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PFI newsletter: Small tasks can make a big difference


Welcome to Personal Finance Insider, a bimonthly newsletter that connects you with the stories, strategies, and tips you need to be better with money. You can sign up here.

Here’s what: It’s the little things

I moved into a new apartment earlier this month — what a breath of fresh air! My partner and I are very grateful for our steady jobs, but like many other people in our work-from-home situation we were quick to spot the flaws in our Los Angeles abode. When COVID-19 stay-at-home orders kept us inside around the clock, our lack of a washer/dryer, natural light, and outdoor space became achingly apparent.

According to the Pew Research Center, one in five Americans have relocated, or know someone who has, during the coronavirus pandemic. Moving is always a hassle, even when you’re just swapping units in your own building like we did. But along with budgeting out new furniture and home improvement items, there was another financial task to tackle: updating our renter’s insurance.

Renter’s insurance is dirt cheap and probably one of the best peace-of-mind purchases I’ve made in my life. In addition to updating the policy with our new address, we had to make sure our coverage amount reflected the value of personal property (furniture and electronics, mainly) we keep at home.

Sending a request for a policy update to my insurance agent was a simple, 10-minute task and now we’re covered in case something happens.

For me, the past six months has been full of crossing off small, but significant financial tasks like this. Checking up on the asset allocation in my 401(k), requesting and reviewing my credit report, reallocating paused membership fees, and more.

Like the morning sun streaming through the east-facing windows in our new bedroom, often it’s the little things that have a big impact.

Tanza Loudenback, Personal Finance Insider correspondent

Expert tip of the week

“To lower expenses, work with vendors (utilities, insurance, credit card companies, mortgage lenders) to access COVID assistance programs. Figure out where in your budget you can make temporary changes to reduce what you’re spending. It’s not forever — it’s just for COVID.” —Natalie Taylor, CFP® and Business Insider contributor, on her 4 simple but critical budgeting tips for the current times.

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Business Insider reporter Liz Knueven is willing to shell out up to $500 for private mortgage insurance over the next five months so she can keep from selling out of the stock market — and it’s a brilliant move.

Wealthfront is rolling out cash prizes to its users, and the latest is $20 to anyone who gets a direct deposit in their Cash Account

The second promotion in Wealthfront’s “Drops” campaign runs from August 17 to September 1 at 7:00 a.m. PT. Even brand-new customers are eligible.



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