Leaving Your Bank in 2019 Could Save You $360. Here’s How

When’s the last time you were slapped with a bank fee?

Maybe you didn’t maintain that insanely high minimum balance, or you accidentally overdrafted by 99 cents, Or you might’ve used an out-of-network ATM out of desperation.

You’re not alone.

Big banks make big bucks off these fees. Looking at overdraft fees alone, banks collected $ 6.4 billion from Americans in 2016, according to a CNN analysis.

The average overdraft fee these days hovers around $ 30, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s approximately 10 small Starbucks lattes. Or 30 items off the McDonald’s dollar menu — one snack a day (though we don’t really recommend that health-wise).

Bottom line: We’re losing a lot of money in fees.

And if you’re a moderately frequent overdrafter (defined by the CFPB as someone who overdrafts once a month), then you’re handing over $ 360 in fees each year.

The good news is that there are some very nice accounts out there that won’t charge you overdraft fees — or nearly any fees for that matter — like Aspiration.

This Unicorn of an Account Doesn’t Charge Insane Fees

The Aspiration Account is an online-only account with no monthly fees, no minimums and pays 1% APY.

Yep! Instead of getting charged fees, you can actually earn money with this account.

Here’s a quick rundown of the account’s features and its fees (or lack thereof):

  • Minimum opening deposit: $ 10
  • Minimum balance to maintain: $ 0
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $ 0
  • ATM fee (both domestic and international): $ 0
  • Overdraft fee: $ 0
  • Stop payment fee: $ 0
  • Incoming wire transfers: 82 cents
  • Outgoing wire transfers: 82 cents

(Honestly, there’s Venmo and PayPal these days for those transfers anyways…)

So rather than getting tangled in an endless cycle of bank fees, Aspiration’s account actually allows you to sit back and watch your money grow, thanks to that 1% APY you’ll earn on your balance.

So make the switch, save some money and have a happy, fee-free year!

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Full disclosure: She banks with Aspiration and loves it!

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Hate Doing Taxes? Here’s How to Easily File Them — Without Even Leaving Home

Do you procrastinate on taxes until April 15 every year? Does the sight of a W-2 form make your eyes cross? Does pricy tax software make you want to run and hide?

C’mon, it doesn’t have to be that bad. Help is available at an affordable price, and you don’t even have to leave your home.

That’s what you’ll get from H&R Block, the biggest tax-preparation company in the world. Because they’ve been in business since 1955, you might think they’re stodgy and old-fashioned. Nope — they’re keeping up with the times, rolling out innovative new ways to make filing your taxes easy and affordable.

Tax Filing From Home

If your taxes are super simple, you can file for free from your phone, tablet or computer with H&R Block Free. You can also file for free if you’re paying tuition or receiving student loans.

The Penny Hoarder writer Carson Kohler tried H&R Block Free last year and was pleasantly surprised by how easy and quick it was.

“I poured myself a giant cup of coffee and settled in for the afternoon,” she wrote. “Little did I know, this would be over in about 20 minutes.”

She downloaded the H&R Block app on her phone and created an account. That made it easy to switch over to her computer at any point without losing any of her information. She snapped a photo of her W-2 and answered a few quick questions. Once she reviewed her information, her part was basically done.

If your taxes are a bit more complicated, you might need to pay a small fee to file online. These options include:

  • Deluxe Online Tax Filing: This is similar to the free service, because you do it all online. If your taxes are a little more complicated — for example, if you own a home or have children — this is a better fit. It’s only $ 29.99 — not free, but really affordable for professional tax prep services.
  • Premium Online Tax Filing: Use this if you’re a freelancer or if you own stocks or other investments. It costs $ 49.99.
  • Self-Employed Online Tax Filing: Use this if you’re self-employed or a small business owner. It costs $ 79.99.

Right now, Penny Hoarders get a 35% discount on all of these.

Professional Tax Prep Can Be a Godsend

The exterior building of H&R block.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to have your taxes done by a professional, you’d have to drive to a tax office in person. You’d sit there and make small talk while an accountant flipped through your documents, tapped on a calculator and figured out your deductions.

These days, you can skip the trip. With H&R Block Tax Pro Go, you’ll upload your documents online, and a tax professional will do everything for you and get back to you within five days. Prices start at $ 59 but can increase depending on how complicated your taxes are.

It can help to have a pro do your income taxes, because Uncle Sam keeps messing around with the tax codes. Some new rules are coming into play this tax season. For instance, the standard deduction is higher, but the personal exemption has been eliminated.

If you don’t know what that means, join the club. Maybe it’s time to call in a pro.

H&R Block’s services can help ensure you get the best refund possible at a price you can afford.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. A homeowner with two kids and freelance income, he hasn’t done his own taxes in years.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Here’s What’s New on Netflix in January 2019 — And What’s Leaving

Netflix is heading into the new year with lots of new TV, movies and original shows set to join the streaming service in January.

For those looking to start 2019 on a mission of decluttering, organizational expert Marie Kondo is bringing her talents to a new original series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Classic favorites, including the Indiana Jones series, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pulp Fiction, Swingers and The Addams Family will all be on Netflix starting January 1. And fans of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt can say goodbye to Kimmy, Titus, Lillian and Jacqueline a final time when the show returns for the second half of its last season.

A collection of titles are also leaving Netflix in the new year, leaving about a month to catch up on movies like The Godfather, The Shining and The Princess Diaries.

See what else will be streaming on—and leaving—Netflix in January.

Here’s are the TV shows, movies and originals coming to Netflix in January 2019.

January 1

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3

Across the Universe

Babel

Black Hawk Down

City of God

COMEDIANS of the world

Definitely, Maybe

Godzilla

Happy Feet

Hell or High Water

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

It Takes Two

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Jersey Boys

Mona Lisa Smile

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pinky Malinky

Pulp Fiction

Swingers

Tears of the Sun

The Addams Family

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Dark Knight

The Departed

The Mummy

The Mummy Returns

The Strangers

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Watchmen

xXx

XXX: State of the Union

January 2

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

January 4

And Breathe Normally

Call My Agent!: Season 3

El Potro: Unstoppable

Lionheart

January 9

GODZILLA The Planet Eater

Solo: A Star Wars Story

January 10

When Heroes Fly

January 11

Friends from College: Season 2

ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium

Sex Education

Solo

The Last Laugh

January 15

Revenger

Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry

January 16

American Gangster

January 17

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

January 18

Carmen Sandiego

Close

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

GIRL

Grace and Frankie: Season 5

IO

Soni

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes: Season 2 Part B

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 5

January 21

Justice

January 24

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

January 25

Animas

Black Earth Rising

Club de Cuervos: Season 4

Kingdom

Medici: The Magnificent

Polar

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4 Part 2

January 27

Z Nation: Season 5

January 29

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp

January 30

Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles 2

TBD

Marvel’s The Punisher: Season 2

Here’s what’s leaving Netflix in January 2019.

January 1

Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure

Blade

Blade II

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Catwoman

Face/Off

Finding Neverland

Friday Night Lights

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I Am Ali

Interview with the Vampire

Into the Wild

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Kung Fu Panda

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fifteenth Year

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventeenth Year

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixteenth Year

Like Water for Chocolate

Love Actually

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Marie Antoinette

Meet the Fockers

Meet the Parents

Million Dollar Baby

Monsters vs. Aliens

Mortal Kombat

Rent

Sharknado

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Sharknado 3

Sharknado 5

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens

The 6th Day

The Godfather

The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part III

The Green Mile

The Iron Giant

The Princess Diaries

The Queen of the Damned

The Reaping

The Shining

January 4

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

January 13

It Follows

January 14

Armageddon

January 18

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

January 19

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


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Tyra Banks Is Reportedly Leaving ‘America’s Got Talent’

Tyra Banks is reportedly leaving America’s Got Talent.

via People:

According to the New York Post‘s Page Six, the America’s Next Top Model creator, who has hosted the NBC talent competition show since 2017, will be leaving the gig to focus on producing TV and movies.

Reps for Banks and AGT did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

Banks recently hinted that she might be leaving AGT to focus on a “massive project.”

“I don’t know [if I’ll be coming back],” she told Access in November. “I think I had a really nice run with AGT. I had a lot, a lot of fun. I’m really focusing on Life-Size — I’m going to be producing TV and I have a massive project starting next year. I’m not so sure, but if I don’t come back, I had a lot of fun.”

While she wouldn’t tease too many details about the secret project, she did reveal it was “something that has never been done before.”

“It is so massive. It’s really making me look at everything that I’m doing and saying, ‘What can I peel off? What can I not do? What can I truly focus on?’ ” she said. “It’s coming out in the fall of next year.

According to Page Six, Banks has received a number of offers since the success of Life-Size 2, the sequel to her 2000 film with Lindsay Lohan that premiered on Freeform earlier this month.

Well, all jobs come to an end.

The post Tyra Banks Is Reportedly Leaving ‘America’s Got Talent’ appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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Raf Simons Is Leaving Calvin Klein [UPDATED]

Raf Simons is leaving Calvin Klein more than eight months ahead of the end of his contract, according to a release from parent company PVH. Simons first joined the American brand in August 2016, when he was given the title of chief creative officer; prior to his appointment, he served as women’s …

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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‘Today’ Correspondent Jeff Rossen Leaving NBC

David McNew/Reuters

Prominent Today show personality Jeff Rossen is leaving NBC News.

NBC announced internally on Friday that that Rossen, Today’s national investigative correspondent, will leave the network in mid-January, three sources told The Daily Beast. Two sources with knowledge of Rossen’s departure said he couldn’t come to agreeable terms with NBC on his contract after it expired last week. A network source said he is leaving on “good terms.”

Rossen, 42, has been a fixture on the show for six years where he hosts the recurring segment “Rossen Reports,” which focuses on consumer segments such as “The 1 simple trick to help you find your lost cell phone.” NBC is letting Rossen take his branded segment with him, according to one source, and is already in talks with other broadcasters about finding it a new home.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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Michelle Stuns in Her First Photo Shoot Since Leaving the Hospital | Chad Loves Michelle | OWN

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Leaving These 10 Things at Your Front Door Could Keep You Safe

Living a safe and happy life means protecting your home and family, and one of the best places to start is right at your front door. Learning how to protect yourself and your property doesn’t have to be difficult (or cost-prohibitive), in many cases, it’s simple and inexpensive. In addition to keeping unwanted visitors out of your home, you’ll want to make provisions that help first responders find you if an emergency arises. By implementing one or more of the following 10 front door fixes, you’ll be taking proactive steps to keep your home and your loved ones safe.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 1 – “Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy”

“Your Money, Your Life” is our new money podcast sponsored by Prudential. Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. hosts this special series with a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, President & CEO, Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance.

Episode 1

“Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy”

Learn how gaining freedom from debt and controlling your spending forms the foundation for your financial wellness and wealth-creation potential, with Guest DeForest B. Soaries Jr, Founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement.

Listen now:

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The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 1 – “Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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6 things to do before leaving on vacation

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Going on a vacation is an exciting affair. You will see things you never imagined, taste things you never tasted before, meet exciting and different people as well as try to learn about new cultures. Many people grow increasingly more impatient as the date of their departure approaches. They grow so impatient that they make a few rudimentary mistakes. Here are a couple of things to do before leaving on your vacation.

Don’t announce it on social media

By telling everyone that you aren’t home, you might as well hold the door open for them too. Many criminals have robbed houses, saying that they only robbed the house because they knew that nobody was home. In the same vein, stop mail service because of the same reason. You can reroute mail to a friend, family member, or ask the postal service to hold it. The post office will keep all of your letters safe, and best of all, the service is free.

Take another look at your insurance

Whenever you leave the country, it is best to know what your insurance will, as well as won’t cover. For example, most United States car insurance policies are valid in Canada. Look at your health insurance to know whether you are covered if you get injured or sick overseas, while you are away from the United States.

A timer for your home is a fabulous investment

Burglars are more likely to rob a house when its lights are constantly off. By putting timers on lights in different rooms, you can fool any would be burglars into thinking you’re home. Set them in such a way that they go off at different times during the day, as well as at night.

Turn off your water mains

This is one of the most important things on this list. Coming home to a flooded home isn’t much fun, and it can also do a lot of damage to your home. Even if you are going to be away only for a few days, it is a good idea to turn off the mains to your water supply because leaks can, and do, happen. You would be doing your bit for the environment by saving water as well.

Unplug all of your electronics

It is common knowledge that electronics do consume electricity even when they aren’t on. Unplug the appliances that will go unused for a while like the toaster, oven, and microwave to save on your electricity bill as well as put a stop to the possibility of an electrical fire. Enjoy your vacation!

Lend your car to a friend

When going away, you can hit two birds with one stone: making sure that your car is always running so the engine won’t be drained, and helping a good friend in need. Don’t forget to make sure that he’s loyal and trustworthy with your beloved vehicle.

So while you are already planning on having the time of your life, don’t forget to follow these instructions beforehand. Only afterwards you’ll be able to enjoy your dream vacation.

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The post 6 things to do before leaving on vacation appeared first on Worldation.

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12 Steps to Protect Your Finances When Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Note: This article doesn’t contain any depiction of physical or sexual violence, but does detail financial and emotional abuse in relationships.

Lisa Orban was married to her abuser for three years. In 1990, she left after he threatened to kill her and their two young children.

She was 20 years old.

Her financial situation in the marriage? “Bad, in a nutshell,” she recalls.

Not unusual for the time, her husband was the main breadwinner, and he managed the finances.

“Whenever there was a chance that I might make enough money or make more money than him or do anything to upset his financial apple cart, so to speak, he would come in and sabotage it.”

She lost multiple jobs because of his meddling.

She moved with him from her hometown in Illinois to Arizona for college, where she’d won a four-year scholarship to study psychology. Before she could start, he contacted the university and told them she’d decided to drop out.

“Imagine my surprise when I go to registration day and find out that my scholarship is gone,” she says.

He even had control of the mailbox. He took her key, though she thought she’d just lost it, and put off replacing it. That had major, unexpected financial ramifications.

“It wasn’t until after we were divorced that I found out that I had not paid off my student loan.” The $ 4,000 loan ultimately cost her $ 38,000 to repay, she says.

The checks Orban thought were going into the mail were not, and the missed payment notices from her loan providers weren’t getting to her.

He kept control of the checking account.

He wouldn’t let her use the car alone.

He knew how much money she earned, and he would accompany her to the bank to deposit her paychecks.

He signed up for credit cards in her name.

By the time Orban left and filed for divorce, she was $ 80,000 in debt and didn’t even know about it.

What is Financial Abuse?

About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetime, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Domestic violence and abuse comes in many forms, whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological or sexual — but it can also be financial. Likely, it’s some mix of these, but not always all of them.

Of those who experience violence, 98% also experience financial abuse.

“Like all abuse, financial abuse takes a lot of forms, but it’s all controlling behavior; power and control,” explains Casey Harden, senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives and Membership at YWCA USA. “Imagine tightening the reigns on the financial condition of the home, so that there’s limited options.”

Abusive partners may leave you out of major decisions and purchase a home that’s well out of your family’s budget, for example. They may run up credit card debt without their partner’s knowledge or input, lie about paying bills or damage valuable property.

In addition to safety concerns, victims of domestic violence often stay in abusive relationship because of a lack of financial resources.

“Many survivors, even after they’ve left, often return because of finances,” says Kim Pentico, director of the Economic Justice Program at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Michelle Kuehner, a survivor of domestic violence who is now a financial advisor and author of The Money Diet blog, explains:  

“More often than not, the abuser has made the victim feel as if they are dependent upon the abuser. That without the help of the abuser, the victim could not survive financially in the world, and it is only by the grace of the abuser that the victim has a roof over their head, and food on the table.”

If you’re in a bad situation, we want to do our part in empowering you to move forward.

The Penny Hoarder features a ton of content to help you understand your finances and improve your financial situation. But it can be tough to see how it pertains to you when you feel like you have zero control over your financial life.

Here, I try to put it into context.

I spoke with financial, legal and relationship experts, as well as domestic violence advocates to bring you resources, advice and action steps to prepare you to leave and recover your finances afterward.

6 Steps to Prepare Your Finances Before Leaving

The largest hurdle you face in an abusive relationship is getting back your independence,” Kuehner says.

“Only when you take back the feeling or idea that you are not completely dependent on another can you move towards financial independence. And only then can you successfully remove yourself from that type of relationship.”

Even then, it’s easier said than done.

In addition to the financial hurdles, Harden repeats a fact many of us have heard often: “Lethality for an individual and her loved ones goes up drastically when she makes the decision to leave, when she leaves and the time period following.”

That’s why before you do anything, we recommend this step:

1. Connect With a Victim Advocate

Harden and other experts urge anyone trying to leave an abusive relationship to work with a victim advocate.

These people are trained and experienced, so they know how to help you plan to leave safely and quietly. They can point out potential pitfalls and let you know what major financial hurdles to expect.

How to get in touch with local advocates:

  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 1-800-787-3224. The national hotline can get you in touch with an organization in your area.
  • Statewide advocacy groups can also connect you with local advocates.
  • Your local YWCA has resources to fight domestic violence, including shelters and services around the country.

We have additional recommendations for your financial health, but can’t tell you what’s best or what’s safe for your situation.

You’re the best at assessing your own safety, so listen to your own instincts, work with an advocate and only consider these steps if you know it’s safe.

2. Save Money

“Be sure you have liquid funds held in an account in your name only,” says Allison Alexander, a financial advisor at Savant Capital Management. She also recommends having credit cards in your name alone.

Allstate’s financial empowerment curriculum includes advice on how to build a solid financial foundation, including places where you could find loans.

If you don’t have access to a loan, see if there are other ways to secure money for yourself that your partner doesn’t have access to.

Here are some creative ways to make extra money:

You can also keep an eye out for influxes of cash your partner doesn’t know about or have access to.

“A lot of survivors … wait until that tax return comes, and that’s a nice little chunk to get started on,” Pentico says.

A bonus at work may be a similar lifeline.

You may be able to work with the human resources department at work to automatically deposit part of your paycheck into a separate bank account.

Catherine Scrivano, a Phoenix–based financial planner, says HR may also be able to help you make an adjustment to your W-4 to help you receive more money with each paycheck that you can save or invest throughout the year.

3. Make Copies of Important Documents

“Make copies of all financial documents you can find, e.g., tax returns, bank statements, investment statements, mortgage/loan information, car titles, paystubs, etc.,” Alexander says.

You can simply snap a picture of these documents with your phone and email it to a friend. Or store them in a cloud drive that you — and only you — can access from anywhere, like Google Drive.

4. Cut Ties and Open a New Bank Account

Before opening your own account, Harden recommends, you’ll need a new mailing address — a P.O. box could work — and an email address your partner doesn’t know about.

Harden also suggests you contact your bank to update your account’s security questions, if your partner already has access to an account in your name.

“Your husband of 10, 15 years probably knows the answers to most of your security questions,” she points out, “especially if he’s been actively working to know them.”

She says you can tell your bank the question you want to use. You don’t have to stick with a default question your partner might know the answer to.

If you can, set up separate accounts your partner doesn’t know about, or at least can’t access.

Also, “remove your personal items from a safe deposit box if it is held jointly,” Alexander says. And “establish your own safe deposit box at another bank and place your financial documents and sentimental items, including jewelry, pictures (or) valuables there.”

5. Find a Financial Advisor

“Find a supportive financial advisor, therapist and friends who will encourage you during the bleak times and celebrate your successes,” Scrivano recommends.

If you have the resources to hire a professional financial advisor — who works for you alone, not you and your partner together — great.

If you can’t afford to work with a professional, utilize your local library or Parks and Recreation department for resources. It may have financial literacy classes, support groups and literature to help you.

Even financially-savvy friends and family can offer advice.

Pentico often tells survivors, “There’s somebody in your life, more than likely, that seems to know what’s going on when it comes to money and finances, whether it’s a co-worker or a family member. Reach out to them.”

6. Find an Attorney

When Kuehner was preparing to divorce her abusive husband, she started by meeting with attorneys.

“I scheduled appointments to meet with all of the best attorneys in town. … All in all, I had meetings with over 85% of the local lawyers in a matter of a couple of weeks…

“If I had an introductory meeting with a particular attorney, my ex-husband wouldn’t be able to use them. It could be considered a conflict of interest. … By narrowing his options, and forcing him to use a less-experienced professional, I gained some ground in the divorce.”

California-based family law expert Amey Telkikar confirmed this tactic, though called it “unsavory” for typical situations.

“An in-person meeting going over the circumstances almost certainly will (include confidential information), resulting in a conflict of interest. A lawyer may still represent the other spouse, but only with the informed written consent of both spouses,” Telkikar explained.

He recommended, “It is in the best interest of a spouse to consult at least one reputable attorney as soon as they suspect or learn of a possible filing for divorce.”

If you don’t have money to hire a lawyer or don’t feel safe conducting this kind of business on your own, a victim advocate can help you discover the resources available to you.

6 Steps to Rebuild Your Finances After Leaving

Unfortunately, Lisa Orban didn’t make a plan to leave her abuser. She did what she pointed out many survivors do:

“Most abused women do not ‘plan’ their escape, they run blindly for their lives when the situation reaches deadly levels, and then pick up the pieces afterward,” Orban explains.

“If you have a golden opportunity to escape, that’s generally what people do,” Orban adds.

“They look for a moment — a credit card left unattended, a check that unexpectedly arrives that you somehow got access to, a Christmas bonus from your work that your spouse doesn’t know about,” Orban says. “These are things you look at, and you go, ‘This is it. This is my chance.’”

When you see that opportunity, she said, “You grab it and you go.”

And then what?

Once you’ve left and you’re safe, your greatest financial hurdle may be not knowing what you’re working with.

Start by figuring that out.

1. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Nearly everyone I spoke with recommended one simple, important first step to rebuilding your finances: Get a copy of your credit report.

If you haven’t had control of your finances for years, you may have no idea what state they’re in. To create a rebuilding plan, you have to first know what you’re dealing with.

Do you have credit card debt?

Is an unpaid mortgage in your name?

Are you behind on medical bills?

Your credit report will give you this information.

How to get a free copy of your credit report:

  • Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus to get a free copy from each. They’re legally required to give you a free credit report once every 12 months. This FTC guide explains how to request your report.
  • Get your credit score and “credit report card” from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how you might address it. (Note: We sometimes partner with this company, but Credit Sesame did NOT pay to be mentioned in this post.)

Your credit history can affect a lot of what you do going forward.

Someone will likely pull it when you apply for an apartment, mortgage, vehicle loan or credit cards, before hiring you for a job or opening a new bank account. It’ll affect how much you pay to rent a car or get a new cell phone. It could even affect your car insurance rates.

Once you know what’s in your credit history, you can figure out how to fix it.

2. Find Resolution on Lingering Debts

Harden recommends resolving the debts you find on your credit report as soon as possible.

“Close out the relationship with the credit union and close out all the loans and be done, so the relationship is over, period,” she says.

Closing accounts and making agreements to eliminate debt quickly may not be your greatest financial option, Harden says, but these steps help you cut ties with your abuser, which is still vital.

Your credit report should show you which creditors you’re dealing with. Reach out to them directly and ask what you need to do to eliminate those debts.

Scrivano points out a divorce agreement isn’t enough to get you out of debts you shared with your partner. For example, even if the agreement says credit card debt is your ex’s responsibility, the creditor doesn’t know — or care.

You’ll likely have to take further action to clear your name, she explains. Contact your creditors to determine exactly what needs to be done — and what, in the end, is your responsibility.

“Hold your advocate accountable for that kind of thing,” Scrivano says, referring to your financial or legal advisors. They should know your divorce agreement’s reach and advise you accordingly.

To prevent your ex from building new debt in your name, Telkikar recommends placing a 90-day fraud alert with the major credit bureaus. That way, businesses must verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.

To initiate a fraud alert with one of the bureaus:

You only have to place an initial fraud alert with one bureau. It will contact the others, the FTC explains. You can renew the alert after 90 days as often as you need.

3. Create a New Budget

Next, Harden says, a survivor has to spend time “learning to budget in the new reality, whatever that new reality is.”

With control over your finances, you can set up new savings and investing plans to “become proactive about having full ownership over (your) finances,” not just reactive to your situation.

“There’s financial stability, and then there’s financial vitality,” she explains.

Without the internet to teach her, Orban learned how to manage her budget through trial and error. She always kept a detailed budget.

“I ended up itemizing my life on a day-to-day basis and seeing how much I had coming in and how much, realistically, I had to pay out to function in a normal way,” she says.

Read our tips on how to budget if you’ve never done it before:

4. Rebuild Your Credit

Even if you have damaged credit, you’re not doomed.

“Since my credit had been damaged a bit, I wanted to rebuild that as well,” Kuehner explains.  “Taking out share secured loans … was the easiest way I knew. Within a year and a half my credit had been repaired.”

With a secured loan, she explains, “the bank freezes a specified amount of money in your account until payments are made. Each payment frees up the same amount of principal.”

A secured credit card is a similar way to build or repair your credit,

It’s similar to a debit card — you put down a cash deposit and can use that amount in credit.

Unlike a debit card, secured cards report your payment, balance and other relevant behavior to credit bureaus. So it’s a way to establish a credit history if yours is shot or nonexistent.

Read more tips for rebuilding your credit:

5. If You Need to, Find a New Job and Housing

If your abuser didn’t allow you to keep a job, the effect can ripple beyond your lack of control in the relationship.

“It could interrupt a work history,” Harden points out, “or prevent a work history from ever developing in such a way that an employer would find the candidate to be compelling as a potential employee.”

If you’ve lost your job, read these tips:

“Your local domestic violence program has relationships with community resources, so while they may not provide (job placement) themselves, they certainly have built partnerships and relationships with those who do, so to reach out to them,” Pentico advises.

Community colleges can also be a great resource for job placement.

If you want to go back to school, you can even find scholarships specifically for survivors of domestic violence.

If your relationship has forced you to take a break from the workforce, but you don’t want to return to college, you might be able to ease back in through a return-to-work internship.

If you’re able to live with friends or family to cut expenses and save for a while, go for it.

If you’re ready to find your own place (or not ready, but need to, anyway), here are some tips for getting the best deal out of your next rental.

On a positive note, Kuehner adds, “Replacing household items can be done fairly reasonably as well. Social media sites have ‘online garage sale’ postings, and you can pick up items really cheap. Hitting the Goodwill and other thrift stores are a great idea too. You can find some great treasures at rock-bottom prices.”

6. Prepare for Financial Success

The final step is refocusing on financial vitality, Harden says.

What does a thriving, successful life look like for you? Is there a business you need to reclaim, a career you need to start over or education you need to finish?

If you’re relying on financial support from loved ones, these 13 steps could help you cut the cord.

Focusing on financial independence will take you from reacting to a bad situation to being proactive about your own success.

And remember, you don’t have to go through it again.

Remember going forward, “Being in a relationship, regardless if married or not, does not mean you have to commingle all funds,” Kuehner says.

“I am a huge proponent of a mine, yours and ours type of finance. It is a simple technique, but can have enormously positive effects,” she explains.

To maintain financial independence and vitality in the future, know you don’t have to relinquish control to your partner. Early on, negotiate a split of resources and financial responsibilities that satisfies and respects both of your needs.

Starting Over

Now, Orban is retired and has been writing about her experiences for three years.

Her first book, “It’ll Feel Better When It Quits Hurting,” is a memoir of her life before leaving her ex-husband.

Her second will cover how she rebuilt her life after leaving.

Since 1990, Orban remarried and divorced her second husband. She has five children altogether, and one grandchild. One son is in college, one is still in high school and the rest are grown.

She eventually went back to college and earned her associate degree in psychology.

Healing emotionally and financially took a lot of time and work. But a small epiphany late one night made her realize she could do it.

“(I realized) I didn’t have to wait for time to heal all wounds. I could make steps and go forward and go, ‘I am in control of my life now — me — and I can make these changes.’”

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to speak with an advocate or be connected with someone in your area: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) / TTY: 1-800-787-3224

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

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