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Great Financial Planning Networks for Millennials

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The youngest millennials turn 24 in 2020, and most of this generation has already entered the workforce. Whether it’s to evaluate retirement plans or simply to start budgeting more effectively, many millennials are seeking out the help of a financial advisor.

Financial planning is a great way to improve the health of your personal finances. However, just grabbing the first financial planning professional you come across is not an effective option. You need to take thoughtful, deliberate steps to evaluate your options and choose the right advisor.

Check out our advice for pursuing your own search for a millennial money advisory that measures up to your own expectations. In addition, we’ve provided brief profiles of five financial planners tailored to the unique needs of millennials.

Millennial financial planning: How to find the right advisor

With a variety of financial planning services designed to appeal to their generation, millennial clients should explore their options before choosing an advisor. It’s important to find the person who will be a match for your unique personality and needs. The planner you choose to hire will depend on a variety of criteria, and before you sign on the dotted line, take these five steps to find the right fit.

Look for the CFP designation

When choosing an advisor, check if they’ve received a CFP designation. “This means the person has completed extensive education and experience requirements and are held to high ethical standards,” said Lindsay Martinez, certified financial planner with Xennial Planning in Oceanside, Calif.

CFP professionals have to pass a comprehensive certification that test their abilities to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance, to ensure the planner understands the complexities of the changing financial climate and know how to make recommendations in your best interest.

Get referrals, do background checks

Ask family, friends and professional colleagues if they use a financial planner and if they’re satisfied with their services. While your needs may vary depending on your life situation, it can help to hear about the experiences of others.

Whether your advisor candidates come from referrals or your own search, you should also do a background check on your advisors. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is not-for-profit industry group that oversees all entities in the United States that sell securities products. FINRA offers BrokerCheck, a website where you can research the background and experience of securities brokers and dealers.

Another place to find information is through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As it applies to the public, the mission of the SEC is to protect investors and maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets. The SEC helps you check an advisor’s background with search features on

If the financial planner claims to be a certified financial planner, take the extra step to verify their credentials by checking the CFP website. And you can also check for reviews of financial advisors at the Better Business Bureau.

Schedule a consultation

Don’t underestimate the importance of finding an advisor that fits your personality. An advisor may be smart and savvy, but if you don’t feel like they’re a partner who wants to take time to make sure you understand and feel good about your choices, the relationship could end badly.

Financial planning networks for millennials ditch the suit-and-tie meetings and offer a more relaxed way to interact and share ideas, via phone or web-based consultations.

“Since many planners provide complimentary getting-to-know-you-style consultations, take advantage of the offer to see whether they’re a good fit for you,” said Sarah L. Carlson, certified financial planner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group in Spokane, Wash. “Do they talk to you or talk down to you? They need to speak in terms you understand.”

Carlson recommends looking for an advisor who has been in the business for at least five years. “Anyone who can pass the tests can come into the business,” she said. “Only advisors who are successful at helping people can stay in the business more than five years.”

Know the right questions to ask an advisor

Millennials should be asking the right questions, said Janice Cackowski, a certified financial planner with Providence Wealth Partners, in Rocky River, Ohio.

Cackowski suggests asking whether an advisor works with other people in your age bracket. Do they have account minimums or a minimum annual fee? How are they paid? Do they offer tax planning?

“In my opinion, [tax planning] is the most important part of planning for young people,” Cackowski said.

Kashif A. Ahmed, president of American Private Wealth in Bedford, Mass., adds two more questions: Is the planner a fiduciary? And can the planner be compensated by being paid for their time and advice instead of being required to purchase a product directly from them?

Advisors who are fiduciaries hold themselves to a standard where they put your financial interests above their own. “If they hesitate or say ‘no’ to either of these, run away,” Ahmed said.

Understand your advisor’s fee structure

Millennials are known to be impervious to sales pitches and are highly cognizant of hidden costs. They want to know exactly how much they’re paying and what they’re getting in return. For this reason, many find that they prefer a fee-only financial service. It’s important to understand the difference between fee-only and fee-based.

“‘Fee-only’ indicates the advisor does not sell products or work on commissions, so there are inherently fewer conflicts of interest,” said Martinez. “These folks have a fiduciary responsibility to act in their client’s best interest.”

Fee-based planners, however, collect money from clients as well as other sources, such as commissions from companies whose products they sell. Both fee-only and fee-based advisors can give a client investment and financial planning; however, the input you receive from a fee-based advisor might be different from a fee-only advisor due to how they get paid. In some cases, this can create a conflict of interest.

5 financial planning options for millennials

From networks to solo practitioners, financial planners designed specifically for millennials are making waves in the marketplace. These five financial planners and planning networks have business models geared to millennials. They offer digital platforms not tied to any one location, no minimum deposits and fee-only services.

XY Planning Network

XY Planning Network The  XY Planning Network includes more than 500 certified financial planners (CFPs) who specialize in financial planning for millennials. Advisors in the XY Planning Network are fee-only, which means they do not accept commissions, referral fees, or kickbacks. There are no minimums required to get started as a client.

These advisors offer comprehensive financial planning help, including debt management, estate, insurance and retirement planning, real estate analysis, and investment advice and management. Advisors are available to work with clients either in person or online.

Garrett Planning Network

Garrett Planning NetworkGarrett Planning Network is a network of nearly 300 financial planners who check many key boxes for millennials. Members charge for their services by the hour on a fee-only basis. It does not accept commissions, and clients pay only for the time spent working with their adviser.

Members of the Garrett Planning Network requires no income thresholds or investment account minimums to access its hourly services. Garrett Planning Network advisors help clients with cash flow issues, investment management questions, tax preparation, pensions and retirement plans, estate planning, insurance issues and savings opportunities. Members must either already have their CFP designation or agree to become certified within five years. Clients can set up an in-person meeting or work with a member by phone or online.

Millennial Wealth

Millennial WealthMillennial Wealth is a small fee-only financial advising firm that specializes in planning and investing for millennials by millennials. Planners are not compensated with commissions or kickbacks. Located in Seattle, customers can also meet virtually via meeting software or other technology.

Millennial Wealth doesn’t have account minimums, and it has designed its fee structure to work primarily with young professionals just starting out and wanting to build a solid foundation to achieve financial goals.

Gen Y Planning

Gen Y PlanningGen Y Planning is run by certified financial planner Sophia Bera and specializes in clients in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have high incomes but haven’t had time to do proper financial planning. Gen Y Planning offers help and advice for the life stages millennials are likely facing, such as navigating new jobs, purchasing a first home, getting married and starting a family.

The team works with clients across the country online. Gen Y Planning offers fee-only services, with an up front planning fee followed by a monthly retainer. The CFP also offers a robo-advisor for investment advice as an add on service for 0.70% annual management fee. Gen Y Planning does not require account minimums.


GrowGrow is a millennial-owned service that focuses on serving other millennials. The company takes a holistic approach by offering solutions that improve its clients’ lives and finances with financial planning, investment management and personal growth coaching.

Grow is a fee-only advisor that receives no commissions. Clients do not have minimum account requirements, and Grow doesn’t charge a fee for managing assets under $10,000; instead the balance is left in cash or market ETFs until increases.

The bottom line on millennial financial planning

When you’re in your 20s or early 30s, long-term goals like retirement or purchasing a new home may feel far off. However, it’s never too soon to start working with a financial planner. When it comes to your money, take your time to find the right person to help you.

“I’ve found the millennials I work with to be hard-working and extremely conscientious about their finances,” Cackowski said. “They want to get set up to save appropriately and make better financial decisions than their parents’ generation.”

Finding a financial planner who can help meet all of your needs and work toward reaching your goals is an investment in yourself and your future. You want to hire someone who is not only knowledgeable; you want a coach and partner you can trust to grow along with you and your account balance.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Stephanie Vozza
Stephanie Vozza |

Stephanie Vozza is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Stephanie here

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Best Savings Accounts for Kids

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Piggy banks are fun for small change, but if you want to teach your kids important lessons about managing money and the power of compound interest, get them their own savings account. While your local bank branch probably offers more than one savings account product, you might consider looking online for one that’s designed with children in mind.

To aid in your search, we have chosen six savings accounts tailored for kids from a selection of nearly 100 kids’ savings options offered at banks and credit unions around the country. We based our selections on how well they met these five criteria:

  • Competitive annual percentage yield (APY): Accounts should demonstrate the rewards you can get by saving your money, and a competitive interest rate helps achieve that objective.
  • Low fees: Kids don’t need to lose their money to fees, so finding an account with zero fees was important.
  • Low minimum deposits: Most kids don’t have a large amount of money to save when they first open an account. Having a low minimum deposit requirement can help them get started quicker.
  • Broad geographical reach: Banks and credit unions need to be available to a large geographic market, with extra points for physical locations where kids can go and deposit cash and coins.
  • Great educational tools: Savings accounts that are geared to kids should have some educational tools to help them learn about what it takes to achieve financial success. Bonus points if the tools are fun, too.


Best overall savings account for kids: Capital One

Kids Savings Account from Capital One Capital One’s Kids Savings Account has all of the features you’d expect to see in a savings account for adults but with the additional feature of parental controls, which makes it a great overall solution for kids of all ages. The account earns 1.00% APY, has no monthly fees and can be opened with $0. You can set it up the account, and make your initial deposit at a later date.

The Kids Savings Account parental controls allows parents to sign into the account under their own usernames and passwords to help their children manage their funds. Parents always control transfers in and out of the account, offering good balance between independence for the young holder and parental oversight. Kids get to view their balance and watch their money grow.

Capital One lets you create an automatic savings plan linked with other accounts, so you can automatically transfer your child’s allowance into their Kids Savings Account. When it comes to geographical reach, Capital One has approximately 500 branch locations, as well as a great mobile banking app, which allows you to deposit checks and check balances.

Capital One Kids Savings Account
APY: 1.00%
Monthly Fees: $0
Minimum Opening Balance: $0


on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best savings account for college savings: Citizens Bank

CollegeSaver from Citizens Bank (RI) If you want to be rewarded for consistent savings, the Citizens Bank CollegeSaver account has a bonus you might consider. If you open the account before your child is six and make a deposit of at least $25 each month until your child turns 18, Citizens Bank will give you a $1,000 bonus (the current account APY is a low 0.05%). You can also open this account if your child is between 6 and 12 years of age, but the minimum monthly deposit will be $50 and opening deposit is $500.

If you were to open the account today with an initial deposit of $25 upon the birth of a child (and assume the current APY held for 18 years), and then deposit $25 a month for 18 years, your $5,400 investment would accrue $24.48 in interest. Add the bonus and you’ll end up with $6,449.48. The bank doesn’t put any stipulations on how the money can be spent, so you can use the balance for college or any other financial needs.

Citizens Bank CollegeSaver
APY: 0.05%
Monthly Fees: $0
Minimum Opening Balance: $25 for children under six years old; $500 for children age six to 12


on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best savings account for a young child: PNC Bank

S is for Savings from PNC Bank If you want to engage your child with educational tools, PNC’s S is for Savings account offers a lot. Granted, this account offers the lowest APY of the banks that made this list, but it makes up for it with its interactive online banking experience.

The Learning Center features Sesame Street characters that will help them learn basic money concepts. The site has fun activities you and your child can do together.

Features include the ability to set up automatic savings deposits that help them see the benefits of having a savings routine. Kids can work towards goals and learn about the three components of money: saving, sharing and spending. As your child gets older, you may choose to transfer their accumulated balance to a savings account at a bank that offers a higher interest rate.

PNC Bank’s S is for Savings
APY: 0.01%
Monthly Fees: $0 for account holders under 18
Minimum Opening Balance: $25


on PNC Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best savings account for teens: Alliant Credit Union

Kids Savings Account from Alliant Credit Union When your child turns 13, Alliant Credit Union considers them to be a young adult, offering their High-Rate Savings Account with a 1.70% APY and no monthly fees. For teens who want to set savings goals, the credit union allows them to set up supplemental accounts that can be earmarked for specific items, such as saving for a new car.

What makes this a great option for a teen is that Alliant also offers an interest-paying teen checking account for kids ages 13-17. The checking account earns an APY of 0.50%. The two accounts can be linked and both will earn your teen interest. Alliant also refunds up to $20 per month in ATM fees if the teen uses out-of-network machines.

To open an account at Alliant Credit Union, you must be a member. Membership is open to employees or former employees of partner businesses or organizations. Or you can join by making a $10 donation to the Foster Care to Success Foundation.

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings:
APY: 1.70%
Monthly Fees: $0
Minimum Opening Balance: $5


on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best APY for a kid’s savings account: Spectrum Credit Union

MySavings from Spectrum Credit Union Spectrum Credit Union currently offers the highest interest rate on the market for a kid’s savings account, but only on a relatively limited balance. Spectrum’s MySavings account earns 7.00% APY on account balances up to $1,000, making for a rate that’s higher than many CDs. Balances over $1,000 earn the regular savings rate, which is 0.50%. A high interest rate can help get kids excited about savings as their balance will grow quicker.

Spectrum Credit Union currently has branches in six states, but deposits can be made nationwide through the Credit Union CO-OP Shared Network. Membership is open to anyone by joining the Contra Costa County Historical Society ($15 membership fee) or the Navy League of the United States ($25 annual membership fee).

Spectrum Credit Union MySavings
APY: 7.00% for the first $1,000; 0.50% on balances above $1,000
Monthly Fees: $0 for account holders under 18
Minimum Opening Balance: $0


on Spectrum Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best online tools for a kid’s savings account: Capital One

Kids Savings Account from Capital One Kids are digital natives, and that makes a kid’s savings account’s online banking features extra important. In addition to being our pick for best overall savings account for kids, the Capital One Kids Savings Account offers a great selection of online saving and budgeting tools that will keep kids engaged and informed.

One of the best features is the ability to create additional savings accounts and set a target goal for each account. For example, you child may set a goal for holiday gifts, another goal for a new bike or car and another goal for vacation money. They can even give each account a nickname, such as “My Wheels Fund.”

Capital One has a full suite of online tools for your child to track their progress and success, helping to keep them focused on their goals. Capital One also offers standard features on its mobile banking app, some of which are available for kids, including the ability to check their balance or make a mobile deposit.

Capital One Kids Savings Account
APY: 1.00%
Monthly Fees: $0
Minimum Balance: $0


on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

Why your kid should have a savings account

It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money, and a savings account is a great tool to help accomplish this aim. According to the 9th Annual Parents, Kids & Money Survey by T. Rowe Price, 55% of parents said their child has a savings account, but just 23% of kids said that they talk to their parents frequently about money. Parents who discuss financial topics with their kids at least once a week are more likely to have kids who say they are smart about money than than those who do not have a discussion with their children.

Savings accounts show kids the value of saving at an early age. They get to watch their money grow as compound interest work its magic, and they can set short- and long-term goals for the money they save. The reward of achieving the goals will teach life lessons on patience and planning. Once you open an account for your kids, share money management tips with them, things like “paying yourself first” by saving a portion of gifts and allowances they receive instead of spending it all.

When you teach your child good money habits early on, you help set them up for success later in life. Putting your child on the path for financial responsibility and independence by choosing the best savings account for kids could be the greatest gift you can give them.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Stephanie Vozza
Stephanie Vozza |

Stephanie Vozza is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Stephanie here

Advertiser Disclosure


Average Savings by Age: How Much You’ve Saved vs What You Need

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Getty Images

The average American household has $183,200 tucked away in savings, with about 83% of that in retirement accounts. That leaves an average of about $31,000 for emergencies and non-retirement savings goals, such as buying a house or car, going on vacation or putting money away for college tuition.

To know if you’re on track to meet your savings and retirement goals, it helps to compare your progress with the average savings by age.

The average savings account balance by age

As your age increases, so should your bank balance (until a certain age). Let’s break down the findings by age group.

Average savings: Younger than 35

The average non-retirement savings for someone younger than 35 is $8,362, according to calculations by ValuePenguin, which, like MagnifyMoney, is owned by LendingTree.

While this number is low, money may be tight at this stage of life. People in this age group could be just over a decade into their careers, which can put them on the lower end of salary ranges.

The median earnings for Americans ages 25 to 34 are $837 a week, or $43,524 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Expenses such as housing, transportation and student loans can consume a good amount of income.

Keep in mind that the average age of a millennial homebuyer is 30.5, so mortgage down payments could be lowering the average savings.

Average savings: Ages 35-44

Between the ages of 35 and 44, the average non-retirement savings balance is $20,839.

During this decade, earnings grow. The median earnings are $1,022 a week, or $53,144 a year.

At this stage, more people are homeowners and parents of young children. The average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is $233,610, or about $14,000 a year.

Average savings: Ages 45-54

Once you’re between the ages of 45 and 54, the average non-retirement balance is $30,441.

Retirement could be coming closer into view. And since more couples are delaying parenthood until their 30s, college tuition bills could be looming. Tuition and fees at a four-year public school average about $10,000 a year, but that doesn’t include room and board.

Fortunately, this decade is where Americans average the most earnings. The median earnings are $1,025 a week — or $53,300 per year — giving you a greater ability to save for emergencies, goals and retirement.

Average savings: Ages 55-64

Between the ages of 55 and 64, the average non-retirement savings account is $45,133. This could be a time when you start winding down your career and make your last push for retirement savings.

The median earnings in this age group fall slightly to $1,009 a week, or $52,468 a year. You should max out your retirement contributions and meet with a professional to see if you’re on track.

Of note, 47% of people opt to start taking Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 64. If you purchased a home at the average age of 30.5 on a 30-year mortgage, this is when you could pay off your mortgage if you didn’t refinance or sell the home. This helps to reduce your expenses and free up available funds for saving.

Average savings: Ages 65-74

Between the ages of 65 and 74, the average non-retirement savings balance is $54,089. More than 1 in 6 seniors work past age 65, according to ValuePenguin.

The median earnings for Americans older than 65 are $949 a week, or $49,348 a year. (Note that the BLS doesn’t track specific earning data between the ages of 65 and 74. Median earnings are estimated for those age 65 and older.)

Expenses should fall during this decade with child rearing most likely done.

Average savings: Age 75 and older

Once you reach age 75, the average non-retirement savings balance is $42,291.

The amount declines for the first time because you’re likely withdrawing some of your money for living expenses. And your ability to add to your savings also declines as many Americans have left the workforce by this age, even though the labor force participation rate for the 75-plus age group has nearly doubled in the past 20 years.

As we noted in the ages 65 to 74 section, the BLS doesn’t break down earnings’ estimates beyond 65 and older, so we’re looking at the same figures: $949 a week, or $49,348 a year.

How much you should have saved at each age

Your savings will likely have a purpose, such as emergencies, goals or retirement. To know if you are putting enough money away, it helps to follow these rules of thumb.

An emergency fund should contain three to six months’ worth of expenses, which will vary depending on your lifestyle and expenses.

Based on 2018 average annual expenditures from the BLS, we’ll provide emergency fund savings goals by age group. The low end includes three months’ worth of expenses, while the high end includes six months.

Let’s switch the focus to retirement savings. The average millennial has $24,570 in retirement savings, while the average baby boomer has $279,250.

Your target retirement balance can be calculated based on your income. By age 30, per Fidelity, you should have saved one times your income. By 50, that number grows to six times. And by 67, you should have saved 10 times your income.

According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in 2018 was $61,937. Based on these figures, here is a good general goal.

Tips for saving more money

While the average American household has a savings balance of $30,600, the median balance is $7,000. The average is the sum of all savings accounts divided by the number of account holders, while the median is the middle point in a number set.

The median amount offers a better representation of what most Americans have saved, since averages can be greatly impacted by outliers, such as high-income individuals with large deposit account balances.

If you are closer to the median than the average, It’s a good idea to address the gaps that exist by putting some savings strategies in place.

Follow the 50/30/20 budgeting rule

With the 50/30/20 rule, half of your income goes toward essential expenses (“needs”), such as housing, transportation, groceries and utilities. Thirty percent goes toward non-essential expenses (“wants”), such as dining out, clothes or cable TV. The remaining 20% of your income can go toward savings. Following this rule can help you avoid living paycheck to paycheck, as 78% of Americans do.

Pay down debt

One of the best ways to save money is to reduce expenses, such as high-interest credit card debt. The fewer bills you have, the more income you have available to sock away. You could use the debt snowball method, which pays off the lowest balance first to build motivation and momentum. Or consider the debt avalanche, which pays off the loans with the highest interest first. Whichever method you use, make it a priority to meet your savings goals. MagnifyMoney has a calculator than can help you decide between the two methods.

Save your tax refund

It can be tempting to spend a tax refund on something fun, such as a vacation, because it feels like a windfall. However, take advantage of the lump sum and put it toward your savings goals. The average tax refund for Americans in 2019 was $2,868, and saving it can put you well on your way to a higher bank balance.

Automate monthly savings

If you have to physically transfer money into savings, you’ll be less likely to do it. Instead, sign up for automatic savings deposits each pay period. You can divide it into non-retirement and retirement accounts. Chime Bank, for example, found that its members who signed up for automatic savings were able to put away more than three times as much money as members who didn’t.

Maximize interest rates

While it’s convenient to have your savings in the bank where you do your checking, the interest rates are often negligible, with the average savings account paying 0.09% APY, according to ValuePenguin. It’s possible to earn a much higher rate, so let your money work harder for you by choosing accounts that pay higher rates, such as high-interest savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) or money market accounts.

Where you should keep your savings

The type of account you choose for your savings will depend on how you plan to use the money. Are you saving for a long-term or short-term goal? For some purposes, you’ll want an account that is more liquid than others.

For day-to-day expenses, you’ll want to use a checking account that allows you to make unlimited withdrawals each month. You can get an interest checking account, which pays an average of 0.06% APY.

For short-term goals, consider savings and money market accounts. Although, it’s important to know that most have restrictions on your number of withdrawals per month. The average savings account pays 0.09% APY, while the average money market account pays 0.16% APY.

You could place your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account, which keeps your money safe and pays a decent interest rate — often 2% or more.

If you don’t need your funds soon, you can choose an investment product such as a CD, which requires that you keep your money in place for a set period. Rates vary depending on the length of your CD term.

For retirement savings, you’ll need to put your money into an account designated for retirement savings, such as an individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA or a 401(k) plan offered by your employer.

To break it down, more than half of Americans have a savings account, 18% have money market deposit accounts, 7% have one or more CDs and 52% have at least one retirement account, according to MagnifyMoney research.

The bottom line

Many Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement or emergencies. In fact, only 48% of Americans have enough money to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to LendingTree.

By checking your milestones and comparing average savings by age group, you’ll have a better idea if you’re on track or if you’ve got some catching up to do.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Stephanie Vozza
Stephanie Vozza |

Stephanie Vozza is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Stephanie here