a DIME a dozen
December 15, 2019
definition: very common and of no particular value.
In 1930, the DIME was valuable. “For 10 cents, kids could spend an afternoon in a movie theater. We could buy a loaf of Bond Bread or a snack-size Frisbie pie, or ride the trolley car. And for a dime, people could walk into a tavern and get a cold glass of draft beer.” Today – the US currency has little value associated with the penny, nickel, dime and quarter – we focus on the dollars! Differentiating ourselves and our work is key – people and blogs are a DIME a dozen. With this in mind – I challenge us to review the acronym DIME. It is utilized to calculate the recommended amount of life insurance, but can also help you understand if you and your family are in a good space for 2020 and beyond.
D is for Debt
How much debt do you have? Your debt standing is defined by the amount that you owe to anyone for anything. The most common debts include – car loans, student loans, and credit cards. Buying items on credit card doesn’t mean that the resources are always available to cover the costs, and the holiday season sees the usage of credit cards increase exponentially to cover the “great deals” during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in preparations for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year celebrations. Mortgage payments are covered under M.
When you have totaled the debt amount – do you have the assets available to cover the debts or would your family need to find the resources to pay this in an emergency? This amount would be the base number for your life insurance policy.
I is for Income
What is your income? Your income is defined by the money that is coming in – and is the number that is utilized when filing taxes. The most common income streams include – salary (yours and your partner), interest (from saving accounts/401K), and dividends (stocks and bonds). Everyone has an income – whether it’s from a business or rental properties, or your Social Security checks.
When you have totaled your income amount – multiply this by 10. This is considered a good number to have as a resource for 10years if your income source was to disappear. Many times this happens when you retire. This amount is also a value for calculating the amount of life insurance you may want to purchase
M is for Mortgage
What is your mortgage payment? Your mortgage is defined as how much you owe on your home AND any other properties that you own. Renters are advised to multiply rent by 10 to find this number.
When you have totaled this amount – this is another expense that will need to be covered to ensure you and your family have a place to live. Life insurance can assist with this payment when you are unable to.
E is for Education or Emergency“What did the dime say to the penny? At least I have more cents than you.” If you have children or grandchildren, the gift of education would be a worthy investment for future generations. To keep things simple – the $100,000 figure has been suggested which could be used for private education in the K-12 or University level – PER person. If there are no juniors, the E can represent your emergency fund. $100,000 for yourself and partner is a base figure that would cover a critical illness or weather disaster. Now that you have read this blog, and know the DIME formula – take the next step and review your personal numbers. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said – The whole value of the dime is in knowing what to do with it. Insureyouknow will help you track these numbers and see how they change year over year – and how close you are to achieving the magic number. Whether you choose to purchase life insurance or not, the Insureyouknow tool is a place to store your digital documents to access from your home or on-the-go.
The weird and wonderful world of Insurance Policies
October 15, 2019
Auto insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, home insurance, life insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance…. The list is endless. The insurance industry was valued at a booming $1.2trillion in 2017, and can feel like an alphabet soup of options.
In previous blogs we’ve touched on the 4 types of insurance you must have, life insurance and pet insurance, and we hope you have followed some of these ideas and advice. This post is a little lighter and talks about some of the weird and wonderful, lesser known types of insurance out in the marketplace.
It is clear that despite the trillion dollar industry, there are entrepreneurs and companies out there looking to assume risk for some of the more absurd and unlikely events. Here are a few categories of insurance that made me take a second look – and then file in my mind as a useful piece of trivia to bring out during the holiday season.
A is for – Against Death by Laughter
There are lists of people that have died due to laughing. Intense laughter can increase the body’s blood pressure and ability to bring oxygen into the lungs. For some people – asthma attacks or heart attacks could occur as a result. The insurance policy against death by laughter has been utilized by a comedy troupe “in the event that an audience member died from laughter,” movie producers, and was popular in the early 1900s with movie goers who were concerned they may have adverse reactions to the film they are enjoying.
B is for – Body Part Insurance
Yes – there are people who will insure specific parts of their body, and there are companies that will evaluate the loss and put a financial number on it. The consumer for this type of insurance is usually famous athletes or entertainers who rely on certain body parts for their livelihood. Additionally, companies may insure individuals that they have signed deals with to ensure that they will get their money’s-worth. Examples of parts that have been insured under this policy type include voices, taste buds, teeth, mustaches, hair, and fingers.
C is for Change of Heart Insurance.
As its name suggests, this insurance exists for individuals that may be investing a large sum of time and money in a Wedding event, and are nervous about a change of heart. According to businessinsider.com – the average cost to get married in the USA is $38,700. Created to support the parents or families that are forking the bill for the event, it provides a refund if the couple decide that the engagement isn’t going to work out and wish to cancel the wedding ceremonies and festivities. The coverage has a couple of caveats that would make it viable for a small market. One – it cannot be purchased by the couple, only by those supporting the wedding, and Two – the change of heart must lead to a cancellation of the events at least 365 days before the scheduled date.
Whatever policy you choose, or decline from having – Insureyouknow has a tool to uncomplicate life. It can be utilized to digitally store all your documents and information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Whether it’s a new policy you have purchased, or renewed, or a policy you have declined or cancelled– be sure to upload the policy and any related documents to insureyouknow. An insureyouknow subscription will allow you recall these documents, in the rare case that you or a family member may need it.
Note: This post was inspired by Wisebread’s article listing their top 10 insurance types, so feel free to read more about some of the policy types mentioned in this blog, and others.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
May 23, 2019
Anyone with pets knows that taking care of them isn’t cheap. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $72 billion on their pets in 2018. From food to boarding, there are a lot of expenses associated with owning a pet.
One of the biggest expenses is veterinary care. A trip to the veterinarian isn’t cheap, nor should it be. Veterinarians have spent years in school learning how to care for and treat animals. They’re doctors for animals, and when Rover swallows something he shouldn’t or Tigger suddenly stops eating, their expertise is worth every penny.
But when money is tight, an unexpected trip to the vet can break your budget for the month. And that’s if you can afford to pay for care at all; some pet owners feel they have to put their beloved family member down because they can’t afford expensive medical treatments.
There is a potential solution: pet insurance. Just like your health insurance helps cover the cost of your medical care, pet insurance can defray some of the expenses associated with veterinary care. And just like you need to understand how your health insurance policy works in order to avoid an unexpected bill, you need to read the fine print on any pet insurance policy before signing on the dotted line.
If you’re trying to decide if pet insurance is the right decision for you, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Does your pet have any preexisting conditions? If so, stop right there. If your vet has diagnosed your pet with an ailment or disease already, pet insurance won’t cover any care for it. That may include illnesses or accidents related to the condition.
- How old is your pet? Generally speaking, the older the pet, the higher the premiums. You’ll get the best rates when your pet is still young. Keep in mind that the rate most likely will rise as your pet ages, and it’s not uncommon for people to drop pet insurance after their pet reaches a certain age.
- Is your pet prone to hereditary conditions? Many large dog breeds are known for hereditary conditions, such as hip dysplasia and torn ACLs. Insurers often won’t cover treatment for these conditions even if your pet wasn’t showing any symptoms when you initially bought coverage.
- Can you afford to save up instead? If you can afford it, it might be smarter to have a separate savings account for pet care. If you never need it, great—you can put that money toward paying down debt or a down payment on a house. Just keep in mind that should the worst occur, medical expenses can add up quickly.
Pet insurance is growing in popularity; according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, about 1.4 million pets in the U.S. and Canada were covered by a plan in 2014, up from 680,000 pets in 2008. If you’re considering purchasing pet insurance, be sure to explore all your options, including whether you can get it through your employer. Eleven percent of U.S. employers offer pet insurance benefits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
If you decide to purchase pet insurance, be sure to upload the policy and any related documents to InsureYouKnow.org. When you need to access them quickly, you’ll be glad they’re in a safe, secure, easy-to-find location.
Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year
January 7, 2019
Ah, January 1: a day of fresh starts, new beginnings, and big dreams. According to Fidelity’s Tenth Annual New Year Financial Resolutions Study, 32 percent of survey respondents are considering making a financial resolution for the year ahead. The top three financial resolutions are to save more (48 percent), pay down debt (29 percent) and spend less (15 percent).
While those are great resolutions, they also are broad and lack detail. How much do you want to save? Which debts will you pay down first? How exactly will you spend less? Without a firm plan in mind, these resolutions easily may be forgotten by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to set specific, measurable, and achievable goals. In other words, you want to create a detailed plan with milestones that can be met. That way you will see the progress you’re making throughout the year and maintain the motivation to keep going.
With that in mind, here are a few smart money moves you can make in the coming year.
- Check your credit report. This one should be a no-brainer, but many people put it off until trouble arises. Don’t wait until you’re ready to apply for a car loan or home mortgage; get your free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com months in advance so you can address any discrepancies. You can request a free copy of your report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting companies. Keep in mind that you can order the three reports one at a time, allowing you to check your report multiple times throughout the year. Once you get your copy, review it and make sure all the information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Make sure your insurance meets your needs. How much life insurance do you need? Do you need disability insurance? What about long-term care insurance? These aren’t easy questions to answer, and the answers generally depend on your individual situation. While determining the type and amount of insurance you need can be overwhelming, it’s a vital part of protecting you and your family. Generally speaking, it’s easier to pay a little bit each month in premiums than to come up with a large sum in the event of an emergency.
- Get the best credit card for you. Whether you use your credit card only for major purchases or put everything on it and pay it off each month, it’s important to make sure the card in your wallet is the best one for your needs. If you have to carry a balance sometimes, you want to make sure you use a card with the lowest rate possible; if you travel a lot, you’ll want to look for a card that’ll make your vacations a little more affordable. Sites like NerdWallet and WalletHub can help you find the credit card that best meets your lifestyle.
- Fully fund your emergency fund. Make this the year you build your emergency fund to the recommended six to eight months of living expenses. It sounds difficult, but remember, we’re talking about your monthly expenses, not your monthly salary. Calculate the amount based on your true necessities: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, insurance, and the like. If it helps keep you going, break this goal down into smaller milestones you can meet throughout the year, and celebrate each accomplishment along the way.
- Put all your financial documents in one safe place. Last but not least, take the time to gather together all your important financial documents and store them in a secure place. InsureYouKnow.org is the ideal location. Think of it as an easy-to-use electronic safe deposit box; you upload your documents, and only you and anyone you share your password with can access them. Thanks to Amazon’s cloud encryption, you can rest easy knowing your documents are safe and easy to access whenever and wherever they’re needed.