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Six 10-Minute Money Moves That Can Change Your Life

A lot of times we put something off because we think it will take a long time and be a lot of hassle and a lot of times those things happen to deal with money. Well, if you have ten minutes, you have enough time to do one of the things on this list that could change your life financially for the better (and ten minutes is a conservative estimate, you could finish most less). In less then 15 minutes, Jack Bauer can escape from the grasp of terrorists by biting into a man’s jugular, I’m just asking for ten and for you to check your credit report (#1) – sounds fair right?

  1. Request Your Credit Report – If Congress can spend countless hours (and millions of taxpayer dollars) in debate to pass a law that gives consumers free credit credit reports each year (one from each of the three credit bureaus), the least you could do is spend the fifteen minutes it takes to request and scan over your report. Get your free credit report from the only officially sanctioned website – AnnualCreditReport.com [3]. You could find a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars in added interest or higher fees down the road. The request itself takes no more than ten minutes so request and print now, review later.
  2. Open A Roth IRA – I wrote a post about opening up a Roth IRA [4] that details every step and the financial impact of doing so. If you want this to truly be a 15 minute move, put the contribution into a Target Retirement/Lifecycle fund and let the brokerage worry about re-balancing it for you.
  3. Participate in your 401K – It wasn’t until recently that folks were automatically enrolled into their company’s 401K plan by default so if you aren’t yet participating, do so and make enough of a contribution to get the maximum employer match. All it takes is a call to your HR department to make it happen – you wouldn’t pass on a twenty dollar bill sitting on the sidewalk, don’t pass it now.
  4. Open a High Yield Savings Account [5] – The typical savings account gives a piddly 1%, get five times that by opening a savings account at any number of FDIC insured online banks like ING Direct [6], Emigrant Direct [7], HSBC [8], Citi, the list goes on and on. As long as they’re FDIC insured (all those listed are), you don’t have to worry. Get the yield of a CD with the flexibility of a savings account.
  5. Split Your Paycheck – Out of sight, out of mind. Have 10% of your paycheck deposited into that high yield savings account and think of it as an “automatic” savings (in the sense that this is one of the ideas from the Automatic Millionaire [9] – set it and forget it Ronco style) and you’ll never know the difference.
  6. Use 0% Balance Transfers – Use a 0% balance transfer (list of 0% bt cards [10]) to pay off an existing credit card balance, it takes only a few minutes to apply for a card and a few minutes to do the transfer (I’ve found Citi has the easiest balance transfer process [11]). The little brother to this tip is to just call up your credit card and asking them to lower your interest rate, saying that you could always just try a 0% balance transfer and leave them. Between 0% balance transfers and asking, Tricia from Blogging Away Debt went from $400/mo in interest to a mere $100 [12] – that’s $300 that can go towards principal.

Don’t read anymore, go do!