Google checking, 401k contributions and more

November 15, 2019 edition

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Money moves from this week's headlines

Google plans to offer checking accounts next year

The gist → Google’s account would join Apple’s credit card, Amazon’s rumored checking accounts and Facebook’s planned digital currency as the online financial products of the future. WSJ

The move → The competition for online banks is getting crowded. If you’re tempted by big tech, here’s what to consider before giving up the brick-and-mortar experience.

Venice experiences worst floods in 50 years

The gist → Italy's historic city is experiencing disastrous floods that have killed two people. "Venice is on its knees,” says its mayor, who has blamed climate change for the record-setting flood. CNN

The move → Worldwide floods are getting worse — and more frequent. Make sure your home is protected from rising waters.

Open enrollment numbers are down — but there's still time to get covered

The gist → Nearly 1M Americans have selected a 2020 health insurance plan on since open enrollment kicked off on Nov. 1. That’s down about 12% from a year ago, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CNN

The move → If you’re not covered through work and need to purchase your own health insurance plan, you have until Dec. 15 to do it on the federal exchange. Read our tips for picking the best plan for you and your family.

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

📈 Revisit your 401(k) contributions — limits have increased for 2020

💰 Find out if you’re considered "rich" in your state, just for fun

💵 Replace your damaged cash


This week in money gossip


The amount of Bill Gates’s money you get to spend in this viral interactive game. Spend Bill Gates’ Money


The price at which some Italian towns are selling fixer-uppers in order to attract foreign investors. Purchasing requires a commitment to renovate within three years. CNN


The reliability score given to Newark Airport on a 100-point scale, making it the worst large airport in the U.S. according to an index from the Wall Street Journal. WSJ


The median home price in Arlington County, Virginia - up 33% since Amazon announced it as the location of its second HQ one year ago. MarketWatch


The monthly contribution amount at which the host of the podcast “Dumb People Town” will roast your social media profiles on video. NYT


The multiplier by which a man's approved credit line amount through Apple Card was higher than his wife's, sparking an accusation that the company’s rating algorithm is sexist. NYT


Fast + free money advice from the Policygenius advisers

It’s open enrollment at my work, and I’m not sure what to do for life insurance. My employer offers a year’s salary, plus the option to buy more through them. Is this enough? — Charles

Probably not. A good rule of thumb for people with dependents is to have coverage for 10 to 12 times your income. (This calculator can give you a more personalized recommendation.) If you do need more coverage, the best way to get it is to shop for your own term life insurance policy so you won’t risk going uninsured if you lose your job. If you don’t have dependents now, but plan to, you may want to consider a term policy anyway to lock in lower rates, which increase 10% each year you age.

— Patrick Hanzel, Policygenius CFP®

Have a money question? Our advisers have a money answer. Reply to this email and we’ll get them on the case.


A Q&A with Tom Marchant, co-founder of travel agency Black Tomato

Money thing you’re most proud of: Myself and my two partners started Black Tomato with just $30,000 of savings each. This year, we will take in over $40 million and be profitable - and we've never taken outside investment. We've made that initial savings work hard.

A money regret: I’ve moved countries and cities a number of times in my life. I always underestimate the cost of doing it and end up playing catch up for a while, which only adds to the stress of the move. I believe in learning from mistakes, but budgeting for moves seems to be my kryptonite. Or maybe it’s just moving. Either way, we’re staying put for a while.

Best financial advice you ever got: “Always get the first round of drinks.” People tend to notice and steer clear (not just in the bar, but in life and investment opportunities) of people who don’t put their hand in their pocket. That, and always sleep on any investment decision. Whether an investment or a big purchase, never give in in the moment. Always put a night between you and the decision and see how it feels in the morning.

Check out more of Tom’s pro tips, including his biggest money goal and what he’d do with a $1M windfall, at Policygenius Magazine.


Secret spending

Coffee, lunch, new shoes — we make tons of purchases without clearing them with our partners. But what about larger splurges? Our second annual survey of couples' money habits found that 1 in 5 people are comfortable spending $500 without telling their partners. And of that subset, more than 1 in 4 would spend $10K without a word. Read more about couples and their money secrets in our 2019 Couples & Money Survey.

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

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