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7 Best Prepaid Debit Cards You Should Know

7 Best Prepaid Debit Cards You Should Know

Prepaid debit cards are a great way for individuals to learn how to be financially responsible. In our world today, cash is starting to become obsolete in comparison to the use of plastic to make purchases. When you go online to purchase items, a place that can offer amazing deals, cash isn’t accepted but credit or debit cards are. This means that missing out on a debit card results in possibly missing out on some amazing cyber deals. But not all prepaid debit cards are made equal. Some come with outrageous fees, difficulties with ATM access, and multiple regulations. Today, we will give a nice overview of six of the best prepaid debit cards on the market today.

1. American Express Serve

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    American Express used to be considered a company for those with higher incomes. With the release of credit cards along with charge cards, this reputation changed and the company became open to more individuals. Now, with American Express Serve, as well as Bluebird, American Express is open to just about anyone. For only $1 a month if you don’t use Direct Deposit or load less than $500 a statement, you can enjoy a prepaid debit card with some of the same benefits I enjoy as an American Express credit card holder. ATM is free at a variety of select locations. Serve is loadable at thousands of locations across the US.

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    2. GreenDot Card

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      Greendot is considered by many to be a top prepaid debit card to choose. The card is free to purchase online. You do have a higher monthly fee of $4.95 compared to American Express. However, if you load more than $1000 a statement, it is a waived fee. In addition, unlike having to either load $500 or use Direct Deposit with American Express to be eligible for a fee waiver, you can have fees waived with Greendot by making 30 or more purchases of any value in a statement. ATM access is free at select locations.

      3. Simple

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        Simple has a unique concept compared to the other cards listed in this article. This Visa card is focused more on saving rather than spending for the individual. You are able to make goals, partitioning money to a specific part of your card reminiscent of a savings account but without being able to make interest. This is all on a contemporary, mobile phone-focused experience. Simple is very simple to sign up for and the savings benefits is a big draw for individuals. It is free to get and there are no fees as long as you keep the card active at least once within a six month period. There are other fees, including when you perform ATM withdrawals internationally, however they are small. You can access your money for free at over 55,000 ATMs across the country.

        4. H&R Emerald Prepaid MasterCard

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          The H&R Emerald Card with MasterCard is a great option from the company that we all know of with filing taxes. The Emerald Card doesn’t come with any monthly fees. There is a one-time loading fee of $4.95 to get started. ATM fees are $2.50, regardless of where you go. That’s a big reason why it isn’t in the top half of our list. However, the quality of the card and company behind it, along with the lack of monthly fees makes it a very competitive card. Just like all of the cards mentioned on the list, the FDIC insurance protects you as a user, ensuring that your money is safe and secure.

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          5. BB&T Money Account

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            The BB&T Money Account card makes the lower half of our list due to the fees associated with the card. While there are a fewer number of fees compared to the other cards on the list, one thing that is certain with this card is that you will pay something every month. As long as you use a BB&T ATM domestically, you are safe from those fees. However, you can’t escape the $6 a month fees that come with holding the card. Even if you load $1000 or more a month, this fee only reduces to $3 a month. If you are a student, look into their special card for the younger crowd, you’ll always pay $3 a month, no matter what. Despite this, it is a card we can recommend because the BB&T name behind this card is very strong. You’ll have almost no trouble finding a BB&T ATM to use, and the features with this card are numerous.

            6. Chase Liquid

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              Chase is a well known credit card company, but little did you know, their prepaid debit cards are just as good. If you are in the market for a debit card, you may find them even better. Their monthly fee of $4.95 makes it the most expensive on the list. Yes, while the Greendot card allows you to get out of the monthly fee if you deposit $1000, there’s no such grace period with the Chase Liquid card.

              Despite this, chances are you won’t be paying anything else. You can use the Chase app to keep track of your transactions, and this card comes with most of the same features mentioned about the other cards in this article. With the name Chase having your back, this is a great card and one of the best to finish off this list.

              Now that you know which of the best prepaid debit cards are out there, why not go out and get one for yourself today.

              Featured photo credit: Financial Queries via financialqueries.com

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              Published on May 7, 2019

              How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

              How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

              When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

              Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

              Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

              You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

              Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

              1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

              Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

              But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

              • Will you spend more time with your family?
              • What does retirement mean to you?
              • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

              Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

              Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

              2. Figure out When to Invest

              “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

              It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

              The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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              A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

              Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

              3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

              Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

              Why?

              Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

              Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

              Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

              Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

              4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

              Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

              If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

              You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

              1. Vanguard
              2. TD Ameritrade
              3. Charles Schwab

              5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

              Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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              Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

              That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

              Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

              A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

              6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

              The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

              Robo Advisors

              Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

              Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

              Bonds

              Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

              Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

              Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

              1. Treasury bonds
              2. Government bonds
              3. Corporate bonds
              4. Foreign bonds
              5. Mortgage-backed bonds
              6. Municipal bonds

              Mutual Funds

              Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

              One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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              Real Estate

              Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

              Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

              This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

              But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

              Savings Accounts

              Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

              7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

              Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

              So how can you master delayed gratification?

              By building your discipline.

              Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

              Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

              8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

              I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

              It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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              More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

              But, how can you invest yourself?

              Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

              Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

              But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

              Retire Happy with Excess Money

              The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

              It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

              I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

              Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

              One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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              Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

              Reference

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