Best credit cards for streaming services

Catching your favorite show or movie via streaming service is commonplace in this day and age – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and doing so using a smart device other than a standard computer has gained popularity in recent years.

In fact, 2020 data out of the Leichtman Research Group found that 80% of T.V.-owning households in the U.S. have at least one internet-connected T.V. device – from streaming devices like the Roku Streaming Stick to video game consoles like Nintendo Switch to standard smart T.V.s. And with the uptick in internet-connected T.V. devices, one can assume the popularity of streaming services (coupled with Americans’ ever-heightening presence online) may have something to do with it.

As the popularity of streaming services grows, U.S. households are increasingly cutting the cord with cable

Research published as recently as this year by the Leichtman Research Group indicates that “82% of U.S. households have at least one streaming video service” from 11 of the top direct-to-consumer and subscription-based video-on-demand services – a slight increase from its 2019 findings.

At the same time, numerical estimates from eMarketer forecast that an additional 6.6 million U.S. households will “cut the cord” with cable T.V. subscriptions in 2021, bringing the projected total number of U.S. cord-cutters to 31.2 million.

Overall, it can be inferred that the COVID-19 pandemic could have something to do with these numbers as Americans look for more ways to stay entertained while under stay-at-home orders.

Got streaming subscriptions? A rewards card can help

If you happen to be juggling streaming service subscriptions for personal use – or even to stream calming tunes at your small business or within your (virtual) second-grade classroom, for example – odds are you’re spending a decent amount on these services per month. And while financial tools like a rewards credit card can be helpful, streaming services probably aren’t the first bonus category you check for when scoping out the most “rewarding” card options.

Since these purchases likely make up less of your budget, it makes sense that they won’t be your first priority. Thankfully, though, many great rewards and cash back credit cards now include streaming service bonuses in addition to their ongoing rewards and perks. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorite cards that reward streaming.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card*: Best for earning rewards on streaming with no annual fee

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for earning rewards on streaming with an ongoing annual fee
  • Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating category enthusiasts
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for Amazon Prime loyalists
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card: Best for everyday spending
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card: Best for streaming credit
  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*: Best for dinner and a movie
  • Best for earning rewards on streaming (no annual fee): Wells Fargo Propel

    For cardholders who prefer a rewards card with no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is a great option. It offers 3X points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services. Cardholders also earn 1X point per dollar on other purchases. Based on the average person’s spending habits, we estimate this card offers an average rewards rate of 1.78 points per dollar, one of the highest rates you can find on a card with no annual fee.

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card*

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Wells Fargo Propel card is one of the best no-annual-fee travel cards on the market, thanks to its 3X point bonus.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 3X points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services; 1X point per dollar on other purchases
    • 20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
    • $0 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    If you were to spend $29 a month on streaming services, you’d earn 1,044 points annually with this card. That’s just over $10 a year in cash back from streaming purchases.

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards on Wells Fargo Propel

    This card’s video streaming service category includes a number of popular providers. Eligible partners include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Now and more. You can also earn rewards on eligible music streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify Premium and Pandora. With so many providers included, it’s easy to rack up points on your subscriptions.

    Other card perks to consider

    Beyond offering a good rate on streaming services, the Wells Fargo Propel comes with several other perks that make it a valuable option. New cardholders can enjoy a generous sign-up bonus of 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, the Propel card’s bonus categories are particularly valuable for frequent travelers, as they include gas stations, transit, travel and dining purchases.

    Best for earning rewards on streaming (with an ongoing annual fee): Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a great choice for cardholders looking to earn cash back on streaming service purchases, and the card’s terrific ongoing rewards rate should make it easy to offset the $95 annual fee after the first year.

    You’ll earn 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (for up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit and U.S. gas station purchases, and 1% on general purchases.

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Why should you get this card?

    The Blue Cash Preferred card helps take the sting out of long commutes by offering a generous point bonus on U.S. gas station spending, and it offers one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get when you use your card at U.S. supermarkets.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases and 1% cash back on other purchases
    • $150 statement credit if you spend $3,000 in first 6 months
    • 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in first 6 months, up to $200 back
    • Free ShopRunner membership
    • $95 annual fee is waived the first year
    • Terms apply

    The 6% cash back on streaming services is the most generous bonus on this category currently available among rewards cards – especially since there is no cap on how much you can earn. If, like the average person, you pay about $29 each month on various services, you can earn more than $20 a year in cash back on those purchases alone.

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred card also boasts a robust list of eligible streaming services, including popular options like Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, Spotify and Disney+, as well as HBO Max.

    Keep in mind, however, that according to Amex, “If your subscription is bundled with another product or service or billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable, telecommunications, or internet provider or a car manufacturer), your purchase may not be eligible.”

    In other words, if you have an add-on subscription to a service like HBO included as part of your cable service, you won’t earn bonus rewards even if you pay that bill with the Blue Cash Preferred.

    Other card perks to consider

    On top of the highest rate of cash back currently available for streaming services, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a top-tier rate on U.S. supermarket purchases (6% on up to $6,000 in purchases a year, then 1%). If you spend a lot on groceries each month, this card is one of the most rewarding options available. Even with the $6,000 per year spend cap, you can rack up quite a bit of cash back.

    Best for rotating category enthusiasts: Discover it Cash Back

    If you enjoy tracking quarterly rotating categories for higher cash back rates, the Discover it Cash Back might be your card of choice. The Discover it Cash Back publishes its quarterly rotating categories ahead of time.

    In 2021, the Spring (April to June, activate starting March 1, 2021) categories include select streaming services. During the Spring quarter, if activated, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter in the bonus categories, then 1% after that. If you miss the Spring bonus quarter this year, keep an eye out to see if it’s offered again next year.

    Discover it® Cash Back

    Discover it® Cash Back

    Why should you get this card?

    The Discover it® Cash Back offers rotating quarterly rewards category, plus no annual fee.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
    • 1% cash back on general purchases
    • $0 annual fee

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Discover it Cash Back

    The following streaming services are eligible in this category: Apple Music and Apple TV+, YouTube TV, Spotify, Disney+, HBO Max, AT&T TV Now, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling and Vudu.

    Note that if your subscription is bundled with another product or service billed by a third party, it may not be eligible in this category. The same goes for add-ons on select streaming services if they aren’t on the list of eligible services.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Discover it Cash Back card offers other great perks, including a sign-up bonus that matches your cash back at the end of your first year of card membership. In addition, it comes with a $0 annual fee and multiple easy options for how you can redeem your rewards.

    Best for Amazon Prime Video loyalists: Amazon Prime Rewards card

    The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is designed with Amazon fans in mind, making it one of the best options if your streaming service of choice is Amazon Prime Video. The card earns 5% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases (including your Amazon Prime membership), 2% cash back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. In order to qualify for the card, an Amazon Prime membership is required – but the card’s 5% rewards rate can help offset the fee.

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card offers a great 5% rate on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases. and 1% back on other purchases
    • $70 Amazon gift card when you sign up
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

    While Amazon Prime is technically the only streaming platform eligible for rewards, the Amazon Prime Rewards card should prove surprisingly flexible if you want to juggle multiple subscriptions. In addition to your Prime membership (which includes Prime Video and Amazon Music), you’ll earn 5% back on all Prime Video rentals and purchases, as well as on any subscriptions you add to your membership through Amazon Prime Video Channels.

    With Amazon Prime Video Channels, you can choose from more than 100 add-on video subscriptions, including premium channels like HBO and niche channels like PBS Masterpiece. Here is a brief selection of Prime Video Channels, all of which earn 5% back when added to your Prime Video account:

    • Acorn TV
    • BET+
    • BritBox
    • Cheddar
    • Cinemax
    • Epix
    • Hallmark Movies Now
    • HBO
    • Lifetime Movie Club
    • MLB.TV
    • NBA League Pass
    • Paramount+
    • PBS Masterpiece
    • PBS Kids
    • Showtime
    • Starz
    • Shudder
    • Sundance Now

    To earn rewards on these add-on subscriptions and any video rentals or purchases, be sure your Amazon Prime Rewards card is set as your default payment method for Prime Video. You can adjust this setting in the “Your Payments” section of your account, under “Settings” – or change your payment method for Prime Video Channels in the “Manage Your Prime Video Channels” section of your account.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Amazon Prime Visa also makes a great grocery card for users who live near a Whole Foods location. The 5% cash back you earn on these purchases is one of the best grocery rates available. Additionally, you’ll get a $70 Amazon gift card just for signing up. While this is not the highest sign-up bonus available among rewards cards, it doesn’t require you to meet any spend requirement, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the perk immediately.

    Best for everyday spending: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    If you want to earn rewards on an array of everyday expenses, including streaming services, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card is a terrific option without paying an annual fee. Along with the 4X points per dollar you’ll earn on takeout, dining and food delivery purchases, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations and streaming services, then 1X point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

    U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

    Why should you get this card?

    It charges no annual fee, offers an impressive rewards rate on a variety of everyday purchases and comes with the added perk of an annual streaming credit.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 4X points per dollar on dining, 2X points per dollar on grocery store, gas station and streaming service purchases, then 1X point per dollar on other purchases
    • 20,000-point bonus when you spend $1,000 in first 90 days
    • Includes an introductory APR on balance transfers and new purchases
    • No annual fee

    On top of its ongoing rewards on streaming service purchases, the card offers a unique annual streaming credit: When you make 11 consecutive calendar month eligible streaming service purchases, you’ll receive a $15 credit (automatic statement credit will be applied within two statement billing cycles following the eleventh month; you are eligible for this credit once per 12-month period).

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    While U.S. Bank does not offer a full list of eligible streaming services, it’s safe to assume based on how merchant category codes are typically assigned that services like Amazon Music, Apple Music, AT&T TV Now, Disney+, Google Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, Slacker Radio, Sling TV, Spotify, Tidal, Vudu, YouTube Music and YouTube TV are included.

    Other card perks to considerinstant card number on approval. As soon as you’re approved, you can load your card number into your favorite mobile wallet and start earning rewards instead of waiting for it in the mail. You can also use the card to pay off a transferred balance or finance new purchases – a major plus considering how difficult balance transfer offers can be to come by.

    students with a limited credit history can also enjoy streaming service perks with the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. You can earn up to $60 in streaming service credits: $5 per month for 12 months on select subscriptions when you pay on time. Some exclusions apply, but popular services like Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix are included.

    Best for streaming credit: U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card

    The streaming service earning on the newly launched U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card is pay, but it makes up for it with a slightly higher credit of $30 for annual streaming service purchases. Plus, you can still rack up plenty of rewards with the card’s 4X rate on gas and travel, 2X on groceries (including grocery delivery), dining and streaming services and 1X on everything else.

    U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature®

    U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card

    Why should you get this card?

    The new U.S. Bank Altitude Connect offers a leading rewards rate on gas and travel, and its TSA Precheck/Global Entry application fee credit can help offset the annual fee.

    Other things to know:

    • 4 points per dollar on travel and at gas stations
    • 2 points per dollar at grocery stores and on grocery delivery, dining and streaming services
    • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
    • 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 120 days
    • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
    • $30 credit for annual streaming service purchases such as Netflix and Spotify
    • Receive up to $100 in statement credits for reimbursement toward your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee once every four years.
    • No foreign transaction fees

    While the card does offer 2X ongoing rewards on streaming service purchases, the annual streaming credit offers the real value. Like with the Altitude Go Card, you just need to make 11 consecutive calendar month eligible streaming service purchases, and then you’ll receive a $30 statement credit.

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card

    There is not a full list of eligible streaming services publicly available, but services like Amazon Music, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube TV are said to qualify.

    Other card perks to consider

    In addition to its high earning rate on travel and gas purchases, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card comes with a statement credit of up to $100 to cover your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee. Since the annual fee on this card is only $95 (waived in the first year), you can easily offset the cost on the years you use this credit. (Note, membership to these programs last five years.)

    Best for dinner and a movie: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has long been a favorite for foodies, thanks to its generous earning rate on both dining and grocery store purchases. But this fan-favorite recently got an upgrade – and with it a new, enhanced rate on streaming service purchases.

    Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Capital One Savor card offers one of the best cash back rates on dining and entertainment purchases combined.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
    • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and streaming services
    • 3% cash back at grocery stores
    • 1% cash back on other purchases
    • $300 if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
    • $95 annual fee

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    There is not a full list of eligible streaming services publicly available, but services like Hulu, Disney+ and Netflix are said to qualify.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Savor card also recently enhanced its earning rate on grocery store purchases, making it more valuable for those who prefer eating in to dining out. So whether you’d rather order takeout (earning 4% cash back) or stock up for cooking your own meal (3% cash back), the Savor will reward you for your next movie night.

    Final thoughts

    While streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV or Tidal might not make up the biggest part of your monthly budget, you can still bring in great rewards on your membership fees by choosing the right rewards card. Whether you prefer a dining, grocery or travel card, you can combine rewards on various purchases with a streaming bonus to maximize points or cash back.

    *All information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

    Source: creditcards.com

    How to Design a Life You Love

    In the earliest days of my business, I wasn’t so much running toward a passion or purpose but running away from my disengaging full-time job. And that absence of purpose scared me. This was the next phase of my life, and I wanted it to be infused with intention.

    And also… I had no idea how to achieve this.

    Then one day, browsing aimlessly in a bookstore (a tactic I recommend anytime you’re struggling with literally anything) I stumbled on a book called Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

    At first glance it sounded a little squishy. But I noticed the book is based on a course of the same name, authored by two professors who famously teach at Stanford University – an institution not known for its squishiness. So, I grabbed it.

    Its purpose is to help you answer this question: Can we apply design thinking to the “wicked problem” of designing your job, your career, and even your life? Evans and Burnett believe we can.

    Design thinking is a means of user-centered design. It’s about designing not the best outcome, but rather the best path for a particular user. In the case of this book, the user is you. Today I’ll introduce you to the five phases of the design thinking process, and how Burnett and Evans might encourage you to harness it in designing your ideal life.

    Whether you’re on a quest for joy, change, or a fresh start, welcome to your new beginning.

    Design thinking … is about designing not the best outcome, but rather the best path for a particular user – in this case, the user is you.

    Step #1: Empathize

    Design thinking begins with empathy because you can only design for a user you understand. And since you are the user, this phase is about self-awareness. So how can you get to know you a little bit better? There’s a process Burnett and Evans describe called wayfinding, which is a simple method of self-discovery that puts you in the direction of where you need to go.

    Through wayfinding, you’ll discover which activities engage you (leaving you feeling inspired and “in the zone”) and which sap your energy. The process is simple: keep a journal (here's a good example of one). For the next few weeks, keep track of your work and home activities throughout each day. Whether it's writing a sales pitch, reorganizing your sock drawer, or anything else. For each activity, grab your journal and log how high or low your engagement was during the activity (did you enjoy your time spent?) and how you feel afterwards (energized or exhausted, positive or negative?).

    This process will reveal some important information about you!

    Step #2: Define

    The next phase of design thinking is to define the needs or insights you’ve gained through empathy. So after a few weeks, take a closer look at your journal and do a bit of reflecting. What captures your attention? Any surprises? 

    When I did this exercise, I validated some things I already knew – I love spending time with people and learning about topics of interest. But the news to me was that I was also enjoying writing copy for my website. This insight led me to start publishing an email newsletter which has since become critical to my business growth.

    Now it’s your turn. What insights pop out for you? What assumptions can you validate, and what new things did you discover?

    Step #3: Ideate

    Now it’s time to develop a set of possible solutions. This phase is meant to be playful and exploratory, leveraging the insights you’ve collected.

    Burnett and Evans call this Odyssey Planning. I love this phrase – it sounds more like an adventure in the wilderness than a planning process. How you craft your odysseys is up to you – you can draw, write stories, brainstorm or create a mind map.  But the goal is to generate possibilities using pen and paper.

    “Each of us is many,” Evans and Burnett say. “The life you are living is one of many lives you will live.”

    So start with three possible lives:

    • A better version of the present – what your life would look like if everything stayed the same, but you added in more of the engaging and stripped out some of what leaves you drained
    • An alternate version of the present – what your life would look like if suddenly your job went away
    • A what-if-money-were-no-object version – what your life would look like if finances weren’t a constraint

    Let your creative brain take over here. None of these will be your final life design, so don’t be hampered by too many rules. This is only about possibilities.

    Step #4: Prototype

    This phase is about collecting data to inform how we turn ideas into action plans. Now that you’ve crafted three possible lives that sound great to you. What can you do to test and validate those assumptions?

    Who in your life has lived pieces of your envisioned lives? If one Odyssey involves you opening a restaurant or becoming a stay-at-home parent or launching a side hustle, who do you know who has done these things?

    Find and interview people who you trust to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of their experience. Arm yourself with as much information as you can, so you can ultimately make informed choices about how to proceed.

    Find and interview people who you trust to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of their experience. Arm yourself with as much information as you can.

    Step #5: Test

    The most valuable thing I learned while going through this life design process was that change needn’t be wholesale. You don’t have to throw out one life and take on another. You can take just one step at a time. Here’s where you put your insights, your possibilities, and your data into a blender and take small sips of the smoothie that emerges.

    Maybe in your current job you spend a lot of time in meetings that drain your energy. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or boycott meetings. But can you craft a small experiment in which you opt out of one meeting per week and replace it with something that really lights you up? (Go back and check your journal to find the things that make you happiest).

    This was my approach. I didn’t throw out my business. Instead, I started turning up the dial on things I believed would make me happy – choosing different clients, saying no to certain projects and yes to others.

    If I was right, I kept going. If I was wrong, everything was reversible because I was doing this in small steps, rather than giant leaps. This process can be fun and invigorating. The beauty of human-centered design is that there is no right answer. There’s only the outcome that lifts you up.

    And now it’s your turn. Are you ready to build the life you love?

     

    Source: quickanddirtytips.com

    Hitting the Books Again? Here’s How to Financially Prepare for Grad School

    Deia Schlosberg had been working as an environmental educator, teaching students about issues concerning conservation and sustainability. While she loved teaching, she wanted to reach people on a larger scale about the importance of protecting the environment. So she decided to follow her dream of becoming a filmmaker—a dream that would require her to return to school for a graduate degree. She had no idea at the time that it would lead to becoming an award-winning documentarian.

    While Schlosberg’s choice may have paid off, learning how to pay for grad school as a working adult can be a challenge. There are various benefits to getting an advanced degree: You can learn more, you can earn more, you can further advance in your current job or prepare for a career change. However, you might also find yourself stressed by the expense and resulting debt of it all, especially if you have kids, a home or other financial commitments. So a big question on your mind could be, “How much should I save for grad school?”

    To financially prepare for grad school it’s important to weigh the benefits and stressors that surround getting an advanced degree.

    Below are some lessons on how to financially prepare for grad school to help you determine if and when you should go back to school. If you haven’t yet decided if graduate school is right for you, see section 1 for tips on how to decide. If you already know you want to go back to school, skip to section 2.

    1. Decide if going back to school is right for you

    Getting an advanced degree may seem like a ticket to success, but depending on your chosen area of study, the outcome may vary. For Schlosberg, it was a bit of a risk. It can be difficult to get a break in the film industry, and going to grad school could mean carrying around debt for a long time. Is this the type of outcome you would be willing to accept?

    According to Emma Johnson, best-selling author, career consultant and founder of Wealthysinglemommy.com, there are a few things you can do to help you decide whether or not going back to school is right for you:

    • Do your homework. When considering how to pay for grad school as a working adult, research your degree options and the jobs to which they might lead. Compare cost and compatibility—for instance, will classes for the program align with your work schedule? Once you’ve determined what kind of occupation you may pursue after grad school, search online for information about that occupation’s average earnings.
    • Solidify your goals. You may find clarity in writing out your goals for going back to school. Some benefits are tangible, like earning more money, building a professional network and gaining skills. Others might be less tangible, such as finding personal fulfillment. Once you know your goals, it will be easier to determine if a graduate degree makes personal and professional sense.

    .block-quote_1back { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/1back-730×500.jpg); } @media (min-width: 730px) { .block-quote_1back { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/1back-1600×600.jpg); } }

    “Your savings should not only depend on tuition but also what the degree is—i.e., how easy it will be to repay once you are working in the desired field.”

    – Deia Schlosberg, filmmaker
    • Give your degree program a test run. Consider taking classes that relate to the degree you are interested in getting in grad school. These classes can give you a taste of the subject matter you’ll be studying and help you meet people involved in the field. Also, if prerequisites are required for your advanced degree, they often cost less online or at a community college, which is important to remember when thinking about how to prepare your finances before grad school. Make sure the course credits will be accepted at the graduate school you plan to attend.
    • Take a hands-on approach. To level up in your existing career or find out what it’s like in a new field before making the change, get some work-related experience first. For instance, to learn more about moving up in your own field, get out and meet those higher level professionals by attending conferences and networking events. The same tactic applies if you want to change careers.

    2. Know how much you need to save

    How to pay for grad school as a working adult can be complicated, but you’ve decided you’re ready for it. Plus, hitting the books at a time when saving for retirement or your child’s education could be at the forefront makes the task of how to prepare your finances before grad school even more critical.

    Understanding how to prepare your finances before grad school becomes more complicated if you’re also budgeting for a retirement plan or child’s education.

    Figuring out how much to save for grad school begins with determining the cost of attendance. Here are a couple ways to do that, according to Johnson:

    • Do the research. Once you have found a school and degree that you like, visit the school’s web site. Some schools may provide the cost of tuition, fees and estimated costs for books, supplies and transportation. Costs can vary tremendously, depending on various factors: whether you attend full or part time, whether you attend a public or private school, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident and the time it takes to get your degree.
    • Determine your budget. Once you have a handle on the school-related costs, build a spreadsheet that accounts for these costs and projects monthly income and living expenses. Working through a savings plan beforehand can help you financially prepare for grad school by showing just how much you’ll need to budget for monthly on tuition plus living expenses. Once you determine these factors, you’ll get a better idea of what you need to save up.
    • Create a savings buffer. After you determine your monthly costs, pad that number. “Your savings should not only depend on tuition but also what the degree is—i.e., how easy it will be to repay once you are working in the desired field,” Schlosberg says. She saved a little more than she estimated, giving herself an extra cushion to cover some of the potential risk to her finances.

    .block-quote_1front { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/1front-730×500.jpg); } @media (min-width: 730px) { .block-quote_1front { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/1front-1600×600.jpg); } }

    “You may have to downscale your career and current lifestyle to go back to school, which may be a worthwhile investment of time and resources.”

    – Emma Johnson, career consultant

    3. Allow yourself a flexible timeline

    One key factor in planning the timeline for earning your graduate degree: Don’t be in a rush. If you need to, create the time to save. It may not be necessary to go back to school full time or finish on a particular schedule, Johnson says. She mentions these possible paths to earning your degree when planning how to pay for grad school as a working adult:

    • Consider a side hustle. One option is to go to school full time and take on a side hustle. You may not make as much as you did as a full-time employee, but the income can complement your savings. It may also allow you to concentrate more on your degree and finish faster.
    • Attend part time. Go to school part time (nights and weekends) while working. It will take longer, but it will also minimize your debt, which could be better in the long run.
    • Take it slowly. Only sign up for a class or two—whatever you can afford—and continue to work. This part-time “lite” approach may take even longer, but could help you avoid overextending yourself financially or sliding into debt.
    • Take online classes. Consider online programs that could lower the cost of tuition and allow you to continue working full time.
    If you’re wondering how to pay for grad school as a working adult, consider attending school part time and taking online classes.

    4. Take advantage of potential cost-saving benefits

    So you’ve done your research on how much you need to save while determining how to prepare your finances before grad school. But there are ways to potentially cut or eliminate some of those costs. What comes next are some solutions that may help pay your grad school bills:

    • Consider loans, financial aid and scholarships. “I took out some student loans for living expenses, but I tried to pay off my tuition as I went by working through school,” Schlosberg says. Graduate students may also be eligible for different types of scholarships and grants, which is aid that does not need to be paid back. Depending on your area of study, scholarships and grants can also be obtained through federal and state organizations, private foundations, public companies and professional organizations.
    • Ask your employer to pay the tuition. One way to financially prepare for grad school is to talk to your manager or human resources representative to find out if your current employer would help pay for, or fully fund, your degree through tuition reimbursement. This is most likely if you plan to move up the ladder and use your new skills on behalf of the company.
    • Take advantage of in-state tuition. Some people move to the same state as their desired school to try to get a break on tuition. “I moved to Montana and worked a couple jobs for a year before applying so I could get in-state tuition,” says Schlosberg. Whether you are already a resident or you move to a new state, be sure to determine how long you need to be a resident to qualify for in-state tuition at your desired university.
    • Cut back on discretionary expenses. Seemingly small things like adjusting your lifestyle to lower your monthly costs, which could mean fewer lattes and dinners out, might go a long way in resolving how to prepare your finances before grad school. “You may have to downscale your career and current lifestyle to go back to school, which may be a worthwhile investment of time and resources,” Johnson says.
    When determining how to financially prepare for graduate school, consider scholarships, in-state tuition and tuition reimbursement.

    Financially prepare for grad school and get a new start

    Answering the question of how to pay for grad school as a working adult requires significant research and preparation, but some say it’s worth it, including Schlosberg. It not only gave her a whole new start, but a wealth of knowledge going forward to nurture her future endeavors. “Getting a graduate degree gave me the confidence to jump into a new career. I met an amazing network of people,” Schlosberg says.

    .post__breaker–9348 { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hitting-the-Books-Again-Heres-How-to-Financially-Prepare-for-Grad-School_8-FULLBLEED-450×200.jpg);}@media (min-width: 450px) { .post__breaker–9348 { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hitting-the-Books-Again-Heres-How-to-Financially-Prepare-for-Grad-School_8-FULLBLEED-730×215.jpg);} }@media (min-width: 730px) { .post__breaker–9348 { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hitting-the-Books-Again-Heres-How-to-Financially-Prepare-for-Grad-School_8-FULLBLEED-992×400.jpg);} }@media (min-width: 992px) { .post__breaker–9348 { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hitting-the-Books-Again-Heres-How-to-Financially-Prepare-for-Grad-School_8-FULLBLEED-1200×400.jpg);} }@media (min-width: 1200px) { .post__breaker–9348 { background-image: url(https://865cd2fc18498405a75a-f8cbe8cb758c89f0cd738fe08520ecb9.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/online-banking/banking-topics/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hitting-the-Books-Again-Heres-How-to-Financially-Prepare-for-Grad-School_8-FULLBLEED-1600×400.jpg);} }

    But an advanced degree may not be a necessity. While it could look impressive on a resume, for many employers, a master’s degree is not a requirement. “Whatever you do, don’t go back to school just for the sake of getting a degree,” Johnson says. When thinking about how to financially prepare for graduate school, make sure it fits into your financial picture and that you’re able to “weigh your sacrifices against future gains,” she says.

    The post Hitting the Books Again? Here’s How to Financially Prepare for Grad School appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

    Source: discover.com

    The Average Salary of a Surgeon

    The Average Salary of a Surgeon

    Surgery is a prestigious field that requires a high degree of skill, dedication and hard work of its members. Not surprisingly, surgeons’ compensation reflects this fact, as the average salary of a surgeon was $255,110 in 2018. This figure can vary slightly depending on where you live and the type of institution at which you work. Moreover, the path to becoming a surgeon is long and involves a substantial amount of schooling, which might result in student loan debt.

    Average Salary of a Surgeon: The Basics

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of a surgeon was $255,110 per year in 2018. That comes out to an hourly wage of $122.65 per hour assuming a 40-hour work week – though the typical surgeon works longer hours than that. Even the lowest-paid 10% of surgeons earn $94,960 per year, so the chances are high that becoming a surgeon will result in a six-figure salary. The average salary of a surgeon is higher than the average salary of other doctors, with the exception of anesthesiologists, who earn roughly as much as surgeons.

    The top-paying state for surgeons is Nebraska, with a mean annual salary of $287,890. Following Nebraska is Maine, New Jersey, Maryland and Kansas. Top-paying metro area for surgeons include Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN; Winchester, WV-VA; Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY; New Orleans-Metairie, LA; and Bowling Green, KY.

    Where Surgeons Work

    The Average Salary of a Surgeon

    According to BLS data, most of the surgeons in the U.S. work in physicians’ offices, where the mean annual wage for surgeons is $265,920. Second to physicians’ offices for the highest concentration of surgeons are General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, where the mean annual wage for surgeons is $225,700. Colleges, universities and professional schools are next up. There, surgeons earn an annual mean wage of $175,410. A smaller number of surgeons are employed in outpatient Care Centers, where the mean annual wage for surgeons is $277,670. Last up are special hospitals. There, the mean annual wage for surgeons is $235,770.

    Becoming a Surgeon

    You may have heard that the cost of becoming a doctor, including the cost of medical school and other expenses, has soared. Aspiring surgeons must first get a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, preferably in a scientific field like biology.

    Then comes the Medical College Acceptance Test (MCAT) and applications to medical schools. The application process can get expensive quickly, as many schools require in-person interviews without reimbursing applicants for travel expenses.

    If accepted, you’ll then spend four years in medical school earning your M.D. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’ll almost certainly enter a residency program at a hospital. According to a 2018 survey by Medscape, the average medical resident earns a salary of $59,300, up $2,100 from the previous year. General surgery residents earned slightly less ($58,800), but more specialized residents like those practicing neurological surgery earned more ($61,800).

    According to the American College of Surgeons, surgical residency programs last five years for general surgery. But some residency programs are longer than five years. For example, thoracic surgery and pediatric surgery both require residents to complete the five-year general surgery residency, plus two additional years of field-specific surgical residency.

    Surgeons must also be licensed and certified. The fees for the licensing exam are the same regardless as specialty, but the application and exam fees for board certification vary by specialty. Maintenance of certification is also required. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it qualification. The American Board of Surgery requires continuing education, as well as an exam at 10-year intervals.

    Bottom Line

    The Average Salary of a Surgeon

    Surgeons earn some of the highest salaries in the country. However, the costs associated with becoming a surgeon are high, and student debt may eat into surgeons’ high salaries for years. The costs of maintaining certification and professional insurance are significant ongoing costs associated with being a surgeon.

    Tips for Forging a Career Path

    • Your salary dictates a lot of your financial life, such as how much you can afford to pay in rent and the slice of your paycheck that goes to taxes. However, there are some principles that apply no matter your income bracket, like the importance of an emergency fund and a well-funded retirement account.
    • Whether you’re earning a six-figure surgeon’s salary or living on a more modest income, it’s smart to work with a financial advisor to manage your money. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

    Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/megaflopp, ©iStock.com/XiXinXing, ©iStock.com/shapecharge

    The post The Average Salary of a Surgeon appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

    Source: smartasset.com

    7/1 ARM vs. 30-Year Fixed Mortgage: Pros and Cons

    When shopping for a mortgage, it’s very important to pick a suitable loan product for your unique situation. Today, we’ll compare two popular loan programs, the “30-year fixed mortgage vs. the 7-year ARM.” We all know about the traditional 30-year fixed – it’s a home loan with a 30-year duration and an interest rate that [&hellip

    The post 7/1 ARM vs. 30-Year Fixed Mortgage: Pros and Cons first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    Locking vs. Floating Your Mortgage Rate

    To mortgage folk across the country, it’s an age-old question: “Lock or float?” It’s a question loan officers and mortgage brokers get asked on a daily basis, often over and over again by panicked borrowers and first-time home buyers. And it might just be the most important answer a homeowner will come up with during [&hellip

    The post Locking vs. Floating Your Mortgage Rate first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    21 Things That Can Drive Your Mortgage Rate Higher

    Wondering why you didn’t receive the low mortgage rate you saw advertised on TV or the Internet? Well, there are a ton of reasons why the quote you obtained was higher than anticipated. Let’s explore a lot of them so you can actually get your paws on that low rate. 1. Low credit score This [&hellip

    The post 21 Things That Can Drive Your Mortgage Rate Higher first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    Don’t Be a Desperate Home Buyer

    It’s no secret the housing market is hot at the moment, so much so that just about everyone is wondering when the next housing crash will take place. The few homes that are out there are flying off the shelves, and bidding wars are becoming more and more common, if not a foregone conclusion. Instead [&hellip

    The post Don’t Be a Desperate Home Buyer first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    You Can Now Request COVID-Related Mortgage Forbearance for Up to 18 Months

    Some good news for homeowners struggling to make ends meet thanks to COVID-19, which as the name implies has been going on for a while now. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has just announced an extension to the COVID forbearance period, which was previously capped at 360 [&hellip

    The post You Can Now Request COVID-Related Mortgage Forbearance for Up to 18 Months first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com