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    The Truth About High-Paying CDs That No One Is Talking About

    Steven Porrello

    By: Steven Porrello | Updated - First published on Dec. 2, 2023

    If you've been in the hunt for a house or borrowed money on a loan or credit card in 2023, then high interest rates have likely frustrated you. On the contrary, if you entered 2023 with savings and no debt, this has likely been a fun, fun year to save money.The Federal Reserve's federal funds rate, which sets the pace for the savings rate offered by banks, has reached a range of 5.25% and 5.50%. Likewise, today's top-paying CDs have hit a range of 5% to 5.7%. Many of these CDs have short terms, like six months, which reflects the expectation that the Fed will start lowering rates in the near future. But, if you have extra savings, these short-term CDs could offer you a high rate that you might not find next year.However, before you start locking money up into CDs, it's best to take a step back and ask if it's the smartest place for your money. If you're saving for something that's still a year or so away, like a vacation, a short-term CD could give you a little extra. But for bigger goals, like saving for retirement, I hate to break it to you, but -- CDs just aren't going to cut it.Why high-paying CDs might not be worth itTruth is, for most Americans, earning 5% isn't going to change their personal finances significantly. In fact, it could work against them. Locking your money up for a guaranteed rate of return could mean missing out on opportunities to generate more wealth, like potential gains in the stock market.Hands down, stocks and funds offer investors greater upside potential. You don't even need to be risky: an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 could be sufficient to out-earn a CD. The S&P 500 has already appreciated by roughly 19% this year -- far more than what any 12-month CD could have earned.The stock market does have risks, but for investors with long time horizons, the S&P 500's worst days are often more than made up for with the good ones. All in all, the total return of the S&P 500 since 1928 is 9.7% (this includes reinvested dividends). Factoring in inflation, that percentage comes down to 6.5%, which is still higher than today's top-paying CDs, and even higher if we factor in inflation for CD rates.What a CD offers that the S&P 500 can'tOf course, it's difficult to depend on figures derived from annualized rates of return, as the S&P 500's yearly performances can vary significantly. For example, the S&P 500 dropped about 18% in 2022, while it had gained almost 29% the previous year in 2021. If you had started investing in 2021, you might still be feeling the pain from the bear market last year.This is where a CD derives its greatest perk. You're getting a guaranteed rate of return. When you lock into a 5% APY on a 12-month CD, you know you're earning 5% for 12 months, assuming you don't break your contract and wind up paying an early withdrawal penalty. It's not as lucrative as stocks and funds, but it's also not as gut-wrenching either.Additionally, many of today's CD rates are above the rate of inflation. Even though you have to factor in taxes on your CD earnings, many CDs can prevent your money from losing value, something stocks can target but can't guarantee.All of this is to say -- there's greater opportunity outside of CDs. But, inside them, there's more certainty. Reflect on what you want your savings to accomplish, but don't be afraid to say "no" to security if what you really need is a long-term investment. Today's CD rates compared to last year's may seem like a great deal. But when compared with a long-term investment, like stocks or ETFs, they could be a loss in opportunity costs.

    What Happens if Someone Sues You for More Than Your Car Insurance Will Pay For?

    Christy Bieber

    By: Christy Bieber | Updated - First published on Dec. 2, 2023

    Car accidents can be extremely expensive. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, the average economic costs of a fatal crash were close to $1.78 million, while the average costs associated with a disabling car accident were $155,000.Despite these huge potential costs, drivers aren't required to buy nearly that much insurance. In fact, depending on the state, drivers may be able to get away with having just $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident in bodily injury liability coverage.With such low auto insurance limits, it's very possible a motorist could cause an accident and do much more damage than insurance will cover. The big question then is, what happens if a motorist causes an accident and is being sued for more than the insurance policy's maximum limits?Drivers could be sued personally for any extra losses insurance won't coverIf a driver is sued for more than the limits of their liability insurance policy, their auto insurer will only cover legal fees and damages up to the amount required based on the policy terms. So a driver who caused $155,000 in disabling injuries to someone and who had $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage would see their insurer pay just $15,000 -- leaving $140,000 in uncompensated losses for the crash victims.These losses don't just go away, and in some cases, victims will decide to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally. In other words, they will go to court and try to get a judgment that the driver would have to pay out of their own bank account. And, depending on the circumstances, courts could potentially enforce that judgment by ordering the at-fault driver's wages be garnished (a portion of them is taken) or by putting a lien on the at-fault driver's property (asserting an ownership claim to their home or other assets).Because of the risk to personal assets, having only the minimum auto insurance coverage is a huge risk.Be sure to buy the right auto insurance coverageDrivers should think very carefully about whether they will end up regretting purchasing only minimum coverage insurance. It's true that it is cheaper not to buy a ton of liability protection, but that's only if nothing goes wrong.Switching from a car insurance policy with a $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident limit to a policy with a $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident limit raises premiums by around $47 per month for a 40-year-old female SUV driver in Florida with a clean record purchasing coverage from a major insurer. That's a significant bump, but it's a lot less than getting stuck with a personal lawsuit that ends up costing tens or even hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.Being sued personally after an accident and not having enough insurance could be a really devastating, frightening experience, and the only way to prevent this from happening is to have the right insurance in place before this occurs. Drivers should review their policies today to make sure they aren't at risk of huge losses if a crash occurs. Those who find they don't have enough coverage to protect their assets may want to act quickly by increasing their insurance coverage ASAP.

    These Are the 8 Auto Insurance Providers That Had the Best Rates in 2023

    Kailey Hagen

    By: Kailey Hagen | Updated - First published on Dec. 3, 2023

    Auto insurance premiums averaged about $3,017 per year in 2023, up from $2,875 in 2022. And in all likelihood, they'll probably climb higher next year. That makes it crucial for drivers to shop around to ensure they're getting the best possible rate on their 2024 auto insurance.While a company's prior-year rates aren't always indicative of what they'll charge the next year or any given individual, it can still give drivers some idea of which companies they might like to include in their search. So with that in mind, here's a closer look at which top insurers offered some of the most affordable premiums in 2023.The eight companies with the best auto insurance rates in 2023The following eight companies had the lowest average annual premiums among large auto insurers in 2023, according to our data:USAA: $1,844*Geico: $2,104Erie Insurance: $2,273Travelers: $2,343Progressive: $2,587Nationwide: $2,697State Farm: $2,770Farmers: $2,825* USAA is only available to active-duty military members, veterans, and their family members.It's worth noting that these are averages from across the country based on several driver profiles, including drivers with accident histories and DUIs as well as young drivers. Those with clean records will likely be able to snag a policy for less than the rates listed above. And drivers with blemishes on their record will likely pay a bit more than the prices listed here.How to find the best auto insurance rates in 2024Auto insurers may be adjusting their rates for 2024, but the principles for finding the best coverage remain the same. The most important thing a driver can do is shop around and compare quotes before making any decisions.Each company weighs risk a little differently, which is why each one gives a driver a different quote. Some might penalize drivers more heavily for accidents, for example, while age may play a bigger factor in premiums with a different insurer. Insurers don't publicize how they come to their premiums, so getting a quote is the only way drivers can know which will offer them the best deal.Auto insurance discounts can help reduce premium costs, but more discounts doesn't always guarantee a lower rate. Still, if you have special circumstances, like being in the military or owning a hybrid vehicle, it doesn't hurt to look into companies that reward drivers for these factors.Those who are open to it should also consider enrolling in a driver monitoring program if their insurer offers one. This is an optional service many companies make available to customers who are willing to demonstrate their good driving habits. It usually comes with an upfront discount for enrolling.Finally, drivers can keep their premium costs down by raising their deductible. This means they'll have to pay more out of pocket in the event of a claim. But this might not be a big deal for those who are able to save up for the deductible in an emergency fund.It's possible that drivers could still pay more for car insurance in 2024 regardless, because of inflation. But it's still worth taking the steps above so drivers can be sure they're getting the most affordable rate. And if there aren't any great options right now, consider shopping around again in a few months to see if anything has changed.

    5 Awesome Costco Gifts for the Mom Who Has Everything

    Maurie Backman

    By: Maurie Backman | Updated - First published on Nov. 29, 2023

    Your mom is the person who raised you, cooked your favorite meals when you were down, and cared for you after countless scrapes, bruises, and falls. So it's natural to want to get your mom something awesome for the holidays. And you may even be willing to dip into your savings account balance to come up with the perfect gift.But your mom may not want you to spend a lot of money on a holiday gift. In fact, she might specifically lecture you not to rack up a giant credit card tab since she already has everything she needs.But remember, gifts aren't always about fulfilling a need. It's okay to get your mom something she might simply enjoy as an extra. With that in mind, here are some great Costco finds your mom might truly love.1. Kirkland Signature Ladies' Fleece Full Zip JacketA good fleece jacket is the sort of item you really can't have too many of. That way, if one gets sweaty during a cold morning run, you can swap it for another one after you've showered off.Costco is selling a women's fleece jacket online for $21.99. And you should know that prices can vary between what's listed online versus in stores -- and that store prices are almost always more competitive. Choose from gray, teal, or cream in a variety of sizes.2. Eddie Bauer Ladies' Mid Length Down ParkaIf your mom is constantly telling you to remember your coat, why not give her a taste of her own medicine -- in a good way, of course? Costco is selling an Eddie Bauer mid-length parka for just $36.99. It's hooded, lightweight, and easy to pack down, making it a great gift for someone who has a winter coat already that may be on the bulky side. Choose from dark blue or black.3. Lucky Brand Ladies' Lounge Pant, 2-packAfter a long, hard day, many moms would love nothing more than to swap their work pants for a pair of comfy lounge pants instead. Right now, Costco is selling a two-pack for just $11.99 that could easily double as pajamas. They feature an adjustable waistband and soft jersey knit fabric. What more could any mom want?4. Kirkland Signature Ladies' Shearling SlipperThere's nothing like a cozy, breathable slipper to make romping around the house and tackling late-night chores, like laundry, more palatable. Costco is selling women's shearling slippers for $24.99. As of this writing, sizes are limited online, but it's worth checking your local warehouse club store, which might offer more of a variety. (Also, check back online, since Costco.com might restock.)5. Thermos Stainless Steel 18oz Travel Tumbler, 2-packIf there's one thing moms tend to need lots of, it's coffee -- specifically, coffee on the go. Enter this two-pack of travel mugs for just $19.99. Made of stainless steel, these mugs are designed to keep beverages hot for an impressive five hours. And they claim to keep beverages chilled for up to 14 hours. Throw in a gift card to your mom's favorite coffee shop, whether it's Starbucks, Dunkin', or a local establishment, and you've got the makings of a really great gift.Shopping for your mom may not be easy. But remember, it's the thought that counts. And thanks to Costco, you can come up with a meaningful gift without having to go overboard on spending. So that way, your mom won't have to feel the slightest bit bad about being on the receiving end.

    5 Awesome Christmas Gifts at Costco for Under $30

    Maurie Backman

    By: Maurie Backman | Updated - First published on Nov. 29, 2023

    If you're stressed out about the number of holiday gifts you need to buy this year, you're no doubt in good company. And if you're short on funds, you may be wondering how on earth you're going to find something for everyone on your list without ending up with a massive pile of credit card debt.If you're a Costco member, though, you're in luck. The warehouse club giant has a host of products in store that make great Christmas gifts for under $30. Here are some worth checking out.1. Kirkland Signature Ladies' Cozy Fleece CrewneckIf you live in an area with cold winters, you can really never have too many warm sweatshirts. Costco is selling a Kirkland brand women's fleece top for $16.99. It's a longer length for added coverage and comes in a range of sizes and two colors -- oatmeal beige and purple. It's machine-washable for easy care and a great gift for that person in your life who always seems to be cold.2. Spyder Active Men's Long Sleeve ShirtWearing cotton during a workout can mean sweating up a storm only to have your shirt stay damp and cold until you're able to peel it off. That's just not a good feeling. So if there's someone special in your life with a tendency to hit the gym or go for a jog, this shirt makes a great gift. It's a moisture-wicking top that's perfect for an intense workout, and it features reflective shoulder detailing so that whoever wears it is more visible during those early morning or evening runs. It comes in blue, black, and gray in a variety of sizes for just $15.99.3. Fun With Mouse & Friends: 6 Picture Book Box SetIf you need a holiday gift for a book-loving toddler or preschooler, you should consider this set. It features fun classics such as If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Take a Mouse to School. At $26.99, you're only paying about $4.50 apiece for six hardcover books. The set also includes a bonus poster.4. Life Comfort Reversible Sherpa Fleece BlanketThrow blankets are a good gift for pretty much anyone. And Costco is selling a reversible sherpa fleece throw for $19.99. It's large enough to fit a queen- or king-sized bed and is machine-washable for easy care. Choose from mutli-colored, gray, or dark gray, depending on your recipient's taste.5. Cuisinart EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn MakerA big reason some people like going to the movies is getting to enjoy a bag of freshly popped popcorn. Now, your loved ones can experience that from the comfort of home -- and save the money they'd otherwise have to spend on a ticket. This popcorn maker produces up to 15 cups of popcorn -- enough to feed a crowd. And all of its removable parts are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. You can find this gadget for just $23.99.All of the items above are available on Costco.com, and the prices listed reflect what you'll pay online. But Costco often has lower prices at its warehouse club stores. So if money is tight this season, it could pay to brave the crowds and do your holiday shopping in person. You might end up spending even less on the gifts you're looking to buy.

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