Getting Ready for a New iPhone? Here’s a Special Deal for Our Readers

iphone-5-press-650x0With rumors swirling that the launch of the new iPhone will be on Sept. 10, you probably think you still have some time to get rid of your old phone.

But what if I told you that waiting to get rid of it after the release would be a huge mistake – and that you should already be locking down a good rate for your old iPhone as soon as possible?

New data suggests that instead of waiting to sell your old iPhone, you should actually be locking in a higher sell price BEFORE the launch — and then using the proceeds to help fund the cost of your new iPhone.

Here’s how we know this is true. A few weeks ago, I examined hundreds of used iPhone sales on our uSell.com platform following the 2012 iPhone 5 launch, and aggregated this price depreciation data.  What I found was interesting. Old phones lose a great deal of value each week after the new iPhone launch – starting at just 7 days after the new product is announced:
*  1 week after a new iPhone launch, old iPhones lose about 5% in value.
*  2 weeks after launch, old iPhones depreciate about 12%.
*  By weeks 3 and 4, old phones are worth about 20% less.

So really, if you were to wait 3 weeks after the launch to get rid of your old phone, you’d be losing out on a nice chunk of change – because 20% adds up!

If you want to be an even savvier consumer, you could lock in a sale price before the iPhone launch, but then wait to ship your old phone until right after you get your new model.  (At uSell.com and other similar sites, we’ll give you 30 days to actually send in your old phone.)

So how much cash are we talking about?
* An iPhone 5 is potentially worth $72 more (compared to 3 weeks after
launch)
*  An iPhone 4S is worth $46 more
*  An iPhone 4 is worth $29 more

So why not take that extra cash and treat yourself to a fancy dinner, a new pair of jeans, or yes, another cool Apple product?

So don’t wait.  Go lock in a great price right now!

For more information on this and to get competitive bids your old iPhone, check out uSell.com.  As a special bonus for Five Ten Twenty Club readers, use coupon code FALL13 to get an extra $10 on your iPhone sale.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nik Raman is Chief Operating Officer of uSell.com, an online marketplace that helps you sell your used electronics in 3 minutes or less through a network of professional buyers who competitively bid on your gadgets.  Nik is an expert on the used iPhone industry and helps create the user experience for uSell.com‘s smartphone marketplace.  Nik’s path in the “re-commerce” industry began as founder of EcoSquid in 2010, an electronics trade-in and recycling aggregator that uSell.com acquired in 2012.  He is a graduate of Harvard Business School.

How My Credit Improved Thanks to $100K In Student Loans

interest rateSome years ago (in a different financial life, so to speak), I got really sick, and was hospitalized for several days. As most of us know, hospitalizations are quite costly – and the pain is double when you don’t have health insurance, such as when you’re between jobs or working part-time or in a freelance capacity.

I applied for financial assistance, and the hospital mercifully reduced many of the fees. But the doctor’s bills, ambulance and related procedure costs weren’t, leaving me with thousands of dollars in bills and no way to pay them off efficiently.

So, being an imperfect (and unemployed) human, I fell behind on my payments. Some of them ended up in collections. Naturally, my credit score suffered.

Fast forward several months later. Still unemployed during the depths of the recession, I decided it was an opportune time to further my education by getting an M.B.A. My credit was still blemished, but I managed to qualify for federal student loans, anyhow.

Over $100,000 of them.

Now, you might think this was reckless. You might say that having already weakened credit, the last thing I should do is pile on more debt. You might also suggest that if I didn’t manage to get a high-paying job out of business school, I’d be in doubly-deep poo-poo credit-wise.

And you’d be wrong.

Why my credit actually improved

It turns out I didn’t manage to get a high paying job on graduation; it took me several months to find any job at all.

But the $100k+ in student loans weren’t hurting my credit. In fact, they were helping it. In fact, my score rose over 100 points, taking me from the mid-500s range known as “poor” credit to the higher 600s range knows as “good”.

As credit expert, John Ulzheimer notes, installment debt such as student loans have a negligible impact on your credit.

But there were other factors at work here.

For starters, I didn’t default on my loans. You can be certain that should I have done so, my credit would’ve plummeted.

Instead, my loans were initially deferred until I started working. Once I started working, I began making payments under the federal Income Based Repayment plan (known better as IBR), which caps your monthly payments at 15% of disposable income.

It thus appeared on my credit report — and score calculations– that I was “on time” and managing the hefty $100k in loans responsibly. It was showing I was a good credit, even when I was jobless with over $100k in debt.

Many of my old medical debts which I hadn’t yet finished repaying were still on my credit report during this post-M.B.A. unemployment, too, so I couldn’t attribute the improvement to them being erased, or anything similar.

Nope, it was just the very fact that I had the debt and wasn’t defaulting.

And now that I am working full-time and earning an M.B.A salary, my credit has continued improving, especially as I’ve now paid off those old medical debts, too.

The moral of the story here is simple:

Credit scoring is a system full of quirks. Not all heavy debt burdens are equal, and depending upon your starting credit, it can sometimes even be beneficial (especially things like student debt, which can ostensibly lead to better earnings potential). We’d always advise you to be prudent with any debt, but this story demonstrates how, if you avoid outright default, few debt situations are without hope.

Five Money Myths to Nix Today

how-much-does-car-insurance-cost-todayMost of us should know better than to succumb to these common money myths, but there we go, tripping up over these obvious pitfalls again. Don’t hamper your financial future by neglecting the simple money myths below.

Myth No. 1: My 401K Is the Best Place to Save
Fact: We’re bombarded with so many reminders to take advantage of our company’s 401K, that few of us question their actual value. While it is true that 401Ks can offer some terrific benefits for people specifically trying to save for retirement, for most other savings needs, it’s probably not your best option. Since you’re heavily penalized for early withdrawals, using a 401K as a primary savings mechanism can backfire if you need the money sooner – such as for a down payment on a house or an unemployment emergency. (401K loans are an option in some cases, but these carry their own problems.)

Instead, regard as 401K only as a superior savings vehicle for your retirement. Nothing else. Heck, even as a retirement vehicle, 401Ks are only certain to beat IRAs if you get a company match, since you’re often limited in the investment options you can choose and the associated fees may be relatively high. Clarify your specific savings goals, and use your 401K accordingly.

Myth No. 2: A dollar saved is always a dollar earned
Fact: Yes, a dollar saved is certainly a dollar earned, but there’s more to just saving money. Simply saving money and stuffing it under your mattresses won’t be enough, as you also need to generate interest income to see any real growth — and to offset inflation. Think about it: If inflation averages about 2%, that means a dollar earned today will be worth about 98 cents a year from now. That means you need to invest your money (hopefully earning returns above the rate of inflation) for it to actually be a dollar saved. The difference in even 1% greater returns can mean many thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Myth No. 3: Earning more money allows me to spend more
Fact: If you’ve worked hard to earn a raise, spending a little more seems a justified reward for your accomplishments. But as soon you start thinking in this way, you’ll stall your ability to grow financially. If your expenses also grow to meet the size of your new paycheck, you’ll be back to square one. The fact is that the little “extra” that you get added to your paycheck should primarily be used for savings and debt servicing, otherwise, you’ll be in the same position as before. What’s the difference between a guy who makes $30k and spends every cent and one who makes $50k and also spends every last dime? Probably not much, since neither is actually getting ahead financially.

Myth No. 4: Getting money help is not my cup of tea!
Fact: Sure, none of us want to pay somebody else for something we can do ourselves — and in most cases, you shouldn’t. But when it comes to managing your finances, sometimes difficult decisions really do require some outside support. Tax accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors are absolutely appropriate when money concerns extend beyond your expertise. Not using them when they’re really needed can cost you big time.

Myth No. 5: I can pick stocks well enough to beat the market
Fact: If you can really do this, I, and everyone else who has ever invested a single dime would like to meet you. Why? It’s simple — Over the long-run, no single investor (or investment) consistently beats the market. Not mutual funds, not individual stocks, not star money managers, not hedge funds…nope, nobody does. Research consistently shows that passive investment vehicles –such as broad index funds — are usually the best bet for most investors. Sure, you may have an M.B.A. or just be really handy with a balance sheet — but nobody (and I mean nobody) outperforms the market in the long run.

 

 

Earn Gift Cards for Being a Regular Reader

punchtab-gift-ribbonYou may have noticed that a Rewards tab has appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of our screen. Allow us to introduce Punchtab, the Silicon Valley-based loyalty program that helps readers of blogs to earn loyalty points by reading and sharing our posts. These loyalty points can be redeemed for gift cards from popular retailers like Starbucks, Amazon and Target.

To get started, simply click on the Rewards tab in the corner and then log-in using your Facebook account. By using your Facebook account as a unique identifier for you with Punchtab, you can start to accumulate points whenever you view or share our posts. As you accumulate more points, you can choose from the various rewards in the PunchTab Rewards Merchandise Catalog based on the number of points you have and the number of points needed for a particular reward.

We’re happy to be working with Punchtab here, and we hope the gift cards help you save money $5, $10 and $20 at a time!

Thanks for joining the FiveTenTwenty Club

~Janet and Karl

Don’t know what the FiveTenTwenty Club is? Learn more here, read about our Money Method, join in the conversation in our Community Forum and start living the Seven Days to Financial Fitness Plan!