12 Jobs Working with Animals That Pay Good Money

September 16, 2020 &• 6 min read by Sheiresa Ngo Comments 0 Comments

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Love the idea of working with animals, but don’t have the resources or desire to go through vet school? You can still put your love of pets or wildlife to work in your career. Here are twelve jobs working with animals that can pay the bills for any animal lover.

1. Groomer

Groomers help pets look their best by cleaning them, trimming fur and providing other services. Pay depends on skills, certifications, experience and which state you work in. The highest pay in each region typically going to specialists who provide boutique grooming services.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $34,702
  • Salary Range: $22,666 to $51,323
  • Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent

How to Become One: Typically, animal caretakers must have at least a high school diploma or GED. Most training takes place on the job, but some choose to study at a grooming school. Employers generally prefer candidates to have some experience working with animals.

2. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

Pet sitters and dog walkers care for pets while owners are traveling or unavailable. You might choose to work through a service that pays you as an employee or hire your own services out as a freelance dog walker or pet sitter. In the latter case, you may make more money per job but will also have to handle your own marketing and business administration expenses.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $31,095
  • Salary Range: $20,211 to $45,826
  • Minimum Qualifications: varies

How to Become One: Employers may require a high school diploma or GED and some training or certification. However, if you want to freelance as a dog walker, you may just need experience and references, so concerned pet owners can learn more about you.

3. Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants work in a vet office, clinic or animal hospital helping veterinarians with animal care. They are responsible for assisting with routine tasks, which might include checking in patients or helping as the vet provides services.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $30,898
  • Salary Range: $19,431 to $43,072
  • Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent

How to Become One: If you want to become a veterinary assistant, you should at least have a high school diploma. Most veterinary assistants learn their trade on the job. Certification isn’t always required, but it could help you get promoted or obtain an advanced position.

4. Research Animal Caretaker

Laboratory animal caretakers work in labs with animal scientists, biologists or veterinarians. They feed, care for and monitor the well-being of lab animals.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $37,890
  • Salary Range: $35,215 to $46,105
  • Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent

How to Become One: Laboratory animal caretakers are required to at least have a high school diploma. Most laboratory animal caretakers learn their trade through on-the-job training. Certification isn’t required to become a laboratory animal caretaker, but some employers prefer it. Having a certification could also help you get promoted.

5. Animal Trainer

Animal trainers are responsible for training animals for tasks such as riding, performance, obedience or assisting the disabled. They can also help animals become more comfortable with human interaction.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $30,430
  • Salary Range: $20,810 to $59,110
  • Minimum Qualifications: no formal education requirements

How to Become One: There are no formal education requirements to become an animal trainer. Those who train animals usually receive on-the-job training. In addition, animal trainers can receive education through organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and earn certificates or other credentials to help them move up in their careers.

6. Veterinary Technician

Veterinary technicians perform medical testing with the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They help diagnose an animal’s injury or illness and may also perform some routine procedures, such as ultrasounds, catheterization or EKGs, and administer anesthesia.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $35,308
  • Salary Range: $24,619 to $48,002
  • Minimum Qualifications: an associate degree

How to Become One: Typically, you must complete at least an associate degree or get a certification from an accredited program. Depending on the state, you may need to pass an exam and become registered, licensed or certified. Many employers look for techs with at least some experience in the field, which means many vet techs start in an assistant position.

7. Animal Control Worker

Animal control workers help ensure the proper treatment of animals, investigate cases of mistreatment, may help locate abandoned animals and may be called on to deal with nuisance animals of certain types.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $38,490
  • Salary Range: $23,160 to $58,220
  • Minimum Qualifications: varies by location

How to Become One: Animal control workers are required to have a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additional training usually takes place on the job. The National Animal Care & Control Association offers training programs. In addition, some states require certification in animal control.

8. Conservation & Forest Technician

Conservation and forest workers help keep track of wildlife, gather data, suppress forest fires and work to improve the health of forests. They may lead guided tours or help train others in managing natural habitats.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $39,180
  • Salary Range: $26,160 to $56,410
  • Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent

How to Become One: In many cases, all you need is a high school diploma. You receive on-the-job training, but you can potentially advance your career with certifications or degrees in various sciences.

9. Breeder

Breeders select and breed animals according to characteristics and genealogy. They may use artificial insemination equipment and need to keep meticulous records on animal health, genetics, dates of birth and family history.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $46,420
  • Salary Range: $26,030 to $69,550
  • Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent

How to Become One: Animal breeders are required to have a minimum of a high school education. In addition, breeders learn their skill through short-term on-the-job training. Those who want to breed zoo animals are required to have a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science and, depending on career goals, may also want to pursue postgraduate study in zoology.

10. Biological Technician

Biological technicians help medical scientists in the laboratory. They are responsible for the setup, operation and maintenance of laboratory equipment. They also monitor experiments.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $49,110
  • Salary Range: $29,540 to $73,350
  • Minimum Qualifications: bachelor’s degree

How to Become One: Biological technicians generally need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a similar field. Technicians must also acquire laboratory experience and a working knowledge of computers and lab equipment.

11. Zoologist & Wildlife Biologist

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study how animals and wildlife interact with their environment. They may also help care for animals in captivity.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $67,200
  • Salary Range: $38,880 to $101,780
  • Minimum Qualifications: bachelor’s degree

How to Become One: A bachelor’s degree is necessary for those seeking entry-level positions. A master’s degree is usually required for advanced or scientific positions. Those who want to lead independent research or work at a university might want to consider a doctoral degree.

12. Conservation Scientist

Conservation land managers work with conservation groups, landowners or other entities to protect specific wildlife and land. Often, they do so because the area is a habitat for certain animals, particularly endangered animals.

Here are the job details:

  • Median Salary: $67,040
  • Salary Range: $39,270 to $98,060
  • Minimum Qualifications: bachelor’s degree

How to Become One: Conservation scientists usually need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, preferably in natural resource management, agriculture or another related field. Experience can be gained through internships and volunteer work. Some states require those desiring to become foresters to obtain a license.

Start Working Now to Land a Job Working with Animals

First, check out Monster.com‘s resume services and bring out the most relevant facts in your work history. Get tips and help polishing your resume so it shines when it hits employee inboxes or application systems. Then, upload your resume to ZipRecruiter and start connecting immediately with employers who are looking for people with a passion for jobs working with animals.

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When Is The Best Time To Buy A Car?

Buying a car is perhaps one of the most expensive purchases you’re going to make in your life — besides buying a house. The cost of a vehicle varies depending on the month, day or time of the year. So knowing the best time to buy a car, whether it is new or used, can save you thousands of dollars.

The key is to be ready to make a move when the right time presents itself.

If you’re planning to buy a set of wheels in the near future, here’s a list of the best time to buy a car.

  • The best month of the year to buy a car is December;
  • Best time of the month to buy a car;
  • During the holidays;
  • Buy a car when there is high supply and short demand;
  • When you’re buying an old model car;
  • The best time to buy a car is when your finance is organized;
  • Buy a car when you have a good credit score.

Always seek professional advice before applying for a car loan.

The best time of the year to buy a car: December

December is the perfect and ideal time to buy a car, whether used or new, for several reasons. One reason is that car dealers are desperate to meet annual quotas at the end of the year.

If they can achieve their quotas, that usually means they will get a bonus. As they get closer to the end of the year, they are more willing to drop the prices.

They may even sell at a loss just to meet their quotas. As a buyer, this is a good opportunity to pitch a low price on a car a dealer has in stock.

Second, car dealers need to get rid of this year model for the new year model. As the new year is quickly approaching, car dealerships will start thinking about the new models.

And once they get into January and start taking delivery for the new-year models, they will do everything they can to get rid of last year model in December, including lowering their prices.

Need to buy a new car? Compare car loans with LendingTree.

There’s not too much competition in December among buyers. Another reason that December is the best time to buy a car is that there is less competition.

People tend to be more occupied with Christmas shopping and traveling to visit friends and family in December.

So that means fewer people are visiting car dealerships in December, making it harder for car dealers. That it turns make them more willing to lower the price of the car.

Car dealers have more competition among themselves in December. Because fewer people visit car dealership around this time, care dealers tend to fight with each other to make a sale.

As a buyer, if you receive a quote from one car dealer and threaten to go elsewhere, the car dealer will more likely give you a better deal.

For all of the reasons stated above, the month December is the best time to buy a car.

Supply and Demand

If there is a short supply for a particular car that you want and there is a high demand for it, 10 out of 10, it will not be on sale or discounted –regardless of the time of the year.

So, this would not be the best time to buy such a car.

On the other hand, if a car is unpopular and the supply for it exceeds demand, it will be more likely to be sold at a discount.

Comparing a range of car loans will help you identify the best one for you.

End of the month: best time to buy a car

The best time to buy a car is the last day or the last few days of the month.

As explained above, many car dealers have certain sale quotas to meet for the month. As the end of the month is approaching, they will review their numbers.

And if they are behind, they’ll be more likely to lower their prices. This is a good time for you to purchase your vehicle.

Holidays

While December is the best time to buy a car, you may not have the time to wait for that long.

Indeed, one reason you’re buying a car might be for work or family commitments.

If that’s the case, you have other options. The holidays are some of the best time to buy a car.

Some of the months are the worst time of the year to buy a car. But holidays have great sales and offer great discount.

They’re the perfect time to buy a car. In fact, it’s common for car dealers to lower prices of their cars during holidays, such Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day, and Black Friday. 

When it’s time to borrow money to buy a car, shop around. Don’t just go to your bank or agree to the car dealer’s in-house finance because it seems easy in the moment to do so. Compare and assess the finance options from a range of reputable lenders.

Best time of the week to buy a car

Timing is important when it comes to buying a car. But how do you know the best time of the week to buy a car. It’s simple. Avoid the weekend.

The key is to show up to the car dealership when there are fewer buyers. Fewer buyers than less competition.

Therefore, there is a low demand. So, shop for your car on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday when people are typically at work.

Those days tend to be the slowest. Therefore, you may be able to negotiate a more affordable deal.

Buy an this year car model

When a new car model is coming, sales of the this year car model will typically decline, simply because buyers prefer to wait for the new car model.

Demand therefore drops for this year model. And car dealers have no choice but to lower the price of the old model to make sure the old stock sells before the new stocks arrive.

As a buyer, this is an ideal time to buy your car.

When your finance is organized

The best time to buy a car is not whether you can get one on sale. Rather, it’s whether you are financially ready.

Yes you can a get car at a discount and save money along the way.

However, it can also be a costly mistake if your finance is not in shape.

For instance, you still have to think about the car loan payment you will pay every month. And if for some reason you can’t make these payments down the line, there’s the risk of a default.

In other words, being unable to repay your car loan could result in your car being seized and your credit profile being damaged.

So, the ideal time to buy a car is when you’re financially ready.

When you have a good credit score

You will need a good credit score in order to get approved for a car loan. Even if you can get a loan with a bad credit score, the interest will like be outrageous. So, request a free copy of your credit report.

If your credit score is bad, it may not be the best time to buy a car. It makes sense then to postpone on buying a car and take steps to raise your credit score.

The bottom line

Timing is an important factor to consider when to buy a car. In other words, the  best time of the year, the month, the week to buy a car can make a big difference to your financial situation.

As you can see, the month of December is by far the best time to buy a car. But you shouldn’t be in a hurry to buy a car if you’re not ready or your financial situation is not in shape. Patience is key.

If you’re set on a particular car, then a car loan is going to be the next step. There are many options available. The key is to shop around and compare. By comparing different loan offers, you can pick the best one that will save you money.

Up Next in buying a car:

Work With A Financial Advisor Near You

If you have questions beyond the best time to buy a car you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals. Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

What Are Mutual Funds? Understanding The Basics

If you’re one of those investors with very little time to research and invest in individual stocks, it might be a good idea to look into investing in mutual funds.

Whether your goal is to save money for retirement, or for a down payment to buy a house, mutual funds are low-cost and effective way to invest your money.

What is a mutual fund?

A mutual fund is an investment vehicle in which investors, like you ad me, pool their money together. They use the money to invest in securities such as stocks and bonds. A professional manages the funds.

In addition, mutual funds are cost efficient. They offer diversification to your portfolio. They have low minimum investment requirements.

These factors make mutual funds among the best investment vehicles to use. If you’re a beginner investor, you should consider investing in mutual funds or index funds.

Investing in the stock market in general, can be intimidating. If you are just starting out and don’t feel confident in your investing knowledge, you may value the advice of a financial advisor.

Types of mutual funds

There are different types of mutual funds. They are stock funds, bond funds, and money market funds.

Which funds you choose depends on your risk tolerance. While mutual funds in general are less risky than investing in individual stocks, some funds are riskier than others.

However, you can choose a combination of these three types of funds to diversify your portfolio.

  • Stock funds: a stock fund is a fund that invests heavily in stocks. However, that does not mean stock funds do not have other securities, i.e., bonds. It’s just that the majority of the money invested is in stocks.
  • Bond funds: if you don’t want your portfolio to fluctuate in value as stocks do, then you should consider bond funds.
  • Money market funds: money market funds are funds that you invest in if you tend to tap into your investment in the short term.
  • Sector funds. As the name suggests, sector funds are funds that invests in one particular sector or industry. For example, a fund that invests only in the health care industry is a sector fund. These mutual funds lack diversification. Therefore, you should avoid them or use them in conjunction to another mutual fund.

Additional funds

  • Index funds. Index funds seek to track the performance of a particular index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index of 500 large U.S. company stocks or the CRSP US Small Cap Index. When you invest in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund, you’re essentially buying a piece of the 500 largest publicly traded US companies. Index funds don’t jump around. They stay invested in the market. 
  • Income funds: These funds focus invest primarily in corporate bonds. They also invest in some high-dividend stocks.
  • Balance funds: The portfolio of these funds have a mixed of stocks and bonds. Those funds enjoy capital growth and income dividend.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Protect Your Portfolio from the Volatile Stock Market

The advantages of mutual funds

Diversification. You’ve probably heard the popular saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, it applies to mutual funds. Mutual funds invest in stocks or bonds from dozens of companies in several industries.

Thus, your risk is spread. If a stock of a company is not doing well, a stock from another company can balance it out. While most funds are diversified, some are not.

For example, sector funds which invest in a specific industry such as real estate can be risky if that industry is not doing well.

Professional Management.

Mutual funds are professionally managed. These fund managers are well educated and experienced. Their job is to analyze data, research companies and find the best investments for the fund.

Thus, investing in mutual funds can be a huge time saver for those who have very little time and those who lack expertise in the matter.

Cost Efficiency. The operating expenses and the cost that you pay to sell or buy a fund are cheaper than trading in individual securities on your own. For example, the best Vanguard mutual funds have operating expenses as low as 0.04%. So by keeping expenses low, these funds can help boost your returns.

Low or Reasonable Minimum Investment. The majority of mutual funds, Vanguard mutual funds, for example, have a reasonable minimum requirement. Some funds even have a minimum of $1,000 and provide a monthly investment plan where you can start with as little as $50 a month.

Related Article: 7 Secrets Smart Professionals Use to Choose Financial Advisors

The disadvantage of mutual funds.

While there are several benefits to investing in mutual funds, there are some disadvantages as well. 

Active Fund Management. Mutual funds are actively managed. That means fund mangers are always on the look out for the best securities to purchase. That also means they can easily make mistakes.

Cost/expenses. While cost and expenses of investing in individual stocks are significantly higher than mutual funds, cost of a mutual fund can nonetheless be significant.

High cost can have a negative effect on your investment return. These fees are deducted from your mutual fund’s balance every year. Other fees can apply as well. So always find a company with a low cost. 

How you make money with mutual funds.

You make money with mutual funds the same way you would with individual stocks: dividend, capital gain and appreciation.

Dividend: Dividends are cash distributions from a company to its shareholders. Some companies offer dividends; others do not. And those who do pay out dividends are not obligated to do so. And the amount of dividends can vary from year to year.

As a mutual fund investor, you may receive dividend income on a regular basis.

Mutual funds offer dividend reinvestment plans. This means that instead of receiving a cash payment, you can reinvest your dividend income into buying more shares in the fund.

Capital gain distribution: in addition to receiving dividend income from the fund, you make money with mutual funds when you make a profit by selling a stock. This is called “capital gain.”

Capital gain occurs when the fund manager sells stocks for more he bought them for. The resulting profits can be paid out to the fund’s shareholders. Just as dividend income, you have the choice to reinvest your gains in the fund.

Appreciation: If stocks in your fund have appreciated in value, the price per share of the fund will increase as well. So whether you hold your shares for a short term or long term, you stand to make a profit when the shares rise. 

Best mutual funds.

Now that you know mutual funds make excellent investments, finding the best mutual funds can be overwhelming. 

Vanguard mutual funds.

Vanguard mutual funds are the best out there, because they are relatively cheaper; they are of high quality; a professional manage them; and their operating expenses are relative low. 

Here is a list of the best Vanguard mutual funds that you should invest in:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Funds
  • Vanguard 500 Index (VFIAX)
  • Total International Stock index Fund
  • Vanguard Health Care Investor

Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund 

If you’re looking for a diversified mutual fund, this Vanguard mutual fund is for you. The Vanguard’s VTSAX provides exposure to the entire U.S. stock market which includes stocks from large, medium and small U.S companies.

The top companies include Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. In addition, the expenses are relatively (0.04%). It has a minimum initial investment of $3,000, making it one of the best vanguard stock funds out there.

Vanguard S&P 500 (VFIAX)

The Vanguard 500 Index fund may be appropriate for you if you prefer a mutual fund that focuses on U.S. equities. This fund tracks the performance of the S&P 500, which means it holds about 500 of the largest U.S. stocks.

The largest U.S. companies included in this fund are Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Apple, and Amazon. This index fund has an expense ration of 0.04% and a reasonable minimum initial investment of $3,000.

You should consider the Vanguard International Stock Market fund of you prefer a mutual fund that invests in foreign stocks.

This international stock fund exposes its shareholders to over 6,000 non-U.S. stocks from several countries in both developed markets and emerging markets. The minimum investment is also $3,000 with an expense ratio of 0.11%.

Vanguard Health Care Investor

Sector funds are not usually a good idea, because the lack diversification. Sector funds are funds that invest in a specific industry like real estate or health care. However, if you want a fund to complement your portfolio, the Vanguard Health Care Investor is a good choice.

This Vanguard mutual fund offers investors exposure to U.S. and foreign equities focusing in the health care industry. The expense ration is a little bit higher, 0.34%. However, the minimum initial investment is $3,000, making it one of the cheapest Vanguard mutual funds.

Bottom Line

Mutual funds are great options for beginner investors or investors who have little time to research and invest in individual stocks. When you buy into these low cost investments, you’re essentially buying shares from companies.

Your money are pooled together with those of other investors. If you intend to invest in low cost investment funds, you must know which ones are the best. When it comes to saving money on fees and getting a good return on your investment, Vanguard mutual funds are among the best funds out there.

They provide professional management, diversity, low cost, income and price appreciation.

What’s Next: 5 Mistakes People Make When Hiring A Financial Advisor

Speak with the Right Financial Advisor

  • If you have questions beyond knowing which of the best Vanguard mutual funds to invest, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
  • Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

How to Invest in Stocks: A Guide to Getting Started

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Disclaimer

In 2020, around 55% of American adults invest in the stock market. That’s down from a peak of 65% in 2007 but around the average over the past 10 years. Do you want to get a piece of the action? Before you jump all in, make sure you know the basics of how to invest in stocks. 

A quick note before we dive in: we’re not investment experts or advisors. So if you’re seriously considering investing, you should work with professional brokers, financial advisors or other knowledgeable experts when you invest. That’s especially true if you plan on investing a lot. 

1. Decide on a Budget for Investing

Start by deciding how much you want to use to invest in stocks. Here’s a good starting place—make the potential stocks you’d invest in a percentage of your portfolio. A rule of thumb that many advisors go by is to take 110 or 120 and subtract your age. That’s how much of your investment portfolio you should keep in stocks.

For example, if you’re 30, then you’d keep between 80 and 90% of your portfolio in stocks. If that feels a little aggressive for your financial goals, start with 100 and subtract your age from that.

You also need to decide how much you can invest overall. That depends on your own income, what financial obligations you have and your overall budget. While investing is important, you shouldn’t invest money at the sake of paying your bills, for example.

2. Open an Account for Making Your Investments.

Stocks aren’t like retail goods. You can’t just buy them here and there when you see one you like on display on an ecommerce site. You typically need an account to purchase your stocks through. Some options you can choose include:

  • Opening a brokerage account. This lets you buy and sell stocks through a professional service. You can opt for a brokerage where you do your own research and push the buttons on buying and selling, or you can choose a managed option where someone provides advice or handles these things on your behalf.
  • Using a robo-advisor. This is an app or software program that lets you set goals for your investments and uses machine learning, AI and algorithms to handle your investments. One popular robo-advisor is Acorns, which is an app that lets you round up your purchases with connected debit cards and put the change into investments. While you’re making many micro investments, the total can add up over time.

3. Get Help Creating an Investment Plan

An investment plan is a comprehensive approach to wealth building. Stocks may play an important part in that, but you typically want to ensure you’re well diversified. A diversified portfolio just means you have various types of investments. This way if one isn’t performing well, the others might offer some protection.

One option for getting investment advice is by signing up for an Ellevest account. You pay a monthly membership for this robo investment app, but you gain access to investment and other financial coaching and educational materials.

4. Learn More About Stocks

You don’t have to be a stock expert or financial advisor to have success investing in stocks. But you do have to know a bit about what you’re investing in, especially if you’re going to make very specific stock choices.

You might be familiar with the concept of buying and selling stocks as seen in television and movies. While you canbuy and sell specific stocks because you want to invest in a specific company, you don’t have to invest like that. You can also invest in groups of stocks via stock mutual funds. When you invest in a stock mutual fund, you’re actually buying many different stocks or pieces of stocks. That spreads your risk out over a wider range of assets.

You should also understand the trends associated with the stock market, at least in general. For example, stocks do tend to rise over time barring big economic downturns. On any particular day, the chance that stocks will rise is around 53%. The chance that they will fall is around 47%. But if you look at the long-term, such as a 12-month period, stocks typically have a chance of rising of 75%. 

5. Use Other Tools to Make Investing Easy as You Get Started

Start by getting your immediate financial house in order. Understand what your budget is, and check your credit to ensure there are no surprises looming. You can sign up for ExtraCredit to get a comprehensive understanding of where your credit score is. Once you know where you stand, you can start creating an investment plan with confidence. You can even rely on ExtraCredit’s Reward It feature for cashback offers when signing up for Credit.com partners that provide investment apps and other financial services.

Start Investing in Stocks Today 

So, should you invest? Honestly, that’s up to you. Take a good look at your finances and, if you need guidance, try working with a professional. If you do decide to start investing, start easy and slow. There’s no need to jump all in right at once. Hopefully, if investing works out, you’ll reap some serious rewards. 

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Buying A Second Home? 8 Things To Consider

Buying a second home is a major expense. You might have several reasons for wanting to buy a second house. Perhaps, you’re buying a second home for vacations or weekend getaways. Or, it might be that you want to use it as a rental property for rental income. However, there are things to consider before buying a second home.

The benefits of buying a second home

If you’re buying a second home for rental income, you’ll benefit from many perks, especially tax advantages.

For example, you will be able to deduct interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance and other expenses against the property’s income.

Even if the value of the property declines, you will still be able to deduct depreciation from your taxes.

While these benefits are great, the mortgage requirements for a second home are much stricter than for a mortgage on your primary residence. So, make sure you can afford it.

8 Things To Consider When Buying A Second Home

1. Financing options: When you bought your first home, you had available to you what’s called an FHA loan – a government loan program.

FHA loans are an appealing and favorite choice among first time home buyers due to their relatively low down payment requirement.

FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment and a relatively low credit score of 580. However, FHA loans are not available to second home buyers.

That is because FHA requires the home to be the borrower’s primary residence. So, if you’re thinking of buying a second home, you will need to either use a conventional loan or financing it with your own cash.

2. A larger down payment: If you’re using a conventional loan for your second home, you will need to come up with a larger down payment.

Lenders for a conventional loan usually requires a 20% down payment of the home purchase price.

But for a second home which will be used as a rental property or vacation home, expect lenders to ask for 30% or even 35%.

3. A higher credit score. For an FHA loan, you only need a credit score of 580 to qualify. But for a conventional loan on a second home, you will need much higher credit score — usually 750 or higher.

4. Expect a Higher Interest Rate: Lenders will likely charge you a higher interest rate on your second home than your primary residence.

The reason is because they see a second home — be it a vacation home or a rental property — as riskier. They feel that you are more likely to default on a mortgage on your second home than on your primary residence.

5. Do your research: Just as you did your homework when you bought your place to live in, buying a second home is no different.

In fact, you’ll need to spend more time researching rental property. That means researching the neighborhood you will want to invest in, knowing the zoning laws for a particular area, the sales price for the homes in the area.

You will need to know if the area has adequate public transportation, schools, grocery shopping, etc,– things that potential tenants will need.

6. Be prepared to be a landlord: if you’re buying a second home to rent, be prepared to be a landlord.

And be prepared to deal with all of the headaches that come with being a landlord. Do you have sufficient time? Can you deal with problems?

Owning a rental property and being a landlord is time consuming. It is also hard hard work and you have to do your due diligence.

You can hire a property manager to run the property for you. But if that is not feasible, you’ll have to do it yourself.

That means, screening new tenants, collecting rent, dealing with delinquent tenants, fixing problems in the property, such as a broken pipe.

So before buying a second home, make sure you have sufficient time and make sure you can deal with the day-to-day headaches that come with being a landlord.

7. Do you have a stable income? Dealing with a second mortgage on your second home is doable.

While you may be able to afford upfront costs, if you don’t have a stable income, you may have to think twice about whether it is a good idea.

Plus, you still have to consider the additional expenses of owning a second home such as insurance, property taxes, maintenance, repairs, property management fees, etc.

8. Are you out of credit card debt? If you have paid off outstanding and high interest credit card debts, then purchasing a second home may make sense.

But if you’re still struggling to pay your debt, you may need to put buying a second home on hold. 

The bottom line

If you’re thinking about buying a second home, whether it is for investment or vacation, be prepared to save some money, budget for expenses, and come up with a bigger down payment.

More importantly, spend as much time, if not more, researching for the home just as you did when your purchased your primary home.

Speak with the Right Financial Advisor

  • If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
  • Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a House?

Understanding how much money you need to buy a house can give you an idea of how much you should expect to save.

You’re probably excited about the thought of buying your first home? If so, you have every right to be.

But how much money do you need to buy a house? A calculator can help you determine that. But the average cost of buying a $300,000 is typically around $17,000.

In this article, we’ll go over the main costs of buying a house including the down payment, inspection cost, appraisal cost, closing cost, etc.

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How much money do you need to buy a house?

Out of Pocket Cost of buying a house

The five main out of pocket costs of buying a house are 1) the down payment; 2) inspection cost; 3) the appraisal cost; 4) earnest money and 5) closing costs. These out of pocket costs or upfront costs are money yo need to pay before you become the owner of the property.

In addition, some lenders also require you have some cash reserves to cover 2 to 3 months of the mortgage repayments.

Determining how much cash needed to buy a house depends on the type of loan you’re using.

Let’s suppose you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan.

An FHA loan requires a 3.5% of the home purchase price as a down payment as long as you have a 580 credit score. So, for the down payment alone, you will need $10,500.

Here’s a quick breakdown for how much cash needed to buy a $300,000 house:

  • Down payment: $10,500
  • Inspection cost: $300
  • Appraisal cost: $300
  • Closing cost: $6000

So, $ 17,100 is how much money you need to buy a house.

Whether you’re buying a house with a 20% down payment or 3.5% down payment, you can certainly find a loan with both the price and features to suit your needs as a first time home buyer. You can compare First Time Home Buyer home loans on the LendingTree website.

The down payment

The biggest cost of buying a house is obviously your down payment. But that depends on the type of loan you are looking for.

For example, a conventional loan requires a 20% down payment. You can pay less than that, but you will have to pay for a private mortgage insurance – which covers the lender in case you default on your loan.

A 20% down payment however can also mean that you’ll get a better interest rate, which also means you’ll save money on interest.

For an FHA loan, you only need 3.5% down payment as long as your credit score is 580.

FHA loans are very popular these days. Not only it’s easier to get qualified (low down payment and low credit score), but also your down payment can come from a friend, a relative or your employer.

Using our example above, you only need $10,500 for a down payment for a $300,000 house.

If you’re using a VA loan then you pay $0 down payment.

Check to see if you’re eligible for an FHA loan or VA loan

How much money do you need to buy a house also depends on other factors, such as whether you are a first time home buyer or not. Your state may have a range of programs that may contribute toward your down payment.

So visit your local government office to find out if you are eligible for any down payment assistance for first time home buyers.

Inspection cost

Another upfront cost of buying a home is the inspection cost.

It is highly recommended to perform inspection for your home for any defects so there are no surprises later on.

Inspections typically cost between $300 to $500, but it depends on the property and your local rates.

Compare home loans for first time home buyers with LendingTree

Appraisal cost

Before a lender can give you a loan to finance a house, they will want to know how much the house is worth. So appraisal means an estimate of the home’s value. A home’s appraisal usually costs between $300 to $500. A home appraisal will also determine what your property tax will likely be.

If you’re pay the home appraisal, it will be deducted from the closing cost. (see below).

Earnest money

Earnest money is a deposit you will have to pay upfront as soon as an offer is accepted, while you working on other aspects such as getting the home inspected, etc…

This deposit is part of the down payment, and it is usually between 1% to 3% of the final sale price. It is held by an escrow firm or attorney until the closing process is completed.

So if the sale is successful, that money is applied to your down payment. If it’s not, you get 100% of your money back.

Closing costs

The closing costs are fees by the lenders. They typically cost 2% to 5% of the final price. The costs include fees for homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, title insurance, property tax, HOA dues, private mortgage insurance.

It’s possible to lower these costs by comparing mortgage options.

Other costs of buying a home:

In addition to upfront costs, there are other recurring costs associated with buying a home. They include moving fees, repair costs, furniture, remodeling, etc. So consider these costs when making your budget to buy a house.

So how much money do you need to buy a house? The answer is it depends on the type of loans you’ re using. But if you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan, which requires a 3.5% down payment, $ 17,100 is how much money you need.

For more information about upfront costs of buying a house, check out this guide.

Read more cost of buying a house:

Work with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). So, find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

The Average Cost of a Divorce

The Average Cost of a Divorce – SmartAsset

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Even the most amicable of divorces generally involve some kind of expense. The average cost of a divorce varies greatly based on how complicated the case is and on the kind of divorce you seek. At the very least you’ll have to pay court costs and filing fees for divorce paperwork. But if lawyers are involved, costs can balloon from a few hundred dollars to several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of getting a divorce can exceed the average cost of a wedding. 

Check out our 401(k) calculator.

The Average Cost of a Pro Se Divorce

A pro se litigant is someone who represents himself or herself. While you can do this in a divorce case, legal professionals advise against it. However, in the case of a collaborative, uncontested divorce both parties may work together for a pro se divorce. This could mean using a “divorce kit” and working together to get the divorce filed and granted. In this scenario, the average cost of a pro se divorce could be as low as $300.

Working through the divorce paperwork on your own and filing the papers with the courts yourself (as opposed to hiring a lawyer to help you with both steps) can save you thousands. However, this simplest form of divorce only works in simple cases. If there are children involved or complicated assets to split, cheap and easy is probably not an option.

Related Article: 4 Things to Know About Splitting Up a 401(k) in a Divorce

The Average Cost of Divorce Mediation

Another way to save on the costs of a divorce is to turn to a mediator instead of enlisting the services of lawyers. Particularly if you’re embarking on an uncontested divorce, a mediated divorce can be a much less costly option that a litigated divorce. Again, this option works best when matters are relatively uncomplicated and both parties are willing to cooperate.

You can employ a mediator who works with each party one-on-one and aids in communication between the two parties. Alternatively, both parties can sit down with the mediator and hammer out the details collaboratively. Private mediation can be billed using a flat fee or an hourly rate. Mediators generally charge lower hourly rates than lawyers, but the cost can still add up if the process drags on. The hourly rate for private divorce mediators is generally between $100 and $200.

Even if a divorce goes to trial the judge may order both parties to go to mediation. Court-ordered mediation is free to both parties and is non-binding. However, if you retain the services of a lawyer in a contested divorce and are then ordered to go to mediation, you will still run up legal bills for the work your attorney does to advise you and monitor the mediation process. Your lawyer will also bill you for the time spent revising the settlement reached in mediation.

Related Article: 5 Ways Getting Married Affects Your Tax Bill

The Average Cost of a Contested Divorce

A contested, litigated divorce is the most expensive route. Costs can go as high as $50,000, or higher if wealthy parties and expensive lawyers are involved. Typically, divorce lawyers will charge an hourly rate of $250, but this can vary based on the firm and the city (rates are higher in expensive cities).

Parties in a divorce can decide whether they want full representation, or if they want a more limited service such as an initial consultation or an attorney review of a settlement reached in mediation. The average cost of a litigated divorce is around $15,000. Attorney fees (which are generally not tax-deductible) aren’t the only costs. You may need to hire an accountant to assess the assets that are being divided, or hire an appraiser to value the family home. Counseling for both parties (and any children involved) may also be necessary. There are court fees to pay as well.

Many divorces settle, curtailing the costly trial process. Naturally, cases that settle out of court tend to carry a lower average price tag than divorces with a protracted trial. Regardless, you’ll have some up-front costs. Clients pay a retainer when they first find a lawyer to help them through the divorce process.

Bottom Line

For many who divorce, the process carries high emotional and financial costs. The emotional stakes and the amount of money on the line – both in assets and attorney fees – are good reasons to seek skilled help, whether from a mediator or a lawyer. Do your research before committing to either.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Jelena Popic, ©iStock.com/BernardaSv, ©iStock.com/svengine

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia’s work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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5 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit for 2020

Are you wondering if there are personal loans for fair credit out there?

If you are, then the answer is a resounding “Yes.” There are, indeed, personal loans for fair credit available to you.

If you have fair credit, expect your credit history to be under the microscope by lenders when applying for a personal loan. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting a personal loan.

So, how do you get a personal loan when you have a fair or average credit?

While you may have fewer options, the best way to know for sure what’s available to you is to shop around and compare.

In other words, there are lenders that are willing to get you a personal loan even if your credit is simply average. You just have to know where to look.

A simple internet search of “personal loans for fair credit” can return thousands of results. That can be overwhelming to go through everything.

But don’t worry.

This guide will provide you a selection of the best personal loans for fair credit. It will also show you ways to fix a fair credit score to a good or excellent credit score.

What is a fair credit score for purposes of getting a personal loan?

Before we offer you a list of personal loans for fair credit, you need to know what a fair credit score is.

A fair credit score, according to Credit Sesame, is a credit score within the range of 640 and 680. It sits “between bad and good credit.”

With an average credit score in the mid 600’s, you more likely to get a personal loan than those who have a poor or bad credit score (which usually ranges between 300 to 600).

But you will not enjoy the same interest rate that someone with an excellent credit score would.

Great interest rates are reserved for people with excellent credit score.

What is a personal loan and what can it be used for?

A personal loan is a lump sum of money you borrow from an institution, and then repay that amount (with interest) over a set period of time.

There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured. For example, if you’re taking a personal loan to pay off credit card debts or to go on a vacation, that loan is an unsecured debt.

On the other hand, if you’re taking a personal loan to finance a car, you’ve taken a secured loan that is guaranteed by collateral, which is the car your purchase. 

Unsecured loans have more risks for lenders, because there is no collateral. So, they have to rely solely on your credit history and other aspects of your financial life. That’s why it may be harder to get qualified for an unsecured personal loan with bad or fair credit.

Can I get a personal loan with a fair credit?

The answer is “yes.”

While there are plenty of personal loans for fair credit out there, it’s not always the best idea to apply. One reason is that you’ll often be charged a higher interest rate than someone with a good or excellent credit score. 

In that case, it could be worth raising your credit score first before applying for a personal loan.

So while there are lenders who are willing to offer personal loans to people with fair credit if you’re struggling to get approved for a personal loan with a fair credit, you may want to consider improving your credit score first.

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5 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

The better your credit score, generally the higher your chance is for getting approved for a personal loan.

If you’ve got an average credit, you may still get a loan but you will get a high interest rate.

Check out the list below to see some personal loans you may be eligible for.

Part of your search for the best personal loans for fair credit should start with LendingTree.

That is because LendingTree is not a direct lender of personal loans, but instead it’s an online marketplace that matches borrowers to lenders based on your individual qualifications.

It saves you time. Instead of applying to several lenders, with LendingTree you can shop around and compare the best personal loans on one website. It’s an all-in-one platform.

It just connects you with multiple lenders, you can get a personal loan with even a 600 credit score. 

Avant targets people with bad and fair credit. So, that means even if you have a credit score as low as 580, you may still get qualified for a personal loan. The loan amount ranges from $2,000 to $35,000.

Plus, Avant provides quick funding for personal loans.

Just like Lendingtree.com, BadCreditLoans.com is another online lending network that connects you to a huge selection of lenders.

These lenders specialize in lending personal loans to people with bad or fair credit. You can get a personal loan from up to $5,000.

Payoff provides loans to borrowers who have a tons of credit card debts. If you have high interest credit card debts, a Payoff loan can help you consolidate them.

While you can get a Payoff personal loan with fair credit, the minimum credit score is around 640, which is on the higher end of a fair credit score.

So if you have a less-than-stellar credit, you may postpone your personal loan application.

Another peer-to-peer lender to get a personal loan with fair credit is Prosper. With Prosper, not only can you get loan approval the same day, you can also get funding the same day.

But the main downside is that Prosper requires a minimum credit score of 640, which is on the higher end of a fair credit score range.

Other ways to find personal loans for fair credit

When you’re applying for a personal loan, don’t underestimate banks. The options above are online lenders. But banks and credit unions do provide personal loans to people with an average credit.

Banks.

This includes all the major banks, such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, plus other small banks.

The main benefit of visiting a bank when applying for a personal loan, especially with a fair credit, is that you get to speak with a human being and has the opportunity to explain your financial situation.

For example, you might be able to explain that the reason for an average credit score is due to an unexpected medical bill.

That is not possible with online lenders where it is an automated system that’s reviewing your finances.

It’s even better to get approved for a personal loan even with a fair credit if you have an account with that bank. They can see your transaction history.

The disadvantage, however, is that a bank may not offer the most competitive personal loan rate, especially with a fair credit.

Credit Unions

Part of your search for a personal loan with fair credit should also include credit unions.

Credit unions are not for profit organizations and are more willing to approve you.

But to get access to the best rate, you’ll have to become a member.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Lenders

Another alternative to banks and credit unions, P2P lenders can provide you with a personal loan even if your credit is average.

For example, LendingClub, a popular P2P, can get you a personal loan with a credit score as low as 600 — which is considered fair credit.

However, your rate may not be as competitive.

Tips to fix a fair credit if you can’t get a personal loan

Holding off applying for a personal loan to improve your fair credit to an excellent one is a good idea.

Not only will you get qualified, but you’ll also get a better interest rate.

Follow these tips to improve your credit score.

1. Get a copy of your credit report

The first step is to obtain a copy of your credit report.

The three main ones to get it from are Transunion, Equifax, and Experian.

By law, you can request a credit report once every 12 months.

But if you want to do so more frequently, you can request it from free credit monitoring services such as Credit Sesame or Credit Karma.

2. Make sure there aren’t any mistakes

Once you get a free copy of your report, make sure there aren’t any inaccurate information or listings.

If you find something that you’re not familiar with, dispute it immediately.

Sometimes it can be a harmless mistake such as a misspelling or an issue that has already been resolved. Some other times, it can be something more serious such as a credit card or a loan taking out in your name.

So it’s important to always check so you’re not a victim of identity fraud.

3. Pay off any credit card debts

Some debts like student loans (as long as you’re not in default) may not have an impact on your credit score.

But if you have outstanding credit card debts, make it a priority to pay them off.

Or at the very least, pay them down until your balance is at or below 30%. That’s called “credit utilization rate,” which is a big factor in calculating your credit score.

4. Pay your bills on time

Nothing will tarnish your credit score like late payments. That is because payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score.

Before a lender can provide you with a personal loan, (whether you have fair credit or not) they look at your entire credit history.

A late payment history does not look good. It tells them that you’re not responsible with your money. 

So make an effort to pay your bill on time, even if you can only make the minimum payment.

5. Don’t apply for new credit

When you’re improving a fair credit to good credit in order to get a personal loan, the last thing you want to do is to apply for new credit.

That’s because each time you do, you rack up what’s called a “hard inquiry.” Each hard inquiry is recorded on your report. And hard inquiry accounts for 30% of your credit score.

One hard inquiry is nothing to worry about. But when you make several within a short amount of time, you’ll hurt your credit score. It also tells lenders that you are desperate for credit.

Consider a co-signer

While it makes sense to raise your credit score before applying for a personal loan, sometimes you just need the money right away. 

If that’s the case and can’t get approved on your own, then you will need to use a co-signer with good credit.

With a fair credit, using a co-signer should be able to get you qualified for a personal loan.

But, bear in mind that this is a big financial burden you’re putting on them. By accepting to co-sign a loan, they are also responsible to pay off the loan if you cannot. So don’t take it personal if they say “no.”

Summary

Can I get a personal loan with fair credit? The answer is “yes.”  Personal loans for fair credit are available. And the list above have the best personal loans if you have fair credit.While there are several personal loans for fair credit, it’s not always the best idea as you will often charged a higher interest rate and fees. In this case, it makes sense to improve your credit score first before applying.

Click to get approved for a personal loan now

Work with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you save 100k (whether you need it to pay off debt, to invest, to buy a house, or plan for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com