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In March I offered some financial advice to Michelle, a Mint user who was struggling with debt, a lack of retirement savings and a bit of family financial drama amongst her siblings.
Michelle was anticipating a cash bonus from her company and wasnât sure if she should save the money or use it to relieve her debt.
I recommended a two-prong approach where she uses the cash to play savings catch-up in her retirement account and knock down some of her debt, which, at the time, included a $3,000 credit card balance and $52,000 in student loans.
Six months later, Iâve checked in with the 38-year-old real estate developer, to see if any of my advice was helpful and if sheâs experienced any shifts in her financial life.
We spoke via email:
Farnoosh: Have your finances have improved over the last 6 months since we last spoke? If so, what has been the biggest improvement?
Michelle: Yes. I’veÂ aggressively been contributing to my 401(k) â about 50% of my pay – and had hoped to reach the annual maximum of $18,000 by June, but looks like it will be more like October. I also received a $40,000 distribution from a project that I closed.
F: What aspects of your financial life still challenge you?
M: Investing for sure. I never know if I’m hoarding too much cash. I am truly traumatized from the financial downturn.Â I just joined an online investment platform, but it wasÂ also overwhelming. Currently I have $45,000 in a regular savings account that earns 1.5%.
Another challenge is not knowing whether to just bite the bullet and pay off my student loans or to continue to pay them monthly. Â I hate that I’m still paying loans 16 years after I graduated and it’s a source of frustration [andÂ embarrassment] for me. Â I owe $36,000. Often times I have an inner monologue about the pros and cons of just paying them off but then my trauma from 2008 kicks inâ¦and IÂ decide to keep my $45,000 nest egg safely where I can check the balance daily.
F: I recommended allocating $45,000 towards retirement. Was that helpful? What are some ways you’ve managed to save?
M: Yes, I recall you saying you recommended having a total of $100,000 towards retirement for a person my age. Currently, I have $51,000 in my 401(k), $35,000 in a traditional IRA and $17,000 in my Ellevest brokerageÂ account, so I’ve broken the $100,000 goal.
I did add a car note to my balance sheet. My old car suffered a total loss (major electrical failure due to a sunroof leak!) and the insurance gave me a check for $9,000.Â I used it all towards the new vehicle (aÂ certified used 2014 Acura) and I’m financing $18,000.
F: Your dad’s home was a source of financial stress, it seemed. Were you able to talk with your siblings and arrive at a better place with that?
M: My dad actually has passed since we last spoke. He passed in February and so his will went to probate. My siblings and I have decided not to make any decisions about the house for at least one year. Yes, this is kicking the can further down the street however, they recognize that I maintain the house and pay the real estate taxes and so they are not pressuring me to move or to sell.
The new deed has been recorded and the property is under all our names and so everyone seems ok with knowing that I can’t do anything regarding a sale or refinance unilaterally.
So, for now, I live rent free other than payingÂ utilities, miscellaneous maintenance on the houseÂ and real estate taxes quarterly. This, too, is helping me saveÂ aggressively.
Also, the new car note has replaced the hospice nurse contribution so I’m not feeling that my budget is overburdened with the new car.
I think ultimately I will buy out at least two of my siblings and stay in the house. Verbally they have expressed being okay with this.
Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note âMint Blogâ in the subject line).
Farnoosh Torabi is Americaâs leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, sheâs become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.
The post Mint Money Audit 6-Month Check-In: How Did Michelle Allocate Her Windfall? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
If you’re one of those investors with very little time to research and invest in individual stocks, it might be a good idea to look into investing in mutual funds.
Whether your goal is to save money for retirement, or for a down payment to buy a house, mutual funds are low-cost and effective way to invest your money.
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What is a mutual fund?
A mutual fund is an investment vehicle in which investors, like you ad me, pool their money together. They use the money to invest in securities such as stocks and bonds. A professional manages the funds.
In addition, mutual funds are cost efficient. They offer diversification to your portfolio. They have low minimum investment requirements.
These factors make mutual funds among the best investment vehicles to use. If you’re a beginner investor, you should consider investing in mutual funds or index funds.
Investing in the stock market in general, can be intimidating. If you are just starting out and don’t feel confident in your investing knowledge, you may value the advice of a financial advisor.
Types of mutual funds
There are different types of mutual funds. They are stock funds, bond funds, and money market funds.
Which funds you choose depends on your risk tolerance. While mutual funds in general are less risky than investing in individual stocks, some funds are riskier than others.
However, you can choose a combination of these three types of funds to diversify your portfolio.
- Stock funds: a stock fund is a fund that invests heavily in stocks. However, that does not mean stock funds do not have other securities, i.e., bonds. It’s just that the majority of the money invested is in stocks.
- Bond funds: if you don’t want your portfolio to fluctuate in value as stocks do, then you should consider bond funds.
- Money market funds: money market funds are funds that you invest in if you tend to tap into your investment in the short term.
- Sector funds. As the name suggests, sector funds are funds that invests in one particular sector or industry. For example, a fund that invests only in the health care industry is a sector fund. These mutual funds lack diversification. Therefore, you should avoid them or use them in conjunction to another mutual fund.
- Index funds. Index funds seek to track the performance of a particular index, such as the Standard & Poorâs 500 index of 500 large U.S. company stocks or the CRSP US Small Cap Index. When you invest in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund, youâre essentially buying a piece of the 500 largest publicly traded US companies. Index funds donât jump around. They stay invested in the market.
- Income funds: These funds focus invest primarily in corporate bonds. They also invest in some high-dividend stocks.
- Balance funds: The portfolio of these funds have a mixed of stocks and bonds. Those funds enjoy capital growth and income dividend.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Protect Your Portfolio from the Volatile Stock Market
The advantages of mutual funds
Diversification. You’ve probably heard the popular saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, it applies to mutual funds. Mutual funds invest in stocks or bonds from dozens of companies in several industries.
Thus, your risk is spread. If a stock of a company is not doing well, a stock from another company can balance it out. While most funds are diversified, some are not.
For example, sector funds which invest in a specific industry such as real estate can be risky if that industry is not doing well.
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Mutual funds are professionally managed. These fund managers are well educated and experienced. Their job is to analyze data, research companies and find the best investments for the fund.
Thus, investing in mutual funds can be a huge time saver for those who have very little time and those who lack expertise in the matter.
Cost Efficiency. The operating expenses and the cost that you pay to sell or buy a fund are cheaper than trading in individual securities on your own. For example, the best Vanguard mutual funds have operating expenses as low as 0.04%. So by keeping expenses low, these funds can help boost your returns.
Low or Reasonable Minimum Investment. The majority of mutual funds, Vanguard mutual funds, for example, have a reasonable minimum requirement. Some funds even have a minimum of $1,000 and provide a monthly investment plan where you can start with as little as $50 a month.
Related Article: 7 Secrets Smart Professionals Use to Choose Financial Advisors
The disadvantage of mutual funds.
While there are several benefits to investing in mutual funds, there are some disadvantages as well.
Active Fund Management. Mutual funds are actively managed. That means fund mangers are always on the look out for the best securities to purchase. That also means they can easily make mistakes.
Cost/expenses. While cost and expenses of investing in individual stocks are significantly higher than mutual funds, cost of a mutual fund can nonetheless be significant.
High cost can have a negative effect on your investment return. These fees are deducted from your mutual fundâs balance every year. Other fees can apply as well. So always find a company with a low cost.
How you make money with mutual funds.
You make money with mutual funds the same way you would with individual stocks: dividend, capital gain and appreciation.
Dividend: Dividends are cash distributions from a company to its shareholders. Some companies offer dividends; others do not. And those who do pay out dividends are not obligated to do so. And the amount of dividends can vary from year to year.
As a mutual fund investor, you may receive dividend income on a regular basis.
Mutual funds offer dividend reinvestment plans. This means that instead of receiving a cash payment, you can reinvest your dividend income into buying more shares in the fund.
Capital gain distribution: in addition to receiving dividend income from the fund, you make money with mutual funds when you make a profit by selling a stock. This is called “capital gain.”
Capital gain occurs when the fund manager sells stocks for more he bought them for. The resulting profits can be paid out to the fund’s shareholders. Just as dividend income, you have the choice to reinvest your gains in the fund.
Appreciation: If stocks in your fund have appreciated in value, the price per share of the fund will increase as well. So whether you hold your shares for a short term or long term, you stand to make a profit when the shares rise.
Best mutual funds.
Now that you know mutual funds make excellent investments, finding the best mutual funds can be overwhelming.
Vanguard mutual funds.
Vanguard mutual funds are the best out there, because they are relatively cheaper; they are of high quality; a professional manage them; and their operating expenses are relative low.
Here is a list of the best Vanguard mutual funds that you should invest in:
- Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Funds
- Vanguard 500 Index (VFIAX)
- Total International Stock index Fund
- Vanguard Health Care Investor
Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund
If you’re looking for a diversified mutual fund, this Vanguard mutual fund is for you. The Vanguard’s VTSAX provides exposure to the entire U.S. stock market which includes stocks from large, medium and small U.S companies.
The top companies include Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. In addition, the expenses are relatively (0.04%). It has a minimum initial investment of $3,000, making it one of the best vanguard stock funds out there.
Vanguard S&P 500 (VFIAX)
The Vanguard 500 Index fund may be appropriate for you if you prefer a mutual fund that focuses on U.S. equities. This fund tracks the performance of the S&P 500, which means it holds about 500 of the largest U.S. stocks.
The largest U.S. companies included in this fund are Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Apple, and Amazon. This index fund has an expense ration of 0.04% and a reasonable minimum initial investment of $3,000.
Vanguard Total International Stock Market
You should consider the Vanguard International Stock Market fund of you prefer a mutual fund that invests in foreign stocks.
This international stock fund exposes its shareholders to over 6,000 non-U.S. stocks from several countries in both developed markets and emerging markets. The minimum investment is also $3,000 with an expense ratio of 0.11%.
Vanguard Health Care Investor
Sector funds are not usually a good idea, because the lack diversification. Sector funds are funds that invest in a specific industry like real estate or health care. However, if you want a fund to complement your portfolio, the Vanguard Health Care Investor is a good choice.
This Vanguard mutual fund offers investors exposure to U.S. and foreign equities focusing in the health care industry. The expense ration is a little bit higher, 0.34%. However, the minimum initial investment is $3,000, making it one of the cheapest Vanguard mutual funds.
Mutual funds are great options for beginner investors or investors who have little time to research and invest in individual stocks. When you buy into these low cost investments, you’re essentially buying shares from companies.
Your money are pooled together with those of other investors. If you intend to invest in low cost investment funds, you must know which ones are the best. When it comes to saving money on fees and getting a good return on your investment, Vanguard mutual funds are among the best funds out there.
They provide professional management, diversity, low cost, income and price appreciation.
What’s Next: 5 Mistakes People Make When Hiring A Financial Advisor
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
- If you have questions beyond knowing which of the best Vanguard mutual funds to invest, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
- Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
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The post What Are Mutual Funds? Understanding The Basics appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Looking for entry level work from home jobs?
Are you wondering, “How can I work from home with no experience?”
I know it may seem like every job out there today requires several years of experience. This makes it very difficult to find a job, especially if you are brand new to the field and trying to get your start.
It can be difficult to find a way to make money from home when you are brand new, but it’s not impossible to find entry level work from home jobs.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you want to start working from home, then I have a great list of no experience work from home jobs for you to look into.
Now, just because these jobs, businesses, and ways to make extra money don’t require experience, it does not mean that they will be easy! Remember, good things don’t come easy.
You may have to learn a new skill, take a course, and so on.
Also, please remember that entry level means you are starting from the bottom and working up. That means it may take a while to establish yourself. Still, there is room to grow in many of these jobs.
What you’ll find in this list of entry level work from home jobs are new careers and businesses you can start without having a college degree or years of experience.
There are many ideas on this list that involve starting a freelance career by using existing skills, like if you have a good eye for spotting grammar and punctuation errors, then you may be interested in proofreading.
There are other ideas on this list that will require you to learn some new skills – all ones you can easily pick up online.
The most important part is that all of these jobs are 100% work from home ideas. Yes, these are all jobs you can work from the comfort of your own home, while you travel, etc.
Finding a work from home job can be a great way to make money.
After all, it’s what I do, and I love it!
And, there are so many different options depending on what you are looking for. You may be able to find entry level work from home jobs that are part time, full time, that work while you are traveling, and so on.
Plus, many of the entry level jobs from home on my list allow you to have a more flexible schedule, where you may be able to choose the days you work, your hours, and more.
So, if you are looking to start making extra money or if you want a new career path that lets you earn money from home, this list is especially for you.
Before you’re scared off by any of these ideas, please remember that you don’t need to be an expert in any of them right now. As with any new job, you learn as you go and can find training as well.
Related content on entry level work from home jobs:
- 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More
- 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed
- 15 Outdoor Jobs For People Who Love Being Outside
- 15 Home Business Ideas & The Free Courses You Need To Get Started
Below are 20 entry level work from home jobs.
1. Create a blog to earn an income.
If you’re looking to work from home, I recommend that you think about starting a blog.
You don’t need previous experience, and most bloggers are brand new to blogging anyways!
I was brand new when I started my blog many years ago, and I learned everything I know along the way.
I read lots of online articles written by other bloggers who were once in the same spot I was, and I have also taken several great courses to help me improve my blog over the years.
I created Making Sense of Cents in 2011, and since then, I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blog.
Blogging allows me to travel full-time, have a flexible schedule, and I earn a great income doing it.
My blog was created on a whim as a way to track my own personal finance progress. When I first started my blog, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!
One of the reasons that blogging is one of the best entry level work from home jobs is because blogging is quite affordable to start.
You can easily learn how to start a blog with my free How To Start a Blog Course.
Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn:
- Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog
- Day 2: How to determine what to blog about
- Day 3: How to create your blog (in this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress – my tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog)
- Day 4: How to make money blogging
- Day 5: My tips for making passive income from blogging
- Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers
- Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful
2. Sell items through Amazon.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can sell items on Amazon while working from home.
Even if you have no experience, you can earn money selling all kinds of items on Amazon, from books, work out equipment, electronics, and more.
Amazon has many people who sell items and earn money from home. Most have no experience selling things online or have ever worked at Amazon.
Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, is a friend of mine, and she and her family started selling things on Amazon FBA a few years ago without any experience – they made over $100,000 profit in their first year! And, they were working less than 20 hours a week total.
Jessica now has a FREE 7 day course that will teach you everything you need to know in order to start selling on Amazon. I recommend signing up for it now!
I interviewed Jessica in How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA, and we talk about:
- How Jessica started selling on Amazon FBA
- What exactly Amazon FBA is
- How to choose what to buy and sell
- How much a person can expect to earn
- The positives of selling on Amazon, and more
3. Teach English online.
This one will probably surprise you, but there are entry level work from home jobs where you teach English to kids in other countries. You don’t need to have been a teacher or speak a language other than English.
The requirements are that you have experience working with kids. That can include mentoring, tutoring, coaching, babysitting, or being a parent.
That’s a pretty easy requirement, though!
You can typically earn around $14 to $22 per hour by teaching English online.
Learning how to teach English online has become extremely popular, making it one of the best online jobs from home for many good reasons – it’s flexible, there’s a high need for teachers, and it pays pretty well.
My top three picks are ones my readers have recommended and ones I have researched:
- Education First
Learn more at Make Extra Money By Learning How To Teach English Online.
4. Tutor from home.
To go along with the above, you can also work from home as an online tutor.
Course Hero is a website that has entry level work from home jobs where you help high school and college students with course-specific questions.
Course Hero was founded in 2007 and is an online learning website where students can find tutors and search by their specific school to find study guides, videos, practice problems, class notes, and step-by-step explanations.
Using the website, students connect with Course Hero tutors on a wide range of subjects and classes, which makes this a great option for people with different educational backgrounds and experience.
What might surprise you to learn is that you don’t need to have experience as a tutor, professor, or teacher in order to become a Course Hero tutor.
However, you will need to share information that proves you have expertise in the subjects you would like to help students with, such as degrees or previous work history.
Tutors earn an average of $3 for each question they answer on Course Hero. Earning between $12-$20 per hour, Course Hero tutors earn an average of $300 a week.
Here’s how this online tutoring job work:
- You apply here to become a Course Hero tutor
- When you are available to answer questions, you do so on the Course Hero website
- You get paid
Learn more at How To Make $300+ Weekly As An Online Tutor With Course Hero.
5. Become a virtual assistant.
Several years ago, I was a virtual assistant.
I had no previous experience, and I simply learned skills as I worked.
Virtual assisting is a field that is growing a lot, and there are lots of entry level work from home jobs as a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistant (VA) tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business, but doesn’t need to be done by them.
My friend Kayla is a full-time blogger, virtual assistant, and project manager who earns over $10,000 per month while working from home. She is also the founder of $10K VA, a course where she teaches exactly how you can make a consistent $10,000 per month as a virtual assistant!
Kayla used to work a full-time job as a credit analyst, earning about $2,000 per month. She was struggling to make ends meet while paying off debt, so she started a side hustle as a virtual assistant.
I interviewed her at How Kayla Earns $10K/Month From Home as a Virtual Assistant, and we talk about:
- The amount of money a beginner virtual assistant can expect to earn
- How to find your first virtual assistant job
- The steps to become a virtual assistant without previous experience
- Her best tips for being a virtual assistant
6. Evaluate Google’s search engine results.
A Search Engine Evaluator (also known as a Google Rater) is where you rate websites based on their quality and usefulness.
You are rating websites to help Google improve their search engine results.
This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that almost anyone can do – you don’t need to be a technical person in order to make money as a search engine evaluator.
Another great positive is that you can work in the language of your country, as Google operates in nearly every country around the world.
Learn more at How To Become a Search Engine Evaluator.
7. Manage Facebook advertising for small businesses.
Did you know that you can make a living from Facebook? With Facebook advertising, you can help businesses expand their reach.
And, yes, this is a skill that you can learn!
Last year, business owners spent over $88,000,000 per day on Facebook ads. This is expected to continue to grow, and it is one of the largest advertising spaces that exists.
My blogging friend Bobby Hoyt knows a lot about this topic. Bobby is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He learned how to run Facebook ads on his own to earn extra money. Bobby now runs the personal finance blog Millennial Money Man full-time, as well as a digital marketing agency for local businesses that he started in 2015.
I interviewed Bobby about entry level work from home jobs running Facebook ads, and in our interview, you will learn:
- How he started earning income through running Facebook ads
- Why small businesses want Facebook ads
- How a person can find their first Facebook ads client
- How much you can make doing this type of work – the average is around $1,000 extra a month per client
Also, Bobby has a free webinar on this topic too. His webinar (you can sign up here) will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more.
8. Get paid to share your opinion.
This isn’t exactly a job, but it is a way to make extra money.
And, you don’t need any previous experience.
Yes, you can get paid to share your opinion!
Companies use surveys all the time to learn what their current and potential customers think of their products, services, and company. With the surveys you take, companies get valuable opinions on how to improve their products, and that’s what they are paying you for.
Below are the survey companies I recommend:
- American Consumer Opinion
- Survey Junkie
- Opinion Outpost
- Pinecone Research
- Prize Rebel
- Product Report Card
- Survey Club
9. Create an online store of your own.
This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that many people are surprised to hear about. But yes, you can start your own online store, and you don’t need to have tons of experience or a lot of money to do so. Many people start with absolutely no background.
I had the opportunity to interview Jenn Leach of E-commerce and Prosper, who explains exactly how to start an online store.
Jenn is a corporate mom turned e-commerce store owner and blogger.
She started her online business a little over three years ago, and since then, she has developed and grown three successful online e-commerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month.
She is super successful despite only spending around 5-10 hours per week on her e-commerce business.
You can read our interview at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
10. Start a bookkeeping business.
I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that bookkeeping is an area with entry level work from home jobs, but it definitely is.
A bookkeeper is someone who tracks the finances of a business, handles billing and payments, making spreadsheets, etc., but that doesn’t mean you need to be an accountant or have any related experience.
Ben, from Bookkeeper Launch, helps people get started as bookkeepers even when they don’t have any experience. Ben is a CPA who founded his business after realizing that many businesses needed better bookkeepers.
In our interview, we talk about:
- What a bookkeeper is
- The typical clients a bookkeeper has
- How much new bookkeepers earn
- How to become a bookkeeper
- The positives and negatives of bookkeeping
You can read all of his answers and more in our interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
Also, you can sign up here for a free series that will teach you more about running your own virtual bookkeeping business.
11. Find stuff to resell.
This is one another one of the entry level work from home jobs that anyone can start. That’s because we all have lots of stuff in our house that we can probably sell online.
Have you ever found something that you thought you may be able to resell and actually make some money?
Melissa’s family earned $133,000 in one year through buy and sell flipping, and they were working only 10-20 hours per week.
Yes, just 10-20 hours a week!
Some of the best flipped items that they’ve sold include:
- An item that they bought for $10 and flipped for $200 just 6 minutes later
- A security tower they bought for $6,200 and flipped for $25,000 just one month later
- A prosthetic leg that they bought for $30 at a flea market and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day
You can learn more at How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
12. Write online as a freelancer.
I know so many people who have found entry level freelance writing jobs. You don’t need a background in writing or a degree in English or creative writing.
A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, advertising companies, books, and more. They don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing.
My friend Holly from EarnMoreWriting.com (as well as the popular personal finance blog Club Thrifty) is a very successful freelance writer and has earned over $200,000 writing online!
Her freelance writing course includes nine video modules, several printable worksheets, and awesome add-ons, too. Here are some of the things you can expect to learn if you take her freelance writing course:
- Discover the #1 most important thing you can do to get paid writing jobs
- Learn how to find entry level work from home jobs as a writer and move up over time
- Learn how price affects the amount of work you get
- Learn which types of jobs help Holly earn the most pay, and where you can find them
- Find out which online platforms work best for finding paid work, and how to use them
- Learn how to structure your work day to earn six figures or more
Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.
13. Transcribe audio or video into text.
Transcription is the art of turning any audio or video content into a text document.
There are many businesses looking for transcriptionists too – since general transcriptionists convert audio and video to text for virtually any industry, there really isn’t a typical client. Some examples include marketers, authors, filmmakers, academics, speakers, and conferences of all types.
Beginning transcriptionists earn around $15 an hour to start.
There are many transcriptionist jobs that don’t require experience, and most transcriptionists learn more and improve their skills as they work.
You can learn more about becoming a transcriptionist in the interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist. The interview explains:
- What a transcriptionist is
- How you can get started as a transcriptionist
- What kind of money you can expect to make
- The type of training you need, and more
14. Find proofreading jobs online.
Finding entry level proofreading jobs online is very possible.
All you need to work as a proofreader is a laptop or tablet, an internet connection, and a good eye for pointing out mistakes.
Proofreaders look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.
In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader.
You’ll learn more about this in my interview with Caitlin that I link to below, but proofreaders take content that other people have written and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb. You might be proofreading blog posts, print articles, academic articles, website copy, ad copy, books, student papers, emails, and more.
This job is for a very specific type of person who LOVES to correct grammar or makes a note of spelling mistakes on a restaurant menu… it takes a certain “eagle eye” ability to be good at proofreading!
I interviewed Caitlin on what it takes to become a proofreader, and in our interview we go over questions such as:
- What a proofreader does
- How much proofreaders earn
- How quickly a person can start making money as a proofreader
- The steps needed to become a proofreader
You can find out about entry level work from home jobs and more at How To Become A Proofreader And Work From Anywhere.
Caitlin has put together a FREE 76-minute workshop, where she answers all of the most common questions about becoming a proofreader, and she even shows you how to use the most popular tools used by proofreaders around the world. You can sign up for free here.
15. Learn how to become a scopist.
Scoping is when you are editing legal documents for court reporters. This is different from proofreading for court reporters.
I interviewed an expert on the topic – Linda from Internet Scoping School. She has been scoping for over 35 years and has taught scoping online for around 20 years.
She also has a free course that will introduce you to scoping so that you can decide if it’s one of the entry level work from home jobs you want to pursue. You can find the free course by clicking here.
Scopists who are working with an average court reporter tend to make around $30,000 to $45,000 per year working pretty much full-time.
You can learn more at How To Become A Scopist.
16. Assist with podcasts.
Currently, there’s a huge demand for podcast virtual assistants.
There are over 800,000 podcasts out there, and that number just continues to grow. Podcasts are still a pretty new area, and that opens the door for lots of new entry level work from home jobs helping with all of these new podcasts.
While the podcast host can record themselves, other tasks like editing and publication take time, so many podcasters outsource their work to freelancers or virtual assistants. Also, some podcasters may not know how to do those things, or they may choose to focus their time on other areas.
Some of the different services you could do as a podcast virtual assistant include:
- Audio editing
- Marketing and promotion
- Show note creation
Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.
Also, you can sign up here for free information on learning more about how to become a podcast VA. In this free resource, you’ll learn more about what exactly a podcast virtual assistant is, the services you can offer, and starting rates.
17. Work as a freelancer.
Freelancers are people who work for others by doing part-time jobs. A business may hire you on for one-time gigs or you may get a long-term job with a company as a freelancer.
In addition to some of the freelance jobs I’ve already mentioned (writing, proofreading, transcribing, and bookkeeping) there are even more entry level work from home jobs out there for people who are able to leverage existing skills, like:
- Graphic design
- Web design and development
- Video editing
- Sound design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
This is one of the best work from home jobs because you can use a skill you already have and start finding work on job platforms like UpWork and Fiverr.
18. Find a work from home job in customer service.
Many large companies outsource their customer service departments to people who are working from home.
Customer service representatives may be responsible for a number of things, such as:
- Working at an online call center
- Working as a chat agent
- Offering technical support
- Virtual assistant tasks
- Working as a travel agent
This is becoming one of the best entry level work from home jobs because the number of large companies who need online customer service reps is growing. Companies like Apple, American Express, UHAUL, and more offer basic training for new hires.
19. Secret shop.
Funny enough, many people think that you have to “know someone” or have previous experience in order to become a mystery shopper.
But, that’s not the truth at all.
You don’t need any previous experience in order to become a secret shopper.
This won’t be a full-time job, but it can give you some extra money each month. And, yes, there are some mystery shops that can be done by phone and online.
I remember when I first heard of being a secret shopper. I was working at a retail store and we regularly had mystery shoppers come in to grade how we were doing. We never knew who the mystery shopper was, but we would get to read their report afterwards.
I thought it was so interesting that people were getting paid to shop!
Not long after hearing about it, I decided to try mystery shopping to make extra money to help pay off my student loan debt.
I regularly earned around $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping, and I earned free items/services as well, such as $100 to spend at restaurants (which I had to grade while I was there), makeup, and more.
If this sounds interesting to you, you can join Bestmark by clicking here. This is my favorite mystery shopping company, and the only one I used back when I was mystery shopping, so I know it’s legitimate.
Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.
20. Become a voice over actor.
A voice over actor is the person you hear but rarely see on YouTube videos, radio ads, explainer videos, corporate narration, documentaries, e-learning courses, audiobooks, TV commercials, video games, movies, and cartoons.
This job doesn’t require previous experience or special skills – you just need to have the right kind of voice that companies are looking for.
In 2014, Carrie replaced her salaried day job to become a full-time voice over actor. People are constantly asking her how she got her start and how they can too.
So, she created a six-week online class, and it sold out. Several of her students booked voice acting jobs before the class was even over!
I was excited to learn more about this work from home job, so I interviewed Carrie to learn:
- How she got into this interesting career field
- Who the common clients are
- How much money a beginner voice over actor can expect to make
- The positives of this job
- How to find your first job
- The costs, and more
You can read my interview with her at How To Become A Voice Over Actor And Work From Anywhere.
How can I make money from home with no experience?
As you can see, there are many different options for you if you are looking for an online job or work from home business with no experience.
I hope you are able to find what works best for you and your situation.
What entry level work from home jobs would you add to the list above?
The post 20 Of The Best Entry Level Work From Home Jobs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
Think back to what the stock market looked like to you in March 2020, aka, the apocalypse. Did it look like:
A.) The biggest bargain sale youâve ever seen in your lifetime?Â
B.) A burning pit of money that was about to incinerate your lifeâs savings?
If you answered âB,â you probably have a low risk tolerance. You worry more about losing money than missing out on the opportunity to make more of it.
Being cautious about how you invest your money is a good thing. But if youâre so risk-averse that you avoid investing altogether, youâre putting your money at greater risk than you think.
Do Safe Investments Actually Exist?
When you think about the risks of investing, you probably think about losing principal, i.e., the original amount you invested. If you keep your money in a bank account, thereâs virtually no chance of that happening because deposits of up to $250,000 are FDIC insured.Â
But consider that the average savings account pays just 0.05% APY, while in 2019, inflation was about 2.3%.
So while youâre not at risk of losing principal, you still face purchasing power risk, which is the risk that your money loses value. Your money needs to earn enough to keep up with inflation to avoid losing purchasing power. If inflation continues at 2.3%, buying $100 worth of groceries will cost you $102.30 a year from now. If youâre saving over decades toward retirement, youâll be able to buy a whole lot less groceries in your golden years.
Thereâs also the risk of missed opportunity. By playing it too safe, youâre unlikely to earn the returns you need to grow into a sufficient nest egg.
Though thereâs no such thing as a risk-free investment, there are plenty of safe ways to invest your money.
12/29/20 @ 2:51 PM
9/28/20 @ 3:53 PM
11/2/20 @ 6:59 PM
8 Low-Risk Investments for People Who Hate Losing Money
Here are eight options that are good for conservative investors. (Spoiler: Gold, bitcoin and penny stocks did not make our list.
If you have cash you wonât need for a while, investing in a CD, or certificate of deposit, is a good way to earn more interest than youâd get with a regular bank account.
You get a fixed interest rate as long as you donât withdraw your money before the maturity date. Typically, the longer the duration, the higher the interest rate.Â
Since theyâre FDIC insured, CDs are among the safest investments in existence. But low risk translates to low rewards. Those low interest rates for borrowers translate to lower APYs for money we save at a bank. Even for five-year CDs, the best APYs are just over 1%.
You also risk losing your interest and even some principal if you need to withdraw money early.
2. Money Market Funds
Not to be confused with money market accounts, money market funds are actually mutual funds that invest in low-risk, short-term debts, such as CDs and U.S. Treasurys. (More on those shortly.)
The returns are often on par with CD interest rates. One advantage: Itâs a liquid investment, which means you can cash out at any time. But because they arenât FDIC insured, they can technically lose principal, though theyâre considered extraordinarily safe.
3. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS)
The U.S. government finances its debt by issuing Treasurys. When you buy Treasurys, youâre investing in bonds backed by the âfull faith and credit of the U.S. government.â Unless the federal government defaults on its debt for the first time in history, investors get paid.
The price of that safety: pathetically low yields that often donât keep up with inflation.
TIPS offer built-in inflation protection â as the name âTreasury Inflation Protected Securitiesâ implies. Available in five-, 10- and 30-year increments, their principal is adjusted based on changes to the Consumer Price Index. The twice-a-year interest payments are adjusted accordingly, as well.
If your principal is $1,000 and the CPI showed inflation of 3%, your new principal is $1,030, and your interest payment is based on the adjusted amount.Â
On the flip side, if thereâs deflation, your principal is adjusted downward.
4. Municipal Bonds
Municipal bonds, or âmunis,â are bonds issued by a state or local government. Theyâre popular with retirees because the income they generate is tax-free at the federal level. Sometimes when you buy muni bonds in your state, the state doesnât tax them either.
There are two basic types of munis: General obligation bonds, which are issued for general public works projects, and revenue bonds, which are backed by specific projects, like a hospital or toll road.
General obligation bonds have the lowest risk because the issuing government pledges to raise taxes if necessary to make sure bondholders get paid. With revenue bonds, bondholders get paid from the income generated by the project, so thereâs a higher risk of default.
5. Investment-Grade Bonds
Bonds issued by corporations are inherently riskier than bonds issued by governments, because even a stable corporation is at higher risk of defaulting on its debt. But you can mitigate the risks by choosing investment-grade bonds, which are issued by corporations with good to excellent credit ratings.
Because investment-grade bonds are low risk, the yields are low compared to higher-risk âjunk bonds.â Thatâs because corporations with low credit ratings have to pay investors more to compensate them for the extra risk.
6. Target-Date Funds
When you compare bonds vs. stocks, bonds are generally safer, while stocks offer more growth. Thatâs why as a general rule, your retirement portfolio starts out mostly invested in stocks and then gradually allocates more to bonds.
Target-date funds make that reallocation automatic. Theyâre commonly found in 401(k)s, IRAs and 529 plans. You choose the date thatâs closest to the year you plan to retire or send your child to college. Then the fund gradually shifts more toward safer investments, like bonds and money market funds as that date gets nearer.
7. Total Market ETFs
While having a small percentage of your money in super low-risk investments like CDs,
money market funds and Treasurys is OK, there really is no avoiding the stock market if
you want your money to grow.
If youâre playing day trader, the stock market is a risky place. But when youâre committed to investing in stocks for the long haul, youâre way less exposed to risk. While downturns can cause you to lose money in the short term, the stock market historically ticks upward over time.
A total stock market exchange-traded fund will invest you in hundreds or thousands of companies. Usually, they reflect the makeup of a major stock index, like the Wilshire 5000. If the stock market is up 5%, youâd expect your investment to be up by roughly the same amount. Same goes for if the market drops 5%.
By investing in a huge range of companies, you get an instantly diversified portfolio, which is far less risky than picking your own stocks.
8. Dividend Stocks
If you opt to invest in individual companies, sticking with dividend-paying stock is a smart move. When a companyâs board of directors votes to approve a dividend, theyâre redistributing part of the profit back to investors.
Dividends are commonly offered by companies that are stable and have a track record of earning a profit. Younger companies are less likely to offer a dividend because they need to reinvest their profits. They have more growth potential, but theyâre also a higher risk because theyâre less-established.
The best part: Many companies allow shareholders to automatically reinvest their dividends, which means even more compound returns.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to DearPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
A âbusiness cycleâ refers to the periodic expansion and contraction of a nationâs economy. Also known as an âeconomic cycle,â it tracks the different stages of growth and decline in a countryâs gross domestic product, or economic activity.
business cycles . Each business cycle is dated from peak to peak or trough to trough of economic activity.
During the expansion phase of the business cycle, GDP increases and the economy grows. This phase tends to be significantly longer than the contraction phase. Since 1945, the average expansion has been 65 months, while the average contraction has lasted 11 months, according to a congressional research report. Features of expansion periods include:
• GDP growth rate of 2-3%
• Inflation around 2%
• Unemployment between 3.5-4.5%
• Bullish stock market
• Increased demand for goods and services
• Interest rates move higher
• Job creation
• Stock prices usually increase
• Increased wages
• Increased real estate values
As economic growth slows down, an economic contraction begins as the nation enters a recession. GDP growth dips below 2% in this phase.
Companies that have taken out loans may struggle to repay them, so they have to lay off workers and slow down production. As workers lose jobs, they have to cut down on spending. This creates a cycle of economic decline. Features of contraction periods include:
• GDP growth falls below 2%
• Decreased demand for goods and services
• Interest rates move lower, making it easier to borrow money
• Loss of jobs, increased unemployment
• Reduced wages because people need jobs so theyâre willing to work for less, and companies canât pay as much
• Stock prices usually decline
• Real estate values plateau or decline
Stage 1: Recession
One definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters with a decline in real GDP. A recession could actually be defined more broadly as a period where there is significant decline in economic activity throughout the entire economy.
During this stage, GDP, profits, sales, and economic activity decline. Credit is tight for both consumers and businesses due to the policies set during the last business cycle. This leads to shifts in monetary policy that lead to a recovery phase. Itâs a vicious cycle of falling production, falling incomes, falling employment, and falling GDP.
The intensity of a recession is measured by looking at the three Dâs:
• Depth: The measure of peak to trough decline in sales, income, employment, and output. The trough is the lowest point the GDP reaches during a cycle. Before World War II, recessions used to be much deeper than they are now.
• Diffusion: How far the recession spreads across industries, regions, and activities.
• Duration: The amount of time between the peak and the trough.
A more severe recession is called a depression. Depressions have deeper troughs and last longer than recessions. The only depression that has happened thus far was the Great Depression, which lasted 3.5 years, beginning in 1929.
Stage 2: Early Cycle
Following a recession, there tends to be a sharp recovery as growth begins to accelerate. The stock market tends to rise the most during this stage, which generally lasts about one year. Interest rates are low, so businesses and consumers can borrow more money for growth and investment. GDP begins to increase.
Just as a recession is a vicious cycle, a recovery is a virtuous cycle of rising income, rising employment, rising GDP, and rising production. And similar to the three Dâs, a recovery period, which includes Stages 2-4, is measured using three Pâs: how pronounced, pervasive, and persistent the expansion is.
Stage 3: Mid-Cycle
This is generally the longest phase of the business cycle, with moderate growth throughout. On average the mid-cycle phase lasts three years. Monetary policies shift toward a neutral state: Interest rates are higher, credit is strong, and companies are profitable.
Stage 4: Late Cycle
At this stage, economic activity reaches its highest point, and while growth continues, its pace decelerates. Monetary policies become tight due to rising inflation and low unemployment, making it harder for people to borrow money. The GDP rate begins to plateau or slow.
Companies may be engaging in reckless expansions, and investors are overconfident, which increases the price of assets beyond their actual value. Late cycles last a year and a half on average.
What Industries Do Well During Each Stage?
Historically certain industries have prospered during each stage of the business cycle.
When money is tight and people are concerned about the economy, they cut back on certain types of purchases, such as vacations and fancy clothes. Also, when people anticipate a coming recession, they tend to sell stocks and move into safer assets, causing the market to decline.
Basically, industries do better or worse depending on supply and demand, and the demand for certain products shifts throughout the business cycle. In general, the following industries perform well during each stage of the business cycle:
• Consumer staples
• Information technology
• Financial sector
• Industrial sector
• Consumer sector
• Stocks and bonds
• Real Estate
• Household durables
• Information technology
• Energy and materials
• Commodities such as oil and gas
• Bonds can be a safe haven
• Index funds
Who Should Invest With the Business Cycle?
Business cycle investing is an intermediate-term strategy, since it isnât as short-term as day trading but not as long-term as buy and hold strategies. Each stage of the business cycle can last for a few months to a few years.
the best strategy for beginner investors.
However, more experienced investors might choose to shift at least a portion of their portfolio along with the business cycle. Business cycle investing can also be a good option for younger investors because they will have more opportunities to take advantage of the ups and downs of future cycles.
Understanding the business cycle can also help people make decisions such as when to buy a home or search for a job. Itâs usually best to purchase a home, start a business, or look for a job in the early to mid-stages of the cycle.
No business cycle is identical but history shows there can be a rough pattern to which industries do better as the economy expands and contracts. Investors can take cues from which stage of the business cycle the economy is in in order to allocate money to different sectors.
One great way to invest and keep track of the market is using an online investing app like SoFi InvestÂ®. The investing platform features both active and automated investing.
For help getting started, SoFi has a team of professional financial advisors available to answer questions and offer guidance.
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individualâs specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi canât guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term âSoFi Investâ refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated InvestingâThe Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (âSofi Wealthâ). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (âSofi Securities).
2) Active InvestingâThe Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Digital AssetsâThe Digital Assets platform is owned by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, http://www.sofi.com/legal.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
The post Investing With the Business Cycle appeared first on SoFi.