What is Renter’s Insurance and Why You Need It

what_is_renters_insurance

While most people know how important it is to have homeowner’s insurance, many never stop to consider whether renters also need to protect themselves.  (Quick hint: They do!)

Many tenants assume that they don’t need renter’s insurance because any hazards will be covered by their landlord’s insurance—after all, they’re the ones who own the property, right?

Nope.

The landlord’s insurance will cover only what the landlord owns, and that will be limited to the land and the physical structures on it.  Anything inside the building that you own will be excluded by the landlord’s insurance company.

Somewhere in the stack of papers that you signed along with your lease, you would probably find something that says that it’s your responsibility to insure your property, but you either didn’t know or didn’t want to spend the money.

But guess what, you need to have renter’s insurance.

What is Renter’s Insurance?

Continue Reading

Do You Know What All Your Investments Are? – Personal Capital Review

personal_capital_screens

It’s tough keeping track of all of your money and investing accounts.

There’s your savings, checking, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, 529 plans, investing accounts, 401(k) plans… it can go on and on.  If you’re lucky some of those accounts are with the same company so you can see a few of your accounts in one place.  But odds are you’re still going to need to jump around to get a complete picture of your finances.

It’s not impossible to track everything, for sure, but it can be a pain switching between accounts to see exactly what you are invested in for which account.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had one place that can give you a snapshot of your money?

And then wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get a better idea of your allocations to better make sure you are diversified  in the right places?  Oh, and if you could see what your fund fees were costing you in one spot that would be nice too, right?

Some objective financial advice based on your accounts would be a sweet thing to have access to as well, wouldn’t it?

Enter Personal Capital.

Personal Capital describes itself as “Your Next Generation Financial Advisor”, and it may be just that.

Not only does the application allow you to combine your various financial accounts in one place, but it also provides expert, personal investment management with low fees.

How Personal Capital Makes Your Life Easier

Continue Reading

Your Guide to Balance Transfer Credit Cards and The Best 0% Offers

balance_scale

I was drowning in debt.

I managed to finally get my head on straight and start to really take care of my finances.  This after I already dug a hole with thousands in credit card debt.

I tried to do the right thing and pay off more than my minimum balance and tried to pay my cards (yes, more than one) on time every month.

I was living paycheck-to-paycheck in NYC in a small studio apartment.  Even though the place was small it took up a nice chunk of my monthly income.  I remember writing out those checks to the different credit card companies (this was before paying online was so easily available).

The beginning of the month would come and I’d pay my rent.  Then I’d get to the card bills.  I paid what I could over the minimum, with enough to still eat some kind of food, but it was killing me.  I was paying so much every month to my credit card bills but I was barely, if at all, putting a dent in my debt (my debt was earning some nice interest against me for the card companies).

Keep in mind I take full responsibility for my debt.  I made the purchases and dug the hole all by myself.

So I kept at it.  As my credit improved I started to see offers in the mail for credit cards.  One of them had a 0% balance transfer interest rate.  I applied and transferred over a balance.
Continue Reading

PerkStreet Financial Online Checking is Shutting Down (What Happens to My Money?)

blank_check

It’s a sad time for online checking.  PerkStreet Financial will be closing its doors for good on September 26th, 2013.

“Who is PerkStreet,” you might ask?

PerkStreet was (look I’m already using them in the past tense) an online bank that provided online checking accounts with fair fees.  And they weren’t just checking either.  They tried to make checking online rewarding for their customer by giving cash back and rewards when you used your PerkStreet debit card for purchases.

Many people loved PerkStreet as an alternative to credit cards.  It’s easy to rack up charges that are too big to pay off in full with a credit card (for some people).  With a debit card you can only spend what is in your account.  Using PerkStreet for purchases kept people accountable to their money — they couldn’t spend what they didn’t have.

Another aspect many loved with PerkStreet was their fees, or lack of.

They were part of an ATM network that had over 42k locations so it was pretty easy to find an ATM so you wouldn’t get hit with fees for being stuck with an out-of-network ATM.  They also offered up online checking with no monthly fees and no minimums to open an account.

PerkStreet was a breath of fresh air in an age where brick and mortar banks have been slowly taking more out of customer’s pockets with different fees.

But no more.

If PerkStreet is So Great Why Are They Closing?

Continue Reading

Review: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

air_travel_rewards

Are you looking for an incredible travel rewards credit card that allows you to earn free nights at high-end hotels and resorts AND can be used towards airline miles programs?

How about a card that, besides rewards, comes with additional travel benefits, purchase protections, and more?

Then look no further than the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Starpoint® Rewards Program

Continue Reading

TurboCharge Your Costco Savings! TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express Review

shopping_cart

Are you a member of Costco, or thinking about it?  Want to make your dollar go even further there?

Then the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express may be for you.

Shopping at Costco (or any warehouse store) is one of those things you have to evaluate – is it worth it for your family at its current size and eating/spending habits?  Buying in bulk can sometimes mean great savings but it can also be deceptive and even cost more than your local grocery store when all is said and done.

If you’ve calculated that Costco is right for you, the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express can help you earn cash back on your purchases there and elsewhere.

Let’s review the TrueEarnings Card a little more in-depth and explore how you can combine this credit card with Costco’s Executive membership for extra savings:

Continue Reading

Make Your Travel Easier and Less Expensive – Credit Cards With Travel Rewards 2014

Do you find yourself traveling often, perhaps for work or pleasure?

Using a credit card that offers travel rewards is a great way to earn extra perks or get a little back for your trips (sometimes a lot back).  Traveling can be expensive and a travel rewards card can go a long way to earning something back for your spending.

We all like getting something back, don’t we?

There are a number of different travel reward cards out there.  Among them you can find benefits like:

  • Earning free nights at hotels;
  • Earning hotel upgrades;
  • Earning free flights;
  • Not paying foreign transaction fees;
  • Earning free car rentals;
  • And more…

The cards below offer a variety of these benefits as well as others.

Continue Reading