What College Students Need to Know About Driving for Uber, Lyft

Rideshare companies promise ultimate flexibility for drivers: Set your own schedule, earn more during busy times, get paid quickly. It seems ideal for college students looking to earn summer cash.

But driving for Uber, Lyft or other rideshare services requires more than simply downloading the app and filling up your gas tank.

Here’s what to know before signing up to be a driver this summer.

Age requirements

Rideshare driving may not be an option for undergraduate freshmen and sophomores due to age requirements.

  • Uber: You must meet your city’s minimum driving age requirements and have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. Drivers younger than 23 must have three years of licensed driving experience.
  • Lyft: You must be 21 or older. The exception: Drivers can be 18 years old in New York City.

If you’re too young for Uber or Lyft, other options include driving for a takeout or grocery delivery service. The age requirement for DoorDash and Instacart is 18. With Uber Eats, you must meet the minimum age to drive in your city and have at least one year of driving experience.

Insurance coverage

For both Uber and Lyft, drivers must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and provide proof of insurance with their name on the policy. Drivers should inform their insurer that they’re driving for a ridesharing service, or they could risk getting dropped.

But personal auto insurance likely won’t cover drivers when a rideshare app is open. Insurance companies want you to purchase commercial insurance if you’re using your car to make money.

To help solve this, Uber and Lyft insure drivers while they’re en route to pick up passengers and when passengers are in the car. However, coverage is limited when the app is on and drivers are waiting for a ride request. To cover yourself during those gaps, consider purchasing rideshare insurance.

Financial aid impact

Need-based financial aid is determined with tax information from two years prior. In other words, money earned in summer 2019 may reduce the amount of need-based aid a student receives for the 2021-22 school year. But if you expect to graduate within two years, this summer’s earnings won’t impact future financial aid.

Students can earn up to a certain amount before it counts against them for need-based financial aid. The income protection allowance for dependent students is $6,660 for the 2019-20 school year. The allowance is higher for independent students and parents.

If a summer job as a rideshare driver pushes your annual earnings above the income allowance, you could be eligible for less need-based financial aid in the future.

However, students working as independent contractors — as rideshare drivers do — have the “unique ability” to deduct certain expenses from their income and potentially keep their income under the allowance, says Billie Jo Weis, a client service manager at My College Planning Team, a financial aid advising firm in the Chicago area.

Tax implications

Rideshare companies don’t withhold taxes from drivers’ paychecks. Instead, you’re responsible for paying taxes on income earned through the app. You may be able to reduce your taxable income — therefore potentially increasing access to need-based financial aid — by deducting driving-related expenses including gas, tolls and repairs.

Keep track of your car- and driving-related expenses, including your mileage with the app on. The IRS allows drivers to deduct a set amount — 54.5 cents per mile in 2018 and 58 cents in 2019 — for every mile driven for business purposes. Uber and Lyft provide annual reports to each driver that include total mileage and earnings.

Potential perks

Between insurance, financial aid and tax considerations, being a rideshare driver may sound like more of a headache than it’s worth.

But you may have the opportunity to earn more than just cash.

For instance, Uber is piloting a program that offers free tuition for undergraduate degrees online through Arizona State University. It’s available to drivers in more than two dozen cities who have completed 3,000 rides and have gold, platinum or diamond status on Uber Pro, the company’s rewards system.

Emily Kuckelman, 28, of Denver is participating in the program by taking classes in graphic information technology online at ASU while driving 30 to 35 hours a week for Uber. The former teacher estimates that she earns $13,000 to $17,000 more annually than in her previous career. Plus, it’s flexible with her class schedule, she says.

“If I can afford to not drive, I don’t have to,” says Kuckelman, who works during peak hours to take advantage of Uber’s in-app promotions for drivers. “I want to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.”

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The article What College Students Need to Know About Driving for Uber, Lyft originally appeared on NerdWallet.

9 Money Tips for 2019 College Grads Anticipating Their First Paychecks

When you’ve been living on a college budget, the first real paychecks from your post-graduation job can feel like more money than you know what to do with. Here’s how to spend, save and invest that income while paying down debt and splurging a bit, too.

1. Create a simple budget

Yep, a budget is the first step. Once you give each dollar a purpose and ensure you’re meeting essential needs, you can spend on things you value and feel confident that you can afford them.

The 50/30/20 approach is a good budget starting point.

  • Spend 50% on needs like rent, groceries and minimum loan payments.
  • Spend 30% on splurges like trips, takeout and concert tickets.
  • Spend 20% on savings and extra payments on high-interest debt.

2. Make a money priority list

You can’t do everything at once when you’re saving money and repaying debt. Prioritize in this order:

  • Save $500 for emergencies in a high-yield savings account.
  • Contribute enough to your 401(k) to get your employer’s match, if there is one.
  • Pay off high-interest debt like credit cards.
  • Save for retirement. Aim for 15% of your pretax income.
  • Grow your emergency fund. Aim for three to six months’ worth of expenses.

3. Understand investing basics

While buying individual stocks is one investment option, it’s not what personal finance experts recommend for beginners.

Your first priority is a retirement account like a 401(k) or Roth IRA, even as you embark on what will likely be a decades-long career.

The money in these accounts is invested in stocks and bonds and grows over time due to compound interest. For example, every $1,000 invested at age 22 becomes nearly $20,000 when you are 72, assuming a 6% rate of return.

4. Establish a retirement plan

So how do you actually start saving for retirement? If your employer offers an account like a 401(k), make a transfer from each paycheck to it. If the employer offers to match your contributions to a certain amount, aim to contribute at least enough to get the full match — it’s free money!

If you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement account, open an individual retirement account through an online broker or automated financial advisor. A Roth IRA is a tax-friendly option for new graduates.

5. Take an inventory of student debt

Saving for the future is crucial, but you’re likely facing something more pressing: student loans. Start dealing with them by answering these questions:

  • Are the loans federal, private or a mix of both?
  • How much do you owe?
  • What are the loan interest rates?

Most student loans are owned by the Department of Education. To see your federal loan details, visit the Federal Student Aid website. For private student loans with a bank like Sallie Mae or Discover, check your account with that lender.

6. Begin making student loan payments

Most student loans have a six-month grace period, meaning payments won’t come due until late fall. But if you can start making payments earlier, you’ll save on interest and establish the habit of paying.

For federal loans, you’ll make payments to your loan servicer, the company the government hires to handle loan repayment. If your monthly payments are too high relative to your earnings, apply for an income-driven repayment plan that caps payments at 10% to 20% of your income and forgives the remaining balance after 20 or 25 years. Private student loans aren’t eligible.

7. Work on your credit

You may be hard-pressed to name a benefit of student debt, but here’s one: Consistent on-time payments reflect positively on your credit. And a credit score in the high 600s or above is essential to accessing the best rates on loans, insurance and a mortgage. Some employers and landlords check credit, too.

Review your credit report to see where you stand. Chances are, you don’t have much of a file. To start working on your score, apply for a secured credit card or a basic credit card at your bank.

8. Use credit cards as a tool

Having a credit card doesn’t mean you have to carry a balance.

Instead, pay off your card on time every month and use less than 30% of your available credit. If your card limit is $3,000, for example, limit your balance to $1,000 or less.

As your credit improves, you’ll qualify for cards with more benefits like cash back and points or miles.

9. Make your money work for you

Earning credit card rewards is a prime example of making money work for you.

Another example: If you have good credit and relatively low debt compared with your income, you can refinance student loans to a lower interest rate. This will free up money to invest, spend on a vacation or save for a down payment.

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The article 9 Money Tips for 2019 College Grads Anticipating Their First Paychecks originally appeared on NerdWallet.

How to Break Free of Debt Without Paying a Price Later

Samantha Ealy graduated with a bachelor’s degree and $70,000 in debt. She worked multiple jobs to pay off student loans, a car, medical bills and credit cards in three years. But looking back, Ealy sees a few missteps.

For example, one job offered a 401(k), but she didn’t put in enough to qualify for an employer contribution, which she now regrets. “That was free money,” she says.

Young people buried under the weight of student loans recognize that paying off their debt is crucial to financial freedom — and for some, to their financial future, too.

In a 2018 NBC News/GenForward survey of 18- to 34-year-olds, a third said debt caused them to put off buying a home and 31% to delay saving for retirement. In addition,14% percent said they delayed getting married, and 16% delayed having children.

Taking steps to get debt-free and set yourself up for success also means making the right moves now to avoid costly trade-offs later. Three people who paid off debt share lessons they learned, which may help you refine your own strategy.

Track your spending

Ealy, now 31 and pursuing an MBA at Stanford University in California, realizes she was hyper-focused on earning more when she should have paid better attention to spending less.

“From day zero, I should have been maintaining a budget,” she says. “Had I done that sooner, I probably would have realized I could have cut some spending that was ridiculous and done without as many jobs as I was working.”

Tip: Build a budget and use one of the many free apps like Mint to stay on top of spending, says Bill Brancaccio, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Rightirement Wealth Partners in Harrison, New York.

Save for emergencies

While paying off debt, it may seem counterintuitive to put money away for emergencies. But an emergency fund can prevent you from going deeper into debt when an unexpected expense hits.

Laura Olear, 32, a substitute public schoolteacher in Los Angeles, said her emergency fund saved her while she was paying off close to $31,000 in debt.

Olear used both do-it-yourself methods and a debt management plan from the nonprofit credit counseling agency Money Management International to tackle student loans, a car loan and credit card debt.

She had saved $1,000, some of which she needed for car repairs during her six-year journey to pay down her debt. “I am grateful that money was there,” she says.

Tip: Contributing even a few hundred dollars to an emergency fund can insulate you from common financial shocks, according to a 2016 study from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Don’t forget about retirement

Thomas Nitzsche learned his own hard financial lessons before he began working for Money Management International, where he’s now spokesman.

Nitzsche, 40, lost his job during the 2008 recession. He stopped contributing to his 401(k) and withdrew all of it to pay off about $12,000 in credit card debt instead. Soon after, he landed his current job and realized his mistake.

“I had to start over at 28 or so with building for retirement,” he says.

Olear had a similar experience. “Retirement for me sounded so far away,” she says. “I withdrew my money, paid all the fines and blew it.”

While paying her debt, she came to understand the value of retirement. Olear now contributes to a 403(b) retirement plan through her job.

Tip: While retirement may seem far off, you can’t afford to ignore it while you’re paying off debt. To accumulate enough money for retirement, you need to give it a long time to grow.

Choose a method that fits you

Two strategies to pay off debt include the debt snowball and debt avalanche. With snowball, you pay off debts from the smallest amount to the largest by taking care of the little one first, while paying minimums on the others. Once it’s paid, you roll what you had been paying on it into your payments on the next debt, and so on.

The avalanche approach prioritizes paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first and paying minimums on others. A credit card would be paid off before a student loan, for example.

“The snowball works better for behavioral purposes,” Brancaccio says. If you need quick wins to stay motivated, choose snowball.

But if you’re committed for the long haul, use avalanche. “The avalanche mathematically will generally work out better,” he says.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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The article How to Break Free of Debt Without Paying a Price Later originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Watch Your Credit Card Rewards Pile Up With These 5 Tips

Just because summer’s approaching doesn’t mean your wallet gets a vacation. From graduation season and Father’s Day to the Fourth of July and back-to-school spending, you’ll likely drop some dollars.

Rewards-earning credit cards can help you save on these expenses — but you can also combine those rewards with other money-saving strategies to help you hang on to even more of your cash.

Here are five such “stacking” strategies for your credit card.

1. Check your account offers

Some card issuers have online bonus malls — accessible via account login — that offer discounts or higher rewards rates at hundreds of merchants, on top of what your card already earns.

“I recently bought new outdoor furniture and a gas firepit, and I logged into Chase, clicked through the portal to Lowe’s, and got an extra 3 points per dollar spent,” says Holly Johnson, founder of Club Thrifty, a personal finance blog dedicated to saving money.

You can also check for one-time or limited-time promotions that are specific to your card. Chase Offers and AmEx Offers, for example, are visible to eligible cardholders when logged in. They feature discounts or bonus rewards at dozens of retailers, including many brick-and-mortar merchants, although you must opt in by “adding” the offer to your card.

2. Sign up for a retailer’s email list

Ever had a salesperson offer you a discount on the spot if you sign up for the store’s credit card? Similarly, when you’re shopping online, many stores will offer you a percentage off your first order if you sign up for an email list, so snag that discount on top of your normal credit card rewards.

Or maybe it’s free shipping you want. Seventy-five percent of consumers now expect it even on orders below $50, according to a report by the National Retail Federation. Signing up to receive a retailer’s emails can be one way to get free shipping, at least on your first purchase. (Note that retailers charge different prices for shipping and may not add that cost to your total until it’s in your cart.)

Another way to dodge shipping charges: Buy online, preferably through an online bonus mall, and pick up in store. This may also require you to submit your email address and be added to a mailing list. But agreeing to receive correspondence from a retailer is much easier than signing up for a store card. If those emails start getting overwhelming, just unsubscribe.

3. Use cash-back sites with a cash-back card

Cash-back sites like Ebates, TopCashBack or BeFrugal function much like online bonus malls, but they’re not tied to any particular card issuer.

When you join one of these portals and log in, you’ll see hundreds of participating retailers, as well as the percentage back that those retailers offer for shopping through that portal. Click on the offer you want, and you’ll be directed to that merchant’s website to shop.

You’ll get a percentage back on your purchase by using your rewards card and an additional percentage back from shopping through the portal.

4. Buy discounted gift cards to the places you shop

Gift cards remain popular: 45% of respondents in NRF’s 2019 Mother’s Day Spending Survey said they were planning to purchase them.

There are two approaches to saving money via gift cards. First, you can buy them at a place where you already earn elevated rewards for shopping. For example, if you have a card that pays high rewards on supermarket purchases, pick up a gift card for your favorite retailer while you’re getting those groceries. You’ll earn the same high rewards as you would on your milk, eggs and bread.

Your other option is to use a rewards credit card to buy gift cards through an exchange site like GiftCardGranny or Raise, where people sell their unwanted gift cards at a lower-than-face-value price. You’ll save on the card itself, plus you’ll get a percentage back on the purchase via your rewards card.

5. Track prices across different sellers

Before you shop with a specific retailer through a bonus mall or cash-back site, it pays to compare. Consider using tracking tools like CamelCamelCamel, which focuses on Amazon prices, or sites like PriceGrabber and Google Shopping to see which retailer is offering what you’re looking for at the lowest price.

With that quick bit of research, you can get your item at the lowest price, rack up portal rewards and pile on credit card points for that category or retailer.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

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The article Watch Your Credit Card Rewards Pile Up With These 5 Tips originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Ask Brianna: I’m 18. Should I Worry About My Credit Yet?

“Ask Brianna” is a column for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com.

Good credit opens up a world you may not have known existed, like Platform 9 3/4 did for Harry Potter.

If you jump on the credit-building train at 18, you’ll have an easier time renting an apartment, getting a car loan and setting up your own cell phone plan when you graduate (though I can’t promise you’ll find butterbeer, like Harry did, at your final destination).

But credit also makes it disturbingly easy to cover the eight pizzas your roommates decide to order.

While independence is your reward for having good credit, not everyone is ready to build it responsibly in college. Know yourself, and choose a method that won’t torpedo your goal as soon as you start.

Why you need credit

A quick primer: Your credit score shows lenders, landlords and financial institutions how likely you are to repay a debt or follow through on your commitments. After you start using credit, you’ll receive a score on an 850-point scale. In general, a good score is 690 or above, but know that it will take time to get there. A score of 650 to 699 “could be considered a win” if you’re in college and you’ve been building credit for a year, says Beverly Harzog, author of “The Debt Escape Plan.”

Having good or excellent credit means:

  • Lower interest rates on credit cards, car loans, mortgages and private student loans
  • Eligibility for premium credit cards with fancy rewards
  • More easily qualifying to rent an apartment
  • Access to utilities without a deposit
  • Cheaper car insurance in most states

It can take six months after opening credit accounts to see your score. Many banks, credit cards and personal finance websites show their members free credit scores.

How credit works

The factors that most influence your score are whether you’ve paid bills on time, how much credit you’re using and how long your credit history is. When you’re in the process of building credit, avoiding negative marks — like late payments — is your first priority.

Rent payments generally won’t affect your credit — unless you don’t make them, which could hurt it. But making student loan or car payments on time will elevate your score. Keep credit card balances low, and don’t carry a balance from month to month, even if it’s small. Consider using the card to make one recurring payment, like your cell phone bill, says Billy Hensley, incoming president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education. Set up autopay from your checking account to cover it.

How to build it

Credit cards probably come to mind first when you think of credit, but they’re just one way to show you can pay your bills on time. And they’re not for everyone.

There are some credit cards out there just for students, but they can be hard to get approved for. Instead, you can become an authorized user on your parents’ card, which means they’ll still be responsible for paying the debt, or get a secured card, which has a low credit limit and requires a deposit upfront.

Before you get a credit card, Harzog says to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a checking account now, or when you were in high school?
  • Are you able to use a debit card without overdrawing your account?
  • Do you save at least some money from each paycheck?
  • Do you keep track of how you spend any income you earn?

If the answers are no, consider building credit another way.

I am a big fan of credit-builder loans. You get a small loan — usually through a credit union or community bank — and the money sits in a bank account while you make on-time payments, building a credit score. Once it’s paid off, the money is yours.

In the end, managing your money sensibly will naturally lead to a strong score.

“It’s far more important to focus on paying bills on time (and paying the credit card bill in full every month),” Harzog says, “than it is to focus on attaining a specific number by graduation.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

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The article Ask Brianna: I’m 18. Should I Worry About My Credit Yet? originally appeared on NerdWallet.

If ‘Budget’ Sounds Like a Bummer, Try Renaming It

Webster’s New World dictionary defines budget as: “a plan or schedule adjusting expenses during a certain period to the estimated or fixed income for that period.”

If that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. (I’m kidding. It sounds terrible.)

By definition alone, budgeting sounds like a chore. So it’s no surprise that many people hear the word “budget” and think: Constraints. Restrictions. Hassle. And it’s even less of a surprise, then, that most people simply don’t do it.

Only 33% of American adults follow a budget, according to an October 2017 survey of Americans from NerdWallet. The time and effort involved are often cited as the reasons, but trying and failing is also a barrier. In a separate study from Northwestern Mutual, 79% of respondents said being financially responsible meant not deviating from a budget.

“When people think ‘budget,’ they think of ‘less,’” says Matt Bell, personal finance expert at Matt About Money. “I’m going to spend less. I’m going to have less fun. I’m going to have less freedom.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking control of your money can be the opposite of restrictive; it can actually be freeing, Bell says.

“Really, it’s about getting more. More knowledge about what’s happening in your financial life, so you can be more intentional with your money. So you end up having more for the things that matter to you.”

Reframe the conversation

The word “budget” isn’t very helpful. It doesn’t tell you anything about what you need to do. And, for many, it triggers negative associations. So let’s call it something else.

Bell likes cash flow plan. Other people prefer spending plan or expense tracker. You can even get creative with it and coin your own phrase — maybe money map or financial freedom scheme speaks to you. Whatever helps you envision the goal: to know what’s coming in and going out, and adjust where needed.

“When you think about it in that way, that’s pretty easy to handle,” says Vicki Bogan, associate professor of finance at SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University.

Change the timing

Budgets are often reactive. You have a financial issue — too much debt, not enough savings, a series of unexpected financial hits — and you turn to a budget as a fix.

That is the right move, Bogan says, but it contributes to the negative connotations. Because reacting rarely feels empowering, but taking control does. So try your best to be proactive.

Try to start tracking your income and expenses before there’s a problem. So, when one arises, you’re ready for it. That is, by definition, empowering.

Focus on your goals

“Nobody wakes up excited about a budget,” Bell says. But you can certainly get excited about buying a house, attending your friend’s destination wedding or living it up in retirement.

Whatever the goal, use your spending plan as a means to achieve it. That way, you can break big expenses up over time to make them more manageable. And evaluate any purchases (outside of necessities like food, shelter and bills) against that goal.

Keeping the money you put toward your goals in a separate account will help you easily see your progress (and make you less tempted to dip into that fund for something else).

Don’t start with restrictions

Yes, a spending plan involves limits. But those come in later.

The first step is to simply figure out where your money is going, Bogan says.

“Don’t monitor it. Just, you know, live your life,” she says. “And then on your app or spreadsheet really take stock of what you’re spending money on.”

Then start making decisions about what to prioritize and what to cut out or cut back on.

Be flexible

Once you hit a groove, check in throughout the month to see if your plan is lining up with your reality. It might line up one month and not the next. That’s OK. Plans are flexible.

If you’re consistently off, revisit your plan. Maybe that $100 monthly grocery budget was unrealistic. Or maybe you can be proactive, using coupon apps to find discounts on regular purchases. Either way, make adjustments as necessary.

“If this is something new, chances are it may not go perfectly well,” Bell says. “New habits take a while to establish. But just by starting the process, you’re in the game and you will find benefits very quickly.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

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The article If ‘Budget’ Sounds Like a Bummer, Try Renaming It originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Stressed to Pick the Best? Try ‘Good Enough’ Money Decisions Instead

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

In a world of information overload, it’s common to feel angst when making choices. You never know whether you’re making the best one.

Call it optimizer guilt. And it can be especially prominent in choosing financial products, which can be opaque and confusing: Do I have the best credit card? What 401(k) investment will give me the best return? Where should I open an account to save for my kid’s college expenses?

Besides adding stress, optimizer guilt can keep you from making important money decisions that need action now.

The solution may be the theory of “good enough,” or what academics have called “satisficing.” Make a decision based on the best information you can reasonably gather at the time, and then get on with your life. In many cases, you can revisit the decision later, if necessary — refinance your mortgage, move your retirement funds or choose a different 529 college savings plan.

“The truly great thing about ‘good enough’ — and the reason it is so powerful — is that it allows you to get to the starting line in a way that waiting for the ultimate, best possible result does not,” writes financial expert Jean Chatzky in her book “Make Money, Not Excuses.”

How simplifying can help

You may have heard the same problem called “paralysis by analysis” and the solution as, “Don’t make perfect the enemy of the good,” or the acronym KISS: “Keep it simple, stupid.”

“Good enough” is not just a financial well-being thing, it’s a happiness thing.

Having more choices is good only up to a point because of the accompanying pressure to optimize, argues psychologist Barry Schwartz in his book “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.”

“As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until, ultimately, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates,” he wrote in a research paper with Andrew Ward, a fellow professor at Swarthmore College. “Learning to accept ‘good enough’ will simplify decision-making and increase satisfaction.”

If you get an adrenaline rush from plotting your credit card points on spreadsheets and poring over price-to-earnings ratios of individual stocks, this concept may not be for you. You’re a die-hard optimizer who crunches numbers for sport.

The theory of good enough is for those who feel overwhelmed, thinking they should optimize their money life but feeling shame because they don’t have the time or desire. If that’s you, consider decluttering your finances. Simplify by combining financial accounts, save with automatic deposits, and skip low-value retail loyalty programs and coupons.

Here are a few specific examples of good enough.

Retirement investing

Too many choices in a company-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k), can lead to making no selection at all. If that sounds familiar, a good-enough decision would be to contribute enough to get all of your employer’s matching contribution and invest the money in a target-date index fund, a fund that invests based on what date you expect to retire. Is that optimal? Maybe not. But it gets you started. You can raise your contribution percentage and research other funds later. Meanwhile, your nest egg has started growing.

Rewards credit cards

If you pay your credit card balance in full every month, you’re a candidate for a rewards credit card, but how to choose among the thousands available? To get started, a good-enough choice is a flat-rate cash-back credit card that pays 1.5% or higher. It gives you a fixed amount of cash back no matter what you buy. You can always get a complicated points or miles card later. Until then, you’ll be earning rewards on everything you charge to the card in the best rewards currency: cash.

College savings

You gain tax advantages by squirreling college savings in certain types of accounts, but it can be dizzying trying to choose among them all. A good-enough option is to invest in your own state’s 529 savings plan and potentially reap a state tax break, too, depending on the state. Choose a target-date fund, based on when your child is likely to attend college. Later, you might move the money to a different state’s plan or start a different account. The point is, you started saving.

For big-money decisions or unusual circumstances, you might want to put more effort into making an ideal choice, or you might seek professional advice. But for many other decisions, settling for “good enough” can end up being optimal.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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The article Stressed to Pick the Best? Try ‘Good Enough’ Money Decisions Instead originally appeared on NerdWallet.