Real-World Money Tips for New College Grads

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School's out for the summer! Instagram is overflowing with caps, gowns, diplomas, and celebrations as adrenaline flows through this year's college grads. It's an exciting time for rising young professionals, but many will face a reality check. Sure, graduating comes with a level of freedom and opportunity. But it also introduces the responsibility of navigating an adult world that looks a whole lot different. As you manage your money independently (perhaps for the first time), it's important to have a guide that will keep you grounded. These real world money tips will set you up to reach those...

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Money 101 by Erica Holland of ModMoney - Camille Styles

Summer is finally upon us here in Austin. It's sunny, 90 degrees, and just muggy enough to be slightly uncomfortable. No matter where you are, I hope you're shaking off the lingering chill and embracing the heat. As we welcome a new season, I'm excited to share a few pieces I've written for the Money 101 column on CamilleStyles.com.

Camille Styles is an Austin-based lifestyle site that brings a fresh approach to health, fitness, fashion, beauty, and professional goals. At its core, Camille's brand inspires healthy choices and happy lives. Financial wellness is an important part of a healthy...

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5 Simple Steps to Create a Personal Budget | ModMoney

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Creating a budget is one of those items that always falls to the bottom of our to-do list. Perhaps because the mere term "budget" elicits a bitter sense of restriction. The problem is that we’re going about this all wrong. The right kind of budget should empower us rather than confine us. It should equip us to achieve our long-term goals rather than deprive us of enjoying the present. We should be allowed to spend money on things that make us happy, without guilt. These 5 steps will help you build a budget that does just that.

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Top self-help books for personal development

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Among other resolutions, I promised to read more in 2017. And I don't mean the mystery novels I devour before bed each night. I promised to read nonfiction that would further my personal development—self-help books, if you will. Well, this may be the one New Year's resolution I haven't steered off track.

It's difficult to make time for continuous learning and self-improvement. Sure, we learn "on the job." But the most effective learning happens when it's self-motivated and self-guided. At the risk of sounding cliché, reading self-improvement books has changed my life. It has changed the...

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Clean up your money habits to achieve your financial goals

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Last summer, I painstakingly decorated our new home. All the way down to the Q-tip canister in the guest bathroom—let’s just say I was a little neurotic about it. Well, that went out the window when one book made me rethink my entire living space. Y’all, the first chapter will have you schlepping bags of once-cherished belongings to the nearest Goodwill. There’s nothing like a deep clean to shake off the winter blues, but why stop at...

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HSA vs. FSA for qualified medical expenses

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There’s nothing more deflating than sifting through confusing health insurance jargon on your first day of work. Doubly discouraging is the fact that this is actually important stuff! We know basic healthcare coverage is a must. But proactively saving for future medical expenses is also important. To make this topic manageable, let’s break down the two tax-advantaged ways we can save for qualified medical expenses. Here’s what you need to know about a Health Savings Account (HSA) and a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

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How To Pay Down Debt Once And For All | ModMoney

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Living with high-interest rate debt is overwhelming. You feel exposed. You feel burdened. You feel like you’re crumbling under a weight that just keeps growing. Whether you took on student loans to get through school or swiped your credit card a few too many times, you can work through it. By shifting your mindset and breaking down action items, you can start tackling your debt today. Let’s get started!

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Options for rolling over an old 401(k)

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Think about the last time you started a new job. It was an exciting time, right? A new job is an opportunity to start fresh. It's the time to enter a new office, hone new skills, brew new coffee, greet new coworkers, and most importantly, open a new retirement plan. Many of us have started a new career and wondered what to do with the 401(k) from our last job. We worked hard to save and don't want to sacrifice it with an avoidable mistake. Here are three things you can do with your old 401(k) to keep your savings safe—and one thing to avoid.

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What you  need to know about the post-election stock market rally and how Wall Street views President Trump's policy goals

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Over the last few months, news agencies have peppered us with a variety of unusual headlines. However, one story has remained consistent—the stock market has shown strong gains since President Trump's election. With so much uncertainty posed by the new administration, a prolonged rally may seem surprising. So what is behind this streak? And more importantly, what should you do about it?

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3 Tips To Keep In Mind When Filing Your Taxes | ModMoney

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You know, it's really unfair. We get to spend December frolicking in the cool air, surrounded by the lights and frivolity of the holidays. We even keep our homes lit until January, holding on to this bliss until the last minute. Then, the gaiety ends. And the worst part? It's replaced with tax season. But honestly, filing taxes doesn't have to be a dreadful chore if you use the right resources. Plus, there are a few things you can do today to lower your tax bill or increase your refund. Here are some tips that will make filing your taxes a smooth process this year.

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Roth vs. Traditional IRA

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Confession: when I graduated from college, I did not know the first thing about a Roth IRA, much less how it differed from a traditional IRA or a 401(k). It took countless phone calls to my parents and a few "Roth vs. Traditional IRA" Google searches for me to finally get it down. In fact, a Roth IRA may be one of the most baffling personal finance concepts for millennials. And this is a serious problem because a Roth IRA is actually a helpful, tax-efficient way to save for retirement. Especially for young people!

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5 Credit Card Rules You Should Definitely Be Following | ModMoney

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You know those people who pull out a different credit card each time they make a purchase? Admittedly, I'm guilty. I have several cards in my wallet that I use interchangeably to maximize reward categories. But it's important to note that I slowly built my way up to this point.

Spending on a credit card is a great way to earn cash back, travel rewards, and other perks. But if you're not diligent, you can do yourself and your credit history a disservice. Conscientious cardholders use their cards to build up their credit score and earn a return on purchases they already make. However, there is a...

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6 Ways To Save Money When You Work Out | ModMoney

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January is a great month to be a health club. Gyms rake in membership fees as new clients set fitness resolutions with the greatest of intentions. January 1 starts a clean slate, and it feels good to start off with a new diet or fitness regimen.

There's no doubt that working out is a healthy habit, but it can also be an expensive one. Especially if you overpay for a gym membership you don't actually use! With many of you looking for ways to stay healthy and happy this year, I'm sharing 6 tips to help you work out without breaking the bank.

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5 Financial Resolutions You Should Keep This Year | ModMoney

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Happy new year, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing holiday with friends and family. Now that it's officially 2017, I have to admit that I have never been good at keeping New Year's resolutions. I tend to focus more on lofty end goals and less on the habits I need to adopt to get there. Inevitably, I lose track, get overwhelmed, and give up within the first month or two. Anyone else in the same boat?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for dreaming big. But you also have to be mindful of the journey it will take to get there. This year, I'm resolving to think about my resolutions in a...

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Last Minute Christmas Gifts Under $100 | ModMoney

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Every year I plan to stay ahead of my holiday shopping. On Cyber Monday, I'm ready to knock out my whole gift list. But I never seem to make it all the way through! I either get distracted and move to another task, or I add to my list later on. As I sit here 4 days before Christmas, I still have a few last minute gifts to purchase. Please tell me I'm not alone! For those of you who are in the same boat, I thought it would be helpful to round up some of my favorite go-to gifts under $100 this week. And the best part? All of them are...

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Does Canceling A Credit Card Hurt Your FICO Score? | ModMoney

Many of us have that unused credit card that sits in the back of our wallets. Now be honest. Have you ever been tempted to cancel it? After all, doesn't cleaning up old credit make sense in theory? It is a common misconception that canceling an old credit card helps your FICO score. In reality, the opposite is true. Closing an old card can have a detrimental impact! And here's why.

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Should You Open That Retail Store Credit Card? | ModMoney

We've all been through this before. After exiting the dressing room, you approach the cash register with a few items in hand. You're already thinking about ripping off the tags and wearing your new clothes to dinner that evening. (Is that just me?) As you fumble for your credit card, the sales associate says, "You know, if you open up a store card, you can save an extra 15% today." What do you do? This sounds like an enticing offer! And you'll get instant gratification with a discount today. But before you reach for that shiny new retail card, there are a few factors to consider.

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Best Emergency Savings Accounts

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If you keep up with ModMoney, you know I talk a lot about the importance of saving early to build wealth. By now, you are an expert on the power of compound interest and the ability of time to exponentially grow your nest egg, allowing you to retire earlier than you ever thought you could.

Most of us save primarily through an employer-sponsored retirement account like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. However, your savings should not stop here! You can't withdraw from your 401(k) until retirement, so it's important to have savings you can access earlier. This savings account should protect you against...

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5 Apps That Will Save You Time & Money This Holiday Season | ModMoney

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I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving week! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a plethora of holiday travel are fast approaching. The holiday season can be chaotic and expensive, so I love to find new ways to save myself stress, time, and money. There are a few apps and tools I rely on to help me do that, and I'm excited to share them with you today! The first three apps are travel-focused and are essential for savvy flying. These will provide you with a smooth, comfortable, and well-priced travel experience. The last two involve holiday shopping and will help you save money and maximize the dollars...

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How to Save Money Automatically With Digit | ModMoney

This post may contain affiliate links. Saving money while you're young is one of the surest ways to build wealth. I talked about the importance of saving early in this post, but here's a quick refresher. When you put money into a savings account, your dollars earn interest. As time passes, you earn interest on your original balance AND on the interest you have accumulated. Earning interest on interest allows your savings to grow exponentially each year.

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Take Back the Money You Never Knew You Lost | ModMoney

You know that feeling when you find $20 in an old pair of jeans? Or in a handbag collecting dust in the back of your closet? Discovering lost money, in any amount, is a joyous occasion. Today, I'm sharing a website that creates a similar story line. This site helps you find unclaimed money you never knew you lost.

I know what you're thinking. How can I possibly have money floating around that I don't know about? Well, remember when you paid a security deposit on that new apartment lease? Did you ever get it back? How about that savings account your grandfather opened for you? Or that Certificate of Deposit you received from your great aunt when you turned thirteen? Maybe you never even knew you had these funds! Other forms of unclaimed property can include uncashed payroll...

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How to Maximize Your Online Shopping | ModMoney

This post may contain affiliate links. How many of you are big online shoppers? I have to admit, I will do almost anything to avoid fighting weekend traffic at the mall. My mother will tell you that I've always been this way. She used to beg me to go to the mall with her anytime I needed new clothes. In fact, shopping became a punishment for me. Whenever my sisters misbehaved, they went to time-out. Whenever I misbehaved, I went to the mall. Yes, I was quite the abnormal child. And trust me, I was a pretty good kid, largely influenced by the threat of this cruel and unusual punishment.

Over time, my extreme abhorrence for in-person shopping has evolved into a mild distaste. I still much prefer to shop online. Amazon Prime has made it so easy to ship almost anything in 2...

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How Technology Is Changing Investing | ModMoney

This post may contain affiliate links. We've all come to terms with the fact that technology is changing our world. Toddlers now have iPads, respectable adults play Pokemon Go, and robots can perform human jobs. Well, the investing landscape is no different. Technology is fundamentally changing the way we invest.

It matters because it's important to have a long-term investing strategy. Especially at a young age! Your 20s is generally the time when you can afford to take on some risk and allow your nest egg to grow exponentially (thank you, compound interest). While investing without any knowledge of the subject can seem daunting, technology is making it easier for new investors...

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The Best Credit Card for Travel Rewards | ModMoney

A few months ago, Chase had the universe of credit card nerds (yes, that exists) going crazy over the release of its newest card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can think of this as an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred (a must-have card until this new release). Y'all, the Reserve has all of the credit card nerds energized for a reason. In my opinion, it is the best travel rewards card on the market.

A quick caveat: I don't recommend the Reserve to someone who is starting out. If you are in the early innings of building up your credit score, I recommend a card with no fee and good cash back opportunities like the...

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7 Steps to Getting the Best Deal on a Car | ModMoney

Driving a new car is fun. Buying a new car is not. Does anyone agree that negotiating with a car salesperson can be a downright nightmare? My lease expired last month, so I recently navigated through this process. In doing so, I noticed that when a young person walks into the dealership, many salespeople assume that (1) we don't know how to negotiate a car, and (2) we can be manipulated. However, by asking the right questions and exhibiting a baseline knowledge of car buying, we can quash those notions. Nobody should have to feel manipulated, so this post lays out the 7 things to understand before walking into the dealership.

As a side note, I prefer to lease cars because I don't drive many miles, I like driving a new car every three years, and I like that my car will always be...

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Innovative Ways to Decorate Your Home on a Budget | ModMoney

For me, personal finance goes beyond understanding how to save and invest responsibly. It has everything to do with feeling good about managing my money, and that includes having fun spending it! A few weeks ago, Chris and I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, which has been an exciting start for both of us. Of course, along with a new chapter should come new furniture and a fresh look, am I right?

In typical fashion, I must admit to spending hours planning furniture and decor purchases within our budget. While Chris is more impulsive, I research until I know exactly what I want and where to get the best price for it. This post shares some of my favorite purchases – planned and spontaneous – and the online tools I used to ensure the best deal.

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The Importance of Saving Early | ModMoney

We’ve all heard it time and time again. We should start saving as much as we can, as early as we can. But why? As a 22-year-old in my first real job, I was tempted to contribute just a minimal amount to my retirement fund every month. After all, for every dollar I contribute, that’s one less dollar I can spend today on things that are way more fun than a 401k (Soulcycle and brunch are expensive, y’all!). Plus, I’ve got the rest of my life to save, right? This thought process is so common among young professionals who don’t fully understand the value of compound interest.

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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your FICO Score | ModMoney

Credit card spending is a great way to earn cash back, award points, awesome travel perks, and lucrative sign-up bonuses. However, in order to fully enjoy these benefits, it is imperative that you take a disciplined approach and have a solid FICO score. This post will cover the basic building blocks of your FICO score: what it means, how it's calculated, and how you can find yours.

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AmEx Platinum Travel Benefits in Mexico

After a few hours of navigating through flight cancellations and delays, Chris and I finally arrived in Punta Mita, Mexico for a few days of R&R. Now, I have to profess that I thoroughly enjoy planning and booking trips. While most people I know dread the mechanical, tedious process, I see it as an opportunity to get extra value for my dollar. And let's be honest, booking a sweet travel deal feels so much more rewarding than purchasing a discounted coffee table.

I have a few go-to credit cards that I use when booking travel, and our Punta Mita trip is the perfect opportunity to talk about one...

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5 Things to Know About Your 401(k) | ModMoney

Saving for retirement can be a daunting and seemingly faraway concept for a recent college grad or young professional. After all, we're all navigating through busy lives and other more immediate financial obligations. Still, it's important to start saving early (here is the reason why), and a retirement account like a 401(k) is a great vehicle to save into. This post boils down the 5 things you need to understand about your 401(k) so you can effectively save for your future AND prepare for near-term obligations. Like paying off those student loans. Or making a down payment on that dream house. Or buying that new car. You get it.

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ModMoney | A Personal Finance & Lifestyle Blog

It’s a beautiful day in Austin, Texas. After a 5:45am spin class, I have an hour of quiet time before I head into the office. With a large coffee in hand and endorphins kicking in, I’m sitting down to write my first ModMoney post. As a finance professional, I like to read fashion and lifestyle blogs as an escape from working behind spreadsheets and creating presentations. The nerdier side of me (let’s be honest, it makes up most of me) also enjoys reading about maximizing credit card points, managing money, long-term investing (have I lost you yet?), and other enthralling content (sarcastic, but not really).

Graduating from college and entering the real world was daunting. I’m a born-and-bred Texas girl who left the state (gasp!) to attend college in North Carolina. As if that...

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Erica Holland | ModMoney

Meet Erica

Erica is an Austin local, Duke grad, and creator of ModMoney, a platform bringing a fresh perspective to personal finance. She believes financial health is an important part of living well and hopes to empower others to make informed, proactive choices with their money. Find out more.

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