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Sunday, December 29, 2019

So You Have A Dollar: How To Start Saving, Building And Repairing Your Credit Like A Boss





Well, it's that time of year again...

The time to start getting our finances together, preparing for taxes, and recovering from the financial black hole that was the holiday season!

 But don't fear. Your girl is here to keep you in top of the line makeup, gorgeous shoes, and rolling in dough (er...well...at least to help you to feel more confident about your finances and to allow you to buy whatever you need in life and retire in comfort and style, but that just doesn't sound as fun, now, does it?)!

Before we get started, I want to make sure that you have an opportunity to listen to the corresponding podcast episode, which features all of the information we are about to discuss. You can find it at: 


There are several apps and platforms which I use and recommend to my coaching and lifestyle consultation clients via my nudge coach platform (yeah, yeah, shameless plug, but I do this to help folks to realize their ambitions and meet their needs, and it's free, anyway), I would encourage you to sign up for today, at: 


I'll talk more about actual investing and the strategies, platforms, and purchases I recommend in a later podcast episode and blog post, because for now, I want to focus on starting with a dollar in your pocket (or in the cushions of your couch, cause let's be real, y'all know that's where your dollar is sitting right now. Check. I'll wait.) and building a lifechanging savings, along with excellent credit, with minimal time and energy output.

Below are the platforms I recommend. If you like free money, I have included my links to each platform I recommend, which, if you use them, will earn you free money upon sign up. It's as simple as that. 




 Acorns:

 *Acorns is a wonderful app that allows you to [safely, securely, quickly, and easily] connect your checking account, and whatever credit and debit cards you use most (I suggest connecting all of them) so that you can save money every single time you make a purchase.

  *Acorn allows you easy access to all of your information if you need to withdraw money or make a change to the status of your account. They even have a good customer service team to help you out.

  *Acorns basically takes money from your checking account every time you make a purchase, and puts it in either a conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive or aggressive fund of fractional investment shares, according to your personal needs (it’s a breeze to set up!) and preferences. You have access to that money at any time and can withdraw it whenever you like (allowing for several days for the selling of your fractional shares, and bank transfer time, according to your bank’s policies). If you leave it in, it will mature and you will start seeing growth. Obviously, the more money you put in and the more money you leave in, the more growth you’ll see.

  *The money that is taken from your checking account each time you make a purchase with a linked credit or debit card is called “Round-Ups.” You can take a break from adding money to your acorns account at any time (though I don’t recommend it), and you can even decide whether you’d like to increase your roundups or leave them as is. I normally set my roundups to 10x. That means that if I have bought a coffee at the corner coffee shop with a linked credit or debit card, and that coffee costs me $2.69, my roundup would be $.31 initially, but when I increase it to a 10x roundup, I’m putting $3.10 into my acorns savings, which is then invested by the acorns app, which makes money from said investment. Whether you’re interested in putting $3.31 away each time you buy a coffee, or whether you’d like to stick with $.31, it adds up! I’ve saved around $14,000 doing that, over the past five—almost six years. That money has gone to medical costs and to paying bills I need to pay off, and it has helped me to improve my credit immensely!

  *In addition to roundups, you have the option of opening up an Acorns Spend account, which essentially allows you to move money from your checking account to your acorns spend account to budget for expenses. This is an added extra that you get to decide whether you’d like, of course, as nothing on the Acorns platform is mandatory, and all of your options can be changed by you at any time, according to your needs.

  *As if that wasn’t enough, you can also (and I highly recommend that you do!) open up a Roth IRA through Acorns. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a Roth IRA is a tax-free savings account that you add to on a regular basis. I add at least a few dollars per month to my Roth IRA through Acorns. It’s simple and painless to set up and maintain. The money stored in that Roth IRA becomes available for you to use, after many years of savings. 

    *Once you reach  59.5 years of age, as long as your Roth IRA has been held for over five years, you will have access to that money without taxation, and by that time, you’ll have saved up a substantial amount of money that will really help you out since, by then, you’re likely to be thinking about retirement. 
    
    *Now, you CAN withdraw money from your Roth IRA at any time up until that point, but if you are not yet 59.5, and/or you have not held your Roth IRA for at least five years, you will be required to pay taxes on the amount that you withdraw, so while it is there for your use should you need it, it’s always best to wait until you reach the age of requirement to go ahead and use that money.

    *Roth IRAs have a yearly contribution limit of $6,000 if you are under the age of 50, and $7,000 if you are 50 or older. The beauty of Roth IRAs is that you CAN have more than one!

  *Another feature of Acorns that I’d like to discuss is the found money feature. Many companies want to reinvest in you, and they do that through the found money program, which, in essence, is similar to the affiliate programs I share with all of you on a regular basis. If you sign up with them and/or make purchases with them through acorns, they will invest either a set amount or a certain percentage of what you spend back into your acorns account.

  *And the BEST feature of all that really sets acorns head and shoulder above the crowd, in terms of investment and savings apps, is that YOU don’t have to know most of what I just told you in order to make and save money! Acorns does it all for you! Just set it and forget it!

  *Remember when I said that if you have a dollar to your name right now, you’re already well on your way to investing? Well, that’s true! Use my acorns link here in the description of this show, and in the description of this Facebook event today to receive $5 when you sign up, using my link! If you don’t use my link, you will not have access to that free $5, so please use my acorns (below) if $5 free sounds good to you! I will also receive $5 when you use my sign-up link.

Acorns sign-up link:



Stash:

 

*Stash does nearly the same things that Acorns does, with some notable differences. I highly recommend that you diversify and increase your savings by way of signing up for Stash as well. Use my link (below) for $5 free, just for signing up!

  *You can set your deposits and forget them, with stash. While it doesn’t work on a roundups system like Acorns, you do get to invest in a portfolio that the Stash app maintains for you, based on your preferences and financial ability.

  *You can also get a Stash spend debit card, which will, similarly to the acorns Spend Smart card, help you to budget more effectively for expenses and leave you with some extra spending money

  *I also highly recommend that you set up another Roth IRA with Stash, which you can contribute to the same way you do with Acorns.

My link:


Self:

  *Self, previously known as Self Lender, is a mechanism for savings AND credit improvement.

  *Self.inc allows you to open up a self lender loan. The amount, and the period over which you make payments is totally up to you, based on your personal preferences and finances (to yourself—the money is saved for you by self.inc in a maturing CD account, until the future date at which you finish making payments into the account, and then the money is given back to you in a lump sum, for you to do with as you please).

  *I pay $25/month for two years into my account with Self. You can set up your monthly payment as a direct deposit, or you can log into Self.inc every month and make your payment.

  *Self.inc reports to all major credit bureaus because this savings strategy essentially acts as a loan to yourself, to which you are making monthly payments, through the Self company. Your credit score can improve massively. Mine went up something like 83 points so far, and I’ve only had my Self.inc account for about 8 months.

  *It’s also great to know that by the time that you’re done making payments, you will receive a direct deposit (or a check, based on your preference) of the entire lump sum of the money in the account you’ve been paying into. That’s why I believe that Self is a critical savings and credit-building strategy, which I recommend to all of my clients. Use my link below, to sign up for Self today!

Get $10 when you use this link to sign up:



Robinhood:

*I want to focus on savings today, rather than investing, but I highly recommend that you use my Robinhood link for a free share of stock today when you sign up for Robinhood! I also recommend that you start out your portfolio with 3xETFs, which we will talk more about in just a minute.

*Robinhood is an optimal investment platform (low charges for those who want to buy single stocks, do smaller transactions, etc).

*Robinhood is an investment platform, for new and experienced investors alike. It features a full capability website, and a really comprehensive app for your phone, tablet, and smartwatch
*Benefits of 3xETFs in Robinhood portfolio:

  *3xETFs are wonderful tools. They allow you to not have to constantly track your portfolio. You’re almost guaranteed a substantial gain, and you’re not going to incur the fees and guesswork that go along with investing directly in companies.

  *With ETFs, you’re investing in a sector, which contains multiple companies, and your money isn’t tied to the success or failure of just one company.

  *The rewards in a 3xETF are threefold. That means more bang for your buck and a bigger return on your initial investment.

  *If you don’t like one 3xETF, it’s really simple to decide which of the other 3xETFs you’d like to buy instead, as most sectors have just two possible 3xETFs to invest in: a 3x Bull ETF and a 3x Bear ETF.

  *3xETFs are easy to understand and track, and often come with high yields.

  *You can fund Robinhood with your checking account. The money you make and the money you transfer to Robinhood arrives reasonably quickly.

  *Robinhood is a secure, highly rated platform.

Additional Life-Saving Credit Building MUST-DO:
*I’d also highly recommend checking out the following blog post below, which will guide you through the process of disputing items on your credit report. Sadly, one-quarter of all Americans report inaccurate dings on their credit reports, which negatively impact their credit scores (this is likely to be happening to many more of us than just 1/4 of the US population, though the 1/4 statistic reflects the people who have found out that there is an incorrect mark against their credit on their credit report and decided to take action. This data comes directly from the FCC). Here is the 411 on how to take a look at your credit report and see what incorrect information within may be negatively impacting your credit score. This happens one of two ways: either said incorrect information is added to your credit report because of simple human error, or, more likely, said information is incorrect because debts are sold off to multiple debt collection companies, from the company that the debt originated with, which often time makes for multiple strikes showing up on your credit report when there is just one strike that should be reflected. This is why it is extremely important that we are all diligent about checking our credit scores and disputing any false or incorrect charges.


My Robinhood Link (for a free stock upon sign-up): 


Okay! Phew! That was a lot! 

If you've got questions, I understand and I am happy to answer them below, or when you connect with me through my free Nudge platform (see above). Please don't hesitate to ask!



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