggle to meet basic needs — or get you kicked out of school for coming up short on tuition payments.

Starting a budget isn’t something to delay until you graduate and begin your first full-time, professional gig. Though budgeting for college students may be a little different from how your future self will manage money, developing smart financial habits now is the best move to make.

Consider Your Income in School

Budgeting involves tracking your income and expenses. Let’s focus on the income first.

Part of the tradeoff of a college education is sacrificing a few income-earning years to earn a degree. This means many students have limited money coming in. Still, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.

Take Inventory of All Income Sources

Take a moment to think about all the money you have coming in. This could include:

  • Wages from a part-time job
  • Money from a side gig, like tutoring
  • A resident assistant stipend
  • Student loan, scholarship or grant
  • Money from a 529 plan
  • Money from a traditional savings account
  • Allowance from parents

Evaluate the Frequency of Income Disbursements

You may have a combination of income sources — and how you get paid from one may differ from how you get paid from another. It’s important to take into account how often you get paid from these various sources.

For example, if you have a student loan or scholarship, your school will receive the funding first to cover your tuition and fees and then issue you a check at the start of the semester for any money left over.

You’ll want to make that money last. When creating a monthly budget, take the overall amount and divide it by the number of months you want those funds to cover in order to come up with your monthly income.

If you have a part-time job, on the other hand, you might get paid every week or every other week. Add up how much you earn from the paychecks you get each month.

Now, you may have income that comes more irregularly — tips from a server job, random side gig income or money your parents send you from time to time. If this is income you rely on, you’ll want to figure out the average amount coming from these sources every month. Tally up the total over the past few months and then divide that by the number of months to get your average.

In months that you receive more money than average, set the extra aside — creating what’s called a sinking fund. During lean months where you bring in less, you can pull from your sinking fund to cover expenses.

Talk to Your Parents About Expected Financial Contributions

If your parents are providing financial support for you in school, it’s important to be on the same page with them about those contributions. You want to know if they’ll be sending you money on a regular basis, giving you a certain amount only at the beginning of the semester or just making themselves available to bail you out in an emergency.

Not all parents are able to (or choose to) financially support their college-aged children. Being an adult means shouldering the responsibility of providing for yourself, so any parental aid should be met with gratitude.

Plan On How You’ll Spend Money On and Off Campus

Close-up of hipster woman attending college holding books, notebooks and pens

The next step is listing all your anticipated expenses. Don’t forget to include what you plan to add to your savings.

Spending Categories for College Students

Begin by brainstorming all your relevant spending and savings categories. Your expenditures could include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Books
  • School supplies
  • Housing (campus housing or off-campus rent)
  • Food (college meal plan or groceries)
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Entertainment
  • Personal expenses
  • Clothing
  • Utilities
  • Laundry
  • Transportation
  • Cell phone bill
  • Internet bill
  • Insurance (auto, renters and/or medical)
  • Credit card bill
  • Emergency fund
  • Short-term savings
  • Long-term savings

Estimating Your Anticipated Spending

If you’ve been in college for a few months or more, you can review your past bank statements or go through receipts to get a baseline idea of how much you normally spend in each category. You can create your budget based on those amounts, making any necessary adjustments (like cutting back on middle-of-the-night pizza deliveries).

However, if you’re brand new to school, you probably have no clue what you’re likely to spend. To give you an idea, the College Board has estimated undergrad budgets which break down the average expected costs for students during the 2018-2019 school year, depending on the type of school.

  • A student commuting to a local two-year college:

    • $3,660 on tuition
    • $8,660 on room and board
    • $1,440 on books
    • $1,800 on transportation
    • $2,370 on other expenses
  • An in-state student living on campus at a four-year public college:

    • $10,230 on tuition
    • $11,140 on room and board
    • $1,240 on books
    • $1,160 on transportation
    • $2,120 on other expenses
  • An out-of-state student living on campus at a four-year public college:

    • $26,290 on tuition
    • $11,140 on room and board
    • $1,240 on books
    • $1,160 on transportation
    • $2,120 on other expenses
  • A student living on campus at a four-year private college:

    • $35,830 on tuition
    • $12,680 on room and board
    • $1,240 on books
    • $1,050 on transportation
    • $1,700 on other expenses

Of course, your expenses will vary based on where you attend college, what city you live in, what financial aid you qualify for and other circumstances unique to you. Check with your college’s financial aid office for information about estimated costs.

If you live off campus, pay special attention to what you’ll have to shell out for rent — and start roommate shopping. According to Apartment List, the national median cost of rent in February 2019 was $946 a month for a one-bedroom and $1,174 a month for a two-bedroom. Split that two-bedroom cost with a roommate, and you’d be paying $587 per month.

You also gotta eat. If you choose not to sign up for one of your school’s meal plan options, you need to budget for groceries. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, an adult between 19 and 50 can expect to spend between $165.80 and $369 per month on food depending on how thrifty or how liberal they are with their grocery budget.

Use Saving Tactics to Lower Your Costs

These cost estimates are here to give you an idea of how much you might spend, but there are dozens of ways you can reduce your expenses.

You can buy used textbooks from former students, use public transportation, attend free events for entertainment (college campuses have them all the time) and show your college ID any place that offers student discounts.

Check out our post on how to save money in college for detailed advice on how to save on tuition, books, housing, food, transportation, entertainment and more.

Find a Budgeting Method That Works for You

Now that you’re aware of your monthly income and expenses, it’s time to choose a budgeting style. Below are three popular approaches.

Zero-Based Budgeting

Zero-based budgeting is a precise budgeting method where your total income equals your total expenses (including savings). In other words, your budget should balance out to $0 at the end of the month.

That doesn’t mean you need to spend every dollar you get your hands on. Remember, it’s important to put money in a savings account to fund that spring break trip or a new laptop or to build up an emergency fund. With a zero-based budget, you just want to have a plan for every dollar.

Percentage-Based Budgeting

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi popularized the 50/30/20 budget in their book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” This method is a prime example of percentage-based budgeting. 50/30/20 budgeters spend 50% of their income on essentials (like housing and food), 30% on discretionary personal spending (AKA all the fun stuff) and 20% on financial goals (like saving).

As a college student, you might want to tweak the ratios a bit. Maybe 70% of your income goes to essentials and you allocate 15% for financial goals and another 15% toward personal spending.

A percentage-based budget makes sure you cover the necessary basics without sacrificing saving and having some fun. You don’t have to track every dollar, as long as you make sure to stay within the spending limits for each of the three categories — needs, wants and goals.

Cash Envelope System

A woman budgeting with the cash envelopes method

The cash envelope system is a way to help you stick to your budget by restricting your spending on variable expenses. Even with a budget in college, it might be tempting to spend too much on football tickets or Uber Eats or alcohol.

Here’s how this system works:

  1. Determine spending limits for your variable expenses, like food and entertainment. (Pay fixed costs, like rent or your phone bill, the way you normally would. Don’t include those expenses in this system.)
  2. Stuff cash in labeled envelopes to match those spending limits.
  3. Only use the cash envelopes when you’re out shopping.
  4. Once an envelope is empty, no more spending in that category until it’s time to replenish the envelopes.

If carrying around a ton of cash when you’re rooming with a relative stranger makes you nervous, you can digitize the system with apps like Mvelopes or Goodbudget.

Alternatively, you can use gift cards in place of cash envelopes. For example, if your grocery budget is $200 a month, you could put that money on a gift card from your local grocery chain or from a superstore chain such as Walmart or Target. Then you’d just use that card for all your grocery shopping for the month.

You could get gift cards for movie theaters, clothing stores or restaurants to cover various areas of your budget. Just make sure you don’t have to pay a service fee to purchase or maintain the gift card. You’ll also want to know if your card expires.

Four Tips to Mastering Your College Budget

Anyone just starting a budget will need some time to adjust to a new money management system. There may be a lot of trial and error in your first couple of months. That’s totally fine.

Here are some tips to going from Budgeting 101 to doctorate-level smarts.  

1. Be Flexible

A budget guides your financial life, but don’t treat it as if it’s set-in-stone. Every student’s budget is bound to change.

Some months may come with more expenses — like at the beginning of the semester when you have classes to pay for and books to purchase. Moving to a new apartment or having your roommate drop out of school mid-semester could shake up your cost of living.

The summer months might be flush with extra income if you land a paid internship or seasonal job — or you could find yourself struggling to pay for summer courses that your financial aid package didn’t cover.

All this is to say, as a student, you’re likely going to need to regularly adjust your budget.

2. Don’t Skip Out on Saving

When you’re making a limited amount of money in college, you might be tempted to forgo saving. Don’t.

Money in an emergency fund will reduce the financial panic when unexpected expenses pop up and help you cover anticipated items like books at the beginning of the semester or a plane ticket home for the holidays.

Factor saving into your budget. Even a small amount each month is better than nothing.

3. Embrace Budgeting Tools

Afraid you’ll flub your budget? There are various tools to help.

If you’re a fan of spreadsheets, you can access budgeting spreadsheets online for free from sites like Spreadsheet123 or Smartsheet.

Microsoft Excel also has budgeting templates specifically for college students. (Fun fact: College students can get Excel and other Microsoft Office software for free with a valid school email address.)

If you’d rather track your money with an app, some of our favorite budgeting apps include Mint, EveryDollar and You Need a Budget.

Students who find themselves indulging in too much online shopping might benefit from downloading Icebox, a free Google Chrome extension that puts a self-imposed freeze on online purchases.

4. Treat Credit Cards Responsibly

Thanks to legislation protecting young adults from credit card marketing, you shouldn’t be bombarded with credit card offers at every school function. Still, you may have considered opening a credit card account if you don’t have one already.

Having a credit card in college can be a positive thing if you’re responsible about your spending.  Only use the card for items you can afford to pay off fully and on time each month. This will help you establish a positive credit score.

Having good credit plays an important role in renting an apartment, getting an auto loan, buying a house and sometimes even getting a job.

One component of your credit score is the length of your credit history. Opening a credit account in college and using it responsibly will give you an advantage compared to if you waited. However, it’s important to note that you must have a cosigner sign off on your credit card application if you’re under 21 and have limited income.

The Importance of Budgeting for College Students

While creating and sticking to a budget might be an extra task added onto an already busy workload, creating good money management habits now can set you up for a great financial future.

If you’re stuck paying back student loans after graduation, you’ll have a handle on how to manage your money to get on a successful debt repayment plan ASAP. You’ll graduate not only ready to start your career but with the know-how to make the most of all the money you’ll earn.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at 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.

Handling the Financial Irresponsibility of Family Members

When you’ve devoted a lot of effort to fixing your own finances and putting yourself on a great financial track and you’ve spent a lot of time absorbing and thinking about good financial practices, the financial conversations you hear can sometimes be really frustrating.

You’ll hear people talking about their huge financial missteps as though they’re no big deal or even as though they’re a good thing. For example, maybe you’ll hear from a relative who is proud of the fact that they replace their new vehicle every three years with another new one when they barely make $40,000 a year.

That alone isn’t a big deal, but it’s often coupled with conversation about how they’re struggling financially and how the entire financial system is unfair. That same cousin who showed up in the brand new pickup truck that looks virtually identical to the brand new pickup truck they bought three years ago complains about how the whole system is rigged and that they’ll never retire, and then they’ll turn to you and expect agreement and reinforcement.

Even worse is the relative who takes you aside to give you a long sob story of financial misfortune, one that would have been mostly solved with an emergency fund, and then asks for a “loan” that you both know they’ll never pay back.

Those situations happen to me on occasion, and I used to find them incredibly frustrating and almost anger-inducing. Their financial mistakes were incredibly obvious and I wanted to simply say, “Can’t you see that you’re doing this financial damage to yourself?”

Over time, as I matured a little and heard many, many stories like this from readers, I came to realize something very important: most people do realize their own financial mistakes. That cousin knows how much those trucks are costing him. That other cousin knows that they’ve made some bad moves to wind up in a position where they’re swallowing their pride and basically begging for money. People are not unaware of their own financial missteps.

If people aren’t unaware of their missteps, what’s going on, then?

For starters, while understanding (at least some of) your mistakes can be pretty easy, actually correcting those mistakes is pretty hard. It requires a lot of behavioral changes. It requires a lot of self-denial. Most people won’t commit to those kinds of changes in their life unless it’s desperate.

At the same time, if you’re not making a ton of money, it’s very hard to get ahead financially because you just don’t have a lot to work with and there isn’t much room for error. You can make lots of good financial moves, but if you don’t have a lot of money to begin with, one or two missteps or one big unfortunate event can undo a lot of effort, and that contributes strongly to a sense of hopelessness.

Another factor to consider is that while many people might not like aspects of their life – like their retirement situation – they like other aspects of their life a lot and thus, on the balance, they prefer things as they are rather than making changes. I know a lot of people in this camp. While they might long to have more money or have a healthy retirement savings, when they look at their life on the whole and the changes they perceive that they would have to make to get on a different path, they don’t want to make those changes. Their life, as it is now, is better for them on the whole.

I’m sure that, in some aspects of your life, there’s something you’re unhappy with, that you’d like to correct, but you don’t do so because the balance that you have in your life right now is better than what it would take to correct that thing, so you table it. Many, many people do that with their finances.

Furthermore, people often want to blame forces outside of their control for the things that go wrong in their life. Undoubtedly, forces outside of our control can smash into our life like a meteor, but we made a lot of decisions leading up to those events and after those events. Did we prepare our life to be future-proof, or did we live in the moment? It takes some introspection to see this, but it’s a flavor of introspection that many people don’t want to take on. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means that they want an easy explanation for their financial difficulties and unexpected events are an easy thing to point at.

When you consider those factors, it becomes clear that when you see someone else being financially irresponsible, it shouldn’t frustrate you; rather, it’s simply a different choice of priorities. It does not mean that your priorities are right and theirs are wrong, nor does it mean that their priorities are right and yours are wrong. Very likely, your priorities are right for the condition of your life and your own personal characteristics, and their priorities are right for the condition of their life and their characteristics.

So, let’s roll things back to that family event where your cousin who has that brand new vehicle is complaining about never being able to retire because the system is stacked against them. It might feel frustrating, particularly if you’ve worked hard to put yourself in a position where you can retire and you know from personal experience that it can be done with hard work, but what should you actually do?

Nothing. That’s what you should do.

Just sit there and listen to their story. It’s not your story. It’s their story. Just listen.

If you feel frustrated, just try to envision the world through their shoes for a while. That person probably has a lot of personal pride in that truck of theirs, which is why they’re always buying a new one. That other person probably feels overwhelmed by a series of unfortunate events in their life.

There is almost no case in which your interjections about financial responsibility are going to be welcome.

Instead, try to find a rapport or common ground with that person. Ask questions about their story. Compliment their truck and look it over with positive reactions to it.

There will come a time when you are telling your story (but probably not today), and that’s the point where you can slip in some financial wisdom. Today, listen to their story and use that opportunity to build a stronger relationship.

What if you’re being asked for money in some way? If the person is asking you for money, then you should absolutely feel free to say “no.” There should never be an obligation to just fork over money upon request, no matter what the relationship and no matter what the situation. Just say “no.”

Being in a situation where you’ve loaned money to a relative or a close friend creates a lender-borrower relationship, and no one on earth has warm and fuzzy feelings for their lender. They might be appreciative of the loan, but they’ll never feel joyous about repaying it, and that means some degree of negative feeling from them is going to be levied toward you.

Rather, look for other ways to help. Offer to help them find work or to polish their resume. Offer to look over their business plan. Offer to give them a ride to work for the next few weeks until their car is fixed.

If you absolutely feel as though you should help them directly, then make it a fully no-strings-attached gift. Just put the money in their hand and tell them that it’s theirs.

If you absolutely feel you must give someone some advice, get them into a one-on-one situation and tell them that you have some experience with getting one’s financial house in better shape and you’d love to give them some suggestions, if they want. Leave the ball in their court – don’t thrust unsolicited financial advice at them as it will often be resented.

Aside from those things, the best thing you can do is stand back and try to gain an appreciation of their story as a distinct journey through life, not just an extension of your own story. Many, many family conflicts occur when you try to substitute what you value into someone else’s story that’s centered around what they value. You don’t know what’s best for them, so don’t fall into that trap. There’s very little benefit and a whole lot of pain down that path.

Good luck!

The post Handling the Financial Irresponsibility of Family Members appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

auto credit v1 Free Traffic Generator How To Make Money Online Daily How To Make Money Online Fast And Free internet marketing

internet marketing ads

A special invitation for bloggers & online influencers!

Earlier this week, I got a message from Erin who blogs at Simple Purposeful Living. She’s one of my Mastermind members and she was messaging to tell me how grateful she was for the Mastermind.

Erin said she is in the middle of a product launch and she told me how she realized that ever since she joined Your Blogging Mastermind, her email list has grown by 100 new subscribers each month.

It made me so thrilled to hear this. THIS is why I started Your Blogging Mastermind!

I am so passionate about helping newer and longtime bloggers take their blog to the next level. I want you to make a part-time or full-time income from blogging.

I want you to be in a place where you can pay off debt, have more wiggle room in your budget, be able to save more and give more. Most of all, I want to help you use your gifts and talents to bless and impact others.

auto credit v1

This is More Than One-On-One Coaching

I have had a lot of people approach me over the years about offered one-on-one coaching.

While I offered one-on-one coaching for awhile, I quickly realized that I wanted to do more than just offer coaching; I wanted to provide a place for bloggers to network, encourage one another, ask honest questions, share real feedback, and provide accountability for each other.

And thus, Your Blogging Mastermind was born! We launched in January to a 100 people as a beta test.

I had hoped to open it up to more people, but I wanted to make sure my idea would work well and would be really beneficial to everyone who participated. I have absolutely loved getting to coach and encourage and cheerlead these 100 bloggers.

And I’ve loved hearing stories like the one I shared above from Mastermind members who are seeing real growth and results from what they are learning in the coaching sessions and the interactions with other members.

Which is why I am super stoked to be opening the doors to the public this week and inviting you to join Your Blogging Mastermind!

(Note: The Mastermind is only open to members this week and there are limited spots available.) Coach

engagement online

Can I Help You?

If you are a blogger, I want to come alongside you and teach you how to:

  • increase your traffic and engagement online
  • significantly boost your blog income
  • produce better and more consistent blog content
  • rediscover your joy and passion for blogging
  • create products that will serve your audience
  • build and nurture a thriving email list
  • still have a life outside of blogging.

I also want to provide a place for you to network with other bloggers, build relationships, and get real-time feedback, critique, and encouragement.

If this sounds like something that would benefit you, I’d love to have you join Your Blogging Mastermind! It’s only open to new members this week.

Registration for the Mastermind closes on Saturday evening at midnight (April 27, 2019). After this week, we won’t be opening it up again until the end of summer.

Yes, I Want to Increase My Income & Online Engagement!

free online blog class

Free Traffic Generator

What You Get When You Join…

When you sign up for Your Blogging Mastermind, you’ll get:

  • 2 one-hour LIVE group coaching video sessions with me every month. These are a mix of me teaching, me bringing on members to share feedback (sort of like a “hot seat”), me critiquing your blogs and posts (I’ll give you opportunities to submit yours for some of the live video critique sessions), and me answering your burning blog-related questions. I may bring on an expert from time-to-time to guest teach on a topic where I don’t have a lot of experience.
  • An invitation to an exclusive private social media platform (on Mighty Networks) for interacting with me and other Mastermind members. I’ll be in this forum a lot — answering your questions and engaging with you. Plus, it will be a place for you to ask your questions, get feedback, get to know other bloggers, possibly cross-promote each other, and share you blogging struggles and victories.
  • Access to all previous live coaching videos. You’ll get 3 months’ worth of live coaching sessions on topics that include how to monetize your blog through freebies and tripwires, how to write affiliate posts, product emails, and launch pages that convert, and how to effective use instagram to explode your engagement.
  • A free ticket to a yearly one day Blog Mastermind in Nashville with me and other members of the group (you’ll just need to cover your travel costs; there will be no cost for the event!)

How To Make Money Online Daily Are you ready to take your blog to the next level, grow your email list, increase your income, and become more strategic on social media?

>>Yes! I Want to Join Your Blogging Mastermind!<<

If you’re still on the fence, leave a comment and let me know what’s holding you back. I’d love to help answer any questions or concerns that you have.

P.S. Your Blogging Mastermind membership is on a month-to-month basis… and you can easily cancel at any time. There is no contract or obligation! This Mastermind is for those who are already blogging. If you haven’t started blogging yet and are interested, be sure to check out my free online blog class to help you get your blog up and running!

How To Make Money Online Fast And Free

Post Hoc, a litany of obsolete inventions and phenomena

Defunct television channels, destroyed artworks, missing aircraft, cancelled military projects, former nations, extinct birds, list of sinkholes, discontinued burial techniques, tornadoes, failed banks, discontinued fragrances, obsolete aeronautical machines, etc.

This year, the New Zealand pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale will feature lists of inventions, life forms, phenomena and “things” that no longer exist. The work traces a kind of “history of progress” through the history of obsolescence. Although the “things” listed are now lost to us, their existence still lingers in the present. We might not see them anymore but they’ve made this moment possible.

artist
Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019, Digital Working Drawing

Auckland
Dane Mitchell, ​Hiding in Plain Sight (​ detail), 2017. Installation view, Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Auckland

The lists will be broadcast throughout the city via a network of tree cell towers, the often derided communication towers that camouflage as nature. The fake trees are being installed in various historical sites across Venice: 3 will be located at the New Zealand pavilion as a sort of networked plantation, and 4 in other sites across Venice. Inhabitants and tourists will be able to hear a whispering of the lists as they walk by the synthetic trees.

auto credit v1
Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019. Screen shot from production video filmed at SJ Cell Tower & Artificial Plant Company Limited, Guangzhou, China

Berlin
Dane Mitchell during the installation of the work at Palazzina Canonica in Venice. Image facebook

The artist behind the project is Dane Mitchell, an artist interested in the physical properties of the intangible and visible manifestations of other dimensions.

“We all live in some sort of technological filter bubble,” Mitchell told me when i asked him what guided the selection of lists of defunct things. “The work pushes up hard against the edges of my own — it is undoubtedly an expression of the perimeters of knowledge I might have access to. The work embraces the fallibility of encyclopedic thinking — it is a (western) delusion to assume that we might be able to ‘hold’ the world in such a way, however, Post hoc is contradictorily an attempt to momentarily hold aloft these vanished things that sit under our present moment.

The lists are very much generated by, and authored by me. In this way they have a poetic logic…one list leads to another leads to another and onwards. I started with ten, and was apprehensive about the task of amassing this list — a list that reads for seven months, averaging 25,000 words a day — but through a meandering approach the lists grew. The filter bubble is also an expression of the types of material forces I’m interested in, be it in relation to science, belief, materiality, etc. The ‘bubble’ is certainly an expression of my own habits and predilections.”

China
Dane Mitchell, ​Hiding in Plain Sight (​ detail), 2017. Installation view, Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Auckland

Dane Mitchell
Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019. Production still at SJ Cell Tower & Artificial Plant Company Limited, Guangzhou, China

This year, the New Zealand pavilion will be located inside the Palazzina Canonica, the former headquarters of the Marine Research Institute. The Giardini, the historical site of the biennale exhibition, has space for only 29 pavilions of foreign countries. New Zealand is not one of them. Like many other nations, it has to find a palazzo elsewhere to host its exhibition. Dane Mitchell, however, has devised a cunning way to sneak inside the Giardini of the Biennale. He installed one of the tree towers in the Parco delle Rimembranze, a nearby park covered in (natural) pines. Visitors touring the Giardini of the biennale will be able use their wifi-enabled device and grab the transmissions emitted from the neighbouring green space.

I admire the bravery and irony of creating a project that highlights disappearance in a city that’s slowly sinking into physical oblivion. Without even mentioning the art biennial, a format that’s often been labelled as ‘outmoded’.

Interestingly, the title of the exhibition is “Post hoc” which translates to “after this” in Latin, the most famous dead language of the Western world.

Free Traffic Generator
Dane Mitchell, Post hoc 2019. Production still

If you want to know more about the project, do check out Dane Mitchell’s discussion of it a few weeks ago at daadgalerie in Berlin:

Dane Mitchell, Övül Durmusoglu and Heman Chong panel discussion at daadgalerie in Berlin on 12 March 2019

Dane Mitchell, Post hoc is on view at Palazzina Canonica (and across the city), the New Zealand Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, from 11 May until 24 November 2019.

How To Make Money Online Daily How To Make Money Online Fast And Free internet marketing internet marketing ads internet marketing affiliate internet marketing articles

internet marketing basics

A special invitation for bloggers & online influencers!

Earlier this week, I got a message from Erin who blogs at Simple Purposeful Living. She’s one of my Mastermind members and she was messaging to tell me how grateful she was for the Mastermind.

Erin said she is in the middle of a product launch and she told me how she realized that ever since she joined Your Blogging Mastermind, her email list has grown by 100 new subscribers each month.

It made me so thrilled to hear this. THIS is why I started Your Blogging Mastermind!

I am so passionate about helping newer and longtime bloggers take their blog to the next level. I want you to make a part-time or full-time income from blogging.

I want you to be in a place where you can pay off debt, have more wiggle room in your budget, be able to save more and give more. Most of all, I want to help you use your gifts and talents to bless and impact others.

auto credit v1

This is More Than One-On-One Coaching

I have had a lot of people approach me over the years about offered one-on-one coaching.

While I offered one-on-one coaching for awhile, I quickly realized that I wanted to do more than just offer coaching; I wanted to provide a place for bloggers to network, encourage one another, ask honest questions, share real feedback, and provide accountability for each other.

And thus, Your Blogging Mastermind was born! We launched in January to a 100 people as a beta test.

I had hoped to open it up to more people, but I wanted to make sure my idea would work well and would be really beneficial to everyone who participated. I have absolutely loved getting to coach and encourage and cheerlead these 100 bloggers.

And I’ve loved hearing stories like the one I shared above from Mastermind members who are seeing real growth and results from what they are learning in the coaching sessions and the interactions with other members.

Which is why I am super stoked to be opening the doors to the public this week and inviting you to join Your Blogging Mastermind!

(Note: The Mastermind is only open to members this week and there are limited spots available.) Coach

engagement online

Can I Help You?

If you are a blogger, I want to come alongside you and teach you how to:

  • increase your traffic and engagement online
  • significantly boost your blog income
  • produce better and more consistent blog content
  • rediscover your joy and passion for blogging
  • create products that will serve your audience
  • build and nurture a thriving email list
  • still have a life outside of blogging.

I also want to provide a place for you to network with other bloggers, build relationships, and get real-time feedback, critique, and encouragement.

If this sounds like something that would benefit you, I’d love to have you join Your Blogging Mastermind! It’s only open to new members this week.

Registration for the Mastermind closes on Saturday evening at midnight (April 27, 2019). After this week, we won’t be opening it up again until the end of summer.

Yes, I Want to Increase My Income & Online Engagement!

free online blog class

Free Traffic Generator

What You Get When You Join…

When you sign up for Your Blogging Mastermind, you’ll get:

  • 2 one-hour LIVE group coaching video sessions with me every month. These are a mix of me teaching, me bringing on members to share feedback (sort of like a “hot seat”), me critiquing your blogs and posts (I’ll give you opportunities to submit yours for some of the live video critique sessions), and me answering your burning blog-related questions. I may bring on an expert from time-to-time to guest teach on a topic where I don’t have a lot of experience.
  • An invitation to an exclusive private social media platform (on Mighty Networks) for interacting with me and other Mastermind members. I’ll be in this forum a lot — answering your questions and engaging with you. Plus, it will be a place for you to ask your questions, get feedback, get to know other bloggers, possibly cross-promote each other, and share you blogging struggles and victories.
  • Access to all previous live coaching videos. You’ll get 3 months’ worth of live coaching sessions on topics that include how to monetize your blog through freebies and tripwires, how to write affiliate posts, product emails, and launch pages that convert, and how to effective use instagram to explode your engagement.
  • A free ticket to a yearly one day Blog Mastermind in Nashville with me and other members of the group (you’ll just need to cover your travel costs; there will be no cost for the event!)

How To Make Money Online Daily Are you ready to take your blog to the next level, grow your email list, increase your income, and become more strategic on social media?

>>Yes! I Want to Join Your Blogging Mastermind!<<

If you’re still on the fence, leave a comment and let me know what’s holding you back. I’d love to help answer any questions or concerns that you have.

P.S. Your Blogging Mastermind membership is on a month-to-month basis… and you can easily cancel at any time. There is no contract or obligation! This Mastermind is for those who are already blogging. If you haven’t started blogging yet and are interested, be sure to check out my free online blog class to help you get your blog up and running!

How To Make Money Online Fast And Free

These Companies Will Help You Find the Best Life Insurance of 2019

  • Instant Funnel Pack - Version 2.0 5 DONE FOR YOU List Building VIDEO Sales Funnel Kits With Private Label Rights + MRR Video Stash BONUS!
  • Fast Funnel Builder "Fast Funnel Builder" is a brand new software (for Windows) that allows you to Build Responsive Mini Funnels For Any Niche with Just a few Clicks.
  • Commission Bullseye InstaBullseye Unlock the importer function and use our collection of done for you campaigns - Commission Bullseye needed for this to work

Finding the best life insurance company for your needs isn’t as easy as choosing the next Netflix series to binge watch. There are a lot of factors people should take into consideration when searching for a plan.

First of all, what type of life insurance do you need? (And if you’re thinking, “Holy moly, there are different types?!” don’t worry, you’re not alone.)

Second, consider your specific conditions and lifestyle choices. Are you a smoker? Do you have a family history of a terminal illness? Different life insurance companies treat people with various habits, conditions and family history differently. You need to make sure you’re being treated fairly and finding the best deal.

Don’t be intimidated by the jargon, the options or the decisions related to your passing away. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know to find the best life insurance in 2019.

Types of Life Insurance

Keep in mind that numerous sub-categories of life insurance exist. However, there are two main types you should know about: term and permanent. Which is best for you?

Term Life Insurance

If you purchase term life insurance, you’ll only pay premiums for a set term, usually 10 to 30 years. Your primary objective is to ensure that a specific sum of money, the death benefit, will be given to your loved ones should you die during that term.

Pros of Term Life Insurance

It’s your most affordable option. We Penny Hoarders love to save a cent here and there! With a term life policy, you pay fewer fees and receive fewer benefits than with a permanent policy.

Also, rather than paying premiums for your entire life, you only pay for a set period of time. As a result, you end up paying a smaller total over the years.

If you want to, you can usually convert your term life insurance policy into a permanent life insurance policy. If money is tight at the moment but you want life insurance, a great option is to buy term insurance now and convert it into permanent later.

Most companies allow conversion within a certain amount of time after buying your insurance, but this time frame differs for each life insurance provider.

Cons of Term Life Insurance

A term policy doesn’t have any cash value. You’re only paying for the death benefit, or for the amount of money your loved ones will receive once you’re gone. If you opt for a permanent policy over a term policy, you’ll receive more benefits than just the death benefit. Granted, that’s a big reason that term life insurance is so affordable, but be aware of what you’re missing if you go with the cheaper option.

If you live past the set term, your family won’t get any payout when you do pass away. Granted, once your term expires, you can always sign up for a new term or switch to permanent.

Many people choose term life insurance so that, should they pass away unexpectedly, their family will have money to take care of expenses. Once your term is over, there’s a good chance you’ll have fewer expenses — you may have paid off your house and car by then, and your kids will have finished college. As you get older, your need for life insurance typically decreases; that’s why a lot of people prefer to opt for term life insurance.

However, that’s not always the case. If you have doubts, it’s time to look into permanent life insurance.

Permanent Life Insurance

Term life insurance is only valid for a set amount of time. Permanent, on the other hand, lasts for your entire life. This means that you’ll pay premiums for the duration of your life. There are two main categories of permanent life insurance: whole and universal.

Whole life insurance provides financial consistency, while universal life insurance provides financial flexibility.

Whole Life Insurance

A whole life policy provides death benefits to your loved ones once you pass away. Unlike term, however, whole life insurance also has cash value.

Pros of Whole Life Insurance

You’re set for life. Whether you die at age 30 or age 90, your family will receive death benefits. Whole life insurance doesn’t have the time restraints a term policy does.

Whole life insurance policies have cash value. You’ll pay your monthly, quarterly or annual premiums, just as you would with term but a portion of these premiums goes into an investment account that accrues interest. You have a lot of options for how to use this cash value.

At any time, you can trade in your plan and forfeit coverage to receive the cash. You can take out a loan, withdraw a partial amount and even use the cash value to pay your premiums. (That last one is pretty cool!) Oh, and your cash value is tax-deferred.

Cons of Whole Life Insurance

The main downfall is the price. Because you’re paying for a longer period of time in addition to paying for cash value, whole life insurance can cost significantly more than term for the same death benefits.

The big question is… Is the price worth it? Once again, if you think you’ll have paid off most of your assets by the time you pass, you might want to go with term life insurance. If your financial situation is a bit more up in the air, whole life insurance could be better for your family.

You have to pay fees if you trade in your coverage for the cash value. You knew it had to be too good to be true, didn’t you? You don’t get all the cash you’ve accumulatedyou have to pay fees. The amount you’ll pay in fees depends on the company.

Your loved ones won’t see the cash value. This is worth mentioning, because it’s natural to assume your family would receive the cash value that’s accrued when you pass. In reality, if you haven’t spent that money by the time you pass, the insurance company will take it back. Your family still only receives the death benefit.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is very similar to whole, with three key differences: The amount of your premium payments can change over time, you can change how often you pay your premiums and your death benefits can change.

Pros of Universal Life Insurance

A universal life policy is a great choice if you think your financial situation could change significantly before you pass. For example, maybe you realize 20 years into your plan that your loved ones will need a little more assistance than you originally thought after you’re gone. You can increase the death benefits!

You can update your plan without having to get a new policy, which is a huge relief. If you have term life insurance, you have to either convert to a permanent policy or buy a new policy once your term expires if you want new terms.

If you have whole, you can forfeit your coverage for the cash value and sign up for a new policy if you want to. With universal, you can make a ton of changes to your policy without going through the hassle of getting a new plan.

A Con of Universal Life Insurance

Keep in mind, universal has most of the same cons as whole life insurance. There is one more main thing to consider, though.

Of the three main types of life insurance, universal has the most variables, making it the most confusing. If you aren’t exactly a life insurance pro, this could be intimidating. I definitely recommend seeking advice from a third-party professional before choosing a universal plan or making any changes to it.

The 7 Best Life Insurance Companies for 2019

Photo of a little girl helping her mom who is working on a computer from their home

There isn’t one magical life insurance company that’s best for everyone. (Although that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?)

Different people benefit from certain companies and policies. To make things easier for you, we’ve used a simple methodology to find the seven best life insurance companies out there.

Methodology

We took three main factors into account in our search for the best life insurance companies: financial strength, customer satisfaction and premiums.

Financial Strength

Life insurance is a long-term purchase, so you want to be confident that the company you’re buying life insurance from will last longer than you do. Also, it’s vital that they’re financially sound enough to keep their promises to you and your family.

I’ve taken AM Best’s financial strength ratings into account. AM Best is a third-party credit rating company that rates life insurance on a letter grade scale, the highest being A++ (superior).

All of the companies on this list are rated either A, A+ or A++. Ratings of A- and A are considered excellent, while A+ and A++ are superior.

Customer Satisfaction

Financial strength becomes a lot less impressive if other aspects of a company are subpar. That’s why customer satisfaction is such an important thing to take into account.

I’ve evaluated these companies’ customer satisfaction by looking at their J.D. Power ratings. J.D. Power is a marketing research company that surveys customers, then rates insurance companies on a 1,000-point scale based on those survey answers.

After scoring the companies, J.D. Power labels each company as “among the best,” “better than most,” “about average” and “the rest.”

Premiums

All you Penny Hoarders out there… you knew I’d have to take your personal finances into account, didn’t you?

When it comes down to it, a lot of the largest life insurance companies offer very similar plans. In these cases, some people simply choose the option that’s most affordable for them.

This factor was a bit more subjective than the others, because your premium payments can depend on a variety of factorsyour age when you buy insurance, your health and your habits, just to name a few.

The Best Life Insurance Companies Overall

Company AM Best Rating J.D. Power Ranking Premium Best for…
State Farm A++ 825 Average Term life insurance
Northwestern Mutual A++ 812 Low Whole life insurance
Protective A+ 791 Low Universal life insurance
Mutual of Omaha A+ 792 Average Burial insurance
Transamerica A+ 751 Low Smokers
Lincoln A+ 778 Low Millennials
Voya A 744 Low Those with a family history of cancer

The Best Term Life Insurance Company: State Farm

  • Financial strength: A++ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 825 (among the best)

Do you already use State Farm to insure your home, car or health? Then you can save money by purchasing your life insurance through them, too. Yep, State Farm rewards you for buying multiple types of insurance with them.

However, even if you don’t use State Farm for other types of insurance, it’s still a fantastic choice for term life insurance. J.D. Power has ranked State Farm as the life insurance company with the highest customer satisfaction for five years in a row.

You can select a 10, 20 or 30 year term for $250,000. The policy is renewable up to age 95 and can be converted to a whole life program.

The Best Whole Life Insurance Company: Northwestern Mutual

  • Financial strength: A++ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 812 (better than most)

My favorite thing about Northwestern Mutual’s whole life insurance? It’s highly customizable. No two people’s needs are the same, so why should everyone have the same whole life insurance plan?

The company has a lot of optional add-ons (called “riders” in the insurance world) for a life insurance policy. For example, a waiver of premium rider is available so that, should you become disabled while you have insurance, Northwestern Mutual no longer requires you to pay the premiums. This is just one of many riders, and Northwestern Mutual offers more riders than most of its competitors.

You also have a number of payment options. You can select a policy in which you pay your premiums until you reach an agreed-upon age. Or you may choose to pay your premiums for a certain number of years until your balance is paid off, ranging from 10 to 30 years.

The Best Universal Life Insurance Company: Protective Life Insurance

  • Financial strength: A+ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 791 (better than most)

Good news: When it comes to price, Protective Life Insurance is probably your best universal life insurance option.

Protective stands out because it offers something called Custom Choice UL (Universal Life) Insurance. Universal life insurance is already known for being customizable, but this policy kicks things up a notch.

At first, the Custom Choice UL policy looks like term life insurance. You choose a set amount of time you want your premiums and death benefit to remain stagnant.

When the time frame ends after, say, 30 years, your premiums stay the same. However, your death benefit amount slowly decreases. Once your balance hits the minimum of $10,000, the death benefit stays at that amount and your premiums will start to increase.

The Best Burial Insurance Company: Mutual of Omaha

  • Financial strength: A+ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 792 (better than most)

When you buy burial insurance, the death benefit is specifically intended to help your loved ones pay for funeral and burial costs. (You’d be surprised how much it costs to be put in the ground or cremated!)

There’s an age limit when you’re buying burial insurance. Mutual of Omaha’s minimum age requirement is 45, while many companies’ don’t start until age 50. If you want to get a jump on things, Mutual of Omaha is a great choice.

Because it’s primarily intended for funeral and burial costs, burial insurance death benefits amounts are much lower than death benefits for other kinds of life insurance policies. With Mutual of Omaha, you can get a policy ranging from $2,000-$40,000. Most of its competitors’ payouts have a much lower threshold. For example, Royal Neighbors of America and AIG cap at $25,000.

The Best Life Insurance Company for Smokers: Transamerica

  • Financial strength: A+ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 751 (the rest)

If you’re looking for yet another reason to quit smoking, here’s one for you: Life insurance costs substantially more for smokers than for non-smokers. The older you are when you buy life insurance as a smoker, the more shockingly high that price will be.

(Pro tip: If you’re comfortable with waiting to purchase life insurance, quit today and start shopping for insurance next year. Most companies classify you as a non-smoker if you haven’t smoked for at least 12 months.)

Thinking you can just lie on your application and say you don’t smoke? Well, that’s called insurance fraud, and I don’t recommend it. Plus, many companies require you to take a medical exam, so you could easily be caught.

Thankfully, Transamerica can make things easier for you than a lot of life insurance companies can.

Smokers probably won’t be able to find lower prices anywhere else! Transamerica has strong financial stability. While its customer satisfaction ranking is just so-so, the score is still better than the scores of many competitive companies.

Note: Banner Life Insurance offers competitive prices for smokers along with Transamerica, but it hasn’t been ranked by J.D. Power, so it didn’t make it onto this list. Still, it’s worth getting a life insurance quote from both companies!

The Best Life Insurance for Millennials: Lincoln Financial Group

Young woman drinking first morning coffee and reading news in the kitchen of her apartment
  • Financial strength: A+ (superior)
  • Customer satisfaction: 778 (better than most)

You might think it’s unnecessary to get life insurance if you’re in your 20s or 30s. If you don’t have a mortgage, spouse or kids, why bother buying now?

Well, the younger and healthier you are, the lower your premiums will be! If you select 30-year life insurance coverage at age 25, you’ll be covered until you’re 55, and there’s a decent chance you’ll get married, pop out a couple kids or buy a home before age 55. If you purchase life insurance before you think it’s necessary, your payments will be much lower than if you wait!

Lincoln Financial Group is even more affordable than its competitors, with better financial strength and customer satisfaction to boot.

For example, using QuickQuote, I received an insurance quote for a 30-year, $250,000 term policy for a 25-year old woman in good health in California: $18.77 per month with Lincoln.

Foresters Financial cost $19.69 per month, and Mutual of Omaha cost $20.86.

A buck or two may not seem like a notable difference. However, if you pay an extra dollar per month for 30 years, you just spent an extra $360!

The Best Life Insurance Company for Those With a Family History of Cancer: Voya Financial

  • Financial strength: A (excellent)
  • Customer satisfaction: 744 (the rest)

It’s understandable that rates differ for people who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have beaten cancer. But guess what? Even if you just have a family history of cancer, this will affect your rates. If anyone in your family was diagnosed before age 60 and/or died from cancer, this will probably affect your life insurance premiums.

Not every type of cancer will affect your premiums. Certain types of cancer have been linked to genetics, and others haven’t. Your sex is another factor. For example, if you’re a woman whose father had prostate cancer, this likely won’t affect your rates… but it could affect your brother’s rates.

But all isn’t lost. Voya Financial is here to help! (You may be familiar with the company ING, but you should know they recently changed their name to Voya Financial.)

Voya Financial is known for placing less emphasis on a family’s history than most other companies do when determining rates.

If something as dire as cancer is part of your family history, then you should still talk to insurance agents and get life insurance quotes from multiple companies. However, there’s a good chance Voya Financial will offer you some of the bestif not the bestpremiums. Plus, its financial strength and customer satisfaction is higher than most of its competitors.

Who knew there was so much to consider when choosing the best policy?

Thankfully, if you choose one of these seven top life insurance companies, you’ll set yourself and your family up for success.

Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer and an editor for FluentU. Follow her on Twitter @lgtarpley.

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.

Is It Better To Buy Or Lease a New Car?

Should you lease or buy your next car? You’ll always save by buying a used car and driving it as long as possible. But if you “have to have” a new car, there are pros and cons to both buying and leasing to consider.

Is It Better To Buy Or Lease a New Car? appeared first on Money Under 30. © Moneyblogs, LLC.

auto credit v1 Business law Contract law

Khloe Kardashian Gets Her Knee Sucked While Kim Cuts Off Her Hair During a Very "Different" Kind of Healing Ceremony in Bali

  • 2 Shares In The MTC Coop - Member Special Start Getting Easy Traffic To Your Online Offers On 100% Autopilot In As Little As 3 Minutes, Guaranteed!
  • SpyCom - SyVID Agency SyVID Agency lets you share and syndicate your videos to multiple video and social sharing sites. This is agency version with pro features.
  • ProfitBuilder Academy ProfitBuilder Academy - Discover the Secrets of Legends as Sean grills industry experts to reveal their secrets and shares some of his own secrets in this explosive advanced training...

Kim Kardashian, KUWTK 1604When in Bali!
Kim Kardashian is eager to soak up the island’s cultural treasures during her family’s last few days of vacation, but she probably didn’t think she’d have to…

AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mats, 2 pack only $8.38!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Yay! This deal on these popular AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mats is back!

Adhesives

Amazon has these AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mats (2 pack) for only $8.38 right now – the lowest price on record!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get free 2-day shipping. And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

Artificial objects

Zachary Levi to Host 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

MTV Movie & TV Awards, 2019, logoZachary Levi is bringing some superhero-level star power to the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
The Shazam! star is set to host the annual award show, the network announced on Tuesday….

Why We Moved to Nashville

In this week’s podcast episode, we answer a question we’ve been asked over and over again: “Why did you move to Nashville?” Jesse and I share our honest thoughts on the challenges that led up to us considering moving to Nashville and why we ended up making the move.

Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here.

auto credit v1

Why We Moved to Nashville

Last week, Jesse and I were supposed to record an episode telling more of our story, but he had to go out of town unexpectedly and was gone for almost the whole week. In this episode, we share more about that, why we don’t function very well when he’s gone, but why I’m happy he was able to make the trip.

We also talk about books we’re reading (my book was one I almost didn’t share about!), my new non-coffee healthy “mocha” I’ve been drinking in the mornings, and a special offer on my course, 15 Days to a Healthier You.

A question we have gotten asked over and over again in recent years — and especially since we started sharing our story on the podcast! — is, “Why did you move to Nashville?”

In this episode, we share what challenges led up to us considering moving to Nashville and why we ended up making the move.

And Whew! We’re Finally Done Sharing Our Story!

When I first started this podcast, I thought Jesse and I would just do one episode sharing part of our story. I never envisioned we’d spend 8 whole episodes on our story!! But it has been so good for us to take the time to recount our 16 years of marriage and share the highs and lows of our journey.

Thank you for listening in, sending such kind emails, and encouraging us to take the time to share our story. Your willingness to show up, show interest, and listen in has been a gift to us!

And now we can finally start doing topical episodes together! We’re excited to dive into some of the topics you all have written in and suggested!

In This Episode:

[02:58] – I’m so happy Jesse is back home! He shares why he went out of town, why he was grateful he got to go, and I share how I have so much respect for all the single parents and parents who are often flying solo!

[04:37] – Jesse got some great reading in while he was traveling and he has a book update for us!

[06:18] – I chat about a book I finished last week — which I almost didn’t talk about because of the crass language. But I found it so fascinating that I had to share.

[08:37] – My current drink (and what’s saving my life!) is a mix of Dandy Blendand Morning Motivator.

[12:21] – If you’re ready to live a healthier life, check out my 15 Days to a Healthier You course!

[13:01] – Jesse and I recap where we left off in our story the last time that we talked about it on the show.

[15:14] – We started asking for help and bringing on some business and personal help, which made such a difference.

[17:15] – I talk about how much MoneySavingMom.com exploded during this period, as well as a specific opportunity that gave us enough money to start looking at houses.

[20:13] – It was so thrilling to finally be able to buy a house with cash… and we thought it was going to be our “forever home.”

[21:52] – But then, we began to take a hard look at our lifestyle and what we had worked so hard for. Was this what we really wanted?

[25:22] – Jesse felt antsy, burnt out, and exhausted and we knew it was time for a change. So we began praying about what that would look like. And Tennessee just kept coming to our minds.

[30:26] – It felt crazy, but we decided to take an 18-month leap of faith and try relocating to Tennessee and renting a house. To play it “safe”, we didn’t sell our house in Kansas so that we could easily move back if we decided that Tennessee wasn’t a good fit. Well, that was five years ago. And we are so grateful to be here… even on the days when it’s been a challenge and we’ve missed Kansas and our extended family.

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Crystal Paine

Up to 70% off PUMA Shoes + Free Shipping!

  • SQZin Video Training and Bonus Gift Generate Qualified Leads From Popular Content with Your Call-To-Action Overlay Without Having To Write A Single Word!| Squeeze – Share – Profit! You know that content is king and that high-quality content leads to the best conversions.
  • Newbie Wealth System - One Time Offer Grab MASTER TRANSFERABLE PLR Rights To The Newbie Wealth System Training Videos... Plus Get The PLR Reseller Salespage!
  • AzonAuthority - Single Site License Profit Builder is the Ultimate LIVE Builder and Profit Generator for WordPress, giving users an Amazing "All in One" toolbox and empowering websites with awe inspiring enhancements that can transform any website into a power hub...

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

If you need new shoes, check out these great deals on PUMA sneakers and more!

Puma Sneakers

Through tomorrow, PUMA is offering up to 70% off select shoes, apparel and accessories! Plus, shipping is free!

Here are some deals you can score…

Get these PUMA Tazon 6 FM Women’s Sneakers for only $29.99 shipped (regularly $70)!

Carson 2 X Knit Women’s Running Shoes

Get these PUMA Carson 2 X Knit Women’s Running Shoes for only $29.99 shipped (regularly $60)!

Urban Plus Suede Sneakers

Get these PUMA Urban Plus Suede Sneakers for only $24.99 shipped (regularly $45)!

Puma Bridger Cat Men's Sneakers

Get these PUMA Bridger Cat Men’s Sneakers for only $24.99 shipped (regularly $50)!

Fictional characters

Get these PUMA Viz Runner Men’s Running Shoes for only $39.99 shipped (regularly $65)!

Valid through April 24, 2019.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

Free Shipping

The Basics of Understanding the Financial News

  • SpyCom - ACE SpyCom ACE is an upgrade to SpyCom with lots of new features, commercial license and other licenses. SpyCom is the worlds most powerful cloud based AliExpress market research, keyword research and niche research app that also lets you create FB Ad Images
  • Stream Store Developer Unlimited Commissions Having Each And Every Amazon Product Delivered On-Demand To Your Store! (+Dynamic Posts Plugin)
  • 5 Shares In The MTC Coop Start Getting Easy Traffic To Your Online Offers On 100% Autopilot In As Little As 3 Minutes, Guaranteed!

Max writes in:

One thing I have always struggled with is understanding the money news. Whenever the money news comes on it sounds like the people on TV or the radio start speaking gibberish. What is the stock market, I mean, what actually is it? What is Dow Jones? What is NASDAQ? What do all of the numbers mean? I feel like you have to have an encyclopedia just to understand what is happening!

I actually agree with you. When news reports discuss most of the issues of the day, they either provide enough background so that people can understand (to a degree) what’s going on or they rely on very big news stories of the recent past that people who have been following the news for the last month will have enough background to understand the latest story. With financial news (and, to a lesser extent, sports news), that’s simply not the case. People in the media assume a surprising amount of knowledge from their listeners/readers/viewers.

I think the reason for this is that they assume that the people for whom the segment has any value at all will know what they’re talking about, and for those that don’t, the segment is just a short piece that doesn’t really have any meaning and they’ll just sit through it.

That’s a shame, though, because burying financial news in a bunch of lingo makes it inaccessible to a lot of the American public. Even if you’re not an investor, it’s never bad to at least understand what they’re talking about and how it’s potentially relevant to you.

In this article, I’m going to try to explain most of what they’re talking about on those news reports in simple language. I’m going to simplify a few things solely for the purpose of not going down a deep rabbit hole of specific laws and instead stick to what a layperson should know in order to understand the stock market.

So, let’s start from the very basics: what exactly is a stock market?

What Is a Stock Market?

A stock market is simply a place where people get together to trade shares of stock. Some people might be there to buy shares, while others are there to sell them.

A share of stock is simply a tiny fraction of ownership of a company. Let’s say that Coca-Cola has issued 10 million shares of stock over the years. If you own one share of Coca-Cola, then you own 1/10,000,000 of Coca-Cola. That’s not really enough to do much in terms of managing the company, but it is enough (in some companies) to give you at least some tiny voice in how the company is run and, more importantly, it means you’ll receive dividend payments.

A dividend payment is just a very small payment given out by a company to the owner of each and every share of that company. If Coca-Cola pays out a $0.10 dividend, then every single person owning a share of Coca-Cola stock will receive $0.10. Many companies pay a quarterly dividend, meaning they make this kind of payment every three months. Some companies don’t pay dividends, while others vary their dividend amounts quite a bit over time.

So, one way that wealthy people earn an income without having to work for that income is that they own lots of shares of stock. Let’s say one person owns 1,000,000 shares of Coca-Cola. If they make a dividend payment of $0.10 every three months, that person is receiving $100,000 from Coca-Cola every three months automatically. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Because of those two factors – the dividends you’ll probably earn in the future as long as you own that share and the potential to have some voice in how the company is run – a share of stock has value in and of itself. If you buy a share of Coca-Cola stock for $50, it’s probably going to hold most of that value and has a good chance of rising in value. People will always want to buy it because it ensures that dividend over the long haul.

Individual shares of stock rise and fall in value all the time. If a company’s future looks bright, then the value of the shares of that company are likely to go up. If a company’s future doesn’t look bright, then the value of the shares of that company are likely to fall.

How exactly does that happen? Well, if a company’s future looks bright, the people at the stock market who might be selling shares of that company will want more money for that share. If the Coca-Cola Corporation issues a report on their earnings and it says that more people are buying Coke products than ever before and that the Coca-Cola Corporation earned record profits, then the people who own shares in Coca-Cola are going to want more money for that share to sell it. The reverse is true if a company’s future looks a bit bleak; people are likely to be willing to sell for less in order to dump a potential loser that won’t earn as much dividends in the future or might even become valueless if the company fails.

All of this action happens at a stock market. A stock market, as I noted earlier, is a place where people go to buy and sell shares of stock.

A stock exchange is basically an organized stock market, where the group running the stock exchange verifies the people who are able to buy and sell there (to ensure everyone’s honest) and also typically decides whether the shares of a particular company can be bought and sold there (to keep out fake companies and minimize scams).

In general, when you use the phrase “the stock market,” you’re actually referring to a bunch of stock exchanges and smaller markets where people actually do the trading.

You’re probably familiar with a few stock exchanges. The New York Stock Exchange is an enormous stock exchange in New York City. The London Stock Exchange is an enormous stock exchange in London, England. The NASDAQ is another stock exchange, but this one is an electronic exchange, meaning trades on that exchange are done entirely by computer. Many of the world’s largest cities have their own stock exchanges, and they all operate in basically the same way. They allow only a certain number of registered and verified people to buy and sell shares of stock there, and only shares from listed companies can be bought and sold there. (Listed companies means the companies that are allowed to have their shares bought and sold at that particular exchange.)

What Is “The Dow”?

People always want a simple and quick way to judge the relative health of something, like a person’s temperature when evaluating the severity of an illness. In the case of the stock market, that “temperature” is given as something called a “stock market index.”

A stock market index is just a measurement of some slice of the stock market. It’s calculated based on the value of some specific subset of stocks that are bought and sold on the stock market.

“The Dow” refers to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, probably the most well known stock market index in the world. It is made up of a combination of the current value of shares of thirty large public American companies. It is simply the value of the price of one share of stock for each of the thirty companies along with some historical corrections (for situations where companies change how their stocks are issued, thus changing the value of a single share).

Because the Dow has been around for so long – it’s been measured since 1885 – it’s often used as the “default” measurement of the stock market for most people. It’s really useful if you want to do some very long term historical comparisons. However, it has a few glaring problems, the biggest one being that it’s only thirty companies. There are entire industries that are basically unrepresented by any companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and many industries are underrepresented or overrepresented in terms of how important they are to America’s economy.

Why Does the Dow Fluctuate So Much? What Do the Numbers Mean?

Often, when the financial news is reported, the newscaster will talk about how the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 45 points to finish at 26,514, a drop of two-tenths of a percent.

Very few individuals can get anything actionable or meaningful out of those numbers, to be honest. The only part that might be of interest is the latter part, referring to how much it rose or dropped in a given day. Even then, I don’t consider that actionable information or even anything particularly useful to the vast majority of listeners, as I don’t consider daily fluctuations in the stock market value to mean all that much.

Still, it’s very common to hear about single days where the value rises or drops by 2% or more, and very very common to hear of rises or drops of 1% or more. To put that in perspective, let’s say you had $100,000 in the stock market invested to perfectly match the Dow. That would mean that, on a day with a 2% drop, you lost $2,000. For a lot of people, that’s pretty alarming. $2,000 gone in a day?

The real lesson here is that day-to-day shifts in the stock market are scary, so if your investment strategy is focused on those day-to-day shifts, you might want to be in something more safe. Most people, if they’re invested in the stock market, however, aren’t invested for the next day or two. They’re invested for the next decade or two, and over those very long periods, all of those day to day rises and drops even out pretty nicely and give a relatively smooth upward curve. Unless you’re actively day trading or are a very, very large scale investor, you should not really care what the day-to-day results in the stock market are in terms of your own investments.

Why are they reported, though? Many people perceive the value of the stock market as represented by the Dow and other numbers to be some sign of the health of the American economy. If the stock market is going down, the economy must be bad; if it’s going up, things must be good! That’s not really an accurate viewpoint, particularly on the scale of a single day, but it’s something many people feel.

What Is the “NASDAQ Composite”? What Is the S&P 500?

The NASDAQ Composite and the S&P 500 are two other widely reported American stock market indexes. The NASDAQ Composite is a listing of the composite value of all of the shares listed on the NASDAQ trading exchange, and it has a bit of a tech stock bent to it because the NASDAQ is home to a high proportion of technology stocks. The S&P 500 is an index based on the market capitalization of 500 larger companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but it includes a wider range of companies and the value is weighted so that larger companies count more toward that number than smaller companies.

Many people use the NASDAQ as a quick thumbnail of how technology stocks are doing, and the S&P 500 is often used as a quick thumbnail of the overall stock market, not just the biggest companies like the Dow measures. Again, neither one is really useful on a day-to-day basis for most individual investors, as noted above, but many people still like to hear those numbers.

How Does Any of This Affect My Retirement or My Life?

In all honestly, unless you have enormous stock market investments that you’re moving around on a daily basis, the daily fluctuations of the stock market really doesn’t matter very much at all in terms of your daily life. They’re simply quick snapshots of a very large, very complex market with a lot of volatility.

So why do news services report on the Dow and the NASDAQ every day? Because they provide a very quick snapshot of something that’s very large and full of details and rather difficult to report on in a thorough way, so these basic numbers provide an easy shortcut.

What Is a “Fund”?

The idea of a “fund” comes up quite a bit in financial news flashes. Part of the issue is that there are quite a few kinds of funds; I’ve personally heard the word “fund” used to refer to at least four different things in the last month or two, so I’ll define each of those four things.

Most of the time – but not always – the word “fund” is being used to refer to a mutual fund. A mutual fund is simply a collection of investments run by a company. Other investors – usually, pretty much anyone with a few small restrictions – can buy shares in a mutual fund. It’s an easy way to buy a wide variety of investments with a single purchase, but, of course, the company that runs the mutual fund charges a bit for the service.

For example, VTSAX is a mutual fund. It’s short for the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund. It’s run by the investment firm Vanguard. It’s made up of shares of virtually every publicly traded company in the United States. When you buy a share of VTSAX, you’re effectively buying a tiny sliver of a share of every publicly traded company in the United States. You can buy a share of VTSAX directly from Vanguard by opening an account with them.

An index fund is a specific type of mutual fund. While most mutual funds are managed by the judgment of people, an index fund is one that’s usually governed by a simple set of investment rules defined when the fund is started. This means that it is very easy to manage and thus requires fewer people involved, and that typically means much lower fees for the investor.

A hedge fund is essentially a type of closed mutual fund that highly restricts who can invest in them, the reason for that being is that hedge funds are very high risk investments. They usually are “hedging” for or against some future event, like the failure of a company or the re-emergence of a nearly failed company. They’ll often do things like buy up a ton of shares of a company, take over management of that company, sell off every asset that the company has (often paying out big dividends or selling the assets at a cheap rate to other companies owned by the hedge fund) and spin off new companies of the most successful pieces of that company, and then dump the devalued shares of that company once everything of value has been stripped from it. There is a ton of risk in doing these kinds of things, but the potential returns are enormous.

An institutional fund or a sovereign wealth fund is the invested money of a very large institution of some kind, like a small nation or an Ivy League school. These funds act as closed mutual funds (ones where all of the shares are owned by a large institution or a nation) and the people running them can invest at a very large scale, usually with billions of dollars at their disposal. Typically, the goal here is wealth preservation; they’re not seeking to grow like gangbusters, but ensure that the money stays around and grows at a reasonable rate for a very long time, thus ensuring the long term health of the nation or institution they represent.

Final Thoughts

The thing to remember is that most financial news is not useful in a practical way to individual investors. What such news is aiming at is to provide a quick snapshot of today’s events in the financial world, but most individual investors saving for retirement don’t really care about today’s events as they’re invested for the long haul.

I often think of financial news as being much like sports news, to tell the truth. For the vast majority of us, it’s a form of entertainment; for a small number of us, it’s actionable information. Very few of us are going to take direct action based on the financial news or the sports news, but we might be entertained by it and it might give us a source of conversation topics.

Still, it’s worthwhile to understand what the financial news is talking about, at least in a broad sense, because it does connect to how people save for retirement. If you have money in a 401(k) or 403(b), you probably have money in a mutual fund that is itself invested in the stock market. It’s just that the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market don’t have a whole lot of meaning for you because your financial goals are very long term. What’s more interesting to you is the average annual returns of your investments over the last decade, not what the Dow did yesterday. It’s the equivalent of evaluating a baseball season based on a single pitch.

Good luck!

The post The Basics of Understanding the Financial News appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

America auto credit v1 Coca-Cola Corporation Free Traffic Generator How To Make Money Online Daily

How To Make Money Online Fast And Free

John Cena Enjoys Romantic Date With Shay Shariatzadeh: All the Details

Shay Shariatzadeh, John CenaJohn Cena and Shay Shariatzadeh appear to be going strong.
The WWE star and his rumored new girlfriend were recently spotted on a date at Tower23 Hotel’s restaurant in San Diego,…

Jamie Lynn Spears Fires Back at Critics Amid Britney Spears Speculation

2017 Radio Disney Music Awards, Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney SpearsJamie Lynn Spears is taking a stand for her sister.
Amid mounting questions and fan concerns over Britney Spears’ health and well-being, her younger sister took to social media with…

Can You Buy a Home With Bad Credit?

There’s no denying that good credit can help you get a better interest rate on a mortgage. And because your mortgage will likely be one of largest, if not the largest, debts you’ll ever incur, it’s in your best interest to get your credit in the best shape possible before you apply for one.

Having said that, you don’t always need to have sterling credit to purchase a home. You might not qualify for the best interest rates available, but you may still be mortgage-eligible even if you have average, or below average, credit scores.

Credit Score Ranges

Lenders depend on credit reports and credit scores to help predict the risk of doing business with their new applicants. The lower your credit scores, the greater the risk that you won’t pay back your loan as agreed.

Most lenders have different credit score ranges or “tiers” they set up when they evaluate the credit risk of applicants. Depending upon where your scores fall in their tiers, a lender may approve or deny your application. These score ranges also guide lenders as they set the terms of your loan, with the lowest interest rates going to the higher-score tiers.

Every lender sets its own criteria for what it considers to be bad, good, or excellent credit. For an idea of how lenders might view your score, here’s a look at the different FICO credit score ranges, according to Experian:

  • Exceptional: 800-850
  • Very Good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Very Poor: 300-579

NOTE: Experian is not lender. These ranges are approximations rather than actual ranges adopted by any particular lender.

Credit Score Requirements

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requirements allow lenders to extend conventional mortgages to consumers with credit scores as low as 620. With FHA loans, a credit score of 500 is technically the floor for credit approval (with a 10% down payment). However, just because lenders could issue FHA loans to people with credit scores as low as 500, it doesn’t mean they always will.

Thanks to expanded loan guidelines that lenders set up — on top of what’s already required by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA loans, or FHA loans, a lender might require you to have a 620 score, for example, to qualify for a mortgage. Every lender has different approval criteria, and it pays to shop around for your mortgage loan when you’re buying a home.

You might find a mortgage lender who will loan you money even with your lower credit scores, but that doesn’t mean the search will be easy. And if you do find a lender who will give you a loan despite your bad credit, the tradeoff will likely be a higher interest rate. You also might have to jump through more hoops to receive a mortgage approval.

How Much Will Bad Credit Cost You?

Don’t underestimate the cost of taking out a mortgage loan with a higher interest rate. Even if your rate is just one percentage point higher than it would be if your credit was in better shape, that extra 1% can add up over the course of your loan.

FICO tracks the average mortgage rates offered to homebuyers by FICO score tier. Using that data, here’s an example of how even a minor improvement in your credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30-year mortgage:

30-Year Fixed Mortgage, $300,000 Home Loan
Score Range Interest Rate Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid
760-850 3.88% $1,411 $208,041
7000-759 4.1% $1,450 $221,854
680-699 4.28% $1,481 $233,004
660-679 4.49% $1,518 $246,643
640-659 4.9% $1,596 $274,564
620-639 5.47% $1,697 $310,978

As you can see, that seemingly small difference of a single percentage point is financially significant. If you worked to improve your score from 635 to 660, for example — not an insurmountable leap — the effort could save you $179 every month, and over $64,000 in interest over the course of your loan.

Point being, even if you can get a mortgage with bad credit, it might be in your best interest to wait a few months, or even longer, before you apply for a loan. Improving your credit scores, even by a few points, can yield big-time savings in the long run.

Read more:

John Ulzheimer is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. The author of four books on the subject, Ulzheimer has been featured thousands of times over the past decade in media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, The Los Angeles Times, CNBC, and countless others. With professional experience at both Equifax and FICO, Ulzheimer is the only credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. He has been an expert witness in over 230 credit related lawsuits and has been qualified to testify in both federal and state courts on the topic of consumer credit.

The post Can You Buy a Home With Bad Credit? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Area codes 450 and 579 auto credit v1 Business Finance Experian Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac

Daily Tracker Water Bottle for just $9.99 + shipping!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Need a little push to drink more water each day? The deal on these cute daily tracker water bottles is back!!

Woman with water tracker bottle

Jane has these Daily Tracker Water Bottles for just $9.99 + shipping.

These BPA-free water bottles help motivate you to drink 64 ounces of water each day. There are three different styles to choose from.

Three styles of Water tracker bottles

Shipping is $3.99 for the first water bottle, and then $1.99 for each additional bottle shipped within the same order.

Shop right away, because it’s only valid today, April 22nd!

Free Traffic Generator