This Week In Your Wallet: Satisfaction
No, you can’t always get what you want, but if tickets to the Rolling Stones are on your list, you just might be in luck. As you may have heard, HerMoney launched an exclusive Rolling Stones ticket contest last week, in partnership with The Alliance for Lifetime Income. We’re giving away two floor seats to almost every stop on the Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour this summer, and we want you (and all the honkytonk women in your life) to win! Enter here, then share your unique link with friends and family — the more you share, the more chances you’ll have to win. If you’re heading to the August 1 show at MetLife stadium in New York — look for me on the Alliance for Lifetime Income bus, and let’s spend (at least part of) the night together. And to those of you who would say, “It’s only rock and roll,” this may be the last time you have a chance to see The Stones live, so go ahead and give those tumblin’ dice a roll.
The Refi Remix
I get it — mortgages aren’t an exciting topic, and once you’ve had one for years and you’re content with your monthly payment, you may blithely ignore headlines urging you to refinance. But seriously, listen up: 8.2 million of us are leaving money on the table by not refinancing, according to a recent study by mortgage software and analytics firm Black Knight. The total amount we could save if we just refi? About $2.2 trillion. Today, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage stands at 3.73%, according to Freddie Mac, and with a refinance to that rate, the average borrower stands to save about $266 per month. Even people who took out mortgages last year could benefit, as rates have dropped more than one full percentage point since December 2018. In other words, if you haven’t already looked into whether a refi might be the right move for you, now’s the time.
Budgeting & Prospering
Can you prosper without a budget? And should you even have one if you’re doing well financially and still managing to save? These are the questions Michelle Singletary tackles in this week’s Washington Post. The short answer: Yes, you can prosper without a budget, but you can’t keep track of whether your money is truly being spent the way you want. And that’s important. Many people may think they’re doing okay because they aren’t going into the red every month, only to find out later that their retirement has been woefully underfunded for years. Also, just because you aren’t racking up credit card debt doesn’t mean you aren’t still overspending. The extra $200 in your checking account that you’re cashing in on clothing and dinners out every month could turn into a nice vacation at the end of the year (or even a little vacation condo at the end of your working life — seriously $200 a month, invested and earning 6.5% for 30 years is roughly a quarter million dollars) — and only a budget can actually help you see that. Also, far too many of us believe (erroneously) that budgets are there to tell us what we can’t have. This couldn’t be further from the truth — they exist just as much to show us all the wonderful things that our money can do when we spend some time getting to know it.
For those of you reading from The Golden State — in particular those of you who work for companies that don’t have retirement plans — saving is about to get a whole lot easier. On July 1, California will become the third state in the country (joining Illinois and Oregon) to enact a work and save program. Called CalSaves, this will require employers of 5 or more people to offer an automatic payroll deduction into a Roth IRA. Why is this so great? Because people who are able to save via their employers and payroll deductions are 15 times more likely to actually save. In other words, this gives a little of the 401(k) pixie dust to employers who don’t have access to one. Congrats California! We’re watching for more states to sign on.
On the flipside of the equation, whether it was because of starting a budget or amping up their retirement contributions. a third of Americans say they’ve cut their spending in the last year, according to a recent poll by CNBC and SurveyMonkey. Of course the lure of impulse purchases still looms large, but thankfully most of us aren’t breaking the bank when we treat ourselves — 50% of people spend between $10 and $100 on impulse buys, and 11% of folks (whoever you are, please teach me your ways!) say they never make any impulse purchases at all. If you’re still looking for ways to cut your monthly bills so you can spend more on what you really want, check out this quick and dirty guide from HerMoney.
Talking Healthcare, Specifically HSAs
Finally, I hope you’ll join us next Monday July 7 for an informative discussion on Facebook Live with the CEO of WEX Inc., Melissa Smith. WEX provides the technology (and debit cards) that many of the country’s largest employers rely on for their Health Savings Accounts. We’ll be discussing how she charted her course in the payments industry and is now helping to simplify the business of healthcare for Americans. We’ll also discuss the rising cost of healthcare, and get into the details on how to use your HSA to save you the most money today — and in the future.
Have a great week,
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