Where Should You Retire? A Comprehensive Guide To Retirement Costs In All 50 States

Studies suggest you save between $700,000 and $2 million for retirement, based on this crucial factor: location. Discover which states are cheaper and why!Studies suggest you save between $700,000 and $2 million for retirement, based on this crucial factor: location. Discover which states are cheaper and why!

The post Where Should You Retire? A Comprehensive Guide To Retirement Costs In All 50 States appeared first on Money Under 30.

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The Average Cost of a Divorce

The Average Cost of a Divorce – SmartAsset

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

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The Average Cost of a Pro Se Divorce

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

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

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

The Average Cost of Divorce Mediation

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

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

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

Related Article: 5 Ways Getting Married Affects Your Tax Bill

The Average Cost of a Contested Divorce

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia’s work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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Companies Helping Coronavirus-Impacted People

Companies Helping Coronavirus-Impacted People – SmartAsset

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In response to the coronavirus, companies across the country are pursuing coronavirus relief efforts to help people and businesses most impacted by pandemic. Tech companies are donating millions to help small businesses, healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, companies outside the healthcare sector are producing hand sanitizer, masks and other products to curb the spread of the virus. Many are also establishing programs to help those who can’t come to work. In addition to benefitting from companies who are doing their part to help people stay safe and financially afloat, Americans can also work with a financial advisor to protect their investments during this time of uncertainty.

Tech Industry

Amazon

Amazon launched a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund. It will support cash grants for Seattle-area small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. The fund is aimed at businesses that heavily rely on foot traffic.

The e-commerce giant also plans to hire more than 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to cope with a spike in demand. Amazon is also raising pay for these workers based in the U.S. by $2 per hour.

Google

Google has pledged an $800 million coronavirus relief package to help small-to-medium sized businesses, health organizations, governments and healthcare workers affected by the coronavirus. Part of this package includes $340 million in Google Ad credits for small businesses with Google accounts. It also includes $240 million in ad grants meant to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies “spread critical information about COVID-19.”

The company is also setting aside $20 million in Google Cloud credits for researchers and academic entities working on potential vaccines, therapies and other efforts against the coronavirus.

Facebook

Facebook is also rolling out a coronavirus relief package for businesses. The social media giant intends to send $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to more than 30,000 small businesses based in the countries where its employees work and live. The company announced that it wants the cash to help businesses stay afloat and continue paying employees who can’t go to work.

Facebook plans to release applications for this relief package in the coming weeks. But users can sign up to receive more information as it’s made available.

In addition, Facebook announced it’s committing $100 million to help local news outlets cover the coronavirus pandemic. That includes a $25 million emergency grant for the Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million set aside to support the marketing efforts of these news organizations.

Facebook is also giving $1,000 bonuses to each of its employees.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe is collaborating with Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks, the makers of TurboTax, to run the Small Business Relief Fund. Through this initiative, qualifying businesses that have raised at least $500 through GoFundMe will receive a matching $500 grant. GoFundMe has posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page designed to help businesses determine if they qualify.

“Social distancing and government-mandated shutdowns are disproportionately affecting businesses that need foot traffic to survive,” GoFundMe said in a statement. “Whether it’s the local bakery, pizzeria or nail salon – they need us.” As of this writing, the fund has raised more than $1.6 million. Its goal is to raise $1,700,000. Anyone can donate to this fund, which the company will use to support qualifying small businesses.

Microsoft

With the help of other businesses and government entities, Microsoft helped launch the COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF). Administered by the Seattle Foundation, this fund is designed to provide financial assistance to Puget Sound locals most affected by the coronavirus including individuals without health insurance, people who can’t take paid sick leave and healthcare workers. Microsoft donated an initial $1 million to the fund. But as of this writing, the CRF has generated more than $15 million. The Seattle Foundation will use this money to administer one-time grants for local public health organizations and nonprofits working directly with affected communities.

And to support its own employees, Microsoft announced it will continue paying hourly workers supporting its campus. The company will also keep paying vendors their normal pay even during times of reduced service needs.

Apple

Apple is donating millions of masks to healthcare workers across the U.S. and Europe. It’s also extending unlimited coronavirus paid sick leave to any retail staff member experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus.

Salesforce

Salesforce has created a $1.5 million dollar coronavirus fund for affected citizens in San Francisco.

UberEats

UberEats has temporarily waived fees for its independent restaurant partners. And to give local businesses some fuel, the company is eliminating delivery fees on food from more than 100,000 independent restaurants.

CASETiFY

CASETify, a company that produces phone cases and other accessories, is giving 100% of the proceeds on its new UV tech sanitizer to the Coronavirus Relief Fund. This is a registered non-profit sending supplies, food and other necessities to communities impacted by the virus.

Retail

Walmart

Walmart has rolled out an emergency paid leave program. It will support workers suffering from the coronavirus and those under mandated quarantine with two-weeks pay. If they still can’t come to work after those two weeks, they may extend pay up to 26 weeks. This policy applies to part-time and full-time associates.

Instacart

The grocery delivery company Instacart plans to hire 300,000 “shoppers.” The company is also providing paid sick leave benefits to workers suffering from the coronavirus and those in mandated self-quarantine. And as the delivery industry takes on added pressure, the company announced customer ratings won’t affect contractors’ access to future order requests.

Service Industry

Airbnb

Airbnb has pledged $25 million to support hosts impacted by cancellations in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The company is extending its extenuating circumstances policy to cover some reservations booked on or before March 14 with a check-in between March 14 and May 31. In a press release, Airbnb announced it would allow the following for covered reservations:

  • Guests will be able to cancel for a full refund for COVID-19-related circumstances
  • Airbnb will pay 25% of what you would’ve received for a cancellation based on your cancellation policy. For example, if you would normally receive $400 USD through your cancellation policy, the company will pay you 25% of that—or $100 USD.
  • Future payments from the fund will be made on a monthly basis to hosts with qualifying cancellations.
  • This policy will also apply retroactively, including any cancellations Airbnb hosts may have had since March 14.

Hilton

As the coronavirus spread, the hotel industry became one of the hardest hit sectors. Nonetheless, Hilton is waiving cancellation fees for customers in countries where the coronavirus is present.

Delta

Delta’s CEO announced he is forgoing the rest of his 2020 salary in order to reduce the company’s layoffs.

U-Haul

College students who have been forced out of their dorms can request up to 30-days of free self storage space from U-Haul.

Food and Beverage

Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, is redirecting its sports and entertainment sponsorship investments to non-profit organizations assisting those affected directly by the coronavirus. And in addition to a $5 million donation to the American Red Cross, the company is also working with its sports partners to turn arenas and stadiums into temporary blood drive centers. Anheuser-Busch is also donating media air time to the American Red Cross.

Moreover, the company announced that it’s using its supply and logistics networks to produce hand sanitizer. According to a company press release, the disinfectants will be transported to Red Cross blood donation centers to support emergency shelters.

Yum Brands

Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs is foregoing the rest of this year’s $900,000 base salary in 2020 to give one-time $1,000 checks to general managers of companies it owns, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Part of that salary will also support the Yum Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, which would provide grants to employees directly affected by the coronavirus.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza expects to hire about 10,000 workers nationwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company is seeking drivers, cooks, customer service representatives, managers and licensed truck drivers.

Entertainment

Netflix

The content streaming giant Netflix is setting up a $100 million relief fund to support cast and crew members of productions that have been put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the company stated it will provide $15 million to “third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work cast and crew personnel in the countries where it has a large production base.

Manufacturing

Automotive Industry

The United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors Co., Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have joined forces to create the COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force. The group plans to share its resources in order to protect manufacturing and warehouse employees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial and Insurance Services

Allstate

The insurance company Allstate announced that it will allow some homeowner and auto policyholders to delay two consecutive premium payments with no penalties.

Banks

To help customers and businesses financially affected by the coronavirus, several banks are rolling out relief programs and donating to organizations assisting the most at-risk people in their communities. Below, we list some initiatives. Some banks have also established relief programs aimed at businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The best way to see if your bank has any relief program in place is to contact a customer service representative.

  • Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan donated $100 million to support nonprofits
  • JP Morgan Chase bank CEO Jamie Dimon donated $50 million to “address immediate public health needs as well as long-term economic challenges.”
  • Citizens Bank donated $5 million to support small businesses and communities impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Truist Financial Corp plans to commit $25 million to bring aid and supplies to communities that have been affected by the coronavirus. Through its Truist Charitable Fund, the bank is donating $1 million to the CDC Foundation and John Hopkins University. It’s also delivering $3 million to United Way organizations through its Truist Foundation.

More About Coronavirus Relief Programs

  • You may soon receive a coronavirus stimulus check. You can use our calculator to see how much you can expect. Use it for necessities or put it in a savings account.
  • The best thing you can do to shield your investments and savings during troubling economic times is to work with a qualified financial advisor. Our advisor matching tool recommends up to three local advisors based on your needs. Vetted by SmartAsset, all of these advisors are fiduciaries. So they’re legally bound to provide advice solely in your best interests.

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Javier Simon, CEPF® Javier Simon is a banking, investing and retirement expert for SmartAsset. The personal finance writer’s work has been featured in Investopedia, PLANADVISER and iGrad. Javier is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He has a degree in journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh. Javier is passionate about helping others beyond their personal finances. He has volunteered and raised funds for charities including Fight Cancer Together, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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What Is Phone Insurance?

What Is Phone Insurance? – SmartAsset

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Most adults in the U.S. consider a cell phone to be one of life’s essentials. We’re so reliant on our phones that losing or accidentally damaging a cell phone would constitute a major crisis. And because cell phones can be expensive, many Americans couldn’t afford to replace a cell phone right away. That’s why phone insurance can seem like an appealing option. Here’s what to know about phone insurance. 

Find out now: Is it better to rent or buy? 

Phone Insurance Basics

Like other forms of insurance such as life insurance, phone insurance is a hedge against risk. Specifically, phone insurance provides some protection against the loss, theft or destruction of your phone. Phone insurance may be offered to you when you buy your phone through your provider. Alternatively, you can buy a separate phone insurance policy.

Many phone plans and phone purchases come with basic phone insurance, through the phone manufacturer, the phone service provider or both. Generally, these built-in forms of insurance cover things that are the manufacturer’s fault. If your phone simply stops working, you’ll probably be able to get a new one at no cost.

But what about phone-related misfortune that isn’t the result of a manufacturing default? If you drop your phone in the bath tub, leave it at a restaurant or discover that someone has stolen your phone, what do you do? In most cases, your phone plan doesn’t come with built-in protection against these eventualities. You won’t be able to walk into, say, Verizon and ask for a new, free phone because you dropped yours on the sidewalk. But if you purchased additional phone insurance, whether through your provider or from another company, you would be covered against loss, theft and damage. Your phone would be repaired or replaced with a refurbished phone.

Find out now: How much life insurance do I need? 

Is phone insurance worth it? 

Phone insurance can add a significant expense to your budget. Like health insurance, phone insurance generally comes with both monthly premiums and a deductible. Phone insurance deductibles are usually around $200. The deductible is the amount you must pay before the insurance kicks in. Phone insurance plans generally limit the number of replacement phones you can get – so if you’re a chronic phone-loser, your policy might cut you off.

So is it worth it? Well, you may already have some coverage for your phone. Some phone plans come with built-in phone insurance, so before you evaluate whether to buy an add-on policy, take a look at your current plan to see whether you’re already covered. It’s also worth taking a look at the terms of your credit card, which may offer an extended warranty on your phone if you used the card to purchase the phone. And if you have homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance, take a look at those policies, too. Your phone might be covered through your homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance policy.

If you don’t have phone insurance, deciding whether to buy an add-on policy is largely a question of your comfort with risk and your budget. If you pay for phone insurance and nothing happens to your phone, you will have lost the money you spent on premiums. On the other hand, if you opt out of phone insurance and your phone is stolen, you’ll have to come up with the money to replace your phone. You won’t automatically get a refurbished phone, as you would if you had phone insurance coverage.

Check out our budget calculator. 

Bottom Line

If your phone is lost, stolen or damaged, you might want to dip into your savings to get a new, used or refurbished phone as a replacement. If you have some liquidity in your budget in the form of cash savings, opting out of phone insurance and buying a replacement phone could turn out to be a cheaper option. Before you decide, consider your budget and the likelihood that something might happen to your phone. If you do opt for phone insurance, look for an affordable option with a short (or non-existing) waiting period. Policies with waiting periods leave consumers out of luck if their phone is lost, stolen or damaged before the policy kicks in.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/MilosStankovic, ©iStock.com/xavierarnau, ©iStock.com/Portra

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia’s work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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The Pros and Cons of Refinancing an Auto Loan

Your Money Working Harder

Over the last decade, the rising cost of new and used cars have driven up the amount of the average car loan. To make up for this, auto lenders have started offering longer car loans that let consumers borrow more with a lower monthly payment.

The State of the Automotive Finance Market from Experian states the average new car payment worked out to $554 during Q1 of 2019 while the average used car came with a monthly payment of $391. Worse, the average new car loan worked out to $32,187 while the average used car loan was $20,137. Meanwhile, the average loan term was more than 68 months for new cars and almost 65 months for used. 

It’s never fun owing money on your car, but borrowing too much (or borrowing money for too long) can leave you wishing you had a different auto loan. This is especially true if your loan has a high interest rate because you had shaky credit when you applied.

If you’re on the fence about refinancing your auto loan, it helps to know how this move could help you or hurt you. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Pro: You could secure a lower monthly payment

Depending on the details of your initial loan, it’s possible refinancing your car loan could secure a lower monthly payment you can more easily afford. This can be important if you’re struggling to keep up with your payment as it stands, or if you just need more wiggle room in your monthly budget.

With a lower monthly payment, it might be easier to stay on top of your living expenses and other bills. And if you plan to keep your car for the long haul, you may not mind extending your repayment timeline in order to lower your payment each month. (See also: Cutting Your Car Payment Is Easier Than You Think)

Con: You may extend your repayment timeline

Getting a lower monthly payment can be a boon for your finances, but don’t forget you’ll likely be stuck paying on your car loan for months or years longer than you would have otherwise. And this can create unintended financial consequences later down the road. 

This is especially true if you’re extending the loan on a used car that’s already several years old. You could be stuck making payments on an older vehicle that breaks down and requires pricey repairs. This could be a double whammy for your finances later — even though refinancing saves you money on the front end. 

Pro: You could get a much lower interest rate

Another potential advantage of refinancing is the fact you might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate. If that’s the case, refinancing your auto loan could save you hundreds — or even thousands — over the life of your loan. 

Imagine your current auto loan balance is at $15,000 and you have a 19 percent APR and 48 months left on your loan. From this point forward, you would pay an additional $6,528 in interest before your loan is paid off in four years.

If your credit score has improved, however, you might qualify for a new auto loan with a better rate. By refinancing into a new 48-month car loan at 9 percent APR, for example, you could reduce your future interest costs by more than half to just $2,917 while lowering your monthly payment in the process. 

Con: You might pay more interest over the life of your loan

Before you take steps to refinance your auto loan, make sure you run the numbers with an auto loan calculator so you can compare your total interest costs. Securing a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment may be a better deal in the short term, but you may wind up paying more interest on your loan due to a lengthier timeline.

Pro: Tap into any equity you have

Refinancing your auto loan can also help you tap into any equity you have in your car. This can be a lifesaver if you need money for emergencies or simply want to consolidate debt at a lower interest rate.

Just remember that, as highlighted above, refinancing could mean more interest paid over time — even if you get a lower rate. 

Cons: Refinancing isn’t free

Finally, don’t forget that refinancing your car loan typically comes with fees. These fees will vary depending on the auto lender you work with, but they can include an application fee, an origination fee, and an auto lien transfer fee.

Also, make sure to check that your initial car loan doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties that will come into play if you refinance your loan. 

Should you refinance your car loan?

Only you can decide if refinancing your car loan makes sense. It’s possible switching to a new loan could save you money on interest and/or leave you with a lower monthly payment, but it’s also possible a new loan will leave you paying more interest and more fees over time.

Make sure you run the numbers before you move forward, but only after comparing auto refinancing offers from at least three different lenders. By comparing multiple lenders, you’ll improve your chances of ending up with a new auto loan that will leave you better off. 

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The Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Debt Early

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Debt stinks. We all know this. The sensible move here is to pay off any and all debts as soon as possible, right? Not so fast. In some cases, paying a debt off early doesn’t save you all that much money. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of paying down debt before you have to.

Pro: You’ll save thousands of dollars in interest

You can’t take out a loan without paying interest. You also can’t carry a credit card balance without paying interest. And the longer you owe money, the more interest you’ll pay. Let’s say you buy a car for the price of $25,000, and you borrow $20,000 at an interest rate of 3 percent on a 60-month loan. That could mean more than $1,500 in interest payments over the course of five years. What a waste, right?

So whether it’s a car loan or credit card debt, the sooner you wipe it out, the more money you’ll save in interest payments, and depending on the balance, this could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars. (See also: 15 Tips From People Who Paid Off an Incredible Amount of Debt)

Con: You may have paid off most of the loan interest already

Most loans have something called an “amortization schedule” that maps out how much you’ll pay in interest and how much you’ll pay in principal each month. With many loans — especially mortgages — you pay most of the interest in the early years and pay mostly principal later on.

For example, let’s say you have a 30-year loan of $300,000 with a 5 percent interest rate. Using this handy amortization calculator, this means you’ll pay $1,610 per month. (For simplicity purposes, I am not including taxes and insurance in this calculation.) A typical amortization schedule shows that you will pay $1,250 per month in interest payments at first. But toward the end of the lending period, your interest payments are much lower. By the time you have three years left on the loan, you’ll pay a little over $200 in interest per month and it will continue to decline from there.

If you are fairly late in the loan term, there’s not a major financial advantage to paying your loan off early. You’re practically borrowing money interest-free at this point, so you might as well hold onto your cash or use it for something else. (See also: 5 Debt Management Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask)

Pro: You free up cash for other things

Your mortgage is $1,500 a month. Your car payment is $200 per month. Your student loan payment is $180. The minimum payment on your credit card balance is $250. If you’re locked into these payments each month, you may not have a lot of money left over for other needs or wants. Debt prevents you from having true financial flexibility. Pay those debts off early, and breathe easier knowing you’ve freed up a significant amount of cash.

Con: You could deplete your emergency fund

Your drive to pay off debt early may be strong, but where is that money coming from? It’s not easy for most people to pay off the $20,000 left on a mortgage in one fell swoop, for example. If you do have that much cash available, you need to make sure it’s not coming out of your emergency fund. It may feel good to pay off a debt, but when you have no money left to cover a medical emergency or job loss, you’re playing a dangerous game. It’s best to keep at least three months worth of living expenses on hand in cash, and avoid the temptation to raid it just to pay off a debt early. (See also: 7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0)

Pro: You’ll sleep better

For many people, carrying debt from month to month is physically and mentally exhausting. It weighs on you. And that’s totally understandable. Everyone has their own comfort level with debt, and if you simply can’t stand the thought of even a small debt burden, pay those loans off in full if you can. In many cases, paying off a debt early offers a mental and financial freedom. (See also: How Getting More Sleep Helps Your Finances)

Con: You might stop building credit

Believe it or not, paying off debt early may actually hurt your credit. If you insist on always clearing debts in full long before they are due, you may cease to have enough credit history to get a favorable rating from credit agencies. As long as your debt burden is not too high, making consistent, regular payments on debts and paying bills on time is the best way to build strong credit.

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Save on a Gym Membership With At-Home Workouts

Save on a Gym Membership with At-Home Workouts – SmartAsset

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, search traffic for “gym membership” peaks between January 3 and January 9, according to Google Trends. If you already belong to a gym you’ve probably noticed that things get pretty crowded every January. But if you want to save money this year, consider some of these free or inexpensive alternatives to a gym membership. 

Find out now: How much house can I afford?

Try At-Home Yoga

There are plenty of options for anyone who wants to save money by canceling their gym membership or skipping out on the usual early-January gym membership purchase. One option is at-home yoga. You can buy an inexpensive yoga mat, or just use a towel or the floor if you don’t want to commit to buying a mat. An internet search will turn up sample yoga routines or you can head to your local library for a book on yoga. If you know how to do a basic sun salutation, you can start off with that – and repeat until you feel like you’ve gotten a good workout. The cost? $0.

Related Article: The Best 3 Gyms for Your Wallet

Use YouTube

YouTube is a great resource if you want to try working out at home but you’re not sure which type of exercise is the best fit for you. You can find short videos and long videos, videos for beginners and for advanced users. There are videos with Pilates routines, body weight exercises, Zumba classes and more.

You can try one-off routines to get a feel for a particular style of exercise, a particular YouTube channel or a particular vlogger. But you can also commit to a series or program that, through the aid of YouTube videos, will take you on a multi-week fitness journey. The cost to you? $0.

Related Article: How to Cancel Your Gym Membership

Go Old-School

If taking up yoga or learning something like Pilates or Zumba through YouTube doesn’t sound like your speed, you can always go old-school with classic body weight exercises performed free of charge, in the comfort of your own home. That means push-ups, squats, lunges and other exercises that require no equipment.

There’s a lively online community devoted to helping people achieve their strength and fitness goals through body weight alone, without using free weights or any gym accoutrements. If you think you need to pay for a pricey gym membership to get the results you want, take a look at the information that’s out there on body weight training – you might be surprised by what’s possible.

Head Outside

OK, so this one isn’t technically “at home” but you can always hit the streets, head to a local park or set up in your backyard to get your exercise. Running and walking are popular forms of exercise, but you can also do the body weight training mentioned above. At first, you might feel a little self-conscious doing walking lunges in your yard or in the park, but the (free) fitness gains should help you overcome any initial embarrassment.

Bottom Line

Every January, gym owners count on consumers to buy pricey gym memberships and then never use them. They oversell gyms the way airline owners oversell flights, counting on a high number of no-shows. This year, why not prove them wrong and opt for an at-home workout regimen?

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Squaredpixels, ©iStock.com/Squaredpixels, ©iStock.com/ilbusca

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