Recording artist Malia Civetz just dropped a new single, Broke Boy, which pays homage to her ‘broke boys’ and loving people for who they are, not what they earn. For those older Millennials reading this, it’s basically the opposite of what some may argue to be the #1 hit of 1992, TLC’s No Scrubs. Oh, how times have changed. While we always encourage getting your financial sh*t together – one of our lessons in our crash course, MoneyMASTERED™, is literally titled “Saving is Sexy”- Malia’s message is one we can get behind.
If you’ve been swiping left every time someone is sitting on the passenger side of their best friend’s ride, think again. And, while we can all take advice from Malia on being open-minded in the dating world, Malia called up Stash Wealth to ask for a bit of advice on her financial world.
To celebrate the release of Broke Boy, we’re sharing her most pressing questions and answers from our founder, Priya Malani. So while we’re all singing “there’s no credit card that can buy [our] hearts”, let’s dig into building our own credit, working as a freelancer, traveling on a budget, and everything else that was top of mind for Malia.
The type of credit card you use is much less important than how you use it.
Malia Civetz: What’s the best way to start saving for retirement if you don’t make a lot of money?
Priya Malani: Our number one tip for financial success is automation. We advocate for automating almost all of the important stuff. And having the means to sit on the beach someday with a margarita in hand is about as important as it gets. As soon as money’s coming in the door, set up an automatic transfer so that a set amount of money (no matter how big or small) finds its way into a dedicated retirement savings account. For freelancers, it often makes sense to use a SEP-IRA. Learn more here and speak with your accountant to see if it’s something you can utilize.
MC: What kind of credit card would you recommend for people trying to build their credit?
PM: The type of credit card you use is much less important than how you use it. Our number one tip for rebuilding credit, and quickly, is to use your credit card regularly and pay off the balance more frequently than once a month, when the bill arrives. Pay if off every week or even every couple days. This is one of the best ways to hack your way to a better FICO score. By simply paying off your credit card balance more often (and in full) you keep your credit utilization ratio low (which i just means showing you’re a responsible user of credit)
MC: What’s the deal with high yield savings accounts? Are there any risks?
PM: HY savings accounts are typically offered through online banks. Online banks are similar to brick and mortar banks in the protection they offer like SIPC coverage, but they often offer higher interest rates on the cash in your savings account. We love HY savings accounts because they’re an easy way to make your money work harder for you. If you have an emergency stash, it’s a great idea to keep this cash in a HY savings account. You can also use a HY savings account for cash you’re setting aside for things you’re planning to spend on in the near future, like holiday gifts or a travel fund.
MC: What’s the best way to travel on a budget?
PM: The number one thing that drives up travel cost is convenience. If you have the ability to withstand the inconvenience of things like last minute travel, you have a better chance of finding a good deal. Sites like Travelzoo and Airfarewatchdog help you take advantage of hacking airline fares, hotel deals and travel packages. There are some great group travel packages that offer payment plans, as well. EFUltimate is a favorite.
MC: Taxes?? Help! I’m a freelancer so they’re not necessarily straightforward. Are there any quick and easy guides or resources that can help me understand this?
PM: These days, tax software is incredibly sophisticated and hand-holdy with guides and education built right into the experience. This means the hardest part of doing your taxes is actually sitting down to do them (you know it’s true). A little organization goes a long way. As a freelancer, make sure you’re using an accounting tool (even a free one like Wave) to keep track of your income, expenses, invoices, etc. Using a tool like this can make tax time practically painless, well, almost.