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 $1.5 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at $20/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 $1.5 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at around $20 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. Knock Up To $715/Year Off Your Car Insurance in Minutes
When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.
If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.
And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.
It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.
So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.
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.
*Bestow: Policies are issued by Bestow Life Insurance Company, Dallas, TX on policy form series BLI-ITPOL. Bestow Life Insurance products may not be available in all states. Policy limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. Our application asks lifestyle and health questions to determine eligibility in order to avoid requiring a medical exam. Prices start at $10/month based on an 18-year-old male rated Preferred Plus NT for a $100k policy for a 10-year term. Rates will vary based on underwriting review.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He is anxious, so anxious.