Much of America â and other parts of the world â was caught up in the excitement of the investment success of the /r/WallStreetBets Reddit forum in late January, in which a bunch of small-scale investors identified a weak spot in the stock market and successfully exploited it, creating a bunch of individual rags-to-riches stories. […]
The post Here Are the Taxes You Pay on /r/WallStreetBets Investment Gains appeared first on The Simple Dollar.
One of the lessons Iâve learned as I continue to work my way out of debt is that you need to treat yourself and celebrate your little successes along the way so you can avoid debt fatigue down the road. Celebrating small milestones, like getting another $1,000 knocked off your debt total, starting to put money aside for retirement or paying off a credit card balance, is important for both your sanity and your familyâs sanity.
Find out now: How much money do I need to save for retirement?
I donât have kids, but several of my personal finance blogger friends do, and they have talked about how kids donât always understand how they can contribute to the family financial goals since they donât earn any money. Plus, sometimes kids donât understand why there is a sudden need to cut back on expenses they have come to know as normal- things like going out to eat or having a night out at the movies with friends. Allowing yourself and your family to celebrate your financial wins as you work your way out of debt will help them understand that while your family is now living on a different budget, itâs still okay to enjoy the present.
With that in mind, here are five frugal ways you can celebrate your financial successes, so you donât erase all your progress!
1. Go out for Dessert
As a kid, whenever weâd go out for dessert after a home-cooked meal, it felt like a real fancy treat. Now I know that this was mom and dadâs way of having a celebration without spending a lot of money on paying for a whole meal.
2. Rent a Movie
This may not seem like a treat if you rent movies all the time, but if you are living on a very strict budget and donât often rent movies, this could be a treat for you and your family. Make it the full experience â popcorn, candy, etc. Renting a movie and making popcorn at home is a fun way to celebrate, and itâs still a lot cheaper than going to the theater.
12 Affordable Ways to Have Fun on a Tight Budget
3. Hit a Matinee
Wait, didnât I just say to avoid the theater to save money? Yes, but sometimes movie theaters offer cheaper matinee movies earlier in the day. Often showings before noon can be as little as half price. This is a more budget-friendly way to enjoy a new movie.
4. Buy a Book or Magazine
One of the first things that got cut from my budget when I started focusing on financial goals was my magazine subscription. Most of the time I donât miss it as I have plenty of things to keep me busy, but sometimes itâs nice to somewhat mindlessly flip through a magazine in the evenings. Buying yourself a new book â maybe one of these investing books â or magazine is a fairly cheap way to entertain yourself and if itâs a rare occasion, it can serve as a reward too.
Frugal Summer Fun for Adults
5. Go on a Day Trip
If you arenât traveling too far, the most expensive part of the trip is usually the overnight accommodations. By taking a day trip instead to the beach or somewhere else, you can get out of town and away from the norm without having to shell out for an expensive hotel room.
What other frugal ways can you think of to celebrate your debt successes?
Reading is one of my superpowers. I make time daily in my work life to consume an article or a chapter of a non-fiction book. I usually learn something—a new fact to absorb or a tactic to try.
Incredibly rarely, something I read actually changes me.
When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change.
Seven years ago, I first stumbled on an article called How Will You Measure Your Life? written by the renowned Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. The piece captivated me, and I credit it with setting me on a new path. Christensen, who has since passed away, offered me a sense of direction and clarity. I find many people around me seek the same thing right now, which is precisely why I'm revisiting a seven-year-old article with you today.
When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change. Reading it helped me ask and answer some big questions for myself—not by telling me what to think, but rather how to think. Christensen's article applied big wonky management concepts to the everyday business of humanity. And he did it beautifully.
Since I first read "How Will You Measure Your Life," I've made a habit of rereading it once a year. And each year I take something new from it.
Today, in case you’re one of those people sitting with big questions, I’d love to share some of my favorite insights. If you’ve ever wondered how to maintain fulfillment, balance, and integrity in your life and career, then this one’s for you.
How do I achieve fulfillment in my career?
Professor Christensen begins with an introduction to the work of Frederick Herzberg whose research in the mid-twentieth century taught us that money is not our most powerful motivating force.
As Money Girl Laura Adams tells us, money can buy us happiness … but only to a point. To have emotional well-being, we need to have enough money to cover basics like food and shelter comfortably. A widely cited 2010 study set that bar at $75,000 a year. Making more than that, data told us, didn’t equate to more happiness.
Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work.
So if money doesn’t drive happiness, then what does? According to Christensen, it’s the opportunity to learn, to grow in responsibility, to contribute to the development of others, and to be recognized for your hard work and achievements.
So ask yourself: Are you having these fulfilling experiences in your work today?
If you could use a bump, are there ways you can infuse more life into your work? Can you take on a project that might help you expand your thinking, network, or knowledge? Can you mentor someone whose success you’d love to enhance? Can you publicly recognize a colleague who did you a small solid?
Or are you ready for a change you now realize you can afford to make?
Maybe you’ve always worked in corporate and dreamed of rolling into the non-profit space. Or you’re being pulled in multiple directions and want to transition to working part-time for a while. Or there’s that side hustle you always wanted to try, or that degree you dream of getting.
Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work.
For me, this meant finally stepping out of a job that felt heavy and taking that chance on starting my own business. I’ve never looked back.
How do I maintain balance?
This, Christensen explains, is really a question of how your strategy is defined and implemented.
”…A company’s strategy is determined by the types of initiatives that management invests in.”
If a company's strategy is to win by creating high-quality products, but it chooses to maximize its profit margin by using cheap materials to manufacture them, well … I think you can see why the strategy is doomed to fail.
So the question here is what strategy have you defined for your life. And are you making the right investments to support it?
To make the analogy work, Christensen imagines each important part of his life as a line of business—his career, his family, and his community.
He wants each of them to succeed. So he allocates his investments—his time, his focus, his care—in alignment with that strategy.
I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.
“Allocation choices,” he says, “can make you turn out to be very different from what you intended.”
He goes on to observe that “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers even though… loving relationships… are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”
When I first read this, I knew my sense of balance was off. Yet I somehow felt powerless to change it. But there was something in his framing about the allocation of resources that really hit me. I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.
Did I quit my job and start my business the next day? I assure you I did not. But this reframing was exactly the gift I needed to move from feeling constrained and trapped to feeling encouraged and ready to explore some options.
Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?
I’m not suggesting you follow my path. I’m inviting you to assess yours. Are you investing according to the outcomes you hope to achieve? Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?
How do I keep integrity at the forefront?
Ever hear of something called the “marginal cost mistake?” I hadn’t. It’s the idea that most people who’ve fallen from grace (think Bernie Madoff) didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit a major crime.
“A voice in our head says ‘Look, I know that as a general rule most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once it’s OK.’ The marginal cost of doing something wrong ‘just this once’ always seems alluringly low. It suckers you in.”
Personally, I’ve never stood on the precipice of making a criminal choice. But this concept has shown up in my life in different ways.
Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your 'marginal cost mistake' will stay with you.
In my life today, I stand firmly in the camp of respect and equality for every human being. If someone in my life—a client, a colleague, even a family member—makes an off-color joke or comment, I know it’s easier to ignore it. Just this once.
But I won’t. And having that clarity makes the choice so simple for me.
Maybe your boss asked you to “borrow” a competitor’s idea you heard about… just this once. Or a friend needs a reference and wonders if you’ll play the role of her former boss… but just for this one potential job.
Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your "marginal cost mistake" will stay with you. I still remember kids I didn’t stand up for on the playground. I can’t change what’s behind me, but I can be a version of myself going forward that the little girl in me would be proud of.
I wish the same for you.
I hope these ideas have triggered some insight or courage or inspiration. May you be fulfilled, may you be in balance, and may you be the most gleaming version of you.
Compound interest is one of the most important concepts to understand in investing. Itâs something about investing that many people arenât familiar with, but it plays an essential role in making investments profitable.Â
If youâre curious about compound interest and how it works, good for you â youâre on the right track. In this post, youâll find a compound interest calculator that can quickly and clearly show you how much money you might make by investing in an account that delivers compound interest.Â
Use the calculator below to get a sense of your potential earnings, then read the sections below to gain more insight into how you can make money through compound interest.Â
Compound Interest Calculator
First, tell us about your investment plan by filling in the fields below.
Amount of initial investment: Total amount you will initially invest or currently have invested toward your investment goal.
Years to Accumulate:
Years to accumulate: The number of years you have to save.
Periodic contribution: The amount you will contribute each period and the frequency at which you will make regular contributions to this investment.
Rate of Return:
Rate of return on investment: This is the rate of return an individual would expect from their investment. It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can’t be predicted with certainty and actual rate of return can very widely over time.
Compound frequency: Interest on an investment’s interest, plus previous interest. The more frequently this occurs, the sooner your accumulated interest will generate additional interest. You should check with your financial institution to find out how often interest is being compounded on your particular investment.
Years to Accumulate:
Years to Accumulate: This is the amount of time until you withdraw or use your investments.
Your Investment Results:
Compound Interest Earned
Simple Interest Earned
Investment Growth Over Time
Compound Interest Earned
Simple Interest Earned
How to use a compound interest calculator
How does compound interest work
Compound interest formula
Compound interest accounts
Compound interest FAQs
How to use a compound interest calculator
Using the compound interest calculator is simple. Follow these steps to see what you might earn through compound interest investing.Â
Enter your initial investment. It can be any value that you like, but itâs helpful to make it a realistic amount. For instance, if youâre saving up to invest right now, you can put the amount that you plan on investing once youâve saved up enough.Â
Next, enter the amount you plan on adding to your investment portfolio each month. This can also be any value you like, but itâs most useful if you enter an amount that you can budget for. Even if thatâs just an extra $10 a month, it makes a difference.Â
Choose whether you want your interest compounded annually, compounded monthly, or compounded daily. (If you donât know what that means, stay tuned for the definitions below.)Â
Input the estimated rate of return. This can vary considerably, but index funds and similar investment vehicles can yield between 2% and 10% returns.Â
Input your time horizon â the amount of time until you withdraw or use your investments.Â
Once youâve filled out the calculator, you should see an estimate of the amount youâre likely to have when the period of compound investing is up. If youâre a little confused about how we got this number, or what you need to do to grow your money in this way, check out the definitions, guide, and FAQs below.Â
Compounding: This occurs when the money that is made from an investment is reinvested, increasing the total amount of interest yielded the next time your interest is compounded.Â
Index fund: Index funds are bundled investments that roughly track the growth of a market index, which is a collection of publicly-traded companies. They are often considered lower-risk investments.
Interest: The money you make on your investments; essentially, the money you earn for investing in the success of a company, a government bond, or a fund.
Principal: The amount of money that you start out with when you begin investing.
Rate of returns: The rate at which you accrue interest â for example, 3% returns would mean that, for every $100 invested, you would earn $3.Â
Returns: The money that you earn on your investments.Â
Time horizon: The amount of time that you plan on investing.
Now that you have a few key compound interest definitions in mind, we can explain how it works.Â
How does compound interest work
Having more money can help make you more money â thatâs the principle behind compound interest. Hereâs how that breaks down. Letâs say that you have $1000 to invest. You put it in an account (letâs say a money market account) that yields 2% interest, compounded monthly. At the end of the first month, youâd have $1020. So far, so good.
But hereâs where it gets really interesting. That 2% rate of return now applies to the $1020 total, not just the principal investment of $1000. So, after the end of month 2, youâll have $1040.40 â an added $0.40 compared to the previous month.Â
That might not sound like a lot, but it starts to add up. Have you ever rolled a snowball down a hill? The same idea applies. As your money grows and adds to itself, the amount that it can add to itself the next time your interest compounds is more. It may not be a get-rich-quick scheme, but itâs a reasonably secure way to start building your net worth in the long term.Â
Plus, youâre not limited to money market accounts with rates as low as 2%. If youâre willing to put a little more risk on the line, you can get returns as high as 10% in some cases. Weâll cover that more in a later section. But first, time for a little math homework (just for those who are curious!).Â
Looking for a longer explanation? Check out our full-length guide to how to earn compound interest.Â
Compound interest formula
Compound interest is really mathematically interesting. Hereâs the formula: A =P(1 + r/n)(nt)
If you want to try to see whatâs going on behind the scenes in our calculator, hereâs how to do the math yourself using the compound interest formula.Â
The A in the formula is the amount youâll end up with; this comes last.Â
The P in the formula above stands for your principal, thatâs the amount that you start with.Â
Multiply P by 1 + your interest rate r (given in a decimal; so 4% would be 0.04) divided by n, the number of times your interest is compounded in a given period.Â
Raise all of that to the power of n times t, where t is the number of time periods elapsed.Â
For example, if youâre investing for 12 months, and your account interest is compounded daily, n would be roughly 30, and t would be 12 if you want to know how much youâll have in a year.Â
Try the formula out yourself, and see what result you get compared to the result in our calculator to check your work!
Compound interest accounts
Now that you understand the basics of compound interest, youâre probably wondering how you harness it to increase your net worth. The key is to use accounts that offer compound interest. Here are a few examples:
High yield savings and money markets. These are essentially savings accounts. They arenât investment accounts (which weâll discuss in a minute), but they do use a similar principle to grow your money. Rates on these can be fairly low compared to other options, but your money remains accessible, so you wonât have to worry if you need access to your cash fast in an emergency.
Retirement accounts. If you have a 401k or IRA opened right now, good news: youâre already accessing the power of compound interest. Most retirement accounts use a diversified and stable portfolio to grow your money over time, investing in index funds, government bonds, and dividend stocks to help you build your nest egg.Â
Investments. Of course, one of the most aggressive and effective ways to utilize the power of compound interest is to start investing. There are a number of different ways you can invest â be sure to read our guide to investing for beginners for a more thorough explanation â but all can involve compound interest. For example:
Dividend stocks sometimes allow you to reinvest the payout from your dividends, increasing the amount of your dividend the next time there is a payout.Â
Index funds, like mutual funds and ETFs, also often allow investors to reinvest their earnings, harnessing compound interest in their favor.Â
If you invest directly in stocks, you can always use the money that you earn to reinvest or invest in another stock â be aware that this is a riskier option, however.Â
Whether you choose an in-person brokerage or a trendy new robo-advisor, youâll likely be able to use the power of compound interest to grow your capital.Â
Compound interest is a mathematical force that can help you build your net worth over time. You can get started today by finding the right investing or saving vehicle for your personal finances. And donât forget to download the Mint app, where you can conveniently track your investments all in one place.Â
Compound interest FAQs
How do I calculate compound interest?
You can calculate compound interest in one of two ways: you can use the formula listed above to calculate it by hand, or you can use the compound interest calculator to figure out your total more quickly. Just be sure you know the necessary variables:
The principal amount
Your interest rate
How often itâs compounded
The number of compounding period that will occur
What will $10,000 be worth in 20 years?
That totally depends on how much interest your account produces and whether you invest more as time goes on.Â
Letâs assume an average return rate of around 7%, and assume that you donât add in any more money. In that case, your $10,000 could turn into $40,547 â still an impressive amount. Thatâs the power of compound interest.Â
How do you calculate compound interest monthly?
To calculate compound interest monthly, simply set the âcompounding frequencyâ setting on the calculator above to âmonthly.â Alternatively, you can use the formula above and set n equal to 1 and t equal to 12 to find out how much money youâll have if interest is compounded monthly for a year.Â
Wealthsimple | Investor.gov
The post Compound Interest Calculator appeared first on MintLife Blog.
A consumer loan is a loan or line of credit that you receive from a lender.
Consumer loans can be auto loans, home mortgages, student loans, credit cards, equity loans, refinance loans, and personal loans.
This article will address each type of consumer loans.
Get Approved for personal loan today.
Types of consumer loans:
Consumer loans are divided into several kinds of categories. They include auto loans, student loans, home loans, personal loans and credit cards. Regardless of type, consumer loans have one thing in common: you have to repay the loan at some period of time.
Most people who are thinking of buying a car will apply for an auto loan. That is because buying a car is expensive.
In fact, it is the second largest expense you will ever make besides buying a house. And unless you intend to buy it with all cash, you will need a car loan.
So, car loans allow consumers to purchase a vehicle where they may not have the money upfront. With an auto loan, your payment is broken into smaller repayments that you will make over time every month.
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You can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate loan. But the most important thing is, whether you’re buying a new or used car, it’s important to compare loans to help you find the right auto loan for your needs.
Start comparing auto loans now!
Another, and most common, type of consumer loans are home loans. A home loan or mortgage is a loan a consumer receives for the purpose of buying a house.
Buying a house is, undoubtedly, the biggest expense you’ll ever make in your life. So, for the majority of consumers who want to purchase a house, they will need to borrow the money from a lender.
Home loans are paid back over a period of time. Those mortgages term are typically 15 to 30 years. They can be variable rate or fixed rate. A fixed rate means that your repayments are locked in for a fixed term.
Whereas a variable rate means that your repayments depend on the interest rate going up or down when the Federal Reserve changes the rate.
Over the loan’s term, you will pay back the principle amount of the loan plus interest. This makes it very important to compare home loans. Doing so allows you to save thousands of dollars on interest and fees.
The most common types of consumer loans are personal loans. That is because a personal loan can be used for a lot of things.
A personal loan allows a consumer to borrow a sum of money. The borrower agrees to repay the loan (plus interest) in installments over a period of time.
A personal loan is usually for a lower amount than a home loan or even an auto loan. People usually ask for $500 to $20,000 or more.
A personal loan can be secured (the consumer backs it with his or her personal assets) or unsecured (the consumer does not have to use his or her personal asset).
But most of them are unsecured, so getting approved for one will depend on your credit score, income and other factors.
But consumers use personal loans for different purposes. People take out personal loans to consolidate debts, such as credit card debts. You can use personal loans for a wedding, a holiday, to renovate your home, to buy a flt screen TV, etc…
Consumers use these types of loans to finance their education. There are two types of student loans: federal and private. The federal government funds a federal student loan.
Whereas, a private entity funds a private student loan. Generally, federal student loans are better because they come at a lower interest rate.
Believe it or not credit cards is a type of consumer loans and they are very common. Consumers use this type of loan to finance every day expenses with the promise of paying back the money with interest.
Unlike other loans, however, every time your pay with your credit card, you take a personal loan.
Credit cards usually carry a higher interest rate than the other loans. But you can avoid these interests if you pay your balance in full immediately.
Small Business Loans
Another type of consumer loans are small business loans. These loans are used specifically to create a business or to expand an already established business.
Banks and the Small Business Administration (SBA) usually provide these loans. Small Business Loans are different than personal loans, because you usually have to provide a collateral to get the loan.
The collateral serves as a way to protect the lender in case you default on the loan. In addition, you will also need to provide a business plan for the lenders to review.
Home Equity Loans
If you have your own home, you can borrow money against it. These types of consumer loans are called home equity loans. If you’ve paid off the mortgage on the home, you can borrow up to the full value of the home.
Vice versa, if you’ve paid half of the mortgage on the home, you can borrow half of the value of the house. You can use a home equity loan for several purposes like you would with a personal loan.
But most consumers use this type of loan to renovate their house. One disadvantage of this type of loan, however, is that you can lose your house in case of a default, because your house is used as a collateral for the loan.
Loan refinancing is a basically taking a new loan to replace an existing one. But you get this loan specifically either to refinance your existing mortgage or to refinance your student loans or a personal loan.
Consumers usually refinance in order to receive a lower interest rate or to reduce the amount of monthly payments they are making on their existing loans.
However, reducing to a lower payment will lengthen the time to pay off the loan and you will accrue interest as a result.
Consumers also use this type of loan to pay their existing loans off faster. However, some mortgage refinancing loans come with prepayment penalties. So do you research in order to avoid that extra charge.
The bottom line is consumer loans can help you with your goals. However, understanding different loan types is important so that you can choose the best one that fits your particular situation.
So do you need a consumer loan?
Get Approved for personal loan today.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
The post What Is A Consumer Loan? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Understanding how much money you need to buy a house can give you an idea of how much you should expect to save.
You’re probably excited about the thought of buying your first home? If so, you have every right to be.
But how much money do you need to buy a house? A calculator can help you determine that. But the average cost of buying a $300,000 is typically around $17,000.
In this article, we’ll go over the main costs of buying a house including the down payment, inspection cost, appraisal cost, closing cost, etc.
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How much money do you need to buy a house?
Out of Pocket Cost of buying a house
The five main out of pocket costs of buying a house are 1) the down payment; 2) inspection cost; 3) the appraisal cost; 4) earnest money and 5) closing costs. These out of pocket costs or upfront costs are money yo need to pay before you become the owner of the property.
In addition, some lenders also require you have some cash reserves to cover 2 to 3 months of the mortgage repayments.
Determining how much cash needed to buy a house depends on the type of loan you’re using.
Let’s suppose you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan.
An FHA loan requires a 3.5% of the home purchase price as a down payment as long as you have a 580 credit score. So, for the down payment alone, you will need $10,500.
Here’s a quick breakdown for how much cash needed to buy a $300,000 house:
Down payment: $10,500
Inspection cost: $300
Appraisal cost: $300
Closing cost: $6000
So, $ 17,100 is how much money you need to buy a house.
Whether you’re buying a house with a 20% down payment or 3.5% down payment, you can certainly find a loan with both the price and features to suit your needs as a first time home buyer. You can compare First Time Home Buyer home loans on the LendingTree website.
The down payment
The biggest cost of buying a house is obviously your down payment. But that depends on the type of loan you are looking for.
For example, a conventional loan requires a 20% down payment. You can pay less than that, but you will have to pay for a private mortgage insurance – which covers the lender in case you default on your loan.
A 20% down payment however can also mean that you’ll get a better interest rate, which also means you’ll save money on interest.
For an FHA loan, you only need 3.5% down payment as long as your credit score is 580.
FHA loans are very popular these days. Not only it’s easier to get qualified (low down payment and low credit score), but also your down payment can come from a friend, a relative or your employer.
Using our example above, you only need $10,500 for a down payment for a $300,000 house.
If you’re using a VA loan then you pay $0 down payment.
Check to see if you’re eligible for an FHA loan or VA loan
How much money do you need to buy a house also depends on other factors, such as whether you are a first time home buyer or not. Your state may have a range of programs that may contribute toward your down payment.
So visit your local government office to find out if you are eligible for any down payment assistance for first time home buyers.
Another upfront cost of buying a home is the inspection cost.
It is highly recommended to perform inspection for your home for any defects so there are no surprises later on.
Inspections typically cost between $300 to $500, but it depends on the property and your local rates.
Compare home loans for first time home buyers with LendingTree
Before a lender can give you a loan to finance a house, they will want to know how much the house is worth. So appraisal means an estimate of the home’s value. A home’s appraisal usually costs between $300 to $500. A home appraisal will also determine what your property tax will likely be.
If you’re pay the home appraisal, it will be deducted from the closing cost. (see below).
Earnest money is a deposit you will have to pay upfront as soon as an offer is accepted, while you working on other aspects such as getting the home inspected, etc…
This deposit is part of the down payment, and it is usually between 1% to 3% of the final sale price. It is held by an escrow firm or attorney until the closing process is completed.
So if the sale is successful, that money is applied to your down payment. If it’s not, you get 100% of your money back.
The closing costs are fees by the lenders. They typically cost 2% to 5% of the final price. The costs include fees for homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, title insurance, property tax, HOA dues, private mortgage insurance.
It’s possible to lower these costs by comparing mortgage options.
Other costs of buying a home:
In addition to upfront costs, there are other recurring costs associated with buying a home. They include moving fees, repair costs, furniture, remodeling, etc. So consider these costs when making your budget to buy a house.
So how much money do you need to buy a house? The answer is it depends on the type of loans you’ re using. But if you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan, which requires a 3.5% down payment, $ 17,100 is how much money you need.
For more information about upfront costs of buying a house, check out this guide.
Read more cost of buying a house:
How Much House Can I Afford?
How Long Does It Take to Buy a House?
Buying a House for the First Time? Avoid these Mistakes
5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Buy a House
Work with the Right Financial Advisor
You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). So, find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
The post How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a House? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that home sales were up more than 17% in June 2020 from the month before, and up more than 13% compared to the year prior. Those who have the means to buy a second home are wise to take on mortgage debt (or reorganize their current debt) in todayâs low interest environment.
Those who have the means to buy a second home are wise to take on mortgage debt in todayâs low interest environment.
With low 30-year mortgage rates, owning a rental property that âpays for itselfâ through monthly rental income is especially lucrative with a significantly lower mortgage payment. If youâre curious about buying a second home and renting it out, keep reading to find out about the major issues you should be aware of, the hidden costs of becoming a landlord, and more.
Important Factors When Buying a Short-Term Rental
The issues involved in buying a rental home varies dramatically depending on where you plan to purchase. After all, buying a ski lodge in an area with seasonal tourism and attractions might require different considerations than buying a home in a major metropolitan area where tourists visit all year long.
But there are some factors every potential landlord should consider regardless of location. Here are a few of the most important considerations:
Location. Consumers rent vacation homes almost anywhere, but youâll want to make sure youâre looking at homes in an area where short-term rentals are popular and viable. You can do some basic research on AirDNA.co, a short-term rental data and analytics service, or check competing rentals in the area youâre considering.
Property Management Fees. If you plan to use a property management company to manage your short-term rental instead of managing it yourself, you should find out how much other owners pay for management. Also, compare listing fees for your second home with a platform like Airbnb or VRBO.
Taxes. Property taxes can be higher on second homes since you donât qualify for a homestead exemption. This means higher fixed costs each month, which could make it more difficult to cover your mortgage with rental income.
Competition. Check whether a rental area youâre considering is full of competing rentals that are never full. You can find this information on VRBO or Airbnb by looking at various rentals and checking their booking calendars.
Potential Rental Fees. Check rental sites to see how much you might be able to charge for your second home on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis.
5 Steps to Rent Your Second Home
Before purchasing a second home, take time to run different scenarios using realistic numbers based on the rental market youâre targeting. From there, the following steps can guide you through preparing your property for the short-term rental market.
1. Research the Market
First, youâll want to have a general understanding of the rental market youâre entering. How much does the average short-term rental go for each night or each week? What is the average vacancy rate for rentals on an annual basis?
Research your local rental market, the average price of rentals in your area, various features offered by competing rentals, and more.
Action Item: Dig into these figures by using AirDNA.co. Just enter a zip code or town, and youâll find out the average nightly rate, occupancy rate, revenue, and more. Although some of the siteâs features require a monthly subscription, you can find out basic information about your rental market for free.
2. Know Your Numbers
You need to know an array of real numbers before renting your second home, including the following:
Average nightly rate
Average occupancy rate
Fixed costs, such as your mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance for the rental
Property management fees and costs for cleaning between tenants
Additional fixed costs for things like trash pickup, internet access, and cable television
Costs for marketing your space on a platform like VRBO or Airbnb, which could be a flat fee or 3% of your rental fee depending on the platform
Youâll use these numbers to figure out the average monthly operating cost for your second home, and the potential income you might be able to bring in. Without running these numbers first, you wind up in a situation where your short-term rental doesnât pay for itself, and where youâre having to supplement operating expenses every month.
Action Item: Gather every cost involved in operating your specific short-term rental, and then tally everything up with monthly and annual figures that you can plan for.
3. Buy the Right Insurance
If you plan on using your second home as a short-term rental, youâll need to buy vacation rental insurance. This type of homeowners insurance is different from the type youâd buy for your primary residence. Itâs even unique from landlord insurance coverage since you need to have insurance in place for your second home and its contents.
Some vacation rental policies let you pay per use, and they provide the benefits of homeowners insurance (like property coverage, liability, and more) plus special protection when your property is rented to a third party.
Action Item: Shop around for a homeowners insurance plan thatâs geared specifically to vacation rentals. See our top picks for the best homeowners insurance companies out there.
4. Create a Property Management Plan
If you live near your second home, you might want to manage it yourself. Thereâs nothing wrong with this option, but you should plan on receiving calls and dealing with problems at all hours of the day.
Many short-term rental owners pay a property management company to communicate with their tenants, manage each rental period, and handle any issues that pop up. Property managers can also set up cleanings between each rental and help with marketing your property.
Action Item: Create a property management plan and account for any costs. Most property managers charge 25% to 30% of the rental cost on an ongoing basis, so you canât ignore this component of owning a short-term rental.
5. Market Your Space
Make sure you appropriately market your space, which typically means paying for professional photos and creating an accurate, inviting listing on your chosen platforms. Your property manager might help you create a marketing plan for your vacation rental, but you can DIY this component of your side business if youâre tech- and media-savvy.
Action Item: Hire a photographer to take professional photos of your rental, and craft your rental description and listing.
Risks of Purchasing a Short-Term Rental
Becoming a landlord isnât for the faint of heart. Thereâs plenty that can go wrong, but here are the main risks to plan for:
Government roadblocks. In destinations from New York City to Barcelona, government officials have been cracking down on short-term rentals and trying to limit their ability to operate. New rules could make running your business more costly, difficult, or even impossible.
Your home could be damaged beyond repair. If you read the Airbnb message boards and other landlord forums, youâll find an endless supply of nightmare rental stories of houses getting trashed and rentals enduring thousands of dollars in damage.
Housing market crash. If the housing market crashes again like it did in 2008, you might find you owe more than your second home is worth at a time when itâs increasingly difficult to find renters.
Reliance on tourism. As weâve seen during the pandemic, circumstances beyond our control can bring travel and tourism to a screeching halt. Since short-term rentals typically rely on tourism to stay afloat, decreases in travel can affect the viability of your business, quickly.
High ongoing costs and fees. Higher property taxes, property management fees, cleaning fees and maintenance costs can make operating a short-term rental costly in the long-term. If you donât account for all costs and fees involved, you might wind up losing money on your vacation home instead of having the property âpay for itselfâ.
The Bottom Line
A short-term rental can be a viable business opportunity, depending on where you want to buy and the specifics of the local rental market. But there are a lot of factors to consider before taking the leap.
Before investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, think over all of the potential costs and risks involved. Youâll want to ensure that youâve done comprehensive research and have run the numbers for every possible scenario to make an informed decision.
Related: How to Invest in Real Estate
The post How to Buy a Second Home that Pays for Itself appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
If you’re one of those investors with very little time to research and invest in individual stocks, it might be a good idea to look into investing in mutual funds.
Whether your goal is to save money for retirement, or for a down payment to buy a house, mutual funds are low-cost and effective way to invest your money.
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What is a mutual fund?
A mutual fund is an investment vehicle in which investors, like you ad me, pool their money together. They use the money to invest in securities such as stocks and bonds. A professional manages the funds.
In addition, mutual funds are cost efficient. They offer diversification to your portfolio. They have low minimum investment requirements.
These factors make mutual funds among the best investment vehicles to use. If you’re a beginner investor, you should consider investing in mutual funds or index funds.
Investing in the stock market in general, can be intimidating. If you are just starting out and don’t feel confident in your investing knowledge, you may value the advice of a financial advisor.
Types of mutual funds
There are different types of mutual funds. They are stock funds, bond funds, and money market funds.
Which funds you choose depends on your risk tolerance. While mutual funds in general are less risky than investing in individual stocks, some funds are riskier than others.
However, you can choose a combination of these three types of funds to diversify your portfolio.
Stock funds: a stock fund is a fund that invests heavily in stocks. However, that does not mean stock funds do not have other securities, i.e., bonds. It’s just that the majority of the money invested is in stocks.
Bond funds: if you don’t want your portfolio to fluctuate in value as stocks do, then you should consider bond funds.
Money market funds: money market funds are funds that you invest in if you tend to tap into your investment in the short term.
Sector funds. As the name suggests, sector funds are funds that invests in one particular sector or industry. For example, a fund that invests only in the health care industry is a sector fund. These mutual funds lack diversification. Therefore, you should avoid them or use them in conjunction to another mutual fund.
Index funds. Index funds seek to track the performance of a particular index, such as the Standard & Poorâs 500 index of 500 large U.S. company stocks or the CRSP US Small Cap Index. When you invest in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund, youâre essentially buying a piece of the 500 largest publicly traded US companies. Index funds donât jump around. They stay invested in the market.
Income funds: These funds focus invest primarily in corporate bonds. They also invest in some high-dividend stocks.
Balance funds: The portfolio of these funds have a mixed of stocks and bonds. Those funds enjoy capital growth and income dividend.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Protect Your Portfolio from the Volatile Stock Market
The advantages of mutual funds
Diversification. You’ve probably heard the popular saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, it applies to mutual funds. Mutual funds invest in stocks or bonds from dozens of companies in several industries.
Thus, your risk is spread. If a stock of a company is not doing well, a stock from another company can balance it out. While most funds are diversified, some are not.
For example, sector funds which invest in a specific industry such as real estate can be risky if that industry is not doing well.
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Mutual funds are professionally managed. These fund managers are well educated and experienced. Their job is to analyze data, research companies and find the best investments for the fund.
Thus, investing in mutual funds can be a huge time saver for those who have very little time and those who lack expertise in the matter.
Cost Efficiency. The operating expenses and the cost that you pay to sell or buy a fund are cheaper than trading in individual securities on your own. For example, the best Vanguard mutual funds have operating expenses as low as 0.04%. So by keeping expenses low, these funds can help boost your returns.
Low or Reasonable Minimum Investment. The majority of mutual funds, Vanguard mutual funds, for example, have a reasonable minimum requirement. Some funds even have a minimum of $1,000 and provide a monthly investment plan where you can start with as little as $50 a month.
Related Article: 7 Secrets Smart Professionals Use to Choose Financial Advisors
The disadvantage of mutual funds.
While there are several benefits to investing in mutual funds, there are some disadvantages as well.
Active Fund Management. Mutual funds are actively managed. That means fund mangers are always on the look out for the best securities to purchase. That also means they can easily make mistakes.
Cost/expenses. While cost and expenses of investing in individual stocks are significantly higher than mutual funds, cost of a mutual fund can nonetheless be significant.
High cost can have a negative effect on your investment return. These fees are deducted from your mutual fundâs balance every year. Other fees can apply as well. So always find a company with a low cost.
How you make money with mutual funds.
You make money with mutual funds the same way you would with individual stocks: dividend, capital gain and appreciation.
Dividend: Dividends are cash distributions from a company to its shareholders. Some companies offer dividends; others do not. And those who do pay out dividends are not obligated to do so. And the amount of dividends can vary from year to year.
As a mutual fund investor, you may receive dividend income on a regular basis.
Mutual funds offer dividend reinvestment plans. This means that instead of receiving a cash payment, you can reinvest your dividend income into buying more shares in the fund.
Capital gain distribution: in addition to receiving dividend income from the fund, you make money with mutual funds when you make a profit by selling a stock. This is called “capital gain.”
Capital gain occurs when the fund manager sells stocks for more he bought them for. The resulting profits can be paid out to the fund’s shareholders. Just as dividend income, you have the choice to reinvest your gains in the fund.
Appreciation: If stocks in your fund have appreciated in value, the price per share of the fund will increase as well. So whether you hold your shares for a short term or long term, you stand to make a profit when the shares rise.
Best mutual funds.
Now that you know mutual funds make excellent investments, finding the best mutual funds can be overwhelming.
Vanguard mutual funds.
Vanguard mutual funds are the best out there, because they are relatively cheaper; they are of high quality; a professional manage them; and their operating expenses are relative low.
Here is a list of the best Vanguard mutual funds that you should invest in:
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Funds
Vanguard 500 Index (VFIAX)
Total International Stock index Fund
Vanguard Health Care Investor
Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund
If you’re looking for a diversified mutual fund, this Vanguard mutual fund is for you. The Vanguard’s VTSAX provides exposure to the entire U.S. stock market which includes stocks from large, medium and small U.S companies.
The top companies include Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. In addition, the expenses are relatively (0.04%). It has a minimum initial investment of $3,000, making it one of the best vanguard stock funds out there.
Vanguard S&P 500 (VFIAX)
The Vanguard 500 Index fund may be appropriate for you if you prefer a mutual fund that focuses on U.S. equities. This fund tracks the performance of the S&P 500, which means it holds about 500 of the largest U.S. stocks.
The largest U.S. companies included in this fund are Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Apple, and Amazon. This index fund has an expense ration of 0.04% and a reasonable minimum initial investment of $3,000.
Vanguard Total International Stock Market
You should consider the Vanguard International Stock Market fund of you prefer a mutual fund that invests in foreign stocks.
This international stock fund exposes its shareholders to over 6,000 non-U.S. stocks from several countries in both developed markets and emerging markets. The minimum investment is also $3,000 with an expense ratio of 0.11%.
Vanguard Health Care Investor
Sector funds are not usually a good idea, because the lack diversification. Sector funds are funds that invest in a specific industry like real estate or health care. However, if you want afund to complement your portfolio, the Vanguard Health Care Investor is a good choice.
This Vanguard mutual fund offers investors exposure to U.S. and foreign equities focusing in the health care industry. The expense ration is a little bit higher, 0.34%. However, the minimum initial investment is $3,000, making it one of the cheapest Vanguard mutual funds.
Mutual funds are great options for beginner investors or investors who have little time to research and invest in individual stocks. When you buy into these low cost investments, you’re essentially buying shares from companies.
Your money are pooled together with those of other investors. If you intend to invest in low cost investment funds, you must know which ones are the best. When it comes to saving money on fees and getting a good return on your investment, Vanguard mutual funds are among the best funds out there.
They provide professional management, diversity, low cost, income and price appreciation.
What’s Next: 5 Mistakes People Make When Hiring A Financial Advisor
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions beyond knowing which of the best Vanguard mutual funds to invest, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
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The post What Are Mutual Funds? Understanding The Basics appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
It amazes us how quickly our girls are growing up. Next month when school starts up again, weâll have a fourth-grader and a kindergartener.
Even though we have some time before they are ready to move out of the house, we want to spend time now prepare them for the big transition. As a parent, you probably feel the same way too.Â
One crucial piece of a financial foundation kids and in particular, teens, need to master is learning to budget (and sticking with it),
While theyâre home now, you have a fantastic opportunity to get them comfortable with handling their money.
If youâre not sure where to start, here are some tips from fellow parents and experts in the personal finance space to make teaching this life skill a bit easier less stressful for you and your teen!
Teach Your Teen to Budget for Real Life
Teens or not, whenever most people hear the word budget, they also hear the word ânoâ. To them, budgets feel like a strict diet. Just as fad diets fail, an unrealistic or extreme budget will more than likely discourage your teen and they will quit.
The first step before you even talk about the numbers is to discuss exactly what a successful and sustainable budget should be. When done right, a budget is something that helps you move your money towards your goals. Explain to them that at its root, budget is simply a plan about what theyâd like to do.
You want a budget that can cover:
Â Â Essential bills
Â Â Future goals
Â Â Discretionary expenses
When your teenâs budget covers those goals, theyâre not only putting their finances in a good spot, but theyâre moving closer to their specific long term dreams.
Creating a Doable Budget (Theyâll Actually Enjoy!)
Once your teen(s) understands how a budget works, itâs important for them to create a budget that they can use in the real world. You can honestly budget however you want, but an easy budget to get your teen started is the 50/20/30.
Quite simplify, the 50/20/30 budget puts money into those three main buckets:
Â Â 50%Â goes towards essentials
Â Â 20% towards savings (or investing)
Â Â 30% for fun and discretionary expenses
I appreciate how easy and flexible this budget can be. You can adjust the percentages for your teenâs needs, but it gives them some ballpark idea of how to portion their finances when they are out on their own.
How do you start them out on this budget?
With teens, you may have expenses like clothing or their cellphone bill count as essentials, or you may want to give your child the experience of being responsible for a small, shared family bill while they are still at home.
For older teens, you could even charge them a nominal ârentâ to offset their portion of the bills. In some cases, parents give that money back to their child as a gift to help with moving expenses (like for their security deposit) or use as additional savings.Â
However you decide, talk it over so your teen understands why youâre doing it this way.
Share Your Family Budget
Creating a budget isnât complicated, but it can difficult if your teen has no idea what to expect. Knowledge can be empowering.
While we may take it for granted since have to deal with the numbers, but your teen may not be aware of how much it takes to keep the lights on and roof over their heads. If you havenât already shared your own budget already, now is the time.
Not knowing also puts them at a disadvantage when they start searching for a place or are comparing prices on expenses. Being armed with the numbers makes your teenager a more informed consumer.
When Your Teen Breaks Their Budget
Will there be times where your teenager will mess up with their budget? Probably so. However, thatâs not necessarily a bad thing. As parents, we tend to want to protect our kids, but we also have to prepare them for the real world. As Ron Lieber, author of The Opposite of Spoiled, pointed out we should let our kids make financial mistakes.Â
Wouldnât it be better for your child to break the clothing budget while theyâre still at home allowing you to help guide them through rather than having break their monthly budget while they are on their own and have bills to pay?
Mistakes will happen, theyâre a part of life so giving your teen time to work those them and adjust their budget is a blessing for their future selves.
Essential Accounts for Your TeenÂ to Have
Since weâre talking about budgets, we should also mention some essential accounts youâd want your kid to have so they can practice managing their money.
Opening up student checking and savings accounts (usually free low on fees as well as not having minimum balance requirements) are good foundational accounts for your teen. They can deal with real-world situations pending charges, automatic transfers, and direct deposits.
As Family Balance Sheet founder Kristia Ludwick pointed out, teens should have the skill of balancing a checkbook even if they decide to go all-digital with their banking.
If they work, talk it over together and see if they can open up an IRA and start contributing. It doesnât have to be much. The idea is to get them familiar and comfortable with the basics of investing.
Even if they put in $25 a paycheck, having them practice setting aside money in their budget for both long and short term goals is an invaluable lesson. You can also encourage them to contribute by offering a match for what they put in.
How Teens Can Easily Stay on Top of Their Money
With several accounts to keep tabs on, your teen is going to need an easy system to track their budget and goals.
With Mint, they can link up their accounts in one secure spot. They can also add their budget along with any savings goals they want to hit and make sure they stick with them.
Hopefully, these ideas and tips will make it easier to help your teen transition into a self-sufficient adult.
The post How to Teach Your Teen to Budget Like a Pro appeared first on MintLife Blog.