Personal Profitability https://personalprofitability.com Personal finance for hustlers and entrepreneurs Thu, 26 Aug 2021 01:57:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/personalprofitability.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/cropped-Personal-Profitability-Favicon.jpeg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Personal Profitability https://personalprofitability.com 32 32 Welcome to the <a href="http://personalprofitabilitypodcast.com/">Personal Profitability Podcast</a>! It's all about earning more, spending thoughtfully, growing your wealth, and living a better life through mindful personal finance.<br /> <br /> I strongly believe that everyone can benefit through these ideas, and I implement them in my life every single day. Join me for a new episode every Tuesday as we answer listener, interview successful entrepreneurs and personal finance experts, and help you on your path to Personal Profitability!<br /> <br /> Most interviews are focused on helping you earn more money. I am a six-figure freelancer earning over $10,000 per month, but it all started as a side hustle while I held a day job in corporate America. On nights and weekends I built my blog from an occasional $10 payout into a six-figure freelancing business. I now work from home a few minutes from the beach in Southern California, or wherever else I want. If you want to learn to do the same, hit that subscribe button and join me! Eric Rosenberg - Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship Expert clean episodic Eric Rosenberg - Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship Expert eric@3.136.100.179 eric@3.136.100.179 (Eric Rosenberg - Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship Expert) Earn More, Spend Thoughtfully, Growth Your Wealth, and Live a Better Life Through Mindful Personal Finance Personal Profitability https://personalprofitability.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/Personal_Profitability_Podcast_Logo.png https://personalprofitability.com/personalprofitabilitypodcast/ TV-PG Ventura, CA, USA Ventura, CA, USA Weekly Support This Podcast on Patreon Support This Podcast on Patreon 82655629 Is Pay Per Mile Right for Me? https://personalprofitability.com/is-pay-per-mile-right-for-me/ Mon, 23 Aug 2021 20:14:16 +0000 https://personalprofitability.com/?p=49494 If you had told me four years ago that my car insurance was about to go down by half, I might not have believed you. But that’s exactly what happened when I dropped my traditional car insurance and switched to Metromile. Here’s a look at exactly how pay per mile insurance works, when it makes […]

The post Is Pay Per Mile Right for Me? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
If you had told me four years ago that my car insurance was about to go down by half, I might not have believed you. But that’s exactly what happened when I dropped my traditional car insurance and switched to Metromile.

Here’s a look at exactly how pay per mile insurance works, when it makes sense, and how it saves me money every single month compared to my old insurance policy.

How pay per mile is different from traditional auto insurance

With old-school car insurance, you pay a fixed amount every month to insure your car. While it’s important to have comprehensive coverage that meets your needs, with traditional insurance policies, you have to pay the same amount whether your car is sitting around at home or driving back and forth to work and running regular errands around town.

Pay per mile insurers realized that you probably will not get into a car accident when your car is sitting still, so you shouldn’t have to pay as much if your car is parked.

With pay per mile, you unbundle the cost of insuring your car while sitting around and insuring it while driving it around. This means people who drive less will save a lot. People who put a lot of miles on their cars might do better with traditional insurance. Your driving habits are the main factor in which type of insurance makes the most sense for your unique needs.

When pay per mile car insurance makes sense

With traditional insurance, you always know exactly what you’re going to pay for coverage each month, but you won’t save anything if you drive a lot less, as many of us are since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even many people who drive to the office five days per week could save with pay per mile, but those who now work from home full-time or part-time may be more likely to find significant savings.

With pay per mile, you pay a much lower fixed rate every month and pay a few cents for every mile you drive. If you drive more, you pay more. If you drive less, you pay less. Anyone who drives less than 10,000 per year may be able to save money with pay-per-mile. During COVID and beyond, there’s a very good chance that includes you.

This kind of insurance isn’t right for everyone, but for many people, particularly those who work from home or have very short commutes, pay per mile could save you a small fortune compared to traditional insurance. College students, seniors, public transit riders, and anyone who drives less than 30 miles a day on average will save.

For me, switching to pay per mile insurance with Metromile led to huge savings. Honestly, my only regret is that I didn’t switch sooner!

How I saved half with pay per mile insurance

The welcome email I received from Metromile when I signed up on August 10, 2016.


As a personal finance writer, I’m a big fan of saving money – but who isn’t? One of my favorite parts of getting married was saving money every month on my car insurance. But even having tied the knot and proven that I was a low-risk driver, my wife and I still had to pay what felt like an arm and a leg to stay insured.

It was actually a bad customer service experience that led us to shop around and discover Metromile. While bundling and “saving” with our previous insurer, we paid $155 per month for our two cars and two drivers with perfect records for about a decade.

Our original Metromile quote from 2016 led to a rate of less than $1 per day per car

We both drove old, paid-off cars, and neither had (or have) a regular commute. That means we didn’t rack up a lot of per-mile charges regularly. However, if we do decide to take a road trip, there’s a limit to how many miles we pay for per day. If you go over 250 miles in a day (or 150 if you live in New Jersey), any additional miles are free.

For October 2016, our first full-month bill with Metromile, we paid just $87. That’s a fairly average bill for us. However, we have some months where we’ve paid less than $60. Assuming an average bill of $85 per month, which we generally paid our first year at Metromile, that’s a 45% savings, or nearly half!

The Metromile app has all of our billing details. We can see how many miles we drove and even maps of past trips. It also includes useful features like gas mileage tracking and information about any engine error lights from your car’s computer.

Our costs have crept up very slowly over time, and we got a new car, so now we pay around $100 per month to insure both cars. But our most expensive month ever with Metromile when we’ve taken long road trips have always been less than what we paid to our old insurer.

Over the four years we’ve been with Metromile, I estimate that we’ve saved about $3,000 so far, and that would be assuming our old car insurance company wouldn’t have raised their rates, and they almost certainly would have. Thanks to dumping our traditional car insurance, we can add more to our savings every month.

Are you living the pay per mile lifestyle?

You may already be living the pay per mile lifestyle and not even realize it! We saved money driving an average of around 700-800 miles per month between the two of us. That’s about 25 miles per day. But even if we had driven quite a bit more, we still would have saved.

Take a look at how much you really drive in a typical month. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars per year. Pay per mile can make it work. You decide what to do with the savings.

(This post was written by me and includes my own opinions, but was coordinated with Metromile.)

The post Is Pay Per Mile Right for Me? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
49494
Tips for Improving Your Budget Management https://personalprofitability.com/tips-for-improving-your-budget-management/ Fri, 20 Aug 2021 14:05:59 +0000 https://personalprofitability.com/?p=49480 This post comes from a Personal Profitability partner. Do you often find yourself wondering where your money went? Has it been proving to be such a struggle for you to truly save up and improve your financial situation? Have you been racking your brain trying to determine where the leak in your finances is and […]

The post Tips for Improving Your Budget Management appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
This post comes from a Personal Profitability partner.

Do you often find yourself wondering where your money went? Has it been proving to be such a struggle for you to truly save up and improve your financial situation? Have you been racking your brain trying to determine where the leak in your finances is and how to plug it? 

Budgeting finances can understandably be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many different techniques and apps you can use to help improve your financial management know-how and skills. 

Here are a few simple tips that can get you one step closer to financial maturity. 

Make a Financial Audit

Before you jump into a brand new game plan, you should first try to have a clear understanding of your financial situation. What expenses do you have exactly, and are they recurring? It would help to make a list of all your expected bills and dues on a monthly basis, so you can have a base standard of how much you should have in your account at any given time. 

For credit or loans, make sure to account for the interest rate, and especially the due date. Missing payment deadlines do impact the amount due, so you should do your best not to miss out on any of them. If the option is available, it’s always better to enroll in autopay, which means money will automatically be debit from your linked account to pay your credit or loan through their preferred platform. 

Separate Your Savings

Anything that you will need to pay your monthly dues should be on its own account, and separate from your savings. You can either make the monthly deposit manually or enroll it as an auto-debit with your bank as well. 

The trick is to remove a set amount from your expenses account and your mind. Don’t even think that you have that money to spend–you don’t because it should be sitting nicely in your savings account instead. 

You may start small, but over time, you’d be surprised at how much your savings have already grown, for as long as you don’t keep dipping your hands into it. With an active, growing savings account, you can then look forward to the next step to financial freedom, which is investing. After all, you should only invest money that you can afford to lose. 

Identify Miscellaneous Expenses

It’s easy to overlook miscellaneous expenses as the leak because they don’t seem that much, to begin with. However, it turns out that these “small” expenses do eventually add up. Dining out, for example, can instantly bump up your expenses without you noticing it. The same goes for deliveries and online shopping.

Transportation through cabs and ride-sharing apps also do end up being very expensive, especially since the charges can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, such as distance and traffic. 

Make a detailed note of all these types of expenses that you usually have. It should be easy to trace back based on your credit card transactions, anyway. Ultimately, the point is for you to see how much these add up to, and how much they actually impact your finances.

Use Technology

At this point, there’s no reason for you not to get the help you need from technology. Once you’re done doing your audit, and since you already have an idea where the financial leak is coming from, it’s time to rectify the situation by staying on top of things. Using budget management apps like Simplifi by Quicken can help you avoid overspending by keeping track of your finances in real-time. 

Budgeting apps only take a simple installation on your phone, so you can check the status of your finances wherever you are. You can even get budget management tips and ideas to further improve your financial literacy. Hopefully, you can finally achieve your savings goals.

This post comes from a Personal Profitability partner.

The post Tips for Improving Your Budget Management appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
49480
What is a PPP Loan? https://personalprofitability.com/what-is-a-ppp-loan/ Tue, 15 Jun 2021 21:32:55 +0000 https://personalprofitability.com/?p=48048 Many people have heard of the term “PPP loan” before, but they aren't entirely sure what it actually is or who can apply for one. Fortunately, some banks and financial institutions can help you determine whether you qualify and assist you will filing out your PPP loan application when the time comes. Before you begin, however, it's […]

The post What is a PPP Loan? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Many people have heard of the term “PPP loan” before, but they aren't entirely sure what it actually is or who can apply for one. Fortunately, some banks and financial institutions can help you determine whether you qualify and assist you will filing out your PPP loan application when the time comes. Before you begin, however, it's helpful to have more background knowledge on what PPP loans are, who they can help, and when you can apply for PPP loan forgiveness. 

Note: This post comes to you in conjunction with a Personal Profitability partner.

What is a PPP Loan? 

PPP loans, or Paycheck Protection Program loans, are money provided by the government to encourage to keep their employees on the payroll. Nobody wants to lay off employees or cut their pay, but when times are tough, many small businesses have to do just that. With a PPP loan, however, you are given funds to continue paying your employees, including their benefits, and they can also be used to help with rent, utilities, and property damage or theft. 

Is There Interest on PPP Loans?

Yes, there is a small 1% interest rate on PPP loans. Fortunately, if you follow strict criteria, you can get your loan payments forgiven, though this is never guaranteed. Either way, the small 1% interest rate helps prevent small businesses from getting in too deep, as interest accumulates much slower than it would from a private lender that may charge several times more interest. 

Who Qualifies for a PPP Loan?

It can be a bit tricky to determine who actually may qualify for a PPP loan but enlisting the help of a trusted banker or financial consultant can help you understand if it's an option for you. Generally, people who apply for PPP loans are those who own small businesses that adhere to the Small Business Association's size standards, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and those who are self-employed. 

Non-profit organizations may also be eligible for a PPP loan, depending upon their size and specific codes. 

Can I Apply More Than Once?

Yes, some small businesses may qualify for more than one PPP loan, depending upon their own unique set of circumstances, or they may qualify for an increase in the loan they originally received. Receiving another PPP loan is called a Second Draw PPP loan, though the terms are substantially more strict than First Draw PPP loans. 

When Can I Apply for Forgiveness?

Businesses or individuals can apply for loan forgiveness after they have used all of the money, and before the maturity date of the loan passes. In many cases, the loan maturity date is about 10 months after the last date of the covered period, so it's in your best interest to apply for forgiveness as soon as possible if you qualify. 

Nobody likes filling out paperwork, and accepting help from an institution can be hard for many business owners and independent contractors. At the same time, you don't have to face this alone, and getting help in these matters from an expert can make the whole process much easier. 

This post comes to you in conjunction with a Personal Profitability partner.

The post What is a PPP Loan? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
48048
How High-Mileage Drivers Can Lower Their Insurance Rate https://personalprofitability.com/how-high-mileage-drivers-can-lower-their-insurance-rate/ Tue, 01 Jun 2021 14:26:00 +0000 https://personalprofitability.com/?p=47343 Driving can cost a lot of money. Between car payments, maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance, driving expenses add up quickly. It pays to look for ways to save on your transportation costs however you can, especially if you happen to drive a lot — because even your insurance rates can see an impact if you […]

The post How High-Mileage Drivers Can Lower Their Insurance Rate appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Driving can cost a lot of money. Between car payments, maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance, driving expenses add up quickly. It pays to look for ways to save on your transportation costs however you can, especially if you happen to drive a lot — because even your insurance rates can see an impact if you happen to qualify as a high-mileage driver.

What Qualifies as High Mileage Driving?

First, let's take a quick look at why high-mileage driving could result in higher insurance rates.

Simply put, mileage influences car insurance premiums because more time spent on the road means a higher risk of accident or damage. After all, if your car spends most of the time in the garage, it's not very likely to be the source of an insurance claim. If you're making a long commute every day, your accident risks are objectively higher — thus the higher premiums.

So are you a high-mileage driver? According to statistics, the average American motorist drives around 13,000 miles per year. If you fall in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 miles yearly, your premiums are unlikely to see a hike. If you drive over 15,000 miles in a year, you may qualify as a high-mileage driver. Similarly, if you drive somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles a year, you may qualify for a discount as a low-mileage driver.

How Much More Do High-mileage Drivers Pay?

How much more will you pay if it turns out you are a high-mileage driver? Let's look at some average statistics from The Zebra:

Average six-month premium, by mileage:
10,000 – 15,000 miles: $965
15,000 – 20,000 miles: $972
20,000 – 25,000 miles: $974
25,000 – 30,000 miles: $976

While this is a fairly marginal change in premiums, you should also be aware that premiums can vary by state. For example, in California, rate hikes for high-mileage drivers could go up to 30% (as compared to 1-3% for high-mileage drivers in other states).

How Can High-mileage Drivers Lower Their Insurance Car Rate?

  • Find a cheaper insurer. It always pays to shop around for a better deal, regardless of how many miles you drive in a year. Online tools have made it easier than ever to compare insurance rates between companies and hopefully find a better rate than you have now.
  • Maintain a clean driving record. A driving record free of accidents and traffic violations is one of the most dependable ways to keep your rates low (or at least them from getting any higher). Do your best to stay out of trouble when it comes to your driving.
  • Take advantage of discounts. There are almost always more discounts available to drivers than they might guess at first glance. Insurers commonly offer discounts and other perks for a variety of criteria: student discounts, good driver discounts, discounts for bundling your insurance policies or paying ahead. Get in touch with your insurance company and find out what's available to you.
  • Change your coverage. If your car is fully paid off and worth less than $4,000, consider dumping your collision and comprehensive coverage. Your liability insurance should be sufficient for your needs — the rest is unlikely to do you any good until you get a newer vehicle.
  • By a cheaper used vehicle. Older cars tend to attract lower rates as their value depreciates. Now might be a good time to trade down!
  • Take a defensive driving course. Some insurance companies will lower your insurance if you can prove you completed a defensive driving course, which will reduce your risk of accident on the road regardless of how much you drive. Contact your insurer and see if this is a program they offer (or shop around for an insurance provider who does).
  • Try to drive less and lower your mileage. While this one might seem like a no-brainer, it might be worth looking into how you could drive less often. If public transportation or biking is an option, consider giving that a try — or see about working from home more often.

Should I Install a Telematics System?

One of the major ways car insurance companies are now offering their customers lower rates: telematics. A driving tracker installed in your car will collect usage data telling the insurer how much you drive, what time of days you drive most, and what your driving behavior is like (such as force of braking, speeding, etc.)

If the data collected shows you drive safely, you can use that data to negotiate a lower rate — and many insurers will give you a discount simply for letting them collect that data in the first place. For some, this might be a privacy concern — but if you are looking for another way to save money, this might be just the thing.

The post How High-Mileage Drivers Can Lower Their Insurance Rate appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
47343
How Your Insurance Rates Are Calculated https://personalprofitability.com/insurance-rates/ https://personalprofitability.com/insurance-rates/#comments Thu, 25 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 http://narrowbridge.net/?p=2073 I mentioned last week that I have been shopping around for car insurance. Many people do not understand the factors that impact their insurance rates, and my research brought out some important things to know in the unknown world of insurance premiums.

The post How Your Insurance Rates Are Calculated appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Recently I was on the hunt for car insurance. Many people do not understand the factors that impact their insurance rates, and my research brought out some important things to know in the unknown world of insurance premiums.

Health Insurance Rates

Health insurance is a beast of an industry. While I am a big proponent of public healthcare, that is not the world we live in (if you are in the United States). Health insurance rates can be calculated using one of two methods.

If you work for a big company, your employer will negotiate a blanket rate for everyone at the company. This is based on factors such as the average age of employees, fitness levels, and so on. Your employer will generally pay a portion of your premium every month and you pay the rest. Every company is different, and you have little, if any, control over how this is handled.

If you need to find your own health insurance, a formula is used to determine your individual plan rates. The major inputs are your age, weight, family health history, your health history and pre-existing conditions, tobacco and alcohol use, past surgeries, and other major risk factors for health care costs.

Auto Insurance Rates

The auto insurance industry has done extensive research to find correlations between people and driving safety. It turns out that the statistics are pretty solid, and the industry prices insurance based on your risk factors.

The major factors for auto coverage are your age, gender, driving history, marital status, credit score, home zip code, and your car’s make, model, and color. If you are a seventeen year old boy that has had several accidents, lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and drives a cherry red Mustang convertible, your rates are going to be higher than a fifty year old married woman driving a 1980s station wagon. It makes sense.

The down side is that you could be a really safe seventeen year old boy and still get hit with high rates because other seventeen year old boys get into lots of accidents.

Renter Insurance Rates

I have renter’s insurance. I highly recommend all renters get a policy to cover your belongings. Landlords have insurance to cover the property, but your stuff is not covered by that policy. If there is a floor or fire and your possessions are destroyed, a renter’s policy pays to replace your stuff.

Renter’s policies are rated based on the location of the property, construction and building style, size of the property, type of property (apartment or single family home), and certain policy exceptions. Discuss this in detail with your insurance agent to make sure your coverage meets your needs.

Homeowner Insurance Rates

Homeowner’s policies cover the building and the contents of the building. The factors are very similar to renter’s policies, but the premiums are higher because you are covering the building and the contents.

Generally homeowner policies are bundled into mortgage payments so you just make one payment per month for your house. Property taxes are often included as well.

If you live in a neighborhood with high crime rates, your insurance is going to be higher than a safe suburb. If you live in a wood frame house, your policy will cost more than a brick or steel constructed building. These risk factors take into account the likelihood of a loss or claim.

Complex, But You Have to Understand It

The insurance world is complex. While your agent might seem like your friend today, the idea of an insurance company is to make a profit. To make a profit, they try to maximize what you pay in and minimize what they pay out.

Make sure you find a trustworthy, highly rated, well regarded insurance company. All insurers are not alike. Some people have horror stories where companies would not pay out for a claim. Others have stories about helpful agents walking them through the entire process. Read a lot about the company when you are making a selection.

Determining Insurance Premiums- PersonalProfitability.com

This post was originally published on April 27, 2011 and updated on March 23, 2021.

The post How Your Insurance Rates Are Calculated appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
https://personalprofitability.com/insurance-rates/feed/ 6 2073
How To Become a CFO https://personalprofitability.com/how-to-become-a-cfo/ Sun, 21 Mar 2021 20:51:24 +0000 https://personalprofitability.com/?p=45148 For students or professionals interested in finance, it may be difficult to ascertain which career path to pursue. After all, the world of business and finance is a broad one. One of the most respected roles in this arena is that of a chief financial officer. While you may hear or read about the feats […]

The post How To Become a CFO appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
For students or professionals interested in finance, it may be difficult to ascertain which career path to pursue. After all, the world of business and finance is a broad one. One of the most respected roles in this arena is that of a chief financial officer. While you may hear or read about the feats of CFOs of famous companies, it is not always clear what this position entails. Consider several key bits of information that may help you to understand what a CFO does and how you can achieve this assignment.

Responsibilities of a CFO

Depending on the type of company a CFO works for, the day-to-day responsibilities may look a bit different. In general, CFOs fulfill key leadership roles over multiple financial departments within a business. This goes to say that this officer must monitor and respond to the work being done by a company's accountants, financial analysts, controllers and even human resources specialists.

Because CFOs are aware of so many aspects of a business's financial status, they are also responsible for making significant decisions that affect the company as a whole. In fact, some CFOs may even fulfill the role of chief financial officer simultaneously. For this reason, CFOs must be highly knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects relating to finance. In addition, these professionals frequently are required to speak in front of and direct groups of people, from their own coworkers to their shareholders. 

Education

While different CFOs may have very different educational backgrounds, this position generally requires both a bachelor's and a master's degree. If you are interested in pursuing this career path, you may want to start by focusing your undergraduate studies on a related subject. For instance, CFOs commonly major in areas such as accounting, business administration, economics or finance. If you have already completed your undergraduate degree in a different subject, not to worry. Many current CFOs didn't study finance at first. For example, the CFO of ReactiveCore, David Geithner, studied government during his undergraduate program.

It's important to do well during your undergraduate studies so that you are able to pursue a graduate degree later on. Some CFOs study accounting at the graduate level and begin their career by working as a CPA. This certification equips young professionals with a thorough understanding of various types of accounting. On the other hand, you may choose to earn a master's degree in a subject such as public administration in order to better develop your leadership and management skills.

One of the most valuable educational programs for future CFOs is a Master of Business Administration. Getting your MBA requires you to reach a strong level of understanding of numerous topics related to business. These programs often teach students about everything from marketing to ethics. If you are already working in the field of business, you may want to consider earning an Executive MBA, as this path focuses on the skills required in executive positions and allows you to continue working while you are in school.

Work Experience

Whether you enter the workforce before or after earning a graduate degree, it's important to gain experience in a variety of different positions. You may be able to accomplish this by taking on new roles at your current company or by seeking out additional opportunities in other places. Be sure to gain familiarity with a wide range of topics related to finance, such as accounting, risk management, analysis and budgeting. In addition, it's vital that you gain experience in areas such as customer service and information technology. 

As you gain more and more work experience, you may also wish to seek out a mentor. Whether or not this mentor also works at your company, he or she may be able to advise you on the types of positions or learning opportunities you should pursue in order to work towards becoming a CFO. Similarly, be sure to capitalize on any networking opportunities you may have. Establishing relationships with people inside and outside your current company may help you to be considered for a wider range of roles.

Take on More Responsibility

A final thing to note about the path to being named CFO is that you must demonstrate that you can be successful in leadership roles. Because good leadership skills can often be developed with practice, it's a good idea to push yourself by taking on added responsibility. This may involve applying for new positions or simply stepping up when a leader is needed. You may wish to seek opportunities where you can act as a director of finance, internal audit manager or a similar upper-level assignment.

The path to becoming a CFO is not an easy one. In addition to the schoolwork involved, you must excel in a variety of different work roles. Nonetheless, this position may be very rewarding for those professionals who are deeply interested in the world of finance and enjoy leading others.

The post How To Become a CFO appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
45148
Take The Cash or Reinvest https://personalprofitability.com/take-cash-or-reinvest/ https://personalprofitability.com/take-cash-or-reinvest/#comments Thu, 04 Mar 2021 13:00:00 +0000 http://beta.narrowbridgeadventures.com/2008/12/16/take-the-cash-or-reinvest/ Dividend stocks are equity investments that pay cash to investors on a regular basis. Investors often have different goals when buying dividend stocks, but each investor must decide whether to reinvest the dividend or take the cash.

The post Take The Cash or Reinvest appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Dividend stocks are equity investments that pay cash to investors on a regular basis. Investors often have different goals when buying dividend stocks, but each investor must decide whether to reinvest the dividend or take the cash.

Valuing a Dividend Stock

The Dividend Discount Model is the most popular method to decide the intrinsic value of dividend paying stocks (as opposed to multiple analysis or discounted cash flow analysis).

The dividend discount model says that the price of a dividend stock should equal the value of next year's dividend divided by the expected dividend growth rate. There are complexities for stocks that assume a constant dividend or continual growth, but before investing in any stock it is important to understand the intrinsic value.

Dividend Growth vs. Equity Growth

Some investors prefer dividend stocks because they pay out a nearly guaranteed cash flow

for the foreseeable future. Walmart is currently paying a dividend of 2.5% per year. Even if the stock only increases 2.5% in price, you still get a 5% return.

Companies like Berkshire Hathaway are famous for their non-dividend policy. Warren Buffet, the famous investor in charge of Berkshire Hathaway, says he can give investors a better return if he uses the cash rather than pay it back. He has been spot on, growing book value an average of 19.7% per year compared to 9.4% on average for the S&P 500.

Determine Your Goals

Are you looking to retire soon, or are you looking to save for retirement? Are you trying to build wealth or create a cash stream? Those are the types of questions you have to answer when deciding what to do with a dividend.

For investors in retirement, a cash flow is clearly the most important goal. If you can create a steady income stream without selling your capital, you are in great shape. If an investor can put a $1 million retirement account into dividend stocks averaging 4%, they will walk away with $40,000 in annual pre-tax income without touching their savings. (Remember that capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than regular income)

If you are trying to grow your assets, reinvesting is always the best option. If you believe in a stock enough to put your money there, you should believe in it enough to increase your position organically through a dividend reinvestment.

How to Start a Dividend Reinvestment

You can reinvest your dividends through one of two methods, from your broker or a DRIP.

First, you can simply select the option to “reinvest” when you buy a stock through your stock broker. In my account, it is just a simple check box on the buy screen.

Second, you can buy into a DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan) directly from the company, though the fees may be higher than from a discount broker.

Find out what the 3 best long term dividend stocks are!

What is Your Best Option?

Each investor must decide what their goals are and how to build a portfolio to reach those goals. If you are in retirement, or near to it, the best option is to take the cash. Otherwise, most investors should opt to reinvest their dividends.

What do you chose to do with your dividends? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

This post was originally published on December 16, 2008 and updated on February 28, 2021.

Should You Take The Cash or Reinvest Dividends- PersonalProfitability.com
The post Take The Cash or Reinvest appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
https://personalprofitability.com/take-cash-or-reinvest/feed/ 5 75
Mint Alternatives: The Best Alternatives to Mint.com https://personalprofitability.com/mint-alternatives/ https://personalprofitability.com/mint-alternatives/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2021 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.narrowbridge.net/?p=14152 Mint Alternatives help you track your finances in one place. Mint is one of the oldest and biggest online personal finance tracking apps. Founded in 2006, Mint made waves in the personal finance software world thanks to its powerful interface and ability to add transactions from thousands of financial institutions. The company was acquired in […]

The post Mint Alternatives: The Best Alternatives to Mint.com appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Mint Alternatives help you track your finances in one place. Mint is one of the oldest and biggest online personal finance tracking apps. Founded in 2006, Mint made waves in the personal finance software world thanks to its powerful interface and ability to add transactions from thousands of financial institutions.

The company was acquired in 2009, and since then many users believe the site's functionality and support have gone downhill, sending them looking for Mint alternatives. If you want an alternative to Mint.com, here is a list of options. I have tried many of them myself so I could give you an in-depth, honest review.


About Mint.com

Mint.com Logo

Mint is the original and most popular online account tracking software. For no charge, you are able to link all of your bank, credit, loan, and investment accounts into one interface. The site helps you automatically track your budgets, financial goals, and all of your transactions through one login and an intuitive interface.

The site was acquired by personal finance powerhouse Intuit in 2009, and the site has undergone many changes. While some new features like credit score reporting have been added, long-time features have slipped and the switch from an outsourced account data system to the in-house system built for Quicken have caused data errors and headaches for some users who are now in search of Mint alternatives. Mint.com is free.


Mint Alternatives Summary

Mint AlternativesFeatures/Best For
Personal CapitalBest Overall
Lunch MoneyMoney and tech-savvy
Power WalletBill Reminders and insights
QuickenTraditional desktop tracker
You Need a BudgetTracking every dollar
Yodlee Money CenterTracking everything
LearnvestFinancial advising

Best Mint Alternative: Personal Capital

mint alternative personal capital

This site is my go-to resource for tracking my investments across all of my investment accounts. I track my individual stock holdings, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, special investment accounts, and employer 401(k) account through Personal Capital, and it has been useful and has saved me a bunch of money.

I used the investment analysis tools at Personal Capital to bring my portfolio in-line with my goals and save over $300 per year on mutual fund fees. If you have $25,000 or more in cash and investments, you will also qualify for a free consulting session with a Personal Capital advisor. Personal Capital is free, but if you choose to hire your advisor to manage your investments for you, there is a fee based on your portfolio size.

Detailed Comparison: Mint Alternative: Personal Capital »


Lunch Money

Lunch Money is a newer app from a solo developer. She has done an awesome job building a tool for those who are doing well with their money and want more insights and control. It isn't quite as robust as Mint, but everything I tried worked flawlessly with Lunch Money, which I can't say about the larger competitor. The site has an active roadmap with new features added regularly.

Lunch Money is focused primarily on tracking your budget categories. It works well for both the United States and international users in foreign currencies. It also supports tracking cryptocurrency accounts and wallets, something most competitors have yet to touch. I've been using it myself for a little bit, and have been very impressed. The biggest downside is that it isn't free. It costs $10 per month or $100 per year, but there are no advertisements and your information is never sold. Some may call that a small cost for better privacy.

Lunch Money »


Power Wallet

Power Wallet logo

Power Wallet aggregates your finances in one view, and helps you track all of your financial account data in one central place. The site has a big focus on adding budgets by spending category and tracking your spending habits against your budget automatically.

Power Wallet also offers bill reminders to help you avoid missing bills and paying those pesky late charges. The insights from this site are geared toward helping you meet your own personal finance goals. Power Wallet is free.

PowerWallet »


Quicken

Quicken logo

Made by Intuit, the owner of Mint, Quicken is the long-time leader in desktop based financial tracking. Quicken offers most of what you get for free at Mint.com, but featured in desktop software that you download and install on your computer.

Because the program is desktop based, the web and mobile access lack compared to Mint, but the software allows you to own and control all of your data on your own PC. More expensive versions of the program also include tracking for small business, rental real estate, and investments. Quicken is paid software.

Quicken »


YNAB

YNAB You Need a Budget Logo

You Need a Budget, known by its loyal army of users as YNAB, is a desktop and mobile based budgeting software with a major difference from everything else on this list: it does not automatically link to your bank accounts.

YNAB founder Jesse Mecham believes that manually adding each transaction creates the best habits, and automatic tracking does not form any habits. When you make a purchase with cash or credit, you enter the purchase into your budget and get an update right away. This is proactive budgeting, not retroactive reacting.

YNAB is software that you purchase and download. Version 4.0 is currently available for $60, or you can sign up for the free trial.

YNAB »


Yodlee MoneyCenter

yodlee logo

Yodlee was the original data aggregation provider for Mint.com, and while that site switched over to the Intuit engine, Yodlee is still a top provider of account aggregation for some of the sites in this list.

Yodlee MoneyCenter is their in-house personal finance tracking tool, and it is powerful and useful in its own right. The tools provided in MoneyCenter are focused on tracking account balances and transactions, reaching finance goals, and tracking your spending by category.

Yodlee MoneyCenter also allows you to track your airline miles, your net worth, and understand your investment asset allocation. Yodlee MoneyCenter is free.

Yodlee MoneyCenter »


LearnVest

learnvest logo

LearnVest is the account tracking program created by actual personal finance advisors, so the tools are focused on how you interact with your money and the psychology behind personal finance management.

Rather than honing in on small budget categories, LearnVest breaks your money down into income, fixed expenses, goals, and flex spending money for you to do what you want. They have a major focus on getting debt free as well. The software is free, but a paid experience is available where you are assigned a personal financial advisor to give you extra help.

LearnVest »


Mint Alternatives Graveyard


Clarity Money

mint alternative clarity money

Clarity Money is a simple personal finance and budget tracker that was merged into Marcus by Goldman Sachs, a consumer bank, in March 2021 under the name Marcus Insights. This app doesn't offer the deep budgeting or investment tools of Mint and Personal Capital. Instead, it focuses on giving you your current account details in an easy-to-understand view with details on the most recent transactions.

In either case, if you want a simple snapshot of all of your money, Clarity Money delivers. But an account with Marcus by Goldman Sachs is required.

Clarity Money »


Adaptu

Adaptu logo

Adaptu was a site with a focus on connecting your personal finance tracking with community support. Adaptu was one of the first personal finance tracking tools to offer a mobile wallet app.

The site shut down in February, 2013.

Mint Alternative: Adaptu »

Adaptu Alternatives »


Thrive

thrive logo

Thrive was an early Mint alternative with a focus on budgeting based on your behavior. The tools looked at your average spending in each category, and told you how many times you could do things like go to a restaurant or bar without going into debt.

The site was owned by Lending Tree and shut down in June, 2011.

Mint Alternative: Thrive »


PageOnce

PageOnce logo

PageOnce was built to be a dashboard for all of your account balances, but didn't focus on transactions as much as the high level. It eventually re-branded as Check, a tool focused on bill payments. PageOnce was purchased by Intuit in May, 2014.

In December, 2014, the tools was added to Mint.com under the name Mint Bills, which is available for signup today.

Mint Alternative: PageOnce »

Mint Bills Review »


Manilla

Manilla Logo

Manilla provided account balances in one place, but its best feature was acting as your full service digital filing cabinet. The site automatically downloaded all statements for bank accounts, credit cards, and even utility and other bills.

Manilla shut down in July, 2014. See the link below for my favorite digital file cabinet replacement options.

Mint Alternative: Manilla »

Manilla Alternatives »


Wesabe

Wesabe Logo

Wesabe was another of the original Mint alternatives. In fact, it was older than Mint.com. The site featured both personal finance tracking and a community feature. For those afraid to keep their finances on a server owned by sites like Mint, Wesabe had an online/desktop link that was used to update your transactions.

Wesabe shut down in July, 2010.

RIP Wesabe »


This post was originally published on January 12, 2015 and updated on March 30, 2021.

The post Mint Alternatives: The Best Alternatives to Mint.com appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
https://personalprofitability.com/mint-alternatives/feed/ 10 14152
Should My IRA Charge Me a Maintenance Fee? https://personalprofitability.com/ira-fees/ https://personalprofitability.com/ira-fees/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2021 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.narrowbridge.net/?p=13443 Narrow Bridge Finance reader Yvonne sent in a question about IRA fees for her account at Meryl Lynch. She received a letter that said her annual account fee would be going up to $100 per year, and that didn’t pass her gut check. Here’s her question. I just realized through my Merrill Edge traditional IRA […]

The post Should My IRA Charge Me a Maintenance Fee? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
Narrow Bridge Finance reader Yvonne sent in a question about IRA fees for her account at Meryl Lynch. She received a letter that said her annual account fee would be going up to $100 per year, and that didn’t pass her gut check. Here’s her question.

I just realized through my Merrill Edge traditional IRA I am going to be charged a year account fee. I set this account up September of 2013 with a $5,500.00 deposit. At the time, the representative on the telephone never mentioned a yearly fee. I received a notice the fee was going up from $65.00 to $100.00 a year. This seems like a large yearly fee considering the amount of money in the account. I have to say I really am not educated about IRA accounts. Is this a normal fee? I'm considering moving my IRA. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

What is an IRA?

To start, let’s set the ground floor on what IRAs are and how they work. At the basic level, an IRA is an investment account for your retirement with tax benefits over regular investment accounts. There are two types of IRAs, the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. A traditional IRA allows you to invest pre-tax (lowers your current taxes) for your retirement. A Roth IRA is an after-tax investment, but you don’t pay taxes on capital gains when you withdraw. In both cases, there are penalties for withdrawing before you are 59 ½ years old. There are a few exceptions, but generally this is an investment account for the long-haul. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or just put the money in a bank account. Due to the long-term nature of the accounts, people most commonly invest in mutual funds like a target date funds, which is a managed mutual fund for people your age, or an S&P 500 index fund.

What Types of Fees Are Possible with an IRA?

There are a few types of fees that can arise when you have an IRA account. The first is the type of fee Yvonne is asking about above. The second is a fee charged by your investment options. Another is a fee for buying and selling different investments. Let’s explore each of these and how common they are.

Account Maintenance Fees

First, the type of fee Yvonne is asking about, an account maintenance fee. Account maintenance fees are rare, but not unheard of, for IRA accounts. The fee is charged by the institution that holds your account. Examples of companies like this are Meryl Lynch, Charles Schwab, eTrade, or Vanguard. These are considered a management fee just to keep your account open. In reality, they are the investment broker gouging you for extra money in your longest term investment account you’ll likely ever have. In most circumstances, you should never, ever pay this type of fee for an IRA account. $100 per year ads up fast over time, and can take months, or years, off of your retirement.

Investment Fund Fees

If you are investing in mutual funds or index funds, the fund generally charges a fee to manage the investment for you. These are broken up into a general fund management fee, a marketing fee, and a load fee. Management fees are charged on nearly all funds you can find. They are charged as a percent of assets under management and can range from less than one percent to a few percent or more. Whether your investment goes up or down each year, the fund manager will charge this fee on all of the funds you have under their management to pay the staff and general costs of maintaining the fund. Marketing fees, also called 12b-1 fees, are often about .25% of assets under management when charged. However, I have never, ever invested in a fund that charges this fee. The funds are earmarked for advertising the fund, which benefits the fund managers but not you. Always try to avoid 12b-1 fees. Finally, load fees are charged by some funds when you invest (load-in) or withdraw (load-out) funds from the fund. Like marketing fees, I have never invested in any fund with a load fee. Fees can eat up a lot of your investment gains, so always search for the lowest fee funds available that are run by well-performing, trustworthy fund families. One of the most popular fund families is Vanguard as they are known for very low fees and generally low-risk investing style.

Trade Fees

Trade fees are fees charged by your account’s institution (the companies like Meryl Lynch that I mentioned above) for buying or selling assets on your behalf. These are common and can range from as little as $5 to $100 or more in some cases. In general, you should open your account somewhere with low trade fees. Popular options are places like eTrade, Scottrade, Charles Schwab (where I have my accounts), Fidelity, and Vanguard. Some of these companies offer some no-fee trade funds. At Schwab, I can buy or sell any Schwab fund, or a select list of others, with no fee. Others trades are about $9 each.

Learn more about buying and selling in the stock market at my guide to how the stock market works.

The Best Way to Save Money on Your IRA

The best way to save on your IRA is to plan everything out and lower fees wherever you can. Research all of the fees before you start. First, pick a brokerage to house your IRA account that has no maintenance fees to keep your account open. Then, from a short list of brokers you like, look at trade fees, no trade fee investment options, and finally fees and performance for those fund families. If you are a hands-off investor and just want things to work, I suggest most people look towards something like Vanguard. For people with more experience that want more control, Schwab, Fidelity, Scottrade, or eTrade are all good choices.

Non-Traditional Options

Outside of traditional IRA and Roth IRA investment accounts, you can also open IRAs at for non-traditional investments. Here are a few options below.

Lending Club

I have been a Lending Club investor for years, and love the high returns that come with peer-to-peer lending. If you want to learn more, check out my mega guide to Lending Club or visit the Lending Club website.

Bank Accounts

Most traditional banks and some credit unions allow you to open an account that is designated as an IRA. These are FDIC insured deposit accounts, so you know the value will never decrease. The downside is that you get very low interest, often less than inflation.

Betterment

Another hands-off investment option is Betterment. You can use Betterment to manage your own investment goals. You just add funds, tell them how risky you want to invest, and they make the investments for you. Learn more at Betterment.

Advice to Yvonne

Yvonne, it looks to me like your brokerage is pulling a fast one on you. I would get your money out of Meryl Lynch and into an account at somewhere like Vanguard or Charles Schwab right away. Avoid those fees and keep building onto your retirement funds and you’ll be in great shape.

Do you have any more advice for Yvonne? Share your ideas in the comments.

Do you have any questions about your personal finances? Send me a note through the contact form and I'll help you out too!

IRA retirement account fees- PersonalProfitability.com

This post was originally published on August 11, 2014 and updated on April 6, 2021.

The post Should My IRA Charge Me a Maintenance Fee? appeared first on Personal Profitability.]]>
https://personalprofitability.com/ira-fees/feed/ 1 13443
How Should a Young Person Get Started with Investing https://personalprofitability.com/how-should-a-young-person-get-started-with-investing/ https://personalprofitability.com/how-should-a-young-person-get-started-with-investing/#comments Thu