I got my first credit card in college, when I was about 18. At the time, I banked at Wells Fargo, and so got the most basic, no-frills credit card they offered. When I first got my card, I would check the balance online obsessively, at least once a week if not more (keep in mind the only thing I charged initially was gas, and I filled up my teeny, 400-miles-to-the-tank car about twice a month). I was terrified of letting anything sit on the card too long, because then I’d have to pay – say it ain’t so! – interest. That was probably my biggest fear at the time, the thought of having to pay more for something than the retail price just because I forgot to make my credit card payment.
Looking back, if you’re going to have an extreme mindset about credit cards, this is probably the best one to have. Because I was afraid to pay any interest, it didn’t occur to me that I could charge something to the card as an alternative to paying cash or using my debit card; I used a credit card because I knew I had to start building credit. I never used my credit card unless I had the money sitting in my checking account to pay for whatever it was I was buying, and keeping track of the balance on the card as well as paying the bill at least once a month quickly became a habit. Continue reading
We all know how important our health is and it’s becoming more widely understood that maintaining fitness comes with a laundry list of benefits. Working out not only gets you into better physical shape, but better mental and even emotional shape as well.
Exercising on a regular basis causes interesting chemical reactions in the brain; when you’re sweating it out, endorphins that help make you feel good, happy, and less stressed are released. People who make exercise a part of their routine often experience less anxiety and depression, too.
Of course, getting physically fit and keeping your body in good shape also helps you fight off diseases and illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, manage weight, and fight off age-related health problems like pains and aches and osteoporosis.
And to top off all these great reasons to work out, studies show the bottom line is that exercise boosts life expectancy. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
Knowing how important exercise is to our overall health, happiness, and even longevity, your first instinct may be to run, not walk, to the nearest gym and sign yourself up for a top-tier membership. After all, shouldn’t we be investing our dollars into our health just as surely as we invest into the market to build wealth? Continue reading
Let’s say you are, financially, on the right track. You’re able to pay all your living expenses and bills with your own income, you never got yourself into trouble with credit cards and therefore have no consumer debt, you made it through some sort of higher education without borrowing money to cover your tuition, and you’ve been determinedly squirreling away money for a year or so (possibly even longer). You’re not only financially responsible and debt-free, but you also live well within your means. This has allowed you to dedicate some of your income to a retirement account through your employer and set another portion of your paycheck aside in a separate savings account.
Congratulations! Release those balloons and all that confetti that’s up by the ceiling, because you have just won the game of Who Wants to Have a Savings in Their Twenties and it’s time to celebrate. The hard work is done! ..right?
Not so fast.
It’s wonderful if you have a sizable chunk of money that you’ve earmarked as savings. You are ahead of the curve and in a financially good position. But you’re not done yet. The next step is to understand what all you can do with this money that’s just hanging out in your savings account down at the bank, and then make a decision that is going to put that cash to work for you in the most efficient way possible. Let’s look at exactly how to do this. Continue reading
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