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The internet is full of stories about people who made it rich by trading cryptocurrencies. But lately, the values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been plummeting.

If you’re considering getting into cryptocurrency investing, you may be wondering if it’s worth even bothering. Is crypto trading worth the risks?

For sure, cryptocurrency comes with higher risk and volatility. But crypto can also add a level of diversification to your portfolio. Knowing the pros and cons of crypto can help determine if crypto makes sense as an investment for you. 

Is Cryptocurrency a Good Investment?

A good investment is like a good pair of pants. It will cover your butt when you need it. But your pants might not fit others, and others’ pants might not fit you. 

Investing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. What may be a good investment for you and your level of risk tolerance might be a terrible fit for someone else.

This definitely applies when it comes to crypto. While investing in digital currency might make sense for some, it might be too risky for others.

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What Are the Most Important Things to Consider When Deciding to Invest in Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency investment is more complex in some ways than traditional investing. While investing in stocks is pretty clear-cut — you buy shares of companies whose values you expect to rise — cryptocurrency values are not so easy to understand.

Most cryptocurrencies are purely speculative — there are no underlying products or property to give a crypto asset its value. Before you start cryptocurrency trading, make sure you understand how the digital asset you’re considering is valued.

You should also have a decent grasp of how blockchain technology works, as well as an understanding of some common crypto terminology.

Crypto isn’t immune to scams, either. To avoid cryptocurrency scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you understand:

  1. How to use and get cryptocurrency
  2. How cryptocurrency is stored
  3. How cryptocurrency is different from U.S. dollars
  4. There is a lack of legal protection
  5. Cryptocurrency payments are typically not reversible
  6. Transactions can be public
  7. Scammers often demand pay in cryptocurrency
  8. Only scammers guarantee a profit or big returns
  9. Avoid investment advice from those on dating apps
  10. Avoid investment managers, celebrities, and love interests that want you to invest in or send them cryptocurrency
  11. Scammers promise free money
  12. Scammers make big claims with little or no details or explanation
  13. Scammers often impersonate businesses, government, and job sites

You can report cryptocurrency scams to the FTC, CFTC, and SEC. Also, report any scams to the cryptocurrency exchange company you used: 

  • ReportFraud.ftc.gov
  • CFTC.gov/complaint
  • sec.gov/tcr

What Makes Cryptocurrency a Particularly High-Risk Investment?

Three major factors contribute to crypto being high risk as well as highly volatile.

The first factor is that crypto is currently unregulated. It’s the Wild West out there. There are no laws in place to keep you safe from total losses or scams.

The second is that crypto trades in real-time. Trades can take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This also means prices can rise and drop at anytime.

The third factor that makes crypto risky and volatile is that some coins are finite. That makes them subject to market manipulation.

Why Do Cryptocurrency Investments Often Generate Very Large Returns?

Basic supply-and-demand principles can be applied to crypto returns. Coins with a finite number can increase in value rapidly when demand increases — especially when a single investor holds a large share of the total amount of coins. 

Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, has a maximum supply of 21 million coins. To understand Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ rules, look to its creators. Creators set the parameters for each coin — things like the number of coins, the rules for buying and selling, how new coins are added, and more.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Relatively Unregulated Nature of Cryptocurrency Markets?

As the FTC warns, crypto lacks legal protections. Even with encryption and security, many investors have had heir crypto wallets hacked.

Another disadvantage is that almost anyone can create a new coin at anytime. There isn’t a way for investors to keep up with every coin on every market. Deregulation and high volatility make crypto susceptible to high speculation and artificial pricing

What Are Alternative Investments in Cryptocurrency?

If you’re looking to invest in blockchain stocks, there are several options to invest in companies and exchange-traded funds or ETFs that use blockchain technology or that hold cryptocurrencies on their balance sheets. 

Stocks:

  • Coinbase
  • NVIDIA
  • Square
  • IBM
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • Salesforce.com
  • PayPal Holdings
  • Walmart
  • Microsoft

ETFs:

  • Siren Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN)
  • Amplify Transformation Data Sharing ETF (BLOK)
  • First Trust Indxx Innovative Transaction & Process ETF (LEGR)

How to Determine If Investing in Cryptocurrency Is Right for You

Ask your investment professional if crypto is right for you.

If you’re curious about crypto, try looking at the blockchain stocks or ETFs mentioned above. New investors can also try Robinhood for trading crypto and even earn a free stock when you sign up for the service.  

Who Should Consider Investing in Cryptocurrency?

Do-it-yourself investors who want to try a bit of everything should consider investing in crypto.

What Do Projections Show About the Longevity of Cryptocurrency?

Digital banks are increasing in popularity.

With the increasing adoption of digital banking, cryptocurrency will become increasingly popular. Cryptocurrency and popular coins have become household names.

Bitcoin has exponentially grown since its inception in 2009. Coinbase has become the first crypto company to be listed as a Fortune 500 company. 

Even though the crypto market has crashed and failed to meet analyst expectations, crypto is gaining in popularity. Crypto has even come into the mainstream media. Celebrities have been using social media to promote cryptocurrencies. And Coinbase was one of several companies that bought Super Bowl Ad airtime. 

What Are the Advantages of Cryptocurrency As a Short-Term and Long-Term Investment?

Like other highly speculative investments, short-term rewards can be great. Following the adage of buying low and selling high have made an estimated 81,000-plus Bitcoin millionaires.

With a total of 21 million Bitcoins available, over the long term, those with the biggest shares could receive the biggest rewards. Bitcoin, being a speculative investment, may not ever be held over time by most investors. Why? Because investors will be tempted to sell at some point. 

When the price gets too high or too low, investors will be tempted to sell. Investors will want to cash out their coins to enjoy their gains. Because what good is a huge investment paying off if you don’t spend it?

How to Start Investing in Cryptocurrency

Investing in cryptocurrency can be as easy as looking at your brokerage account. Many brokerages are offering crypto investments. Robinhood and Schwab are two common brokerages that offer crypto investing. 

Fortune 500 company Coinbase is also a popular choice for creating your crypto wallet. Opening a Coinbase account is as easy as opening a bank account, from my personal experience. 

How Do You Choose a Cryptocurrency in Which to Invest?

Just dipping your toes into the crypto investing world? If you want to try investing in crypto, check out the most popular cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin
  • Ether
  • Litecoin
  • Polkadot
  • Cardano

Bitcoin is the gold standard of cryptocurrencies. Investors believe that Bitcoin can be a store of value, and other crypto coins follow Bitcoin when it goes up or down in value. 

Ether is just behind Bitcoin, In large part thanks to its blockchain technology that is the standard for decentralized app creation.

Litecoin is known for its speed. Litecoin transactions are almost four times faster than Bitcoin transactions. Litecoin has also been around since 2011, making it one of the oldest alternative crypto coins.

Polkadot is a slight competitor to Ether. Polkadot’s blockchain technology is known for speedy transactions and the ability to communicate with other blockchains.

Cardano sets itself apart from other coins with updates. A slow, meticulous plan for decentralization gives Cardano a competitive edge. Using the slower plan with more updates, Cardano looks to increase its transaction speed above other crypto coins.

How Do You Choose a Broker or Cryptocurrency Exchange?

If you already have a broker that sells cryptocurrency, keep it simple and use your existing account.

If you don’t have a brokerage account — or a crypto-friendly one — check out Coinbase, a trusted cryptocurrency exchange. Coinbase and other large crypto exchanges often carry the major cryptocurrencies listed above. 

Certain coins will pick the exchange for you. Thousands of coins aren’t on every exchange. Therefore, you might have to hunt around for an exchange if you want to invest in a specialty coin. 

How Do You Set Up a Cryptocurrency Account?

The hardest part of setting up an account is figuring out which coin you want to invest in. Next is figuring out which exchange you want to use. When you have those two things figured out, it’s time to set up your account

After signing up for an account, you need to verify your identity. Most likely you will need government-issued identification. Have your driver’s license or other government photo identification ready. 

After your identity has been verified, you will need to connect your bank account or transfer funds another way to your broker or exchange. The broker or exchange can walk you through the different processes for transferring funds.

Once the funds are deposited into your account, find the coin you want using its ticker symbol, just like with a stock or ETF. Brokerages and exchanges often have the option to purchase fractional shares. 

Lastly, crypto must be stored in a crypto wallet. This is where brokers differentiate from exchanges. Brokers usually don’t give you a choice in a crypto wallet. Exchanges generally do.

Choose between a hot crypto wallet or cold crypto wallet. Hot wallets are stored online and are connected to devices via the internet. Cold wallets are stored on external devices like USB sticks or hard drives.

The Bottom Line

Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative investments with high risk and reward. When investing in crypto, keep in mind how to avoid scams, the differences between traditional investments, and what makes crypto volatile.  





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Options trading isn’t particularly easy — which is why it’s crucial to have a user-friendly, data-rich platform to help you make transactions.

If you’re thinking about trying your hand at this risky investment strategy, you should definitely look into Webull, an online trading app used by millions of tech-savvy investors.  

Keep reading for an overview of how options trading works on Webull so you can determine if the platform is a good match for your personal finance strategy.

What is options trading?

Here’s a brief primer: An option is a conditional derivative contract between a buyer and seller. When you buy a contract, it gives you the ability to buy or sell an asset at a certain price at a specific point in time in the future. 

It’s possible to trade options on stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. 

Is options trading a good idea?

People often ask for my opinion about trading stock options. The truth of the matter is that I have mixed feelings about it.

One of the big upsides to trading options is that they can be very cost-efficient and give you massive leveraging power. If you make the right bet, you will potentially be able to buy a stock at a reduced price or sell it at an advanced price, enabling you to generate strong returns. 

As a disclaimer, trading options is also very risky. If you make the wrong bet, you can potentially lose your entire investment — and a whole lot more. 

Young investors often make the mistake of putting their money into options instead of stable securities that they like and believe will generate strong long-term revenue and recurring dividend payments. 

Even though options trading is very popular right now, most financial experts tend to agree that these trades are more trouble than they are worth — especially for beginners with limited data, experience, and insights. 

That said, trading options is ultimately your call. With the right approach, you might even do very well. Just know that this is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. 

Webull: An overview 

Now that you have a basic understanding of how options work, let’s take a closer look at Webull — a modern trading app for Apple, Android, and web browsers. 

You can use Webull for trading stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies — all without having to pay any commissions.

The company offers a few different account types. For example, you can open a retirement account and start a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or a rollover IRA. You can also open an individual taxable brokerage account and sell individual securities and assets. 

As a trader on the Webull app, you receive access to in-depth analysis tools like advanced charts and technical indicators to understand trends and discover new opportunities. 

Webull also comes with 24/7 support and provides full extended hours trading that enables you to buy and sell stocks when the market is closed.

Add it all up, and there’s a lot to like about Webull. It’s also highly rated in the App Store (4.7-stars), and the Google Play Store (4.4 stars). We also ranked the app highly in our Webull review.

How to trade options on Webull

Ready to start? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to start trading options on Webull. 

1. Decide if options are right for you

I can’t stress this enough: Options aren’t for everyone. And while Webull does a great job of facilitating options trades, you should still be careful. 

Think of it this way: You can walk into a store and buy fireworks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a smart idea. You could get still get hurt — even if you know what you’re doing. 

For this reason, the first thing you should do is make sure options are a good fit for your current needs. It’s a good idea to assess your risk tolerance and make sure that you are in a position to invest in options. Think about what the worst-case scenario looks like, and ask yourself whether you’d be able to deal with it.

Another thing to factor in is time. Trading options requires a bit more time and attention than stocks. For example, you need to analyze which direction the underlying stock is likely to move and how much it will change from its current price. 

In addition, you have to try and predict how much time it will take the stock to move. There are several other factors to consider, and strategies to try, which I’ll explain further below. 

If you are someone who invests passively and doesn’t put a lot of time or attention into trading, you should probably steer clear of trading options.

2. Open a Webull account

If you feel like you’re in a good place to start trading options, then it’s time to open up a Webull account. You need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. address, Social Security number, and government ID. The signup process takes just a few minutes. 

Once you’re up and running, Webull randomly selects one full share of stock and gives it to you for free. How cool is that? 

3. Fund your account

The next step is to link your bank account and add funds, which is necessary for making trades. In order to do this, you’ll have to provide your bank account and routing number. Be patient: The process generally takes a few days. 

Once you link your bank account, Webull will transfer a second free stock into your account. 

4. Request approval 

Brokers like Webull can’t legally allow options trading without vetting their users first. This is due primarily to the heightened risk that comes with trading options.

Some people complain about this, but I think it’s a good thing. Even if you think you’re in a good position to trade options, the powers that be may think otherwise — for your protection.

As such, you’ll need to fill out an options application to see if you qualify. During this process, the company will ask you questions about your financial situation and investing experience.

If Webull accepts your application, it will assign you a trading level based on your overall risk assessment. This determines the amount of options trading you can do on the platform.

According to Webull, there’s no way to upgrade your trading level. However, if you believe that your placement doesn’t accurately reflect your risk tolerance and trading experience, you can reapply and go through the approval process a second time. If you go this route, the company will give you a decision within one business day. 

5. Start trading options 

If Webull approves your application, you can start browsing for options to trade. 

Head to the stocks details page and select the options button. At this point, you can select the options that you want to purchase. 

Webull options strategies to consider 

Having an options trading strategy is important — and Webull supports a few different types. 

Here are some of the main strategies that you can use with Webull. 

Covered stock

A covered stock strategy involves writing a put or call that has the coverage of an equivalent long or short stock position.

Single-leg

A single-leg option is a very basic strategy that requires buying a single option (i.e., a long put or long call) or selling it (i.e., a short put or short call). 

Vertical

A vertical strategy entails buying and selling multiple options of the same security, type, and expiration date but with different strike prices.

Butterfly

A butterfly strategy combines three calls or puts, with a ratio of 1-2-1. Butterfly strategies have a capped profit and fixed risk — making them desirable to some new options traders.

Condor 

A condor is a non-directional options strategy. For example, you can have a long condor, which profits when stock prices appear to remain stable, or a short condor, which profits when the stock prices go up or down significantly. 

Collar 

A collar strategy is for protection against large losses. The tradeoff is that it also inhibits large gains. You generally use a collar strategy when you anticipate the price of the underlying security will increase or decrease in the long run.

Straddle 

The straddle strategy requires buying a put option and call option, or selling a put and call for the underlying security with the same expiration date and stock price. You can execute a long or short straddle.

Iron butterfly

The iron butterfly merges two puts and two calls with three strike prices and a single expiration date. 

Iron condor

The iron condor strategy has two puts, two calls, four strike prices, and a single expiration date.  

Is Webull a good app for trading options?

Overall, yes, Webull is a solid app for trading options. And its commission-free structure is right in line with most competitors

The main issue that you might encounter is the strict approval process. Again, this is right in line with industry standards. And if the company doesn’t approve you for trading options, you can always apply again. 

However, if Webull rejects your application, think about why instead of rushing ahead to reapply or signing up for another platform. The vetting system is there for a reason. Also, if you don’t qualify for options trades, you can still purchase stocks, ETFs, and fractional shares on the platform.  

Alternative platforms for trading options

If you qualify for options trading on Webull, chances are you’ll qualify for options trading on other apps as well.

Here are a few additional companies to consider. 

Fidelity 

Fidelity is a popular broker that supports options trading. The company has five trading levels and charges $0.65 per contract fee.

Fidelity offers powerful analytics tools, making it a popular option for intermediate and advanced investors. 

Charles Schwab 

Schwab offers a powerful trading platform with real-time updates, making it ideal for advanced investors. 

Just like Fidelity, Schwab charges $0.65 per contract. The company doesn’t charge online commissions.

Robinhood

Robinhood is an app that’s ideal for beginner investors, with a simple interface and limited research tools. Robinhood doesn’t charge a fee to buy or sell options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get rich from options?

Absolutely. If you trade options correctly, you can potentially make a heck of a lot more money than you can from trading stocks. Experienced investors sometimes make tons of money by selling call and put options as market conditions fluctuate. 

At the same time, you can lose a lot of money — perhaps even more money than you could possibly pay back. The market is volatile and difficult to predict, and if you make the wrong call, you can dig yourself into a hole of financial misery.

Is Webull a mobile app?

Yes. Webull offers a robust mobile app for Android and iPhone users. In addition, Webull desktop is available over any internet browser.

What is the Webull watchlist?

The Webull watchlist is the main dashboard that you see when you first log into the app or website. You can use the Webull watchlist to monitor companies and access data visualization tools.

Is Webull registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?

Yes, Webull is registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer. Additionally, Webull is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Does Webull offer paper trading?

Yes, Webull offers an easy-to-use paper trading platform that lets you simulate trades before using real money. This is an excellent way to practice trading without putting money on the line. 

The Bottom Line

In the fintech-driven age, you no longer have to be a Wall Street investor to trade options contracts. Thanks to services like the Webull platform, more and more investors are becoming options traders — and making a fortune because of it. 

Just keep in mind that everyone would be rich if it was easy to invest in the stock market. So if you want to trade options with Webull, it’s important to make sure you are in a position to take on extra risk.

Personally, trading options isn’t my thing. But if it makes sense for you and you’re willing to gamble, it could be worth checking out. You never know when you might strike it rich as an options trader. 

If you decide to move ahead, I recommend starting small. Build a portfolio you’re proud of, and then maybe consider taking a minor options position to see how it works out.

Whatever you decide, I hope the cards fall in your favor and bring you closer to your long-term goal of financial freedom.





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Historically, women have not had the same access to wealth as men did. It wasn’t until the 1970s that women in the United States were allowed to open bank accounts and have credit cards without a male cosigner.

And today, women typically step out of the workforce to care for aging relatives, young children, or various other familial responsibilities.

We’ve seen in full force during the pandemic when almost one million women stepped out to care for loved ones, keep families afloat, and perform unpaid labor. During this time, men continued to earn unencumbered by societal pressures to do it all.

Together, these social norms paint a dire picture of women’s finances in general. As a demographic, we are more likely to put our needs on hold to care for those around us, even if it is detrimental to our financial health.

While noble, putting ourselves in financial harm isn’t the best solution to large problems. Instead, we should be striving for financial independence, which will allow us to weather uncertainty with more financial stability, regardless of our choice to remain in the workforce.

What Is Financial Independence?

Financial independence is the ability to live off of means you’ve acquired for yourself, without needing to rely on a job. 

You’ve spent time and energy amassing wealth to protect you from life’s misfortunes and you no longer need to work. You may still choose to work, but you don’t have to. 

With so many pressures women face in society, it’s important that we focus on financial independence as a way to bring gendered financial equity.

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Why Financial Independence Matters to Women 

The world is set up financially against women. We have had to fight for equality, and even still there is a gender pay gap, occupational segregation, investment gap, and debt gap stopping us from having the same advantages as our male counterparts.

However, instead of those being barriers against financial independence, they are why we should strive to seek financial independence.

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is one of the glaring atrocities in our society. White women earn 82 percent of what men earn. Furthermore, women of color earn even less than that. Black women earn 64 percent of what white men earn; and Hispanic women earn a mere 57 percent of what white men earn.

And, the gender pay gap widens over time. Women in their 20s and early 30s earn only a few hundred dollars a paycheck less than men, but once they’re in their 40s and 50s, the gap widens to thousands of dollars.

Occupational Segregation

And that’s not the only way women are financially less secure than men. Women-led professions trail male-lead professions in earnings. A teacher, for instance, starts out with a salary of $40,000 or $50,000, whereas an engineer might earn closer to $80,000 to $90,000. 

And women, especially women of color, are more likely to stay in low-wage work.

Women make up two-thirds of all tipped workers. Additionally, the percentage of Black women who are full-time minimum-wage workers is higher than that of any other racial group.

Women and Student Loan Debt

Not only do we earn less respectively and collectively, but we have more debt, including student loan debt. In fact, women carry two-thirds of the national student loan debt. We are more likely than men to have high monthly payments, despite earning less than men.

The average student loan payment among women is $307; this cuts into our ability to pay other bills and get ahead financially.

Worse still, is that Black women carry the most student loan debt. After 12 years of paying down student loans, Black women owe an average of 13 percent more than they borrowed.

Gender Investment Gap

Additionally, women are less likely to invest than men. In part, this phenomenon is because women are taught to save money from a young age whereas men are taught to invest. Ironic, because women’s portfolios consistently outperform their male counterpart’s portfolios.

The pandemic has encouraged more women to invest, and nationally, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in women investing since 2018. But, we still trail behind men who invest more aggressively than women. This investing gap could cost women millions over their lifetime.

Why Does All This Matter for Financial Independence?

With so much set against women financially, it’s important that we do what we can to protect ourselves. This starts with financial protection. 

Pursuing financial independence gives us a buffer between ourselves and the world. And, while the world might not be designed for women to succeed, we can create our own path to success.

Gender Affects Financial Literacy 

Men and women are taught about finances differently. Men are taught to grow their money and invest while women are taught how to budget and save their money. While both are important aspects of financial literacy, arguably, learning how to grow your money will help you more in the long term.

This is why financial independence is so important for women. It teaches us skills we need to prepare ourselves for financial troubles and also common things like retirement. Without financial independence, women are not prepared for the future. And that’s a problem.

The Growth of FIRE among Women 

When the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement was popular, male voices filled the scenes. Upper middle class white men relied on their working wives to help fund their retirements and essentially glorified the status of the stay-at-home dad. There wasn’t much financial inclusion.

Then, Vicki Robins stepped onto the scene. Robins wrote the ever-popular book Your Money or Your Life and became a revolutionary voice on the scene. In a lot of ways because she showed women that they were a part of the movement as well. No longer was this space required to be male dominated, and other women started speaking up.

In 2018, Angela Rozmyn wrote a transformational blog post called “Meet the Women of the Financial Independence Movement” and launched a Facebook group that now has over 50,000 members. 

This inspired her to start an entrepreneurial journey with her platonic life partner, Regina Moore, focused on deeper conversations with women in the personal finance community. Women Personal Finance has made over $10,000 in its first year. 

Later, Tanja Hester of Our Next Life wrote Work Optional and highlighted a lot of different and inclusive people pursuing FIRE. Her data-driven guide to financial independence caused a sensation among FIRE people of all classes, even though she came from a high-income background. Before that, though, her blog posts have been instrumental in many women’s financial journeys.

Many other women have stepped onto the scenes to educate and share their journeys. Purple from A Purple Life shared her FIRE journey from beginning to retirement. 

Kiersten Saunders with her husband, Julien, have been blogging about accessible FIRE for women and communities of color. They recently published Cashing Out. 

Finally, the creator of cFIREsim, a very popular calculator in the FIRE community, revealed herself as Lauren Bolan, a trans woman.

Now, the community is filled with too many influential women to name. It’s no longer a space for white men, but a diverse and growing community. Filled not only with middle-class white women, but women of color, and queer women. And the more diverse the community grows, the more people will recognize themselves in our voices and will be able to reach for financial independence. 

Unique Challenges That Women Face for Financial Independence 

While financial independence is crucial for women’s financial security, they have a harder time achieving it than men.

Because women are paid less than men, they have less access to the tools that men do for financial independence. Their starting line is essentially further away than their male counterparts.

Women are also more likely to leave the workforce than men are for childrearing. During the pandemic, women left the workforce in droves. We dropped our participation in the workforce to levels not seen since the 1980s, and at the time of this article, we have not recovered our levels.

This is because women are considered crucial to home life. It’s an antiquated ideal, but one that permeates modern American culture. The woman is the caregiver, both for the generation above her and the generation below her. 

Since the pandemic temporarily eradicated all social supports—women fell very behind in the work force. That’s not to say that child rearing isn’t a valuable calling, but when women are forced into the role, we suffer.

How to Achieve Financial Independence as a Woman

1. Check In with Your Finances 

This is the most important step to pursuing financial independence. You need to know where you’re starting with your money in order to figure out where to go. It is also the most daunting step for those who haven’t done a money check in before. But it’s pretty simple.

Start with all the money you have. Bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts. Some people even list their house or other large assets. Next, round up all the debt that you have. These two give you a financial picture and a diving board to jump off of.

You can also get crazy and calculate your FIRE number and see what you need to reach financial independence, or you can wait until you feel more confident with your finances.

2. Start Putting Away Money for Retirement 

If you work for a company, you might be able to get a company match on your money. Leaving that on the table is actually costing you money. Check with your HR department to see what your match is and how to get enrolled in your 401(k), at least up to the match.

If you work for yourself or your company doesn’t offer a match, consider putting away at least 10 to 15 percent.

We start with retirement savings because they’re taxed advantage and you want to use all the government hacks as possible when chasing such a large dream.

3. Pay Off Debt

You need to get your debts paid off to reach financial independence. Simply put, you cannot reach this financial status if you owe money to people. And in my opinion, owing money to people is uncomfortable. I hate paying debt because that’s money I could be using to reach bigger goals. 

I recommend using either the avalanche method or the debt snowball method to pay off any debt you have.

4. Decide a Game Plan Using SMART Goals

Once you’ve built the habits of paying off your debt and saving for retirement, you’ll be able to build on these skills. Preparing for financial independence requires dedication to your financial life.

I recommend creating SMART goals for financial milestones. Take time to think through goals you want to have. Some of mine are owning a house and putting away $100,000 by the time I’m 30. And then create an action plan for them.

5. Increase Your Investments

This step is the most crucial step to financial independence. And to me it’s the most fun because of how flexible you can be. Plenty of FIRE people retired just off of their stock market gains, but others used alternative investments to fuel their lifestyle. Real estate investing is popular and so is creating passive income streams. The goal of this step is to put yourself in a position where you don’t need to rely on a 9-to-5 job to fund your lifestyle. 

6. Celebrate Your Financial Success Along the Way

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Oftentimes we as women can get so focused on the destination that we forget to celebrate how well we’re doing. I read somewhere once that the life you’re living now is the life that a previous version of you wished you had. And that’s stuck with me.

I try to remember that I’m doing well, even if I’m behind on my goals—or not where I thought I would be. I’m still doing really well. Hold that affirmation with you as you pursue financial independence.

The Bottom Line 

Even as we face unprecedented challenges as women to do it all, we have the power to pursue financial independence. Instead of this being fraught with worry about money, we have the ability to be empowered. 

The best thing about financially literacy is that anyone has the ability to learn and implement best financial practices, regardless of the cards stacked against them.

I’m not going to say that achieving financial freedom is going to be easy. It isn’t. I’m still early on in my journey and I’m not sure that it’s going so well. And there are some days I want to quit and just join the status quo. But I know that this thinking will only harm me. I have to embrace an abundance mindset and realize that while this is hard, it’s worthwhile.

And you can do the same thing. Financial Indepence should be accessible to everyone, not just rich white men. Women have been carving the way for other women to have a space in this world since Vicki Robin stepped on the scene. It’s our duty to carry on that legacy, in small and large ways.





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Anyone in a relationship knows that budgeting is a touchy subject. It’s also a leading cause of arguments (and even divorce) among couples.

With this in mind, staying organized and having a financial plan with your significant other is always a good idea. Shared expenses don’t need to be a struggle, and apps like Honeydue can guide you toward power couple status.

In this post, I’ll run through how Honeydue can simplify your budgeting. I’ll also compare it to other budgeting apps and weigh its pros and cons to help you figure out if the app makes sense for you. 

Let’s start with a look at what Honeydue is and how it works. 

Pros

  • 100% free
  • Easy-to-use budgeting app for couples
  • Highly-rated iPhone app
  • Optional Joint Cash account

Cons

  • No signup bonus
  • Limited customer support
  • No APY earning on Joint Cash deposits
  • No round up or investing features

What Is Honeydue?

Honeydue is a budgeting app with one simple mission: helping couples manage their money better together.

You can link your bank accounts, coordinate bill payments, and even open a joint checking account through the app. Rather than constantly updating a shared spreadsheet, the couple’s expenses are visible in the app in real time. 

Now that you have a better idea of what Honeydue is, let’s examine some of its features and the user experience for handling personal finance as a couple.

Honeydue Features

Mobile App

Honeydue is entirely app-based, and it’s available on both iOS and Android devices. At the moment, the app has a commendable 4.5-star rating (out of 5) in the App Store and 4 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store. 

Account Tracking

When couples sign up for Honeydue, the first step is to link all of your relevant accounts so that the app can track them. This could include bank account, loan, credit card, investment account — whatever makes the most sense for your unique financial situation as a couple. 

The more you add, the better overall picture you’ll have of your monthly spending habits, shared financial position, and financial goals. Honeydue supports more than 20,000 financial institutions across five countries, so odds are you won’t have an issue adding yours. 

Once your accounts are linked, you’ll have control over what your partner can and can’t see. For example, you can choose to share your account balance and transactions, just the balance, or nothing at all. Honeydue recommends couples start out with “balances only.” 

For deeper insight into your spending, the app breaks transactions down into 17 different preset categories. But you can also add your own categories to fit your personal budgeting style. 

Bill Reminders

Honeydue offers due date reminders to help you stay away from late fees or missed payments. In the app, you can enter your recurring bills along with who’s responsible for paying them. When it comes time to pay, Honeydue will hit you or your partner with a reminder notification, which should help you settle your bills on time.

You can also split expenses and easily keep track of who owes what. Similar to apps like SplitWise, you can enter in all of your shared costs and the app will compute the total balance to help you settle up.

Live Chat

One of the most helpful features of Honeydue is its in-app chat function. 

Suppose you’re curious about a questionable transaction that your partner made. In that case, you can send your partner a direct message — or a sassy emoji 😉 — rather than flipping back and forth between your messaging and personal finance apps. 

Plus, you can easily discuss specific charges in the app rather than having to take a screenshot from one account and forward it along in a text. Keep discussions of your partner’s weird spending habit or your shared savings goal in the app and out of the bedroom.

Joint Cash Account

Honeydue’s Joint Cash account is a joint bank account both you and your partner can use. Joint Cash is FDIC-insured through Honeydue’s partnership with Sutton Bank.

Here are the main features that come with a Joint Cash account:

  • Visa debit cards for each of you
  • No monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements
  • Fee-free access to more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide with your Visa card
  • Custom notifications
  • Real-time balance updates
  • Modern budgeting tools

Honeydue Pricing and Fees

Honeydue’s money management platform is entirely free. It does solicit its users for tips, but these are completely optional. If you like the platform, you can choose to add a recurring tip between $1 and $10 per month, which you can cancel at any time — or never offer in the first place. 

The good news is that whether you tip or not won’t affect your account status, and none of Honeydue’s features sit behind a paywall. 

Signing Up and Getting Started

To get started with Honeydue, all you need to do is download the app and enter your email address. It takes less than a minute to set up an account. 

After confirming your email, you have the option to invite your partner immediately or reach out to them later on. The same goes for adding your recurring bills and bank accounts. 

You’ll need to enter some additional information to sign up for a Joint Cash account. Luckily, this won’t affect your credit score because Honeydue doesn’t run a credit check. 

At the time of this writing, Honeydue isn’t offering any sign-up bonuses or promotions for new accounts.

The Joint Cash account is relatively new, though, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Honeydue eventually runs a promotion to attract new signups. 

I’ll keep you updated if and when a bonus shows up, so keep checking back. 

Honeydue Security

To use Honeydue effectively, you need to link your most sensitive financial information. 

Fortunately, Honeydue has bank-level security practices in place to keep you and your accounts protected. The app doesn’t store your usernames, passwords, or security questions. It also doesn’t have access to your account or routing numbers. 

On top of that, you can restrict account access by enabling multi-factor authentication, touch or face ID, or a PIN code. 

Customer Service and Support

Honeydue’s platform is relatively limited when it comes to customer support, as you might expect with a free service. 

If you have questions about your account, your best bet is to send them an email (at [email protected]) or check out the FAQ section in the online Help Center.

Learn More:

Pros and Cons of Honeydue

Pros

  • 100% free
  • Easy-to-use budgeting app for couples
  • Highly-rated iPhone app
  • Optional Joint Cash account

Cons

  • No signup bonus
  • Limited customer support
  • No APY earning on Joint Cash deposits
  • No round up or investing features

Alternatives to Honeydue

Honeydue is one of the only budget apps out there that focuses on couples and shared finances. That said, there are some other options that deserve a look. 

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is an app designed to help you optimize your spending and grow your savings account. 

​Rather than simply tracking your accounts, PocketGuard analyzes how much you have to spend each month after taking care of each expense. You can create custom categories and build a plan for paying down debt. PocketGuard will even help you negotiate lower rates on your bills. 

YNAB

YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget, is a personal budgeting software available on Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. 

YNAB is based on the envelope method and encourages budgeters to allocate certain amounts for certain expenses each month. 

Currently, YNAB is offering 34 days free to new users. After that, the service costs $11.99 per month or $84 annually.

Personal Capital

​Personal Capital is a more advanced money management platform that focuses on budgeting and long-term wealth management. 

You can easily set a budget and track your cash flow, and it also comes flush with tools to help you plan for education and retirement. 

FAQ

How does Honeydue make money?

Honeydue makes money through tips from its users. These are completely optional, so it’s up to you if you’d like to pay a small amount for the service. 

Is the Honeydue app safe?

Yes. Honeydue has bank-level protections in place to keep your account information secure, and it doesn’t store any of your sensitive information. 

What is the best budgeting app?

The best budgeting app for you is the one that you’re going to enjoy using. 

But remember: Only you can control how much money you spend, save, and invest. 

Access to the best budgeting app in the world means nothing if you and your partner can’t manage your finances. 

So, Is Honeydue Right For You?

Relationships are never easy, and money issues definitely don’t help. 

The key to financial bliss is to have a plan, and apps like Honeydue can help you and your significant other put together a good one. 

The bottom line is that Honeydue is a great option for couples who are really excited to budget together and share their finances. Overall, it serves as a solid platform to help you stay on track and hold each other accountable. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the app is completely free, either.

At the end of the day, only you and your partner can keep the budgeting train on the tracks, so to speak.

Whichever budgeting app you go with, here’s to making the right personal finance choices each and every day — and achieving financial freedom together.





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Investing during rising inflation comes with challenges for any investor. As inflation rises, it’s important to prepare for detours on your financial freedom journey. Your purchasing power may fall, but your profits don’t have to.

Expectations for 2023’s inflation forecast are that inflation will be decreasing. Estimates are said to “still be above a long-term baseline of 2.3%,” according to the Congressional Budget Office.

But what does that mean for your investment strategy?

If you focus on strengthening your financial plan, you can alleviate the fear and uncertainty that comes with a downturn in the stock market and rising inflation. 

Keep reading to learn how to invest during inflation.

  • Lower cyclical unemployment
  • Increased wages
  • Increased spending
  • Market downturn
  • Price increases
  • Higher demand
  • Lower supply
  • Layoffs
  • Rising interest rates
  • Increasing demand for goods and services
  • Scarcity of materials for in-demand goods
  • Lowered supply and increased wages
  • Price hikes by companies during spending increases

Although several effects of inflation are immediate, those same effects can be long-term as well. 

Higher inflation today means you’re probably not saving as much for retirement. Does your financial plan assume interest rates of 2% or 3%? Does your financial plan still work during 10% or higher inflation rates?

Saving $500 per month during periods of 2% inflation may not be the same $500 per month savings during periods of 10% inflation. That $500 savings may be split between groceries, rent, mortgage payments, transportation costs, home repairs, or other expenses. That $500 savings may only really be $300 or $250 or even less as compared to before rising inflation. 

To better understand investments during inflation look at the causes of inflation

How Does Inflation Cause Stock Volatility?

Stock prices often go down during times of high inflation. With lower unemployment, high inflation, and demand for labor, the labor market demands an increase in wages. Increases in wages and material costs can lead to a market downturn. Struggling and failing businesses can add to a market downturn. 

According to MarketWatch, “rampant inflation and the Federal Reserve’s plan to sharply raise interest rates in response are acting as drags on the economy.” Slower economic growth due to inflation and lowering demand lead to drops in the S&P 500. 

How to Profit from Inflation Surges

Some businesses thrive during inflation. Lower overhead costs and high-profit margins, coupled with necessary expenses, create a recession-proof business model. Look to invest in these types of businesses during rising inflation. Try looking at sectors like energy and housing.

The Federal Reserve increasing the interest rate isn’t enough to battle inflation. Investors need to tip the scales in their favor. A few ways to profit from inflation are real estate investing, value stocks, and commodities.

What Are Inflation Hedge Investments?

In financial terms, a hedge is protection or defense against a loss. Diversification is one type of hedge. Inflation hedge investments protect your portfolio from rising inflation.

Inflation hedge investments can include: 

  • Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)
  • Stocks
  • Real Estate
  • Commodities

Don’t be afraid to add inflation hedges into a small percentage of your portfolio. Extra returns can compound over time into larger gains.

What Industries Tend to Do Well During Inflation Surges?

Think of what industry goods and services you use daily. Utilities are essential. Food is another daily essential. Work from home is changing the need for transportation to work. However, daily or weekly transport is still necessary for some suburban and rural areas.

Food, utilities, and basic expenses require income. Banks tend to do well during inflation. People still need to store or borrow money during times of high inflation. 

What Should You Look For in an Investment Opportunity During Inflation Surges?

  • It’s inflation-proof
  • It scales
  • It’s a necessary expense

Look for investments in goods and services that people still purchase or use during times of moderate inflation to high inflation. Investments that have high economies of scale and are daily expenses for most people can help you profit during rising inflation. Look for these investments in industries that profit in times of high inflation as well as moderate inflation. 

Real Estate Investing During Inflation Surges

During times of rising inflation, rents and mortgages still need to be paid, even by those living on a fixed income. Mortgage rates may increase. If property management and mortgages deter you from real estate, invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Don’t forget about crowdfunding or lending sites that allow you to invest in real estate as well. 

Learn more:

Value Stocks Investing During Inflation Surges

In addition to real estate, value stocks can be a solid inflation hedge. One example of a value stock is JPMorgan Chase. Banks still lend during rising inflation. Value stocks appear to be priced lower, considering earnings, sales, dividends, etc. Appearing at a lower price is what makes value stocks appealing to value investors. 

Commodities Investing During Inflation Surges

Like real estate and some value stocks, some commodities are essential even when the inflation rate is rising. Coffee is a good example of a commodity, as it’s one of the few luxuries most people can afford. Along with coffee, even during inflation, everyone still eats food. 

Our food system is dependent on wheat and corn. Homes need heat and vehicles need gas. Oil and natural gas are necessities during inflation for most. Electric vehicles increasing in popularity, however, means the utility sector shouldn’t be ignored.

Investments That Protect Against Inflation

As you can see so far, a financial plan allows you to focus on optimizing your purchasing power during inflation. Instead of worrying about the stock market and your portfolio, focus on rising prices and how to cut your expenses. Investing in industries that survive and even thrive during inflation boosts your portfolio on your financial freedom journey.

As demand increases, businesses keeping up with rising inflation hire more workers. On the other hand, when the demand and inflation levels both lower, layoffs can occur. Also, businesses that have trouble turning higher profits can start layoffs. Those businesses lose profits due to the rising costs of materials and resources even with demand increasing. 

Inflation may seem frightening and cause you to not want to invest. But did you know that there is an opposite of inflation? This is known as deflation. By contrast, inflation isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Learn More:

How Do Gold and Other Commodities Protect Your Portfolio Against Inflation?

Gold tends to keep up against inflation over the long-term, some experts suggest. Other commodities — including oil, metal, and agricultural products — increase in price during higher inflation. These are commodities that people use often and even daily. 

I mentioned coffee being a daily luxury most people can afford. If I invested a dollar for every dollar I spent on coffee, I’d probably get my money back or close to it! I’ve been stockpiling coffee to make it through these rising inflation rates. (Hint: I’ve been buying the cheap, generic brand.)

What Are the Benefits of a 60/40 Stock/Bond Portfolio?

Harry Markowitz theorized the efficient frontier of asset allocation. To summarize: an asset allocation of stocks and bonds lies on a curve of risk vs. return. The point at which risk increases as stock allocation increases is near a 20/80 stock/bond portfolio.

An optimal portfolio therefore appears to be around a 40/60 stock/bond portfolio with return percentages of about 9.0% and a risk percentage of about 9.25% Although a 40/60 stock/bond portfolio is the highest risk vs. reward portfolio, it may not be optimal for those in the accumulation phase of their financial journey. 

A 60/40 stock/bond portfolio yields closer to a 9.6% return percentage and 11.25% risk percentage. Yes, stocks are riskier, but that extra 0.5% compounding can battle rising inflation.

Why Should You Consider Investing In REITs During an Inflation Surge?

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are real estate investments with a hands-off approach. The hard work is done for you. In the world of real estate investing, REITs have many advantages:

  • Liquidity
  • Residential and commercial diversification
  • They’ve outpaced inflation in recent years 
  • They’re regulated
  • No property management required

REITs are more liquid than rental real estate. You can sell shares of REIT mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. REITs diversify real estate holdings through residential and commercial real estate holdings. Lower and middle-income earners can invest in REITs over real estate. REITs have outpaced inflation over the last 20 years according to Investopedia. REITs are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Bottom Line

Investments can hedge against inflation. Using investments to hedge against inflation is easier than you think. Consider investing in commodities, sectors, real estate, or REITs to profit from high inflation.  

Overall, you should stick to your financial plan, prepare for a potential layoff, and keep your emergency savings ready. And when considering your financial plan, add in hedges against inflation. Think about how TIPS, stocks, real estate, commodities, and other investments fit into your plan.  

Know that inflation is cyclical. Have a strong financial plan. Know how to profit to ease the uncertainty during your financial freedom journey.





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When it comes to personal finance tools, it’s hard to top Mint.com, which is a free app that comes with powerful features.

But while Mint is undoubtedly a great product, there are other financial management apps available for Android and iPhone that can help you stay on top of your various accounts. That being the case, it makes sense to shop around to find a program that meets your exact needs and specifications.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best Mint alternatives for 2022.

Best Mint Alternatives for Personal Finance

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a popular app that offers three types of financial services: cash management, wealth management, and free personal finance tools.

Personal Capital Cash offers unlimited money transfers and direct deposits for paychecks. It has no fees, and you can access it over any mobile device.

The app’s wealth management service is for customers who have over $100,000 in the bank. It offers planning assistance and unlimited financial advice.

Most investors tend to use Personal Capital for its free financial tools, which include a net worth tracker, a savings planner, a retirement planner, a fee analyzer, and an investment checkup service. These helpful tools can help shed light on your overall financial situation and make sure your accounts are moving in the right direction.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) 

YNAB offers a handy app that’s purely for budgeting.

This platform makes budgeting fun and straightforward, using helpful visuals and educational resources to give you more control over your financial situation.

With YNAB, you can set goals and budgets with other people in your network. The app also provides budgeting reports and personal support, giving you even more help on your journey to financial independence.

YNAB costs $11.99 per month, or $84 per year—a drop in the bucket compared to how much you could potentially save.

Quicken 

Quicken is one of the biggest names in personal finance software. The company makes it fast and easy to take control of your finances and view your entire financial portfolio from one user-friendly program.

With Quicken, you can manage spending, create budgets, view and manage bills, set goals, and track investments.

The company also offers the Quicken Companion app, which works with the Quicken desktop service, and Simplifi, which is a standalone mobile app.

One of the best parts about working with Quicken is that you get access to excellent support. As a big brand name, Quicken offers a fantastic help center, expert community, and a friendly technical support team.

The company also offers several different plans, including Quicken Starter, Deluxe, Premier, and Home & Business.

Of note, Quicken is one of the best programs for small business management. So, if you work for yourself, it’s worth checking out.

Tiller Money 

Tiller Money is another popular app that you can use to centralize your finances and gain more clarity into your financial situation.

The solution is interesting in that it combines traditional spreadsheet-style reporting with a modern app, providing enhanced security and a user-friendly interface. There are also custom templates available for advanced functions like tracking net worth and paying off debt.

Tiller gives customers the option to pay $6.58 per month or $79 annually. There’s currently a free 30-day trial available, so you don’t have to worry about paying any money until you’re sure you like it.

Spendee

Spendee lets you see all of your cash expenses, e-wallets, crypto wallets, and bank accounts together over a single app.

This app makes it easy to get a quick overview of your total income and expenses. Plus, you can create budgets to save for specific items.

Spendee is an excellent option if you want to better understand your financial habits and track spending. The app also has a shared wallets feature for families, couples, and roommates.

Spendee offers a free basic plan along with two premium options that cost $14.99 and $22.99 annually. My advice is to start with the free version, see how it goes, and decide whether it’s worth upgrading.

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is another app that brings multiple accounts together into one location so you can see how much disposable income you have.

By using PocketGuard, you can optimize spending and put more money away for long-term growth. The app also provides personalized reports and comes with a debt payoff component.

One of the best features of PocketGuard is a tool that lets you track and lower your bills. The app even negotiates better rates with cell phone and cable providers on your behalf, helping you keep more of the money you worked so hard to earn.

PocketGuard offers three pricing options. There’s a monthly plan at $7.99, an annual plan at $79.99, and a lifetime membership at $99.99.

Mobills

Mobills delivers a powerful personal finance app that tracks money and assists with budgeting.

The app makes it easy to see all your finances from one screen and understand where your money is going on a daily basis. It lets you create categories for various expenses and income streams, receive bill reminders, and access charts with spending data.

One of the nice features of Mobills is its credit card manager. This tool can make it easier to pay off cards in full each month and avoid penalties and high interest charges.

Mobills has a free offering as well as two premium plans at $14.99 a quarter and $49.99 annually.

Digit

Digit uses machine learning to automatically calculate how much you should be saving on a daily basis.

The app pulls money out of your checking account or savings account and stashes it into savings and investing accounts. It’s a completely hands-off approach to saving and investing—and a great option to make sure you stay the course and reach your long-term financial goals.

Digit offers a free 30-day trial. After the trial period ends, membership is only $5 per month—pretty reasonable if you ask me.

Zeta

Zeta offers free mobile financial tools for joint financial management. It’s meant for people who live together, are engaged, or are already married. Parents can also benefit from using Zeta with their kids.

The company provides joint banking through a shared account, as well as a free budgeting app that lets you track and manage finances together as a team.

One interesting feature that Zeta has is a money personality quiz. This short assessment can help couples learn about each other’s financial habits.

Honeydue

Honeydue also provides a great budgeting app for couples.

Just like with Zeta, you can access a joint cash account and shared budgeting tool through Honeydue. The app links with third-party financial institutions, letting you track multiple accounts and coordinate bills together as a team.

Honeydue has a useful chat component where you can ask your partner questions and discuss bill pay in a way that is convenient and accessible.

Best of all, Honeydue is completely free to download and use.

Banktivity

Banktivity is a personal money management app exclusively for macOS and iOS devices.

This service provides tools and tips for planning, spending, and saving money. It can help with a range of needs—like paying debt, planing an emergency fund, and getting ready for retirement.

Banktivity has three plans available: Bronze ($49.99 per year), Silver ($69.99 per year), and Gold ($99.99 per year).

Prism

Prism is a popular bill tracking service that can help you avoid surprises when monthly bills roll around. The platform makes it easy to view all of your recurring charges over one convenient portal.

With Prism, you can also check account balances and view income in one area. It’s highly effective and completely free to download and use. Why not give it a shot?

Goodbudget

Goodbudget is yet another budgeting program that makes it easy to share budgets, save money for upcoming expenses, and pay off debt.

The platform also provides some excellent learning courses to help improve your budgeting game. For example, Budget Bootcamp can teach you the basics of budgeting. If you’re new to the budgeting process, it can’t hurt to check it out.

Goodbudget has a free plan and one that costs $7 per month or $60 annually. Again, you’re probably best off trying the free plan first before deciding to spend money.

Splitwise 

Splitwise helps keep track of shared expenses, making it a go-to solution for housemates, trips, groups, family members, and friends.

Suffice it to say that money issues can cause a lot of tension in group settings, and this app is a great workaround to ensure fairness and honesty. The Splitwise app lets you organize expenses and track balances to keep track of who owes money. It allows you to add express on the go and even settle accounts with other people through online payments.

Splitwise offers a free plan and also a paid version that costs only $3 per month. 

Wally

Wally is a personal finance app that aggregates multiple accounts together into one location. 

This app is ideal for saving and budgeting. It lets you budget by category, and track progress over time. Additionally, Wally provides spending insights and real-time updates for account balances and transactions.

On top of this, Wally offers joint accounts and household budgeting. It can also track foreign transactions, as it pairs with 15,000 banks across 70 countries.

The basic version of Wally doesn’t cost anything. There’s a premium plan that costs $4.95 per month, $35.99 per year, or $47.99 for a lifetime subscription.

If you find yourself liking Wally, I’d suggest springing for the lifetime subscription, which is more cost-effective.

Microsoft Excel

Excel may not be the flashiest or most exciting personal finance solution on the market. But it’s still highly effective for keeping track of personal expenses.

While Excel is a manual budgeting app, you can download the Money in Excel add-on to securely connect to any bank, investment, credit card, and loan account for automated management.

It’s possible to purchase Excel as a standalone product. You can also get access to it through the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

Mint: A Basic Overview 

As you can see, Mint has quite a bit of competition. There are tons of mobile apps to explore that can simplify financial management.

When you give Mint a try, you may find everything you need—and you won’t have to pay a dime for it. After all, this is one of the most comprehensive free services on the market—and a must-have tool for everyday money management.

Mint launched in 2009, and Intuit acquired the company in 2020, for $170 million. 

Here’s a look at Mint’s top features.

Budgeting

Mint lets you create custom budgets so you can always understand your spending limits. The app sends notifications when you go over budget and when opportunities for improvement arise. 

Credit Monitoring 

One of Mint’s unique features is credit score monitoring. You can receive a free report summary in the Mint app, providing a score and influencing factors—like on-time payments, credit utilization, average account age, total accounts, and more.

Portfolio Tracker 

Mint provides a portfolio tracking service to help manage investments. The app also identifies hidden fees, which can save you a lot of money over time.

Bill Payment Tracker

Mint’s bill payment tracker keeps you in the loop about what you need to pay and when. The app can send you notifications before payments are due so that you can always know what’s coming up and can plan accordingly.

Learn More:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Budgeting Apps Safe?

Mobile apps tend to vary in terms of security. But most financial management apps are pretty safe to use overall.

That said, it’s a good idea to investigate each app’s security policy and reputation before connecting it to your bank account. After all, the last thing you want is to give an insecure or unknown app access to your personal financial information.

Do your due diligence and make sure you feel comfortable with an app before trusting it. That way, you can reduce the chances you make a decision you ultimately regret.

Learn More:

Is Powerwallet Still a Company?

Powerwallet had a nice run providing financial services for customers. However, Powerwallet is no longer a company. The app shut down in 2018 and does not serve customers anymore.

Do I Need to Use an App to Budget?

You don’t need to use an app to budget or manage personal finances. It’s definitely possible to keep track of personal finances the old-fashioned way, using a traditional paper and pen-based system.

One popular budgeting method that doesn’t require a computer is the envelope system. This approach involves putting money into various envelopes and using the contents to pay for associated items (e.g., utilities, groceries, and entertainment).

Since each category only receives a set amount of money each month, it forces you to put more effort into tracking prices and being frugal.

Should I Pay Money for a Personal Finance App?

It largely depends on the app that you’re considering. Before you pay for a monthly or annual subscription, make sure the app offers significant value. Chances are you may be able to get the same service for free in another app. And, if you do decide to pay for a personal finance app, make sure that you’ll actually be able to capitalize on its premium features.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, personal finance apps can help with a variety of needs—like bill pay, cash flow management, and investment account monitoring, to name just a few examples. They can help you reduce unnecessary Amazon purchases, handle payments more effectively, become a better saver, and plan for upcoming bills.

With so many apps to consider, however, picking the right one can be a challenge. As such, you might be tempted to jump right into an app instead of vetting different providers.

As a disclaimer, while all of the trending personal finance apps on this list are legit, the best one for you depends solely on your unique situation and ability to use each app’s features.

Now if you’ll excuse me, all this talk about personal finance management has got me jazzed up about saving money and improving my portfolio.

I think it’s time to open my smartphone and check in on things.

Why don’t you join me?





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Looking for an online job where you can work from home, or from anywhere in the world for that matter? 

There are more opportunities for online jobs today than ever before. Even jobs that were traditionally only available in-person have made the shift to virtual. 

So, if you want an online job, chances are that you’ll find one. Enjoy this ultimate guide to where to get an online job.

Why Work Online?

When the coronavirus pandemic forced companies around the world to close their offices, workers had to give working a home job a try. Yet many job seekers discovered that working from home works really well for their lifestyle. For some folks, it makes childcare easier, and for others it saves on travel costs.

In fact, now that some offices are reopening, many workers are opting out of the office. Out of all the American workers currently working from home, 61% of them are working from home by choice.

Pros of working online:

  • Less distractions than in the office (can lead to higher levels of productivity)
  • Better work/life balance
  • Less stress from commuting
  • More job opportunities (no longer limited by geographic location)
  • Opportunity to save money on gas, professional wardrobe, lunch, and more
  • Better for the environment (less cars on the road)
  • Customizable home office space (ergonomic work chair or desk, etc.)
  • More time for physical activity

Cons of working online:

  • Less distinction between work spaces and relaxing spaces
  • Potential for workaholics to never stop working
  • Potential for isolation and loneliness
  • Some people can be distracted by the TV and/or kitchen
  • Need for self discipline
  • Home job office costs
  • Less office perks
  • Workplace disconnect

While there are pros and cons to working an online job, if you have considered both sides and still want one, you’re in luck — they’re everywhere. Keep reading to learn about the different kinds of online jobs and where you can find them.

Types of Online Jobs

You might be on the hunt for an online job or a way to make money online, but do you know what kind you want? Here are the differences between side hustles, freelancing, and part-time and full-time jobs. 

Online Side Hustles

Side hustles and gigs are online jobs that you do on the side of full-time employment. These can range from hobby side hustles (like selling your crafts on Etsy) to transcribing audio files.

Benefits of online side hustles:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Little to no skills required
  • Improve your finances
  • Monetize your hobby
  • Earn passive income

Side hustles can be an excellent way to save some extra money for investing, sustaining the lifestyle you want, or saving up for a big purchase. They typically have flexible hours, so you can make some extra cash whenever you feel like it.

10 Online Side Hustle Ideas

  1. Transcribe audio files with TranscribeMe! or Rev.
  2. Teach English online with VIPKid, Cambly, or Preply.
  3. Take online surveys with Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, or InboxDollars.
  4. Become an Amazon seller.
  5. Create and sell an online course.
  6. Resell concert tickets on StubHub.
  7. Resell domains.
  8. Sell crafts or vintage finds on Etsy.
  9. Sell used goods on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
  10. Join online focus groups with User Interviews.

Learn More:

Freelancing

Freelancing can also be a side gig, or your full time job, but what distinguishes it from general side hustles is that you typically run your own business.

Benefits of freelancing: 

  • Set your own rates
  • Work whenever you want
  • Create your own job description
  • Decide who you want to work with
  • Control your workload
  • Independence
  • Variety of work

Whether you offer editing services or graphic design, your freelance business can bring in some serious dough. In fact, the number of freelancers earning six figures or more grew 70% from 2011 to 2018. If you are strategic and organized, there’s no reason why you also couldn’t build a six-figure freelancing business.

Businesses hire freelancers when they:

  • Want to save money
  • Need a specialized skill their staff members don’t have
  • Are looking for high quality work
  • Need a quick turnaround
  • Need a fresh perspective

10 Freelance Business Ideas

If you can develop a specialized skillset and begin offering your services, you can attract a lot of business. Here are some online business ideas to get you started.

  1. Social media manager
  2. SEO consulting
  3. Digital marketing and advertising
  4. Online freelance writing jobs
  5. Translation
  6. Graphic design
  7. Web design and development
  8. Accounting
  9. Video editing
  10. Photography

Some other ideas include starting a blog, and once you have a big enough following, getting set up with affiliate marketing. You’ll be able to earn commission for every sale made through links on your blog. By the way, this is a great passive income opportunity.

To get started as a freelancer, pick an online freelancer platform. Or sign up for all of them:

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Jooble
  • Freelancer.com

Part-Time Online Job

This type of online job is part-time, but you have an employer. Think: part-time work at the local bagel shop, but online. So, you could work for any kind of employer, the only requirement is that all of the work you do can be done at home.

Benefits of part-time online work:

  • More regular income (than freelancing)
  • More free time (than a full-time job)
  • Better work/life balance (than a full-time job)
  • Make more money (if you have multiple part-time jobs)

10 Part-Time Online Jobs that Require Little to No Skills

  1. Chat support representative
  2. Customer service representative
  3. Bookkeeper
  4. Data entry job
  5. Comment moderator
  6. Medical coder
  7. Search engine evaluator
  8. Online tutor
  9. Virtual assistant
  10. Transcriber

A great place to find part-time online work is through FlexJobs, which offers vetted online job opportunities for people with any kind of experience. 

Another place to look is any regular job board like Indeed. Just make sure to adjust the search to include your parameters: “part-time” and “remote.” Even a college student can find online part-time jobs this way.

Full-Time Online Job

This type of online job is the most traditional of the four. This is just a regular old job, with a 40-hour work week and a regular paycheck and/or salary.

Benefits of a full-time online job:

  • Regular income and salary
  • Benefits (401K, health insurance)
  • Paid time off
  • Fixed work schedule and routine
  • Professional training opportunities

To find a full-time online job, all you need to do is apply to jobs you find on Indeed or other job search sites, and just check to see if the employer requires you to go into the office or not. 

Because you will be a remote worker, you can work for a company in a different state, or even country, vastly increasing the number of jobs you can apply to. 

There is no end to the kinds of remote work you can find, considering most full-time jobs can be done on a computer with wifi access.

10 Full-Time Online Job Boards

  1. FlexJobs
  2. Indeed
  3. Google for Jobs
  4. LinkedIn
  5. ZipRecruiter
  6. CareerBuilder
  7. Monster
  8. Snagajob
  9. Nexxt
  10. We Work Remotely

Some of these job boards will allow you to set up a job alert when job postings that fit your skills and preferences are posted. This way, you can apply quickly and before other qualified applicants.

Learn More:

What to Look for in an Online Job

As you can see, there are a lot of options available if you want an online job. But what should you look for in an online job? What does the best online job for you look like?

After you have decided what kind of online job you’re interested in (be it side hustles, freelancing, part-time, or full-time work), what else should you figure out?

Here are some things to look for:

  • Is this a legit online job opportunity? Keep an eye out for scams and multi-level marketing schemes.
  • Is the job fully remote? Clarify this with your employer before you sign anything!
  • Do you need to work during certain times of the day?
  • Will you be paid hourly or per project?
  • How much money will you make? If you make more than $400 per year, you’ll need to pay income taxes.
  • Is there room for growth or even increases in salary?
  • Will you be required to spend time on the phone, or is the job computer-based?

The answers to these questions are helpful things to find out before you decide to start a new online job. But really, the best answers depend on what you prefer. 

Maybe you prefer spending time talking on the phone, having a regular 9 to 5 work day, and getting paid hourly. If you find an online job that checks off those boxes, congratulations! It sounds like it would be a great fit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Design Your Resume If You Have Little to No Experience?

Side hustles and freelance gigs don’t typically require a resume, but most online part-time and full-time jobs do. If you don’t have a resume filled with lots of relevant experience, what can you do to land the online job of your dreams?

Here are some no-experience resume tips:

  • Use the reverse chronological format.
  • Use bullet points for descriptions. 
  • Be precise, clear, and simple. 
  • Focus on your education and any relevant classes you took.
  • Include internships, skills, and projects you have worked on.
  • Include any hobbies, languages, achievements, and certifications you have.
  • Focus on writing a killer cover letter that explains your resume and why you’re a great fit.

How Do You Approach a Company about Online Work?

If you are applying for an online job, all you need to do is get the job and you’ll be able to work from home. But if you currently have a part- or full-time job that is conducted entirely (or partially) in person, and you want to switch to work fully online, what do you do?

The first thing you should do is prepare solid reasons for why it will benefit the company if you work from home. 

How much more work will you get done without the distractions of office politics? How much money will they save on gas reimbursement? 

Next, set up a conversation with your supervisor or boss. 

Tell them about your research. It’s very possible that they will be receptive to your ideas about working remotely. 

And if not… well, you could always find a different online job that respects you work/life balance better!

What Are the Best Ways to Find a Remote Job with Little Experience?

If you’re looking for a remote job, but don’t have any experience, you’re in luck. A ton of online jobs don’t require a lot of experience.

A good place to start looking for job opportunities is to see if any online side hustles interest you. Jobs like taking online surveys and selling items on Amazon or eBay don’t require many skills and can definitely pay off. 

But if you’re looking for something that pays higher with more regular work, you could consider becoming a freelancer and gaining experience through low-paying jobs.

For example, if you want to become a freelance graphic designer, you could start off by offering really cheap — or even free — designs to local businesses.

If the business is happy with your final product, you could ask them for a short testimonial. And just like that, you have some experience! As you build up more of a client base, you will have more and more experience, and be able to raise your rates.

Another option is to advance your education to learn all the skills you’ll need for a job you want. This way, if an employer asks you about any relevant experience (and you have none), you can speak at length about the new skills you have acquired in the field.

You can also look for entry-level positions, which typically don’t require any experience. These positions tend to pay less, but will train you in what you need to do the job well. After a year or two in this entry-level job, you can begin to climb the employment ladder.

The Bottom Line

Whether your motivation for wanting online work is so that you can spend more time with your fluffy dog, or so that you can focus more fully on your work, remote work is everywhere.

All you need to do is decide what kind of work you want to do and begin your job search!

And remember: if you can’t find the right job for you, you can always create it by starting a freelancing business. 

Whatever you decide to do, we know you will be able to get an online job. So go get it!





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When you start investing in the stock market, it pays to keep things simple. The trick is to find a trading app that is easy to use and intuitive so you can start building your portfolio right away.

One such mobile app is Robinhood—a super popular platform for new investors.

Robinhood offers a free version along with a premium Gold membership plan. Keep reading to learn if Robinhood Gold is worth your time and money. 

Robinhood Review for 2022

Robinhood launched back in 2013 as a mobile app designed to make investing approachable and understandable for newcomers.

Today Robinhood remains one of the most popular investing apps for young investors. The company operates out of Menlo Park, California, and has raised $6.2 billion in funding. Right now, the company has about 15.9 million active traders.

One reason why Robinhood is so popular is because of its free stock promotion. When you sign up for Robinhood, the company gives you a free share of stock that’s worth up to $250. This is a very attractive draw—and a big reason why many people gravitate to Robinhood.

With all this in mind, here’s a breakdown of the basic services that you can access through Robinhood’s free and paid plans.

Commission-Free Trades

Robinhood provides commission-free investing for individual companies and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Altogether, you can invest in over 5,000 stocks on Robinhood. The company also provides access to over 650 global stocks through American Depository Receipts (ADRs).

What’s more, Robinhood also lets you buy and sell fractional shares or small pieces of individual shares. You can buy as little as 1/1,000,000 of a share at a time. This is a way to access high-growth funds that may be too expensive to buy outright.

Options

Options trading involves buying and selling stocks at specific dates and prices. Unlike other platforms, Robinhood company doesn’t charge any commissions or contract fees for options trading in margin accounts.

That said, here’s a disclaimer: Even though options trading is possible on Robinhood, my advice is to steer clear of it until you’re certain that you’re ready for it. Options trading is very risky and it’s generally better to put your buying power into companies that you believe in and think will be around for the long haul.

One thing to note is that you can’t automatically trade options on Robinhood; you need to first obtain approval. The company has a strict vetting system in place to weed out new investors who absolutely should not be trading options.

If you want to trade options and the company rejects your application, you can always appeal and file again. And, of course, you can always open an account somewhere else.

Crypto

Robinhood is one of the few online brokers that lets you buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Litecoin on a stock trading platform. The company doesn’t charge any commissions when buying and selling coins, which is somewhat of a rarity.

In my opinion, it’s nice being able to see all of your crypto investments right alongside your regular investments in the Robinhood dashboard. This is a unique experience that makes it easy for investors who dip into both markets, and it sure beats having to log into yet another platform to track your investments.

Cash Management 

In addition to investing, it’s also possible to use Robinhood for cash management. The app lets you deposit paychecks, send checks, pay bills, and store funds. Robinhood also provides a debit card that works with over 75,000 ATMs and in almost any place that takes Mastercard.

As a bonus, Robinhood cash management lets you earn 0.30% APY. By keeping your money in a Robinhood cash account, you could benefit from a decent interest rate that is more than you’ll find at most leading banks.

Now that you have a better understanding of how Robinhood works, let’s take a closer look at Robinhood Gold.

Learn More:

What is Robinhood Gold?

Robinhood Gold is the paid version of the Robinhood app. With a Gold Robinhood account, you use the same app as the free version, with one important difference: you’ll have access to some additional tools and features for an advanced trading experience.

Here are some of the features you’ll get by opening a Robinhood Gold account:

Bigger Instant Deposits

Robinhood offers instant deposits of up to $1,000 for free users. In other words, you can immediately access your money after initiating a deposit. You won’t have to wait several business days to access your cash like you have to do with some other brokers. 

With Robinhood Gold, you can instantly access up to $50,000 after making a deposit—depending on your balance and account status. 

Here’s a breakdown of what you can access instantly:

  • $50,000 if your portfolio value is more than $50,000
  • $25,000 if your portfolio is more than $25,000
  • $10,000 if your portfolio is more than $10,000
  • $5,000 if your portfolio is less than $10,000

In my opinion, this is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great being able to instantly access your money. This makes it easier to act quickly on opportunities and make timely investments. It’s convenient, and you won’t have to wait for your money to clear before making a transaction.

On the other hand, you need to have some discipline when investing or you could make some rash decisions.

To illustrate, you might see a high-growth stock that’s skyrocketing in value and want to immediately dump $10,000 into the company. But rushing into an investment with that much capital is extremely risky. The stock could suddenly plummet due to market volatility, tanking your investment and causing you to miss out on a chance to buy the same security at a lower value.

When it boils down to it, most beginner investors don’t need immediate access to $50,000. But if you have the discipline and want faster access to more capital, Robinhood Gold can provide it. To learn more, check your instant deposit limit at any time in the account overview section of the Robinhood app.

Maintaining Access to Instant Deposits

It is important to keep your account in good standing if you want to maintain access to instant deposits. Robinhood may revoke access under certain circumstances—e.g., if your transfers don’t settle or if your account is flagged for any reason.

Should that happen, you may receive access to instant deposits again if your transfers successfully settle.

Optional Access to Margin Investing 

Margin investing is a strategy where you borrow money from a broker to execute trades.

When you trade on margin, you deposit cash that serves as collateral. Once that’s done, the broker issues you a loan and you pay interest on the money that you borrow.

Margin trading allows you to quickly execute a trade without immediately pulling money from your bank, giving you extra flexibility.

Signing up for Robinhood Gold won’t automatically give you access to margin trading. You’ll still have to apply for the ability to trade on margin.

Another disclaimer: If you aren’t careful, you could accidentally lose a lot more than you initially invest with a margin trading account. In other words, it could wreck your financial situation.

Professional Research from Morningstar 

One of the top reasons investors upgrade to Robinhood Gold is because they want deeper insights when making trades.

Robinhood partners with Morningstar, giving Gold members unlimited access to stock research reports.

Morningstar provides insights on roughly 1,700 stocks and regularly updates them to reflect recent company changes and events. Morningstar reports provide professional analysis on items like fair market value, leadership, risk, economic moat, and business strategy. 

Level II Market Data from Nasdaq

In addition to Morningstar reports, Robinhood also provides Level II market data through a partnership with Nasdaq.

Robinhood members receive access to Nasdaq TotalView, which is a powerful data feed for serious traders.

Level II data ultimately gives you more information to influence your investment decisions and analysis. You can use this data to predict short-term and long-term prices.

The combination of Level II market data and Morningstar reports can help you make stronger investing decisions. It may require a bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about growing your portfolio and minimizing risk.

Signing Up and Getting Started

Robinhood’s success can surely be attributed to the fact that its platform is intuitive and easy to navigate. Here’s a breakdown of how to start using it.

1. Download the Robinhood App 

The first thing you’ll need to do is download the Robinhood app and create an account. Robinhood is available in the Play Store for Android and the App Store for Apple, so no matter what device you use, you should be good to go.

During the sign-up process, Robinhood will ask you for some basic personal information. The process should only take a few minutes, so don’t worry about jumping through countless hoops.

2. Select Robinhood Gold 

As you begin going through the registration process, you’ll have to determine whether you want Robinhood’s free plan or the Gold option.

If you can’t make up your mind, don’t sweat it. You can easily upgrade or downgrade your account in the settings tab of the app.

I recommend trying the free version to see how you like the app. If you fall in love, you might want to consider upgrading to Gold. Once you start trading on Robinhood, you might find out that you want deeper access to analytics or potentially even margin trading.

The last step is to link your bank account to Robinhood so you can start making trades. 

Robinhood works with most leading banks—including Chase, Bank of America, Ally, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and HSBC, to name a few examples.

Robinhood Gold Pricing & Fees

At the time of writing, Robinhood is currently offering a free trial for the first 30 days.

When the trial period ends, the company charges $5 at the beginning of each billing cycle unless you opt to cancel your subscription before the next billing date.

If you would rather skip the fees and put that money into investing, you should look into an alternative platform such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade that doesn’t charge membership fees.

Also, if you decide to place a margin call and use more than $1,000 of margin, you have to pay an interest rate of 2.5% on the excess funds in a settled margin amount. The company calculates margin interest daily and charges customers at the end of each billing cycle.

Is Robinhood Gold Worth It?

As with most financial products, this depends on a few factors.

Robinhood Gold is useful if you’re already highly immersed in the Robinhood platform and want to take your trading game to new heights. You could potentially benefit from Level II market data and professional research from Morningstar.

That said, unless you’re a high roller, you probably won’t be moving large volumes of money in and out of Robinhood regularly. Further, you might not be in a position to try margin investing, which is a strategy that’s better for experienced investors. So, while those two features are nice additions, they won’t impact the average investor all that much.

With that in mind, competitors like Schwab and Fidelity offer comprehensive research and analytics and real-time updates—for free. Schwab also provides access to Morningstar data, as well as reports from Credit Suisse and other firms.

In light of this, the best play seems to be to use Robinhood’s free services to get a feel for the market and then transfer your portfolio over to another brokerage account when you’re ready to access advanced research tools. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Day Trade with Robinhood Gold?

It depends. Day trading is the process of buying and selling the same stock, or opening and closing an options contract, within a single trading day.

Pattern day trading occurs when you execute four or more trades within five trading days. If you do this, you will be a pattern day trader and will need at least $25,000 portfolio value in your free or Gold account at the close of the previous day to continue.

If you day trade as a pattern day trader and end the previous day below the $25,000 equity requirement, the company will issue a day trade violation and prevent you from trading on Robinhood for 90 days.

Is Robinhood Gold Free?

No. Robinhood charges a monthly fee of $5 for its Gold plan. However, there is a current promotion where you can access Robinhood Gold for free for 30 days. You might want to give it a whirl to see whether you like it.

Do I Need Robinhood Gold to Trade Options?

You don’t need a Gold membership to trade options through Robinhood. However, you do have to request approval for options trading.

Like all brokers, Robinhood has to vet traders to make sure they are in a position to trade options. This is because trading options is very risky and you can lose a lot of money if you aren’t careful.

Do Customers Receive Protection on Robinhood?

At Robinhood, your securities and cash receive protection through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). However, Robinhood crypto investments do not contain any protection from the SIPC.

Keep in mind that cryptocurrency is highly volatile, and the market is largely unregulated. It’s a much different trading experience than you’ll find in the stock market. 

Does Robinhood Offer Mutual Funds?

Unfortunately, you can’t buy mutual funds on Robinhood at the moment. But make sure to check back, as the company could potentially expand its offerings in the future.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of things I like about Robinhood for new investors.

For example, the stockbroker doesn’t charge any trading fees. And after stock trading hours are over, you can keep the party going with cryptocurrency trading, without having to change apps. Further, there are no account minimums on the investing platform, either.

As for the Gold plan, my advice is to do some research and see if it’s something that would directly benefit you. Robinhood Gold provides access to more insights and analytics, which could potentially help you make better investing decisions. However, Robinhood isn’t the only platform offering advanced insights—and you may be able able to get them for free elsewhere.

Whatever you end up deciding, take your time and don’t make any rash decisions. The calm, cool, and collected investor has a much better chance of achieving financial independence.

Here’s to making the best decisions on your journey to long-term financial freedom.





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While it’s definitely more challenging to reach financial independence while having kids, don’t count it out. There are plenty of families who’ve reached their early retirement and independence goals.

We’ll share some tips and tricks so this can become a reality for you too.

Before we dive in, one of the more common pitfalls for prospective parents is to become discouraged by the projected costs of raising a child.

The thing is, these common figures are not representative of most families. The numbers don’t reflect differences in living standards, priorities, or cost of living variations.

Using these published figures as a guideline can be helpful, but don’t lose hope when you see them. They’re generic estimates for a standard American lifestyle.

Your money mindset will be addressed here as well. Outlooks on material goods, budgeting, and quality of life contribute a good deal to financial freedom success. 

The road to financial independence takes extreme dedication. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with money, it could jeopardize your journey.

How Much Does Raising Children Cost?

The answer to this question is far from standard or straightforward. There are as many figures as there are families. However, these generic numbers can provide helpful estimates for prospective parents.

So how much does it cost to raise a child?

A simple answer (though not representative of most), according to the USDA, is almost $13,000 per year. This amounts to over $233,000 from birth to age 18 per kid. 

This assumes many things:

  • That you’ve paid $4,500 for the birth (unlikely if you have insurance)
  • Considers costs for fertility treatments or adoption if there’s difficulty conceiving
  • Includes almost $4,000 per year for an extra bedroom to house a child
  • Assumes almost $40,000 in total child care costs per kid
  • A $2,000 per year increase for a bigger car (and expenses that come with that)
  • Around $3,000 per year for health care, clothing, entertainment, and necessity basics

In my opinion, several of those are inflated or unnecessary living expenses. I’ve raised four kids and was a stay-at-home mom, so I know a thing or two about avoiding some of those costs.

Obviously, the necessities of healthcare, food, shelter, basic supplies, and some transportation costs are a given.

But what if you’re the type who doesn’t need a giant house, a fancy new minivan, or three activities per kid to feel content with a family?

This is where a different money mindset plays a huge part in your ability to reach financial independence with kids.

It is doable if you live a more simple lifestyle than those USDA numbers are based on. 

Learn More:

How to Calculate the Cost of Raising a Child

Now that we know the standard cost of raising kids, let’s look at what’s really necessary, and what you can tweak if you want to reach financial independence with kids. 

Plan for the basics:

  • Formula and food
  • Healthcare expenses and health insurance
  • Childcare—if benefits outweigh costs
  • Fees for hobbies and sports—if you choose to spend on these.
  • Clothing (young kids don’t need new clothes, by the way)
  • Transportation—gas, insurance, repairs (used cars without payments are ideal)
  • Bed, stroller, diapers, high chair, wipes, other essentials
  • Future education costs—if you plan to foot that bill

Most of the above expenses are non-negotiables except for what you choose to do about childcare, entertainment/hobby spending, and future education. 

Childcare may only make sense if a second income is well above day care costs in your area. Also factor in commute/gas spending and other expenses such as work clothing, lunches, etc. 

Entertainment, hobbies, and sports can eat up a huge chunk of your child-rearing budget. Do some soul searching about whether kids need to do 3 activities each. 

College and private education costs are a very personal decision. There’s no right or wrong answer. But what you choose can affect financial independence time tables. 

If you’re sure that paying for college for your kids is right for you, then part of your income should be allocated to a college savings account early on. These are funds that won’t go toward your financial independence goal, so budget accordingly.

As you can see, there are several personal and unique variables which can affect the costs of having a family.  

With some of the nonecessity elements figured out, you can better incorporate kids into your roadmap for financial independence.

How Raising Children Impacts Financial Independence 

Obviously it’s harder to reach financial independence when you have more people to support. Couples with no kids and dual incomes normally reach this goal faster.

Once you start a family, the road to becoming financially independent takes more planning and sacrificing, but it’s still possible.

The impact of children on financial independence:

  • Income will be spread thinner when there are more mouths to feed.
  • If childcare costs are too high, a dual income household may no longer be practical.
  • Having a family requires more energy which could drain your ability to add more income sources (not true for everyone). 
  • Financial goals and planning for financial independence must be adapted for child rearing costs.
  • The timeline for financial independence and/or early retirement can be significantly longer after having kids.
  • The temptation to spend more after starting a family is real; your saving capability and willpower may be challenged. 

Related articles: 

Importance of Financial Stability before Kids 

One of the most important things you can do if you’d like to have total financial freedom with kids is to become financially stable ahead of time.

This may mean sticking to a budget religiously, having a decent income, and being a regular investor from the start.

Financial stability factors:

  • Little to no debt
  • Adequate housing that’s within your budget
  • Stable income with room to grow
  • Steady budgeting and regular adherence
  • Investment strategies that grow your wealth on autopilot
  • Having passive income

Get Out of Debt

Eliminate as much or all of your debt as possible before having kids. Or if you already have one or two, make this a priority. Most people will have housing debt, but wipe out things like credit card debt and student loan debt pronto.

Housing Costs

If you can secure housing that doesn’t eat up most of your income, that’s a huge bonus for being financially stable ahead of kids. Try to plan for at least one extra bedroom when choosing a place. Then you’ll be set for one or two kids.

Income

Make the most of your income potential. If you need a little more training to move up a notch, do it—before you have a child. It may be wise to evaluate whether a change of career or location is warranted if you’re not able to save much after pay day.

Or if taking on a side income or hustle is possible before time and energy goes to child rearing, that will only add to your stash of cash.

Budgeting

The sooner you’re used to budgeting and going without extravagant purchases, the better your savings and financial health will be before kids come along.

Being on the same budget page as your significant other ahead of time will put you light years ahead of those who can’t come to an agreement with how to spend and save.

Smart Investing

This step could set you up for major gains if you start early. Before income extends to more people, sink as much cash as you can spare into retirement and wealth-building assets. 

Time is on your side in a big way if you can invest early and steadily throughout many decades. When you choose to jumpstart investing in your 20s, that sweet compound interest will reward you handsomely and make financial independence and/or early retirement easier. 

Your Money Mindset Before and After Kids

Having a healthy money mindset before having kids can be incredibly helpful if you want to become financially independent on your desired timeline.

Money mindsets are often a result of how we’re raised. But if you put in the work and invest in getting financially fit and educated, it’s totally possible to incorporate healthier attitudes about money.

Oftentimes, a person’s mindset about money changes over time as they learn and grow.  So your money mindset may look a little different after you have kids than before.

The key is to be mindful of any financial hang-ups or negative habits—and continue to work on them before and after having kids.

Set a Positive Money Attitude before Having Kids

If you already have problems discussing finances or managing money, now’s the time to work on getting comfortable talking honestly about financial matters with your partner.  

Reaching financial independence can be hard enough without negative money thoughts coming into play. If you and your significant other aren’t on the same page, or have extremely different views of money, a financial counselor may help. 

Find ways to meet each other in the middle, discuss things more openly, and ask questions about the other’s money fears in a nonjudgmental way. 

Making mindset adjustments ahead of time will make your household run more smoothly and provide financial harmony before the kids come along.

What Is a Healthy Attitude toward Money after Having Kids? 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting tons of fancy things for your baby. There are millions of cute and convenient products. It’s hard not to want all of it.

A healthy money mindset after having children is realizing they don’t need all of the new things. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to raise kids. 

Adopt a happiness-over-things mindset and you’ll be more content, provide a good example for your kids, and become financially independent sooner.

  • Babies don’t need everything.
  • Simple products are best and cheapest.
  • Kids don’t know the difference between name brands and generic stuff.
  • Train kids to appreciate quality time more than possessions. 
  • Model for them that you don’t need a lot of things to enjoy life. 
  • Practice open and honest communication about money with and in front of your children.

What Are Some Negative Money Mindsets Parents Can Develop?

The stress of raising kids—and unexpected costs—may lead to money mindset snags with parents. Find ways to reconnect and lower stress on a regular basis.

If one partner changes their mind about the financial independence plan, resentment and disagreements can easily follow. It’s possible for one parent to totally trash the budget in order to provide the kids with stuff they never had.

Try to avoid this major mindset trap after having kids—the urge to provide them with a higher lifestyle standard to make up for feelings of being deprived as a child. 

Do allow for some flexibility in your timeline or financial goals if you hit a speed bump with your partner. It happens . . . and you’re new to this kid stuff anyway.

Your financial independence plan won’t die if you make adjustments to the budget and timeline to allow for differences of opinion. Working together for solutions is the top priority.

How to Become Financially Independent with Kids

Despite the naysayers and scary child-raising numbers above, there are definitely ways to cut corners and costs with a family. Just because you have a couple of kids doesn’t rule you out of the early retirement club.

Having kids definitely puts a strain on your budget if you don’t plan well. However, careful number crunching and making important decisions ahead of time can offset many unexpected expenses when starting a family.

Tips for Planning Kids into Your Budget

First of all, have a consistent budget and income that’s been set for a while so you have some predictable numbers to work with.

Next, you might want to meet with new parents who have similar lifestyle standards and ask what their budget entails. This helps with planning and how to cut costs.

If you don’t have access to a family with like-minded standards, try putting together a hypothetical budget that incorporates family necessities. 

This will take some time and homework, but it’s worth it to have actual numbers based on the costs in your area. 

  • Call around to find local childcare costs. 
  • Figure in extra health insurance costs for adding a kid or two. 
  • Account for more money in your food budget for children. 
  • If you’ll need an extra bedroom, add the price of changing houses to your budget. 
  • Include necessary equipment, products, and clothes a baby will need into your budget—keep in mind there’s plenty of really nice used stuff.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Possible to Retire Early with Kids?

There’s an excellent financial independence Reddit thread I came across with some great advice from families who are either financially independent or very close to their financial goals. 

Two trains of thought seemed to emerge in the discussion:

1. Start your family early while you have more energy

This seems logical since you’d likely have the stamina to take on a side job for extra income to stash away.

The other good point was if you start on the financial journey young with kids, you may already be used to living on a tight budget and can easily maintain that.

On the other hand, if you’re a dual income young couple with a higher standard of living, it’s probably harder to downgrade when you have kids.

2. Delay having kids for a while and give your financial independence plan all you’ve got

Work like crazy, have some side hustles, and invest, invest, invest. Build up those retirement and brokerage accounts. It’s definitely not a bad idea.

Invest in more education and building extra skills to raise your income, if possible. Budget, time, and energy constraints could make this difficult post-kids. 

How Can I Save Money While Raising a Family?

It’s possible to save money while raising a family. Here is some advice from parents who have achieved financial indepence despite raising kids.

  • On Reddit, one financially independent parent pointed out that having two kids is the sweet spot—I’d never thought of it, but the cutoff to needing a bigger car is when you go over two kids. Smart.
  • The two-kid thing could also apply to larger housing. Two kids can share a bedroom. More than that, and it’s a tight squeeze.
  • If childcare is absolutely necessary, shop around for cheaper in-home day care options if you can find them.
  • Speaking of day care, some partners stay home with their kids and run a small care business in their home for extra cash. 
  • Figure out your desired contribution for future college expenses. If it’s partial help, you’ll be allocating less money to a college fund than if you’re footing the whole bill. 
  • Several parents recommend swap.com for used clothing and supplies. 
  • And for DIY projects around the house, you can save big by shopping at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

The Bottom Line

No matter which strategies you choose to implement on the journey to financial freedom with a family, just know that it is possible. 

Keep in mind that the successful parents on this journey all have one thing in common: their standard of living is lower than the majority of Americans.

Being willing to go without fancy vacations, expensive cars, and large houses enables them to save more. Just remember that kids don’t need a lot of stuff.

Family time, connections, and togetherness builds more memories than mountains of material possessions ever will. When you’re able to stop that 9-to-5 job and spend more time with your kids, all the sacrifices will be worth it.





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