Here are the money solutions you need right now
Whether it’s a global crisis or a personal crisis, you need a fix and you need it fast. Here are your 7 money solutions that are easier to put into effect than you think.
Here’s what you’ll find here:
Your money solutions
1. Crisis proof your finances
Now’s not the time to beat yourself up for your mistakes in the past if you’re currently in a financial or another type of crisis. The best thing to focus on is what you can do immediately for today and tomorrow.
First, immediately stop any and all unnecessary spending. The more you can slow down the amount of money that leaves your account, the more you’ll be prepared to deal with your crisis or mitigate its consequences.
We’re not telling you to quit your avocado toast forever – just for now.
Second, simplify your banking. Download the digital apps for your credit cards, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. You want to be able to track and access your money fast when it’s necessary.
When people are in a crisis, they often want to put their head in the sand with regard to their money. That’s the worst time to ignore your finances. Step up and keep track of every penny, and that’s easier to do today than ever.
Third, apply for or add payment insurance to your credit cards. If you think you’ll be out of work or have reduced pay for any period of time, say if you’re furloughed, this will help a helpful tool.
There are up to three main types of credit insurance:
- Credit disability insurance to make minimum monthly payments and protect your credit should you become disabled
- Involuntary unemployment credit insurance to make minimum monthly payments and protect your credit should you become unemployed or furloughed
- Credit life insurance to pay off debt when you pass away
The thing with credit insurance, similar to health insurance, is that credit insurance is “to protect you in case of . . . .” Obtaining credit insurance after the fact, for pre-existing unemployment, for example, may be hard.
For 6+ more ways to crisis-proof your finances ASAP, sign up for this free 27+ Ways to Crisis Proof Your Finances checklist.
2. Make more money ASAP
No, duh! Right?
That’s not entirely true. Most people, not all, who “aren’t good with money” have a spending problem. They don’t have an income problem.
That may not be you or that may not be your situation right now. Regardless, you’ll do yourself a disservice by only focusing on one side of your balance sheet, expenses, during a crisis. To the extent you can, it’s helpful to also look at the income side.
Thanks to the internet and gig-economy, it’s easier than ever to start a side-business or get an extra job. That’s not to say it’s necessarily easy, it’s just that the barrier to entry is lower.
Some ways to earn immediate income include:
- Teaching English to Chinese students. A few members of our courses currently do this. If they can do it, so can you by clicking this link here.
- Other schools where you can teach English are VIPKid and Teach Part-Time.
- Sell yours or someone else’s products on Etsy, eBay or Amazon.
- Make money playing games on your phone with Mistplay.
- Take surveys and get paid with cash and gift cards with sites such as Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.
- If you have any skills with writing or editing, contract out your services as a freelance writer or editor. After you start generating money freelancing, increase your income by increasing your skills here.
No, you won’t become a millionaire with any of these gigs. With some, you’ll only make a few bucks here and there. But you need money solutions right now.
The nice thing is that you can continue all of these gigs after your crisis ends and, in some cases, you can grow these gigs to generate even more money. That’s what we did with our own freelance writing.
To hear a real-life example of how someone built a multi-million-dollar brand that started with selling on Amazon, listen to our Queer Money® podcast with the king of side-hustles, Nick Loper.
Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation on Queer Money®:
To hear the pros and cons of starting a side business, hear us share our experiences with building Debt Free Guys LLC and the Queer Money® podcast on this episode of Queer Money®.
3. Eliminate your debt the fastest way possible
Looking at both sides of your balance sheet, again, you want to cut as much of your expenses as possible. For many, their credit card interest rates are one of their biggest monthly costs.
Well, you’re at the right place for advice on paying off credit card debt . . . fast!
We paid off $51,000 of credit card debt in two and a half years. How did we do that?
We didn’t pay off that much debt that fast with the Snowball Method.
We didn’t pay off that much debt that fast with the Avalance Method.
We paid off all that credit card debt with our very own Debt Lasso Method. The Debt Lasso Method is not only the fastest way to pay off credit card debt, but it’ll also save you more money over the long run than either of the Snowball or Avalanche methods and it’ll help improve your credit score.
The idea with the Debt Lasso Method is to reign in your credit card interest rates as low as possible and put 100% of your interest savings (and any other savings you can muster) toward your credit card principal.
For a brief overview of the Debt Lasso Method, watch the video we created below with CNBC.
Watch Debt Free Guys on CNBC:
Click here for a step-by-step of the Debt Lasso Method.
4. Start or grow your emergency savings (an arm’s length away)
Speaking of savings, a critical part of any money solutions plan is an emergency savings account. Now is the time to either start or grow your emergency savings account.
Most American’s don’t have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency with cash. That means, they need their credit cards. The problem is that can push them down a rabbit hole that’s hard to escape.
Avoid that by having your own emergency savings account away from you and your current bank or credit union – that’s what we mean by “arm’s length away.”
It’s too hard to build an adequate emergency savings account – ideally with enough cash to cover a minimum of three months’ worth of living expenses – when you can easily tap into whenever you want for anything that comes up . . .
a slightly larger dinner bill than you expected . . .
that new sofa you saw and just “had to” have . . .
that inexplicable shortage in your checking account . . . .
So, our advice is to find a bank or credit union where you don’t already have an account to open a savings account with no check-writing, electronic funds transfer (EFT), credit or debit card features. If possible, set contingencies that don’t permit a wire or withdrawal of any kind without you physically going to the bank or credit union to approve the withdrawal.
Some online banks to consider are:
1. CIT Bank
For one of the best online savings rates, open a Savings Builder Account with CIT Bank.
CIT’s base savings rate is currently 0.95%. If you can make a recurring monthly deposit of $100, you can take advantage of CIT’s Monthly Savers Plan, too. With CIT, there are no opening, monthly servicing or online transfer fees.
2. Radius Bank
A feature we especially like that you won’t use in this case but may use in another is Radius’ 1% cashback program on debit card purchases.
So, if you’re looking to increase your income – and if you’re looking for money solutions you probably are – this is an easy way to supplement our tips from above.
Find the best savings rates by using the table below:
5. Get enough insurance to protect you and the ones you love
All too often, we realize we’re underinsured when it’s too late. Don’t let that happen to you (or the ones you love should anything happen to you).
To ensure that you’re comprehensively insured, try the following:
1. Get health insurance through GoHealth
Searching for, finding and getting health insurance easier and more affordable thanks to GoHealth.
After you answer a few questions, GoHealth will research leading health insurance companies, from Cigna to BlueCross BlueShield to Kaiser and more, to find you a select list of the most appropriate health insurance plans for you and your family.
Don’t delay. This is too important. Search GoHealth today!
2. Get life insurance through Haven Life
Gone are the day of having to tolerate the arduous task of talking with an insurance agent, then get oversold on life insurance you’ll never use. That’s because you can fully research, find and apply for term life insurance offer though MassMutual at HavenLife.com.
Plus, you can get immediate life insurance coverage – not waiting!
We talked with Haven Life on this episode of Queer Money®. Learn all about Haven Life and why everyone, including single LGBTQ people, need life insurance.
Haven Life on Queer Money®:
3. Get life insurance through PolicyGenius
Another company we’ve partnered with and that offers wonderful life insurance solutions is PolicyGenius.
PolicyGenius’ award-winning and industry-changing site will help you find the best life insurance at the best rates available from unbiased advocates with no hidden fees.
PolicyGenius will save you up to 40% by shopping the top insurers in the marketplace. It’s so confident in its value to you, PolicyGenius will give you $100 if you find a lower rate for the same life insurance.
4. Get homeowner’s insurance through PolicyGenius
While we’re on the topic of insurance and PolicyGenius, you can also use it to find adequate homeowner’s insurance.
PolicyGenius saves its customers, on average, up to $1,127 a year within three to five minutes by shopping the top insurers in the marketplace. Plus, it’ll reshop your insurance each year to make sure you have the best coverage for you at the best rate.
5. Protect your pet with pet insurance by PetFirst
Your pet is one of the most important people parts of your life. Protect them and your wallet with pet insurance through PetFirst.
PetFirst offers more coverage for your furry family member for less hassle. Plus, it typically offers the shortest wait periods for accident and illness coverage.
Get $10 offer your first month with PetFirst and earn $25 when you refer a friend. Find out more here.
6. Buy auto insurance through Gabi Auto Insurance
In just two minutes and with no fees, Gabi will search over 40 providers of auto insurance for you.
On average, Gabi can save you up to $720.
7. Sign up to get your medications from YouDrugstore
YouDrugstore gives Americans medications sourced only from Canada Canadian pricing. Registration is free and shipping is free for orders over $100.
YouDrugstore can deliver everything from the most commonly-prescribed drugs to medication for rare medical conditions, both brand names and generic drugs.
8. Protect your business with Hiscox Small Business Insurance
We advocate for more queer people to start their own full- and part-time businesses. Doing so smartly means getting Hiscox Small Business Insurance.
Established in 1901, Hiscox is a small business insurer you can trust.
6. Fix your credit score
Few tips can save you more money over your life than having a good credit score. That’s because when you have a poor or even mediocre credit score, lenders charge you more – sometimes considerably more.
This is why one of the first steps we walk many of our course members through is building or improving their credit score. So, follow these steps for the fastest, most effective way to improve your credit score now.
Pay all your bills in-full and on-time
Your payment history, your history of paying all your bills in full and on time, makes up the largest part of your overall credit score – 35%! This is just one reason why above we recommend getting payment insurance, so you don’t miss payments on your credit cards.
Pay off as much of all your debt as fast as possible
Your credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit scores, the second biggest component. Credit utilization is just an overly complicated way of saying your percentage of debt relative to the amount of debt you have available to you.
So, if you have a total of $10,000 of credit available to you among all your credit cards and you have $5,000 in total credit card debt, your credit utilization is 50%. Convenient to our example there, you should ideally have your credit utilization below 50%.
The fastest way for you to lower your credit utilization is with the Debt Lasso Method in Step 3 above that you can read more about here. For help following the Debt Lasso Method and paying off your credit card debt fast – without mistakes – sign up for the Credit Card Pay Off Plan here.
Order, review and clean up your credit report
Your credit report is the closest thing to a report card you have as adults.
Over time, old marks that should disappear with time and mistakes stay and get added to your credit report. This requires you to take active measures to clean your credit report.
Typically, you’re allowed to get one free credit report from each of the three credit rating agencies, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Because of the current crisis, all three agencies have agreed to offer free weekly credit reports for the next year.
You can request your free reports from annualcreditreport.com. Do that now because it can take up to a month (not always) to receive a report. When you get your reports, look them over with a fine-tooth comb and request that any old marks or errors be removed.
3 quick tips to improve your credit score
1. Sign up for Experian Boost
Experian Boost connects your FICO™ credit score with your savings and checking accounts. Once you do this, Experian will review and pull your payment history for bills such as cable, utilities and phone.
So, if you’ve been consistently and fully paying your cable, utilities and phone on-time, your FICO credit score could improve between 5 to 50 points within 15 minutes or less.
2. Download the Credit Karma app
Credit Karma’s app will quickly and easily give you your Vantage credit score, similar but different to your FICO credit score and just as important. The app will also give you insights into what’s affecting your Vantage credit score and tips to improve it.
3. Sign up for our free Improve or Build Your Credit Score plan
If anything of this talk about credit scores and ways to improve them sounds hard or scary, don’t go it alone. Sign up for our free Improve or Build Your Credit Score plan.
We’ll walk you through all of these above steps and more to easily and quickly build or increase your credit score. We partnered with our friends at Experian to make sure this is a solid plan. Let us make this easier for you.
3 biggest mistakes keeping your credit score low:
7. Start saving for retirement next
A lot of what we recommended above are great money solutions for this and the next crisis. However, don’t forget about your future . . . your retirement.
Retirement always feels too far away until it’s upon you.
Too many people between the ages of 55 and 65 email us to say, “I have no money saved, and I want to retire in five years.” That’s not impossible, but it’s not easy.
So, as soon as you can, start planning and saving for your retirement. Fortunately, we offer a 21 step-by-step plan for you to save for your retirement here.
Watch the 3 steps to financial wellness:
3 more tools to prepare for your retirement
1. Follow this plan for the fastest way to save for retirement
If the reason you’re searching the inter-web for money solutions is that you want to retire yesterday and have no money saved today, listen to this episode of the Queer Money® podcast. On it, we talk with Todd Tressider about his 3-step plan to save for, invest for and prepare for retirement fast.
Listen to Todd Tressider, the Financial Mentor, on Queer Money®:
2. Sign up for Acorns
The first objective most people give us is that they “don’t have enough money to start saving and investing for retirement.” Fortunately for you, our friends at Acorns fixed that problem.
Through Acorns, you can start investing for your retirement with your spare change and cashback rewards.
3. Sign up for Blooom
Too often with 401(k)s and 403(b)s, people think they can set it and forget it. That’s an expensive mistake.
That’s because while 401(k)s and 403(b)s are the most common path to financial security in America today, they’re expensive and picking the right mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for you is important.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Blooom.
Blooom will perform a free company-sponsored retirement plan analysis for you. Then, it’ll give you unbiased advice on the right mutual funds and ETFs that are appropriate for your short- and long-term financial goals.
Watch 5 Ways to Make Your Money Last Longer in Retirement:
If you’re looking for money solutions and need those money solutions in a hurry, we recommend following these seven steps. From all our experience, we know these to be the fastest and most effective money solutions for financial security.
And, financial security, ultimately, is what you want. Right?
But don’t go it alone! Download this checklist.
Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll receive payment at no cost to you if you buy through these links. We only recommend products we use or thoroughly vet and would recommend to our moms. Buying too many of these is how you live fabulously broke. To live fabulously with financial security, start here.
More money solutions to crisis-proof your finances: