4 Top Retirement Planning Tips from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.

Warren Buffett earned his nickname honestly. The Oracle of Omaha’s success at investing is legendary, and he has ranked among the world’s wealthiest people time and again. But Buffett isn’t your typical wealthy business magnate. His retirement planning advice isn’t just for the rich and famous — it works for everyone.

He’s known to be frugal, still living in the same home in Nebraska that he’s owned for decades, and surprisingly down to earth, especially considering his net worth. If anyone knows how to build wealth, it’s him. And here are some of his best tips for creating a comfortable retirement.

Think long-term investments

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Investing isn’t for the faint of heart. But because most everyone should be investing, that leaves a large portion of society at odds with a bad case of nerves every time the market wobbles. Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner, writes for U.S. News & World Report that Buffett’s strategy is long-haul investing. The people who weather the storms usually come out on the other side in a better position.

If the daily ups and downs get to you, you’re selling yourself short. Buffett believes that investors should stay the course, even when you’d really rather cash in your chips and go home. Pay more attention to stocks using index funds and less attention to short-term gains, and you’re more likely to come out ahead.

Watch out for bonds

Bad investment
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Bonds and other cash-based investments might seem safe, but Buffett believes that they’re anything but. In the book, “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A FORTUNE Magazine Book,” he warns that currency-based investments, even money-market funds, can be downright dangerous.

Currency-based investments are dependent on the value of the dollar, which means that even mortgages as investments are risky. He says “the dollar has fallen 86 percent in value since 1965.”

Don’t forget to plan your next phase

Cheerful retirees
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Retirement isn’t the end. If it was, you wouldn’t need to spend so much time and exert so much effort planning the financial side of it. So while you should devote a healthy amount of attention to retirement income, don’t forget to plan what you’ll do after retirement.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Buffett says retired folks need a purpose. Without one, you risk losing your health. Plan for retirement as if it’s the next phase of your life (which it is) instead of the slow wind down (which it otherwise could become).

Be cautious about financing the family

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You shouldn’t devote too much time to planning what you’ll one day leave to your family. Retirement is about your life, not how you can finance everyone else’s. That doesn’t mean that you should only think about yourself, but you shouldn’t risk your own security and happiness for the sake of people who should also be working toward their own.

In “Tap Dancing to Work,” Buffett suggests that “the perfect amount is enough money so they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.” He intends to leave more (by far) to charity than to his family.

It’s sometimes difficult to think about following the advice of people who might as well be considered professional billionaires. Sure, they can invest a certain way because they can afford to. But Warren Buffett uses plain common sense when it comes to investments, and you can, too.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Still Owe on a Student Loan? 5 Things You Need to Know for 2022

Young woman considering student loans for college savings
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.

The last year has been quite a season of change in the student loan industry, including the fourth extension to freeze student loan payments.

Both servicers and borrowers alike experienced its effects in 2021, ranging from FAFSA application changes to student loan servicers dropping out of the business to an overhaul of the public student loan forgiveness program.

With all the changes made regarding student loans, it can be difficult for borrowers to keep up with everything they need to know.

That’s what we’re here for. We’ve rounded up things you need to know about student loans in 2022.

1. Payments Ramp Up Again in May

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Student loan payments are scheduled to begin again on May 1, 2022.

In late December, President Joe Biden extended the student loan payment pause through April 2022. That was helpful for many borrowers who might have struggled to find consistent work and pay off debt during the ongoing pandemic.

The automatic student loan forbearance program was part of the CARES Act, the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in March 2020.

With the omicron variant raging at the end of 2021, the extension will allow borrowers more time to regroup as they try to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.

According to a survey by the Student Debt Crisis Center conducted before the latest pause extension, 89% of fully-employed student loan borrowers said they were not financially secure enough to resume payments in February. Now they have an additional 90 days.

With the extension, borrowers might want to take advantage of The Penny Hoarder’s advice on how to be prepared to tackle that student loan debt payoff.

2. Changes in the Student Loan Servicing Industry

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The last year was eventful for the student loan servicing industry. Around 15 million borrowers were affected when student loan servicers like FedLoan, Granite State, and Navient decided to pull out of the servicing business.

The timing could certainly have been better. With the ongoing payment pause, adding servicing changes only complicates what would already be a difficult situation for both servicers and borrowers when payments resume in May.

The logistics involved in transferring millions of borrowers’ accounts to new servicers will put the industry to the test.

If you don’t know who your new servicer is, log in to studentaid.gov and look for the “my servicers” section. If you’re not sure how to log in, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Graduate thinking about student loans and savings
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In the past, the federal forgiveness program has been plagued by poor communication and conflicting information from both servicers and the U.S. Department of Education.

That said, the DOE announced late in 2021 that 550,000 borrowers will see “accelerated forgiveness” as part of a loan forgiveness overhaul.

That meant automatic student loan forgiveness for tens of thousands.

This is (crosses fingers) great news for borrowers who work in the public sector, are veterans or have qualifying disabilities. Prompted by the pandemic, the DOE promised to make “transformational changes” to the program that would bring those hundreds of thousands of borrowers closer to forgiveness.

Will the DOE actually follow through? Stay tuned in 2022 and the years to come.

4. Changes to the FAFSA Application Form

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The FAFSA (short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is notoriously difficult, confusing and lengthy. So it was good news for potential borrowers when in 2021 the Federal Student Aid Office announced upcoming changes to the form.

For 2022, however, those changes appear to be mostly cosmetic.

The only significant changes will be that having a drug conviction or failing to register with the Selective Service System will no longer affect a potential borrower’s ability to apply for financial aid — even though those questions will still remain on the form in 2022.

The FAFSA form for the 2022-2023 school year is currently available with a deadline to apply for federal aid by June 30, 2023. State FAFSA deadlines vary by state.

If you need help getting through the lengthy form, check out The Penny Hoarder’s step-by-step guide to how to fill out FAFSA.

5. Retirees Will Continue to Deal With Student Loan Debt

Concerned senior man thinking about taxes and retirement
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Student loans aren’t just for traditional college-age kids anymore. At the end of 2020, borrowers age 50 or older held about 22% of the nation’s $1.6 trillion student debt burden, the AARP reports.

That’s a surprising number that only points to the ongoing, rising costs of public education over the last few decades. That money may be owed from their own schooling or helping their children with their college educations.

With that, retirement may seem out of reach for someone in their 50s or 60s still dealing with a load of student loan debt. But there are options, including:

  • Avoid refinancing federal student loans.
  • Lower federal payments with income-driven repayment.
  • Choose income-contingent repayment for Parent PLUS loans.
  • Pay off as much of your private loans as you can.
  • Look into Student Loan Forgiveness if you have a disability.
  • Have a tough conversation with your kids, asking them to contribute more.

Find out more on all of these options about coping when you’re retiring with student loans debt.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

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When people talk about “aging gracefully,” they’re usually referring to physical appearance. But you can also have a gracefully aging mind.

In recent years, scientific research has delved into the secrets of people in their 80s and 90s whose brains function well — by some measures, as well as the minds of folks decades younger.

Researchers have started calling these high-functioning older people “super-agers,” and we’re learning more about what sets them apart. While some factors are genetic, many are things within our control.

Following are some of the best things you can do to keep your aging brain sharp.

1. Stay positive

If you don’t think you can have any impact on your mental age, you aren’t going to take steps to try to impact the health of your mind. Although it sounds like a cliche, staying positive is important.

“How we think about who we’re going to be in old age is very predictive of exactly how we will be,” says Shelbie Turner, a doctoral student at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and co-author of a study on the effects of positive self-perception in middle-aged and older adults.

“We hold these tremendously negative stereotypes about aging, and these start from when we’re really young. By the time we’re older, these are actually having a negative effect on our health,” says Elissa Epel of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in a university blog post.

In addition, the stress associated with a negative outlook seems to trigger real changes in our bodies that can accelerate aging by causing cell damage.

2. Keep good company

Loneliness and isolation cause a lot of physically damaging stress. So, make it a priority to keep in touch with friends, whether you prefer a wide circle of acquaintances or a few intimate relationships.

Emily Rogalski of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine does research on super-agers. In a Northwestern podcast, she notes that one of the distinctive things about “individuals who are free of dementia, free of cognitive problems, and really thriving in their community as well” is their endorsement of “stronger positive relationships with others.”

According to Rogalski, super-agers who maintain strong social relationships have four to five times as many of a particular type of neuron in the brain thought to play a role in awareness and social processing.

3. Stay in shape

One of the better-understood aspects of aging well is the importance of sleep, exercise and diet.

Epel and fellow UCSF researchers have seen physical evidence in the brain that higher levels of exercise and a Mediterranean-style diet make us more resilient to aging and keep us thinking faster and more clearly.

“As we get older, when we see declines in memory and other skills, people tend to think that’s part of normal aging,” Kramer says in the UCSF blog post. “It’s not. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

That’s backed up by research previously reported by Money Talks News showing that aerobic exercise and resistance training improve cognitive abilities regardless of frequency.

Certain foods are also better for your brain health as you age, including whole berries and fresh vegetables. Research also shows that two or more servings of fish per week may help prevent brain damage.

Research has also shown that high blood pressure can contribute to dementia and that smokers have a greater risk of dementia. Mind and body are clearly linked.

4. Meditate

Epel’s research suggests meditation can help protect our brains from the damage caused over time by stress. According to the UCSF blog post:

“Meditation, exercise, and an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce and possibly reverse some effects of aging.”

“Our biological aging is more under our control than we think. If we can make small changes and maintain them over years, our cells will be listening,” Epel says.

The National Institute on Aging suggests relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness to lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

5. Learn something new

Whether it’s finding a new hobby or reading a good book, there are clear cognitive benefits to exploring new things. Research even shows that video games don’t actually rot your brain — they may preserve it.

A 2020 study found that individuals between ages 60 and 80 had improved memory after playing a 3D Super Mario game for roughly half an hour daily over a month-long period.

Recently published research in the journal Neurology found that activities ranging from reading and writing letters to playing board games could help delay dementia into your mid-90s.

Other research shows that being bilingual could delay the onset of dementia. Never stop learning — or playing!

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

5 Reasons to Work as Long as You Live

Older man working from home
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While countless workers dream of retirement, millions more have decided to work full time or part time after age 65:

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, there will be about 13 million working Americans age 65 and older.

Working longer might be your best option. Here are several reasons why.

1. Increase financial security

If you’re worried about outliving your savings, working longer is the answer. It can let you:

  • Wait to collect Social Security. Delaying claiming your benefits until age 70 earns you payments that are much larger than if you had started claiming at or before your full retirement age.
  • Keep adding to your retirement savings.
  • Leave your nest egg untouched longer. This means having more money to use later and giving your savings more time to grow and compound.

A couple of years ago, MarketWatch cited these findings from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

“The longer you work, the longer you can add to your retirement savings, the more time they have to grow, and the less you will need when you eventually retire. Throw in the boost to Social Security as well, and ‘delaying retirement by one year is roughly 3.5 times as impactful as saving an additional 1% of wages for 30 years,’ calculated financial researchers recently.”

2. Stay sharp

A job gives you projects to complete, tasks to perform, deadlines to meet and co-workers to team up with.

If all that vanishes in retirement, you may risk losing some mental acuity. One researcher found that people reduced their risk of dementia by 3.2% for each additional year they worked.

Another researcher found that folks who didn’t fully retire and kept working — whether through self-employment, part-time work or a temporary job — enjoyed better mental and physical well-being than those who retired completely.

3. Live longer

One analysis of a long-term public health study showed that Americans retiring at age 66 had an 11% lower rate of mortality than those working until 65, Oregon State University doctoral student Chenkai Wu told the Harvard Business Review in 2016. Even unhealthy people in the survey had a lower risk of death when delaying retirement by a year.

The research in this area is interesting but not conclusive, Wu said. A connection between working and a lower mortality risk doesn’t prove one causes the other.

4. Feel relevant

Like it or not, it’s not uncommon to measure ourselves and others by career status and achievement. Leaving work forever can provoke an identity crisis for some.

But there are many alternatives to withdrawing from work completely. For example, workers may transition to an “encore career” in their profession or elsewhere to use their skills in a new way.

Several websites can help older workers find encore careers and deploy skills they spent decades acquiring and perfecting.

5. Retain social networks

After decades of employment, co-workers may be among your closest friends. Leaving that world can be a shock to the system, and 43% of people over 60 reported feeling lonely on a regular basis, says U.S. News & World Report, citing a study from the University of California at San Francisco.

The lesson: Working helps retain vital connections. If you retire, take steps to build new social networks through church, neighborhood, classes, clubs and elsewhere.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Is This Your Last Chance to Refinance Your Mortgage?

Mortgage loan refinance
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Time may be running out to get the best rate on a home loan.

This week, rates rose to their highest level since May 2020 and are now more than 0.5% higher than they were in January 2021, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey released today.

Freddie Mac, formally known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., is a government-sponsored company. It helps foster stability and affordability in the housing market by purchasing mortgages that meet certain standards from lenders. That in turn helps lenders provide more loans to qualified buyers.

The trend toward higher mortgage rates may continue for a while. In a press release, Sam Khater, Freddie Mac chief economist, says:

“With higher inflation, promising economic growth and a tight labor market, we expect rates will continue to rise.”

This week, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22%. One year ago, the rate was 2.65%.

Meanwhile, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.43%, up from 2.16% one year ago.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey focuses on conventional home purchase loans for borrowers who make a 20% down payment and have excellent credit.

Of course, the forecast that rates will go higher is only a prediction. No one knows for sure where mortgage rates are headed. Over the past couple of decades, forecasters often have said rates couldn’t go much lower, only to have reality prove them wrong.

Still, there are multiple factors pushing rates higher. Not only is inflation showing up in prices everywhere, but there are now whispers that the Federal Reserve might raise the federal funds rate in March, much earlier than many experts had expected.

Although mortgage rates do not rise in lockstep with increases in the federal funds rate, the two rates generally move in the same direction.

So, if you want to lock in a great rate, now might be the time. You can look up refinance rates for lenders such as Better, a Money Talks News partner, right on the lenders’ websites.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

11 Super-Simple Ways to Build Wealth in 2022

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To paraphrase William Shakespeare, some people are born wealthy and others achieve wealth. If you weren’t lucky enough to be in the first group, then it’s time to get going on your self-made fortune.

Think that can’t happen? You’re wrong. Pathways to wealth are everywhere. Why shouldn’t you take them?

Some of these smart choices will save you money upfront. Next, use that money to make more money through strategies like fractional investing and online wealth management.

Want to put yourself on the road to riches? These tactics can help.

1. Used Chevy or new Mercedes?

Save $100 a month, earn 1% on it and after 20 years you’ll have $26,545. Enough for a used Chevy.

Boost that percentage to 15%, and you’ll end up with $124,569 after 20 years. That’s nearly $100,000 more: enough for a new Mercedes.

Of course, earning 15% isn’t easy (the stock market’s average return is about 10%) and never guaranteed, but here’s something that is guaranteed: You won’t be earning big returns at the bank.

If you want to super-charge your savings, you’ve got to invest.

Plenty of people grow up thinking that “investing” is something only rich people do. Not so! You can start your investing journey with as little as $1, without paying a dime in fees, thanks to an investing app called Public.

With the Public app, you take part in “fractional investing,” which means buying little slivers of companies, funds or crypto assets. Take your choice from among thousands of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stocks.

Start by signing up and telling the app what investing experience (if any) you have and what your investing goals are. According to Public, 90% of users are in it for the long haul.

There’s no charge to join, although you’re allowed to leave tips on transactions. And again: You can start with as little as $1. What else can you get for a buck these days? Even dollar stores are raising their prices!

Download the app now, and take the first step toward getting rich instead of just getting by.

2. Chop your car insurance bill by $700 a year

Auto insurance is a must. You know what isn’t a must? Paying too much for coverage.

People who switch to Progressive for their auto insurance can save up to $700 – not just initially, but every year. Imagine what you could do with an extra $700 in your budget.

Emergency fund? Extra payment against your mortgage? Retirement planning? It’s your call. Point is, those are dollars that are now working for you instead of for someone else.

Incidentally, a cheaper premium doesn’t mean you’re cheaping out on protection. Progressive is known for its strong coverage. Request your free quote now and see how much you can save this year, and every year.

3. Let mortgage savings put your kids through college

If you’re currently paying about 4% on your mortgage, refinancing could lower your rate to as low as 2.376%.

Not much of a difference, right?

Well, if your mortgage is $300,000, that lower rate would mean paying about $94,000 less in interest over the life of the loan. That’s enough to put your kids through college, start your own business or retire earlier.

Maybe you know the savings would be significant, but haven’t refinanced yet because it seems so complicated. It isn’t. A direct lender called Better will make it child’s play.

The simplifying starts with a near-instant rate quote, and continues through the refinancing process. Better doesn’t charge origination fees or lender fees, and you can get a mortgage interest rate lock if you like.

Millions of homeowners around the country are saving every month because they refinanced. But the experts are saying these low rates won’t last. It’s do-it-or-lose-it time.

Get your new, personalized rate today, and make strides toward a better tomorrow.

4. Stop worrying about expensive household breakdowns

For most of us, our home is our most valuable asset. We put a lot of money down to buy it and pay a lot of money each month to keep it. Sometimes we’re stretched pretty thin financially, so when things break down it can be tough to cover the fixes.

The heating/cooling system grinds to a halt. A major appliance gives up the ghost. And why are the lights flickering — could it be the electrical panel?

What you need is a full-time maintenance person.

The next best thing? A home warranty from America’s 1st Choice Home Club. You can choose from among several coverage plans that cover issues with appliances, plumbing, heating, electrical systems and more. You can use your own technician or let America’s 1st Choice send someone over.

A breakdown happens in the middle of the night? Doesn’t matter. The in-house service team is available 24/7.

All this starting for as little as $390 a year.

Homeownership is great. But when things go wrong — and they will! — we can no longer call the landlord. We are the landlord, and we might go into debt just to keep things running smoothly.

Stop worrying about household breakdowns, and the high costs that come with them. Get a free quote in 30 seconds.

5. Get paid to watch videos and take surveys

Think of all the time you spend waiting somewhere. Waiting for the spin cycle in the laundromat. Waiting at the auto shop until the mechanic can give you an estimate. Waiting for your kid’s sports practice to be over. Waiting in an exam room for the doctor, who’s running 20 minutes late.

You could spend that time watching funny cat videos — or you could use that time to make some money. Our friends at InboxDollars can help you with the latter.

InboxDollars is a rewards site that pays you actual cash to watch videos and take surveys. Seriously: Why not use your downtime to make money?

Those aren’t the only ways to earn money with InboxDollars, however. You can also do some online shopping, click on daily emails, scan your grocery receipts into the “Magic Receipts” function, complete special offers (especially those for things you’d planned to buy anyway), play games and even help others by making donations to various causes.

From now on, get paid for waiting. It takes seconds to sign up, and you’ll get a $5 welcome bonus just for joining.

6. Find cheaper homeowners insurance in 60 seconds

Again, our homes are usually our most valuable asset. It’s essential to make sure they’re protected in the event of an emergency. But how do you know whether you’re overpaying for homeowners insurance?

Simple: You ask Lemonade for an estimate. It takes only a few seconds to find out whether you could be keeping more of your hard-earned money each month. Lemonade’s coverage starts from just $25 a month.

Homeowners insurance isn’t just about fixing things up after a fire, though. The dog bit the mailman? Lemonade can help with legal and medical payments.

A thief steals your stuff? Lemonade has your back, even if the theft happened away from home.

Your home rendered unlivable due to that fire? A homeowners insurance policy through Lemonade will cover expenses until you can get back into your home sweet home.

Why overpay with your current carrier? Find cheaper home insurance in seconds.

7. Add $1.7 million extra to your retirement

A recent Vanguard study indicated that a self-managed $500,000 investment would grow into $1.69 million in 25 years, on average. Sounds pretty good, huh?

However, with professional help, that same $500,000 would have turned into $3.4 million. In other words, a quality financial adviser could double your retirement nest egg!

At least talk to a pro, especially when finding one is free and easy. SmartAsset is a free service that will match you with a qualified money manager who can help you put your money where it will do you the most good.

Bank interest rates don’t beat inflation, so the value of your savings erodes over time. Stocks and other investments have historically beaten inflation, but a lack of knowledge and experience leaves you vulnerable to dodgy advice or financial scams.

SmartAsset will put you in touch with up to three local, experienced professionals, all of whom are fiduciaries, meaning they’re required to put your best interests over their own. They can give you a clear picture of where you are now, and help you develop the right plan for the long term.

Since the first appointment is often free, what have you got to lose? If you’re ready to at least consider a local adviser, check it out.

8. Protect your wealth with a gold IRA

Not everyone is comfortable with traditional retirement investments. Some people are opting for a “gold IRA,” which is just what it sounds like: gold, gold and more gold. This can be bullion (coins or bars) only, or also include gold stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. Gold is one of the few commodities that the Internal Revenue Service approves as an IRA investment. It’s a finite resource, rather than one that can be controlled by governments or banks.

Sound intriguing? Time to educate yourself, with help from American Hartford Gold.

This family-owned company can help you set up a gold IRA that meets all IRS standards. Chief among them: The gold must be kept at an approved depository. (No, you can’t bury it in your backyard.)

There may be less than 20 years’ worth of mineable gold remaining in the ground. As the saying goes about real estate, they ain’t making any more of it. Demand for gold is rising all over the world, especially in the electronics industry, so your IRA has a great chance to increase its value until you’re ready to retire.

American Hartford Gold has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and a 5-star rating with TrustPilot. Get your free investors kit now.

9. Diversify your portfolio with art collected by billionaires

Billionaires didn’t become billionaires by making bad investment choices. And billionaires have been collecting art for generations; for example, the Rockefellers amassed a collection that sold for an eye-popping $835 million in 2017.

But it isn’t just the ultra-rich who can invest in art by Banksy, Warhol and Picasso. With a new investing app called Masterworks, you can invest in iconic artworks as well – right alongside deep-pocketed folks like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos.

Blue-chip art outpaced the S&P 500 from 1995-2021, which is impressive considering that historic bull run we’re now witnessing. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that art is “among the hottest markets on Earth.”

Art also has one of the lowest correlations to stocks that you can find. In other words, art’s value doesn’t have anything to do with the stock market’s wild swings, which makes it a good hedge.

Masterworks is an invitation-only art investment platform. So if you want to invest like a billionaire, request your invitation to join here.

10. Borrow $50,000 to erase your debt

Ever feel like you’ll never get out from under your credit card debt? Consumer debt is way too easy to get into, yet sometimes feels impossible to escape. You pay as much as you can each month, but the high interest rate just keeps piling on the dollars.

AmOne is a free service that matches people like you with loan providers. When you fill out one simple form online, AmOne finds lenders who want to fund your loan of up to $50,000.

Once you’ve been approved and agree on the terms, it can take as little as 24 hours to get the cash. Use the money to erase all your debt at once, then pay back the personal loan at a lower interest rate than those credit cards were charging you.

The service does only a “soft” credit pull, rather than have you going directly to lenders and getting “hard” credit pulls that affect your credit score. And speaking of your credit score: You don’t need an “excellent” rating to be considered, since AmOne’s lending partners are willing to work with people of varying credit ratings.

AmOne has a 4.7-star rating (out of 5) on TrustPilot. It’s free to check your rate online, and it literally takes just one minute.

11. Pay no interest until 2023 with a better card

Another way to deal with high credit card balances? Get another credit card. Specifically, get a 0% APR card, transfer those balances and get charged no interest while you’re paying down the debt.

There’s another good reason to get a 0% APR card: to get free financing on a big-ticket item.

Suppose your HVAC system goes out or your car needs a few thousand bucks’ worth of repairs. Rather than deplete your emergency fund, pay with that new 0% APR card to give yourself some breathing room while you pay it off.

How much breathing room? Anywhere from 15 to 21 months, depending on the card you choose.

You’ll need a plan to go along with that new card: no more using the other cards with unnecessary splurges while you pay off the 0% APR card. It doesn’t make sense to run up more debt while you’re paying off old debt.

But with a 0% card, you’ll pay no interest. Think of all the interest you’d been paying, and what those dollars could have done for your long-term financial security. With a 0% APR card, you won’t have to waste any more of your hard-earned dollars on interest.

Compare these top cards and discover the best one for you.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Eat This Every Week If You Hope to Avoid Dementia

Older couple cooking a healthy meal in their kitchen
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Older people who hope to keep their brain in good health probably should eat more fish, according to a recent study.

Researchers found that eating two or more servings of fish weekly may lower your risk of developing vascular brain disease later in life. This disease is a group of conditions that impact blood flow and blood vessels in the brain.

According to the study — published in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology — the protective effect of such a diet is strongest in people who are younger than 75.

In a press release, study author Cecilia Samieri of the University of Bordeaux in France says:

“Our results are exciting because they show something as simple as eating two or more servings of fish each week is associated with fewer brain lesions and other markers of vascular brain damage, long before obvious signs of dementia appear. However, eating that much fish did not have a protective effect in people 75 years of age and older.”

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 1,600 people ages 65 and older who had no history of dementia, stroke or a cardiovascular disease. Their average age was 72.

Brain scans were used to search for three markers of vascular disease that are strong predictors of cognitive decline and dementia. Study participants also filled out questionnaires about their diet.

The researchers found that 31% of those who ate no fish had markers of severe underlying vascular brain disease.

That number fell to 23% of those who ate three servings a week, and 18% of those who ate four or more servings per week.

So, which fish should you eat to keep your brain in top shape? Those cited by the University of Bordeaux researchers include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines

These are among the types of fish known to contain Omega-3s. The National Institutes of Health says of these essential fatty acids:

“Omega-3s are important components of the membranes that surround each cell in your body. DHA [or docosahexaenoic acid, one type of Omega-3] levels are especially high in retina (eye), brain, and sperm cells. Omega-3s also provide calories to give your body energy and have many functions in your heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system (the network of hormone-producing glands).”

Looking for foods that can build up the body without breaking down your wallet? Check out “7 Health Foods You Can Make for a Fraction of the Cost.”

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

7 Steps to Quickly Eliminate Your Holiday Debt

Man stressed about holiday debt
Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock.com

Christmas may now be past, but holiday credit card bills can haunt you well into the new year.

Maybe you spent more than you planned on a last-minute gift or sprang for dinner for unexpected holiday guests. Decembers tend to bust the best of budgets.

But a new year offers the chance to wipe the slate clean. Try these post-holiday hacks to pay down debt and replenish savings.

1. Tackle balances wisely

Traditionally, financial advisers have told consumers to pay off their highest-interest debts first, as their cost adds up the fastest.

But studies have found advantages to the snowball approach, which involves paying off the smallest debt first. Then, the money that had been going to pay off that debt is added to the payment for the next debt in line, and so on, continuing to incorporate payments as debts are retired.

To determine which approach is better for you, check out “The Best Way to Kill Off Credit Card Debt.”

2. Transfer a balance

Shifting your balance to a credit card that offers zero percent interest on balance transfers might buy you some breathing room.

For help finding the right no-interest card for you, check out the credit card search tool in Money Talks News’ Solutions Center. For example, select “0% APR” or “Balance Transfer” from the menus on the left to view various cards with those features.

3. Turn gift cards into cash

Online marketplaces such as Raise.com enable you to sell unwanted gift cards to someone else for a little less than their face value.

4. Return gifts

You won’t be alone if you return a gift that doesn’t thrill you.

If you have the receipt or a gift receipt, bring it back to the store for cash. Even if you don’t have a receipt, try to return it. You might get store credit.

If possible, make sure the item is in its original packaging, and keep tags on clothing and shoes. For more pointers, check out “12 Tips for Gracefully Returning Holiday Gifts.”

You also can post unwanted gifts for sale online, such as on eBay, Craigslist or neighborhood Facebook groups.

5. Shop your pantry

Got holiday leftovers? Get creative with what you’ve got on hand. Only shop for what you need fresh, like milk and produce.

Avoid last-minute fast-food outings, take lunch to work and do without a cappuccino.

6. Track your money

Use the free tools provided by Money Talks News partner Personal Capital or a similar app that allows you to view all of your accounts — including checking, savings and retirement accounts — in one place.

Such apps generally let you track your spending and even your net worth.

Knowing exactly where all your money is going each month can help you find more funds to put toward paying off your debt. And tracking your net worth can help you build your savings.

7. Pay yourself first

Once you’ve paid off your debt, prioritize building an emergency fund. Having money set aside for unexpected expenses is key to avoiding the need to take on debt in the future.

Perhaps the best way to build up any type of savings is to pay yourself first, such as through payroll deduction. With this approach, you have money automatically taken from your paycheck and transferred to a savings or retirement account.

Your employer may even allow you to directly deposit paychecks into multiple accounts.

Also, send any additional income from raises, bonuses, cash awards or other windfalls straight to savings.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com