Categories
Investing

How Can a College Student Invest? Easy Tips

In my opinion college students are the best investors. They are constantly learning and not afraid to make mistakes. As you get a college education, you should be getting an education in building wealth. You don’t need tons of capital to start your investing journey: you just have to know how to do it.

This article will focus on the most popular option for college investors: online investing. If you are wondering how can a college student invest here are some tips to get you started.
If you want to get started investing the process is so much easier than you think. Great guide for beginners!

How Can a College Student Invest Starting with Stocks?

When you first start investing you will most likely want to start with stocks. The reason most first time investors start with stocks is that they are easy to relate to and they are widely discussed. You can start up a conversation about stocks with almost anyone and they should be able to voice at least an opinion. While some believe that there are certain best stocks for college students, I believe a general education on how to invest is important.

Establishing Your Online Investment Portfolio

According to financial experts, college investors have a significant advantage over other types of investors. They have time – lots of it. Considering the amazing powers of compound interest (i.e. a type of interest that earns additional interest), we can say that time IS money.

Experienced investors state that even a small amount of money, if invested properly, can reap huge profits in the future. That means you really have to think about building your personal investment portfolio while you are still in college.

Here are the things you have to do to jumpstart your career as an investor:

  1. If you are beginning with small capital (e.g. $25 to $50), find a broker that will accept the small account. Then, you can increase your overall capital by investing more money on a regular basis.
  1. You should calculate the total amount of money you are willing to risk. As a college investor, you have to keep in mind that investment always involves risk. Your personality and available funds are two of the most important factors that determine your "risk tolerance."
  1. If you like to take risks, the possibility of earning large profits probably outweighs your fears of losing money. If you are risk-averse, on the other hand, you have to perform serious calculations regarding the exact amount that you are willing to risk.
  1. There are savings vehicles that guarantee profits and offer minimal risks. Here are some examples: certificate of deposits, federal savings bonds, student savings accounts approved by the FDIC, etc. Yep, I'm talking about saving accounts, CDs and other bank saving products. In general, these financial instruments provide the best protection against risks. However, they also involve the lowest potential for getting large profits. If you will invest in these instruments, your earning potential will be severely limited.
  1. If you can shoulder more risk and invest your money for a longer time period, you may try investing your capital in mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs). These funds are composed of various securities such as bonds, stocks and commodities. Mutual fund corporations collect and manage the money of other people for investment purposes. Since these corporations employ financial experts, lots of college investors opt to put their money in mutual funds or ETFs.
  1. Prior to investing your hard-earned money in these mutual funds, you have to perform your own background research. Some mutual fund companies focus on particular industries (e.g. pharmaceutical, telecommunications, banking, etc.) while others use diversified portfolios (i.e. they make investments in different industries). You should research about the past performance of the company you will be investing on and the industries they work with. Remember: The past performance can in no way guarantee future results.

How Can a College Student Invest in Stocks?

As a college investor, once you become familiar with how the financial market works, you can start to invest in individual bonds or stocks. You can do this through the help of online brokerage firms. Individual investments, as the name implies, require the investor to personally manage all of the securities that he/she owns.

This might sound a bit scary.

However, there are lots of tools that you can use to simplify your investment decisions.

Almost all online brokerage firms provide their clients with reliable tools to monitor their investments. These days, lots of investment companies offer free accounts and minimal balance requirements. That means you can start your personal investment portfolio today.

You may think that investing is difficult or that it is hard to get started. That is not the case. Beginning your investing journey is as easy as opening an investing account. I used to have a few accounts with different brokers because I liked them for different reasons. Now I just have a few ETFs and stocks.

For example, I can buy stocks with an Ally Invest account. But I also like them because I can invest automatically without choosing stocks; you can open an account here with no minimum.

Lesson 1: What is a Stock?

A stock or a share, is an ownership interest in a business. A publicly traded business will use stocks, also called equity, to raise capital. As a stockholder, you own a piece of a business. You have the right to vote on certain changes, and you should be involved in the process. Figuring out what stocks to choose is the tough part. I remember when I made my first investments. I bought stocks based on what reporters were discussing on tv. And I lost horribly. After a few years, I learned how to research stocks and invest with the markets, not against them. I was a college student investing with extra cash and I enjoyed the process.

Lesson 2: How to REALLY Trade Stocks

Once you’ve placed a few trades and are confident in your abilities, it’s time to put some muscle behind your trades. You can beat the stock market if you make the choice to research your trades and take the time to follow the markets carefully.

Lesson 2b: Technical Analysis vs. Fundamental Analysis

This is where you have to do your homework and it’s really not that hard. Fundamental analysis is looking at the story behind the price changes whereas technical analysis is looking at the previous price changes to determine a future.

4 Tips for College Students Who Want to Invest

The following tips are recommended by financial experts. You should consider these before or while investing your money in the markets.

  1. Learn as much as you can – You can acquire investing knowledge and techniques just by reading reliable investing books and articles. The pieces of information you can gain from these resources can help you become a successful investor.
  2. Eliminate high interest debts – Debts (especially those with high interest rates) should be paid off first before making any investment. Risking your money in investments while having high interest loans can greatly worsen your financial condition.
  3. Select a brokerage firm - If you really want to make investments, you have to create a brokerage account. You have two options here: online firms and traditional firms. Online brokerage firms offer easy and computerized investment systems. However, traditional firms may provide personal advice and services.
  4. Diversify your portfolio – Investing all of your funds in a single company can result in financial disaster. Consider putting your money in various industries and investment vehicles. This strategy is called “portfolio diversification.” Even if you think an investment is a "sure thing" never put all of your eggs in one basket. A diversified portfolio is recommended.

6 Fears That Prevent You From Investing

It’s hopefully no secret that investing is the way to build wealth. Stock piling your money in a savings account won’t help you become a millionaire, or even help you achieve your financial goals. Unfortunately, there are a lot of concerns and excuses that young professionals like to throw around that keep them from investing. I hope to dispel a couple of them in this post and to help motivate you to look at investing!

1) Investing is for rich people.

How do you think most of those people got rich? Not by sitting around and working their 9-5 job! It only takes a little bit of money to get into investing, and anyone can start trading stocks online!

2) I just don’t have enough money to make it worthwhile.

It’s the principle of the matter; if you can learn to make a little bit of money, you can learn to make a lot of money!

3) I just don’t have time.

Let’s face it; what young professional does? The fact is, if you don’t purposefully make time for your finances, they’ll easily slip out of control for you. It actually doesn't take all that much time to research and invest your money, plus there are now more and more affordable services online (Ally Invest, Learnvest) for you to pay a nominal fee to have your money invested.

4) There are too many options out there to invest in.

Well, you've gotta start somewhere. Try picking one good mutual fund or an index fund. This is a quick way to diversify your money and lessens the risk of just picking one stock.

5) I’m afraid I’ll lose my money.

That’s a fair point. Firstly, never put more money in than you could see decline. You should always keep an emergency fund as well as a nice pile of cash in the bank before you start investing. Secondly; no risk, no reward. You have to be willing to take a risk with your money in order to get the reward of actually making money. Thirdly; start small and safe with your investing. Don’t go investing in high tech companies that you don’t even understand their business model. Although you won’t ever eliminate the risk, you can certainly learn to mitigate it.

6) I already have a retirement fund, why should I invest more money?

Firstly, good for you for having a retirement fund! Take a look at your savings account right now, how much interest is it paying? I’d be surprised if you said more than 1%. Inflation in 2013 here in the US was 1.5% last year. That means that your money essentially lost some of its value just sitting in the bank.

Although you shouldn't go out and invest all of your money in the market, investing more than $0 would be a good start.

By investing early, you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy years of compounding interest and will see you total net worth grow!

How did you start investing?

Originally posted 2019-04-20 08:00:27.

Categories
Investing

Review of Betterment How to Invest the Easy Way

Let's face it, most people are lazy including me and you.

Yeah, we work at what is interesting to us, but otherwise, we'd rather keep things simple.

Here at Young Finances I've been trying to teach how to research stocks, build a portfolio and invest for retirement, but some people just hate finance.

And many Americans invest too little.

An Easy Way to Invest

I recently stumbled across a simple way to invest.

It's called Betterment.com. Betterment.com was founded in 2008 as a simpler, smarter, safer way to invest.

The CEO and Founder John Stein said "I created Betterment because after years working in financial services I was amazed that no one made saving and investing money as simple as it ought to be.".

How Does Betterment.com Work?

When you open a Betterment.com account, you will deposit or set up recurring deposits from a checking or savings account.

Then the folks at Betterment will invest on your behalf into ETFs based on your portfolio allocation. Portfolio allocation just means where you want your money to go.

There are two options, stocks and bonds.

You don't have to do any research or constant monitoring of your portfolio. They manage your everything for you.

The only thing you have to do is decide whether you want a low risk portfolio or high return.

What Does it Cost?

I think this is my favorite feature of Betterment.

There are no hidden costs, fees, or minimum balances.

They simply charge a small percentage of funds under management. If you are familiar with hedge funds, you know that they charge 2% and 20% fees for funds under management and performance.

Betterment.com charges anywhere from 0.15% to 0.35% based on how much you have deposited and how often you deposit.

This one fee covers everything. At most that's 35 cents a year for every 100 dollars deposited and you can open a trading account with as little as $250 dollars.

Trading in a traditional brokerage account, even if you only made one trade a year, would cost you at least 5 bucks.

Is it Safe?

Betterment LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC.

They have to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission and maintain fair dealings within the rules of the SEC.

Remember that it is an investment account not a savings account so your funds are not protected by FDIC insurance.

However, your investments are protected with SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) just like with any broker-dealer.

And Betterment.com has a systems and security team that works around the clock to protect your account from fraud or malicious activity. If you already have an account that you actively trade stocks in, then this is a great way for you to supercharge your long-term savings.

A good way to use this account is to set up automatic transfers each month.

Making investing automatic and inexpensive will allow you to keep more money in your pocket.

I plan to use Betterment for my travel fund. It's money that I would have sitting in a savings account earning a risk-free rate of pennies a day.

I am no stranger to risk, so I would rather have the opportunity to earn more for my money.

And because I can withdraw funds at anytime without fees, it will give me nice flexibility.

Have you tried Betterment.com yet? Click here to open an account today!


Review of Betterment Easy Investing Account

5
LaTisha Styles
September 2018
"Easy way for young adults to invest in 5 minutes…"
"The Betterment brokerage account is an easy way to immediately build a diverse portfolio. Young adults can open an account in 5 minutes."

Originally posted 2019-04-14 06:00:59.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

How to Fix Bad Credit?

Wondering how to fix my credit myself? Or how to fix bad credit? There's no doubt that living in the modern world requires credit. Yes, you can live without a credit card and survive on cash or cashback debit cards.

I know because I did it for over two years as I paid off credit card debt. But what I really wanted to do was improve my credit score immediately.

However, when you are ready to buy a house, you'll need to get your credit straightened out. In this post I'll discuss getting a credit repair service as well as what steps you need to take if you decide you want to fix your credit score yourself. You might even be able to fix your credit in just 6 months.

These steps are so easy. Perfect guide for do it yourself credit repair.

Related articles from our approved partners:

How Can I Fix Bad Credit Myself? - 6 MonthCredit Repair Guide

First, watch this video from my friend Dominique over at Your Finances Simplified. He's going to tell you exactly how to fix your credit.

Watched the video? Good.
Feeling overwhelmed at the next steps?
Yep. I understand.
Let's take this step by step.

Take a deep breath. People think that having bad credit is the worse thing that can happen. But just calm down. You are taking the first steps which puts you on the right track.

Remember, it's just money.

No one is going to die. Take control and get back in the driver's seat!

Fix 1: Check Bad Credit

The first thing you'll need is your creditor information. Get the most recent credit card statements, loan balances, and installment loan reports along with addresses and phone numbers. I recommend printing everything old-school style. It's going to come in handy later.

Fix 2: Get a Free Credit Report

Then, take a second to get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Each year you are able to pull your credit report for free from the three providers Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Optional: Get Your Free Credit Score

You can check an approximation of your credit score for free at Credit Sesame one of our approved partners, but if you are trying to fix your credit, you probably already know your credit score looks a little like this....

bad credit personified

But that's ok. We're going to put you on the good foot.

Fix 3: Review your credit report for errors (highlight each error).

You're getting ready to take charge and stop being a victim. Most people don't even realize what they could get removed from their credit just because of errors.

What should you look for?

Wait a minute. So, you're telling me you didn't watch the video above?

Scroll back up for me right quick and you'll find out exactly what you should look for.

Or keep reading...

Dispute incorrect names, addresses, SSN, and date of birth via the certified mail.

You will need supporting documentation and letters. You will have to write a dispute letter and include the specifics of the inaccuracies. You want to dispute inaccurate, erroneous, outdated, misleading, and unverifiable information in your credit reports.

Tired of being harassed by your creditors? Maybe you'd prefer that someone else handle all of this for you?

In that case, you might was to work with a credit repair company to improve your credit.


Are you ready to...

  • Remove bankruptcies to rebuild credit?
  • Permanently delete foreclosures and repossessions?
  • Erase debts that were in collection?
  • Completely get credit cards under control?
  • Get approved for loans?
  • Get the best financing on cars and homes?

In that case, check out our partner Lexington Law for more details on how they can help you clean up your credit report.

Finally, fixing your credit permanently also means creating good habits and getting out of debt.

How getting out of debt is like the MTV show, I Used to Be Fat.

I used to watch this TV show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat. The show documents young adults, usually high school seniors and high school graduates who want to lose weight before they start college. Each episode features a different teen. I absolutely LOVE this show. I like seeing the determination and perseverance of these kids, they are really focused on their goals. Most of them thought about quitting along the way but each one makes it to the end and they usually reach their goal.

I was thinking the other day about how the TV show is very similar to a battle with debt. When you're in debt, it can feel like you're carrying around a second person, experiencing frugal fatigue, or that you have a spare tire of bills around your waist. I know because I'm working on getting out of debt myself. I realized that there are 3 major points we can learn from the MTV show I Used to Be Fat when trying to take control of our debt.
debt

Improve Your Credit Step 1 - Give Yourself a Deadline

Before the teens even begin a weight loss program, their coach/personal trainer gives them a large tear off number calendar to place on their wall. It has the total number of days until their program completion date, and every day they rip off the next number.

It is a good idea, when you are paying off debt, to set a deadline for your debt-free date, like 6 months. Setting a deadline is a way of making your goal specific. Every time you look at that calendar or see that date it will push your brain consciously and subconsciously to make it to your ultimate goal, to reduce spending and get out of debt.

Improve Your Credit Step 2 - Check in Regularly with a Coach

Every week, the kids had a weigh in. Their personal trainer was making sure that they were on track with how much weight they were supposed to be losing at each stage in the process. Sometimes they were attempting to lose one pound a day! I never thought that was possible or healthy, but most of the teens actually accomplished it under the supervision of their coach.

If you really want to prioritize your goal of becoming debt free then you really have to give yourself check points. You can enlist the help of a friend or even a debt counselor to help you along the way. Having a good support system can make all the difference.

Improve Your Credit Step 3 - Get Rid of Old Habits and Create New Ones

When one of the teens was at a restaurant with her friends, she ordered a lean meal instead of the greasy french fries that her friends had. The personal trainer also taught her how to cook healthier meals so that she would be able to maintain her new lifestyle change.

Becoming debt-free is not a one-time goal. It has to be a lifestyle change. When I decided to start getting out of debt, I had to first evaluate why I was in debt in the first place. I had to eliminate my habit of impulse spending and replace that habit with a good habit. Now I impulse buy stocks and my portfolio loves it! It's not easy to change a habit that took years to cultivate, but with a good support system, it is entirely possible.

Are you ready to make a change?

Some of you may be thinking, I’m still young, so why should I care about my credit score? Lots of people have debt and less than stellar credit, but they’re still enjoying a cushy lifestyle. As long as I’m able to buy the things that I want, why should I be concerned? The answer is simple. Life is easier when you have good credit.

Take a look at it this way. Landlords, employers, and lenders need to determine whether they can trust you, and they look at your credit score as an indicator of your financial reputation. You may not think credit affects you greatly, but it does. When you ruin your financial reputation (a.k.a. credit score), it will take you a long time to restore it.

Poor credit affects your ability to rent, buy a car, get a home loan, and even open up accounts. Creditors don’t want to work with people with bad credit because the risk of not getting paid is very high. How can they trust that you will pay them back if you haven’t even paid others? If you’ve already tarnished your credit, here are some tips to help you fix your credit score and reestablish your life.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 - Make Your Payments on Time

This may sound trivial, but we all know that money can be tight, and skipping payments on one bill can help pay for other expenses. But, timely payments are the biggest factor affecting your credit score. Keep a budget, and make sure you have sufficient funds to make your credit card and loan payments on time.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 - Consider Getting a Secured Credit Card

Obviously, it will be very hard to get a regular credit card if you have bad credit. If you don’t qualify for a credit card, you can get a secured card instead. This is when the bank gives you a credit line equal to the deposit you make. If used wisely, a secured card can help nurse your poor credit to better health.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 - Add an Installment Loan

You can improve your score quickly if you show that you can be responsible for both major kinds of credit: revolving (credit cards) and installment (mortgages, auto, student loans, etc.). If you don’t have an installment loan and feel you are ready to handle one, consider adding a small personal loan. Stay away from expensive finance companies and “teaser” deals, and use a company that reports the loan to all three credit bureaus.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 - Avoid the Minimum Payment Trap

Credit cards come with high interest rates. We all know how our $2,000 computer ended up costing $8,168 because we only made the minimum payments at 20% on our credit card. Ouch, that hurts! Keep constant payments on your credit card (and don’t run them up again) and your balances will drop.

Improve Your Credit Step 6 - Use Your Credit Cards Lightly and Check Your Limits

Even if you pay your bills on time and in full each month, having big balances can hurt your score. Try to limit charges to 30% or less of your card’s limit. Lenders typically like to see a big gap between how much you’re charging and your available credit limit.

Improve Your Credit Step 7 - Keep Old Credit Cards

Don’t close out old credit cards. The longer your credit history, the better. Leave the accounts open but once you pay them off, stop using them. Closed accounts tend to bring down your score.

Improve Your Credit Step 8 - Suspend Credit Inquiries

The more credit inquiries you have, the more your credit score drops. Fix your credit and wait a while before allowing your credit to be pulled again.

Improve Your Credit Step 9 - Get a Goodwill Adjustment

If you have been responsible about paying your credit cards on time, the lender may agree to erase a late payment from your credit history. For more troubled accounts, communicate with your lender about possible options to erase previous delinquencies. If the lender agrees, it will improve your overall record.

Improve Your Credit Step 10 - Check Your Credit Report for Errors

You can check your credit report without negative scoring (once per year, for free) with the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Make sure to look for any mistakes that could be hurting your score. If you see something wrong, make the effort to have it corrected.

Improve Your Credit Step 11 - Seek Professional Help

If you are overwhelmed with debt and don’t feel you can handle the problem on your own, consider working with a professional debt relief agent. They can help you explore your options and give you guidance on this post

It’s very easy to ruin your credit, but it takes time to build it back up. No matter how bad your credit is, you can take steps to make it better.

Sometimes we mishandle our budget, and we spend more than we should. (You know that you shouldn’t have bought that expensive flat screen TV). And, sometimes we end up in tough financial situations because of things beyond our control. Whether you have experienced job loss, illness, or another type of financial disruption, it’s important to know that you can turn things around.

It may not be easy, but step by step, you will be able to fix your financial situation. Just don’t delay facing the issue. The longer you wait, the harder it is for you to recover.

Categories
Career

Which Resume Format is Right for You?

When it comes to creating a resume, the possibilities are endless. You can have a chronological, skills-based, or a combination of resume formats, but how do you know which one is right for you?

There are three general resume format types, and there are several pros and cons to each of them. If you want, you may even format your resume in a few different ways, depending on which skills you want to highlight. You never know when someone will ask to see your resume, and by having one or two already created, you will be in a better position than someone who has to create a resume in a hurry.

Chronological Resume Format

The chronological resume format is one of the most widely used formats. It follows a logical, chronological progression that traces your employment from most recent at the top and on down.
This format is easy to prepare and showcases increased responsibility, skills, and growth, assuming you progressed into more difficult work over time.

The chronological format is best used by individuals with a steady work record. If you have employment gaps, or frequent job changes, the chronological format may not be right for you.

Skills-Based Resume Format

Also known as a functional resume, the skills-based format emphasizes your skills rather than employment. As opposed to focusing on dates when you worked, this focuses on the skills you currently have.
One benefit of the skills-based format is that it demonstrates the variety of experiences and skills you have. It also downplays gaps in work history or short-term employment, which many young people may have due to school commitments or short-term internships.

The skills-based format is best used by people with gaps in employment or frequent job changes. However, be aware that Human Resources may not like this type of resume as much because it does leave off dates worked.

Combination Resume Format

The combination format is a combination of the chronological and skills-based format. It de-emphasizes employment history in less relevant jobs, and highlights your most relevant skills and recent work history.
When creating a combination resume, you will tailor it specifically to the job you are applying for. This will take creativity and time to prepare, but if it is well organized, it will clearly show how your prior experience perfectly ties in with the job you are applying for.

This format is best used by people who are changing careers entirely, those who are transitioning to new positions, or those who are climbing the career ladder. If well organized, this format can be used for almost any job application. Just be sure to have someone you trust read over it well. If they are able to immediately see what skills and previous work experience you are trying to highlight, then you have succeeded!

If you’re unsure how many years to include in your resume, many employers recommend going back no more than ten years. Any longer, and you’re likely to be on a third sheet of paper, which employers don’t typically read. If you don’t have ten years of experience, that’s okay! One page resumes are excellent, and it’s perfectly fine to have a page. If you do need two pages but don’t quite fill up the second page, add some volunteer experience or additional skills you have. If you’ve taken classes outside of your college major, include those under a section titled Additional Resume Experience.
No matter which resume you choose, make sure you highlight all relevant skills and use action words. Your resume is one of your first introductions to your potential employer: make it shine!

Looking for more help on writing the perfect resume? Click here to purchase How to Write a Job-Getting Resume on Amazon.

Originally posted 2015-01-14 06:00:00.

Categories
Investing

December Investing Challenge Results and 2015 Challenge Begins!

It's January! And time for the final update on my Grow Your Dough Throwdown portfolio. You may remember that at the beginning of 2014 I entered a challenge to grow $1,000 in the markets. I decided to take a combined approach using passive and active methods.

For my active portfolio, I invested $400 with Loyal3. For my passive portfolio, I invested $600 with Betterment. Here is my post that details the stocks that I purchased.

Even though it is not an even split, I decided to call my portfolio the Gemini Portfolio. It's a little of this and a little of that. Sometimes balanced and sometimes not as we Gemini's can be.

The passive side lagged a bit during the year because I had some bond funds in the ETF portfolio. After I updated my allocation, the passive portfolio started keeping up with the markets nicely.

The active side performed poorly for the first few months of the year but then it started kicking butt and taking names! Choosing the right individual stocks helped boost my portfolio performance and I finished the year up 9.71%. If you are an email list subscriber then you know what my annual return goals are. And I'm happy to say that in 2014 I made it!

December & Year-End Portfolio Results

December Investing Challenge Results- Gemini Portfolio | Young Finances

What's Next?

Up next is the 2015 Grow Your Dough Throwdown! This year I'm adding a $500 dollar portfolio with Motif Investing. I also moved all of the cash from last year into my Loyal3 account and I purchased a few more stocks.

What is Motif?

Motif Investing is an online brokerage firm offering an intuitive platform that empowers individuals to invest in real-world ideas through motifs. A motif is a carefully researched and balanced portfolio of up to 30 stocks reflecting a specific idea or trend. Examples include Renter Nation, Caffeine Fix and Seven Deadly Sins. Motifs are fully customizable—you can add and delete stocks, and change their weightings. You’ll pay just one low commission – and no management fees. And, you’ll get important diversification both within a motif and across motifs.

Motif Investing offers brokerage accounts as well as no-fee retirement accounts, including Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, and Rollover IRAs.

Motif Investing also provides a social network where its members share and discuss investing ideas. Ask for feedback. Find out what other investors have to say about the motifs that may interest you. You can invite people you trust most to join your own investing circle. Share only what you want, with the people you’ve chosen, or share nothing at all. It’s all up to you. And you’re always in control.

Investing Challenge Tracker

To make it easier to keep up with all of the challengers and our portfolio performance, the guys at Motif created a handy widget that will display the leaders. A quick but VERY IMPORTANT note. All investing involves risk and past performance is no indicator of future results. As I always say DO YOUR RESEARCH before investing.

Grow Your Dough 2.0 - Motif Leaderboard | Young Finances

Use this link to open a Betterment account and start investing today.

Disclaimer

All investing involves risk, past performance is not indicative of future results. There is no guarantee that I will make money. I could lose everything. When mentioning how I plan to invest, it should not be taken as a recommendation or investing advice. You should consult your personal financial advisor to determine what type of investing suits your personal situation and risk tolerance level. There can be substantial risk of loss in trading stocks. You should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. All transactions in the financial markets are risky. No information I present is intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor.

S&P and S&P 500 are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”), a part of McGraw Hill Financial. Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”). Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results.

It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Exposure to an asset class represented by an index is available through investable instruments based on that index.

Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.

Originally posted 2015-01-13 06:00:49.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

Here’s The Budget One Woman Used Before And After Paying Off $32,000 Of Debt

It was very difficult for me to reveal this information and I tried to be as open as possible without completely eliminating my privacy. Here's the story on Business Insider about how I budgeted for my debt payoff. 

___

In 2011, LaTisha Styles decided it was time to pay off her $22,000 of credit-card debt and $10,000 auto loan.

The process took her three years and one month.

"In November of [2011], I moved to my own place in the city, single and without children," she remembers. "I took a job with an investment adviser and slowly began the process of paying off my debt."

At the time, her debt was delinquent (meaning she hadn't been making payments), since she had graduated college without a job and went to live with her parents outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

On the day she was offered her new job, she sat down and created a budget, using a basic spreadsheet and working with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions to manage her consumer debt.

Here, she shares an average monthly budget from 2013, when she was furiously paying down her debt, as well as one from 2014, the year she paid it off. Note that these are averages taken from a year's worth of spending, so a single month isn't represented, and the budget was created for her after-tax income. Continue reading on Business Insider.

 
Or, watch this video first about my debt payoff strategy.


 

Originally posted 2015-01-07 13:00:09.

Categories
Investing

TradeKing Review Online Trading

There are numerous options for those looking to begin the process of online trading. Few, however, offer the range of features exhibited by discount brokerage firm, TradeKing – and no other site provides these features at such an affordable cost.

Site Overview

TradeKing is an online broker site that specializes in the online trading of stocks, bonds and other options. The site ranks #1 among online brokers for site usability, so it offers a comfortable starting point for trading beginners. With excellent customer service, managed portfolio options and educational resources, the site is comprehensive in its overall features, as well.

Competitive Pricing

Cost is always a deciding factor when choosing the right brokerage site, and TradeKing offers the most competitive price point in the industry. TradeKing charges only $4.95 per trade, a steal when compared to fees at other well-known brokerage sites. Scottrade costs $7 per trade, while OptionsXpress costs $8.95. Both E*Trade and TD Ameritrade charge $9.99 per trade.

TradeKing's flat-fee trade rate adds to the site’s user-friendliness and simplicity. While regular stock trades cost the flat $4.95, options trades cost $4.95 plus $.65 per contract. The site is not ideal, however, for penny stock traders given than stocks less than $2 per share still cost the flat rate plus a penny per share.

Tools

TradeKing stands out from other sites due to its extensive site features, including research reports, interactive charts and technical analysis tools. The site understandably boasts the fact that Barron’s ranked TradeKing 4 out of 4 stars for a solid eight years in a row in the company’s annual review of online stock and option brokers.

Education Center

TradeKing’s community education center is especially helpful for those starting out in the business of stock trading. Beginners can easily ask questions to more experienced members or choose to scour forum discussions to learn the ropes based on previously posted topics. Either way, a plethora of helpful information and potential mentoring opportunities is found through the site’s forums and available resources.

TradeKing LIVE

TradeKing LIVE is a streaming platform that is readily offered free of charge to TradeKing customers who perform more than one trade per year or maintain a minimum balance of $2,500. The platform features streaming quotes in real time, all customizable to your own unique market preferences.

Customer Service

TradeKing is perhaps best known for two things: affordability and impressive customer service. SmartMoney Magazine even ranked TradeKing #1 for customer service in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The site also boasts a live chat feature that connects customers immediately with a customer service representative. This feature is available Monday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. Representatives are also available via email and phone.

Summary of Features

Positives

  • Affordable
  • Flat-rate fees
  • Accessible customer service
  • User-friendly site
  • Resources for beginners
  • Streaming market platform
  • No account minimum

Negatives

  • Penny stock fees
  • Mutual fund fees
  • Limited research options

Overall, TradeKing is an ideal site for newbies in the stock-trading world. With remarkable customer service and lower trade costs than its competitors, TradeKing is a great place to start when venturing into online trades.

Originally posted 2014-12-27 06:00:54.

Categories
Career

Finding the Right Job When Society Says You Had the Wrong Major

About a year ago I attended a birthday party for my little brother. I reconnected with a lot of family at the party but I could never forget the brief conversation I had with my uncle. When he asked me what I was studying in school and I replied with my major, Journalism and Communications, he frowned with disapproval.

“Oh another journalism major,” he sighed.  “Why don’t you try to do something different and creative like engineering or create an app?”

I remember being pretty offended and speechless after his response, but not upset by any means. Throughout my life and my college career I’ve gotten similar responses when I told people what I was going to college for.

But all the “Why would you do that” or “You know you can’t make much money in that field” comments I’ve received from friends and family could never kill my passion for creative writing and marketing. Oh and those ‘Top Paying Careers’ articles that always put writing at the bottom of the food chain never phased me too much either.

I graduated with a BA in Journalism this past May with $20,000 in loans I needed to repay. I was relieved to be done with college but nervous at the same time wondering if I made the right decision to stick with a major I truly enjoyed despite its ‘declining demand’ in society.

I’ll admit this summer was nerve-racking as I frantically searched for jobs and got rejected after a few interviews.

Then in June, I did something surprising and quit my job of three years and became a fulltime job seeker. To me it wasn’t a big loss, I was only working 2 days per week if I was lucky at the part-time job I held during college.

I went through a couple of rough weeks with no true income (other than my savings) but long behold I landed a wonderful entry level job right before the 4th of July weekend as a Project Coordinator at a web design and marketing company where I could utilize my creativity, writing and account management skills all in one.

It’s not particularly easy to find a good paying job that relates to your field (especially Liberal Arts and Fine Arts) after graduating per se but it’s not impossible. I believe life is too short to not study and work in a field you love because you are afraid you won’t be able to make a living from it.

In the job market the competition is fierce among millennials and while having a great resume and networking are a given, there are plenty of simple yet proven methods that are often forgotten or skipped during a recent grad’s job search.

Dedicate Yourself to Your Passion 100%

Whether you love baking, biology, dancing or writing and you are truly passionate about a career in the field, dedicate all your efforts to making that dream a reality and don’t make failure an option. Think and plan your future realistically but optimistically as well.

Do Mock Interviews, Create a Flawless First Impression

First impressions are everything so it’s important to perfect your interview skills with a friend or mentor. You could have a great resume, but you need to make sure you can deliver in person and prove you can fit into the company culture. Letting someone else assess your verbal and nonverbal behavior during a mock interview can help highlight some areas you need to improve on.

Read About Your Industry and What Hiring Managers Expect

Study your industry closely by connecting with recruiters and professionals on LinkedIn and reading HR blogs to see what hiring managers are expecting from candidates; like soft skills for example. Then try to obtain those qualities and market yourself.

Be Flexible, Don’t Expect Your ‘Dream Job’ Right Away

I might not have found a typical ‘journalism job’ but that’s not what I was searching for anyway. I know I love to write, but I didn’t limit myself to just being able to write about one thing like news or features.

During college and my internships I delved into content writing, marketing and public relations a bit so I could broaden my skills and become more marketable to employers by graduating with a firm background in print and online journalism along with marketing.

A March 2014 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,100 employers indicated that too many recent grads focus on one particular skillset instead of establishing well-rounded professional experience. Flexibility is key in today’s society if you want to get your foot in the door, and it’s evident that no matter how good you are at one thing, you won’t stand a chance against someone who is capable of doing multiple tasks in your desired field.

Look in ALL the Right Places and Never Give Up

CNN Money reports that more than 50 percent of job openings are not advertised through online job boards. This means you need to get creative when searching for job leads if you want to beat your competition to the punch.

Check out your school’s online job search portal or bulletin boards around campus, attend career fairs, and check your local newspaper and surrounding neighborhoods for print job ads. Utilize your network and let them know you are looking for a particular job and ask them to send you any leads they come across. Stay active in your search and embrace new techniques to locate that ideal job whether it takes weeks or months.

You may have doubts at first, and it’s natural to be uncertain of the future.

But by remaining proactive and refusing to give up, you will increase your chances of finding a suitable job that interests you; regardless of what society says you should have studied in college.

Originally posted 2014-12-22 06:00:55.