Apple news, the state of health insurance and more

September 13, 2019 edition

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Action Item

ACTION ITEMS

Money moves from this week's headlines


Why Apple made the unusual move to sell its streaming service for next to nothing

The gist → Apple TV+ will be just $4.99/mo. — cheaper than any other major streaming service, including ad-supported Hulu ($5.99/mo.), Disney+ ($7/mo. when it launches later this month), and Netflix ($16/mo.), though Apple's offering will launch with only a small library of original shows and no licensed third-party content (hence the low price). Still, since customers buying a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV box will get a year of Apple TV+ for free, it’s still expected to be one of the largest streaming platforms by volume. CNBC

The move → Streaming options are getting more competitive — and more plentiful. Here’s how to avoid drowning in subscription fees.

The number of uninsured Americans rose for the first time in a decade

The gist → An additional 1.9M people went without health insurance in 2018 vs. 2017, the first increase since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. Rates of coverage for private insurance (like employer, group, and exchange) and public insurance (like Medicaid and Medicare) were down. Experts cited several factors, including the Trump administration’s 90% cut in advertising for Obamacare, its suspension of the tax penalty and shortened open enrollment periods. Policygenius Magazine

The move → Special Enrollment is available any time you experience a qualifying life event, and open enrollment starts November 1. If you’re uninsured, learn how to get covered.

Couple charged with theft after they spend a $120K bank error

The gist → A Pennsylvania couple is facing felony theft charges after spending nearly $120K that their bank accidentally deposited into their account. From the couple: “We took some bad legal advice from some people, and it probably wasn't the best thing in the end.” CNN

The move → Finders isn’t always keepers. Learn more about your responsibilities when you happen upon some cash.

No money moves to make this week? Why not try a 5-minute money task? May we suggest:

🌱 Open a new savings account

🏥 Make sense of a hospital bill

⛱️ Brush up on your credit card's travel insurance policy


Keeping Score

KEEPING SCORE

This week in money gossip

$180K

Approx. earnings professional gamer Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby has made from playing Super Smash Bros. competitively Policygenius Magazine

706

The average national credit score — an all-time high, according to FICO. “At over 700, you will qualify for just about any credit at favorable terms,” said Ethan Dornhelm, vice president for scores and analytics at FICO. CNBC

$240

The amount women players will get when they pass "Go" in a new version of Monopoly called Ms. Monopoly, “a new game celebrating women’s empowerment." Men will still get the traditional $200. CNN

$150 to $350

The typical fines for not cleaning up after your dog, charged by landlords who require condo tenants to register their pups with doggy DNA testing companies like PooPrints and Mr. Dog Poop. OneZero

$42

The price per page for an essay with a three-hour deadline on academic writing site Academized. The pitch: “You can relax knowing that a 100% plagiarism-free essay is written just for you, while you take care of the more interesting aspects of student life.” NYT

$8,200

The out-of-pocket maximum for an individual Obamacare health plan in 2020, an increase of $300 vs. 2019. The out-of-pocket maximum for a family is $16,400, an increase of $600. Policygenius Learn Center


100 words

100 WORDS OR LESS

Fast + free money advice from the Policygenius advisers

How should I balance saving between long-term retirement funds I can't access easily vs. emergency funds vs. funds for major life purchases like buying a house? — Anny

Emergency savings comes first. Put 3 to 6 months of essential expenses in a savings account that you can easily access before you put significant savings toward anything else. Once you have your emergency fund in place to deal with unexpected expenses, then you can start saving for major purchases like a home and investing long-term. — Patrick Hanzel, Policygenius CFP®


Pro Tip

PRO TIPS

Carlos Oyaga, Policygenius licensed adviser

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Money thing you’re most proud of: Most recently, paying off one of my wife’s student loans with the highest APR and funding our emergency savings with enough for 6 months of expenses. (That’s huge! Congratulations! — ed.)

Current money goal: Saving for a down payment on a home.

How you’re working towards it: We have a target date for when we want to buy. We want to have enough for a 20% down payment to avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance), plus 3% for closing and moving costs. So we came up with a monthly savings goal and we're ‘paying ourselves first’ each month so we can have the funds available by our target date!

Money book, podcast, or blog you recommend: Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group and creator of the index fund.

Most common question people ask you about money — and how you answer it: “How do you tackle debt?” Avalanche method — make at least the minimum payments on all your debts, and accelerate payments toward the one with the highest APR.

Check out more of Carlos’s pro tips, including how he budgets, the best financial advice he ever received, and what he’d do with a $1M windfall, at Policygenius Magazine.


Good Graph

GOOD GRAPH

Couples that don't share credit scores are 7x more likely to breakup

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1 in 5 individuals in relationships who don't know each others' credit scores plan to leave their partner due to money issues, according to Policygenius Magazine.