Archives March 2021

AcreTrader Review – An Easier Way to Invest in Farmland

One of the most important parts of building a successful investment portfolio is diversification. Holding a mixture of different assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate can help you reduce volatility. If one asset does poorly, another type might perform well and offset the losses.

Real estate investing can be very complex. Investing in real estate can be difficult without the help of vehicles such as real estate investment trusts (REITs). Even then, there are many different types of real estate you can invest in.

AcreTrader is a unique real estate investing platform that helps everyday people invest in an often-overlooked type of real estate: farmland.

What Is AcreTrader?

AcreTrader is a real estate crowdfunding platform that facilitates investments in U.S. farmland in places like Arkansas and other states across the Midwest. Traditionally, farmland investments have been difficult for the average investor to make, so AcreTrader aims to make the process easier.

The company has a team that combines experience in both agriculture and finance. The company carefully selects the opportunities it offers to investors and claims that it only selects 1% of the investment opportunities it sees.

AcreTrader also handles the management of these investments, paying out rental income and facilitating a marketplace where investors can sell their shares of farmland to others interested in buying farmland.


Key Features of AcreTrader

There are a few key facts to know about AcreTrader.

Thorough Underwriting

For many investors, it can be difficult to do due diligence when investing in real estate. Several factors influence the value of real estate and its potential returns, and farmland is unique enough that most people don’t know what to consider when thinking about an investment.

AcreTrader offers help with this through its underwriting process. The company only accepts 1% of the opportunities it receives from farm owners, based on the research and knowledge of its leadership.

AcreTrader displays investment opportunities for customers to consider. It also assigns a rating to each opportunity based on its risk and potential return according to AcreTrader’s vetting process. Investors can see the expected cash return, the overall expected return, the location of the farm, and the crops that will be grown.

By only accepting the best opportunities, AcreTrader hopes to provide strong returns and limit risks for investors.

Buying in Small Amounts

AcreTrader places each farm it buys into a limited liability company. It then divides the farm into shares representing one-tenth of an acre. That makes it easy for investors to invest the exact amount that they want.

Keep in mind that each offering has a minimum investment based on the size of the farm. The minimums tend to range from $15,000 to $20,000.

AcreTrader is only open to accredited investors, meaning people with an annual income of $200,000 or more ($300,000 for couples) or a net worth exceeding $1 million. That makes the $15,000 to $20,000 minimum relatively reasonable for its intended audience.

Multiple Sources of Return

Once an investment offering is fully subscribed, AcreTrader takes over the management of the farm. It works with professionals in agriculture and local farmers to help improve farm value through:

  • Sustainability improvements
  • Implementing best practices
  • Technological improvements
  • Capital investment

The farmers working the land also pay rent to AcreTrader annually. AcreTrader charges an annual management fee of 0.75% of the land value to its investors, taken out of the rent income it pays out to the investors.

AcreTrader states that it typically looks for opportunities that will yield 3% to 5% after fees and capital appreciation sufficient to result in an annual return of 7% to 9%.

Trade Shares or Hold Until Maturity

Investors on AcreTrader have two options for earning a return when they invest in farmland.

It operates a marketplace where its customers can sell shares to other investors. Customers can only sell AcreTrader shares through AcreTrader; they cannot sell them on the open market. This can make the shares far less liquid than the securities many people are used to, which trade frequently on the open market.

For people who don’t want to sell or who cannot find a buyer, AcreTrader investments come with a maturity date. When AcreTrader buys a property, it typically intends to hold it for three to five years, although sometimes the time frame extends as long as 10 years. This gives the company’s team time to make improvements to the land and the methods used to farm it, increasing its value.

Once the investment’s end date arrives, AcreTrader sells the farm and distributes the proceeds to the shareholders.

Flat Fees

AcreTrader charges a simple 0.75% fee for its investments, based on the value of the underlying farmland. Investors don’t pay the fees out of pocket. Instead, the company deducts the cost of managing the investment from the cash rent payments it receives from farmers. It passes the remainder on to investors as annual distributions.

Some opportunities may also come with closing costs associated with purchasing the land.

The 0.75% annual fee is relatively typical for companies that facilitate real estate investments.


How Have Farmland Investments Fared in the Past?

Past performance doesn’t indicate future results, but looking at how farmland investing performed in the past can provide some information to investors.

AcreTrader claims that since 1990, farmland has been one of the best-performing assets in the United States, outpacing the returns offered by stocks, bonds, precious metals, and traditional real estate. According to the company, an investment of $10,000 made in 1990 would now be worth nearly $200,000.

Much of this growth came from a recovery in the market for farmland following a crash that saw prices fall from a high in the early 1980s, as well as a boom in the late 2000s caused by increasing demand for ethanol.

Inflation-adjusted, farmland saw little change in value between 1900 and the 1960s, until the boom that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Keep in mind that part of AcreTrader’s value proposition is improving the operating of the farms it purchases. The company’s team includes people highly experienced with agricultural best practices and technology. Even if farmland as an asset class holds steady or falls in value, AcreTrader may manage to increase the value of the specific properties it buys through the improvements it implements.

The promise of distributions from the rent AcreTrader receives also helps to offset the risk of falling or stagnant land values.

All in all, that means that is certainly potential for farmland to be a successful investment, but there’s no guarantee it will offer significant returns or outperform other asset classes.


Advantages

AcreTrader brings a few important benefits to the table.

1. Access to a Unique Asset Class

One of the primary benefits of investing through AcreTrader is access to investments in farmland. Farmland is a relatively unique asset class. It can be hard to get exposure to it through more traditional channels.

That means AcreTrader provides a unique opportunity to diversify your portfolio and capture gains most people don’t have access to.

2. Carefully Selected Offerings

AcreTrader touts its team’s combined experience in the worlds of both agriculture and finance. The company says it only accepts 1% of the opportunities that are presented because it has strict requirements that ensure the investments available through its site are of the highest quality.

If you believe in the expertise of AcreTrader’s management team, you can feel confident that you’re investing in high-quality farmland with great potential to produce income and grow in value.

3. Annual Cash Payments

AcreTrader offers returns in two forms: cash from the rental payments made by farmers working the land AcreTrader owns, and land appreciation created by the investments AcreTrader makes into updating the farms it purchases. These investments can help increase crop yields and make the land more valuable.

The regular cash payments can help smooth out returns if farmland fluctuates in value and provide investors with passive income. It can also provide a stream of income investors can use to add to their portfolio or cover other expenses.


Disadvantages

AcreTrader isn’t perfect, and it’s important to know the drawbacks before you start investing.

1. Relatively Unproven

AcreTrader was founded in 2018, which means the company has only been around for a few years. While the company is reputable, it doesn’t have the long track record of producing a positive return that other investment companies have.

It also means the company doesn’t have significant experience handling changing market conditions, which could increase risk during market turbulence. You might also worry about leaving the management of land that’s miles away from you to AcreTrader’s management team.

If you want to invest in similar asset classes, you might consider commercial real estate or other alternatives if you dislike AcreTrader’s lack of history. There are other real estate crowdfunding platforms, such as Fundrise, that facilitate commercial real estate investing.

2. Potentially Low Liquidity

When you buy shares in a farm through AcreTrader, it may be difficult to sell those shares to other investors. With traditional investments like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, you can generally sell your investment on demand. This is important if you need to access your funds because of a financial crisis.

On AcreTrader, you can only sell your shares to other AcreTrader users through the platform’s marketplace. AcreTrader restricts investment to accredited investors, which limits the number of people who can join the platform. Non-accredited investors can’t get involved. That means there’s no guarantee you’ll find someone who wants to buy the shares you’re selling.

Given that the investment is relatively illiquid, if you need your money back, you might find yourself having to wait through the five- to 10-year holding period for AcreTrader to liquidate the investment and distribute the proceeds to investors.

3. Available to Accredited Investors Only

AcreTrader is only open to accredited investors. To qualify as an accredited investor, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have an individual or joint (with a spouse) net worth exceeding $1 million, excluding your primary residence
  • Have an individual income exceeding $200,000 per year and a reasonable expectation of the same level of income in the current year
  • Have a joint income (with a spouse) exceeding $300,000 per year and a reasonable expectation of the same level of income in the current year

According to 2016 Federal Reserve data, only about 10% of households qualified as accredited investors, which means the majority of people cannot invest through AcreTrader.


Final Word

AcreTrader offers exposure to an unusual and potentially lucrative asset class for investors with sufficient net worth or income to qualify. The company helps with due diligence by only offering the best opportunities it comes across, but further research should be part of every individual’s investing process.

If you can’t invest through AcreTrader, or you’d prefer to invest in real estate through more traditional means, REITs provide an easy way to invest in different kinds of real estate while letting you use your regular brokerage account. You can also look into other real estate crowdfunding sites and investment platforms.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Kakeibo: A Budgeting Method to Help You Be More Mindful With Money

It’s easy to feel disconnected from your finances when you spend with the swipe of a card or the tap of a button on your smartphone.

But when you’re mindful of where your money goes, you can cut down on unnecessary spending and put more cash toward your savings goals.

Kakeibo, a long-standing Japanese budgeting method, attempts to help people become more cognizant of their spending habits and improve the way they manage money.

Here’s how it works.

What Is Kakeibo?

Kakeibo — pronounced “kah-keh-boh” and sometimes spelled “kakebo” — is a money management style that has been around since the early 1900s. The word translates to “household financial ledger.” Hani Motoko, who is known to be Japan’s first female journalist, helped bring kakeibo to the public eye, making it popular among housewives who manage their family’s finances.

Though this budgeting method has been around for over a century, it has seen a resurgence in popularity — particularly in the Western world — in the last couple of years as more people embrace minimalism, mindfulness and KonMari organization.

Budgeters looking to straighten out their financial lives the way Marie Kondo taught us to tidy up our living spaces need to look no further than kakeibo.

A woman writes in her journal.
Getty Images

How to Manage Your Money With Kakeibo

Kakeibo stands apart from other budgeting methods by combining reflection and journaling with common money management practices like categorizing expenses and tracking spending.

One thing that’s important to mention about kakeibo is that it’s intended to be done on pen and paper — hence the “household ledger” translation. Physically writing down your spending gives you a more tangible sense of where your money’s going rather than using an app that records your expenses for you.

While several kakeibo budgeting journals have been published in the last few years — like Fumiko Chiba’s “Kakeibo: The Japanese Art of Saving Money” — you don’t need to buy a guided journal to get started. A plain notebook can serve the same purpose.

If you’re setting up your own kakeibo journal, start each month off by reflecting on the following four questions:

It’s easy to feel disconnected from your finances when you spend with the swipe of a card or the tap of a button on your smartphone.

But when you’re mindful of where your money goes, you can cut down on unnecessary spending and put more cash toward your savings goals.

Kakeibo, a long-standing Japanese budgeting method, attempts to help people become more cognizant of their spending habits and improve the way they manage money.

Here’s how it works.

What Is Kakeibo?

Kakeibo — pronounced “kah-keh-boh” and sometimes spelled “kakebo” — is a money management style that has been around since the early 1900s. The word translates to “household financial ledger.” Hani Motoko, who is known to be Japan’s first female journalist, helped bring kakeibo to the public eye, making it popular among housewives who manage their family’s finances.

Though this budgeting method has been around for over a century, it has seen a resurgence in popularity — particularly in the Western world — in the last couple of years as more people embrace minimalism, mindfulness and KonMari organization.

Budgeters looking to straighten out their financial lives the way Marie Kondo taught us to tidy up our living spaces need to look no further than kakeibo.

How to Manage Your Money With Kakeibo

Kakeibo stands apart from other budgeting methods by combining reflection and journaling with common money management practices like categorizing expenses and tracking spending.

One thing that’s important to mention about kakeibo is that it’s intended to be done on pen and paper — hence the “household ledger” translation. Physically writing down your spending gives you a more tangible sense of where your money’s going rather than using an app that records your expenses for you.

While several kakeibo budgeting journals have been published in the last few years — like Fumiko Chiba’s “Kakeibo: The Japanese Art of Saving Money” — you don’t need to buy a guided journal to get started. A plain notebook can serve the same purpose.

If you’re setting up your own kakeibo journal, start each month off by reflecting on the following four questions:

  1. How much money do you have available?

  2. How much would you like to save?

  3. How much are you spending?

  4. How can you improve?

Jot down income you’ll have coming in during the month and subtract fixed expenses that you’re obligated to pay — like your rent or mortgage, utilities and minimum debt payments. The money you’re left with is your available funds for the month.

From that amount, decide how much you want to put aside for savings. Think about what you’re saving for and why you’ve set that goal. Are you on track to reaching your desired amount or do you need to find ways to reduce your expenses or bring in more income?

After putting aside money for savings, log your spending in your journal as it occurs. Using the kakeibo method, you’ll keep track of the type of expenses using four broad budget categories:

  1. Needs: This would include groceries, clothing and medicine.

  2. Wants: Factor in expenses like gym memberships, dining out and spa services.

  3. Culture: Buying books and attending festivals would fall under this category.

  4. Unexpected or extra expenses: This could be things like car repairs or an emergency vet visit.

As you record your spending, write about why you made each purchase and how you felt. Were you feeling rushed or stressed as you were shopping? Were you giving into retail therapy because you were having a bad day? Did you buy something just because it was on sale, even though you have no room for it at home? Did you feel glad that you bought something you’ve been waiting weeks to buy?

In a way, you can treat your kakeibo journal like a diary. Exploring your feelings about spending money can help you get to the root cause behind poor habits — like overspending when you’re pressed for time or when you’re out with friends you want to impress. Ideally, you want to feel happy about the way you spend your hard-earned cash.

At the end of the month, you’ll total up your spending in each of the four categories and reflect on how you’ve managed your money. You might want to do mini check-ins at the end of each week.

Ask yourself: Did your actions align with your financial goals? What were your successes and failures? Think about how you can improve going into the month ahead.

Benefits of Kakeibo

If you want more control over your spending, kakeibo is a great budgeting style to try.

You don’t have to follow set budget percentages. How you spend your money is truly a reflection of your unique financial goals.

You don’t have to stress about organizing your spending into rigid budget categories. Kakeibo’s four categories are pretty broad, but they paint a good overall picture of where your money’s going.

Using pen and paper also helps you stay aware of how much cash you have available to spend at all times. And knowing you have to record your spending at the end of the day may make you think twice before giving into an impulse purchase.

Embracing mindfulness in your financial life through kakeibo can help you reduce your spending and save more. Ultimately, it’ll set you on the right path to reaching your money goals.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Chase Extends Pay Yourself Back Until September 30, 2021

Chase has announced that the Pay Yourself Back feature that was originally slated to end on April 30, 2021 will be extended until September 30, 2021. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 1.5¢ in value and Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get 1.25¢ in value when redeeming points against the following charges: grocery and home improvement stores, dining at restaurants, including takeout and delivery services and contributions to eligible charitable organizations.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

8 Clever Tips to Selling Used Goods Online

I learned this lesson the hard way. You may think your grandmother’s dark wood bedroom set is worth 0 to ,000, but Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor won’t see it that way. If you price your item too high, you will get largely ignored by buyers. And much like selling a house, the first few days on these apps are pivotal.
Do not make your listing title overly detailed. It is better to be bare bones and minimal: think “bed” or “table” for furniture items. Many people who bought my items scoured Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace every day for specific objects. I suspect some might have had an alert set up on their phone for certain products. That’s why you want to be as simple as possible — your listing may get lost in the shuffle if the name has too many details.
My concern was unfounded. Not only did the items I posted sell, but they sold quickly and for a higher listing price than my posting. The experience proved to be a gateway to my affinity for selling old items on Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor. In six months of selling, I made almost 0. As an added bonus, each of the items I sold were required to be picked up from the buyer, meaning that I didn’t have to move a single thing.

8 Tips for Selling Your Stuff Online

And if you really don’t care about the item and want it gone, there’s always the tried-and-true strategy: put it out in the alley or driveway. Usually, by day’s end, it will have disappeared.

Window screens lay on the side of a house in this screen shot. They were eventually sold on Facebook Marketplace.
Elizabeth Djinis recommends a bare bones approach when naming items to sell on social media. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Djinis

Name Your Item Simply

Part of this comes with experience on the apps. Know what items sell well — sheds, for example, are incredibly in demand, and appliances usually go quickly if fairly priced. Objects that are more taste-based, like art and furniture, are harder to gauge. It’s about getting the right buyer. For those, I would suggest taking appealing photos and lowering the price.

Anticipate Buyers’ Questions

I needed to get rid of some larger items — namely, a few sheds and some old appliances — and I didn’t want to pay for that service. My laziness always wins out, so I decided I would list them on Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace on a lark. If they didn’t sell, well, I hadn’t lost anything but time.
I’ve been lucky on Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. Someone bought an old trash can, window screens and a used shower mat, all items I thought would never sell.  But in general, if you don’t get any or many responses within the first week, you’re probably not going to sell your item. The problem with selling on social media is that the seller has little control over what items are prioritized on a potential buyer’s feed. Sometimes, you have to accept your losses and call the trash collector. City or county sanitation services will often dispose of bigger items if you need something gone in a flash.

Don’t Set Prices Too High

My obsession with selling my old junk online started with a bit of spring cleaning.
It’s much better to price your item low and get noticed by many. This can drive a bidding war and may even get you the higher price you wanted in the beginning. I recommend no more than 0 for most furniture, unless it’s an item that has incredible and specific demand.

Be Responsive

Depending on the size and type of item, potential buyers often want to see it in advance before investing. This takes time because you’ll have to schedule an appointment with them. But it’s often worth it. Once people make their way to your house to view the item, they’ll probably be emotionally invested enough to buy it. For safety sake, you might ask a friend to join you if you live alone or if your housemates can’t be there when the prospective buyer stops by.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Let People Look in Advance

What did I do right? And what lessons did I learn along the way? The following tips will help you make money off some of the oldest and seemingly useless things around the house.

An aluminum fence is sold on Facebook Marketplace.
The writer sold this fence on Facebook Marketplace, which caters to a bigger geographic region so it’s a good place to see an item you’re not sure will sell. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Djinis

Know Your Audience

People are more likely to buy when someone responds to them quickly. If you wait one or two days to respond, they may no longer be interested. You’ll also often have to answer some follow-up questions.

Know the Value of Your Item

Each app has a different audience. I’ve had the best luck on Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor. Marketplace is a great place to sell an item that you’re not sure will go, because it caters to a much broader geographic region than a neighborhood-based app like Nextdoor. If you want your item to go fast, particularly within a few hours, and you think it has significant demand, Nextdoor is the way to go. You’re usually dealing with people in a much smaller radius, ideally within your neighborhood or the next one over, so they are able to get to your door quickly.

After a Week, Give It Up

If there are any other specific details relevant to your item or pick-up, post them in the description. Think of this as what you would want to know if you were buying your item. People want to deal with someone who is thoughtful so it’s better to offer all of that information at the outset.
Unfortunately, this is a job. When selling an item, try to monitor your messages on the apps you are selling on, whether that’s Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor or Letgo.
This is largely a common sense tip but it’s smart to give as much information as you can in the listing. If you’re selling furniture or any object, post multiple photos and be upfront about damage. Always — and I can’t stress this enough — post the dimensions in your listing. People will probably still message you asking for the dimensions, but anytime I’ve written “dimensions available upon request” in my listing, I get bombarded. It’s much better to answer buyers’ questions upfront.
Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

Cheap Car Insurance for Seniors: Best Providers and Discounts

  • Car Insurance

Car insurance generally gets cheaper as you age, but it can begin to creep up again once you hit 60, as statistics suggest you’re more likely to be involved in an accident than someone in their 30s and 40s. However, with the right information and the right providers, you can get cheap car insurance beyond the age of 65.

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

Attention: Still Open During the Financial Crisis…

Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers.

The Cheapest Insurance Companies for Seniors

The following companies all have cheap senior car insurance policies and should be considered when you apply for a new policy.

Geico

You could be forgiven for thinking that we had some sort of affiliation with Geico. After all, this provider tops many of our lists of the cheapest insurance coverage. But the simple fact is that Geico consistently has the cheapest rates for applicants with clean driving records.

Geico offers something known as a Prime Time contract, which guarantees renewal and offers fantastic rates. It’s available in most (but not all) states, and is offered to drivers who meet the following criteria:

  • Are aged 50 or over
  • Have no drivers below the age of 25 in their household
  • Have been accident-free for at least 3 years
  • Do not use any vehicles for commercial reasons

In addition to consistently cheap rates and senior discounts, Geico offers other driver discounts and benefits, including:

  • Accident forgiveness program
  • Defensive driving course discount
  • Multi-car and multi-policy discount
  • A good driving history for at least 5 years
  • Discount for current and former members of the military

Allstate

A couple of car insurance providers are cheaper than Allstate, but if you can take advantage of their multi-policy discount, known as “bundling”, you’ll make some substantial savings. Allstate also offers the follow car insurance discounts:

  • Discount when you pay in full or autopay
  • Discount for cars that have safety equipment and anti-theft devices (anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags) as well as new cars.
  • Safe driving discounts
  • Multi-policy and multi-car discounts

Progressive

Progressive is one of the cheapest car insurance companies for mature drivers. In addition to a host of discounts, Progressive offers something known as the SnapShot program. This is a type of usage-based insurance. The insurer will install a telematics device in your car to track your mileage and your driving habits, before adjusting your rates based on the information recorded.

If you’re a safe driver and a good driver and/or you don’t spend a lot of time behind the wheel, this could be a great way to get lower rates. Like Allstate, Progressive also reduces rates if you purchase multiple policies with them (such as life insurance and home insurance).

Other Cheap Providers

The Hartford, Farmers Insurance Group, and State Farm are also worth considering and may offer cheaper rates than the insurers above depending on your location and driving habits.

Military veterans should also consider the USAA, as they will nearly always offer the best rates, while occasional drivers should look into Metromile. This insurer offers low mileage discounts for all drivers, but it is not available in all states.

How to Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes as a Senior

A little research and preparation go a long way and where car insurance is concerned, it could save you hundreds of dollars. Keep these top tips in mind when applying for car insurance as a senior:

1. Compare Auto Insurance Rates

Older drivers are more likely to renew their policies and stay with the same auto insurance companies. But as you age, it’s even more important to keep comparing and to make sure you get the absolute best auto insurance quotes available to you.

Fortunately, it has never been easier to get free quotes and to quickly compare rates from all available providers.

2. Join a Club

Club membership discounts are some of the best ways to save money on your car insurance. For instance, as a member of the AARP, you are entitled to special discounts from The Hartford, and can secure a host of other benefits as well.

3. Think About Your Car

Your vehicle is one of the main things influencing your car insurance premiums. If you drive a car fitted with a host of safety features, you’re less likely to crash and to suffer serious injuries, which means the insurer will reward you with discounts and cheaper rates. You can also get discounts for driving a new car.

At the same time, however, a new car may need collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, and you may be more inclined to set a lower deductible. All these things need to be considered when shopping for a new car and looking to get it insured.

4. Bundle Policies and Cars

If you have several cars and drivers in your household, consider adding them all to the same policy. Your current insurer can discuss this option with you and give you an idea of how much you can save. What’s more, if you’re dealing with one of the bigger providers, you can add several different insurance products together and secure “bundling” discounts.

5. Check all Discounts

Insurers offer a wealth of discounts. Some of these are big, such as military discounts and good driver discounts, but others are small, such as discounts offered for paying in full or setting up autopay. The more of these you get, the more you will save, so ask your insurance agent or provider about all of them and see how much you can save.

Average Cost of Senior Auto Insurance by State

The average senior driver spends between $1,400 and $1,500 on car insurance premiums per year. The state minimum requirements are much less, around $600 per insurance policy, but many senior citizens choose additional coverage options, which bumps the costs up a little.

As we have discussed before, car insurance quotes differ considerably from state to state. For an idea of how much you can expect to pay based on your location, take a look at these averages:

  • Alabama = $1,400
  • Alaska = $1,300
  • Arizona = $1,450
  • Arkansas = $1,450
  • California = $1,850
  • Colorado = $1,600
  • Connecticut = $1,850
  • Delaware = $1,650
  • Florida = $2,300
  • Georgia = $1,300
  • Hawaii = $1,000
  • Idaho = $1,050
  • Illinois = $1,150
  • Indiana = $1,150
  • Iowa = $1,000
  • Kansas = $1,300
  • Kentucky = $1,500
  • Louisiana = $2,500
  • Maine = $850
  • Maryland = $1,700
  • Massachusetts = $1,150
  • Michigan = $2,700
  • Minnesota = $1,200
  • Mississippi = $1,300
  • Missouri = $1,200
  • Montana = $1,500
  • Nebraska = $1,100
  • Nevada = $1,800
  • New Hampshire = $1,200
  • New Jersey = $1,450
  • New Mexico = $1,300
  • New York = $1,750
  • North Carolina = $1,150
  • North Dakota = $1,000
  • Ohio = $950
  • Oklahoma = $1,650
  • Oregon = $1,400
  • Pennsylvania = $1,450
  • Rhode Island =​​​​ $2,300
  • South Carolina = $1,600
  • South Dakota = $1,100
  • Tennessee = $1,200
  • Texas = $1,600
  • Utah = $1,200
  • Vermont = $1,000
  • Virginia = $900
  • Washington = $1,250
  • West Virginia = $1,300
  • Wisconsin = $1,050
  • Wyoming = $1,300

Bottom Line: Best Car Insurance for Seniors

Seniors can be considered a high-risk and if you’re over the age of 75 and have a few blemishes on your record, you may find yourself in this category. However, most drivers won’t face any issue when applying for car insurance and with the right preparation, there’s no reason they can’t save hundreds of dollars on their insurance premiums.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Living Will vs. DNR: Key Differences

Living Will vs. DNR: Key Differences – SmartAsset

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When planning for the future, it’s common to think of what you’ll do with your estate and assets. However, there is more to consider than just your financial situation. You have to take into account your health and well-being, too. That’s where advance medical directives come in. By drafting one, you can ensure you and your body are well taken care of even when you can’t. There are two common ways to employ a medical directive: a living will and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. A financial advisor can help you sort through the pros and cons of both options.

A Living Will Explained

A living will is a legal document that dictates your personally approved medical decisions for future, long-term and end-of-life care. It records your wishes as instructions for your doctors to follow in the case that you can’t communicate them. So, this only comes into play when you’re incapacitated. That can result from a degenerative disease you may have, such as Alzheimer’s, which is terminal. Or, it could be necessary in case you suffer severe brain trauma. Either way, the living will preserves your wishes for how you want to handle those scenarios.

Often, a person will use the document to approve or disapprove life-sustaining procedures. This can include measures like breathing tubes, medication intake and dialysis.

You draft the living will while you’re still sound of mind and body. As long as you’re mentally fit, you can change or revoke the document at any time. However, they’re often made in combination with a power of attorney for healthcare. This is an individual who you choose to make medical-related decisions on your behalf. If you want to change your living will, you should inform your POA for healthcare.

Do-Not-Resuscitate Order Explained

Although you may see a DNR floating in the same conversations as a living will, they are not the same. A DNR is essentially a medical document that tells your doctors what to do if your heart or breathing stops. In this case, it asks the medical professionals not to revive you using cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A DNR is usually only for the chronically ill, frail and elderly. This is because of two main reasons.

The first is that resuscitation can be physically traumatic and even lead to broken ribs or punctured lungs – damage that is difficult for certain groups. The second reason is that resuscitation may require medical intervention the patient otherwise did not want. Moreover, a natural death can be easier to accept.

Living Will vs. DNR: Key Differences

It’s vital to know the difference between a living will and a DNR as you do your estate planning. This is even more important for aging and ill individuals or those considering their estate plans.

So, to review, a living will and a DNR are two different documents. The former is a legal document, while the latter is a medical one. Their main similarity is that they both provide instructions for your doctors and loved ones to follow when you can’t properly communicate. A living will provides an outline of medical procedures that you either do or do not want. Also, it usually involves life-sustaining treatment and end-of-life care, which is more complex than a DNR. In contrast, a DNR focuses on a single medical procedure and typically does not require a living will, although a DNR can be included in the other.

Living Will vs. DNR: Which One Do You Need?

If all you want or require is a DNR or a do-not-intubate (DNI), you only need a DNR. You do not have to pursue a living will as well. However, if you have certain pre-existing conditions or have complicated desires for your future medical care, a living will is valuable insurance. It will protect your wishes when you are not in the position to do so. On top of that, a living will can support spiritual, religious, or otherwise personal medical decisions as well.

The Takeaway

While estate planning comes with its difficulties, it’s better to face it head-on. When you decide if you need a DNR or living will, you take a weight off of your and your family’s shoulders. Since medical and end-of-life care is so personal, you avoid family stress and upset by making the decision ahead of time. If you think either option might be right for you, discuss your choices with your family and doctor. Keep in mind that another option is what’s called a medical order for life-sustaining treatment. You can also speak with an estate planning attorney to discuss your living will options.

Tips for Estate Planning

  • Income in America is taxed by the federal government, most state governments and many local governments. The federal income tax system is progressive, so the rate of taxation increases as income increases. A federal income tax calculator can give you a quick read on what you owe Uncle Sam.
  • Consider working with a financial advisor as you do your estate planning. Finding one doesn’t have to be hard. With SmartAsset’s financial advisor match-up tool, you can get connected with local, experienced advisors in minutes. If you’re ready for the help you deserve, get started now.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/kupicoo, ©iStock.com/svetikd, ©iStock.com/courtneyk

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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Source: smartasset.com

Should You Make Extra Payments on a Low Interest Loan?

If there’s one personal finance tenet you’ll see almost universal agreement on, it’s that you should pay off your high interest debts first and keep them paid off. Accumulating high interest debt is devastating to your finances because of the sheer amount of money that it drains from your checking account with nothing in return.

What about low interest debts, though? What if you have a debt that’s locked in at 3% or 4%? Does that debt need to be paid off, too? Also, where exactly is that line between high and low interest debt?

Before we dig in, let’s be clear about the benefits of making extra payments on a debt. When you get a bill for a debt in the mail, there are two key numbers you’re looking at. The first is the principal or balance, which is how much you currently owe. The second is the interest. That’s how much extra you owe that’s built up since your last payment. It’s based on multiplying your principal by the interest rate.

For example, if you owe $1,000 at a 12% annual interest rate, and you’re making payments once a month, your interest on your next payment will be $1,000 times 0.12 (that’s 12%) divided by 12 (because it’s one month out of the 12 months of the year), meaning you owe $10 in interest.

This is important because the amount of interest you owe each month goes down when you pay off principal. If you reduce that principal to $500, you only owe $5 in interest that month. Extra debt payments go entirely to the principal, making it that much smaller. Thus, when you make an extra debt payment, you’re lowering the amount of interest you pay every single month going forward (assuming you don’t add more to that debt). That’s why it’s so powerful!

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What is a “low interest debt”?

A low interest debt is any debt with an interest rate lower than what you could easily get with an investment. Depending on your perspective on investments, that number is somewhere between 7% and 12%. Warren Buffett projects that future investment returns should come in around 7% a year, so 7% is a pretty safe cutoff between low and high interest debt.

You should pay off high interest debt as fast as possible, because you essentially can’t do better than that through investing without some significant luck. It’s a pretty good guaranteed rate of return on your money (assuming, again, that you’re not accumulating any more high interest debt).

With low interest debt, it gets a bit trickier, as there are both pros and cons to paying off low interest debt early. Some people even consider low interest debt to be “good debt” because of some of the drawbacks.

Pros of paying off a low interest loan early

Benefits of paying off a low interest debt early include:

  • Fewer monthly bills, which means less financial stress any way you slice it. Simply having to come up with less money for bills each month is always a help.
  • Improved cash flow, which happens as a result of shrinking or eliminating bills. If you pay off any debt, you have a smaller stack of bills to pay off each month, which means that you can survive and thrive on a smaller amount of income or have more money available to save for long-term goals.
  • Financial progress happens even when you pay off a low interest debt. That’s money that’s not disappearing in the form of interest.

Cons of paying off a low interest loan early

Drawbacks of paying off a low interest debt early include:

  • Locked-up money, because money that could have been easily available in a savings account is now “tied up” in your loan. For example, you could have a $5,000 debt and $1,000 in savings, or a $4,000 debt and $0 in savings. While it’s nicer to have lower debt, it also means you don’t have that $1,000 easily accessible for emergencies, and that could turn quickly into credit card debt in an emergency.
  • Opportunity cost, which is an extension of the ‘locked-up money” problem. If you pay down a debt, that means that you don’t have the cash on hand to take advantage of an opportunity. If you put that $1,000 into a loan, you might not have $1,000 to take advantage of a great deal on replacing your fridge that’s nearing the end of its lifespan.

Don’t pay off a low interest loan early

If you do not have any other financial plans, the best strategy is to pay off high interest loans first, then make minimum payments on low interest loans and do other things with what would have been an extra payment, like building an emergency fund or bumping up retirement contributions.

An emergency fund is useful because it’s a buffer that keeps you from taking on high interest credit card debt in an emergency. For example, if your car breaks down and needs to go to the shop, you can just tap a cash emergency fund instead of putting a balance on a credit card. This should be a top priority once you have high interest debt under control.

If you have an emergency fund, transition to making sure that your retirement savings are well taken care of. Bump up contributions to your workplace retirement plan. If they offer matching funds, contribute enough to get every dime of it.

Except in these situations

Are there times when you should consider paying off a low interest loan quickly? The only time you should consider such a move is when you already have an emergency fund and you know that your monthly income is about to drop.

For example, if you have a few months of living expenses saved up and you’re considering a career change or a job change, then having lower monthly bills makes it much easier to move into a period where there might be less income moving in. Another example is if you’re about to retire with a fixed income, such as a pension, where you know that your monthly income will be lower and month-to-month survival is much easier if you have fewer bills.

In those situations, however, you should prioritize a healthy emergency fund over paying off low interest debt. Only pay off the debt if you have a few months of living expenses set aside in case things go badly.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

Your Complete Uptown, Minneapolis Neighborhood Guide

You know you may have selected the best neighborhood to live in when it’s mentioned in a song by Prince.

Uptown Minneapolis enjoyed the notoriety in the Twin Cities native’s song “Uptown.” With its diverse population and restaurants, clubs and attractions, people of all backgrounds love calling the area home.

Where is Uptown in Minneapolis?

A few minutes west of downtown Minneapolis, Uptown offers an outstanding location to call home, whether you work downtown or enjoy local sights and venues.

While not an official neighborhood in Minneapolis, Uptown has been a business district for almost 100 years. The district consists of businesses around Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, bordered by Bde Maka Ska Lake on the west and DuPont Avenue to the east, 28th Street to the north and 31st Street to the south.

uptown minneapolis minnesota

Source: Rent.com

Consisting of parts of four neighborhoods — Lowry Hill East, East Calhoun, East Isles and South Uptown — Uptown has grown into a popular neighborhood with young professionals, couples and singles.

  • Population: 20,614
  • Average income: $66,842
  • Studio average rent: $1,574
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,802
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,413
  • Average commute time: 22 minutes
  • Walk score: 87
  • Bike score: 93
  • Transit score: 57

Living in Uptown

Popular with a younger crowd, the neighborhood also attracts plenty of families. Offering life experiences for children that they won’t learn about in books, families enjoy the fun and educational opportunities of urban living. Regardless of your background, Uptown is a great place to call home to everyone.

uptown minneapolis

Demographics

Consisting of four other neighborhoods — East Calhoun (ECCO), South Uptown, East Isles and Lowry Hill East — the combined median income for the area is $66,842, according to Minnesota Compass. East Calhoun has the highest income average at $80,511. Lowry Hill East has the lowest income average at $56,722.

In this diverse neighborhood, people of color account for about 25 percent of the population. African Americans make up the largest ethnic group. The neighborhood also includes Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

People between 25-34 account for about 38 percent of the population.

Education

Minneapolis’ Southwest High School is the nearest public school to Uptown. The school includes ninth through 12th grades. It ranks among the top 15 public schools in Minnesota. It’s one of 10 high schools making up the Minneapolis schools district.

Minneapolis is also home to private schools, such as the Blake School. The college preparatory school has an enrollment of about 1,400 students, from preschool through 12th grade. Alumni include former Governor Mark Dayton, comedian and former US Senator Al Franken and Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix.

Safety

Minneapolis experienced an increased crime rate over the summer of 2020.

Uptown was the scene of several protests and riots following the alleged killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. With vandalism, arson and looting the primary crimes during weeks-long protests, the city’s police department found its focus on crowd control. Uptown was one of the neighborhoods that experienced a higher-than-average crime rate. As protests stopped, and more police returned to street patrol, the city saw a decrease in crime.

There are simple ways to help protect yourself against a crime. Travel in pairs or groups and park your car in well-lit areas. Also, don’t stay out too late, when crime tends to occur more often.

Recreation and entertainment

With the largest lake in Minneapolis, Bde Maka Ska Lake — White Earth Lake in Dakota (Sioux) language — offers year-round fun. A 3.2-mile loop takes you around the lake. You can enjoy daily walks or bicycle rides with a beautiful view of the lake. Enjoy boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming and fishing on the 401-acre lake. During winter, explore the area with cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Transportation

Uptown’s commute is about 11 minutes from downtown. The weekday commute is a bit longer for most residents, who work outside of downtown. The average commute time from Uptown to other areas runs about 22 minutes.

About 65 percent of Uptown residents commute at least 20 minutes. About 30 percent take 10-19 minutes to travel to work. Only 6 percent of locals have a commute under 10 minutes.

Public transportation is a viable alternative to driving a vehicle. Uptown has easy access to the bus line, as Route 6 provides the quickest route from downtown to the Hennepin and Lake area. More bus routes for Uptown include Route 12, 17, 21, 23 and 612.

History

As Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles became popular tourist destinations during the late 1800s, streetcars became a key transportation option from the business districts in the area.

Opening in 1916, the Lagoon Theater is near Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues as a vaudeville venue. Fire destroyed the building in 1939. Business leaders sought to rebuild the theater, so they rebranded it as the Uptown Business District. Owners named the new theater Uptown.

Over the years, Uptown saw a business boom, but then white residents started moving to the suburbs. Soon after, the area experienced decay and an increase in crime. As the area became popular with artists, the Uptown Art Fair launched in 1964. Development returned to the area, including Seven Points Malls. Housing and apartment construction increased, and Uptown became a popular area to live.

Uptown, Minneapolis on the water.

10 things to do in Uptown

Uptown Minneapolis is home to outstanding restaurants, interesting attractions and outstanding entertainment venues. You may never want to leave the neighborhood.

  1. Explore hiking trails or enjoy water activities at Bde Maka Ska Lake.
  2. Art aficionados love the annual Uptown Art Fair. The fair attracts hundreds of artists and 400,000 visitors.
  3. Uptown Minneapolis’ diverse population offers locals an opportunity to partake in food from all backgrounds, including eateries such as Origami Restaurant, World Street Kitchen and Mucci’s Italian.
  4. Sip an espresso or latte at a local coffeehouse like Uncommon Grounds Coffeehouse, Corner Coffee Uptown and Caribou Coffee.
  5. Movie fans enjoy local theaters including the Uptown Theater and Lagoon Cinema.
  6. Window shop or put on your shopping shoes for adventures at an indoor mall such as Seven Points Uptown (formerly Calhoun Square) or Uptown Row. Check out local shops and boutiques including Covered and Via’s Vintage.
  7. Enjoy the nightlife with a drink, music and fun times with friends at Prohibition-era bar Pourhouse Uptown and The Fremont.
  8. Catch live music at the venerable Granada Theater, a 1920s vintage theater, which reopened in 2019 as a 600-person concert venue.
  9. Take in the sights and sounds, as well as some fresh fruits and vegetables and other treats, during summer’s East Isles Farmers Market.
  10. Take a step back into the ’80s and beyond with a fun outing at Up-Down Minneapolis, home of vintage arcade games and pinball machines.

Finding an apartment in Uptown Minneapolis

Uptown Minneapolis embraces its diversity and seeks to have residents explore its restaurants and attractions. From spending the day at Bde Maka Ska Park to browsing through the books at Magers and Quinn Booksellers, you’ll find plenty to do in your new Uptown Minneapolis apartment.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021 and go back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com