Advice

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Should I Pay Off My Student Loans Early?

Q: I have some wiggle room in my budget, and am thinking about accelerating the payment schedule on my student loans. Is that the best use of my money? The short answer? It depends. If you have extra money on hand, don’t have any consumer debt and aren’t working toward any other big financial goals, then yes—I’d aim to pay off your student loans early. Doing so can help you save thousands in interest over time. However, if you don’t have a sufficient emergency fund, are paying off credit card debt or haven’t started saving for retirement, double-down on these efforts first. Having a cash cushion to cover an unexpected bill, zeroing out high-interest debt and starting to save for retirement (or upping your contributions) are all more pressing goals….

Why I’ll Never Have a Car Payment Again

One of the first “adult” financial decisions my wife Andrea and I made together back in 2008 was to sign a 36-month lease for a brand-new BMW at $550 per month. We’d heard that sophisticated people leased vehicles, and it was a great way build credit. Plus, the dealership told us we’d get free oil changes and car washes. And if there was a problem with the car, they’d even come to our house with a loaner, while they fixed it on their dime. Who wouldn’t jump at such an amazing deal? Fast-forward to three years later, when we learned what kind of “deal” we’d really scored. Add up the $2,000 in fees we paid on the day we signed the lease, the monthly payments and the $320 we forked…

The One Hack That Helped Me Save Thousands: 7 Stories

Whether you’re hundreds or thousands away from hitting your savings goals, you’re probably on the lookout for smart ways to supercharge your efforts. Fortunately, moving the needle in a big way doesn’t require a major or painful lifestyle change—as these seven savers prove. They tell us how they dialed up their efforts with some simple yet extremely effective hacks—and ultimately saved thousands. “I stockpile my $1 bills.” Nick D’Urso, 27, co-founder of a nutrition company in Brooklyn, N.Y. “This may sound like the simplest idea ever, but I’ve been able to save a pretty good chunk of money just by stockpiling my $1 bills over the last five years. For example, if I buy something for $16 and pay with a $20, I take the four leftover singles and put…

These 4 Common Biases Can Sabotage Your Investing Success

Whether or not we want to admit it, we all have biases—and that can get in the way of investing success. “Biases can trigger emotional responses,” says Frank Murtha, Ph.D., co-founder of behavioral finance research and consulting firm MarketPsych Insights. “That’s what gets people in trouble.” That was in evidence after election results rolled in Nov. 8 and the electoral votes tipped in Donald Trump’s favor, a result most pollsters hadn’t predicted. At one point overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures—which trade when the U.S. stock market is closed—were down more than 800 points, an indication people around the globe were panic-selling stocks. By noon Wednesday, however, the Dow had reversed course and climbed more than 1,000 points from its overnight low, a rally many who’d dumped their stocks…

What the Trump Presidency Could Mean For Your Money

As the country prepares for a new administration, you may be wondering: What will the election results mean for my money? And for the stock market? While it’s difficult to make specific predictions, here’s what experts think is likely to happen in the days and months ahead—and how that could affect you. Market Volatility In the short-term, expect big market swings as Wall Street digests news it wasn’t expecting. Overnight, the Dow and S&P 500 index futures, which signal where the market may open, fell sharply (though stocks recovered Wednesday). Why? Simply put: Trump—a Republican businessman who has been heavily critical of President Obama’s policies—represents uncertainty. And Wall Street doesn’t like uncertainty. Plus, many on Wall Street had expected a Clinton victory, so were caught off guard. What does that mean…

“The only way to lose money over time in the stock market is to get out of the game.”