Personal Finance

  • Coinbase Sign Up Bonus ($10)

    Bitcoin is volatile but the price is currently rising. If you’re trying to get into buying Bitcoin (BTC), then you should take advantage of the Coinbase sign up bonus. This bonus gives you $10 worth of Bitcoin for free.

    You can use this referral link to get $10 of free Bitcoin on Coinbase when you buy or sell $100 in any crypto.

    When you sign up for Coinbase this referral link will allow you to earn $10 of Bitcoin when you sign up and then buy or sell $100 in any crypto.

    The typical sign up bonus for Coinbase is $5 for new accounts but with the referral link you can double it and immediately get $10 in Bitcoin.

    As Bitcoin prices rise that $10 is likely to be worth more and more. To understand Bitcoin better if you are new, I highly recommend the book The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking.

    How to Get The Coinbase Sign Up Bonus

    Unlike some other investing apps like Cash App where you can also buy Bitcoin, Coinbase has a referral link system instead of using a code for the sign up bonus.

    This means to get the bonus you need to click through a referral link and immediately sign up to avoid missing the bonus for signing up.

    In the step-by-step video tutorial below you will see how to sign up for Coinbase via a referral link and get the free $10 Bitcoin bonus.

    The instructions will show you:

    • how to open your account on Coinbase
    • the referral link for signing up on Coinbase
    • how to buy Bitcoin on Coinbase
    • how to hit all the requirements for the Bitcoin bonus on Coinbase
    • what a referral looks like inside your account

    The steps you need to get the referral bonus with Coinbase:

    1. Click on the referral link here which will take you to a sign up screen
    2. Enter your personal info (name, email, and state), and choose a password, and confirm you are 18 and agree to the terms
    3. Click the blue “Create Account” button
    4. Once your account is created, you will want to buy $100 of any cryptocurrencies you want to invest in or trade

    Important!! To get your bonus Bitcoin you must do all the steps including buying or selling $100 worth of Crypto.

    Coinbase Review

    Coinbase is one of the most established and largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States. The company actually went public in 2021 and you can buy stock in Coinbase itself.

    Coinbase has over 50 cryptocurrencies available for purchase and trading on the platform. The easy to use platform allows regular people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The app is very easy to use and navigate making it easy for regular people to get involved with cryptocurrencies.

    Coinbase has a very low minimum to start funding an account. With the generous referral bonus you add $10 to your account when you start with buying just $100 of any crypto.

    Coinbase has other functions like cryptocurrency services for businesses and institutions, but for this review I’m focused on the crypto brokerage side. This is what you will be using as an investor when you buy Bitcoin or other crypto.

    Reasons why I like Coinbase:

    • easy to use for buying and selling major cryptocurrencies
    • cryptocurrency is privately insured in case the site is hacked
    • get $10 in Bitcoin upon creating an account with a referral link
    • can transfer your crypto to your own hardware wallet
    • low minimum to fund your account (just $2)

    Downsides to Coinbase:

    • higher fees than some other platforms (0.5% to 4.5% depending on payment method, cryptocurrency type, transaction size and platform)
    • fees and other information can be confusing or hard to find
    • customer service is limited to mostly just email support

    Coinbase has made crypto accessible and mainstream especially in the US. However, it is important to remember that while cryptocurrency is a new asset class it also has extreme volatility. Trading cryptocurrency is a highly volatile way to earn money and risks must be considered with Coinbase or any platform.

    If you are ready to use Coinbase to buy cryptocurrency, sign up using this referral link for $10 in Bitcoin.

    Coinbase Sign Up Bonus

    How much will you get as a sign up bonus when you join Coinbase with a referral link?

    The standard sign up bonus with Coinbase is $5 but a referral link will double it to $10. This incentivizes many Coinbase users like myself to share our links and invite new people to the platform.

    If you sign up on the Coinbase site without a referral link you will get half of the amount ($5). Doubling this makes using and then sharing your own referral link so attractive. Everyone likes to get a larger Coinbase sign up bonus!

    When you refer people using your referral link, you will get the same amount as the sign up bonus. You can learn how to refer friends to Coinbase here.

    Either way you win when you use a referral link to sign up for Coinbase.

    Coinbase Sign Up Bonus Problems

    There are times when referral links do not work for the sign up bonus. Here are a few of the common reasons why your bonus has not been applied to your account.

    1. You’ve not made a purchase or trade large enough to qualify. You need to make sure it is $100 to get the bonus.
    2. You are not in a country currently supported so you will not receive the new account bonus. Check the Coinbase website to make sure your country is supported.
    3. You did not sign up through a referral link. Unfortunately you need to sign up immediately after clicking a referral link because otherwise you might not get the bonus. If you went to the site directly or through Google you will not get the Coinbase sign up bonus.
    4. You’ve waited too long to buy or sell $100 in crypto so the bonus from the referral link has expired. Make sure you do this within the first 7 days to get the Coinbase sign up bonus.

    Coinbase Sign Up Questions

    Is the Coinbase referral bonus always $10?

    While the bonus is currently $10 at the time of writing this, the Coinbase sign up bonus does change.

    In the past Coinbase has had different sign up promo bonus amounts.

    In fact, in 2017 the referral bonus was $75 as they were trying to grow their platform. This was an incredible opportunity to get a huge jump on your account with that level of sign up bonus.

    Will it ever change again? Only Coinbase knows.

    Is there anything else to know?

    Be patient if things are taking a couple days when you sign up or put in an order. At times Coinbase has explosive growth and it can take a couple days to verify new accounts or process orders.

    Coinbase retains the right to make changes to their referral program at any time in the future. You should always make sure to check their website or app for the most up to date information. The sign up bonus and referral link can be changed at any time.

    Use this referral link to get $10 of free Bitcoin on Coinbase when you buy or sell $100 in any crypto.


    With Coinbase this referral link will allow you to earn $10 of Bitcoin when you sign up and then buy or sell $100 in any crypto. It does not have to be Bitcoin that you buy or sell but the $10 sign up bonus will be in Bitcoin.

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  • Where To Open A Roth IRA

    Do you want to know where to open a Roth IRA? Are you curious why you should be using a Roth IRA?

    When I started talking more about Roth IRAs on my personal finance YouTube channel, my subscribers had many questions. Those questions ranged from

    • why should you open a Roth IRA?
    • where you should open a Roth IRA?
    • what are the benefits of a Roth IRA?
    • why choose the Roth IRA over other accounts?

    I received all those questions and more. Some wanted to understand why they should have this account and others wanted to know how to open one.

    I recently started maxing out my Roth IRA contribution each year in order to grow my tax free retirement accounts. My goal is to reach over a million dollars in my Roth IRA.

    I love my Roth IRA and all of the benefits it offers. If eligible I think everyone should start one for retirement savings. It’s the number one thing people should do after they’ve maxed out employer match benefits from a 401k.

    And if you don’t have access to a 401k at all? Then you should start a Roth IRA today. I started mine years ago when I was earning income but did not have access to a 401k. Over time the account has built up and I’m on track for a comfortable retirement.

    Why Open A Roth IRA

    Roth IRAs are amazing because they allow you to create tax free growth with your money.

    Yep, tax free growth!

    You can do this because when you invest in a Roth IRA you are using post tax income. You fund your account with money that has already been taxed. Then you let that money grow tax free inside your Roth IRA and withdraw the money tax free. 

    It’s truly a miraculous type of account.

    This account type is compared to a traditional IRA where the money you deposit today is tax deductible now. With that account the earnings grow tax free but then you have to pay taxes when you withdraw the money.

    Personally the Roth IRA has made a lot of sense for our situation. We are already investing in 401ks which will be taxed later during withdrawals, so also having some money growing for the future that won’t be taxed will be very helpful when it is time to live off of our investments.

    Roth IRA accounts have a couple other awesome benefits:

    • You can withdraw the money you saved later without a penalty. However, you can’t withdraw any earnings on your money without penalty but the actual money you put into the account can be take out later if needed as long as you wait 5 years. 
    • You also have an option to withdraw money for special life events like buying a home. This can lower the amount your money compounds over time but it’s very helpful for many who need the money in the moment.

    With so many amazing benefits to the Roth IRA, what is the catch?

    There are limits to how much money you can put in a Roth IRA.

    For 2020 and 2021 that number is $6,000. To qualify for a Roth IRA you have to have an earned income in order to contribute.

    Roth IRAs are great vehicles to stash away money for your future. And while it might seem complicated there are only three steps to getting started:

    1. Open your Roth IRA at a financial institution
    2. Contribute money to your Roth IRA
    3. Choose the investments that money buys inside your Roth IRA

     How To Choose A Financial Institution

    Once you’ve decided to open a Roth IRA you need to figure out where to open one. After picking an institution you then learn how to go through the process.

    This can be overwhelming because almost every financial institution offers Roth IRAs now from banks and credit unions to investment platforms to mutual fund companies. You have hundreds of options for where to open a Roth IRA.

    My favorite options for a Roth IRA are online brokerages that are low cost and easy to manage on your own. These accounts are easy to manage either through your own choices or a robo-advisor. Some people prefer managed accounts, but I think you and I are smart enough to do it on your own. You can make good choices and consistent contributions on our own, so that’s what I’ll talk about here.

    I also like online brokerages for Roth IRA accounts because they save you money. You won’t be paying those hefty management fees or commissions with the free trades and lower account minimums.

    Online brokerages are also easier to access for more people. Some of these accounts allow you to start with just $1 which makes investing much easier to start and more accessible for everyone. 

    Where To Open Roth IRA Accounts

    There are literally thousands of places to open up roth IRA accounts so I’m just going to cover a few of my favorites that offer the best value and experience.

    Some of these are affiliate links which means I will make a commission if you sign up but not all of them are. 

    First, the newer platform I love:

    M1 Finance

    M1 Finance is my current favorite for Roth IRA accounts because it gives you the best of a robo-advisor combined with the control of a traditional brokerage which means you have more options for what to include in your Roth IRA.

    You can watch the M1 Finance Review video above or read the full review about M1 Finance. I’ve used M1 Finance as a brokerage for over a year and love the app which makes me recommend it highly to anyone wanting to start a Roth IRA.

    It also charges zero commissions or management fees and the starting balance for brokerage accounts is $100 and retirement accounts just $500.

    Next, the traditional brokerages I’ve used and recommend often:


    Fidelity is a great platform for opening a Roth IRA and a huge provider of mutual funds. Many people already have 401ks with Fidelty and for that reason it can make a lot of sense to use them also for a Roth IRA since they offer lost cost options and an easy to use platform. It’s also very beginner friendly. There are benefits to having all your accounts in one place to make it easier to see at a glance how you are doing.


    I personally have my Roth IRA with Vanguard and love it for the  low cost, set it and forget it funds. I also love that they don’t spend money on things that don’t matter like advertising so they keep expenses low on funds and don’t charge commissions.

    However, until the last couple years they haven’t been the most user friendly platform. I recommend them and use them personally but the reason why is because their funds have very, very low expense ratios so if you can buy Vanguard funds on any platform they are usually a great option. They have been getting better over the last few years which I appreciate and they also offer a ton of educational tools.

    Other options for Roth IRAs:

    There are a ton of other good ones in this realm like Charles Scwab and TD Ameritrade, but I just don’t personally have much experience with them. When looking for a place to open your Roth IRA you should always look at reviews of the company.

    How To Choose Your Retirement Investments

    Opening an account is not the final step of your Roth IRA. Next you’ll have to contribute money and then you’ll have to choose your investments.

    You Must CHOOSE Investments

    A Roth IRA is just a type of account that is protected from taxes. You have to fill it with money and then buy specific investments with that money.

    If you don’t choose an investment and buy it inside your Roth account then your money may end up just sitting in cash and not earning any interest. (It’s not a common mistake but I’ve sadly seen it happen to people!)

    Robo-Advisor Help

    If you chose a robo-advisor based platform then you will simply choose a style of investing like how aggressive or conservative you want to be. The robo advisor automates what you invest in.

    Creating Your Own Portfolio

    If you choose a traditional online brokerage then you will get to select what you want inside your Roth IRA in order to create a portfolio. Generally this will be a mix of stocks and bonds to create a balanced and diversified portfolio.

    A lot of people can get super stuck here because there are thousands or options for your portfolio. It can feel overwhelming but don’t let it stop you.

    You can start with a portfolio created by experts or a general total stock index fund and then do more research on stocks and funds so you can make different choices or rebalance as you go.

    Learn About Investment Types

    Many platforms offer educational content about what to choose inside your Roth IRA and many also offer meetings with investment advisors if you really do feel too overwhelmed. The point here is to do your own research but don’t fall into inaction – get started and invest consistently.

    Getting Started With Your Roth IRA

    There really is no better time to get started with a Roth IRA than right now. The earlier you start investing for retirement the better off your life will be. You can budget investing in your Roth IRA in your budget every month in order to max out your account. 

    Remember that there are income limits on who is eligible for contributing to Roth IRAs, so double check the current year’s guidelines to see if you qualify for one of these amazing retirement investing tools.

    Also double check to see what the contribution limit is for the current year. Each year there is a max amount you can invest in a Roth IRA. When I first started investing in my Roth IRA you could only contribute $4,000 per year and now in 2020 when I’m writing this post you can now contribute $6,000 per year. 

    Remember that maxing a Roth IRA is no different than any other financial goal you may have. You need to set the goal, write it down, and then work toward achieving it. This likely means consistent contributions each time you get paid. 

    How To Track Your Roth IRA Contributions

    There are a couple different ways to track your Roth IRA contributions. I highly recommend you keep track of the money that you contribute over the year. Doing so will help you maximize this account.

    First, you can track contributions within your Roth IRA at most brokerages. Some offer cool features to help you stay on track and get motivated.

    Some of these show your percentage to 100% for the year. Others just keep a tally of your contributions to compare against that year’s maximum amount. Either way, almost every account will offer some form of internal tracking feature so you can see how much you’ve contributed for the year and how much you have left to go.

    Personal Capital

    Secondly, you can use an app like Personal Capital to track your Roth IRA contributions for the year along with your whole financial picture.

    I love being able to quickly see my overall financial picture in one clean dashboard. I have many accounts in various places but Personal Capital pulls it all together.

    Personal Capital makes it quick to see everything at a glance and check your progress.

    Visual Trackers

    Retirement Savings Tracker Printables Bundle | 401K Roth IRA Trackers

    Finally, you can use a visual tracker like this Roth IRA tracker or other retirement savings trackers.

    These visual trackers give you an old school method of tracking. This can be motivating for keeping you on track to max out this investment account. I highly recommend you keep a visual tracker of some sort in a place where you can see it often.

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  • Novo Bank Review | Is It The Best Business Bank Account?

    It’s hard to know where to store hard earned cash from a small business or side hustle but in this Novo bank review we will look at what might be the perfect business bank choice… especially for anyone earning an income online.

    Novo bank offers business checking with a focus on digital banking geared toward small businesses, freelancers, and startups.

    In my opinion it’s perfect for content creators, digital product sellers and online business owners who mainly earn income from multiple sources online. I know because that’s me and I’m currently using Novo as my bank for YouTube & Etsy income.

    In this Novo bank review we will cover who will benefit from using Novo and the pros and cons of Novo.

    Novo is perfect for anyone starting out small who needs to separate their business checking from their personal checking (believe me, you need to do this as soon as possible to make things easier). 

    They offer some amazing features but they also have some downsides too so let’s review whether Novo Bank is the right business checking account for you.

    About Novo Business Banking

    Like many new cool digital focused banks Novo has been around since 2016 and is actually not a bank at all but a technology company that has partnered with a bank. 

    They partnered with Middlesex Federal Savings in order to provide FDIC insurance and deposit account services through a traditional bank. You might have never heard of Middlesex Federal Savings but they are a bank that has been around for over 100 years. 

    Novo Bank is completely digital and since it is a technology company they are offering some great integrations and perks for account holders. There are many direct integrations with companies like Quickbooks, Shopify, Zapier, Stripe, and Slack. Personally I use many of these tools in my own business so having those direct integrations was one of the first things that drew me to Novo Bank.

    Novo has targeted this business banking account toward people who want a free business checking account who prefer to manage finances online, integrate with tools they already use and don’t need to deposit cash regularly. (Hint, it’s me.)

    Novo Pros

    Let’s talk about some of the things that make Novo Bank pretty great and why I’m a fan of their services.

    Low opening balance to start

    You only need $50 to open an account at Novo which makes it accessible to people just starting out. When I was looking for a new business checking account many required a balance of thousands just to start and qualify for the “free” checking with no monthly fee.

    No fees

    Novo’s business checking account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no transaction fees and no incoming wire fees.

    In addition, there are no fees for incoming or outgoing ACH transfers, stop payments, debit card replacements or paper statements.

    Novo business checking also includes free mobile check deposit, free bill pay with physical checks (which are mailed out from the mobile app) and free bank checks. There are two exceptions to the no fee policy: insufficient funds and uncollected funds returned which results in a $27 fee.

    Free ATM access

    Novo allows you to use any ATM in the U.S. or abroad, without charging you any fees. They also will reimburse all fees that you face from those banks for using their ATMs, depositing the refund directly into your account at the end of each month.

    Online and mobile banking

    Novo business checking is designed to be online only and the digital focus helps avoid the hassle of visiting a physical bank. You can deposit checks, make payments, send money and do almost everything you need from their website or app.

    Sinking funds

    Novo has a built in tool for setting aside “Reserves” which is a sinking fund style budgeting tool. You can set aside funds within your checking account to budget for different types of expenses like taxes or new equipment.


    Novo has integrated invoicing features that allow you to create, send and manage unlimited invoices right from your bank account. This would be a fantastic tool for freelancers or content creators working with brands frequently.

    novo integrations

    Tool integrations

    Novo has focused on integrations with the tools that help get small business paid. They have direct account integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, Stripe, Shopify, TransferWise, Zapier and Slack. They also allow you to connect your business checking account to Square, PayPal and Wave too though there is not a direct integration.

    Since I personally use many of these tools it was a huge benefit to have an easily integrated system. These were all tools I already used before opening my Novo account so the transition to using Novo Bank was pretty flawless.


    Opening an account at Novo gives you access to discounts on many of thos business softwares and services. Novo partners with providers including Stripe, QuickBooks, Gusto, Google, HubSpot and others to offer savings opportunities for account holders.

    For example, the Stripe integration will save you up to $500 with $20,000 in fee-free card processing. This can be a huge win when you first start selling digital products on your own website for example. 

    Ease of use

    This pro doesn’t matter to everyone, but the website and app are so easy to use and beautifully designed. After I’ve dealt with local banks for a couple years for business checking this is a breath of fresh air.

    Everything within the Novo website and app is easy to learn and use. They clearly put the design of the user experience above everything else.

    novo bank features

    Novo Cons

    Now let’s talk about the negatives from using business banking at Novo.

    No cash deposits

    If you are someone that likes to use cash or you take cash for your small business then Novo will fall short for you because they do not accommodate cash deposits.

    No recurring bill pay

    Unfortunately while you can pay bills through Novo you can’t set up automatic recurring bill payments. You can save the info for the bill to be paid but you still have to go in and manually do it which means you have to keep an eye on bill due dates.

    Those are a couple of the negatives that come with using Novo. If these are important things to your business then you would likely not want to use Novo.

    No easy to find address or phone number

    Novo doesn’t show their address or phone number on their website clearly. You won’t be able to find a Novo bank address because there are not physical locations to contact. Same thing with a Novo bank phone number.

    You have to contact their service via email at or through the app. They respond quickly but you do have to use these.

    They do share their partner bank Middlesex Federal Savings address: Middlesex Federal Savings, 1 College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. However, they will not provide in service banking for your account so you need to contact Novo customer support via the web and mobile apps.

    novo bank review

    Novo Bank Reviews

    Clearly I believe Novo has more pros and than cons so my Novo bank review is positive and I’ve chosen to personally use them as my business banking option.

    But what do others think? Are the Novo reviews positive or negative?

    All of these reviews generated from trusted websites have Novo rated highly with varying levels from Great to Excellent.

    Some of the things that stand out from these sites when looking at the Novo reviews:

    • “Simple interface and responsive team. Easy to get started and use.”
    • “As a small business, Novo has helped me manage my money and find loans flawlessly. It has immensely helped me be more productive and grow my business.”
    • “Great customer service when needed. Easy to use, clean web UI, and a solid, fast iOS app.”
    • “I love NOVO! Why? No fees.”
    • “Novo has made banking so easy & efficient. I thought Novo convenience would end at “easy banking,” but they also actively look out for their costumers. They sent me notices for SBA loans when my business met the requirements. Then, they helped me get a loan by sending me easy, electronic forms to fill out…and then, they helped me get loan forgiveness. Amazing experience so far.”
    • “Novo went out of their way to make sure I applied for the PPP loan, like OUT OF THEIR WAY. I got $10,000 for free because of their diligence and customer care.”
    • “Novo Bank was very helpful through the entire PPP loan process. Highly recommend.”
    • “Great support. Especially in times of need.”

    One thing that stands out in each Novo bank review was the variety of experiences.

    One thing I did not have personal experience with was how helpful Novo was during 2020. Novo was very helpful during this hard year when businesses were working through getting PPP loans and other SBA loans. After reading reviews I learned that Novo worked very hard to help customers navigate the difficult and unprecedented times.

    Novo bank review - the best business bank account for online businesses

    My Novo Bank Review

    For my Novo bank review, I’d give them a 5 out of 5 stars for my experience using the business checking account.

    Based on who they are targeting I’m actually their ideal customer for multiple reasons:

    • I prefer to manage money online and already use many of the tools they have partnered with.
    • I also never use cash or pay many bills for my business.
    • The cons for some people did not directly affect my banking needs.

    Novo seems perfect for anyone doing business mainly online. I think it is an ideal fit for both content creators and freelancers.

    Considering the rise of the creator economy in recent years, I think Novo is focused on a growing section of online business owners. These people make money online and want seamless business banking options without fees and extra hassle.

    It’s perfect for digital product sellers who never deal with physical products or cash sales and need a place to send all their passive income. 

    With all of the things Novo offers from the perks and integrations to the great designed site, I’m happy to recommend it to others from small business owners to digital product sellers to those just starting a new side hustle. 

    If you found this video helpful please leave a like and if you’ve used Novo for yourself let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear about your experience!

    If this business bank account sounds right for you, click here to try out Novo now!

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  • Why Millions Of People Are Quitting Their Jobs In The Great Resignation

    It’s being called The Great Resignation as people quit their jobs after companies roll out their “back to the office” policies. More than 40% of Americans want to quit their jobs and millions already have done so.

    Employers are experiencing a massive amount of employees quitting just one year after the highest unemployment rates since the great depression.

    So what is the #GreatResignation, what does this mean for you as an employee? Why are people quitting jobs? Should I have quit my job? Should you quit YOUR job?

    This video explains some of the reasons why people are quitting their jobs and why I personally quit my own job as well.

    What Is The Great Resignation?

    Workers are quitting in record numbers as employers call people back to work and new job opportunities open up.

    A record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department. Since then millions more have quit over the summer of 2021.

    People are leaving for a number of different reasons.

    Some of those people left for new jobs and others quit with no plan. Others quit for better jobs. Some quit because they had to get vaccinated or others wouldn’t get vaccinated. And some parents quit to care for kids and homeschool again as a new variant causes problems among schools.

    The amount of resignations has dramatically increased since the spring when offices opened back up and mask mandates were lifted.

    Why People Are Quitting Their Jobs

    The pandemic began over a year ago. As things go “back to normal” people are heading to the office as employers demand their return.

    However from the employee side, the pandemic changed the game for people and many are now quitting their jobs.

    Why do people want to quit? 2020 made a lot of us step back and re-evaluate both our lifestyles and the jobs we were working. 

    Remote Work

    A lot of us discovered our jobs could be done remotely just as well as they could in an office.

    Now Covid is less of a threat and employers are demanding people come back to the office. They want you to sit in traffic for hours each week to do the same job you already proved you could do at home. You were doing the same job with less stress, less time getting ready, less time commuting, and less costs.

    I totally relate to all of this. Before the pandemic I was told that my company would never allow us to work remotely but we did and honestly it was fine. I did my job and coworkers didn’t even know I was at home vs in my office. Now? My manager demands we are in the office even though technically we are working remotely from our main location.

    It doesn’t make sense at all for many people to be in the office.

    The lack of remote work options and the additional hour of driving per day in stressful rush hour traffic is making me join those people wanting to quit their jobs. 

    Job Flexibility and Work/Life Balance

    The Great Resignation has forced people to evaluate their work/life balance. After a year spent in less stressful situations many people realized they need more flexibility with work.

    Working remotely full time or in a hybrid situation gives you more of your life back. It cuts out commuting and a lot of the distractions of being in the office.

    Remote work and job flexibility allows people to control their lives better and be more productive.

    It’s not for everyone. Some extroverts or certain jobs can’t be remote, but when it is a possibility and works just as well? It’s really a win win.

    Employees are realizing they can get job flexibility via remote work from certain companies, but others do offer it. This means it is time to leave behind the jobs that refuse to give an inch.

    Why wouldn’t you want to be more comfortable, have more time, and still be able to do your job? 

    Job Security

    Another thing people learned on 2020: my job isn’t as safe as I thought.

    Many people lost their jobs for months at no fault of their own. This made people think more critically about their jobs.

    Is any job really that secure?

    The past year also gave people time to learn new skills and train for new jobs or even create new businesses. We learned to build new levels of security after learning that having one stable job wasn’t as secure as we thought.

    Jobs aren’t that safe and they aren’t guaranteed so many people took advantage of this realization.

    People decided to quit an unsafe industry that laid them off and find better job security in new industries or their own businesses and side hustles.

    Location Independence

    People realized with the opportunity to remote work that they didn’t like where they lived. Without the need to go into an office every day many people moved to new locations and picked their homes based on the life they wanted to live outside of commuting to work.

    A lot of people realized they didn’t even like living in the state they were in and they were now free to be location independent.

    They discovered that with the rise of remote job offerings they could go ahead and get a remote job in a different state and then live wherever they wanted.

    Location independence is the dream of millions of people and one that can be yours with remote work options.

    If your company doesn’t offer remote work options, then you could apply for a different job to work remotely. With a remote job or your own online business you can move and live wherever you wanted.

    Better Pay

    Another thing that people are realizing in this Great Resignation is that they likely are not getting paid enough.

    Companies are not keeping up with the rate of inflation and the true cost of living. Wages have stagnated but the cost of living continues to rise.

    Does it make sense to stay with a company that won’t give you a pay raise or only 2-3% when inflation is near 5%? If you do that means you’re working for less pay. Without a raise the money you earn won’t go as far when you spend it. You are literally making less money to do the same job.

    People have decided to quit jobs for better paying work.

    People are learning that their jobs should be better paid. They are not willing to take it during a phenomenal job market so they are quitting for better paying jobs or opportunities.

    When there are a lot of job openings and not enough candidates, people realize they have more options. Right now the job market is very strong and people are realizing they can get jobs with much better pay.

    People are moving to companies that pay better because the companies that pay well attract the best workers.

    Values Alignment

    The past year has also caused many of us to look at our life goals and values more closely.

    We have had to decide if our jobs line up with those values. For many of us they do not.

    Sometimes you have to just get a job to pay the bills. That is 100% ok. You can’t always demand everything you need from a job. You can’t always expect a job to align with your values when you need to put food on the table.

    But when times changes? It is always a good idea to evaluate if that job you took and stuck with actually makes sense for what you want out of life.

    Many of us have had time for reflection and we have been able to ask ourselves bigger questions:

    • Is this job really what I want to be doing?
    • Does this align with my values?
    • Do I feel like I’m making the world better here?
    • Is this even what I want to do for the next five years?
    • Will I regret spending more of my life in this position?

    These are heavy questions that we often ignore when we are just grinding away at work. But when we have time for reflection these are important questions to ask ourselves.

    We only get one life. Many of us we don’t need to waste that life in toxic jobs that don’t align with our values.

    My Experience Quitting My Job

    I graduated college directly into the Great Recession so I’m not one to miss any millennial trend, including quitting my job during the Great Resignation.

    After years of working a job that made me miserable to pay off my debt, I finally had enough and quit my job.

    I struggled with the decision because I was happy there to start. I also like the company at large and the owners of the company are amazing… but ultimately it’s the best choice for me to leave.

    Life is too short to be miserable because of your job.

    People are quitting jobs now because 2020 taught us many lessons about how we want to live our lives.

    In my case I realized my manager had a vision for his department that did not match what I wanted from work. The Gallup research that shows people leave bosses, not companies is right because an inflexible manager can push people out the door.

    Many of us realized after the past year that life is too short to stay in situations that don’t serve us well This includes jobs that don’t fit what we need in life.

    If you’ve been thinking about quitting your job, then I encourage you to look at job openings available right now. There are many new opportunities and it is a great time to potentially quit your job and start something new.

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  • What Is Transfer Tuesday?

    Transfer Tuesday is the personal finance movement where each Tuesday we send money from any source we can towards our financial goals.

    Transfer Tuesday is all about being consistent and making progress financially. No matter how small an amount transferred feels, it all adds up.

    How Transfer Tuesday Started

    I started Transfer Tuesday to help me pay off my debt faster and improve my motivation.

    I was very demotivated waiting for the one time a month where I could make a debt payment.

    So one week I decided I would simple send whatever money I could to the debt instead. Even just $5 if I could find it would be transferred as a debt payment.

    I’ve felt very demotivated the weeks before since I wasn’t making much progress on our financial goals, so I took action and created a new way to feel motivated for myself.

    That first Transfer Tuesday video in October 2019 was a turning point in both my own debt payoff and what has become the Transfer Tuesday movement.

    I spent the next two years continuing my weekly Tuesday videos where I would transfer saved money and extra money toward whatever financial goal I was working on at the time.

    I eventually paid off all my debt, saved an emergency fund, bought a car in cash, and built up several investing accounts. The weekly habit of moving money toward financial goals made my personal progress skyrocket.

    What Is Transfer Tuesday?

    Transfer Tuesday is now something many other people have decided to participate in as well.

    I started the Transfer Tuesday movement to motivate myself on my debt free journey it is amazing to see others taking it up and paying off their own debt.

    Transfer Tuesday is just the name of the day where we use whatever extra money we have to make progress on our goals and celebrate the smaller wins throughout the month.

    Each week I commit to doing SOMETHING no matter how small to move me closer to reaching my financial goals.

    It started with $5 in a week and sometimes I’m doing $500 or even $5,000. It’s truly about forward progress each week.

    Every single week I’m committed to working on my financial goals even as those goals change. Making consistent progress every week is helping us get closer to our big dreams.

    Transfer Tuesday is the day of the week where I share our financial moves to stay on track and ti has motivated many others too. It has been amazing to see this series become something that is generating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of positive financial progress.

    How To Participate In Transfer Tuesday

    You can follow along with Transfer Tuesday in a few ways:

    You can also participate and use Tuesdays to get closer to your own financial goals.

    Here are a few ways you can participate in Transfer Tuesday:

    • create your debt snowball or financial goal plan
    • find ways to earn extra money or save budgeted money throughout the week
    • on Tuesday, calculate that extra money and make a transfer toward your goal
    • share your money move and financial progress using the #TransferTuesday hashtag and tag @penniesnotperfection too!

    That’s it! There aren’t really any rule and the main goals are simple:

    • consistency
    • motivation
    • progress

    It’s exciting to see this community growing. It is so motivating to me to watch people pay off debt and make big financial progress beyond what I could have imagined!

    Every single week I’m committed to working on my own financial goals with Transfer Tuesday and I can’t wait to have you join me!

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  • Budgeting Tips For Beginners

    Budgeting is something many of us love to hate but with these budgeting tips you’ll be off to a smooth start.

    Budgeting is incredibly useful and can help you achieve financial goals, but it’s also a lot of work and hard for beginners to grasp.

    How To Set Up A New Budget

    In this video I show you the basics of setting up a new budget along with a few budgeting tips. If you’ve never done a budget before I highly recommend you watch this video before you start.

    Creating your first budget can feel a lot like guessing and failing in the beginning. You can save yourself time by using worksheets or an app that guides you through the process but the basics of creating your first budget are actually easy.

    You need to figure out how much money you are bringing in and how much money you are spending. For most people you are going to budget your after tax post deduction income.

    Basically you want to give the money you bring home an assignment so you can better optimize your budget to achieve all of your financial goals.

    Here are the steps to creating your first budget:

    • Gather Your Budgeting Supplies
    • Write Out All Your Monthly Bills
    • Order Your Bills By Calendar & Paycheck
    • Categorize Your Previous Spending
    • Set Reasonable Goals For Spending
    • Plan Your Sinking Funds
    • Add All Your Expenses Up
    • Track Your Spending

    You can do this same process shown on the video with either pen and paper, a budgeting printable, a spreadsheet or a budgeting app.

    The process is what matters most, not how you write down and track the actual numbers.

    How To Set Up Sinking Funds

    One concept that is often new to people when they start budgeting is sinking funds.

    Sinking funds are saving accounts with a purpose.

    Setting up sinking funds is a great way to keep your budget together throughout the year so the ups and downs don’t derail you.

    They are accounts you save into regularly for spending on expenses that are irregular expense, non-monthly expenses, unpredictable or big one time expenses. It’s a mini savings account for an expense you know you’ll have in the future. There are many different sinking fund categories you might consider saving for that are not regular expenses.

    Sinking funds make saving for these hard to budget items strategic and stress free. You set a little bit aside each month until you hit your goal… and then you spend it!

    So if you’re saving up for an event 6 months from now, you put a smaller amount aside into the sinking fund each month until the event where you spend it all.

    Sinking funds are designed to let you spend without stress or worry. It’s one of the best budgeting tips most people ever learn.

    Sinking funds will change how you budget and make like a lot easier as you start and refine your budgeting style.

    Budgeting Tips For Beginners

    Now let’s look at some of the best budgeting tips for beginners. If you’re new to managing your money and want to learn more about what you should be doing then these tips are for you!

    pay-yourself-first budgeting tips

    Face the truth about your spending.

    Tracking your spending is the key to budgeting success. Without tracking you won’t be able to budget.

    Start at the beginning of the month and track everything you spend either with an app like Mint or Personal Capital. You can also do it manually so you are in control and seeing where you are really spending.

    I usually recommend someone new to budgeting does it manually and writes out everything they spend for at least a month. It is eye opening because many of us spend without paying attention.

    Write out a realistic budget for the next month.

    You can base your first budget on what you were actually spending based on your tracking or research into your receipts and bank summaries.

    For your first month you can make some realistic cuts budget don’t go overboard. Definitely don’t try to slash your entire budget in half the first month because it won’t work and you’ll likely abandon the process.

    Be realistic about your budget and make goals to incrementally improve over multiple months.

    Plan to set aside money for savings.

    Pick a small percentage or amount of money that you will save into a savings goal no matter what.

    Put this into your savings account first before you do any spending or pay any bills.

    Setting aside money before anything else is a critical step to achieving bigger financial goals. You can plan your spending around this savings move at the top of your budget. Always pay yourself first!

    Visualize your goals.

    Think of the long term things you want to save for and either right it out, create a tracker, a vision board, or whatever you are motivated by to make your budget goals happen.

    I love using debt payoff printables and savings trackers to visualize my progress with big money goals.

    Use whatever budgeting method that appeals to you visually. Maybe that’s budgeting on paper with highlighters or maybe it’s an app with great reporting. Find what visually appeals to you and work with that!

    Cut out more unnecessary spending.

    For the majority of people out there you are buying something you don’t need. You have splurges in your spending that could be cut.

    Look at your spending with a critical eye. Instead of trying to justify why you spent so much on restaurants for example, critically ask yourself if that was necessary or just happened because you were not paying attention.

    Tell friends and family you are cutting back.

    It can be more helpful to stick to your goals when you have people keeping you accountable. Let some of your close friends and family know that you are budgeting now especially if it will mean you have to cut back in areas that will affect your relationship.

    Having friends and family who also manage their finances carefully makes it easier when you do have to say no to things.

    You may also find that talking more openly about your finances helps you get better at budgeting and also helps others.

    Leave your card at home if you aren’t planning on spending.

    Some of us have to eliminate the temptation to spend entirely.  This is one of the budgeting tips I did in the beginning since we started using cash for our variable spending and it really helps to not have that fallback option. 

    When you carry a credit card you can sometimes overspend because in the moment it is easier to impulse swipe. If you don’t have that credit card with you then there is no option to spend the money.

    This is something that is helpful when you first start budgeting and want to stick to your spending goals. Over time it’s less necessary as you adjust your spending habits.

    Have regular no spending days.

    Set aside one day a week as a no spend day in order to flex the no spending muscle. This will just get you in the mindset and habit of not buying things which for many of us, is kind of foreign at first.

    Knowing you can go one day without spending any money can help your mind recognize the fact that you can go more days or even weeks and months without spending. It builds a routine and you think more critically about your spending. 

    Try out a no spend challenge if you want to do more than a few no spend days in a row.

    Always have an emergency fund.

    You will need some level of emergency fund to get ahead financially because things are going to pop up that you did not expect.

    Financial guru Dave Ramsey suggests at least $1,000 set aside for emergencies that will come up and I usually suggest at least 1-2 months of expenses set aside in savings before you do anything like pay off debt.

    Having money will help you get in front on many emergencies.

    Learn how to make easy, cheap, quick meals at home.

    Listen, we don’t all have a ton of time to cook at night and many of us don’t want to anyway.

    Ie’ve found quick and easy meals that we love and are affordable to repeat night after night. For us this meals simple stuff and some pre-made items from Trader Joe’s. If we can feed our whole family for an affordable price and less than 10 minutes then we are much more likely to make dinner.

    It’s cheaper to cook at home if you are making good choices and planning around simple meals. This means we are more likely to stick to our spending goal for food.

    Appreciate money and then give it away.

    Part of managing your money is realizing that you likely have enough to give some away.

    Even when I was at my lowest income ever I still found myself giving money to causes and people I cared about. Now we send a portion of our income to the local church as a tithe and then the local church supports a variety of causes and charities and families in need.

    Money for us is a blessing but we realize it’s not ours to keep forever nor will it ultimately save us or fix our lives. It can make life easier to have more money but we never want our money to control us or our values. 

    Choose your spending splurges.

    Budgeting does not mean you can’t splurge and spend excessively in some areas. In fact, you should budget in some splurges!

    Pick the one or two areas of your budget where you want to splurge because it is important to you. Plan to spend a lot in those areas that give you the most value in life.

    Then cut everything else where you don’t mind spending less! It’s ok to have splurge areas but you can’t make every category a splurge.

    Think about what you value and what helps your feel like you are living your best life. Then keep that category high and lower the rest. 

    Budget and go enjoy your life.

    Budgeting is not meant to make you feel like you can’t enjoy your life. It’s just meant to guide you so that you can enjoy life and hit all your bigger financial goals.

    Hopefully these budgeting tips help you start off strong with your new budget.

    Keep working on it and learn how to live the life you love on a budget!

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  • I Quit My Job

    I’ve hated my job for over three years but it has taken me until now to finally quit.

    I struggled with the decision because I was happy there to start. I also like the company at large and the owners of the company are amazing… but ultimately it’s the best choice for me to leave.

    Life is too short to be miserable because of your job or your manager.

    A lot of people are quitting jobs these days in part because 2020 taught us all a lot of lessons about how we want to live life. Many of us realized after the past year that life is too short and precious to stay in situations that don’t serve us well, jobs included.

    When Jobs & Company Culture Changes

    When I started my job 5 years ago I loved it. I loved the people I worked with and the benefits and job perks. For the first two years the job was exactly what I needed.

    But over time, things changed.

    My manager changed and the work environment changed and slowly I became more and more unhappy with my situation.

    I’ve explained it to others as the frog in a pot situation. I started off in such a happy place that I didn’t realize over time how things changed. I was happy at work until suddenly I was boiling with misery.

    Things were bad in so many ways from little inconveniences to large issues. I was denied pay raises, denied annual reviews, given unclear feedback, had authority removed, felt micromanaged, watched my previous supervisor get demoted for no reason (which meant there was little hope for me moving up). Then after a year of working from home successfully I was told I needed to start coming back in daily even though we were still working remotely.

    Those who have watched my YouTube channel for a while know that I have spent a lot of money in therapy trying to deal with my job and how unhappy it made me. I had never had a bad manager before and didn’t realize how difficult it was to constantly be trying to filter through the muck of unclear and unkind management.

    Ultimately there are a lot of reasons why I quit, but it also boiled down to one thing:

    I could finally financially afford to leave a bad situation.

    The Decision To Claim My Time & Income

    Ultimately I came to the decision in 2020 that I needed to leave my job.

    Then, a pandemic happened right before I could make a move. 2020 was a rollercoaster where jobs were scarce and I was happy just to be employed most days because no one knew what would happen as we all navigated yet another “once in a lifetime” event. Suddenly finding another job was a lot harder.

    Right after the pandemic I learned we were growing our family by one more. It had been something we wanted but it also complicated my decision to leave a stable job with health insurance.

    Having a more or less stable job has been helpful through that time period and over the last few years as my husband changed jobs and grew his career. I was willing to put up with many frustrations with both corporate culture and my specific situation in exchange for a stable income.

    But I struggled with the fact that a bad manager controlled both my time and my income.

    A manager was able to say I could not make more money.

    A manager was able to deny my time off requests.

    After growing a side income via YouTube and having two small kids, I’m more aware than ever that TIME is my greatest resource.

    I’m no longer willing to trade that precious time for money. Especially when I’m trading it for money that’s worth less than the year before because I was told I would not receive a raise of any kind.

    I’m not willing to spend my time commuting to a job. I don’t want to spend 10 days a year in my car in stressful traffic just because a bad manager has decided it’s necessary.

    I’m no longer willing to spend my time doing work that doesn’t matter. My job was just a job and it didn’t directly help anyone. After building a business that has helped people fix their finances and change their own lives I want more of that direct impact from my work.

    By quitting my job I’m reclaiming my time and my ability to control my income.

    If I want to earn more money then I will work harder in my business. If I want to use my time to take a vacation or play with my kids then I will do so.

    My decisions will be my own.

    Limiting Beliefs About Quitting My Job

    However, I’ve been scared to make the jump for a long time. It took me a couple years of being unhappy and then a year of focused effort on my side business to the point where I could quit my job.

    Even with a side hustle income that was equal to my day job I was still scared to quit. I had a lot of limiting money beliefs to work through before I was able to finally make the move.

    Some of those limiting beliefs included:

    • I have to have a “real job” to earn money
    • If I quit i will end up broke and homeless
    • I have to be miserable to earn enough money
    • If I don’t have coworkers I’ll be lonely and isolated
    • It is too much of a risk not to have a stable 9-5 job
    • I can’t make enough money on my own
    • I have to hate my job to make money

    All of these limiting beliefs were running through my head constantly. Looping around and keeping me stuck.

    At a certain point in working through these I realized that FEAR was controlling my life and that’s what kept me stuck and so so unhappy.

    Fear of the unknown and fear of losing control of my future and the fear of going backwards.

    Why Quitting A Job Is Scary

    Let’s talk about FEAR for a minute.

    Fear is a super powerful emotion and it is a natural instinct within us that can be very helpful. It keeps us alive and helps us through dangerous situations. It is our body helping us see and handle danger.

    But it’s also something that can prevent us from doing things even if those things could potentially be good for us in the long run.

    Fear can keep us stationary or stuck because fear’s primary goal is to keep us safe.

    Because fear keeps us safe we will often stay too long in situations that aren’t good for us because we allow fear to tell us we won’t be able to get the things we need if we let go of what we have. For me, the fear of not being able to find another job or not having enough money made me stay in a job that at various points has been boring, miserable, and toxic.

    However, so many people in my life have told me to quit. Friends. Family. My husband. My therapist. My audience watching videos. My mastermind group. Everyone said I should quit and pursue this creator thing because it seemed to make me happy and fulfilled while my job only made me miserable.

    Finally during my maternity leave I started talking to others about quitting my job and maybe doing content creation full time. I had a lot of conversations about this and came to some realizations:

    • If I don’t take risks then I’ll never get to a level I want. I’ll just be at my job earning roughly the same amount forever because my manager has control over my income and refuses to give people raises some years.
    • I don’t have social interactions at work that I can’t replicate. I didn’t have meetings or much in person interaction at work. The things I enjoy are lunches with my coworkers but that’s outside my actual job and something I could schedule myself with whoever I want during my weeks.
    • You have to take radical responsibility for yourself, 100%. Nobody is coming to save you or give you permission to change your life. You are going to do it yourself. You are responsible for your destiny. So I had to give myself the permission to do this even if everyone else already told me.

    When maternity leave ended my manager required I come back to the office full time 5 days a week even though I’d spent a year doing the same job remotely.

    Even worse?

    I had to go back to the office physically to work remotely from another building. No one knew if I was there or not besides my manager. The level of control and insanity in that decision finally pushed me over the edge.

    If I could work hard for that company I could work hard for my own company. Or another. Life is too short for such silly decisions to control my lifestyle.

    Making A “To Do Before Quitting” List

    I’m a very responsible and risk averse person generally and with a family I knew I couldn’t quit without making sure we would be ok financially.

    I also wanted to make sure I was going into a situation that was as strong as possible since I wouldn’t be getting unemployment and my business is growing but not 100% stable.

    So I made myself a list and started working on crossing out all the things I could.

    My list of things to do before quitting included:

    • new tires on my car
    • fill all my prescriptions
    • medical procedures done
    • save up gift cards from Fetch Rewards for groceries
    • filled up some of our sinking funds
    • earn as much money in my business for multiple months
    • have at least 2-4 paychecks from business saved up

    Basically I wanted to take care of the most pressing needs that could be expensive and then go ahead and plan my budget for a couple months of runway.

    Knowing I had at least a couple “paychecks” from my business before I quit really helped me feel more confident.

    Making A “Reasons I’m Quitting” List

    Even with all the preparation I’ve done and equaling my day job income with my side hustle, I was scared to make the jump.

    So I also made myself a list of reminders about why I am doing this. Honestly, I’m tired of being miserable and allowing a bad manager to control my choices and 50 hours of my life every week. I’m also tired of forcing something I love to do into the margins of my life.

    Here’s my list of reasons why I’m quitting my job:

    • I’m prioritizing my mental health
    • I’m prioritizing my physical health
    • I’m prioritizing my family and time with my babies while they are little
    • I’m buying back 5 hours per week and over 10 days per year that I would spend commuting
    • I’m giving myself the freedom to say yes to new opportunities
    • I’m allowing myself to do work I enjoy that helps others
    • I’m giving myself the chance to pursue new career options
    • I’m leaning in to things I’ve always done for fun (creating content)
    • I’m doubling down on making money on YouTube
    • I’m giving myself the time to pursue professional development my job didn’t give me
    • I’m opening up time to work on things that let me stop trading time for money
    • I’m betting on myself

    It’s scary to let go of something stable for the unknown and not guaranteed. I’m still scared.

    But when I think about staying in my current job I feel depressed. It’s almost physical how sad it makes me.

    When I think about quitting? When I write out my plan? I suddenly feel optimistic and excited and energetic.

    What’s Next After Quitting My Job

    So I did it! I quit my job!

    I’ve put in my two week’s notice and my time will be freed up very soon.

    What’s next for me? I’m going to work on my business full time!

    I’m both excited and terrified to try being a full time YouTube creator.

    My business is mainly content creation in various forms. That’s where my skills and passion lie, specifically creating content that helps people take control of their finances. I like helping people make more money and manage that money better.

    My work will be focused on several things:

    I’m incredible excited to keep building on the foundation I’ve already built for this business. It feels great to create content that I know has helped people.

    And here’s the thing: this YouTube business can be my job for the next year. I can pay our mortgage and bills. I’ve built something that covers all our expenses right now. It can be my job for a year while my baby is little. Or maybe even two years until my baby can go to the preschool we love.

    Will it be my forever job? I doubt it. Will it be something that I learn a lot of lessons from? Yes. Will it give me time to tide me over and maybe change my career or plan my next job focus? Yes.

    I’m tired of settling for things that don’t make me happy or fulfilled.

    So I’m accepting what this is and not putting pressure on myself to make this last forever. I did that with the job I worked three years too long. If this stops working then I’ll make a pivot faster.

    I’ve learned from this situation over the last year or two that holding loosely to your plans is the best way to proceed. This is temporary… as is every job and every situation.

    Even if change is scary it is the only constant in life. So this will be my next step and I hope you join me on this journey.

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  • Roth IRA Explained | Retirement Savings 101

    What is a Roth IRA? Do I need a Roth IRA? What are the benefits of a Roth IRA?

    Roth IRAs are an amazing way to stash money away for your future but many people don’t know enough about them.

    Today I’m sharing all about Roth IRAs and why you should open a Roth IRA today if you don’t already have one.

    This guide to Roth IRAs for beginners goes over a few things:

    • why you should open a Roth IRA
    • what a Roth IRA is
    • who can open a Roth IRA
    • how much you can contribute to a Roth IRA
    • benefits of using a Roth IRA
    • common Roth IRA mistakes
    • my personal experiences with Roth IRA investing
    • my recommendations on how to determine where to open a Roth IRA

    If you just want to get started quickly, here are a few places I recommend for opening a Roth IRA:

    Traditional brokerages with low cost funds:

    Online Brokerages with great apps (affiliate links):

    This video and blog post gives you a general framework for how to get started with Roth IRA investing and determining where to open an account.

    Choosing Retirement Accounts

    Today I’m talking all about Roth IRAs and why I think they are an awesome account type and why everyone should open one if they are eligible.

    There are many different account types you can consider using when you are saving for retirement. From traditional IRAs and 401ks to Roth IRAs and 401k and 403bs and more. It can feel like. you need a whole new vocabulary just to invest.

    A Roth IRA is just one type of these retirement accounts you can consider using to build up your retirement savings.

    It’s one of many retirement account options so you should take your time and learn about all of them. Even if you decide you need a professional opinion and hire a financial advisor it always helps to be aware of the basics yourself.

    What is a Roth IRA?

    A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that offers tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

    Roth IRAs are similar to traditional IRAs but taxed differently. With a Roth IRA you fund your account with money you’ve already paid taxes on, the contributions are not tax-deductible. Then when you are ready to withdraw money in the future at retirement age, the money you withdraw is tax-free.

    An important thing to understand is that a Roth IRA is just a type of account. It’s not an actual investment. The Roth IRA is the account and you purchase investments to keep inside that account. Those investments then get to grow tax-free because they are inside the special Roth IRA.

    It’s a favorite account of many in financial planning because of the tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals.

    Some key notes about Roth IRAs:

    • A Roth IRA is a type of retirement account where you pay taxes on money before you put it into your account and then all future withdrawals from the account are tax-free.
    • There are income limits for who can contribute. If you make too much money you can’t utilize a Roth IRA. In 2021, the limit for singles is $140,000. For married couples, the limit is $208,000.
    • Each year there is a max for how much you can contribute. This amount changes every couple of years. In 2021, the contribution limit for a Roth IRA is $6,000 a year. If you are age 50 or older you can deposit extra money to “catch up” with contributions up to $7,000.
    • You can start a Roth IRA at most brokerage firms, banks, and investment companies.
    • A Roth IRA can be established at any time. You have until that year’s tax-filing deadline, usually April 15 of the following year, to max out your contributions.
    • You can put money in your Roth IRA for as many years as you want as long as you have earned income that qualifies.
    • You can withdraw contributions from your Roth IRA, both tax- and penalty-free if you take out only an amount equal to what you’ve put in.
    • For withdrawing earnings in your Roth IRA, the current rules say that as long as you’ve owned your account for 5 years and you’re age 59½ or older, you can withdraw your money and you won’t owe any federal taxes.
    • There are not required minimum distributions like a traditional IRA that forces you to pull out money beginning at age 72.

    There are also more ways to withdraw your money sooner with the ability to draw out money without penalties for things like a first-time home purchase, college expenses, and birth or adoption expenses.

    You can read more about Roth IRA rules on the IRS website.

    Where To Open A Roth IRA

    You can start a Roth IRA at most brokerage firms, banks, credit unions and investment companies. A Roth IRA must be established somewhere that has received IRS approval to offer them.

    Here are a few places I recommend for opening a Roth IRA:

    Traditional brokerages with low cost funds:

    Online Brokerages with great apps (affiliate links):

    You have many options for where to open a Roth IRA since many institutions are able to offer this account type. Not all of these options are equal since some will be more restrictive in their offerings than others and some have higher fees that will affect your investment returns.

    When you are trying to decide where to start a Roth IRA you should look for an option that fits several needs:

    • your risk tolerance
    • your investment preferences
    • your desire to be active or passive
    • the diversity of investments you can choose
    • account requirements like minimum balances

    These things will determine where you want to open a Roth IRA. For example, if you plan to trade within your account you’ll want something with no fees for trades or if you want to be hands off you’ll want something that offers either low cost index funds or roboadvisors.

    You’ll want to also think about the functionality of the account you open. Will you be more likely to contribute if it’s with an institution where you already have another account for example?

    Most people start Roth IRAs with a brokerage since these are well known and trusted

    Roth IRA Contribution Rules

    The IRS has a lot of rules about Roth IRA contributions.

    The contributions are capped at a certain amount each year, you can only contribute earned income, and you have to qualify via your income in order to contribute.

    How much can you invest in a Roth IRA?

    Each year there is a maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA.

    • In 2021, the contribution limit for a Roth IRA is $6,000 a year.
    • In 2021, if you are age 50 or older you can contribute up to $7,000.

    Who can contribute to a Roth IRA?

    Contribution limits are set by the IRS each year and determined based on your modified adjusted gross income.

    • In 2021, the income limit for singles is $140,000 to contribute the full amount. From $125,000 to $140,000 you can contribute a reduced amount.
    • In 2021, the income limit for married couples is $208,000 to contribute the full amount. From $198,000 to $208,000 you can contribute a reduced amount.

    You can view the entire chart of contribution limits on the IRS website.

    What if you make too much money?

    If you’re above the income limits to contribute to a Roth IRA you still have the option to utilize this account thanks to a little loophole.

    You can use the backdoor Roth IRA strategy and convert an existing traditional IRA and into a Roth IRA.

    When you do this you are required to pay income taxes on the contributions that were deductible along with the gains, but after that tax bill you then have a Roth IRA account with all the tax-free growth benefits.

    Common Roth IRA Mistakes

    There are many benefits of Roth IRAs especially the tax-free growth and withdrawals.

    However, there are some drawbacks and mistakes that should be considered with this type of account.

    Roth IRA Disadvantages:

    • No upfront tax break for your contributions which means you’ll get less money to budget for your life.
    • The maximum contribution is low compared to other retirement accounts like a 401k.
    • You have to set it up yourself unlike a 401k that is managed by your employer and easy to enroll.

    Roth IRA Mistakes:

    • Not calculating whether you will benefit more from the Roth IRA or a traditional IRA tax wise. Whether the Roth IRA is right for you will depend on your personal income situation now vs what is expected in retirement will determine
    • Not choosing an investment when you put money into your Roth IRA. When you put money in you have to buy an actual investment like an index fund or shares of stock. Otherwise your money will be in a settlement fund not earning any interest. A Roth IRA is an account type, not an investment itself.

    Despite a few disadvantages and potential mistakes most people will benefit from using an IRA. If your income, age, and tax brackets determine you would benefit from a Roth IRA then open one and get started as soon as you can!

    Why I Love My Roth IRA

    I started my Roth IRA while I was in college during my junior year. I had worked since I was 16 and with some extra money lying around from working throughout the school year I decided to start saving for retirement before I even graduated college.

    Looking back on that decision, I think it was a pretty smart idea since that money is still in my Roth IRA today. If I had not invested back then it would have been spent frivolously.

    That money I invested is still growing tax free in my Roth IRA!

    I was pretty unique since starting a Roth IRA account in college is not what most college students are doing. I certainly don’t know anyone else who did it. I didn’t hear any of my friends even talk about retirement accounts until they had been several years out of college.

    Many college students have never even heard of a Roth IRA because it’s not part of the common language. They might know about credit cards or student loan debt, but retirement accounts seem like something to worry about later.

    There isn’t enough financial education for people at that age and that is one of the reasons why I have this blog and my YouTube channel!

    We didn’t get any help in high school or college learning about personal finance. Even if classes covering personal finance exist they aren’t mandatory. This leads a lot of young people to graduate at a disadvantage where they don’t know all the options available to them like Roth IRAs.

    Luckily these days more people are learning about investing and how to invest for retirement and other big financial goals.

    Why You Should Open a ROTH IRA Now

    If you are in college, soon to graduate, just graduated or at any time in your career (even in your 50s):

    Start investing in a Roth IRA now!

    This account can be your biggest ally in a secure future retirement. All of that money growing tax free will be a huge win for you in the future when you want to stop working or physically can’t work.

    It might not feel fun to send money into an account you won’t use for decades, but the earlier you start investing, the better!

    If you start investing earlier it’s easier to build the wealth that will help you live a great life when you are older. You can start with smaller amounts, just a few hundred a month or a couple thousand a year, and let that build momentum with the power of compound interest.

    Even if you are starting later then you will still be glad you decided to invest for your future.

    I’m not a professional so I can only share what I did and I would recommend doing what I did: read, research, and learn on your own.

    There are lots of resources on the web with information about investing and Roth IRAs specifically. It’s unlikely that you will learn about Roth IRAs and investing so take to the web and educate yourself. You’ll be glad you did for years to come.

    If you haven’t opened up a Roth IRA yet, and it makes sense for your situation then I highly recommend you do it now. Sites like M1 Finance have made it incredibly easy to start a Roth IRA for just $500.

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  • 5 Ways to Simplify Your Finances

    Many people struggling with their finances because things get too complicated, disorganized, and overwhelming.

    It’s easy to follow too many financial plans and get yourself tangled up with the added complexity. Once you get disorganized or overwhelmed it’s easy to throw the whole system away and ignore your finances – which just leads to a worse financial situation.

    The best way to manage your finances is to make it very, very simple.

    Simple is good. It’s understandable and manageable which means you are more likely to stick to it.

    When you stick with something you eventually achieve the goals you set out to achieve. That is why keeping your finances simple is so important.

    5 Ways to Simplify Your Finances

    Below I’m going to share 7 ways to simplify your personal finances so that you are able to stick with your money goals.

    Automate your money.

    Automating is the simplest way to manage your money and stay on top of your bills. For most people automating savings is the only way to consistently save money as well.

    Automate everything that you can.

    Automate your bill payments so they are paid on time every month. Automate your retirement savings so your 401k and Roth IRA is funded each paycheck. Automate your savings so your sinking funds have money allocated after every paycheck hits your bank.

    Setting up everything in your financial life be automated will save you a lot of mental energy and effort.

    Pay yourself first.

    I truly believe paying yourself first is the foundation to success with your finances. It’s also a great way to keep things simple.

    When you pay yourself first by automating your investments to happen immediately when you get paid you are able to guarantee that your goals are funded.

    Making sure your big goals are funded first makes the rest of your spending plan a lot simpler. You are able to spend what’s left without being as stressed because you don’t have to use the remainder.

    Most people leave their savings and investing to the very last line of their budgeting. They save what’s leftover after spending and this is always stressful because it feels like there is never enough.

    If you only save what’s left after spending there will never be enough.

    Switching to a pay yourself first method will eliminate that stress of feeling like there is never enough.

    Less stress and better funded financial goals? Simple and perfect.

    Limit your investments.

    It’s easy to get caught up in stock picking and trying to chase the next best investment opportunity.

    But in reality? The best investment plan is a simple one with limited investments.

    Do your research and choose one or a handful of investments that are already diversified like a certain index fund or target date mutual fund. Once you’ve made your selection stop looking for new investments and just focus on sending money to fund this one thing.

    You don’t need to constantly research and change your investments in order to get great returns. You just need to choose a good option and then actually fund the investments.

    Create an emergency fund.

    Saving money can be incredibly hard and it’s even harder if you are working toward multiple goals like paying off debt.

    However, an emergency fund will help you simplify your plans for when emergencies come up.

    Having an emergency fund set aside allows you to focus on handling your life and letting go of worries. You know that the money is there when you need it. The security of an emergency fund makes life and your finances much simpler.

    Organize your finances.

    If you want to simplify your money then you need to get organized.

    Luckily this can be done with whatever system works for you. There is no need to struggle with any style of money management if it doesn’t click for you.

    You can use a number of useful free apps like Mint or Personal Capital for budgeting, or you can use pen and paper with budgeting printables, or you can do a simple anti-budget method utilizing automation and multiple accounts. Whatever way works best for your personality and lifestyle is the one that will be simplest for you.

    Here’s what you need to know to be organized:

    • when you have income coming into your account
    • when your bills are due
    • when your bills will be paid
    • if your account has enough to cover your bills
    • how much you have for spending money

    These are the basics of budgeting and knowing these things will allow you to get organized in a way that makes sense for your life.

    I always like to tell people it might take a couple of attempts before you find the budgeting and money management style that fits you best. Don’t give up if one doesn’t work out for you. Just try another!

    When you find the right option things will feel simple and easy.

    Simplifying Personal Finances

    Personally I am aiming to live a life that’s easier and less stressful which is why I’m constantly looking for ways to simplify everything in my life.

    My finances are no different and I’ve done a lot of work to personally find the systems and methods that make managing money a breeze for me.

    It might take a bit of upfront work to set up things like money automations but once you are done you will be able to benefit from a simpler, easier system for many years to come!

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  • How To Download A Digital Product On Etsy

    You’ve purchased a digital product on Etsy but now you aren’t sure how to download it. I’m here to help!

    Downloading Digital Files

    There are multiple ways to get to your digital files for download:

    If you have an Etsy account, after your purchase you’ll see a View your files link which goes to the Downloads page. Here, you can download all the files associated with your order.

    Etsy will also send you a download notification email separate from any transaction notification emails you receive from Etsy and/or PayPal. This will include the information for downloading.

    You can also download at any time by going to Etsy > Your Account > Purchases and reviews. Here you will see all the files you’ve purchased.


    On this Purchases page you will see a black “Download Files” button next to any order where you can download files. Click Download Files and it will take you to the Downloads page for your order.


    On this page you will be able to then click “Download” for each individual digital file.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are some of the frequently asked questions about downloading purchased digital files on Etsy.

    Why is none of this showing up for me?

    Downloads are available once your payment is confirmed. If you paid with PayPal or a credit card on Etsy, confirmation might take a few minutes.

    If you’re unsure if you’ve purchased a Digital Item, you can always go back to the listing page. If it is a digital download, you should see an “Instant Download” message on the images for the item.

    Can I download on the app? Why is it not working?

    Unfortunately Etsy does not allow you to download a digital purchase through the Etsy app at this time. To download a digital file, please sign in to Etsy on your mobile browser or a non-mobile computer.

    What do I do if I purchased a digital item, but I don’t have an Etsy account?

    If you checked out as a guest, you’ll find a link to download your purchase in the receipt email that was sent to you after purchase. Because you won’t have an account to log in to this email will be the main access link to your files. Make sure you keep it in your email as long as you need the files.

    What if I can’t find my download notification email?

    Sometimes Etsy emails don’t show up in your inbox. First, check your spam or junk inbox to see if it landed there. If you use Gmail, also check your Social and Promotions tabs where many users find Etsy emails.

    If it’s not there, add [email protected] to your address book or safe list to allow the email to go through. If you still have trouble finding or getting the email you can reach out to Etsy support.


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