Financial Apps for Lazy People

lazyIf you’re like me, you want to use your money well. You want to buy things you want. You want to pay yourself first by setting a few dollars aside for emergencies and investing a few coins for retirement. You want to pay your bills on time, and in full every month but those things rarely happen the way you know they should. Behavioral economics explains that most people do better when things are automated and we don’t have to actively make choices. Why do you think so many people know exactly what they need to do and then they still don’t do it?

Making good financial decisions with every single purchase day in and day out is challenging. Instead of making things harder for yourself why not use automatic savings and/or investment apps? Here is a round up of what’s available.

 

SavingRainyDay

Apps for Automatic Saving

Digit – There is a free trial period of 100 days. It’s $2.99 a month after that. It basically uses an algorithm to figure out how much money can be moved from your checking account into your Digit savings account. Digit accounts are FDIC insured. There is a desktop version and an app. FAQs are here.

Qapital – Free. You set “rules” that tell the app when and how much money to move to your Qapital account to reach your savings goals. It’s a little more complicated than Digit. Qapital accounts are FDIC insured. App only. FAQs are here.

To read a comparison of Digit and Qapital, click here.

 

Investing - chalkboard

Apps for Automatic Investing

Acorns – It’s $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000 in them. The app rounds up the change from purchases and invests the change in the stock market. Find out more here.

Stash – There is a $5 minimum and $1 monthly fee for accounts under $5,000. You decide when to invest and how much to invest. Find out more here.

 

manage-multiple-wordpress-websites-featured

Apps to Manage it All

Mint – Free.

YNAB You Need a Budget – Free for 34 days and $4.17 every month after that.

 

laptop sideways

Personal Finance Software

Quicken Money – if you’re not a fan of phone apps but you’d still like to keep an eye on your money, this may be the software for you. It tracks spending, can track investments, and even comes with a free app if you’re so inclined.

 

tradition word in letterpress type

Other Options

If all this sounds like a little too much, you can stick with the tools provided by your financial institution (many offer programs to help you save the change from transactions or create a holiday savings account), invest in your 401k or 403b through your job, or invest for retirement on your own by opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through whatever company suits you.

Whatever works for you is best. There is no right or wrong. It’s important that you start now though. Even if you can only use the change from your purchases, something is always better than nothing. Take advantage of compound interest and start now.

 

 

 

 

Good Bye MyRA

poverty cycle

 

MyRA was a program started to help young people and the working poor invest for retirement. Contributions could be as low as $5. The hope that young people and people with few resources could take part in investing for retirement (because we all know Social Security isn’t gonna be enough) was a lofty goal. This may have been especially helpful for people of color since we’ve all read the studies about net worth and cycles of poverty.

Unfortunately, the MyRA program will be stopped under the Trump administration. It was never really given the resources to take off. That was the main reason given for its close. The working poor don’t have lots of options to move up the socio-economic ladder and now they’ll have one less option.

New CA Bill Forces All Employees to Invest for Retirement

how-does-it-work

 

Senate leader Kevin de León has put forth a bill that would require all California companies, that have at least five employees, to offer their own retirement investment plan or enroll workers in the new California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. Though employees could always invest for retirement using an IRA, while getting almost the exact same benefits of the Secure Choice program, many people haven’t taken advantage. As Time Magazine says, ” .. when it comes to putting money away, an employer nudge really matters: 90% of those with workplace plans save for retirement vs. only 20% of those without one.”

What bill does:

  • Requires that employers with more than 5 employees offer some kind of retirement investment plan to employees.
  • Offers a way for employees to invest for retirement directly from their paycheck.
  • Starts employee contributions at between 2% and 5% of their paychecks (the exact details haven’t been hammered out yet).
  • Automatically enrolls employees (about 6.8 Californians) unless the employee chooses to opt out.

What the bill doesn’t do:

  • Does not require employers to “match” contributions or provide funds for the retirement of employees.
  • Does not assume the risk of investing (investors could lose money).
  • This program does NOT provide assured payouts during retirement (it is NOT a pension plan).

San Jose’s Mercury News:

At first the money would be invested in safe, low-yield U.S. Treasury notes. After three years, the funds would likely shift to a diverse portfolio of stocks and bounds. These options would be developed by the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board. The accounts would likely be Roth IRAs, a mode that allows for tax-free withdrawals upon retirement.

The amount of money deducted from a worker’s payroll would escalate over time, up to 10 percent, but employees would be able to set the amount themselves.

Time Magazine:

All told, at least 30 states are in various stages of setting up retirement plans—some mandatory for employers and some voluntary—according to the Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives.

At any rate, the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan is heading to an employer near you. I’m waiting to hear more about the specific details but this is coming. Do you think it will encourage more employees to invest for retirement? Head over to the Bigger Than Your Block Facebook page and give your opinion.

 

 

 

 

myRA Might Be the Solution for High School and College Students

myRA

If you’ve read “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” you know that I am a HUGE advocate of young people investing from retirement as soon as they have earned income. For many people that time is while in high school or college while you’re working part-time or eeking a living out of financial aid. Often, young people don’t know how to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or don’t think they have enough money to open one (get my list of investment accounts you can open for less than $100 here).

The United States government is here to help with the new myRA (my retirement account, get it?). According to the U.S. Treasury,  these accounts are:

  • Easy to set up (you can have the money deducted from your payroll check if you wish)
  • Designed to help people with little money or no access to a retirement plan from work.
  • No risk of losing money (funds are invested in a Thrift Savings Plan-like account)
  • The funds you invest are NOT tax-deductible but you also can take them out whenever you like without penalty.

The best part? There is no minimum amount required to start an account and according to Forbes, ” additional contributions only have a minimum of $5.” The goal is really to get you into the habit of investing when you are young and have few dollars. The return isn’t great (think 1% or 2% per year) compared to a regular traditional or Roth IRA or 401(k)/403(b) but starting now with a few dollars and little interest is better than not doing anything.

Fool.com also notes:

Account holders can contribute up to $5,500 per year ($6,500 if over 50) and may continue to contribute until their total account balance reaches $15,000. All funds are invested in a newly created Treasury bond

Once you’ve grown a nest egg big enough to open a traditional or Roth IRA, or you have a job that provides a 401(k) or 401(b) hopefully with matching, you can roll the money over into a new account.

Click here to find out more about myRA accounts.

 

 

Retirement Survey 2016

Retirement-Survey-2016.fw

Are you investing for retirement? Do you use a work-sponsored plan? An individual retirement account? Will you have enough money to retire on?

Take our anonymous 9 question survey to help us learn how to serve you better. We don’t collect any identifying information from you. We just want to know about the trends in retirement so we can plan webinars, books and speaking events to help you plan.

Thank you for taking a moment to share. Don’t forget to invite others to share as well.

 

 

ShayOlivarriaHeadshot

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

Wanted: Single Women to Invest

black-women-entrepreneuers

Financial Advisor Magazine just came in the mail. This month there is an article about attracting more single women as clients. There are two great quotes that I wanted to share with you:

“Women are better investors than men” – Wibberly, CIC Wealth

“80% of men will die married but 80% of women will die single” – Penta BBH, Center for Women & Wealth

If those two quotes aren’t enough to get to start investing, I don’t know what else to do. Those quotes tell us that women are AWESOME at investing and that heterosexual women are going to have a substantial amount of time not married (at least our 20s and ten, fifteen, perhaps 20 years after our partners die). What are you waiting for?

Start investing now. If your job offers you a 401k or 403b (tax benefits and usually matching) start contributing now. Call HR. Now. If you’re worried about how much money is going to start coming out of your check, start by contributing just 1% and increase your contribution percentage a bit every year.

If your job doesn’t offer you a retirement plan, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) as soon as possible. Depending on whether you choose traditional or Roth there are tax benefits now or tax benefits later. You won’t get the matching but you will get to take advantage of compound interest.

Not sure where to begin? Find a fee-only advisor and get hopping! If you’re 30 years old and can contribute $415 per month you can build a million dollar nest egg by the time you retire at 67 years old. Can’t contribute that much? No worries. Something is better than nothing. If your nest egg ends up smaller than you’d like, you can partner your investments with your Social Security payments and go live in one of these 8 beautiful countries.

Either way, it’s time to get hopping.

 

31% of Americans Have No Retirement Investments – Tips for Starting

Portrait of Smiling Family on Steps“Nearly a third, or 31% of U.S. adults said they had no savings or pension to help them afford retirement, according to the Federal Reserve Board.”  – CNN Money

Extended family sitting outdoors smilingI want to say that I’m surprised, but after working with students, employees and retired folks for the last seven years ….  this is what I already know. If you’re part of this group, you’re going to be in for a HORRIBLE surprise come “retirement age”. Either you won’t be able to retire at all or the money from Social Security will only be enough for you to afford a room in your kid’s house and no fun, but it’s not too late. Here are my tips for creating a retirement plan and sticking to it … at any age.

0 – 16

Think it’s too early to start thinking about your child retiring? Not so. Though you can’t take advantage of tax-deferred plans like IRAs (you’re kid probably has no earned income) you CAN put a few dollars away every month in a regular investment account, buy individual shares of stock or purchase savings bonds. Let’s assume that you contribute $50 per month (or $600 per year ….  birthday … Christmas …  ) to any one of these strategies and that the investment earns 2% per year on average (some years more, some years less). By the time that child is 67 years old, that investment would be worth $84,584.31. Imagine how much money it would be worth once your child started contributing too.

16 – 24

By this time you are probably working, but not making much money. You might think that $50 per month won’t amount to much anyway so why bother? Because that $50 per month, or more, could end up being $432,992.84! Once you’re working you have earned income and can take part in wonderful retirement investing plans like 401k/403b, if your job offers them, or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), if your job doesn’t. You put in $30,600 over your working years (16 to 67) and you’ll end up with a half-million dollars … easy! Read more about this in my book 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money.

25 – 40

Yes! Now, we are in the prime earning years! Not only do you have a job, you probably have a half-way decent job. No more ramen for you! It’s time to take it up a notch. If you have been investing (since you have that good job) increase that contribution. If you haven’t begun FamlyBlackcontributing yet, it’s time to start.

You might think that you don’t have any spare money to invest or you might not know how to invest (read Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook), but it’s easier than you think, especially if your company offers a retirement plan with a company match. On your own, the average American can find $50 worth of spare change every month. PLUS, think about the ways that you waste a few dollars here and a few dollars there every month. Assuming a monthly $50 investment, starting at 30 years old, into a tax-deferred retirement account could still net you $136,725.48. Bump that up to $75 per month and you’ll be looking at $205,088.22. Not too shabby!

40 – 67

If you’re here then you are squarely looking at retirement …. perhaps. In Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook I have a worksheet that asks you to take a look at where you are and where you’d like to be. If you’re path is not heading in the direction you’d like it’s not too late to change.

You’ll need to do a little more to catch up, but it’s not impossible. A monthly $200 investment with an 8% return could turn into $229,797.95. Use the Social Security Administration’s estimator to find out how much you’ll get per month once you’re retired. You may find out that you need to work a few extra years. You may find out that you’re fine. Ether way, knowing is better.

If you haven’t begun investing for retirement yet, don’t be downhearted. The time is now. Don’t wait another day. Contact Human Resources at your job and find out how to start investing. Find a fee-only planner and take a comprehensive look at your financial situation. Buy a book to learn the basics and get started.

Working hard won't get you what you want. Working smart will.

Working hard won’t get you what you want. Working smart will.

It begins now.

 

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com

Carmelo Anthony Founds M7 Tech Partners

CarmeloAnthony

Carmelo Anthony has decided to co-found a company, M7 Tech Partners, that will invest in technology start-ups. The NY Times says:

The idea that turned Carmelo Anthony into a venture capitalist came to him during practice with the Knicks last season.

The basketball star became interested in the sophisticated sensors that players had recently started wearing to track their performance …

The average basketball player has a career of five seasons. After playing many athletes have little money and no skill set other than playing basketball. I’m glad to see that Carmelo Anthony is building a financial foundation to make sure that he and his family will be financially secure after retirement from basketball.

Bloomberg reports that Anthony said:

“We are actively looking for ventures with strong leaders creating breakthrough products that resonate with consumers,” he said. “I particularly have my eye on companies that are involved with wearable technology and connected devices – these will be huge areas for the future.”

Investing in tech start-ups is a tough field, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on M7 Tech Partners. I wonder if M7 will actively pursue Black and/or Latino tech start-ups?

 

Invest for Retirement NOW

broke“Twenty-one percent of those surveyed who have not retired have saved nothing for retirement and 44 percent have saved less than 10 percent of their salary.”

This quote is from Financial Advisor Magazine talking about a survey done by TIAA-CREF. How do people think that they are going to live in retirement? Do they plan on retiring?

Regardless of how old you are, it’s better to have something rather than nothing. Take a look at how much the Social Security Administration will pay you in retirement and you tell me if you can afford NOT to invest an extra $50 per month in your 401k, 403b or IRA.

Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Start Investing  Per Month  % Return   Value at 67

18                      $50                      9%          $536,841.50

21                     $50                      9%         $408,642.74

30                     $50                      9%         $178,618.62

40                     $50                      9%         $68,888.51

50                      $50                       9%         $24,125.50

It’s pretty simple:

  • If you have a 401k or 403b at your job you probably have a match. Investing a few dollars every pay period lowers your tax base (instead of paying Uncle Sam you invest in yourself) and your company will contribute a few coins to every dollar you invest. Start early. Invest often. Check and see how much contributing $50 or $100 each pay period will change your take home pay. There won’t be much change in how your check looks every two weeks, but it could change how your retirement looks.
  • If you don’t have access to a 401k or 403b then open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at a brokerage house that you trust. You have to fill out a two page application and send over a voided out check. You can open many accounts by promising to contribute at least $50 per month. That $600 per year could grow into 5 or 6 figures using compound interest. Start early. Invest often.

If you are thinking about investing and you’re not sure where to start:

  • If you are a member of a credit union: contact Balance for FREE help.
  • If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at your job: contact the EAP for FREE help.
  • If you do not have access to these: find a fee-only financial advisor for help.

You can create the life you want.

You are powerful.

Go get it.

PEACE,

Shay

Order Money Matters on Amazon.com

Order Money Matters on Amazon.com

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com

3 Reasons to Buy Money Matters

Order Money Matters on Amazon.com

If you are looking to make some changes and get on track financially, Money Matters by Shay Olivarria is the book for you. There is a check-up for where you are with your financial goals. The book addresses savings; short term and long term. It tells you how to set up retirement accounts, investments, and how NOT to get into deep debt. This is great for those beginning their journey into the real world. Also, for those that have already messed up, Olivarria has steps on how to get back on track.

Olivarria creates a great guide for you to create your own individual plan to get out of debt and on the track to financial freedom. She states that you have to be patient and consistent. It is never too late to turn it around. I suggest you gift this book to college graduates. It is straight to the point and interactive.

This book was provided courtesy of the author for review.

DCSquared

 

#1 You want to know more about personal finance, but you’re not sure where or how to begin.

We all want to make better financial decisions. The challenge is that sometimes we’re not sure what to do or we have hard decisions to make where both options seem like bad ideas. We get so caught up in running from day to day that we forget that we can make changes if we take a moment to plan instead of react. Money Matters was written with that in mind. The very first worksheet is one page long and helps you see the bigger picture by asking a few simple questions.

#2 You are intimidated by personal finance jargon.

Have you ever tried to read a personal finance book or spoke with someone in the financial services industry and you didn’t understand what they were saying? Me too! Personal finance is not complicated, but it’s easy to make it seem complicated by using industry jargon. Money Matters is written clearly. I don’t try to confuse the reader by making things sound harder than they are. That’s why media outlets across the country have quoted me and asked me to write for them. I make money management simple.


#3 You want to know what you need to know to make things change.

Take a look at the Table of Contents from Money Matters in the image above. This book covers “just the facts ma’am”. There are tons of books that do into depth about any area of personal finance that you might be interested in. This is not that book. Money Matters is a bare-bones, simple read with worksheets to help you make good decisions about money. The book covers net worth, retirement planning, paying off debt, managing your credit score, payday loans, rapid tax refunds, and even saving money on your groceries.

 

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com

Your Job is NOT Your Wealth

New article from the Money Matters series on BlackVoiceNews.com:

I’ve run across many people that seem to think that having a job is the best way to create financial stability. I’m aware that it’s a common idea, but it always floors me when I hear it. Owning a business and having passive income are much better ways to create financial stability for you, your family, and your community.

Let’s look at the idea that your job is a stable source of income. Ha! Your job is not as stable as you might think. We all know people that have been laid off for no reason other than it was best for the company’s bottom line. You will be hired or fired based on the needs of the company. Your employment, from the business’ perspective, has nothing to do with your needs.

What about the idea that having a job brings in “good” money? A job provides x amount of money for y amount of time. Usually you’re trading your time for a specific amount of money without understanding the affect our specific work has on the company’s overall bottom line. Businesses are in business to make money, so it makes sense that whatever amount you are being paid is obviously much less than that work is actually valued at.

A job is a critical piece for most people, but not because of the reasons that most people think. A job provides

…. click here to read the whole article.

Click here to check out all the articles from Shay on BlackVoiceNews.com.

K.I.S.S.

Stop making investing complicated.

Money management is simple.

Folks will try to make it seem more complex than it is by using financial jargon and complex terms for simple time-tested strategies, but the truth is that becoming wealthy through investing is really easy. For years I have been advocating a simple investment strategy in my book Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook:

– Choose a no-load mutual fund from an investment firm that you feel comfortable with and has a good history.
– Start investing in a tax-deferred account (401k/403b/IRA) as soon as you have earned income.
– Invest something every month. Even if it’s the minimum (usually about $50).
– Keep your eye on your money, but don’t worry.

It sounds crazy that investing can be this simple, but it is. There’s no “magic bullet” that will make you a millionaire and anyone that tells you there is one is more than likely a liar. You have to be willing to set a financial goal and then work toward reaching it by paying yourself first and making sure that you are spending waaaaay less than you make.

It’s not rocket science, but most people won’t do it. Not because it’s complicated, but because it’s easier to believe that you can’t be wealthy than it is to work to make it happen. If you’re thinking about investing and you’re a questioning yourself remember this: K.I.S.S.