7 things on your financial to-do list that are much easier than they seem

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With 2019 wrapping up, you might be thinking about all the things you checked off your list this year … or the ones you still need to do.

If you’ve been putting off a financial task, there’s a good chance it’s easier than it sounds. From opening a savings account that will grow your money faster to writing a will, technological innovation has made a lot of formerly tedious tasks doable from your couch. 

Here are seven simple money tasks you can cross off your list, and start 2020 with your best foot forward.

1. Opening a high-yield savings account

Earning more interest on your money is actually a painless task — opening a high-yield savings account can be done in minutes. 

High-yield savings accounts are just like any other savings account, with the only real difference being the interest rate. Typical savings accounts have such low interest rates that high-yield accounts often offer interest rates 20 times higher, and can bring help your money grow while still being liquid. 

Perfect for emergency funds, down payment savings, and any other savings goal you want to achieve in the next few years, they’re simple to set up, and don’t require much time or cash to start.

See Business Insider’s picks for the best high-yield savings accounts »

2. Opening an investment account 

If you’ve been putting off opening an investment account, you might be surprised to know you can do it on your phone, from verifying your identity to funding your account.

Assuming you want to invest outside of your retirement accounts — like 401(k)s (which are generally set up through an employer) and IRAs — you have a few different options to set up a brokerage account

One of those options (and probably the one you can do the quickest) is to open an automated investment account through an app like Wealthfront or Betterment. These apps use algorithms to manage your portfolio for a fraction of the cost of traditional investment management, and tend to be favored by millennials for their easy user experience.

3. Shopping for car insurance

Shopping for car insurance couldn’t be easier, and comparing prices could save you hundreds of dollars per year. Take an hour to get quotes from several different insurance companies, comparing the coverage types, limits, and the lowest premiums and deductibles. 

Every car insurance company prices their policies differently, and personal factors (like your age, gender and credit score) could sway your price depending on the car insurance company you’re getting a quote from. By getting quotes from a few companies — we’d recommend trying about five, and you can use the widget below to do it — you can be sure you’re getting the best price for you. 

4. Refinancing your student loans

Interest rates have been falling, and while that’s hard on savers, it can be helpful if you’re dealing with debt. It’s a good time to refinance. 

Refinancing a loan means agreeing to let a new lender take over your loan, and pay off your original lender on your behalf. Then, you owe your loan payments to the new lender, usually for more favorable terms, like a lower interest rate that could save you money and help your monthly payments go further. Note that if you have a federal student loan and you refinance with a private lender, you will no longer be eligible for programs like income-based repayment.

Companies like Earnest, SoFi, and Commonbond can offer you preliminary quotes within minutes. It’s always a good idea to get quotes from multiple lenders before committing.

5. Getting life insurance

It makes perfect sense: Getting life insurance sounds daunting. But, honestly, it’s a little bit more intimidating not to have it, because it’s fairly simple to get. 

There are lots of reasons to get life insurance, from starting a family to working in a high-risk environment. Term life insurance, which covers you for a set term like 10 or 20 years, can be as cheap as $20 or less per month, and it gets more expensive as you age — so it’s never cheaper than it is right now.

Whatever your reason, it’s easy to shop for a policy and find one in an hour. These days some insurers, like Haven Life and Bestow, don’t even require medical exams.

6. Getting disability insurance

Similarly to life insurance, finding disability insurance can be fairly quick. It might even be offered through your employer (although there’s a good chance that it’s not enough coverage for your needs). Disability insurance is for anyone who earns an income and relies on that income to support themselves or their household.

Using a comparison site like PolicyGenius can help you easily compare insurers and policies to help you find one that fits your needs, and your budget. 

7. Making a will 

Like getting life insurance, making a will isn’t something that many people want to sit down and do. But, it is something that’s essential — and luckily, it can be simple. 

Using an online will creator like Fabric makes it easy. It doesn’t involve an appointment with an attorney, and can be done at home and finished in a few minutes. Also, it’s free, so there’s really no reason not to.

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