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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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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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