Feeling Anxious? 5 Things Financial Advisors Say You Should Do This Week
You’re feeling anxious, and that should come as no surprise. You’re probably stuck at home, and all the news is bad and scary. You’re worried.
Just don’t let your anxiety paralyze you. You can only binge Netflix for so long. Doing something constructive will make you feel better, and you could use this time to take care of some financial things that you’ve been putting off.
We asked a few financial experts for advice. Here are five smart tips they gave us. And this is key: You can do all this stuff from your living room.
1. Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at $16/Month
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at just $16 a month, and you can cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the peace of mind of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
“If you don’t have any life insurance, just having the downtime and potentially even the boredom to explore options now can be advantageous, because one thing about life insurance is always true: the younger you are, the less expensive it will be,” says Kerri Moriarty, a financial business strategist in Boston.
Getting a quote from Bestow takes minutes.
2. Launch an Investing Portfolio With $1
It’s no secret the market has had its fair shares of ups and (mostly) downs these past several weeks, but you shouldn’t panic. If you’ve got money you’ve invested, consider riding it out.
Markets are unpredictable, and they will always be volatile, which means sometimes they’ll go up, and sometimes they’ll go down — but over time, they tend to go up.
If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1.1
We like Stash, because it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel.
Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
“One of the most difficult elements of successful investing is discipline — the ability to ignore the 24/7 noise and focus on the idea that when you’re investing in stocks, you’re one of the owners of the best companies in the world,” says Warren A. Ward, a certified financial planner in Indianapolis.
If you sign up now (it takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your invest account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month2.
3. Start an Emergency Fund — and Grow It More Than 20x Faster
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t have an emergency fund, there’s no time like the present to start one — especially if you’re still employed and you’re getting a federal stimulus payment.
“Between the $1,200-per-person stimulus checks plus $500 per child under 17, and possible tax return refunds, people are coming into some ‘found money,’” says financial planner Karen Lee, president of Karen Lee & Associates in Atlanta.
A good way to avoid spending this money is to separate it from your everyday checking account. A mobile banking app called Varo is a smart and easy option.
“I always recommend looking at online savings accounts that are FDIC-insured as an alternative to your local brick-and-mortar bank,” Lee says.
Here’s why: The FDIC reports that the average savings account pays a paltry .07% APY*, but when you open an online checking and savings account with Varo, it will pay you more than 20 times that amount on your savings account.
Oh, and there are no monthly fees.
We know opening a new bank account isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun, but Varo makes it easy. You can open an account with just a penny, and more than 750,000 people have already signed up.
4. Save up to $825 a Year on Car Insurance — for the Same Coverage
Now’s a great time to review your monthly bills to see if you can save money on them.
“Write down and review all of your monthly expenses, big and small,” Moriarty says. “Consider shopping around for things like car insurance or home insurance. Look through those recurring expenses that fly under your radar by just automatically charging to your account each month.”
When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance, anyways? Was it more than six months ago? If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars.
A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $825 a year.
You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s licence, and it will start looking for cheaper policies.
Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.
5. Find a Creative Way to Make Money from Home
Think about using this time to take an online course, expand your skill set, or find a way to make a little extra money from home.
“Look for a course or information that is tailored to your exact need, such as paying off student loan debt, consolidating credit card debt, exactly what to do to improve your credit score, or the proverbial ducks to get in a row before buying your first property,” Moriarty said.
If you’re looking for ways to make money at home, take a course that’ll help you start a virtual bookkeeping business. It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc. And you can earn up to $64 an hour.
You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping, either. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeeper Launch will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it’ll even give you the first three classes for free.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking for an easy way to make a few extra bucks with the extra time you have on your hands, consider a website called InboxDollars. It will pay you to watch short video clips online. Just choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
No, it won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight.It takes about a minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
1For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.
2You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He is anxious, so anxious.