Capital One’s $35.3 billion all-stock deal to purchase Discover could make it the largest credit card issuer in the country, in addition to expanding both its digital banking presence and Discover’s global payment network.
The deal arrives as consumers are struggling to keep up with inflated prices — and they’re carrying more credit card debt than before the pandemic. A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, released on Feb. 6, found that Americans held a collective $1.129 trillion in credit card debt at the end of 2023. By comparison, by the end of 2019, Americans held $930 billion in credit card debt.
The report also showed that borrowers are having trouble repaying their debt. Serious delinquencies among credit card borrowers rose 6.36% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with a 4.01% increase at the same time in 2022. Both Capital One and Discover show an increase in delinquency rates, but Discover’s fourth-quarter results reported a larger spike in consumer card delinquencies than Capital One’s.
After a Capital One call for investors on Tuesday morning, the markets responded: Discover’s stock rose while Capital One shares dipped slightly.
In the call, Capital One indicated it expects the deal to be complete by the end of 2024 or early 2025 — that is, if federal regulators allow it. The acquisition is expected to face close scrutiny in the coming year.
Here’s what you need to know about Capital One’s Discover acquisition.
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1. Capital One would be a formidable credit cards competitor
The deal opens the door for Capital One to become the nation’s largest credit card issuer by outstanding debt, outpacing JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, according to the payment industry trade journal the Nilson Report. The company will remain based in McLean, Virginia, while maintaining a significant presence in Chicago, where Discover is based.
In the call with investors on Tuesday, Richard Fairbank, CEO and chairman of Capital One, touted the benefits of acquiring Discover’s global payment network, which will allow Capital One to more directly deal with merchants as opposed to a network intermediary. The more merchants Capital One can reach, the more money it stands to make over time.
While Capital One still holds contracts with Visa and Mastercard for many of its credit products, it will move at least some of its cards onto the Discover network over time, thus keeping a larger slice of the lucrative merchant fees its customers generate.
By owning a payment network, Capital One is poised to compete with its most direct competitor, American Express, and reduce its dependency on the two biggest players in global payments: Visa and Mastercard.
Fairbank says the company is also hoping to expand Discover’s network deeper into the global market.
2. Capital One hopes to expand its digital banking reach
Capital One is the ninth-largest bank in the U.S. with both physical branches and an online presence. Meanwhile, Discover’s banking presence is overwhelmingly online. But both are credit card-first, banking-second companies. The acquisition won’t change that, but it will enable Capital One to expand further into banking.
The deal would accelerate Capital One’s banking business by allowing the company to tap in to Discover’s network for banks. In the call with investors, Fairbank said Capital One plans to move its debit card business over to the Discover Signature debit network to help Discover compete with the other three networks.
Fairbank said that branding for Discover’s banking network would remain Discover. “Capital One as the network might not be as ideal a thing for other banks to choose as the Discover brand,” he said.
3. Discover would remain its own brand
Discover will remain its own brand in the combined company. In the investor call, Fairbank said Capital One will keep Discover’s branding and continue to market it. “Over time, customers would understand this is part of Capital One,” he said.
Fairbank indicated that it was unrealistic to convert the Discover brand into Capital One. “Think about all those stickers that are out there at every point of sale and all the real estate that’s now on every online checkout page and so on,” he said. “It would be a really big lift to convert that to the Capital One brand.”
Fairbank noted that while Discover is accepted nearly universally in the U.S., it has an image problem that Capital One hopes to change. He said, “Our research confirms that customers are very satisfied with acceptance, but the perception of acceptance among noncustomers lags the reality.”
Fairbank says Capital One plans to move some of its credit card volume to Discover’s network in order “to enhance its scale.” He also said the company “will lean hard into further building the brand and the perceived acceptance of the credit card network here in the United States.”
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4. The deal faces regulatory hurdles
Consumers won’t see any changes from the acquisition anytime soon. That’s because the deal won’t be complete until shareholders and regulators approve it.
The Justice Department, banking regulators and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are likely to scrutinize the proposed deal. The Biden Administration has toughened its approach to mergers and acquisitions, including those still underway like the Kroger and Albertsons grocery chain merger and Alaska Airlines’ takeover of Hawaiian Airlines. And last month, a federal judge blocked JetBlue’s buyout of Spirit Airlines under antitrust laws.
The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has also said it plans to institute a more complex, and ultimately slower, process for bank acquisitions. Capital One’s Discover proposal faces standard regulatory procedures, so it’s unclear whether these stricter requirements would apply to this acquisition.
Fairbank noted in the call with investors that both Capital One and Discover will be filing approval applications with the federal government in the next few months and said “we believe that we are well-positioned for approval.”
5. The bigger the company, the higher the interest rates
Credit card interest rates are now much higher than in recent years, mirroring the broader rate environment. The average APR among credit cards that incurred interest was 22.75% in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
When it comes to interest rate offers, bigger companies aren’t always better, at least not for consumers. An analysis of 2023 credit card interest rate data by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, released on Feb. 16, found that the largest credit card issuers offer high interest rates — a maximum APR over 30% among nearly half of those issuers.
The report found a broad disparity between the median APRs on credit cards offered by large and small financial institutions based on credit scores. The biggest difference is among customers with good credit scores (620 to 719 in this report): Large card issuers offer a median APR of 28.2% — a difference of 10.02 percentage points compared with the median APR offered by smaller card issuers.
Big companies are also more likely to include an annual fee, and those fees are 70% higher than at small banks and credit unions, according to the CFPB report.
Still, big companies do tend to offer more generous rewards and discounts, like cash back and travel points, with their credit cards compared with small institutions. But the best perks are offered to the wealthiest customers, who make the most money through frequent and larger spending at merchants.
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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions. In this episode:
Learn investment and tax strategies to help you achieve financial security and prepare for a prosperous retirement.
How can you balance saving for emergencies and investing for the future? What strategies can you employ to maximize your tax benefits and build a secure financial future? NerdWallet’s Kim Palmer and Alana Benson discuss investment strategies and tax planning to help you understand how to navigate your financial journey effectively. They begin with a discussion of investment strategies, with tips and tricks on understanding different investment accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, leveraging compound interest, and the importance of starting investments early. Then, Alana discusses tax planning and filing in-depth, covering the intricacies of different tax forms like W-4s and W-2s, the significance of estimated taxes for freelancers, and strategies for managing capital gains taxes.
Kim and Alana delve into retirement planning and the challenges of active versus passive investing. They provide a framework for prioritizing your finances, emphasizing the creation of an emergency fund, taking advantage of employer 401(k) matches, and understanding the role of asset allocation based on age and risk tolerance. Additionally, they tackle the decision-making process in personal finance, such as choosing between paying off debt and investing, and the pros and cons of having a financial advisor.
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This transcript was generated from podcast audio by an AI tool.
Hey listener, we’ve got a special episode in store for you today. Our investing and tax Nerds recently hosted a webinar going deep into how you can level up your investing and tax strategy. So we packaged that up into a podcast episode for you. The Nerds talk about what you need to know about different investing accounts, how to get help with your taxes and more. So here’s the webinar.
Welcome everyone. I am Kim Palmer. I’m a personal finance writer at NerdWallet where we help people make smart decisions. One important note, we are not financial or investment advisors. This nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances. NerdWallet Inc is not an investment advisor or broker and does not provide personal financial advisory services. Today we are excited to talk to you about the basics of investing and taxes and we think we have some helpful info to share with you. You can always find more at nerdwallet.com or on the NerdWallet app. Our goal today is to kick off a helpful discussion about investing and tax information and tools. Alana Benson writes about investing topics including stocks, funds, and ethical investing. And now I will hand it over to Alana.
Thanks Kim. Hi everyone. Thank you for joining us today. So before we start, I just want to say a couple of things that often get forgotten when we’re talking about investing. So first, investing usually comes second to some other goals. If you’re having a hard time paying for necessities or you don’t have an emergency fund, it’s really important to focus on those things before we even start worrying about investing. Second, instead of scrimping, try to increase your income. So I didn’t start investing until I was in my late 20s, and that’s because one, I didn’t work at NerdWallet yet, so I literally didn’t know anything. And two, I was making around $25,000 a year, so I didn’t have much expendable income. And when you don’t have extra income, it’s really hard to prioritize investing and it just might not even be a good idea to do that.
When I started making more money, it was suddenly a lot more possible for me to invest for retirement. So if it’s possible for you and you want to be investing more, look for jobs that will pay you more or look into side hustles, but cutting back on your streaming services probably will not save you enough money for retirement. And finally, if you don’t have the money to invest now, that’s totally fine. Some people have serious money anxieties and others just don’t have the cash. Whatever your reason is, don’t stress too much about it. Just keep learning and when you’re able to, you can start investing. So why do we invest? What is the point of all this? And the answer is that it’s because we like money and that’s okay. There’s no shame in admitting it, I like money, most people like money. It’s because money isn’t just money. It’s not like Scrooge McDuck diving into pools of money and buying Maseratis. It’s not that.
It’s about not being stressed about your money all the time and it’s about being able to buy everything that you need and some stuff that you want comfortably without having money stress take up all of your energy. Money allows us to thrive instead of just survive and investing helps you make more money than you could ever possibly make just by working at a job. So okay, what actually is investing? This whole process is very strange. Okay. Investing is the process of money that you already have making additional money for you. And this works through what’s called compound interest. Compound interest means that your gains get a little bit bigger every year and that’s also why starting when you’re younger gives you a huge advantage and more money in the long run. So for example, you just start at that little number one in the box up there. Say you buy an investment for $100, if it goes up the average stock market return of 10%, it could then be worth $110, meaning that you’ve made $10.
Then that $10 that you earned also starts earning compound interest on top of the $100 you initially invested. That doesn’t sound like much of a profit, but imagine if you were doing it with way larger amounts of money over a way longer period of time. Now that 10% is an annualized rate, which means that you’re not going to get 10% every single year. In all likelihood, some years you’re going to finish up, some years you’ll finish down. But over the course of decades when you average all that out, you tend to get about 10%. The way you actually start investing is through an investing account. And there’s a couple of different types, but the type of investment account you have is actually really, really important because a lot of them have some pretty significant tax benefits that you want to take advantage of. So you’ve got your 401(k)s and these are offered through your employer. You add money to it and sometimes your employer matches it. So it’s basically free money. If you have a 401(k), you’ll likely choose your investments from a pre-selected list or a fund that will automatically adjust itself over time.
So this means 401(k)s are typically very hands off. IRAs on the other hand are investment accounts that you open up yourself. IRAs can be opened online through brokerages and actually at a lot of large banks, they also do that. So it’s likely you can open up an investment account just through your bank. Unlike with a 401(k), IRAs you’ll have to choose your own investments in those accounts. You may have heard about a thing called a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k) and it’s good if you know the difference. So with a Roth, you pay taxes on your money now just like any other money that you earn and then the money you have invested inside that account grows tax-free and you can take it out tax-free in retirement. With a traditional IRA or 401(k), the money you contribute today is pre-tax.
So that is you get to deduct it from your income taxes this year. So it’s like a nice little treat this year, but then when you cash it out in retirement, you’ll owe income taxes on it. This is really, really important. I’ve seen a lot of people make this mistake. Your investment account is not an investment, so a Roth IRA, a 401(k), not an investment. So if you have a Roth IRA, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually invested in anything. So you fund your investment account and then you buy investments from there. But I’ve heard of people opening a Roth IRA, putting in a bunch of money and then wondering why it didn’t grow over the last 10 years. So you have to purchase investments for your money to actually grow and if you don’t do it, you’ll miss out on all of those years of growth, so very important.
And there’s a couple different types of investments that you can choose from once you open and fund your investment account. So you’ve got stocks, I’m sure everyone’s heard of that, these are shares of ownership in companies and the way you make money from them is if they go up in value and some pay you a cut of the company’s profits on a regular basis. Then you’ve got bonds. This is when you loan money to companies or the government and they pay you interest. Funds, now these are very exciting because they’re basically just baskets of stocks and bonds that you buy all at once. So a fund is still a stock or bond based investment depending on the type of fund that you get. And there’s a lot of different kinds such as index funds or exchange traded funds and mutual funds, but they’re all collections of investments that you buy at one time.
And I think funds are pretty awesome because if you own a stock and that company goes out of business, you lose all of your money. But if you invest in a fund that covers 100 stocks and that same stock goes out of business, your investment is buoyed up by the other 99 companies. So again, all of these investments, stocks, bonds and funds, you buy them from your investment account and then you own them in there. All right, so let’s talk about the stock market, it’s this weird nebulous term that’s hard to understand. But the stock market is just where people buy and sell investments, but now people just trade investments online. So the stock market is made up of several what are called market indexes. Now these are basically just predetermined lists of companies and the performance of that overall list can tell us a lot about the health of the US economy.
So for example, the S&P 500, something you probably have all heard of, that’s just the list of 500 of the largest publicly traded companies in the US and it includes companies like Apple and Amazon. So when we say the stock market is down today, that means that on average most of those companies aren’t doing well. And you can’t invest in the literal stock market, but you can invest in funds that include all the same investments. So these are called index funds because they track a market index. So again, if you have an S&P 500 index fund, it should perform pretty closely to how the S&P 500 itself is actually performing. The S&P 500 goes up 10% a year on average and 6.5% after inflation. And this is just an average, so some years the market goes up more, some years it goes down less, but when done well, investing can potentially mean doubling your money every few years for doing basically nothing, which is my favorite way of earning money, by doing nothing. It’s great.
So let’s talk strategy. This is all about the way that you invest, when you put your money in and when you take your money out. So passive investing is where you buy that S&P 500 index fund and you keep adding money into it until you retire. It’s very boring, but it’s effective. So it can give you that 10% return on average over the long haul, but a lot of people want to make more than that 10%, and they do so by actively buying and selling stocks, crypto options and other high risk investments. They try to predict when they’ll be low, then they buy them and then they turn around and try to sell them when they’re high. So these people are called active traders or day traders. Only 20% of active traders make money over a six-month period. That is not a lot of people.
There have been a lot of studies over the years that show that active investing is a way less lucrative fashion than boring old passive investing with that index fund. Plus active investing is a lot more work, you have to do all kinds of research and you keep an eye on the markets and you can hypothetically earn more by actively trading versus passively earning the same amount as that historical return of 10%. But most people end up making less when they actually try it, and that’s because people are really bad at predicting things. And in order to make money on the overall stock market over the long term, you have to be really good at predicting things all the time. So maybe you make it big on one stock, but the odds of that happening again and again are very low. So let’s put all of this information together, the accounts, the actual investments and the strategy.
Here’s how financial advisors suggest you prioritize your money when you’re starting to invest. So the first thing you want to do is you’re not actually going to invest at all. The first thing is that you’re going to have an emergency fund. So this is money that you won’t actually put in the stock market, and that’s because when your money is invested, its value can change day by day. So say you have $1,000 and you want to use it for an emergency fund, but you invest it, when you have to fix something on your car suddenly, you go to check your money and its value could be $600 instead of $1,000 and that’s not good. If you put it in a high yield savings account, you can access that money at any time without risking its value. Plus right now the interest rates are really high.
So your money could be earning 4 to 5% just by sitting there. So next, you want to get that 401(k) match if it’s available to you because it’s free money. After that, it’s a good idea to look into IRAs. Both IRAs and 401(k)s have what’s called a contribution limit, which is just the maximum amount of money you can put in each of them every year. If you’re able to max out an IRA, then it’s a good call to move back to your 401(k). And the reason you switch around like that is because of the way the tax benefit works. So it’s likely more beneficial to invest in an IRA over a 401(k) if you’ve already gotten your match, if you have to choose between the two. Then if you max out your 401(k), you can move to a standard brokerage account. And this is not a list of everything you have to be doing right now.
You might be thinking, “Whoa, maxing out an IRA is $6,500, I cannot afford that”, and that is totally fine. So I like to picture it as a waterfall. So when you fill up your emergency fund, then you can start working on getting that 401(k) match. Only after that bucket is full should you then move on to investing in an IRA and so on. And wherever you’re at in your bucket filling journey is okay. It’s just nice to know what to do next when you’re ready for it. So we already talked about what accounts to invest from and the investments you can buy, but then do you just start buying a bunch of index funds or stocks or bonds? How do you know how much of each investment to get? And that is all about risk tolerance. And to understand that we have to understand how risk works over time.
If you’re investing for retirement and you’re in your 20s now, that means you have a ton of time for your investments to grow and then drop dramatically and then rise back up. So financial advisors would say you can afford to take on a bit more risk, AKA invest in riskier investments, because you have time for your investments to bounce back. Now, if you’re investing for your retirement and you’re 65, you don’t want to risk all the money you’ve been investing for years and years because you’re going to actually need to use it to pay for stuff in retirement pretty soon, so you want to protect it. And figuring out how much of each investment you should have is a fancy term called asset allocation, but it just means how much of your portfolio is in which of these investments.
And age is just a number, but typically when you’re younger, you may be able to afford to take more risk because you have more time for the stock market highs and lows to even out. So stocks, and okay, remember index funds and mutual funds are often made up of stocks so those count too, but those tend to carry more risk than investments like bonds. And an example of a 20-year-old’s investment portfolio, which includes all of your accounts so your 401(k), your Roth IRA, all of that together, that could be 100% stocks. And that’s fairly risky, but those 20 year olds are not going to retire for a long time. Now, a 65-year-old might have way more bonds because they don’t want to risk all that money they’ve earned over time. And one thing some investors do to mitigate risk is to slowly shift their asset allocation from high risk investments to low risk investments over time.
And again, I’m not a financial advisor and this is not personalized investment advice, but how much of each investment it’s good to have will usually depend on how much risk you are willing to take. And an investment portfolio can be really simple or really complicated. So you could have that one S&P 500 index fund and you purchase it from a Roth IRA, and that’s just all you do. Just if you want to keep it really simple or you can make it more complicated. So maybe you explore several stock-based funds such as international stocks and healthcare stocks and technology stocks, and you could invest in those types through a fund. So instead of buying 30 technology stocks, you just have one technology stock fund, then a small slice in bonds, and then an even smaller slice is crypto or other high risk investments. Though financial advisors have varying opinions on the safety of crypto.
So keep in mind, this is just an example and not necessarily what you should do personally, but it is really helpful to look up asset allocation portfolios through an online brokerage and see what they recommend for your specific age and when you plan on retiring. You can also talk with a financial advisor who can help guide you through those decisions. And investing is great because it can help you earn wealth, which you could spend on a boat, but more than likely one of your biggest investing goals will be retirement. And the sad truth is that in some things like retirement, they just cost so much that you’ll probably never afford them just by putting money in a savings account. And that’s why we say we have to invest for retirement. And the truth is that most people just aren’t saving enough for retirement.
So you’ll probably have a lot of expenses and you have to pay for that in retirement and some of it’s necessary like food or housing or medical care and some of it is travel or bucket list stuff, but you may not be working anymore or at least not as much as you were. And once you factor in inflation, it’s likely that a dollar today will be worth way less when you’re in retirement. And saving for retirement has gotten even more difficult because you can’t necessarily afford to live on social security. Medicare doesn’t always pay for your health needs and pensions aren’t really as common as they used to be. And because of all this, it’s really important to start investing for retirement sooner rather than later.
And if you’re early in your career, it might seem silly to worry about retiring right now, but if you start investing sooner, you actually spend less on retirement than if you start investing later in life overall and that’s because of compound interest. So our retirement calculator shows that if you start putting away $100 per month, that could grow to nearly $400,000 in 35 years. And it’s always good to know how much you should be trying to invest. When you have a long-term goal in mind, you want to know what that number is. So a retirement calculator can be a big help to figure that out, including NerdWallet’s retirement calculator. No shame, I’m going to plug it, but some financial advisors recommend saving 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement. So okay, let’s break that down. What does that look like?
So if you make $100,000 a year, again just because easy math, that would be $15,000 annually that you’re trying to save for retirement. But if you had a 5% match on your 401(k), you’d already be saving $10,000 a year between the $5,000 you make and the $5,000 your employer puts in. And then if you contributed another $5,000 to your Roth IRA, you’d already meet your target goal of saving $15,000 a year for retirement. You should also think about how much you can make during those peak earning years. If you’re younger, what career are you looking to have? You can look up what those wages tend to look like on a site like Glassdoor or ask someone in your life who is in that career path, and maybe do that tactfully because you’re asking about money. But figuring out what you want to be when you grow up may not be something you want to think about right now.
But to be honest, I studied English in college and no one told me about my job prospects. I figured that I would have to write a super famous book or be a teacher and you don’t have to have everything figured out now, but it doesn’t hurt to see how much a potential field could earn and figure out what careers are open to you. And just keep in mind that relationship between your earnings and investing like we talked about in the beginning. And if you’re later in your career, it is harder to take advantage of compound interest, but some of those investment accounts have those catch up contributions that we talked about so you’re able to contribute more after a certain age. Thank you all so much for listening to me talk very fast for a long time, and now I will hand it back over to Kim to talk about taxes. Thanks so much.
Great, thank you so much, Alana. That was great. Someone actually asked in a pre-submitted question, “Why do I have to pay taxes?” Well, here is why. Taxes are used to pay for a lot of different things like clean water, roads, schools, healthcare, and the military. And your tax return is due every year in mid-April to the IRS. We’ll talk a little bit later about what to do if you need an extension, but in general that is the deadline. But first, let’s back up a little bit. When you file taxes, there is so much paperwork. One really important one is the W-4. That is the document that your employer asks you to fill out when you start a new job. And it plays a really big role in telling your employer how much in taxes to take out of each paycheck. It asks you things like your filing status, dependents, how much tax to withhold, and if you get a really big tax bill or a big refund, then you might want to go back and revisit your W-4 just to make sure you’re withholding enough but not too much.
There’s also the W-2, which is a document that your employer sends you to summarize how much in total they took out of your paycheck the previous year, and you’ll need to reference all those numbers when you file your tax return. If you are self-employed or you work a side hustle, then taxes won’t be automatically withheld from your paycheck, and that means you might have to pay something called estimated taxes, which is typically four times a year. In January, you’ll get something called a 1099 form that outlines how much money any company paid you, and then you’ll use that information when you file your return. And then finally, the 1040 is the main form you use when you file taxes, and we’ll drop a link in the chat for more about that. Okay, so you have all of your forms set. How do you actually file your taxes?
You can do it yourself through the IRS. You can use an online tax prep software or you can use a tax professional like an accountant or a tax preparer. If you do it on your own, you can either use paper forms or get access to brand name tax prep software through an IRS service called Free File. But it’s important to know that only people who make below a certain income qualify for the Free File program. If you use tax software like TurboTax, H&R Block or NerdWallet Taxes powered by Column Tax, many of these providers use a Q&A style to help you do your taxes and some even offer paid upgrades that connect you directly to a tax professional. If your finances are really complicated and you want some extra help, then you can also work with a tax preparer such as a certified public accountant.
You do want to make sure to ask them lots of questions and check their credentials before you agree to share your financial information. And you also want to check to see if they have a prepared tax identification number, which is an ID that’s required for anyone who files tax returns for compensation. The US does not have a flat tax system, and that means that portions of your income can be taxed at different rates. There are currently seven tax rates for federal income taxes that run from 10% to 37%. And which tax rate applies to you depends on your income and your filing status. So you might hear people say, “I’m in the 12% bracket” or “I’m in the 22% bracket”, but being in a tax bracket doesn’t mean you pay that tax rate on everything you make. And in reality, people’s income can fall into several different tax brackets depending on how much they make.
Portions or chunks of your income are taxed at different rates and some of those different taxes are then added together. So for example, some of your income could be taxed at a rate of 10%, another chunk could be at 12%. The more you make, the higher the tax rate might be on some of your income. And depending on the state where you pay your income taxes, you might pay a flat rate or a progressive rate similar to the federal structure. A small handful of states have no state income tax. If you want to pay less, you can look for tax breaks. Tax credits and tax deductions are two tools that can help you potentially minimize your tax bill, but they do work in different ways. Tax deductions reduce your taxable income. As a simplified example, a $25,000 tax deduction on $100,000 of taxable income means that only $75,000 of that income will get taxed.
Tax credits directly reduce your tax bill by the value of their credit. So this means if you owe $2,000 in taxes and you’re eligible for a $1,000 tax credit, you’ll end up owing $1,000. Tax credits tend to be more valuable because they have the potential to pack a bigger punch, so you definitely want to try to take all the tax credits you qualify for, and you could even get money back if a credit is refundable. Common tax credits include the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, the lifetime learning credit, and the American opportunity credit and savers credit.
All right, I alluded to this at the beginning, but what happens if you’re not going to be ready by mid-April? What do you do? If you know you won’t be able to file on time before tax day, you can file for a free extension with the IRS and that gives you until mid-October to file your return. But you want to make sure that at least 90% of what you think you’ll owe in April is covered by an estimated tax payment or your withholdings. Otherwise, the IRS can hit you with a penalty for late payment. The failure to pay penalty is really no joke. It’s 0.5% of your unpaid taxes each month your payment is late plus interest. If you file late and you did not file an extension, you could also get hit with a failure to file penalty, which is 5% of your unpaid taxes each month that your payment is late. There is some good-ish news, if you file late but you don’t owe anything, you won’t get penalized but that doesn’t mean you’re not still obligated to file.
If you don’t, the IRS could file a return on your behalf and you might miss out on a refund if you’re owed one. And if your tax bill is so high that you can’t pay it off, you do have options. You can set up a long-term or short-term payment plan with the IRS.
I know that was a whole lot of information and taxes can seem scary, but we break down lots of popular tax questions and terms on nerdwallet.com. We have some time to address some pre-submitted questions from the audience ranging from about Roth IRAs to the pros and cons of having a financial advisor. And I do want to give a reminder here as we answer these questions that we are not tax or investing advisors. We are writers who focus on these fields and what we say is not investing or tax advice. So with that said, let’s dive into these questions. A question that came to us in an email was: how do you choose between paying off credit card debt and investing in saving for emergencies?
I really love this question because I think it speaks to some of the biggest challenges of personal finance, navigating these choices. And the answer is it’s really up to you. Many financial advisors say that the first step is to create a starter emergency fund, and you can read more in our article that we’ll link to, Should I Pay Off Debt Or Save? And you’ll see most people think about saving $500 to $1,000 first and then after that to consider contributing enough to a workplace retirement plan if they have access to one, and then contributing 3% to 5% of income to an IRA or a Roth IRA. And then financial advisors say people can consider focusing on paying off high interest debt and amp up investing efforts once they have paid that off. And now Alana, I’ll turn over to you. Perhaps you can answer the questions about Roth IRAs.
Absolutely. So a couple folks were wondering, before we went over everything, what a Roth IRA is and how does it work and when is it worth it to open one? So we already covered this a little bit, but again, it’s an individual retirement account and it lets you contribute money that you’ve already paid taxes on. So think about when you get your paycheck. That money has already had taxes taken out of it. So once you hit age 59 and a half and you have held the Roth IRA for at least five years, you can withdraw your contributions and any earnings, which is a fancy word for money that you earn from investing, without paying taxes again. And whether it’s worth it is up to you, especially if you’re trying to decide between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA because it’s about when you pay those taxes and if you have a traditional IRA, you do get that tax break right now.
So that’s a personal decision. But you can also take out money tax-free from your Roth IRA later in life. So if that’s something that you are really trying to parse out, it might be good to talk to a financial advisor because they can help you with that question. We had two other questions. The first one is: how do you calculate how much money to put in your Roth IRA if you make over the maximum amount? So we didn’t actually cover this, so Roth IRAs do have income limits, but there is something called a Backdoor Roth that lets you contribute money first to a traditional IRA, pay taxes on it and then roll that money into a Roth IRA. And then our last question is: what are the pros and cons of having a financial advisor and how do you find one?
This is such a good question. The pros and cons really depend on your situation. The catchall term ‘financial advisor’ is used to describe a wide variety of people and services, including investment managers, financial consultants, financial planners. First and foremost, you always want to verify a financial professional because financial advisor doesn’t require people to be vetted. Certain things like a certified financial planner or a CFP, those actually have a very high level of education and have a certification that you can verify online. So anyone that you are talking about money with, you want to make sure that you are vetting them. And some of these people can just talk to you about your finances and some of them can actually manage your investments for you if you want that. Financial advisors, depending on the kind that you choose, can be pretty expensive. A robo-advisor is like an AI version of a financial advisor.
You just set up an account for one and then they charge you a pretty modest fee. And based on your age and your risk tolerance, it will manage your investments for you. An online financial advisor can offer more services and you can actually talk to a human being, but those do tend to cost a little bit more. And then you could go to an in-person financial advisor, depending on their credentials, that might cost even more, but sometimes it’s really nice to talk to somebody that you know and you can grow that relationship with them over time.
Great. Thank you, Alana. And I think, actually, I can squeeze in one more question that we received. How do taxes work with investment accounts? How much do we set aside so we aren’t surprised by a tax bill? Which is a great question. If you’re selling stocks from a brokerage investment account, then you should be aware of three words, capital gains taxes. Those are the taxes you’ll pay when you sell assets for profit. Assets that you have owned for more than a year are subject to long-term capital gains tax, and the capital gains tax rate is 0%, 15% or 20% on most assets. Capital gains taxes on assets held for a year or less are subject to short-term capital gains. If you regularly trade stocks or other investments, you might be subject to short-term capital gains.
Those profits are taxed as ordinary income based on your tax brackets, which we went over before. Your final tax bill depends on a number of different factors. If you don’t want to be surprised, estimate what you’ll owe using tools such as a tax calculator or IRS worksheets. If needed, consider setting aside enough to cover the tax bill or paying estimated taxes and as always, your specific situation will differ and we are not tax professionals. We hope that you enjoyed this webinar and learned something today. If you’d like to get even more clarity on your finances and continue learning with NerdWallet, consider signing up for an account with us at nerdwallet.com. Thank you so much for joining us.
Sean Pyles: And that’s all we have for this episode. To send the Nerds your money questions, call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That’s 901-730-NERD. You can also email us at [email protected]. Here’s our brief disclaimer. We are not financial or investment advisors. This nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances. This webinar episode was produced by Alikay Wood, Sheri Gordon, and me. We had editing help from Liz Weston, Sara Brink mixed our audio, and a big thank you to NerdWallet’s editors for all their help. And with that said, until next time, turn the Nerds.
Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.
Looking for a real estate side hustle? Whether you are looking for passive income ideas or if you are looking for a part-time job (or more!), there are many different real estate side hustles. I have done a few different real estate side gigs, and I know many people who have side hustles in this…
Looking for a real estate side hustle?
Whether you are looking for passive income ideas or if you are looking for a part-time job (or more!), there are many different real estate side hustles.
I have done a few different real estate side gigs, and I know many people who have side hustles in this area as well. To get started in real estate, you don’t have to spend a lot of money – there are several real estate side gigs that can be started even if you are brand new or are on a budget.
Real estate side hustles have a range of options from income generating assets to freelance opportunities to office jobs.
You can supplement your income with both short-term and long-term real estate strategies.
Finding the right fit depends on your availability, investment capacity, and financial goals.
Best Real Estate Side Hustles
Here’s a quick summary of some of the different best real estate side hustles:
House hacking: Buy a property, live in one unit, and rent out the rest.
REIT investing: An easy way to start investing in real estate with less capital.
Airbnb rentals: Rent out a spare room or an entire property on a short-term basis.
Property management: If you’re organized and good with people, managing properties for others could be a perfect fit.
Long-term rentals: Becoming a landlord can generate steady cash flow.
Fix and flip: Buy properties that need work, renovate them, and sell them for a profit.
Below, you will read the full list and learn more about each one.
1. House flipping
Flipping houses can be a good real estate side hustle if you like real estate and enjoy fixing things up.
When you flip houses, you’re basically buying homes, making them better with repairs and upgrades, and then selling them to make more money.
The first thing to do for a successful house flip is to find a property that can be made better, such as by looking for homes in neighborhoods that are getting better or have room to grow. Think about things like where it is, what the market is like, and the condition of the property.
Before putting money into anything, it’s important to carefully look at the finances. You’ll want to figure out how much it will cost to buy, fix, and keep the property, and think about things like the cost of materials, paying workers, getting a loan, and the costs while you’re fixing things.
To flip a house well, you need to make smart changes that make the property better, without spending too much, by concentrating on important areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, and fixing any big problems with the structure or safety.
Recommended reading: 10 Best Books on Flipping Houses To Make Money
2. Investing in REITs
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are companies that own, operate, or finance income-generating real estate. They are a way for you to invest in real estate without directly managing or owning properties.
An REIT is like a company that owns and takes care of real estate that makes money. They sell shares of this company to people, kind of like how stocks work.
When you invest in REITs, you can earn money from the real estate world without actually owning any property. So, if you don’t want to deal with being a landlord, this could be a good option. It’s way less work than owning property and handling it yourself.
You can even spread out your money and invest in different kinds of properties with REITs, like houses, offices, factories, and stores.
3. Getting a roommate
Getting a roommate in your home, whether that be a full-time roommate or renting out an extra room in your home short-term on Airbnb, can be a great real estate side hustle that doesn’t require very much work from you.
The earnings you can make from having a roommate depend on things like:
Where your home is (an expensive area? rural?)
The space you are renting to a roommate (for example, do they get their own bathroom? private entrance available?)
To find a roommate, you can share about it on your own Facebook page, put up an ad on sites like Craigslist, or make a rental listing on Airbnb. There are lots of places where you can let people know you’re looking for a roommate.
I have had many roommates in the past when I was younger and had a home with spare bedrooms. I would rent them out to long-term renters and people that we personally knew (such as friends and my sister).
Recommended reading: Tips For Renting A Room In Your House.
4. Airbnbs and vacation rentals
Turning your property into an Airbnb or other short-term rental can be a way to generate extra income. This is when you rent out your space, whether a full house, an apartment, or just a room, to travelers for short stays.
Before starting your Airbnb side hustle, be sure to:
Check local laws: Make sure short-term rentals are permitted in your area. There are many areas nowadays that are more strict when it comes to short-term rentals.
Understand the financials: Calculate potential earnings against expenses like mortgage, utilities, and maintenance.
Set up your space: Furnish and decorate to create a welcoming environment.
Market your rental: Use high-quality photos and create listings on rental platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
The amount you can earn can vary, with some hosts making around $5,000 to $10,000 a month or more, but this depends on factors such as location, rental type, and occupancy rates. Always plan for occupancy ebbs and flows – it’s part of the short-term rental business.
5. Real estate photography
If you’ve ever looked at a house listing and thought that the pictures looked awful, then this may be the real estate side hustle for you.
Real estate agents many times hire out for the photography side of selling a house, as they know and understand how important good pictures are.
Real estate photography is all about taking pictures of houses and spaces to grab the attention of people who might want to buy them. Real estate photographers might take pictures of the outside of a house, the backyard, the living room, attic, bathroom, and more.
You can start with the equipment you likely already have, like your smartphone, which can work well because phones these days have great cameras.
How you show a property can really impact a client’s chance of selling it. Your photos are not just pictures; they’re an important part of how the property gets advertised.
As you continue with this real estate side hustle, you might think about getting better equipment (like a real camera!), but for now, practice paying attention to details and getting better at taking pictures.
If you’re thinking about doing something extra to earn money in real estate, photography could be a great choice.
Recommended reading: 18 Ways You Can Get Paid To Take Pictures
6. Real estate drone photography
Drone pilots sell real estate photography services to help real estate agents showcase the properties they are selling.
When property listings include pictures from various angles and heights, it gives a different perspective compared to regular photos. This helps show aspects of real estate that traditional pictures might miss.
When you sell property photography services using your drone, you’re providing a valuable service to real estate companies that want to stand out in a crowded housing market.
Homes are increasingly being sold using drone photos, and it’s understandable because they can showcase the surroundings of a home. Also, potential home buyers can see the entire property and house through a drone picture, giving them a better understanding of what the home includes.
Recommended reading: How To Make Money With A Drone
7. Long-term rentals
A long-term rental is when you rent out a property for a long amount of time, usually six months to a year or even longer. An example would be renting out an apartment or house to a family to live in full-time.
Long-term rentals are different from short-term rentals like vacation homes or Airbnb listings. They are meant for people or families looking for a longer place to live.
A benefit of long-term rentals is the reliable and steady income they can give you. When you rent your property to tenants for an extended period, you set up a regular cash flow of rental payments. This stability can be especially nice for people who are looking for a dependable source of passive income.
Plus, it’s usually less work than a short-term rental, because you don’t have to clean the home every few days or find new people to rent out to.
Recommended reading: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes
8. Buy and hold for long-term wealth
If you want to grow wealth through real estate, the buy-and-hold strategy is a way to achieve lasting growth. This means buying a property and keeping it for an extended period, benefiting from both its increasing value over time and the rental income it makes you over the years.
Some positives to think about with a buy-and-hold real estate side hustle include:
Appreciation: Over time, real estate often increases in value.
Rental income: It can provide a steady cash flow each month.
Tax advantages: Possible deductions can reduce your taxable income.
The buy-and-hold strategy requires patience and a willingness to handle market changes. It’s a long-term approach, not a quick one, but if you stay persistent, you can create an investment portfolio for future financial stability.
9. Notary services for real estate
If you want to get more into the real estate world without becoming an agent or broker, becoming a notary public can be a way to make extra money.
Many documents, including deeds, mortgages, and power of attorney, require notarization to be legally binding.
With a notarization license, you can provide an important service required for different real estate transactions.
Notaries are important because they help make sure that the people signing documents are who they claim to be to prevent fraud.
10. Rental arbitrage
Rental arbitrage is a way to make extra money in real estate without owning a property. You rent a place for a long time and then sublease it as a short-term rental using platforms like Airbnb.
Here’s how to get started:
Check local laws: You’ll want to make sure your city or state allows for short-term rentals.
Make sure the rental allows for you to do this: Not every rental will be okay with you renting it out. You will want to read your rental contract carefully.
Do market research: Understand the demand for short-term rentals in your target area, such as by looking for locations with high tourist traffic or business conferences.
+ Strong cash flow potential
– Initial setup and furnishing cost
+ Low startup costs compared to buying
– Dependence on short-term rental market stability
Making money in rental arbitrage comes from the difference between the cost of the long-term lease and the income from short-term rentals. The bigger the gap, the more potential for profit. But remember to factor in the expenses of running the rentals, like cleaning and maintenance costs.
11. House hacking
House hacking is a strategic approach to real estate where you purchase a property with multiple units and live in one unit while renting out the others. This is a side hustle because it can help offset your living expenses through the rental income.
House hacking can be an easy starting point if you want to dip your toes into real estate investing with the added perk of reducing your personal living expenses.
Back when we were living in a traditional house, we house hacked for a little while and had a few different roommates live with us. The monthly rent we collected allowed us to lower our house payments and put more money in savings.
We house hacked with our first house, and it was really great for us. Being able to set more money aside even helped me get ready to quit my job to become a full-time blogger.
If you are looking for a good book on the subject of house hacking, then I recommend reading The House Hacking Strategy: How to Use Your Home to Achieve Financial Freedom by Craig Curelop.
Recommended reading: What Is House Hacking & How To Live For Free
12. Real estate agent
A real estate agent is a person who helps people, like you and me, find real estate to buy or sell. They usually earn their income through a commission, which is a percentage of the property’s sale price.
To become a real estate agent and start this real estate career, you only need a high school diploma and a professional license. As of 2021, the median pay, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $23.45 per hour, or $48,770 per year.
And, there are tons of real estate agents who make a lot more money than this.
13. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending
If you want to learn how to make extra money in real estate, then crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are areas to look into.
Crowdfunding platforms allow you to invest in real estate deals with a smaller amount of money compared to purchasing property outright. This can provide you with passive income through rental returns or potential property value appreciation.
Peer-to-peer lending platforms enable you to lend money directly to borrowers. You can potentially earn higher returns compared to traditional savings accounts, but there is always the risk of a borrower not repaying the loan.
Both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending utilize technology to connect investors with individuals seeking funding.
14. Bird dogging
Bird dogging in real estate can be a side hustle where you help find potentially profitable properties for investors. Your skill in spotting undervalued or distressed properties is important.
Here’s what you usually need to do:
Conduct market research to locate properties that are flying under the radar.
Build a network with local real estate investors who are looking for deals.
Learn to use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to spot opportunities.
Typically, you’ll be on the lookout for foreclosures, bank-owned properties, and distressed homes due for a quick sale.
As a bird dog, your compensation usually comes from a referral fee after the investor decides to move forward with your find. Importantly, to perform this role, you don’t necessarily need any initial capital, just the time and skill to identify promising investment opportunities.
15. General contractor
General contractors handle the day-to-day activities on construction sites, overseeing tasks from residential remodels to constructing new homes.
This is typically more of a full-time job, but this can sometimes be done as a real estate side hustle.
As a general contractor, you can choose projects that match your schedule and interests, providing flexibility. Despite the responsibilities, this role allows you to play a central role in turning plans into actual buildings, giving you the potential to make extra money.
16. Flip raw land
Getting involved in raw land flipping is when a person finds and buys undeveloped land to sell later at a profit.
The main benefits include a lower initial investment and less complexity compared to traditional real estate investments, as it doesn’t involve renovation or improvements. There are no buildings, instead it may be a lot or acres of land.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start:
Find raw land – Research areas with potential growth or upcoming developments that could boost land value.
Due diligence – Perform thorough checks on land titles, zoning laws, and road access to avoid legal issues.
Pricing strategy – Your selling price should be attractive enough for buyers yet ensure you make a reasonable profit margin.
Sell and negotiate – Use online platforms to reach potential buyers and negotiate the best deal.
17. Rent out your storage space
If you have unused land or space in your home, renting it out for storage space can be an easy way to make passive income.
People have a lot of stuff, and they will pay you to store their stuff in your unused spaces.
You can sell storage solutions for vehicles, boats, personal belongings, and more. You can rent out your parking space, closet, basement, attic storage, and more.
A site where you can list your storage space is called Neighbor and you can earn $100 to $400+ each month. This depends on the demand in your area and the type of storage space you are renting out.
Recommended reading: Neighbor Review: Make Money Renting Your Storage Space
18. Property manager
A property manager side hustle can be a great way to make extra money.
A property manager is a real estate professional who finds and oversees tenants, collects rent, and handles repairs and maintenance activities. It’s a side hustle that property owners pay for because they may not have the time or skills to effectively manage their own property.
Property managers can manage long-term rentals like apartments, short-term rentals like Airbnbs, and even commercial spaces as well.
I have a friend who is a property manager on the side of his full-time construction job – he manages many different types of properties, from second homes to vacation rentals to someone simply being out of town. He checks on their properties to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
19. Home stager
If you’re passionate about real estate and design, starting a side hustle as a home stager could be profitable for you. As a home stager, your job is to improve the appearance of a home before it’s listed for sale.
This often results in faster sales and higher prices, making your service valuable to sellers.
You can start by staging homes for friends or family, if possible, to build a portfolio. Before and after photos are powerful tools to showcase your work.
You can even provide consultations to homeowners who prefer to do the actual staging themselves. In such cases, your design style can be a more budget-friendly option for a do-it-yourself homeowner.
20. Home inspector
We recently bought a house, and our home inspector was actually a home inspector on the side – this was his real estate side hustle! I think he was a city inspector (or something similar) full-time, so he was very knowledgeable in the area.
Home inspection as a side job can be a strategic move if you’re interested in real estate. This job allows for flexibility since you can set your hours, such as by completing home inspections on the weekends or before or after your day job.
You’ll need to invest in proper training and get licensed, which is a process that can be completed relatively quickly.
The responsibilities of a home inspector include:
Inspecting homes for possible problems, like a leak or bad wiring.
Creating and delivering reports based on what you find during the inspection.
21. Real estate appraiser
Real estate appraisers determine the fair market value of a property, and this process is important in transactions, such as home sales and refinances.
Appraisers assess property values by taking notes on unique characteristics and comparing them with similar properties that have sold recently.
They then prepare reports, detailing findings and providing a valuation that banks and other institutions depend on for loans.
22. Real estate wholesaler
Real estate wholesalers are middlemen who find properties under market value, contract them with the seller, and then sell the contract to a buyer, often an investor. Their profit comes from the difference between the contracted price with the seller and the amount the buyer pays.
Here is a quick summary of what a wholesale real estate side hustle is:
Find a distressed property – Search for properties that can be bought below market value.
Evaluate the property – Determine the After Repair Value (ARV) and estimate repair costs.
Secure under contract – Enter into a contract with the seller, giving you the right to purchase.
Find a buyer – Locate an investor interested in buying the contract.
Assign the contract – Transfer your purchasing rights to the investor for a fee.
By becoming skilled at finding good deals and building connections with trustworthy investors, real estate wholesaling can become a profitable real estate side hustle.
23. Start a real estate blog
Starting a real estate blog (or even a real estate YouTube channel or social media account!) can be a good way to make extra money without having to spend a lot of money.
With a real estate blog, you can write about local market insights, home buying and home selling tips, property investment strategies, home improvement and DIY projects, and more.
I have been a blogger for years, and I really love it. I am able to create my own schedule, decide how I make money online, travel whenever I want, and more. And, it all started on the side of my day job – so I definitely think that a real estate blog can be started as a side hustle.
Learn more at How To Start A Blog FREE Course.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about real estate side hustles.
Can real estate be a side hustle? Is real estate a good side hustle?
Yes, real estate can be a lucrative side hustle. Many people do real estate activities on a part-time basis, which can include short-term rentals, getting a roommate, and more, with lower time commitments.
Is real estate worth it as a side hustle?
Real estate as a side hustle can be worth it if you are looking for more income streams and have an interest in the housing market or real estate. As you probably noticed above, there are many different kinds of side hustles, so the amount of money you can earn or the amount of time you will spend will just depend on the gig you choose.
How can realtors make extra money?
Realtors can make extra money by managing rental properties, taking part in real estate crowdfunding, selling real estate photography services, and more.
Is real estate a good side hustle for teachers?
Yes, real estate can be a good side hustle for teachers. There are many options that may work for a teacher.
For example, some teachers work as real estate agents on the side. This is possible because you can handle listing and selling homes during weekends, breaks, evenings, and over the summer. However, keep in mind that selling homes might pose challenges, as clients may require your full attention during the day, which could clash with your teaching commitments.
You can find more ideas at 36 Best Side Jobs for Teachers To Make Extra Money.
Which licenses might be required to pursue a side hustle in the real estate field?
Depending on the side hustle, certain licenses like a real estate license may be required. For example, to become a real estate agent or home inspector, you’ll need a specific license. However, if you’re looking into just getting a roommate, then you may not need a license. It all just depends on the real estate side gig you are interested in.
How to make money in real estate without ever buying any property?
As you learned above, you don’t need to personally buy or own real estate in order to make money in real estate. You can invest in REITs, become a notary for real estate transactions, include affiliate marketing for real estate products on a blog, and more.
Real Estate Side Hustles – Summary
I hope you enjoyed this article about real estate side hustles.
Picking the right side hustle gig in real estate might feel overwhelming because there are many choices.
Some people might like jobs where you have to do more, like fixing up houses or taking care of Airbnb rentals. Others might prefer making money without doing much, like through REITs or renting out a spare room.
Whatever you’re into or however much money you have to invest, there are probably real estate side business ideas that fit with what you have and what you want to achieve.
What do you think is the best real estate side hustle?
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it probably means you or someone you care about is starting a family (or adding to one). One popular way to celebrate is with a gender reveal party: It’s a fun way to get all the expectant parents’ loved ones involved before the new addition arrives.
But gender reveal parties, like any kind of get-together, can quickly get expensive. Renting a space, ordering flowers and decorations, and wrangling the menu can add up. Which can be an issue, especially if the couple that is expecting or the person hosting is trying to also save for, say, the baby’s nursery or a baby shower.
So read on for six gender reveal party ideas that will be a fun way to share the news without breaking the bank.
Cheap Gender Reveal Ideas
When saving for a baby, it’s vital to protect your finances, even during celebrations. Sure, you want to share the excitement in a stylish way, but there are cribs, strollers, and lots of diapers to be bought! To help you pull off a gender reveal on a budget, read on.
💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Enjoy the convenience of managing bills, deposits, and transfers from one online bank account with SoFi.
1. Keep It Small
You can save money by downsizing your event. Instead of inviting anyone and everyone, try including just friends and family. Not only will a smaller party keep costs low, but it will make the event more personal and a whole lot less frantic. An intimate gathering with those closest to you can be a lovely way to celebrate learning a baby’s gender. Plus, it allows the host or guest of honor to get more quality time with each invitee.
However, you may want to run this by the expectant mother if you are organizing the party on her behalf. She should have the last say about the invite list so that no one significant gets missed.
2. Choose a Cheap or Free Venue
You can hold a gender reveal party anywhere. When you think about it, it’s a very accommodating event without a lot of rules about the dress code, timing, or the activities involved. So, you can likely make any location work, whether it’s at home, a local restaurant, or elsewhere.
• Be creative with the location. Instead of a full (pricey) restaurant meal, could you host a party at a local coffee bar (some host events)? Or could you do an afternoon tea at a favorite eatery, before they open for dinner? These kinds of options can help you save a considerable amount of money.
• When picking where to have the party, you may need to factor in the size of your guest list and the type of gender reveal you want. For example, if you plan to use a gender-reveal powder cannon, you probably need a venue outdoors.
• Rented venues can be expensive, so for a gender reveal on a budget, consider hosting at home.
• Look at other cheap locations like a nearby green space. Many gender reveal parties are happily hosted in a local park. You bring cushions, a picnic blanket, and all the trimmings, and you’re set, without the cost of renting.
3. Send Digital Invites
Invitations are where many people let their creativity shine. But physically mailing them out may not be the most cost-effective option; you’ll have to buy the cards and spend money on postage, too. If you are looking for a way to send fun invites but for a fraction of the price and time, consider digital versions.
• There are apps and websites that offer digital invite services. You can find a wide range of gender-reveal invitation templates on them. Spend a few minutes scrolling; you may find some totally free options, or you might spend anywhere from $10 to $20 on them. You can also find fun graphics and animations to make them unique.
• These resources make planning a party more straightforward for the host. That’s because they usually come with a function that lets guests RSVP digitally, so you can keep track of who is coming. You can also usually automate updates and reminders.
• Where to start? Try exploring Punchbowl, Evite, and Paperless Post for some great evite options.
4. Make Your Own Decorations
Similar to birthday parties, a gender reveal party isn’t complete without a few decorations. Here are some ways to keep costs down:
• Easy DIY décor can include banners, streamers, candles, and table centerpieces. Often, you only need cardstock, ribbon, and paper to get creative. You might also be able to find printable images online. Sayings like “Whether pink or blue, we love you” and the like can be a fun way to underscore the reason everyone has gathered.
• Use what you already have — outside. Anyone with a green thumb can take advantage of their garden to liven up their party. You can set the whole event up outdoors if the weather is nice or use flowers to decorate your home. For example, fresh flowers in mason jars or dollar-store vases are a simple but effective centerpiece.
• A quick reminder: Even if the parents know the gender already, decorations shouldn’t give it away. Instead, aim for a gender-neutral look or a mix of pinks and blues so that nothing spoils the surprise.
5. Do a Potluck
Hosting a gender reveal party that includes a meal can get very pricey, very fast. No matter the size of your guest’s appetite, you have to purchase food per head. Some recommend around a half-pound of meat and half a bottle of wine for each person at an event. That alone could rack up a bill equal to a few months’ worth of baby supplies.
Instead, consider a potluck.
• A potluck can save you significant costs in the food department.
• It’s a great way to bond as a community or family. Everyone plays a role. You may find that having a number of people contributing makes the endeavor more creative.
• Hosting a potluck does take a bit of organization to make sure, say, that not everyone brings a dessert, but the savings and sense of teamwork may be well worth it.
6. Opt for These Ways to Do the Reveal
The most important part of a gender reveal party is the reveal itself. But, you don’t have to pay for expensive fireworks, a band, or an entire room of balloons to make a statement. Some budget-friendly ideas include:
• Gender reveal confetti or powder cannons
• A giant balloon filled with colored confetti; pop it to reveal the gender
• Cupcakes or cake with the gender color inside
• A pinata filled with either pink or blue ribbons and glitter
You can also set the stage with color-themed food and drink. Some hosts like to have pitchers of fun fruit drinks, one tinted pink and the other blue with berries.
Recommended: A Guide to Using Savings Clubs
Setting Your Gender Reveal Party Budget
Your budget will obviously vary with the type of party you are planning. If you have a backyard potluck for 10 close friends it will, of course, be much more affordable than a meal for a few dozen guests at a rented space.
For example, let’s say you choose a large venue; that alone may cost you upwards of $200 to rent. In addition, decorating the location may be expensive, anywhere from $50 to $100 and up. That’s because there is more space to cover than your garden or living room. Plus you’ll need to factor in the food as well. Ka-ching! And double ka-ching if you live in a major city; your costs are likely to be higher.
That said, only you and your loved ones know what will be the right way to celebrate the upcoming birth. Just like putting together a budget for a baby, be methodical.
Sit down early in the planning process and create a budget for your party. If there is more than one host, pool your resources and determine the total you can spend. It’s essential to do this before you start party planning.
• Go line by line, item by item. Write down what you need and estimate the cost. That way, you know exactly what you need to buy and how much it will cost. Otherwise, there’s every chance that you’ll discover your cheap gender reveal party wound up being a high-cost celebration.
• Understand where the funds are coming from. Is the expectant couple or individual footing the bill? If you are organizing, who else might contribute? Sometimes family members of the parents-to-be are also willing to help. They may contribute some cash or offer to bring items to the event.
Stick to Your Budget
It sounds self-explanatory: Stick to the budget you make. However, any party planner knows that it’s easier said than done, whether you have a baby shower, birthday, or anniversary on your hands.
• Hold yourself and the team that’s organizing the event accountable. It’s very easy to dip a little further into your funds for extra decorations, more flowers, or a beautifully decorated dessert. While those gestures are nice, they come at a financial cost. You may need to separate your “party fund” from your savings account. Or, if you have a co-host, report your spending to each other. You’ll be less inclined to go overboard that way.
• Play around with your distribution of funds. For instance, maybe you have a baker in the family who can bake a fab gender reveal cake. In that case, you can put more money toward a venue. Or, perhaps you are hosting a potluck version of a gender reveal party. That frees up some cash for decorations or how you handle the big reveal.
It’s a balancing act, for sure, but with a little planning and a strong commitment to your budget, you can host a gender reveal party that won’t leave you with debt to pay off.
Recommended: Budgeting for Beginners
Hosting a gender reveal on a budget may take a bit of extra planning. But spending less won’t make the event any less memorable. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to test your creative muscles and come together as loved ones. Play around with your budget to find the best party plan. Maybe you host it at a restaurant but it’s a tea party instead of a full meal. Or perhaps you gather in someone’s yard or a local park and then have enough to splurge on an amazing cake. It’s all about balance.
Whether you’re expecting a baby or simply planning a party for one of your besties, life is expensive. That’s why finding a banking partner that offers competitive interest rates and low (or no fees) can be important.
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Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.
What is a good budget for a gender reveal party?
Budgets will vary depending on the host’s means and goals and the expectant parents’ desires. However, you can stretch a fund further with a more relaxed event. For example, a small barbecue in your backyard with a few friends won’t cost as much as a luxe rented location but may make up for that with the warm, intimate vibe.
Who usually throws a gender reveal party?
There is no norm; anyone can throw a gender reveal party, from a close family member to the parents to a best friend. It’s all good! In some cases, there are even multiple hosts. This allows everyone to take on a smaller financial burden than a singular host. The only rule is to keep the gender a secret during planning.
How much should a gender reveal cake cost?
The cost of gender reveal cake can vary in price depending on where you buy it, how big it is, and how ornate it is. Prices often land in the range of $25 to $50. However, features like surprise candy inside will likely run you more money. And if you purchase a cake from a highly rated patisserie in a big city it will probably be considerably more expensive than one at a local bakery in the suburbs.
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The mean rate for a 15-year fixed-rate refinance moved higher this week, while 30-year fixed refinance rates trailed off. The average rate on 10-year fixed refinance increased.
30-year fixed refinance: 7.18%
15-year fixed refinance: 6.58%
10-year fixed refinance: 6.47%
Refinance rates saw some turmoil over the last week, but they’ve been slowly dropping from their peaks in 2023. Experts say slowing inflation and the Federal Reserve’s projected interest rate cuts should help push mortgage interest rates down to around 6% by the end of 2024.
Over 82% of homeowners currently have interest rates below 5% on their property. If home loan rates stabilize over the next several months, more homeowners should be able to save money through refinancing. But in order for refinance applications to pick up in a meaningful way, rates would need to fall substantially, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Mortgage refinance rates change every day. Experts recommend shopping around to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate. By entering your information below, you can get a custom quote from one of CNET’s partner lenders.
About these rates: Like CNET, Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures. This tool features partner rates from lenders that you can use when comparing multiple mortgage rates.
Refinance rates for homeowners
Refinance rates are currently between 6% and 7%, but your personal interest rate will depend on your credit history, financial profile and application.
Here are the average refinance rates provided by lenders across the US. We track refinance rate trends using information collected by Bankrate:
Average refinance interest rates
A week ago
30-year fixed refi
15-year fixed refi
10-year fixed refi
Rates as of Feb. 13, 2024
What to know about 2024 refinance rate trends
When mortgage rates hit historic lows during the pandemic, millions of homeowners were able to refinance to lower interest rates. While experts don’t anticipate another refinancing boom, it’s a positive sign that rates are now tending to move downward or sideways instead of soaring up.
For homeowners looking to refinance, remember that you can’t time the market: Interest rates fluctuate on an hourly, daily and weekly basis, and are influenced by an array of macroeconomic factors. Your best move is to keep an eye on day-to-day rate changes and have a game plan on how to capitalize on a big enough percentage drop, said Matt Graham of Mortgage News Daily.
When you refinance your mortgage, you take out another home loan that pays off your initial mortgage. With a traditional refinance, your new home loan will have a different term and/or interest rate. With a cash-out refinance, you’ll tap into your equity with a new loan that’s bigger than your existing mortgage balance, allowing you to pocket the difference in cash.
Refinancing can be a great financial move if you score a low rate or can pay off your home loan in less time, but consider whether it’s the right choice for you. Reducing your interest rate by 1% or more is an incentive to refinance, allowing you to cut your monthly payment significantly.
Refinancing in today’s market could make sense if you have a rate above 8%, said Logan Mohtashami, lead analyst at HousingWire. “However, with all refinancing options, it’s a personal financial choice because of the cost that goes with the loan process,” Mohtashami said.
Reasons you might refinance your home
Homeowners usually refinance to save money, but there are other reasons to do so. Here are the most common reasons homeowners refinance:
To get a lower interest rate: If you can secure a rate that’s at least 1% lower than the one on your current mortgage, it could make sense to refinance.
To switch the type of mortgage: If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage and want greater security, you could refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage.
To eliminate mortgage insurance: If you have an FHA loan that requires mortgage insurance, you can refinance to a conventional loan once you have 20% equity.
To change the length of a loan term: Refinancing to a longer loan term could lower your monthly payment. Refinancing to a shorter term will save you interest in the long run.
To tap into your equity through a cash-out refinance: If you replace your mortgage with a larger loan, you can receive the difference in cash to cover a large expense.
To take someone off the mortgage: In case of divorce, you can apply for a new home loan in just your name and use the funds to pay off your existing mortgage.
How to shop for refinance rates
The rates advertised online often require specific conditions for eligibility. Your personal interest rate will be influenced by market conditions as well as your specific credit history, financial profile and application. Having a high credit score, a low credit utilization ratio and a history of consistent and on-time payments will generally help you get the best interest rates.
30-year fixed-rate refinance
The average rate for a 30-year fixed refinance loan is currently 7.18%, a decrease of 3 basis points compared to one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) A 30-year fixed refinance will typically have lower monthly payments than a 15-year or 10-year refinance, but it will take you longer to pay off and typically cost you more in interest over the long term.
15-year fixed-rate refinance
The average 15-year fixed refinance rate right now is 6.58%, an increase of 6 basis points from what we saw the previous week. Though a 15-year fixed refinance will most likely raise your monthly payment compared to a 30-year loan, you’ll save more money over time because you’re paying off your loan quicker. Also, 15-year refinance rates are typically lower than 30-year refinance rates, which will help you save more in the long run.
10-year fixed-rate refinance
For 10-year fixed refinances, the average rate is currently at 6.47%, an increase of 9 basis points from what we saw the previous week. A 10-year refinance typically has the lowest interest rate but the highest monthly payment of all refinance terms. A 10-year refinance can help you pay off your house much quicker and save on interest, but make sure you can afford the steeper monthly payment.
To get the best refinance rates, make your application as strong as possible by getting your finances in order, using credit responsibly and monitoring your credit regularly. And don’t forget to speak with multiple lenders and shop around.
Tracking down an old 401(k) may take some time, and perhaps the quickest way to find old 401(k) money is to contact your former employer to see where the account is now. It’s possible that your lost 401(k) isn’t lost at all; instead, it’s right where you left it.
In some cases, however, employers may cash out an old 401(k) or roll it over to an IRA on behalf of a former employee. In that case, you might have to do a little more digging to find lost 401(k) funds. If you ever wished you could click on an app called “Find my 401(k),” the following strategies may be of use.
4 Ways to Track Down Lost or Forgotten 401(k) Accounts
There’s no real secret to how to find old 401(k) accounts. But the process can be a little time consuming as it may require you to search online or make a phone call or two. But it can be well worth it if you’re able to locate your old 401(k).
There are several ways to find an old 401(k) account. Here are a handful that may prove fruitful.
Contact Former Employers
The first place to start when trying to find old 401(k) accounts is with your previous employer.
If you had more than $5,000 in your 401(k) at the time you left your job, it’s likely that your account may still be right where you left it. In that case, you have a few options for what to do with the money:
• Leave it where it is
• Transfer your 401(k) to your current employer’s qualified plan
• Rollover the account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
• Cash it out
When your plan balance is less than $5,000 your employer might require you to do a 401(k) rollover or cash it out. If you’re comfortable with the investment options offered through the plan and the fees you’ll pay, you might decide to leave it alone until you get a little closer to retirement. On the other hand, if you’d like to consolidate all of your retirement money into a single account, you may want to roll it into your current plan or into an IRA.
Cashing out your 401(k) has some downsides. You would owe taxes on the money, and likely an early withdrawal penalty as well. So you may only want to consider this option if your account holds a smaller amount of money. If you had less than $5,000 in your old 401(k), it’s possible that your employer may have rolled the money over to an IRA for you or cashed it out and mailed a check to you.
Track Down Old Statements
If you have an old account statement, you can contact your 401(k) provider directly to find out what’s happened to your lost 401(k). This might be necessary if your former employer has gone out of business and your old 401(k) plan was terminated.
When a company terminates a 401(k), the IRS requires a rollover notice to be sent to plan participants. If you’ve moved since leaving the company, the plan administrator may have outdated address information for you on file. So you may not be aware that the money was rolled over.
Either way, your plan administrator should be able to tell you which custodian now holds your lost 401(k) funds. Once you have that information, you could reach out to the custodian to determine how much money is in the account. You can then decide if you want to leave it where it is, roll it over to another retirement account, or cash it out.
Check With Government Agencies
Different types of retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, are required to keep certain information on file with the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL). One key piece of information is DOL Form 5500. This form is used to collect data for employee benefit plans that are subject to federal ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) guidelines.
How does that help you find your 401(k)? The Department of Labor offers a Form 5500 search tool online that you can use to locate lost 401(k) plans. You can search by plan name or plan sponsor. If you know either one, you can look up the plan’s Form 5500, which should include contact information. From there, you can reach out to the plan sponsor to track down your lost 401(k).
Search National Registries
Another place to try is the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits. This is an online database you can use to search for an unclaimed 401(k) that you may have left with a previous employer. You’ll need to enter your Social Security number to search for lost retirement account benefits.
In order for your name to come up in the search results, your former employer must have entered your name and personal information in that database. If they haven’t done so, it’s possible you may not find your account this way. 💡 Quick Tip: Want to lower your taxable income? Start saving for retirement with a traditional IRA. The money you save each year is tax deductible (and you don’t owe any taxes until you withdraw the funds, usually in retirement).
What Should I Do With Recovered Funds?
If you do manage to recover an old 401(k) account and its assets, you’ll have some options as to what to do with it. In many cases, it might be a good idea to roll it over into another retirement account to try and stay on track with your retirement savings.
Another important point to consider: If you’ve changed jobs multiple times, it’s possible that you could have more than one “lost” 401(k) — and taken together, that money could make a surprising difference to your nest egg.
Last, if you were lucky to have an employer that offered a matching 401(k) contribution, your missing account (or accounts) may have more money in them than you think. For example, a common employer match is 50%, up to the first 6% of your salary. If you don’t make an effort to find old 401(k) accounts, you’re missing out on that “free money” as well.
But if you’re unsure of what to do, it may be worth speaking with a financial professional for guidance.
Further, if you’re not able to find lost 401(k) accounts you still have plenty of options for retirement savings. Contributing to your current employer’s 401(k) allows you to set aside money on a tax-deferred basis. And you might be able to grow your money faster with an employer matching contribution.
What if you’re self-employed? In that case, you could choose to open a solo or individual 401(k). This type of 401(k) plan is designed for business owners who have no employees or only employ their spouses. These plans follow the same contribution and withdrawal rules as traditional employer-sponsored 401(k) plans, though special contribution rules apply if you’re self-employed. 💡 Quick Tip: The best stock trading app? That’s a personal preference, of course. Generally speaking, though, a great app is one with an intuitive interface and powerful features to help make trades quickly and easily.
There are several ways to try and find an old 401(k) account, but for most people, the best place to start is by contacting your old employers to see if they can help you. From there, you can also try reaching out to government agencies, tracking down old statements, or even searching through databases to see what you can find.
Saving for retirement is important for most people who are trying to reach their financial goals – as such, if you have money or assets in a retirement account, it may be worthwhile to try and track it down. Again, it may be worth consulting with a financial professional if you need help.
Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).
For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.
Is it possible to lose your 401(k)?
It’s possible to lose money from your 401(k) if you’re cashing it out and taking a big tax hit or your investments suffer losses. But simply changing jobs doesn’t mean your old 401(k) is gone for good. It does, however, mean that you may need to spend time locating it if it’s been a while since you changed jobs.
Do I need my social security number to find an old 401(k)?
Generally, yes, you’ll need your Social Security number to find a lost 401(k) account. This is because your Social Security number is used to verify your identity and ensure that the plan you’re inquiring about actually belongs to you.
What happens to an unclaimed 401(k)?
Unclaimed 401(k) accounts may be liquidated or converted to cash if enough time passes, and that cash could be transferred to a state government, where it will be held as unclaimed property.
Can a financial advisor find old 401(k) accounts?
A financial advisor may be able to help, but the simplest way to find old 401(k) accounts is contacting your former employer. It’s possible your money may still be in your old plan and if not, your previous employer or plan administrator may be able to tell you where it’s been moved to.
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Many people want to be rich or make a lot of money. However, most of those people will never do any research on how to make money or how money works. If you want to make a lot of money you need to learn about money! You can’t just hope and pray that someday a lot of money happens to fall in your lap. A lot of people also make a good income but have nothing to show for it. Being rich or wealthy is not just about making money but learning how to keep it and invest it as well.
Table of Contents
Do you know much about money?
Most people think they know about money and we all know a little bit about money but very few of us know a lot about money. Very few of us study money. I have a business finance degree and even with that degree I did not learn that much about money. I learned the basics about economics and inflation, and investing, but it was all pretty basic stuff even with a four-year degree in finance.
There are people who have much more education in the finance world than me and you may ask why should you listen to me? Not only do I have some education in finance but I have started, run, and bought multiple businesses in the real world and been fairly successful. Even with higher education, you miss a lot of the real-world education needed to fully understand money. I still don’t know everything but I have learned a lot over the years and like to teach others.
What are the bare necessities you should know about money?
There are so many things to know about money. I am not sure anyone could ever learn it all. Not only are there the basics of money but there are new concepts appearing all the time like crypto. If someone did learn it all it would not take long for something new to pop that they would have to learn as well. My point here is not to overwhelm you but to let you know you don’t have to know everything and don’t get overwhelmed with how many different topics about money there are.
If you learn one thing new, you are better off than you were before. We can all benefit from learning and you don’t need to know everything.
Here are some topics that everyone should know about:
Interest: Interest rates you are charged and how to make money with interest as well
Budgets: What are you spending your money on
Income: How to make money with a career, side gigs, businesses, etc
Inflation: How it impacts you and how to use it to your advantage
Leverage: How using loans can increase your returns
Debt: How using the right debt can make you money while the wrong debt can be very dangerous
Investing: Many people make a lot of money each year but have nothing to show for it, learning to invest is just as important as making money.
Cars, housing, material goods: Buying a house is usually the best choice and most people need a car but what kind of cars or houses should you buy and when?
Education: Many people assume college is the best route but it may not be the route everyone should or wants to take. Education can be very expensive and crippling financially.
These are a few of the topics everyone should know about but there are even more depending on what you want to do and what your goals are. It is not easy to learn about money and it is not easy to make a lot of it and invest it so that you grow it.
Who should you learn about money from?
The tough part about learning the ins and outs of money is there is so much information out there. There are many paths and everyone claims theirs is the right way. I will start by saying there is no best way or right way for everyone. We all have different goals and work in different manners. There are people that tell you all debt is bad and even that credit scores are not needed. This strategy may work for some people, but it is a horrible strategy for others.
Using debt on real estate made me many millions of dollars. If I had paid cash for everything there is no way I would be where I am today. Debt can also get people into a lot of trouble if they do not have the discipline to handle it. I also love exotic cars and needed to find ways to make a lot of money to fulfill my dreams. Others may have much different dreams that don’t need any money at all.
I think if you are looking to learn about money, try to learn from those who resonate with you the best. Don’t choose someone because other people are or they advertise the most. Search out people who teach about money, learn how they made their money, and if that is similar to what you want to do, see what you can learn from them. I also see a lot of people out there giving money advice who never did what they teach and make almost all of their money from giving that advice that they never lived.
How should you learn about money?
You can learn about money through many different sources:
I have learned about money through all of these sources. I have read many books, some good and some bad but I always try to take away at least one thing from each book I read. I have read many articles on money (and written them as well). The problem with articles and videos is anyone can write them or create them who may know what they are talking about or have no clue. I love watching movies about money and success and seeing what the characters do. Again, this must be taken with a grain of salt because they are mostly fiction. Friends and family have given me a lot of advice as well but not all of it was good advice. I have also taken courses, paid for masterminds, and attended seminars to learn about money and real estate. I have even spoken at a few as well. These can be a great source of education but you must also be careful as seminars can lead to massively expensive courses with little information.
We all like to learn in different ways and I would start with the medium that works best for you but don’t be lazy and pick the easiest one. I think it is also important to find the people who resonate the best with you. If they don’t offer the medium you prefer you might have to bite the bullet and get out of your comfort zone.
Do you want to learn from me?
I may or may not be the person you want to learn about money from. If you are super conservative and just want a paid-off house, there may be other people who fit the bill better. If you are looking to make some big jumps in your finances as far as investing and earning I may be able to help you out. Nothing is guaranteed and there is no get-rich-quick scheme but there are ways to speed things up. I have used them personally and I continue to use them to this day as I am an active real estate investor with multiple businesses. I have written 10 books, most on real estate but I have one on money and mindset.
How to Change Your Mindset to Achieve Huge Success: Why your attitude and daily habits have more to do with making more money and having more freedom than anything else.
I also created an affordable, in-depth course about money as well which includes all the subjects I listed above and then some. Don’t worry, it is not thousands of dollars or even hundreds of dollars. I made it affordable because I think everyone should know about money.
InvestFourMore Money Mastery >> (just a $49 1-time payment)
Love is in the air, and if it’s not, you may feel compelled to find some: According to a new NerdWallet survey, 60% of Americans agree that there’s pressure on single people to have a date for Valentine’s Day.
The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults — among whom 1,218 plan to spend money on Valentine’s Day — conducted online by The Harris Poll, asked Americans about their planned spending on dates and gifts, as well as their thoughts on dating and finances in general.
Valentine’s Day date and gifts cost $188, on average
Americans who plan to spend money on Valentine’s Day plans or gifts this year say they’ll spend $188, on average. Women are more likely than men to say they’re spending $0 — 47% vs. 35% — suggesting that they’re opting out or that male partners are picking up the tab. And younger generations plan to spend more than their older counterparts — millennials and Generation Zers who plan to spend on Valentine’s Day say they’ll pay $274 and $197, on average, respectively. That’s compared with $144, on average, for Generation Xers and just $96, on average, for baby boomers who plan to spend on Valentine’s Day.
While there isn’t a right amount to spend on Valentine’s Day plans and gifts, you should aim to keep your spending within budget and avoid going into costly credit card debt.
“The ideal amount to spend on Valentine’s Day depends on your individual financial situation,” says Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. “Overspending or taking on more debt to celebrate the holiday can backfire, creating more stress and even harming your relationship. A romantic gesture that costs nothing can do far more for your relationship than a pricey gift that takes months to pay off.”
Most agree men should pay on the first date in hetero relationships
So who’s paying for the Valentine’s Day date and beyond? It depends on whom you ask.
Most Americans (72%) agree that in a heterosexual couple, the man should pay on the first date. Interestingly, men are more likely to say this than women (78% vs. 68%). Whether this is based on old-fashioned gender norms, recognition of the wage gap between men and women or something else, we can only speculate.
Some think the asker should also be the payer. According to the survey, 65% of Americans agree that if someone asked them out, they would expect that person to pay for the date. Women are more likely to say this than men (77% vs. 52%).
There’s more of a split when it comes to whether you should pay based on income. While 57% of Americans agree that the person who makes more money in a couple should pay for dates more often than the person who makes less, 43% disagree.
Of course, every couple should decide for themselves how they want to divvy up dating expenses. For relationships that go beyond a few dates, it’s probably a good idea to iron this out together to set expectations and avoid resentment.
Many agree couples should discuss money early
After figuring out who pays for what and under what circumstances, you might want to have a deeper money chat beyond the cost of dates. According to the survey, more than two-thirds of Americans (68%) agree that couples should talk about their finances within six months of dating. This discussion might include divulging credit scores, incomes, debt loads or other financial responsibilities, as well as your overall philosophies on making, spending and saving money.
“Talking about money early on in a relationship doesn’t have to be awkward and in fact can help avoid discomfort later. Broaching the topic in a casual way can lead to a meaningful conversation about finances, values and expectations,” Palmer says.
Arguably, this doesn’t sound like the most romantic conversation to have during the carefree honeymoon phase of your courtship. But if you see the relationship continuing, it’s probably a good idea to know if your financial values mesh.
“Getting on the same page financially early on can help set the tone for open and honest communication about finances throughout your relationship. Or, it could help you decide that the partnership is not a good fit. Either way, it’s information that can help you make an informed decision about where to take your relationship next,” Palmer says.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from Dec. 14-18, 2023, among 2,061 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].
NerdWallet disclaims, expressly and impliedly, all warranties of any kind, including those of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose or whether the article’s information is accurate, reliable or free of errors. Use or reliance on this information is at your own risk, and its completeness and accuracy are not guaranteed. The contents in this article should not be relied upon or associated with the future performance of NerdWallet or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries. Statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties as indicated by words such as “believes,” “expects,” “estimates,” “may,” “will,” “should” or “anticipates” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements may materially differ from NerdWallet’s presentation of information to analysts and its actual operational and financial results.
Do you want to learn how to get paid to work out? If you have a passion for working out and want to turn fitness into a way to get paid, then you are in luck. There are many ways to get paid to work out, and today we will be talking about 19 ways…
Do you want to learn how to get paid to work out?
If you have a passion for working out and want to turn fitness into a way to get paid, then you are in luck. There are many ways to get paid to work out, and today we will be talking about 19 ways to make extra money while exercising.
In today’s post, you’ll learn:
Ways to turn exercise into cash
How to make money running
Apps that pay you to walk
How you can get paid to lift weights
19 Ways To Get Paid To Workout
Below are the best ways to get paid to work out. From popular money-making apps to full-time jobs, there are many people and companies that pay you to work out.
Sweatcoin is a free app that pays people to walk.
The app rewards daily steps with Sweatcoin currency (coins) that lets you spend the credits on gift cards (such as to Amazon or Starbucks), iPhones, Apple Watches, donate it to charity, and more. Other rewards include a free subscription to meditation apps, a free Scribd trial, wireless headphones, massage memberships, discounts on Barkbox, coffee subscriptions, gym memberships, and more.
This is one of the most popular apps in the world ever, with over 120,000,000 registered members.
Stepbet is another popular fitness app that pays you for walking. You can connect your fitness tracker (such as your Apple Watch, Fitbit, Samsung Health, or Google Fit) to the app and even set weekly step goals to keep you motivated.
The app works like this: You select a game to get your step goals, then bet into the pot to join. If you meet your weekly step goal, you can split the pot and get your bet back plus make a profit.
This app makes it easy to stay motivated to walk because you have a financial stake in it as well. This is a great way to get paid to work out from home.
Healthywage is one of the most popular fitness apps that pays you to lose weight. Once you’re on the site, you enter how much weight you want to lose. You also enter how long you’ll have to complete the weight loss goal and how much money you want to bet per month.
For example, if I wanted to lose 30 pounds in under 9 months and bet $60 of my own money, my prize range is between $588-$1,116.
There are weekly weigh-ins and support from other contestants to help you get closer to your weight loss goal. If you complete the weight loss goal, you win the prize.
The purpose of HealthyWage is to motivate you to lose weight and make it more motivating and engaging by using a financial incentive.
DietBet is a platform with the concept of social networking with weight loss goals. DietBet functions essentially as a dieting game where contestants can bet money on the ability to meet their weight loss goals within a certain time frame. Winners get to keep the cash reward.
To get started with DietBet, you join a game that is basically a body weight loss challenge. You place a monetary bet into a communal pot. Whoever wins the pot (and achieves their weight loss goal) gets the divided winnings at the end of the challenge.
To make sure that everyone is playing fairly, you have to submit verifiable weigh-ins at the beginning and end of each challenge via photos or videos.
5. Fit For Bucks
Fit For Bucks is a workout app that pays people to walk, dance, run, and stay active. To get started, download the Fit For Bucks app and connect your activity tracker or Apple Watch. Then you can get moving and start earning rewards for your daily movement.
Rewards include things like free coffee, money towards fitness studios, free haircuts, and more. The goal of this app is to get people active and motivated to move more.
Waybetter makes losing weight fun by challenging you with fitness-related games. This app turns what could be described as boring into something that makes healthy habits sustainable and fun to help you on your weight loss journey.
The app works by making games that create micro goals and gives you accountability and support from other like-minded people. Games on Waybetter include things like walking at least 8,000 steps a day, drinking a certain amount of water, decluttering your home, reading books, flexibility challenges, increasing your plank time, and many more.
7. Charity Miles
Charity Miles is a little different than the other apps mentioned in that it doesn’t reward you personally. Instead, your rewards go to the charity of your choice.
To get started, download the Charity Miles app. The app connects with your phone’s Apple Health app and automatically pulls the steps from there. Any fitness devices linked to your Health app will sync to the app. The app turns all of your miles you walk, run, and bike into money for charity.
You can track all kinds of activities for Charity Miles including walks, runs, bike rides, shopping, golfing, dancing, and anything step-related.
One of my favorite ways to make extra money is walking dogs on Rover. Rover is an app that connects dog walkers with dog owners. I have been a Rover dog walker and absolutely loved it. I have been paid for walking dogs (which gave me exercise for the day) and spending time with really cute pets.
To get started on Rover, make a profile and list what services you offer. If you have previous experience dog walking, this is a major plus and will make you stand out from other dog walkers.
If you don’t have previous experience walking dogs, set your rates lower than other people on the app. This will make your rates competitive and you’ll get chosen quicker. These people will leave you reviews (and hopefully good ones, granted your services are great). The more 5-star reviews you have, the more you’ll stand out.
Recommended reading: 7 Best Dog Walking Apps To Make Extra Money
Evidation is an app that rewards people for doing things like walking, sleeping, biking, and more. To get started, download the app and connect your Apple Health, Fitbit, Garmin, or Oura app. This will sync your daily steps, which will give you points you can redeem in the app.
You can also earn points in the app by participating in surveys that ask questions about your health. For every 10,000 points you earn, Evidation will pay you $10 which you can redeem via PayPal cash and other cash prizes.
MapMyFitness is an app that tracks workouts including running, cycling, and other physical activities. While you won’t get paid with MapMyFitness, you can enter challenges and win monthly prizes.
Some employers or organizations will use MapMyFitness to stay active by participating in fitness challenges. These challenges backed by employers may even have rewards.
11. Walgreens Balance Rewards
Walgreens Balance Rewards is a program that gives you redemption dollars at Walgreens for doing things like walking and other fitness activities. With the Rewards program, you can link your fitness trackers which will sync your steps in the app.
You can also earn points for doing things like tracking your blood pressure, sleep, and weight.
12. Guided walking tours
If you have a lot of knowledge of your local town or a historical place, you may want to sell guided walking tours.
To get started, find a historical or touristy spot that would work well with a guided walking tour. Create your walking itinerary and highlight key points of interest and historical facts.
Start small and gradually work your way up to offering larger walking tours. This is a great way to combine your love of fitness with your love of a local spot that tourists love to visit.
Recommended reading: How to Make Money as an Airbnb Experience Host
13. Ski instructor
If you love skiing and enjoy teaching others how to do this sport, you may want to try becoming a ski instructor. This way you can combine your love for the sport and teach others how to ski as well.
To become a ski instructor, you likely need to obtain a recognized ski instructor certification. This will make you more marketable and even allow you to teach more advanced lessons.
Ski resorts are pretty much always hiring ski instructors, and you don’t need to be an expert or an Olympic skier to become a ski instructor either. This is something that you can learn to do.
14. Rock climbing guide
If you like to rock climb, then you may be able to become a rock climbing guide. Earning money doing this requires a combination of skills, certifications, marketing, and networking with other people who also work as guides.
To get started, it’s important to obtain certifications offered by the American Mountain Guides Association. This will increase your credibility and give you more job opportunities.
You may even want to connect with local and online climbing groups to market your business and get the word out that you’re a rock climbing guide. Put up flyers in your local rock climbing gym and make it easy to get in touch with you about your services.
15. Fishing guide
Making money as a fishing guide requires a certain set of skills, certifications, and licenses. It’s also important you have extensive knowledge of the best local fishing spots, seasons, and regulations.
Working as a fishing guide takes a lot of physical activity since you’re doing a lot of walking, wading in water, and (obviously) fishing.
Many places are in constant need of fishing guides, such as lodges and guide companies in Florida and Alaska.
So, you can easily network with local businesses such as bait shops, fishing gear retailers, and local hotels. The more people that know about your services as a fishing guide, the better.
16. Fitness trainer
One obvious way to get paid to workout is to work as a fitness trainer. Working as a fitness trainer involves a combination of skills, marketing yourself effectively, and providing top-notch service to your clients.
To get started as a fitness trainer, it’s important to obtain a reputable certification from organizations like NASM, ACE, or ACSM. Once certified, you can teach others how to workout in person at local gyms or offer virtual training.
You could even sell workout plans as a personal trainer, such as on a social media platform. I have seen many fitness influencers do this over the years.
Landscaping is a physically demanding job, but if you love it, you can turn it into a way to make extra money. As a landscaper, you can offer all kinds of services such as lawn maintenance, garden design, and tree and shrub care.
You’ll want to make sure that you take photos of your work and gather a portfolio so future clients can see the incredible work you can do. Word of mouth plays a big role in the landscaping business, so it’s important to give the best service to your clients.
18. Yoga instructor
If you love yoga and want to make money teaching others how to practice, then become a yoga instructor. To get started, you need to obtain a teacher certification from a reputable organization. Reach out to local yoga studios and figure out where people are getting certified in town.
Once you get certified, you can even specialize in a certain niche such as prenatal yoga, therapeutic yoga, power yoga, Bikram yoga, and more. You can teach group classes, private classes, workshops, and even online classes.
You may even want to try developing an online presence which will attract new people to your yoga classes.
19. Share workouts on Instagram
You can make money as a fitness Instagrammer once you have a strong following. It’s important to share high-quality and visually appealing photos and helpful captions. Share workout routines, fitness tips, and inspirational content to keep your audience engaged.
Once you have a good number of followers, you can make money with sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and even selling your own workout training programs and guides. You can even promote your online coaching services and work with people 1-1.
Another way similar to this is to do something similar on a YouTube channel that you create!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about getting paid to work out.
How can I make money if I like working out? How can I make money being physically fit?
There are so many ways to turn your love of working out into money. This can be done using apps like Sweatcoin or running a business such as personal training or dog walking.
Can you get paid to run? What app pays you to run?
If you enjoy running, make some extra money or get free stuff by using apps that pay you to walk or run. If you want to make a part-time income, then become a dog walker on Rover and take dogs on walks or runs.
What app pays to walk?
Apps like Sweatcoin, Fit For Bucks, and Rover pay people to walk. Sweatcoin and Fit For Bucks pay in rewards within the app, and Rover pays actual money for walking dogs. Some of these apps are available on iOS or Android devices, as well as on your laptop or computer as well.
Other fitness apps that you may have heard of include FitPotato, Runtopia, Step Younger, and Gym-Pact. I have not researched these, though.
Are there gig economy jobs that I can do while working out?
Yes, some gig economy jobs (such as DoorDash) can be done from a bike, which could be a great workout.
Can you get paid to lift weights?
While you’re lifting weights, apps like SweatCoin will count how many steps you’re walking during your workout. Besides that, you can make even more money by lifting weights by:
Competitive weightlifting and get paid via prizes, sponsorships, and endorsement
Social media and content creation (sharing your fitness tips with followers)
Offering fitness workshops
Sell weightlifting programs or training guides
Best Ways To Get Paid To Workout – Summary
I hope you enjoyed today’s article on how to get paid to work out.
If you enjoy exercising and fitness, turn that passion into extra cash by getting paid to workout. This list of ways to make extra money pays you to walk, lift weights, run, and do other physical activities that also benefit your well-being.
As you read above, there are many great apps and jobs that will pay you to work out.
What’s your favorite way to get paid for a workout?