I never thought I'd become a divorce statistic, but here I am.
At first, I was grateful that we weren't separating on the ugliest of terms - there was no cheating or anything like that, it's just that every decision became shrouded in a passive-aggressive dance–the usual communication breakdown.
But then. For the divorce proceedings, he lawyered up with a shockingly expensive firm and tried to squeeze every penny out of me! I, slack-jawed and in tears, sat across from a blank-eyed version of him, while his expensive suit rattled off everything about me that did not look good on paper.
I hired the best lawyer I could find and drained my bank account to set things right.
So, single in my 40's, listening to the records my ex-husband hated at full volume in my new, smaller living room, I'm happy, but broke. Very broke.
Living on a single income with rent and divorce-related bills still piling up sent me into a panic. Looking around at all my assets (half as much as before), there was still one shining beacon of hope: my sweet little car, Eleanor. I'd bought her two years ago, and she was still in the top 5 of every reliable car list out there.
When looking at forums on how to sell a car, tears in my eyes, I found a second option; refinancing my loans with a company like RateGenius. If you have good credit, you can refinance as soon as a year out of obtaining your car.
I went onto their website and found it incredibly easy to navigate. I filled out a basic pre-qualification questionnaire about myself (name, address, how long I had my car for), and was informed that because this questionnaire was only a pre-qualification, I would have zero impact on my credit score.
Within minutes I was pre-qualified, and took me to a rate table to show me potential options. Impressed with what was being offered, I went ahead and finished the full application which only took minutes. It didn't take me very long to get assigned with a representative Jenny, who held my hand throughout the entire process.
Because my car was very important to me, I asked her multiple questions with a lot of details, and Jenny patiently and kindly explained everything back to me. She told me first and foremost that I wouldn't be in danger of paying RateGenius a large fee: the company negotiate with lenders to lower my rates or lower the amount of time I was paying, and the RateGenius' small fee would be built into my payments - if they couldn't find me a cheaper rate, they wouldn't charge me, so there was no risk.
According to RateGenius, the average savings per month is $76 per car - all I can say is that mine was higher than average! I was shocked that this wasn't common knowledge, that refinancing is that easy.
With RateGenius, I'd be seeing more money in my bank account every month while making zero lifestyle changes, at a time where nearly everything else in my life was in flux. Eleanor would stay mine, and I'd get to pay less for her every month while belting to the classic rock station at full volume.
RateGenius made it incredibly easy for me to refinance my auto loans - I had to become an expert on divorce law recently, but with RateGenius, all I had to do was enter my info, thankfully.
Update: Fill out the pre-qualification form within a minute with zero impact on your credit score to see if you qualify for lower rates!
While it's possible to be frugal with many aspects of your lifestyle, there are certain events and possessions that will require you to spend a substantial amount of money. Thus, a wise course of action is to begin saving well ahead of time while thinking about your goals for the future. This way, you'll be able to maintain a stable financial state even when faced with those large expenses. The following are a few major life purchases that you should plan for.
Marriage is a joyous occasion that many people look forward to. However, a wedding can be quite expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. Your family and your future spouse's family will often contribute to covering this, but you should still prepare to spend a good deal of your own money on the ceremony. If you're in a serious relationship and are considering marriage, you should plan where the funds for the wedding will come from and take the necessary actions to accumulate them. It's also crucial to discuss financial matters with your partner, since your property will merge once you get married.
A New Car
Automobiles remain one of the top modes of transportation. As a result, you may want to purchase a new car at some point in your life. Although you may be fine with an old or used vehicle at present, you may one day be motivated by a desire to acquire something nice for yourself or by the practical needs that arise as you raise children. Whatever the case, obtaining a new car is a major life purchase that you should plan for.
In addition to setting aside funds to eventually put towards a vehicle, you should also aim to build you credit score. This is because your credit score will determine your available car loan options. The higher your credit score, the more you may be able to lower your interest rates on your car.
Owning your own residential property is a worthy objective that you may hope to make a reality one day. Ideally, you should save about 20 percent of the total cost of a house before you buy it. This will allow you to make a larger down payment and thereafter face less interest on your mortgage.
As with acquiring a car, the mortgage options that you'll have can change based on how strong your credit score is. You'll want to increase your score as much as possible in the years leading up to buying a house so that you can get more favorable interest rates. In addition to contemplating down payments and mortgages, you must also remember that you'll need to deal with property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repair fees, and sometimes homeowners' association charges.
It's also necessary to hire a real estate agent to help you with the buying process. There are different types of real estate professionals. You should know how to distinguish between buyer's agents and seller's agents so that you can obtain favorable prices on homes as well.
Many people live together before getting married and have begun the process of combining accounts and sharing responsibilities. However, some people wait to do this only after marriage, and others wait until they're married to live together. Whichever path you've chosen, it's still crucial to know a few tips to manage money together as newlyweds to determine where you should begin and how you can remain on the same page.
Discussing Money Motivations
As we begin to share money with our significant other, we soon find out what one person may rank as a priority regarding money and the other may not. As such, sitting down and discussing money motivations is important. Two people who cannot agree on how to handle money may cause serious issues. This should include:
- How to deal with money following payday. Is a percentage put into savings? Is that the day to splurge on dinner, drinks, and more?
- The frequency and size of payments made to debts. Some people like to pay minimums, whereas others pay in full or make double payments.
- What do you each consider money well spent? Is it a new 70" 4K television? Is it an investment? Is it paying as much debt off as possible?
- How do you go about consulting each other before making purchases over a certain amount?
Establishing Financial Goals
After you evaluate the motivations behind your money and how it should be spent, you'll need to spend time together hashing out financial goals. As newlyweds, there are certain things on your list that you're going to want to save for. How do you go about that? How much of each paycheck will you dedicate to a particular fund?
Some things in the future worth making a financial plan for include savings and paying down debts. This is the time to be honest about your current financial standing. If you're looking to buy a home, you'll want to assemble a first-time homeowner financial checklist to begin to develop topics of conversation. Some of the things to consider setting goals for are:
- Student loans
- Car loans
- Future children
- A house
- Medical bills
- Delinquencies on credit reports
- Vacation and rainy-day funds
- Emergency funds
The more honest and open you can be with each other about the money you have and now the debts you share, the better. Implementing plans for the best ways to have the things that you both desire while still taking care of existing demands is important. These can be uncomfortable things to talk about; however, these conversations are necessary.
Following these tips to manage money together as newlyweds will allow you to have a starting point for conversations that can be tough to start. The sooner you and your partner get on the same page with finances and the responsibilities that come with them, the easier the transition will be and the sooner you'll find success.
It's the dream: money you can count on to keep rolling in, even while you sleep.
Passive income isn't entirely passive, of course. You'll put in work up-front to get the profits rolling, so don't relax in your recliner just yet. But with so many potential sources of passive income available to you, picking one or several will mean that the day you can finally kick back will draw steadily closer.
Real estate is a tried-and-true wealth builder for a simple reason: people will always need somewhere to live. Research the market in a growing community until you know a good deal when you see it. You can maximize rent by fixing up a deteriorating property or upgrading a mediocre one. The key is to hire a property manager to do all the day-to-day landlord duties for you—and you'll need a good one. Smart investors put their profits in another property and repeat the process until they have a diverse portfolio.
A YouTube Channel
You can start a blog if you're more comfortable hiding behind a computer, but consumers are more likely to prefer video content. Post a series of “how-to" videos to answer questions about whatever you're an expert in.
You can put up any content you want, but if you don't want to commit to regularly updating it, focus on “evergreen" topics that will draw clicks for eternity. Ads will create your income, especially if your channel grows in popularity. Better yet, sign up for affiliate marketing. If you recommend a product and provide a link to buy it, you'll get a small percentage of those transactions.
If you don't mind vinyl-wrapping your car with an ad for a company, you can get cash just driving around and running your errands. Make sure you contact a reputable company that doesn't ask for any money from you; if they're the real deal, they'll evaluate your car, your driving habits, your area, and more. Bonus: the brighter the ad, the easier it'll be to find your vehicle in the parking lot.
What's something that people will pay for but doesn't require shipping on your part? Finding that item is what can supplement your income indefinitely. Write an e-book, charge for your cross-stitching patterns, design prints that people can digitally download, invent an app, record a “masterclass," or whatever else you want. Every time someone new discovers it, the cash register rings. With a little more effort, this is a potential source of passive income for you that can continue to grow. Once you build up a customer base, they might want more products. The good part is that it's up to you whether you wish to give it to them.