Financial Planning

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How Often Should I Compare Life Insurance Rates?

If you’ve purchased life insurance, whether recently or some time ago, you might be unaware that procuring a life insurance policy is not a finite process. After all, your mortality isn’t a fun topic to consider. And once you’re done with the “hassle” of getting a policy, you’re probably ready to move on. Many who own life insurance policies likely aren’t comparing rates on a regular basis—especially given that almost 40 percent of Americans don’t have life insurance, Still, there are viable reasons to look into changing your policy, finding lower rates sitting atop the list. Staying up to date on rates for life insurance policies is a beneficial habit because insurance companies usually change their rates every year. With these fluctuating rates, you may be overpaying if you fail to regularly compare your rates with those of other insurers. So, staying current on rates could save you a considerable…

Is Life Insurance Really Worth the Time and Cost?

Let’s face it: Life insurance can look pricey on paper. A lot of people shy away from procuring a life insurance policy for this very reason. Is life insurance really worth the time and cost? For those skeptical or curious about investing in life insurance, we may need to do some myth-busting to get to the central question. We’ll break down what life insurance is and whether the cost and commitment make sense. Types of Life Insurance Explained To answer this question, it’s important to understand the two basic types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term life insurance offers a predetermined “death benefit” (a payout to the beneficiary of the life insurance policy). It covers the policyholder for a certain number of years, usually somewhere between five and 30. The annual premiums of this plan are set on a fixed rate. Like health insurance premiums, they are based primarily…

Stay-at-Home Parents Need Life Insurance Too

Stay-at-home parents deserve a great big round of applause. From chauffeur to cook, counselor to bookkeeper, they wear many hats. The 16th annual Mom Salary Survey by Salary.com showed moms could hold 20 titles and work more than 90 hours a week as a stay-at-home spouse. While a stay-at-home parent doesn’t see a paycheck roll in each month, their financial contribution to the family is significant. Salary.com calculated the typical stay-at-home mom in the U.S. would earn a salary of $143,102. A handy calculator makes it easy for anyone to determine their stay-at-home paycheck. While Salary.com’s survey may have focused on moms, the role of stay-at-home parent falls to men and women alike. A growing number of dads are choosing to stay home with the kids, while their wives take on the role of sole breadwinner. So how does an individual’s employment status correlate to their need for life insurance? The…

Debit Card or Credit Card: Which is Right for You?

Paying with plastic is par for the course these days, even for small purchases. The question is, which kind of plastic is best? People tend to have strong opinions about debit versus credit cards. Debit card diehards are the modern-day version of cash-only consumers. They won’t spend what they don’t have and using a debit card eliminates any temptation to overspend. However, there are plenty of people who could pay with debit but opt for credit cards instead. Often, it’s because they are earning cash back or racking up points. We all know at least one frequent-flyer fanatic who takes great vacations using credit card miles. The debit-only approach sounds smart. But those credit card perks sound smart, too – why not get a little payback on money you’ll be spending anyway? It really can be difficult to know which is best. Let’s take a closer look at arguments from…

College and Insurance: Insurance Entrance Exam for Kids on College Campuses

If you have a child living away at college, you’ve probably been through an extensive checklist in getting him or her prepared and moved to campus for the fall semester. Amid the flurry of planning and packing, have you thought about college and insurance? Although still your dependent, your child living away from home may have additional insurance needs to protect their belongings and their well-being. Consider these areas: Auto Insurance Fewer than half of college students have cars on campus, so if your child doesn’t have wheels, let your carrier know. Your student may be eligible for a “distant driver” discount, especially if the college is more than 100 miles from home. The discount may be as high as 20 percent. Keep your child on your auto insurance policy so coverage continues during school breaks and visits home. If your child does have a car on campus, report this…

Take Steps Today to Ensure Your Life Insurance Pays Off

If you have a life insurance policy, you have already taken the first positive step toward protecting your loved ones’ financial futures. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and the ideal time to take the next steps to ensure that you not only have adequate coverage but that your good intentions will be carried out too. Here are key points you need to know about how to manage life insurance policies and about how insurance is paid out: Check Your Records and Update as Needed Maybe you took out the policy many years ago, during which time your beneficiaries have moved or changed names through marriage or divorce. Make sure your beneficiaries are updated with your life insurance company, including their names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Tell Your Beneficiaries About Your Life Insurance Policies The Insurance Information Institute recommends you inform your beneficiaries about the company that issued your…

How to Be a Record-Keeping Rock Star

Keeping track of old tax returns and sorting through receipts may sound about as exciting as organizing your sock drawer. There’s no immediate payoff to most financial record keeping, so it’s easy to put it off until another day. Or another year. Plus, record keeping is a chore that can feel even more confusing and time-consuming now that so much information is stored electronically. Raise the Stakes Imagine a new reality TV show where you can win big cash and prizes if you can produce financial and personal documents.   The prize patrol has knocked at your door without warning. They want to see seven years of tax returns, the receipts documenting deductions on those returns, investment statements for your 401(k) or IRA for the past three years, receipts for the computer and new fridge you bought last year, your last three paystubs and bank statements for the past 12…

7 Bad Money Habits That Can Ruin Your Finances

Habits can make or break our personal finance success. While good habits can help you build savings and live without financial stress, bad money habits can turn into a downward spiral of debt, fees and struggles. Making some small adjustments to your financial habits is easier than you may realize. Break these seven bad money habits to put yourself on track to a happy financial life. Making Only the Minimum Payment When you get a loan statement in the mail, whether it is from a credit card, mortgage or student loan, you can quickly find your minimum payment for the next month. The key word here is “minimum.” Paying only the minimum payment means you pay the maximum possible interest over the life of the loan. Every dollar you pay early saves you on interest every single month for the remainder of the loan’s life. The more you pay sooner…

Family CFO Monthly Money Management To-Do List

Managing your family’s finances is a bigger job than many people realize. A family’s finances work similar to a small business. You have cash flowing in and out, savings and investments, credit cards and debt, bills to pay, and people relying on you for their basics needs. Whether you run your finances like a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop system, follow these steps to ensure you are fulfilling your family Chief Financial Officer duties each month. Review Your Family Income Statement In personal finance, there is a simple saying to help you manage your income and expenses each month: spend less than you earn. At the end of each month, do you know where you stand? Thanks to modern apps, you can get this important information automatically. Connect your bank and other financial accounts to money management apps such as Mint, Personal Capital or Penny and the…

5 Important Money Lessons From Video Games

We get it. Personal finance can be a dry topic but financial savvy is important in achieving financial independence.  So if you are ready for a long nap when the talk of money or personal finance arises, you’ll be thrilled to know that video games have added an element of adventure and action to your personal accounting activities. What types of finance lessons can be learned from games today?  Lessons on how to manage money, business strategy, and other life and personal finance are just a few examples. So, the next time you pick up a video game for your kids, score one for yourself and battle to be crowned the ultimate king of financial savvy. Don’t Blow Your Money All on One Farm One of the first mobile games that almost every American has heard of is Farmville. While the game is not as popular as it once was,…

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