financial management

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Banks Versus Credit Unions?

Banks vs credit unions? You probably put more thought into choosing where to have dinner than deciding which financial institution to use. If you’re like most people, you made the choice a long time ago, and it’s working out for you. You may use the big bank near your home with ATMs across the country. Or maybe it’s the friendly community bank with a few convenient branches. Or, if you have access, possibly through where you work, perhaps it’s a credit union.   Well, there may be greener pastures for your greenbacks, or greater conveniences and better offerings someplace else. Banks and credit unions offer basically the same products and services—checking and savings accounts, personal loans, credit and debit cards. The differences between the two (or three, if you throw in online banks) lie in the interest rates, fee structures, and both the volume and variety of products offered. Interest…

Family CFO Monthly Money Management To-Do List

Managing your family’s finances is a bigger job than many people realize. A family’s finances work similar to a small business. You have cash flowing in and out, savings and investments, credit cards and debt, bills to pay, and people relying on you for their basics needs. Whether you run your finances like a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop system, follow these steps to ensure you are fulfilling your family Chief Financial Officer duties each month. Review Your Family Income Statement In personal finance, there is a simple saying to help you manage your income and expenses each month: spend less than you earn. At the end of each month, do you know where you stand? Thanks to modern apps, you can get this important information automatically. Connect your bank and other financial accounts to money management apps such as Mint, Personal Capital or Penny and the…

6 Big Tax Insights Independent Contractors Need to Know

There are countless benefits for those who freelance or operate as an independent contractor. You control your own time, can be your own boss and have the ability to say yes or no to work based on your overall interest and availability. In addition, the Internet age makes being an independent contractor easier and in more demand than ever. What are we getting at? Many independent contractors fear tax time as it can be complicated. It doesn’t have to be though. Here are six tips for making tax season as painless and stress-free as possible when you’re an independent contractor. Know What to Expect If you’re paid $600 or more by an individual client, you should receive a 1099-MISC from that client. Typically, you include Schedule C with your tax return to report any self-employed income – along with any deductions for business expenses. If your net earnings from self-employment…

5 Practical Financial Tips for Couples

If you’ve been in a long-term relationship before, you know quite well that in reality, things aren’t perfectly peachy all the time. Healthy relationships involve a lot of support, compromise, honesty and a willingness to have difficult conversations. One of the most commonly challenging topics for couples to discuss is money. With the right approach and some practice, however, getting on the same page about your finances doesn’t have to be a battleground. It’s important to talk to your significant other about both your separate and combined finances. After all, studies show that couples of all ages are happier when they talk to each other about money – and the more often, the better.[1] Taking some quality time to set monetary goals together is also a great way to build trust, address fears, join forces and set your relationship up for long-term success. If you’re feeling a little bit nervous,…

7 Health Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season sneaks up faster and faster each year, doesn’t it? When time is flying and your to-do list is growing, don’t forget to keep your physical and mental health and your family’s a top priority – it’ll make the holiday season much more enjoyable. Air travel is set to hit record highs this Thanksgiving, up 2.5 percent from last year. There are over 27 million people passing through domestic airports over the next two weeks, and countless more on the road.[1] With so many people running around, passing through high traffic areas and preparing for the holidays, it’s worthwhile to take these extra steps to keep you and your family safe and healthy this season. Here are seven-holiday health tips to help get you through the festivities of the season: Get a Flu Shot Many health insurance providers provide preventative care benefits such as flu shots for free or…

6 Fall Budgeting Tips to Save Big

Cooler temperatures and shorter days mean fall is here. While people often focus on spring cleaning as a major annual milestone around the house, getting ready for winter is an important time as well! This season, you have an opportunity to take steps to save money, review your budget, and get on a path to a better financial future. Below are six budgeting tips and actionable steps you can take to help you get started. Invest in a Smart Thermostat If you own your own home, your energy bills may seem like a fixed cost you can’t put a dent in. However, you can save around 10%-12% on your energy bill by installing a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat costs around $200-$250 if you install it yourself. If you live in a cold or hot climate where a thermostat can lower energy use while you are away at work all…

Pet Expenses: How Much Do Pets Cost Us?

How much is that doggie in the window? What about that cat, guinea pig, bird or fish? When it comes to calculating pet expenses, “sticker price” is just the tip of the iceberg. To understand how much a new pet actually costs, you have to take into consideration the amount of money you’ll spend on pet food, veterinary care and other miscellaneous expenses for the rest of your pet’s life. Here’s a list of the five most popular pets in the US, which we’ve ranked in order from the least to the most expensive based on data from the ASPCA and Petfinder.        Fish If you’ve never owned a pet before and have a limited budget, start with fish. Freshwater fish don’t need medical attention, and it doesn’t cost much to feed them or outfit their aquariums. Though saltwater aquariums require more upkeep and investment, most freshwater fish…

3 Online Tools to Automatically Track Finances

Most of us recognize the importance of financial planning, but we also understand that tracking money can take commitment and a lot of time and work. Good budgeting and investment software and online financial planning apps can help you significantly take charge of your finances. There are a number of new online tools that completely automate your budgeting, investment tracking, and much more! Each tool works a little differently and has its own unique focus – picking the right one for your needs can save you a ton of time when it comes to managing your money. Bonus: each one from the list below is completely free to use! Mint Mint is one of the original personal finance aggregators and offers a wide set of tools to help you manage your budget, income, expenses, and view every financial account in one handy dashboard. Founded in 2006 by Aaron Patzer, Mint…

6 Ideas on How to Invest Your First $1000

Saving up $1,000 on your first investment is a huge milestone! Rather than blow the $1,000 on a frivolous purchase, you have decided to invest the money for your future. That’s a big achievement, and one you should be proud of. If you are new to investing, you might not know what to do with that $1,000. One of the very best options to invest $1,000 is through a tax-advantaged retirement account, like an IRA or Roth IRA. Here are six additional investment option ideas for both new and seasoned investors. Invest for Retirement As stated earlier, probably one of the very best options to invest your $1,000 is through a tax-advantaged retirement account, such as an IRA or Roth IRA. A traditional IRA works similarly to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, where your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars. That means if you put $1,000 into your IRA, you will…

Why Life Insurance Is so Important

We’re excited to announce that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. Each September, SelectQuote, along with insurance companies across the country, partners with nonprofit organization Life Happens in an industry-wide campaign to educate Americans about the critical importance of life insurance. Over 70 insurance organizations are participating this year. So let’s get right down to it and why life insurance is so important? There are six common reasons people choose to purchase life insurance. We’ll dive into each of them shortly. As you’re reading, think about how many of these reasons apply to you. Understand that purchasing life insurance is a personal decision and everyone’s needs are different. Even if you don’t need life insurance right now, it’s helpful to understand when and why you may benefit from it in the future. Dependents If you’re a parent, you worry about your kids because you love them so much. Not only do…

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