Hidden cable fees, best states for green homes & more

October 11, 2019 edition

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Money moves from this week's headlines


How cable companies use hidden fees to raise prices and disguise the true cost of service

The gist → On average, the cable industry generates close to $450/year per customer through company-imposed fees, adding 24% of the base package price to the average monthly cable bill. Consumer Reports

The move → Company-imposed fees aren’t always negotiable, but it doesn’t hurt to try — especially since cord-cutting doesn’t necessarily lead to savings. Learn how to negotiate with your cable company.

GE is freezing pensions for 20K workers

The gist → The company stopped allowing new employees to enter into its pension plan in 2012, and now will freeze contributions from employees currently in the system. The 600K retirees and others already receiving pension payments will not be affected. CBS News

The move → Pension systems are largely defunct, but if you’re still depending on your employer to provide for you after you retire, consider one of these surefire ways to up your savings.

Millions in California begin losing power as PG&E tries to avoid wildfire

The gist → Pacific Gas & Electric is instituting ‘public-safety power shut-offs’ this week, which are expected to affect about 800K customers in northern California. Bloomberg

The move → If you’re in a fire-prone area, learn how to stay safe and protect yourself — and your home.

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

📣 Help a friend get life insurance through Policygenius and earn $100 (select states only)

🏭 Find out what industries your 401k is supporting

🎓 Enter to win $5,000 for your child’s 529 plan


Keeping Score KEEPING SCORE

This week in money gossip


$30

The average weekly allowance parents give their children, according to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. NYT

$3.9M

The total amount in overdue-book fines canceled by the Chicago Public Library when it adopted a no-fee policyon Oct. 1. Chicago Sun-Times

-2 to 11 The scale on which Bloomberg Businessweek ranked individual net worth worldwide. Only two people, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, scored an 11. @BW

$70

The amount of money in the bank account of Bachelorette star Hannah Brown before she joined the show. Marie Claire

$40

The cost of each fake Statue of Liberty tour ticket that Alec Baldwin bought from a scammer this week. Daily Mail


Pro TipGIVEAWAY Easy Money Giveaway illustration 092619 Fb ad copy

Here’s the news: According to a 2019 Policygenius survey, only 20% of parents in the U.S. have opened a 529 college savings plan for their children.

So what’s the move? To start, you can enter to win the Policygenius 529 giveaway. Don't worry, if you're already an Easy Money subscriber, you can still enter to win.

Feeling generous? Forward this email to a friend!


100 words 100 WORDS OR LESS

Fast + free money advice from the Policygenius advisers


I just had a baby. What accounts should I open for him? — Julia

Congratulations! There are two accounts to consider right now for your child, both of which take advantage of compound interest. The first is a 529 plan, which is a state-run plan designed to help families save for college tuition on a tax-advantaged basis. Second: a mutual fund brokerage account, which is a great way to save money for the future. Some advisers will also suggest a whole life insurance policy, but we don't think kids need life insurance. You do, though, so if you don't have it already, you and your spouse should each purchase term life insurance.

— Patrick Hanzel, Policygenius CFP®


Pro TipPRO TIPS

Jeff Buehler, licensed Policygenius adviser

jeff buehler

Last thing you resisted buying — and how: Air Pods. I already have two pairs of headphones, so I thought, “Do I really need another?”

Current money goal: Saving for a house

How you’re working towards it: Putting 5% of each paycheck into a money market account

Money thing you’re most proud of: I started to save for retirement at age 22.

#1 money tip you give to people: Invest long-term when you're young. You’ll thank yourself later.

Check out more of Jeff’s pro tips, including how he budgets and what he’d do with a $1M windfall, at Policygenius Magazine. *


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The best and worst states for green homes


If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint and your utility bills, a green home may be right for you. But between incentives and resources, some states are better for building your dream green home than others. Find out which states are propelling the green home movement and which states have some catching up to do, and see how all 50 states rank in green-home friendliness

greenhomes


This newsletter is intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you