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Lauren Perez

Credit Card, Banking and Savings Expert

Lauren Perez writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset, with a special expertise in savings, banking and credit cards. She is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. Lauren has a degree in English from the University of Rochester where she focused on Language, Media and Communications. She is originally from Los Angeles. While prone to the occasional shopping spree, Lauren has been aware of the importance of money management and savings since she was young. Lauren loves being able to make credit card and retirement account recommendations to friends and family based on the hours of research she completes at SmartAsset.

Posts by Lauren Perez:

by Lauren Perez Apr 25, 2019

A VA loan could be a great financing option for a veteran looking to become a homeowner. These loans often give active and former service members the opportunity to buy homes without making a down payment or paying for mortgage insurance. The VA limits how much veterans can contribute to closing costs. But one cost most VA borrowers can’t avoid is the VA funding fee. This is a one-time fee for VA loan borrowers that must be paid before a veteran can close on a home. Read more

by Lauren Perez Mar 18, 2020

A gold IRA is one way to save for retirement. As its name suggests, instead of stocks or bonds, it holds gold in the form of bars, coins and bullion. It can also hold other precious metals like platinum and silver. Typically, people who have a gold IRA are looking to diversify their assets and hedge against inflation. But given that gold has no earnings while sitting in your custodian’s safe, there is little advantage in putting it in an IRA, whose main feature is tax deferral on earnings. Also, when you reach 70.5 or 72 (depending on when you were born), you’ll have to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from the gold IRA, which will involve selling the gold if it’s your only IRA. It may make more sense to diversify your portfolio and hedge against inflation with other holdings. A financial advisor can help you strategize and implement a plan. Read more

by Lauren Perez Feb 13, 2019

Certificates of deposit, or CDs, offer a reliable and structured approach to savings. A CD has a set term length. Once you make your initial deposit, you can’t touch that money until the term ends. This allows your money to grow undisturbed, and you usually get a higher rate in exchange for the decreased liquidity. But when shopping around for a CD, how do you know what rates to look for?  Read more

by Lauren Perez Apr 03, 2020

Perhaps the generic portrait of a retiree lounging on a beach isn’t quite your thing. Instead, you might be considering going in the opposite direction and living in Alaska for retirement. In… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 11, 2018

Thinking of retiring in Ohio? Many cities in the Buckeye State are ideal for retirees, with low tax burdens, a high percentage of senior residents and plenty of access to recreation and a healthcare.… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 11, 2018

A retirement in the Empire State doesn’t have to mean shelling out all your retirement savings for a tiny apartment. You’ll find all the best places to retire in New York in Long Island, north of the… Read more

by Lauren Perez Aug 21, 2019

Thinking of retiring in Maryland? You’ll find plenty of company in the following cities and towns, which generally have large populations of senior citizens living there. You’ll also have the peace… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 21, 2018

If you’re looking for a tax-friendly retirement, Nevada is one of the places to be. It’s very tax-friendly toward retirees, with no state taxes on income or Social Security benefits. Withdrawals from… Read more

by Lauren Perez Jan 14, 2020

Money market accounts work like a mix between a savings and a checking account. They come with the potential to earn higher interest rates, but may also let you write checks. Luckily, these accounts… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 04, 2018

Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a great, more structured way to save. CDs are timed deposits with set terms that typically vary from a couple of months to 10 years. After you make your initial… Read more

by Lauren Perez Jan 21, 2020

A division of Regal Securities, Inc., eOption was created in 2007, designed to offer a more affordable way to trade options. You’ll find the lowest options commission charges here. You’ll also find a… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 28, 2018

Vanguard began operations back in 1975, although its oldest fund, the Vanguard Wellington™ Fund, was incepted in 1929. The company currently manages about $5.1 trillion in global assets from over 20… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 21, 2018

Charitable donations often take the form of food drives, clothing donations and giving cash to a nonprofit. But did you know you could also donate stocks directly to charity? While you could always… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 20, 2018

A big name in the investment and day-trading worlds, E*TRADE offers a wide variety of investments and platforms to trade them. Originally founded in 1982 as TradePlus, the company made its first… Read more

by Lauren Perez Jan 14, 2020

Perhaps you lived your 20s without a care in the world. But once you reach your 30s, it’s time to start building wealth and getting serious about money. That can including everything from ramping up… Read more

by Lauren Perez Oct 05, 2021

When shopping around for the savings accounts for you, it’s important to know what you want from it. It’s also important to learn how your options stack up against the competition. For instance, are… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 07, 2018

If you’re looking for the highest savings interest rates the industry can offer, you’ll want to turn to an online bank. Without the maintenance costs of physical branches, online banks can offer the… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 06, 2018

If you’ve decided you have no need for physical bank branches, an online bank could be just the thing. With many online banks offering significantly higher interest rates than their bricks-and-mortar… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 07, 2019

A big part of your financial health relies on saving enough for retirement, from maximizing your 401(k) contributions to growing your other investment portfolios. But what happens to your investments… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 12, 2019

One of the easiest ways to save for retirement is to contribute to your 401(k). Set up through your employer, a 401(k) allows you to set aside a certain amount of each paycheck before income taxes… Read more

by Lauren Perez Oct 24, 2018

It isn’t always entirely clear when we’re supposed to retire. The reality is that everyone’s situation is different. Some people have the means to retire early while others have to work their whole… Read more

by Lauren Perez Dec 05, 2018

Retiring in Idaho is a great option for those seeking an active retirement. Because many of the cities given below lie along the Snake River or rest near a National Park, they offer plenty of… Read more

by Lauren Perez Jul 31, 2019

If there’s nothing keeping you in the U.S., why not retire abroad? You have a ton of options from the standard destination of Mexico to a colder retirement in Iceland. Somewhere in between those is… Read more

by Lauren Perez Nov 12, 2018

If retirement in Florida seems a little too overwhelming for you, consider a retirement in Georgia instead. As Florida’s northern neighbor, Georgia offers easy access to the popular beaches and… Read more

by Lauren Perez Oct 12, 2018

Most people envision retirement as relaxing on a bright beach without a care in the world. But if retiring along sunny shores isn’t quite your thing, consider a retirement in Washington state. Many… Read more