How the SECURE Act Affects Your Retirement & Estate Planning

In late December 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act).

Many of the changes volleyed around Capitol Hill for years, and proponents tout them as the most comprehensive retirement changes since the 2006 Pension Protection Act. Given its bipartisan support, the changes aren’t exactly revolutionary. Most changes are incremental, tweaking the existing retirement account rules.

And being a bipartisan bill, it also includes a clever way to raise tax revenue without raising tax rates. Everyone in Washington gets to clap themselves on the back after such maneuvers.

As you plan your retirement, make sure you understand the new rules and adjust your estate planning based on the new rules on inherited IRAs.

Inherited IRAs: Drain in 10

Before the SECURE Act, people who inherited an individual retirement account (IRA) could spread out the withdrawals over their entire lifetime. They still had to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) based on their age, life expectancy, and the amount available in the account. But heirs could spread their withdrawals out over their entire remaining life expectancy.

The days of these “stretch IRAs” are over. The most significant change of the SECURE Act was to require account owners to empty all inherited retirement accounts within 10 years – a clause quickly labeled the “drain-in-10” rule. It removes annual RMDs, instead merely requiring that nothing remains in the account 10 years after passing to an heir.

Note that the drain-in-10 rule applies to non-Roth retirement accounts like traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, and SIMPLE IRAs. Roth accounts come with their own separate inheritance rules, which have remained unchanged.

The Purpose of the Drain-in-10 Rule

Why did Congress stop allowing heirs to draw on their inheritance at a slower, more responsible pace?

In a word, revenue. The IRS taxes withdrawals from traditional IRA accounts as regular income. By forcing heirs to withdraw all the money relatively quickly, the IRA distributions drive heirs’ taxable income into higher tax brackets.

Imagine you’re a single person earning a modest $40,000 per year. According to the 2021 federal income tax brackets, you pay 10% for roughly the first $10,000 of that and 12% for the next $30,000. Your last remaining parent dies and leaves you $400,000 from their IRA.

No matter what, you have to pay taxes on withdrawals. But previously, you could spread withdrawals over the rest of your life and enjoy much of that inheritance as retirement income. For example, you could take $15,000 per year from it to supplement your income, paying the higher 22% tax rate on it since it drove your income into the next tax bracket.

Because of the SECURE Act, you now must instead take $40,000 per year on it, plus returns. You pay the higher 22% tax rate on $40,000 rather than $15,000. The money also stops compounding, as it had been as untouched pre-tax funds in an IRA.

It amounts to serious tax revenue too. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office put the additional tax revenue from this new rule at $15.7 billion over the next 10 years.

And if you fail to take the required minimum distributions, you must pay the IRS a 50% penalty on the amount you fail to take. Thus, if you were required to withdraw $10,000 but don’t, you pay a $5,000 penalty to the IRS.

Irs Tax Revenue Form Magnifying Glass

Exceptions to the Drain-in-10 Rule

The SECURE Act took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and is not retroactively applied. Any taxpayers who inherited an IRA or 401(k) previously are exempt.

Other exceptions include surviving spouses, heirs no more than 10 years younger than their benefactor – such as siblings – and people with disabilities. Spouses can roll the inherited IRA into their own traditional IRA or spousal IRA.

Nonspouses cannot roll over funds from an inherited IRA into their own. Their only option is to withdraw the money at regular income tax rates.

A fourth exception exists for minors. The drain-in-10 rule only kicks in once the minor children turn 18 and reach the age of majority. As such, children who inherit an IRA have until age 28 to empty the account without facing IRS penalties.

Problems Trusts Create for Heirs

Some benefactors put their money into trusts upon their death, with detailed instructions for how to release the funds in their estate plan. In some cases, the trust pays out funds a little at a time or releases them only after a predetermined number of years.

These restrictive trusts can create a problem for designated beneficiaries (heirs). For example, if a trust only allows the beneficiary to take the RMD, that could mean releasing the entire balance all at once after 10 years – and require the beneficiary to pay massive income taxes on it.

Forcing heirs to take the entire balance of trust funds in no more than 10 years can also defeat the whole purpose: to spread the inheritance out over many years to prevent the heir from blowing the money on sports cars and gadgets and designer clothing.

Ideas to Minimize Taxes

If you’re planning your estate, talk to a financial advisor before you do anything else. The tax rules on inheritances are complicated and made even more so by estate planning rules. If you don’t currently have a financial advisor, you can find one in your area through SmartAsset.

Benefactors who have set up trusts for their heirs to receive an IRA must consider their structure carefully and make sure they don’t force their heirs to take the entire amount all at once.

One option is to use part of the IRA funds to create a life insurance policy through Bestow with your heir as the named beneficiary. You do pay taxes on premium costs, but your heir doesn’t pay taxes on the payout.

You can also look into trustee-to-trustee transfers for IRA inheritances. But these get complicated quickly, so talk to an estate planning attorney or tax specialist through H&R Block.

If you’re on the receiving end of an IRA inheritance, common sense suggests spreading the withdrawals evenly over the 10 years to minimize your tax burden. You can put the money into your own tax-sheltered retirement accounts, whether an employer-sponsored account, like a 401(k) or 403(b), or an IRA.

Alternatively, if you’re near retirement age, you can wait until you retire before taking withdrawals. You avoid pulling money from the inherited IRA while also collecting earned income, so the combination doesn’t drive up your income tax bracket. Even better, you can delay pulling any money from your own retirement accounts, leaving them to compound and minimizing your sequence of returns risk.

Pro tip: If you haven’t set up your will, consider doing so through a company like Trust & Will. They make the whole process simple and are available to answer any questions you might have along the way.


Additional Retirement Account Changes

While the new drain-in-10 change to inherited IRAs stirred up the most controversy and angst among investors, it’s far from the only change created by the SECURE Act.

Make sure you understand all the rule changes, whether you’re planning out your own retirement investments or you’re a small-business owner considering a retirement plan for your employees.

1. No More Age Restriction on Traditional IRA Contributions

Before the SECURE Act, Americans over age 70 1/2 couldn’t contribute to their traditional IRA accounts.

But Americans are living longer, which usually means they need to work longer and save more to afford retirement. The SECURE Act allows Americans of any age to continue adding money to their traditional IRA.

And why not? From the perspective of the IRS, they can allow older Americans to keep contributing, safe in the knowledge the funds can only remain untaxed for a maximum of 10 years after the contributor’s death.

Particularly savvy planners can take advantage of the ceiling removal with backdoor Roth contributions, allowing them more flexibility to shuffle money based on that year’s income. But talk to a financial planner about such complex maneuvering before trying it at home.

2. Higher Age for Required Minimum Distributions

Under the previous rules, IRA owners had to start taking RMDs at age 70 1/2. The SECURE Act raised the minimum starting age for RMDs to age 72. Again, it only makes sense, with Americans living and working longer.

The exception to the RMD age remains in place: Americans who continue working and don’t own more than 5% of the company where they work don’t have to take RMDs. After retiring, they must start taking RMDs if they’re over age 72.

Retirement Planning Old Couple Walking Up Stacks Of Coins

3. Annuities in 401(k) Plans

Almost no employers included annuities as an option in their 401(k) plans before the SECURE Act. The reason was simple: the old laws held employers liable as having fiduciary responsibility for annuities included in their 401(k) plans.

But the insurance industry lobbied hard to change that rule, and their lobbying dollars paid off in the SECURE Act. The onus of responsibility now falls to insurance providers, not employers, which opens the doors for employers to start considering annuities as options in their retirement plans.

Annuities are complex investments that pay out income over time. Before choosing one in your employer-sponsored plan, speak with a financial advisor about the exact implications, risks, and rewards.

4. More Options for Part-Time Employees

Under the previous laws, employers only had to offer participation in their retirement plans to employees who worked at least 1,000 hours per year for them.

The SECURE Act requires employers to allow more part-time employees to opt in. While the previous rule still applies, employers must also allow access to all employees who work at least 500 hours per year for three consecutive years or more.

The requirement protects part-time employees increasingly piecemealing their income and participating in the gig economy. Saving for retirement is hard enough, even with an employer-sponsored plan. Surviving in a job without benefits makes it dramatically harder.

5. Penalty-Free Withdrawals for New Children

Having children is expensive. Really, really expensive.

The SECURE Act allows account holders to withdraw up to $5,000 from their retirement account when they give birth or adopt a child. The withdrawal is subject to regular income taxes, but it is not subject to the standard 10% penalty.

While not an earth-shaking change, it does make retirement accounts more flexible and encourages Americans to contribute money toward them. The new-child exception works similarly to the down payment exception, which allows account holders to withdraw up to $10,000 from their IRA penalty-free to buy a home.

6. Multiple-Employer Retirement Plans

In a bid to help more employers offer retirement plans, the SECURE Act makes it easier for multiple employers to band together to negotiate affordable plans.

The law removes tax penalties previously faced by multiple-employer plans if one employer failed to meet the requirements. The old law penalized all participating employers. The SECURE Act removed this so-called one-bad-apple rule.

The act also removes another restrictive rule: the requirement that employers must share a “common characteristic” to come together to offer their workers a multiple-employer plan. In practice, that typically meant only companies in the same industry formed multiemployer plans. Now, any group of employers can come together to negotiate with plan administrators and provide the best possible plans for employees.

7. Incentives for Auto-Enrollment

A 2019 study by T. Rowe Price found a startling fact. When employees had to opt into employer-sponsored plans voluntarily, only 44% of them did so. When the employer auto-enrolled them, requiring them to opt out rather than in, the participation rate nearly doubled to 86%.

It makes sense. People tend to take the path of least resistance. But it also means one of the easiest ways to increase employee participation is simply to encourage employers to auto-enroll them.

The SECURE Act creates a new tax credit for employers who start auto-enrolling their employees in a company retirement plan. Though it’s only $500, the tax credit applies not only to employers who start a new retirement plan but also to those who start auto-enrollment for their existing plan. Employers can take it for up to three years after they start auto-enrolling employees for a maximum total tax credit of $1,500.

Finally, it raises the ceiling on what percentage of income employers can set as a default employee contribution. The previous default limit was 10%, and the SECURE Act raises it to 15%.

8. Increase in Tax Credit for New Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Under the previous law, employers could take a maximum tax credit of $500 for up to three years when they started offering a retirement plan for employees.

The SECURE Act expands the tax credit. Employers can claim a tax credit of $250 per eligible employee covered, with a maximum tax credit of $5,000. Sweetening the pot, employers can also take the $500 tax credit for auto-enrolling employees on top of the tax credit for creating a new employer-sponsored retirement plan.

While these numbers seem small, they help offset the costs for small businesses who want to offer retirement plans but have little spare money to spend on them.


Final Word

The SECURE Act is 125 pages long and includes additional provisions not listed above. For example, it requires 401(k) plan administrators to offer “lifetime income disclosure statements,” breaking down the income potential of various investments. Insurance companies can use these income potential breakdowns as a marketing device to pitch their annuities by demonstrating with convenient examples just how much better off they think employees will be if they opt for an annuity over “high-risk” equity funds.

For a full explanation of how the SECURE Act impacts your retirement planning, estate planning, and tax planning, speak to your financial advisor. While many of the changes in the act involve simple tweaks, the change in rules for inherited IRA funds, in particular, has complex implications for your estate planning.

When in doubt, invest more money in your tax-sheltered retirement accounts. After all, it’s better to build too much wealth for retirement than not enough.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Current airline elite status match and challenge options you should know about

Airline elite status match and challenge options for 2021 – The Points Guy


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Source: thepointsguy.com

Grab These Buy 1, Get 1 Deals on Cellphones While They Last

Excited couple with new cell phones
Photo by Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

Nothing beats a buy one, get one deal when you want a new cellphone. Seriously, out of the many types of cellphone deals that exist, the rare BOGO offer gets you the most value.

Cellphone carriers usually don’t let BOGO offers sit for too long, so don’t expect these BOGO deals to last forever. Here are the latest buy one, get one cellphone deals available right now.

T-Mobile BOGO Offers

Free iPhone XR

The iPhone XR is a few years old at this point, but it’s still an excellent phone with a beautiful display and reliable battery life.

You can get a free iPhone XR if you switch to T-Mobile and purchase two iPhone XR devices via monthly payments. You’ll automatically get $730 credited to your account, thus canceling out the monthly payments you would pay for the second iPhone XR.

Free Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

To qualify for a free Samsung Galaxy S21 5G from T-Mobile, you’ll need to buy two S21 devices on a monthly installment plan and sign up for at least one new T-Mobile line.

Once you do that, you’ll $800 in credits added to your account, effectively paying for the second Samsung Galaxy S21 5G.

Verizon BOGO Offers

Up to $800 Off a Second iPhone 12

If you buy a new iPhone 12, opt for monthly payments and sign up for a new Verizon unlimited plan, you qualify for $800 off on the next iPhone 12 you purchase.

That $800 off can be used to completely pay off an iPhone 12 (64GB), or you can get $800 off on one of the higher-tier iPhone 12 devices.

Free iPhone 12 Mini

You can get a second iPhone 12 Mini for free when you purchase the first device and sign up for a new Verizon unlimited plan.

All you need to do is add two iPhone 12 Minis into your cart on Verizon, opt for monthly payments on the phones, make sure one of the phones will be used for an unlimited plan, and you’ll get $700 in credit back.

This $700 will automatically cover your monthly payments on the second iPhone 12 Mini.

Those are the best wireless BOGO deals available right now. Sadly, AT&T isn’t offering any BOGO right now, but these are excellent opportunities if you were thinking about switching to Verizon or T-Mobile.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Today’s 30 Year Mortgage Rates, February 17, 2021: Rates higher – Bankrate.com

30-year fixed mortgage interest rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.94 percent, climbing 12 basis points over the previous seven days. One month ago, the average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage was lower, at 2.90 percent. Today’s 30-year rate is 119 bps below the average annual rate in 2019, making it a great time to get a fixed-rate mortgage.

At today’s average interest rate, you’ll pay principal and interest of $418.37 for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s up $6.41 from last Wednesday. Compared to a month ago, that’s $2.14 higher.

View today’s daily mortgage rates articles to understand how other rates moved.

30-year fixed refi rates

Today’s average 30-year fixed refinance rate is 2.99 percent, an increase of 13 basis points over the past week. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 2.95 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay principal and interest of $421.06 for every $100,000 you borrow. Compared to last week, that’s $6.97 higher. Compared to a month ago, that’s $2.15 higher.

Bankrate average annual 30-year fixed mortgage rate, 2008-2019

Year Average 30-Year Fixed Annual Rate
2008 6.23%
2009 5.38%
2010 4.86%
2011 4.65%
2012 3.88%
2013 4.16%
2014 4.31%
2015 3.99%
2016 3.79%
2017 4.14%
2018 4.70%
2019 4.13%

30-year fixed mortgage vs. 15-year fixed mortgage

The main downside of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the amount of interest you’ll pay. Mortgage rates are typically higher for 30-year loans than 15-year loans. Although your monthly payments will be lower for a 30-year loan, you’ll pay much more interest over the life of the loan.

For example, with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll slash your repayment time in half and save significantly on interest in the process. Compare how much interest you’ll pay on 15-year and 30-year loans with Bankrate’s 15-year or 30-year fixed mortgage calculator.

Mortgage lock recommendations

A rate lock guarantees a lender will honor a specified interest rate at a specific cost for a set period. The benefit of a mortgage rate lock is that it protects you from market fluctuations. It also puts pressure on borrowers to make sure they close on homes before the rate-lock period expires. For example, if your lender locks in your rate at 3.75 percent for 45 days and rates jump up to 4 percent within that period, you’ll still get your loan at the lesser rate.

If they choose not to lock in your rate, you’ll have a “floating” rate. That’s not a bad strategy when interest rates are generally falling, but it could be costly in a rising rate environment. A rate lock is a must for risk-averse people who are seeking a mortgage. It’s a good idea to ask for a 45-day lock at a minimum; 60 days is even better.

Searching for a mortgage lender?

  • Accelin Loans Mortgage Review
  • Garden State Home Loans Mortgage Review
  • HomePlus Mortgage Review
  • Methodology

    The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

    To learn more about the different rate averages Bankrate publishes, see “Understanding Bankrate’s on-site rate averages”.

Source: bankrate.com

23 Employers Switching to Long-Term Remote Work

Happy remote worker
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

Although the transition to working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic was fast and furious for a lot of organizations, many companies are now figuring out that working remotely is the future of work — pandemic or not.

Keeping reading for 23 companies that have switched to long-term remote work, along with some of their recent remote opportunities that have been posted to the FlexJobs database.

1. Amazon

Amazon sign
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

As the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon employs nearly 92,000 employees all over the globe and offers traditional and e-books, furniture, household items, apparel, electronics, music, movies, and more.

Remote work plans: Employees whose positions allow them to work from home can do so through June 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Customer Service Associate
  • Customer Support Associate
  • Economist – Advertising Finance

2. American Express

American Express Sign on Building
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

American Express is a global provider of financial goods and services, including payment solutions, travel, and financial management for individuals and businesses.

Remote work plans: Employees can continue working from home through Labor Day 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Manager – Corporate Communications – Global Supply Management
  • Business Analyst – Workforce Forecasting – Capacity Planning – Scheduling
  • Real-Time Analyst

3. Capital One

Capital One Sign
Isabelle OHara / Shutterstock.com

Capital One, one of the nation’s top 10 largest banks, provides financial services and products for consumers, commercial customers, and small businesses nationwide.

Remote work plans: Capital One plans to keep all non-essential staff working from home until Labor Day 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Bilingual Collections Associate – Repo
  • Customer Solutions Specialist

4. Coinbase

Coinbase Logo
Nadezda Murmakova / Shutterstock.com

Coinbase offers cryptocurrency services designed to facilitate transactions in open-source, peer-to-peer digital currencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin.

Remote work plans: Coinbase has become a “remote-first” company, allowing most staff who want to work remotely to do so indefinitely. Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, employees who want to return to the office will be able to for some or all of their working hours.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Social Media Manager
  • Training Lead, Client Services
  • Group Product Marketing Manager, Consumer

5. Dropbox

Dropbox logo on phone
Primakov / Shutterstock.com

Dropbox helps people and companies keep files in sync, and share and collaborate on projects anytime and anywhere.

Remote work plans: Dropbox will let all employees work from home permanently. Existing office space will become Dropbox Studios, where people can choose to go in to work.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Director of Product Management, Business Platform
  • Senior Director of Product
  • Sales Compensation Analyst

6. Facebook

Facebook sign
Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

Founded in 2014, Facebook is the largest social media network worldwide, with more than 2.6 billion monthly active users.

Remote work plans: Facebook will allow up to 50% of their employees to work remotely forever. The rest of the company can remain remote until July 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Product Designer
  • Technical Program Manager

7. Hawke Media

remote worker
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Hawke Media offers a full range of digital marketing services. It specializes in optimizing digital media strategies to help companies work more efficiently, save money, and generate revenue.

Remote work plans: Hawke Media is now a fully remote company.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Digital Strategist
  • Vice President of Creative Operations

8. Infosys

Infosys sign
BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com

Information technology and services company Infosys offers services to clients in more than 50 countries worldwide. Infosys solutions include strategic consulting, digital transformation, insights and analytics, business services, engineering services, and finance and accounting.

Remote work plans: Infosys will allow 33% to 50% of its workforce to work from home permanently.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Underwriting Manager
  • Post Closer Process Associate

9. Lambda School

online college
Rido / Shutterstock.com

Founded in 2017 as a revolutionary alternative to traditional colleges, Lambda School trains students for high-tech careers with 100% online classes and no up-front costs.

Remote work plans: Lambda School has rolled out a permanent work-from-anywhere policy, and employees can work from anywhere in the U.S.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Data Analyst
  • Engineering Manager for Student Products
  • Marketing Analyst

10. Microsoft

rvolkan / Shutterstock.com

Microsoft is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, and markets computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers.

Remote work plans: Employees can work from home for approximately 50% of their workweek. Managers have the option to approve full-time remote work for staff.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Business Program Manager, Customer Success
  • Executive Communications Lead – Storytelling
  • Customer Engineer

11. Salesforce

Salesforce sign
Bjorn Bakstad / Money Talks News

Salesforce helps businesses of all shapes and sizes connect with customers using their customer relationship manager.

Remote work plans: Salesforce has declared the 9-to-5 workday dead and now offers three categories of flexible work for employees: Flex (only in the office one to three days per week), fully remote, and office-based (the small number of staff who need to be in-person four to five days per week).

Recent remote job openings:

  • Accessibility Content Marketing Manager
  • Account Executive, Public Sector
  • Enterprise Account Executive

12. Shopify

Shopify Company Logo
Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com

Shopify is an ecommerce company that provides a multichannel, cloud-based commerce platform for small and midsized companies to design, organize, and manage stores across various sales channels.

Remote work plans: All of Shopify’s 5,000 employees can work from home indefinitely.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Payroll Manager
  • Senior Legal Counsel, Product and Commercial

13. Siemens

Siemens Company Sign
nitpicker / Shutterstock.com

Started in 1847, Siemens is a global industrial electrical engineering and electronics corporation that operates nine divisions. Products include industrial controls, energy-efficient building solutions, wind turbines, medical imaging technology, and train and subway solutions.

Remote work plans: 140,000 of Siemens’ employees can permanently work from home for two to three days per week.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Scientific Marketing Manager – Pharmaceutical Services
  • Software Designer, Developer – Java

14. Skillshare

Skillshare Website
Postmodern Studio / Shutterstock.com

Skillshare is an online learning community that services more than 3 million students. Classes cover areas as diverse as design, business, crafts, culinary arts, technology, and film.

Remote work plans: Skillshare is moving to permanent remote work.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Head of User Research
  • Content Program Manager
  • Director of Product, Consumer Experience

15. Slack

Slack Company Sign
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Slack offers real-time messaging, archiving, and search services designed to facilitate team communication so users can quickly and efficiently stream communication and documents to share with colleagues.

Remote work plans: Most Slack employees can work from home permanently, and Slack is committing to hiring more permanently remote employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Product Manager, Conversations, Search and Channels
  • Senior Product Manager, Monetization
  • Group Product Manager, Productivity

16. Spotify

Spotify phone earbuds
Primakov / Shutterstock.com

A Swedish company, Spotify provides music, comedy, podcast, and streaming services. Users can play music directly from the cloud, instead of downloading it to their device, and have access to more than 30 million tracks.

Remote work plans: Spotify recently announced that employees can choose to work in the office, remotely, or in a company-paid coworking space.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Backend Engineer

17. Square

Square Company Sign
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Square began as a small credit card-reading application and now provides merchants with the ability to manage point-of-sale systems, accept credit card payments, and sell online.

Remote work plans: Even when offices begin to open, Square employees will be able to work from home permanently.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Editor, Editorial Strategist, Management
  • Senior Technical Accounting Manager
  • Technical Writer

18. Starbucks

Sergey Kohl / Shutterstock.com

A global coffee brand, Starbucks aims to provide an inspiring and nurturing environment in each establishment.

Remote work plans: Starbucks has extended its remote work plan until October 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Director, Policy and Practice – Inclusion and Diversity
  • Senior Information Security Engineer – Identity and Access Management

19. Target

Target
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Target is the nation’s second-largest discount store retailer and operates over 1,800 stores in 47 states.

Remote work plans: Employees in the Minnesota headquarters can continue working remotely until June 2021, with plans for a long-term hybrid model.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Lead Data Analyst, Talent Analytics
  • Senior Data Analyst, Talent Analytics

20. Twitter

Twitter building
Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

Twitter is an online social networking and news service that allows people to post messages and interact with others instantly around the world using short messages.

Remote work plans: Employees at Twitter will be able to work from home indefinitely, going into the office if and when they choose.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior – Staff Researcher – Creator Experience
  • Conversation Lead
  • Senior Researcher – Media Experience

21. Upwork

Upwork Logo
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Upwork is the world’s largest freelance marketplace offering 2,500 skill categories, with 10 million registered freelancers and 4 million registered client companies.

Remote work plans: Upwork is permanently adopting a remote-first model, with remote work being the default for all employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Product Designer
  • Senior Content Designer
  • Directory, Diversity Change Management

22. VMware

Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

A subsidiary of Dell, VMware specializes in cloud and virtualization software and services. Its products and services include data center and cloud infrastructure, networking and security, storage and availability, cloud management, and more.

Remote work plans: VMware is offering permanent, remote work to all employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Open Source Community Manager
  • Senior Product Manager
  • Senior Customer Service Engineer, Tanzu Observability

23. Zipwhip

Male computer programmer or software developer
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

Zipwhip is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that provides software to text-enabled phone numbers by adding texting to existing landlines, toll-free phone numbers, and VoIP.

Remote work plans: Zipwhip has extended its work-from-home policy for all employees through July 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Software Engineer – Android
  • Senior Software Engineer – Mobile and Services

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

What is revolving debt and how does it differ from installment debt?

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Revolving debt is any debt without a set loan amount for a specific amount of time. Revolving accounts have an established credit limit, but you don’t have to follow a payment schedule or pay a fixed minimum amount each month. 

Not all debts are created equal, and it’s important to understand how different types can affect your credit score. Two of the major debt types—revolving debt and installment debt—work in different ways, and learning the nuances of each can help you manage your debt and maintain a higher credit score. 

How revolving debt works

The most common form of revolving debt is a credit card. With revolving credit, you have an established line of credit that you can draw on as often as you need to, so long as you don’t go over your limit. Your credit limit is determined based on your income, assets and credit history. 

Here are the basics of revolving debt:

  • Instead of paying a fixed minimum payment each month, your payments are a percentage of how much you borrowed that month. This means your monthly payment rates can change. 
  • You aren’t obligated to pay off the entire balance each month, but you’ll be charged interest on whatever balance you still owe. Revolving credit—such as credit cards—often have high interest rates. 
  • As you pay down your balance, you can continue to borrow more until you reach your credit limit. For example, if you reach your credit limit of $300, a payment of $100 will immediately allow you to borrow an additional $100. 
Revolving debt doesn't obligate you to pay a set balance each month. Like a revolving door, you can borrow repeatedly until you reach your credit limit.

Types of revolving debt accounts

Some types of revolving debt are backed by your assets, while others are not. The most well-known form of revolving debt is a credit card, which is unsecured. A home equity line of credit is another form of revolving debt, which is secured by your home.

These are the most common examples of revolving debt:

Credit cards

A credit card allows you to use any available funds at any time, as long as you continue to make minimum payments and don’t go over your credit limit. Carrying a balance on a credit card subjects you to accruing interest rates, whereas paying in full by the due date listed on your statement allows you to avoid interest charges. 

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) 

HELOC funds are commonly used by homeowners who need to cover a large expense, such as a home remodel. How much you can borrow is based on the equity of your home, which also serves as collateral. You aren’t required to pay a specific balance each month, but making payments replenishes your available credit (similar to a credit card). 

The main difference between HELOCs and credit cards is that you can only access a HELOC during a defined amount of time, known as the “draw period.” It typically lasts around five to 10 years, after which the debt must be paid back during a “repayment” period and funds can no longer be withdrawn. A HELOC usually has far lower interest rates than a credit card, since it’s backed by an asset (your home). 

Personal lines of credit 

Very similar to a credit card, these are funds you can borrow as needed and repay immediately or over time. Personal lines of credit allow you to carry a balance that accrues interest as you continue to borrow. Interest rates are usually variable, so it’s tough to predict how much you’ll end up paying for what you borrow. 

Lines of credit usually allow you to withdraw money in the form of a check or cash. If you need cash, a personal line of credit can be the more affordable option due to the high fees associated with credit card cash withdrawals. It’s also possible to receive a higher credit limit with a personal line. 

Business lines of credit

Business lines of credit operate almost identically to personal lines of credit, except they’re used for business expenses. This type of revolving loan lets you access your funds as needed to finance continuous short-term purchases, such as inventory, equipment repair or filling in a gap in cash flow. 

common types of installment debt

How revolving debt and installment debt impact your credit

Revolving debt and installment debt both impact your credit score. Having a mix of different types of credit accounts is one way to build your credit score. Successfully managing multiple kinds of credit is a good indicator to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower. 

While late credit payments of any kind will always negatively impact your credit score, revolving debt in the form of credit cards can look riskier to lenders. This is because unlike installment credit, there’s no personal asset—like a house or a car—attached to it that can be repossessed if you don’t pay on time. 

How revolving debt affects your credit score 

Credit bureaus consider credit card debt to be one of the most reliable indicators of your risk as a borrower. Since lines of credit are one of the most common forms of revolving debt, it’s important to understand the ramifications it can have on your credit score.

Pay attention to these factors when managing revolving debt:

  • High credit utilization ratio: The higher risk attached to revolving credit is mainly due to its impact on your credit utilization ratio. Credit utilization is the amount you owe versus the amount you have available to borrow. Your credit score can drop if you’ve reached your credit limit on all your credit cards—the FICO® scoring method ranks credit utilization as the number two factor used to measure your credit score (right after your payment history). 
  • Number of open revolving accounts: There is no specific number of credit cards that is considered the right number, but lenders do take it into consideration along with your credit history. 
  • Age of open revolving accounts: The older your revolving credit accounts are, the greater the benefit to your credit score. A longer history of responsible credit management indicates less risk to lenders. 
The higher risk attached to revolving credit is mainly because of how it impacts your credit utilization score

How installment debt affects your credit score 

Installment debt is typically considered less risky than revolving debt since it’s secured by an asset that you wouldn’t want to lose—whether that’s a new home, your car or your college tuition. It’s also considered more stable, so it has lower interest rates and less of an impact on your credit score.

Here are a few ways installment debt impacts your credit: 

  • Credit mix: Since having a mix of different credit types can boost your credit score, adding installment debt into that mix will help you diversify if, for example, you’ve only ever built your credit by using credit cards. 
  • Payment history: If you faithfully pay your installment debt each month for the agreed upon loan term, your credit score can go up substantially. 
  • Credit utilization ratio: You can use installment debt like personal loans to pay off high balances on your credit cards. This can significantly benefit your credit score because by using an installment loan to immediately pay off credit card debt, your credit utilization ratio is instantly lowered. 
  • Hard inquiries: Shopping around for installment loans like mortgages and auto loans triggers hard inquiries that lower your credit score. 

Should I be carrying revolving debt?

While revolving credit can certainly improve your credit score, it requires careful attention in how you use it. If you have a habit of missing payments or using too much available credit, it might harm your score more than it would help it. It’s also possible for lenders to make a mistake and inaccurately report a missed payment on a revolving debt account. 

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about building your credit with revolving debt:

  • Do I need to borrow a large sum of money quickly? While you can use revolving debt to finance a large expense, a key component of using revolving credit responsibly is keeping your credit utilization low. Your credit score can dip if you borrow too much too often, or if you’re close to reaching your maximum borrowing limit. It might make more sense to consider a personal loan with a fixed payment timeline instead. 
  • Will I make my payments on time? Payment history plays a crucial part in how your credit score is determined. If you can’t consistently pay for revolving debt on time every month, it might be best to avoid it for the sake of preserving your credit score. 
  • How is my current credit history? Even if you end up getting approved for a line of revolving credit, lenders could hit you with high interest rates if you don’t have a favorable credit history. 

The credit repair consultants at Lexington Law can help you remove questionable negative items that might be harming your credit score. Since revolving debt can have a significant impact on your score, make sure you address errors on your credit report as soon as possible. 

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Using a Personal Cash Flow Statement

If you’re often surprised when you open up your credit card and bank statements and see how much money you spent, or you worry that your cash outflow may be exceeding your cash inflow, there could be a simple solution: A personal cash flow statement.

Creating a personal cash flow statement can give you a clear picture of your monthly cash inflow (money you earn) and your monthly cash outflow (money you spend) to determine if you have a positive or negative net cash flow.

And while it may sound intimidating, creating a personal cash flow statement is relatively simple. All you need to get started is to gather up your bank statements and bills for one month (or more). Then, it’s a matter of some basic calculations.

Once you have your personal financial statement, you’ll know where you currently stand. You’ll also be able to use your personal financial statement to help you create a budget and goals for increasing your net worth.

Here’s how to start getting your financial life back into balance.

What Is a Personal Cash Flow Statement?

“Cash flow” is a term commonly used by businesses to detail the amount of money flowing in and out of a company.

Companies can use cash flow statements to determine how well the company is generating cash to pay its debts and operating expenses.

Just like the ones used by companies, tracking your own cash flow can provide you with a snapshot of your financial condition.

You might learn, for example, that you have less leftover at the end of each month than you thought, or that you are indeed going backwards.

Once you have the numbers down in black and white, you can then make any needed changes, such as reducing costs and expenditures, increasing income, and making sure that your spending is in line with your goals.

So, how do you set up a personal finance cash flow statement?

It might seem overwhelming to get started, but these steps can simplify the process.

Listing all Your Sources of Income

A good first step when creating a personal cash flow statement is to get out all of your pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, and bills.

Next, you’ll want to start listing any and all sources of income–the inflow.

Cash inflows generally include: salaries, anything you make from side hustles, interest from savings accounts, income from a rental property, dividends from investments, and capital gains from the sale of financial securities like stocks and bonds.

Since a cash flow statement is designed to give a snapshot into the overall flow of where your money is coming from and where it is going, you might want to avoid listing money in accounts that aren’t available for spending.

For example, you may not want to list dividends and capital gains from investment accounts if they are being automatically reinvested, or are part of a retirement account from which you aren’t actively taking withdrawals.

Since income can vary from one month to the next, you might choose to tally inflow for the last three or six in order to come up with an average.

Once you’ve collected and listed all of your income for the month, you can then calculate the total inflow.

Listing all of Your Expenses

Now that you know how much money is coming in each month, you’ll want to use those same statements and bills, as well as any statements for any debts (such as mortgage, auto loan, or student loans) to list how much was spent during the month.

Again, if your spending tends to fluctuate quite a bit from month to month you may want to track it for several months and come up with an average.

To create a complete picture of how much of your money is flowing out each month, you’ll want to include necessities like food and gas, and also discretionary expenses, such as trips to the nail salon or your monthly streaming services.

Small expenses can add up quickly, so it’s wise to be precise.

Once you’ve compiled all of your expenses, you can calculate the total and come up with your total outflow for the month.

Determining Your Net Cash Flow

To calculate your net cash flow, all you need to do is subtract your monthly outflow from your monthly inflow. The result is your net cash flow.

A positive number means you have a surplus, while a negative means you have a deficit in your budget.

A positive cash flow is desirable, of course, since it can provide more flexibility, and can allow you to decide how to best use the surplus.

There are a variety of options. You could choose to save for an upcoming expense, make additional contributions to your retirement fund, create or add to an emergency fund, or, if your savings are in good shape, consider a splurging on something fun.

A negative cash flow can signal that you are living a more expensive life than your income can support. In the future, maintaining this habit could lead to additional debt.

It’s also possible to have net neutral cash flow (all money coming in and going out is fairly equal).

In that case, you may still want to jigger things around if you are not already putting the annual maximum into your retirement fund and/or you don’t have a comfortable emergency cushion.

The Difference Between a Personal Cash Flow Statement and a Budget

A personal cash flow statement provides a comprehensive look at what is currently coming in and going out of your bank accounts each month.

A cash flow statement tells you where you are.

A personal budget, on the other hand, helps you to get where you want to go by giving you a spending plan that is based on your income.

A budget can provide you with some general spending guidelines, such as how much you should spend on groceries, entertainment and clothing each month so that you don’t exceed your income–and end up with a negative net flow.

Creating a budget can also be a good opportunity to check in with your financial goals.

For example, are you on track for saving for retirement? Do you want to amp up your emergency fund?

Are you interested in tackling the credit card debt that has been spiraling due to high interest rates?

Perhaps you want to work toward paying off your student loans.

Whatever your goal, a well-crafted budget could serve as a roadmap to help you get there.

Using Your Personal Financial Statement to Create a Simple Budget

Because a cash flow statement provides a comprehensive look at your overall spending habits, it can be a great jumping off point to set up a simple budget.

When you’re ready to create a budget, there are a variety of resources online, from apps, like SoFi Relay®, to spreadsheet templates and printable worksheets .

A good first step in creating a budget is to organize all of your monthly expenses into categories.

Spending categories typically include necessities, such as rent or mortgage, transportation (like car expenses or public transportation costs), food, cell phone, healthcare/insurance, life insurance, childcare, and any debts (credit cards/ loans).

You’ll also need to list nonessential spending, such as cable television, streaming services, concert and movie tickets, restaurants, clothing, etc.

You may also want to include monthly contributions to a retirement plan and personal savings into the expense category as well.

And, if you don’t have emergency savings in place that could cover at least three to six months of living expenses, consider putting that on the spending list as well, so you can start putting some money towards it each month.

Once you have a sense of your monthly earnings and spending, you may want to see how your numbers line up with general budgeting guidelines. Financial counselors sometimes recommend the 50/30/20 model, which looks like this:

•  50% of money goes towards necessities such as a home, car, cell phone, or utility bills.
•  30% goes towards your wants, such as entertainment and dining out.
•  20% goes towards your savings goals, such as a retirement plan, a downpayment on a home, emergency fund, or investments.

Improving Your Net Cash Flow

If your net cash flow is not where you want it or, worse, dipping into negative territory, a budget can help bring these numbers into balance.

The key is to look closely at each one of your spending categories and see if you can find some ways to trim back.

The easiest way to change your spending habits is to trim some of your nonessential expenditures. If you’re paying for cable but mostly watch streaming services, for example, you could score some real savings by getting rid of that cable bill.

Not taking as many trips to the mall or cooking (instead of getting takeout) more often could start adding up to a big difference.

Living on a budget may also require looking at the bigger picture and finding places for more significant savings.

For example, maybe rent eats up 50% of your income and it’d be better to move to a less costly apartment. Or, you might want to consider trading in an expensive car lease for a less pricey or pre-owned model.

There may also be opportunities to lower some of your recurring expenses by finding a better deal or negotiating with your service providers.

You may also want to look into any ways you might be able to change the other side of the equation–the inflow.

Some options might include asking for a raise, or finding an additional income stream through some sort of side hustle.

The Takeaway

One of the most important steps towards achieving financial wellness is cash flow management–i.e., making sure that your cash outflow is not exceeding your cash inflow.

Creating a simple cash flow statement for yourself can be an extremely useful tool.

For one reason, it can show you exactly where you stand. For another, a personal cash flow statement can help you create a budget that can bring the inflow and outflow of money into a healthier balance.

Creating–and sticking with–a budget that creates a positive net cash flow, and also allows for monthly saving (for retirement, a future purchase, or a rainy day) can help you build financial security and future wealth.

If you need help with tracking your spending, a SoFi Money® cash management account may be a good option for you.

With SoFi Money, you can see your weekly spending on your dashboard, which can help you stay on top of your spending and make sure you are on track with your budget.

Check out everything a SoFi Money cash management account has to offer today!



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Source: sofi.com

Capital One Walmart Rewards Credit Card – Review

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card, also known as the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard, is a cash-back credit card with no annual fee. It’s designed for regular Walmart shoppers, especially those who frequent Walmart.com, and backed by one of the most popular credit card issuers around (Capital One).

Purchases at Walmart.com and the Walmart app, including groceries and sales marked for in-store pickup, earn unlimited 5% cash back. You earn unlimited 2% back for purchases made inside Walmart stores, at eligible restaurants and travel merchants, and at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations — making this a solid contender for one of the best gas credit cards as well. All other purchases, including purchases at Sam’s Club locations and SamsClub.com, earn unlimited 1% cash back.

Beyond the rewards program, this card’s benefits are nothing to write home about, and the interest rates are on the high side. But the underwriting requirements are relatively loose, so this is an ideal first credit card for Walmart enthusiasts looking to build or improve their credit. With no annual fee and a rewards program that’s quite generous for Walmart and Murphy USA shoppers, the Walmart Rewards Card is worth keeping in your wallet.

Here’s how to get the most out of this card.

Key Features

These are the most important features and perks of this popular retailer credit card.

Sign-Up Bonus

For a limited time, get $50 when you spend $300 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 3% back when you use Walmart Pay for purchases made at Walmart stores for the first 12 months from account opening, for a total of 5% cash back on in-store Walmart purchases during the first 12 months.

Earning & Redeeming Cash-Back Rewards

The Walmart Rewards Card has a three-tiered cash-back program:

  • Online purchases made at Walmart.com and through the Walmart app, including grocery pickup purchases and other purchases marked for in-store pickup at any physical Walmart location, earn unlimited 5% cash back (rewards rate).
  • Purchases made at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations (fuel stations), inside Walmart stores (store purchases completed at checkout), and with eligible restaurant and travel merchants earn unlimited 2% cash back.
  • All other purchases, including those made at Sam’s Club locations, earn unlimited 1% cash back.

Cash back is automatically delivered at the end of the billing cycle and does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. Your best redemption option is to redeem accumulated cash back for statement credits against eligible purchases made during the prior 90-day period.

Possibility of Promotional Interest-Free Period

The Walmart Rewards Card does not advertise a continuous introductory interest-free or low APR purchase or balance transfer promotion. However, its terms do include mention of special promotional periods that can eliminate interest charges for as long as 24 months at a stretch.

The interest-free period may apply to specific purchases or any purchases made while the promotion is active, depending on the terms of the promotion and Walmart’s discretion. It doesn’t necessarily apply only at sign-up, making it more versatile than standard introductory interest-free promotions.

Important Fees

This card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

Credit Required

This card requires an average or better credit score. Although serious credit blemishes such as recent personal bankruptcies are likely to disqualify your application, more minor issues may not. It’s therefore an ideal credit card for consumers in the process of mending their credit.

Advantages

These are the most important advantages of the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard.

  1. No Annual Fee. The Walmart Rewards Card doesn’t charge an annual fee. This is great news for frugal cardholders and occasional Walmart shoppers who want to keep this card in their wallets without paying for the privilege.
  2. 5% Cash Back at Walmart.com. Frequent Walmart.com shoppers will love this card’s unlimited 5% cash back on the retail giant’s website. The same rate applies to grocery purchases and purchases marked for in-store pickup, so it’s perfect for bulky or heavy items for which shipping is costly or impractical.
  3. Potential for a Long Introductory APR Period. Although it doesn’t have a regular interest-free or low APR introductory promotion, this card does have periodic promotions that eliminate interest across the board or on specific purchases for as long as 24 months at a time. That’s great news for cardholders planning big-ticket purchases that they can’t afford to pay off right away.
  4. Loose Underwriting Requirements. This card is available to applicants with average or better credit. Although your approval is never guaranteed, you stand a better chance of making it through the application process with this card than with better-known cash-back cards that require excellent credit.
  5. Bonus Cash Back on Restaurant and Travel Purchases. This card earns 2% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases, making it a solid companion for diners and travelers without more generous travel rewards credit cards in their wallets.
  6. No Penalty APR. The Walmart Rewards Card doesn’t charge penalty interest on past-due payments. If you occasionally miss your statement due date due to irregular cash flow or unexpected expenses, you don’t have to worry about getting locked into a sky-high rate indefinitely.

Disadvantages

Consider these drawbacks before applying for a Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard.

  1. Only 90 Days to Redeem Cash Back for Account Credits. When redeeming cash back for account credits, you’re only allowed to offset purchases going back 90 days. If you haven’t used your card for longer than that, you’ll need to make a purchase just to redeem your cash back.
  2. No Bonus Cash Back on Purchases Made at Sam’s Club Stores. This card earns just 1% cash back on purchases made at physical Sam’s Club stores. If you prefer to shop in person at the country’s second most popular warehouse store, you won’t get any more out of this card than any other standard-issue cash-back credit card — and possibly less. Several higher-earning cards such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offer unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases.

Final Word

The Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card is a great entry-level cash back credit card for regular Walmart shoppers and drivers who encounter Walmart and Murphy USA stations in their daily travels.

Despite its relatively loose underwriting standards, the Walmart Rewards Card isn’t for everyone. If you don’t qualify for this card, look instead to the Walmart Credit Card, a store credit card with a similar rewards scheme.

The Walmart Credit Card isn’t backed by Mastercard or any other credit card payment network, so you can’t use it at merchants other than Walmart, but it’s nevertheless a great rewards-bearing vehicle for folks looking to build credit. And, considering you can buy pretty much anything at Walmart or Walmart.com, it’s versatile enough.

Source: moneycrashers.com