Follow Good Financial Cents Blog By Jeff Rose on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook

There’s an almost constant investment push-pull going on between safety and growth. Safety offers protection of principal, but not much future potential.

In fact, with today’s interest rates, safe investments can lose money through inflation.

That’s where growth becomes necessary. It has risks, but the best long-term investments will overcome those risks, and grow your money many times over.

Why Long-Term Investments Need to be Just That

If short-term investing is about capital preservation, long-term investing is about wealth creation.

It’s about building the kind of investment portfolio that will provide you with income for later in life, and for the rest of your life. That could be retirement, or sometimes sooner.

But it can only happen if you create the amount of wealth necessary to provide the level of income you need to live.

Long-term investing means accepting a certain amount of risk in the pursuit of higher rewards. This generally means equity type investments, like stocks and real estate.

They tend to be the best long-term investments because of their potential for capital appreciation.

They need to make up the bulk of your long-term portfolio allocation.

An interest-bearing security may produce only a few percentage points gain each year. But capital appreciation can produce double-digit returns, and lead to increasing your portfolio many times over in the future.

Be Prepared to Ride Out the Ups and Downs – They’re All Part of the Game

The risk with long-term investments is that they can fall in value at any given time. They are of course, equity investments, and have no guarantee of principal.

But because you’re holding them for the long term, they’ll have a chance to recover. That stacks the deck in your favor. Though an investment may be down 20% over the next five years, it could double or triple in value – or more – in the next 10.

That’s why you have to think long-term – to give yourself a chance to overcome the short-term dips, in favor of longer term returns.

You also need to do it to maximize investment returns. Rather than selling a stock that has a 50% gain in five years, you should instead hold on longer, to get 100%, 200% or more.

Those are the kinds of returns you can expect when you become a long-term investor. And there are plenty of investments out there that can make that happen.

There are different types of asset classes, with different levels of risk. Since there’s no way to know for sure which will perform the best, or avoid dips in the near-term, the best strategy is to invest in all at the same time.

Here are the best long-term investments, and where to invest in them to get the best possible returns.

1. Stocks

In a lot of ways, stocks are the primary long-term investment. They have the following advantages:

  • They’re “paper” investments, which means you don’t have to manage a property or a business.
  • They represent ownership in profit generating companies. In a real way, investing in stocks is investing in the economy.
  • Stocks can rise in value, often spectacularly over the long-term.
  • Many stocks pay dividends, providing you with steady income.
  • Most stocks are very liquid, enabling you to buy and sell them quickly and easily.
  • You can spread your investment portfolio across dozens of different companies and industries.
  • You can invest across international borders.

The many benefits of investing in stocks haven’t been lost on investors. The average annual return on stocks, based on the S&P 500, is on the order of 10% per year.

That includes both capital gains and dividend income.

And when you consider that it’s the return on investment over something close to 100 years, it means it has produced those returns in spite of wars, depressions, recessions, and several stock market crashes.

For that reason, nearly every investor should have at least some of his or her portfolio invested in stocks. Though some investors are active traders, and there are even some who engage in day trading, a buy-and-hold strategy over many years tends to produce the most consistent results.

There are two very broad categories of stocks you might be interested in: growth stocks and high dividend stocks.

Growth Stocks

These are stocks of companies with the primary attraction of long-term growth.

They often pay no dividends at all, and even if they do they’re very small. Companies with growth stocks primarily reinvest profits in growth, rather than paying dividends to stockholders.

The returns on growth stocks can be dramatic. Apple stock is an excellent example. As recently as 1990, it could have been purchased for less than $1. But as of today, Apple is trading at about $168 per share.

Had you invested $1,000 in the stock in 1990, you now have about $168,000!

Of course, Apple is an example of a classic successful growth stock. There are other success stories, but there are at least an equal number of growth stocks that never go anywhere.

And even among the success stories, there’s often a lot of volatility. A stock that rises by 100-fold could experience wild swings in both directions along the way.

High Dividend Stocks

Much the opposite of growth-oriented companies, high dividend stocks are issued by companies that return a substantial amount of net profits to shareholders.

From an investor standpoint, high dividend stocks often pay yields higher than fixed-income investments.

For example, while the current yield on a 10 year US Treasury Note is 2.79%, high dividend stocks often pay more than 3% per year.

Examples include AT&T, with a current dividend yield of 5.57%, Verizon, with a current dividend yield of 4.92%, and General Electric, with a current dividend yield of 3.61%.

This isn’t a recommendation of any of these stocks, but more of an example of the kinds of dividend yields that are available.

High dividend stocks have another advantage. Since they’re stocks, they also have the prospect of capital appreciation. An annual dividend yield of 4% or 5%, plus 5% to 10% per year in capital appreciation, could produce one of the best long-term investments possible.

In fact, some investors prefer high dividend stocks. The dividend paid often makes the stock less volatile than pure growth stocks. There’s even some evidence that high dividend yields provide some insulation against downturns in the general stock market.

But high dividend stocks aren’t without risks either. A decline in earnings could make it difficult for a company to pay dividends.

It’s not unusual for companies to either reduce or eliminate their dividend completely. As you might expect, the stock price can collapse when they do.

The best way to buy individual stocks is through a large, diversified low-cost investment broker. They offer the best combination of investment options, investor information, and low trading fees.

Here are some of the possibilities:

2. Long-term Bonds – Sometimes!

Long-term bonds are interest-bearing securities with terms greater than 10 years. The most frequent terms are 20 years and 30 years.

There are different types of long-term bonds, including corporate, government, municipal and international bonds.

The primary attraction of bonds is usually the interest rate. Since they’re long-term in nature, they usually pay higher yields than shorter-term interest-bearing securities.

For example, while the yield on the US 5-year Treasury Note is currently 2.61%, the return on the US 30-year Treasury Bond is 3.03%. The higher yield is to compensate investors for the greater risks involved in longer-term securities.

The biggest risk to bonds is that interest rates will rise. Let’s say you purchase a 30-year US Treasury bond with a 3% yield in 2018. But by 2020, the yield on similar securities is 5%.

The risk is that you will be locked into the bond for another 28 years, at a below-market interest rate.

But that’s hardly the worst of it. Bond prices tend to move inverse to interest rates. That means when interest rates rise, the market value of the underlying bond declines.

In the example above, a $1,000 bond paying 3% – or $30 per year – would have to fall to $600 in order to produce a 5% yield, consistent with the new market conditions.

You’ll still get your full $1,000 face value on the bond if you hold it to maturity. But if you sell it at the discounted market price, you’ll lose money.

How Bonds can Become One of the Best Long-term Investments

If interest rates fall below the rate you purchase your bond at, the market value of the bond could rise.

Let’s use the same example as above, except that in 2020 interest rates on the 30-year bond have fallen to 2%.

Since your bond is yielding 3%, it may rise to a market value of $1,500, which would produce an effective yield of 2% ($30 divided by $1,500).

In a falling rate environment, bonds would not only provide you with interest income, but also capital appreciation – much like stocks.

Now in all fairness to reality, that’s an unlikely scenario right now. Interest rates continue to be running at near record lows. For example, the 30-year US Treasury bond yielded over 15% back in 1981, and spent much of that decade in double digits.

The long-term average yield has been more in the 6% to 8% range. If that’s the case, declining interest rates from here looks pretty unlikely. But who knows?

Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds aren’t actually investments themselves. Instead, they function as portfolios of a large number of different stocks and bonds.

Some are professionally managed, while others track popular market indexes.

But because of that diversification and management, each can be one of the best long-term investments available.

Funds are particularly valuable for people who want to invest but don’t know much about the process. All you need to do is allocate a certain amount of your investment capital into one or more funds, and the money will be invested for you.

Also, most people who invest in individual stocks and bonds don’t perform as well as funds do.

Funds offer advantages beyond investment management. You can use funds to invest in the financial markets virtually any way you want.

For example, if you want to invest in the general market, you can choose a fund that’s based on a broad index, like the S&P 500. Funds can also invest in either stocks or bonds.

Bonds are particularly well-suited to funds. As an individual investor, it may be difficult to diversify among a large number of bonds. Lots of investors don’t fully understand bond investing either. Using a fund for your bond allocation can give you a professionally managed, well-diversified bond allocation.

You can also invest in specific market sectors. That can include high-tech, where you choose a fund with that specialization. You can do the same thing with agriculture, energy, real estate, healthcare, or pharmaceuticals.

It’s even possible to invest in individual countries, or specific regions, such as Europe or Latin America.

In today’s investment environment, there’s a fund for just about any specialization. This makes it very easy for you to invest based on favored industries or geographic locations.

3. Mutual Funds

Mutual funds generally fall into the category of actively managed funds. That means the purpose of the fund isn’t to simply match the underlying market index, but to outperform it.

For example, rather than investing in all the stocks in the S&P 500, a fund manager may choose the 20, 30 or 50 stocks he or she believes to have the best future prospects.

The same is true within industry sectors. Though there may be 100 companies engaged in a specific industry, the fund manager may choose 20 or 30 he or she believes to be the most promising.

The fund manager may use various criteria to determine the top performers – it all depends on the purpose of the fund.

For example, some funds may favor revenue or earnings growth. Others may look for value – investing in stocks that are fundamentally strong, but are selling below those of competitors in the same industry.

Mutual fund managers have varying degrees of success at active management. In fact, most don’t outperform the market. Only about 22% of mutual funds outperform for as long as five years.

4. ETFs

ETFs are set up similar to mutual funds, in that they represent a portfolio of stocks, bonds or other investments.

But unlike mutual funds, ETF’s are passively managed. That means that rather than specific securities being selected within the fund, it instead invests in an underlying index.

The most common is the S&P 500. That gives the fund full exposure to the US large-cap market.

And since it includes the largest companies in virtually every industry, all major industry sectors will be included.

ETFs can also invest in mid-cap and small-cap stocks, based on indexes that represent those markets.

In each case, the ETF attempts to closely match allocations in the underlying index. This includes not only the number of stocks in the index, but also matching the percentage representation in the index of each security.

The limitation of ETF’s is that they merely seek to match the performance of the underlying index, not to exceed it.

But ETFs are generally lower cost than mutual funds. For example, a lot of mutual funds charge load fees of between 1% and 3% of your investment. ETF don’t charge load fees.

The primary trading fee on ETF’s is the broker commission. That’s usually comparable to stocks, and runs between $5 and $10 at major discount brokerage firms.

The specific market exposure, combined with low trading costs, makes ETFs perfect if you’re mostly concerned about creating a well-balanced portfolio allocation.

And since they can be purchased on a per share basis, they require a lot less investment capital than mutual funds, that typically require a flat dollar amount investment, say $3,000 or more.

5. Real Estate

Real estate is frequently mentioned as an alternative to stocks as the best long-term investment. That’s because real estate has produced similar returns to stocks, at least since World War II.

For example, according to the US Census Bureau, the median price of a single-family home in the US was under $3,000 in 1940. But as of March, 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports that the median price of an existing home sold is $241,700. That’s a more than 80-fold increase in price!

The most basic way to invest in real estate is by owning your own home. Unlike other investments, real estate can be heavily leveraged, particularly if you’re an owner occupant.

For example, it’s possible to buy an owner-occupied home with as little as 3% down.

That would give you the ability to purchase a $200,000 house with just $6,000 for the down payment.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that house prices will continue to rise the way they have in the past. But if the value of a $200,000 house doubles in 20 years, you’ll get a $200,000 return on a $6,000 investment!

That doesn’t even count the fact that the mortgage on the property will be more than half paid after 20 years.

And don’t forget – while the house is rising in value, providing an incredible investment return, it will also be providing shelter for you and your family.

Investing in Rental Real Estate

This is the next step up from owning your own home. It’s more complicated than an owner-occupied house because buying it has to make sense from an investment standpoint.

For example, the purchase price and carrying costs have to be low enough to be covered by the monthly rent payment.

Another complication is that investment property has to be managed. But you can hire a professional real estate management company to do that for you – at a fee.

Still another issue is the down payment requirement. While you might be able to purchase an owner-occupied home with 3% down, an investment property will usually require a minimum of 20%.

If the purchase price of the property is $200,000, you’ll need to come up with $40,000 upfront.

There are two ways to make money investing in rental real estate:

  1. Rental income, and
  2. Capital appreciation.

In most markets today, it’s very difficult to buy a rental property that will reduce a positive cash flow at the very beginning. Breaking even is a more realistic goal.

But as the years pass, and rents rise, you’ll begin to make a profit. This will produce a monthly income.

Best of all, once your mortgage is paid for, the positive cash flow will increase dramatically.

But it’s more likely most rental real estate is purchased for capital appreciation. It works the same as it does for an owner-occupied property.

For example, if you make a 20% down payment ($40,000) on a $200,000 property, and it doubles in value in 20 years, you’ll have a $200,000 return on a $40,000 upfront investment.

And once again, after 20 years, the mortgage on the property will be more than half paid.

Rental real estate is one of the very best long-term investments.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

If you want to own real estate over and above an owner-occupied home, or if you don’t want to take on the complication of rental real estate, there is a third option. You can invest in real estate investment trusts, or REITs for short.

The advantage with REITs is that you can invest in them the same way you do with stocks. You buy into the trust, and participate in the ownership and profits of the underlying real estate.

The return on REITs generally comes from either mortgage financing or equity ownership. Where equity is involved, properties are usually commercial in nature.

This can include office, retail, warehouse or industrial space, or large apartment complexes. It’s an opportunity to invest in commercial real estate with a relatively small amount of money, and the benefit of professional management.

What’s more, you can buy or sell your REIT position anytime you like.

REITs function something like very high dividend paying stocks. This is because at least 90% of their income must be returned to investors in the form of dividends.

That can make it one of the highest yielding investments you can have.

For example, the website Reit.com has data showing that REITs had an average annual rate of return of 12.87% between 1970 and 2016. This means they outperformed stocks, which had an average annual return of 11.64% over the same timeframe.

Given the income and performance history of REITs, they can be one of the best long-term investments in a well-balanced portfolio.

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding is still another way to invest in real estate – without getting your hands dirty! It’s much like peer-to-peer lending, except it’s focused on real estate.

It mostly involves commercial real estate, but crowdfunding platforms give you the ability to choose just about any method for investing in property.

Unlike REITs, real estate crowdfunding gives you an opportunity to select the specific real estate investments you want to participate in. You can also choose the amount of your investment, though that can be as little as $1,000.

One of the best real estate crowdfunding platforms is Fundrise.

You can invest on this platform with as little as $500, and average returns are running between 12% and 14% per year.

The one of the biggest advantages with Fundrise is that you don’t have to be an accredited investor.

That’s a requirement with most real estate crowdfunding platforms, and it essentially requires that you be a high income/high asset investor. Other real estate crowdfunding platforms worth checking out include Realty Mogul, RealtyShares, and Peerstreet.

Just be aware that most real estate crowdfunding platforms do require you to be an accredited investor (high income/high net worth), and won’t be available to the average investor.

But that’s also why I like Fundrise, since they don’t have that requirement.

6. Tax Sheltered Retirement Plans

These aren’t actual investments, but they add an important dimension to any investment strategy. When you hold investments in tax-sheltered retirement plans, you get important tax benefits.

First and foremost is the tax deductibility of your contributions. But even more important is tax deferral of investment earnings.

It means your investments can earn income and capital appreciation year after year, without immediate tax consequences. Funds become taxable only when they are withdrawn from the plan.

For example, let’s say you invest $10,000 in the taxable account, with an average annual return on investment of 10%. If you’re in the 30% tax bracket, your after-tax return on investment will be just 7%.

After 30 years, the account will grow to..

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Memories of college include eating beef ramen noodles by the case in order to save a few bucks. Here are some great saving money tips that can help, other than filling up on noodles!

I was fortunate that the Army National Guard paid for most of my tuition plus my mall job of selling vitamins and protein powders at GNC helped with my bills, yes I had debt, but just like me, you can pay your debt off too!

Despite this I always felt broke. Scratch that, I was broke! I was always looking for ways to make extra money in college. Oh how I wish articles like this existed back then!

Even if you have your finances carefully planned in advance, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself needing ways to make money fast to get you through college.

I’m going to recommend some money making methods that are more entrepreneurial than job-related.

The problem with holding a job in college is that they typically pay no better than minimum wage, which forces you to work long hours that cut into your study time.

I’m also not going to recommend some of the standard make-money-in-college ideas, like donating blood or selling on eBay. There are so many more creative ideas to choose from than those.

Instead, I’m going to make recommendations that can play into your natural talents, provide you with a flexible schedule, and hold the potential to earn a lot more money than a minimum-wage job. And some of them even have the potential to grow into businesses that you can continue after graduation.

Good deal? Check these out…

1. Drive for Uber

Have a nice car? Put it to good use and drive for Uber.

Uber is a company that connects riders with drivers – and drivers with riders! Uber allows riders to request a ride from their smartphone. That’s when you, the driver, get a notification letting you know there’s someone that needs a ride.

You can track how much you earn as a driver through the Uber app, and best yet, you can set your own schedule. So, if you’re in college and meet Uber’s qualifications, this is a great opportunity for you. Learn more about how to become an Uber driver by visiting our post.

You might also want to try driving for Lyft, a similar company.

Either way, you can make quite a bit of money as a driver for these services. Just make sure to check your local regulations to ensure you can operate as a driver in your area.

2. Tutor

Being a tutor can be especially lucrative in a college community. This is because you will be able to provide your services not only to college students but also to local high school and elementary school students. In many markets, you can earn at least $30 per hour.

Another advantage is that the subject areas you can cover are pretty broad. The greatest demand is usually for math and science, but you can also tutor in writing and reading, as well as history and soft sciences. If you’re bilingual, you may even be able to tutor in languages, or with English as a second language.

Tutors don’t typically require any kind of special education or licensing. You can market your services through the various departments around the campus, as well as local high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. A simple flyer showing your subject areas, geographic range and a personal description can do the job. You can also include your hourly fee, but that can work for or against you, depending on how competitive your fee is compared to what others are offering.

In addition to high pay, you can have control over your work schedule, as well as where it is you will commute to (services are generally provided at the student’s home, but you can also arrange to do it in school or at an agreed-upon neutral site). Still another advantage is that the work runs with the school year, so you’ll be free over summer vacation.

Tiffany Alexy of DivvyInvestments.com tutored while in college. In fact, she tutored two kids in Spanish and three brothers in Chinese! How much did she make? $15-$35 per hour. Not bad it all! It pays to use your skills (in this case, knowing multiple languages) to tutor others.

Pauline Paquin of ReachFinancialIndependence.com also tutored while in college, teaching Spanish and English and earned around $30 per hour. Pauline also put her musical abilities to good use and taught piano for $40 per hour. $40 per hour!

3. Babysitting

As ordinary as this sounds, it can actually work quite well for college students. This is because babysitting often involves long periods of low- or no-activity, such as when the kids you are sitting are doing homework or have gone off the bed. The benefit is that this downtime will give you time to do your own homework. In can seem as if you’re getting paid to do your homework, which is no small advantage.

Pay is generally in the $10 and $12 an hour range, but you can get more for special occasions, and sometimes even collect tips over and above regular pay. And since babysitting gigs usually happen on an as-needed basis, you won’t have a grueling schedule to keep. That can make the work easy to blend with your school schedule.

There are many ways to get babysitting gigs. One place to start is care.com – a site that helps connect families with caregivers, which can include childcare as well as elderly care. 

4. Freelance Writing

There are tens of thousands of blogs and websites on the Internet, and many of them need content on a regular basis. If you like to write, have good writing skills, and have command of one or more topic areas, you can earn money writing articles on the web.

How much you can earn will depend upon how much time you put into the venture, as well as the types of sites that you write for. On the blogging side, you can earn anywhere from $30 to well over $100 per article. Business websites may pay even more, particularly for writing on technical topics or creating marketing copy.

You can sometimes find work writing for agencies, but the pay per article is much lower than the numbers quoted above. The best way to find clients, particularly those who pay a decent amount, is to approach those clients and websites directly. This will also provide you with the ability to choose the specific sites and topic areas that you want to write about.

5. Create Videos for YouTube

This can be excellent venture if you are creative and have a flair for capturing what’s unusual, interesting and fun. If you can, you may be able to create videos that can generate a steady flow of views, and earn advertising revenue as a result.

This isn’t anything like a job or even providing a service, but more like a business. You create videos, put them on YouTube, set them up with Google AdSense (much as you would with a blog), then earn income as people view your video, and click on the ads displayed.

Should your videos draw thousands of viewers, the income can be steady, providing you with a regular monthly income from the ads. This will require that you produce multiple videos, since some may be popular, while others may go nowhere. But if one or more of your videos goes viral and draws hundreds of thousands of views, ad revenue can be substantial.

The disadvantage is that you may need to produce several videos before you generate a steady income. You will also need to create fresh videos as existing ones fade. But an unexpected bonus is that success in this venture could translate into a profitable business both now and after graduation.

6. Do What You’re Good At

We’re talking mostly about the Internet here. College students are often more savvy in navigating and using the web than most of the rest of the population. For example, along the way you may have become quite accomplished in regard to social media, graphic design, creating websites, or creating videos. Any one of these skills could be sold to both businesses and individuals with the potential to produce a large income.

Pick your specialization, see what others are charging the same services, then set your fees a little bit lower. Many businesses and individuals are looking for someone to handle special projects for them, and being able to do that at a low fee can often get you business.

Once you get a few projects going, and you are getting repeat customers, you can look into increasing your fees. But your primary purpose at the beginning will be get some paying clients. This is another business venture that could mushroom into something more serious after graduation.

7. Becoming a Sports Referee

Virtually every community has a network of recreational athletic leagues, and they all need referees for their games. If you played any sports when you were growing up, you could be a referee for any of them at the local level. And since sports are seasonal, it will be to your advantage to be prepared to referee for sports that cover different seasons. For example, you might referee basketball in winter, baseball in spring and summer, and soccer or football in the fall. That will keep you busy year-round.

Referees are typically paid a flat fee per game. You might earn anywhere from $20-$50 to referee a single game. The lower age groups that play shorter games (maybe 40 to 60 minutes) will be on the lower end of the pay scale, while the higher earnings will come on longer and more competitive games played by older kids. It may even be possible to eventually work your way up to where you are refereeing for high school games at higher rates of pay.

Since so few people want to be referees in amateur sports leagues, there are usually plenty of openings. No formal qualifications are usually required, other than your own knowledge of- and experience with- the sport, though some leagues may require completion of a first aid course of some sort.

Once you sign up to be a referee in a league, you are added to the rotation. Games will be assigned based on your availability, and will generally take place on weekends. If you love a sport or two, becoming a referee is a way of turning your passion for it into a source of income.

8. Mow Lawns

If you’re in college and have access to a truck, a lawn mower, and an edger, make use of those tools and mow lawns!

This is a fantastic business for college students living in sunny areas where the grass grows quickly. And, because grass grows faster during the summertime than any other season, you’ll be able to run your yard maintenance business while you don’t have any classes.

At this job, you’re going to have to be fast and skilled. There is a lot of competition out there, so make sure you do a great job for your clients, be polite, and throw in some extras like weeding or blowing off the walkways.

You’re probably not going to need a business license for mowing lawns, but be sure to check with your local government to see if you do.

You might be able to get $100 per month for weekly service. Let’s say that you do. If you mow a residential lawn and it takes you an hour, that means you’re making $25 per hour – not including preparation or driving time. That’s not bad at all.

Try mowing lawns to make money in college. It’s worth giving it a shot.

9. Housesitting

Summertime is also a great season to do some housesitting for folks vacationing at the beach (or wherever else they are). There are a few reasons why people want someone to housesit. Let’s explore them.

First, many people want someone to watch their house because they actually want them to watch their pets! Many pets don’t go on vacation (like cats), so they’ll need their litter box cleaned, water dish filled, and food dish filled on a regular basis. Sometimes this means coming at least once per day.

Second, some people like the idea of having someone they trust monitor the house for security purposes. While they probably won’t expect you to bust out your ninja moves on intruders, they will expect you to call them, the police, or the fire department should something suspicious or dangerous happen.

Some homeowners simply want someone to take care of the pets and monitor the home. If they’re cool with it, you can even do some studying for classes while you’re housesitting.

This job probably won’t pay very well if you look at it from the perspective of an hourly rate, but remember, you’re probably not doing very much while you’re there anyway.

Let people know you’re available to housesit by posting about it on bulletin boards at community centers and tell your friends and family.

10. Be a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants help business owners get more stuff done. What makes a great virtual assistant? Here’s what you need to know.

Great virtual assistants are fantastic at organization. They live and breathe it every day. Just about aspect of their lives are organized, and believe it or not, many successful entrepreneurs need the help of virtual assistants to keep everything going in the right direction.

The tasks a virtual assistant might help with might include but aren’t limited to:

  • Organizing a business owner’s calendar.
  • Managing virtual employees or freelancers.
  • Maintaining a business task list.
  • Orchestrating speaking engagements, meetings, or events.
  • Completing research on behalf of the business owner.
  • Reminding the business owner of their schedule to keep them on task.

These are just some of the main ways a virtual assistant can help. But there are others.

Virtual assistants are often skilled writers, designers, or tech experts. Sometimes they help lend their skills to build something online for the business owner.

Truly, how you define yourself as a virtual assistant matters. Seek out your very best skills, advertise them, and see what happens.

11. Blog!

Yes, you can make money blogging. If you would have asked me years ago if you could, I would have probably said no way. But today? Yeah, I would believe you.

That’s because I’ve found tremendous success with blogging. I believe you can make money blogging, and while it may take you several months or years to see results, it’s a fun and rewarding experience.

If you can write, and you’re passionate about a topic, you can blog. WordPress is a popular blogging platform you can use to create a free blog. If you want to host the website yourself, you’re probably going to have to pay a few bucks, but it’s worth it.

If you’re going to make money blogging, you have to have great content. Whatever you do, don’t write just for the sake of writing or earning money. Produce content that you can be proud of and will help other people.

It helps to get the advice of some other bloggers before you start. Study their tactics and discover what worked well for them. The most important tip I can give you is to never stop learning. Search engines are continually updating their search algorithms which in turn affects your website traffic. And, your website traffic affects your ability to earn money.

The other great thing about blogging? You can do it anytime, day or night. Many jobs require you to be at a certain place at a certain time. As a blogger, you can be anywhere there’s an internet connection and write anytime. It’s one of the most flexible jobs available.

So, if you aren’t pressed to make a lot of immediate income, and you like the idea of being free to work whenever it fits with your schedule, then blogging might be the ticket.

By the way, if you’re into finance and you want to blog about it, I encourage you to attend the Financial Blogger Conference. There, you’ll learn from top bloggers and financial experts about the topics that interest you. Why take the long road when you can attend a conference and learn from the best?

12. Bartending/Serving in a High End Restaurant or Club

You probably have a good idea as to what bartenders and servers do, so I won’t spend any time on that. However, the type of establishment you work in will have a huge impact on how much money you earn. High-end establishments typically come with much higher tip income, while those on the lower end could be no better than minimum wage.

Bartending and serving can also be a good way of blending your social life, at least if you work at establishments that your friends frequent. It also has the benefit of paying daily (or more likely, nightly), since most of your pay comes in cash tips.

The downside is that you may find yourself working when everyone else is out relaxing or playing. For example, dinner shifts tend to be the best for servers, and weekends are generally better paying for bartenders. The work can be tough, but you can probably make more money working two or three shifts per week than you could working for five days a week in a minimum-wage job.

Bartending may require that you complete a bartending course, though there generally are no formal requirements for a server.

13. Become a Handyman

Are your friends always calling you up asking you how to fix this or that? Do you have more tools than your local hardware store? You just might be a handyman – why not put your skills to good use?

You can do all kinds of jobs as a handyman, including but not limited to: plumbing jobs, construction jobs, woodworking, and much more. Some of these jobs you might need to be licensed for, so be sure to check with your local government.

Just imagine the possibilities. You might have yourself two career paths to choose from by the time you’re done with college: to continue your handyman business or to follow the career related to your major. The choice will be yours! The more doors you have available to walk through in your career, the better.</p

14. Help Out at the College

Colleges love hiring students to do all kinds of tasks around campus. For example, you might help out with some of the janitorial duties or serve as a secretary or receptionist. You might enjoy overseeing a dormitory or providing security for the college. Make sure to ask your college about the opportunities that are available to you.

Professors also sometimes need help with some of the technical aspects of their jobs. Ask them to see if there’s anything they might need help with. You might help them with preparing slideshow presentations or creating homework documents.

The great thing about working at a college is that they understand you take classes and can’t be in two places at once. You might find the work programs are available after classes and/or on the weekends – exactly what you’re after!

Todd Tresidder of FinancialMentor.com worked a number of jobs for a university to help pay his living expenses. He cooked dinners for a fraternity, spent summertime digging steam trenches, and did other manual labor jobs and major maintenance projects. He used the cash to pay for his books and other expenses. He said working for the university was a fast way to make money because he could live for almost for free during the summer while housing prices were low.

Rachel of AdventuresinMobileHomes.com was hired by her school to take notes in class. These notes would then be repackaged and sold to students. What an excellent idea! Many students aren’t great notetakers, so why not see if your college would be interested in doing this for their students?

If you need to make money in college, don’t be so quick to take a minimum-wage job at a local big-box or fast food joint. Instead, think about what you can do – and what you like to do – and how you can turn that into an income source. That will enable you to both earn higher income, and have greater control of your time.

15. Take Online Surveys

Who wouldn’t want to make some money while you’re sitting on your couch watching Netflix? Sounds like a dream, right? Well, now that dream can be reality. Thanks to the Internet, there are dozens and dozens of ways that you can make money from behind your computer, and working with a survey site is a great way to do that.

There are dozens and dozens of different survey panels on the Internet that you can join. The idea behind these websites is simple. All that you have to do is create an account, and then wait for your invites. You’ll get an invite, you complete a survey, you get paid. Every website is different on how they will pay you and how much you’re going to make for each completed survey. Some sites are going to give you straight cash for every survey, while others are going to offer you points.

You can use those points to redeem for gift cards to transfer them into cash. Each site has different advantages and disadvantages to their program. Instead of wasting hours and hours researching different websites and creating accounts, I’ve done all of that dirty work for you. I’ve reviewed several of the most popular online survey websites and have outlined the pros and cons of each of them.

The post

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

What do you think my answer is to the above question? Does the screenshot below give you an indication? It better!

I cringe anytime someone asks me this question. Don’t do it. If you need a couple of other options, watch the video or read below.

Whatever you do, don’t use your 401k money to pay off your credit cards. When you’re paying those credit card bills every month, it can be tempting to pay off those bills anyway possible. There are a few accounts that are off-limits.

Your 401k is the main engine behind your retirement vehicle. It’s vital you are properly managing your 401k account. I get a lot of questions about taking out a loan from 401k. This could be one of the worst mistakes you make for your retirement.

You might have found yourself with thousands of dollars of debt. Credit card debt can put a serious strain on your finances. There are several ways to address this challenge.

Should You Use Your 401k to Payoff Your Credit Cards? - YouTube

2 Alternatives to Borrowing from 401K Get a personal loan from your local bank.

You might be asking yourself why you are taking on more debt to pay off old debt.  Don’t.  Think of it as consolidating and reducing the interest rate on your loan.  I recently had a reader that followed my advice and shaved her interest rate by 10%.  If you haven’t hurt your credit you can use a balance transfer card and some of the cards will give you airline points for any future purchases.

Once upon a time, getting a loan from the bank was a long and frustrating headache. Thanks to all of the various options and products from banks, getting a personal loan has never been easier.

In fact, there are plenty of banks where you can apply and be approved for a loan online. You don’t even have to step foot in a bank. Not only is it easier to get a loan online, but you can also be approved for lower rates.

If you decide to get a loan through a bank, always compare dozens of banks before you decide which one is best for you. Every bank is different, all of them are going to offer different rates and have different fees.

Consider Peer to Peer Lending. 

P2P lending is becoming a mainstay in the financial services industry.   The leading peer to peer lender is Lending Club having issued over $1 billion of loans.

Getting a loan through Lending Club is simple. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, like SSN and address, as well as employment and income information. There are a few requirements you’ll have to meet:

  • Credit score of at least 600
  • Three years of credit history
  • Max debt-to-income ratio of 40%

As long as you meet these requirements, you should have no problems. You can secure loans anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000. In most cases, Lending Club is quick about approving applications. In most cases, the application will be approved in less than a week. After that, all you have to do is wait for the investors to back your loan.

There are several advantages to going with a P2P loan versus a traditional bank loan. One of the most notable is you’re going to get a lower rate with a P2P company compared to what you get with a brick-and-mortar bank.

If Lending Club doesn’t work for you, there are several other excellent P2P sites out there. Sites like Prosper or Lending Tree are excellent alternatives.

Another reader who was currently paying over 25% on her credit cards emailed me asking about cashing in her 401k to pay off her credit cards. (She’s the one that inspired me to film the video).  I suggested she check out Lending Club which she did immediately.

A few days later I received this email:

Boom! That’s how you save money and not jeopardize your financial future.

(You can also consider Prosper, another P2P lender.)

There are several reasons taking out a loan on a 401k is a bad idea. If you were to get fired or quit your job before you’ve paid the loan, you’ll then have 60 days to pay back the full amount of your loan. If you don’t get it paid, the IRS is going to treat the loan as a withdrawal from the account. If you’ve considered using your 401k to pay off some credit card, explore these alternatives first.

Tips for Paying Off Credit Cards

In some cases, you don’t have to take out a loan to pay off your credit card bills. Making a couple of financial tweaks or lifestyle changes can give you the extra cash you need to pay off those credit card bills.

The first thing you should do is pay off the highest APR first. Paying off the card with the highest interest rate will save you a lot of money over the long haul. After you have the first one paid off, move onto the card with the next highest APR.

Start a budget. If you don’t know where your money is going, then you don’t know where you could be wasting money. If the idea of creating a budget makes you want to hit your head against a door, don’t worry, there are several easy ways you can create a budget

Having a budget (and sticking to it) can show you areas where you can trim back your spending. You can use all of the extra money to pay off some of your credit card bills. Most people are surprised to see how much they are spending every month.

After you’ve created your budget, you have to do something with it. Look for two or three areas where you can cut back or eliminate completely. Paying off your credit card bills is going to require some sacrifices. 

When you’re trying to eliminate those debts, it’s important you stop using your credit card. Put the card in the freezer or chop it up. Do whatever you have to keep from racking up even more debts on the card.

As I mentioned above, getting your debts in one place is a great way to help pay off your credit card bills. Consolidating your debts can save you money on your interest rates. If you can find a balance transfer card which fits your needs, this is one of the best ways to pay off your debts without paying a fortune in interest.

The post Should You Use a 401k Loan to Pay Off Your Credit Cards? appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

While there are many ways to get ahead in life, few are as beneficial as earning more money.

By increasing your income over time, you can boost your cash savings rate, save more money for retirement, and even afford a splurge once in a while.

Ready to get started?

And if having more money makes you feel more secure, you’ll probably sleep better at night, too.

Of course, it’s not always easy to increase your income. Your employer might hate giving raises, for example, or maybe overtime at work has become scarce. If that’s the case, you might need to pick up a part-time job, start a side hustle from home, or look for unorthodox ways to earn money in your spare time. Check out our post on how to become an Uber driver, this is a great side hustle because you can make your own schedule and pick up extra cash when its convenient for you.

13 Best Get Paid to take Surveys for Money Sites

If you’re short on time, and looking for how to make money fast, one of the easiest ways is with online survey sites. While the payouts can vary, these survey companies let you earn money just for answering questions, browsing the internet, and more.

Plus, unlike a part-time job with strict hours and the standard commute, you can complete surveys during your actual free time – at night when the kids are in bed, early mornings before work, or while you’re watching TV.


MySurvey is actually and adaptation of a program that was started back in 1946. It began as the National Family Opinion organization that used to send out surveys through the mail. In 2001, they joined the digital age, and now they are one of the best survey sites around. According to the website, they have issued out more than $15,000,000 rewards to members.

The rewards for the MySurvey surveys are on par (or better than some) with most other sites. They offer $0.50 to $1.25 for every survey that you complete, with the shorter surveys only taking around 5 minutes to finish. When you want to cash out, you’ll have to accumulate $10, which is less than some of the other sites, and you’ll be able to get your money through a check, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or the more than 60 other gift card options. Sign up for a free mysurvey account HERE.

Vindale Research

Vindale Research isn’t going to be the highest paying survey sites, but that doesn’t mean that you should automatically eliminate it. It’s a great addition to your survey sites and can help you earn a couple of extra dollars every month. 

Vindale Research is one of the oldest survey sites out there, which means the company knows what they are doing. For every survey, you’ll get anywhere from $1 to $5, which isn’t bad money for the time that you’ll invest. Obviously, the more detailed a survey is, the more you’ll get paid.

The company also offers product evaluations that you’ll earn more cash for (because they are more time-consuming). They will give you a product or service, and you’ll be required to write an honest review on it. This can pay anywhere from $5 to $75. Sign up for Vindale Research HERE.

Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie makes it quick and easy to jump into the survey game. According to their websites, they say they are the “most popular spot online to earn cash and rewards for sharing your thoughts,” while that might not be technically true, they are one of the largest survey sites out there. They were launched all the way back in 2005 (which is pretty old for a survey site) and they have over 4,000,000 members. 

Survey Junkie uses a point system for their rewards. For every survey you complete, you’ll get anywhere from 50 – 450 points. 100 points equals $1. Unlike some of the other competition, Survey Junkie is very honest about how much you’ll make. They clearly say on their website, “You Will Not Get Rich” taking surveys. This is refreshing to see after so many websites claim you’ll be able to quit your day job and sit at home taking surveys all day.

You’ll be able to cash out your points either through PayPal or with a gift card. Survey Junkie claims you can get your cash out instantly, but this isn’t necessarily true. In most cases, if you request a payout through PayPal and it can take up to 24 hours, but in most cases it is immediate. Compared to other sites out there, this is a huge advantage. Some companies and sites can make you wait several days or even weeks. Sign up for Survey Junkie HERE

ePoll Market Research

One of the lesser-known survey sites is ePoll Market Research. The company was established in 1997 and helped paved the way for the hundreds of different online survey sites that we enjoy today.

While there are no clear guidelines, ePoll surveys tend to revolve around the media and entertainment business. So younger survey takers and TV/movie watchers will probably enjoy ePoll more than some of the other demographics. With ePoll, you may be required to watch a commercial, or even a TV episode and then answer questions about it on the survey. In fact, on rare occasions, ePoll will send out a movie or TV show for you to watch at home and then review on the site. These opportunities are infrequent but are a nice additional perk of using the site.

Most of the surveys take around 10-15 minutes, not counting the time it takes you to watch the required viewing if there is any. Sign up for E-Poll HERE

Ipsos iSay

iSay is not the most popular survey site out there, but it should be in the consideration when you’re looking for a place to make some extra spending money.

In most ways, iSay is identical to the other sites on the list. One thing which sets them apart is the “Poll Predictor.” If you’ve been on a survey site before, you know one of the most frustrating things is to enter a survey, answer a few questions, and then get kicked out for not qualifying. If this happens with iSay, you get asked a Poll Predictor question. These are questions like “Have you ever been overseas?” and you have to guess what percentage of people said yes. The closer you are to the right answer; the more chances you get for winning the prize drawing.

How much are you going to earn using iSay? Their payouts are average compared to the other survey sites out there. Just like with other sites, the amount you get paid is going to differ depending on the length of the survey. You’ll need to accumulate at least 500 points (equals $5) before you can request a payout with PayPal or transfer the money to a gift card. Sign up for iSay HERE

Inbox Dollars

With Inbox Dollars, you’ll earn cash for an array of activities. In addition to earning rewards for completing surveys and questionnaires, you can also get paid to surf the internet, play games, print grocery coupons, and shop online. Best of all, signing up is absolutely free!

If you use the InboxDollars site regularly, you can usually earn up to $20 or $30 per month for your various activities. Plus, you’ll get a $5.00 credit just for signing up!

Sign up for InboxDollars here


Swagbucks was one of the first paid survey sites to appear on the internet, but it has grown to offer more options and more fun ways to earn money with each passing year. With Swagbucks, you’ll earn points for shopping online, watching videos, searching the web, and answering surveys.

When it comes to redeeming your points, a wide range of gift cards are some of the best options on the Swagbucks website. If doing surveys for gift cards is not your thing, you can also redeem your points for PayPal cash.

Signing up for Swagbucks is easy and, best of all, it’s free! If you want to see all the different ways to earn money with Swagbucks, click here to get started.

Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research works a lot like other paid survey sites. Once you sign up, you’ll earn points for each survey you complete. As an added bonus, the responses you give during surveys will help you learn about new products before they hit the market and influence their respective marketing campaigns. And once you start racking up the points, you can redeem them for cash or prizes.

While you have plenty of options when it comes to redeeming your points, Pinecone research is also one of the few online survey sites that will actually send you a check in the mail instead of making you redeem for gift cards or merchandise.

If you’re interested in figuring out how much you can earn, sign up for Pinecone Research here.

American Consumer Opinion

While it might be hard to believe at first, American Consumer Opinion will pay you real, actual money to share your opinions and complete online surveys. Once you join their online opinion panel, you’ll be asked to offer opinions on new products you have tried, test out new advertising campaigns, and tell companies what you think of their marketing techniques and slogans.

Payouts from American Consumer Opinion vary, but your payout will come in the form of “points” you can redeem for cash. You can also get your cash through PayPal if you want, and redemptions start at 1,000 points or $10.

Get started with American Consumer Opinion here!

Pro Opinion

With Pro Opinion, you’ll get paid to answer questions in your field of expertise. In addition, you’ll provide valuable research that is used to create expert responses and articles on the Pro Opinion website.

After you sign up, you’ll receive surveys on various topics and products via email. Once you complete these surveys and build up a stash of “points,” you can redeem them for cash via PayPal, purchases made through Amazon.com, or gift cards to various retailers. As an alternate suggestion, you can even redeem your rewards as a donation to the Red Cross.

To get started, you’ll need to offer quite a few personal details including your gender, home address, birth date, employment status, education level, and household income. After that, however, you’ll be matched with surveys that line up with your individual strengths and existing wealth of knowledge.

Interested in learning more? Sign up with Pro Opinion here.

Harris Poll Online

Like American Consumer Opinion, Harris Poll Online offers cash incentives to people who are willing to log in regularly and complete online surveys and questionnaires. Once you join, you’ll begin earning rewards for each survey you take. Once you earn enough reward “points”, you can turn them in for purchases made on websites like Amazon, iTunes, Home Depot and Walmart. Conversely, you can also turn in your points for movies, books, and home goods ordered straight from the Harris Poll website. Plus, you’ll be entered into a $10,000 sweepstakes each time you complete a survey.

While exact payouts per survey aren’t advertised and can vary quite a bit anyway, Harris Poll Online is free to join and the rewards can be lucrative if you use the website often enough.

Click here to learn more about joining Harris Poll Online and how you can earn cash in your spare time.

Global Test Market

Global Test Market is one of the rare survey sites that has received accreditation from the BBB. They are one of the most diverse survey sites that include topics of anything from cars to movies.

Just like the other survey sites, every time you complete one of the surveys, you’ll receive anywhere from 35-250 points, which equals about $1.50 to $1.75 per a survey. Once you rack up enough cash to payout (which you’ll have to accumulate at least $50), you’ll have several different options to receive your money. You can get your money through a check, through your PayPal account, or redeem it for gift cards.

In addition to getting points for each survey, you’ll also be entered into monthly cash drawings. Sure, there is no guarantee, but it’s a nice additional incentive. Sign up for Global Test Market HERE.


Unlike the other paid survey sites on this list, Wonder will actually hire you to conduct independent research on a wide range of topics. In that sense, Wonder offers much more of a “part-time job” than a side hustle you can complete in your spare time.

If you meet their criteria and get hired, you’ll conduct expert research on anything from historical events to government laws and regulations. In turn, that research is used by professionals who pay to use this service.

Earnings vary highly depending on your level of skill and the amount of time you spend finding the crucial details your clients need. Still, this is a great way to earn some money online and from the comfort of your own home.

You can read more about Wonder and where it works here.

How to Get the Most Out of the Best Online Survey Sites

The allure of “free money” can be hard to walk away from, especially if you can earn that money just by clicking around on the internet a few times per day. Still, there are plenty of ways to maximize the amount of money, merchandise, and gift cards you earn over time. Here are some tips that can help:

Sign up for every legitimate online survey site you can find.

While you can earn money from any of these sites fairly easily, the amount of money you can earn from each might be limited. If you have plenty of time on your hands, it can pay to sign up for several online survey sites and participate in each.

The more surveys and online tasks you complete, the more money you’ll earn over time. You may even find that a few sites are your favorites this way, or that one site ends up helping you net more cash than the others. Regardless, you won’t really know how each works until you try them out.

Watch out for scams.

While every online survey site mentioned in this post is absolutely legitimate, there are some “copy cat” websites and even fraudulent websites out there.

If a website is making wild claims about free money or asks for more personal information than you feel comfortable giving, that’s a good indicator that they are up to no good. Make sure to read reviews and follow up with research to make sure a website is legitimate before you begin using them. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Set aside time to complete surveys each day.

If you feel like you don’t have time to complete surveys, you’re not alone. Most of us live busy lives, and it can be difficult to keep up, let alone take on a new side hustle.

Still, if you watch television each day, then you have plenty of time to complete surveys online. Simply turn on your favorite show and complete survey questions during the commercial breaks. If you like some quiet time at night, that’s also a great time to earn extra money through online search or complete a few online surveys while you relax.

The Bottom Line

The best online survey sites will reward you for everything from searching the internet to watching targeted videos, opening emails, completing surveys, and giving your honest opinions on products and services.

But to get your hands on that free and easy money, you have to sign up first!

Have you ever earned money through an online survey site? Why or why not?

The post 13 Best Online Survey and Research Sites For Money and Rewards appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Have you been following the price action in Bitcoin lately?

It’s been hard to ignore.

Bitcoin is hardly the only cryptocurrency, but it is the most popular and has become something of a bellwether.

The price of a single Bitcoin rose from just under $1,000 at the beginning of 2017 to nearly $20,000 by the end of the year.

More recently the price has been staying well below $10,000.

And, while Bitcoin has been stealing all the headlines, it’s major competitor, Ethereum, has actually experienced even more dramatic price swings, though at much lower levels.

After trading for just pennies in 2015, the price boosted an all-time high over $1,400 early this year. 

That’s a wild ride, but it’s the kind of price action that gets your attention. It’s certainly gotten mine.

Up until a couple of months ago I mostly ignored Bitcoin.

But it’s recent popularity, as evidenced by the incredible price run-up, is making me wonder if it’s time to become a believer in cryptocurrency, as a whole.

But, before we get too caught up in price swings, let’s talk about some basics.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin (BTC) is the largest and best known of the many cryptocurrencies.

In theory, it’s a currency – or at least it’s supposed to be.

I say in theory, because it isn’t an acceptable method of payment in most places. It may have been intended as a currency, but right now it’s functioning more as a very speculative investment.

Bitcoin is a digital currency released as open source software in 2009.

It was created by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto. Curiously, Nakamoto isn’t even a real guy. The name is a pseudonym for someone who prefers to remain anonymous.

The basic characteristics of Bitcoin are that it only exists on the Internet, is not issued by any government or central bank, and is limited to just 21 million units. However, each of those units can be divided into 100 million Satoshi.

The total amount of Satoshi that can be potentially created is – get this – 2.1 zillion – if you can imagine a number that large.

Ironically, while a Bitcoin, worth something on the order of $10,000, would be completely impractical to use as a payment method, a Satoshi – which is worth a small fraction of a penny – wouldn’t be enough to buy a single M&M.

Here is the Bitcoin price history from early 2013 through the spring of 2018:

In this article, I’m going to discuss cryptocurrencies in general, but Bitcoin in particular.

It’s by far the most important cryptocurrency, and the one is getting all the attention – at least for now.

But there are other cryptocurrencies as well (over 1,600 now!), and we might want to keep an eye on them (well… a handful, perhaps).

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency currently.

Its development is a bit more complicated.

It got started in Switzerland in 2015, but has since split into two separate blockchains (we’ll discuss blockchains and a little bit – trust me, this stuff is complicated!).

We now have Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC), which continues as the original.

Ethereum hasn’t gained nearly the level of acceptance or investor interest that Bitcoin has. That doesn’t make it any less important. The entire cryptocurrency phenomenon is in its infancy and is playing out in real time.

It’s possible that Ethereum, or even some other cryptocurrency, could overtake Bitcoin, and become the dominant crypto.

That’s why as much as we want to focus on Bitcoin, the other crypto’s can’t be ignored. The entire conglomeration has only been in existence for a few short years.

What’s more, prices for both Bitcoin and Ethereum only began to take off late in 2016.

In fact, most of the price action took place in 2017.

Here is the Ethereum price history from August 2015 to the spring of 2018:

You can see how it compares to Bitcoin, lined in orange.

Other Cryptocurrencies

We’re not going to spend any time on other singular cryptocurrencies, but I do want you to know that they’re out there.

And at any point in time, any one of them could rise up and become the dominant cryptocurrency.

The whole cryptocurrency movement is happening very quickly, and even unpredictably.

Much as it was in the early days of the Internet, it’s hard to predict who the long-term winners will be based on the current alignment.

Some of the other major cryptocurrencies include Ripple, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, and more. It’s a safe bet that more will be rolled out going forward.

Meanwhile, governments are looking to roll out their own cryptocurrencies. It may be that they’re waiting to see how Bitcoin, Ethereum and the other assorted cryptocurrencies work out before formally launching their own versions.

How Cryptocurrencies Work

This stuff is incredibly complicated and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert.

But I want to do a high-altitude discussion of the mechanics of cryptocurrencies.

I’m going to try and make it simple, though I’m not sure that’s even possible. If you’re not interested in how cryptocurrencies work – and you just want to accept that they exist and go from there – feel free to skip over this section (I would if I were you!).

Blockchain Technology

This is the “nuts and bolts” that cryptocurrencies are built on, including Bitcoin.

It’s a chain of information registration and distribution that’s operated by cryptocurrency participants. Once again, there’s no government, central bank, private bank or corporation operating behind the scenes, and making it all work.

Blockchain is quite literally a series of transactions between individuals and their computers.

In fact, one of the primary attractions of cryptocurrencies is the fact that they don’t pass through banks and other financial institutions. They literally operate between individual users.

Private Key. This is a unique code that contains encrypted details about each individual Bitcoin, including its ownership. The private key enables the owner to engage in business transactions without ever revealing his or her identity to other parties.

There are advantages and disadvantages to these anonymous transactions, but we’ll get into those separately.

There are actually two keys with Bitcoin, one private, one public. The public key is your Bitcoin address, which everyone can see. The private key is secret. Anytime you make a transaction, you combine both your public and private keys together. This acts as a certificate that verifies that the transaction came from you. But your information and your account are completely safe as long as you don’t publish your private key.

Transactions are authorized by the blockchain networks application and maintenance of its protocol.

On a practical level, transactions work very similar to the way they do with other online payment methods, like credit cards, debit cards and PayPal.

The major difference being that the transactions are directly between buyer and seller, and never pass through an intermediary.

Are your eyes glazing over yet?

Bitcoin Mining

“Mining” is the process by which Bitcoin comes into existence.

As I said earlier, no more than 21 million Bitcoin can ever be produced. “Miners” are the people who enable that production to happen. They get a reward of Bitcoins (or a percentage of) when they successfully create a “hash”.

Let me explain…

Within the Bitcoin network are individuals and businesses who keep records of the transactions. All transactions are collected for a given period of time, onto a list, which is known as a “block”. This is where the blockchain comes into play.

In order to verify the activity, an updated copy of the block is given to everyone who participated in it. The miners then take each block and apply a mathematical formula to it.

This creates a short, random sequence of letters and numbers – the hash.

The hash is stored at the end of the blockchain, and then each block is sealed off.

That’s when the miner receives his or her reward of Bitcoin, inching the total closer to the ultimate maximum of 21 million.

The miners use software written specifically to mine blocks. The reward provides an incentive for minors to continue to perform their function, and increase the number of Bitcoin.

That at least is my interpretation of how the process works. I’m pretty sure it’s actually more complicated than that. But I think you have to be a cryptocurrency insider to really understand how it works.

This explanation will work for our purposes. I don’t want to beat this discussion to death because I really don’t understand the process myself.

If there any cryptocurrency experts reading this article, feel free to jump in – please?

The Advantages of Bitcoin (And Cryptocurrencies, in General)

Apart from the recent profit potential of cryptocurrencies, they actually do have certain core qualities that all but guarantee they have a future.

There are even opinions that cryptocurrencies, or at least blockchain technology, will be as revolutionary as the Internet.

But closer to the ground, here’s what gets people excited about cryptocurrencies…

Privacy. This is one of those cherished qualities that’s just about disappeared in 21st Century. Since most transactions happen online now, somebody somewhere knows everything you do with your money.

It’s making at least some people uncomfortable and is one of the forces driving cryptocurrencies.

Privacy comes about as a result of the ability to conduct financial transactions without providing any information that identifies you personally. It’s an invisible medium of exchange, much like cash – except that you can use it to make online transactions.

Cryptocurrencies can be as easy to use as credit cards. Because they exist online, you can use them to make financial transactions the same way you do with credit cards and debit cards.su

No chargeback capacity. This is another feature of Bitcoin that appeals to merchants. Anytime you make a purchase with a credit or debit card, you can charge it back if for any reason you’re not satisfied with the transaction.

In most cases, the card issuer will take your side against the merchant.

But with Bitcoin, every purchase is final.

You can always dispute the transaction with the merchant, but it’s never an automatic process.

The Disadvantages of cryptocurrencies

The privacy factor will certainly appeal to anybody who considers it important. And it’s definitely easy to see why merchants will like cryptocurrencies. But they do have disadvantages.

No chargeback capability. While this is a welcome feature for merchants, it could be a nightmare for consumers.

How confident will we be making online purchases if that ability doesn’t exist?

This will be an even bigger problem with international transactions since legal recourse will be nonexistent.

Privacy breeds unsavory activity. That includes the potential for criminal activity. cryptocurrencies, being virtually invisible, can become a preferred payment method by criminal elements.

It might also make it easier for unscrupulous merchants and businesspeople to scam consumers. It remains to be seen how that will be worked out.

Bitcoin can be lost. That sounds strange, considering that it’s a cyber currency, and nothing like change in your pocket. But, yes, cryptocurrency can be lost.

Since they are stored on your computer’s hard drive, they can be lost if the drive becomes corrupted. There are online services where cryptocurrencies can be stored, but the security protocols vary from one site to another.

If a service gets hacked, any crypto’s stored there can be lost or stolen.

Lack of general acceptance. At the moment, Bitcoin seems to be more of an investment phenomenon than a medium of exchange.

While the number of merchants and businesses that are accepting the currency is growing, it’s still just a tiny fraction of all the businesses in existence.

Right now, you can’t go down to a gas station and pay for a fill using Bitcoin. That may work itself out in time, but we’re not even close to that point.

But there’s an even bigger threat to all cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

Government Restrictions – the Big X Factor Hanging Over cryptocurrencies

Governments are already aware of the potential use of cryptocurrencies by criminals.

They can also be used in income tax evasion.

The IRS is well aware of that and is using summonses and software to identify cryptocurrency users. They’re forcing cryptocurrency exchanges to provide lists of both users and transactions.

But a potentially bigger motivation for governments to crack down maybe the threat that cryptocurrencies pose to the current monetary system. For example, the US dollar is issued exclusively by the US government. That gives them a monopoly on the monetary system that they won’t give up willingly. If they sense a legitimate threat to that system, the whole cryptocurrency advance could be short-circuited.

Will that happen? No one knows.

But it’s important to be aware of the potential so that you don’t go out and load up on cryptocurrencies, thinking nothing can stop them.

How Widespread is Bitcoin?

We could ask this question about all cryptocurrencies, but let’s keep it focused on Bitcoin since it’s the largest.

I said earlier that one of the negatives with cryptocurrencies is that they lack general acceptance.

That’s true, but it’s also changing fast.

The big news early in 2017 was that the government of Japan approved Bitcoin as legal tender in that country.

That was a major advance for Bitcoin since Japan is the third largest economy in the world.

And as a result of that decision, 20,000 stores across the country are now accepting it. If other countries do the same, that will move the entire cryptocurrency shift into high gear.

Here in the US, there are already hundreds of businesses large and small that accept Bitcoin.

Some of the more recognizable names include:

  • WordPress.com
  • Overstock.com
  • Subway
  • Microsoft
  • Expedia.com
  • Whole Foods
  • Bloomberg.com
  • Etsy vendors
  • Dish Network
  • Intuit
  • Shopify
  • MovieTickets.com

That may not seem like a long list of merchants, but we have to remember that cryptocurrencies only came into existence in 2009.

Bitcoin ATMs. There are more than 1,800 ATMs in the US available for Bitcoin. There are nearly 300 each in the New York City and Los Angeles areas.

I’m thinking that the level of acceptance of Bitcoin in the US and around the world is what will really determine its future.

If Bitcoin becomes widely accepted for practical use, it will have truly “arrived”, even if the price speculation dies off.

Scams and Risks of Buying cryptocurrencies

This is probably an inherent risk of any new or speculative boom.

At the core, there’s legitimate money to be made.

But that core is always surrounded by scams.

Unfortunately, people who expect to make big money quickly are targets for scams. And with something as new as cryptocurrencies, it can be hard for anybody to separate scams from legitimate activity.

The cryptocurrency universe has already developed more than its share of scams.

Bitcoin itself recently reported cryptocurrency scams are running $9 million per day. They reported a long list of specific scams that took place just in the first two months of 2018:

Common Cryptocurrency Scams

Ethereum World News issued a list of 7 common cryptocurrency scams:

Twitter frauds. Bogus post tweets proclaiming a giveaway. Send one cryptocurrency unit, you’ll get back 10. But you won’t get anything back.

Market manipulation. A person or business with deep pockets runs up the price of the cryptocurrency. As others buy-in, the manipulators sell off, making a large profit before the price falls to its natural level.

Fake buy/sell walls. Fake charts are created indicating a fake wall (which is a charting term). As the chart circulates, investors get panicky and sell. Scammers then buy the cryptocurrency at lower prices.

Pump and dumps. A group purchases a single cryptocurrency, running up the price. When it reaches a certain price level, the group sells out. It creates a manufactured price rise, where only the insiders can win.

Paid promotion. This is where a famous or influential person is paid a fee to promote a cryptocurrency. That can raise the price on little more than the star power of the influencer. Sometimes it can even be done through group forums on Reddit and Facebook.

Shady/shoddy exchanges. With cryptocurrency being so new, not all the exchanges are legitimate. Some are vulnerable to hacks, or have security flaws. It’s risky to keep your cryptocurrencies on these exchanges. The better option is using a wallet to hold your coins. Two wallets to consider are Trezor and Ledger Wallet.

Phishing attacks. A phisher purchases domains and Google ads that match popular exchanges. They can be indistinguishable from the real ones. But they direct you to the real exchange, where you enter your credentials. The phisher then has access to your legitimate account, and cleans it out.

How to Buy cryptocurrency and Bitcoin and Ethereum

I’m saying “buy” because I’m not certain cryptocurrencies qualify as a true investment, at least not yet.

It can be purchased on cryptocurrency exchanges, and there are several now available.

You can purchase cryptocurrencies on the exchanges using a credit or debit card, or with a linked bank account.

Each time you buy or sell cryptocurrency on an exchange, there’s a small fee going in each direction.

For example, below are the rates charged by Coinbase in the US (there’s a different fee structure for each country):

You may also be able to purchase cryptocurrencies directly from private owners.

Storing Your cryptocurrencies

Technically speaking, cryptocurrencies aren’t actually stored.

Remember the public and private keys we talked about earlier? Those are what you actually store.

They’re digital keys that are used to access your public Bitcoin address, and to sign transactions.

It’s that information that needs to be stored, not the cryptocurrency itself.

Storage takes place in one of three places, generally referred to as “wallets”:

  • Online web-based services
  • Software wallets held on the hard drive of your computer
  • Vault services that hold the currencies off-line

Software wallets might be the most convenient since they’re held on your own computer. But they’re also inherently insecure.

They’re subject to all of the same threats your computer is.

Examples of software wallets include Electrum, Exodus, Bitcoin Core, Copay and Armory.

As far as offline vault services, they’re often available with cryptocurrency exchanges.

For example, Coinbase has vault services for storing Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Security is higher than with software wallets, due to specialized storage capability. Coinbase claims that “98% of digital currency is stored totally offline, in geographically distributed safe deposit boxes and physical vaults.”

Online web-based services are also common with cryptocurrency exchanges, including those listed in this article. Your private keys are stored on a computer controlled by someone else, and connected to the Internet.

One of the big advantages with online wallets is that they can be accessed from anywhere, including smart phones. But one major negative is that control of your private key will be held by the service.

In a way, it’s a form of shared ownership that not everyone is comfortable with.

Cryptocurrency storage is a topic all its own, and I may cover it in a future post.

Other Ways to Invest in Cryptocurrencies

Up to this point at least, investing in cryptocurrencies requires owning it directly.

But that’s starting to change.

As cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, rise in popularity and price, the traditional financial markets are starting to want in.

In December 2017, it was announced that CBOE Global Markets applied with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list six Bitcoin related exchange traded funds (ETFs).

If you’d like to invest in Bitcoin through ETF’s, keep an eye out for the following funds:

  • First Trust Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • First Trust Inverse Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • REX Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • REX Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • GraniteShares Bitcoin ETF
  • GraniteShares Short Bitcoin ETF

However, more recently, the whole idea of Bitcoin ETFs has come into..

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Is making money as a teenager easy as it used to be?

After all, that old standby – the newspaper route – has mostly gone into the dustbin of history. I mean…who reads newspapers anymore? smh….

Meanwhile, child labor laws have cut down on the number of jobs that young people can hold. How to make money as a teenager has become something of a matrix. You have to look for moneymaking opportunities from non-traditional sources.

But that’s not a problem, because there are more of them than ever before. We’ve come up with 49! And the only reason we stopped is because the possibilities are almost unlimited! So here are the ways to make money as a teenager that we thought were the best.

We left off the usual teen job situations, like fast food restaurants, grocery stores and big-box retailers. You don’t need us to tell you about ordinary jobs.

Oh, and even though the opportunities are numbered, they’re not in any special order. It’s mostly a matter of picking which one (or ones) will work best for you. We only numbered them so you could pick them out more easily.

Let’s get started…

1. Banging on Doors

This is a true story – if you can indulge a proud papa for a moment…

My seven-year-old son, Bentley, needed to make extra money. Now when you’re seven, the options are pretty limited. But Bentley never got that memo.

Thoroughly unaware of the limits a kid his age should have, he saw one of our neighbors doing yard work, and approached her with a question he had rehearsed many times over:

”Hi. My name is Bentley. I’m trying to earn some extra money to buy some books because I really like to read. Is there anything I can help you with?”

He got the job, worked for an hour and a half, and earned $20. All because he asked a question! It’s my son, and I’m incredibly proud of him, but it’s also an excellent example of how to make money.

Sometimes, all you have to do is identify need, and ask a question. Please keep this in mind as you read about the other 48 opportunities to make money as a teenager.

You can read the full story here: Bentley’s First Job.

Let’s move on.

2. Babysitting

Babysitters are getting $10 an hour and up, often working in conditions that are much better than a typical part-time job. You have to love kids, and it will really help if you complete a CPR course. It’s often as easy as just letting people in your neighborhood know that you’re available to sit. Once the word gets around, you may have more babysitting gigs than you can handle.

3. InboxDollars

InboxDollars allows you to earn cash by watching TV, taking surveys, and even searching the web. Got that – cash, not rewards. You won’t make a fortune on this site, but it’s a way to earn some extra money by doing the things you normally do. As you do, the dollars and cents will add up.

4. Tutoring

If you’re good in any subjects, you can offer your services out as a tutor. Almost any academic subject can qualify, but math, science and English are usually the most in-demand. You can charge $20 an hour and up. Market your services by providing flyers to local schools.

You can even do it online, through platforms such as Enroll.com. You can earn between 60% and 80% of the tutoring fees charged by the website.

5. Become a Language Tutor

This is a very specific kind of tutoring. With the huge influx of immigrants into the US, there’s a big market for people learning to speak English. This is especially true of the children of immigrants.

You can provide this service directly to clients, or you can join a website like SameSpeak. You can earn $10 for every 30-minute session on the site.
6. Sell Your Computer and Internet Skills

Teenagers are often more fluent with computers and the Internet than adults. If you have specific skills, you may be able to sell them to paying clients. It could be as simple as helping people to manage their computers or download apps. Many adults are willing to pay other people to do these services for them.

7. Buying & Selling…Stuff

This is the age-old practice of buy low, sell high. If you’ve got an eye for a bargain, it can be a way to make money on a regular basis. There are different ways you can do this. For example, buy gently used clothing at garage sales and thrift stores, and sell them at consignment stores. You can buy just about anything you can think of at the same sources, and then sell them on Craigslist and eBay.

8. Pet Sitting

People routinely pay adults to take care of their pets while they are away on vacation. But you may be able to create your own book of business by charging a little bit less than the going rate for adults. You can find customers by advertising in your own neighborhood, and surrounding neighborhoods. You have to love pets, and the work is usually very casual.

9. Dog Walking

This is a variation on pet sitting, but it tends to be more consistent. That’s because a dog needs to be walked every day, often several times. While people are at work all day, they may need someone who will walk their dogs. You can make a steady income walking the dogs of several customers. Since you can do this in your own neighborhood, you won’t even need a car.

10. Garage Sale Prepper

Practically every homeowner has a garage sale sooner or later. It’s not the garage sale itself that involves all the work. It’s the preparation. Items have to be taken out of storage, cleaned, priced, and placed for sale. It’s a very time-consuming process, that any would-be garage saler would love to have help with. Volunteer your services in your neighborhood, particularly in the spring and fall when garage sales are most frequent.

11. Taking Online Surveys

This isn’t an opportunity that I’m terribly enthusiastic about, because most sites pay rewards, rather than cash. But if being paid in rewards is okay for you, then you can try sites like MySurvey.com, PaidViewpoint and SurveyConsensus. They have surveys on topics related to teens, and you usually have to be at least 13 or 14 to participate.

12. Session Musician

Are you particularly good with a musical instrument, especially one that would lend itself well to performing artists? If you can, you might be able to work as a session musician. These are people who play in a music group, but aren’t necessarily part of the group. You get paid on a per gig basis.

13. Camp Counselor

These are usually temporary arrangements, most often in the summer months. You’re generally working with younger kids. It floats somewhere between freelance work and a traditional job. You might have set hours, but there’s a lot of flexibility as to how you do the job.

14. Mother’s Helper

This can be a welcome service for either a new mother or for one who has several young children. It’s less about babysitting (though that can be one possible outcome), and more about providing assistance. A mom might ask you to perform certain services, such as preparing meals, organizing laundry, or feeding very young children. The arrangement can be either temporary or permanent.

15. Make and Sell Crafts on Etsy

If you have a talent for making crafts, you can start making some extra money selling them on Etsy. It’s a site dedicated to those who create and sell handmade crafts.

16. Pool Lifeguard

This is usually a seasonal opportunity. But if you like being at the pool, and you have lifeguard training, this is definitely a way to pick up money during the summer months.

17. Skate Guard

Even though most skating rinks are indoor, this tends to be more of a winter opportunity. If you’re an above-average skater, you may qualify.

This could be a good match if you can also lifeguard. You can be a skate guard during the winter months, and a lifeguard during the summer.
18. Work in an Amusement Park

Amusement parks often prefer hiring teenagers. That’s because you’re a natural fit with the common clientele, which is largely teenagers. There can be some good fringe benefits as well, with some parks providing season passes.

19. Personal Assistant

Do you know an adult whose unusually busy? That person may need help with a wide variety of small jobs. That can be anything from running errands to doing work in his or her business or profession. If you have good organizational and administrative skills, this can be a serious moneymaking opportunity. It can also be excellent training for a future full-time job.

20. Making YouTube Videos

How I Accidentally Made $5,857.40 in 1 Month from YouTube ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - YouTube

If you’ve ever made a video on YouTube, you may be able to turn this into a steady revenue stream. There are even videos that teach you how to make videos. You create videos, set them up with Google AdSense, then earn income as people view your video, and click on the ads displayed. You can even create videos that can provide you with affiliate income from various service providers.

The videos can be on any subject you can think of. It can be some sort of how-to video, or it can be about specific topics, like movie and music reviews. You can even create a portfolio of videos, each earning you a little bit of revenue every month.
21. Teach Computer Basics to Older Folks

Despite the rapid spread of computer, there are a lot of people who still don’t know much about them. This is particularly true of people over 60, who came up in the world before computers were a thing. Many are only discovering the joys of computers now. But they don’t know how to use them well. You can offer your services teaching them. Speak with local senior citizens groups or even senior living centers, and see what you can work out.

Just like my son Bentley, sometimes all you need to do is ask!

22. Create and Sell Art

I once ran into a teenager who was creating and selling his own artwork at a fair. That is, he was creating the artwork at the fair, and selling it. He was creating dazzling artwork with spray paint. It was exciting stuff, and he was actually selling it – at about $20 each. If you have an artistic streak, selling directly at fairs and craft shows can be a serious moneymaking opportunity.

23. Become an Event Photographer

I’m not talking about becoming a wedding photographer. People like to have photos taken at lesser events, like family gatherings and birthday parties. If you know of such events taking place, volunteer your services as a photographer. You might charge a flat fee to attend the event, like $30 or $40. But it’s light work, and you’ll probably get free food as a fringe benefit.

24. Work in a Movie Theater

Yes, this is a job, but one with a lot of perks. Not only does the pay tend to be above minimum wage, but you get to watch plenty of free movies. You’ll also get to enjoy the benefits of air-conditioning on those hot summer days. And since movie theaters tend to draw teenagers, you’ll be in familiar company.

25. Housecleaning Assistant

Adults don’t typically hire teenagers to clean their homes. But they might hire them as housecleaning help. If someone has a specific housecleaning day, they may appreciate your services in getting the job done. This is another service that you can offer to people in your neighborhood.

26. Give Music Lessons

If you play a musical instrument, and you’re pretty good at it, offer your services as a private music teacher. Kids often respond better to other kids, especially teenagers, when it comes to learning anything. If you have the patience to teach, and a musical skills too, this can be a real opportunity. You might approach this by speaking with school music teachers in your area, and offering your services to work with students.

27. Washing Cars

While it’s true that you can usually go to a car wash and get the job done for a few dollars, a lot of people still like the personal touch. This is particularly true if you make house calls, and will wash cars in the customer’s own driveway.

28. Fiverr and Upwork

if you have certain skills, usually computer-related, you can make money doing micro tasks. These are small jobs, like graphic design, voiceovers and social media work, that pay a few dollars per gig. The idea is to do multiple jobs, from the comfort of your home, and earn some extra money. You can do this through platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.

29. Create Tumblr Themes

Tumblr has become one of the most popular social media sites for teenagers. If you spend a lot of time there, and you know how to design themes, you can earn some money creating them for other people. Everybody wants a winning theme, so it’s a niche you might be able to fill.

30. Putting Up/Taking Down Christmas Decorations

Almost everyone loves Christmas decorations. But putting them up can be a challenge, and taking them down can be a hassle. Offer your services around your neighborhood, especially if you have a flair for putting up decorations. The work will only be seasonal of course, but it will give you a chance to make some extra money around the holidays.

31. Light Hauling

Naturally, this opportunity only applies if you have a driver’s license, and a vehicle that can be used for hauling. But if you do, you might be able to help people with moving a few pieces of furniture, or in cleaning out junk from a basement or garage. You can charge a flat fee for the haul, and an hourly fee for loading and unloading.

32. Start Your Own Blog

This one is hit or miss, since there are literally millions of blogs out there. But many do become moneymakers. And if you’re only looking to make some extra money on the side, blogging can get the job done.

Make Money Blogging 💻 : From 0 to $1,000+ per day (2018) - YouTube

Set up a blog that centers on just about any topic that you like. You have to add content regularly, including articles, podcasts and videos. Make money by adding Google Adsense to your blog, and by participating in affiliate programs that offer services related to your blog.

Bonus: A blog started when you are a teenager, can turn into a serious moneymaker by the time you’re an adult. You may be building your future career without even realizing it.
33. Amateur Referee

If you’ve ever played recreational sports then you know that every event has one or more referees. As a teenager, you may qualify as one of those referees. I know of at least one teen was earning between $25 and $60 to referee one hour games for kids between the ages of four and 12. Check with the recreational leagues in your community. If you can referee multiple sports, you can work year-round.

34. MusicXRay

If you like listening to music – all kinds of music – this can be a way to make some extra money in your spare time. MusicXRay will pay you 10 cents per song, to listen to and rate whether or not you like the music of aspiring new artists. You only have to listen to a song for a minimum of 30 seconds to get paid.

35. Running Errands

If you have a car or a bicycle, this is a possibility. It can be a valuable service to someone who either doesn’t have a car, doesn’t like to drive, or simply can’t get out and about. You can earn money for each errand you run. Once again, advertise your services in your local neighborhood, and see who needs help.

36. Write Web Content

WriterAccess.com provides an opportunity to write content for websites. You’re eligible if you’re a teenager. The pay ranges between 1.4 cents and 7 cents per word, which means you can earn anywhere from $14 – $70 for 1,000 words. Pay is twice a month. Get good at this and you can try your hand at freelance writing.

37. Assisting the Elderly

Many elderly people prefer to live in their own homes, rather than going to a senior facility. But there are many aspects of home maintenance and basic living that they have difficulty managing.

You may be able to help elderly people in your community with basic jobs like housecleaning, shopping, or organizing personal effects. In many cases, the person may just want camaraderie.
38. Selling Designs on CafePress

This is another of the more entrepreneurial money-making methods. CaféPress is a way that you can sell your designs and earn some money. You can create designs for T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, tote bags and even pillows. Just create an account on the site, and then upload your designs. The site will display your designs, which will be purchased by customers on the site.

CafePress advertises, but you can also promote your work on the site through the social media.

39. ThredUP

ThredUp is a web platform where you can sell gently used upscale clothing. You can be paid anywhere from two dollars up to $25 per item. The items have to be name brand, like J.Crew, L.L. Bean and Banana Republic. But if you have a closet full of name brand garments, or you know where to get them, this can be a steady stream of extra income.

40. Yard Maintenance

This can be anything from cutting lawns on a regular basis, to shoveling snow, to one-off property management projects, like raking leaves or trimming hedges. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can provide these services for people in your neighborhood. Your competitive advantage is that you can work for less money than professional landscapers charge.

41. Golf Caddy

A lot of young people get their first job on a golf course. If you’re already a golfer, this can be a natural outlet. Not only is the work fairly easy, but you have an opportunity to connect with people who may be able to help you later in life, with everything from getting into a certain college, to landing a job on graduation.

42. Find Odd-jobs on Craigslist

Craigslist has rapidly grown to become what local newspaper classified ads used to be. You can find just about anything on the site, including odd jobs. Some of them involve ongoing work, while others are single jobs. You can scan the offers, and take only those assignments that are good fit for you.

43. Collect and Recycle Metals

I know a young guy with a pickup truck who did this for several years, and made good money. Metals – steel, aluminum, and especially copper – can easily be recycled. Contact companies in your area who buy scrap metal, then go around your community and collect any metal left out for garbage pickup.

44. Snagajob

Snagajob is actually a job board, but one where you can find the kinds of jobs that are not available in the local newspaper or the mall. All kinds of employers in every industry advertise for jobs on the site. It may be a chance for you to find that unusual job you’ve been hoping to find.

45. Video Editing

If you know how to create videos, you can probably edit them as well. If you’ve created some professional quality videos, or have performed editing work on other people’s videos, you already have a portfolio of work. Offer your services out on Craigslist and other sites. You can charge either an hourly fee, or a flat fee depending on the job.

46. Digitalizing Photos

This is basically a process of scanning and saving photos to your computer. If you have a good quality scanner, you can offer your services to people who are looking to convert their photos from paper to digital.

47. Window Cleaning
If it’s a job that an adult either is unlikely to do, or doesn’t want to do, it’s a chance to make money as a teenager.

Window cleaning is one of those jobs. It’s not that it’s particularly hard, it’s just that most people forget to do it. All you need is a squeegee and a large bottle of Windex, and you’ll be in business.

48. Cleaning Out Basements or Garages

Most people hate these jobs, because they can be huge projects. That’s especially true if it’s been years since either space has been cleaned out. A person in your circle of friends or neighborhood may welcome your assistance, and pay you generously. In fact, a knock at the door or a flyer from you could create the incentive for the jobs to happen at all.

49. Become a Party DJ

This is an opportunity to release your inner entertainer. If you’re into popular music, and you know how to arrange it and present it, you can be a natural for this one. You can start by acting as a DJ within your own social circle. But if you’re any good at it, word will get around, and you’ll have a full-fledged business.

Final Thoughts on How to Make Money as a Teenager

So, there you have it – 49 ways to make money as a teenager. Even better, you don’t have to pick just one way. You can choose two or three, or even more. You can even choose to do one for a while, then move on to the next. There’s always another way to make money and you never have to get bored.

The post 49 (Lit) Ways to Make Money as a Teenager appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

When you’re shopping for insurance, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is which company you’re going to choose.

You can probably name about 10 carriers off the top of your head. Just because you know their name, doesn’t make them the best choice.

What should you look at when you’re comparing companies? There are a dozen different categories.

To save you time and trouble, we’ve done the work for you.

At Good Financial Cents, we pride ourselves on being able to give our readers the information they need to make the best decisions for their insurance needs.

For this article, we are going to focus on Ohio National Financial Services. If you haven’t heard of Ohio National, you might be missing out on the best insurance company for you.

History of Ohio National Financial Services, Inc.

Let’s talk about the start of Ohio National. They are over 100 years old. They celebrated their centennial in 2009, meaning they were established in 1909. They were originally opened as a stock company but was converted to a mutual company in 1959.

Through the years, they’ve hit a lot of milestones and experienced a lot of changes. They sold their first insurance plan in 1910. More than 40 years later, in 1954 they decided to start selling group life insurance.

4 years after that, in 1959, they officially reached more than $1 billion in active life insurance policies.

Shortly after, in 1961, they started selling disability insurance. They wanted to give their customers more protection beyond what was offered by their life insurance.

9 years later, in 1970, they expanded their products even further by adding variable annuities. In 2012, they had over $34 billion assets they managed.

Rates, Finances, and Grades

One of the best ways to look at the quality of a company is to review the grades from other sources.

You may not know this, but there are several companies out there which rate companies based on their own scales.

Before you buy an insurance policy, you should check out these companies to see the grades.

The three main companies are Standard & Poor’s, A.M. Best, and Moody’s. All of these companies have years of experience grading insurance companies.

Let’s look at the grades for Ohio National:

  • Moody’s: A1
  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Standard & Poor’s: A+

As you can see from the grades, Ohio National has excellent rates from just about every third-party company out there.

Another source you should check before buying a policy is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They are one of the biggest “watchdogs” out there, and they have reviews of millions of companies.

From the BBB, Ohio National has an A+ grade and they are BBB accredited. In fact, they received accreditation way back in 1938.

You can trust a company which has held accreditation for that long.

Products from Ohio National

One of the shining parts of Ohio National is all of the options they have. There are some companies out there which specialize in one specific type of protection.

Ohio National gives you dozens of options and products you can choose from. We are going to look at some of their key insurance plans.

Life Insurance

To start, let’s look at their life insurance options. Life insurance was one of their first products, and they have plenty of choices.

Life insurance is the best safety net you can ever invest in. Your family is going to be responsible for your debts, and life insurance gives them money to settle those debts.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the traditional type of coverage. These policies are the cheapest and most cost-effective way to get life insurance.

Ohio National offers term life insurance policies in 10, 15, and 20 years terms. Their plans come with either a “basic” conversion option or a “plus” conversion option.

With the basic option, you’ll have a window of opportunity to turn your term policy into the whole life option. With the plus plans, you can convert your policy into a universal life or variable universal life.

Whole Life

If you don’t want to ever lose coverage, then whole life insurance should be your go-to plan. Keep paying your premiums and you have coverage.

When it comes to whole life from Ohio National’s whole life, you’ll have four options:

  • Prestige Value III – if you’re looking for the most affordable whole life plan from Ohio Nation, this is it. It gives you protection as well as the cash-value component.
  • Prestige Max II – with this policy, it’s designed to be paid-up by the time you turn 65 (or 10 years after you buy the plan). The goal of this policy is to make the most of the savings and get the highest dividends possible.
  • Prestige 100 – With this policy, you’ll pay premiums until you turn 100, but it gives you lifetime coverage. Regardless of how old you are, you’ll always have insurance.
  • Prestige 10 Pay – If you don’t want to pay premiums for the rest of your life, you can cram them all into 10 years with this plan. Pay a level premium for the first 10 years, and then never pay another dime for your coverage.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life is another type of whole life insurance but has some extra perks a traditional policy doesn’t offer.

With the Virtus Indexed Universal Life plan, you can get flexibility death benefit as either a level sum or an increasing amount. You’ll build cash value, and you can use that value as a loan or withdraw.

Universal Life Insurance

The advantage of universal life insurance policies is the flexibility they offer. With these policies, you aren’t bound to any of the benefits of premiums. It allows you to change the plan as your life changes.

Ohio National sells two universal life insurance policies:

  • V-Pro UL – this is policy gives you universal coverage at an affordable price.
  • Virtus Basic – this policy is built for parents wanting to buy coverage for their children. These policies can give up to $100,000. These plans can be converted to a universal life insurance policy.

These policies let you choose when you pay premiums, you can use the money built up, and you can also either increase or decrease the payout from the policy.

With Ohio National, you’ll get a guaranteed interest rate on the cash value. You’ll earn at least 2.5%, but according to the past performance, you’ll get more than that.

Variable Universal Life Insurance

The Virtus VUL earns returns based on the market activity of the portfolio where you put the premium payment. Unlike the other policies, this plan doesn’t give you a guaranteed return on the cash value.

The advantage of these policies is they can earn you much more than the other options, but you don’t have the guaranteed returns.

No risk, no reward.

Disability Insurance

Life insurance protects your family if you were to pass away, but that’s not the only thing you have to be worried about.

What if you were to fall and injure yourself? You’re out of work for a month or more.

If you can’t go to work, you aren’t going to get paid. This is why you should consider buying a disability insurance policy.

If you ever find yourself unable to work, this plan can help replace some of your lost income.

Ohio National sells disability insurance policies for individuals and small-business owners, and they are fairly competitive with other disability insurance companies around the nation.

Their individual plans work for just about any occupation out there.

They sell two personal plans:

  • ContinuON Income Solutions Guaranteed Renewable
  • ContinuON Income Solutions Non-Cancellable

In addition to their individual policies, they also sell the small-business plans:

  • ContinuON Income Solutions Business Overhead Expenses
  • ContinuON Income Solutions Business Buy-Sell

To help you understand the importance of disability insurance, we are going to outline each of these plans to you determine which one is best.

ContinuOn Income Solutions Guaranteed Renewable

This plan is targeted towards the working class. People who have manual labor jobs or skilled technicians.

One thing to be aware of is the premiums are not guaranteed to stay the same. There is a chance they could go up, but they can’t pick one single policyholder to raise rates.

These plans can give you benefits for 1 year to 5 years with a maximum benefit of up to $5,000 every month.

ContinuON Income Solutions Non-Cancellable

This policy is built for the “white-collar” workers. Unlike the other individual plan, the premiums are never going to go up.

You can get benefits for up to 5 years, or until you turn 70.

If you’re a doctor, then you’re going to get “own occupation,” definition. This means you can get the payout from the plan, even if you’re still able to work another job.

ContinuON Income Solutions Business Overhead Expenses

This plan will give your business the money to remain open if you’re ever disabled. If you’re the owner, and you can’t work because of injury or illness, you would probably have to shut the doors.

Not if you have a disability plan. If you have less than 20 employees, then you can get one of these plans which can provide benefits for up to 2 years.

ContinuON Income Solutions Business Buy-Sell

The idea of this plan is to give the business partners the money they need to keep the business open and fund a buy-sell agreement.

You can get benefits for up to 5 years or in one lump payments. If you buy one of these plans, you can get up to $2,000,000 in benefits.


Not only do you have several disability options, but there are several riders you can attach to your policy. They have a long list of additional coverage areas:

  • Guaranteed insurability rider
  • Cost of living rider
  • Catastrophic benefit rider
  • Recovery benefit
  • Recurrent disability
  • And more

Obviously, the more riders you have on your plan, the higher the premiums are going to be. If you’re worried about suffering from an injury and not being able to work, these policies can ease your fears.


In addition to their insurance products, Ohio National sells a handful of different annuity options. Annuities can help fund your retirement.

They sell three different kinds:

Each of them has different pros and cons you’ll need to consider when you’re planning your retirement.

Fixed annuities will guarantee you have a source of income in your retirement. A lot of seniors are worried about not having enough money as they enjoy retirement, these annuities can solve this problem.

Ohio National sells both single-premium annuities and flexible premiums. Each of these can help you enjoy your retirement without having to worry about your savings account.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ohio National

Every company is going to have areas where they excel and other parts where they lag behind. Ohio National is no different. To help you pick a company, here are some of the things you should be aware of.

One of the downsides of the carrier is their underwriting.

They underwriting seems to be stricter than some of the other companies out there. If you’re not in the best health, you might end up paying more for life insurance with Ohio National.

On the flip side, if you’re in good health and don’t have any major health problems, they do have good rates for life insurance and disability. For most applicants, their rates are very competitive.

Getting the Best Insurance

Regardless of what kind of insurance you’re looking for, it’s important to find the perfect company. Each company is different, they all have different plans, rates, coverage, and service.

You could spend months picking through companies until you find the best plan and carrier combo. Who wants to spend hours on the phone?

Thankfully, we’ve reviewed all of the best insurance carriers out there.

If you don’t want to take the plunge alone, feel free to keep reading some of our reviews. If you have any questions or comments, please be sure to let us know.

The post Ohio National Financial Services Review appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Let’s talk about all the awful things that could happen to you! Actually, maybe that’s not the best idea, but you never know when something tragic could strike.

This is what makes insurance plans so important.

The problem is, shopping for insurance is overwhelming and stressful.

There are a dozen different kinds of insurance and over 6,000 carriers on the market. If you want to get the best protection, you need to do some prep work.

You need to pick a company who has quality products, affordable rates, great customer service and is financially stable. How are you supposed to find one?

This is where we come in.

At Good Financial Cents, we’ve done the work for you. We’ve taken the time to review some of the most popular (and some of the not-so-popular) insurance carriers out there.

This article is going to outline The Standard. You might not have heard of them, but they could be the perfect solution to all your insurance needs.

History of The Standard

If you want to look at the beginnings of The Standard, you have to go all the way back to 1906.

The Standard was established by Leo Samuel.

He created the company to help provide life insurance to loggers who weren’t able to get life insurance policies through other companies because of the danger of their job.

Not only were most companies afraid of giving life insurance to loggers, but all of them were on the east coast. Samuel opened up the Oregon Life Insurance Company to protect the people of the Northwest.

He changed the way we look at life insurance. There were a lot of loggers who lost their jobs because of serious injuries. They weren’t making money, which means they couldn’t pay the insurance premiums.

Samuel recognized the problems with this process.

To serve his customers, he was the first to create the waiver of premium coverage. If one of his customers was ever permanently disabled, they could keep their plans without having to pay the premiums.

They’ve continued to grow through the years.

Today, they have over 6 million customers in every state. They are still headquartered in Oregon, but they have 40 offices all across the United States.

Ratings, Grades, and Finances

When you’re looking for the perfect company, you need a company who is financially sound. You need to know they are going to still be there when it’s time to cash in a plan.

The best way to do this is by looking the ratings form the experts. There are a lot of companies who specialize in reviewing companies and projecting their futures by looking at dozens of different factors.

The three big reviews are: A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, and the BBB.

The Standard has excellent ratings from all of these companies.

From A.M. Best, The Standard has maintained an A rating or higher since 1928. They are only one of only 17 companies who has held this high of a rating for 75 years.

From the BBB, The Standard has an A+ rating. This is the highest possible grade they give.

Additionally, from Standard & Poor’s they have another A+ rating.

The financial future of an insurance company is one of the most important factors to consider. With The Standard, you don’t have to worry about their longevity.

Products Sold Through The Standard

The Standard has a huge list of insurance products they sell. Regardless of what kind of coverage you’re looking for, you can find it at The Standard.

To start, we are going to look at there is their life insurance. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a logger or lumberjack to buy one of their plans.

Group Life

They don’t have a traditional individual life insurance plan. Instead, they market their policies to companies which want to offer their employees life insurance.

These plans are an excellent way for a group of employees to get affordable coverage.

Disability Insurance

Most workers don’t fully understand the importance of disability insurance.

Even if they do understand the coverage, they don’t buy a plan, which could be a terrible mistake.

If you’re at work, and you take a tumble down the stairs, then Worker’s Compensation is going to help replace your income.

What happens if you are injured outside of work?

You’re doing housework on the weekend, and you take a fall. You’re too injured to go to work for months.

You won’t have a paycheck coming in, how are you going to pay your monthly bills?

This is the exact reason you should invest in a disability insurance policy. These plans can protect your income, and The Standard understands the importance of that.

They offer several kinds of disability insurance:

  • Group Short Term Disability
  • Group Long Term Disability
  • Individual Disability

To start, we are going to briefly look at the group plans. More than likely, you aren’t buying disability coverage for a group of people, but you should still be aware of the options.

Just like with group life insurance, The Standard offer plans for businesses who want to give coverage to their employees. They sell both group short term and long term.

If you’re injured or ill for a couple of weeks, short-term disability will kick in and replace a portion of your income. These plans are designed to be effective for a couple of weeks.

What if you’re too injured or too ill and you’re out of work for even longer?

This is why you should also have a long-term disability insurance policy.

With both of their group plans, the underwriting is extremely simple. All of the employees will be able to get approved for the protection.

Other Group Plans

The Standard sells a lot of insurance policies.

If you’re looking for group coverage, The Standard is an excellent place to start your search.

Here are some of the other plans they sell:

  • Group Accident
  • Group Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • Group Dental
  • Group Vision
  • Group Hospital Indemnity
Individual Disability Insurance

One of the shining parts of The Standard is their disability insurance coverage.

They are one of the best companies for getting disability insurance coverage.

They give you three different options:

  • Income Protection
  • Business Protection
  • Guaranteed Standard Issue

Each of these is slightly different coverage and you’ll need to understand the differences between them.

Income Protection

Let’s get started with their premium policy, the Income Protection plan. This plan provides a lot of coverage you won’t find with other companies out there.

Inside of this policy, there are several variations:

  • Platinum Advantage
  • Protector Platinum
  • Protector Essential

Each of these offer different protection, we are going to detail some of the key points of each of them.

Platinum Advantage

As you can probably guess from the name, the Platinum Advantage policy is the premium option from The Standard. If you want the most possible disability insurance from The Standard, this is the choice for you.

Here are the basics of the plan. You can get benefit periods of anywhere form 2 years to 10 years (or until age 67). They have elimination periods of 30 days to 730 days depending on where you live, and it’s available to just about any occupation.

With this policy, you get some incredible protection.

First, you’ll get the Family Care Benefit, which you will not find at any other company out there. According to the numbers from the Pew Research Center, 23% of adults are responsible for the care of an aging adult.

Because of this, there are about 1 in 5 caregivers who financial struggles because of the care to aging adults.

This benefit will allow you to get a monthly benefit from the plan if you lose more than 20% of your income if you have to take care of a parent or aging adult.

There are two other riders The Standard adds at no cost to the policyholder, a benefit increase rider and an automatic increase benefit rider.

Benefit increase rider lets you get more coverage every three years without having to go through the underwriting process again.

The automatic increase rider allows your coverage to up with the standard of living cost. This rider increases the monthly benefit 4% every year for the first 6 years.

Protector Platinum

The next option is the Protector Platinum disability insurance policy. This policy has a whole host of benefits. You’ll get the Family Care benefit, and a ton of other benefits.

With this policy, if you have become partially disabled, you’re going to receive full benefits from the plan for 6 months. Also, you’re also going to get:

  • Total disability
  • Own occupation definition
  • Rehabilitation benefit
  • Recovery benefit
  • Survivor benefit
  • Waiver of premium benefit
  • And much more

The Protector Platinum policy offers just about every additional benefit and rider you can think of. They have a few optional riders you can add on to your plan if you want extra coverage.

If you want additional protection, you’re going to have higher premiums, but it can give you some additional peace of mind. These include:

  • Future purchase option
  • Non-cancelable rider
  • Indexed cost of living
  • Catastrophic disability
Protector Essential

If you want a more affordable option, the Protector Essential plan gives you disability protection at a lower cost. You’re going to get less coverage than with their other options, but you’re going to be able to enjoy some lower rates.

You’ll still get some of the core benefits, like waiver of premium, total disability, rehab benefit, and much more.

Just like with the other policies, you’ll still have the option to buy additional riders.

The Protector Essential is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to save money but still get disability coverage.

Business Protection

Now, let’s talk about the business disability options The Standard sells. You have two options, the Business Overhead Protection and the Business Equity Protection.

With the Business Overhead Protection, there are a couple of expenses you can protect as a business owner.

If something were to happen to you, and you’re the one keeping the shop open, then your business could be forced to shut down. This is where this business disability insurance policy comes in.

This can help cover the costs of wages, utilities, mortgage or lease payments, and more.

The Business Equity Protection is a Buy/Sell policy.

This policy is designed to help business partners buy the other partner’s share of the business if anything were to leave one of them disabled.

This plan will ensure the policyholder gets compensation from the buy-out while the business continues to stay operational.

Guaranteed Standard Issue

The last kind of disability insurance they offer is a guaranteed issue policy.

Just like other kinds of guaranteed issue plans, there are no medical coverage, and you can get protection as long as you’re under the age of 99.

The Standard offers two of their plans as Guaranteed Issue, the Platinum Advantage, and the Protector Platinum. With the guaranteed standard issue plans, you’re not going to get as much protection as with the traditional policy.

You’ll still get the Family Care benefit, the own occupation rider, and the residual disability rider, but the rest of the riders are optional that you will have to pay for.

Other Financial Products sold by The Standard

Aside from the group insurance and the disability insurance, The Standard also wants to help you plan for your future.

To do this, they sell two types of annuities: an immediate annuity and a deferred annuity.

You can probably figure out from the names, but an immediate annuity is built for those are looking to invest a large amount of money, but not have it tied up for decades.

The deferred annuity lets people invest the money and let it grow tax-deferred. You can then withdraw the money in a lump sum or in payments.

Pros and Cons of The Standard

Each insurance carrier has advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the insurance plan you’re looking for, you need to find a company where the pros outweigh the cons.

With The Standard, one of the pros is also a con.

If you’re a business owner, they have a dozen different options for group coverage. You can buy just about every possible plan for your employees, all in one place.

On the flip side of that, if you’re looking for individual coverage, The Standard doesn’t have a ton of options.

You’re going to be limited to a handful of choices.

How to Get the Best Insurance Coverage

We know shopping for insurance isn’t fun.

There are endless options you have to compare, and all of the situations require something bad to happen to you.

Instead of wasting your time calling agents or researching companies, we’ve done the work for you.

We’ve taken the time to do in-depth reviews of some of the best companies out there.

Be sure to check out all of our reviews and use them to make the best choice for your insurance needs.

The post The Standard Review appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Did you know there are more than 6,000 insurance companies in the United States?

If you're shopping for an insurance policy, you have a lot of options. Do you know which one is the best?

There are a lot of different aspects you'll need to weigh when shopping around for insurance.

You probably have a friend or cousin who is an insurance agent. They've probably tried to sell you coverage in the past, but just because you're related doesn't mean they are the best choice.

If you want the best insurance coverage, regardless of the type of plan you're looking for, you need to do a lot of groundwork. You need to determine which company has the best coverage, affordable prices, and a solid history.

This article is going to look at Petersen International Underwriters.

You probably haven't heard of them, but you should include them in your insurance search. They aren't a household name, but they could be an excellent choice for you.

History of Petersen International Underwriters

Before we show you where PIU is today, we want to show you where they began. PIU was established by W. Harold Petersen, who grew up in Iowa. While Harold was growing up, he saw his family struggle financially because of his father’s spinal condition.

Although Harold went to the University of California for journalism, he found himself working part-time at the Mutual of Omaha. This is where he was introduced to the idea of disability insurance.

In 1979, he decided to create his own agency, Petersen International Underwriting.

He wanted to make the disability insurance coverage easier. While working with Mutual of Omaha, he saw clients have to buy multiple policies to protect their income.

To combat this, he created a High Limit Disability Insurance policy.

After a couple years of good business, PIU became a coverholder at Lloyd's in 1983. PIU delivers their own quotes, and issues policies for Lloyd's of London. PIU still builds their plans, and their quality of service is the same.

PIU is not the oldest company out there. They've only been in business for almost 40 years, but they've experienced a lot of growth in those 40 years.

Ratings and Finances

When you're shopping around for an insurance company, one important thing to look at is their grades from third-party companies. In regards to insurance, the most prominent ratings are from Standard & Poor's, A.M. Best, and the BBB.

The ratings for PIU are a little different than most other insurance companies.

They are a coverholder of a company called Lloyd's. Lloyd's is an underwriting company who specializes and works with over 50 insurance companies and has over 4,000 coverholders.

The financial strength ratings come from Llyod's. For Lloyd's, they have an A+ rating from S&P, an AA- from Fitch, and an A from A.M. Best. All of these show excellent financial security and projected future.

Products from PIU

PIU has a handful of different insurance products they offer. They sell:

PIU has very interesting insurance products you may not find with other companies. In fact, they have some of the most specific and unique plans on the market.

High Limit Accident Insurance

To start, let's look at their accident insurance. You can be as safe as you want, but you never know when there is going to be an accident. This plan can protect a single person or a group of people in case of accidental death or dismemberment.

These plans are similar to a traditional life insurance policy, but they only payout if the policyholder passes away because of an accident, not if they were to die from natural causes.

With this policy, you can get coverage anywhere from $100,000 to $100 million. One exciting aspect of the PIU accident insurance plan is it can be customized for situations like war or terrorism zones.

For just about any situation, this accident insurance policy can protect you.

To get the High Limit Accident Insurance, all you have to do is complete their one-page application. You don't have to take a medical exam. It's quick and easy.

Health Insurance

Another unique insurance PIU offers is their health insurance. They don't offer traditional health insurance.

Instead, they sell a short-term insurance policy which protects people who are traveling overseas, traveling to the U.S., or people who need health insurance for less than a year.

Their health insurance plans are:

  • USAway Major Medical Plan
  • International Major Medical
  • Bridge Major Medical Insurance
  • Accident Only Major Medical

All of these plans are designed for different groups of people, but they are all easy ways to get health coverage without having to jump through all of the hoops of a traditional health insurance policy.

Their policies have very loose requirements. With most of them, as long as you're younger than 64, you can get insurance protection.

Individual Disability Insurance

Most people don't fully understand disability insurance, which is a serious mistake.

If you were to be injured at work, then Worker's Compensation is going to help replace your income, but if you are seriously injured outside of work, then Worker's Comp won't do anything.

If you were to find yourself too sick or injured to work, then you aren't going to have that paycheck coming in. This is where a disability insurance policy comes in.

If this is something you're interested in, you should know PIU is simply one of many disability insurance companies, but they have perhaps the widest possible selection of products.

Individual High Limit Disability Insurance

Some employers offer their employees short-term disability insurance, which will help replace your paycheck for a couple weeks or months, but what happens if you still can't get back to work?

This is why you should buy a long-term insurance policy.

One interesting aspect of the PIU disability insurance is the fact that its own occupation total disability definition. This means if you're too injured to perform your job, you can get the payout from the policy, even if you are working somewhere else.

Another interesting feature of this policy is if you're deemed totally disabled, you'll get a lump sum benefit payment. They also have a few riders you can add on, like a residual rider.

Guaranteed Issue Group/Multi-Life Insurance

If you can't be approved for a traditional policy because of your health or any pre-existing conditions, then this guaranteed issue policy could be a great option.

As long as you're within their age limits, then you can be approved for one of these plans. There is no easier way to get disability insurance. There is no medical exam or hoops you have to go through. Apply and then you have coverage.

Accelerated Disability Benefit to Age 70

The name of this policy says it all. These plans are not intended to be the main policy.

The purpose of these plans is to add additional coverage from an already existing plan. These plans usually last 5 years and you can get one as long as you're 35 or older.

Executive 400 Disability Insurance

This is a niche kind of disability insurance, which isn't going to meet the needs of most people. These plans have a max coverage limit of $100,000 a month, which most people don’t need nearly this much coverage.

These plans are designed for applicants who run their own business or a person who is a key part of their business.

PIU sells several kinds of disability insurance plans which are customized depending on the occupation:

  • Physicians & Surgeons Disability
  • Dentists Disability
  • Chiropractors Disability
  • StarCover
  • Entertainment Industry Disability
  • Brokers & Traders Disability
  • Legal Professionals Disability
  • Pilots Loss of License
  • Blue & Grey Collar Disability

We aren't going to detail all of these plans, because they are pretty straightforward. You can guess from the name of the plan what they cover.

Graded Benefit Disability

This plan will protect 65% of your income, or you can choose a 50% or 80% option. The more coverage you want, the more you're going to pay every month.

These plans are available from 3 years coverage to 5 years coverage, and just about any occupation is accepted.

Stock Option Disability

This plan is designed for high-up executives of companies which are publicly traded. If you're disabled permanently, this policy will account for bonuses on top of your salary and up to 80% of the payout can be in stock options.

Pension Completion

A pension is one of the best things you can do for your future finances. If you're ever stuck with a disability, your pension is going to take a huge hit.

With this plan, the policyholder will be paid out the balance of the pension contributions they would have made if they wouldn't have been disabled.

Business Disability Insurance

Not only does PIU sell a ton of individual disability insurance policies, but they also have some business disability insurance plans as well. These policies are built for people who either own a business or are key parts of their company.

These policies include:

  • Buy-Sell Disability
  • Buy-Sell Plus
  • Overhead Expense
  • Key Person Disability Insurance
  • Contract Guarantee
  • Severance Agreement Disability Insurance
  • Salary Continuation
  • Loan Indemnification

Each of these policies has slightly different coverages and protection.

If you're one of the key workers in your organization, you should consider purchasing one of these policies.

Other Products Sold By PIU

Aside from their main policies, there are a few other plans they sell as well. We are not going to detail them (most of them are self-explanatory), but you should be aware of your options.

They have several contingent insurance policies:

  • Key personal failure to survive
  • Kidnap & Ransom Insurance
  • Brand Protection
  • Business Loan Failure to Survive
Advantages and Disadvantages of PIU

Now, let's look at some of the pros and cons of PIU. Each company has areas where they shine and other areas where they fall flat.

One of the advantages of PIU is all the options they have available.

They have an insurance plan for some of the most niche sections out there. As you can tell from the dozens of options of disability plans, they have a plan designed for every occupation and person out there.

Most companies have one or two plans and try to fit every applicant in those plans. PIU has plenty of specialized plans for their clients.

Another benefit of buying a plan through PIU is their accelerated underwriting process. Regardless of the policy you buy, the process is going to be quick. With some companies, you could wait months to be approved.

PIU makes it much faster.

The disadvantage of PIU is simple, they aren't best for the average applicant. If you're looking for a simple, run-of-the-mill life insurance or disability insurance policy, you should probably look elsewhere.

This isn't to say PIU is a bad option or a terrible insurance company. If you're a special insurance case, either high income or high-risk, then PIU could be the perfect carrier.

How to get The Best Insurance Coverage

Regardless of the type of insurance, you're looking for, or the amount of coverage you need, the one thing we tell every applicant is this, compare. Each insurance company is different.

Even if two companies seem to have the same plan doesn't mean they are going to charge the same premiums.

By shopping around before you buy, you can save yourself thousands of dollars throughout the course of the insurance policy.

Finding the perfect company can be overwhelming. All of the plans, terms, and coverage limits can be mind-numbing. Instead of having to waste your precious time researching and calling, just keep looking at our articles.

At Good Financial Cents, we pride ourselves in giving consumers the information they need to make the best choices for their insurance needs.

The post Petersen International Underwriters Review appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It would be great if there were investment apps that would allow teenagers to begin investing with just a few dollars, and make all their own investment decisions. Investment options for teenagers are extremely limited due to legal restrictions.

That doesn’t mean you have to sit around and wait until you’re 18 or 21 to begin investing. There are various custodial type accounts that you can set up that can allow you to get started now. This can include saving and funding an account, as well as participating in making investment decisions.

The catch is that you will need help from a parent, guardian, or grandparent. That may result in a limited investment experience, but it will still be an excellent start. Not only will you begin to learn the ropes of investing early in life, but you’ll also begin saving and building wealth before you even become an adult. And when it comes to investing, the earlier you start, the stronger you finish.

Let’s take a look at three broad investment account types that can provide investment options for teenagers. In any one of the three, you’ll have an opportunity to invest in mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs), or even individual stocks and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Custodial Traditional IRAs

Traditional IRA accounts are available to anyone who has earned income. That means that a teenager can fund an account with income earned from a part-time job, or even a summer job. She can fund the account with up to $5,500 per year, and hold the money in a self-directed investment brokerage account.

With a traditional IRA, a teenager will also get a tax deduction for making the contribution. Any funds contributed, up to $5,500, will reduce her income for federal and (usually) state income tax purposes. However, this isn’t a deciding advantage, since a minor is not required to file a tax return until her income reaches $6,500 in 2018. But if her income will exceed this threshold, a traditional IRA could be the right choice

One of the major advantages with IRAs is that they come with tax-deferred accumulation of investment earnings. For a teenager, that can provide an incredible lifelong compounding benefit.

If a 13-year-old invests an average of $3,000 per year for five years, and earns an average investment return of 7% per year, the account will grow to $17,253 by age 18. Even if he stopped funding the account, and just let it grow, it will reach $414,861 by the time he turns 65.

Both the funds contributed to the account, and the investment earnings, aren’t taxable until they are withdrawn after age 59 ½. Withdrawals taken before that age are subject to ordinary income tax, plus a 10% early withdrawal penalty tax.

There’s still another advantage in having an IRA. Later in life, the teenager will be able to make penalty free withdrawals from the account in order to either make a down payment on a first-time home purchase, or for education purposes.

Custodial Roth IRAs

Roth IRAs have similar benefits to traditional IRAs. They allow for tax-deferred accumulation of investment earnings. They also permit penalty free withdrawals for the purchase of a first-time home, or for educational purposes.

But that’s where the similarities end.

While traditional IRAs are simply tax-deferred – meaning the funds are taxable upon withdrawal – funds withdrawn from a Roth IRA account can be taken tax-free once you reach age 59 ½, and have been participating in the plan for at least five years. A teenager can be building tax-free income for retirement before even reaching adulthood!

Roth IRAs also don’t enable you to make tax deductible contributions. But that creates another unique advantage: contributions withdrawn from a Roth IRA can be taken tax-free and penalty free at any time. This is a massive advantage for a teenager whose building an investment account, and likely to need the funds well before retirement.

What’s more, the IRS doesn’t prorate withdrawals between contributions and investment earnings, the way it does with traditional IRAs. The full amount of the teen’s contributions will be available for withdrawal.

Let’s look at this based on the example above of the 13-year-old who contributes $3,000 per year to the account, and has $17,253 by age 18. His account includes $15,000 of contributions, and $2,253 in accumulated investment earnings. He can withdraw up to $15,000 free from income taxes and penalties. The remaining $2,253 in accumulated investment earnings can continue to grow.

This is an excellent option for a young person to have, since it’s not possible to know exactly what financial needs will come up in the future. The teen will have the option either to withdraw funds early as needed, or to let them grow for retirement. Perfect!

Opening a Custodial Traditional or Roth IRA for a Teenager

Not all investment brokerages will permit you to open an IRA account for a minor child. Some brokers and mutual fund companies will allow you to set up a custodial IRA. You must provide your child’s Social Security number, but you will remain the custodian of the account until your child reaches the legal age of majority in your state. That can be anywhere between 18 and 21. In the meantime, you will have control over the account, including investment decision authority.

But even though that isn’t a pure investment account in your teenager’s name and under her control, it’s the next best thing. You can maintain legal control over the account, while allowing the teen to fully participate in investment decisions.

That’s an excellent start, since very few teenagers have the knowledge and experience to make investment decisions by themselves. But it’s an excellent opportunity for them to learn. You can open an account, then have the teenager choose the investments – subject to your final approval. As a teenager grows more investment savvy, she could begin choosing and managing the account more actively. Eventually, she will make the investment decisions, and you – as account custodian – will execute the trades.

Investment Brokers that Offer Custodial IRAs

Not all investment brokerage companies offer custodial IRAs. But some that do offer both traditional and Roth IRAs for teenagers (and the minimum initial investment requirement) include:

It’s unfortunate that one of the very best investment options for teenagers could potentially be robo-advisors. They provide an opportunity for investors to fund their accounts, while the platform handles all aspects of investment management. But robo-advisors have been around for only few years, and very few offer custodial accounts, least of which custodial IRAs.

Until and unless robo-advisors make custodial IRAs available for minors, the brokerage firms listed above can work well.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Accounts (UTMA) and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)

UTMA and UGMA accounts can be set up with a wide variety of investment accounts. Funds invested in the account can be used for any purpose. That includes current needs for the teenager, to funding a college education.

A UTMA/UGMA account is created for the benefit of a minor. It's controlled by a custodian – usually a parent – until the child reaches the age of majority in their state.

Investment income in the account is taxed at the child’s rate. If the child is under age 19, or under age 24 and a full-time student, the tax liability is computed like this:

  • The first $1,050 of investment income is tax-free.
  • The next $1,050 is taxed at 10%.
  • Income above $2,100 is taxed at the parent’s marginal tax rate. That could be as high as 39.6%. This is what is often referred to as the “kiddie tax”.
UTMA/UGMA accounts make a lot of sense if the investment income is less than $2,100. If the parents are in a high tax bracket, these accounts become less attractive.

Still, they can be excellent ways for teenagers to begin investing. The teenager can participate in the investment management.

What’s more, there are far more places to hold a UTMA/UGMA account. These can include banks, mutual funds, and investment brokers, including those listed above.

There’s no limit on the contributions but they rarely exceed $14,000 per year. That's the threshold beyond which the donor will have to pay gift taxes on the amount contributed.

Final Thoughts on Investment Options for Teenagers

Investment options for teenagers aren’t nearly as numerous as they are for adults. Teenagers are minors and lack the legal authority to own or manage an investment account. But whether you use a custodial IRA or a UTMA/UGMA account, it’s an opportunity for a teenager to begin learning the investment process.

You won’t have direct ownership of the account, nor can you actually execute trades. However, you can get involved in investment research, and select the securities or funds that you want to invest in. That will give you a real opportunity to get hands-on experience investing before “going solo” when you’re legally an adult.

Your future self will thank you for it! You won't learn investment management in high school or college. Most people learn only with real-world experience. Whether you choose a traditional or Roth IRA, or a UTMA/UGMA account, you’ll be fast forwarding your investment education, as well as your future wealth.

The post Best Investments for Teenagers appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview