Benefit 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. It’s time for the annual benefit open-enrollment.  This used to cause me stress because I knew costs would go up and I’d have to figure out how to fit that into my tight budget.  Years ago, a $20 or $30 a month increase in my benefit costs was too much.  Thankfully, it has become a non-event.  My costs still went up, so I just have to shift some things around to keep the budget balanced. My Selections There were no actual changes to what I selected last year.  I kept all of the same plans and coverage limits.  For the family, we are on the highest deductible health plan.  The deductible for an individual is $3,500 and then $7,000 for the whole family.  In the 3 or 4 years that we have been on this particular plan, we thankfully have never met the deductible.  Even if we had to meet the deductible now, I have … Read more

Test Your Flood IQ with Health IQ

How prepared are you to deal with a flood? No one wants to think about a home or neighborhood being hit by rapidly rising floodwaters. However, as with any natural disaster, you need to consider what steps you should take to minimize potential danger and damage. For this reason, Health IQ has designed a quiz to test your knowledge of important flood issues. For example, what four items does the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend you prioritize when collecting supplies in preparation for a possible flood event? If you are making your way through 6 inches of water, what is the biggest risk to your safety? If your car is filled with 6 inches of water, which challenge are you most likely to face — flat tires or a stalled engine? Once the waters recede, flood victims face a different set of problems. How does your homeowners insurance policy deal with flood coverage? What is and isn’t covered by that plan? Can you rely on federal assistance in the aftermath of a flood, and what form will that assistance take? Without an understanding of how flood insurance works, you may find that you don’t have the protection you need. … Read more

Term Life Insurance Vs Mortgage Insurance

Your dream of owning a home has finally come true. Now you have a place to raise your family, one that’s warm, welcoming, and secure. But that security is something you have to create and maintain while the mortgage is being paid down. If you don’t keep up with the monthly payments, you put the home at risk of being lost. So you go to work and focus on your efforts to hold onto your home. But there’s always that thought of “what would happen if I die today?” It’s a normal thought to have, and the risk of you dying today are small, but you want to do something to provide security if you do. A mortgage life insurance policy is one option, but it may not be the most optimal. It does pay the mortgage off, but there’s no other benefit outside of that. If you want your family to have financial security, you need to go further with a life insurance policy. A life insurance policy provides your beneficiaries with enough money to pay down the mortgage as well as cover debts that were left behind, such as a car note or schooling costs. And if there’s … Read more

Smart Strategies to Save Money on a Dream Wedding

You may have had your dream wedding in mind since you were young. But as a child, you may not have been able to understand the costs associated with this special day and how quickly they can add up. But you shouldn’t have to go into debt just because you want a fairytale beginning. The following are smart strategies that can help you save money without sacrificing all of your romantic dreams. Be Mindful of the Guest List Staying true to your budget can be a challenge, especially with ever changing plans. Unfortunately, unexpected issues such as car repairs and household expenses are going to continually arise. If you’re planning for a wedding and looking to trim costs, the first place to start is the guest list. The more people that you invite, the more food, beverages and favors you’ll need. Keep your wedding a more intimate affair by only inviting close friends and family members. Since children can be costly, make your wedding an adult’s only celebration. Save in Advance Most couples hope to make their wedding unforgettable. But it can take time and careful planning to prepare for this special day. Weddings also cost a pretty penny. Although … Read more

3 People Who Should Have Life Insurance But Don’t

You might be surprised at how many people in America do not have life insurance. Then again, you might not be surprised. Only about 62% of American adults have some form of life insurance. And while this is much better than nothing, there are many people who would greatly benefit from having an appropriately outfitted life insurance policy. There are significant populations who would be much better prepared for the future with life insurance, but who have comparatively few members who participate in this financial preparation tool. Here are three of the groups who could use life insurance the most. Parents with young children (or, really, children of any age below 18) are frequently found to be without life insurance. This can happen for many reasons, but the two most common are a feeling of financial insufficiency and simply not paying attention to the issue. Parents may feel like there is not real need for life insurance. This might be due to their feeling that they aren’t in danger of early death because of their health, family history, or personal caution. Still, unfortunate accidents can happen. In most cases, if any parental partner were to lose their life, immediate financial … Read more

Escape Debt And Swim For Gold With Ryan Lochte &

Ryan Lochte is a six time Olympic Gold medalist and American champion swimmer. He was sponsored by Speedo soon after finishing college and has been under contract with them since. However, recent events occurring in Brazil after his last race have led to Speedo and several other companies pulling away their endorsements. The entire incident which involved Lochte peeing behind a gas station and tearing down and advertisement was blown out of proportion. To make matters worse the American swimmer decided to make up a fake robbery incident. This has led to many fans losing their respect for him and also criticizing his behavior in Rio. While some fans are questioning what they would have done in a similar situation, many fans are angry about the disgrace he brought upon himself by lying. Many fans believed that the whole incident was immature and unnecessary. However, Lochte is a human being everyone else and while he is a swimming champion, he is still prone to make mistakes like anyone else. Brazilian authorities say they found evidence contrary to the champion’s statement and other eye witnesses say that they returned back to the Olympic village, wallets and watches were seen on them. … Read more

Ever Changing Plans


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. If you’ve learned anything about me over the last few years, you’ve learned that I am a planner.  I am always thinking about then future.  This is especially true when it comes to my personal finances.  I have short, medium and long-term plans.  Our next car replacement is falling into the short-term bucket.  We finish paying off my wife’s car this year and the plan was to wait a little while, maybe a year, then get a new car for me.  That plan is getting a revision. My Wife’s Car We bought my wife’s car in December of 2011 just after the little guy was born.  We had a smaller 4-door sedan, which was just not going to cut it with 2 small kids.  We sold the sedan for a slight loss and rolled the negative equity into the new car loan with a 6-year payment term.  Our financial shape at the time was ok, … Read more