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The Best Credit Cards Around for Every Kind of Situation

The Best Credit Cards Around for Every Kind of Situation

Traveling can be an extremely exciting time in your life but you need to make sure that you have properly prepared for your trip so that unexpected issues don’t completely derail what might have been a great vacation.

Having a credit card specifically designed for travelers can save you a great deal of money on vacations. Of course you have to look into the payment options within your country but, in general, it is a great idea to carry one or more of theses credit cards with you when you travel.

Different cards offer different benefits. Some allow you to get great deals on flights; others are better suited to those who spend money on hotels and lodging, tourism, and traveling abroad. It is important that you conduct enough research and have a basic understanding of the different benefits that are offered by each card. Determine which benefits are going to be the most useful to you, and seek out cards that provide those benefits. Some of the better credit cards that are available to travelers include;

Chase Ink Plus – Traveling Abroad

Chase Ink Plus is an excellent card for would-be travelers. Its impressive list of rewards make it an ideal choice for individuals who travel abroad.

The card offers a wide range of perks, including an initial bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points, which are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase. This means that the initial bonus provided by the card could be worth as much as $625.

The card also provides a good amount of flexibility in terms of payments, along with no foreign transaction fees. To determine whether or not this card would suit your needs, consider its complete list of benefits.

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British Airways Visa Signature – Flights

The British Airways Visa Signature card is another excellent choice. The card is aimed toward travelers, offering no foreign transactions fees anywhere in the world.

The card offers a 50,000 bonus once the cardholder has made $2,000 worth of purchases within their first three months with the card. The introductory annual fee is waived for the first year, and is just $95 per year after that.

Cardholders receive 2.5 Avios for every dollar spent on British Airways, and 1.25 Avios for all other purchases made with the card. Additionally, cardholders can earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for two years during any year that more than $30,000 in purchases are made.

To find out more about the benefits of this card, read our review.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premiere – Flights and Hotels

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premiere Credit Card is the perfect card for travelers who are interested in earning benefits as quickly as possible.

Every dollar spent on the Rapids Reward Vista earns 1.67% back as credit for purchases with Southwest Airlines. This means that even the basic day-to-day use of the card can earn plane tickets.

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For a limited amount of time, the company is offering 50,000 points towards two round-trip flights when cardholders spend at least $2,000 within the first three months of opening an account. Additionally, each and every year cardholders receive 6,000 points. Find out more about these deals here.

Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard – Traveling Abroad

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is one of the premiere options for those who spend a great deal of time traveling.

Cardholders can earn as many as 40,000 bonus miles when they spend $3,000 or more during the first ninety days of holding an account. This alone could save them as much as $400 off their next trip.

This card earns 2X miles on all purchases, with no mileage caps or foreign transaction fees, which makes this the ideal card for traveling abroad.

Users are also able to redeem their miles for statement credits, which can then be applied to a wide range of services including flights, rentals, lodging, and even cruises.

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is an excellent choice for those that do a lot of traveling. It offers a high reward rate, though it does require an annual fee be paid – $89 -, but that amount is waived for the first year. Learn more about this option on Impossible Travel.

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Starwood American Express – Hotels

The Starwood American Express card is certainly an excellent choice for travelers.

Cardholders can use this card towards not only purchases from Starwood but also flights from a number of airline partnerships including American Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, among others.

The Starwood American Express is particularly suitable for those with luxurious lifestyles who make large purchases. The base rate of rewards for the card provides one Starpoint for every dollar spent. That may not seem like much compared to others cards, but the overall value of each point sits at about 2.3 cents, which can save you a great deal of money in the long run.

Cardholders are provided with 10,000 bonus points after their first purchase, and an additional 15,000 if they are able to spend $5,000 during the first six months that they hold card membership. Cardholders also earn up to five Starpoints for every dollar spent at SPG hotels.

The Starwood American Express has quickly become a very popular card for travelers due to its wide range of different hotel-related bonuses. Find out more here.

Ink Bold Business Charge Card – Interest

The Ink Bold Business Charge card is an excellent business charge card.

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This card comes with excellent sign up bonuses, no foreign transaction fees, and a $95 annual fee. Cardholders earn over 50,000 bonus points if they spend over $5,000 in their first three months.

The card is excellent for interest, providing no interest charges when the balance is paid off in full each month. The Ink Bold Business Charge Card is therefore an excellent choice for those looking to severely limit their interest payments.

Finding the right card can be a difficult task. There are many different cards with a wide range of benefits, many of which are suitable for those who do a good amount of traveling. It is important that you examine the benefits of any card before making a final decision, so that you can ensure that you receive the benefits that you have been looking for.

Photo credit: Kaiyan

 

Featured photo credit: Kaiyan via flickr.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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