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9 Financial Decisions That Should Be No-Brainers – ReadWrite



Deanna Ritchie

On any given day, you’re faced with countless financial decisions. How much should you spend on lunch? Are you paying the best rate for your health insurance? Can you afford a vacation this year? While life would be easier if you were able to coast by, that’s not reality.

The reality is that you can make life a lot easier by paying close attention to your finances. While your bank account is an important component of your overall finances, it’s not your entire financial picture. So review your accounts and consider these nine financial decisions you have the opportunity to act on. When you’re done, you’ll feel more confident about your finances.

1. Say “Yes” to the Extended Auto Warranty

When you buy a car, you gain the freedom of the open road. But, unfortunately, you also expose yourself to the possibility of countless headaches and thousands of dollars in repairs. An extended auto warranty can save your bacon if you buy a used vehicle or your manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Today’s cars are full of sophisticated software that’s only too capable of malfunctioning. However, with an extended auto warranty on your side, you’ll have peace of mind that many future high-dollar expenses are covered.

2. Save for Known Expenses

While you’re covered for major auto expenses thanks to your extended warranty, you still need to save for routine maintenance. First, review your owner’s manual for the preventative maintenance schedule and ask your dealer for general cost information. Then, set aside money each month in anticipation of these expenses, and you’ll never be caught up short.

You can use this same practice for your home, personal care, and pet expenses. By ensuring that these known categories of expenses are covered, you can use discretionary funds when life sends you a surprise — bad or good.

3. Negotiate for the Home Warranty — and Keep It

When you purchase a home, you often have the opportunity to negotiate a home warranty into your purchase. If the seller doesn’t offer it, be sure to ask.

Home warranties can help cover the primary mechanical components of your home, like your HVAC and appliances. These items are not typically covered by your homeowners’ insurance and cost thousands or more to fix or replace. Most policies are good for one year and can be renewed at an affordable rate.

4. Stay on Top of Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a major role in your financial standing and may be a deal-breaker for life’s financial opportunities. Know your score, what parts of your financial history go into it, and how you can improve it.

By law, you’re allowed one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. If your score is on the low side, develop a plan to improve it. Start with the factors that are damaging your score the most, such as late payments or a high credit utilization ratio. Take steps to address them (e.g., set up auto-pay, pay down a balance), and you should see improvements in a few months.

5. Take Advantage of Life Insurance Offered by Your Employer

Open enrollment happens just once a year. So while it may be tempting to sign up for just the basic benefits, don’t skip the life insurance coverage.

Often, your employer offers you the best rates for critical coverage like life insurance and disability. Typically, you can get thousands of dollars of coverage for just a few dollars per paycheck. So take care of your family and make sure your obligations are covered with this simple decision.

6. Invest for Your Retirement, No Matter Your Income

Whether you want to admit it or not, there will be a time when you are unable to work. So save for your eventual retirement now and take advantage of the power of compound interest. If your employer offers a matching contribution for its 401(k) plan, try to save at least that amount.

Consider your investment options carefully and pay special attention to pre-packaged target-date funds. These funds take the guesswork out of selecting your investments and adjust over time as you get closer to retirement.

7. Have a Debt Payoff Strategy, Then Put It on Autopilot

Debt is a necessary evil, but it’s essential to master. Keep a running tally of your debt obligations and prioritize your payoff strategy based on your goals.

As noted earlier, you can ensure you’re making payments on time by signing up for auto-pay. If you’re ready to pay down the principal balance on one of your debts, use auto-pay for that, too. Automating your debt payoff strategy ensures that you’ll stay on track, no matter how busy life gets.

8. Save For Emergencies, Even When Times Are Good

Emergencies happen when we least expect them — that’s what makes them emergencies. So plan ahead and work toward saving up three months of your basic expenses: housing, utilities, food, and transportation.

Resist the urge to use all of your annual pay increase to cover just the fun things in life. Instead, consider setting up an automatic savings deposit to reroute that money toward your emergency fund. Then, once you’ve saved up three months’ worth of expenses, treat yourself for a job well done.

9. Know Your Worth, and Ask for a Raise

Even if you’re happy with your job, you should always keep tabs on the going rate for the work you do. First, compare your current salary with what’s reported on sites like Glassdoor. Then, track your annual performance review and merit increases just like you would your work deliverables.

Treat your career like its own business enterprise and advocate for your advancement in both title and salary. If you’re underpaid, develop a strategy to discuss it with your supervisor and ask for a fair rate.

Taking the Easy Route to Financial Well-Being

Many financial decisions take time and deliberation. For example, should you rent or buy? Stay at your current job or pursue your entrepreneurial dream? Invest in stocks, bonds, or physical assets like real estate? Choices like these demand extensive research and contemplation.

Fortunately, there are some financial decisions that are so clear-cut they’re practically no-brainers. So go ahead — seize the low-hanging fruit of the financial world. Once you’ve made these nine decisions, you’ll rest easier.

Image Credit: kampus production; pexels; thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

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Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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