New 100k limited-time offer. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card is their premium travel rewards card with unlimited 2x miles per dollars on all purchases. They just started a 100,000 miles limited-time special offer. Those 100,000 miles can be redeemed as a $1,000 credit towards any travel purchase made with the card (any airline, any hotel, AirBNB stays, Uber rides, no blackout dates). Here are the highlights:
- 100,000 bonus miles (equal to $1,000 in travel) once you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months after account opening. If you don’t reach that, you will still 50,000 miles if you reach $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
- Flat 2X miles on ALL purchases.
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to 10+ travel loyalty programs.
- Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- $95 annual fee.
This means that after you make those $20,000 in purchases during the first year, you will have earned 40,000 Capital One miles from purchases + 100,000 bonus miles = 140,000 miles total, worth $1,400 to offset any travel purchases. That works out to an overall rate of 7% back on that $20,000. If you take out the annual fee, that still works out to 6.5% back on that $20,000.
Redemption details. Capital One “miles” can be redeemed directly for a cash statement credit on a 1 mile = $0.01 basis when offsetting any travel purchase made on the card. In other words, 50,000 miles = $500 toward travel. That means you can fly on any airline or stay at any hotel, pay with this card, and then offset that purchase using your miles balance later. This even includes AirBNB vacation rentals, car rentals, and Uber rides.
This means that earning 2 miles on on every $1 in purchases essentially makes this a 2% back card when applied towards travel.
New: Miles transfer options. Capital One now allows you to transfer your “miles” into select airline miles programs as well, on a 2:1.5 ratio (ex. 20,000 Capital One miles = 15,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles) except where indicated. Here are the transfer partners:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM
- ALL Accor Live Limitless
- Cathay Pacific
- Emirates (2:1)
- JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1)
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (2:1)
- Wyndham Rewards
The bolded ones are my favorite. I would use these to top off an account to reach a specific award level. If you know how to leverage one of these international airline miles programs, this can be a good option, but it’s still nice to have the worst-case scenario of effectively earning 2% back towards travel.
Bottom line. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card earns 2x miles on all purchases, which you can either redeem against any travel purchase or transfer to one of their airline/hotel partners. The best time to apply for this card is during a limited-time offer. Right now, there is a limited-time offer of 100,000 bonus miles after $20,000 in purchases in the first 12 months after account opening.
Due to the high first-year value, I will be adding this card to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.
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“It’s the best-kept secret in the real estate industry,” said Mark about becoming a loan signing agent.
And I’m inclined to believe him. You can make $100 an hour as a part-time, and the only real requirements are that you know what you’re doing, and you have a notary license.
(A loan signing agent is the person who walks you through the giant stack of forms and contracts you have to sign when you close on a new home loan.)
I was first introduced to this side hustle early last year, when I first sat down with Mark Wills and his business partner Roman Rosario.
That conversation turned into episode 215 of the Side Hustle Show, where the pair walked me through how they built and sold an online course starting with no audience.
At that time, the Loan Signing System course, which he teaches people how to become loan signing agents, was doing around $4k a month.
But what we didn’t really cover in that episode was how to become a loan signing agent and what that business is actually like — to the frustration of many listeners. So in response to audience feedback and several listener testimonials, I invited Mark back on the show, along with one of his successful students, Brian Schooley, to dive into the loan signing side hustle.
NOTE: My first interview with Brian aired in June 2018. For the 2020 update, please see “Where Are They Now?” below.
How to Get Started as a Loan Signing Agent
Brian Schooley is a father of 5 who works full-time in tire sales, yet he’s bringing in $1500-2000 a month part-time as a loan signing agent.
In need of some extra cash, Brian started working a weekend job, but the long hours and low pay were taking a toll.
Around that time he started listening to The Side Hustle Show and discovered the loan signing side hustle. “It was just something that made sense,” Brian said. “I went on Mark’s website, bought the course [affiliate link; use promo code sidehustle for 10% off], and just went at it, and it’s been awesome.”
What are the Requirements to Become a Loan Signing Agent?
The most important requirements to become a loan signing agent are:
- Knowledge of the various loan documents borrowers will be signing.
- Your notary license.
- Errors and Omissions insurance.
- Reliable transportation.
If you have a background in real estate, you may already be familiar with the documents and contracts. If not, it might make sense to take a course like Loan Signing System.
Here’s our full Loan Signing System review.
Mark acknowledged like any other skills, you can totally learn what you need to know on your own; he just offers a fast-track training.
Other Notary Loan Signing Agent Startup Costs
For his notary license, Brian paid a $69 application fee to the state (California) and took a $40 online course to help him pass the short certification test.
(The vast majority of states don’t require a test.)
Loan signing agents are also required to carry Errors and Omissions insurance, a policy Brian said set him back around $100 for the year.
(Rates vary by state.)
The low upfront investment was one of the factors that made this side hustle appealing to Brian, and he made back his investment very quickly.
How to Get Loan Signing Gigs
Loan officers and real estate agents need signing agents to sign off on home loans. Brain said there are two main ways they find their agents:
- They call agents they have used before or have been recommended to them.
- They use a signing service and find agents by location and send out a text offering them the signing.
Brian’s first signing was through the signing service. He received a text to sign off on a loan application and made his first $50 for an hour work.
In those cases, the signing service handles the payment, so you receive the money by direct deposit.
What’s the Loan Signing Agent Side Hustle Really Like?
Brain said he got off to a slow start while he was getting his name out there, but hit his goal of $2000 in monthly income only a year after starting.
He still works his full-time job from 7am-4:30pm, so he does all his signings in the evenings and on the weekends. Each gig pays $50-150 and rarely lasts more than an hour.
Brian does have to turn down some signings while he’s working. He offers to do them later in the evening and sometimes the client will accommodate that. (Since most homebuyers are working, most signings are evenings and weekends anyway.)
You do need a reliable car to drive to your appointments, and while most signings are pretty straightforward, you never know who you’re going to meet. Brian described an interesting encounter with a buyer “way out in the desert,” but added it’s just par for the course in any side hustle that deals with the public.
Mark added that a majority of signing agents are women and that buyers have gone through a pretty thorough loan application vetting process.
In fact, it’s been such a fun and lucrative experience, Brian’s wife is getting started as a loan signing agent too!
How to Market Yourself and Grow Your Business as a Loan Signing Agent
The easiest way to start getting signings is to add your name to as many signing services as possible. Mark described these directories like “Uber for signing agents” — they connect you with buyers pretty seamlessly.
Brian has also grown his business by developing relationships with “suppliers” in the industry. Those are the loan officers, real estate agents, title agents, escrow officers, and others involved with the closing of home sales.
“Every single one of us knows a real estate agent,” Mark said. Use those contacts to get your name out there.
Downsides to Becoming a Loan Signing Agent
With this being such a lucrative side hustle and easy to get started with you’re right to wonder what the potential downsides are to being a signing agent.
Is the Market Saturated?
A question that Mark gets asked a lot is about market saturation. There is a fixed amount of loan signings per month, so adding more agents will only reduce the potential income.
Mark says this isn’t really an issue because the industry caters to when customers can meet. Since everyone’s schedule varies, there’s room for more agents to fill those timeslots.
A Last-Minute, On-Call Business
Another potential downside is that it’s an on-call business.
Brian might get a text at 4pm asking if he can make a 6pm signing. It can be tough to make plans in advance or have the discipline to turn down $150 for dinner with the family or whatever other evening obligations you have.
Could it Be a Full-Time Business?
I asked Brian if he thought he could take the signing business full-time, and he said yes.
At one point he was tracking all the appointments he couldn’t make because of his day job, and was surprised by the volume of work that’s out there.
Although he had made $1500 the month we recorded this interview, his business has continued to grow. He occasionally sends me updates on his progress like this one at $3500:
And this one at $6000 in a single month:
Next Steps to Become a Loan Signing Agent
- Loan Signing System | My affiliate link to the Loan Signing System course (use promo code sidehustle for 10% off)
- Episode 215 of The Side Hustle Show (Mark’s previous appearance)
- Brian on Facebook (in 2018 he invited listeners to reach out, but Facebook profile is inactive as of 2020)
Where Are They Now?
In 2020, the mobile notary business is booming for Brian — to the tune of $10k a month!
What Have You Been Up to Since We Last Spoke?
“I’ve actually taken the business from a part-time thing to my full-time gig,” Brian told me.
Brian continued to put more time into his signing agent business, and there came a point where he was earning more than though his full-time job.
The point where Brain said he really knew it was time to go full-time, was when his loan signing income had doubled his 9-5 income.
Brian said the decision to quit their day job might come easy to some, but for him, it was “scary”. With 3 kids and a house to pay for, he wanted to be sure he was making the right decision.
Looking back, it was one of the best decisions he ever made. Brian is loving life as a full-time notary signing agent.
How Much Are You Making Today?
Brian told me he is averaging $10,000 a month, and his biggest month this year was $14,000!
Did Anything Change on the Marketing Front to Get More Signings?
“For me personally, it was this slow burn of creating relationships with people,” Brian told me.
Most of his business comes from word-of-mouth and referrals. For example, when Brian meets an escrow officer, he’d ask if they have any friends in the industry.
If they do, he’d ask if he can go chat with them and mention they sent him. By doing this, Brain has built his business on direct business.
As a result, he hasn’t relied on a signing service in more than a year. Which means he’s making around twice as much as he doesn’t pay fees for his leads.
How Has the Pandemic Affected Your Business?
“For me, it’s been amazing,” Brian told me.
A lot of notaries chose not to take signings during the pandemic. Brain, on the other hand, decided to go for it and carry on while staying as safe as he could.
As the pool of notaries shrunk, the number of signings also went up as interest rates went down. So, Brian had as much work as he could handle, and he jumped on the opportunity.
It was a little more difficult than before. No more meetings at Starbucks and signing documents over coffee. Brian now accommodates the customer however they feel comfortable.
This has meant singing documents on the back of his truck and on tables in their front yards, but as Brain said, “it’s not worth complaining over”.
Is Signing Transitioning Online?
Brian has heard the buzz around doing more signings online, and it looks like this is the direction the business is going. He’s done some hybrid signings, which means some documents were signed online by the customers before he arrives.
As of now, California is still a “wet signature” state. Which means certain documents have to be signed in person. Brian hopes it stays this way for the foreseeable future as it makes his job a lot more secure.
What Else are You Working on Right Now?
Brian has a podcast called “That Loan Signing Dude”, which he does for fun and to help encourage others getting started.
The next big step for him is to create a signing service. Currently, Brian has to occasionally say no to signings if he’s at a family event or unable to make it for some reason.
He wants to set up a service so he can pass those signings on to someone else to pick up. This way he never has to say no to an escrow agent, and he can also make a commission on the signing.
Any Advice to Share This Time Around?
“Just keep going, everybody,” Brian told me.
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- The Online Course Guy – Check out the free on-demand workshop, The Simple Path to Online Course Success!
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For many of us, cars are something we take for granted. Without cars, our journeys would be so much longer. We’re so used to being able to drive around that without a car, we’d be left clueless.
Especially in rural areas, cars are a necessity. Public transport isn’t efficient everywhere, so many of us need cars to get around. However, cars can certainly burn a hole in your wallet.
Even a budget-friendly car can require an auto loan – it’s one of the more expensive things you buy in life, so it’s important to find the perfect car with the perfect auto loan.
Thankfully, there are many suitable car loans out there, even if you have a less-than-perfect credit score. Keep reading to find out more about the best car loans for bad credit.
Auto Credit Express
- Even applicants with bankruptcy on their record stand a chance of being accepted
- Can get approved with a 0 down payment
- Even cars with a high-mileage can get accepted
- Application only takes three minutes to complete
- You need a steady income of at least $1,500 PCM to be considered
If you’ve got bad credit, it’s not the end of the world. Auto Credit Express specialises in auto-loans for borrowers with a poor credit score – and even people who have bankruptcy on their record, which is something that many other auto loan companies would avoid.
Even if you have no credit history, you could still successfully get an auto loan with Auto Credit Express. Whether you’ve had no direct debits or are a young adult wanting to commit to a car, you won’t be excluded by Auto Credit Express.
Some auto loan companies have a huge down payment, but thankfully, your loan can get approved with a zero down payment! This is perfect if you’re on a budget or you don’t have a huge pile of money to get started with.
You do, however, need to prove that your income is at least $1,500 per calendar month (pre tax). This is understandable as they do need some kind of assurance – especially if they accept customers with a poor credit history.
Blue Sky Auto Finance
- Can borrow up to $30,000
- May still get accepted if you have no credit history or if you have bankruptcy in your past
- Some deals have a zero down payment
- Quick and easy process
- If credit score is below 652 you need to earn at least £1800 PCM
Blue Sky Auto Finance is a quick and easy way to find the perfect auto loan for you. To get started, you simply fill out a single application form and it gets sent off to a list of potential lenders.
In order to get accepted for most of the lender options, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 550. If you have a score below this, don’t be disheartened – there’s still a small chance you’ll find a loan suitable for you. You also stand a chance of finding a loan if you have no credit history – and even if you have bankruptcy in your past!
You can get up to $30,000 with a Blue Sky lender, which is enough for even luxurious cars. As they offer such a large amount, you will need to provide proof of income. If you earn less than $1,800 per calendar month, then unfortunately you’ll need a credit score of 652 or more in order to be accepted.
- Can get connected to lenders within 24 hours
- Work with borrowers with recent bankruptcies in their history
- Competitive interest rates
- Simple and speedy application process
With Cars Direct, you not only get loans, but you can also shop for new and used cars. First, you just need to fill out a brief application form. It will take a couple of minutes to complete, and upon completion, you’ll receive offers from dealers within 24 hours.
Once you’re connected with a lender, you can shop for old, new, and used cars through the dealer – and the customized financing plan will already be in place, which is sure to save time and energy.
If you have a recent bankruptcy, then don’t worry – Cars direct work with borrowers with a poor credit history, as well as no credit history. Some lenders offer a plan in which a co-signer helps you get your auto loan. This will ensure better interest rates and more appealing terms.
If you’re in the market for an insurance policy and are overwhelmed with all of the types of life insurance options available, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
According to Policy Genius, only 57% of American adults have life insurance. More troubling, one-third of those do not have adequate insurance. Being underinsured can be due to the amount of coverage you purchase (experts recommend 10 or more times your annual income), but also the type of policy you select.
In this post, we will walk you through each of the major types of life insurance and share important considerations for you to keep in mind when selecting a policy.
The easiest way to get started is to understand that there are two major kinds of life insurance policies. These are Term Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance lasts for a specific amount of time and expires at the end of the policy. Your designated beneficiary will receive a set amount of money known as the death benefit if you die before the policy expires. These policies are typically set up for 10, 20, or 30 years.
This type of program is the most straightforward and most affordable sort of life insurance. However, the downside is if you don’t pass away within the time frame specified in your policy, it expires with no payout.
Whole Life Insurance (aka Permanent Life Insurance)
Whole Life Insurance does not expire and only ends at the end of the policy holder’s life or as long as the premiums are paid. These policies cost much more than a term life policy; premiums can cost anywhere from 4-10 times as much. It does provide unique benefits though that can make this an attractive option.
On top of the death benefit, premiums are invested which builds cash value over time. This cash value acts as a tax-deferred savings account that accrues interest at a fixed rate. The value pays out upon your death. It can also be withdrawn during your lifetime but will incur penalties and fines. This policy type is most useful for people who want to cover more than basic expenses after their death. This type of policy can help you leave money to your beneficiaries.
Apart from the principal categories, there are other classifications of permanent life insurance policies, which are continual, although there are some key differences worth noting.
Universal Life Insurance
A common type of life insurance sold in the United States, the Universal Life Insurance allows you to change the premium and death benefit amounts without having to setup a new policy. This allows you to maintain an insurance policy when or if your financial circumstances change. Similar to whole life insurance, these policies build cash value over time as excess premium payments are applied to the cash value of the policy.
Complexity is the primary drawback of these policies. Unlike a standard whole life policy, interest rates are not fixed. Premium payments could change due to increases or decreases in interest rates.
Variable Life Insurance
Variable Life Insurance policies (VLI) is another type of permanent life insurance with a cash value component. In this policy type, your premium is invested in quasi-mutual fund accounts that grow or fall based on market conditions. This means you could make much more money than with a standard policy, but you are also highly exposed to losing it during a market downturn. Additionally, the types of funds available to invest in are quite limited. You may not have the ability to invest in the best performing funds, and you need a basic stock market understanding to pick the best option.
An alternative policy type, Variable Universal Life Insurance, adds the ability to change premium and death benefit amounts over the life of the policy. It also provides a guaranteed cash value payout.
Simplified and Guaranteed Issue Insurance
Do you want a life insurance plan without undergoing a ton of paperwork, medical exams, background investigations, and health questions? If you prefer a no-questions-asked type of policy, a Simplified Issue or Guaranteed Issue Life insurance serves as the perfect choice for you.
Both of these policies enable elderly adults or adults in poor health to obtain life insurance. Simplified Life Insurance requires you to fill out a health questionnaire, but does not require a full medical exam. Guaranteed life insurance allows you to skip both the questionnaire and the exam.
The primary drawback of these plans is the cost. You will pay a much higher premium for a limited amount of coverage. One estimate cites a $200/month premium for $10,000 death benefit. A 2-3 waiting period is the other drawback. The full death benefit will not be paid out if you pass within this period.
Burial or Final Expense Insurance
A final expense policy is best for those who are only looking to cover expenses related directly to their death. Typically these policies will cover any final medical costs such as hospice, funeral arrangements, and cremation. These policies are most often used by older people who do not have another life insurance policy and don’t want to leave their families stuck with the expenses. Similar to Guaranteed Life Insurance, these policies can be quite expensive for a small benefit payout.
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