75 Personal Finance Rules of Thumb

Share the Best Interest

A “rule of thumb” is a mental shortcut. It’s a heuristic. It’s not always true, but it’s usually true. It saves you time and brainpower. Rather than re-inventing the wheel for every money problem you face, personal finance rules of thumb let you apply wisdom from the past to reach quick solutions.

Table of Contents show

I’m going to do my best Buzzfeed impression today and give you a list of 75 personal finance rules of thumb. Some are efficient packets of advice while others are mathematical shortcuts to save brain space. Either way, I bet you’ll learn a thing or two—quickly—from this list.

The Basics

These basic personal finance rules of thumb apply to everybody. They’re simple and universal.

1. The Order of Operations (since this is one of the bedrocks of personal finance, I wrote a PDF explaining all the details. Since you’re a reader here, it’s free.)

2. Insurance protects wealth. It doesn’t build wealth.

3. Cash is good for current expenses and emergencies, but nothing more. Holding too much cash means you’re losing long-term value.

4. Time is money. Wealth is a measure of how much time your money can buy.

5. Set specific financial goals. Specific numbers, specific dates. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

6. Keep an eye on your credit score. Check-in at least once a year.

7. Converting wages to salary: $1/per hour = $2000 per year.

8. Don’t mess with City Hall. Don’t cheat on your taxes.

9. You can afford anything. You can’t afford everything.

10. Money saved is money earned. When you look at your bottom line, saving a dollar has the equivalent effect as earning a dollar. Saving and earning are equally important.

Budgeting

I love budgeting, but not everyone is as zealous as me. Still, if you’re looking to budget (or even if you’re not), I think these budgeting rules of thumb are worth following.

11. You need a budget. The key to getting your financial life under control is making a budget and sticking to it. That is the first step for every financial decision.

12. The 50-30-20 rule of budgeting. After taxes, 50% of your money should cover needs, 30% should cover wants, and 20% should repay debts or invest.

13. Use “sinking funds” to save for rainy days. You know it’ll rain eventually.

14. Don’t mix savings and checking. One saves, the other spends.

15. Children cost about $10,000 per kid, per year. Family planning = financial planning.

16. Spend less than you earn. You might say, “Duh!” But if you’re not measuring your spending (e.g. with a budget), are you sure you meet this rule?

Investing & Retirement

Basic investing, in my opinion, is a ‘must know’ for future financial success. The following rules of thumb will help you dip your toe in those waters.

17. Don’t handpick stocks. Choose index funds instead. Very simple, very effective.

18. People who invest full-time are smarter than you. You can’t beat them.

19. The Rule of 72 (it’s doctor-approved). An investment annual growth rate multiplied by its doubling time equals (roughly) 72. A 4% investment will double in 18 years (4*18 = 72). A 12% investment will double in 6 years (12*6 = 72).

20. “Don’t do something, just sit there.” -Jack Bogle, on how bad it is to worry about your investments and act on those emotions.

21. Get the employer match. If your employer has a retirement program (e.g. 401k, pension), make sure you get all the free money you can.

22. Balance pre-tax and post-tax investments. It’s hard to know what tax rates will be like when you retire, so balancing between pre-tax and post-tax investing now will also keep your tax bill balanced later.

23. Keep costs low. Investing fees and expense ratios can eat up your profits. So keep those fees as low as possible.

24. Don’t touch your retirement money. It can be tempting to dip into long-term savings for an important current need. But fight that urge. You’ll thank yourself later.

25. Rebalancing should be part of your investing plan. Portfolios that start diversified can become concentrated some one asset does well and others do poorly. Rebalancing helps you rest your diversification and low er your risk.

26. The 4% Rule for retirement. Save enough money for retirement so that your first year of expenses equals 4% (or less) of your total nest egg.

27. Save for your retirement first, your kids’ college second. Retirees don’t get scholarships.

28. $1 invested in stocks today = $10 in 30 years.

29. Inflation is about 3% per year. If you want to be conservative, use 3.5% in your money math.

30. Stocks earn 7% per year, after adjusting for inflation.

31. Own your age in bonds. Or, own 120 minus your age in bonds. The heuristic used to be that a 30-year old should have a portfolio that’s 30% bonds, 40-year old 40% bonds, etc. More recently, the “120 minus your age” rule has become more prevalent. 30-year old should own 10% bonds, 40-year old 20% bonds, etc.

32. Don’t invest in the unknown. Or as Warren Buffett suggests, “Invest in what you know.”

Home & Auto

For many of you, home and car ownership contribute to your everyday finances. The following personal finance rules of thumb will be especially helpful for you.

33. Your house’s sticker price should be less than 3x your family’s combined income. Being “house poor”—or having too expensive of a house compared to your income—is one of the most common financial pitfalls. Avoid it if you can.

34. Broken appliance? Replace it if 1) the appliance is 8+ years old or 2) the repair would cost more than half of a new appliance.

35. Used car or new car? The cost difference isn’t what it used to be. The choice is even.

36. A car’s total lifetime cost is about 3x its sticker price. Choose wisely!

37. 20-4-10 rule of buying a vehicle. Put 20% of the vehicle down in cash, with a loan of 4 years or less, with a monthly payment that is less than 10% of your monthly income.

38. Re-financing a mortgage makes sense once interest rates drop by 1% (or more) from your current rate.

39. Don’t pre-pay your mortgage (unless your other bases are fully covered). Mortgages interest is deductible, and current interest rates are low. While pre-paying your mortgage saves you that little bit of interest, there’s likely a better use for you extra cash.

40. Set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for future maintenance and repairs.

41. The average car costs about 50 cents per mile over the course of its life.

42. Paying interest on a depreciating asset (e.g. a car) is losing twice.

43. Your main home isn’t an investment. You shouldn’t plan on both living in your house forever and selling it for profit. The logic doesn’t work.

44. Pay cash for cars, if you can. Paying interest on a car is a losing move.

45. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, consider the 70% rule to sort out worthy properties.

46. If you’re buying a rental property, the 1% rule easily evaluates if you’ll get a positive cash flow.

Spending & Debt

Do you spend money? (“What kind of question is that?”) Then these personal finance rules of thumb will apply to you.

47. Pay off your credit card every month.

48. In debt? Use psychology to help yourself. Consider the debt snowball or debt avalanche.

49. When making a purchase, consider cost-per-use.

50. Make your spending tangible with a ‘cash diet.’

51. Never pay full price. Shop around and do your research to get the best deals. You can earn cash back when you shop online, score a discount with a coupon code, or a voucher for free shipping.

52. Buying experiences makes you happier than buying things.

53. Shop by yourself. Peer pressure increases spending.

54. Shop with a list, and stick to it. Stores are designed to pull you into purchases you weren’t expecting.

55. Spend on the person you are, not the person you want to be. I love cooking, but I can’t justify $1000 of professional-grade kitchenware.

56. The bigger the purchase, the more time it deserves. Organic vs. normal peanut butter? Don’t spend 10 minutes thinking about it. $100K on a timeshare? Don’t pull the trigger when you’re three margaritas deep.

57. Use less than 30% of your available credit. Credit usage plays a major role in your credit score. Consistently maxing out your credit hurts your credit score. Aim to keep your usage low (paying off every month, preferably).

58. Unexpected windfall? Use 5% or less to treat yourself, but use the rest wisely (e.g. invest for later).

59. Aim to keep your student loans less than one year’s salary in your field.

The Mental Side of Personal Finance

At the end of the day, you are what you do. Psychology and behavior play an essential role in personal finance. That’s why these behavioral rules of thumb are vital.

60. Consider peace of mind. Paying off your mortgage isn’t always the optimum use of extra money. But the peace of mind that comes with eliminating debt—it’s huge.

61. Small habits build up to big impacts. It feels like a baby step now, but give yourself time.

62. Give your brain some time. Humans might rule the animal kingdom, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t impulsive. Give your brain some time to think before making big financial decisions.

63. The 30 Day Rule. Wait 30 days before you make a purchase of a “want” above a certain dollar amount. If you still want it after waiting and you can afford it, then buy it.  

64. Pay yourself first. Put money away (into savings or investment accounts) before you ever have a chance to spend it.

65. As a family, don’t fall into the two-income trap. If you can, try to support your lifestyle off of only one income. Should one spouse lose their job, the family finances will still be stable.

66. Every dollar counts. Money is fungible. There are plenty of ways to supplement your income stream.

67. Savor what you have before buying new stuff. Consider the fulfillment curve.

68. Negotiating your salary can be one of the most important financial moves you make. Increasing your income might be more important than anything else on this list.

69. Direct deposit is the nudge you need. If you don’t see your paycheck, you’re less likely to spend it.

70. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Instead, use comparisons to set goals. (net worth).

71. Learning is earning. Education is 5x more impactful to work-life earnings than other demographics.

72. If you wouldn’t pay in cash, then don’t pay in credit. Swiping a credit card feels so easy compared to handing over a stack of cash. Don’t let your brain fool itself.

73. Envision a leaky bucket. Water leaking from the bottom is just as consequential as water entering the top. We often ignore financial leaks (e.g. fees), since they’re not as glamorous—but we shouldn’t.

74. Forget the Joneses. Use comparisons to motivate healthier habits, not useless spending.

75. Talk about money! I know it’s sometimes frowned upon (like politics or religion), but you can learn a ton from talking to your peers about money. Unsure where to start? You can talk to me!

The Last Personal Finance Rule of Thumb

Last but not least, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Boom! Got ’em again! Ben Franklin streaks in for another meta appearance. Thanks Ben!

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more, I’d suggest checking out my Archive or Subscribing to get future articles emailed to your inbox.

This article—just like every other—is supported by readers like you.

Share the Best Interest

Tagged rules of thumb

Source: bestinterest.blog

How This Former Zookeeper Paid Off Over $40,000 In Debt

Hey! Today, I have a great debt payoff story to share from Steffa Mantilla. She paid off $40,000 in debt so that she could be a stay at home mom and start a business. Enjoy!

My husband CJ and I have been married for over a decade.  You’d think with all that time married would come wisdom but it wasn’t until year 10 of our marriage before we really took stock in figuring out our financial life.

How This Former Zookeeper Paid Off Over $40,000 In Debt

How This Former Zookeeper Paid Off Over $40,000 In Debt

Like most people, we got into a routine and didn’t question what we thought was working.  We had surrounded ourselves with other couples who were living the same way we were. 

There was no impetus to change because we had created a comfortable echo chamber with a “Keeping up with the Jones’ mentality.”

Fast forward to today and we’ve paid off $100,000 in debt and are on track to pay off our mortgage within the next 3 years. 

While there’s no “easy button” on debt payoff, I hope that our story can help others see what’s possible and the steps we took to get there.  

More debt payoff stories:

Our Debts

In 2016, my husband and I were close to $200,000 in debt.  Around $165,000 was our mortgage, $12,000 in student loans, and $30,000 in consumer loans.  We were a dual income couple with no kids and lived like money was infinite.  Most of our friends had a similar lifestyle and seemed to be able to afford it.  

The problem was, we put our entire life on payments because we had the mistaken belief that we “deserved it” somehow.  Payments for already-experienced fancy vacations, new cars, and furniture ate up the majority of our paychecks.  

From the outside, we seemed like we were well off when in reality, we were one missed paycheck away from not being able to make the minimum payments on our bills.  

What Made Me Want To Change My Career

By the time 2016 rolled around, we had been married for 11 years and were ready to start a family.  I had also been in my zookeeping career for equally as long.

I had worked my way up from an Avian Intern all the way up through my ultimate goal of Senior Keeper for Carnivores.  While I had loved being a zookeeper all those years, I had reached the limit of upward mobility.  All higher positions were supervisory and were no longer working directly with the animals.  

When we were discussing our future family plans, it became apparent to me that my career wasn’t going to mesh well with my idea of motherhood.  Zookeepers work long hours, often starting at 6AM to get the exhibits ready by the time guests arrive.  They also work every weekend,  evening special events, and every holiday.  

I was also capped out on pay. 

Despite working a decade in this field, having advanced continuing education certifications, and the required degrees, I made merely $16 an hour (roughly $30,000/year).  The long, strenuous hours left me burnt out and wanting a change.

One day, my husband and I sat down to do our budget planning for a baby.  After looking at all of the costs, including childcare, if I continued to work in the same job, I would be making negative dollars

This, combined with rarely being able to have weekends or holidays off with my family, was a deal-breaker.  I’d essentially miss out on my child’s entire childhood if I stayed in this job.

I brought up the idea of becoming a stay at home mom and we set out to make a plan.

What Needed To Happen To Make This Work

In order for me to become a stay at home mom, our family budget had to be drastically altered.  Thankfully, while talking about finances was awkward in the beginning, we quickly set aside any embarrassment or feelings of guilt that we had.  

Open communication without judgement, finger pointing, or blame was the only way we were able to make a real plan that we could stick to.  While it was stressful since we were essentially broke despite both earning incomes, we instead used this to come together and strengthen our marriage instead of pull us apart.

By the end, we came to the conclusion that a few things needed to happen:

  • Pay off all our debt (except the mortgage)
  • Lower our frivolous household expenses
  • I’d need to get a job to make up the difference in our budget

Our Money Mindsets

As a wedding gift, we had received the book The Total Money Makeover.  Neither of us had heard of Dave Ramsey before and didn’t really have an interest in learning about him.  Thus, this book sat on our bookshelf for 10 years unopened.

It’s kind of interesting thinking back about how we had the tools for financial success right in front of our faces for literally 10 years without ever using them.  But, we weren’t mentally open to change at the time.  

I think the saying that “you can help someone who won’t help themselves” is especially true when talking about money.  Money is a personal topic that many people have hang ups about. In our case, I knew investing was good so we did that but never really had a problem with debt.  I assumed everyone had debt and all my friends confirmed that.

For CJ, he grew up in a household where you didn’t talk about money.  It was always a source of stress because there was never enough.  Then when he grew up and got his first adult job, there was a sigh of relief.  All restrictions were gone and he could spend how he wished instead of constantly being in a scarcity mindset.

Even though we came from very different money backgrounds, we both were missing solid financial knowledge.  Neither of us had been taught about building wealth or living a debt-free lifestyle.  

This was a huge paradigm shift that we each needed to overcome in order to truly get on the same page and work together.

How We Got On The Same Page As A Couple

I love reading so I quickly devoured The Total Money Makeover in one day.  But no matter what, I couldn’t convince CJ to read the book.  He thought of it as “work” and he’d rather read for relaxation.

So I used my training in operant conditioning to subtly leave hints and clues about.  CJ and I now joke how I “clicker trained” him into getting on board. 

During car rides together we’d listen to the Dave Ramsey Podcast. I’d talk about how neat it was hearing other’s debt-free screams and then we’d discuss what we’d do if that were us.  Could we ever achieve that?  How are these people able to do this and we can’t when we’re earning more money than them?  

The best persuasion was learning about others achieving their financial dreams.  Dreaming together and making plans for our financial future was instrumental in giving us an achievable goal.  

Now it wasn’t just some vague idea; we had concrete plans for how we wanted the next 20 years to go.  We could eliminate financial stress and truly live a life we never thought was possible.

Our Plan To Pay Off Debt

So back to the debt.  We had around $42,000 that needed to be paid off before I could become a stay at home mom.  We weren’t a brand new couple so we did have some savings and investments.  Everything was disjointed and not well organized though.

After looking at our current financial state, we saw that a lot of the debt could be wiped out fairly quickly with the money we had in various places.  

Here’s where we took money from:

  • Sold stock from my childhood mutual funds that my parents had set up as a teaching tool. (~ $2,000)
  • Sold company stock from CJ’s job that was bonus compensation. (~$3,000)
  • Emptied out our $15k Emergency Fund down to $1,000 ($14,000)

These were the immediate quick wins that we could do.  We now had $23,000 left in debt to tackle.  

Rearranging our budget was where we found our largest consistent monthly savings.  After tracking our spending for a few months, we saw that we were spending an insane $800 a month on eating out and for entertainment purposes.  This was on top of the $600 we already spent on groceries for two people.

While we do live in a city where things cost more, it wasn’t enough to justify hundreds of dollars every month.  We were going out for dinner or drinks with friends whenever we were invited.  We never said “no” and our bank account was weeping.  

I also started to take any overtime that was offered.  I’d either come in to work on my days off when coverage was needed or I’d volunteer to work extra evening special events.  This also made it easier to save because a lot of my free time was being used up so I couldn’t go out with friends.

After rearranging our budget and adding in overtime pay, we were able to free up around $1800/month to go directly towards debt. It took 12 months for us to pay off the remaining debt.  During this time I got pregnant and now had to figure out what to do about my soon to be eliminated income.

Making Up The Deficit In Our Budget

Fast forward to me having a baby and being out on maternity leave.  During this time I was still being paid since I had sick days accumulated from the past 5 years.  I was working with my boss to try and see if a part-time or few days a week position could be created.  

Ultimately, while they were willing to work with me somewhat, it still wouldn’t have been financially viable due to the cost of childcare.  

After switching gears, I started talking to other zookeepers who did pet sitting as a side job.  They mainly did weekend pet sits or before and after work drop-ins.  I picked their brains a bit and then decided to offer up my services on Rover.

The reason I chose Rover was that there was already a built-in client base.  I knew I could get clients by highlighting my experience with animals.  Who wouldn’t trust their dog with someone who worked with cheetahs and lions?  By using Rover, I didn’t have to do any outside marketing and ended up having a client wait list.

I also made it clear that I’d be bringing my baby along with me to all dog walks or cat sits so I only took on small or elderly dogs and cats.  I met all clients ahead of time to do behavioral observations and stroller testing to ensure it would be safe. 

In the end, I took on 2 mid-day dog walk clients and numerous cat sitting clients. Our budget was going to be $500 short once my maternity pay ended but with these pet sitting clients I was making $500 a month bare minimum.  And I didn’t need to worry about childcare.  

Paying Down The Mortgage

As I got into the hang of mom life and my child grew older, I started looking into creating my own business.  I was now a self-taught personal finance enthusiast  and Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) so I started my blog Money Tamer.  I was able to write blog posts during my son’s nap time and learned as much as I could about online business.  

My blog is now monetized and the income I take from it goes directly towards our mortgage principle.  Any extra money that CJ earns also goes towards paying off our house early.  We’ve sold things we no longer want or need to consignment stores or used online marketplaces.  

Over the past three years, we’ve been able to put close to $55,000 towards paying down our home making our total debt payoff close to $100,000. 

Our next goal is to have our house paid off in an additional 3 years or so.  

Final Thoughts

Getting out of debt is possible even when you feel lost.  So many people grow up in households where money is taboo and many schools barely touch upon the subject.  Even if you think you’re too far gone, I’m here to tell you it’s never too late.

We had been married and spending with abandon for over 10 years before we got our act together.  The biggest factor in our success was our change in mindset.  We started seeing money as a way to build freedom into our lives rather than surrounding ourself with consumer goods.

If you’re in a couple, it’s paramount that you have meetings to dream together.  You both need to create a dream you’re both working towards so that you aren’t tempted to derail one another.  When one of you is struggling, the other is there to help keep you on course and vice versa.  

This is the route we took, and while it’s not complete yet, we’re well on our way to being able to reach our goal of financial freedom.

Author bio:  Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and founder of the personal finance website Money Tamer.  She is an online entrepreneur who built her business while being a stay at home mom to her toddler.  Steffa has paid off over $100,000 in debt and now teaches others how they can get their finances under control to do the same.

Are you trying to pay off your debt? What are your dreams for life after debt?

Related Posts

<!–
–>

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Wealth Tax: Definition, Examples, Pros and Cons

Wealth Tax: Definition, Examples, Pros and Cons – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

A wealth tax is a type of tax that’s imposed on the net wealth of an individual. This is different from income tax, which is the type of tax you’re likely most used to paying. The U.S. currently doesn’t have a wealth tax, though the idea has been proposed more than once by lawmakers. Instituting a wealth tax could help generate revenue for the government but only a handful of countries actually impose one.

Wealth Tax, Definition

A wealth tax is what it sounds like: a tax on wealth. This can also be referred to as an equity tax or a capital tax and it applies to individuals.

More specifically, a wealth tax is applied to someone’s net worth, meaning their total assets minus their total liabilities. The types of assets that may be subject to inclusion in wealth tax calculations might include real estate, investment accounts, liquid savings and trust accounts.

A wealth tax isn’t the same as other types of tax you’re probably familiar with paying. For example, you might be used to paying income tax on the money you earn each year, self-employment tax if you run a business or work as an independent contractor, property taxes on your home or vehicles and sales tax on the things you buy.

Instead, a wealth tax has just one focus: taxing a person’s wealth. According to the Tax Foundation, only Norway, Spain and Switzerland currently have a net wealth tax on assets. But a handful of other European countries, including Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, levy a wealth tax on selected assets.

How a Wealth Tax Works

Generally, a wealth tax works by taxing a person’s net worth, rather than the income they earn in a given year. In countries that impose a wealth tax, the tax is only levied once assets reach a certain minimum threshold. In Norway, for instance, the net wealth tax is 0.85% on stocks exceeding $164,000 USD in value.

Wealth taxes can be applied to all of the assets someone owns or just some of them. For example, the wealth tax can include securities and investment accounts while excluding real property or vice versa.

Every country that imposes a wealth tax, whether it’s a net tax or a tax on selected assets, can set the tax rate differently. It’s not uncommon for there to be exemptions or exclusions to who and what can be taxed this way.

A wealth tax can be charged alongside an income tax to help generate revenue for the government. The wealth tax rates are typically lower than income tax rates, in terms of the actual percentage rate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean paying less in taxes. Someone who has substantial assets that are subject to a wealth tax, for instance, may end up paying more toward that tax than income tax if they’re able to reduce their taxable income by claiming tax breaks.

Is a Wealth Tax a Good Idea?

In countries that use a wealth tax, the revenue helps to fund government programs and organizations. In some places, such as Norway, revenue from the wealth tax is split between the central government and municipal governments. It would be up to the federal government to decide how wealth tax revenue should be allocated if one were introduced here.

In the U.S., the concept of a wealth tax has been used to argue for a redistribution of wealth. Or more specifically, lawmakers who back the tax have suggested that it could be used to more fairly tax the wealthy while relieving some of the tax burdens on lower and middle-income earners. While wealthier taxpayers may take advantage of loopholes to minimize income taxes, a wealth tax would be harder to work around, at least in theory. That could yield benefits for less wealthy Americans if it means they’d owe fewer taxes.

That sounds good but implementing and collecting a wealth tax may be easier said than done. It’s possible that even with a wealth tax in place, high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth taxpayers could still find ways to minimize the amount of tax they’d owe. And the tax itself could be seen as unfairly penalizing wealthier individuals who own charities or foundations, invest heavily in businesses or save and invest their money instead of using it to buy things like luxury cars, expensive homes or other physical assets.

It’s important to keep in mind that a wealth tax is targeted at people above certain wealth thresholds, so most everyday Americans wouldn’t have to pay it. But it could cause problems for someone who unexpectedly receives a large inheritance that increases his wealth, even if his income remains at the lower end of the scale.

The Bottom Line

In the U.S., the wealth tax is still just an idea that’s being floated by progressive politicians and lawmakers. Whether a wealth tax is ever implemented remains to be seen and it’s likely that debate over it may continue for years to come. And enforcing one could be difficult if it were ever introduced, if for no other reason than there are many ways for the extremely wealthy to avoid taxes. In the meantime, talking with a tax professional may be the best way to manage your own personal tax liability.

Tips on Taxes

  • Consider talking to your financial advisor about the best ways to handle taxes as you grow an investment portfolio. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be complicated. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help you connect with professional advisors online. It takes just a few minutes to get your personalized financial advisor recommendations. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Managing taxes is an important part of growing wealth and creating an estate plan. The less you pay in taxes, the more money you have to save and invest toward establishing a legacy of wealth. A free income tax calculator is a good way to start figuring what you owe or to get confirmation that  your calculations are correct.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Serhii Sobolevskyi, ©iStock.com/svengine, ©iStock.com/FG Trade

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She’s worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
Read next article

About Our Taxes Expert

Have a question? Ask our Taxes expert.

smartasset.com

12 Jobs Working with Animals That Pay Good Money

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

div#contentdisclaimer {background: #fff;padding: 1.5em;line-height: 1.25em;max-width: 500px;}
Advertiser Disclosure

Disclaimer

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.

#animation-wrapper { max-width: 450px; margin: 0 auto; width: auto; height: 600px; font-family: ProximaNova-Regular, Arial, sans-serif; } #animation-wrapper .box { background: linear-gradient(#0095D8, #1D4BB6); color: #fff; text-align: center; font-family: ProximaNova-Regular, Arial, sans-serif; height: 130px; padding-top: 10px; } .content .box p { margin: 0 0; } .box .btn-primary { color: #fff; background-color: #ff7f00; margin: 10px 0; } .chat ul { margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style: none; } .message-left .message-time { display: block; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px; padding-top: 4px; color: #ccc; font-family: Courier; } .message-right .message-time { display: block; font-size: 12px; text-align: right; padding-right: 20px; padding-top: 4px; color: #ccc; font-family: Courier; } .message-left { text-align: left; margin-bottom: 7px; } .message-left .message-text { max-width: 80%; display: inline-block; background: #0095D8; padding: 13px; font-size: 14px; color: #fff; border-radius: 30px; font-weight: 100; line-height: 1.5em; } .message-right { text-align: right; margin-bottom: 7px; } .message-right .message-text { line-height: 1.5em; display: inline-block; background: #1D4BB6; padding: 13px; font-size: 14px; color: #fff; border-radius: 30px; line-height: 1.5em; font-weight: 100; text-align: left; } .chat { background: #fff; margin: 0; border-radius: 0; } .chat-container { height: 450px; padding: 5px 15px; overflow: hidden; } .spinme-right { display: inline-block; padding: 15px 20px; font-size: 14px; border-radius: 30px; line-height: 1.25em; font-weight: 100; opacity: .2; } .spinme-left { display: inline-block; padding: 15px 20px; font-size: 14px; color: #ccc; border-radius: 30px; line-height: 1.25em; font-weight: 100; opacity: .2; } .spinner { margin: 0; width: 30px; text-align: center; } .spinner>div { width: 10px; height: 10px; border-radius: 100%; display: inline-block; -webkit-animation: sk-bouncedelay 1.4s infinite ease-in-out both; animation: sk-bouncedelay 1.4s infinite ease-in-out both; background: #000; } .spinner .bounce1 { -webkit-animation-delay: -.32s; animation-delay: -.32s; } .spinner .bounce2 { -webkit-animation-delay: -.16s; animation-delay: -.16s; } @-webkit-keyframes sk-bouncedelay { 0%, 100%, 80% { -webkit-transform: scale(0); } 40% { -webkit-transform: scale(1); } } @keyframes sk-bouncedelay { 0%, 100%, 80% { -webkit-transform: scale(0); transform: scale(0); } 40% { -webkit-transform: scale(1); transform: scale(1); } } .ad-container { padding: 15px 30px; background-color: #fff; max-width: 690px; box-shadow: 1px 1px 4px #888; margin: 20px auto; } .ad { padding: 10px 6px; max-width: 630px; } .ad-title { font-size: 20px; color: #07b; line-height: 22px; margin-bottom: 6px; letter-spacing: -.32px; } .ad-link { line-height: 18px; padding-left: 26px; position: relative; } .ad-link::before { content: ‘Ad’; color: #006621; font-size: 10px; width: 21px; line-height: 12px; padding: 2px 0; text-align: center; border: 1px solid #006621; border-radius: 4px; box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; position: absolute; left: 0; } .ad-link a { color: #006621; text-decoration: none; font-size: 14px; line-height: 14px; } .ad-copy { color: #000; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18px; letter-spacing: -.34px; margin-top: 6px; display: inline-block; } .ad .breaker { font-size: 0; } .box .box-desc { font-family: ProximaNova-Bold, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-weight: 600; width: 225px; margin: 0 auto; } .btn { display: inline-block; margin-bottom: 0; font-weight: 400; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle; touch-action: manipulation; cursor: pointer; background-image: none; border: 1px solid transparent; white-space: nowrap; padding: 6px 12px; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.428571429; border-radius: 4px; -webkit-user-select: none; -moz-user-select: none; -ms-user-select: none; user-select: none; font-family: ProximaNova-Semibold, Arial, sans-serif; text-decoration: none; } .btn-group-lg>.btn, .btn-lg { padding: 10px 16px; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1.3333333; border-radius: 6px; } #ad-4 { font-family: Arial, sans-serif; background-color: #fff; } #ad-4 .ad-title { color: #2130ab; } #animation-wrapper .cta-ec { background: #79af3e; color: #fff; width: 155px; height: 41px; font-family: ProximaNova-Semibold, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; margin: 10px auto 4px auto; } #animation-wrapper .ec-logo { display: block; margin: 0 auto; width: 140px; } @media (max-width:500px) { .ad { padding: 20px 18px; max-width: 630px; } }

Get everything you need to master your credit today.

Get started

Sign up now.

Source: credit.com

16 Best Survey Sites

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information.

Sharing your opinions by taking part in surveys is a great way to influence products and services and make some cash at the same time. The best survey sites work with companies to get consumer thoughts on current and future products and services.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can earn some extra cash by sharing your opinions, check out our suggestions for the best survey sites to sign up with.

In This Article

What are the Best Survey Sites?

Not all survey sites are the same. The best survey sites make it easy to sign up, easy to complete surveys, and easy to make money.

While some survey sites are definitely not legit, the survey sites mentioned here are the real deal. Here’s a bit of information about the best survey sites on the web.

1. Survey Junkie

You know Survey Junkie is legit when it’s one of the most popular survey sites around. And it was created in 2005 which makes it one of the longest running survey sites. Survey Junkie has over 10 million members so they must be doing something right.

How it Works

The company has two survey groups you can sign up for: The regular Survey Junkie and SJ Pulse.

The basic Survey Junkie gathers opinions through surveys and other types of market research. SJ Pulse works to have members participate in focus groups and share browsing activity.

If you choose to participate in basic Survey Junkie, here’s how it works:

  • You complete profiles to see if you’re eligible for surveys
  • Once you’re eligible, you can take surveys anywhere from any type of device
  • You earn points for every completed survey

With SJ Pulse, you just download the extension or opt-in on the Survey Junkie app. Survey Junkie does the rest as it assesses your browsing activity for market research purposes.

How Will I Get Paid?

So, with Survey Junkie you get points for each completed survey or activity. Then you can use your points to get PayPal cash or gift cards to a variety of retailers. If you choose the gift card option, you can get gift cards to Amazon, Walmart, iTunes, and more.

Oh, and you can get paid via bank transfer as well.

How to Sign Up

It’s easy to sign up for Survey Junkie: Just hit the “Join Now” button on the website’s homepage.

Trustpilot score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

2. Swagbucks

Swagbucks nears the top of our list as one of the best survey sites too. First launched in 2008, Swagbucks has paid out over $460 million dollars to its members.

How it Works

Once you’ve signed up, Swagbucks will show you a list of surveys you can take. As you answer the questions you earn points.

Bonus: Swagbucks has other ways you can earn points too. You can watch videos, shop online, play games, search the Web and more. In fact, the site often has signup bonuses of $5 or $10 to give you an earnings boost.

Just browse the site daily to look for ways to earn points that can be converted into cash.

How Will I Get Paid?

Once you’ve hit the minimum number of points you can redeem those points for PayPal cash or gift cards to popular retailers.

Some of the retailers Swagbucks partners with include Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

How to Sign Up

Simply visit the Swagbucks website and you’ll see a popup box that shows you how to sign up. You can sign up with your Facebook account or with your email address.

Trustpilot Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

3. Vindale Research

Vindale Research is another long-time site in the survey business. They’ve been in operation since 2004 and have paid out nearly $8 million.

How it Works

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll get invitations daily to complete surveys on a number of topics. Survey topics include:

  • Automobiles
  • Politics and current events
  • Home improvement
  • Health and beauty

And other topics. You can also earn cash through Vindale Research by referring others to sign up and by participating in other activities.

How Will I Get Paid?

One unique thing about Vindale Research is that they pay you in cash. There are no points to earn or redeem. Just request a PayPal payout when you’re ready.

How to Sign Up

At the top of the Vindale Research website, on the right hand side, there are two buttons: Sign In and Sign Up. Hit the “Sign Up” button and become a member for free. The website will instruct you from there.

Trustpilot score: 4 out of 5 stars

4. InboxDollars

InboxDollars started up in 2000 and has paid out over $59 million to members. Oh, they often have sign up bonuses as well.

How it Works

When you sign up (for free) as a member, you’ll be asked a number of questions in order to complete your profile. The answers you enter will help InboxDollars direct you to surveys that are right for you.

As you fill out the surveys you earn cash for each completed survey. And you can also earn money by completing other activities such as:

  • Watching videos
  • Playing games
  • Shopping online
  • Taking advantage of deals

Each task has a dollar amount assigned to it so you know how much you’ll earn if you choose to complete the task.

How Will I Get Paid?

As with Vindale Research, InboxDollars pays you in cash, not points. When you’ve reached the minimum earnings threshold of $30 you can request your cash.

They’ll pay you via mailed check, PayPal, or you can get an e-gift card to retailers such as Amazon.

How to Sign Up

There’s a signup box right on the InboxDollars homepage. Fill out the information in the signup box to open a free account. Remember that you’ll get a lot more survey opportunities if you fill out the answers to all of the profile questions.

Trustpilot score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

5. MyPoints

MyPoints has been helping people earn money through surveys since 1996. They’re another trusted site you can earn some cash with.

How it Works

When you sign up on the site you’ll get notifications to see if you qualify for surveys. One cool thing about MyPoints is that they pay you even if you don’t qualify for the survey. They’ll pay you a bit just for trying. Many sites won’t do that.

There are other ways to earn with MyPoints too such as shopping online and watching videos.

How Will I Get Paid?

When you earn your points you can redeem them for a variety of gift cards. You can get gift cards to PayPal (i.e. cash) or gift cards to one of the company’s 75+ other retail partners.

How to Sign Up

Just head to the MyPoints website and fill out the signup box as directed.

Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5 stars

6. Harris Poll Online

Harris Poll Online is one of the longest-running survey sites. They’ve been in the market research game since 1975 and did in-person and mail-in surveys before online surveying became a thing.

How it Works

Once you sign up with Harris Poll Online you’ll be eligible to start receiving survey invitations. The invitations are based on the information you shared when you signed up.

Each invitation comes with a short questionnaire to see if you’re eligible. If you are, you continue on with and finish the survey to get points.

How Will I Get Paid?

You earn what are called “HiPoints” for each survey you complete with Harris Poll Online. After you’ve earned the minimum number of points, you can cash those points in for free gift cards to various retailers.

How to Sign Up

Just go to the Harris Poll Online website and click on the sign up button and follow the prompts.

Trustpilot score: 3 out of 5 stars

7. Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research is another longtime survey company with a great reputation. Although the website doesn’t say how much they’ve paid out, I can tell you they’ve been around for quite some time.

How it Works

When you sign up you’ll start getting notifications for surveys. Note that when you sign up you need to fill out your profile as accurately as possible. This will ensure you qualify for the highest number of surveys.

This is because companies that hire Pinecone Research have specific client bases for each market research project.

How Will I Get Paid?

Every time you complete a survey you’ll earn points. Then you can redeem your points for cash via a bank transfer. You can choose e-gift cards or other merchandise as payment too.

Note that with Pinecone your points do expire after 12 months of no earning activity. So if you’ve earned points and have decided to discontinue working with Pinecone be sure to cash out your points.

How to Sign Up

When you visit the Pinecone Research site, just click on the signup button and follow the directions.

Trustpilot score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

8. LifePoints

LifePoints has a member community of over 5,000,000 that earn money by taking surveys. The LifePoints website says that the company is ranked the largest provider of custom research and analysis.

How it Works

Once you sign up to become a member, you’re sent surveys you have the option to complete. As long as you complete the surveys within the specified survey period you will earn LifePoints.

Along with surveys, you might be asked to participate in market research that involves recording daily habits or trying out a new product.

How Will I Get Paid?

You can use your LifePoints to get paid by PayPal or to get other rewards such as e-gift cards. The site even has an option where you can trade in your LifePoints to make a donation to charity.

How to Sign Up

Head to the LifePoints homepage and click the “join now” button on the top right-hand side of your screen.

Trustpilot score: 4.6 out of 5 stars

9. Ipsos i-Say

Ipsos i-Say is an online survey community with millions of members. One cool thing about i-Say is that along with traditional market research surveys they have polls that are created by members.

How it Works

As with other survey companies, you start by becoming a member. You’ll earn points for each survey you complete. And there are contests you can enter as well. As with any of these sites, you can earn cash at home or anywhere else where you have a few minutes to spare.

How Will I Get Paid?

As you earn points, you can use them to get e-gift cards to retailers such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Walmart. You can get PayPal gift cards as well.

How to Sign Up

Once you reach the i-Say website you’ll see a “Join Now” button in the middle of your screen. Click the button and follow the prompts.

Trustpilot score: 4.2 out of 5

10. Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost is another upstanding survey company that’s been around for years. In addition to surveys, the company also offers product testing.

How it Works

When you first sign up you take a screen questionnaire to help match you with the right types of surveys for your demographic. Sometimes there will be duplicate questions in the screening questionnaire to ensure you’re answering questions accurately.

Once you’ve completed the screening session you’ll get access to surveys that fit your demographic.

How Will I Get Paid?

Opinion Outpost awards points for each completed survey or other activity. You can use your points to get PayPal cash, Visa gift cards, or other awards like Amazon e-gift cards.

How to Sign Up

Just hit the “Join” button at the top right hand side of the Opinion Outpost home page and follow the prompts.

Trustpilot score: 4.3 out of 5

11. Toluna

Toluna shares surveys on current affairs, new products and more.

How it Works

When you sign up to be a Toluna Influencer you’ll be a part of a community that influences the products and services of the future. Each survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

How Will I Get Paid?

Toluna uses a points-based system. Points can be used to get cash, e-gift cards, or other prizes.

How to Sign Up

Click the Sign Up button on the top right hand side of the home page. Complete instructions from there.

Trustpilot score: 4.2 out of 5 stars

12. Branded Surveys

Branded Surveys is a bit newer on the scene than some of the other companies we’ve mentioned here. However, they’re already gaining a great reputation from survey takers.

How it Works

You’ll answer some demographics questions when you sign up, as with similar sites. The site has several different profile surveys you can fill out.

You choose which ones you fill out and which ones you don’t, but the more you fill out the more surveys you can be matched with. You’ll be given survey opportunities based on your screening survey answers.

How Will I Get Paid?

You get awarded points for each survey you complete. After you’ve reached the minimum threshold of 1,000 points, you can get paid via PayPal or Branded Pay, which is the company’s own payroll system.

You can get e-gift cards as pay too.

How to Sign Up

Just click on the Sign Up button on the top right hand corner sidebar and follow the prompts. You can sign up via Facebook or with your email address.

Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5

13 .PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel has been in business since 2007. They’ve got over 10 million members and they’ve paid out over 22 million rewards.

How it Works

The sign up process is super easy. Once you sign up, you’ll complete a demographics survey for which you’ll earn points. This survey will match you to surveys you can complete to earn cash.

How Will I Get Paid?

PrizeRebel works on a points-based system, meaning you’ll earn points for every completed survey. You can choose to redeem your points for PayPal cash, e-gift cards, online games, or other prizes.

How to Sign Up

You sign up with Facebook; there’s a big pop-up box on the home page. You can’t miss it.

Trustpilot score: 3.3 out of 5 stars

14. Valued Opinions

Valued Opinions has been conducting market research since 2004. They’re a part of a larger company called Dynata Global which is the largest research market company in the world.

How it Works

After you complete the registration form (it only takes a few minutes) you’ll start receiving survey invitations. If you fit the right demographic, you’ll receive invitations to test new products and review advertising campaigns as well.

How Will I Get Paid?

You can use your earned points to get a Visa gift card, a gift card to one of many store retailers, or use your points to make a donation to one of the company’s partner charities.

How to Sign Up

There are “Join Now” buttons in several places on the site’s home page. Click on one to begin your registration.

Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5 stars

15. Google Opinion Rewards

The Google Opinions Rewards app lets you share your opinion right from your phone (most of the other companies mentioned here do to, though).

How it Works

After you sign up, you can complete short surveys while doing other tasks such as waiting for appointments. The app will tell you when there is a survey waiting for you.

You’re chosen for surveys based on the information you fill out when you sign up. Each short survey pays between $0.10 and $1.00

How Will I Get Paid?

Every time your rewards balance reaches $2.00, Google Opinion Rewards will send the money to your PayPal account via the address you signed up with.

How to Sign Up

Just download the app for Android or iOS. Make sure you use your main PayPal address when you sign up for the site in order to receive your payments before they expire.

Trustpilot score: None listed

16. American Consumer Opinion

American Consumer Opinion started surveying customers in 1986 via phone and snail mail. Today the company’s digital surveys ask you questions about the economy, and about products and services they use.

How it Works

After you register, the company will send you survey invitations via email. Know that this company sends survey requests several times a year.

That means you might not get as many survey requests as you would with some of the other companies listed here. As you complete each survey you will be rewarded with points.

How Will I Get Paid?

You can cash out your points and get PayPal cash. Or you can choose from a variety of other rewards such as e-gift cards.

How to Sign Up

Just click the Sign Up button in the middle of the screen or on the upper right hand corner of the site’s home page.

Trustpilot score: None listed

Summary

You won’t get rich by taking surveys but it can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Especially if you use the sites listed here. Have you ever taken surveys to make money? If so, what do you think the best survey sites are?

Tell us in the comments section.

Laurie is personal finance writer and a licensed Realtor. Her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.

Source: debtdiscipline.com

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

Reader Interactions

goodfinancialcents.com