Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Review

by Luke Orlando on April 28, 2017

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Review

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Review


Over the past decade, robo-advisors have become the latest and hottest investment trend. Some might wonder how a robot could provide such value to a portfolio. But when you take a deep look inside and see that they offer an automated, low-cost option to investing, it becomes a little clearer. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, robo-advisors could run $2 trillion. A very strong player in this space – Schwab Intelligent Portfolios – has succeeded by promising fee-free investing and providing major institutional support.

Zero Fees as a Differentiator

Robo-advisors have been increasing in popularity in recent years because of their ability to perform many of the same responsibilities as a human advisor at a substantially lower cost. In fact, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is unique among its competition in that it charges no management fees or commissions to these automated accounts. This compares to 0.25% at Wealthfront and 0.25 – 0.50% at Betterment, the two most popular robo-advisor firms. While individual funds will always have management fees, selecting low-cost funds in addition to zero management fees is a great strategy for minimizing investment cost.

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SoFi Review

SoFi Review: Student Loan Refinancing


When I first heard about SoFi, I was skeptical. Could there really be a company out there that could give me a lower interest rate on my student loans? I started researching because I was determined to figure out the catch. But what I actually found was an opportunity to bring simplicity to my student loans and so much more!

What is SoFi?

To be clear, SoFi calls themselves a “finance company,” because they’re different from a bank. Along with student loan financing, they have services including mortgages, personal loans, and wealth management services. And, unlike a bank, they’re extremely focused on their members. They offer members innovative tools like an online member community, an entrepreneur program to support members’ business endeavors, and career-building tools. SoFi knows that when they help their members achieve their career goals, those members are more likely to be successful and continue on a path of financial security.

SoFi’s Student Loan Refinancing

This is SoFi’s most popular service, and it’s not hard to see why. Paying high interest rates on your loans can seem like an unfair burden when you’re focusing on building your career. Not only can SoFi offer you a lower interest rate, they’ll give you all their member benefits, like career coaching and financial advice. SoFi has a minimum loan amount of $5,000, which is lower than some other lenders out there, plus there’s no origination fee for your new loan. They’re fully transparent with all their fees too — or should I say, lack thereof?

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Is Leasing a Car Worth It?

by Amber Berry on April 24, 2017

There are a few different options when it comes time to acquire a car. Do you lease, buy new or buy used? They each have their respective drawbacks and benefits. Also, there are different ways to decide if something is a good value and worth the experience.

For the sake of this article, let’s focus on the financial perspective. Maintenance is an expense that comes with regular car usage, so let’s just ignore that part. Let’s use the common Honda Civic as an example.

Leasing a car

Leasing gives the opportunity to stay current with the latest updates in safety, fuel efficiency, technology, and aesthetics. But staying up with the curve, often comes at a higher cost.

Leasing a car is a like a long-term rental situation. The actual length of the arrangement can be anywhere from two years to five years or more. Each month, a payment is due for the vehicle. At the end of the lease, the car must be returned to the dealership. Often there is the option to buy the car from the dealer, at a reduced price. A great resource to check is Kelley Blue Book. This will give you accurate data on vehicle prices based on the condition, trim level, and model year.

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The Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

by Lucy Oake on April 21, 2017

Tax Refund

Do you plan on receiving a tax refund this year? It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing your refund like a bonus. But just like your paycheck, you should give your refund money a purpose. Your tax refund can be a great tool to meet your financial goals. Here are the best ways to use that extra money from Uncle Sam.

Pay off debt

Getting rid of some of your debt is one of the smartest ways to use your extra money. Although it might be tempting to go on a shopping spree, you’re much better off tackling any debts that are accruing interest. The cost of interest over time can make paying off your debt a never-ending cycle. Making a bulk payment toward your credit card or student loans can help save you money in the long run. It might not be the most glamorous way to use the money, but your future self will thank you!

Build your emergency fund

Most financial advisors recommend having an emergency fund with enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses. Using your refund to grow your emergency fund can give you more peace of mind and protection against any future unknowns. Building up savings can be tough if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, so making a deposit from your tax refund can help build up that account more quickly. Plus, once it’s in your savings, you’re much less likely to spend it on something frivolous.

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Fear and Anxiety Make Saving Difficult

by Amber Berry on April 19, 2017

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety manifest in many ways. When it comes to money matters, it is very common for people to express fearful and anxious feelings through avoidance. They may avoid looking at their bank account balances or opening bills. No matter what it looks like, people often find themselves drowning in the worry that they will lose everything. As a result, they do nothing.

This is a problem because inaction can keep you from meeting your saving and investment goals.

What causes this fear and anxiety?

When it comes to saving, the question “How do I save?” always comes up.

Deep down, people know that it is pretty straightforward. You set aside a designated dollar amount or percentage of your income for savings. But accomplishing this requires two things: that one take a hard look at the numbers and exercise discipline.

Generally, neither of those things are very pleasant. And research shows that when it comes to finances, it’s very common for people to wait until there is a crisis to ask for help. Which makes looking at the numbers traumatic for some individuals. Sometimes, just the idea of making a budget can throw people into a panic attack. The fear of running out of a money is a very real experience for many, many people.

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Upgrades That Boost and Reduce Property Value

April 17, 2017
Kitchen Remodel

Every homeowner makes a house their own by updating the décor and making upgrades. Whether it’s for a functional reason or strictly aesthetic, everything you do to your home can potentially boost or reduce its value. Before you decide which project to tackle next, take a look at which upgrades are most likely to increase […]

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Four Creative and Effective Ways to Save More and Spend Less

April 14, 2017

If you consistently live paycheck to paycheck and are thinking about getting a second, or third, job, take heed: instead of busting your behind for another boss, it might be better to focus on the money that you have and how to spend less of it. This will allow you to start saving some money […]

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