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allyinvest review

Ally Invest has come on the scene as the latest hot bargain trading platform. Formally known as TradeKing, Ally Financial Inc. purchased the brokerage firm in June 2016. Ally Invest acts as the low-cost brokerage branch of Ally Bank, one of the world’s largest online banks. Ally Invest has become popular with investment nerds, counting more than 250,000 customers and a whopping $4.7 billion in assets. So, is Ally Invest’s success all talk? Let’s take a hard look.

Ally Invest doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement, and stock trades go for $4.95 a pop. The platform offers a versatile set of trading options — from ETFs, fixed-income securities, corporate agency and municipal bonds, Treasuries, strips and zeroes, CDs, and stocks. Its Forex & Futures platform allows advanced investors to take advantage of over 50 currency pairs, including gold and silver, all the while conducting careful research on through the feature’s resource and analytics tools.

Designed for investors of all skill levels, Ally Invest also comes equipped with a robo-investor, which manages your portfolio using algorithms to trade stocks using the same practices and theories as a seasoned broker. However, for those who are set on polishing their investment skills, Ally Invest’s trading tools can help you fine-tune your trading strategies. The Streaming Charts feature allows you to analyze the performance of securities through six fully-customizable charts, each with over 90 chart studies and drawing tools. The Probability Calculator helps you assess potential volatility before you place trades. Market Data breaks down your performance stats to the smallest detail, through quotes, prices, dividend dates, news, charts, and summaries.

Ally Invest’s rates are comparable to other investment giants like Fidelity and Charles Schwab, and for hot shots with 30 or more trades, the rate for trades drops to $3.95 each, with an additional $.50 for per contract option trades.

Managed Portfolios are another core facet of Ally Invest’s methodology. Available for individuals, joint accounts, Roth, and roll-over IRAs, the portfolio is curated to meet your long-term investing objectives and goals. Intentionally created to give investors peace of mind, the auto balancing feature maintains the target portfolio allocation. An initial deposit of $2,500 is required to open a Managed Portfolio, and the annual fee is .30 percent, which means it will only cost $300 to manage a $100,00 portfolio. This is a significantly low rate compared to the 1.02 percent industry average. However, it’s not the cheapest on the market. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios charge no fee, although they require a minimum deposit of $5,000. Ally Invest’s less-than-desirable rate structure is counterbalanced with its option to move funds into the self-managed accounts.

Opening up an Ally Invest account is an easy way to glide into Ally Bank, which boasts one of the highest interest rates on savings accounts in the country. They also reimburse customers for ATM fees for up to $10 a month.

AllyInvest isn’t ideal for people who need to make instantaneous fund transfers. Moving funds through ACH can take up to five days and 10 days for check. Ally Invest is a completely virtual operation, and all customer service interactions take place over the phone or online.

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Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.40.43 PMWith credit and debit cards dominating the way we do financial transactions, we rarely consider what it would be actually like to carry around loose change. Acorns, a spare-change investment app, is trying to bring back the archaic practice of hoarding those left-over pennies by turning them into a basic investment strategy. The app rounds up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar and takes that extra change and pours it into an algorithm-managed investment portfolio.

Acorns isn’t ideal for aspiring high-rollers, it’s just a way to bring in some extra cash. Acorns has a utilitarian approach to pricing. Subscribers pay $1 a month until their balance reaches $5,000, after that, they only pay 0.25% of their balance a year, so $125, which is considerably more than the initial fee. College students are allowed to use the service for free for four years.

Connected to your credit and debit cards, Acorns collects small amounts of change on everything you buy, so that you don’t have to worry about squirreling away too much money or overdraft fees. Acorns tries to automate the savings process as much as possible, and lets you build a nest egg without having to keep tabs on your stocks. However, the app gives you the option to manually transfer specific purchases or just sweep away every last bit of change automatically. You can also deposit separate funds or schedule reoccurring withdrawals from your savings or checking accounts for as little as $5 a pop.

Even in momentary lapses when your investments plateau, Acorns has other incentives to keep you an active subscriber. The app has partnered with big name start-ups and brands to earn you extra dough on your regular purchases. With Airbnb, up to 1.8 percent of the booking subtotal will be deposited into your Acorns account, and if you’re a host who rents out their home for at least $75 a night, the app will throw $50 into your account after your first night of hosting. When you sign up for a Blue Apron account, Acorns will deposit $30 into your account. Buying a Casper bed gives you an additional $50 investment, and JackThreads will invest 10 percent of each item of clothing you buy back into your Acorns account. Jet.com, Warby Parker, Hulu, Hotel Tonight, Dollar Shave Club, and Boxed have similar rewards programs.

Acorns is geared towards younger investors who are just navigating the market for the first time, and don’t want to make any risky investment decisions. By the same token, Acorns isn’t suitable for people who are trying to build a retirement account, as all investments are taxed. IRA and 401(k) accounts grow without the burden of taxes, and are more beneficial for those who are winding down their careers. That’s why it’s important for Acorn investors to take into consideration the potential tax impact the app could have on their finances come April 15. Unlike other artificial intelligence-portfolio managers, Acorns doesn’t help with tax-loss assistance, which help balance the gains and the losses.

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two auto loans at onceQ: I found the car of my dreams. It has great gas mileage, four-wheel drive, seat heaters, and a DVD video system. As luck would have it, this perfect vehicle is out of my price range, and I’m trying to strategize ways to finance it. About a decade ago, I had to default on my student loans and now my credit is in the tank. So, I’m concerned about getting approved for a loan. Is it possible to get two car loans to afford my new set of wheels?

A: The short answer is yes: you can get two car loans. However, your particular situation might make it a little tricky, if not completely impossible. When you apply for a car loan, the bank will do a “hard inquiry” on your credit report to analyze your credit history and score in order to figure out if you’re a feasible candidate for a loan. If they find out that your credit is shot, then the chances of getting approved for just one lone are very slim.

That being said, if you’re in good standing credit-wise, then getting a loan is easy, and usually just takes a day, and taking out two auto loans at the same time is totally doable. Auto loans come with interest that you’ll have to pay until the loan is finished, so keep in mind you will be paying double interest if you take out two loans. Try to look for the financial institutions that issue out the lowest interest rates. Interest.com lets you compare interest rates from national and local to help you find the cheapest ones. Once you get some leads, go to their websites and fill out the quote form, which will tell you know how much your total monthly payments would be along with specifics regarding the loan agreement. It’s important to pay finite attention to detail when evaluating loan options, so you can find the best offer with the least number of strings attached.

In your case, reader, your credit remains a crucial component in the loan-approval process. You might not qualify for low-interest loans, but financiers will most certainly try to entice you with high-interest ones. In those cases, the initial interest might fluctuate, and down the road you could be paying much more than you anticipated. That’s why it’s always important to read the agreement fully.

We understand your woes, reader. Cars often look a lot sexier on the lot than do on the highway. Car salespeople will jazz up their pitch to make the car sound faster, sleeker, and safer than it is in practical application. Do you research before you spring for a major purchase like a vehicle, and try searching for a car that will meet your daily needs. Many used cars are adequate and work just as well as new ones, and are a whole lot cheaper. Don’t just shop at the dealership, check out Craiglist and eBay for your new car.

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If you’re trying to save money or stick to a budget, then the thought of buying a car can feel daunting to say the least. But a lot of us need a car, whether it is to get to work, school or to do errands and get to appointments. Not every city or town has public transportation that is convenient and easy to navigate. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to crunch the numbers and get the most value when buying a car.

Tip #1: Start by doing your homework. If you visit Cars.com, in the convenience of your own home with a cold iced tea and your feet up you can easily browse through to see what cars meet your needs. Take a look at what cars are not only within your budget but also might even be a bit outside of your budget. Don’t forget to visit their Video & Reviews section, so you can get a full view of the cars and understand what it is like to own the car. Once you have a list of cars it’s time to move on to the next step.

Tip #2: Sit down with your budget and understand what you could afford to pay for a car. Buying a car is a personal decision, so everyone is going to think something different. Some prefer to always lease a car. Others like to own a car. Some car buyers will take a look at pre-certified used cars. Others only want a new car. Decide what types of cars you prefer the most as we’ve mentioned and then see how your budget is going to work with them.

Tip #3: Plenty of people who need to buy a car realize that they need to have additional income coming in because this is an added expense over your typical month-to-month budget. Take a look around to see what type of work you could add to your schedule that you would like to do. If you are a teacher, then being a private tutor could be a great way to earn money. If you are a great DIY person, then putting together items people have bought, such as furniture is something that is convenient and also would be in great demand.

Tip #4: Think long term when you buy a car. It can be very tempting to jump at the first car you see that is in your price range, especially if you are on a tight budget. But remember that if you are buying a used car, you want to have a mechanic approve of the car before you hand anyone a check. Realize that when you buy a car, you want this to be a car that you will be driving five to ten years from now.

Tip #5: Make the most of the time you are looking for a car. While you could find something quickly, focus on your needs and be sure the car you purchase meets them!

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26 Week Savings PlanSaving money is hard. Committing to a savings plan requires cut throat motivation and determination. Even setting up automated transfers can seem like a daunting task, and squirreling away money minimizes that instant gratification of spending your hard-earned money.

However, without having a robust savings, so many crucial purchases are out of reach. When it comes to holiday shopping, you struggle to afford anything on your loved ones’ wish lists. Renovations and home projects are impossible without a sturdy nest egg to fund your ideas, and you end up arriving empty-handed to major life milestones like baby showers and weddings. Worst of all, if catastrophe strikes, you have no cash to rely on while you get back on your feet. Savings plans are not only essential for adult living, they’re also lifelines.

It’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re “bad at money” as an excuse for never establishing a savings plan. YOLO, right? What’s the point of saving money when momentary happiness depends on bagging that $500 outfit? Yet, the inability to save has become a national epidemic. According to a Bankrate.com survey, only 37 percent of Americans have enough funds in savings to pay for an unexpected expense. Sixty percent said they would cut back on spending in order to cover those costs, and 12 percent would rely on credit cards in the case of a financial emergency. In a survey conducted by Google, 62 percent of Americans said their savings accounts have less than $1000. Twenty-one percent of those surveyed said they don’t even have a savings account. Back in 2015, the Pew Charitable Trusts found that one in three Americans had absolutely no savings, and for folks making over $100,000 a year, that figure was one in 10.

With low CD rates and high-yield savings accounts only offering unpredictable and often stingy rates, there’s very little appeal in opening a traditional savings account. However, there are other creative and ad-hoc approaches to savings that are turning out effective results. Take for example, the 26-week savings plan. In just six and a half months, you can save $1,000 with very little effort.

The 26-week plan is both easy to follow and requires minimal capital to get started. The first week requires a deposit of $26, the second week $27, the third week $28, and all subsequent deposits for the next 23 weeks are made with dollar increments. That means by the middle of the fourth month, you will already have $416 in savings.

 

EYF 26 Week Savings PlanThe 26-week plan is easy to remember and feasible for people from a wide variety of income brackets. In a matter of six months, you’ll be able to accrue enough cash for a summer of weddings or to install new floors in that bathroom or kitchen. Schedule your 26-week savings plan accordingly. If you know that you tend to spend more money during the holiday months, then start your plan in May, so that by the time November rolls around you’ll be walking tall on Black Friday.

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tim_grittani_legitIn “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young stock broker from Long Island, who after defrauding thousands of people with a penny stock scheme, becomes a multi-millionaire hedonistic playboy. Although the 2013 blockbuster was a salacious depiction of just one stock broker’s wild and illegal venture trading penny stocks, these tiny and generally high-risk stocks were how Tim Grittani made his fortune. Or so he says. Is Tim Grittani legit?

In 2011, Grittani graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and decided he wanted to play the stock market. With zero experience and $1,500, he opened up a few accounts. His parents lent him $12,000 for the sole purpose of having more day trades a week. However, he was only allowed to explicitly trade his own nest egg. Getting his sea legs in the stock market was no easy feat. Soon after he opened his first account, he quickly drained the $1,500 and had to replenish it with cash he made at a summer job. At the start of 2012, he moved in with his parents so he could just focus on stocks. They gave him one rule: either make $10,000 by March, or he had to stop trading or move out. He made his goal, and at the end of 2012, he had $150,000 to his name. Today, he says he’s managed to maintain $2.5 million in his accounts.

Grittani studied under Tim Sykes, a famous penny stock trader who claims to have turned his $12,415 Bar Mitzfah cash gifts into $2 million. Before Grittani met Sykes, he says he was buying random stocks and hoping to sell them for a profit in a couple of weeks’ time. However, this method proved to be a surefire way to quickly deflate his funds. So he reached out to Sykes who mentored and taught him how to strategically buy and sell penny stocks. Grittani attributes his $2.5 million in trading profits to Sykes’s teachings.

Sykes has established himself as an expert on short selling and betting against penny stocks in order to turn a profit when they crash. He’s considered an authority on the subject — albeit an extravagant one. Sykes showcases his indulgent lifestyle on his Instagram, while also maintaining a training program for aspiring traders. He also starred on the reality show “Wall Street Warriors,” a program following the lives of various stock traders, that ran for a mere three seasons on the Bravo network.

Although Grittani’s lifestyle is nothing like his mentor’s, he has also created an educational program. In his 16-hour course, he provides a step-by-step system on how to turn a few thousand dollars into millions over the course of four years. Overall, Gittani is very transparent about his money-making systems. According to CNN Money, one of Gittani’s biggest wins was a series of “long and short trades” of the Fannie Mae stock that earned him $250,000 in one day. He has never made grandiose statements or a flashy social media posts. Grittani is 100 percent legit.

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business-861323_640How much money do you need to retire? It’s one of the most difficult questions you’ll ask yourself as you approach your 60s. There are hundreds of retirement calculators out there that aim to help you assess how much money you’ll need when you call it quits. The vast majority claim to be able to predict your financial future simply by plugging in your age, salary, and annual savings. Yet, life isn’t simple enough to rely on such a basic formula. No one really knows how long they’re going to live or what the economy’s going to look like down the road. Firecalc sets itself apart from the pack, because it uses an algorithm based on the trajectory of investment returns from the last 146 years. It avoids patterns and general assumptions, and instead generates data based on the stock market’s historical activity.

Firecalc considers inevitable factors such as stock market crashes, high unemployment rates, recessions, and inflation to determine the health of your portfolio over the course of 30 years. Firecalc utilizes the Monte Carlo Analysis to give you various perspectives on where your money could be headed. The Monte Carlo Analysis delivers a probability distribution that allows you to compare results with risk tolerances. It’s basically a “what if?” aggregator that produces data-driven outcomes to help you make your decision on how you want to use your savings.

These potential portfolio balances are calculated based on your average predicted spending, retirement nest egg, and number of years you plan on using those funds. You can also input pension, asset allocation, and social security. Although these are the basic elements that most retirement calculators look at, Firecalc takes into account historical volatility and actual market trends. As rudimentary as this sounds, Firecalc illustrates its unique objective with three examples: Bill, Betty, and Bob.

All three retired in the mid-1970s with $750,000 in savings. Leaving the workforce behind without social security or pensions, they each put 75 percent in stock index funds and 25 percent in bond index funds. Every January 1, they withdrew $35,000. Fast-forward 19 years later, Bill had nearly run out of cash, Betty only had about $375,000 left, and Bob had grown his fortune by two-fold.

Although Bob was lucky because he jumped in the market when prices were rising, his story is clearly not a common one. Firecalc preaches that it is unsafe to take out the same amount of cash every year. It examines 111 possible outcomes over the span of 30 years with a portfolio worth $750,000 and annual spending quotas. Out of the 111 cycles, 25 cycles failed. Cumulatively, the lowest balance is $-1,029,531, the highest is $3,806,818, and the average figure is $896,280. That means that Firecalc has a success rate of 77.5 percent.

Firecalc performs most accurately when you’re nearing retirement or past the midpoint of your career. However, it best serves folks 60 and older, as traditionally most people first build their nest egg when they’re 40 and only start withdrawing once they’ve reached 60.

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What ways can you improve your chances of earning a higher return when you sell your property? There are different investments you can make today to help boost the value of your home, so you can get the most from your sale. If you have the time and money to invest into your property, then you can really enhance your chances of making a bigger profit.

Let’s review what you can do now to increase your property’s ROI.

Focus On the Curb Appeal

The first thing people see when they pull up to your home is the exterior. If the curb appeal isn’t eye candy, then you’re going to scare of prospects before they even enter the door. You can change this by updating the outside. This includes repainting the doors and siding.

You can also have landscaping done to include nice shrubs, flowers and trees. A clean walkway and driveway are ideal. If needed, you can have them redone using fresh concrete.

Redo the Bathrooms

The bathrooms are one of the most renovated rooms in the house and for good reason. Many home buyers are looking for properties with aesthetically appealing bathrooms. You can improve the look and feel of your restrooms in various ways.

You can have the vanities switched out, along with the sink and countertop. Consider going with a durable stone option, such as granite or engineered quartz. You can also rip out the bathtub to create more space.

A lot of people today take showers, so a stand up shower would be more ideal. You can have one installed if you don’t already have one.

Update the Kitchen

The kitchen is another room in the house that home buyers care about. You should look at the homes in your neighborhood to see what type of kitchens they have. These are the ones you are competing with. In many cases, you will find the best kitchens have gorgeous granite countertops, customized cabinets, kitchen islands and features, such as a butler’s pantry. You could also settle for adding in a basic pantry for storing food and supplies.

Make Open House Warm and Cozy

When prospects come to your property, they should feel like they’re right at home. You can create this type of atmosphere by decorating the rooms with furniture. You can rent this from a company at an affordable rate. You can also hire a realtor to do this for you.

You can buy gift baskets and fruit baskets to display in the kitchen. These can be purchased from Harry & David.

Work with a Realtor

Realtors know the market better than anyone. They can set your home price competitively, so that you sell your home quickly and get the most money possible. Consider this over trying to sell the home on your own. You don’t want to leave thousands of dollars on the table.

Selling a property is a lot of work. The end goal is to get the best ROI possible. Use the above tips to ensure you get the most of our home sale.

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