Dear Penny: How Do I Show My Rich Boyfriend I'm Not a Gold Digger?

Dear Penny: How Do I Show My Rich Boyfriend I'm Not a Gold Digger?

Dear Penny,

I’m 63, and my man is 65. We’ve been together for six years. He has a self-made business with significant real estate holdings. We are both retired. 

One of his two sons is taking over the business using a well-thought-out transition plan. I also have two adult sons who are doing well. I have no debt and own a home, plus I receive $90,000 a year in pensions. I also have a Roth IRA and stocks worth less than $250,000.

Here’s my question: If we marry, is there some sort of reference reading you can recommend for how to fairly divide expenses? We would have a prenup, of course, as I have no right to his assets. I wasn’t involved in his efforts to build and operate this business, so that clearly belongs to his family.

We currently live in his house and winter in Florida. About all I provide is groceries and cable. We own nothing jointly except a Florida bank account for utilities and expenses related to upkeep.

I want to pay my way, but he won’t allow that very often. He does make snide comments periodically that I don’t have the money to ante up for something sizable, such as construction in Florida.

Ultimately, he has his and I have mine. How do we make things ours without making it appear that I’m a gold digger?

-Not After the Money

Dear Not After,

Listen to your boyfriend the next time he makes one of his snide remarks. Is he really talking about a big purchase he wants to make? Because it sounds like he’s taking aim at you. More specifically, is he talking about what he wants to do, or is he telling you what you can’t do?

If you’ve told your boyfriend everything you’ve told me, it should be obvious that you’re not after his money. Nor do you need it. You’re a financially independent woman. You may have less assets than he does, but you also have $90,000 a year in pension income, which is guaranteed for life. You get that money no matter what happens to the stock market or real estate values.

Before you decide how to split expenses, let me ask you: Do you really want to marry someone who makes you feel like a gold digger?


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Rarely do you fall in love with someone who has the exact same net worth and income as you. Just as one person will probably be taller or fatter or funnier, one person will probably be richer.

Splitting expenses when one person has more money isn’t rocket science. You can each fund your joint account based on the percentage of income you bring in. So if his income is three times higher than yours, you’d pay for 25% of your combined expenses because you bring in 25% of the income.

But the fact that he refuses to let you pay for more than cable and groceries is a big red flag. If you’re telling him you want to pay and he won’t hear of it, he’s not hearing you. It may seem like generosity, but I worry he’s revealing his deep-down belief that you’re not his equal.

It may be tempting to ignore your boyfriend’s remarks if he’s only making them occasionally. But don’t let him off the hook next time he says something rude about your finances. This can be as simple as asking “What do you mean by that?” or “Why would you say that?” to force a discussion.

If your boyfriend makes these comments when discussing an actual goal — like if the new construction in Florida is something he really wants, rather than just a hypothetical — you can talk about the logistics of making it happen. A big purchase could be a bit trickier than splitting expenses since he probably has a lot more cash to put down than you do. But if this is an actual goal, there are plenty of solutions. Maybe he could pay cash and only put his name on the deed. Or perhaps you could take out a mortgage and split the cost each month according to your respective incomes.

But if he’s just pontificating about the things he can’t do with you, you need to reconsider this relationship. You’re not holding your boyfriend back from anything. Do not let him convince you otherwise.

I think you’ve made it clear to your boyfriend that you’re not after his money. He’s the one with the problem if he still doesn’t get that. If he wants someone of equal wealth and plenty of cash to ante up, he’ll have a very limited pool of potential partners to choose from. But that’s his prerogative. In that case, he may just have to enjoy that Florida construction alone.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].

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.

Love Is Blind Star Jessica Batten Details the Real Reason She Returned to the Show

Jessica BattenAs RuPaul’s famous saying goes: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
That seems to be the motto Love Is Blind star Jessica Batten is…

When to Sell Stocks: The ONLY 3 Reasons To Sell (EVER)

Should I sell my stocks? 

It’s possibly one of the most common questions in the stock-trading world. 

When to sell stocks or hold them mostly depends on your AGE.

If you’re closer to (or at) retirement age, you’ve likely been investing for a while and can sell your investments to live off of for your retirement.

If you’re younger, though, this isn’t the case. In fact, if you’re in your 20s and 30s, there are only three good reasons to sell your investments:

  1. You need money for an emergency
  2. You made a terrible investment that’s consistently underperforming
  3. You achieved a specific goal
Person looking at a stock portfolio while drinking coffee

But what about those who have already invested in their 401k, Roth IRA, and index funds? If you already have your retirement accounts sorted and are now just experimenting with different individual stocks, should you still sell? Or do you keep hold of those stocks for later in life for an even bigger retirement?

That’s what we’re covering in this article, so keep reading to discover whether selling individual stocks is the best move for you (and when it isn’t).

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When should you sell a stock: 5 main reasons to cash out 

How to know when to sell a stock is the million-dollar question. There are usually only five good reasons to sell a stock besides cashing out for retirement.

1. You made a bad investment

We all make mistakes and when it comes to the stock market, you can never be sure what will happen. 

If you have individual stocks that appear to be underperforming (consistently), it may be time to cut your losses before those losses stack up even higher. 

However, if you believe the market will recover (which it usually does), you may decide to hold onto your stocks and ride out the waves. A lot of people will suggest you do just that, and for the most part, that’s good advice. 

If you have index funds, then this is almost certainly what you should do because the market will recover and if your index funds are down, it means the whole market is down.

But what about the exceptions to the rule? Is there ever a good time to sell a bad investment? 

Here’s how to know when to sell a stock…

How to decide when to sell an underperforming stock

Let’s say you have a consumer goods stock that has halved in value over the past three years. It’s consistently gone down. 

Before panic-selling, take a good look at the wider industry. 

If other goods like it are also in decline, then you know it’s the industry, not just your stock. Everything’s doing poorly. This gives you a bit of extra context.

All industries experience declines for a variety of reasons. Maybe the industry is no longer as viable as it once was. Maybe competitors have changed the playing field a bit too much. 

But let’s talk about this conceptually to understand when to sell an investment for poor performance. If you pulled up a list of your investments and saw this chart, what would you do?

 

Consumer-Goods Stock Price
Date Price Date Price
6/3/2002 33.43 1/3/2006 23.78
1/2/2003 31.53 6/1/2006 23.90
6/2/2003 31.01 1/3/2007 26.29
1/2/2004 35.55 6/1/2007 27.28
6/1/2004 35.45 1/2/2008 22.91
1/3/2005 26.45 5/2/2008 20.61
6/1/2005 28.17    

“Holy crap,” you might be saying. “That’s a crappy stock. I need to sell it before I lose all of my investment!”

 

 

Slow down. Instead of freaking out and selling your stock faster than you can scream, “SELL! SELL! SELL!” into a phone, look at the context.

Knowing that the example is a consumer-goods stock, how is the rest of the consumer-goods industry doing?

 

Consumer Goods Industry Index
Date Price Date Price
6/3/2002 50 1/3/2006 38
1/2/2003 49 6/1/2006 36
6/2/2003 45 1/3/2007 32
1/2/2004 42 6/1/2007 30
6/1/2004 44 1/2/2008 31
1/3/2005 40 5/2/2008 29
6/1/2005 38    

 

By looking at the stock and the surrounding industry, you see that the entire industry is in decline. It’s not your particular investment. They’re all doing poorly.

Now, this raises questions about the industry, but it also gives you a context to explain your stock’s plunging returns. And just because they’re plunging, by the way, doesn’t mean that you should sell immediately.

That’s part of the reason why buying individual stocks can be a bit of a pain. You need to keep a close eye on them and their respective industries to check performance. Your money is often better off in an index fund where it’s spread across multiple companies. 

2. The stock has reached your target price

Savvy investors will often set a target price when they buy a stock. This is the figure that they would be happy to sell the stock for. 

While a set price may be difficult for even the most experienced investors, having a price range in mind gives you a solid enough target. Once you’ve reached that point, consider selling it and enjoy the gains.

Another good time to sell a stock is when you reach a money goal. 

‘Buy and hold’ is a great strategy for ultra-long-term investments, but lots of people invest in stocks to hit short or medium-term money goals, not just retirement.

For example, “I’m going to invest for a dream vacation to Thailand. I don’t need to take the trip any time soon, so I’ll just put $100/month into my investing account.”

The great thing about this is that the money will compound and grow with a higher interest rate if you invest it into a diversified index like the S&P 500. The average savings account offers 0.06% APY — whereas the S&P 500 returns around 8% each year. So for savings goals that are further into the future, there’s nothing wrong with “saving” in an investment account.

Just make sure all your savings aren’t tied up in investments because you never know which way the market will swing. 

Having a separate savings account for money you need to access fast (e.g., an emergency) is a much safer bet. That way, you’re not cashing out during a dip and making a loss. If your goal is less than five years away, you should set up a savings goal in your savings account. For more information on that, check out our article on sub-savings accounts.

If you’ve invested money for a longer-term goal and you’ve achieved it, sell and don’t think twice. That’s a great investing success, and you should use the money for whatever your original goal was. You earned it, after all.

3. The stock’s valuation is high

The stock market can be unpredictable, just take the madness of GameStop for instance. 

Sometimes the stock market will overvalue the stock and set a market price that doesn’t seem to correspond to the expected earnings of the company.

Similarly, if the earnings expectation of the company dips but the stock price hasn’t … it’s probably only a matter of time before the stock decreases too.

In either of these cases, you might want to consider selling and cashing in the profits before the value crashes.  

4. Selling for opportunity cost

If you’re serious about making money in the stock market, you should always be on the lookout for new opportunities. 

If you spot a stock that you think has a lot of potential but your money is tied up in other investments, you may want to sell your existing stocks. 

Even if your stock is performing well enough, if a better opportunity comes along, it can pay to jump on it. Of course, there’s no guarantee either way whether this new stock will perform better. But you could be missing out if you play it safe and don’t make that leap. 

Whatever you do, make sure it’s a calculated and well-researched move. Don’t do it on impulse!

5. You need the money for an emergency

Sometimes disaster strikes and catches your wallet by surprise. In an ideal world, you’d have a nice big cash safety cushion to pick at in times like these. But sometimes it’s just too hard to prepare or predict.

If you have money in stocks, cashing them out might be inevitable if you have an emergency. 

This could involve:

  • Medical bills from accidents or illnesses
  • Big car repairs
  • Home repairs
  • Job loss
  • Economic crashes

When not to sell a stock

If none of the above applies to you, then in most cases, you should hold onto them. Yes, even if your stock dips. There is never an easy way to work out when to sell stocks. Just because your stock has dropped doesn’t mean you should panic-sell. It’s all about context. The next time you see a stock tumble in value, ask yourself:

  • Is the wider market seeing similar dips?
  • Has something happened in the company or the news to make it dip?
  • Has the company performed this way before and recovered (or not)?
  • What does the competition look like? If they haven’t dipped either, find out why that is.

Asking yourself these questions before you rush to sell will save you a lot of headaches in the future. 

The last thing you want to do is sell and then see the stock recover soon after. You’ll be left kicking yourself for selling. Stocks will usually recover, even if there are dips, so waiting it out is often your best bet. That is unless you have good reason to believe the stock won’t recover.

Another way to ride out the dips is to invest in index funds rather than individual stocks because you can spread your risk. It saves you putting all your eggs in one basket. 

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Bottom line: Don’t sell your stock if you can help it

Remember: Don’t just sell because your stock dropped. Look at it in context.

I used to teach a class on finance. One day, I went in front of the classroom and drew a picture of a declining stock on the chalkboard. It looked like this:

Stocks Going Down Graphic With A Red Arrow

Then I turned to the class and asked them, “What should I do?”

Part of the class shouted, “Sell!” and another section said, “Hold it!” while a couple of people in the class muttered “Buy more.”

None of them were exactly right though. The truth is, you need more context.

If a stock like, say, Apple falls a bunch, you have to look at the surrounding context and ask questions like:

  • Is the general market falling?
  • Are its peers falling?
  • Has Apple performed this way before? What happened then?

Answering these questions provides a LOT more context to the situation and can both put your mind at ease and also help you make better judgments.

My suggestion to keep tabs on your stocks would be to just set up alerts through your broker or Google News to be notified of major industry changes.

BUT you need to keep in mind that 99.999999% of the advice you see out there is pure fear-mongering.

Two things to always keep in mind when it comes to stocks:

  1. The professionals are almost always wrong. The stock picks of pundits are usually no better than pure chance, and even professional money managers barely ever beat the market benchmark. In other words, they don’t just underperform but they do it by A LOT. As William Bernstein, author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator, says: “There are two kinds of investors, be they large or small: Those who don’t know where the market is headed, and those who don’t know they don’t know.”
  2. It’s mostly just noise. The fact is if you’re a long-term investor (and you should be), you don’t need to check your stocks every day. You don’t even need to check your stocks every WEEK. The daily changes in stocks are almost always noise — plain and simple. And very few (read: almost none) of your investments will be determined by the news of one day.

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Your financial situation is unique to you. That’s why there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for when you should sell your stocks. It’s your money — and it’s up to you to decide at the end of the day.

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That’s why I’m excited to offer you something for free: My Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

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With this guide, you’ll be well on your way to living a Rich Life. And you don’t need any fancy get-rich-quick schemes or snake oil or other BS “solutions.” All you need is determination and the right systems put in place to help you get the most out of your financial situation and not have to worry about living “frugally” (aka sacrificing the things you love).

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When to Sell Stocks: The ONLY 3 Reasons To Sell (EVER) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

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Life of Ryan, Meet the Barkers and More MTV Reality Shows You Almost Forgot About

Ryan ShecklerSure, the music on MTV is missed, but what about the reality shows?
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How to Ace an Interview With These Psychology-Backed Tips

While landing the interview is rewarding, the job interview is where you win or lose the offer. It’s time to impress. 

Even the world’s best resume and cover letter won’t save you if you commit some common critical mistakes. The REAL way to win an interview is by taking just a few extra steps before it even starts.

With some simple job interview preparation, you can get in the right mindset, reduce your nervousness, and also improve your confidence. To be fully prepared, you’ll want to cover all bases, such as:

  • Research on the company and recruiter
  • Preparing for the types of questions they’ll ask and how you’ll answer them
  • Working on your body language and voice
man in business attire looking out a window

Here, we share some top ways to prepare for your interview, beyond just thinking of the questions. 

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1. Research your interviewer

The first step in how to nail an interview is to research, research, research. Make sure you’re doing plenty of research on your interviewer and the company you’re applying for on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google.

It’s one of the top job interview tips, but most people only research the company itself. The problem is this might not give you all the information you need, especially if it’s a huge company. While it’s a good place to start, if you have the name of the interviewer, dig into their background a little as well. Get to know them before you get in a room with them.

The goal is NOT to stalk them or memorize everything they’ve ever done. Instead, it’s to learn:

  • Their background (What schools did they go to? What clubs have they been a part of?)
  • Their position with the company (Are they in a new role? Were they recently promoted?)
  • Common interests you both share (Are they into volunteer work, sports, hobbies, etc?)

With these details, you can spark deeper discussions and stand out by subtly bringing them up during the interview — you’ll position yourself as someone who goes the extra mile, who’s proactive, and who cares. What’s the result? 

A great job offer.

2. Find the question behind the question

When someone asks you, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” it seems simple and very straightforward, but the reality is, “tell me about yourself” has dozens of questions behind the question.

A great way to uncover the question behind this question is to think:

  • What do they need to know about my background?
  • What would they be concerned about?
  • How will this answer reflect what type of worker I am?
  • Are they testing to see if you’ve done your research on the role?

Always take time to pause and think about what they want. If you jump into answering their question or trying to sound good, you can miss what’s really being asked. 

Remember, the interviewer isn’t interested in your dog’s name or your favorite flavor of ice cream. They want to know more about you as a professional. And the best way to do this successfully is to think of the answer before you step in the interview room.

Make some notes on potential answers, such as your educational background and how it led you to this industry. Add in some color when you describe this, mentioning the skills and experience you picked up along the way. Bonus points if you can describe a specific situation that made you want to pursue this field/learn more/train for a new role. 

To recap, don’t just give a random answer, think about the question and:

  1. Figure out the question behind the question
  2. Write out a plain English answer
  3. Polish your answer and give it some color

Once you’ve got that down, practice giving the answer in a mirror. Do it a few times, and work on making it seem less robotic and more conversational. It still needs to sound natural, especially when you’re talking about yourself. 

To help you search for the true meaning behind the question, come up with a list of 10 potential job interview questions. Run them through the criteria above to uncover the hidden meaning behind what the interviewer could really be asking. 

While you won’t be able to always guess what questions they will ask, this exercise can help you disassemble what questions are really asking. This is all great practice for when you sit in front of an interviewer.

3. Avoid using too much jargon

If we try too hard to sound smart and professional, we end up sounding like idiots: “Yes, the occupation filled me with immense joy as I interacted with my supervisor on a day-to-day basis to execute the financial…”

HUH?

A better strategy is to first translate what we’re trying to say into plain English. Then, if our response is compelling, we can polish the exact language to make the answer interview-worthy.

Imagine the interviewer asks “Why do you want this job?”

Before blurting out something about how you really “love their corporate values” or how you’re “so passionate” about the job, come up with something more realistic.

Here are some real reasons you might want to work at Company X:

  • The company does great work
  • There are a lot of smart people here
  • I think I can do a good job

So here’s what your answer might look like in plain English:

“I want to work here because the company does great work in the local tech community and I’d love to be a part of a growing industry.”

Tip on how to use this in your interview: With the questions you deconstructed earlier, come up with your plain English responses to them. Be sure to also address the question behind the question.

Take some time to write these down. But don’t worry about sentence structure, finding the perfect words, or sounding smart. Just keep it simple and natural. 

An answer in plain English is already better than most. Why? Because interviewers aren’t looking for a robot who can give a perfect, rehearsed answer. They want something genuine, an insight into your personality. They want to see how you explain complex issues and your approach to communication.

Remember, these are people you may have to work with every day. They want someone they can get along with, someone who is professional but also has a personality. The plain English answer shows that you’re not simply reading from a script or memorizing what the internet told you was a great answer. You’re explaining things in a simple way that people understand.

Another thing to think about is using jargon. Before jumping into a jargon-filled monologue about why you’d be the perfect hire, take a step back. The interviewer may or may not know what you’re talking about. 

If it’s the first round of interviews, you may not be interviewed by someone from the department you’re applying for. It may be someone in recruitment or HR. If you start mentioning technical language they’re not familiar with, it could go over their heads. 

A good rule of thumb is to listen to how the interviewer speaks. You can usually get a good idea of whether someone’s on the same page by their job title, the questions they ask, and whether they use jargon themselves. 

For example, say you’re applying for a digital marketing role. If they mention things like AdWords, SEO, and bounce rate, you’re safe to use that same type of jargon.

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4. Master your body language

Your mouth may be moving and saying all the right things, but is your body saying something different?

Interviews are nerve-wracking experiences for most of us, and that can cause us to tense up. With hunched shoulders, crossed arms, and eyes on the floor, your body language can use some serious work. 

There are tons of resources, studies, and books out there to help you master your body language, but here are some quick tips.

Show your palms

According to the authors of “Crazy Good Interviewing,” John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus, showing your palms is a simple way to show sincerity. This gesture signals to the interviewer that you are honest and open. 

Press your fingertips to each other

This gesture makes your hands look like a church roof. It’s considered a way to show confidence and you may recognize it from speeches that politicians, CEOs, or lecturers give.

It’s also a good way to steady your hands if you’re nervous.

Don’t conceal your hands

One thing to avoid is to conceal your hands. Putting your hands in your lap, beneath the table may feel most comfortable for you. But body language experts suggest that this unconsciously signals that you have something to hide. More likely, it’s just because you’re just nervous but we don’t want a hint of doubt in the interviewer’s mind.

The same goes for if you place your hands downwards. Instead, keep your palms facing up to show you’re open and honest.

5. Speak with enthusiasm

It’s not all about what you say, it’s about how you say it. Interviewers don’t want to hire someone who sounds bored to be there. They want someone who is enthusiastic and full of energy. 

Being monotone can, at best, mean you don’t stand out, or at worst, put the interviewer off the idea of hiring you at all. Passion and enthusiasm help you stand out. 

If you know your voice is a bit monotonous or nervous during interviews, spend some time practicing speaking. Stand in front of a mirror and practice answering questions. Maybe even record yourself doing it and play it back. Try repeating it with a higher inflection and more enthusiasm so it won’t feel as weird or fake when you come to do it for real. 

6. Dress slightly better than the job you want

It doesn’t matter where you’re interviewing, play it safe and dress slightly better than the job you want. 

Lots of companies now have casually dressed employees. T-shirts and jeans are the new suit and tie in some places. 

But does that mean you should whip out the old Levi’s for your interview? Probably not. 

Figuring out the dress code can be a bit tricky. You may have to do some investigating or just straight up ask. Once you know the dress code, aim to dress slightly smarter than that. You’re aiming to impress, not just with your words but also with a non-verbal first impression. Interviewers can already tell a lot about you as soon as you step through the door, so make that first impression a good one. 

Bonus: Want to finally start getting paid what you’re worth? I show you exactly how in my Ultimate Guide to Getting a Raise and Boosting Your Salary

7. Use a story whenever you can

A common style of interview question is the “tell us an example of when you handle X” or “tell us about a time you handled a challenging situation at work.”

Before blurting out a factually correct (yet boring) answer, take some notes from the novelists in the world. Show don’t tell is the number one rule in any kind of fiction writing. And you can apply that to interview questions as well.

Instead of telling the interviewer what you did, try to show it instead. Illustrate a more detailed picture of the situation, the challenge, the steps you took, and then the result. This works with any type of question the interviewer asks, including the dreaded “tell me about yourself,” question.

A story, when told well, is the easiest way to deconstruct an answer and elevate yourself in the eyes of the interviewer.

Here’s what to say in an interview when you’re asked, “Why do you want to work here?”

  • Start with a broad opening: Set the stage with some high-level background to let the interviewer know what you’re going to talk about before diving into the details. For example: “I want to work at ACME Company for three key reasons. First, you’re doing amazing, life-changing work in the field of X. Second, I’m confident I can make a huge contribution, given my experience in Y. And third, you have some of the smartest people in the world working for you. That really excites me from an intellectual perspective.”
  • Then, get really specific. Now, transition into a short story with only the relevant details. For example: “Working with the smartest people is a big deal for me. You’ll notice that I have a history of actively seeking out and working with the top people in my field, such as John Smith and Jane Doe, who really pushed me to accomplish Z.”
  • Highlight the important takeaways. Lastly, get broad again and highlight the key takeaways. For example: “The bottom line, I thrive in environments filled with smart, ambitious people, and that’s why I’d love to be a part of the ACME team.”

Notice how different this is from what most people say in interviews. It’s crisp and concise with no fluff and packed with details that are engaging and impressive.

Filter your responses to common interview questions through this step-by-step system and you’ll give the perfect answer every time.

8. Don’t trash talk your current workplace

It should go without saying … but don’t trash talk. Anyone. If you’re asked why you left your previous job, you may be able to rant all day and all night. But resist the urge. It’s not a good look. 

Honesty is the best policy in job interviews, but when answering the question “Why are you looking for another job?” it’s safer to give a more filtered answer.

The best way to spin it is to deflect and say something positive about the job you’re interviewing for and (if you can) say something positive about your current/previous role. You could phrase it like “I learned a lot in my current role, but I’m looking for a new challenge/the next step/a bigger team.”

This is a much more professional response that also highlights why you want this role, not just that you’re desperate to leave your current one.

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How to Ace an Interview With These Psychology-Backed Tips is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

7 Tips for Retirement Saving After 40

By the time you turn 40, you are more than aware of the importance of saving for retirement.

In fact, it might seem like every magazine and personal finance website, and even chats with friends raise the issue. The problem is that some of the advice out there is less than helpful, and sometimes downright depressing, because it will tell you that you should have started saving in your 20s.

This can lead to a vicious cycle, in which (slightly) older people feel guilty for not planning sooner for retirement, and end up ignoring the issue.

This is a particular problem for women, because according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women are likely to work part-time jobs that don’t offer a retirement plan of some kind. And even if they are working full time, women tend to invest more conservatively than men. And unlike men, they tend to have about twenty years of retirement.

The truth, however, is that there are plenty of people who only start saving in their 40s, and go on to have a comfortable retirement. And, while you may have to make up for a little lost time by boosting your retirement savings, as long as you understand how to save for retirement it’s never too late to start planning for it.

Check out The Penny Hoarder’s ultimate guide to saving for retirement from your 20s to your 60s.

7-Point Plan for Over-40 Retirement Saving

In this guide, we’ll take you through a seven-point plan to start working toward a comfortable retirement, from setting your goals to structuring your accounts.

1. Don’t Lose Hope

First and foremost, let’s get one thing out of the way. At 40, or even at 50, it is not too late to start saving for retirement, no matter what some pension products will claim. To see why, it’s worth running the numbers.

Assume that you are 40 years old, and have no savings. At this age, in 2021, you can save up to $19,500 in a 401(k) plan, and this increases to $26,000 once you turn 50. If you are able to invest the maximum in this account, and get a (more than reasonable) 7% rate of return, by the time you are 63 you will have $1 million.

That’s a lot of money, of course, but when it comes to retirement savings it might be less than it seems. With $1 million, you’ll still have to live frugally in retirement. On the other hand, with a good chunk of capital like this, you’ll continue to see significant returns long into your retirement.

2. Planning to Save

Paying the maximum amount into a 401(k) might, of course, be easier said than done. Ultimately, your ability to save for retirement depends on the amount you can save each month during your working years. Increase this amount, even by a little a month, and you’ll see a big difference in your eventual retirement savings.

Increasing the amount you save can be done in several ways. It might be cutting out an expensive indulgence, shopping in a supermarket that offers better value, or even getting an additional job.

Today, there are plenty of online platforms that will allow you to explore freelance, remote work that can fit around your other commitments, and research shows that 75% of people working remotely make just as much money freelancing as they did when they were working full time. Taking on a second job, and pouring all of your earnings into a retirement fund, can be a neat and effective way of saving.

Looking for a second job to pad your retirement savings? Here is The Penny Hoarder list of the 25 best side hustles for 2021.

3. Open a Roth IRA

If you are in a position where you can save more than the maximum allowed amount in your 401(k), the next logical step is to take out a Roth IRA. These funds allow you to put extra money toward your retirement each year, and come with significant tax breaks. In fact, your contributions to a Roth IRA will grow tax-free, and you can withdraw a certain amount each year tax-free as well.

Roth IRAs are just one option at this point, though, and you should make sure you explore all the options available to you. You can use a retirement calculator to work out how much you will need in retirement, and how much you will need to save to realize this.

4. Make Sure You’re Insured

Many people forget about insurance when they are planning for retirement, but this is a big mistake. Most bankruptcies are caused by unexpected accidents or illnesses, and a disaster of this type can wreck the most carefully planned retirement plans.

In your 50s, it might be too late for whole life insurance to make financial sense. However, you can still reduce your financial risk by making sure you have the best health and disability insurance you can afford. You can also look at term life insurance, which will provide for your dependents should the worse happen.

5. Plan Your Risk

Don’t be tempted to take on extra risk because you feel that time is running out. Most retirement funds will pay about 7% in annual returns, and in your 40s this is an acceptable rate. Younger people can go for riskier options, because they have more time left in which to recover from the inevitable losses, but you really don’t want a stock crash just before your retirement date.

That’s not to say that you can’t get creative. Online trading can be relatively safe as long as you don’t put your entire retirement fund into high-risk stocks. An acceptable risk level when it comes to investing in stocks is to subtract your age from 120, with the resulting figure being the percentage of your portfolio that you invest into the stock market.

6. Pay Down Debt

Another often-forgotten aspect of saving for retirement is making sure that you are not carrying undue debt. Though credit and store cards can seem pretty inconsequential in comparison to the sums you are looking to save for retirement, most experts recommend that you pay off all your debts before you start to save.

The reason for that is the same reason why a small contribution to your pension can grow to $1 million in 20 years – the miracle of compound interest. And in fact this advice goes beyond saving for retirement, because getting into the habit of paying down debt is also one of the top money saving tips for a frugal retirement.

Check out how this Penny Hoarder writer paid down $12,000 in debt in 12 weeks.

7. Set Your Priorities

Last but definitely not least, be honest about what your retirement savings are for. Don’t be tempted to use them to send your kids to college, for instance, because ultimately your kids have more opportunities, and more time to save for their own retirement, than you do. You should, in other words, be a little selfish. When you’ve worked hard for your retirement savings, you should be able to enjoy them.

New York contributor Kiara Taylor specializes in financial literacy and financial technology subjects. She is a corporate financial analyst who also leads a group affiliated with the University of Cincinnati that teaches financial literacy to Black students and helps them secure employment and internships.

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.

5 Budget-Friendly Deals You Don’t Want to Miss Right Now!

You don’t want to miss these HOT deals that are available right now!

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5 Deals for Anyone on a Budget!

If you’re on a really strict budget or you’re trying to find ways to afford entertainment on a budget and save more money, here are five deals you do NOT want to miss that are available right now!

Note: With most of these deals below, you’ll be signed up for automatic annual renewal at the regular price after your trial. If you want to avoid being automatically charged after a year, just be sure to turn off automatic renewal in your account after signing up.

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1. Free Kindle Unlimited Two-Month Membership — Sign up for this freebie to get access to over 700,000 eBooks and audiobooks for two months! Great way to read a few eBooks without paying for them! This is a $20 value!

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5. Free Audiobooks — When you sign up for this deal, you’ll get 3 FREE audiobooks of your choosing! And it includes Love-Centered Parenting, if you’ve been wanting to read it!

Also, if you’re looking for ways to cut your phone bill, be sure to check out this amazing deal from Visible Wireless to get phone service for just $25-$40 per month!

Psst! Looking for ways to stretch your budget and add to your income? Be sure to check out all of these Income-Earning Ideas and Paid Survey Opportunities!

Do you have any other great deals like this that could help people save who are on a really tight budget? I’d love to add to this list!

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Make Your Money Work for You: Tips You Can Try Today

There’s something to be said for working hard to make money. But does your money work hard for you? 

The methods we talk about today enable you to build a solid foundation of personal finances, giving you the means to work hard (and play hard!) without counting pennies in between. We work through the best money tips for paying off debt, and show you how investing helps grow your money so that you get to do what you want without financial stress at the end of it all. 

What does it mean to use your money to make money?

Before we jump in, let’s establish a framework for what it means when we say, “Use your money to make money.”

Your money can earn interest, working to increase its value when you invest it in the market. If you decide to just leave it in a savings account, the little bit of interest you earn is less than the inflation rate. In the end, you are actually losing money.

The rich get richer by making their money work for them, and you can do the same thing.

7 ways to make your money work for you in 2021

What is the first step if you want to get your money working for you? Leaving your budget behind! So many of us have been raised to think that as long as we stick to a strict budget and work harder than everyone else, we will eventually have the financial stability to do what we want. 

It turns out that on a $40,000 a year income and an average budget, it will take you almost 65 years to become “rich” in America. Who wants to work harder and save every penny for the next 65 years before they can enjoy their money. Not me!

For exactly this reason, these 7 methods around making your money work for you are so important. Throw out the budget and working harder mentality, and let’s take a look at what it means to make your money do the work instead.

woman working at a table with palm trees in the background

1. Eliminate debt

The whole point of making your money work for you is that each penny, dollar, and dime that you have invested and saved adds to itself exponentially. If you have any debt, the exact opposite is happening. Every dollar you are in debt is exponentially costing you more dollars in the long run. Although it might not feel great to chuck gobs of money at your debt instead of carefully putting it away, it will end up benefitting you hugely in the long run. The longer you stay in debt, the more the debt costs you.

Unfortunately, organizations like credit card companies and banks that give out loans aren’t working to try and help you. All that money you are losing each month is what funds the organization. Instead of your money working for you, it works for them.

There are all kinds of debt you might be in nowadays as our culture and generation have come to accept debt as a part of life. This is another mindset you need to get rid of. Throw it right out the window, so you never revisit it.

The truth is, there is no reason that you have to accept debt as a part of your life. Here are some ways you can streamline your path to a debt-free life. 

  1. Figure out exactly how much you owe. You need to own your debt. It is only by knowing exactly how much you owe, to whom, and what the interest rates are to pay it off effectively.

 

HOW MUCH DO YOU OWE?
Name of Credit Card Total Amount of Debt APR Monthly Minimum Payment
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

 

2. Set up a strategy. Your debt-free strategy has more to do with the amount you owe to each company and their interest rates than with anything else since the higher the interest rate, the faster you want to pay it off. Figure out how much money you have each month to give to your debt. Try to be enterprising and honest with yourself. It is hard to get rid of debt, but not impossible.

Once you have done these two major steps, you are well on your way to getting out of debt. Ready to keep going, making the process even more streamlined? Read this article to get the rest of the process.

Stop right now and do this.

Done?

Congrats! Taking the first step is one of the hardest parts — now you’re well on your way to a Rich Life.

If your total debt number seems high, remember two things:

  1. There is a large group of people with more debt than you.
  2. From this day that number is only going to go down. This is the beginning of the end.

If you need help getting out of debt, check out my absolute best resources on getting out of debt below:

Bonus: Ready to ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth? Download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

2. Invest in your 401k

A 401k is a retirement account that your employer sponsors. As an employee, a 401k allows you to dedicate a portion of your salary before taxes to the 401k each month. The best benefit of a 401k? Many company’s offer ‘401k matching’ where they will match your contributions to a certain percentage.

Not only does that mean that you are saving for your retirement with the help of your employer, but it is also not a taxable account until the money is withdrawn at retirement age. In other words, the more you earn, the more you can invest in it, the more your employer puts in it, the more that it compounds over life. 

Here’s an example:

For easy math, let’s imagine you earn $100,000 each year. Your company offers you a 3% match on your 401k. That means if you put in anywhere from 0.04% to 3% of your total income they will match that investment. They won’t match beyond 3%, although you can put in more if you want. That means that if you invest $3,000 each year, you would also get a free $3,000 from your employer, $6,000 would siphon into that account each year. Over ten years, you would have about $60,000 put away. Mind blown, right?

Be sure to take advantage of your employer’s 401k plan by putting at least enough money to collect the employer match into it. This ensures you’re taking full advantage of what is essentially free money from your employer. That match is POWERFUL and can double your money over the course of your working life:

 

Age Your Contributions Employer Match Balance without Employer Match Balance with Employer Match
25 $5,000 $5,000 $5,214 $10,428
30 $5,000 $5,000 $38,251 $76,501
35 $5,000 $5,000 $86,792 $173,585
40 $5,000 $5,000 $158,116 $316,231
45 $5,000 $5,000 $262,913 $525,826
50 $5,000 $5,000 $416,895 $833,790
55 $5,000 $5,000 $643,145 $1,286,290
60 $5,000 $5,000 $975,581 $1,951,161
65 $5,000 $5,000 $1,350,762 $2,701,525

 

Keep in mind that a potential decision to leave your job would end up impacting this account, particularly if there are unvested contributions that are outstanding from your employer. Don’t worry, though. Every penny that you invest is forever yours to keep.

Bonus: Want to fire your boss and start your dream business? Download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Business.

3. Invest in a Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is another option that you can use instead of or in conjunction with your 401k. It is another tax-advantaged retirement account that has the potential to grow your overall earning and savings potential over the span of your working life.

The major difference between a 401k and a Roth IRA is the taxing system. A Roth IRA comes from your after-tax income. Then, when you withdraw it at retirement age, it is not taxed — major benefit.

Similar to a 401k, you want to max out on the outstanding potential of a Roth IRA. We recommend starting by investing in your 401k to capitalize on the employer match and then invest as much as possible into a Roth IRA. The annual contribution limit for 2021 is $6,000, or if you are over 50, $7,000. 

There is quite a bit more that can go into a Roth IRA and how you invest the money in your Roth account if that is what you want to do. If you are interested in learning more about this kind of retirement fund, check out this article about 401k’s and Roth IRA’s to make informed decisions.

Bonus: Want to know how to make as much money as you want and live life on your terms? Download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

4. Use target-date funds

Target-date funds can also be called lifecycle funds. They are structured to grow in assets and continuously rebalance over time to optimize your savings over a specific time frame. They are a safer way to invest, helping you manage investment risk. They are also a great way to structure your retirement fund if you don’t want to dig deep into setting up your portfolio mix.

Target-date funds work based on your age and when the fund is set up for a return. They are more diversified when you are younger, increasing your risk and increasing their value, hopefully. As you age, the funds will automatically readjust to make themselves more conservative.

The type of target-date fund you would choose should be set up for the approximate year or age you plan to retire. For now, many of the target-date funds are set up for a return in 2050 and are offered through a wide selection of banks and money lenders. As we get closer to 2050 and you get closer to retirement, the funds become more conservative instead of being as aggressive as they would be now, in 2021.

Although there are some cons of target-date funds, the biggest pro is their simplicity. If you want, you can practically put the initial investment in and then forget about it until you retire. It is easier than debating about stocks, bonds, or other retirement portfolios.

The initial investment for a target-date fund is often between $1,000 and $3,000 and is an essentially painless way to invest in your retirement.

5. Automate your savings

Your savings and how you structure them for the future is one of the best ways you can make your money work for you now. If you want to buy a house or a car, you don’t want to have to scrounge around looking for money or take it out in a gigantic loan or credit card debt. In a perfect world, wouldn’t you already have the money?

Guess what? You can craft your own perfect world with a little bit of forward-thinking.

No matter how much you earn, automating your savings can end up saving you thousands down the road. For most of us, managing our money is about as fun as cleaning out your garage. Don’t try to convince yourself to do it every time you get paid. Instead, set up an automated system one time and you won’t have to think about it again.

Using automated systems means that your account does it for you. You don’t have to touch a button once you set it. The five major buckets you should divide your paycheck into include:

  • Bills
  • Recurring monthly services
  • Sub-savings accounts
  • Investments
  • Yourself

The first thing we want you to be is realistic. This system will only work if you are brutally honest with yourself about what you do and don’t spend each month. If you have an automated system working for you each month only to find yourself sneaking money out later on, it really isn’t working, is it?

We understand that there will always be emergencies or even once-in-a-year-maybe-even-lifetime experiences that crop up. However, if these things are popping up every month, you probably need to modify your savings accounts to include these kinds of expenses.

Start allocating money to the fixed costs that you can’t use a credit card for, and your bills. Make these withdrawals automatic and factor in the rest of your automatic payments from this point. 

From here, set up automatic payments using your credit card for recurring services like Netflix, Spotify, and gym memberships. We get into this more in our next point, but using your credit card for these kinds of purchases helps you automatically take advantage of credit card rewards (but ALWAYS pay off your credit cards each month — credit card debt = bad).

Take full advantage of your investments next, especially ones you can max out on, like your Roth IRA and 401k. If you have an employer willing to match your 401k payments, you should always hit those.

Now consider the kinds of things you want in the future and what you spend each month. Setting up automatic payments into sub-savings accounts is like giving your future self a present. One day, when you are ready to buy that car or make a down payment on your house, you look into that account and be pleasantly surprised to see how much it has added up to month-after-month of automatic saving.

What you have left should be enough to realistically cover all of the things you like to do during the month and other things you need to pay for, like groceries. If you don’t think it is, then adjust the amounts that go into your savings accounts. 

Keep an eye on this over the next several months and adjust according to the reality of how you live. From there, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again until your income grows.

If you’re worried about your personal finances, you can improve them without even leaving your couch. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance for tips you can implement TODAY.

6. Take advantage of credit card rewards 

Many people think of credit cards as being a gateway to debt. However, they don’t have to be. Done wisely and carefully, credit cards can absolutely function to make you money on almost every penny you spend. You shouldn’t try to use this method unless you are already free of credit card debt and always pay your bill in full each month.

Almost every credit card comes with a reward system nowadays. These are set up to help you earn money on purchases you already make — for example, those monthly subscriptions.

Some credit cards have better rewards than others. To get those, you often need a good credit score

You can use credit cards to earn money for specific things, such as rewards for purchasing fuel or a flight. Having various credit cards that work together to earn you money back on every purchase is the best way to go about it, as long as you can pay off all of them each month. 

Also, keep in mind that applying for a new credit card initiates a hard credit check on you, which impacts your credit score negatively. In other words, apply wisely and only for the ones you can really use and believe will accept you.

7. Earn more money

Finally, you don’t always have to wait for your money to earn for you over the long term. You can also work in the present to earn more money. Then, the more money you earn, the more it can work for you, the more you have in the following years. 

There are many ways you can earn more money. Most of them take either a dash of ambition, a twist of creativity, a pinch of confidence, or a combination of them all. As long as you are willing to look for it, though, there is always another way to earn more money.

One of the ways include starting a side business. For example, you could turn a hobby into a money earner. If you are an artist, you could sell your artwork on platforms like Etsy. If you enjoy hiking, you could offer guided local hikes through a medium like MeetUp.

You could also work with the job you already have and negotiate a raise. If even the thought of this makes you break out in nervous goosebumps, read this article on how you can effectively negotiate your salary.

If you’re worried about your personal finances, you can improve them without even leaving your couch. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance for tips you can implement TODAY.

Invest in a Rich Life

At this point, what is there left to do but to pick one or two of these methods to begin with and get started? As they say, the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago. The second best time is now. Take advantage of the present and invest in your future, cultivating your tree of financial stability starting today, starting with freeing yourself from debt.

If you are thirsty for even more information on these main points and how to make your money work for you through successful personal finance management, your next step should be digging through My Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance. Learn how to change your mindset and change your financial life through strategy and a different way of thinking about money.

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Make Your Money Work for You: Tips You Can Try Today is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.