Money Balloons

Super cute way to give money for any occasion.

It’s fun to watch the recipient get spooked by a popping balloon, covered in confetti, and of course, count the money inside! 

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Sneak Peek Birthday Card

Such a cute and sneaky way to roll cash into a card.

Make candles using a dollar bill or go big and use a $20 bill.

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Money Lei for Graduation Gift Idea

Everyone needs some cash and this money lei is a fun and creative way to give the gift of cash!

Learn how to make your own money lei today!

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Funny and Fun Ways to Give Cash

This list is about the funny and fun ways to give cash.

This type of money gift idea works best for a white elephant exchange, a coworkers exchange, a friend exchange, or someone who loves a good joke.

Let’s be honest… sometimes you just to be really funny with how you give the gift.

Honestly, I’m not sure if there are any annoying ways that you could give money. (Cash is still cash, right?) For those who enjoy crisp dollar bills beware!

Easy Peasy Money Tree Topiary

It is proven that money does grow on trees. This DIY tutorial will teach you exactly how to make your own money tree.

This beautiful money tree topiary is ready for one very lucky gift recipient!

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Money Tree on Etsy

Perfect gift for the Dad who always says money doesn’t grow on trees! This is a funny gift idea for the father who has everything and has a great sense of humor. Because now…

Money DOES grow on trees!

See Now on Etsy

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“In An Emergency” Graduation Gift

Super fun way to give money and withhold the desire to spend the cash right away. You can place any amount of cash in these, so they fit virtually any budget.

Simple DIY tutorial!

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Money Chain Gift for the Graduate

Paper chain gifts are a great way to decorate for the holidays. But, it is also a fun way to give money! Very simple DIY project to complete.

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Christmas Money Printable

Running low on time?

This Christmas money printable is a fun and easy way to give some dough this season. So adorable!

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Easy Ways to Hide Money in a Gift

Okay, let’s be honest, we don’t want everybody to know right away that they’re going to get money inside their gift.

How do you hide money as a gift? This gift list is filled with perfect ways to hide money inside a gift.

When they open it, they are excited about just the outside part of the gift and they don’t even know the monetary gift that you have waiting for them inside!!

August 28, 2023
Inside: Looking for a creative and easy way to give money as a gift? Look no further than these Money Gift Boxes!…

Handmade Money Surprise Bath Bomb

Time for a lovely bath with a hidden surprise! A fantastic way to hide money especially for teen girls!

This unique gift idea also is made with all natural and vegan skin care products. Perfect for small budgets!

Buy Now on Etsy

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Funny Christmas Money Gift: Cash in a Can

This is such a clever idea! Giving money was so much fun this year.  

You can hide a roll of cash inside any canned goods – preferably what the recipient hates the most.

Since it is wrapped like a normal household item, no one will expect it to have anything inside but what is on the label!

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Birthday Money Box Gift Idea

Money is something every teenager wants! This money box can easily be created with items you already have at home.

Unique and sneaky way to give money!

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Book of Money

Such an easy DIY project to give money!

You probably have all of the supplies in your house.

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Money Cake Pull Out Kit


Perfect surprise for your kids, grandkids, spouse, or best friend with the most versatile and widely-appreciated gift of them all: cash?

We know how you can do it in style: the amazing money cake dispenser, an incredible accessory that you will use on endless occasions.

This complete cash dispenser set includes the special box, cake topper, 1 plastic roll with 50 connected pockets, and printed instructions.

Buy Now on Amazon

02/19/2024 05:27 pm GMT

Hidden Gift Jars

Want to make your money gift a little more special this year? Make these Hidden Gift Jars!

Stash your gift inside a secret hiding spot in the jars, covered by a favorite candy or treat (we used M&Ms), and watch the recipient’s eyes light up when they realize there’s more to their gift besides just candy!

This also makes a great gag gift! 

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Creative Ways to Give Money – Which is Your Favorite?

What is the best way to gift money?

Honestly, is there any bad ways to get money? Maybe if the gift giver never opens where the cash is heading, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

In this post, we have covered all of the best ways to gift money.

A simple way to say I appreciate you! You have so many ideas to choose from!

Which creative ways to give money did you like the best? There are DIY methods to giving cash and some that you can quickly pick up.

Follow for more inspiration on our Gift Ideas on a Budget Pinterest boards.

I can’t wait to see your pictures with what you’ve come up with, and how you plan to do this.

More Gift Ideas:

Did the post resonate with you?

More importantly, did I answer the questions you have about this topic? Let me know in the comments if I can help in some other way!

Your comments are not just welcomed; they’re an integral part of our community. Let’s continue the conversation and explore how these ideas align with your journey towards Money Bliss.


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Are you wondering what the best low-maintenance businesses are? Looking for a business that doesn’t need much work? You’re not alone. Many people want to find ways to make money without having to spend all their time managing things. There are plenty of low-maintenance businesses that can provide good income with less effort. You just…

Are you wondering what the best low-maintenance businesses are? Looking for a business that doesn’t need much work? You’re not alone. Many people want to find ways to make money without having to spend all their time managing things.

There are plenty of low-maintenance businesses that can provide good income with less effort. You just need to know what options are out there and how they can fit into your busy life.

So, what makes a business low-maintenance?

This will vary from person to person, but businesses that are low maintenance are usually simpler to run because they use automation to handle work automatically. This means you don’t have to spend as much time and effort managing and growing your business.

These kinds of businesses usually have fewer things that need attention, which makes them easier to manage. For example, a vending machine business mostly involves refilling machines and collecting money. Another example is owning rental property, where you might only need to deal with tenants and handle repairs from time to time.

Running a low-maintenance business has many benefits. It reduces stress and workload for the business owner, allows for easier growth because work is simplified, and lets you concentrate on long-term planning instead of daily tasks. This approach can improve work-life balance and give you more time for hobbies and personal interests outside of work.

For me, I run a fairly low-maintenance business. It took some time to get to this point, but I now work around 10 hours a week. I can use my free time to do what I want and pursue my passions. So, I personally know how helpful these are.

Best Low Maintenance Businesses

Below are the best low-maintenance businesses to start:

1. Printables

Printables are a great low-maintenance business idea. You create digital files that people can print at home, and these can be things like journals, planners, calendars, or coloring pages.

One of the best places to sell printables is on Etsy. You make the design once and then you can sell it over and over again, and this means you don’t have to keep making new products.

Another benefit is that you don’t need any inventory. Customers download the files and print them themselves, and this saves you time and money on shipping and storing products.

To start, you’ll need some basic design skills. There are many free tools online you can use like Canva, and with some practice, you can create professional-looking products.

By focusing on quality digital products and good customer service, you can build a steady stream of income with printables. It’s a fun and creative way to make money with low upkeep.

You can learn more at How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy.

Do you want to make money selling printables online? This free training will give you great ideas on what you can sell, how to get started, the costs, and how to make sales.

2. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great low-maintenance business idea. You can promote products and services of other companies. When someone buys through your link, you earn a commission. It’s like getting paid for recommending things you like.

I do affiliate marketing through this blog (you can learn about starting a blog here in my free blogging course), Making Sense of Cents, and I think it’s a great way to make money – whether you are looking for a full-time income or a part-time side hustle.

Setting up isn’t hard and you can use blog posts, social media, or a YouTube channel to share your links. I recommend choosing products related to things you love or know a lot about. That way, it feels natural and fun to share, plus you know that you are helping the people who are clicking on your referral links.

One thing I really love about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need much money to start. Joining affiliate programs is almost always free (I’ve actually never been asked to pay to join one, and I have never seen one that has a fee). Many companies have referral programs, such as Amazon, eBay, and even smaller brands.

The best part is, you don’t handle inventory or customer service. The company does all that and you just focus on getting people to click your links.

Affiliate marketing can be done from anywhere with internet access. It’s a flexible way to make money, especially if you have a busy schedule. Just put in some initial effort to set everything up, and it can almost run by itself.

For me, I spend less than 10 hours usually on my blog, and it earns me a full-time income. I put in a lot of work in the beginning, and now things run mostly by themselves with just a little maintenance from me, such as updating blog posts and sending out emails.

You can learn more at Affiliate Marketing Tips For Bloggers – Free eBook.

3. Vending machines

Vending machines are a great low-maintenance business idea because they don’t take a lot of time to manage and can bring in extra cash. You place them in high-traffic areas and just need to restock them every so often.

You can sell all kinds of items in vending machines. Snacks and drinks are popular choices; some people even sell toys or beauty products. The key is to pick items that your target customers (the people who are already at the location where you will place your vending machines) will want to buy.

One of the best parts about vending machines is the low start-up cost. You can start with just one machine and grow your business from there. Plus, you don’t have to hire a lot of staff or deal with a complicated setup.

Running a vending machine business also means you can earn passive income. Once your machine is set up and stocked, it can make money while you do other things. You just need to check on it and refill it when needed.

Learn more at How To Start A Vending Machine Business.

4. Real estate rental

Real estate rental is a popular way to earn passive income with low maintenance.

You can start by buying a property and renting it out. This could be a single-family home, a condo, or even an apartment.

Many people use platforms like Airbnb to rent properties to tourists, and this can be a good way to make money if you live in a popular area.

If managing the property seems overwhelming, you can hire a property management company. They handle things like finding tenants, collecting rent, and doing maintenance. Hiring a property management company can be a good way to make this a more low-maintenance business.

Learn more about low-maintenance real estate ideas at 23 Best Real Estate Side Hustles To Make Extra Money.

5. ATM business

We’ve all used ATMs, but did you know that someone like you or me is making money from them?

An ATM business can be a great low-maintenance business choice. You place ATM machines in busy locations where lots of people need cash.

You earn money from the fees people pay to use your machines, and these small fees can add up quickly.

The start-up cost is your main expense, as ATMs usually cost around $2,000 to $3,000 each or more, and you will have to buy these yourself.

Managing ATMs doesn’t take much time either because once the machines are set up, they mostly take care of themselves. You just need to refill them with cash and make sure they are running well.

Overall, this business can provide a steady flow of income with a low effort once everything is in place. As long as you pick good locations and keep your machines running, you can make money with less day-to-day work.

6. Laundromat

Starting a laundromat business is a popular low-maintenance business. People always need clean clothes, so there is a steady demand.

A laundromat often needs less day-to-day management because you just need to make sure machines are working and maintain a clean environment.

You can set up your laundry service in a busy neighborhood where people need quick and easy laundry solutions. This will help you attract more customers.

With a laundromat, most of the work is done by machines. You just need to make sure the machines are working properly and help customers if they have questions.

Learn more at Are Laundromats Profitable? How Much Do Laundromats Make?

7. Self-storage units

Self-storage units are one of the best low-maintenance businesses you can start. People need extra space to store their belongings, and you can provide that for them.

You don’t need to be there all the time, and you can set up a system where people can access their storage unit with a code or key card. This means fewer hours spent managing the business.

The demand for storage units is high in many areas. People are always looking for a place to keep their stuff – whether they are moving, downsizing, or just need extra space.

Once your storage units are rented out, you can earn passive income each month.

Maintenance is minimal for self-storage units. Most of the work involves keeping the area clean and making sure everything is secure. You might need to fix a door or handle paperwork occasionally, but it’s not time-consuming.

You can sell climate-controlled units to attract more customers and charge a higher rate too. Some items need to be stored in specific conditions, and providing this option can set your business apart.

You can also add features like 24-hour surveillance cameras and secure fencing to make your customers feel safe. People are more likely to rent from you if they know their belongings are protected.

For me, I personally have used a storage unit a few times – for my personal belongings such as boxes and even for an RV and boat. They always had crazy long waits, and some towns even had waitlists of years long – so there is a lot of demand!

Learn more at How To Invest In Self-Storage For Beginners.

8. Car wash

Starting a car wash business can be a smart idea. You can choose to open a self-service car wash or an automated one, and both options require less daily work compared to a full-service car wash.

A self-service car wash lets customers wash their own cars. This means you don’t need many employees, and you just need to keep the place clean and maintain the machines.

For an automated car wash, cars go through a machine that does the washing. You only need to check the equipment and refill supplies like soap and water.

Car washes can be profitable. Many people prefer to have a clean car but don’t have the time to wash it themselves, so this keeps the demand high.

You can also offer extra services like a vacuum that customers can use for an additional fee. This can boost your income without much extra work.

With some planning and the right setup, a car wash can be a great low-maintenance business idea. Plus, it can provide a steady income once it’s up and running.

9. Create an online course

Creating an online course is a great low-maintenance business idea. You can share your knowledge and skills with people all over the world. Once you create and upload the course, it can keep making money even while you sleep.

I started my first online course around 8 years ago and have earned over $2,000,000 from it over the years. Much of the work was done up front, and I am still able to help students today. I update the course all the time, but most of the legwork was done years ago, which has been so nice.

You can start this low-maintenance small business idea by thinking about what you are good at.

Online courses can be made on all types of subjects, such as gardening, baking, musical instruments, business, finance, travel, and more.

Another plus is you can always update or add new content to keep your course fresh and relevant. This can attract new learners and keep current ones coming back for more.

An online course is a fantastic way to earn passive income with some upfront effort and minimal ongoing maintenance.

Note: I recommend signing up for this free training – How Anyone Can Create an Online Course That Sells – In this free training, you will learn the 7-step process to create, market, and launch a profitable online course.

10. Stock photo photography

Stock photo photography is a great low-maintenance business idea where you can get paid to take pictures. You can take pictures in your free time and upload them to stock photo websites. Each time someone downloads your photo, you earn money.

All you need is a decent camera. You can even use your smartphone if it has a good camera!

You don’t have to worry about managing inventory or dealing with customers directly, and you can just focus on taking high-quality photos that people want to use.

Popular subjects include landscapes, cityscapes, and everyday objects. Seasonal themes and holiday photos also do well.

Once you’ve uploaded your photos, they can keep earning money for years, and that’s why it’s considered a passive income source.

11. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a popular business model for many beginners. You sell products online, but you don’t need to keep them in stock. Instead, your supplier ships the products directly to your customers. This means you don’t need to spend money on storing inventory.

Once your website is set up and products are listed, it can handle sales automatically. As orders come in, you can streamline shipment processes, allowing your business to handle more customers without much added effort.

Another great thing about starting a dropshipping business is that it is affordable. With little or no start-up capital, you can list products on your website and start selling. You only buy the products from your supplier when you make a sale.

Another positive about dropshipping is the low risk involved. You’re not stuck with unsold inventory. Plus, you don’t need to worry about packing and shipping items. This makes dropshipping a low-maintenance business idea.

12. Print-on-demand

Print-on-demand is a great low-maintenance business idea. You can create custom designs for items like T-shirts, mugs, and phone cases.

You don’t have to worry about storing inventory. When someone buys a product, the print-on-demand company prints it and ships it directly to the customer, and this makes the process very hands-off for you.

Printful and Printify are popular print-on-demand companies. They offer many different products and work with various platforms like Shopify and Etsy. You can sell your designs in multiple stores, reaching different audiences.

What’s nice about print-on-demand is you can start small and grow. You only pay for the products customers buy. This means low upfront costs and reduced financial risk for your business.

Starting a print-on-demand business can be a great way to make money with minimal effort.

13. Parking lots

Parking lots can be a great low-maintenance business. If you have a space in a busy city, it’s a prime spot as a lot of people probably need parking, and they’re willing to pay a good price for it.

Once you set up a parking lot, there’s not much you need to do. You might have to repaint lines or put up new signs occasionally, but these tasks are easy and don’t take much time.

Owning a parking lot has other benefits too, with the main ones being that you don’t have to manage a lot of employees, and the maintenance costs are pretty low. Plus, you don’t need to be there every day to keep it running smoothly.

Starting a small parking lot with just 20 spaces can already bring in good money. If you charge $20 per day per space, you could see an annual revenue of around $146,000, with a high profit margin.

14. Billboards

Billboards are a great low-maintenance business. Once you set them up, they don’t need a lot of work. You can rent out advertising space to companies that want to advertise.

Starting a billboard business means finding good locations. Busy streets and highways are best and you need to rent or buy the space. After that, the billboard does the work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting a low-maintenance business can be a great way to earn income with minimal effort. Below are some common questions and answers about low-maintenance business options.

What is the cheapest business with the most profit?

The cheapest business with the most profit to start includes businesses like selling printables on Etsy, affiliate marketing on a blog, creating an online course, and dropshipping.

What is the easiest business to start and maintain?

The easiest business to start and maintain includes printables, self-storage units, stock photo photography, and parking lots.

What kinds of businesses can I start that don’t require a lot of time to manage?

Vending machines are a great option. Once placed in high-traffic areas, they require little maintenance. Just stock them up and collect your earnings.

Which businesses can really run by themselves?

Real estate rentals can run mostly by themselves, especially if you hire a property manager. They take care of the day-to-day tasks like rent collection and maintenance.

What are the best business choices for earning passive income?

ATM businesses can generate passive income. You earn money from surcharge fees every time someone uses your machine. Place your ATMs in busy locations to maximize earnings.

What is the least riskiest business?

Self-storage facilities are low risk. People always need storage, and once set up, these facilities require minimal management. You collect rental fees without much daily involvement.

How do you find low-maintenance businesses for sale?

To find a business that runs itself for sale, check listings on websites like BizBuySell and LoopNet, or contact business brokers. Before purchasing, thoroughly research and vet any business to make sure it meets your needs and expectations.

What are the best businesses to buy for passive income?

Buying existing laundromats or storage facilities can be great for passive income. These businesses already have cash flow and customers, reducing your initial workload, and you can purchase them to get started quicker.

Best Low Maintenance Businesses – Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article on the best low-maintenance businesses.

There are many types of businesses that run themselves and are low maintenance as you learned above. These include selling printables, affiliate marketing, vending machines, rental real estate, running a laundromat, renting storage space, and more.

Some key traits of low-maintenance businesses include:

  • Few routine tasks
  • Easy to manage
  • Low maintenance or repair needs

One of the biggest benefits is the reduced time and effort required. Many low-maintenance businesses can be set up to run smoothly with minimal daily involvement. This frees you up to focus on other important tasks, like spending time with family or pursuing hobbies.

Low-maintenance businesses are also highly scalable. Since you spend less time on daily tasks, you can concentrate on growing your business. As it grows, you can duplicate your model and open more locations or move into new markets.

What do you think are the best low-maintenance businesses?

Recommended reading:


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Owning Businesses

I have 2 laundromats; a very small one in a small town and a medium-sized one in a city of about 100,000 people. I love the laundromats and they are a ton of fun but they come with challenges as well. My medium-sized laundromat makes money but the small one still struggles after a year of improving it.

I think the small laundromat has potential but the larger the laundromat, the more chances for success you will have. I am a real estate investor and broker by trade and I have learned a ton about small businesses the last few years. I also own a liquor store and a small grocery store in a small town. Laundromats are very different from anything else I have ever done. Here is what I have learned.

Table of Contents

What are the biggest challenges of owning a laundromat?

Before I bought my first laundromat, I thought they were a pretty straightforward business. You buy some washers and dryers, people come and use them, and you collect the money. There is much more to the business than buying some machines and hoping people come to use them. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned:

  • Washers and dryers in laundromats are very expensive. If you want the big machines that people come to laundromats for, expect to pay close to $10,000 for one machine! The smaller the machines, the less expensive but people won’t use those nearly as much. The good news is you can charge much more for the big machines since they can hold 4, 5, 6, or even more loads of laundry.
  • It is very hard to find people who can fix commercial washers and dryers. Appliance repair is a lost art and many of the companies that still do it, limit themselves to warranty work for specific companies. There are also a lot of people who claim they can fix these machines and have no idea what they are doing. Ask me how I know that one! The closet repair people to me are over an hour away. If you own a laundromat you must be able to do some of the simple repairs yourself or have someone on your team who can do them or you will go bankrupt because machines break all the time.
  • Laundromats get dirty as soon as you clean them. I have hired cleaners and cleaned myself and it doesn’t matter how often you clean, the next time someone comes in to do laundry it will be dirty again. People do not like a dirty laundromat. One tip is to get a floor that is as close to dirt color as possible!
  • Laundromats are not passive. They take constant monitoring and visits. It is fun collecting quarters but you will also get calls or texts about machines not working or taking money or people acting funny. If you want to keep people coming, you have to respond to the complaints and do your best to remedy them. You will be giving out a lot of small refunds.
  • Laundromats attract crime. My laundromats are not attended and while I have cameras there are still shenanigans going on all the time. Make sure you are not letting people sleep in them, abuse the bathrooms if you have them, or camp out outside.

These points may turn off a lot of people but I still love my laundromats. It is so much fun collecting quarters, watching sales, and trying to improve the business. Below is one of the videos of me collecting quarters.

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Do laundromats make money?

The laundromat in the video above has been open for about 7 months and brings in around $7,000 a month with $4,500 in expenses a month. This does not count my own time collecting quarters and managing things. I was very lucky that I did not have to buy this laundromat. I took over the lease with most of the equipment still there. I had to add some equipment that I bought used from another laundromat and fix some of the machines already there. I probably spent $40,000 on machines, a little remodeling, and repairs. I lease this space but I purchased the real estate for my small laundromat. It does not make nearly as much ($1,200 to $2,000 a month) but that real estate came with an apartment, shop, and car wash as well.

Laundromats can make money and large laundromats can do very well but it is tough to make it with smaller spaces just because you are so limited in the equipment you can use and the amount of customers who can use the mat at once.

What kind of machines do you need?

The biggest obstacle with my small laundromat is I have small washers and dryers. The small dryers are not a big deal but the washers are. Many people use laundromats because they have tons of laundry or large items they want to wash. A lot of people who have washers and dryers still use laundromats. You may even have people using your laundromat who have wash-and-fold businesses where they pick up someone’s laundry and do it for them. A successful laundromat almost always has large washers.

With large washers come more expensive machines, more power (3 phase in many cases), more water (upgraded water heaters), and more support (concrete floors). My small laundromat has wood floors and 2 phase power which makes it very tough to add large machines. If you are choosing a place for a new laundromat or taking over an existing one make sure you have the mechanicals needed for big machines. Most of my washers and dryers are Speed Queens but there are many good brands out there.

Below is a video of the small laundromat:

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Should you have an attended or unattended laundromat?

Most large laundromats are attended and offer wash and fold services to pay for those attendants. Mine do not have this service but I may offer it at some point. I am still able to make money without the wash and fold but it would most likely make me more if I decide to go that route. A wash and fold service does laundry for customers. Some laundromats even pick up and deliver loads. One nice thing about having wash and fold and attended laundromats is there is usually someone there who can help customers and clean up if things get messy.

If you have full-time staff at the laundromat that is a large expense and you will need to do quite a bit of wash and fold to pay for it. If you have a smaller laundromat you want to make sure you are not taking up machines with your wash and fold business that regular customers want to use. Of course, the biggest challenge is to find the right employees you can trust and who will work hard. I have that challenge in my real estate businesses as well.

Bonus income from laundromats

While my laundromats do okay I get a lot of bonus income from them. People love to watch quarters being collected. I have a pretty large social media following and a decent-sized YouTube channel (110K) and those all make me money. On bad months I make at least $1k from my videos and on good months close to $5k. If you like social media and making videos, the laundromats are perfect for content creators.


It would be impossible to give you all the ins and outs of the laundromat business in one article, well maybe if the article was 50 pages long… but I hope this helps give you an idea of what the laundromat business is like. My YouTube channel has weekly videos on both mats going over the pros and cons. I also am happy to answer questions here but I do check my YouTube comments more often.


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Inside: Dream about what life could be if you didn’t have a job? If you are in the boat of I don’t want to work anymore, then you must read this post.

The reality is most people have days where they absolutely have no desire to work. Yet, you know deep down that you have to make money in order to pay your bills.

You are thinking… I don’t want a job I just want a life.

So, what happens when you don’t want to work anymore?

Well, if you don’t want to go to work today, you could take a sick day and get away with it. You can do that here and there for a while, but unfortunately, your employer is going to catch up to the quality of work that you are able to do or not do.

At this point you might be saying, you know I don’t want a job, I just want a life.

And that is very understandable if you don’t want to work in a field anymore job that you don’t love.

You want time freedom in your life!!

We will dive into the reasons for not wanting to work and how to overcome them when you need the money.

What to do if I don’t want to work?

The best thing to do is to find a job that you love and want to do on a daily basis!

Something that you can’t wait to go to work to be able to do. A way to make money that doesn’t feel like a job!

Unfortunately, too many of us feel we cannot do what we want to do when we want to do it. Thus, we want more out of life.

In this post, we are going to detail. If you don’t want to work anymore, what steps can you take to quit the job and live the life that you want?

Is it normal to not want to work?

I think each and every one of us has a desire not to work. Maybe you are thinking “I hate my job.”

This desire to work may ebb and flow based on what is going on, how you are feeling, and your current situation.

Especially if you are in a situation where you do not enjoy your boss, your co-workers, the company culture, or the current assignment, it will make going to work harder.

Whatever your job entails, if you are not enjoying what you’re doing, it is harder and harder to go to work on work every day.

As you can read on Reddit personal finance threads, there are plenty of people who have shared their stories about how they don’t want to work, seeking solace from others, and looking for ways to get out of the current situation that they’re in.

Also, if you are thinking that I can never make it until I am 55 then think about retirement. You are just sick of working and you may be in your 20s, 30s, or 40s.

It is okay to dream about not working daily!

Why We Don’t Want to Work

There are several reasons for not wanting to work.

Primarily many people do not feel engaged at their jobs, which makes them less likely to want to continue working. Gallup found that only 15% of employees feel engaged at work.1

In addition, there is an increasing amount of competition in the workforce as well as a lack of clear career paths and advancement opportunities for those who desire more freedom or flexibility with their careers. This can lead someone to think about becoming self-employed or going into a different field.

There are many reasons for not wanting to work.

People on Reddit share their stories about how they don’t want to work anymore. Some are still in school, some are retired, and others have other reasons for not wanting to work.

We all have heard about the Great Resignation with people saying “enough is enough; I don’t want to go back to work.”

1. Burnout

Burnout is when an employee begins to feel exhausted and overwhelmed by their job. They do not want to be there anymore and it negatively impacts the happiness of both the individual and their work environment.

If you want to stop working, it is okay!

Just make sure you can still be financially independent.

2. Not enjoying your job

Many people wake up and say, “I don’t really want to do the work today.” If you are not enjoying your job, it is harder and harder to go in every day.

People don’t want to work because they feel like they’re working more than is necessary, or there’s no meaning behind their job anymore.

If you find yourself not enjoying your job, it might be time to leave. Many people experience dissatisfaction with their jobs and want to retire early.

Many times this is when people leave their jobs and find success is the best revenge.

3. Mental Health

Mental health issues can be caused by outside factors, such as stress and anxiety, and can lead to feelings of wanting to avoid work.

For many, the idea of going to work can feel overwhelming and lead to feelings of anxiety and dread. It is also essential to take a step back and assess the quality of your mental health.

If this is something you have been struggling with, it is important to think about why you are feeling this way and take steps to address it.

If this persists, it is important to seek professional help. Visiting a therapist or counselor can help you identify the root causes of your negative feelings and develop a plan to overcome them. In many cases, your workplace may even cover the cost of therapy, so you don’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket.

This is one of the good excuses to miss work.

4. Lack of Interest

When you find yourself feeling like you don’t want to work anymore, it’s important to take some time to examine the reasons why and identify potential solutions.

  • It could be that you’ve been in the same job for a long time and need a change of scenery.
  • Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed and undervalued by your current role.
  • Possibly you have other things that are taking president and you don’t have the same level of interest.

Whatever the source of your feelings, they need to be addressed.

5. Support System

Friends and family can be a great source of support, offering advice and understanding. However, if they do not believe in you, it can make it even harder to find motivation.

On top of that, if you have family obligations such as childcare, it can be difficult to make the time to work or even to access the necessary resources.

Talking to your loved ones about your feelings and concerns is a great first step in getting through this tough time.

One of these family emergency excuses could help you in a pinch.

6. Lack of Appreciation

It can be incredibly disheartening to work hard and not be appreciated.

It’s easy to become discouraged and feel like you don’t want to work anymore if you’re putting in the effort and not being recognized.

When this happens it’s important to remember that you are valuable and your work does matter. It’s also important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, whether that be a friend, family member, or therapist.

You just want someone to say to you, “I appreciate you!”

7. Thinking of Career Change

If you find yourself in a position where you don’t want to work for weeks on end, it’s important to figure out why. Are you having a hard time at your current job or do you no longer wish to pursue a career? If it’s the latter, it can be freeing to consider all the possible career changes you can make.

Many people don’t want to work anymore because:

  • they don’t want to pursue a career in corporate America
  • tired of the same job they’ve been doing for years
  • don’t want to continue vying for raises, bonuses, or promotions

It’s okay to dream about something else, something fresh and different.

You may find yourself researching other opportunities to put your skillset to use.

9. More Interest in Hobby to Turn into Side Hustle

For many people, having a side hustle is a great way to make extra money, explore a passion, and turn a hobby into something productive and profitable.

If you find yourself no longer wanting to go to work and feeling more fulfilled in your hobbies, it may be time to pursue a side hustle.

You can monetize your hobby and create a side gig to give yourself a new source of income.

This will provide you with the freedom to pursue what you’re interested in and make a living from it. It can also give you the option to quit your job and explore other areas of your life.

10. Wanting to make money passively

Making money passively is a goal that many people desire, but it can be hard to turn into reality.

While it is possible to make money passively in the stock market, real estate, or a small business, one can also earn passive income by doing any type of side hustle.

It is better to find ways to make passive income from something you enjoy.

You need to figure out what should I do for a living that will make passive income.

How do you make a living if you don’t want to work?

If you don’t want to work, you still need to find a way to make a living.

Passive income is the most effective way of making money without working.

It allows you to work on your business or hobby full-time and then withdraw a certain amount every month that helps pay for all of your expenses, including food, rent/mortgage, etc.

So, your first step is to create a passive income source.

If you don’t, then don’t say, “I don’t want to do the work today.”

In fact, there are many good excuses to miss work.

Can I survive without working?

Well, that completely depends on your financial situation. (Since most people are not aware of where they stand financially, here are the Money Bliss Steps to help you.)

If you are lucky enough to be a trust fund baby with somebody else managing your money, you are likely fine and can survive without working.

However, if you are like most normal folk, then you may be able to survive for a little bit without working. But over time, it will catch up to you. Not working is not a long-term solution.

While you may be on unemployment and collecting unemployment benefits, or maybe even disability payments that are not enough to make ends meet. In most cities, you can survive in the short term without working. But in the long term, it is not going to work out for you.

If you are serious about not wanting to work, you need to find the FIRE movement, which means financial independence retire early.

That is a better term for not wanting to work anymore. When you want to quit the job and do something else in life, you have to do what is called FIRE.

5 Simple Steps To Quit the Job

To quit the job or the career path that you were in, you have to take steps ahead of time to make sure that your transition (financially) is as smooth as possible.

The biggest question is how can I make money if I don’t want to work ever.

You set aside money to take care of your obligations and bills while being able to live the life that you want to live. That means you have more types of income than just a paycheck.

These are the exact steps you need to take to quit the job. Obviously, it won’t happen overnight. But, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Make an Exit Plan

First, you have to make a plan of how finances will work without a typical paycheck. You need to learn how to FI quickly.

In order to retire early or quit the job, you must be able to financially support yourself without a consistent income coming in from a regular paycheck.

Specifically, it means you need to find ways to make passive income. That could be in the stock market, real estate, small business, side hustle hobby, or driving for Uber. There are a variety of different ways to make money; it is just better to find ways to make money doing something you enjoy.

One of the things you will quickly realize is that to make money passively, you must have money on hand to invest. That is the “Catch 22” of why people get caught in the cycle of it being too difficult to change their financial position and just give up.

If you don’t like your job and you don’t want to work anymore, then you need the mindset that something is gonna change, you are gonna make it a reality.

It will be hard for a short period of time to save up the money necessary to build the steps to be able to quit working or FIRE, but you might be surprised how you can double $10k quickly when you put your mind to it.

Motivation is a great thing, especially given the right circumstances.

Related Answers:

2. Save Money

If you don’t want to work anymore, then you have to save money to cover your bills. Period.

There is no way to get around that situation.

Your friends and family are not going to pick up the slack just because you want to quit your job.

So, you have to find all of the possible ways to save money. A great place to start is with one of our money saving challenges.

Another great way to save more money is by changing your habits.

In order to “retire early,” you must save a majority of your income at an early age
to gain the benefit of compounding early. If you are thinking, “Well shoot, I missed that bucket,” then don’t worry … now is better to start than waiting too long.

Things only look up from here!

3. Cut Expenses

You have to be able to live below your means.

If you’re not interested in your job or the career that you are currently in and you don’t want to work anymore, then you need to cut your expenses in order to save more money.

One of the wisest tricks of the FIRE community is becoming a thrifty person. You know when to spend money on quality items as well as you know when to save
money on frivolous expenses.

4. Pick a date.

As with any smart financial goal, you need to put a deadline on when you want things to happen.

If you are not happy with your job and your depression isn’t worth it anymore, then you have to find a date to move on and do something else.

Obviously, you’ll need some of these FIRE calculators to learn how much you need to make your dream a reality.

that happen. Here are some of the best fire calculators that you can find, to learn, how much you need to quit your job.

5. Start Hustling

Let’s face it, 2020 changed the workplace as well as our priorities. Honestly, I think it was for the better. We all realize there is more to life than just the constant line of being busy.

In addition, many of us found the extra time that we can now put to work and start to make money.

It is easier to work when you have a target goal in mind of not working anymore. You must start saving money to put to work passively.

Below you will find ideas to help you search out the best serious ways to make more money. The last thing you want to do is learn what happens when you don’t save enough for retirement.

When You Don’t Want to Work Anymore

In this post, we answered the question of how can I make money if I don’t want to work.

The secret sauce is called passive income.

You must earn money on your investments. So, yes, now is a good time to invest in stocks.

There are many ways to make passive income; it could be in the swing trading the stock market, real estate, a business venture, a side hustle, or simply long-term investing.

Unless you are massively independently wealthy and part of the 1%, with millions of dollars that you do not know what to do with, then you will want to make some money on your nest egg that you create over time.

If you are saying, “I just want a life,” then stop waiting for the magic time for your retirement. You don’t have to wait until the retirement age of 65 years old.

You are in charge of your life and can make it happen… if you put your mind to it.


  1. Gallup. “What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It?”,in%20the%20%22engaged%22%20category. Accessed March 11, 2024.

Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!

Did the post resonate with you?

More importantly, did I answer the questions you have about this topic? Let me know in the comments if I can help in some other way!

Your comments are not just welcomed; they’re an integral part of our community. Let’s continue the conversation and explore how these ideas align with your journey towards Money Bliss.


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A zero-coupon certificate of deposit or zero-coupon CD is a type of CD that’s purchased at a discount and pays out interest at maturity. Zero-coupon CDs can offer higher yields than standard CDs for investors who have the patience to wait until maturity to collect their original deposit and the interest earned.

Zero-coupon certificates of deposit are similar to bonds in that both are considered lower-risk, fixed-income instruments, but they serve different purposes in a portfolio. Understanding how a zero-coupon CD works can make it easier to decide if it’s a good investment for you.

What Is a Zero-Coupon CD?

To understand zero-coupon CDs, it’s important to know how a regular certificate of deposit works. A CD account, also referred to as a time-deposit or term-deposit account, is designed to hold money for a specified period of time. While the money is in the CD, it earns interest at a rate determined by the CD issuer — and the investor cannot add to the account or withdraw from it without penalty.

CDs are FDIC or NCUA insured when held at a member bank or credit union. That means deposits are insured up to $250,000.

CDs are some of the most common interest-bearing accounts banks offer, along with savings accounts and money market accounts (MMAs).

A zero-coupon certificate of deposit does not pay periodic interest. Instead, the interest is paid out at the end of the CD’s maturity term. This can allow the purchaser of the CD to potentially earn a higher rate of return because zero-coupon CDs are sold at a discount to face value, but the investor is paid the full face value at maturity.

By comparison, traditional certificates of deposit pay interest periodically. For example, you might open a CD at your bank with interest that compounds daily. Other CDs can compound monthly. Either way, you’d receive an interest payment in your CD account for each month that you hold it until it matures.

Once the CD matures, you’ll be able to withdraw the initial amount you deposited along with the compound interest. You could also roll the entire amount into a new CD if you’d prefer.

Remember: Withdrawing money from a CD early can trigger an early withdrawal penalty that’s typically equal to some of the interest earned.

How Do Zero-Coupon CDs Work?

Ordinarily when you buy a CD, you’d deposit an amount equal to or greater than the minimum deposit specified by the bank. You’d then earn interest on that amount for the entirety of the CD’s maturity term.

With zero-coupon CD accounts, though, you’re purchasing the CDs for less than their face value. But at the end of the CD’s term, you’d be paid out the full face value of the CD. The discount — and your interest earned — is the difference between what you pay for the CD and what you collect at maturity. So you can easily see at a glance how much you’ll earn from a zero-coupon CD investment.

In a sense, that’s similar to how the coupon rate of a bond works. A bond’s coupon is the annual interest rate that’s paid out, typically on a semiannual basis. The coupon rate is always tied to a bond’s face value. So a $1,000 bond with a 5.00% interest rate has a 5.00% coupon rate, meaning a $50 annual payout until it matures.

Real World Example of a Zero-Coupon CD

Here’s a simple example of how a zero-coupon CD works. Say your bank offers a zero-coupon certificate of deposit with a face value of $10,000. You have the opportunity to purchase the CD for $8,000, a discount of $2,000. The CD has a maturity term of five years.

You wouldn’t receive any interest payments from the CD until maturity. And since the CD has a set term, you wouldn’t be able to withdraw money from the account early. But assuming your CD is held at an FDIC- or NCUA-member institution, the risk of losing money is very low.

At the end of the five years, the bank pays you the full $10,000 face value of the CD. So you’ve essentially received $400 per year in interest income for the duration of the CD’s maturity term — or 5.00% per year. You can then use that money to purchase another zero-coupon CD or invest it any other way you’d like.

💡 Quick Tip: Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts do, and online banks are more likely than brick-and-mortar banks to offer you the best rates.

Tips When Investing in a Zero-Coupon CD

If you’re interested in zero-coupon CDs, there are a few things to consider to make sure they’re a good investment for you. Specifically, it’s important to look at:

•   What the CD is selling for (in other words, how big of a discount you’re getting to its face value)

•   How long you’ll have to hold the CD until it reaches maturity

•   The face value amount of the CD (and what the bank will pay you in full, once it matures)

It’s easy to be tempted by a zero-coupon certificate of deposit that offers a steep discount between the face value and the amount paid out at maturity. But consider what kind of trade-off you might be making in terms of how long you have to hold the CD.

If you don’t have the patience to wait out a longer maturity term, or you need the money in the shorter term, then the prospect of higher returns may hold less sway for you. Also, keep in mind what kind of liquidity you’re looking for. If you think you might need to withdraw savings for any reason before maturity, then a standard CD could be a better fit.

Comparing zero-coupon CD offerings at different banks can help you find one that fits your needs and goals. You may also consider other types of cash equivalents, such as money market funds or short-term government bonds if you’re looking for alternatives to zero-coupon CDs.

Recommended: How to Invest in CDs: A Beginner’s Guide

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

Pros of Zero-Coupon CDs

Zero-coupon CDs have some features that could make them more attractive than other types of CDs. The main advantages of investing in zero coupon certificates of deposit include:

•   Higher return potential than regular CDs

•   Guaranteed returns, since you’re unable to withdraw money before maturity

•   Suited for longer-term goals

•   Can be federally insured

Zero-coupon CDs are lower-risk investments, which can make them more appealing than bonds. While bonds are considered lower-risk investments generally, if the bond issuer defaults, then you might walk away from your investment with nothing.

A zero-coupon certificate of deposit, on the other hand, does not carry this same default risk because your money is insured up to $250,000. There is, however, a risk that the CD issuer could “call” the CD before it matures (see more about this in the next section).

Cons of Zero-Coupon CDs

Every investment has features that may be sticking points for investors. If you’re wondering what the downsides of zero-coupon CDs are, here are a few things to consider:

•   No periodic interest payments

•   No liquidity, since you’re required to keep your money in the CD until maturity

•   Some zero-coupon CDs may be callable, which means the issuer can redeem them before maturity, and the investor won’t get the full face value

•   Taxes are due on the interest that accrues annually, even though the interest isn’t paid out until maturity

It may be helpful to talk to your financial advisor or a tax professional about the tax implications of zero-coupon CDs. It’s possible that the added “income” from these CDs that you have to report each year could increase your tax liability.

How to Collect Interest on Zero-Coupon CDs

Since zero-coupon CDs only pay out at interest at the end of the maturity term, all you have to do to collect the interest is wait until the CD matures. You can direct the bank that issued the CD to deposit the principal and interest into a savings account or another bank account. Or you can use the interest and principal to purchase new CDs.

It’s important to ask the bank what options you’ll have for collecting the interest when the CD matures to make sure renewal isn’t automatic. With regular CDs, banks may give you a window leading up to maturity in which you can specify what you’d like to do with the money in your account. If you don’t ask for the money to be out to you it may be rolled over to a new CD instead.

How to Value Zero-Coupon CDs

The face value of a zero-coupon CD is the amount that’s paid to you at maturity. Banks should specify what the face value of the CD is before you purchase it so you understand how much you’re going to get back later.

In terms of whether a specific zero-coupon CD is worth the money, it helps to look at how much of a discount you’re getting and what that equates to in terms of average interest earned during each year of maturity.

Purchasing a $10,000 zero-coupon CD for $8,000, for example, means you’re getting it at 20% below face value. Buying a $5,000 zero-coupon CD for $4,500, on the other hand, means you’re only getting a 10% discount.

Of course, you’ll also want to keep the maturity term in perspective when assessing what a zero-coupon CD is worth to you personally. Getting a 10% discount for a CD with a three-year maturity term, for example, may trump a 20% discount for a five-year CD, especially if you don’t want to tie up your money for that long.

The Takeaway

Investing in zero-coupon CDs could be a good fit if you’re looking for a lower-risk way to save money for a long-term financial goal, and you’d like a higher yield than most other cash equivalents.

Zero-coupon CDs are sold at a discount to face value, and while the investor doesn’t accrue interest payments annually, they get the full face value at maturity — which often adds up to a higher yield than many savings vehicles. And because the difference between the discount and the face value is clear, zero-coupon CDs are predictable investments (e.g. you buy a $5,000 CD for $4,000, but you collect $5,000 at maturity).

As with any investment, it’s important for investors to know the terms before they commit any funds. For example, zero-coupon CDs don’t pay periodic interest, but the account holder is expected to pay taxes on the amount of interest earned each year (even though they don’t collect it until they cash out or roll over the CD).

If you’re eager to earn a higher rate on your savings, you’ve got a lot of options to explore — including a high-yield bank account or a regular CD.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


What is a coupon on a CD?

The coupon on a CD is its periodic interest payment. When a CD is zero coupon, that means it doesn’t pay out interest monthly or annually. Instead, the investor gets the full amount of interest earned paid out to them when the CD reaches maturity.

Is a certificate of deposit a zero-coupon bond?

Certificates of deposit and bonds are two different types of savings vehicles. While a CD can be zero-coupon the same way that a bond can, your money is not invested in the same way. CD accounts also don’t carry the same types of default risk that bonds can present.

Are CDs safer than bonds?

CDs can be safer than bonds since CDs don’t carry default risk. A bond is only as good as the entity that issues it. If the issuer defaults, then bond investors can lose money. CDs, on the other hand, are issued by banks and typically covered by FDIC insurance which generally makes them safer investments.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

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Friend of the blog DT wrote in and said:

In regards to your recent “When to Take Social Security” article, you left something out. You can take Social Security early (say, age 62), then invest that money, and your investment will end up better than if you had waited on Social Security until age 67 or age 70.

Interesting! But does the math work? Let’s dive in. Should you take Social Security early and invest it?

What Kind of “Returns” Do You Get For Waiting on Social Security?

Let’s start by looking at Social Security. What kind of “return on investment” do you receive by delaying your Social Security decision?

There’s no easy way to do this today without a spreadsheet, so we will use this Google Sheet to show you some math. (I keep the original file pristine so all readers see the same numbers, but you can go to File –> Make a Copy to create your own copy of the file to play around with.)

For starters, we need to understand how retirees’ benefits change as they age. Depending on their birth year, today’s retirees reach their “Full Retirement Age” (FRA) at 66 or 67 years old. Depending on the age at which they apply for Social Security, they’ll receive a certain percentage of their full benefits, described in the table below.

To make the math easy, we will assume our retiree’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)…aka the amount you receive if you wait until FRA…is $1000 per month. So “100%” on the table above equals $1000 per mont

The longer our retiree waits, the higher their monthly payments will be. But what does that look like as an “investment?” And how does inflation factor in?

What About Inflation?

The Social Security Administration adjusts everybody’s Social Security payments yearly to account for inflation. This “cost of living adjustment” is often shortened to “COLA.”

The average COLA adjustment since 1975 has been 3.66%. We need to include that in our spreadsheet too.

Baseline Analysis – No Investments Yet

Let’s start with a baseline analysis. We’ll examine a series of retirees who collect their Social Security monthly, and immediately spend it. They make no investments with their Social Security cash flow. We could conceptualize this as hiding those dollars underneath their mattresses.

We’ll compare results by looking at the total dollar amounts collected over time. This will be our baseline analysis. You can follow along on the spreadsheet tab labeled “No Investment Return (Yet) – Nominal Dollars Only”

The results: in this scenario, early collection only makes sense for a retiree who dies before age 74. This should make sense. We know that delaying Social Security makes more and more sense the longer someone lives.

Let’s add in investment returns.

Analysis 1: Investing in a 4.7% Savings Account

Let’s consider a retiree who takes all of their Social Security income and deposits it into a savings account bearing 4.7% annual interest.

Why 4.7%? That’s the average overnight Federal Funds rate since 1960, and modern-day high-yield savings accounts tend to offer interest rates that are closely correlated to the Fed Funds rate.

Note: if your personal pile of cash isn’t in a high-yield savings account, you should ask yourself why that is…

The results: if you pass away at age 77 or earlier, collecting earlier makes sense. Otherwise, waiting until FRA or later likely makes sense. This is no different than “traditional” Social Security advice.

Analysis 2: Investing in a “Standard” 60/40 Portfolio

What if our retirees put their money in a tried-and-true 60/40 portfolio?

From 1950 until today, that kind of diversified 60/40 portfolio has returned an average of 9.3% per year.

The results: Whoa! As shown on the “A2” tab, collecting as early as possible makes sense for anyone who would pass away before age 88.

We know, on average, most 62 years olds are going to pass away well before age 88. The smart, probabilistic thing to do then, is collect Social Security as early as possible and invest it in something like a 60/40 portfolio (or, something with greater returns).

But wait…because I’ve only showed you half the story. And that’s a major problem.

Big Problem: What’s the Risk?

If we zoom out on reader DT’s idea as originally stated, we should confidently conclude: OF COURSE it makes sense! If you have sufficiently high investment returns, you should always start as early as possible.

Even if the benefit of delaying Social Security was 20% per year, but I had an investment that paid me 40% per year, I’d rather start collecting as soon as possible and get the money invested. Given sufficiently high returns, you always want to get the compound growth started.

But we must return, once again, to a foundational pillar of investing and oft-repeated maxim of The Best Interest: Risk and return are intrinsically connected. Returns are not “free.” They are compensation for taking on investment risk.

Whenever an investor compares returns alone, without also comparing the risks involved, they’re making an incomplete analysis. DT’s original question only considers return. It doesn’t consider risk.

What Comparison Makes Sense?

The benefits of delaying Social Security are guaranteed by the U.S. government. That’s very low risk. What kind of investment risk should we compare that to?

I see two viable options.

First, why does Warren Buffett invest all of Berkshire Hathaway’s extra cash into U.S. Treasuries, instead of an S&P 500 index fund? Doesn’t he know the S&P 500 has much better long-term returns?!

Answer: U.S. Treasuries are as risk-free as anything in the investing universe, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. As long as Uncle Sam pays debts, U.S. treasuries are risk-free. The S&P 500 is far from risk-free, and Buffett knows it. He wants his cash to be safe and ready for deployment at a moment’s notice. The S&P 500 cannot fulfill that need.

The first logical comparison today, then, is to use a true “risk-free” rate as our investment return. Something like a high-yield bank account (FDIC insured) or short-term U.S. Treasury is appropriate. Conveniently, we already did that in Analysis #1, where our conclusion is no different than traditional Social Security advice: the “break even” point occurs in the late 70s.

Note: this is reason for the concept of “risk-adjusted returns.” To compare only the returns of two investments is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The second option is to show the downsides of Analysis #2. That is, to show how 9.3% per year from a 60/40 portfolio is far from a guarantee. More specifically, I’d like to show how the downside risk of a 60/40 portfolio could turn our result on its head. What happens if we suffer some bad markets during our early Social Security period?

Looking at historical returns, a 60/40 portfolio has had 10-year periods with returns below 2% per year. What if we started our Social Security timeline with that kind of low return, and then made up for it at the end of the analysis? That’s what I show on our spreadsheet on the A3 tab.

The results? The 60/40 “solution” comes with risks! In this scenario, “taking Social Security early and investing it” only worked out if our retiree died before age 75. That’s not a good outcome. Doubly so if Social Security is a safety net or backstop in your financial plan.

To Apply or Not Apply

If your Social Security is “play money” in your financial plan, and you’re ok with risking a loss, then I can see the merit and appeal of DT’s proposal. You can apply for Social Security early, invest it (reasonably), and the odds are in your favor that you’ll end up in a good spot.

But it’s no guarantee.

And the entire point of the Social Security system is to provide a guaranteed benefit to retirees. If Social Security plays even a minor role in your financial plan, I would strongly discourage putting that money at investment risk to eek out extra returns.

When we make a level comparison by using a risk-free rate, like in Analysis #1, we see there is no net benefit to taking Social Security early to invest it.

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Apache is functioning normally

Despite recent easing, inflation comes in as the top worry for half of American consumers, and it has likely implications for future credit and mortgage borrowing.

Approximately 50% of Americans listed rising prices for daily expenses, including groceries, gas and utilities, as their top financial concern in the next six months, according to the latest quarterly consumer pulse study from Transunion. Meanwhile, 84% ranked it in their top three, the highest mark since the credit reporting and data provider began collecting such data two years ago. The latter share is up five percentage points from one year ago. 

Compounding inflation near the top of the list were mortgage costs and interest rates, with 47% and 46% of respondents putting the impact of such costs in their top three. 

“Consumers are facing distinct challenges when taking into account today’s high inflation and interest rate environment,” said Charlie Wise, senior vice president and head of global research and consulting at Transunion, in a press release.

“From filling up a tank of gas to making a rental payment to buying groceries, most consumers are paying more today for everyday expenses than they ever have.”

The combined trends of rising prices, housing costs and interest rates may also end up taking a cut out of potential mortgage borrowing. Fourteen percent of likely credit borrowers planned to take out a mortgage in the next year, decreasing from 21% a year ago.  

The May Consumer Price Index released on Wednesday could point to some easing on the way, though. Inflation rose 3.3% annually, slowing for the first time in four months. From April to May, the index also showed prices flattening. 

For many consumers, any relief will be welcome. Only a 48% share of people in Transunion’s survey said their incomes were keeping up with the rising rate of inflation, but that percentage dropped sharply among the subset of consumers expressing the most concern about price hikes. Just 26% of that group said their wages were able to keep pace with increased costs, while 42% said their finances were worse today than a year ago. 

Transunion’s latest research corresponds to other recent consumer polling showing the effects of inflation on the American consumer. Research conducted by Morning Consult for the J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy and National Housing Conference found 23% of Americans struggling to make ends meet, with 30% indicating they were only managing to meet expenses. 

The Morning Consult poll also showed one-third of homeowners facing difficulty over the last year in making their mortgage payments. Meanwhile, 49% of renters reported struggling to make rent. 

Similarly, insurance firm Nationwide recently said a majority of 64% of consumers viewed their financial situation as only fair or poor, attributing much of that sentiment to housing costs. 

Two-thirds of people surveyed by Nationwide also expect housing costs to head higher over the coming year. Meanwhile, 21% said they had tapped into retirement savings or would consider it to help pay for housing-related expenses.

Rising financial worries could be changing consumer behavior toward borrowing and spending beyond mortgages, with 30% intending to refinance or apply for new credit in response, Transunion said. Close to 59% of the group said it would likely be in the form of new credit cards. Among those expressing concerns over inflation, 62% would apply for a new card.

Consumer anxiety might raise warning flags about future borrower performance, with delinquencies increasing 

“We have seen over the last couple of years a lot of deterioration in credit performance, and that includes credit cards, personal loans, auto loans,” Wise said in an interview, attributing current delinquency trends to lending trends during the robust pandemic economy of a few years ago.

“Lenders were feeling very good about extending credit now to even riskier borrowers, because their books looked so good. Everybody was spending.” 

Although mortgage delinquencies also saw small upticks, performance among borrowers remained relatively strong compared to other credit products, thanks to the amount of equity in their homes, Wise said.

But while consumers acknowledge inflation challenges, Transunion also found a sizable percentage of 55% expressing optimism about their own 12-month financial outlooks, with expectations of rising income countering more pessimistic views on current prices. Approximately 47% said they expected to see income growth in the  next year. 

Younger generations were more likely to have a positive forecast, with 62% of Generation Z expressing optimism about their finances. By comparison, less than 50% of Generation X and baby boomers held the same view.

The counterintuitive divergence in opinion about current price levels and future financial opportunity may lie in impressions the public has about what expenses should be versus economic realities.

“Their anchor is still set on what prices they think are the right prices from three years ago,” Wise said. 

“The situation is getting better, but a lot of consumers don’t see the difference between inflation and prices. They view them as the same.”