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These 7 Steps Will Help You Negotiate Your Salary to Get What You’re Worth

After all the hard work you’ve put into designing your resume, crafting your cover letter and acing your job interview, you might be tempted to cash in on the first job offer a company gives you.

Most people do. Who could blame you?

But putting in a little extra time to negotiate a higher salary might be the easiest and quickest way to earn more money at your new job. Plus, hiring managers are often ready to negotiate. Are you?

What Are Salary Negotiations, and Why Are They Important?

Salary negotiations are one of the last steps in the hunt for a new job. They aren’t exactly synonymous with asking for a raise, though the two share a lot of similarities.

The key distinction is that negotiations for a higher salary happen sometime after your interview and before you sign the employment contract — not during a performance review for a current job.

Salary negotiations are crucial for a few key reasons. They show the company that you’re confident in your skills, that you’ve done your homework and that you’re not going to dart off to another better-paying position as soon as it’s available (because you’ll have the better-paying position).

Negotiations are also a time for you to think about your financial needs and to use the tight labor market to your advantage to score a higher starting salary.

“Unemployment rates are at all-time lows, and there’s a continued demand for skilled talent,” said Luke Stratmann, Baltimore Metro Market Manager of Robert Half, a 70-year-old S&P 500 career-consulting and staffing firm. “Professionals have the upper hand.”

The moment you say yes to a job, your sway over your benefits package and starting salary drops. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll have to wait six to 12 months to ask for a raise — money you could have been pocketing all along.

“Most employers expect — and even welcome — some back-and-forth on employment offers,” Stratmann said.

According to a 2019 survey by Robert Half, 70% of hiring managers are prepared for salary or benefit negotiations. The same survey shows that, within the last year, 45% of job seekers accepted the employer’s first offer without a peep.

Don’t be those people. It’s free money. Peep away.

How to Negotiate Salary

A woman shakes hands with a nan in an office setting.

Job interviews are nerve-racking as it is. When you add in salary negotiations, it’s enough to send most people into full-on panic mode.

Those anxieties could be enough to keep you from getting what you’re truly worth. Don’t let them.

Our step-by-step guide will help allay those initial fears and get you into the right frame of mind to not only ask for what you’re worth — but to emerge from those salary negotiations with a better offer.

Step 1: Research Salaries for Your Role

One of the best ways to calm yourself and to approach a salary negotiation with a level head is to do your homework about the company and your role. Don’t stress over manipulation tactics and strategies.

“If we go into a negotiation worrying about [that]… then we miss out on the most important feature of negotiation,” said Lisa Gates, cofounder of She Negotiates. “It’s a conversation. A human conversation.”

Gates, a leadership and negotiation coach for businesswomen and one of LinkedIn’s top 10 voices in the workplace, advises a good place to start is by searching what others in your position are earning. That could be by asking your colleagues (no, it’s not illegal, she said) or by looking up salary information on websites like Dice, Robert Half and Payscale.

With these tools you can establish what the national median income is for your position, what your local economy is paying and what your potential employer typically pays other people with the same title.

Consider where you’re located and where the company is located. For instance, if you are working in Nebraska, the local median income for copywriters is much lower than copywriter salaries in New York. But if you’re relocating to New York for the job, definitely use that salary range in negotiations. In that case, your salary history from Nebraska is irrelevant.

Likewise, this range is useful for establishing a fair salary for work-from-home jobs. Again, if you are a copywriter in Nebraska who is applying for a remote position in New York, you can negotiate a salary that’s in line with what New Yorkers earn, or at least you will have wiggle room to tap into national rates.

“Your salary should not be calibrated by your ZIP code,” Gates said. “It’s about the benefit you deliver to the company.”

Step 2: Know Your Work’s Worth

Once you’ve established a healthy salary range based on your research, you then have to plot yourself somewhere on that line.

“If you are a median performer… shoot for the median,” said Gates. “But chances are you’re amazing at what you do, and you want to shoot for a salary between median and high.”

When asking for above-average salaries, it needs to be a matter of showing rather than telling. If you believe you deserve the top of that range, then you’re going to need to fall back on something more substantial than “I believe I’m worth $ 70,000.” Because the obvious follow-up question to that statement is “Why?”

To be able to answer that question confidently and convincingly, “you need to make a list of all your contributions and accomplishments — and quantify them,” said Gates. “For example, if you are a customer service manager and you revamped your new-hire onboarding, what impact did that effort have on the bottom line?”

In terms of negotiation, your argument will be much stronger when it’s based on research and numbers rather than emotion. If you really do need that extra $ 5,000 for child care costs or relocation costs or rent, that’s OK to mention. Just don’t let that be your whole argument.

“Employers aren’t likely to respond well if job seekers are being unreasonable or pulling numbers out of thin air,” Stratmann said.

So show them exactly why you’re worth that extra five grand.

Step 3: Respond to the Initial Offer — Politely

This stage is ripe for fumbling.

You just got the job offer (congratulations!) and your emotions are running high — good or bad. It could be that the company offered you exactly what you wanted and you’re ecstatic. Or it could’ve lowballed you by about $ 10,000.

In either situation, it’s easy to respond on impulse. Check yourself first.

Take a deep breath and do not give your decision immediately, even if it’s a great offer. Likewise, it may not be the best time to negotiate especially if you’re a bit offended at that lowball.

“Responding graciously is the most important action to take when you first receive an offer,” said Loren Margolis, CEO and founder of Training & Leadership Success. “I recommend you state that you are grateful and excited, and then take a pause.”

Margolis is a career-training expert and a member of Forbes’ Coaching Council who’s worked with several Fortune 500 companies. She said that even if you know your answer or are ready to negotiate immediately, it’s good to ask for some time to think over the offer.

“If you negotiate on the spot, you run the risk of being influenced by emotion,” she said. “And you want to be logical and clear-headed when you talk money.”

The amount of time to ask the employer to think over the job offer could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Between 24 and 48 hours is typical, but employers may be in a pinch to fill the job quickly.

“You can also directly ask when the hiring manager would like to hear back,” Stratmann said.

That way you won’t be caught in a guessing game and will have a clear amount of time to review your salary research and prepare.

Step 4: Plan Your Counteroffer

A man wearing a tie examines papers.

At this point, you’ve done quite a bit of legwork on salary research. Now you need to pore over the details of your offer and establish what are known as a reservation point, a target salary and an anchor salary.

In salary negotiations, it’s important to stay within a realistic range that’s based on your research. And think back to your application. Did it ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If so, how did you respond?

If you answered “$ 40,000 to $ 50,000,” you have to work within that range.

For example, let’s say your initial job offer includes: $ 40,000 starting salary, health insurance, a 401(k) plan and three weeks of paid time off. If you’re an early-career professional, this offer might sound pretty good, and it is technically within your range. Negotiate anyway.

“Always negotiate, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you are capable of having a problem-solving conversation,” Gates advised. “That’s what a negotiation is.”

The only exception is if the company made a “firm” offer or has a “non-negotiable” salary policy, Stratmann said. If that’s the case, “you probably don’t want to push your luck.”

But those cases are rare, so unless it’s expressly stated, get to planning your counteroffer.

First, do the numbers.

  • Set a reservation point above the amount they initially offered, perhaps at $ 42,500. This number is the minimum salary you will accept.
  • Your target salary, aka the amount you foresee agreeing on after negotiations, will be higher than your reservation amount — somewhere around $ 45,000.
  • Your anchor salary will be much higher. It’s the number you use to start the conversation and could be as high as $ 50,000.

It’s very possible the company won’t meet your target salary even after negotiations. But don’t fret.

“When evaluating offers, don’t just look at salary,” Stratmann said. “Benefits, cost of living, career path, commute, corporate culture and other factors should be taken into account.”

So negotiate elements of your benefits package, too. Do they have wiggle room on vacation time? What about a work-from-home policy? Learning stipends? Loan forgiveness?

Or, as Margolis put it, “Determine what perks would add some sparkle to your life.”

The important part in a counteroffer is to remain flexible and open-minded.

Step 5: Practice the Negotiation Conversation

You’ve come a long way. But now you have all of these numbers and nuggets of advice floating around in your head. Can you recall them on a moment’s notice while under pressure and probably sweating profusely?

Didn’t think so.

The conversation itself could happen in person or over the phone. But it does need to be a conversation. No email negotiations, Stratmann said.

“Email is great when corresponding about scheduling and general questions,” he said. “But most of the time, negotiating over the phone or in person is your best bet so you can get a better read on tone and responses.”

And if the conversation does happen to take place in person, you’ll have to take into consideration much more than your tone. According to research from Robert Half, hiring managers pay keen attention to several nonverbal cues, the most important being:

  • Eye contact.
  • Posture.
  • Handshake.
  • Hand gestures.
  • Facial expressions.
  • Fidgeting and nervous movements.

This is why feedback is crucial. For the most part, you won’t be able to address any of those cues without someone else’s help.

“Practice negotiating with someone you trust. And ask them to make it difficult for you,” Margolis said.  “Have them counter your assertions and challenge you so you can practice professionally pushing back.”

Margolis also recommended writing out the perks that mean the most to you in the negotiation. Then, write down three things that distinguish yourself from the other applicants — they could highlight your experience, skills or ways you will add unique value to the company.

Forcing yourself to write it out makes your argument more cohesive.

Similarly, Gates recommended crafting an opening statement that lays out exactly what you want. She’s created a specific formula to guide the conversation that should include:

  • Your strengths.
  • Quantified results of those strengths.
  • How you plan to produce those results in the future.
  • An anchor number to start off negotiations.

Then round off your opening statement with a question that sparks discussion. She recommended something along the lines of, ”How can you help me make this so?”

Following this formula, your opening statement could look like:

“I’m a creative and witty copywriter who has produced several award-winning advertisements for past clients, which raised their ad revenue by 20% in one quarter. I believe with the new resources and larger team in my new role here, I will deliver even better results. These achievements warrant a salary of $ 50,000. How can we come together on this?”

Your statement will obviously look different. Use language that’s natural to you and change it around as much as you like. Be sure to include your anchor salary and an open-ended question that invites the employer to speak.

When you’re practicing with a friend, try changing the question, especially if the response isn’t what you were expecting. Because you want to start a discussion, avoid yes-or-no questions in particular.

Practice as much as you can and ask for feedback along the way. When all is said and done, thank your practice partner profusely. Drinks are on you.

Step 6: Negotiate a Higher Salary

After all that preparation, it’s not so scary anymore, is it?

Give yourself a pep talk, take a deep breath, and go get yourself a higher salary.

If you’re conducting the salary talks in person, remember to mind your body language. And if they offer you a beverage, take it. Having something to sip on will help smooth over those awkward pauses and can buy you some time to think of a response if you’re stumped.

If you’re talking over the phone, throw all that advice about body language out the window. That’s not important here. You’ll be able to have your notes in front of you, too.

Remember that your tone is what’s important on the phone. Speak clearly and slowly, and you’ll have a better offer in no time.

Step 7: Get It in Writing

You don’t want all that effort to go to waste.

After you rock your salary negotiation and come out with your target salary (or higher), be sure to ask for it in writing.

Sometimes hiring processes are long and involve plenty of people at the company. Things get forgotten or lost in translation. Perhaps the negotiation was handled by a separate person in the HR department. Maybe that separate person only had your initial salary offer on file and not the renegotiated amount. Or there could be something more nefarious in the works. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

“Ask for them to at least send it in an email to ensure that you and the hiring company are both on the same page,” Margolis said.

And when you finally sign your name on the contract, ensure it reflects what was sent in the email.

Now all that’s left is to bask in the success of the single highest-earning conversation you’ve likely ever had.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder, where he writes about career advice, legit work-from-home job opportunities and unique moneymaking techniques. Read his full bio here , or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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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The changes you should make to your skincare routine when you’re up the duff

pregnancy skincare

It’s no surprise that when you’re pregnant your skin changes. The rest of your body goes through its own transition, so why wouldn’t your complexion? When you’re pregnant skin can become more sensitive and some women might even experience bouts of acne, increased redness or pigmentation (nicknamed ‘the mask of pregnancy’) where they didn’t before. (It’s worth noting too that if you already suffer from rosacea or psoriasis, these can be exacerbated by pregnancy.) It’s not all doom and gloom though, because if you’re armed with the right pregnancy skincare regime, you can tackle these symptoms head on.

Here’s our roundup of the changes, how to treat them and which ingredients to avoid…

The main changes to skin when pregnant

‘Pregnancy brings about changes to your hormones, immune system, metabolism and blood vessels that influence the skin in various ways, explains Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, founder of SKNDOCTOR.

Hormonal Acne

A surge in progesterone causes your body to produce more sebum, which can lead to hormonal acne in pregnancy. And annoyingly, it can affect your whole body so you could see a sudden increase in back acne and blemishes on your décolletage.

If this is something that you’re suffering from, then it’s even more important that you include the right products in your pregnancy skincare regime. You might have to pick up some new ones that you don’t have in your bathroom cabinet.

‘For particularly oily, acne-prone skin, I recommend you use products that contain AHAs (Glycolic Acid) and Azelaic Acid,’ says Dr Ukeleghe. These make for a great addition to you pregnancy skincare routine, because they’re also great for treating pigmentation.

The Mask of Pregnancy

The most common skin concern during pregnancy is hyperpigmenation. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, it can affect up to 50% of women during their pregnancy, because hormones are slightly out of kilter and your body starts to produce more oestrogen. Combined with an increase in photosensitivity, this presents itself as large patches of discolouration on the face. The increase in oestrogen is also why your areola (the round area around your nipples) darkens.

Dr Ukeleghe encourages daily SPF use: ‘Consistent sunscreen use will stop pigmentation from getting worse.’ You should be using a daily SPF of 30 or above anyway, but it is it particularly important during pregnancy, because your skin is more photosensitive.

This is why Jasmina Vico, a skin expert, recommends using a vitamin C serum every single day during your pregnancy to help brighten dark spots and pigmentation, as well as accentuating that maternal glowy complexion. She recommends Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF (depending on your skin type) and Medik8 C-Tetra.

Sensitive Skin

Vico says the first thing you should do when you find our you’re pregnant is simplify your skincare routine: ‘Take out anything too harsh or abrasive, because your skin is much more sensitive at this time.’ She recommeds using as few products as possible as well, so stick to a good cleanser, toner, serum, moistuiser and SPF.

This increase in senstivity is what causes pregnancy hot flushes and a red tinge to the skin. Dr Ukeleghe suggest switching out your exisiting products for those that come from lines that are specifically for sensitive skin, like the Bioderma Sensbio range. But then she says, ‘Only slot in pregnancy-friendly actives if you have specific skin concerns, because excessive skncare routines and harsh ingredients can irritate.’

Ingredients to avoid when pregnant

1. Salicylic Acid (in high concentrations, anything below 2% is safe)
2. Vitamin-A (any product with retinol)
3. Skin lightening products (anything containing hydroquinoane)

Keep scrolling for our edit of products to introduce into your pregnancy skincare routine:

The post The changes you should make to your skincare routine when you’re up the duff appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Harsh Reality for Hot Women: Co-Workers Think You’re a Liar

Reuters / Eric Vidal

Attractive businesswomen are considered less trustworthy, less truthful and more deserving of being fired than men and less attractive women. That’s according to a new study from researchers who have dubbed the persistent sexist phenomenon as the “femme fatale effect.”

The research shows that both men and women judge attractive women differently from less attractive women because of feelings of sexual insecurity, jealousy and fear. The effect has been shown by the academic research to have persisted despite decades of feminism and more awareness of the damaging consequences of gender stereotyping.

“Highly attractive women can be perceived as dangerous and that matters when we are assessing things like how much we trust them and whether we believe that what they are saying is truthful,” Leah Sheppard from the WSU Carson College of Business, who was the lead author of the paper, said in a release published by the Eurekalert science news website.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid

A Republican congressman is pushing to pass a new bill that would allow student-athletes to make money off of their image and likeness. Introduced days before the start of March Madness and NCAA brackets-madness, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would amend the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaws that prohibit students from receiving any form of outside payment for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not allowed to sign endorsement deals, accept gifts from fans, or even sell their autograph. Duke’s Zion Williamson, for example, can’t earn a dime despite the fact that his athletic prowess has high-profile celebrities and fans pouring into the stands to see him play.

“Signing an athletic scholarship with a school should not be a moratorium on your rights to your name, image, and self-worth,” reads a statement by the bill’s legislator, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker. “It’s time to bring equity to student-athletes and fix the injustices that exist in the current NCAA model. After nearly two years of discussions with players and leaders, we are introducing legislation that won’t cost the NCAA or our schools a single dollar, while empowering college athletes with the same opportunities that every American should have in a free-market.”

Similar to how superstars like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Serena Williams have made millions from lucrative endorsement deals, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would allow student-athletes to get paid when they appear in video games and other public media by amending the definition of “an amateur” in the NCAA tax code. The bill, however, does not advocate for students to receive direct payment from NCAA member schools.

The bill is the latest action in the ongoing “pay-to-play” debate. For years, critics have argued that players are being exploited by colleges, which rake in millions of dollars from fans who pay to watch them play. Colleges and universities are also allowed to profit off the student-athletes’ likeness by selling promotional items like jerseys. The NCAA, on the other hand, argues that athletes are rewarded with sports scholarships, free education, and other perks.

“To be able to profit off the backs of many of the students, some which come from underprivileged or impoverished areas, to me, that’s not fair,” Walker told WFMY News, “If everybody else has access to the free market, they should as well.”

Walker’s bill comes just days before the start of March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, on Tuesday. During the Division I tournament, CBS and Turner Sports, sponsors, NCAA, universities, and coaches, will earn a mint.

“We’re not asking the NCAA or the schools to spend a dime on these athletes,” Walker told ThinkProgress. “We’re asking for them to have the same rights to the free market that you and I have.”

The post While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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You’re more likely to win money if this is your star sign

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Do you believe in star signs? Whether you trust in what your horoscope says or not, you might want to read this…

It turns out that the luckiest star sign is Aries. According to research by Buzzbingo.com, those born between March 21st and April 19th are more likely to hit the jackpot. Aries are the most likely to win big (more than £1000), with 520 big winners per 10,000 winners, with Sagittarus coming in close second. However, it’s bad news if you’re a Capricorn, as they came last in the table. Those with a Leo and Aquarius star sign didn’t do too well, either Sorry.

Here’s the full list so that you can see where you fall in line with your star sign. It’s based on the most winners per 10,000 winners.

Aries – 520

Sagittarius – 519

Cancer – 510

Taurus – 510

Virgo – 498

Scorpio – 496

Libra – 477

Gemini – 476

Pisces – 471

Leo – 467

Aquarius – 462

Capricorn – 456

The study shows that Virgos came out on top when it comes to overall winners, with 11,186 people taking home cash wins. This is the full breakdown…

Credit: Buzzbingo

So all in all – great news if you’re an Aries!

Sagittarius and Cancer, we’d say you can cash in on the luck, too.

Might be worth heading to the bingo this weekend…

The post You’re more likely to win money if this is your star sign appeared first on Marie Claire.

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9 Smart (and Simple) Ways to Stretch Your Budget When You’re a Single Parent

As far as I’m concerned, all you single parents are heroes without capes.

Well, you’ll swoosh on a cape when your kids want to play dress-up. But that’s beside the point. Single parents have to juggle work, kids and life. That’s no easy feat — especially on the wallet.

That’s why we put together these simple tips to help you better manage your money.

1. Involve Kids in Financial Decisions

Your kid sees their classmates taking piano, tennis, dance and karate lessons. But you might not be able to afford all of that.

Instead of feeling guilty — or worse, caving and overspending — have an open conversation with your child.

“Classically, parents will go behind a closed door to talk about saving, budgeting and investing,” says Maggie Johndrow, a financial adviser at Johndrow Wealth Management. “But psychologists have found that will make your children think finances are scary, taboo and something that’s not to be talked about in the open.”

Instead, Johndrow encourages parents lay it all out there. Let your child know your budget for after-school activities, then work together to pick and choose what you can afford.

“Empower them and teach them by giving them that choice,” she says.

2. Analyze Your Needs vs. Wants

Mother and daughter on computer

An integral part of managing your money is budgeting. Ew, gross. We know. But it’s important to take a good look at what you’re spending and understand where you can cut back.

You don’t have to rely on complicated Excel-spreadsheet formulas or spend hours categorizing your expenses to stick to a budget. Instead, use an app.

An easy way to automate this process is to use Trim, a little bot that’ll keep track of all your transactions.

Connect your checking account, credit card and savings account for a big-picture look at your spending habits. Then, take a closer look by checking out each of your transactions. Set alerts that’ll let you know when bills are due, when you’ve hit a spending cap or when you’ve (hopefully not) overdrafted.

Best part? It’s free to sign up.

3. Pay Yourself First

Hey, you! Yeah, you! You’re important. Don’t forget to prioritize your needs — like your savings. Whether you’re starting an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a home or planning a weekend getaway for you and the kids, why not make the process easy?

One of our favorite strategies? Set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck, so you’ll squirrel money away without thinking about it.

One of our favorite accounts for this is Aspiration — you’ll pay no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 2.00% APY on your savings.

You’ll get access to an online-only account for spending and for saving. It comes with a debit card that earns 0.5% cash back on all your purchases, plus free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

After you open your Aspiration account, use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your spending account, and use that to cover basic expenses.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration savings to keep it out of sight and let it grow. You’ll earn 2.00% APY as long you deposit just $ 1 a month.

Even if you’re slipping $ 10 into your emergency fund each month, that’s OK. Do what you can to take advantage of the compound interest.

4. Take Care of Your Debt

Mom multitasking

“I often find that people are struggling because of debt, so if you can come up with a debt repayment strategy and eliminate your debt, the other things all of a sudden become a lot easier,” Johndrow says.

Her top recommendation? Refinance. Refinancing can lower your interest rates and, therefore, lower your monthly payments.

You can basically refinance any type of debt, but here are a couple of examples:

  • Refinance your credit card debt: Credit card interest is no joke. Refinancing your debt with a personal loan could help you save a ton. If your credit score is at least 620, a good resource is Fiona, a search engine that can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs. You can borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
  • Refinance your auto loan: It’s normally a pain to re-title your vehicle at your local DMV office, but a company called MotoRefi will do all the heavy lifting for you — and could cut your monthly car payment by $ 100 or more.

In addition to refinancing for better interest rates, Johndrow suggests extending the term of your loan if your budget is tight. “This might mean paying more in interest over time, but it might free up some monthly cash flow, which can help with your budgeting,” she says.

It gives you some breathing room.

5. Find Sneaky Ways to Save on Your Necessities

Finding ways to save on your needs feels harder than finding ways to save on your wants — but it’s possible.

Here are a few examples that’ll get you going in the right direction:

  • Save on groceries with a cash-back app. There’s no way around groceries, but you can earn some money back with Ibotta. The app is free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Save money by negotiating your bills. Don’t have time to call? Download Truebill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees. On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $ 700 a year.
  • Save money on your car insurance. One way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates. Use an online car insurance search engine like The Zebra, which offers “insurance in black and white” and compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds

6. Manage Life’s Risks

Father dancing with daughter

You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so it’s important to be realistic.

“God forbid something happens to you, and you’re all your kid has,” Johndrow says. “Life insurance leaves them with enough to still hopefully attend college and achieve their goals.”

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without the medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, check out Bestow. The company is built around one concept: helping you get the term life insurance policy you want, simply and fast.

It just takes five minutes to answer some basic lifestyle questions, and you can get quotes for up to $ 1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re approved, you can personalize your coverage to fit your budget. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.

Johndrow also urges parents to look into disability insurance, in case you can’t work and need to supplement your income; and long-term care insurance, in case you need health care not covered by your health insurance.

7. Find Creative Ways to Diversify Your Income

We know you don’t have a lot of extra time, but if you’re looking for a way to make some extra money to cushion your budget, try something creative.

For example, have you ever thought about renting out your baby gear? Yeah, the stuff you have sitting around the house that your kids don’t need anymore.

Online marketplaces like BabyQuip allow parents to rent out strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby items to traveling parents. (Because checking a crib on a flight is near impossible.)

Stay-at-home mom Manuela Madrid rents her baby gear out. She works, on average, 12 hours a month and earns between $ 120 to $ 180 with each rental.

8. Don’t Sleep on Your Retirement Savings

Dad telling bed time stories

Although retirement might seem like a faraway fantasy, it’s going to pop up sooner than you think.

If you haven’t yet started, open a company-matched 401(k) or your own traditional or Roth IRA. Even if you only put $ 5 in each week, that’s something — and you’re still taking advantage of that compound interest.

Having trouble prioritizing your savings? Johndrow urges you to think of it like this: “You can take out a loan for almost anything in life, but you cannot take out a loan for your retirement.”

So if you can’t put away money for your kids’ college fund? They’ll be OK. They can take out student loans like everyone else. But you can’t take out a loan to cover your living expenses once you retire.

“You want the best for your children, and the last thing you want to do is ask them to care for you when they’re trying to care for themselves and the next generation,” Johndrow says.

9. Make a Date With Your Money

At the end of each month, put the kids to bed, and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you prefer: Once they’re out the door to school, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and cozy in.

Then, take some time to look at your monthly income and spending and see how you’re doing. See how the last month went — which areas you excelled in and where you might’ve gone over budget. Then, take a look at the month ahead and note any additional upcoming expenses.

Even taking 15 minutes to check in with yourself can help you stay on budget.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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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Michael B. Jordan: “You’re Going to Get Back What You Put Out” | SuperSoul Sunday | OWN

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Captain Marvel comics to read if you’re excited about the movie

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Captain Marvel is a complicated superhero with a complicated backstory. Luckily there are a bunch of great comics to help you figure it out.

Captain Marvel is gearing up to be one of the biggest superhero movies of the year, sending the Marvel cinematic universe into the distant past (the ’90s) to give us the story of Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel was first introduced to the world in 1967, created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, which means there’s been a whole lot of Captain Marvel comic books over the years. Captain Marvel has gone through a handful of iterations over the decades, with multiple people carrying the Captain Marvel (the most recent being Danvers). Read more…

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Wearing High-Rise Bottoms When You’re Short Waisted

The waist measurement we’re talking about is the length of your upper torso, not the circumference of the narrowest part of your midsection. It’s a vertical measurement, and not a horizontal one. It’s what we’re referring to when we talk about being short, regular or long-waisted.

Here’s a simple definition of rise and waist measurements:

  • Rise is the distance from your crotch point to your natural waist
  • Waist is the distance from your shoulder neck intersection to your natural waist

It’s easy to figure out if you’re short or long in the waist. Stand up straight (don’t sit!) and see if you can fit two hand widths between the under bust and the natural waist. If you can fit more than two hand widths, you have a long waist. Less than two is a short waist.

People who are short in the waist tend to prefer wearing mid and low rise bottoms with tucked, semi-tucked or untucked tops because it visually lengthens the upper torso, and feels more comfortable on the midsection. In other words, the waistband of the bottoms is far enough away from their bra strap. They tend to avoid exposing the waistline of high-rise bottoms because it visually shortens an already short waist.

While this is true, it’s not so black and white. You might be short in the waist, but regular or long in rise measurement. When that’s the case, wearing exposed high-rise bottoms — with a tucked, semi-tucked or cropped top — will look relatively in proportion with a short waist, especially with a smaller bust. If you’re larger in the bust, longer in the rise, and short in the waist, you can wear exposed high rises without looking too short-waisted if you add a top that has lower neckline like a V-neck or scoop neck into the mix. The lower and open neckline will lengthen the neck and upper torso thereby offsetting a short waist.

Wearing exposed high-rise pants or jeans when you’re short in the rise AND waist, AND have a larger bust is the trickiest because you’ll feel square and squat unless you’re very tall. It’s easiest to stick to mid rises, lower necklines, and wearing tops untucked with this body type, especially when you’re petite. That said, a mid-rise can be your high rise, and exposing it the same way you would high-rise jeans and pants can work when you wear a semi-tucked fluid top with a lower neckline.

Of course, none of these visual proportions matter if you wear high-rise pants and jeans with an untucked regular top because you’re covering the length of the waist, rise and torso. Many of my short-waisted clients — some with short rises — are enjoying the high-rise bottoms trend because it girdles the midsection, and they can wear untucked tops if they want to.

It sounds complicated, but it’s a simple visual illusion that can be manipulated to your advantage if you want to wear exposed high-rise bottoms with a shorter waist. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you’re unsure.

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Signs You’re In A Healthy, Secure Relationship

Man Kissing On Wife Cheek With Cute Daughter Against Clear Sky

Source: Alessandro Biascioli / EyeEm / Getty

In the midst of crazy modern dating, pockets of secure, confident loving relationships bud despite the madness. Secure relationships are marked by both partners being supportive, cooperate and loving towards one another. A secure relationship also reflects on the outside, in the way the partnered folks interact with their family members, friends and loved ones.

Tyler Turk, CEO and Founder of Crafted With Love told Elite Daily that you can spot a secure relationship by observing how a couple interacts with one another.

“There will be open and honest communication along with a strong level of trust and understanding,” Turk explains.

Here are some other signs your relationship is in a good spot:

Less Anxiousness

In the beginning of a partnership we might feel like we are walking on eggshells trying to present our most perfect selves for them to fall in love with. But once your relationship hits a secure place, the anxiousness is replaced by comfort and understanding.

Alone Time Doesn’t Bring Worry

You know those couples who can’t be a part? That may be a sign they aren’t in the most secure place, relationship wise. Partners who have faith in their union can spend time investing in their careers or outside passions without disrupting the flow of their partnership.

“Within a secure relationship, there will be a healthy amount of time together and time spent for yourself or with friends,” Turk said.

Continuing, “In a secure relationship, you focus on creating a strong bond between you both rather than trying to find flaws,” Turk explained.

You Don’t Drop Your Friends

Within a health connection, you won’t feel obligated to drop everyone else in your life in order to keep your relationship mojo flowing. People in secure relationships can invest equally in their friends and their partner.

“Within a secure relationship, there will be a healthy amount of time together and time spent for yourself or with friends,” Turk said.

 

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7 Podcasts to Listen to if You’re Serious About Paying Off Debt

There are some great personal finance books out there. But who has time to read them all?

Sure, there are audiobooks. But some are so dry that not even being stuck in a car can get you to press play.

That’s where podcasts come in: bite-sized, digestible chunks of knowledge that you can get through in one or two commutes. Then, you can move on to the next topic.

They’re great when you need a break from books. But there are so many out there. How do you know which ones are worth your time?

That’s what we’re here for.

The Best Finance Podcasts for People Just Starting Out

As a podcast host myself, I’ve listened to hundreds of finance podcast episodes and rooted through the good ones and the not-as-good.

If you’re just starting to get your finances in order — and you’re looking to spend less, pay off debt and learn where to save — here are the best personal finance podcasts. Our list is sure to cover every personality, preference and time constraint.

How to Money

This is a fun podcast hosted by real-life best friends Joel Larsgaard and Matt Altmix. They start every “How to Money” episode by opening a bottle of craft beer before diving into a widely relevant personal finance topic.

Instead of interviews, you can expect useful conversations between friends that won’t make you feel like a third wheel. They cover everything from frugality and deals to real estate investing, so you’re sure to glean some tips from every episode.

The Money Nerds Podcast

Every week, personal finance coach Whitney Hansen interviews experts in the topics of career development, paying off debt, saving money and more. She also releases bonus episodes every Friday with five tips to help listeners with a variety of money topics.

Hansen is great at breaking down seemingly complex topics like credit scores, money mindset and investing. If you want to learn the basics of personal finance, “The Money Nerds Podcast” will be right up your alley.

Popcorn Finance

Chris Browning talks about personal finance topics in “about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn,” as the “Popcorn Finance” slogan goes. Some episodes turn out to be three or four bags of popcorn, but you won’t care, because the content is so good and Browning’s voice is so soothing.

Seriously, he should rename this thing “Pot Roast Finance” and just talk to us for three hours every week.

Each episode is a conversation with a different guest on a unique personal finance topic. Some are classic interviews; others are fun debates or bonus content from past guests called “quick pops.” If you’ve got a short commute or get bored easily, “Popcorn Finance” is for you.

The Stacking Benjamins Show

If you’re still convinced that no podcast about money can hold your attention, you haven’t listened to “The Stacking Benjamins” yet.

Joe Saul-Sehy and his band of accomplices — most notably a guy identified only as OG and his mom’s neighbor Doug — release three hilarious episodes every week about timely money topics and new technology.

Every show is funny and will “accidentally” teach you about personal finance topics through interviews that introduce you to new financial apps. There’s even irrelevant trivia that you’ll wait for in every episode.

Marriage, Kids and Money

For families with young children, “Marriage, Kids and Money,” hosted by Andy Hill, is the show for you.

Hill does a mix of solo episodes and interviews about personal finance topics relating to married couples and parents. And if you’re tired of thinking about your marriage and kids, you can find some straight money subjects that everyone can learn from.

This podcast has topics you won’t find on many other shows, so browse the archives — even if you’re single and childless, especially if you don’t plan on staying that way forever.

Afford Anything

Each episode of the “Afford Anything” podcast will inspire you to think beyond what conventional wisdom tells you about personal finance.

Host Paula Pant talks to experts and industry stalwarts and gets them to open up a side of themselves you won’t hear on other podcasts. Her show is a great listen if you want to hear engaging conversations about money, how to spend it and how to optimize it.

The Side Hustle Show

If you’re looking for a side hustle, look no further. Nick Loper’s “The Side Hustle Show” has featured all of them — or at least most of them — in its over 300 episodes.

Every show is an interview with someone who’s started a successful side hustle about how they did it. Loper also answers questions about topics that help side hustlers grow and scale their businesses.

If you’re looking to make money outside of your full-time job, subscribe to his podcast right now.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

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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4 Financial Steps to Take if You’re Raising a Child With Special Needs

Raising any child is expensive, but when you’re raising a child who has special needs, there are additional financial responsibilities to consider.

The cost of doctor’s visits, therapy appointments, medication and special equipment add up. The amount of time needed to provide care may restrict you or your partner from working outside the home — or even at all.

Depending on your child’s condition, you may need to provide them with lifetime support.

It can be overwhelming just dealing with the medical and emotional aspects of your child’s particular challenges. Here’s what to know so that your finances don’t add to that stress.

Apply for Government Benefits

After your child is diagnosed, you’ll probably want to speak with a social worker who can help you understand what assistance may be available to your family and how to apply for that aid. Your child’s physician may be able to recommend a social worker, or you can contact your city or county department of social services.

A special needs attorney can also assist you. Robert Fechtman is a special needs attorney in Indiana and the president of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization made up of attorneys who specialize in disability and public benefits law. He helps families navigate the public benefits system and plan for their children’s futures.

Fechtman said families may qualify for financial assistance through Social Security.

The Social Security Administration gives out Supplemental Security Income, also referred to as SSI, to children with qualified medical conditions whose family’s income falls under a certain threshold. The amount of assistance, which is given out monthly, varies from state to state.

Once your child reaches adulthood, he or she may also be able to receive Social Security disability benefits, which the administration gives out when an adult isn’t able to work due to a medical condition.

Depending on your family’s income, your child may also be able to qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. Oftentimes if your child qualifies for SSI, he or she would also qualify for Medicaid. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is available for families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but still can’t afford private health insurance.

The Fouche family of Ocala, Florida, qualifies for both Medicaid and SSI to cover costs for their 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has cerebral palsy. Vicki Fouche, Hannah’s mother, says the government aid has been a blessing for their family, but she worries that if her husband made more money, they’d lose those benefits and have more out-of-pocket expenses.

A mother puts shoes on her daughter as her daughter is playing on an iPad.

Families that don’t qualify for publicly funded medical insurance might find an affordable health insurance provider via the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment has ended for 2019, but you can enroll if you have a qualifying life change, such as if you recently lost health insurance.

Fechtman also tells his clients to apply for Medicaid waivers, which allow those in need of long-term care to get free health care in home settings instead of a nursing facility. Children with special needs may qualify regardless of their parents’ income or assets. Each state operates its own Medicaid waiver program.

Fechtman said that many times, families aren’t aware of these waivers. There are often waitlists for applicants, so it’s generally one of the first things he brings up when meeting with new clients.

Families struggling with their finances should also check to see if they qualify for other public benefit programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). TANF provides monthly cash assistance for families, while SNAP provides money specifically for buying food. Both are income-based programs.

Set up a 529 ABLE Account or a Special Needs Trust

When you’re applying for government aid, the administering agency will typically have rules about how much income your family can earn and how many assets you can own. Money in a traditional checking or savings accounts could restrict a family from receiving public benefits.

However, Fechtman said parents can save money in a 529 ABLE account or a special needs trust, and those dollars won’t count toward a family’s assets.

ABLE accounts are tax-deferred similar to 529 college savings accounts. However, ABLE account funds can be used for more than just education. Fechtman said qualifying expenses also include health, wellness and transportation expenses for a child with a qualifying disability.

According to SavingforCollege.com, families can withdraw the money tax-free and can have up to $ 100,000 in the account without it affecting the child’s eligibility for SSI benefits.

The annual amount that could be contributed to an ABLE account in 2018 was $ 15,000.

Fechtman said it’s relatively inexpensive to open and maintain an ABLE account. However, one downside is if the child dies, the money in the account must go to reimburse whatever state provided Medicaid benefits for the child.

Families that save money for a child in a special needs trust don’t have to worry about those savings going to reimburse the state. A special needs trust is a legal arrangement set up to hold money for someone with a disability so that the person can continue to receive public benefits. The trustees — those who manage the trust — generally have few restrictions on how the money in the trust is used as long they don’t interfere with the beneficiary receiving government assistance.

Another difference between the two money-saving vehicles is the cost, which varies depending on factors such as who sets up the account and what state you live in.

Fechtman said an attorney might charge around $ 1,500 to draft a special needs trust. However, families can also join a pooled trust managed by a nonprofit organization, which could cost half that. Setting up an ABLE account could cost as little as $ 50.

Look Into Assistance from Nonprofits

Government programs aren’t the only source of assistance. Nonprofit organizations also provide help to families struggling financially.

Here are just a few organizations that help families in need:

  • The HealthWell Pediatric Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for families whose health insurance doesn’t cover the critical medical treatments their children need.
  • The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation issues grants to help children get medical services that aren’t fully covered by their private health insurance.
  • The Different Needz Foundation provides grants for families so they can get medical equipment or services.
  • The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project has a pediatric disability equipment exchange program that lets families receive donated medical equipment for free.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities provides families with places to stay when they have to travel so that a child can receive extended treatment at a hospital away from home. Families may be asked to make a donation of up to $ 25 per day, but no family is turned away if they can’t pay.

Organizations like United Way and the Salvation Army also help families struggling financially — not just those with special needs children.

Think About the Future

No parent wants to think about a situation where they aren’t alive to care for their child, but it’s important to prepare for — especially if your child has special needs.

“Every person who’s got a disabled child is horrified by the notion that they’re going to die before that child and that the child won’t have the care and support and everything that the parents provide,” Fechtman said.

Having a will is a given. But Fechtman said the will should direct inheritance money to a special needs trust so that the child can continue to qualify for public benefits.

Designating who will become the child’s guardian is also key, he said. Parents should look for someone who would be able to provide proper care for their child.

In addition, Fechtman said parents should have an adequate amount of life insurance to provide for their family in the event of their untimely death.

He recommends parents — specifically those in a two-parent household — get a survivorship life insurance policy, also known as a second-to-die life insurance policy. It covers both parents, but it doesn’t pay out until both parents are deceased.

One benefit of this type of policy is that premiums are generally much lower than for other policies. Another benefit is that coverage lasts until the policyholders die — unlike term life insurance, which ends after a certain number of years. This is especially important for parents who have special needs children, because those children may not be able to be independent and support themselves once they reach adulthood.

Of course, single parents wouldn’t be able to open this type of policy, and it may be insufficient if one parent is the household’s sole income earner.

“If you only have one breadwinner, you’d need to have individual insurance on that breadwinner,” Fechtman said. “Maybe you’re lucky enough that they have some kind of life insurance through work, so maybe you wouldn’t have to run out and get a seperate policy.”

The important thing is to have a plan in place so that your child is financially taken care of no matter what.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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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Hope You’re Sitting Down: Hospital Charges $4,700 For A Fainting Spell

Listen to NPR’s All Things Considered tonight for our audio report on Bill of the Month. It’s scheduled to air at approximately 5:20 p.m. on your local public radio station.

Matt Gleason had skipped getting a flu shot for more than a decade.

But after suffering a nasty bout of the virus last winter, he decided to get vaccinated at his Charlotte, N.C., workplace in October. “It was super easy and free,” said Gleason, 39, a sales operations analyst.

That is, until Gleason fainted five minutes after getting the shot. Though he came to quickly and had a history of fainting, his colleague called 911. And when the paramedics sat him up, he began vomiting. That symptom worried him enough to agree to go to the hospital in an ambulance.

He spent the next eight hours at a nearby hospital — mostly in the emergency room waiting area. He had one consult with a doctor via teleconference as he was getting an electrocardiogram. He was feeling much better by the time he saw an in-person doctor, who ordered blood and urine tests and a chest-X-ray.

All the tests to rule out a heart attack or other serious condition were negative, and he was sent home at 10:30 p.m.

And then the bill came.

The Patient: Matt Gleason, who works for Flexential, an information technology firm in Charlotte. He is married with two children.

Total Bill: $ 4,692 for all the hospital care, including $ 2,961 for the ER admission fee, $ 400 for an EKG, $ 348 for a chest X-ray, $ 83 for a urinalysis and nearly $ 1,000 for various blood tests. Gleason’s insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, negotiated discounts for the in-network hospital and reduced those costs to $ 3,711. Gleason is responsible for that entire amount because he had a $ 4,000 annual deductible. (The ambulance company and the ER doctor billed Gleason separately for their services, each about $ 1,300, but his out-of-pocket charge for each was $ 250 under his insurance.)

Matt Gleason questioned many of the charges he was billed after a trip to the ER and asked the health care provider for clarity. They sent him their chargemaster so he could investigate the charges himself.(Logan Cyrus for KHN)

Service Provider: Atrium Health Pineville (formerly called Carolinas HealthCare System-Pineville), a 235-bed nonprofit hospital in Charlotte and one of more than 40 hospitals owned by Atrium.

Medical Service: On Oct. 4, Gleason was taken by ambulance to Atrium Health Pineville emergency room to be evaluated after briefly passing out and vomiting following a flu shot. He was given several tests, mostly to check for a heart attack. 

What Gives: Fainting after getting the flu vaccine or other shots is a well-described phenomenon in the medical literature. But once 911 is summoned, you could be facing an ER work-up. And, in the U.S., that usually means big money.

The biggest part of Gleason’s bill — $ 2,961 — was the general ER fee. Atrium coded Gleason’s ER visit as a Level 5 — the second-highest and second-most expensive — on a 6-point scale. It is one step below the code for someone who has a gunshot wound or major injuries from a car accident. Gleason was told by the hospital that his admission was a Level 5 because he received at least three medical tests.

Gleason argued he should have paid a lower-level ER fee, considering his relatively mild symptoms and how he spent most of the eight hours in the ER waiting area.

The American Hospital Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians and other health groups devised criteria in 2000 to bring some uniformity to emergency room billing. The different levels reflect the varying amount of resources (equipment and supplies) the hospital uses for the particular ER level. Level 1 represents the lowest level of ER facility fees, while ER Level 6, or critical care, is the highest. Many hospitals have adopted the voluntary guidelines.

David McKenzie, reimbursement director at the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the guidelines were set up to help hospitals charge appropriately. Asked if hospitals have an incentive to perform extra tests to get patients to a higher-cost billing code, McKenzie said: “It’s not a perfect system. Hospitals have an incentive to do a CT exam, and taxi drivers have an incentive to take the long way home.”

The guidelines don’t determine the prices hospitals set for each ER level. Hospitals are free to set whatever prices they want as long as their system is consistent among patients, he said.

He said the multiple tests on Gleason suggest the hospital was worried he could be seriously ill. But he questioned why Gleason was told to stay in the ER waiting area for several hours if that was the case. It’s also not clear if Gleason’s history of fainting and overall good health were considered.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said in a statement that the hospital “appears to have billed Gleason appropriately.” It noted the hospital reduced its costs by about $ 980 because of the insurer’s negotiated rates. But the insurer said it has no way to reduce the general ER admission fee.

“We work hard to negotiate discounts that reduce costs for our members, but costs are still far too high,” the insurer said. “This forces consumers to pay more out of pocket and drives up premiums.”

Gleason, in fighting his bill, actually got the hospital to send him its entire “chargemaster” price list for every code – a 250-page, double-sided document on paper. He was charged several hundred dollars more than the listed price for his Level 5 ER visit.

Gleason reviews the chargemaster he received from Atrium Health.(Logan Cyrus for KHN)

“In this specific example, the price of admission to the ER was more than $ 2,960. That was on top of more than $ 1,000 for the medical procedures actually performed. We won’t significantly bring down health care costs until we address the high prices like these,” BCBS-NC said in the statement.

John Hennessy, chief business development officer for WellRithms, a consulting firm that reviews bills for large employers, said the hospital charges are significantly higher than what Medicare pays in the Charlotte area, but those are the prices Gleason’s insurer has negotiated. “Seeing billed charges well in excess of what Medicare pays is nothing unusual,” Hennessy said.

He said the insurer likely agreed to the higher charges to make sure it had the large hospital system in its network. Atrium is the biggest health system in North Carolina.

He said the coding “makes sense” because it meets the guidelines — even if that meant a nearly $ 4,000 bill for Gleason.

“The hospital has every right to collect it, regardless if you or I think it’s a fair price,” he said.

Gleason says the $ 3,700 hospital bill won’t bankrupt his family, but “what it does is wipe out our savings.”(Logan Cyrus for KHN)

Resolution: After Gleason appealed, Atrium Health reviewed the bill but didn’t make any changes. “I understand you may be frustrated with the cost of your visit; however, based on these findings, we are not able to make any adjustments to your account,” Josh Crawford, nurse manager for the hospital’s emergency department, wrote to Gleason on Nov. 15.

Atrium Health, in a statement to KHN and NPR, defended its care and charges as “appropriate.”

“The symptoms Mr. Gleason presented with could have been any number of things — some of them fatal,” the hospital said.

“Atrium Health has set criteria which determines at what level an [emergency department] visit is charged. In Mr. Gleason’s case, there were several variables that made this a Level 5 visit, including arriving by ambulance and three or more different departmental diagnostic tests.”

Gleason said the $ 3,700 hospital bill won’t bankrupt his family. “What it does is wipe out our savings,” he added.

The Takeaway: Gleason, understandably, said he’s reluctant to get a flu shot in the future. But that’s not the best response. It’s important to know that fainting is a known reaction to shots and some people seem particularly prone. It’s best to sit or lie down when you get the vaccine, and wait five to 10 minutes before jumping up and returning to business.

Be aware: If you — or someone else — calls 911 for a health emergency, you are very likely to be taken to the hospital. You probably won’t have a choice of which one. And a hospital trip may not even be needed, so think before you call: “How do I feel?”

The medical professional who administered the shot might have suggested that calling 911 wasn’t a smart or needed response for a known side effect of a vaccine injection in a young person.

The emergency room is the most expensive place to seek care.

In hindsight, Gleason might have gone to an urgent care facility or called his primary care doctor, who could have evaluated him and run some tests at much lower prices, if needed.

But employers, hospitals and doctors regularly tell patients if they need immediate care to go to the ER, and hospitals often tout short waiting times in their ERs.

With high deductibles becoming more common, consumers need to be aware that a single trip to the hospital, especially an ER, could cost them thousands of dollars — even for symptoms that turn out to be nothing serious.

Alex Olgin of WFAE and Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News contributed to the audio version of this story.

Do you have an exorbitant or baffling medical bill? Join the KHN and NPR Bill-of-the-Month Club and tell us about your experience.

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How to pack when you’re staying in a hostel

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Are you ready for an adventure? Hopefully, you said yes because there are thousands of hostels all around the world that are ready and waiting to welcome you into their shared dorms. While they might not be 5* hotels, hostels offer travelers the chance to fully integrate into the nomad life. You can mingle with other travelers, you can save your money for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and you can experience what it’s like to sleep in a room with 30 other strangers. However, packing your life into one backpack isn’t easy, which is why you need this guide on how to pack when you’re staying in a hostel.

Straps, not wheels

When you go on vacation, you normally fish your wheeled case out of your closet. After all, it’s the easiest way to pack and transport everything you need for a normal vacation. Going traveling and spending your nights in hostels isn’t a normal vacation, however. Instead of having your own space to fill with your belongings, you have one bunk bed to enjoy before you get back on the road again. Because of this, it’s always best to go with straps rather than wheels. You can carry a bag over a remote beach, but you certainly can’t pull a suitcase over the sand.

Get yourself organized

It may seem impossible to pack months worth of clothes and belongings into one suitcase, but it is possible! The best way to ensure that you have everything you need is to get yourself organized. When you’re planning your traveling trip, it can be easy to stuff your toiletries, your food, and even your clothes in plastic bags. However, this is the biggest taboo when it comes to hostels. Would you really want to be woken up at 3am by someone rustling their plastic bag to get a snack? No? Then don’t be that person. Instead, buy packing cubes that can be placed into your backpack to separate your items.

Pack the essentials

Getting ready for months on the road can often spin you into a panic. You want to fill your backpack with oodles of clothes and underwear, because you’re going to need them, right? Well, clothes can be washed on the road, so it’s always best to keep these down to a minimum. Make sure you’re actually filling your backpack with the essentials. Bug spray, sun lotion, money, and official documents should all make their way into your backpack, but you should also consider an eye mask and earplugs. Hostels can be bright and loud, and sometimes all you need is a good night’s sleep.

Traveling around the world and staying in hostels can be one of the most incredible experiences, but you need to make sure you’re doing it right. Packing the right items and packing in the right way can have a huge impact on your adventure – and that’s the last thing you want. Follow these rules, and you’ll be a seasoned traveler in no time.

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The post How to pack when you’re staying in a hostel appeared first on Worldation.

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If you’re offended by Gillette’s toxic masculinity advert then you’re part of the problem

Seriously, why are we fighting against progress?

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Men’s grooming brand Gillette released a video today, in minutes becoming the most divisive razor advert of all time.

Tuning in on my commute this morning, I braced myself for the usual visuals – slow motion shots of stubble followed by sexualised size 0 women dancing around clean-shaven male customers. To their credit, Gillette proved me wrong.

The short video didn’t even mention razors, or grooming for that matter. Instead, it focused its attention on toxic masculinity, asking men to do and be better, and changing its famous slogan from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best men can be’.

Yes, this is not a drill. The world’s leading men’s grooming brand has gone woke and is trying to redefine what it means to be a man, dispelling outdated stereotypes and prompting us all to have important conversations on harassment and bullying – conversations that we should have had a long time ago.

It’s brilliant.

‘Is this the best a man can get?,’ the advert begins, a play on their own outdated advertising. ‘Is it?

‘We can’t hide from it, it’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses,’ a voiceover reads alongside news footage of the #MeToo movement and scenes of harassment. ‘But something finally changed and there will be no going back.

‘Because we believe in the best in men to say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough, because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.’

I sat back from this advert in awe, before hitting replay. A male-based brand calling on its customers to challenge societal pressures, and most importantly, challenge other men on everyday behaviours of toxic masculinity. Thank the lord.

Then I saw the responses. ‘Man hating’, ‘radicalised feminism‘ and ‘repulsive’ were just some of the terms used, with Piers Morgan even accusing Gillette of encouraging men to ‘cut off their testicles with their razors’.

Well if we wanted an example of toxic masculinity, there it is – bullying people and subordinating women, suggesting that by standing up for them you are castrating yourself.

It is not acceptable to defend toxic behaviour with this ’Boys will be boys’ mentality. Being a man shouldn’t mean abusing your power and men should be stepping up and standing up to everyone from their colleagues and family members to strangers on the street when behaviour is unacceptable.

It is of course unsurprising that there has been backlash. Progress is rarely made without people fighting against it, and a lot of viewers have sworn off Gillette razors ‘for life’ for their supposed ‘man-hating message.’

To these people I say, you’re not listening to what the advert is telling you.

This advert is not hating on men. It is hating on the deeply engrained societal pressures of what it is to be a man. This advert is rooting for men. It is saying that as a society we need to change and it is challenging men to change their behaviours and challenge those around them.

If we want to achieve gender equality, this is how. We have to challenge everyday behaviours in order to overturn the whole system.

Toxic masculinity is a thing. That’s a fact. I know this because I experience it every day, as does every woman around me. So to the people arguing that toxic masculinity is nothing but a millennial buzz word invented by radical feminists, you have already lost your credibility.

Of course the Piers Morgans of the world have taken offence. It is because of toxic masculinity that those same people came to power in the first place.

Watch the video again. Look for the message.

We need to stop using our gender to excuse behaviours. We need to stop the abuse of power. If you see harassment, challenge it. But most importantly we all need to work together to make this change.

The post If you’re offended by Gillette’s toxic masculinity advert then you’re part of the problem appeared first on Marie Claire.

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‘You’re the Worst’ Final Season: Can TV’s Funniest ‘Anti-Rom-Com’ Really End in Wedded Bliss?

This Wednesday night’s fifth and final season premiere of You’re the Worst opens with a meet-cute at a video rental store between two characters we’ve never met before.

The guitar on the soundtrack and posters on the wall for Speed, The Full Monty and Independence Day—as well as the fact that we’re in a video rental store—let us know that we’re somewhere in the mid-to-late ’90s. “Where’s Space Jam?” one customer asks Jake, a grungy clerk who prefers French New Wave over Hollywood new releases. The romance begins when a young film student enters the store and bonds with him over their shared love of obscure cinema.

Their story, which at first has seemingly nothing to do with the couple at the center of this FXX series, moves through loving homages to movies like Empire Records and Notting Hill before arriving at its unambiguously happy ending. And it was all part of creator Stephen Falk’s attempt to see if he could pull off a classic romantic comedy.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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5 Ways You Can Save $1,378 in 2019 (Even if You’re Awful at Saving Money)

The blank slate of a new year is something I always look forward to as January approaches.

It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. The new year is a time to set yourself off on the right foot.

Many of us — myself included — try to commit to financial goals as we make our New Year’s resolutions. We have grand visions of saving more money… but we don’t always have a plan mapped out to make it happen.

That’s where the 52-Week Money Challenge comes in.

You may have caught wind of this challenge on social media around the beginning of January in years past. The premise is simple, but this savings endeavor gets more difficult as the year goes along.

The first week, you save $ 1. The second week, you save $ 2. The third week, you save $ 3…

The idea is to increase the amount you deposit by $ 1 each week until you eventually save $ 52 in week 52, the last week of the year. Stay disciplined and stick to the plan, and you’ll have $ 1,378 in your account at the end of the year.

Can you imagine what you could do with an extra $ 1,378? Go ahead, I’ll give you a second to dream.

Now let’s get back to reality. While saving over $ 1,000 in one year is wonderful, the classic 52-week challenge isn’t ideal for everyone. It’s good for those who love to raise the bar higher after each goal they reach. But others shudder at the thought of saving over $ 200 in the month of December. (You’d need to save $ 49, $ 50, $ 51 and $ 52 in the last four weeks of the year.)

The good news is that the 52-week challenge can be customized to work for your financial life.

5 Alternative Ways to Conquer the 52-Week Money Challenge

We’ve come up with five new ways to complete the 52-Week Money Challenge. You’ll still make weekly deposits into your savings account. You’ll still end up with $ 1,378 by year’s end. These options just have you going about the savings plan in different ways.

Method No. 1 — Odd Numbers Up, Even Numbers Down

A GIF plays showing how to save money

This approach is for those who’d like the challenge to get easier as the year winds down.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You start the year saving money on an odd-number basis, increasing the amount each week by $ 2. So in week one, you’ll save $ 1. In week two, you’ll save $ 3. In week 3, you’ll save $ 5. Keep the pattern going until you’re at week 26, when you’ll save $ 51.
  2. Once you hit week 27 (halfway through the year), you’ll switch your savings amounts to even numbers, starting with $ 52. From there, you’ll decrease the amount you’re saving each week by $ 2. So you’ll save $ 52 in week 27, $ 50 in week 28, $ 48 in week 29 and so on. Once you hit the last week of the year, you’ll only be depositing $ 2 into your account to reach that $ 1,378 total.

While you’ll need to put away large sums of money in the months of June and July, you’ll stress less about saving money at the end of the year.

Method No. 2 — Quarterly Breakdowns

A woman puts in a dollar bill in a piggy bank.

Maybe you like the idea of saving more money each week, but you’d rather break up the time frame into smaller chunks. With this approach, you’ll save incrementally each quarter, which is every 13 weeks.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Deposit $ 1 into your savings account the first week. For the following weeks in the quarter, you’ll add $ 4 to the amount you deposited the previous week. So for the second week, you’ll deposit $ 5. For the third week, you’ll deposit $ 9. Keep up the pattern until you’ve reached week 13, when you’ll deposit $ 49.
  2. Start the second quarter of the year by depositing $ 2. You’ll be in week 14 at this point. Start the pattern of adding $ 4 to each subsequent deposit amount until you get through week 26. So you’ll deposit $ 6 in week 15, $ 10 in week 16 and so on until week 26, when you’ll deposit $ 50.
  3. Start the third quarter of the year by depositing $ 3. You’re now in week 27. Start up the pattern of adding $ 4 to the amount you deposit each week. In week 28, you’ll deposit $ 7. In week 29, you’ll deposit $ 11. Continue this pattern through week 39, when you’ll deposit $ 51.
  4. Week 40 will be the first week of the last quarter of the year. You’ll start off by depositing $ 4 that week, and then you’ll jump back into the pattern you established in the previous quarters. You’ll need to deposit $ 8 in week 41 and $ 12 in week 42. You’ll keep at it until you’ve deposited $ 52 in week 52, resulting in a total yearly savings of $ 1,378.

Method No. 3 — Random Lottery

A woman pulls a piece of paper from a jar

This method is for those who like to mix things up and not follow a predictable path. You’ll choose a different dollar amount at random each week to reach the savings goal.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Get 52 slips of paper, and write an amount from $ 1 to $ 52 on each piece. Fold each slip of paper and put them in a jar.
  2. Blindly select a slip of paper each week. The amount on the paper you pull will be the amount you deposit that week. Discard each slip of paper after you select it. Instead of doing weekly drawings, you could also create a chart or spreadsheet that outlines how much you’ll deposit each week. At the beginning of the year, you can draw slips of paper for all 52 weeks and write down on your spreadsheet how much you’ll save each week.

This approach to saving is completely arbitrary. You might deposit $ 5 one week and then $ 50 the next. There really isn’t a method to the madness.

Method No. 4 — Semicontrolled Lottery

A woman pulls out a piece of paper from a jar.

This method is a hybrid between completely random selection and incremental savings deposits.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write deposit amounts from $ 1 to $ 52 on slips of paper.
  2. Separate the slips of paper into four piles: $ 1 to $ 13 in one group, $ 14 to $ 26 in the next group, $ 27 to $ 39 in another group and $ 40 to $ 52 in the last group.
  3. Fold the slips of paper, and put each group into its own jar. Label them Jar One, Jar Two, Jar Three and Jar Four.
  4. Blindly select a slip of paper from Jar One in the first week. Pull from Jar Two the second week, then Jar Three in the third week and Jar Four in the fourth week. Discard each slip of paper after you select it for the week. Go back to Jar One in week five, and repeat that pattern through the end of the year. You can also choose to do the selection for the entire year at the beginning of the year, using a chart or spreadsheet to record which amounts you picked from the jars for each week.

With this method, you’re guaranteed to be depositing a mix of dollar amounts each month — some on the lower end and some on the higher end. Although you’re still incorporating some random selection, you won’t ever run into the possibility of making four deposits over $ 40 in one month.

Method No. 5 — Steady Savings

A woman counts $  26.50

If you thrive on consistency, this option is perfect for you.

Instead of varying the amount of money you save weekly, you can deposit $ 26.50 into your savings account each week for 52 weeks to reach that $ 1,378 goal by year’s end.

This is a simple, uniform approach to meeting this money-saving challenge. Sure, it may not be as fun (for those of us who think saving is fun in the first place), but it gets the job done.

You don’t have to think twice about how much you need to save each week. In fact, you can automate your deposits at the beginning of the year and not think about them at all.

The Most Important Lesson: Just Start Saving

Now that we showed you it’s possible to save over $ 1,000 in one year, the question is: Which method will you choose?

We’ve highlighted several options, but keep in mind there are many other ways to customize a money-saving challenge to your liking.

Maybe you get paid every other week, and you want to make your deposits biweekly so they fall on payday. Perhaps you’d rather commit to depositing money in your savings account once a month. Or maybe the bulk of your income comes from tips, and you prefer to save your cash on a daily basis.

You also don’t have to constrict yourself to saving $ 1,378. (I have to admit, it’s a pretty odd amount to stick with.) If your budget is tight and saving $ 52 in one week seems impossible at any time of the year, you could cut the suggested weekly deposits in half. You’ll still net $ 689 by the end of the year. Or maybe you have a bit of wiggle room in your budget and you want to double the weekly deposits, which will give you $ 2,756 in savings at the end of the year.

No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing is that you’re consciously making the effort to save. Get in the habit of regularly putting money aside so that when 2020 rolls around, saving money won’t even seem like a challenge to you.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll probably go with method No. 5.

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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If your name is on this list you’re more likely to become a millionaire

Winning?

Prince William

When it comes to picking baby names, there are so many things to think about. Do you go for one of these almost-extinct monikers? Do you use the royals as name-spiration? Or do you attempt to predict the trends in advance and give your baby something from the list of popular 2028 names?

It can be tough to decide on the perfect one – but now there’s something else to think about when it comes to picking.

Linda Rosenkrantz at Nameberry.com told Pretty 52 which names make an individual more likely to become a millionaire, because apparently there’s correlation between the two.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the names that Rosenkrantz has selected below – does yours make the list?

Girls names most likely to become a millionaire

Lauren
Jacqueline
Liliane
Alice
Christy
Georgina
Salma
Gina
Yelena
Iris
Susanne
Abigail
Muccia

Boys names most likely to become a millionaire

Bill
William
Amancio
Warren
Carlos
Jeff
Elon
Mark
Larry
Lawrence
Michael
Charles
David
Gerald
Roman
Charles
Richard

Name not on the list? Don’t worry, it’s not clear just how much research there is to back it up – so we’d say get a ticket for the Euro Millions anyway.

The post If your name is on this list you’re more likely to become a millionaire appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Anatomy Of A Showtune: Inside the Horrible, Horrendous Holiday History of ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’

He really is a heel. He’s as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel. He’s a bad banana with a greasy black peel. He’s a monster. His heart’s an empty hole. His brain is full of spiders. He’s got garlic in his soul…
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It’s OK to Stop Saving Money If You’re Doing One of These 6 Things

At 7, your goal was to save enough money so you could buy that new toy all the kids were raving about.

At 18, you just wanted to scrape up enough to stock up on ramen for the week.

At 23, your cohorts started talking about emergency funds, and you thought, “OK, I probably need a little nest egg of my own, too.”

At 27, you started counting down to retirement — only about 40 years away… Better start saving now.

And you’re still saving.

You’ve basically been saving money your entire life. Is there ever a time you’ll be able to stop saving money? Perhaps even — gasp — spend it?

Short answer: Yes!

6 Times It’s OK to Stop Saving Your Money

We’ll forever encourage people to save their pennies, but, depending on your financial situation, sometimes it’s OK to stop saving, even just for a little while. Come on; you’ve earned it, right?

Breathe a sigh of relief. It’s OK to stop saving money if you’re…

1. Investing in Causes You Care About

Hand of person holding light bulb

Once you have a nice rainy day fund saved, investing can be a great way to grow your money. In a way, you’re still saving money — but know risk is always associated with investing.

You’ll want to make sure you’re using your hard-saved money to support companies you actually believe in — their morals and values. You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.

Impact investing is a simple fix. It adds a new layer of transparency to investing. Take Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You can start with just $ 50 and invest in this or other portfolios committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few. Plus, you’ll get a $ 50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

2. Signing up for Life Insurance

If you have a dependent or two, you’ll want to think about life insurance. Sure, it’ll cost you a monthly fee, but it’ll help ensure your family will be financially sound if (goodness forbid) anything happens to you.

Plus, finding life insurance doesn’t have to be the complicated, research-intensive experience you might expect. Some newcomers in the industry are updating the old model.

Ethos can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month. It’s helped thousands of folks access term life insurance, including independent contractors who use Uber, Postmates, TaskRabbit and other gig apps.

So even if you have to take $ 6 out of your savings each month, life insurance could be worth it — for that peace of mind.

3. Paying off Your Credit Card Debt

TPH photo editor, Alexa Vincent, in various scenes showing credit card debt, consolidation and bankruptcy on August 14, 2018.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. That can make paying off your debt feel like this never-ending cycle — and can even cost you thousands of extra dollars over time.

If you have a nice savings cushion, it could be beneficial to pause your savings for a couple of months and pay off your debt more quickly to alleviate the pain of tacked-on interest.

See if you can make your debt a little more manageable first by consolidating or refinancing with a personal loan.

A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness (though it does require a 620 credit score).

It can help you borrow up to $ 50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

4. Preparing for a Happy Retirement

Because you’re already into saving, you probably have a 401(k). Kudos for that, but is it doing what you need it to?

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $ 10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD.

Think of Blooom like a mechanic constantly fine-tuning your car’s engine so it gives you the best possible performance and gas mileage. Except it’s your 401(k) — and your future.

5. Treating Yourself With a Reward

woman carrying shopping bags

You know how most healthy people talk about the importance of cheat days? To let yourself indulge — just a little. The same goes for personal finance. You can be as budget abiding as you want, but you have to leave a little bit of wiggle room to treat yourself.

If you haven’t gotten a pedicure in at least a decade, escaped city limits for a weekend away from the kids or splurged on a new gadget, then maybe it’s time. But please do so responsibly.

Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with these tools:

  • Ibotta: With Ibotta, you can bank cash back when you make an Amazon purchase, sign up for Hulu, book your next vacation or even order groceries through Shipt. Plus, if you sign up now, you’ll snag a $ 10 bonus when you claim your first cash-back offer.
  • Paribus: This tool gets you money back for your online purchases. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
  • When you’re spending money, always, always be sure to keep tabs on your budget to make sure you’re not overspending. If you don’t yet have one, the Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

6. Buying a Home

Perhaps for the past few years, you’ve been saving for a down payment. That’s great! Now, you’re ready to buy your first home.

In those first couple of months of homeownership, though, don’t feel bad if you have to pause your savings. Expect a lot of expenses to pop up: closing costs, real estate agent commission, property taxes, homeowners insurance, last-minute repairs — just to name a few.

Get all of that taken care of as you settle into your new abode. After a few months, once you’re getting back into the swing of things and are coasting along with your monthly mortgage payments, you can start saving again.

Time to Resume…

Sure, depending on your financial health, there are certain life events, investments and money moves you can justify pausing your savings for. But the break can’t last forever — you’ll need to resume your savings at some point.

After all, you never know when you’ll need the savings. That newest and hottest toy of the season could hit the shelves any minute.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll forever be saving money.

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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If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you may get to see ‘Aquaman’ early

Aquaman Amazon Prime

The next addition to the DC cinematic universe is set to hit theaters in the US a few days before Christmas, but Amazon Prime members are reportedly going to get a shot at seeing it early.

According to Screen Rant, members of Amazon’s Prime subscription service will be able to attend screenings of Aquaman a week before the US release at participating theaters, including ArcLight, Bow Tie Cinemas, Cinepolis, Regal Cinemas, Showcase Cinemas and Studio Movie Grill. Per Screen Rant, the movie represents DC’s next shot at trying to win the love of fans, even though reaction to DC movies generally pales in comparison to releases from Marvel. Which is why a move like this might be a smart play to excite fans early.

Continue reading…

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Trending Right Now:

  1. Everything new coming to Netflix this week, and everything leaving (week of Nov. 18)
  2. A dog changed this man’s life, then he made the most life-affirming Netflix show of 2018
  3. Here’s now NASA said goodbye to the Kepler space telescope

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you may get to see ‘Aquaman’ early originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 18 Nov 2018 at 15:22:19 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 2 – “Does a Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?”

Episode 2

“Does A Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?”

Learn why your feelings and relationship with money are bigger determinants of your sense of financial security than the numbers on your pay check, with guest Jacquette M. Timmons, President & CEO, Sterling Investment Management.



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features 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 of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

 

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 2 – “Does a Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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The NYC ‘I Voted’ Sticker: You’re Wearing It. They Designed It.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Just like the cartoon stickers awarded to very brave boys and girls who make it through their dentist appointments, those who exercise their constitutional rights get a souvenir from their experience: another sticker!

“Everything is so heavy,” Marie Dagata, who co-designed the sticker all New Yorkers receive after voting, told The Daily Beast. “(The stickers) are a lightness, a form of self-expression for whatever your political stance is.”

On a day that exists to be partisan, the sticker communicates an unadulterated patriotism and old-school levity not usually seen in this vitriolic political era. “I’ve seen the sticker on people of all ages, on pets—I saw a nice one where people were kissing, and they both had my ‘I Voted’ sticker on their cheeks,” Dagata said. “It’s sweet.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Here’s What You Need to Know if You’re Considering a VA Loan

If you’re a veteran or an active-duty member of the military, the idea of owning a home one day might give you warm, fuzzy feelings. Or maybe it’s just the idea of not having to move again.

When that day comes, you’ll find yourself researching mortgages, and you may go straight for the Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan.

VA home loans look attractive: They come with lower interest rates, lower closing costs and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), plus you can put 0% down.

But before you jump right into signing papers, it’s worth taking a closer look to find out if a VA loan is your best option.

What Makes a VA Home Loan Different?

A VA home loan is a type of mortgage that helps service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. You can’t use a VA loan on an income property or a second home; these loans can only be used for your primary residence.

VA loans are provided by private lenders — banks, mortgage companies, etc. —  and usually backed by the government for up to 25% of the loan if the homeowner defaults.

Because 25% of the loan is guaranteed by the government, banks can lower eligibility requirements and don’t require you to pay private mortgage insurance.

That means veterans with lower credit scores are frequently approved for more mortgage than they would be otherwise.

“[VA loan] lenders tend to approve a higher mortgage-payment-to-income ratio and a higher total-debt-to-income ratio,” said Doug Nordman of The Military Guide.

But perhaps the most appealing feature of a VA loan is that you can put 0% down.

This might look like a deal, especially on a private’s housing allowance, but you’ll pay for it in other ways.

The Hidden Expenses of VA Loans

Before we compare VA loans with other options, let’s look at interest rates vs. APRs, or annual percentage rates. The interest rate is the amount you’ll pay each year to borrow money. The APR includes not just the interest rate, but also charges and fees from the mortgage broker.

VA loans have lower interest rates than conventional loans, but their APRs are higher.

At the time of this writing, one lender was offering a 30-year fixed conventional loan at a 4.62% interest rate with 4.69% APR, and a 30-year fixed VA loan at a 4.5% interest rate with 4.8% APR.

That’s because the VA loan has a funding fee. Instead of paying a set monthly charge for private mortgage insurance (PMI) to the bank, veterans pay a funding fee to the VA that is added at the beginning of the loan and compounds monthly.

The funding fee for regular military is 2.15% when you put 0% down, though it can be lowered by putting a down payment of 5% or more on the house.

For those in the reserves or National Guard, the funding fee is even higher at 2.4%.

It’s easy to look at the numbers with rose-colored glasses because you can afford the monthly payment. But it’s important to look at the big picture when taking on a loan of that size.

When you look at the breakdown of your mortgage, the funding fee will look lower than a PMI payment, but you can get rid of PMI when you reach 20% equity in your home. Unless you pay your funding fee upfront, it stays with you forever.

To put it in perspective: A $ 200,000 home with $ 0 down will have a funding fee of $ 4,300. That $ 4,300 gets put on the principal, which means you’ll be paying interest on it for 30 years. Even if you refinance, that $ 4,300 stays there.

Who Is a VA Loan Good For?

The funding fee doesn’t mean the VA loan is bad — it has lots of features that make it a good choice for many service members and veterans. Interest rates are lower, appraisals are more affordable, origination fees are capped at 1%, and you can qualify at a lower credit score.

But it’s even better if you can get the funding fee waived.

Those eligible for a waiver are:

  • Veterans who receive VA compensation for a service-connected disability.
  • Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability but are receiving retirement or active-duty pay.
  • Surviving spouses of a veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability.

Over 4 million veterans receive VA disability compensation, so a waiver is actually an option for a lot of Americans.

The bottom line: Don’t rush a decision as big as home ownership.

“Research indicates that nearly half of all veterans move yet again within two years of leaving the military, because their bridge career doesn’t work out,” Nordman said. “They end up putting that ‘forever home’ right back on the market, or — even worse — becoming reluctant long-distance landlords.”

Waiting until you’re location-stable will give you time to build your credit and qualify for the best home loan available.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

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

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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403(b) vs. 401(k): Here’s What You Need to Know if You’re Choosing Plans

Paper or plastic? Uber or Lyft? 403(b) or 401(k)?

It’s not often that you’re faced with the last choice. But if you’re a teacher, nurse or government employee, you may have been presented with this question before, because tax-exempt organizations can offer a 403(b) retirement plan, in addition to a traditional 401(k) option.

When you select the vehicle that will drive your investments, here are the things you should know about 403(b) and 401(k) plans.

403(b) vs. 401(k): What’s the Same?

Fundamentally, 403(b) and 401(k) plans are the same.

Both retirement plans are tax-deferred, meaning they protect you from paying taxes on contributions now and lower your annual taxable income, and you’ll pay taxes when you withdraw the funds.

The annual contribution limits, withdrawal requirements and rules for taking out a loan are the same as well.

403(b) vs. 401(k): What’s Different?

The differences are nuanced. 401(k) plans can be offered by any employer, while 403(b) plans are offered by tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, religious groups, government organizations and school districts. While these organizations can also offer a 401(k), for-profit businesses don’t have the option of offering 403(b) plans.

The law allows tax-exempt organizations a pass on certain employer requirements, making administrative costs for a 403(b) less expensive. In turn, employer matches and contributions also aren’t as common for 403(b) plans as they are for 401(k)s.

And while annual contribution limits are the same, 403(b) plans have a unique provision called the maximum allowable contribution, aka MAC. It allows employees with at least 15 years of service to an employer to add an extra $ 3,000 to their annual contributions.

If you leave your employer, you’ll face the same rollover provisions for both plans, with one exception: You can roll a 403(b) into a 401(k), but not vice versa.

A 403(b) plan isn’t regulated as closely as a 401(k) plan. In exchange, administrative costs in 401(k) plans can be slightly higher.

  401(k) 403(b)
Eligibility Sponsored by any employer. Sponsored by a tax-exempt employer.
Annual contribution limits
(2018)
$ 18,500 if you’re under 50;
$ 24,500 if you’re 50 or older.
Same as a 401(k), but if you’ve been with your employer for 15 years or more, you can add an extra $ 3,000 to your contribution.
Investments Can contain almost any type of investment. Only contains mutual funds and annuities.
Rollovers Can be rolled over into traditional IRA or new employer-sponsored 401(k). Can be rolled over into traditional IRA or new employer-sponsored 403(b) or 401(k).
Required minimum distributions Withdrawals must begin no later than age 70 ½ Same, except for special allowances on pre-1987 amounts

If Your Employer Offers Both, Which Is Right for You?

If you’re looking to invest early and often, you can’t make a bad decision. But you should take a close look to ensure you’re making the best decision.

Get a list of the investment options and fees for both. While 403(b)s can only be invested in annuities and mutual funds, 401(k) plans have a wider pool of investments, including mutual funds, annuities, bonds, company stock and others.

Both can have very optimal or very suboptimal investments. It’s up to you to make sure the plan you choose is the one with the highest-performing and lowest-fee funds.  

Ultimately, the differences between a 403(b) and a 401(k) are small enough that your choice will likely come down to the options your employer has chosen inside your company’s plan more than the plan itself.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

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

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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Could this common reaction reveal whether or not you’re a psychopath?

Right…

How To Spot A Psychopath
How To Spot A Psychopath

There is a lot of information out there about psychopaths and how to work out whether or not you know one. One study revealed how to tell if your workmate is a psychopath, and another suggested that psychopaths most enjoy these two pop songs.

There’s also research that suggests if this is your partners usual coffee order, they could be a psychopath.

Yes, really.

But if you’re unsure of someone’s musical taste, and if your other half doesn’t even drink coffee, how can you tell?

A new study has determined one very simple way to tell if someone is a psychopath. And it’s something most people do pretty regularly.

Can you guess what it is? Yawning.

Research published in Personality and Individual Differences showed that when we see someone else yawning, we tend to find we’ve got one coming on ourselves. Why? Because a mirroring yawn is seen as empathetic and a sign of bonding. We’re not alone, either – lots of social animals behave this way.

However, psychopaths lack empathy, meaning that they’re less likely to yawn back at you.

Brian Rundle, lead researcher, explained: ‘You may yawn, even if you don’t have to. We all know it and always wonder why.

‘I thought, “If it’s true that yawning is related to empathy, I’ll bet that psychopaths yawn a lot less.” So I put it to the test.’

The experiment saw 135 college students take part in a test, answering 156 questions before being shown videos of other people reacting to situations. The clips showed people laughing, yawning, or staying neutral, and the results showed that participants who were less empathetic were unlikely to yawn, even after seeing someone else doing it.

So the next time you yawn, take a quick look and see whether the people around you do the same.

But before you start accusing anyone who doesn’t yawn of being a psychopath, Rundle warns: ‘The take-home lesson is not that if you yawn and someone else doesn’t, the other person is a psychopath.

‘A lot of people didn’t yawn, and we know that we’re not very likely to yawn in response to a stranger we don’t have empathetic connections with.

‘But what we found tells us there is a neurological connection — some overlap — between psychopathy and contagious yawning. This is a good starting point to ask more questions.’

Noted.

The post Could this common reaction reveal whether or not you’re a psychopath? appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Your Pharmacist Can Now Tell You If You’re Overpaying for Prescriptions

It just got easier for people to buy prescription drugs at the lowest price available.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed legislation lifting contract clauses that have prevented pharmacists from informing patients they could pay less for prescription drugs by not using insurance, and paying the retail rate instead.

More than two dozen states had already enacted laws aimed at the “gag clauses,” as they’re referred to, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Prescription Drug Resource Center. The clauses were included in contracts between pharmacies and some health insurers and pharmaceutical benefits managers to penalize pharmacists for speaking up.

The law Trump just signed was passed by Congress earlier this year with bipartisan support.

“It’s a matter of what’s fair for the patient,” said Will Edmiston, a pharmacist at Big Country Pharmacy in Abilene, Texas. “That’s what it should be about. Individuals have a right to know if there are cheaper alternatives.”

One word of caution: Just because pharmacists will now be able to give patients more information doesn’t mean they’ll all offer it up. It’s important for consumers to ask questions and advocate for themselves.

Millions of Americans Have Been Overpaying for Prescriptions

The University of Southern California’s Center for Health Policy and Economics found this year that in 23% of the claims it studied, patients overpaid. That’s 2.2 million cases of overpayment.

Another study by researchers at the Center for Health Policy and Economics and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, found that in the first six months of 2013, Americans with Medicare coverage overpaid a total of $ 135 million, or $ 10.51 each.

Pharmacies collect patients’ copayments and forward them to pharmaceutical benefit managers, who reimburse the pharmacies at a negotiated rate. When a patient overpays, it means the copayment was larger than the negotiated reimbursement rate — sometimes more than the total cost of the drug.

The pharmaceutical benefit manager keeps the difference, and gag clauses in many pharmacists’ contracts prevented them from informing patients, researchers and consumer advocates say. Pharmaceutical benefit managers oversee most prescription drug benefits for insurers, employers and Medicare, according to AARP.

The overpayments contribute to people suffering medically as well as financially, the USC study found.

According to the USC study, Many US patients struggle to afford their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, and cost-related medication non-adherence is common, leading to higher medical expenditures and poorer health outcomes.”

Susan Jacobson is an editor for The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about health and wellness.

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

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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Cardi B and Selena Gomez’s “Taki Taki” music video is here, and you’re gonna need to sit down for this one

Cardi B and Selena Gomez’s “Taki Taki” music video is here, and you’re gonna need to sit down for this one


Cardi B and Selena Gomez’s “Taki Taki” music video is here, and you’re gonna need to sit down for this one

We absolutely live for music collaborations. So when Cardi B took to Instagram in August to tease an upcoming collab with Selena Gomez, we almost lost our minds with excitement.

On August 24th, Cardi posted a behind-the-scenes pic from the set of a new music video. The pic showed four director’s chairs, and the names on the backs of the chairs included Cardi, DJ Snake, rapper Ozuna, and, yep, one for queen Selena Gomez. (Oh, and there was also a tiny chair for Kulture. LOL.)

Selena also took to Instagram to share pics from set.

View this post on Instagram

today was so fun

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

She then shared a series of videos on her Instagram Story that showed everyone looking fierce in fiery red.

And now, we officially have the “Taki Taki” music video, and it’s (literal) FIRE.

The sets, the effects, the ensembles. This video is seriously even more red hot than we hoped, and we’re 100% down for this collab.

Thoughts?

The post Cardi B and Selena Gomez’s “Taki Taki” music video is here, and you’re gonna need to sit down for this one appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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