Car Insurance: Keeping Costs Down

car insuranceUnfortunately, most of us know the financial sting of getting car insurance, as large numbers of uninsured drivers push premiums higher than they should ideally be. However, there are still a number of money-saving methods available that should help keep your insurance costs down to a minimum. [Read more…]

Spend Now, Save Later

Spending MoneyThere are lots of reasons that being frugal is awesome. We’ve talked about six of them in this blog post. Among those six reasons is the ability to (hopefully someday) retire. It’s easy, though, to get caught up in the “no spending on anything I don’t need for my literal survival” and forget that there are some things that are important, though maybe not literally necessary for your survival.  Still, sometimes you’ve got to spend now in order to (hopefully) save tomorrow.  Here are a few: [Read more…]

Pet Insurance: A Tale of Two Dogs

Pet Insurance: A Tale of Two Pets

Pablo and Hammie….Best Friends Forever

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about pet insurance in the blogosphere.  The stories generally fall into one of three categories; a) people think that pet insurance is a ridiculous idea, or b) people bought pet insurance and are glad they did, or b) people bought pet insurance hoping that it will be useful at some point during their pet’s lives.  So, what in the world is pet insurance?  Apparently it works just like health insurance works for people.  Depending on the plan you choose, you may have to meet a deductible or pay copays in order for your coverage to start.  However, the general premise of pet insurance is that it can kick in to help foot the bill if your pet needs surgery or becomes sick or injured. [Read more…]

How Much Life Insurance Is Enough?

Many of us have life insurance through our employer or one of the big insurance companies, but how do we know if it’s enough?  The answer is complicated but it’s important to think about income protection before it’s too late.

Since most of us love our families, we want them to be financially set for the rest of their lives should something happen.  Life insurance enables us to provide for our families no matter what happens. [Read more…]

So, You’ve Received a Windfall…Now What?

 

So, You've Recieved a Windfall...Now What?While driving home on my lunch break the other day, I happened to turn on the radio and catch a little bit of The Dave Ramsey Show. One of the callers had just received a windfall of money and needed some advice. The lady had recently suffered the loss of her husband, and he had left her with a million dollar life insurance policy. She was not very confident in her abilities to handle that amount of money, and she certainly did not want to squander it. After hearing her story, Mr. Ramsey gave her some very simple words of advice: don’t do anything. This advice may seem shocking to some, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

 

As most of you know, my day job is in the funeral industry, and this is the exact same advice that I give people on a daily basis. There are many well-meaning people – and some not so well-meaning – out there who are eager to help you spend or invest your new found windfall. However, when going through a period of grief, it is always best to hold off making financial decisions until the initial sting of the loss has worn off. (That goes for most major decisions, not just if you are receiving a large insurance death benefit.) We simply aren’t thinking clearly during these times, and it can lead us into making poor decisions. If a financial decision seems good right now, chances are it will still be a good decision down the line.

 

In fact, I would suggest that anytime somebody receives a windfall – whether that is through insurance, an estate, or the lottery – they should stop and do nothing. Whether you are experiencing grief due to a loss or extreme excitement due to an unexpected win, your emotions will be clouding your judgement. Once you have that money in your hand, it is not going to go anywhere unless you let it leave. A good investment now will usually still be a good investment 6 months from now. There is no reason to rush into anything that you do not understand. Doing so is a great way to see your sudden windfall dwindle to zero.

 

So, what should you do with the money? There are a lot of great options, from savings accounts to high value fixed rate bonds. Here are a few options to help you keep that money in your pocket! [Read more…]

The U.S. Healthcare System and Your Finances

 

The U.S. Healthcare System and Your FinancesA few weeks ago, I brought my 18-month-old daughter in for her “well baby” check-up. Thankfully, my employer allowed me to use my lunch break to take her to the doctor’s office. Since all she needed was a check-up and some shots, I thought that I would be back within an hour.

 

We arrived at the office about 5 minutes before our scheduled appointment time. My daughter and I patiently waited for about 15 minutes until her name was called. We then proceeded to have her weighed and measured. Besides her having a runny nose and a slight cough, nothing was out of the ordinary. We were then escorted to the exam room where we waited for the doctor to come in and finish the exam.

 

And we waited….and waited….and waited.

 

After being locked in the room for about 20 minutes, my daughter was getting anxious. She wanted to run around and play. Besides that, it was getting to be about lunch/nap time. When I wouldn’t let her run out of the room, she began to cry – hysterically – for about 15 minutes. I was finally able to calm her down, but of course the crying exacerbated the symptoms of her cold.  Luckily, I was able to calm her and she nearly fell asleep, until… [Read more…]