Posts tagged with: Insurance

How Midlife Affects Your Insurance Needs…Are You Covered?

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You’ve no doubt heard of a midlife crisis: the time in life where you realize that you aren’t going to live forever. As a chance to take stock of the plans you had in your youth and square them up with where you stand now, midlife can be a time of great strife for some people who haven’t achieved their goals.

The good news is that by definition “midlife” means that you are only halfway through. That means you have just as much time left to change your situation as you had getting into it. That also means that there is still plenty of time to turn your financial ship around. If finances are an area where you have not lived up to your plans, dreams, and goals, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

One critical way to tackle your midlife financial goals is by doing an insurance audit to make sure that you are not only managing your union bank credit card rates and wealth but also that you are protecting your assets along with growing them. Reviewing your insurance plans to ensure that you are fully protected and safe is a good place to start gaining financial control.

The insurance audit should cover all of those things that you use insurance to protect:

Health Insurance

It is not uncommon to develop chronic conditions in your 50s and 60s, which is why it is so important to choose your healthcare plan well. Make sure that you have the proper out-of-pocket caps and deductibles to fit your overall health needs. Having a small deductible is nice, but you also want to ensure that if things go terribly wrong, you have reasonable out-of-pocket costs.

Your risk for serious health conditions increases as your age does, so taking a good look at the structure of your health plan can help you to cut costs and ensure that you are getting the right coverage for any prescription, rehabilitation, or therapy needs.

Midlife means that you have to take a better overall look at your health needs and anticipate what they might be going forward. It may also be a time when you will have to make decisions about the transition between your health insurance and Medicare. Don’t make the assumption that things will be covered. If you need to purchase supplemental insurance, make sure you know exactly what will and will not be covered before the transition occurs.

Life Insurance

When you have young children, a house, and other dependents, it’s a good idea to have a hefty life insurance policy. But it isn’t inexpensive. As you get older, the price of life insurance will continue to increase unless you have a set policy. If you are paying a lot for health insurance and you aren’t supporting anyone but yourself, it really doesn’t make any sense to overpay. Unless you have someone depending on you, reevaluate your life insurance needs.

Disability Insurance

If something should happen to your income, then having disability insurance is a must. The average policy will cover about 60 percent of the income you are earning. Short-term policies will cover your costs for up to two years post-disability. Long-term policies will typically cover you until you turn 65 and you can start to collect Social Security. You can reduce your premium by shortening your benefit period if you are closer to 65.

Auto Insurance

If it has been a while since you compared rates for your car insurance, it is definitely something to investigate. Most insurance carriers consider older individuals lower-risk and will reduce premiums. Also, things like your credit score can reduce your auto insurance payments. It is worth it to call around and talk to several insurance companies to ensure that you are getting all the discounts you can. Go the extra mile to phone the carriers directly to get the discounts you deserve.

Midlife can be a difficult time emotionally for people, but it doesn’t have to be one, financially. Making sure to initiate sound changes to maximize your insurance coverage by minimizing the costs is the best way to protect your assets while still growing them.


Finance Management in Your Forties: 5 Important Factors

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Many people consider their career high to be somewhere in their forties. Combining the ambition and excitement of their earlier years with the experience that comes with time, your 40s could be a time where you have made the right decisions and are enjoying a certain stability in your life. It could also be the most important time to start some serious planning about your family’s future and to think about slowly easing into retirement.

Here are some tips to manage your finances in one of the most crucial junctures of your life. These can make a significant difference in your life 10-20 years from now. That may not be the most compelling case for a look at your financial profile now, but it is certainly something you will come to appreciate at a later point.

Asset Allocation

Your risk profile should and will change with age, and it’s important that you adjust your investment portfolio accordingly. Make sure it suits both your short-term and long-term goals. Investment in equity may be a great plan for when you retire, but it be would less suitable if you have financial requirements that are coming up sooner – maybe your kids are graduating in a few years and you need to plan for their tuition; maybe you are expanding your family and plan to buy a bigger house. Your plans must fit into your investment portfolio. Make sure they are well-diversified and that there is no allocation overlap.

Invest in Profitable Assets

If you have been fortunate enough to have a stable income in your 40s, you should look into making well-thought-out investments in solid assets, but you have to be careful as to what that “asset” might be. Investing in a second car might sound like a convenient idea, but it wouldn’t count as an asset because the capital cost would be depreciating down the line. Ideally, you should look into income potential for capital growth, short-term capital gains and the risk involved before you decide about investing in an asset.

Maintain an Emergency Fund

By this time in your life, you must have a decent emergency fund. If that is not the case, it is important to start now. You will find that your emergency funds will be tested more and more in your forties. Be it health troubles or your child’s education, health or even wedding expenses, it can hit you from any direction even though you might have insurance Winnipeg coverage to offset some. Make sure you maintain an appropriate-sized emergency fund and keep replenishing it as necessary. Also, it might be a good idea to reinvest it in some other taxable investment account so that it can grow, especially if you feel like you have less use for it. Withdrawing it can come with some penalties, but you’ll have a higher chance of making a sizeable growth over time.

Insurance

Making sure you have appropriate insurance coverage is one of the most important factors to take into account. Your insurance needs at 40 may differ greatly from your 30s, especially in relation to your health. Even if your employee package covers this, it would be prudent to review it now and then. Do you need a long-term care package? Would taking out disability insurance be appropriate? It could be a lifesaver in the event of income loss due to unforeseen emergencies. Have you renewed your term insurance package? Have you reviewed your claim beneficiaries in the event you’ve had some major life changes, like a divorce? If you have large assets, consider an umbrella policy that covers life, health, auto and home insurance all in one with good coverage so you don’t have to manage separate policies.

Retirement

Are you earning more now in your 40s than you were when you last upgraded your retirement account? Perhaps it is time you review your investments in that area now that you are getting closer to retirement. Many people make the mistake of siphoning off excess income into an inflated lifestyle, the net gain of which is zero. Consider boosting your retirement contribution. This could take the shape of adding to your 401K, or if you aren’t satisfied with the matching contribution you are getting, you could roll it into an IRA that you control.

With that said, don’t forget to take out some money to invest in yourself. You have worked your way up to this stage, and you deserve to sit back and enjoy some of your hard-earned money. While retirement planning is an important factor that you have to start considering from now on, don’t forget that you only get to live your 40s once.


Year Of Becoming An Adult: Final Status

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Back in October 2014 I wrote about wanting to use 2015 to really “become adults.” To me, this meant taking care of some much needed issues that were in addition to my 2015 financial goals. I wrote a few posts throughout the year with updates (January update, March update, September update, October update), so this will be my final update of the series.

  1. Wills. Wills were actually drawn up at the beginning of 2015, but it took us awhile to actually get them notarized. This task was completed by mid-year. Final status = Complete
  2. Life Insurance For Hubs. We had intended to start working on this mid-year, but didn’t actually get around to applying until October. In November hubs completed all the bloodwork and in early December he was asked to supply some additional information (all stemming back to his mysterious illness at the end of 2013 where our medical bills are from). He finished everything on his end but we’re still waiting to hear back from the company. When I first applied for health insurance it took about 3 months to all be processed so I’m thinking this is normal (and not something directly related to his mystery illness). If he doesn’t hear back sometime in the next couple weeks we’ll check back with them but I’ve got my fingers crossed everything is in order and our next interaction will be mailing off a check to actually finish the process. Final status = Well underway, but waiting to hear back from insurance company
  3. Open Retirement Accounts. We opened up a Roth IRA in April 2015 and a 401(a) through my work in July 2015. I fund 10% of my pay to the 401, and we’ve saved a little extra here and there for the Roth (but a truly minimal amount…something I’d like to increase in 2016). Final status = Complete
  4. Open College Savings For The Kids. We opened up one 529 for each child in October 2015 and we’ve been funding them with $25/month each ($50/month total). Not a lot, but every little bit helps! Final status = Complete

Overall, not too shabby. I wish we’d started the life insurance stuff a bit earlier in the year so it was all wrapped up and done by now, but at least it’s well underway and if it doesn’t work out it will be because we were denied (not due to our own lack of trying). But hubs’ health has been great and, especially with his weight loss, I’m really hoping everything goes through smoothly and he’s able to be insured. It will certainly give me great peace of mind.

How have you done on your financial (or other) goals in 2015? Do you have any new goals or resolutions set for 2016? I’d love to hear them!

 


Paycheck Blunder

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I was oh-so-excited for my very first 2-week paycheck that was direct deposited into my account on Friday. I was giddy as a child on Christmas morning opening up my bank account information online only to discover…

I got paid nearly the same for my TWO weeks of work as I did on my last check for ONE week of work (in full honesty, this check was about $80 more than last time’s check…but for a full extra WEEK of work!!!)

My jaw dropped when I saw the deposit.

IMMEDIATELY I logged into my school account to view my paycheck and find out what happened.

And, as it turns out, it’s a combination of things.

First, I hadn’t elected my benefits yet in time to have them withdrawn from my last check. The only withholding it contained was the mandatory 401(a) contribution and my taxes. In contrast, this check had OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS of deductions (not even including taxes)!!! Ouch! I elected for a LOT of things to be withheld, including: my mandatory 7% 401(a) contribution plus an additional contribution to bring me up to 10% withheld; all our medical, dental, and vision insurances, taxes, and the BIG one is the FSA for dependent child care to the tune of $500/paycheck. That one will serve me in the long-run because it allows me to pay for childcare with pre-tax money. But it still hurts to have that all added up to be over half my paycheck!!! (also, side note: the max I can contribute to the FSA is $5,000/year. So this level of withholding allows me to use $5,000 pre-tax toward childcare in 2015, then I’ll start over again in 2016. Once I hit the $5,000 max limit these withholdings will disappear and I’ll have to pay remaining childcare costs with after-tax money)

Only…those deductions shouldn’t equate to half my paycheck!

After a more careful inspection of my paycheck I realized I’m getting paid the wrong amount!!!

I’d been hired at ($X) over a 9-month contract. That way I can either take summers off or, if there’s additional work, I can get paid extra to work over the summer (essentially securing a 25% “raise” by working over the summer). When I was hired the business manager said that most faculty members prefer to have their pay spread over a full 12 months so they don’t go without pay over the summer. She could show me how to do that. I said thanks, but never pursued it. In my own mind, I’d rather get my money up front within the 9 months. Hubs still gets paid over summer, we could set up some type of “savings” to set aside some money for summer, or I could just hustle and try to teach over the summer for additional income. But, no, I was not a huge fan of just letting them keep my money and divvy it up over 12 months. I want as much as I can get now, thank you very much.

So when I calculated what was going on it was easy to see. Apparently I’d somehow been opted into the 12-month pay cycle instead of getting paid over 9 months as I’d intended. That essentially makes my income drop 25% (since it’s being spread over an additional 3 months).

Soooo, what would you do?

My knee-jerk reaction is to go to the business office and ask them to correct it. I want to get paid over 9 months, not 12. But are there any great reasons to keep my pay over 12 months? Anything I’m overlooking?

One additional piece of information is that if I opt for 9 months of pay, then I get double-dinged for insurance payments in the Spring semester (in order to cover the unpaid summer months). If I stick with the 12-month cycle then the payments stay the same year-round.

Thoughts?


Get Quotes Easily for the Insurance Plan You Need

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Insurance is something that many Americans often overlook, but one that you’ll never regret having if you need to use it. While you may already have some coverage, it’s possible you are unaware of its inadequacies. You could also be vulnerable because you don’t have certain policies that you need. With the help of an agent, it’s easy to understand policies and get an estimated cost.

It’s important to learn about the various options of coverage to invest in. It’s simple to be knowledgeable about the multiple policies available and get insurance quotes for your new potential plan.

Do You Need Auto Insurance?

Considering your needs means you should think about your coverage regarding your car. A recent study shows that 56 percent of deadly car accidents in the United States were due to aggressive driving. This is a serious problem that affects everyone on the road. Even if you’re a safe driver you could be vulnerable to dire financial consequences if you don’t have your own insurance. A liability plan is great to protect you in the event of an accident.

There are more types of auto insurance available depending on your needs. For example, you can get your car insured as your property in order to protect yourself against theft. According to an FBI investigation, there were 699,594 thefts of motor vehicles in 2013. Furthermore, you can get medical coverage in case of an injury through certain plans. If you need to be safeguarded while driving, consider getting insurance quotes for auto insurance today.

What About Homeowner’s Insurance?

If you own a home it’s a smart idea to get covered. There are multiple risks associated with owning a home, including natural disasters, property damage, and injuries. New statistics provide us with the information that 119 catastrophes resulted in homeowners’ losses of 15.3 million dollars in 2014 in the United States. Depending on where you live, you could be vulnerable to particular disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. Getting insurance quotes for natural disaster coverage is important to keep yourself and your property protected.

Did you know that owning pets could put you at risk? If any of your pets cause an injury to someone in your home, you could face major financial consequences if you don’t have the proper coverage. A recent national survey shows that 68 percent of homeowners have pets. If you’re one of those statistics, you could benefit from homeowners insurance greatly.

Do You Own a Business?

The responsibilities of owning and operating a business include ensuring the safety of yourself, your employees, and your property. There are different options available depending on the size and location for your business. For example, the same coverage isn’t going to apply to a small business and a large corporation. It’s important to work with an agent to get insurance quotes and find the specific plan you need. One of the most common plans for any business is liability coverage. This protects you against possible claims made against you.

It’s Easy

There are so many opportunities to make sure all of your assets are covered. Take the next step as soon as you’re ready. Contact an agent and get the insurance quotes you need to help make your decision.


Some Simple Ways I Reduced My Debt and Everyday Living Expenses

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By Martin Fine

Almost all of us reading BAD have struggled financially at one time or another. Most of us who have found our way here try to spend more frugally, but it wasn’t always that way for me. There was a time when I lived with the attitude that the money doesn’t go with me to the grave. While living like the later may have been more enjoyable in the moment, it’s was stressful day in and day our when I didn’t have money to pay the bills and caused me to take out ill advised loans and to sell things I wish I hadn’t.

Here are some simple ways that I have reduced debt over the years.

Rent: If you are paying rent like I do you can’t be afraid of your landlord. Let the landlord know that times are tough and ask for a rent reduction if you sign a longer term lease. By doing this, the landlord let me save $50.00 a month for signing on for another year. A savings of $600 just for asking. There is a theory that if you ask you have a chance of receiving. If you keep quiet you will never know. Remember you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you are paying your mortgage each month check out the possibility of refinancing and getting a lower rate than certainly explore this possibility.

Water Bill: I found that my water bill fluctuated a lot. The culprits? Well showering too long, leaving the hose on, and not repairing leaks were some of the culprits, Addressing these issues have saved me $100 so far this calendar year (pro rated). While all of these “leaks” were tiny, when I tightened everything the monthly bills started to go down.

Electricity: Always know that in the summer and the winter there are ways to save on electricity. A few things like using less natural gas, pellet stoves, and buying energy savers like LED light bulbs and adjusting your devices. In fact there are over 100 different tips (PDF) from First Energy Corporation that I used such as adjusting my thermostat and saving $65.00 so far this calendar year.

Health Insurance: There’s no price you can put on your life right? Well, that is correct, but you also don’t have to overpay. I called my representative and let them know times are tough and again ask to save. While I only was able to squeeze out $5.00 a month savings when I pleaded my case, it was still an extra $60 in my pocket.

Renters Insurance: I never opt for additional insurance and you shouldn’t either. This is a tough call and I think it depends a lot of what you own, but I opted to cancel mine and go without. Renters insurance isn’t too expensive, but I needed to save every dollar I could. It was a chance. Had something happened, I would have been on the hook, but I thought it was worth teh risk since I didn’t have anything that was too expensive to replace. I took a pass and rolled the dice and it worked out for me.

Entertainment & Meals: When I was at the Naval academy I learned that the best food is free food. While only when others are looking for business advice do I receive those free meals. So when I am on my own I check out deals on Groupon and Restaurant.com which offer all sorts of great specials and deals for when you eat out. If you are not too health conscious shopping at the secondary grocery stores and buying the BOGO (buy one get one deals) always pays off. Once I lived off of Pasta, Rice, and Shrimp. I spent $25.00 and it fed me for a whole month. Yes you read that correctly. Maybe take a month to test it out and see how much you can save on food and take the Pasta, Shrimp, and rice challenge.

Gas & Car Expenses: GasBuddy is a site that you hear all about when Gas Prices are at all-time highs, but what about when they are low? Well that’s where the frugal mindset looking to pay off debt comes in. I make sure to save money by shopping out the cheapest gas year round not just when prices are high.

I had a difficult choice to make when things were tightest. I had a settlement that was paying me a small amount each month that I relied on, and I was tempted to cash it in. That would have been the easiest way to handle the situation. I considered it enough to search the pros and cons of a loan against my lawsuit settlement, but ultimately decided against it. I count on that small amount monthly, and if I cashed it out, I would have had money now, but lost the income each month. It initially seemed a good idea, but taking up more sound financial debt reduction ideas like the ones stated above was a more feasible long term solution for me.

The thing I learned most was that the easy solution isn’t always the best solution. Taking steps to make my overall finances more sound was the best move I could make even though it took a bit more work. Those are savings I will be able to keep without having to give up anything in return which was the best move for me.


Life Insurance Saga Continues…

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It’s no secret that husband and I have been in the process of getting life insurance (see related posts here and here)

My life insurance was all wrapped up and squared away by the middle of last month. Husband’s insurance was also done and we were just waiting for his final contract to arrive in the mail. Or so we thought…

We’d received an email saying that his insurance would be more expensive than the original quote due to his weight (phooey!!! I had received the same email, too). But then when we got a document in the mail from the insurance company, it wasn’t his final contract. Instead, it was a request for more information.

More information, still!

Even though husband had given a thorough medical history and completely covered his mystery medical condition that knocked him out of commission for a couple months at the end of 2013, now they want more information. And by “more information,” I mean that they want his full medical records from this period of time.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

When he went to the Mayo Clinic we had to locate copies of the discs containing his scans and that was insanely difficult. I can’t imagine what it will be like to get a complete record of all this information. While sick, husband went to 3 different Tucson hospitals (and was admitted 2 separate times), had a consultation at the Mayo Clinic, was seen as an outpatient with a neurologist, and had a myriad of blood work tests run at a separate facility. So all of these records are in different places. In addition to just the annoyance of physically going to all these places to retrieve records, let’s talk about the bulk of information that we’ll be requesting. I mean, it will require an actual BOX to send this off to the insurance company. NO WAY it will fit in any type of envelope or padded mailer. It would be easier if we could simply fill out the release form allowing these different entities to mail/email information directly to the insurance company, but the company has requested records from us. Maybe we can work around that and simply say the records will come from the medial entities, but its just going to be a cluster trying to get everything submitted. And then what? Will he even get covered or will they look at everything and reject him after the FOUR MONTHS worth of hoop-jumping we’ve been doing? Why is this all even necessary? They know his final diagnosis (atypical meningitis), so why can’t they just use that to determine cost and coverage rather than requesting every medical record he had from this time? HUGE pain in the arse! HUGE!

So the saga continues with the life insurance. In the meantime, at least I’ve got my coverage in place! I take comfort from the fact that if I had an untimely departure my family would have the funds necessary to survive and even thrive. Of course I would like for my husband to be covered as well, but for some reason I tend to feel like I could take care of myself if he were to have an untimely departure. I know that’s probably naïve and immature, but he’s more likely to try to do everything on his own (and therefore need the financial assistance from life insurance), whereas I’m more likely to simply run back to Austin (I could continue to work my contract jobs), live with family for a bit, and get back on my feet. Though the money would certainly help, we wouldn’t fall apart without it. Unfortunately, when hubs had his mystery illness he really thought he was dying – it was very scary – so I had a bit of time to think about what the future might look like for me and the girls if we were left alone (as weird/morbid/sad as that sounds).

Ick – not a fun topic of conversation! But a necessary one, nonetheless. Anyway, we press on with this life insurance drama.


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