When COVID-19 lockdowns began in March of this year, many Americans understandably stocked up on groceries as uncertainty grew. Yet, with current crisis now in its sixth month, it seems that many shoppers are still spending more at the supermarket.Continue reading →
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More than 18 months ago, I ended up switching my wireless service from AT&T to T-Mobile. In doing so, I was able to save money in a few different ways — but it turns out there was another savings opportunity IContinue reading →
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Believe it or not, Election Day 2020 is now less than a month away. More accurately, ballots are already being cast in several states, either in person or by mail. As we’ve seen, these final days can hold many surprises,Continue reading →
Nearly a year after it was first teased, the Venmo Credit Card is finally here. The famed peer-to-peer payments platform is launching the new card in partnership with Synchrony that will operate on the Visa network. Somewhat akin to theContinue reading →
Amazingly, it’s now been a full year since I first applied for my Platinum Card from American Express — and what a year it’s been! That sentiment is both sarcastic and non-sarcastic as I’ve actually really enjoyed being a cardholder,Continue reading →
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It’s time again for one of my favorite features here on Dyer News: a look at the top 10 personal finance articles of the month. This month, we’ll start by looking at the topic of investing. Then, we’ll fast forward to retirement as well as explore financial freedom in general. Lastly, we’ll cover millionaire habits, minimalism, money shame, and more.
As usual, this month’s list includes a couple Dyer News Top 10 mainstays as well as a few first-timers. Without further ado, below is my list of the top 10 personal finance articles published in September of 2020, along with their title, author, and the site they originally appeared on.
How to Convince Your Spouse to Invest in Stocks — Melissa Batai, Dinks Finance
Putting your money to work in the stock market can be essential for growing your wealth and funding your retirement. However, given the risks involved with any type of investing and the dramatic headlines we often see, it’s understandable that some might be shy about buying stocks — including your significant other. If your spouse or partner isn’t sold on the idea of investing, Melissa offers a few points you can discuss that may just help change their mind.
Doing Nothing is Quite the Investment Skill — Nick, Your Money Blueprint
Often times, when people think of stock investing, they picture day traders or brokers wildly working the phones day in and day out. Because of this, one might assume that super timing skills and vast knowledge of stocks are necessary to succeed. However, as Nick points out, sometimes the best investment skill you can have is the ability to do absolutely nothing.
Retirement and Financial Freedom
Can A Frugal Retirement Be Enjoyable? Mine Is — Leisure Freak
As you’re probably aware, there are now several different approaches to early retirement. While some may want to save up more in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, others are willing to scale back their expenses so that they can retire sooner. But can you really enjoy the spoils of retirement while on a strict budget? According to this post from Leisure Freak, the answer is “absolutely.”
“Won’t You be Bored?” Why Creatives Thrive in Financial Independence — Adam, Minafi
To be sure, early retirement isn’t for everyone. Beyond the financial requirement that may put it out of reach for some, there are those who see the practice as pointless since they’d simply grow bored of not doing anything. Perhaps that’s why the concept of financial independence often appeals to creative types. Adam explores this connection and more in his article for Minafi.
What is the Best Part of Achieving Financial Freedom? — One Frugal Girl
Even if financial independence and early retirement don’t seem within your grasp, you may still be able to attain financial freedom. In fact, financial freedom actually contains the very best parts of FIRE and can be life-changing in its own right. To help set you on the right path, One Frugal Girl looks at why financial freedom is worth striving for and how you can work towards it.
Personal Finance Tips
7 Millionaire Habits That Will Change Your Life — The Frugal Cottage
Let’s face it: most of us will never become millionaires. Despite this, there’s still a lot we can learn from those who have achieved such levels of wealth (along with some less-than-stellar bits of advice in some cases). This post from The Frugal Cottage highlights some habits of millionaires that you may be able to apply to improve your own financial life.
What I’ve Been Learning About Tidying and Minimalism — Kyle Burbank, Money@30
With most Americans spending the vast majority of the past six months inside their homes, they may be noticing just how much unnecessary stuff they have. In turn, while making efforts to tidy, these individuals may also begin to see the value in minimalism. That’s the case for Kyle, who shares some of the specific tidying projects he’s tackled so far as well as what he’s been learning as he declutters his home.
How Financial Advice Triggers Painful Money Shame — Elyssa Kirkham, Brave Saver
As well intentioned as traditional financial advice may be, it can fail in a few ways. For one, since everyone’s money situation is different, it’s nearly impossible for these recommendations to fit each individual. What’s more, as Elyssa points out, sometimes such advice can actually do harm by triggering shame in the people they’re trying to help.
Building Your Travel Fund: How to Save Up for Your Next Vacation — Kate Manning, Money Buffalo
Chances are that you aren’t doing a lot of traveling these days. While that may be disappointing, the good news is that it may give you an opportunity to start saving for when once again you are able to take a proper vacation. If you’re ready to build your next travel fund, Kate shares a few tips.
Fear is the Money Killer — Educator FI
Are you afraid of money? It may sound like a somewhat silly question but the truth is that fear can have a major impact on your finances. This post from Educator FI further explains the connection between these two topics and how to overcome (or better utilize) your worries.
Thanks for checking out my top 10 personal finance articles published last month and congratulations to all of the bloggers who made the list. To find more of these great articles on a daily basis, be sure to follow me on Twitter @jondyer9 and of course visit DyerNews.com.
When it comes to taking out a loan, buying an insurance policy, or even getting a new rewards credit card, we all know that it pays to do your research and shop around. That said, the process of obtaining multiple quotes and looking for details on every offer can be extremely time-consuming — not to mention the additional time you’ll need to put into researching what other people have to say about the companies you’re considering working with. There have been a number of vertical-specific solutions that have popped up over the years. Recently a new player has entered the market, SuperMoney, who wants to be the comparison super hub for everything from student loan refinancing to side hustles.
So what is SuperMoney and how does it work? Let’s take a look at what this site has to offer.
What is SuperMoney?
SuperMoney is an aggregator site that allows you to compare multiple companies and products in one place. For example, say you were looking for a HELOC (home equity line of credit) but didn’t know where to start — SuperMoney will first present you with a table featuring various companies as well as what size loan amounts they offer, their APR range, and other details. From there, you can also dive deeper by clicking the name of the company from within the table. Doing this will take you to a page of FAQs and other details, hopefully telling you everything you need to know about the products available.
As I mentioned, SuperMoney also incorporates customer reviews into their comparisons. For each of the companies and products listed, SuperMoney users with past experience can say whether they’d recommend the services or not. While a rundown of these ratings will display in each table, you can also read the full reviews of why people would or would not recommend products on each company’s page.
Since many of the products SuperMoney compares can vary depending on each individual’s credit and other factors, some product tools will launch a different interface that allows users to obtain customized quotes. To do this, you’ll first need to answer a series of questions. These prompts may ask you a bit more about what your specific needs are as well as inquire about your credit score, employment status, income, and more. Note that you may also be required to enter your address, name, phone number, etc. in order to receive your quotes.
The Good and Bad of SuperMoney
First off, I have to say I’ve been impressed by the amount of data SuperMoney offers on many of the companies it has listed. Personally I actually enjoyed poking around various credit cards the site had listed and looking in-depth at what each one had to offer. Not only did SuperMoney’s pages give an overview of what each card was about and what type of person would be best served by it but they also included a list of all fees, a credit score range for who might get approved for each card, and other helpful info.
Another thing I appreciate about the site is the filters they have available to help you narrow your search. Going back to the credit card example, you can limit your search by credit network, benefits, rewards type (cashback, rewards, miles, etc.), and more. That said, while these filters work well enough for some of the sections, others don’t seem to be as effective. Specifically, one of the tools SuperMoney offers allows you to compare CDs from various banks. Although the section itself is helpful, the filter to view options based on their 3-month APY seems odd since the table displays each product’s 12-month APY. As a result, attempting to employ this filter results in no listings. I assume little flaws like this are just a side effect of the site trying to support as many verticals as possible.
Speaking of which, as I alluded to earlier, something that really surprised me about SuperMoney was just how many product types they offer comparison tools for. Sure there are the standard categories you might expect, like loans (mortgages, auto loans, consolidation loans, etc.), insurance policies (auto insurance, life insurance, renters insurance, etc.), and the aforementioned credit cards, but they also provide comparisons for things like tax prep services, banks and credit unions, and even credit repair firms.
Expanding into other areas of personal finance, I was also impressed to find lists of apps and services as well as so-called “side hustle” options. Although these pages didn’t seem to be quite as comprehensive as some of the other verticals, I did find there to be useful information. In particular, it was interesting to see the fees that some of the listed platforms charge their contractors.
While updating this review another unique page I came across featured Crowdfunding Sites. This one is actually a bit strange as it includes sites where you crowdfund projects/causes (such as GoFundMe) as well as those that simply utilize a crowdfunding format (like Fundrise and other real estate investment platforms). Regardless, I definitely learned about some new sites thanks to this table.
To that point, I kept getting the feeling that SuperMoney would have more to offer if its user base were larger. This is most evident in the reviews where some products may have dozens of reviews while many others have none. And, like any review site, some of the feedback left from apparent customers isn’t so much helpful as it is head-scratching. On the whole, including a review element into their comparison tools does make a lot of sense, but I do wonder if having the reviews will ultimately accomplish what SuperMoney hopes they will.
Final Thoughts on SuperMoney
Overall, the idea of SuperMoney is one that’s long overdue — even if parts of that idea have been done before to varying degrees. What makes SuperMoney different from some predecessors is its (mostly) clean execution and diversity in verticals. At the same time, SuperMoney shows some of the growing pains that come with launching a site of this kind. Among those is the catch 22 that you need users to help flesh out your listings, but attracting them can be difficult if certain sections feel incomplete. This is something still impacting SuperMoney since I first reviewed it.
All things considered, though, I think SuperMoney is onto something awesome and has a ton of potential to be a truly helpful tool in many ways. Therefore I look forward to checking back on it often and doing my part to help them build out something great.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SuperMoney legit?
Yes, SuperMonday works with a number of companies to provide users a resource for finding loans, credit cards, insurance, and other products.
Does SuperMoney run your credit?
Obtaining customized offers on SuperMoney will result in a soft pull of your credit, but this will not impact your credit score. However, moving forward with claiming an offer with a lender may require a hard pull of your credit.
Does SuperMoney charge a fee?
No. SuperMoney is free to use. However, some of the services they refer may cost money.
Also published on Medium.Continue reading →
One of the things I love most about the book reviews I’ve been doing for the past several months now is that, despite writing about finance for five years or so now, I’m consistently introduced to new insights, ideas, and perhaps even some “hot takes” about money. My latest bit of consumption is no exception and, in fact, may be the most paradigm-shifting read I’ve experienced yet. Released earlier this month, The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel may already rank among my favorite personal finance books — partially because it’s so much different from the financial books I typically encounter.
With a title like “The Psychology of Money,” you might expect the material within to be dense and heady. On the contrary, the book is extremely approachable and digestible. That’s thanks in part to its structure that breaks the contents down into 20 relatively short chapters (plus an intro and a postscript). Each of these chapters finds Housel tackling a different topic, with the majority of these chapters feeling like their own isolated essays. That said, lest you lose the thread along the way, the author ties it all up in a bow by in the penultimate numbered chapter.
The book starts out with an extremely relevant and insightful look at how our experiences influence our world views — particularly when it comes to money. Titled “No One’s Crazy,” this chapter does a tremendous job of explaining how two people can come to different conclusions but neither actually be wrong. In just a dozen pages, Housel completely sold me on the premise of the rest of the book and had me hooked. Now is also a good time to mention that, while there is definitely financial advice to be found in Housel’s prose, it’s rare for the author to harp on many specifics seeing as the book’s thesis revolves around us all being different. Nevertheless, in the interest of transparency, he does recount his personal money experiences, beliefs, and strategies in chapter 20.
Throughout the book, Housel also draws distinctions between terms that might not seem so different on the surface. Riches vs. wealth, rational vs. reasonable, fee vs. fine — all are explored and explained to great effect. In every case, the author makes a solid case for the nuance in these expressions, while also detailing how each can impact your relationship with finances. On a similar note, I also appreciated the assessments of what people really mean when they say certain things about money. Easily my favorite example of this is when Housel writes, “When most people say they want to be a millionaire, what they might actually mean is ‘I’d like to spend a million dollars.’ And this is literally the opposite of being a millionaire.” This revelation may sound obvious to some but, for me, really highlights an irony that exists in personal finance.
Another one of my favorite chapters looked at the nature of optimism and why the opposite mentality typically gets the most attention. As I consider myself an optimist, I loved that this highlighted some important truths that are often overlooked. If I may say, the chapter also served as a nice pallet cleanser from the daily news grind these days.
Speaking of these unique days we find ourselves in, I was surprised to see Housel mention the coronavirus ever-so-briefly in his book. Given the lead time I expect most publications have, I really wasn’t expecting anything so up to date. That said, in a later chapter, he notes that the United States currently has record low unemployment, so not everything is up to the minute. Personally, I’m actually thankful that the crisis was mostly excluded as 2020 readers will certainly be able to insert such references on their own where appropriate.
For all the strengths of The Psychology of Money, I did have a couple of minor criticisms. One is that, at times, I felt like the subject strayed a bit from the concept of “psychology” and more toward general “do this, not that” advice. It’s not that these chapters weren’t interesting or lacked impact, but it is something that stuck out to me. The other nitpick I had is that there are a couple of moments that feel redundant or find Housel hammering home his point perhaps a tad too hard — namely in chapter 16, where I felt as though I kept reading the same refrain (although the chapter was still strong overall). Again, these are only small critiques that hardly took away from my enjoyment of the book on the whole.
When I pre-ordered my copy of The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness, I really had no idea what to expect. What I found was a deeply intriguing book that not only helped change the way I thought about money but I predict will also influence the way I write about money in the future. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a different kind of personal finance book — and one that will surely open your mind regardless of who you are — I highly recommend The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel.