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7 Facts Every Online Shopper Must Know

7 Facts Every Online Shopper Must Know

Have you ever bought a shirt or dress online only to later find out when it was delivered to you that what you saw online was quite different from what you received? In this scenario, what do you think would be your next line of action? Well, you can either throw your hands up in the air while running around your neighborhood yelling, “I’ve just been cheated!” or you could try to return the shirt you just purchased. Whichever one you choose, the deed had been done. You already have made payments even before your shirt was delivered to you.

If you have gone through such an experience as this, you’d find out that more often than not, it is usually a ‘not too good’ experience. You will begin to regret why you ordered and paid for what you don’t like. And I bet that nobody bargains for such an experience. This is why it is very important for you to be double sure that you are spending your hard earned money on what you truly want.

With the emergence of the World Wide Web in the early 90s, a lot of things became possible to achieve, including online banking and online shopping or e-commerce. The days of waiting on a queue to get that very important product at the stores then became drastically reduced; as online shopping evolved with the promises of salvaging so many people who don’t have time to check at different shops for what they wanted before buying.

It is therefore very expedient for every shopper to be armed with the very right information, before shopping online so as to save the stress of regretting the purchase. So, here are 7 facts you, as an online shopper, must know in order to have a successful shopping experience always.

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1. Shipping Might Not Be Entirely Free

Before you purchase an item online, be sure to ascertain if what you are buying has a free shipping tag. This is so that you don’t have to overshoot your budget. If what you have planned to spend on a product is 70 dollars, and the shipping costs an extra 20 dollars, it would be better for you to decide from the onset if you are ready for the extra cost.

Before you make a purchase, go to the site and read the description and product information to be sure it has a free shipping tag or not. However, one good way to be sure is to actually contact the product owner. This gives you extra assurance of the true cost of shipping.

2. Be Thorough In Your Search

Next you must do a thorough research on the product so that you have enough information about the products you intend purchasing. One of the advantages of doing a vast research on the kind of products you want is that it gives you the ability to locate the right kind of brands. By combing a lot of online stores, you become a smarter shopper. You can take advantage of the internet and its offers by going to possible manufacturer sites, as well as industry sites to know more about the products you want to purchase.

3. Product Reviews Always Help

If you have always ignored product reviews on several shopping sites, quit that attitude! Good product reviews are written for one thing: to give you an idea of what to expect when you actually start using the product. With this in mind, why should you as a shopaholic ignore such reviews?

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Whether there are reviews of praise or reviews of condemnation about a product, they both help you to make a very wise decision about the type of product to eventually settle for and purchase. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and time.

4. There Is an Avenue to Compare Prices

There is an avalanche of stores for you to check out different types of goods. Therefore without doubt, the availability of several other online stores makes it very easy for you to compare prices of these different products. This eventually helps you to arrive at the best product with the best price.

The best price here doesn’t necessarily mean the store with the cheapest price for your purchase. Sometimes, cheap isn’t good. It simply means the price that fits your budget. These stores offer discounts from time to time that you can cash in on to get the very best of deals.

5. Looks Can Be Deceptive

With the advent of Photoshop and other photo editing software that can make an ugly duckling look like a swan, you can be sure that some of these product images have been fine-tuned in order to be more attractive and gain attention from potential buyers like you. Therefore you must have this at the back of your mind when you are looking to see what product to settle for.

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Also, some of these high quality products might be unavailable on the sites, so be sure not to waste your time with such sites. You must be sure you are dealing directly with the manufacturer or a reliable retailer or dealer. One way to ensure this is to contact the dealer directly and ask all necessary questions.

6. There Might Be a Long Period of Waiting

It is very important for you to know that there might be a delay in shipment. This can be due to several unforeseen circumstances on the path of the company, supplier or dealer. Sometimes you need to give room for the delay such as your order being too small for the supplier to send alone or goods being held up at the customs if you’re buying from an international seller. It could also occur due to your location or your mode of delivery.

Sometimes, our purchases don’t arrive on their specified delivery dates and this often makes us shoppers pretty apprehensive. After all the effort involved in searching for the product and debiting our credit cards in the process, what else would you expect? However, giving room for delay will lower your chance of being apprehensive when your purchase doesn’t arrive on time.

7. Beware Of Fraud

To avoid being scammed while shopping online, it is important that you avoid making online purchases with a wire transfer or a checking account. Although many reputable companies offer this option, this is also the great way for a fraudster to embezzle your money from your bank account. Don’t ask me how they do it.

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Verify the source you are buying from thoroughly. This’ll help you ensure that you are not giving your account information to a crook that will end up stealing your money from your account.

So there you are. These facts provided above, will serve you so well if you take the actionable steps given seriously. Shopping online can be a wonderful and fruitful experience for you when you are armed with the necessary and important information.

When searching for the next product to buy online, remove all the guesswork and have these facts at the back of your mind. They’ll not only help you stay relaxed when shopping, but they’ll guarantee that you get the very best of what you want, without overshooting your budget. That’s the trait of a successful online shopper, and you can be one too.

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7 Facts Every Online Shopper Must Know

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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

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