Slack Is Going Public Today. Here Are 3 Reasons It’s a Big Deal

Instead, Slack will list its shares directly with the NYSE. The shares that you’ll be able to eventually trade aren’t newly issued shares that generate money for the company, but rather are shares currently held by founders, employees, or investors. In fact, a direct public offering (DPO) is mostly a way for those insiders to unlock the value of their shares and generate cash. 

Fiduciary no more? What RIAs can tell clients after new rule

Can RIAs tell clients they’re fiduciaries?

That the SEC had to furnish an answer this week — to a question about a status quo never before in doubt — is another sign of the upheaval generated by the commission’s new Regulation Best Interest rules package.

The latest flap developed over language contained in the introduction to Form CRS, a disclosure document that the SEC will require advisors and brokers to provide clients. The wording prompted alarm that it could specifically prohibit the use of the term fiduciary.

Wealth managers voiced their concerns on Twitter and elsewhere. TD Ameritrade’s Skip Schweiss, after spotting the word “eliminating,” tweeted a screenshot of the controversial regulatory phrasing.

Bloomberg News

The SEC said “we are substantially revising our approach to disclosing standard of conduct and conflicts of interest to make this information clearer to retail investors, including … eliminating the word ‘fiduciary’ and requiring firms — whether broker-dealers, investment advisors or dual registrants — to use the term ‘best interest’ to describe their applicable standard of conduct.”

“There it is,” Schweiss, who runs TD Ameritrade Institutional’s retirement plan business, tweeted. “RIAs will not be able to use the word ‘fiduciary’ to describe the standard of care they owe clients.” A spokesman for TD Ameritrade said Schweiss was not available for further comment.

In the investment advisory and law professions, fiduciary refers to the legally binding requirement to put a client’s interests before those of her planner or lawyer.

Asked about the disclosure language, the SEC provided the following statement assuring RIAs they can indeed call themselves fiduciaries: “Investment advisors are fiduciaries, recognized and regulated as such by the commission. Recent commission action does not prohibit investment advisers from calling themselves fiduciaries.”

Though the rules package was passed June 5, revelations are still forthcoming as industry insiders digest its more than 1,400 pages.

The regulator has faced a barrage of criticism from consumer advocates and some advisors over its Regulation Best Interest rules package, which included the aforementioned Form CRS as well as new regulatory guidance and interpretation. Critics have lamented that the rules fall far short of what they deem necessary investor protections. They’ve also accused the SEC of gutting RIAs’ fiduciary duty by amending requirements to permit advisors to satisfy their obligations through disclosure alone. Regulation Best Interest, which is not a fiduciary standard, relies heavily on disclosure to satisfy its requirements.

Wall Street firms and lobbying groups have generally supported the SEC.

The commission provided additional detail on the intent behind the controversial language to the Investment Adviser Association, which requested its own clarification: “Advisors may still use the term ‘fiduciary’ in [client relationship] Form CRS to further elaborate on the duties owed to their clients, for example when discussing conflicts of interest,” the association’s spokesman, Herb Perone, quoted the commission as saying in a release it circulated.

Had the SEC banned use of the word, that could have lead to a constitutional challenge, says Ron Rhoades, director of the financial planning program at Western Kentucky University.

“Commercial speech can be regulated,” he says, “but it is still protected under the First Amendment.”


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An expert opinion on negative-yield government bonds: Just nuts

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How to Teach Your Kids the Right Financial Lessons

With a few helpful pointers, your kids will be on track for financial success.

Image source: Getty Images

It’s safe to say that parenting comes with a whole slew of responsibilities. You have to keep your kids happy and healthy. You have to ensure they get a good education. And, if you want to avoid hearing them ask you for gas money until they’re 30, you have to teach them about money.

Giving your kids financial advice can be tough. It’s very easy to bore them and have your advice go in one ear and out the other. After all, there aren’t a lot of middle schoolers who want to learn about 401(k)s.

The key to teaching your kids financial lessons that they remember is to tailor your advice to their age group. With the lesson plan below, your kids will know the ins and outs of personal finance by the time they leave home.

Introduce the concept of money in preschool/kindergarten

When your kids are barely past their toddler years, you need to stick to the basics. At about four to five years old, it’s a good time to introduce them to the concept of money and how money is used.

Studies have shown that children can grasp the idea of exchanging money for goods at this point, but they might have trouble understanding the values of different pieces of money.

Here are some simple ways to start teaching your kids about money:

  • Show them different coins and bills.
  • Explain that you use money to buy things you need.
  • Demonstrate how this works when you go to the store. Pick out a product and show them the money you’ll use to buy it or have them give the money to the cashier.

Teach them about earning and saving money in elementary school

By the time your kids are seven or eight years old, they’ll have some understanding that adults work for their money, so you can introduce how earning money works.

A popular way to do this is to give them money when they do their chores. You could even make a chart with the chores they can do and how much you’ll pay them for each one.

This age range is also when children can comprehend the value of money and when they develop the ability to plan ahead, which makes it perfect for their first lessons on saving.

Encourage them to set savings goals for the things they want. For example, if they want to buy a game, explain how they’ll need to set aside some of their chore money for the next two weeks instead of spending it all.

Open their first bank account in middle school

Once your kids are in middle school, they’ll be ready for more advanced financial concepts. They’ll probably be doing more challenging chores and earning more as a result, and they’ll have a few years of experience with saving money.

With more pocket money and more knowledge about saving, setting them up with their own bank account is a logical next step.

You may want to take them to your own bank, or you can check out the best bank accounts to find one that won’t charge any maintenance fees, even for accounts that don’t have large balances.

After opening a bank account, make sure you go over:

  • how to check their balance online or through the bank’s app,
  • using their debit card for purchases and withdrawals and the dangers of expensive overdraft fees if they don’t keep track of their balance, and
  • how their balance will grow through interest.

Cover budgeting and borrowing money in high school

These could be the last years of you and your kids living together before they set out on their own, so this is where you get them ready for “the real world.” There are two key concepts they’ll need to understand: making a budget and borrowing money.

Teenagers tend to have more expenses than younger kids, and they also earn more money, whether that’s still from chores or from a job. That means you’ll have the opportunity to draw up a budget with them. Here’s how:

  • Calculate how much they’ll earn every month.
  • Figure out what their typical monthly costs are, such as gas and food. You could determine this by reviewing their most recent bank statements with them.
  • Compare what they spend to what they earn to see if they need to cut back.
  • Stress the importance of paying themselves first by always saving a portion of what they earn immediately after they get paid.

High school is also when you can explain how borrowing money works, and that when you borrow money, the lender will charge you interest. From there, you can go into the subject of credit scores, explaining how credit scores are calculated and how your score affects the amount of interest you pay.

Since credit cards are one of the first ways many young adults borrow money, you should make sure to cover the dangers of carrying a balance on a credit card. One smart way to teach your kids about responsible credit card use is to make them authorized users on your own card to show them exactly how it works.

The final financial check before moving out

Sooner or later, your kids will be ready to move out and start their own lives. At this stage, it’s wise to go over a few things with them to ensure that they’re prepared:

  • Confirm that they’ve made a budget and that they’re going to be able to afford all their expenses, ideally with those expenses amounting to 50% of their income or less.
  • Check that they have an emergency fund. While they may not have three to six months of expenses saved yet, they should have at least $500 to $1,000 in case they ever need some extra money.
  • Advise them to get a credit card of their own to build their credit and consider being their cosigner to help them get approved.
  • Recommend that they save for retirement as soon as possible. Most young adults don’t think about this much, but starting early can help grow a retirement nest egg much more quickly.

The Motley Fool owns and recommends MasterCard and Visa, and recommends American Express. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule. If we wouldn’t recommend an offer to a close family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Ascent either. Our number one goal is helping people find the best offers to improve their finances. That is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

CFP? CPA? Financial advisor’s clients don’t understand industry credentials

Clients want their advisors to have the right credentials. They just don’t know what those credentials are.

A disturbingly high number of clients can’t name a single financial planning-related certification, according to a survey published in May by the Investments Wealth Institute. When asked which ones they recognized, “60% of them couldn’t come up with anything,” says Sean Walters, the institute’s CEO. “These are advisory clients,” Walters adds — not members of the general public who may not be familiar with credentials needed to become a professional planner.

Yet a majority — 75% — say formal designations would be somewhat or very important in their choice of a potential planner.

The findings illustrate a hard-to-swallow fact for advisors who studied for months or years to pass the CFP exam or similar tests: Educating clients about the value of those qualifications is as important as having the acronyms pasted after their names on business cards.

The survey’s findings match advisor Jamie Bosse’s experience. Clients seem to respect her RFC and CFP designations. “Having the letters behind your name adds credibility to you automatically,” she says, “but on the flip side, they don’t know what they stand for.”

That’s why it’s important to take the time to explain them, Bosse says. She mentions her CFP designation and opens a discussion about the fiduciary standard to which she is held.

Even if they don’t recognize credentials, clients say they want their advisors to keep learning about their field — 47% said their planners should continue their professional education.

CFP? CPA?
The CFP is the most well-known advisor credential — but that is not saying much. Just 15% of respondents named it when asked for types of advisor designations, according to the survey.

Low awareness of the titles makes it easier for clients to get confused by them. Advisor Brenna Baucum, a CFP, has seen it play out in client meetings. She recalled how, during a client meeting about taxes, they mistakenly believed she was an accountant. “You’re a CPA too, can you do my tax returns?” they asked.

The awareness of the CFP credential is getting better, says advisor Brenna Baucum, but “it’s certainly a challenge to differentiate” it from other credentials.

Photo from the H Group

She is less concerned about being mistaken for an accountant than a less-well-trained professional in her own field.

“There’s no bar you have to pass to call yourself a financial advisor,” says Baucum, who has been a planner for six years and a CFP for four years. “The term implies experience and training, neither of which are required.” But the two are considered the same “in the public eye,” she says, along with investment advisor.

“Honestly, it was disturbing how quickly I was able to call myself an investment advisor,” she says. While earning her Series 65 took just a few months, earning her CFP took two years of work experience in addition to passing the CFP Board’s exam and disclosing information about her finances, career and background.

The awareness of the CFP is getting better, she said, but “it’s certainly a challenge to differentiate” it from other credentials. “I want people to know those two things are very different,” she says.

Of the roughly 1,000 respondents to the survey, 48% had investable assets between $1 million and $5 million, 35% had between one-half million and $1 million, and 18% had $5 million or more.

The Investments Wealth Institute has 12,500 members, four-fifths of whom are financial planners split between brokerage firms, independent firms, regional broker-dealers and banks.


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Facebook wants to create a worldwide digital currency

A GLOBAL DIGITAL currency would make sending money across the world as easy as texting. It would do away with fees, delays and other barriers to the flow of cash. It might give those in less developed countries access to the financial system and a means to protect hard-earned wages against runaway inflation. It could trigger a wave of innovation in finance, much as the internet did in online services.

That, in a nutshell, is what Facebook promised on June 18th. Within a year, the social network will launch a new currency to be known as Libra, in honour of an ancient Roman unit of mass—it is also the word for “pound” in many romance languages. Inevitably, Facebook dished out a generous helping of trendy words like crypto and blockchain. Unable to contain its appetite for Silicon Valley platitudes, Facebook claimed that its mission was to “empower billions of people”. Making money or strengthening its market power are, apparently, a sideshow.

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Notwithstanding the guff, the commercial potential is indeed significant—as are the potential problems. If each of Facebook’s 2.4bn users converted a slice of their savings into Libras, it could become a widely circulated currency. It could also, if broadly adopted, vest unprecedented power in the hands of its issuer. In a tacit acknowledgment that its mishandling of user data, tolerance of the spread of misinformation and other sins have devalued its stock with policymakers, users and potential partners—though not investors—Facebook wants to outsource the running of Libra to a consortium of worthies recruited from the world of finance, technology and NGOs. The consequences for the global financial system could be significant (see article). So could the impact on Facebook’s business.

If the project lives up to the mock-ups, buying, selling, holding, sending and receiving Libras will become a doddle. It can be done in Facebook’s Messenger app or WhatsApp, another messaging-service-cum-social-network it owns—and, later next year, in a stand-alone app.

So far, so familiar. Messenger already offers payments to Americans. WhatsApp is testing a similar function in India. But these services do not cross borders, and require users to have a bank account. Fintech firms like TransferWise, which offer international transfers, take a 4-5% cut to wire $200, a third less than Western Union. But Libra will be much cheaper, and require no bank accounts: more Bitcoin than Venmo.

Except that, unlike Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, Libras will change hands in seconds, not minutes, for next to nothing, not a few dollars. The system should handle 1,000 transactions a second at its launch, and more later, compared with no more than seven a second for Bitcoin. The virtual coins will be bought with real money, which will top up the reserve backing the currency. This should prevent wild price swings from speculation.

If it works, Libra could be a money-spinner for Facebook, albeit not directly. Notional transaction fees would not generate much revenue. But Libras should allow Facebook to charge more for online ads, by making purchases of advertised products quicker and simpler. It could furnish a new source of data to target adverts, making up for user information Facebook will forgo with the “pivot to privacy”, which Mark Zuckerberg, its boss, proclaimed in March in respect of messaging. Facebook may catch up with WeChat, a Chinese super-app which offers payments and other services, and whose foreign ambitions are on hold as the Sino-American trade war rages on.

Technically and financially, Facebook could probably pull off such an ambitious undertaking on its own. But not politically. Its culture is less amoral than it was in its youth, when it aspired to “move fast and break things”—but only a bit. Chary consumers may choose not to entrust their money to a social network which has, until recently, leaked their personal data left and right. Unless users are on board, merchants may be reluctant to embrace the currency, however hassle-free.

Enter the Libra consortium. The association, to be based in Geneva, will take over from Facebook before the first Libra has been spent, and manage the hard-currency reserves. Facebook has enlisted 28 other prospective founding members out of an envisaged 100, each with equal voting rights and operating a node in a decentralised system which issues coins. They include financial firms (Visa, Stripe), online services (Spotify, Uber), cryptocurrency wallets (Anchorage, Coinbase), venture capitalists (Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures) and charities (Kiva, Mercy Corps)—though, for the time being, no banks. Not a libertarian alternative to the existing financial system, in other words, but a complement.

To add credibility to its promise, broken in the past, to keep social and financial data separate, Facebook has created a subsidiary, Calibra, to run Libra services within its apps. It is unlikely to face hurdles to uptake from Apple or Google. It is impossible to imagine them expelling Messenger and WhatsApp—and later other providers Facebook is inviting to the open-source project—from their app stores, as they have done with other cryptocurrency offerings, many of which were scams.

To get Libra going, the consortium will pay merchants to offer discounts to customers who use the new currency, financed by a $10m one-off fee each member pays for a seat at the table. Eventually, Facebook would like anybody, not just the consortium, to be able to generate the currency, transfer it and offer services on top of its “blockchain” (crypto-speak for the database that keeps track of who owns what). At that point, Libra would turn into Bitcoin, minus the kinks and the libertarianism.

Hard currency

In a project with so many moving parts, much can go wrong. Although Facebook says it has a working prototype, the technology is untested; sceptics doubt that a 100-node system, let alone a bigger one, could process thousands of transactions per second. Hackers are doubtless champing at the bit.

Then there are consortium dynamics. Facebook will have to prove to the other 99 Libra members that it is truly prepared to give up control. At the same time, because important decisions need a two-thirds majority, someone has to knock heads together. The history of information technology is littered with initiatives that collapsed under the weight of internal conflict.

The biggest barrier may be political. Facebook has apparently consulted many regulators. The providers of digital wallets will have to comply with national rules, such as those against money-laundering. Calibra, whose integration into Messenger and WhatsApp will initially make it the dominant wallet, is bound to stoke competition concerns. These may recede as the currency grows bigger and more decentralised, only to be replaced by worries about financial stability.

Libra’s success, then, is far from assured. But it could prove useful even if it flops, for it offers a blueprint for how Facebook itself could one day be governed. The Libra Association’s main task is to oversee the blockchain, ensuring, for instance, that Calibra does not enjoy privileged access to it. An equivalent Facebook Association, some observers have ventured, could be composed of representatives of users, advertisers, data-protection authorities and so on. Their job could be to oversee the “social graph”, another database, which lists all of Facebook’s users and the links between them—and to guarantee that Facebook users can post to another social network, and vice versa.

Calls for a Facebook constitution along these lines have grown louder as the social network’s influence on world affairs, from election-meddling in America to genocide in Myanmar, has become apparent. Mr Zuckerberg is no stranger to such thinking. In 2009 Facebook let users vote on big changes in its privacy policies but abandoned the experiment with global democracy a few years later. Last year Mr Zuckerberg announced that Facebook wanted to set up a “content review board” of independent experts—a kind of “Supreme Court”, in his words, which would make “the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech”.

Asked whether Libra could serve as a model for Facebook, David Marcus, who is in charge of the project, replies that it marks “a coming of age, the moment we recognise that there are some things that we shouldn’t control—and a radical departure from the traditional way of operating things”. Perhaps. But checks and balances would almost certainly make Facebook less profitable. It would be ironic if a new digital currency marked the beginning of the end of Facebook’s money-minting days.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Coin flip”

Proposal To Move City Hall To Common Pleas Courthouse Would Provide Needed Updates And Save Money

A discussion is underway on how to save Cape Girardeau’s historic Common Pleas Courthouse and simultaneously provide a new headquarters for city government.

During their Monday meeting, the city council discussed a new proposal to move City Hall into an expanded Common Pleas and Annex facility. This move would nearly halve the $20 million cost of a previous plan to raze and rebuild city hall, currently housed in the historic Lorimier school building.

City Manager Scott Meyer said in the proposal they identified $12 million for the cost of improvements, with half the funds coming from the Capital Improvement Sales Tax and the other half possibly coming from the casino.

City mayor Bob Fox said the idea seems pretty popular among both city officials and residents.  

“It’s gonna spend a lot less money than what we originally thought. We’re saving the most iconic building in the city, in Common Pleas Courthouse and the annex and the old library,” said Mayor Bob Fox. “And we’re not tearing down this building. So that satisfies the needs and wants of a lot of people.”

 

A familiar group of architects were also at Monday’s Meeting: Chiodini Architects, who designed the new police station. They presented concepts for possible renovations on Common Pleas, which is in need of repairs. These illustrated how city hall would fit into the building, while also providing a layout which would make the facility ADA-accessible and secure.

The public would have to vote in August to extend the Capital Improvement Sales Tax in order to fund the project.

Deputy City Manager Molly Mehner presented information on bonding the city hall project with an improvement project on the Cape airport.

“It makes sense to go ahead and pay a little bit in interest to get those improvements done right away, to minimize the cost that we have to spend on maintenance while we’re waiting to collect the money and spend it as we go,” she said.

During the meeting, staff also considered moving different customer service agents to other public offices in the city.

 

Steven Merrell, Financial Planning: Do I still need a fiduciary?

In last week’s column, I wrote about the SEC’s new regulation for investment advisers and broker-dealers called Regulation Best Interest, or Reg BI for short. I discussed how Reg BI will require broker-dealers to elevate their advice from a “suitability standard” to a “best interest” standard. In other words, it will no longer be good enough for brokers to recommend investments that are merely “suitable” to your particular situation. Instead, brokers will need to make recommendations that are your “best interest” — a standard that more closely approximates the fiduciary standard, at least in theory.

Since I have long advocated for working with financial advisers who are legal fiduciaries, Reg BI raises an obvious question: Is the fiduciary standard still important or a “best interest” mandate good enough? For several reasons, I still believe most investors are better off working with an adviser who is a fiduciary.

In the world of retail financial advice, there are two basic operating models: the product sales model and the fee-for-service model. The product sales model is the most common, though the fee-for-service model has been gaining popularity in recent years.

Under the product sales model, financial firms hire representatives to sell financial products. These products can take many forms including individual securities, insurance products, mutual funds and more. Many of these financial firms are large institutions with national brand recognition like brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies, mutual fund companies or even some financial planning companies.

Fee-for-service firms, on the other hand, are usually small, independent advisers though some national-scale advisers are beginning to emerge. Under the fee-for-service model, advisers get paid to provide a service — usually financial planning, financial advice or investment management  — much like a CPA gets paid for providing accounting services or an attorney gets paid for legal services. And like CPAs and attorneys, fee-for-service financial advisers do not sell financial products. They are fiduciaries and operate under the fiduciary standard.

Think how strange it would be if your accountant or attorney earned revenue from a third party for selling you some kind of financial product. That would be a clear conflict of interest and would violate the fundamental nature of your relationship. So it is with financial advice and services. A product sales professional is fundamentally conflicted — even if he ostensibly puts your best interest first.

The picture gets a little muddled when product sales companies pretend that they are fee-for-service advisers. The success of the fee-for-service model in recent years has prompted many brokerage firms to offer something called “fee-based” advice. Fee-based advice means the broker is allowed by his broker-dealer to charge you a fee for serving your account, sometimes in lieu of commissions. However, the broker and his firm may still be getting paid by a product company to put you in their mutual fund or other investment. In other words, they collect from you and from a third party. Can you see the inherent conflict? Reg BI will require better disclosure of those kinds of conflicts, but I say work with a fiduciary and avoid the conflict altogether.

Fiduciaries also bring other benefits. For example, fiduciaries tend to be much more oriented toward long-term client relationships. When they make a recommendation, you can generally expect the fiduciary will be there with you as the recommendation plays itself out. Fiduciaries also tend to be very transparent about their business and their recommendations.

Although Reg BI will not become effective until next June, you can begin having it work for you right now. When you next meet with your adviser, ask her how Reg BI is going to change how she operates. Ask her how she makes money, including commissions, revenue sharing and 12b-1 fees. You may find that Reg BI opens the door to some very interesting discussions.

Steven C. Merrell is an investment adviser and partner at Monterey Private Wealth Inc., in Monterey. Send questions concerning investing, taxes, retirement or estate planning to Steve Merrell, 2340 Garden Road Suite 202, Monterey 93940 or smerrell@montereypw.com.

Why giving your child a financial lesson may be better than an allowance

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10 Apps That Will Save You Bundles of Cash

Struggling With Your Finances? These Apps Can Help

The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.


Whether you’re in college, just starting your career, or well-established and considerably comfortable, you’ll never regret saving extra income for a rainy day (or for something bigger – like a milestone vacation or retirement). Even if you feel like you don’t have any money to save, you’d be surprised by the simple ways you can find more coin in your pocketbook.

RELATED: Best Budget Apps for Managing Your Money

Here, we’ve selected a handful of easy-to-use money-saving apps that will increase your savings account tenfold. That extra money can be tucked away for an emergency savings, the start of a retirement fund, or for something special you’ve always wanted to buy yourself. Whatever reason you want to be more financially savvy, you’ll be surprised by how easy it actually is to save cash in your day-to-day life (without giving up that morning coffee).


Money-Saving Apps


You may have heard about this money-saving app but if you’re not already using the app, you may want to get on that. Mint is one of the best-loved money-saving apps, and for good reason. The financial planning app will help you develop a reasonable budget and keep you on top of your bills (which will save you late fees); it even offers a free credit check.

Frequent flyers will especially appreciate this handy money-saving app. App in the Air helps travelers keep more money in their pocket thanks to its new flight booking features, which allow users to book flights in-app, while matching users with flights based on loyalty programs, enabling travelers to make their dollars count more by maximizing points. App in the Air also offers a luggage scanning feature, which uses AR technology to ensure all personal, cabin, and drop-off luggage are within the size requirements.This prevents travelers from accidentally bringing an oversized suitcase, resulting in a baggage fee; it will also help travelers to know just how much space they have before they’ll need to upgrade to a checked bag.

Matador is the first social investing app that lets you grow your money by exploring, sharing, and discovering the stock market with friends. A great introduction to the stock market when you have no idea where to start, this investing app helps users start thinking long term and helps users save money for the future. Investing in the stock market for the long term is one of the best ways to create and preserve wealth over time, yet data shows that we still invest less than a third of what we have into the stock market. Matador aims to change that by making investing easier, and more user-friendly.

If you’re big into cutting coupons – or you wish you had the patience to do it! – check out RetailMeNot. This money-saving app stores all the coupons you could ever use right (think restaurants, retail stores, and even travel and airfare) in the app, which you can redeem right on your phone. RetailMeNot also includes exclusive deals and app-specific coupons, so even if you’re already pretty good at finding your own savings, these ones may be even better.

If you have trouble creating a healthy savings account, you may benefit from downloading Acorns. This app is simple but will save you a ton of money, quickly. Acorns actually rounds up each and every transaction you make and the difference is automatically transferred into an Acorns savings account, which is then invested in exchange-traded funds.

How many times have you sauntered into the grocery store, hungry and unsure about what you’ll be eating for the week? Most people do their grocery shopping in this unorganized manner at least once in a while, but it’s one of the worst things you can do – for your wallet and your fridge! Going in without a plan leads to overspending, forgetting essentials, and filling your kitchen with snacks and other (probably) unhealthy foods. Grocery iQ offers an intuitive grocery list-building tool, which allows users to scan barcodes of the products they love and organize grocery lists by aisle; it even has a section for coupons that may be relevant based on the user’s shopping habits.

If you’re not already using Groupon, well, you should be. The well-loved coupon app isn’t anything new, but it’s just as good as it was when you discovered it years ago. For those who haven’t tried it yet, let us fill you in: Groupon curates deals in your area on things like spa packages, restaurants, and other events and activities, so you can try out a new pass time or event without breaking the bank.

You Need a Budget is the budgeting app for people who hate making a budget or have a negative relationship with money. The easy-to-use budget interface actually teaches its users about the value of money, which helps you prioritize expenses, get out of debt, and more. YNAB research suggests that new users save an average of $600 in the first two months and over $6,000 in the first year.

Rakuten has been around for a while on the business-to-business side, but has just recently extended its services to individual shoppers. The concept is simple: sign up, and shop as usual. Stores pay Rakuten a commission for sending you their way, and Rakuten shares the commission with you as cash back – you can expect to get up to 40% back, depending on the stores you shop at most.

If you’re weary of the other budget/savings apps out there, you may prefer Digit. This financial planning tool calculates your income and living expenses before putting aside anything. This means that you’ll only be saving exactly what you can afford – saving you from pulling money back and forth from your savings account.

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