Finder Money Newsletter: May 10, 2023
🔎 What rate rises mean for credit card debt 💳
Well, it happened again. Last week the Fed hit us with its tenth consecutive rate hike. The Federal Reserve hopes it will reverse inflation, but the 0.25% increase makes borrowing money even more expensive. In other words, expect your credit card’s annual percentage rate to get a boost within a billing cycle or two.
CNET explains that because inflation was 5% in March year over year, down slightly from 6% in February, all these rate hikes may be working, finally. And experts say we may not see additional rate increases for a while, especially with CPI continuing to ease. Nevertheless, having debt when interest rates rise is challenging.
So, what are some options if you’re carrying credit card debt?
- Pay back your debts based on the APY of the card, from highest to lowest interest rate, opting to pay more towards the debt accruing the most interest.
- You could use the snowball method, where you pay the minimum payment on all your debts except your smallest one where you pay a little extra.
- Consider applying for a balance transfer card with 0% APR for a period. If you can avoid making new charges and pay off your balance within the promotional period, you’ll save a bundle in interest charges.
Is our trust in banks waning? 💀
So far this year, we’ve seen the failures of Silicon Valley, Signature and First Republic Bank, totaling $549 billion in assets. During the 2008 financial crisis, the collapse of 25 banks only added up to $373 billion (in 2008 dollars)!
The recent banking turmoil is making Americans jittery, with nearly half saying they are very or moderately worried about the safety of their money in bank accounts, according to a Gallup survey.
A recent Finder survey found that while the vast majority (74%) of American adults say they trust their money is “safe” with their bank, there is a generational trust gap. Almost 1 in 5 Gen Z (17%) don’t trust their money is safe with their bank, compared to just 3% of Boomers.
Are mortgage rates over 6% the new normal? 🏡
If you’re in the market for a home, you’re probably wondering about the future of mortgage rates. 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 6.39% for the week ending May 4, down slightly from 6.43% the prior week, according to Freddie Mac.
Many experts believe the slow downward mortgage rate trend will continue if the inflation rate declines throughout 2023. Rates may even get below 5% in 2024 if you can wait that long.
However, the government’s fight over raising the debt ceiling is a wild card that could cause lots of mortgage rate volatility in the short term. If you find a property that fits your budget, get pre-approved for a mortgage to lock in a rate when there’s a dip and save money.
In other news 🗞
- Apple’s new savings accounts is a hit, with $990 million worth of deposits in just four days.
- Does an Airbnb “host passport” make you more willing to rent a room in someone’s home?
- Forever renters may need different financial priorities than homeowners.
- Research shows that sharing your bank account could help if you want a better marriage.
HELOC or a cash-out refinance: What’s right for you? 🤔
If there’s an upside to inflation, you may have more home equity to tap if you’re a homeowner in a hot market. But using the right financial product is essential for making it worthwhile.
For instance, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is an excellent option if you’re unsure exactly how much money you need and don’t want to replace your existing low-rate mortgage. You can use it for renovations, debt consolidation, or anything else.
Another option is doing a cash-out refinance, where you borrow more than you owe on your property, pay off the mortgage, and pocket the difference. But the downside is that you could end up with a higher-rate mortgage, causing you to pay more interest.
Finder saves: How to get more from your credit cards
Every credit card has its own benefits, which is why getting familiar with them can pay off. Here are some often-overlooked card perks that help you save.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance cover you up to limits when a flight or tour gets canceled or delayed.
- Airport lounge access can be a lifesaver before a flight if you want to enjoy a quiet workplace or free food and cocktails.
- Extended warranties lengthen the manufacturer’s warranty by a period, such as a year or more. Using a card with this perk would cover the cost to repair or replace them up to their purchase price.
Finder article of the week: What is FedNow?
FedNow is an instant payment system developed by the Federal Reserve for individuals and businesses and is set to launch in July 2023. Instead of waiting hours or days for your bank transfers, FedNow will move your money in near-real time, finally!
The system will roll out in phases, starting with account-to-account transfers and bill payments. As of last month, over 100,000 participants are early adopters and have signed up.
It’s official, First Republic joins Silicon Valley and Signature as the third bank in the US to fail in 2023. The collapse of First Republic is second-largest bank failure in US history.
After efforts to rescue the bank fell apart over the weekend, regulators shut down First Republic and announced a sale to JPMorgan Chase on Monday morning.
Forbes reports that according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), JPMorgan will assume all of First Republic’s deposits (approximately $92 billion) and most of its assets, which are worth about $203 billion, including $173 billion of loans and $30 billion of securities.
And while the FDIC guarantees the depositors are safe from losses, the FDIC isn’t. They’ll share the deal’s losses with JPMorgan, which could cost the insurance fund $13 billion. Ouch!
Does good credit mean a worse mortgage rate? 🏠
Personal finance TikTok, Twitter and news more broadly were abuzz over the last week with people claiming that changes by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will have a curious outcome. Namely that those with good credit will pay higher rates for their mortgage.
The changes are related to loan-level price adjustments (LLPAs). Basically, the fees that are added to your loan. And it’s changes to how these fees are applied that will have a generally more positive impact on those with lower scores.
Long story short, mortgage rates are not going up for people with good credit and going down for those with bad credit. However, those with higher down payments will just be paying slightly higher fees than they previously did.
How credit scores impact mortgages
Fed raises rates … again 🏦
The Fed hiked rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, bringing the target range to 5% – 5.25%. This rate hike marks the 10th straight increase by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the highest target range in the last 17 years.
While many hoped that this would be the last rate hike we’d see in 2023, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank still views inflation as too high and that “officials did not decide at the meeting to pause on a rate hike at the June policy meeting.”
In other news 🗞
- New feature enables customers to transfer cryptocurrency to friends and family on Venmo or PayPal.
- Bond rates are down to 4.3% but are they still worth investing in?
- Find out where real estate experts say home prices are headed this summer.
- How much the US personal savings rate plummeted due to inflation and slowing wage growth.
What happens if the US runs out of money? 💸
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says if Congress doesn’t agree to raise the federal debt limit, the U.S. won’t be able to pay its bills starting in June. Brookings says that would surely hurt the economy, even if the impasse is short-lived.
However, the damage (entirely avoidable) of not meeting its financial obligations depends on factors like how long the situation lasts and how investors view the resulting safety of U.S. Treasuries.
If you can relate and struggle to pay bills, compare the benefits of working with a debt relief company to cut the amount you owe to debtors.
Finder saves: Tips to stop overspending! 💰
Even savvy shoppers can give in to impulse purchases from time to time. But regularly overspending can wreck your finances by keeping you in debt and preventing you from achieving essential goals like saving for emergencies and investing for retirement. Use these tips to resist poor spending habits and save more:
- Use a waiting period rule like chilling for at least 24 hours buying anything over a certain amount, such as $50 or $100.
- Calculate an item’s value in time to know how long it takes you to earn the cost of an item before buying it. For example, if you make $25 an hour after taxes, buying a $250 pair of shoes costs 10 hours of work.
- Try a no-spending challenge where you cut all impulse spending over a period, such as a week, month, or longer, and only buy essentials (such as groceries, housing, utilities, and insurance).
- Reevaluate what you already own instead of buying something you probably don’t need, and reorganize your stuff so it’s easy to see what you own.
- Shop with a clear head and never when you’re hungry, tired, or drunk. According to Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index, 17% of Americans shop while under the influence, spending over $300 each!
Finder article of the week: 1 in 10 find a new job 💼
Roughly a quarter of Americans (27%) claim to have left a job in the last 12 months.
While the bulk of those people say they left their place of employment for a new job, a sizeable chunk of those said they are just taking a career break.
High-interest savings accounts are a hot topic right now. Just last week we wrote about the launch of Apple’s new high-interest savings account. Growing recession fears, bank collapses, rate hikes and more are making uneasy consumers look for a safe haven for their hard-earned savings, experts tell ABC.
Banks are offering more and more competitive rates, with APYs on these accounts getting up around the 5% mark, which is 13 times higher than the national average 0.39% APY.
One of the better deals currently available on Finder comes from CIT, a division of First Citizens Bank, offering savers the chance to earn up to 4.75% APY with CIT’s Platinum Savings account.
American women closing the pay gap 💁🏽♀️
The gender pay gap is closing, according to the Pew Research Center. Fifty years ago in America, 85% of husbands in earned more than their wives. Today that number is down to 55%.
The pay disparity may be correcting itself but the split for housework and family caregiving duties are still a ways apart, with wives spending roughly two hours more per week on those responsibilities than their husbands.
While the gap may be closing with what husbands and wives are taking home, a recent Finder survey found that men claim to have a savings balance twice that of women and are saving at a rate of more than three times higher.
In other news 🗞
- Why income for America’s middle class shrunk significantly from 1970 to 2021, but earnings for the rich skyrocketed during the same period.
- Is going to college the secret to becoming a millionaire?
- If you think older generations are the most financially savvy, you’d be wrong — here’s why.
- Banks offer premium CD rates to entice depositors — find out how long they can last after getting more deposits.
Finder saves: Tips to cut your travel costs 💺
Even with inflated travel costs, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan some well-deserved downtime this summer. Use these tips to save money without crimping your lifestyle:
- Use a credit card with price drop protection. Some airline cards pay you if an airline fare drops after you buy it, so you always pay the least, even after booking a fare.
- Be flexible on dates. Always start airfare searches with as much flexibility as possible and check a box to indicate you’re open to different dates to find the cheapest options in the window you want to travel.
- Compare travel credit cards and loyalty points. Not all reward points get created equal, varying from 0.5 to 3 cents per point. So, use a travel card that gives you the most value for your points.
Finder article of the week: Bitcoin price prediction ₿
With all the volatility in the markets in recent months, Finder’s panel of experts see Bitcoin (BTC) closing out the year at US$35,485, which would be roughly a 19% increase from its value about $29,814 today.
Find out why our panel think this, plus whether they believe now is a time to buy, sell or hold, whether it’s overpriced and more.
This week Apple added to its personal finance suite by offering Apple Card users the ability to grow their Daily Cash rewards with the Apple savings account, backed by Goldman Sachs.
The high-yield savings account, which is only available to Apple Card customers, comes with an introductory APY of 4.15%, which is about 11 times higher than the national average 0.39% APY.
However, a Bloomberg article points out that the 4.15% APY is still less than inflation, which currently sits at 5%. Various experts suggest investing in stocks, Treasury bonds or other high-yield savings accounts with better APYs as a better to protect your savings from inflation.
Get your savings working for you
Americans earning $52 billion on the side 💰
Speaking of inflation, times are tough for American families, with 29% of Americans having a side job or another source of supplemental income, according to a LendingClub survey. And that additional income adds up to big money, with those side funds adding up to $52 billion in passive income or financial aid.
A recent Finder survey saw similar trends:
- 51% of Americans are not satisfied with their current income
- 21% work more than one job
- Of those with more than one job, 36% have multiple part-time jobs and 30% have a side hustle
Increase your chances of selling your home 🏡
Spring is usually home season, with listings selling faster and for higher prices. But according to Realtor.com, your local economy and mortgage rates also play a significant role in the best time to put your property on the market.
Before putting out a “for sale” sign, get your home in tip-top shape to get top dollar. Take time to make needed home repairs and external cosmetic upgrades — like paint, landscaping, and a welcoming front door — that improve curb appeal and encourage potential buyers to book a tour.
Money says that having one of these in-demand features can boost your home’s selling price by up to 5.3%:
- Steam ovens
- Pizza ovens
- Professional-grade appliances
- Terrazzo flooring
- She sheds
- Soapstone or quartz countertops
- Modern farmhouse style
- Hurricane shutters/storm shutters
- Mid-century design
Ready to buy a home? Check out your home financing options.
In other news 🗞
- Why is it actually legal for women with the same age, car, and driving records as men to pay more for car insurance in this state?
- Should these cryptocurrency firms have to pay to be supervised and examined by the government each year?
- Travel inflation is getting worse! These savings hacks may help you cut hotel and airfare costs on your next trip.
- Is “financial avoidance” typical behavior or the most significant potential downfall for these generations?
- Netflix is pushing back its crackdown on password sharing.
Finder saves: How to get started investing 📈
Getting your money to make money is something we all want to do. But the problem is that taking and investing — especially now, with inflation making it even harder on cash-strapped American families.
But, all is not lost. If you’re looking to dip your toes into investing there are ways to do so, even if you don’t have a lot of money to play with.
The easiest way to start investing is through your company’s 401(k), which, if it’s like 91% of 401(k) plans, comes with an employee match — that’s free money you’re leaving on the table.
Next up is taking advantage of sign-up bonuses offered by investing apps like Robinhood, SoFi, eToro and WeBull. Most of these bonuses require you to deposit a minimum of money but, in return, you can potentially earn free stocks or cash to invest.
Once you have that free cash, you can use it to play around. You can buy big names stocks with fractional investing or you can invest in a range of stocks that are bundled together in an EFT. The point is, there is a world of ways to get your money working for you out there.
Finder article of the week: America’s 45 million drunk shoppers spend $14 billion 🍾
You’re not alone if you’ve ever bought a little or BIG something under the influence. Finder’s Drunk Shopping Survey data reveals that 45 million drunk shoppers drop a whopping $14 billion a year. What are those tipsy folks buying, you might wonder. The most popular purchases are shoes, clothes, accessories, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, and even vehicles!
And not surprisingly, 33% of Millennials shop drunk compared to just 2% of Baby Boomers. However, those earning above $100,000 (26%) are nearly twice as likely to spend while drinking than those making less (15%).
Inflation is continuing to cool, climbing just 0.1% in March, following a 0.4% increase in February. In fact, CPI rose at the slowest pace in 23 months and marks the ninth month in a row that CPI has cooled.
While inflation for food stagnated and the cost of gasoline declined, the rising cost of housing is keeping inflationary pressure high, which means the Fed will likely raise rates for the 10th consecutive time at its next meeting on May 2-3, 2023.
Could bloated CD rates soon bust? 💥
While certificates of deposit (CDs) aren’t the most exciting financial product, their interest rates have reached impressive highs, with some paying APYs above 5%. Just a few years ago, you’d do a happy dance after finding one over 2%.
We can thank the Fed’s attempts at controlling inflation with nine consecutive rate hikes for today’s attractive CD rates. However, what goes up usually comes down, and the Fed could reverse interest rates by the end of the year. That could push down rates on CDs, high-yield savings accounts, and variable-rate financial products, like credit cards and HELOCs.
No one can predict what will happen to rates, but if you’ve been thinking about opening a CD and locking in a great rate, it could be an excellent move before they fall. Finder makes it easy to compare the best CD rates, up to four times higher than the national average, so you earn as much as possible.
Calculate your CD returns
Millennials go from being majority renters to majority owners 🏡
While everyone likes to joke that Millennials will never be able to afford a home because of their penchant for avocado on toast, it finally happened — the slight majority of Millennials (52%) now own their own home, according to RentCafe.
While it’s encouraging to see Millennials finding their way out of the rental market, now may not be the best time to be jumping into the property market, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate sitting above 6%.
However, if you already own your home and want to make it feel like new with some renovations rather than moving, you’ve got options including HELOCs, home equity loans and personal loans just to name a few.
9 ways to finance your home improvements
In other news 🗞
- Social Security might run short on cash in the next 10 years!
- Millennials have a retirement savings gap, with Gen Z saying they’ll need an average of $1.3 million to retire, but less than a third (29%) think they’ll have that much.
- It’s not just you, flying is getting worse. The US Department of Transportation received 77,656 complaints in 2022, a 55.3% increase from 49,991 in 2021.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to make credit cards more consumer-friendly–here’s why banks are nixing the idea.
Finder saves: Tips to cut your auto insurance ✂️
If you own or lease a car, every state requires you to have some amount of auto insurance.
Your premium depends on many factors, including your vehicle’s make and model, annual mileage, driving record, age, gender, and marital status. Use these tips to pay less without sacrificing coverage.
- Check out pay-as-you-go insurance, which allows insurers to track your driving through a smartphone app or vehicle device and discount your auto rate if you meet their safe driving standards.
- Maintain a clean driving record because accidents and moving violations can cause your auto rate to skyrocket.
- Ask about discounts your insurer offers but may not automatically apply, such as driving fewer miles, getting married, becoming a homeowner, or having a good student driver in the family.
Finder article of the week: How to buy silver
If you’re concerned about keeping your money in a bank and want to put your money into something more content, Finder broke down the best online platforms you can use to buy silver stocks, including providing a list of seven silver stocks to watch.
Compare silver stock brokers
Global oil prices jumped Monday after OPEC nations unexpectedly announced production cuts of more than one million barrels a day, including 500,000 by Saudi Arabia. Rhe 6% price hike was the biggest daily rise in nearly a year, according to Reuters.
The problem is after inflation dropped to 6% last month, the sudden oil price surge could pressure the Fed. They could feel pressured to be more aggressive and roll out additional rate hikes this year in the ongoing fight against inflation. Plus, who wants to pay more at the pump?
Check out Finder’s weekly data on gas prices, historical data, and how your state’s prices compare.
The planet’s billionaires are now … poorer? 🎻
The latest Forbes Billionaire List is out and, try hold back your tears, as there are now 28 fewer billionaires than last year, with people like Kanye West and Sam Bankman Fried dropping off the list.
The three-comma club collectively lost $500 billion in wealth due to public and private financial market volatility. Half of the billionaires are poorer now–but don’t feel too bad because their cumulative net worth is still $12.2 trillion. And there are newcomers to the 2023 list, including Tom Ford and Lebron James.
No matter your net worth, you can use various investment accounts to build your own fortune. Finder explains how brokerage accounts, pension accounts, certificates of deposit, and tax-advantaged retirement accounts work. Compare investment accounts and make more money.
Not ready to be an investor? Save money the best way with a high-yield savings account paying 14 times the national average.
Average used car prices are edging up 📈
Fortune warns that you might want to get rolling if you’re in the market for a used ride. Used car prices peaked at $31,400 in April 2022 and dipped 14% to $27,125 last month. While it’s good to hear used vehicles are more affordable, demand is rising and pushing prices up by about $700 in the past month. And experts say they’ll likely keep rising, at least in the short term.
See how your auto loan stacks up with Finder’s stats, including average debt, delinquency rates, and more. Whether considering a new or used car, shopping multiple loan offers helps you get the lowest interest rate and save money.
Compare your auto loan options
In other news 🗞
- Booked an international vacation? Check your passport expiration date–getting a new one routinely takes 10 to 13 weeks!
- Los Angeles palace owners rush to sell out before the new California mansion tax takes a big ol’ bite.
- Find out why Americans keep flocking to these 10 cities.
- Why are Gen Z, some of the youngest workers, so burned out and sick of their jobs?
Finder saves: Last-minute tips to cut your taxes ✂️
Right up to Tax Day, April 18 this year, you can make smart money moves to reduce your 2022 taxes. While you shouldn’t cut it too close, consider three ways to pay less federal and state (where applicable) income tax.
- Make a traditional IRA contribution, which reduces your taxable income, cutting taxes or boosting your tax refund. While putting money in a Roth IRA is great, the contributions aren’t tax-deductible.
- Contribute to a health savings account (HSA), another tax deduction that cuts your tax liability–but you must have been covered by an HSA-eligible health plan in 2022 to be eligible.
- Use one of the best tax software programs to claim every tax deduction and credit you’re eligible for to pay less tax or get a bigger tax refund. Some even offer free versions.
Finder article of the week: Get more out of your mobile payment apps 📱
Mobile payment apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, but many people are not using them to their full potential.
Payment apps are not only convenient, but they can also save you money and offer rewards. Link your debit or credit card to a payment app like Cash App, you can easily split bills with friends, pay for purchases without touching cash, and even earn cash back on certain transactions.
Plus, with features like instant transfers and the ability to invest in stocks, Cash App takes things to the next level.
Bank stocks rallied early this week after news that North Carolina–based First Citizens Bank purchased Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) after its March 26th collapse. The price isn’t public, but according to the First Citizens press release, their agreement splits losses with the FDIC.
SVB’s customers, mainly well-known startups and venture capitalists, drained billions of deposits in a classic bank run, leading to seizure by the FDIC. These companies and investors got a lifeline when the FDIC extended deposit insurance to those above the official insurance limit.
While the banking system seems to be settling down, the recent failures and bailouts are good reminders that institutions fail — and customers need to understand potential risks. Knowing how FDIC insurance works is a wise start, especially if your bank balances near $250,000.
Investors should get familiar with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) coverage member brokerages offer. It’s not the same as FDIC insurance but protects your securities for up to $500,000 if a firm goes bankrupt or steals your money.
Amazon adds frequently returned tag 🏷
Have you ever bought something on Amazon that had great reviews only to return it later because it wasn’t as advertised, had quality issues or for something else? Well, Amazon is looking to help you out with frequently returned tags.
If an item is flagged as something that is frequently returned, Amazon will prompt you to review previous reviews and product details before you check out to protect you and reduce unnecessary returns.
Rate hikes boost savings and CDs to decade highs 📈
While borrowing costs skyrocket as interest rates rise, the silver lining is earning more interest bank accounts, such as high-yield savings and certificates of deposit (CDs). Right now, returns on many accounts are higher than they’ve been in almost two decades.
Compare high-yield savings accounts
In other news 🗞
- Robinhood is passing on rate increases as a 4.4% APY for Robinhood Gold customers. Sign up now.
- What is cash stuffing — and why are people talking about it?
- Seriously, did your medical claim get robo-denied by an algorithm instead of an actual doctor?
- High shipping costs may leave you wondering if Amazon Prime is still worth the money.
- Don’t miss these popular ways to save money on groceries.
- How the FTC plans to make stopping pesky automatic subscription renewals easier for consumers — thank goodness!
Compare your credit card options
Apple launches BNPL service
Apple announced it is entering the buy now, pay later market today, allowing users of Apple Pay to split purchases.
You can split online, in-app purchases of $50 to $1,000 into four equal amounts paid over six weeks with no interest or fees.
Finder saves: Beat the crowds and save 🌴
If watching a show set in a gorgeous location gives you wanderlust, you’re not alone. HBO’s hit series The White Lotus has inspired viewers to book upper-class vacations at its film locations. Season 1 took place in Hawaii at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and Season 2 graced another Four Seasons at the San Domenico Palace in Taormina, Italy, as well as nearby cities.
Now, spoiler alert: The show’s creator, Mike White, decided Thailand is the location for Season 3’s cast to explore. Whether the action will take place in another Four Seasons, we don’t know. But we can bet the announcement will inspire a flurry of Thai vacations. Use these travel hacks to beat the crowd and save money.
- Travel with a rewards credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.
- Use this travel money guide to explore the best overseas spending options.
Finder article of the week: Outdated money rules you should quit
Ever had someone tell you there’s no benefit to renting or that carrying debt on your credit card will boost your credit score?
This week, our own Kelly Waggoner wrote a great piece for Nasdaq that outlines six mistakes you might be making by listening to outdated advice, including alternative money moves to make.
It has been another busy week in the world of personal finance. But let’s kick off today with a brief review of the latest from the Federal Reserve, which raised the Fed Funds rate today by 25 basis points — pushing rates to a range of 4.75% to 5%.
Powell says the recent turmoil in the regional banking sector should create tighter credit conditions, which in turn should slow the economy, meaning the Fed can pause or possibly reverse its recent series of increases.
The Fed rate indirectly influences borrowing costs for consumers on products like mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. That’s not great news for those carrying variable debt, but there’s money to be made for those looking to throw their cash into a high-interest savings account.
Home sales are looking up 🏠 📈
February’s home sales surged to the fastest pace in six months after a modest drop in mortgage interest rates. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said last month’s 14.5% sales jump ended a 12-month streak of declines that caused the worst housing market slump in nearly a decade.
However, while sales are up, “the median existing-home price in February was $363,000, a decline of 0.2% from February 2022 ($363,700)” — the first decline in about 11 years.
If you’re home shopping, the difference in just a few decimal points on a mortgage can significantly add up over the life of a loan. Use our mortgage comparison calculator to see which offer is best.
How to get a home loan in 5 steps
What were execs spending money on at FTX? 🤑
It’s been about four month since the capitulation of the crypto exchange FTX, and details emerging from court filings and other reports reveal just how lavish a life these execs were living, including:
- $256 million spent on real estate in the Bahamas
- $15 million on stays at luxury hotels
- $600,000 spent at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville resort in the Bahamas
- $400,000 on DoorDash
In other news 🗞
- Which came first: these live chicken buyers or egg price inflation?
- Why tax refunds are shrinking this year, and what it means for your finances.
- Typical mortgage payments hit an all-time high — here’s how much homeowners pay.
- It’s spring break. Make the most out of duty-free shopping on your next vacation.
- Missing the option to pay cash for food deliveries? DoorDash is bringing it back — but only for DoorDash Drive customers.
Compare your credit card options
Finder saves: Pay less tax and save more for retirement
Retirement planning is a way to identify your future goals and put investment strategies in place so that you can live your best life when you stop working.
Tax-advantaged accounts can help you sock away more and slim down your tax bill at the same time.
- Is a traditional or Roth 401(k) right for you? And how does it differ from an IRA? Here’s a beginner’s guide to retirement planning.
- Anyone with earned income — including minors and seniors — can build wealth using an IRA. Check out the best IRAs for 2023.
- Self-employed? You can start a solo 401(k) if you’re a one-person business or employ only a partner or spouse — and get even better tax benefits.
- Understand what investments you can own inside various retirement accounts and the tax advantages that make them excellent choices.
Finder article of the week: What happens if your brokerage goes under? 🤔
The FDIC is a hot-button issue in the wake of last week’s Silicon Valley Bank collapse. And while the federal government backs insurance for your funds on deposit at a bank, what happens to funds and securities if a brokerage goes under?
This is where the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) steps in. The SIPC is a nonprofit membership organization designed to protect you for up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash in your account if your brokerage firm fails.
How to save more money in 8 simple steps
Unless you’re living under a rock this last week, you’ve probably heard about the historic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) — the second-largest bank failure in US history. The bank’s closure sent shockwaves across the country, rocking the stock market and forcing many people to question the fidelity of their own bank.
But before we get to the consequences of SVB’s closure, what happened?
In a nutshell, SVB heavily invested in bonds when interest rates were very low. Since then, rates have increased significantly as the Fed attempts to fight inflation. So when SVB customers started withdrawing money, SVB was forced to liquidate their bonds at a discount, taking a loss. This all created a panic, forcing more people to withdraw their funds until it became a modern-day bank run.
Even if you didn’t have money in SVB, bank failures can cause ripple effects when consumers fear their own bank and investments could crumble. Even healthy banks don’t keep enough cash in their vaults to pay all depositors at once. That means if too many people get spooked and want to withdraw their bank balances, it could cause widespread economic disaster.
While the idea of a bank running out of money is terrifying, it’s more of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as more worried people means more withdrawals, which in turn pushes banks closer and closer towards failure. And most depositors have little to worry about, as long as their funds are with a bank backed by the FDIC, which insures deposits for up to $250,000 per depositor or $500,000 jointly with any single bank. I mean, who has more than $250K sitting in an account? Not this guy.
Back to SVB.
The Biden administration quickly assured depositors they’d get their money back — even if they exceeded the FDIC insurance limit. But they stress this is in no way a bailout.
If you have more than the FDIC limit with a single bank or credit union (no matter how large or small the institution is), now might be the right time to start looking to diversify your banks. Many accounts these days are paying more than 4% APY on your money.
12 best alternatives to Silicon Valley Bank
Crypto rallies even as a major crypto bank gets shut down
After regulators announced the closure of SVB and Signature Bank, many coins surged on Monday. Bitcoin spiked almost 20%, and Ether was up 9%. Could the so-called crypto winter be warming up?
Finder regularly surveys crypto experts about what they believe will happen to the price of Bitcoin in the next decade.
In other news 🗞
- March 14 marked Equal Pay Day, symbolizing how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year.
- The average rate on a 30-year mortgage dropped in the wake of bank failures.
- Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act cuts the price of big-ticket household items.
- Are you making this financial mistake as a couple? Research shows it’s likely.
- Why your credit card could be charging more interest than you think.
Compare your credit card options
Finder saves: Tips to help make your kids rich
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. And what better way to help them hone their financial skills and experiences than by helping them open and manage a bank or retirement account.
But if the thought of giving your child free rein over a financial account concerns you, don’t worry. One of the benefits of modern banking for kids is that parents can choose the level of control they have over how their kids use (or don’t use) the account.
- Check out innovative kids’ banking apps and debit cards that offer games for financial literacy, budgeting for savings goals, monitoring tools for parents and automatic allowance payments.
- If your child has earned income (like a part-time or summer job), you can help them open and contribute to a Roth IRA, avoiding tax on decades of account growth and opening up the ability to tap original contributions, if needed.
- Enter your state, child’s age, chore type and savings goals in the kids chore calculator to determine how much to pay your kids for completing their chores.
Finder article of the week – Small business banking alternatives
If your small business used either Silicon Valley Bank or Signature Bank, chances are you’re probably looking for a new alternative.
Luckily the team at Finder has put together a list of 12 alternatives to Signature Bank including a list of the various perks on offer, including offering free transactions, low fees and useful tools that can help you to keep track of expenses, stay on top of payroll and more.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell says interest rate hikes may come faster and be higher than in recent months, according to Reuters.
Powell emphasized that the Fed has not made a decision on whether it will increase the frequency and size of rate hikes. However, he did say that if Friday’s jobs data and next week’s inflation figures aren’t where they need to be, the Fed will take appropriate action.
Until recently, most experts believed that the Fed would raise rates by a quarter-point at March’s meeting. But with this latest development, AP says, “traders and some analysts now see it as more likely that the Fed will implement a half-point hike.”
What does this mean for your finances? As always, rising rates are a double-edged sword: Hardest hit are those looking to borrow money or owe money, while those looking to squirrel money away are presented with a slight opportunity.
A savings vehicle that’s particularly good at almost keeping pace with inflation is the certificate of deposit, says the SFGate, with the highest CD rates tipping 5% in February — roughly 2,000% higher than the average interest rate for savings accounts.
Increase your savings potential
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- Valuable features such as savings goals, instant funding and even educational financial quizzes to help your kid(s).
- Choose from 45+ designs and personalize your card.
- Deal ends April 6th, 2023!
Delaware is home to the most generous tippers 💰
If you’re a service worker in Delaware, you’re probably pretty happy with what your customers leave on the table at the end of the meal, with the average Delawarean dropping a 21.8% gratuity, according to the Toast.
Cleveland Metro is the city with the best tippers, leaving an average gratuity of 20.6%. And the state with the stingiest tippers, you ask? California: 17.5%.
In other news 🗞
- In one of the biggest stories for consumer health care in recent memory, Eli Lilly announced it plans to cut insulin prices by 70%, capping the monthly cost at $35 for people with private health insurance.
- Video: Steps you should take if you want to generate enough interest on your savings to have $70,000 a year to live on in retirement.
- Is public opinion about a recession more important than the economic reality?
- The 10 most innovative personal finance companies of 2023 could help you save and earn a lot more.
- Tips for who you can trust to sell concert tickets at the best price.
Is it too late to refinance that 2022 mortgage?
Did you buy a home in 2022 that you’d like to refinance? The window for finding a better rate may be closing.
As rates inch closer to “7% than 6%, only 161,000 high-quality candidates could shave at least three-quarters of a point off their mortgage if they refinanced,” according to Black Knick data provided to Yahoo Finance.
If you don’t fall into that category, you still have options to refinance. First is a cash-out refinance loan, which replaces your current mortgage with a new, larger loan — normally up to 80% of your home’s value — providing you with the difference in cash. Or you could opt for a home equity line of credit, which is a revolving line of credit secured against the equity in your home.
Learn more about loan forgiveness
Finder saves: Tips for homeowners, buyers & renters 🏡
Buying a home takes financial horsepower, one factor driving a decline in homeownership in the past decade across all age groups, according to the US Census, but especially for younger Americans. The median age of today’s first-time homebuyer is a 36-year-old millennial, an all-time high.
So how can you get your foot on the property ladder?
- Pay as little as 3.5% down on a home with an FHA mortgage.
- See Finder’s list of the best and worst cities for renters.
- Learn how much you might be able to borrow with Finder’s mortgage affordability calculator.
Finder article of the week: Drunk shopping 🥂
Our latest drunk shopping statistics are in, and roughly 45 million Americans admit to making a purchase while under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months.
At an average spend of $305 per drunk shopper, spending equates to a whopping $14 billion in intoxicated acquisitions.
Student loan debt forgiveness for millions of Americans looks to be on shaky ground following oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, which is no doubt unwelcome news to the HELOC vs. cash-out refinance loans.
If the justices decide it’s not an overreach of presidential power, the legislation forgives up to $20,000 in federal student debt per borrower, with some limits based on income.
All is not lost if the Biden plan fails and you’re still on the hook for your loans. There may be other options to refinance your student loans or discharge them.
Learn more about loan forgiveness
Is ‘anchoring’ to blame for your credit card debt? ⚓
When the credit card bill is due, do you:
- Pay off the card in full?
- Select the minimum payment?
If you fall into Category B, you’re not alone. Close to a third (29%) of US cardholders say they either pay close to or the minimum payment each month, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
But why are so many people paying the minimum amount when it just puts you further and further away from getting out of debt? Well, the explanation can be found in behavioral economics and it all has to do with a form of cognitive bias called anchoring, says the New York Times.
That’s a fancy way of saying that when you’re given a suggested amount to pay, you use that as the basis for how much you think you should pay. And these lower numbers are better for credit card companies, because they put you into more debt for longer, which all means you end up paying more in interest.
Instead of letting card balances accumulate and paying hefty interest charges, use a plan like the debt snowball method, or take advantage of consolidation loans, which offer rates as low as 5.6% APR.
Get a balance transfer credit card
In other news 🗞
- Inflation is taking a $27 billion bite out of tax refunds, with the average dipping below $2,000.
- Job changers leave an average of $55,400 in old retirement accounts behind. See tips to finding lost you money.
- ‘Finfluencers’ are everywhere, but should you be taking their advice?
- Why auto insurance premiums are rising and what drivers can do about it.
Finder saves: Tips for boosting your credit score
One of the easiest ways to save money without changing your lifestyle is by boosting your credit. While excellent scores help you qualify for the best terms on mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards (which can save a bundle!), they also put money in your pocket even if you never borrow a dime.
Use these credit tips to improve your entire financial life:
- Check your free credit reports and correct any errors dragging down your scores.
- Get familiar with what’s on your credit report.
- Know what is and isn’t a good credit score.
- Understand how your credit affects car insurance rates (in most states).
- Apply for a secured credit card to build or rebuild credit from scratch quickly.
Tooth inflation 🦷
In lighter news, not even the tooth fairy is able to escape the clutches of inflation, with the going rate for a lost tooth jumping to an average of $6.23 in 2023 from $5.36 in 2022, according to Delta Dental’s annual Tooth Fairy Index.
Best savings accounts for kids
1 in 6 Americans have lied on their tax returns
It’s tax time, which means getting your W-2s, hunting down receipts and praying for a good return (or any return, really). In fact, roughly half (49%) of Americans say they think they will be getting a return in 2023.
But will those returns come from, let’s just say, less than accurate information? That could be the case for the one in six (16%) who say they’ve lied on their tax returns.
In fact, for those who expect a return in 2023, some one in five (20%) say they’ve lied on their taxes, with 7% of them always lying and 8% sometimes fudging their returns.
United Airlines announced a new seat map feature on Monday that will allow families with children under 12 to book seats together at no extra cost.
The move comes off the back of the recent Junk Fee Prevention Act, which is aimed at curbing unnecessary charges from the likes of banks, hotels and airlines.
Unfortunately, baggage fees are not on the chopping block just yet — though a recently proposed rule would make it compulsory for airlines and airline search sites to disclose fees upfront.
Until then you should check to see if your credit card provides you with free checked baggage or other travel perks. If you don’t have a travel card, why not compare your options?
Compare airline credit cards
Is your payment history telling the whole story? 📜
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is accusing the six largest credit card companies in the US of failing to report full payments to credit bureaus.
If a full accounting of payment histories were done, consumers could see their credit scores change by 20 points or more, with those having lower scores benefiting the most, according to the CFPB.
If you’re part of the roughly one quarter (24%) of Americans who haven’t viewed their credit score in the last six months or more, it’s free and easy to do so, with some providers even offering incentives for checking your score.
In other news 🗞
- Delinquency rates for credit cards is higher with new-to-credit (NTC) consumers when compared to people with established credit.
- Is the Metaverse the next hot property in “real estate”?
- The cost of groceries rose 0.7% in January, making times tougher for the roughly 63% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
- 15 million renters are paying more for housing than they can afford.
Your family income can get you a higher credit limit 💳
Did you know that if you’re married you can list your spouse’s income on your credit application?
Yup, that’s right. According to Experian, if you have reasonable access to your partner’s income (e.g. you share a bank account) then you can use their salary on your application, whether you’re employed or not.
Higher salaries mean better chances of approval and access to higher credit limits.
Explore your credit card options
Debt just grew at the fastest rate in 20 years 📈
You’re not alone if your debt balances are creeping up due to inflation and higher interest rates. A Fed report shows US household debt, such as mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, grew by $394 billion in the last quarter of 2022. That’s the fastest debt has grown in more than 20 years!
The biggest category that jumped is credit cards, which increased by $61 billion, the most since tracking began in 1999. Americans’ card balances are now higher than before the pandemic, and roughly 29% of cardholders only pay the minimum monthly.
If you carry card balances, it’s time to take control, cut your interest, and boost your rewards using these five essential tips:
#1 — Consider consolidating your high-interest debt using a low-interest personal loan.
#2 — If you must carry a card balance, use a low-rate credit card that minimizes interest.
#3 — Take a break from interest charges for a period using a 0% APR balance transfer.
#4 — Use a rewards credit card to maximize your everyday spending.
#5 — Explore the benefits of working with a legit debt relief company.
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from Adam, who said:
I’m just starting my career and earning a good salary, but I’m unsure if I should stop renting and buy a home. How can I know when it’s the right time to become a homeowner?
Knowing which option is right depends on many factors, including your budget, savings, credit, financial goals, location, lifestyle, and the likelihood of relocating. There isn’t a right or wrong answer because each has pros and cons.
However, if you have enough saved for a down payment and closing costs, consider how long you’d stay in a new home. Renting may be a better option if your career or family needs require you to relocate within a few years.
But if you’re willing to put down some roots, buying an affordable home that’s likely to appreciate could be an excellent way to build equity in a property you can customize.
TIP: Use a mortgage affordability calculator and carefully consider how homeownership may or may not get you closer to your long-term financial goals.
Kids earn $20.7 billion in pocket money 💰
Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index found that 53% of parents don’t pay their kids an allowance for helping out at home. But parents who do, dole out an average of $14 a week or $704 annually, adding up to about $20.7 billion!
No matter if you pay for chores, here are the best places kids can put their money to boost money skills, set savings goals, and earn more interest:
Credit card balances are soaring to record highs, with Americans accumulating roughly $1 trillion in credit card debt in 2022, according to TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse Study.
This is a spike of almost 20% from earlier 2022, which has some worried that future layoffs could lead to an increase in delinquencies.
The report also found that roughly one in four (26%) consumers say they plan to seek new credit or refinance in 2023. If you’re looking to take control of your debt, you’ve got options including debt consolidation loans, balance transfers and HELOCs.
Compare balance transfer cards
One is the costliest number💰
Being single might be costing you up to $24,000 a year in rent, according to a Zillow analysis of StreetEasy data.
The study, which looks at monthly cost of rentals in the 50 most populous cities in the US, found that people renting a one-bedroom on their own pay $7,000 more than couples on average.
New York is the most expensive city to be a solo renter, with singles paying an average of $19,500 more per year than couples (or $24,000 per year if you want to live in Manhattan). Cleveland has the lowest “single tax,” at $4,387.
January inflation numbers are in 📈
Inflation continues to cool in January (6.4%), marking the seventh month in a row we’ve seen prices come down since peak inflation hit 9.1% in June last year, according to the latest Consumer price index (CPI) from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While that’s good to see, the New York Times reports the rate is still higher than many experts predicted. Prices for shelter, food, and energy remain frustratingly high, even as costs for many other goods and services (like cars, smartphones and TVs) have come down.
So, what does this mean? While inflation may have peaked, it’s still a ways from Fed’s target rate of 2%, meaning the Fed will likely continue to raise interest rates in 2023. Bad news for consumer debt but better news for those taking advantage of high-interest savings accounts.
Compare high-interest accounts
Watch out for falling mortgage rates!👀
If you’ve been on the fence about becoming a homeowner, relocating or refinancing your mortgage, keep your eyes on falling rates. The average for a 30-year mortgage recently dropped to its lowest in 18 weeks!
Lower mortgage rates translate into lower monthly payments, allowing you to save money or qualify for a larger loan on your dream home.
Got tax prep procrastination?📝 💤
If you’re a last-minute person, you probably wait to do laundry until you have nothing clean to wear or file taxes on Tax Day. Hey, we’re not judging, but procrastinating on taxes can leave you owing penalties.
For the first time in two years, the tax filing deadline hasn’t gotten extended due to the pandemic. Your tax return is due on Tuesday, April 18, this year. To make the deadline and potentially increase your refund or decrease what you owe, download the best tax preparation software.
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from David, who said:
How many credit cards should I have to build the best credit score?
A critical factor that affects your credit score is how much debt you owe on revolving accounts (such as credit cards and lines of credit) compared to your total available credit limits. It’s known as your credit utilization ratio, which gets calculated per account and on your accounts’ aggregate total.
The optimal number of cards depends on various factors, such as how much you charge each month, whether you use rewards, and how responsible you are with credit. If you’re continually bumping up against a 20% utilization ratio then you might want to compare cards and find an additional option.
You can see Laura’s full response on the “Ask Laura” page.
Finder speaks with Sherice Torres
Laura Adams sit’s down with Sherice Torres, chief marketing officer at Circle.com, and asks her for advice on finding a mentor.
@finderusa Circle’s CMO Sherice Torres gives advice on how to find a mentor. #womeninfinance #womeninfintech #circle #finder #lauraadams ♬ original sound – finder.com
Unfazed by recent economic uncertainty, day traders in “stocks and exchange-traded funds accounted for 23% of the market’s total volume in late January,” according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. This is the highest level since the pandemic boom of 22%.
If you’re looking to try your hand at day trading or just want to get some bonus cash, eToro is offering Finder users an exclusive deal: Get $15 when you sign up and deposit $100.
More Americans turning to HELOC 🏠
Basically, “borrowers can preserve the low rate on their first mortgage while tapping equity to meet cash needs” for debt consolidation, unanticipated expenses or home renovations, says the Urban Institute.
In fact, 16% of Americans say they plan take advantage of a HELOC in the next 12 months, according to a recent Finder survey. Will you be one of them?
Best HELOC lenders and rates
US adds half a million jobs 💪
A bumper January jobs report saw the US add 517,000 jobs, despite corporate layoffs — lowering the unemployment rate to 3.4%. This is the lowest level in over 50 years, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen believes is a signal we can avoid a recession.
However, Fed chair Jerome Powell believes the labor market is out of balance because the strong job market may boost wages and inflation. The New York Times reported that while pay growth is decelerating, it’s still higher than Fed officials want it to be to get inflation back to its goal of 2%. That likely means more rate hikes from the Fed going forward.
As always, the upshot of Fed rate hikes are high-interest savings accounts, with some earning upward of 4% APY — roughly 12x the national average!
Compare high-interest accounts
Best CD rates of 2023 💿
Certificates of deposit (CDs) are low-risk options for your short- or long-term savings goals. Finder makes it easy to shop CD rates by term length and amount to find the one that’s best for you, such as comparing 5-year CDs and jumbo CD rates.
Super Bowl snacks that cost less this year 🏈
This Sunday at 6:30p.m. ET is game time! Even if you can’t name the teams playing or where Super Bowl 2023 will be (for the record, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs playing at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona), you know it’s snack time!
And while inflation is up, some of your fave football foods cost less than a year ago, so consider putting them on your grocery list:
- Love guacamole and chips? The price of Hass avocados is down 28%, and other varieties have dropped about 37%. Huge score!
- Whole chicken wings cost 12% less, and quick-frozen wings are down 33%.
- Lean ground beef is down 21% if hamburgers are on your game day menu.
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from Pamela, who said:
“I started a side hustle last year. Should I use a separate bank account for my business income?”
As soon as you earn business income, you should open a business bank account for checking, savings, and even a dedicated credit card. But first, you’ll need to apply for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Business bank accounts give entrepreneurs various benefits, including:
- Keeping your business and personal transactions separate
- Making it easier to create reports and file taxes
- Showing professionalism to customers and vendors
- Offering a line of credit or credit card for business use
- Paying interest on checking and savings accounts
- Integrating with payment platforms like Stripe, Square and PayPal
- Reimbursing ATM fees
Tori Dunlap is back
Looking to become an influencer, personal finance or otherwise? Tori shares her secrets to success.
The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates again today but this time only 25 basis points. However, the February increase marks the eighth consecutive time they’ve raised interest rates – the fastest pace in decades. While their actions have eased inflation slightly, what happens next will significantly affect the economy.
Finder spoke with industry experts to determine what they think the Fed will do. And all of them expect predicted the rate increase at the January/February FOMC meeting.
What the Fed Funds Rate hike means to you depends on what you’re doing with your money. “Savers benefit from higher yields, but borrowers pay more,” according to the New York Times, and while larger banks are slower to pass on these rate increases some smaller banks are offering interest rates of up to 5%.
Earn up to 5% on your money
Fed decision sees markets move in a positive direction
The lowest rate hike since March 2022, coupled with the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell saying that inflation is falling all made for a positive day on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing higher on Wednesday.
If these positive conditions have you thinking about dipping your toes into the world of investing, we spotted a deal that could be for you.
New Acorns customers can earn a $20 bonus investment for just signing up and setting up a recurring investment of as little as $5.
Get your $20 bonus investment
CFPB wants to excessive credit card late fees 💳
Credit card late fees cost American consumers roughly $12 billion every year and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to make that a thing of the past.
The CFPB found that credit card issuers are charging up to $41 for late fees and are proposing that that figure be dropped to just $8. Additionally, they want to put an end the automatic annual inflation adjustment and cap late fees at 25% of the required minimum payment.
Learn about credit repair
College decisions are right around the corner 🎓
High school seniors are all at different stages of the college application process. Some are getting acceptances from their dream colleges, and some are still completing applications, with many due mid-February.
One of the most important considerations for parents and students is how to pay for college. Don’t assume you aren’t eligible for financial aid–submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which scholarships may also require.
Use this list of FAFSA questions to help gather the documents you’ll need.
TIP: Most students don’t know that once you’re in college, you can continue applying for scholarships and grants to help pay for your sophomore, junior, and senior years.
Are you making this retirement mistake? 💥
If you’re like many, you started 2023 with a New Year’s resolution to save more. But it’s never too late to start if January slipped by with no progress. A common mistake is thinking you’ll catch up on retirement savings later when you earn more, get a bonus, or win the lottery (yeah, right!).
Use the best savings accounts to jumpstart your retirement ASAP!
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from Jenn, who said:
I work in tech and am worried about potential layoffs at my company. What should I do if I end up losing my job?
Whether you get laid off or decide to leave your job voluntarily, there are critical actions and decisions to make. First off, never sign any documents when you get caught by surprise. Instead, ask how much time you have to review any required paperwork so you can get advice if needed.
If you don’t receive documentation explaining your layoff specifics, ask for it. Carefully review a termination letter for accuracy, and don’t hesitate to ask for any errors or omissions to be corrected. It could be beneficial in landing your next job!
You may be able to negotiate benefits like severance pay, unused vacation pay, and insurance. Forbes reported that certain laid-off Googlers got 16 weeks of severance plus two additional weeks for every year they were employed. While your employer may not be THAT generous, submit your requests in writing before signing deadlines.
7 Next Steps After Getting Laid Off
If you’ve ever been laid off or terminated from a job, you know how upsetting and disorienting it can be. Understandably, you might feel blindsided and unsure about what to do next.
Even when your career or job situation is stable, it’s essential to be prepared for the unexpected. So, whether you get fired, laid off, or leave your job voluntarily, use the following seven steps to avoid costly mistakes and quickly land your next career opportunity.
1. Don’t sign anything right away.
If you get terminated for any reason, the company has probably done lots of legal preparation and may ask you to sign prepared documents. It’s critical to never sign anything when you are surprised or unclear about what’s happening. Instead, ask how much time you have to review the paperwork.
Carefully review termination documents when you’re calm or get advice from a trusted professional, such as a lawyer or accountant. Note that the rules for firing an employee vary by state. Contact a labor and employment attorney for guidance if you believe you were wrongfully terminated.
2. Ask for documentation.
If you don’t receive paperwork, ask for documentation explaining the circumstances of your termination, such as a merger or corporate restructuring. If you see errors or omissions, ask for them to be corrected right away.
You might ask for termination paperwork to include significant contributions you or your team made to the company or a recommendation from your manager. That could help prospective employers understand that you are a valuable employee and give you a leg up as you start looking for your next job.
3. Negotiate severance.
You can often negotiate benefits, such as severance pay, unused vacation and sick time, and health insurance. So, submit your requests in writing before any signing deadlines.
If you ask for extra severance compensation and the company won’t agree, request other benefits instead. For instance, they might be more willing to cover your health insurance for additional months or write multiple letters of recommendation.
If you receive a final paycheck the same day you get laid off, double-check that it’s accurate and includes any unused paid time off you’re entitled to. However, for most large layoffs, you might not receive a final check for a couple of months as the company processes a volume of administrative work.
If you get one or more lump sum severance payments, do your homework to find the best place to keep it, such as high-interest savings. That will allow your money to earn more than regular savings and remain safe and liquid for when you may need to spend it.
4. Shop for insurance.
After you get laid off or voluntarily leave a job, your benefits, such as health, life, and disability insurance, typically end on the last day of the same month. For instance, if you get terminated on the 5th of the month, you likely have coverage through the 30th or 31st.
Unless you work for a small business, you’re typically eligible for COBRA continuation coverage for up to 18 months. It allows you to continue the same medical, dental, and vision insurance you have. However, you’re usually required to pay the entire premium, which could be much higher than what you paid as an employee because the employer paid a portion for you.
If you get a new job quickly, paying for COBRA monthly to bridge a coverage gap might make sense. However, if you don’t know what your next career move will be and want to save money, shopping for health and dental plans at Healthcare.gov can be the most affordable option. You may qualify for a substantial premium subsidy based on your expected annual income and family size.
You may also need to replace other policies, such as life insurance, which ends at the end of the month you leave a company. It’s easy to compare life insurance quotes and find an affordable option that protects your loved ones.
5. File for unemployment.
If the reason you get laid off or fired is not due to “cause,” such as poor performance or violating company rules, you can apply for unemployment benefits. They replace a portion of your income while you look for your next job.
How much unemployment assistance you receive, for how long, and what requirements (such as attending career training or applying for a certain number of jobs per week) vary by state. So check your state’s Department of Labor website for more details and instructions on how to apply.
Even if you think you’ll find another job quickly, filing for and receiving unemployment benefits can take time. Therefore, it’s wise to apply immediately in case your job search takes longer than expected.
Note that if you voluntarily leave a job, you’re never eligible for unemployment payments. Their purpose is to support workers who unexpectedly lose their jobs and income.
6. Evaluate your career goals.
While getting laid off may not be what you wanted, it could be the catalyst for starting a new career or your own business. So, before jumping to the fastest job opportunity possible, reflect on your emotions and what you genuinely want from your work and personal life.
Taking a career pause could be the perfect time to relocate, start a business, return to school, or get training in a promising new industry. For example, you could do freelance work related to your old job, take online real estate classes, or get an advanced degree in your same field.
7. Update your resume.
If you don’t regularly update your resume, now’s the time to polish it based on the job you want next. If you’re unsure where to start, consider hiring a career coach or professional resume writer to help put your best foot forward.
It’s OK to show you’re unemployed and briefly explain why you got terminated in a resume. For instance, you might say, “I got laid off due to corporate downsizing or a 10% staff reduction.” If your resume highlights your best skills, ambitions, and accomplishments, recruiters won’t turn you down just for getting laid off.
Once you have an updated resume, use it to create job search profiles on various sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor. Also, let your professional contacts and friends know you’re looking for an opportunity. Reach out to your closest connections by phone or video call to ask for their advice or to get together in person.
It’s essential to put a positive spin on your termination. For example, suppose you get asked why you left your previous employer. You might say that you were part of a 10% staff reduction but now are looking forward to finding an opportunity that allows you to work more closely with customers than in your prior role. Or anything that shows you have a good attitude and are excited about moving forward.
If you make the most of a layoff or termination, you might see it as the best thing that ever happened or a springboard to a better career and future.
Laura speaks with Sherice Torres
Laura speaks with Sherice Torres, the Chief Marketing Officer at Circle, about how she entered fintech, how Circle works to make crypto more inclusive and more.
Getting your finances in order is always top of mind around the New Year and one measurable way of doing so is tracking your credit score. In fact, over one in three (36%) American adults say they do just that once a week.
However, if you’re one of the 42% of Americans who haven’t checked their score in over a month (or want some free money), SoFi is giving new customers $10 for checking their credit score!
Check your score now
When should you file your tax return? 🤔
The IRS started accepting returns on Jan. 23 but many Americans will be in for a rude shock this year, with the IRS warning that returns in 2023 will be smaller than in previous years.
And while you may super eager to file your return well in advance of the April 18 deadline, experts actually suggest waiting until at least February or March before filing to ensure you’ve received all the necessary paperwork.
Compare tax prep services
The end is near for your shared Netflix account 🪦
If you’re using someone’s Netflix login, you’ve probably got 10 or less weeks left on that free ride, according to Yahoo!Finance.
Netflix will be rolling out its paid sharing model more broadly in the first quarter of 2023, meaning that password sharing should come to an end before April.
Streaming costs can add up quickly, with one study finding that 42% of Americans pay for a subscription they thought they canceled. Make sure sure not paying for services you’re not using by tracking your spending with a budgeting app.
More from our Women in Finance series
@finderusa eToro CEO Lule Demmissie explains how (and why) she started her career in fintech. #etoro #womeninfintech #womeninfinance #finder ♬ original sound – finder.com
Saving for kids’ education gets easier!
A 529 college savings plan is similar to a 401(k), where you choose investment options that grow tax-free for college or private elementary and high school. But using it for non-qualified expenses comes with taxes and a 10% penalty on the earnings portion.
New legislation allows a 529 beneficiary (the student) to roll over up to $35,000 during their lifetime into their Roth IRA starting in 2024. That gives parents peace of mind that if their kids don’t go to college or money gets left in the account, there won’t be an expensive penalty to pay to withdraw it.
Help your kids save EVEN more
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from JJ, who said:
How much of my paycheck should I save?
A good rule of thumb is to save at least 10% for retirement. For instance, if you make $100,000 and get paid biweekly, contributing $385 per paycheck to a 401(k) would total about $10,000 annually (the max for 2023 is $22,500 or $30,000 if you’re over 50).
Regularly investing that much for three decades, with an average 7% return, would give you over $1 million to spend in retirement! And that doesn’t even take future salary raises into account.
Don’t have a workplace retirement plan? Not a problem! You can put up to $6,500 or $7,500 if you’re over 50 in a traditional or Roth IRA (up to certain income limits). Max monthly contributions of $540 over three decades earning 7%, would give you over $662,000!
Those with self-employment income from a small business, side gig, or freelance work can have a SEP-IRA or a solo 401(k). They come with much higher contribution limits, up to $66,000, when you have as much business income. In addition, the IRS will likely boost contribution limits in future years, helping you grow an even bigger retirement nest egg.
With inflation easing slightly in the US, many economists are revising their “sky is falling” predictions for the economy, now calling for a soft landing rather than a full-blown recession. Two such experts are former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon.
Summers said the “figures are better than somebody like me would’ve expected three months ago” and, somewhat philosophically, that “soft landings are the triumph of hope over experience, but sometimes hope does triumph over experience.”
Solomon was similarly positive, saying “the sentiment is softening a little bit, and the view that the chance of a softer landing, both in the US and in Europe, is actually increasing … and if we continue as we are, I think the chance of that may grow as we go through the year.”
While inflation in the US looks to have peaked and aggressive rate hikes are most likely in the rearview, rates are at some of the highest levels in years — meaning it’s a great time to take advantage of high-APY savings accounts and even CDs.
GROW YOUR SAVINGS FASTER
How to get the most out of your money now 💰
It’s hard to know just what to do with your money in uncertain times. CNBC spoke with a bunch of chief financial officers to get their four top money moves in an uncertain economy:
- Pay off your high-interest debt. Rather than putting your debt on a credit card at 19% APR, look to get a loan with a lower interest rate. Or take advantage of a low-rate or 0% APR balance transfer card.
- Put your cash to work. High interest rates are making high-yield savings accounts an attractive option right now. So are short- and long-term bonds, like Treasury and I bonds.
- Boost retirement contributions. You can sock away up to $22,500 into a 401(k) in 2023, up from $20,500 in 2022.
- Buy the dip. Many big-name stocks are at a discount right now, with one expert saying it’s a great time to buy the dip by dollar-cost averaging into the market.
Lack of financial literacy costs Americans $1,819 a year
Research from the National Financial Educators Council finds that Americans lost more than $436 billion or $1,819 per person in 2022 due to a lack of financial literacy! Interestingly, Finder found that average credit card debt in states with personal finance education is lower than in states that don’t offer it.
Use these nine ways to teach kids about money, because it’s never too early to start!
Help your kids save more
More from our favorite financial feminist
Find out how Tori Dunlap from Her First $100 podcast got her start on her journey to save $100K by the age of 25.
Affordable ways to start investing
New to investing? Watch this Stash app tutorial and see how it shakes up traditional investing with a monthly membership fee instead of a commission on every trade.
Finder also reviews the Webull stock trading platform fees, securities and ease of use.
- Why robo-advisors are perfect for newbies and hands-off investors
- How ETFs work — and are they right for you?
- 5 best ways to invest your money now
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from John:
I finally started saving for emergencies but want to earn more interest than my bank savings. Is there an investment that pays more but still keeps my money safe?
Since investing means exposing money to some risk, it’s not a good choice for emergency savings. The money you might need in the short term, such as within a few years, is best kept in a high-yield savings account, where it can earn more than a typical bank account and be there when you need it!
As usual, Finder did the work for you by creating a handy guide showing the features and APYs of the best savings accounts.
The new year is here! And so are the latest figures from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which found roughly 35% of households said they used a credit card or loan in December to cover their spending needs.
This lines up with results from Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index, in which over a quarter (28%) of Americans said they can’t manage their budget without a credit card.
If you spent the last year racking up debt, it might be time to look into how a balance transfer credit card can help you save in interest or even a debt consolidation loan to get your finances on track.
Learn about debt consolidation loans
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Auto loan payments hit record levels 🚗 💸
Some 16% of Americans who financed a new vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2022 committed to a monthly payment of $1,000 or more! Rising interest rates and diminishing value on used vehicles has analysts worried about consumers swimming in auto loan debt.
If you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle, compare options for the best auto lenders for new and used cars from dealerships and private sellers.
How to start saving money 💰
Student loan payments might get cheaper in 2023
Newly proposed regulations by the US Department of Education this week might spell big savings for some borrowers. The proposal could lower their monthly payments from 10% to 5% of their discretionary income, potentially saving them up to $2,000 a year.
The proposal also calls for pausing payments completely for anyone making less than $30,600 a year.
Learn more about your student loan options with help from this quiz.
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from Melinda: What’s the best bank account for my preteen daughter?
You can break down kids banking products into three general categories:
- Kids banking apps such as Greenlight offer features like chores tracking, automated allowances, spending limits for prepaid cards, restricted spending at specific merchants, and ways to teach kids how to spend, save, give and invest wisely.
- Kids checking accounts are joint accounts a parent or legal guardian owns with a child. Capital One Money is a top recommendation offering loads of benefits, such as goal setting to encourage kids to save, parental controls, spending trackers and auto-pay for allowances.
- Kids savings accounts are free to open and have no minimum balance requirements. The best kids savings accounts provide rewards, customizable tools and grow with your child.
Submit your question
Whether you’re still thinking about last year or ready to set great money goals for 2023, our mission is to help you have your Best Financial Year Ever! Ready to get started?
Get out of holiday debt
Save $7,500 on your next car
You can get up to $7,500 for specific new EVs and plug-in hybrids or up to $4,000 if used as part of expanded tax credits that rolled out on January 1.
Catch is to be eligible for the new EV credit, your gross earnings need to be under $150,000 as a single filer or $300,000 for couples filing jointly. The allowable income limit halves to $75,000 or $150,000 if you’re buying a used EV.
Cures for a holiday debt hangover 💸
Feeling stressed about money? Having trouble sleeping? Fighting about finances with your partner? You might have a common ailment that afflicts millions this time of year – a debt hangover.
If your holiday cheer was fueled by racking up too many gifts, decorations, and travel expenses on your credit cards, you need a fast remedy. One is a balance transfer credit card with 0% APR for a limited time. Another is a low-rate personal loan to pay off debt at rates as low as 5.49%.
Inflation slowing but still hitting families hard 📈
Consumer Price Index (CPI) food inflation finally began to slow in November but still sits at 10.6%, down from 10.94% the previous month.
Wealth wisdom 🦉
Whether you love or hate New Year’s Resolutions, January is the perfect time to reevaluate your financial life and consider what to do differently in the future. Money goals don’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. The fact is, starting small is better than not starting at all.
In other words, reaching a few small goals can be better than setting one huge unrealistic goal. Or you can break down a big money goal into several easily achievable goals that allow you to achieve it.
Not sure what your 2023 financial goals should be? Here are some excellent places to start:
- 5 Wealth Strategies to Become More Financially Secure
- How Investment Accounts Can Make You Money
- Get more from your money with up to 4.15% APY
Top money videos from 2022 🤑 🎥
Don’t miss some of the most popular videos Finder published during 2022. If you don’t recall seeing them, the tips and advice are sooooo good you’ll want to use them in 2023 and beyond.
- 7 Types of Bank Accounts for Kids (5:20)
- Should You Buy Trump’s Meme SPAC? (6:44)
- How to Find Penny Stocks on Robinhood (0:50)
- How to Spot a Crypto Scam (6:19)
- Best Bank Accounts for Teens (4:12)
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Ask Laura 🙋♀️
We received this question from Faith: What’s the difference between a Roth retirement plan at work and a Roth IRA?
Thanks for sending in your question, Faith! Roth accounts are terrific because they allow you to take tax-free withdrawals in retirement.
Here are five main differences between Roth IRAs and workplace Roths you should know.
- Limits on annual income apply to a Roth IRA — but not to a Roth at work, such as a Roth 401(k) or 403(b). You can’t make Roth IRA contributions when your income exceeds an annual limit. However, you can contribute to a workplace Roth no matter how much you earn.
- Annual contribution limits for a Roth IRA are lower.
For a traditional or Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $6,500 in 2023 — or up to $7,500, if you’re over 50. For a workplace Roth, you can contribute up to $22,500 — or $30,000, if you’re over 50.
- Required minimum distributions don’t apply to a Roth IRA. However, starting at age 72 (unless you’re still employed), you’re required to take minimum distributions from a Roth.
- Early withdrawals of Roth IRA contributions (but not earnings) can be made anytime without triggering taxes or a penalty. However, withdrawing from a Roth at work is allowed for hardships only, such as unpaid medical bills or funeral expenses.
- Loans are typically allowed for a Roth at work when you repay them with interest over five years, but you can never borrow from a Roth IRA.
Submit your question
Scared to look at your credit card bill after a month of festivity? You’re not alone. 36% of Americans take on debt over the holidays, averaging about $1,300 a person. Yikes.
Our Christmas debt relief guide can help you pave a clear path forward.
Get out of holiday debt
Gen Z wants to retire early
New data from Northwestern Mutual reveals that Gen Z expects to retire at age 59 – compared to age 71 for Boomers, 65 for Gen X and 61 for Millennials.
Yet only 55% believe that Social Security will be there for them when they need it. Which is why you should plan your retirement now.
American savings rate plummets
The personal savings rate dropped is up slightly to 2.4% in November 2022 from October’s 2.3%, but down compared to 7.1% in November 2021, and well behind the 33.8% in April 2020, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is likely due in part to post-pandemic spending, along with the strain of inflation.
Even if you can spare just a few bucks, a high-yield savings account can pay big over the long haul – and is one of the best ways to prepare for an impending recession.
Save up to 4.11% APY
70% chance of recession in 2023
That’s the latest from economists at Bloomberg, who took GDP, surging interest rates, inflation and weak export markets into account. What do you think? Hit reply and let us know.
Interview: Her First $100K founder and CEO
Tori Dunlap launched Her First $100K podcast after realizing that financial literacy can pave the way for financial freedom. She chats with Laura Adams about common money questions from women, how to successfully break free of debt and her passion for fighting the patriarchy.
Her new book, Financial Feminist, launches this week from Del Rey Books and is available everywhere books are sold.
Phew! IRS postpones Venmo regulation
Today, the IRS rolled back a regulation that would have required digital payment apps like Venmo, Cash App, Zelle and others to report your earnings of more than $600. Reportedly, it’s treating 2022 as a transition year, to give people time to prepare.
So if you’re self-employed and use a third party digital payment company to process income, expect to report it via tax form 1099-K – not this coming tax season, but the next one (it’ll likely apply to 2023 earnings).
⭐ Related: Best tax software
Santa has officially leveled up from piggy banks.
Give your kids the gift of financial literacy this year. Consider opening an investment account on their behalf (doesn’t take much to get started!) or a kids’ debit card that comes with educational resources and tools for budgeting, allowance tracking and more.
See gift ideas
Ho ho high-APY savings account
The Fed aggressively hiked interest rates in 2022, and has hinted that more rate hikes are coming in 2023. While that’s not so great for loans and credit card debt, savings accounts are looking pretty dang lucrative – we’re talking 4% APY or higher.
Teach your kids to earn, save and invest 🎄
Greenlight’s handy app and debit card sets young ones up for a lifetime of financial success. Kids and teens can earn up to 5% on savings, get 1% cashback and start investing with the help of its educational resources.
Wells Fargo to pay $3.7 billion in customer redress
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found Wells Fargo guilty of legal violations involving over 16 million consumer accounts this week, including surprise overdraft fees, illegally repossessed vehicles, misapplied loan payments and more.
Coming soon: Wells Fargo will pay over $2 billion in redress to customers and $1.7 billion in penalties – the largest fine in the history of the CFPB – among other compensatory actions.
Got holiday debt?
There’s nothing jolly about post-holiday money blues. 42% of people expect to go into debt to pay for the holidays. If you’re one of them, you have options that don’t involve magical elves. For example, a balance transfer credit card can help you catch up on payments with 0% APR for a limited time.
📍 Getting-out-of-debt guide
Start earning credit card rewards
Laura Adams explains how to choose a rewards credit card, plus the ins and outs of cashing in.
Santa’s not the only one making a list and checking it twice. After a year of jaw-dropping inflation, volatile markets and crashing crypto, now’s a good time to review your personal finances before popping the champagne.
Save yourself a headache in the new year with our end-of-year financial checklist for 2022.
See the checklist
Fed raises interest rates – again
Yesterday, the Fed hiked interest rates to the highest level in 15 years, taking the borrowing rate to a range of 4.25% to 4.50%. That means loans and mortgages are likely to get more expensive, at least through 2023.
The silver lining is that interest on your savings should increase as well. So you can get more bank for your buck – especially in a high-APY savings account.
Robinhood’s matching retirement contributions
In January 2023, the popular investing app is rolling out a 1% match on contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRAs), as part of its Robinhood Retirement program.The max you can contribute to an IRA is $6,500 in 2023 – and Robinhood would “match” $65.
Is Robinhood legit?
Inflation should “cool down” in 2023
That’s according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who also commented that a recession may not be necessary to bring inflation down. Her logic? Gas prices are dropping, shipping costs are tumbling and delivery lags are shortening – all signs of a strong economy.
⭐ Related: Consumer prices rose 0.1% last month, and were up 7.1% from Nov 2021. Read more.
Ask Laura 👂
Money on your mind? Send your questions to nationally-recognized personal finance expert Laura Adams, MBA. Whether you’re stumped by your budget, debt, retirement planning or how much allowance to pay the kids, Laura has your back.
Submit a question
Gas prices plunge. Here’s why.
The national average price of gas is $3.39 this week, down from $5 in June 2022. YahooFinance reports that the COVID lockdowns in China are largely to blame, sending demand from the world’s largest energy consumer plummeting.
That said, it’s still over $5 in California.
If you’re anything like the average American, you’ll be spending around $932 on holiday gifts this year. Which could make you eligible for a credit card bonus worth hundreds of dollars – or thousands of miles.
See top offers
3% down for a $1 million mortgage
Starting next year, jumbo mortgages could require as little as 3% down, reports Wall Street Journal. That’s because the cap for private home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will rise to $1,089,300 next year in select markets like LA and NYC, up from $970,800.
Could that dream home be yours for as little as $30K down? Learn more.
⚠️ Don’t use debit cards for holiday shopping online
The FBI says credit cards are safer. If you use a debit card and a criminal steals your payment info, they could wipe out your entire checking account.
Credit cards, on the other hand, have additional protections to safeguard against fraud, including the Fair Credit Billing Act, which allows you to dispute suspicious charges. We think Santa Claus would approve.
See the best credit cards
Stop looking at your retirement account
43% of people make the mistake of checking their retirement savings more than three times a week. That’s a bad strategy in this volatile market, as the average 401(k) plan balance is down almost 23% compared to last year. Cue spike in blood pressure.
Saving for retirement is a long game that requires consistency, even when the market tumbles. History shows that the money you invest now, while stocks are cheap, will most likely increase exponentially over time.
Compare retirement investing accounts
👑 Fintech queen: Saira Rahman
Sara Rahman is the VP of New Investor Initiatives at Fundrise, a platform making waves in the investing space. She chats with Finder’s Laura Adams about diversity, alternative assets and career advice for women in a male-dominated industry.
Social media is the “Wild West” for financial advice
While scrolling through TikTok may be more entertaining than talking to a financial advisor, it’s not a reliable method for building long-term wealth. Watch out for:
- Confirmation bias. Algorithms are designed to show more of what we want to see – instead of what we need to know.
- All-or-nothing strategies. In 2021, many financial “influencers” encouraged people to go all-in on crypto – a market that has since crashed.
Our team of certified experts can help you compare hundreds of money products, including high-APY savings accounts, credit cards, loans and more.
⭐ Related: 7 places to find investment advice[/fin_accordian]Roughly 138 million Americans will receive gifts they don’t actually want this holiday season. Does that scratchy sweater from great aunt Betty come to mind?
It should, as 49% of these ugly duckling presents are clothing and accessories, while 29% are household items and 24% are cosmetics and fragrances.
The average cost of unwanted items? $60 … which equates to roughly $8.3 billion across the US.
See which generation is most ungrateful
Score 100,000 bonus miles ✈️
A popular US airline is offering big sign-up bonuses – up to 100,000 miles – right now. That’s enough to fly to Europe first class. For realz.
Each card also comes with loooads of other perks, like lounge access, rewards and more.
Gen Z is running up debt 💸
90-day delinquency rates with 18 to 29-year-olds rose to over 6% from Q3 of 2021 to 2022, compared to 3.7% overall, according to data from the New York Federal Bank.
It’s not exactly a head-scratcher why – prices are up over 8% due to inflation, and turmoil in the economy usually affects young folks more than old, says Entrepreneur Mag.
Times are tough. And with interest rates rising and a recession looming, now’s the time to start paying down debt. A balance transfer credit card can help kick-start your goals with 0% APR.
⭐ See balance transfer credit cards
Gift ideas that could snag insurance discounts
Gadgets and gizmos that protect your assets could help bring down your insurance premiums for next year.
- Auto. Dashcams and other driver aids, like telematics.
- Home. Security systems and smart protection, like leak and fire alarms.
Talk to your agent to inquire about discounts. Not happy with your provider? We can help you find a better one.
Is JP Morgan getting into crypto?
Yep. The trademark for J.P. Morgan Wallet was approved last week, meaning the nation’s largest bank will soon enable customers to transfer virtual currencies. It’s a tight swerve from 2017, when CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a “fraud”, and even said he’d fire anyone at JPMorgan found to be trading digital currency.
⚠️We’re here to remind you that it’s always better to own your crypto directly, as opposed to keeping it on an exchange (AKA a virtual wallet), where it could be lost if the company goes under.
Learn about hardware wallets
Best crypto savings accounts 💰
Finder’s data team and crypto experts scored participating cryptocurrency trading platforms on a comprehensive list of 55 criteria and these are the winners.
Do you make more than a Macy’s Elf? 🎄
Starting earlier this month, most companies in NYC were required to include salary ranges in their job postings. A Macy’s Elf, who is required to stay in costume all day, makes $15 an hour, says the New York Times.
A side gig, whether it involves jingle bells or not, can help you prepare for the upcoming recession.
Americans will spend an average of $362 each on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, shelling out an estimated $51 billion total, according to Finder’s survey.
75% of Gen Zers plan to hit the sales, compared to 63% of Millennials, 45% of Gen Xers and 38% of Baby Boomers.
Just 46% of those in the West plan to shop the day after Turkey Day, compared to 51% in the Midwest, 56% in the South and 59% in the Northeast.
Is Black Friday worth it?
Earn rewards on your Black Friday shopping
We love making credit cards work in our favor. Here are three ways to reap the benefits:
- Collect a bonus. Many credit cards offer bonuses during the introductory period, often $100 or more, when you hit a minimum threshold.
- Earn cashback. If you aren’t earning cashback or points then you’re not using a credit card to its true potential. Get up to 5% back with the Chase Freedom Flex, or compare other cards to find the best for you.
- Use a store-brand credit card. Target, Walmart and Amazon both offer up to 5% back. Best Buy, Apple and Costco also have great perks.
Black Friday deal 🔥 (11/23 to 11/29)
Get a gift card worth up to $300 when you switch to Visible by Verizon and buy a select device. Terms apply.
We love that its plans include 4G and 5G LTE coverage, plus a hotspot. There’s 24/7 chat support and no annual contract.
📅 Reminder: Use your HSA
The deadline to use the money in a flexible savings account is Dec. 31 for most accounts. However, some employers give you a little leeway into the next year, so be sure to check on that before popping the champagne.
Earn 10% back in crypto on gas
Sad at the pump? Earn 10% in rewards on Bitcoin, Etherum and over 60+ other cryptos immediately, with every gas purchase (up to $200 monthly). Plus, it’s offering 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else. Learn more.
Could a HELOC be your financial safety net?
Home equity lines of credit involve borrowing money against the value of your home. Americans took out $66 billion in HELOcs throughout Q2 – a 40% increase compared to a year before, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The best HELOCs offer competitive rates, low fees and flexible repayment options. We found lenders with introductory rates as low as 0.99%.
Best stock trading platforms: Finder Awards 2022
Our data team crunched 1,400 data points across 40 brokers to find the best for beginners, long-term investing and more.
4 in 10 Americans have $0 saved
With inflation at a 40-year high, 47% of Americans will be spending less on Christmas gifts in 2022, says a personal finance report from Dave Ramsey. Just 45% of Americans have $1,000 or more in savings – which means many of us are unprepared for emergency expenses.
84% of Americans are concerned about how a recession would impact their household. We get it. Saving a little bit from every paycheck is one of the most powerful ways to prepare – a handy dandy app can help you set it and forget it (until you need it).
See high APY savings accounts
🔎 Should you be worried about layoffs?
Almost 15,000 employees at Meta and Lyft were laid off this month, and Amazon recently announced plans to let go of nearly 10,000 employees. Does that mean you should be worried about your job?
Not necessarily. While the tech industry has been suffering, it’s largely due to decreases in digital ad revenue, and the overall labor market remains strong, reports Business Insider. But the “Great Resignation” is probably over, as fear of a recession shifts power back to the employer.
Prob time to stop cracking jokes about quitting. And start growing that emergency fund, just in case.
Earn up to 3.83% APY
3 in 10 Americans making changes to investing portfolio
Of those who’ve made changes, 35% did so in response to the stock market – and only 41% said they were confident about their decisions, according to a Wealth Watch survey from New York Life.
If you aren’t currently investing, consider opening an account. In a bear market like this one, stocks can be relatively cheap to buy (especially tech – Tesla dropped 22% in the last 6 months, for example).
Inflation’s on the table for Thanksgiving
If you spend the same amount of money as in 2019, WaPo says you’ll get:
- 24% less turkey
- 21% less butter
- 18% fewer potatoes
- 18% fewer biscuits or rolls
We’re crying into our plates. A grocery rewards credit card will make it hurt a little less.
Get up to 6% cash back on groceries
Airlines issue more than $600 in refunds
Thanks to the US Transportation Department, airlines are offering refunds for flights that were “canceled, significantly delayed or otherwise altered substantially,” reports The New York Times. Additionally, it slapped Frontier, Air India and with fines totaling $7 million – all part of transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg’s plan to hold the industry more accountable.
✈️ Many travel credit cards come with insurance for canceled flights
What the heck is happening with crypto?
“In the wake of FTX’s implosion, many in crypto are unfortunately learning the hard way that the crypto you leave in the custody of an exchange is nothing more than an IOU for that crypto,” says industry expert Frank Corva.
“Until you move the private keys for your crypto into a noncustodial wallet, you don’t technically own the asset. The safest noncustodial wallets on the market today are hardware wallets.”
👀 The promise of Bitcoin
Should you buy or rent?
Paying rent each month can feel like throwing away your money. But it’s not always better to invest in property. Here’s how to decide what’s best for you.
🔎A financial winter is coming. Here’s how to prepare.
As midterm results roll in, all eyes are on the future of our economy. 26% of people think a Democrat-led House and Senate will make the markets more volatile, while only 21% think a Republican-led congress would do the same. 33% are unsure. 🤷♀️
Regardless of who wins the house, a recession will likely hit the United States in late 2023 or early 2024 – so you have about a year to prepare.
Why? The Fed has been hiking interest rates at an unprecedented pace in 2022 to help fight inflation. Unfortunately, that usually results in a weaker stock market and widespread unemployment, AKA a recession. But two major factors are causing a lag time:
- Americans having roughly $1.5 trillion in additional savings leftover from the pandemic
- A strong labor market
Simply put, it’ll take time for the tables to turn. But you should get ready now.
Beef up your emergency savings
Recessions are notorious for layoffs. While the common rule-of-thumb for emergency savings is 3-6 months of living expenses, experts are suggesting increasing that amount to 12 months, if you can.
One way to increase your savings is by sticking to a budget. Cash-stuffing, the discipline of only spending the money you have in your wallet – and stashing the rest – is one strategy that could help.
💙 We love the 5.25% APY savings account at UFB Secure Savings – that’s over 23X higher than the national average.
Make a dent in your debt
When the Fed hikes interest rates, credit card companies hike APRs – which means you’re paying more in interest than you were, say, six months ago. And it’s likely to get worse.
A balance transfer credit card can be a great tool to start hacking away at your balance. Most offer 0% APR for at least a year.
Rebalance your investing portfolio (and consider bonds!)
Historically, the best industries to invest in during a recession are those with unwavering demand. That includes:
It’s also a phenomenal time to invest in bonds. Dividends pay monthly, which could help cushion your budget in case you lose your job. Short-term T-bills are also extremely sexy right now, offering returns of about 4%. Learn more.
⭐ Related: We crunched 1,400 data points across 40 brokers to find the very best stock trading platforms of 2022.
Befriend your HSA
48% of Millennials and Gen Z’ers with the option to contribute to an HSA are choosing to do so, says data from the Charles Schwab 2022 401(k) fund. Their motivation? To start saving for healthcare costs in retirement.
You don’t have to pay taxes on HSA contributions, which is pretty awesome. And if you’re part of the 49% of Americans who can’t afford an unexpected $1,000 medical bill, an HSA could be a boone in case of an emergency.
Turkey shortage. We’re squawking.
Americans are expected to spend $151 million more on turkeys in 2022 than in 2021, due to inflation, along with increased costs for farmers – food, fuel, you name it. There was also a killer avian flu that wiped out over 6 million turkeys, causing a shortage.
🔎 The Fed just hiked rates. Buckle up!
The Fed just raised interest rates another 0.75 points.
Powell (the Fed head) said he’d rather over-tighten than under-tighten when it comes to future policy. While this means inflation should slow, the stock market likely has a bumpy road ahead.
Probably not a great time to invest in riskier assets like tech and crypto. But a high-APY savings account is your new best friend, as interest rates should continue to rise. Also keep an eye on CDs.
UM, WHAT? 8% cashback on gas
PNC’s doubling its regular 4% cashback on gas for people who open a Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card. The promo is good for up to $8,000 and only lasts a year. Might be worth it, since there’s no annual fee.
Look at it this way: the national average price of gas is about $3.80 a gallon. If you use 414 gallons of gas per year (the average per capita), you’d spend $1,573 on gas – and PNC would pay you $126 in cash back. 💰
Treasury bills so sexy they broke the internet
Series I Savings Bonds had an annualized interest rate of over 9.6% last month – and so many people rushed to buy them that the government’s website crashed.
It’s what NPR calls a “golden moment” for investors, as rates are usually nowhere near this high. Now, the APY has dropped to $6.89% for bonds issued through April 20, 2023, which is the third-highest rate ever offered.
⭐ Learn why T-bills are so secure
Airline industry booms ✈️
No joke – September was the third-strongest month in the history of United Airlines, and Jet Blue reports that its planes were 3% fuller compared to 2019. The president of Delta Air Lines even called the month “fantastic.”
Much of this is likely due to post-COVID demand. We love to see it!
⭐ Get perks, cash back and rewards when you book
Next week: Her First $100K
I fight the patriarchy by making you rich,” says Tori Dunlap, a money expert who has 2.3 million followers on TikTok.
We’ll be talking to her about her book, Financial Feminist, and how educating people about money can change the world.
Here’s why the cost of car insurance is going up
Car insurance, like everything, is getting pricier, partly because cars are getting more expensive – the average cost of a new vehicle rose 10.8% in August this year compared to last, according to MarketWatch.
Replacement parts cost more too, affected by the breakdown of supply chains during COVID-19. The frequency and severity of car crashes is also on the rise, so insurers are raising rates to cover costs of litigation and damages.
What’s that mean for you? Now could be a good time to get a better rate.
Stock market had strong October
October saw the Dow have its best monthly gains in 45 years, reports CNN. Nasdaq also had a strong October, with gains of 4%, and the S&P 500 rose 8% – a good reminder that the market is pliable, even when all seems doom and gloom.
That said, the Dow is still down 10% compared to last year.
🔎Realtors have “too much empathy.” Enter AI rent hikes …
Who’s ready for some “free” money? 18 US states are sending out checks for inflation relief – and some are being stingier than others.
California’s sending eligible taxpayers up to $1,050. Over three million Virginians will get tax rebates of up to $500 by the end of this month. And residents in Hawaii are getting $300 if they make less than $100K.
9 million Americans may be eligible for unpaid stimulus money 🤑
If you didn’t file a 2021 tax return, keep a close eye on the mail. The IRS started sending a third round of stimulus payments last week, up to $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for couples. You may also be eligible for expanded tax credits, related to COVID-19 relief. Read more.
The Lone Star State has a rent cartel
Ever wonder what’s been driving up your rent? It might be an algorithm.
Renters filed a lawsuit accusing Texas-based RealPage of peddling software that artificially inflates rent prices. It comes on the heels of ProPublica’s bombshell investigative report into how YieldStar boosts profits for landlords via an algorithm that raises rent prices above the competition.
In one Seattle neighborhood, ProPublica discovered that 10 property managers controlled 70% of apartments – and all of them worked with RealPage.
A developer at RealPage claimed that computer-generated pricing is better because leasing agents have “too much empathy.” RealPage executive Andrew Bowen went even further, praising the software because “very few of us would be willing to actually raise rents double digits within a single month by doing it manually.”
🛑 Student loan forgiveness is on hold
Six Republican-led states have sued the Biden administration. They’re accusing him of overstepping presidential authority, and also claim that the plan could deprive private lenders of business by prompting folks to consolidate their loans into the Federal program. Wah wah.
Meanwhile, the White House is encouraging people to continue applying for relief.
Get up to $100 for your Halloween candy
HealthyWage is paying people $10 per pound of Halloween candy as part of its Cash for Candy program. It’s partnering with Operation Shoebox, an organization that provides care packages and other support for American troops stationed overseas.
🍫 Donate unopened candy to Operation Shoebox on or before November 22 to get the moolah from HealthyWage.
“The American consumer is resilient,” says Bank of America CEO
Aw, shucks. With all this talk of a recession, it’s nice to be complimented for a change.
BoA CEO Brian Moynihan is celebrating consumers after its debit and credit card transactions were up 10% through October. And overall customer spending at American Express jumped 21% year over year.
Overall, consumer spending increased 0.4% in the month of August, a pretty big deal since it accounts for two-thirds of the US economy.
Banks should make nice with cannabis
66% of people think cannabis businesses should be allowed to access banking services like checking accounts and loans in states where it’s legal. That’s according to a recent survey from the American Bankers Association.
Do you think banks should blaze up? Hit reply and let us know.
Related: How to invest in cannabis stocks
Meet the woman disrupting fintech with a female-led company 💁♀️
Nicky Senyard founded Fintel Connect to help fintech companies scale their businesses by connecting them with influencers, publishers and affiliates.
Learn why she chooses to lead an all-female executive team.
🔎 Your paycheck might get bigger with new IRS brackets
Millions of Americans will have fatter paychecks next year. The IRS announced Tuesday that it’s adjusting tax brackets to help account for inflation.
While tax rates haven’t changed, the level of income required for each tax bracket was bumped up by 7%. For instance, the top bracket (37%) increased to $578,125 for single filers and $693,750 for married couples.
Rich people, we’re happy for you.
Incomes over $44,725 will pay 22%, and incomes over $95,375 will pay 24%. The standard deduction also rose by 7% – up to $13,850 for single taxpayers, for example. See all 60 adjustments here.
Baby boomers have 62% of wealth. Millennials? Just 9%. 🤑
Wanna get rich but don’t know how? Well, Bank of America surveyed people with investable assets of over $3 million and discovered that:
- 27% are self-made.
- 52% of their portfolio is devoted to stocks and funds.
- 66% of those aged 21 to 42 have an art collection.
Which means that to join them, you’ll need to start investing.
Student loan relief applications are live
Stop procrastinating – it’s the shortest gov’t application in the history of the world (don’t fact-check that).
Netflix has ads … for days
Netflix will soon launch its ad-supported membership, which costs $6.99 a month (just $3 less than the ad-free version).
If you’re anything like the average Netflix user, you’ll end up sitting through about three days of ads every year. And the money you’d save isn’t even worth what you could make working minimum wage in that same time. Yikes.
Your grandparents are getting a raise 👴👵🏽
Social Security announced an 8.7% COLA (cost-of-living) increase for checks in 2023. That’s good news for grams and gramps, as beneficiaries will be getting over $100 more per month. It was the biggest increase in 41 years, to help ease the strain of inflation.
⭐ Related: Best and worst states to retire.
(Choose New Hampshire. Not Oklahoma.)
Toxic couple alert: Rising interest rates + your credit card debt
To combat inflation, the FED is aiming to raise rates to 4.4% by the end of 2022. That means if your credit card APR was 15% at the start of 2022, it could soon hit 19.4%.
Say you owe $6,569 (the national average). At the higher rate, your yearly interest charge would swell from $985 to $1,274.
You can break up with your credit card debt by using a balance transfer card. Most offer no interest on balance transfers for up to 21 months.
Explore balance transfer credit cards
How eToro is creating a more sustainable social future 🐂
We love to see a woman who identifies as LGBTQ+ running the show, especially in an industry where 81% of executives are men. Lule Demmissie is the US CEO of eToro, an investing platform that scores over 2,700 assets based on their environmental and societal performance.
Check out our interview to learn the investing advice beginners should always stick to, and how women in finance and fintech can advance their careers at rocket speed.
Coming soon: 6% cashback with US Bank
With US Bank’s soon-to-be-released card, you could earn up to $1,500 cashback at select retailers including Amazon, Chewy, Home Depot, Ikea, Target, Walmart and more. We’ll let you know as soon as it drops. 🙌
🔎 How to invest during a recession – even if the market crashes.
Investing in the S&P 500 riiiiiiight before the stock market crashed in 2007 would’ve netted you a return of 8.4% over the past 13 years. And dropping $10K in the same fund at the worst possible time before the recession of 1990-91 would see you walking away with $150K today.
Investing, generally, is a long-term play. So if you can spare the cash, stick to your strategy – even as the talking heads sound alarms.
Best stocks to invest in during a recession
Demand for these industries usually remains strong in a slowing economy.
- Healthcare. Including health insurance, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and facilities like clinics, labs and nursing homes.
- Consumer staples. That’s food, toiletries and beverage companies, like PepsiCo, Tyson Foods, Procter & Gamble and Kroger.
- Utility companies. Look into companies that sell electric energy, gas, water, renewable energy and other utilities.
- Discount stores. That means retailers like Big Lots, Walmart, Dollar General, Costco and Dollar Tree.
Remember: You should only invest during a recession if you have emergency savings stocked up, and if you’re committed for the long haul.
Pumpkflation: Americans to spend $804 million on pumpkins this year 🎃
Good gourd! The data’s ripe:
- Roughly 44% of Americans plan to carve pumpkins this year
- Pumpkins projected to cost 12% more this year than last year ($5.40 each, on average)
- Overall, the National Retail Federation is forecasting Americans to spend $10.6 billion on Halloween in 2022
Unveiled: Application for student loan forgiveness
For now, it’s just a preview. The White House says the actual application will be released later in October. You’ll need to provide your:
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
Retailers are slashing prices for the holidays, big time
“Supply chain snags are clearing at the same time that demand is slowing,” reports Business Insider. That means companies will be rolling out big sales in the next few months to get rid of excess inventory.
Morgan Stanley predicts we’ll see “aggressive discounting” on items including electronics, toys and computers. No coal for Christmas, this year! (But hopefully some cash back.)
Sleep-deprived? Saaaaame. 😳
Sleep vacations are the travel industry’s response to burnout. Hotels in London, NYC and elsewhere around the world are offering rooms designed specifically to help you catch up on zzzz, with amenities like essential oil diffusers, sleep-inducing meditation recordings and scented pillow mist.
A hotel in Switzerland has even teamed up with a medical clinic so you can get diagnosed with a sleeping disorder while you get away.
Hot topic: The September jobs report
The jobs report last Friday saw fewer jobs added to the economy compared to the last 12 months. Does that mean we’re moving into a recession?
Not necessarily. 263,000 is still a robust number, and “the overall unemployment rate hasn’t been lower than this since the 1960s,” reports the New York Times. All this could simply mean a natural, healthy slowing of the post-pandemic job boom.
Still, some people are worried that wage growth is at dangerous levels, and that this is only the beginning of a more dramatic slowdown. Bear with us?
@finderusa September jobs report just dropped. Here’s three things you should know. #jobs #unemployment #personalfinance #finance #economics ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
Should YOU switch to an online bank?
Due to lower overhead costs, online banks typically have fewer – or zero – fees, and higher APYs. Plus, most provide access to an ATM network for free.
Need another reason to look at a digital bank account? Traditional banks have an average savings APY of just 0.16%. Online banks: 2% APY or higher. It’s your money.
🔎 The IRS owes $3.7 billion in unpaid stimulus money.
As the global economy teeters on the brink of recession, we’re over here battening the hatches of our finances – finding the best ways to earn interest and even looking for silver linings. Join us?
🕵️♀️Does the IRS owe you $$$?
In the irony of all ironies, the IRS was audited. Reportedly, it failed to send stimulus money to 4.1 million households, totaling $3.7 billion, as part of COVID-19 relief.
If you have a child and make less than $75K a year (single) or $150K a year (joint), you should’ve been eligible for the expanded tax credit. Start by filing your 2021 taxes (it’s not too late!) to receive the money you’re owed.
🌲💳Plant a tree every time you swipe a card
Internet bank Aspiration is on CNBC’s list of top eco-friendly debit and credit cards. While big banks pay millions a year to fuel oil drilling and fossil fuels, Aspiration donates money to nonprofits committed to doing the earth good.
Not only does Aspiration offer to plant a tree every time you make a purchase (to help offset carbon emissions), you can get up to 10% cash back when you spend money at select eco-conscious companies.
Learn more about Aspiration
🔥 Treasury bills are hot, hot, hot
The interest on a one-year treasury bill is 4.1% right now, compared to 0.7% last year, says data from Bloomberg. T-bills aren’t as sexy as, say, the stock market, but the return is fixed, meaning you aren’t rolling the dice on your cash. And you don’t have to pay tax on the interest earned.
You can buy a t-bill from TreasuryDirect.gov or an independent bank, broker or dealer.
Another way to put your money to work is to open a certificate of deposit (CD). Lock-in rates as high as 4.25% – 25X higher than the average savings account.
🏠 📉 US home prices take a Great Recession-like tumble
The demand for homes is cooling, and with the Fed raising rates to combat inflation, home prices are dropping at a clip not seen since the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy of 2008. Median home prices dropped 1.05% from June to July, and 0.98% from July to August.
While that may seem good for prospective buyers, homes are still much more expensive now than they were a year ago (12% higher in Aug. 2022 compared to Aug. 2021). And higher interest rates mean mortgages are costlier, too.
If you’re in the market for a house, it’s more important than ever to calculate how much you can afford before shopping around.
7 silver linings of a recession
We love a high-APY savings account (thanks to higher interest rates) and are hoping that home prices finally come down to reasonable levels. The dollar is very strong, which means your travel budget will go farther internationally. And your old car may be worth more $$$ at trade-in, since used car and truck prices recently jumped 7.8%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4-day workweek pilot in UK proves successful
39 out of the 41 companies testing a shorter week reported that employee productivity stayed the same or increased, compared to a five-day week. Six companies actually noticed an improvement! We love to see it 💃
Kim Kardashian fined $1.26 million for crypto oopsie
Why was Kim fined for touting crypto, while Matt Damon and Larry David seemingly got away with it? (Throwback to some cringey Superbowl ads…)
She posted on IG about EthereumMax, a specific coin, which the SEC ruled is a security – and therefore subject to a stricter set of rules than crypto in general. The business tycoon and reality TV star was paid $250,000 to write the post, back in 2021. In addition to the fine, she’s banned from promoting cryptocurrency for the next three years. Ouch.
UN warns of potential global recession
tl;dr: As the dollar strengthens, currency in developing nations weakens.
World leaders are calling on the Fed (AKA chairman Jerome Powell), to implement a more pragmatic mix of policy measures as developing economies, particularly in Asia, reel from recent rate hikes in the US. So far, rate hikes have cut an estimated $360 billion income from developing nations, CNBC reports.
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse teeters on the brink.
🔎 Does Capital One owe you $25,000?
Last week, the Fed announced it’s raising rates by another 75 basis points to combat inflation.
What’s that mean for the little people (AKA us)?
The APR on your credit cards will probably go up and mortgages will get pricier. The one bright spot is that higher rates are good for your nest egg — the national average rate for a savings account jumped from 0.06% in January to 0.17% this month.
High APY savings accounts are on🔥
I want money. And more of it.
If you can relate, it’s time to get serious about a high APY savings account. You can earn hundreds per year in interest (legit) — plus, many accounts these days have zero fees.
Take the UFB Secure Savings, with 5.25% APY. If you deposit $1,000 today and contribute $100 monthly for five years, you’d earn $835.53 in interest — and your grand total would be about $8,018.
Sure, a high APY savings account won’t transform your situation overnight. But it’s one step closer to the financial security we all crave.
💿 Also check out CDs 💿
Certificates of deposits, available at banks and credit unions, have APYs of up to 3.65%. The catch? Your money’s locked in for the term length — usually three, five or ten years.
Personal loans are pretty cheap right no
While mortgage rates are rising, rates for personal loans are falling. From August 29 to Sept 23, the rate for a three-year loan fell 10.04%.
Personal loans can be a boon in an emergency — think medical bills, moving costs, wedding expenses (’cause love does cost a thing), or vehicle financing. They can also serve as a lower interest line of credit than getting a credit card.
You’ll want to compare APRs, minimum loan amounts, fees and all the fine print before signing the dotted line.
Does Capital One owe you money?
Capital One is dealing with a $190 million class action lawsuit after a data breach in 2019 — and if you’re a Capital One customer you might be one of the 98 million applicants and cardholders are eligible to file a claim.
Claimants are entitled to collect up to $25,000 in cash for lost time and out-of-pocket expenses, including up to 15 hours of time at a min rate of $25 per hour.
Call 855-604-1811 to see if that’s you. The deadline to file a claim is September 30, 2022.
Allllll the best airlines are not American
It prob won’t shock anyone who has boarded a flight stateside in the last decade, but no US airline cracked the top 10 in Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards. Or top 15. Or top 20.
In categories close to home — including best in North America and best cabin crew in the USA — Delta stole the show, except best low cost and improved, which went to Southwest.
The top seven airlines in the world are based in the Middle East or Asia/Oceania.
If you’ve been daydreaming about traveling abroad, now’s a good time to do it (the dollar is extremely strong). Use a travel credit card to get big rewards on your flight. ✈️
Cars? Who needs ’em
Quite simply, you don’t — not in these 10 cities. Top-notch public transportation, bike lanes and highly walkable neighborhoods mean you could ditch the average $894 monthly cost of car ownership if you backed your bags and started fresh.
Gas prices are rising again
And speaking of car expenses, gas prices are ticking up again, with the national average cost per gallon this week hitting $3.76 — up from $3.19 the same time last year. And experts predict that it will keep rising as we go into the winter months, due to inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
🚓 See how the cost of gas in your state stacks up
Are we in a recession?
Economists are conflicted. Here’s what we think.
🔎 Bye bye, dream home? 🏠 Mortgage rates are insane rn.
Houses are crazy expensive. Mortgage rates are skyrocketing. Millions of Americans are cutting back on essentials like food. And Buy Now, Pay Later providers are on the hot seat with Congress. At least it’s getting cheaper to eat out than cook at home — relatively speaking.
Mortgage rates hit Great Recession levels
The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rocketed to 6.02% last week – more than double what it was nine months ago. We haven’t seen rates like this since the Great Recession. Eek!
The housing market is in a shambles for a multitude of reasons, including holdover issues from the pandemic, potential new buyers being priced out and the FED raising rates.
All of this means that if you’re in the market for a home, now more than ever you need to search for lenders known for competitive rates, flexible options and lower fees.
37% of Americans say their finances have gotten worse over the past year
Cutting back on spending? Friend, you ain’t alone. Here’s what we learned from PBS NewsHour:
- 54% of Americans have eaten out less
- 40% of Americans have cut back on driving
- 39% have cut back on food or groceries
- 35% have skipped a vacation or changed travel plans
Best credit cards for groceries
Earn 6% cashback (as a statement credit) on groceries from U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. The 6% rate applies on up to $6,000, then you’ll earn 1% in this category. So if you spend $400 a month on groceries, that’s $24 in cashback — or $288 a year.
You can also earn a $350 bonus after spending $3,000 in the first six months. There’s an annual fee of $95 — so you’d need to spend at least $1,600 on groceries a year (about $30 a week) to make it worthwhile.
Do you spend more than $30 on groceries each week? Of course you do. I mean, how much does a banana cost these days, $10?
…what if I’m too lazy to cook?
If you’re too lazy/busy to cook (or just don’t want to burn the house down), here’s permission to 👏 Treat 👏 Yo 👏Self.
While the cost of groceries are up12% since the start of the pandemic, the cost of eating out is only up by 5%. There’s your confirmation bias. Bon appetit!
This checking account offers a $2,000 bonus
The Citi Citigold checking account dangles an appetizing two grand as a sign-up bonus. The catch? (There’s aaalways a catch.) You need to maintain a balance of at least $300,000 to be eligible. Sigh. The rich get richer, amirite?
For non-yacht-owning folks like us, the bonuses hover in the hundreds – which is still nothing to sneeze about, as mom likes to say.
Think twice before you Buy Now, Pay Later
“Buy Now, Pay Later has mimicked parts of Big Tech’s surveillance model to harvest and monetize data in ways that banks and credit unions have typically avoided,” says Rohit Chopra, director of the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).
The CFPB found that this data is often used to incentivize people to buy more, “gamifying” shopping and lending. Not so good for those of us who are already a liiitle too happy tapping “add to cart.”
A couple of the CFPB’s next steps include identifying data practices that need to be curtailed, and making sure that buy now, pay later providers are subject to many of the same regulatory protections already in place for credit cards.
Does Credit Karma owe you money?
Recently, Credit Karma was ordered to pay $3 million to people targeted with false marketing claims about the likelihood of being approved for a credit card. It’s not clear yet how the payments will play out … stay tuned.
Did you know? Only 1.5% of fintech founders are women
🔎 Millennials, brace yourselves: The Great Firing is happening.
Credit card delinquencies are on the rise, Americans are spending billions on bank fees and inflation’s still a thorn in our side. We suggest strategies for catching up on debt and avoiding those hefty fees — plus, see some amazing deals for streaming services to escape reality on the cheap.
Inflation’s slowing — but not as fast as we’d like
It climbed 8.3% year-over-year in August, which is lower than July’s 8.5%. Unfortunately, it’s still higher than we’d hoped.
💡 This personal inflation calculator shows exactly how much more you’re spending
Matt explains the numbers
@finderusa The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that August saw an 8.3% rise in inflation from last year, continuing an incremental deflation trend since July. #inflation #inflation2022 ♬ Roxanne – Instrumental – Califa Azul
Credit card delinquencies on the rise
Forget to pay off your credit card? You could be part of the 0.2% increase in overall delinquencies at major US banks this year (1.8% in 2022, compared to 1.6% in 2021).
If you’re behind on payments, or just want to consolidate your debt, a balance transfer credit card can get you back on track.
⭐ A few of our faves offer 0% APR for up to 18 months.
210 regional housing markets at risk of 15%-20% price declines 🔻🏠
Lots of Americans embraced a WFH lifestyle during the pandemic — some even ditched town for greener grass (AKA cheaper homes and lower cost of living), driving prices up and locals out.
In the second quarter of this year, 210 out of the 413 largest regional housing markets were classed as overvalued by Moody’s Analytics and at risk of home price declines of 15% to 20%. (This is up from 183 markets in the first quarter.)
The declines are partly due to elevated mortgage rates forcing down home prices and resetting the housing market. Great for buyers…not so great if you bought property at peak value.
Netflix may be moving away from binge model
We’re all guilty of signing up for a free trial just to binge that show our friends won’t stop talking about. (Then, um, canceling before we have to pay #noregrets)
But the inventor of binge culture, Netflix, wants to put an end to all of this and is reportedly considering a new, weekly cadence for releasing episodes.
While it might be annoying for our hermit tendencies, the silver lining is that you’re less likely to see spoilers before finishing the show.
📺 TV junkie? Peep some deals:
Americans spent $11 billion on overdraft fees last year
You know what’s worse than having no money in your back account? The $30 overdraft fee. (On average!) Additionally, lots of major banks charge maintenance fees, ATM fees and excessive withdrawal fees. I mean, can we catch a friggin break?!
Yes, yes we can. ⬇️⬇️⬇️
Millennials taking the brunt of the 🔥”big firing”🔥
Workers born between 1981 and 1996 suffered about 94% of recent layoffs at companies where they made up only 79% of the workforce, reports Insider.
This is because Millennials were most likely to take advantage of The Great Resignation last year, switching their ho-hum jobs for better perks and higher salaries. Now that companies are tightening belts, these employees are, unfortunately, often the first to get axed. 🪓
🔎 Yay! Gas should be cheap for your autumn road trip. 🍁
This week’s money news has us on a teeter-totter. Gas prices are at 11-week lows but are there clouds (literally) on the horizon? Younger Americans will need to squirrel away $3 million if they want to retire comfortably but…you know…at least US employers added 315,000 jobs in August. 🙄
Gas should keep getting cheaper
Woo! The price of gas is in its 11th week of decline, with the US average now $3.76 per gallon — a far cry from the $5 per gallon in July. And prices SHOULD continue to drop, says The Street.
The wild card? A major hurricane. While 2022 has only seen two named hurricanes, if a major storm is to hit the Gulf Coast, gas prices could surge once again. But right now, things are looking good for your leaf-peeping road trip.
Millennials and Gen-Zers need $3 million to retire
Probs time to stop procrastinating on that 401K…
A new report taking inflation into account throws out the old $1 million goalpost. Wealthcare Financial found that, assuming a 20-year retirement, you’ll need at least $3 million saved for a comfy income of $150,000 annually in your golden years.
While $3 million may sound like a boat load, it may not be as far out-of-reach as you think.
A 401K through your employer or an IRA on your own is a great way to get on the right track with your retirement savings. And you can take all of the fuss out of managing your savings by setting up automatic monthly deposits.
See best online investing platforms
“Homes are too freaking expensive” — Millennials and Gen Zers
74% of American adults see owning a home as a fundamental part of the American dream. But houses cost roughly 34% more now than they did in early 2020, reports CNBC. And inflation isn’t helping. 😔
That said, if you want to buy a house, the first step is figuring out how much you can borrow. Lenders consider things like your annual income and credit score before settling on loan terms.
US employers added 315,000 jobs in August
In what seems like a strange set of circumstances, the unemployment rate hit a 6-month high of 3.7% in August, while at the same time US employers added 315,000 jobs.
This means it’s still a job-seekers market out there, as companies compete for labor. But there’s a dark side: Higher salaries for newly hired workers means that businesses need to raise prices in order to pay those workers. And higher prices equals — you guessed it — inflation.
@finderusa Today, the Labor Department announced that August saw an additional 315,000 jobs to the market, bring the unemployment rate slightly above July at 3.7%. Is this a trend of something worse to come? #unemployment #recession #recession2022 #economics #jobs #finder ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Credit Karma hit with $3 lawsuit
The personal finance giant is being hit with a $3 million dollar penalty for false marketing from February 2018 to April 2021. It claimed that customers were either “pre-approved” or had “90% odds” of being approved for credit.
This promise of pre-approval sees roughly one-third of applicants get their application denied. Not only is this confusing for consumers who assumed they were applying for a sure thing, the application meant a hard credit inquiry, which (coupled with the denied application) could have negative impacts on their credit report.
🔎 Yeesh, are we in a recession or not?! We break down both sides.
The debate is raging among government analysts, private sector professionals and everyday Joe’s about whether or not we’re in a recession. It’s the classic “will they/won’t they”… except this isn’t a rom-com, and our finances are on the line. We sum up the arguments on both sides.
And if you’re sick of reading about inflation and recessions, escape with a $3 movie ticket this weekend.
So — do you think we’re in a recession or not?! Hit reply and drop your thoughts!
- The NYT calculates that GDI adjusted for inflation rose 0.3% in the second quarter.
- The Lane Report says “yes”
- Reuters thinks the underlying data says “no”
Is inflation slowing down?
Frank Corva, senior analyst for digital assets, explains what we can learn from the consumer price index (CPI). Let us know what you think in the comments!
@finderusa Inflation went down from 9.1% in June to 8.5% in July — what does this mean for you? #inflation #inflation2022 #deflation #finder ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Does a recession mean the end of remote work?
Throwback to the Great Resignation, when employees had the upper hand, leaving mediocre jobs for higher salaries and better perks. Now, with a looming recession, will employers use the instability to claw back one VIP (Very Important Perk): Working from Home?
Maybe not. Business Insider points out that remote work can actually be a pro for workers and bosses. Not only can companies save on rent by letting employees clickety-clack from the kitchen table, they can also hire talent in cheaper areas (i.e. not big cities).
The catch? There may come a time when you have to choose between a raise and that WFH perk. Would you rather have more money in your pocket or the ability to work in your PJs?
$3 movies on national cinema day!
On September 3, chains like AMC and Regal, along with droves of other theaters nationwide, are offering movies at just $3 a pop. It’s to celebrate a return to moviegoing after a looong couple years of staying in. We can taste the butter popcorn already.
(You can spring for a soda, too, with this credit card — it gives ya 4% cash back at the movies!)
1 in 6 US households are behind on energy payments
The cost of electricity is up nearly 15% from 2020 — a stressful prospect for folks already feeling the strain of inflation and COVID-related loss of income. And it’s not likely to get cheaper any time soon.
If you or someone you know is struggling to keep the lights on (AC, too), head to benefits.gov or contact your state government. They can help you get connected with relief.
Credit scores are at an all-time high (but not for everyone)
The national average is currently 716 — firmly in the “good” range, which is remarkable, considering Americans are taking on more debt than last year.
However, disparities still exist for minorities. CNBC reports that young adults in majority-Black communities have a median credit score of 582, for example, a statistic that’s rooted in decades of institutional discrimination.
💡If you want to start rebuilding your credit — which’ll raise your chances of getting approved for a loan — these credit cards are designed to help.
…aaand quick, call the Fed!
🔎 43 million Americans will get at least $10K in student debt relief. Are you one of them?
Today, we’re feeling lighter — $10,000 lighter, to be exact — with the Biden Administration announcing that it’s canceling student loan debt for millions of Americans. We’re also dreaming of dining in Europe, bemoaning the everloving cost of groceries and gaping at how much we should apparently be spending on wedding presents.
Biden administration forgives $10,000 of student loans for most borrowers
Folks who received Pell Grants are eligible for $20,000 of relief.
Are you jumping for joy or worried about the ripple effects of canceling student loan debt? Let us know in the comments!
@finderusa Are you one of the lucky ones that just saw their student loan balance down by $10k? #studentloans #studentloandebt #studentloan #studentloanforgiveness #studentdebt #studentdebtcrisis ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
Euro at lowest level since 2002
Analysts at Morgan Stanley predict the Euro will fall to $0.97 this quarter (compared to about $1.17 this time last year). If you’ve always wanted to go to Europe, now is a budget-friendly time to indulge that wanderlust.
💡And you can make those dollars go further with a travel card with no international transaction fees.
You’re not imagining it, your grocery bill is a helluva lot more.
If you’re still reeling with shock from your last trip to the grocery store, allow us to validate that feeling. Tradingpedia compared the cost of 34 food items at Walmart in 2019 versus today. Here are some of the biggest offenders:
- Sweet onions — 165.15% increase
- Milk — 150.72% increase
- Eggs — 127.27% increase
- Heinz tomato ketchup — 41.71% increase
- Freshness Guaranteed Boneless Chicken Breasts — 31.29% increase
- Bananas — 27.78% increase
One of the best ways we know to ease the pain (aside from screaming into a pillow) is using a credit card with rewards on groceries — a favorite from Amex offers 6% cash back, for example.
Are you a cheap wedding guest?
Emily Forrest, the director of communications at wedding registry and retailer Zola, recently told U.S. News that budget-conscious folks should be spending about $80-$100 per wedding gift. For a 100-person wedding, that’s about $10K in swag ($5K if it’s all couples or your friends are on the cheap side).
👌Life hack: Put a ring on it! Forrest says that if you’ve got a friend who’s willing to drop $250 on dinner and a bottle of wine, they should be giving gifts worth around a grand. #justsaying
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