Smart With Your Money
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Want to save more or make your cash work harder? Check out OZY’s original series on being smart with your money.
Money. A few have more than they need, some have enough and most of us, well, we would love to have more. And while some savvy investors seem to know all the right moves when it comes to multiplying their wealth, the rest of us could use help.
We’ve rounded up some ways that you can be smarter with your money — whether that means investing in smaller amounts, teaching your teen how to be more responsible with their cash (and, let’s face it, yours too), looking at an alternative vehicle for group savings (the South African stokvel) or saving cash on experiences like going to a ballgame or concert.
Many of us don’t use cash anymore, but it’s still a reality for teens, who don’t tend to have bank cards and often don’t understand much about finances. A teen-focused spending account is targeting the market of 75 million American kids under the age 21. The account combines elements of debit and credit that can be connected to a parent’s account. The most interesting part? Parental controls allow the adult account holder to set spending limits. The goal: to teach “pre-banked” kids financial responsibility in a world where adults now just swipe cards and phones.
Don’t have much disposable income but want to contribute to something more than a savings account? These apps let you invest small amounts of money that you wouldn’t usually miss — a few dollars here and there or rounding up a purchase amount to the nearest dollar — in funds based on your interests. You can have a little or a lot of control, depending on your comfort level. We’ve even put a game together to help you decide which one is right for you.
Sometimes pooling your resources is the best way to save. The South African stokvel is the country’s take on a rotating savings and credit association. It functions like a savings club where members contribute and take turns claiming the kitty — but there are strict guidelines and a late fee structure in place to hold everyone accountable. And there’s nothing like peer pressure to push you toward a goal — in this case, saving, and without the hassle of a bank account.
Ransomware — software that threatens to publish private data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid — is not a new thing. But attacks are becoming more sophisticated and more costly to victims (in downtime, recovery costs, etc.). Once the perpetrators get hold of your assets, it’s not only expensive to get them back, but they might be damaged in the process. We talk to three tech experts who offer ways that individuals and businesses can thwart thievery, identify threats and deal with attacks once they’ve happened, all in the pursuit of keeping your cash in your pocket.
So you put down a cool $50 in your March Madness pool and confidently selected Duke as your 2019 Men’s NCAA Tournament champion. That money is gone, right? Well not so fast. For those of us who live stateside, there’s a little-known step we can take to salve our pride (and our bank accounts) after losing bets: Deducting gambling losses to the extent of our gambling winnings on our taxes — even if that office pool wasn’t exactly legal.
The scenario: It’s a bit last minute, but you really want to go to that game or concert, and you don’t want to deal with scalpers — online or on the street. Online ticketing agent Gametime lets you buy tickets to sporting and entertainment events up to 90 minutes after start time. And because you may have missed the first inning or the opening band, the tickets can be as much as 78 percent cheaper. Think of it as Yelp or Foursquare meets ticketing.