life insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6779/all en-US 7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculating_budget.jpg" alt="Couple Calculating Budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The younger you are, the more time you have to bounce back from a financial mistake. As you inch closer to those retirement years, however, and as financial obligations expand, it's increasingly important to safeguard the assets you have &mdash; and to prepare for costly expenses that inevitably crop up as youth glides into middle age.</p> <p>The experts agree: Even 40-somethings who feel confident about their finances are likely to make a few money mistakes. Which are the most common? Here, the financial pros tell all.</p> <h2>1. An expensive home remodel</h2> <p>The average cost to remodel a few rooms is upward of $37,000, according to data compiled by Home Advisor. It could cost even more &mdash; as much as $125,000 &mdash; depending on the size and location of the home.</p> <p>Michael Frick, president of Promenade Advisors LLC, thinks that money could be much better spent by paying down an existing mortgage. &quot;Forty-somethings need to realize that retirement is only 20 to 30 years away in most cases,&quot; he said. &quot;Do they still want to have that large mortgage payment while they are retired on a fixed income? Will they even have enough retirement income to continue making those payments?&quot;</p> <p>Even worse, he added, is that many homeowners finance those pricey home renovations by borrowing from their existing home equity or &mdash; even worse &mdash; by raiding their 401(k) funds. The added monthly payments from a 401(k) loan can crimp the amount of money available to boost retirement savings during critical, high income-earning years.</p> <h2>2. Prioritizing kids' college over retirement savings</h2> <p>Most kids today expect their folks to pony up for the full cost of college, no matter which institution they choose. So says a 2016 <em>Parents, Kids &amp; Money</em> survey released by investment firm T. Rowe Price. Most parents want to comply.</p> <p>Still, midlife is &quot;a period in which you should assess whether you're on track to fund the subsequent stages of your own adulthood,&quot; said Anthony M. Montenegro of Blackmont Advisors. As children age, &quot;it's not uncommon for parents to continue putting kids ahead of themselves &mdash; even at the expense of their own needs.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;One way to look at this trade-off is to ask yourself, 'Am I willing to delay retirement and keep working another five to 10 years to fund my children's college?'&quot; said Alex Whitehouse, president and CEO of Whitehouse Wealth Management. Plus, he added, a student who works to help pay for school will have &quot;skin in the game,&quot; which can create a greater appreciation for the value of the education.</p> <p>If there's an additional need for tuition funds, &quot;money can be borrowed through student loans,&quot; Whitehouse added. &quot;You can't borrow money for retirement.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>3. Skipping the estate plan</h2> <p>&quot;The term 'estate planning' sounds like something old, rich people need to transfer their mansion and paintings,&quot; said Whitehouse. Still, anyone with basic assets they want to share with a loved one (or even with a chosen charity) should have, at minimum, a basic will.</p> <p>No one wants to consider their own eventual demise but, even so, &quot;lack of planning can lead to painful consequences for heirs, including a lengthy probate process, loss of control, and potentially even disinheritance,&quot; added Whitehouse.</p> <p>For a straightforward will, there are inexpensive online DIY options available like <a href="http://store.nolo.com/products/quicken-willmaker-plus-wqp.html" target="_blank">Quicken WillMaker</a> and <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/personal/estate-planning/last-will-and-testament-pricing.html" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>. An attorney can help create a more comprehensive estate plan or set up a trust.</p> <h2>4. Not saving enough</h2> <p>&quot;Lifestyle creep can be a major problem for those in their 40s. As they earn more, many families increase their spending on luxury items or dinner at expensive restaurants, rather than save the extra income,&quot; said Andrew Rafal, founder and president of Bayntree Wealth Advisors.</p> <p>Small spending increases can be detrimental because they tend to happen slowly over time, and tend to mirror pay raises, so it's easy to not take notice.</p> <p>Instead of spending those pay raises, Joshua P. Brein, president of Brein Wealth Management, suggests splitting the difference. &quot;I always say it's a good idea to give your savings a raise if you get a raise yourself,&quot; he said. &quot;If your savings habits don't match your increased income and instead stay small &mdash; even though your income grows &mdash; you could be underfunding retirement and falling behind inflation. When you retire, things will undoubtedly cost more than they do today, so save like it!&quot;</p> <p>Still, Brein still gives income earners carte blanche to spend half their raises. That means you can save more while also increasing your standard of living over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being underinsured</h2> <p>Many 40-somethings have children or other family members who are financially dependent upon them. Even so, &quot;many people in their 40s are underinsured,&quot; said Rafal. That means an unexpected injury, disability, or even death has the potential to torpedo even the most seemingly stable situation.</p> <p>Rafal recommends taking advantage of any group life and disability plans offered by an employer, but also maintaining personal policies that are opened outside of the workplace. &quot;That way you have the peace of mind that your family is properly insured even if you switch employers,&quot; he said. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>6. A skimpy emergency fund</h2> <p>That three to six months' worth of expenses you set aside in your 20s may not be enough to replace your income today, if you were to need it. &quot;Pretty much everything you own today is more valuable than it was 10 or 15 or 20 years ago,&quot; said Charles C. Scott, co-creator of FinancialChoicesMatter.com and founder of Pelleton Capital Management. &quot;Your house is worth more. Your car is worth more. It costs more to take care of your health at this age than years ago, both because you're older, but also because health care costs are a lot higher.&quot;</p> <p>Many midlife workers fail to adjust their emergency safety cushion to account for those increased expenses and earnings. If an unexpected emergency were to arise, and you haven't recalculated in a while, a meager account balance may not stretch as far as expected.</p> <h2>7. Paying too much for investment advice</h2> <p>Lower investment fees and higher performance returns go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's according to the recent research paper<em> Predictive Power of Fees</em>, released by investment researcher Morningstar. Still, many investors, even the most intelligent ones, don't fully understand the investment fees they're paying.</p> <p>&quot;What you don't know could be greatly hurting you,&quot; said Matthew Jackson, president of Solid Wealth Advisors. Fee information is often hidden deep within a mutual fund's prospectus or annual shareholder report. If you don't know what you're looking for, the information can be difficult to find.</p> <p>Then there are the fees you're paying your financial adviser or broker. &quot;Take the time to learn exactly how much you are paying for advice. Often, commissions and fees are obscure and not easily understandable.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that even &quot;the worst money mistakes people make in their 40s can be fixed rather easily,&quot; said Jackson. First, he suggested, get engaged with your money. &quot;Take the time to learn the basics. In the information age, it's never been easier to learn about asset allocation, maximum portfolio drawdowns, and portfolio volatility.&quot; In short, a little knowledge can go a long way. By learning a little, &quot;people in their 40s can avoid a lot of pain in their portfolios,&quot; Jackson added. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 40s college funds emergency funds estate planning inflation life insurance midlife money mistakes retirement saving money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1961115 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea">Here&#039;s Why a Late Retirement May Be a Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498559502.jpg" alt="Man learning his insurance may not cover these losses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that you have enough insurance protection. After all, you have car, homeowners, life, health, and disability insurance coverage. What else could you possibly need?</p> <p>Here's an unsettling truth: Even if you've taken out all the insurance policies necessary to protect yourself and your family, you might still face coverage gaps. Review your policies regularly. And when you do, watch for these potential gaps in your coverage.</p> <h2>1. Life insurance</h2> <p>Many employers offer group life insurance to their workers as an important financial benefit. The American Council of Life Insurers said that at the end of 2015, group life insurance represented 44 percent of all life insurance policies issued in the United States.</p> <p>Employees like this insurance because it is usually inexpensive. But there are some negatives: Most group life insurance policies end if you leave your employer, and the next company at which you work might not offer this coverage. Secondly, the payouts for group life policies tend to be smaller than for an individual life policy that you'd buy for yourself. Usually, the death benefit with a group life policy is one to two times your annual salary. That's a nice bit of cash, but it's certainly not enough to provide for your family long-term should you unexpectedly pass away.</p> <p>That's why you should use a group policy as a supplement, not a replacement, for an individual life insurance policy. Yes, an individual policy will cost more, but you'll also receive a far larger death benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dog bites</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability funds paid out in 2016. That equaled 18,123 claims, with the average cost for each claim coming out to $33,230.</p> <p>The challenge with dog bites is that many insurance providers won't insure homeowners who own certain breeds considered &quot;dangerous.&quot; Insurance companies vary on this, but many won't insure pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, or Doberman pinschers. If you have a dog, check with your insurance company to make sure that it is covered. Paying for a dog bite without the help of your insurer can prove costly.</p> <h2>3. Transportation expenses</h2> <p>Your car insurance policy will cover the damages to your vehicle following an accident as part of its collision coverage. But what if you need to rent a car to get around while your vehicle is in the shop? That can be expensive.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most auto policies don't provide what is known as transportation expenses coverage. And when policies do provide it, the amount they'll give you to rent a car &mdash; often as little as $20 a day &mdash; might not be enough to cover the whole cost.</p> <p>Check your policy to determine if it will cover a rental car. If it does, make sure you know exactly how much you'll be getting. If you're not satisfied, it might be time to pay to boost this coverage.</p> <h2>4. Extra liabilities</h2> <p>What if a neighbor drowns while swimming in your pool? Will your homeowners insurance provide enough coverage if your neighbor's family files a costly lawsuit against you?</p> <p>Probably not &mdash; and that's where an umbrella insurance policy comes in. An umbrella policy provides extra liability coverage above the limits of the coverage provided by your auto or homeowners insurance. Maybe your homeowners insurance policy provides liability coverage of up to $500,000. If someone sues you for $1 million, you then might be on the hook for the extra $500,000.</p> <p>An umbrella policy can protect you from this. It kicks in when a legal action against you supersedes the amount of liability coverage you have. In the example above, your umbrella policy would cover the extra $500,000 that the homeowners policy would not. An umbrella policy can offer you the same kind of extra protection if you cause a serious car accident.</p> <p>Umbrella insurance isn't overly expensive. The Insurance Information Institute says that consumers typically pay between $150 to $300 a year for $1 million worth of umbrella liability protection. This investment might help you avoid a financial catastrophe.</p> <h2>5. Not enough disability coverage</h2> <p>You might think you've taken the steps to protect yourself and your family by taking out a disability policy. If you are injured or become ill and can't work, this policy will kick in to provide you and your family regular payments.</p> <p>Here's the challenge, though: Most group disability insurance plans only pay out 60 percent of the insured's base salary. And employees who rely on bonuses and overtime won't receive any pay out for those extras.</p> <p>Receiving 60 percent of your pay even though you are not working might sound like a good deal. But it can be challenging to live on just a portion of your regular income. Could you afford to cover all your monthly expenses if 40 percent of your income suddenly disappeared, especially if you've got medical deductibles and other costs to cover?</p> <p>If not, consider investing in supplemental disability insurance. You will have to pay for this, of course, but this extra coverage could protect you in case medical problems keep you out of work.</p> <h2>6. Wind or hurricane damage</h2> <p>A 2016 report from Travelers Insurance identified heavy wind storms as the cause of the greatest number of homeowners insurance claims from 2009 through 2015.</p> <p>You better make sure, then, that your homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for wind damage.</p> <p>The Insurance Information Institute says that many insurers, especially those clustered along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, include deductibles for hurricane and wind damage that are separate from those for incidents such as fire or lightning strikes. These can be expensive. Your standard deductible for most forms of home damage might be as low as $500, meaning that you'll have to cover the first $500 of any repairs before your homeowners insurance kicks in. But an extra deductible for wind or hurricane damage may instead be a percentage of the insured value of your home.</p> <p>Say your home's insured value is $300,000 and your insurer's wind or hurricane deductible is 5 percent. This means that you'd have to cover $15,000 in damages out of your own pocket before your insurance coverage would kick in.</p> <p>If you live in a storm-prone area, check your coverage. If the deductible for wind or hurricane damage is too high, it's time to shop for a new policy.</p> <h2>7. Flooding</h2> <p>If a heavy rainstorm causes your basement to flood, a standard homeowners insurance policy won't cover the damages caused by the water.</p> <p>If you want to protect yourself from floods, you'll need to purchase a separate form of protection known as flood insurance. You can usually purchase one of two policies &mdash; one that covers your home for up to $250,000, and a second that covers your personal property for up to $100,000.</p> <p>Flood insurance will <em>only</em> cover water damage resulting from a flood. It won't provide coverage if your water heater bursts and floods your basement or if water backs up from your toilets.</p> <p>Flood insurance doesn't do much to protect your personal belongings if they are stored in a basement, either. This insurance only covers damages to mechanical systems, electrical systems, and structural elements. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>8. Fire</h2> <p>What if a fire destroys your home? Yes, your homeowners insurance policy will help you rebuild. But don't expect it to pay for the full cost.</p> <p>Most insurance policies place caps on the amount of coverage they'll pay out. They also factor in depreciation when determining the value of the possessions that were destroyed in the fire. You might receive a much smaller payout than you expect when it's time to rebuild your home.</p> <p>Call your insurer to make sure that you will receive enough coverage should a fire destroy your home. If that coverage isn't enough, you might have to pay for extra protection.</p> <h2>9. Theft</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Services Office, the average loss in a home burglary is $3,786. Your homeowners policy can help you recover some of the costs from your stolen personal property, but don't assume it'll reimburse you completely. Often, the payout comes up very short.</p> <p>In order to keep premiums down, homeowners policies put caps on some valuable items, such as jewelry, electronics, or artwork. Even cash often has a measly limit of $200. Let's say your homeowners policy puts a $1,000 threshold on jewelry, and your $3,000 diamond ring is stolen, along with several other expensive necklaces. You'd be out thousands of dollars. The payout wouldn't come close to the value of what was stolen.</p> <p>If you have valuable items in your home, you may want to consider purchasing an additional rider (or &quot;floater&quot;) policy that will cover items beyond what homeowners will offer. Some providers offer special riders for unique items, such as jewelry or camera equipment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">Here&#039;s How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance damages disability dog bites fire floods gaps homeowners insurance hurricanes liabilities life insurance policies theft weather Fri, 19 May 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1949204 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Real Life Calamities That Can Drain Your Finances (Plus How to Defend Against Them) http://www.wisebread.com/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515237628.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all work hard for our money, but if we're not careful, it can be ripped right out from under us. From getting scammed on the internet, to medical emergencies, here are eight situations that can make you broke in an instant &mdash; plus a few ways to protect yourself.</p> <h2>1. Getting scammed</h2> <p>Maybe you're smarter than the average scammer, but loads of people are too trusting and naive. In fact, someone claiming to be from eBay scammed my own mom out of a few hundred dollars via email once. She thought the email was legit because at the time she was selling items on the auction site, and she assumed the request for her banking information was not only sanctioned, but part of the company's protocol.</p> <p>&quot;Scammers target seniors because they're considered wealthy, trusting, and typically unwilling to report scams,&quot; says Roger Cowen, owner of Cowen Tax Advisory Group in Hartford, Connecticut. &quot;Common scams include callers pretending to represent Medicare or the IRS to get your personal information, and fake charity workers asking for donations.&quot;</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>The best way to stave off online and phone scammers is to verify that you're dealing with a reputable organization before providing any financial information. Many institutions never send emails requesting such information, and it's a policy you should adopt for yourself &mdash; never provide bank account, Social Security, or credit card numbers over email.</p> <p>If you've received a phone call asking you to verify any financial information, double check the source before handing it over to the person on the line. Jot down their name and tell them you'll call the company back at the verified number you have in your records. Beware of fake websites as well (these links are usually embedded in scam emails) by checking the domain name to make sure it's correctly spelled. Look for <strong>https:// </strong>to precede any domain that has your financial information. The &quot;s&quot; means the site is security-fortified and usually legitimate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tax penalties</h2> <p>Getting a bill for back taxes can be devastating. You'll not only owe whatever taxes you avoided in the past &mdash; which may be substantial if you've filed inaccurate returns for years &mdash; you may owe interest and penalties as well.</p> <p>This can happen not only to filers who outright lie in an effort to buck the system, but also to well-intentioned filers who make errors on their returns.</p> <p>In either case, you'll be required to pay up in a short period of time &mdash; or go to jail. Being broke or behind bars could be your only options.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If your taxes are complicated, hire a reputable accountant, report your income and deductions accurately, accept your tax liability, and pay it. If it's a large sum, you may qualify for a payment plan. Moving forward, ask your accountant for estimated tax vouchers so you can pay ahead of time to lessen the burden when you receive the actual numbers in April. Otherwise, if you know you're looking at a sizable tax bill, save as much as you can so you can settle up with the IRS as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a>)</p> <h2>3. Divorce</h2> <p>Sometimes divorce is amicable, but for many people it isn't &mdash; and that usually means somebody has to pay up. This is primarily the case when one spouse earns more than the other, or if one partner is unemployed.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If you're getting married and one of you has a noticeably higher net worth, get a prenup. Do not walk down that aisle without it. It's not the most romantic piece of paper you'll ever sign, but you'd be a fool not to. Don't let your future spouse guilt you out of the idea, either. Love is grand, but sometimes it'll take you for everything you're worth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)</p> <h2>4. Death</h2> <p>No, not your death. If you're not adequately prepared for the death of a partner, child, or parent, you could end up in a sticky financial situation. There may be medical expenses leading up to the death, and afterward you'll need to cover funeral expenses and settle debts on behalf of the estate.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Life insurance is the best way to protect yourself in the event that your spouse, parent, or child dies. If you're the beneficiary, you'll receive your policy payout, which creditors typically cannot come after, to cover expenses and any debts for which you may also be on the hook, like a mortgage. Use this money to satisfy loans that the deceased may have had, especially if you've co-signed for them. If it's your spouse that has passed away, you may be losing half your household income &mdash; maybe even more than that &mdash; so it's important to use the policy money wisely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Is for Everyone</a>)</p> <h2>5. Market crash</h2> <p>Many people have improved their lot in life by taking financial risks. But if you're an investor at any level, you worry about going bust. Any number of things can happen that will affect your bottom line, depending on how deep your investments go. The stock market can crash, taking your life savings with it. The real estate bubble can burst, leaving you on the hook for houses you can't sell. The worst part is there are often no warning signs. One day you're swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck, and the next day you're looking under couch cushions for loose change.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Don't put all your eggs in one basket, don't overextend your credit, don't take on more expense than you can afford, and, above all, don't get cocky with your money. Devise a plan to weather a financial crisis so you'll be prepared well ahead of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</a>)</p> <h2>6. Natural disaster</h2> <p>While we can sort of predict the weather, we can't predict the outcome. Any number of things can happen to you, your home, or your personal property during a bad storm or natural disaster that may leave you strapped for cash or even facing a total rebuild.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If you live in an area where certain calamities are possible, purchase the proper insurance. Your homeowners insurance may cover certain events, but you may require special policies for others, like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Consider what you're at risk for and put a policy in place. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spending more than you make</h2> <p>Sometimes, your biggest financial enemy is yourself. We like our things in America, and many of us will go to great lengths to get those things &mdash; including spending more money than we have. According to NerdWallet, the average household has $134,643 in debt. Households that carry credit card debt pay about $1,300 a year in interest alone on balances that average $16,748. These statistics represent an 11 percent debt increase over the past decade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Find ways to make more money or live on less (or both). There are many ways you can introduce a second source of income to your household, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space" target="_blank">renting out your extra space</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-money-driving-for-uber-or-lyft" target="_blank">driving for ride-sharing operations</a>, or pet sitting. But if you don't want to work constantly, consider cutting back on your overall expenses. You don't need everything you see, and the faster you recognize that the better off your bank account will be. Plus, you might even be happier as a result.</p> <h2>8. Medical emergency</h2> <p>American health care is in flux right now, which means that you have to be extra vigilant in making sure you're covered. Just one trip to the hospital can set you back financially for years if you're not prepared, perhaps even more if you require long-term care.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Cover yourself. You may have to bite the bullet on the premium, but at least you're insured. You can go to the doctor or hospital when you need to, and your care will (hopefully) be covered to an affordable extent. Not having insurance, on the other hand, may very well be a death sentence &mdash; or at least you'll wish it were when you get the bill in full.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them">8 Financial Wake Up Calls — And How to Deal With Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance audits death disasters divorce emergencies fraud going broke life insurance market crash medical bills overspending scams Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1931272 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-185267899.jpg" alt="Learning the fair way to split up a family&#039;s estate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've seen many family rifts created over an estate. Without clear guidance on your wishes, heirs and relatives may descend into fights over your belongings, sometimes taking grudges to their own graves. Don't let that happen to your family. Here are a few tips on how to smooth out the kinks of your will before you take your last bow.</p> <h2>Determine Beneficiaries in Your Life Insurance Policy Ahead of Time</h2> <p>If you have a life insurance policy, you have the option to name beneficiaries before you die. You can divide the payout evenly among those you'd like to name, or you can assign a particular percentage of the payout to each individual. Either way, you spare your beneficiaries the unpleasant conversation of who gets how much.</p> <p>If there are any hurt feelings after the fact because this person or that person didn't receive the payout they feel they deserve, it's really not your problem anymore. At least you spelled out your wishes legally and ahead of time.</p> <h2>Involve Your Beneficiaries in Inheritance Decisions While You're Alive</h2> <p>If you want to involve your family in the asset-dividing task while you're still alive, there are a couple ways to make this work. Certified financial planner Jody Giles &mdash; author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2kFEX8m" target="_blank">Missing Pieces Plan</a>, a guide to help people plan for their final wishes &mdash; offers two options for family participation in asset assignment to avoid infighting when you pass.</p> <h3>Round Robin</h3> <p>One way to give away heirlooms now, Giles says, is to hold a &quot;round robin&quot; where each beneficiary gets a turn picking an asset or heirloom.</p> <p>&quot;I suggest making a list of all the items you deem sentimental and circulate it to your loved ones,&quot; says Giles. They can then choose from the list, or add items you may not have even thought about. &quot;You might find they really care about a coffee mug that you don't see as valuable, but they do,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Once you have a complete list, you may consider separating sentimental items (coffee mugs, trophies, a wine opener, nostalgic popcorn bowl) from valuable items, like furniture, silver, jewelry, and art.</p> <p>Drawing names is a great way to determine who starts the round robin, or you can easily go by birth order or other creative option for deciding who goes first. Then have each loved one choose an item off the &quot;sentimental&quot; list, then the &quot;valuable&quot; list, and so forth.</p> <p>At the round robin's completion, your loved ones have intentionally and thoughtfully selected your heirlooms. Then, you can decide what you give away now or what you intend to keep until you pass. Most importantly, you have a documented list indicating to whom all your sentimental and valuable items shall pass &mdash; as they deem fair.</p> <h3>Play Money</h3> <p>Another idea, according to Giles, is to give an equal amount of &quot;play money&quot; to each intended beneficiary. If necessary, you can hire an appraiser to value and price all of your assets. Each heir is then given the opportunity to &quot;buy&quot; items from the estate.</p> <p>&quot;If you want to downsize,&quot; Giles says, &quot;you can certainly make the transfer during your lifetime or keep track of the 'purchases' to reduce tension and make the transfers seamless after you're gone.&quot;</p> <p>You can also have the satisfaction of knowing that heirlooms you hold dear will continue to be treasured by the next generation.</p> <h2>Include a Letter of Explanation in Your Will</h2> <p>Unless you have the good fortune of being part of the &quot;perfect&quot; family, your assets may not be divided equally &mdash; perhaps for good reason. It's your right to divide your assets however you wish, but you can bet it may leave a sour taste in the mouth of whomever gets the short end of the stick.</p> <p>To quell the hurt feelings, include a letter of explanation in your will. It can go a long way toward helping your loved ones understand your decisions. Maybe you're giving less money and property to a more successful child so some of the less successful ones can turn their lives around. Whatever the reason &mdash; if you think an explanation is necessary, provide one.</p> <p>&quot;Most people say that they allocate money based on need and not love,&quot; says Illinois-based attorney Evan Randall. &quot;Obviously a disabled child requires more money in the long run in addition to possibly not being able to work. It gets harder when the needs are on the same level.&quot;</p> <h2>Assign Assets and Let Loved Ones Swap Rights to Them</h2> <p>Nobody wants to contest a will, but siblings and other close family members often end up doing that if your will isn't watertight.</p> <p>Estate-planning attorney Ashley L. Case with Tiffany &amp; Bosco in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a method to eliminate broken hearts and temper tantrums ahead of your death. It involves creating groups of items that you think are equal in monetary or sentimental value.</p> <p>&quot;Each heir could be assigned a group of items at random, which would represent the inheritance of the heir,&quot; explains Case. &quot;In the event that the heir was interested in an item belonging to another heir, the two can negotiate separately.&quot;</p> <p>This allows you to distribute your assets equally while lowering the chances your heirs will have to resort to litigation upon your death. Because, really, who wants to go to court to duke it out over a dead person's stuff?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them">8 Real Life Calamities That Can Drain Your Finances (Plus How to Defend Against Them)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family beneficiaries death estate planning heirs inheritance last will and testament legal life insurance valuables Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 1907104 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn't Make Sense http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-486437284.jpg" alt="Learning when bundled insurance doesn&#039;t make sense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance companies offer a host of ways to reduce the premiums you pay for auto, life, home, and health insurance. If you have a clean driving record, you might qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates. If you install a security system to protect your single-family home, you might have to pay less for your homeowners insurance. And if you don't smoke, you'll certainly pay a lot less for life insurance.</p> <p>One of the most popular ways to qualify for a discount is to bundle different insurance policies together &mdash; say, your homeowners and auto policies &mdash; from the same insurer. Insurers will give you a discount as a reward for buying more than one policy from them.</p> <p>Bundling is popular. A 2016 story by InsuranceQuotes.com cited a U.S. National Auto Insurance study by J.D. Power and Associates saying that 58% of policyholders bundle their homeowners and auto insurance policies. InsuranceQuotes.com also reported that bundling insurance can save policyholders about 10% off their annual rates, if they land the best bundling deals available.</p> <p>But, there is a catch here, and sometimes taking out life, auto, and homeowners policies with different companies makes the most sense. Even though bundling might sound like the obvious choice for consumers hoping to save money on insurance coverage, there are a few times when bundling actually doesn't result in the biggest financial savings.</p> <h2>You Didn't Shop Around</h2> <p>The best way to nab the lowest rates on insurance is to take the time to shop around with different companies. This is far easier today, with insurers providing online quotes to potential customers.</p> <p>It can be tempting to skip the shopping phase if, for example, your auto insurer offers to provide a bundling discount for your homeowners insurance, too. But resist the temptation to take your insurer's offer until you've shopped around. You might find another insurer that will provide you a policy with a premium low enough to outweigh your first insurer's bundling discount. Armed with a lower quote from a competing insurer, you might even be able to convince your current insurance company to provide you an even bigger discount.</p> <h2>You Have a History of Health Problems</h2> <p>You'll pay far less for life insurance coverage if you have a history of good health. If your past is dotted with serious health issues, you can unfortunately expect your life insurance premiums to be higher. This spotty health history might also make it less financially sound to bundle your life insurance coverage with auto or homeowners insurance. Again, it's especially important to shop around with life insurance providers, especially when you have a complicated health history &mdash; including if you smoke or have a chronic condition.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that you may not want something as important as your life insurance coverage bundled through a company that specializes in say, auto insurance. In that case, it may be worth having it be its own separate policy.</p> <h2>Your Driving Record Isn't Exactly Flawless</h2> <p>Claim an accident on your auto insurance, and you can expect your premiums to soar. Again, it makes sense to shop around with different insurers to find the lowest rates when you are stuck with a spotty driving record.</p> <p>If you instead simply bundle your auto policy with the company that provides your homeowners insurance, you might miss out on lower premiums that will outweigh the bundling discount. Do your homework &mdash; even if it takes time &mdash; to discover if there are other insurers out there willing to give you a bigger break for your past driving mistakes.</p> <h2>You Need Specialized Homeowners Coverage</h2> <p>What if you need your homeowners insurance policy to cover an expensive jewelry collection? What if you need to insure solar panels on your home's roof? This coverage can be complicated, and cost more. Again, when you have such specific needs, if often makes more sense to talk to different insurers than blindly accept your provider's bundling offer.</p> <p>The main point here is that often, bundling will save you the most money. But there are exceptions, and you won't know the savings you might enjoy if you don't first shop around with other providers &mdash; even if your current insurer is promising a bundling discount.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">Here&#039;s How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance bundling discounts homeowners insurance life insurance policies rates savings Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:30:18 +0000 Dan Rafter 1905172 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One's Long-Term Care http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-179165125.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As we get older, so do our parents and other loved ones. In some cases, that may mean they'll require long-term care, especially if they fall ill. When this happens, families are faced with a tough decision: hand over the reins to a nursing facility, or manage their care from the comfort of their homes. There's no shame in either decision. But there are several important things to consider when planning for long-term care.</p> <h2>Weigh Your Options Well Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Perhaps the most vital part of planning for long-term care is that you're well prepared. Making hasty decisions on how to provide your loved one with the care they'll need when they're no longer able to care for themselves will not only be stressful for you, but also for them. You'll want to make sure your loved one is provided with the quality of life they deserve. Certainly, ailments can befall your loved one unexpectedly that will require quick decision making, but if you can help it at all, it's best to investigate your options before you're faced with a crisis. That way, you can enter the situation with a clear head, prepared to make the right choices.</p> <h2>Discuss Insurance Options With Your Loved One<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Talking about long-term care with your loved one, especially a parent, is not an easy conversation. But as difficult as it may be, it's necessary. There are financial implications to consider, which will be somewhat lessened (hopefully) with insurance.</p> <p>Jeff Salter is the CEO and founder of Caring Senior Service, a national in-home care service, and he suggests planning a discussion about insurance options, including what your loved one may already have, and what you both may need moving forward.</p> <p>Long-term care insurance can still be expensive in and of itself, and costs only increase with age. Many advise that people purchase a plan in their 50s before any major medical issues arise &mdash; and even then, it's not cheap. For example, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates an insurance policy offering $164,000 in immediate coverage would cost a healthy, 55-year-old male approximately $1,060 a year. A healthy female of the same age could expect to pay approximately $1,390 a year for the same coverage. The sooner you can lock into one of these policies, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>Find Alternative Ways to Pay Without Insurance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In the worst-case scenario, you don't have the option of long-term care insurance. This can be a daunting prospect, but it's not the end of the world. Salter suggests two solutions that will provide monthly income that can go toward the cost of care.</p> <p>The first is cash value for life insurance, which is essentially the cash amount offered to the policy owner by the issuing life carrier upon cancellation of the contract.</p> <p>The second is taking out a reverse mortgage on the elderly family member's house.</p> <p>&quot;With [the second] option, seniors can remain at home while receiving monthly income that goes toward all of the healthcare-related expenses,&quot; he says. &quot;There are no ongoing costs, and seniors cannot be forced to leave their homes should they outlive the payments from the loan.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>4. Consider the Cost of Home Modification<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When your loved one falls ill, it may limit their ability to function as they once did. This could mean that they're confined to a single floor in the home. Third-party care facilities take these safety measures into account for limited-mobility patients, but if you're providing long-term care in your own residence, you may need to outfit the home so it's more elderly-friendly.</p> <p>&quot;If the decision is to have the long-term care in the current residence, the family might need to plan for modifications to the home for either specialized medical equipment or for access issues around bathrooms, kitchens, and getting in and out of the house,&quot; explains John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, which specializes in digital home management. &quot;These could be things like ramps for wheelchairs, bathtubs with access doors, nonslip flooring, and other modifications, depending on the occupant's specific needs.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Factor in Home Maintenance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If the care of your loved one takes place in their own residence &mdash; whether by you, another loved one, or hired help &mdash; it's keen to remember that someone will be tasked with maintaining the property for hygiene, safety, and resale value reasons.</p> <p>&quot;Things like cleaning leaves from gutters, replacing smoke detector batteries, and changing air filters are simple tasks, but usually require ladders. It's not suitable for people with long-term medical issues to handle these tasks,&quot; Bodrozic says.</p> <p>You may be able to handle these tasks on your own, but if these are projects that you plan to farm out to hired help, you'll need to include the costs in your monthly care budget.</p> <h2>6. Let a Professional Help You<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If you don't know what you're doing with regards to long-term care, don't freak out &mdash; you're not alone. Most people who are faced with this situation are first-timers are who overwhelmed with not only accepting the fate of a loved one, but trying to accommodate them as best as possible so they can live out their days in comfort.</p> <p>Daniel Sagal is a senior living adviser at Los Angeles-based Total Senior, which focuses on health care planning and services for seniors. If you don't think you're equipped to make the best decision, or you're having trouble coming to grips with it all, he suggests consulting someone who can help you through it, like a senior care adviser or care manager. Some services are free while others require fees, he says, but both will typically help families navigate the options for senior care.</p> <h2>7. Beware of Scams<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Like a lot of industries, there are people out there gunning to take advantage of you, and it's not terribly hard to become a victim of a scam when your emotions are already on the fritz.</p> <p>Sagal explains.</p> <p>&quot;...Before providing your information or allowing someone to guide you to senior care options, be sure to do your research. Look at their online reviews, make sure they have a credible website with real information/content, ask for references, and check around with health care professionals.&quot;</p> <p>Doing your due diligence now can ensure a more comfortable situation for everyone later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-dad-was-right-about-money">5 Times Dad Was Right About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-support-your-broke-parents">How to Support Your Broke Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advisers caregivers elderly health care home care life insurance long-term care nursing homes parents relatives seniors Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1889845 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516008468.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've done it &mdash; you've finally landed a job that offers amazing benefits such as free life insurance. While employer-offered life insurance (also called group life insurance) is worthwhile, it shouldn't be your only source of insurance.</p> <h2>How Do I Get Group Life Insurance?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer a free level of life insurance for employees. Depending on your place of work, this can cover anywhere from $25,000 to your base pay. Since this is a free option, all employees should sign up for the benefit. It's free money if something were to happen to you. However, don't let that be your only coverage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>Is Group Life Insurance Enough?</h2> <p>If you are single, a $25K &mdash;$50K check sounds like a nice chunk of change for your parents or other loved ones you leave behind. However, in most cases &mdash; yes, even for single people &mdash; it's simply not enough. Final expenses can be greater than you think. Funerals can range in price, but a recent survey by the National Funeral Directors Association found a median price of $7K.</p> <p>Furthermore, if your private student loans, mortgage, or car loans have a co-signer, then that co-signer will be stuck with your debt after you die. To avoid this, you can either remove co-signers from loans through refinancing, or purchase term life insurance that will cover the cost of your remaining debt.</p> <p>For healthy, young individuals that do not need much coverage, term life insurance rates are very affordable, with some policies costing less than $20 a month. But for individuals who are married and/or have children, you'll likely need more coverage, To calculate how much coverage you need, add up the following:</p> <ul> <li>Funeral cost;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cost of paying off any debt not forgiven upon death;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Time you want your loved ones to have income and not worry about work &mdash; for example, even if your spouse works full-time in a successful career, they might need several months to grieve your loss;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Future college costs or other child-rearing expenses.</li> </ul> <p>For many families, the total will be around seven to 10 times your annual paycheck.</p> <h2>Can I Get Supplemental Life Insurance Through an Employer?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer supplemental life insurance for purchase. Since you are purchasing the policy through your employer, it could be slightly cheaper than purchasing individual life insurance. However, your company technically owns the policy. Therefore, if you quit or are fired, your group life is gone, too. Some employers will give you the option to continue carrying the policy after you leave, but it will be at a higher price.</p> <h2>Individual Life Insurance Versus Group Life Insurance</h2> <p>While signing up for free group life insurance is a must, it is much better to sign up for supplemental term life insurance individually. The policy will stay with you even if you move jobs. Furthermore, you can lock in a low premium now when you are still young and healthy.</p> <p>Say you were to secure a low-cost policy with your employer's group life insurance at the young age of 25. Your rates should be quite low. Now fast forward eight years. You want to quit your job and have your own term life insurance policy. You will still get a great rate because you are under 40, but your monthly premium will be more at 33 than it was at 25.</p> <p>To sum it all up, cash in on your employer's free group life insurance perk, but also secure term life insurance when you are still young. This will allow you to lock in the best rate possible.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-insurance">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Drop Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">Here&#039;s How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries benefits coverage dependents employers life insurance premiums Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1877983 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn't Telling You About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_financial_planner_485026010.jpg" alt="Couple learning what their financial planner isn&#039;t telling them about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finances can get complicated fast, which is why many people seek the assistance of a financial adviser. Especially when considering your retirement, it can give you extra confidence to know that a professional is helping ensure you make the best decisions for your future.</p> <p>It may therefore come as a surprise to know that historically, financial advisers haven't been required to put your best interests first. But in April 2016, the Labor Department finalized a new rule that requires financial advisers who deal with retirement accounts to respect what's known as the fiduciary standard, meaning they <em>have</em> to put the client's interests first.</p> <p>Before, financial advisers just had to follow the suitability standard, which meant they were only required by law to provide clients a &quot;suitable&quot; plan, which might satisfy your basic requirements but isn't necessarily the best plan for you.</p> <p>When they're doing their job well, a financial adviser can help you invest your money wisely and plan for retirement. But it's always important to do your own research and stay informed. When it comes to retirement, here are some things your financial planner may not have brought to the table.</p> <h2>1. Fees May Grow With Your Assets</h2> <p>Financial advisers often charge based on a percentage of the assets they are managing for you. Unfortunately, the fees compound over time, just as your returns do. By the time you're ready to retire, that could mean you're paying thousands of dollars a year in fees.</p> <p>As your nest egg grows, keep an eye on your fees and renegotiate your rates, so you don't end up paying too much for their services.</p> <h2>2. Retiring Abroad Can Halve Living Costs</h2> <p>If you're feeling tight on funds for retirement and you're not sure how to make your money go further, there's an important alternative that you should be considering. Retiring abroad can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=internal">cut your retirement costs in half</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p>However, many U.S.-based financial advisers are entirely focused on domestic retirement and that's what they'll help you plan for. Plus, it may be in their interest to keep you close so you don't decide to move your funds elsewhere.</p> <p>If retiring abroad is something you want to truly consider, seek an expert who brings that specialty expertise to the table. You should also do your own research, including finding online forums for expatriates to answer your questions about retiring abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Travel and Retirement Go Hand in Hand</h2> <p>If you've written off the idea of traveling as being too expensive, and these views are being reaffirmed by a conservative financial planner, it's time to re-evaluate. Retirement affords you great flexibility and the price of travel may be within closer reach than you realize.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a></p> <p>Costs in many countries are often much lower than at home, and if you plan carefully &mdash; especially if you're able to start socking away money early in your career &mdash; your monthly budget may be able to absorb the extra expense of plane tickets, accommodations abroad, food, and entertainment. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Rewards credit cards</a> can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips" target="_blank">earn free travel</a>, too.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></p> <h2>4. An HSA Could Lower Your Health Care Costs</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you may be eligible for a Health Savings Account. As with an IRA, HSA contributions are tax-free and they grow tax-free. You can leave money in the account for years and if you withdraw the funds to pay for qualified health care costs, you will still not pay taxes on the money. If you have a balance at age 65 and want to use it for nonmedical expenses, you can, but the withdrawals will be taxable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>.)</p> <p>Keep in mind that only people enrolled in qualifying high-deductible health care plans are eligible. But if you're one of them, an HSA could be an important part in reducing your health expenses during retirement.</p> <h2>5. You May Be Able to Ditch Your Life Insurance</h2> <p>Having a life insurance policy is useful if someone else will be financially hurt when you die. However, depending on your particular situation, you may no longer have dependents after you retire. Or you may have investments and pensions that pay 100% to the surviving spouse. In that case, your spouse won't suffer financially from your death and you probably don't need life insurance.</p> <p>There are a lot of variables to consider when planning for retirement, and a financial planner can clarify your options. But while a financial planner can be a helpful resource, they aren't the ultimate authority on what's best for you. Stay informed and choose what's best for you and your family.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expats fees fiduciary financial advisers financial planners health care life insurance living abroad retiring overseas travel Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 1870053 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Your Assets Costing You Too Much? http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-assets-costing-you-too-much <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-your-assets-costing-you-too-much" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_daydreaming_money_481974106.jpg" alt="Woman learning if her assets are costing her too much" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more assets, the merrier is generally a good philosophy. But there are times when assets can actually be a drain on your financial wellbeing. Some assets cost a lot to possess and don't bring you much in return.</p> <p>Consider whether these common assets are worth their weight.</p> <h2>Your Home</h2> <p>A home can be one of your biggest assets. It can also be one of your biggest financial enemies. Ideally, you are making payments on your home, building equity, and increasing your net worth as you go. But often, homeowners find that their monthly mortgage payments are hindering their ability to make ends meet. To make matters worse, home upkeep and repairs, electricity, and other utilities may be costing you more than you bargained for. Homeownership is a great goal, but don't buy a home if it will make your life more challenging financially.</p> <h2>Your Cash</h2> <p>It may seem crazy to say that good old cash can work against you. But if you have a lot of it and there's inflation, over time it will lose value. It's great to have a healthy dose of cash on hand, but at a certain point it becomes smarter to invest your money in something with a higher rate of return. If you have large quantities of cash in bank accounts that provide a low interest rate, chances are you are making a financial mistake.</p> <h2>Your Car</h2> <p>You can count an automobile toward your net worth, but you can virtually guarantee it's going to decline in value over time. Add in the cost of maintenance, gas, and insurance, and it's likely that a car is a true drain on your finances. But you need a car to get around, so it's best to look at the true cost of ownership before buying. This means taking into account fuel mileage, reliability history, and the cost of parts and labor.</p> <h2>Your Collectible Items</h2> <p>You've got a Van Gogh hanging in your living room. There's a Mickey Mantle rookie card in your man cave. Your jewelry collection would make Elizabeth Taylor envious. All of these valuable items are nice to possess, until you take into account the expense of owning them. From storage to insurance to the cost of restoration, high-end collectibles can be a financial headache. For example, according to a Wall Street Journal report, managing an art collection could cost you between 1% and 5% of the value of the pieces annually. You may cash in big time if you ever sell these items, but the cost of ownership is high and may not be worth it.</p> <h2>Your Investments</h2> <p>It might seem backward to think of your investments as a drain on your finances, but it can happen if you're not investing in the right way. Are you investing in things that will grow in value over time, or in low-risk things that may be outpaced by inflation? Do you own a property that's costing money to maintain but not bringing in revenue? Are you paying a hefty amount in fees and commissions? Are you paying a high-priced broker or accountant to manage things even though you can probably do it on your own?</p> <h2>Your Life Insurance Policies</h2> <p>Many people don't think of life insurance as an asset, but it can be under certain circumstances. Of course, it's only a good asset for you if you believe the eventual benefit will outweigh the cost. Many life insurance policies are simply not very good &mdash; costly premiums, and low payouts.</p> <h2>Your Intangible Assets</h2> <p>Sometimes you have assets that don't really bring you any monetary gain, but may cost you money to obtain or possess. One example of this is a copyright or patent. These are things that may require upfront costs in the form of research and legal assistance, but the financial gain is uncertain. A patent has no real value until you sell it or develop a product based on it. When you acquire these types of assets, it's important to come up with some plan for monetization. Otherwise, they are simply a vehicle for sunk costs.</p> <h2>Your Inventory</h2> <p>If you run a business, any product you've manufactured but have yet to sell is considered an asset. But if you have too much inventory, that could be problematic. Inventory costs money to store. Some items might become obsolete or spoil, and result in no revenue. On the flip side, too little inventory can result in a lost sale. Smart business owners become skilled in inventory management, in which they can properly forecast sales to ensure the proper amount of product on hand.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-assets-costing-you-too-much">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">Does Your Net Worth Even Matter?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50">Big Purchases You Should Make by 30, 40, and 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment">How to Fix Your Finances After Missing a Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-net-worth">What Is Your Net Worth?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets Cars cash collections costs expense fees housing life insurance net worth Fri, 06 Jan 2017 11:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1864688 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_new_years_498059820.jpg" alt="Friends making personal finance resolutions they can master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working on your New Year's resolutions? Unfortunately, an incredible <a href="https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-new-years-resolutions-why-88-fail-and-how-to-make-them-work">88% of New Year's resolutions fail</a>. The big problem is that most people's resolutions aren't specific enough, or they're too ambitious.</p> <p>Ready to get 2017 off to a good money start? Try out these eight financial resolutions. They're simple enough so that anyone can accomplish them in the new year.</p> <h2>1. Build a Household Budget</h2> <p>We know it doesn't sound like fun, but crafting a household budget is the best financial move that you can make in 2017. Why? A budget tells you how much money you should be spending each month on everything from groceries to eating out to streaming movies on Amazon. Without a budget, your odds of overspending will soar. Fortunately, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps">making a budget</a> isn't nearly as challenging as you might think.</p> <h2>2. Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Your credit card debt might look overwhelming, but paying down this expensive debt in 2017 is actually a fairly easy task &mdash; if you commit. There are several different ways you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">attack your credit card debt</a>, from paying off the cards with the lowest balance first to prioritizing those with the highest interest rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Way to Pay Down $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Build an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>What happens if your home furnace conks out? What if your car's transmission dies? Can you cover these unexpected expenses with cash? Or would you have to charge the repairs? If you have an emergency fund, you'll always have cash on hand to cover life's unexpected disasters. Financial experts say you should have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. That might sound like a difficult goal, but you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">build this fund</a> as slowly as you'd like.</p> <h2>4. Cut Out One Unnecessary Expense</h2> <p>Vowing to cut your spending isn't the easiest New Year's resolution to keep; it's simply too vague. Instead, vow to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unnecessary-household-expenses-you-can-cut-today">cut one unnecessary expense</a> from your routine. For instance, you might vow to stop buying coffee on the way to work, and instead brew your own java at home.</p> <h2>5. Boost Your Life Insurance Coverage</h2> <p>If you were to unexpectedly die, would you have enough of a life insurance payout to provide financial protection for your loved ones? If not, it might be time to boost your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">life insurance coverage</a>. Fortunately, this is an especially easy New Year's resolution to keep: Just call an insurance agent.</p> <h2>6. Protect Your Things</h2> <p>Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you need to make sure that you have enough insurance to replace the items in your home, should they be stolen or destroyed. Resolve in 2017 to meet with an insurance agent to discuss either homeowners' or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">renters' insurance</a>.</p> <h2>7. Pay Your Bills on Time Every Month</h2> <p>Want a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">sky-high credit score</a>? Then pay your bills on time every month. Doing this will slowly, but steadily, cause your FICO credit score to rise. And a higher credit score will mean lower interest rates when you're borrowing money later.</p> <h2>8. Find a Better Savings Account</h2> <p>You might think savings accounts are a fairly boring place to stash your dollars. The truth, though, is that some savings accounts are better than others, and some provide far better interest. Make a resolution this year to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-savings-accounts-which-is-right-for-you">find a savings account</a> that will help you build your savings at a faster clip.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency funds goals life insurance money resolutions new year's resolutions saving money savings accounts Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1863676 at http://www.wisebread.com Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_father_hugging_88776971.jpg" alt="Family choosing between whole and term life insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need life insurance. It's a way to provide financial protection for your spouse, children, or other dependents should you unexpectedly die. But knowing that life insurance is a smart move and knowing which type of policy to take out are two different things.</p> <p>Studying up on life insurance isn't fun. Fortunately, most consumers choose between just two different types of life insurance policies &mdash; term and permanent. And if they choose permanent life insurance, they usually opt for what is known as whole life insurance.</p> <p>What's the difference between the two? And which type of insurance is best for you? Here's a crash course in the difference between term and whole life insurance.</p> <h2>Term Life Insurance &mdash; The Cheaper Choice</h2> <p>For most people, term life insurance is the smart financial choice. That's because this insurance provides solid financial protection for loved ones, while also costing far less than a whole life insurance policy.</p> <p>As the name suggests, term life insurance remains in effect for a certain period &mdash; or term &mdash; of time. You can choose the term, usually anywhere from one to 30 years. The Insurance Information Institute says that most people choose a 20-year term.</p> <p>When taking out a term life policy, you'll provide a list of beneficiaries, such as your children or spouse. Your term life insurance will pay out your death benefit to your listed beneficiaries if you die &mdash; and your death meets the requirements spelled out in your policy during this term (suicide cancels a payout, for example). After the term ends, the policy ends, too, unless you pay to extend it. Your annual premium will usually remain the same during the term.</p> <p>If you take out a term life insurance policy, you'll have to decide how long you want your policy to remain active. Most people choose a term that will last until their dependents no longer need their financial assistance. They might take out a term policy that lasts until their children will have left their home and started their own careers, for instance. Others might choose a policy that ends only after they know they will have paid off their home and built up a significant amount of savings.</p> <p>How much you pay for term life insurance depends on many factors, including your age, health, the amount of coverage you want, and the length of your policy. TrustedChoice.com, a website that helps consumers find independent insurance agents, says that a healthy 35-year-old male nonsmoker who takes out a 20-year term life insurance policy with a value of $500,000 will pay an average of about $35 a month for a policy. A 35-year-old healthy female nonsmoker would pay about $61 a month for $1 million worth of life insurance with a 20-year term.</p> <p>That comes out to $420 a year for the male and $732 for the female taking out the more valuable policy.</p> <h2>Whole Life Insurance</h2> <p>Whole life insurance is a more complicated product. That's because it is really two different financial products in one. It provides life insurance benefits like a term life policy, but also comes with an investment component known as a cash value.</p> <p>Part of every payment you make goes toward growing this cash value on a tax-deferred basis, meaning that you won't pay taxes on any of these cash gains while they are growing. You can borrow against your life insurance account or surrender it at any time to take the cash that has grown in it.</p> <p>You will, though, have to repay any loans you make against your whole life policy, with interest.</p> <p>Whole life also lasts, as its name suggests, for your entire life. No matter when you die, a whole life policy will pay out its death benefits to your listed beneficiaries, as long as the cause of your death is covered under the policy. Your premiums will remain the same until you either cancel the policy or you die.</p> <p>Because it comes with an investment component and lasts for your entire life, whole life insurance is considerably more expensive. TrustedChoice.com says that a healthy 35-year-old male who does not smoke would pay an average of $98.50 a month or $1,119 a year for a whole life insurance policy with death benefits valued at $250,000. A 35-year-old healthy female who doesn't smoke would pay an average of $82 a month or $960 a year for the same policy.</p> <h2>Which Is Right for You?</h2> <p>Which type of insurance is right for you? If you simply want to provide protection for your loved ones until they are financially independent, a term life insurance policy is usually the better choice thanks to their lower costs.</p> <p>If you want a life insurance policy that also generates cash value, then you might consider the whole life version. Whole life might make sense, too, if you need to provide financial protection for a loved one who will be dependent on you for your entire life, such as a child with special needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries cash value dependents family life insurance payouts term whole life Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1825853 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_credit_cards_82594511.jpg" alt="Woman paying off high interest credit card debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card debt is one of the most costly forms of debt, with interest rates between 20% and 30% in some cases. (Cardholders who have missed a payment might even incur higher penalty rates.) In contrast, secured loans such as car loans and home mortgages can have far lower rates. And unlike a home mortgage or student loans, interest on credit card debt is never tax deductible.</p> <p>So as with any costly loan, your first priority should be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">paying it off as soon as possible</a>. And even if you have to take out another loan to do so, you can save money when you are able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">transfer your debt</a> to a new account that has a lower interest rate than your existing credit card balances.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">The Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K</a></p> <p>Here are five ways that you can pay off your high interest credit card debt.</p> <h2>1. Credit Card Balance Transfer</h2> <p>If you have a balance on a high interest credit card, you can save money by transferring it to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">card with a lower interest rate</a>. Better yet, some cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers</a> for a limited time, from six to as long as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-your-credit-card-debt-with-citi-simplicity-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">21 months</a>. Most cards will impose a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. However, there are cards available that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">balance transfers with no fee</a>. These balance transfer offers are your best way to eliminate interest charges while you pay down your debt.</p> <h2>2. Personal Loan</h2> <p>Many banks and credit unions are willing to offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans?ref=internal">personal loans</a> to applicants with good or excellent credit. So long as the interest rate offered is lower than your credit card balance, you can use these loans to pay off your credit cards and reduce your interest costs. However, the best rates will only be available to those who have excellent credit. If you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-bad-credit?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">poor credit</a> and a lot of debt, you may not be approved for a loan with a lower interest rate than the one you currently have.</p> <h2>3. 401K Loan</h2> <p>It's possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=internal">loan yourself money from your 401K</a> so that you can pay off your high interest credit card balances. When you withdraw money from your 401K account, you can pay yourself back over as long as five years using very competitive interest rates that will be lower than nearly all credit cards. And since you are essentially acting as your own lender, there is no need to have excellent credit. On the other hand, you will be missing out on the compound interest your investments would have earned, and you will face tax penalties if you fail to pay the back the loan on time.</p> <h2>4. Life Insurance Loan</h2> <p>There are some types of whole, universal, or variable universal life insurance policies that allow you to take out a loan against them. Any money you withdraw is then deducted from your death benefit. And while interest rates can be below that of high interest credit cards, any unpaid interest will be added to your loan amount and subject to compounding. Just like a 401K loan, you are borrowing from your own funds, so your current credit rating will be irrelevant.</p> <h2>5. Home Equity Line of Credit</h2> <p>If you have equity in your home, you may be able to borrow money against it for any purpose, including paying off your high interest credit cards. Current interest rates for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-equity-loan-or-heloc-which-is-right-for-you?ref=internal">home equity lines of credit</a> are below 5%, which is far better than any standard credit card's interest rate. Your ability to secure a home equity line of credit will depend on your home's debt to credit ratio as well as your current credit history.</p> <p><em>Have you ever borrowed at a lower rate to pay off high interest debt? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k">3 Sources of Fast Cash Besides Your 401K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance">5 Strategies To Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards 401k balance transfer debt HELOC high interest home equity line of credit interest rates life insurance loans Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:31:09 +0000 Jason Steele 1785333 at http://www.wisebread.com When Should Single People Get Life Insurance? http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_looking_up_29810428.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if single people should get life insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the typical market for life insurance: People with families to protect. When these people die, their life insurance policies make payments to their beneficiaries, whether that be their children or their spouse.</p> <p>But what if you're single without children? Is buying a life insurance policy ever a smart move?</p> <p>In most cases, no, you won't need life insurance if you don't have a spouse or any children who count on your income to pay for their daily living expenses. But as with most financial matters, there are exceptions.</p> <p>Here are some of the most common reasons why a single adult without children might consider buying life insurance:</p> <h2>Policies Are Cheaper When You're Younger and Healthier</h2> <p>If you are a healthy and a nonsmoker, you'll pay less for life insurance when you are 24 than you will when you are 30, 35, or older. That's because you're at more of a risk to die.</p> <p>According to Trusted Choice, an independent insurance agent, a 20-year-old male nonsmoker at a healthy weight would pay about $32.53 a month for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. That cost rises to $35.69 a month for that same healthy male at 35-years-old. And it soars to $111.38 a month when this same male reaches 50.</p> <p>So, it might make financial sense to buy a life insurance policy when you are in your 20s. Then, when you do get married and have kids, you can change the beneficiaries on your policy to your spouse and children.</p> <h2>You Owe Money With Someone Else</h2> <p>Have your parents co-signed on an auto loan with you? Maybe they've co-signed for that mortgage loan that you are paying off each month. What happens to that debt if you should suddenly die? Your parents will be responsible for paying it off.</p> <p>However, if you have a life insurance policy with your parents named as the beneficiary, they could use the payout from the policy to pay off the debt that they owed with you. Taking out life insurance in this case would serve as a form of protection for whoever was generous enough to take on the risk of co-signing a loan with you.</p> <h2>You're Providing Financial Support to Others</h2> <p>Just because you're not married and you don't have children, doesn't mean that you are not providing financial support to someone. Maybe an elderly parent lives with you and counts on your financial support each month. If you should unexpectedly die, what would happen to that parent? By naming that parent as a beneficiary, you can make sure that they are financially protected.</p> <p>You might even be providing financial support to siblings, nieces, or nephews. The right life insurance policy can make sure that this support continues even after your death.</p> <h2>You Want to Leave a Gift</h2> <p>Maybe you simply want to leave a financial gift to someone who holds a special place in your life, even if this person doesn't really need your financial support. By naming that special person as a beneficiary &mdash; it could be a niece, nephew, partner, or friend &mdash; you'll be leaving behind something of great value should you die.</p> <h2>Term or Whole Life?</h2> <p>Once you've decided that you do want a life insurance policy, it's time to determine what kind of policy you want and how large of a policy you need. There are two main <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people" target="_blank">types of life insurance policies</a>: the cheaper term life, and the more expensive whole life.</p> <p>Term life insurance provides coverage for just a set period of time &mdash; usually 20 years &mdash; but can be bought for as little as one year, or as many as 30. Your premium will usually remain the same during the entire term. Whole life insurance instead lasts, as the name suggests, until you die. Whole life premiums also include an investment component, what is known as the policy's cash value. The cash value will grow during the life of your policy.</p> <p>It's best to meet with a financial planner to determine which type of policy makes the most sense for you. A planner can provide recommendations, too, on how much insurance you should take out to meet your financial goals and how best to structure your policy so that you can provide the most financial protection to your beneficiaries if you should die.</p> <p><em>Do you have life insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries dependents estate planning Health life insurance policies single unmarried Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741536 at http://www.wisebread.com