Life Insurance: How Much Is Enough?

Life Insurance: How Much Is Enough? Thinking about your life insurance needs is probably not your favorite topic. At best, it may seem boring. It may even be depressing. However, thinking about and purchasing appropriate life insurance is really just the responsible thing to do. It is a way to take care of those you love most, even after you are gone. At the very least, life insurance guarantees that funeral costs and other costs associated with your passing will not be a burden. But more than just that, life insurance should make managing finances workable, at least for a time, for those you leave behind. Many people have a life insurance policy through their employers, as a part of their benefits package. But is it enough? What Kind of Life Insurance Do Employers Provide? Most employers provide what is known as term life insurance. Term life insurance is a basic type of policy. Term life policies do not accrue a cash value, so they are not investments. Should the insured die while the policy is in force, the person or people listed as beneficiaries on the policy will be paid death benefits. Term life insurance policies are not connected … Read more

Conversation on Parents Paying for College

Graduation

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I don’t know how exactly the conversation came up, but my wife, her mother and I were talking about college expenses.  My mother-in-law remarked how she had heard someone talking about how they were not going to be paying for college for their kids.  During the conversation, we talked about a few things.  One discussion point was whether a parent should pay for college.  The other was the plans that, my wife and I, have for our children.  The last was on how having limited student loans have benefited my wife and I financially. To Pay or Not to Pay There is not a right or wrong answer to this question in my opinion.  I do not believe that parents are obligated to pay for higher education for their children.  I believe that once a child reaches the age of 18, that anything a parent does after that is extra. Now, that doesn’t mean that … Read more

Reverse Mortgage vs. Downsizing: Which is the Best Option to Stretch Your Pension?

For some people, retirement turns out to be a dream come true, but it can come as a nasty shock to those who are unprepared financially. Suddenly, that monthly salary that was more than enough to cover your living costs disappears, and it’s not easy to learn how to manage money when you need to survive on a less valuable pension. You can’t afford to take out a personal loan when you don’t make enough to pay it back, and family members don’t always have enough spare cash to help when times are tough. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get extra money without plunging yourself into further debt, and a few of them can help eliminate the debt you already have. With a bit of extra money in your bank and less monthly costs to worry about, you can embark on a world adventure or take up a new exciting hobby to keep your mind sharp. Keep reading below to find out some of the best ways to get cash that many people neglect to consider. Eliminate Debt and Obtain Extra Money The idea of getting rid of all your debt while having extra money for yourself sounds … Read more

Net Worth Time Again

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. My goal for my net worth in 2016 was apparently too light.  I looked back on the post from last year to see what I expected or hoped for at the end of 2016. “I would be quite happy if the net worth change for 2016 was a positive 25,000 or more.  That would be a nearly 17% increase, I’ll take it.” When I totaled up my numbers for 2016, I beat that guess by over 50%.  It was a good year, not as good as some, but good enough for me.  I ended 2016 with a net worth that was higher by over $39,000.  It was my second best year ever and it was mainly driven by savings increases and some modest debt repayment.  As always, I let you look at where all the gains came from. 401K Once again it was my 401K that led the change in the net worth number.  The … Read more

Open Enrollment Yet Again

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Once again, it was Open Enrollment time at work. Enrollment usually requires me to some calculations to figure out what the best options for me are, but this year’s enrollment is fairly mundane compared with previous years.  In fact, I do not have to make any changes to my benefits at all and there is little change to my costs.  I will let you take a look at what is happening again with my benefits as well as take a peek at my medical claims this year versus last.  I will also give you a quick peek into my long-term disability coverage since I looked at that in conjunction with my enrollment. Benefit Changes This year there are no coverage changes for the plans my employer is offering me.  It is probably the first time in a few years that I did not have to evaluate which plan would be the better option for me.  As … Read more

Is Bitcoin An Investing Option?

Several years ago, we wrote about whether or not forex was an option as a means of investment. For those who may be unfamiliar with the idea, forex is essentially the trading of one national currency against another, meant to capitalize on the shifts in value between them. On a very basic level, it involves buying currency itself and hoping that that currency’s worth inflates. Forex remains as much of an option as it ever was for investors, but recent years have also brought a different sort of currency investment to light. Specifically, Bitcoin—the pioneering digital currency that some predicted would ultimately supplant ordinary money—has become a popular consideration for a lot of traders. There’s ongoing debate about Bitcoin’s status in that some view it as a currency, some as a commodity, and others even as a type of property. Nevertheless, the fact is that it’s an entirely digital concept that can be used to purchase goods and services, to exchange money with friends, or to be stashed away as an investment. How Does It Work? There is a way to obtain Bitcoins without actually spending money, but it’s not one that’s considered accessible to most people. There’s a complex … Read more

Refinanced Yet Again

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I did it again, I refinanced my mortgage.  This was the third time since my initial closing on my house that I refinanced.  It has been slightly amusing as each time I think that it will be the last time, but that hasn’t happened yet. The first couple of times I refinanced, it was more about lowering my monthly payment.  That was not the case this time around, this time it was more about lowering the life and total payments. Paying Attention Since I had just refinanced my mortgage back in early 2015, I had not really expected to go through the process again this year. I had a 3.99% 30-year fixed mortgage which I was going to pay off early, in just under 24 years.  However, I began to notice that the rate for 30-year mortgages began to drop again.  I kept noticing headlines and such mentioning that the rates were nearing historic lows.  … Read more