Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (2024)

Why I'm Not Opening Any CDs in 2024 -- Even Though Rates Are Up to 5.5%

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (1)

By: Ben Gran |Updated - First published on Jan. 26, 2024

Have you seen how high the APYs have gotten on certificates of deposit (CDs)? As of Jan. 21, 2024, some of the offers on our best CDs list were offering rates of up to 5.51% APY! With the Fed (possibly) getting ready to cut interest rates, now could be a good chance to lock in a high yield on a CD.But even though the APYs are tempting, I'm not convinced that opening a CD is the right move for my personal finances. And CDs might not be the right option for you, either.Here are a few reasons why I'm not opening any CDs in 2024.1. I don't want to lock up my money in a CDWith my cash savings, I like to keep my options open. Putting money in a CD requires you to commit that cash for a certain length of time -- a short CD term might only be three months, but you can't take the money out. If you do need to pull money out of a CD before the term is up, you will owe an early withdrawal penalty.Instead of a CD, putting your cash savings in a bank or credit union savings account gives you flexibility for using that cash. What if you have an emergency expense? What if you need to replace your car, and you need cash for a down payment? What if you find a can't-miss deal on an affordable winter vacation, or find some other investment that you want to make with that money? None of these financial moves are possible when your money is locked up in a CD.This lack of flexibility means that I don't consider CDs to be the best place for your emergency fund. And if you're saving for short-term or medium-term goals, like a down payment on a house, I don't believe CDs are the best fit for that either -- because the higher APY of a CD isn't always worth the financial freedom and flexibility that you lose by locking up your money.2. The best high-yield savings accounts pay high APYs tooCDs aren't the only game in town if you want to earn a better yield on your savings. The best high-yield savings accounts (as of Jan. 21, 2024) are also paying yields of 5% or higher -- the best savings account on our list offers 5.32% APY!Is earning an extra 0.19% APY on your savings worth the inconvenience of a CD? Maybe if you have $250,000 to put into a CD, but even then, that difference in APY only amounts to an extra $475 in one year. I would rather have the flexibility of a savings account or money market account.With a high-yield savings account, you get:APYs almost as high as (and sometimes higher than) the best CDsThe freedom to withdraw your cash at any timeNo early withdrawal penaltiesIt's true that if interest rates go down in 2024, savings account APYs will go down too. I could be missing out on a chance to lock in a higher APY on a longer-term CD. But I don't try to time the market with stocks, or with savings account APYs. No one knows what the future holds, and no one knows what the Fed will do at their next meeting.Even if interest rates (and savings account APYs) go down by 1% by the end of 2024, that's a risk I'm willing to take and a price I'm willing to pay. My savings account will be earning a pretty good interest rate during all that time, and I'll have complete flexibility for how to use my cash.3. CDs aren't a good long-term investmentSome CD investors like to get long-term CDs (like 3-year or 5-year CDs) so they can lock in a high APY for a longer duration of time. But these long-term CDs are also not a good fit for my personal finances. If I'm reluctant to lock up cash for 12 months or six months, why would I want to lock up that cash for several years?I'm still at an age and stage of life where I basically think about investing in terms of two buckets: I like to have one bucket of short-term cash, with plenty of emergency savings and money for short-term goals like vacations and home repairs. And then everything else that's not short-term cash goes in the bucket of long-term investments.Based on my age, investment time horizon, and risk tolerance, most of my long-term investments are in stocks. So the idea of buying a 5-year CD doesn't make sense to me. If I'm investing for five years from now, I'm going to buy stocks. If I need cash for something that's shorter term, I want the flexibility of a highly liquid, immediately accessible savings account.Your life stage, risk tolerance, time horizon, and overall personal finances and investment goals might be totally different from mine, and that's totally OK! If you're a retiree who needs fixed income, maybe buying CDs should be part of your strategy. But if you're still trying to grow your wealth with long-term investments, buying stocks is likely to be a better strategy.Bottom line: I'm not opening a CD in 2024 because I value the flexibility of a savings account. I don't want to commit my money to a CD that charges early withdrawal penalties, and the best high-yield savings accounts offer similarly high APYs. My philosophy on CDs is: don't lock up your emergency savings in a CD, and don't use CDs as long-term investments. Flexible access to cash in the bank can provide priceless peace of mind.

My Brother Won a Car on The Price Is Right. Here's What It Cost Him

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (2)

By: Maurie Backman |Updated - First published on Dec. 6, 2023

When my brother got tickets to be in the audience of The Price Is Right, he figured it would simply be an entertaining way to spend a day off. He didn't imagine his name would actually be called during the show's opening round.But lo and behold, my brother was one of the first four contestants asked to come on down and participate in the iconic show that has you guessing at prices of various consumer goods. And as luck would have it, my brother was able to out-bid his competitors and move on for a chance at a new car -- a car he won through savvy guessing, but also, a nice amount of luck.My brother was ecstatic to have won such an awesome and valuable prize. But that prize wound up being a bit of a mixed bag.Taking the money and runningMy brother won a Hyundai Elantra with an estimated value of $25,415. He was happy to have won the car, but there was a problem -- he already had a vehicle and didn't need a second one. And he certainly didn't want to have to bear the cost of auto insurance for a vehicle to largely just sit in his driveway.Thankfully, my brother was able to work something out with the dealership. Instead of keeping the Elantra, he was able to use the roughly $25,000 credit he got to buy a used car from them and then sell it back for $21,000, which he took as cash. This route was worth it for him because sales tax and registration for a new Elantra would've been about $4,000. And now, my brother has a pile of cash he can add to his savings account instead of a car he doesn't actually need.Gearing up for a giant tax billMy brother won two prizes on The Price Is Right -- a grill package worth about $1,400 and the Hyundai Elantra. All told, it's more than $26,000 in winnings.But now, my brother is going to be looking at a pretty hefty tax bill on his prizes. And it doesn't matter that he took cash for the car. He's looking at paying that tax either way.The exact amount will hinge on his total tax situation. What'll probably happen is that my brother will receive a tax form from the game show summarizing the value of his winnings, and he'll need to work with his accountant to figure out what it will cost him.As a very basic example, let's say you win $20,000 on a game show and fall into the 24% tax bracket based on your income. You might, in that case, end up having to pay as much as $4,800 on your winnings. If that $20,000 is a cash prize, you could simply reserve some of it for your tax bill. But what if you win a $20,000 vacation package, or $20,000 in furniture? It's not like you can send the IRS a dining room chair or a loveseat and call things even.So be very careful when you're looking at taking home any sort of game show prize. You may even want to meet with an accountant before applying to be on a game show to get some advice.The good news is that my brother stands to gain something financially either way. But imagine you were to receive a $26,000 bonus from work. That's a great thing. But you'll likely end up losing a large chunk of that $26,000 when you account for the portion you owe the IRS.All told, my brother is grateful for his experience and now has a really fun story to tell. But if you're planning to audition for a game show in the hopes of walking away with a huge amount of cash or a set of prizes, do know that winnings like that are considered taxable income. And it might take the input of a very seasoned accountant to help you reconcile your tax bill after coming away with that sort of haul.

3 Reasons Not to Shop at Aldi Despite the Low Prices

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (3)

By: Maurie Backman |Updated - First published on Jan. 8, 2024

At the start of 2023, one of the financial resolutions I made was to spend less money on groceries. As someone who was already in the habit of buying staples in bulk (thanks, Costco), that was a pretty challenging thing. But then a friend of mine introduced me to Aldi, and suddenly, I found myself in a position of being able to save money on food at a time when grocery prices were still pretty high across the board (kudos, inflation).I did a fair amount of shopping at Aldi during the first half of 2023. But I'll admit that as the year wore on, I found myself visiting the store less frequently.It's true that shopping at Aldi has the potential to result in a fair amount of savings. But here's why you may not want to shop there despite the low prices.1. You have picky eaters at homeSome people have pickier children than others. But my kids are pretty choosy about the food they're willing to eat. So when I brought home cheap granola bars from Aldi at one point last year, my kids downright refused to touch them because they weren't familiar with the brand. As such, instead of saving a few dollars on granola bars, I wasted a few dollars.Aldi says itself that more than 90% of its products are exclusive brands, which means they're not the brands you see advertised all over the place. If you're not picky about brands, then by all means, stock up at Aldi. But if you have a household of picky eaters, you might unfortunately end up throwing your money away to some degree.2. You have limited time to shop for groceriesAnother hiccup I ran into last year during my Aldi shopping was not being able to find staple items consistently. Some weeks, for example, there would be no white bread. Other weeks, the store was out of cucumbers or strawberries.If you have a busy schedule and limited time to shop, you may find Aldi to be a frustrating experience. You might have to make multiple trips in the same week to get everything you need. And if that's something you just don't have time for, then it could pay to do your grocery shopping elsewhere.3. Your closest Aldi is far awayI happen to have an Aldi within 15 minutes of where I live. And as a bonus, it's right near Costco. So I don't have to spend extra on gas to get there if I want to pop in, since I typically go to Costco once a week.But if the nearest Aldi to your home is a 30-minute drive or more, you may want to do your shopping at a store that's closer. Driving that long on a regular basis may not be feasible. What you save on groceries, you might end up spending on gas.There are personal finance benefits to shopping at Aldi, and I haven't given up on the store completely. I'll still stop in on occasion if I'm doing a Costco run to see what produce is in stock, because believe it or not, in my experience, Aldi's prices are often more competitive than Costco's in that category. But if the above factors apply to you, you may not want to make Aldi your go-to store anytime soon.

5 Reasons Costco Could Terminate a Membership

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (4)

By: Lyle Daly |Updated - First published on Jan. 11, 2024

If you like Costco, the last thing you'd want is to lose your membership. While this is uncommon, there are ways that shoppers get their memberships revoked.Like many membership clubs, Costco reserves the right to terminate memberships at any time, including without cause. Now, it's not something you need to worry about too much. Costco is known for having excellent customer service, and it's not going to blacklist a member for no reason.But to make sure you don't run into any issues, it helps to know why Costco would terminate a membership. Based on online reports from Costco employees, here are the most common reasons.1. Ignoring the receipt checkerNot everybody likes it, but the receipt check is part of shopping at Costco. There are a few reasons Costco checks your receipt when you leave, including to verify that you weren't undercharged or overcharged.Some members who bypassed the receipt checkers have had their memberships revoked. Even if you're in a hurry, the receipt check doesn't take long, and it's one of the terms of membership.2. Being rude or abusive to employeesAs one would expect and hope, any type of hostility toward employees could lead to a loss of membership. That includes insulting, cursing out, and physically attacking employees. And according to reports by employees, those types of incidents have sadly all happened at Costco warehouses before.3. Theft or fraudHere's another one that doesn't need much explanation. If a Costco member is caught shoplifting or committing any type of fraud there, they'll likely have their membership canceled. Most retailers have loss prevention and fraud detection systems in place to catch criminals. Costco also has an advantage in tracking down thieves, since it can look up their membership information.4. Abusing the return policyCostco is known for having an extremely flexible and generous return policy. It offers a risk-free 100% satisfaction guarantee. That means you can return most items at any time, no matter how long has passed since you made the purchase, and get a refund to your credit card or bank account. There are some exceptions, most notably electronics, which have a 90-day return period.It's fine to make the occasional return, including on items you've had for a long time. But shoppers who take it to an extreme may lose their memberships. Here are a few examples of what a Costco manager could frown on:Shoppers who make a habit of buying, using, and returning the same products. One employee mentioned a member who was banned after returning eight TVs in a row, each of them right before the end of the 90-day return window.Shoppers who buy seasonal or holiday products and return them when they're no longer needed. Some treat Costco as the place to get free rentals of holiday decorations or summer patio furniture.Shoppers who return partially used items. Some customers have returned a small remainder of food and beverage products.Costco almost always gives a warning to those it suspects of abusing its return policy. If the member continues making those types of returns, they may not be a member much longer.5. The revolving door membershipWondering what a revolving door membership is? Well, Costco's satisfaction guarantee also applies to memberships. If you're not satisfied, it will cancel and refund your membership at any time.A select few have seen this as a personal finance hack to get an infinite Costco membership for the price of a single year. Here's what they do:Sign up for Costco and pay the $60 membership fee.Cancel within 12 months and get a fee refund.Use the money from the refund to buy a new membership.It's OK to cancel a Costco membership and decide to come back later. But if a shopper seems to keep getting dissatisfied after 10 or 11 months of using their Costco membership, a manager could add a note to not let them sign up anymore.It's easy to keep your Costco membershipAll the reasons that Costco would terminate a membership are blatant examples of bad (and sometimes illegal) behavior. If you're a normal Costco shopper, you'll be able to go there as long as you pay your membership fee every year.

Should You Cancel Your Costco Membership in 2024?

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (5)

By: Dana George |Updated - First published on Jan. 12, 2024

Millions of Americans have a Costco membership. For some, making regular trips to their nearest warehouse store saves money. But what about those who aren't getting their money's worth? If you see yourself in any of the following four situations, it may be time to consider whether a Costco membership is working for you and your finances.When you can no longer justify bulk buyingMy boys are close in age, and both left for college within 2 years of each other. I was accustomed to making meals for our boys and a regular crowd of their friends. Warehouse shopping made sense, given the number of people I fed.When it was just my husband and me, I no longer needed to buy huge quantities of anything. Honestly, it took me quite a while to get used to the change. I overbought more often than I'd like to admit, telling myself I wanted plenty in the freezer when the boys came home to visit.After letting a shameful amount of food expire and go to waste, I finally started shopping for two. To this day, as I walk through Costco, I have to remind myself how bad I feel when I throw food away when I don't get around to using it.According to Feeding America, Americans toss over $444 billion worth of food each year. That equals 149 billion meals that could have been served to those in need. I don't tell you this to make you feel bad. I've been as guilty (or more) of food waste as just about anyone I know. I'm not sure how much of that waste I'm responsible for, but it makes me slightly ill to think of the extra money that could have gone into a savings account rather than tossed into a dumpster.However, if you're buying in bulk when you don't need to, it's an easy fix. You can always skip aisles selling bulk items. Or you can consider whether your Costco membership is still working for you.When a trip to Costco feels like a cross-country trekWith 600 Costco warehouses spread out across 47 states, it's fair to say that millions of shoppers have easy access. However, if you live an hour or more away from your nearest Costco, it may be time to reassess whether you're saving enough money to justify the annual expense.Determine how much you estimate you're saving each year by visiting your nearest Costco. Is it much more than you would save by shopping sales at local grocery and department stores? If you're not sure what those savings may look like, free shopping apps can give you an idea.You'll also want to determine how much you're spending on gas before making a final determination.When you count on sharing your membershipIf you've been sharing your Costco membership with extended family members, you've likely noticed that the retailer is clamping down on the practice. The Costco website states, "The Costco membership card is non-transferable, but there are several ways to share the experience with family and friends."Here's what that means: Members are allowed to bring up to two guests with them when they visit the warehouse. However, those guests are not allowed to make purchases. All purchases must be made by the Costco member.The guest policy has not changed. What's different is that Costco has recently turned its attention to ensuring that all purchases are made by Costco members. To that end, some store employees use spot-checks to ask shoppers for photo IDs. And, according to an email from Costco to the Dallas Morning News, stores are now asking to see membership cards with photos at self-service checkout registers.Gone are the days of sharing a single membership with extended family members and friends. If the ability to share the membership is one of the reasons you've held on to it, now is the time to reassess.When you're overspendingWho among us has not strolled through a Costco store, stopped to look at an item they absolutely could have lived without, and carried it to the checkout line? One thing that makes Costco so much fun is looking through the new merchandise. However, if you're hoping to stick with a budget, buying unnecessary things is sure to put a dent in your checking account.You know those samples Costco is famous for offering, the ones that make you want to circle around more than once? There's a good reason they're offered. A study by Arbitron and Edison Media Research found that 35% of customers who try a sample will buy the sampled product on the same shopping trip. Sampling removes the risk of making a purchase they may not end up liking.Sampling is a great marketing tool, but it may not be good for your bottom line.When it's time to cancelCostco makes several things easy: paying for a membership, making returns, and canceling your membership. Costco is not one of those companies that makes customers jump through hoops to cancel their membership. If you decide that your Costco membership is no longer working out for you, you have two easy options.Visit the membership counter at any Costco warehouse and receive an immediate refund.Call the Costco Member Services Center at 800-774-2678.One thing we know for sure about life is that circ*mstances change. If a Costco membership once made sense for you but no longer provides the value you desire, it's okay to cancel. You can always renew your membership if the situation changes again.

Why I'm Not Opening Any CDs in 2024 -- Even Though Rates Are Up to 5.5%

The article discusses the author's reasons for not opening any CDs in 2024, despite the high annual percentage yields (APYs) being offered. The author highlights three main reasons for their decision:

  1. Lack of flexibility: The author prefers to keep their cash savings in a bank or credit union savings account rather than a CD because CDs require a commitment of a certain length of time. If money needs to be withdrawn before the CD term is up, an early withdrawal penalty is incurred. The author values the flexibility of having cash readily available for emergencies or other financial opportunities [[1]].

  2. High-yield savings accounts: The author points out that high-yield savings accounts can offer APYs almost as high as, or sometimes higher than, the best CDs. They emphasize the freedom to withdraw cash at any time without incurring penalties. While the APYs on savings accounts may decrease if interest rates go down, the author is willing to accept that risk in exchange for the flexibility and accessibility of their cash [[2]].

  3. Not a good long-term investment: The author explains that they view CDs as short-term investments and prefer to invest in stocks for long-term goals. They believe that locking up cash for several years in a CD is not suitable for their personal financial situation and investment strategy [[3]].

In summary, the author's decision not to open any CDs in 2024 is based on their preference for flexibility, the availability of high-yield savings accounts, and their investment strategy focused on stocks rather than long-term CDs.

My Brother Won a Car on The Price Is Right. Here's What It Cost Him

The article recounts the author's brother's experience of winning a car on the game show "The Price Is Right" and the financial implications that followed. The author highlights two main points:

  1. Taking the money and running: The author's brother won a Hyundai Elantra with an estimated value of $25,415. However, since he already had a vehicle and didn't want to bear the cost of auto insurance for a second car, he worked out a deal with the dealership. He used the credit he received for winning the car to buy a used car from the dealership and then sold it back for $21,000 in cash. This allowed him to avoid the expenses associated with owning a second car [[4]].

  2. Gearing up for a giant tax bill: The author explains that winning prizes on game shows, including cars, can result in a significant tax bill. The exact amount depends on the total tax situation of the winner. The author advises seeking the help of an accountant to navigate the tax implications of winning game show prizes [[5]].

In summary, the author's brother won a car on "The Price Is Right" but opted to exchange it for cash due to personal circ*mstances. The article emphasizes the importance of considering the financial implications, such as taxes, when winning valuable prizes on game shows.

3 Reasons Not to Shop at Aldi Despite the Low Prices

The article discusses reasons why someone might choose not to shop at Aldi, despite the low prices offered by the store. The author highlights three main reasons:

  1. Picky eaters at home: The author shares a personal experience where their children refused to eat cheap granola bars purchased from Aldi because they were not familiar with the brand. Aldi primarily sells exclusive brands, which may not be recognizable to picky eaters. This can result in wasted money if the purchased items are not consumed [[6]].

  2. Limited time to shop for groceries: The author mentions that Aldi may not always have consistent availability of staple items. This can be frustrating for individuals with busy schedules and limited time for grocery shopping. Making multiple trips to different stores to find everything needed may not be feasible for some people [[7]].

  3. Distance to the nearest Aldi: The author points out that if the nearest Aldi is far away, the cost of gas and time spent traveling may offset the savings achieved through shopping at Aldi. It may be more convenient and cost-effective to shop at a closer store [[8]].

In summary, the article acknowledges the potential savings at Aldi but highlights considerations such as picky eaters, limited time for shopping, and distance to the nearest store that may deter individuals from choosing to shop there.

5 Reasons Costco Could Terminate a Membership

The article discusses common reasons why Costco may terminate a membership. The author highlights five main reasons:

  1. Ignoring the receipt checker: Costco checks receipts when customers leave the store to verify that they were not undercharged or overcharged. Bypassing the receipt checkers can result in membership termination [[9]].

  2. Being rude or abusive to employees: Any form of hostility towards employees, including insults, cursing, or physical attacks, can lead to the loss of membership [[10]].

  3. Theft or fraud: Engaging in shoplifting or any form of fraud at Costco can result in membership cancellation. Costco has loss prevention and fraud detection systems in place to catch criminals, and they can track down thieves using membership information [[11]].

  4. Abusing the return policy: While Costco has a generous return policy, repeatedly abusing it can lead to membership termination. Examples of abuse include buying, using, and returning the same products, returning seasonal or holiday items when no longer needed, and returning partially used items [[12]].

  5. Revolving door membership: Costco's satisfaction guarantee also applies to memberships. Some individuals have attempted to exploit this by canceling and refunding their membership every year, essentially getting an infinite membership for the price of a single year. If a member seems to be dissatisfied after multiple short-term memberships, a manager may add a note to prevent them from signing up again [[13]].

In summary, while Costco is known for its excellent customer service, there are certain behaviors that can lead to membership termination, such as ignoring the receipt checker, being rude to employees, engaging in theft or fraud, abusing the return policy, and exploiting the satisfaction guarantee by repeatedly canceling and refunding memberships.

Should You Cancel Your Costco Membership in 2024?

The article discusses situations in which it may be appropriate to consider canceling a Costco membership. The author highlights four main situations:

  1. No longer justifying bulk buying: If a change in circ*mstances, such as a smaller household or a shift in shopping habits, makes bulk buying unnecessary, it may be time to reassess the value of a Costco membership. Wasting food and money due to overbuying can be a motivating factor for canceling the membership [[14]].

  2. Long distance to the nearest Costco: If the nearest Costco is far away, the cost of gas and time spent traveling may outweigh the savings achieved through shopping at the warehouse store. Comparing the savings at Costco to local grocery and department stores can help determine if the membership is still worthwhile [[15]].

  3. Reliance on sharing the membership: Costco has tightened its policy on sharing memberships, allowing only two guests per member who cannot make purchases. If the ability to share the membership was a significant benefit, it may be necessary to reassess the value of the membership [[16]].

  4. Overspending: Costco's variety of merchandise and sampling can tempt shoppers to make unnecessary purchases, potentially impacting their budget. If overspending is a concern, it may be worth considering whether the membership is contributing to the issue [[17]].

In summary, if circ*mstances change, such as no longer justifying bulk buying, living far from a Costco, relying on sharing the membership, or struggling with overspending, it may be appropriate to cancel a Costco membership. Costco makes canceling memberships easy, and individuals can always renew their membership if circ*mstances change again.

Here's Where Dave Ramsey Says You Should Be Investing Your Money (2024)
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