If you’re feeling anxious and on edge these days, that’s certainly no surprise. You’re probably stuck at home, and all the news is frightening. Heck, you deserve to be anxious.
Don’t let your anxiety paralyze you, though. You can only binge Netflix for so long. Doing something constructive will make you feel better, and you could use this time to take care of some financial things that you’ve been putting off.
We asked a couple of financial experts for advice. Here are three tips they gave us. You can do all this stuff from your living room:
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1. Buy a Life Insurance Policy
We’re not trying to be morbid here — honest, we’re not! It’s just that life insurance is something that lots of people think about doing, but they never get around to actually doing it.
So why not now? You’ve got the time.
“If you don’t have any life insurance, just having the downtime and potentially even the boredom to explore options now can be advantageous, because one thing about life insurance is always true: the younger you are, the less expensive it will be,” says Kerri Moriarty, a financial business strategist based in Boston.
Also, life insurance is cheaper than you think it is. For example, rates start at just $5 a month at an online insurance company called Bestow. If you’re under the age of 54, you can get a free quote without a medical exam or any pushy sales calls.
Maybe you don’t want to think about this right now — and that’s understandable! But think about leaving your family $1 million, and the security of knowing they’ll be taken care of.
“Like preparing a will, life insurance is a topic that often gets put off,” said Warren A. Ward, a certified financial planner whose business, WWA Planning & Investments, is located near Indianapolis. “Neither is fun, but we suggest that people think in terms of ‘giving away money’ in both situations.”
Getting a quote from Bestow takes about five minutes, tops.
2. Start Investing — We’re Serious
Yes, really. It’s certainly true that the stock market is super volatile these days. It goes UP and DOWN. But when it comes to investing, you’ve got to take the long view.
“One of the most difficult elements of successful investing is discipline: nourishing the ability to ignore the 24/7 noise and focusing on the idea that when you’re investing in stocks, you’re one of the owners of the best companies in the world,” Ward said.
Be patient: “There will be multiple good and bad days — and even months — along the way,” he said. “However, the most likely outcome is that the world’s economy will survive and markets will provide a reasonable rate of return to investors.”
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks, exchange-traded funds and cryptocurrency without paying commissions or fees. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
“It’s always scary to have money in the stock market during a volatile time like this,” Moriarty said. “However, remember that you’re investing for the long haul, not for short term gains, and you will recover.”
When you download the Robinhood app and fund your account (it takes just a few minutes), it drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
3. Have This Company Pay Your Credit Card Bills
Here we’ve got a smart, strategic move that you can totally do while sitting on your couch with your laptop or phone. With interest rates at historic lows, this is an excellent time to consolidate your expensive credit card debt.
“If you’re dealing with credit card debt, you’re probably already aware that it’s not just the balance itself — it’s the monthly interest charges adding up that can make it feel like you’ll never be able to get out from under it,” Moriarty said.
Your credit cards are getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help. If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, it’ll match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
Because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
“Debt consolidation helps you see your path out of debt more clearly,” Moriarty said. “You’re not needing to track multiple balances and varying interest rates. You can stay focused on paying that one monthly bill — that one interest rate — and calculating exactly when you can eliminate the debt.”
If you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster.
First for Women has partnered with The Penny Hoarder to bring you expert money saving tips like these.