Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of those financial black clouds that are bringing you down? The rising debts, the falling credit scores, the rising expenses that are using up your savings?
Of course it would. And it’s definitely possible – with a few smart movements of money and adjustments to your spending habits, you can pave a path that leads you into a strong financial future.
Just because the strategies are long-term doesn’t mean you can’t start today. Take these steps to prepare for life.
1. Stop paying your credit card company
If you have credit card debt, your credit card company will keep piling the interest until you have paid it in full. And unless you win the lottery or win money, that might be difficult.
But a website called AmOne wants to help. Because the sooner you pay off your debts, the sooner you can set up the rest of your finances for a more stable life.
If you owe your credit card company $ 50,000 or less, AmOne will provide you with a low-interest loan that you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The advantage? You have to pay an invoice every month. And since personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you become debt free The much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why it still has an A + rating with the Better Business Bureau after 20 years in business.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $ 50,000 online. You need to give AmOne a real phone number to qualify, but don’t worry – they won’t spam you with phone calls.
2. Focus more on increasing your credit score
It’s easy to forget about your creditworthiness when you have more pressing problems ravaging your finances. But if you lose your credit score, you could be causing even more problems in the future. Your dreams of owning a home, buying a car, or even finding a new job could be ruined with a poor result.
So first things first – check your credit history and your credit report. Use a free website like Credit Sesame.
Within two minutes, you’ll have access to your credit history, all debtor accounts, and a handful of personalized tips for improving your score. You can even spot bugs that are holding you back (every fifth report has one).
It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
Now that you know where you stand, use these personalized tips to increase your score and eliminate mistakes. Whether you are cutting your credit usage or setting up automatic payments to avoid more late payments, you can now make smart decisions that do so
3. Invest with long-term goals in mind
Yes, short squeeze and options and puts can be exciting. And just like gambling in Vegas, you can win big – or lose bigger.
If you want to equip yourself for life, risky investments can set you back. So if you can’t afford to lose what you’ve invested in volatile assets, don’t do it.
One of the safest ways to invest for the long term is with traditional equity investments. Sure, it’s not that exciting, but over time the market has grown an average of 7% each year. This can go a long way toward achieving your long-term goals, and an app called Stash can help you with that.
You can become part of something that is normally only reserved for the richest of the rich – on Stash, you can buy parts of other companies for as little as $ 1.
That’s right – you can invest in chunks of popular companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and more for as little as $ 1. The best part? If these companies benefit, so can you. Some companies will even send you a quarterly check for your share of the profits called dividends
Registration takes two minutes and is completely secure. At Stash, all of your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) – this is the industry talk for “your money is safe” .2
If you use the link above, Stash will give you a $ 5 sign up bonus once you deposit $ 5 into your account. *
4. Add a little to your emergency fund every week
Preparing for life is not a quick fix to your current predicament. But if you gradually invest in yourself, you can make a huge difference in the future.
By adding a little cash to your emergency fund every week, you can slowly build it up without putting too much of a strain on your current budget. The recommended amount is three to six months of spending. So the sooner you start, the better.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, consider putting it in an account that offers you a sign-up bonus, high interest income, and no surprise fees. We like one called Aspiration that gives you $ 100 for opening an account.
Sure, many debit cards offer year-round sign-up bonuses, but they often require you to jump through minimum requirements that feel impossible to achieve.
But aspiration makes it easy. All you need to do to earn your $ 100 is: Open your Aspiration account and deposit at least $ 10. Then set up and receive three direct deposits of at least $ 500 each from your paycheck or government benefits. That’s it! Then just wait for your check.
Even better? Your debit card gives you up to 10% cashback on your purchases, and the money you keep there grows 16 times the national average.
Enter your email address here and link your bank account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and is subject to military encryption. This is nerd talk for “that’s perfectly safe”.
5. Reduce your expenses – even the mandatory ones
Preparing for financial security sometimes means cutting the fun things off your budget. But before you do that – because we all need our Netflix subscriptions right now – cut the bills you can’t live without.
How is that possible? Start with the places where you are likely to overpay, such as your auto insurance. When was the last time you looked for new offers at all? If it’s been more than six months, you could be getting a lower price now.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your zip code and age and your options will be displayed.
With Insure.com, people have saved an average of $ 489 per year on the same or similar coverage.
Yup. That could be $ 500 in your pocket just to take a few minutes to consider your options. Think how much more that could be in the long run!
Kari Faber is a writer for The Penny Hoarder. It is not meant for life – yet!
1Not all stocks pay dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid every year.
2It should be noted that the SIPC cover does not insure any potential loss of market value.
For securities priced above $ 1,000, fractional share purchases start at $ 0.05.
* Offer subject to promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $ 5.00 into your Invest account.
The Penny Hoarder is a paid affiliate / affiliate of Stash.
Investment advisory services from Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor. This material is distributed for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risks.