29. May 2017 · Comments Off on Christian Parenting: Family Finances Money Saving Guide and Financial Planning · Categories: Finance

Keeping the household budget under control can be difficult for most families, even those that have high incomes. If you have loans, high credit card bills, debts or lack of finances you may be struggling to budget effectively and this may create family conflict as well as lack of ability to plan for future commitments such as your children’s college funds or sufficient investments to keep you in retirement. Financial awareness is important not just in times of recession but also when spending leads to living beyond your means. These can all be causes of stress and anxiety. Being able to spend wisely is a good way of teaching your children skills for living as well as reducing stress making situations within your family.

Here are some financial tips that can help you if you are struggling with sorting out family finances or if you want to reassess what you are doing with your income and expenditure.

Personal Finance

You may be surprised that if you sit down and work out exactly what your outgoing’s are in relation to your income in an honest way you can begin to become clearer about how to budget to meet your needs. Many people go through their adult life not being aware of their real income and expenditure and remain distressed month after month when there is a short fall. Some people stay consistently in debt just because they are too scared to do the math. If you want to lessen this feeling of panic then consider personal financial counseling, it will help you to sort out your concerns and assist you to start getting control without needing to go to the loan sharks. If things are really worrying consider debt consolidation if needs be but do not put your head in the sand. However, If you have money left over after doing budget monitoring then you should consider putting it into a savings account to obtain interest not blowing it all at once. There are also personal finances software and free family budget planners which you can use on line to help you assess your family spends including monitoring over time.

Saving money

Most people will need to save money for big expenditures, such as education fees, the purchase of property or to buy a car for example. The earlier on in life you can start saving the better because of the “law of compound interest”. This states that you make money on the interest your savings gives you as time goes by. But this really only works if you do not touch the money you are saving for some considerable time, usually all your working life and that you invest regularly. Most people unfortunately are not in this position, and you should not do it if it caused strain on your overall budget, but shorter periods of saving and ad hoc amounts when you can afford it will still give you better results than if you did not save at all and had to take out a loan.

Credit cards

Pay off your credit card bills before you consider putting your money in a saving account or in any other investment. In fact if you have money in a savings account and have unpaid credit card bills it doesn’t make sense not to pay your lenders as the interest charged on credit card and store card debt is many times the amount than the interest that you can get from saving your money in the bank or in a savings account. You can always start saving again but if you have debt hanging around over your head this will continue to have an emotional impact on you and your ability to be in control of your finances.

Some people play the credit card swap game of transferring debt from one card to another at zero interest rate for a limited time, and then swap to another just before this cards interest rates rises. There are many benefits of doing this and the credit card companies encourage it by offering cash back, air miles and other rewards but you should do it with caution because as if you are not able to keep track of the time when the interest free only time runs out and swap cards you will have to pay the full rate which as we know, is very high.

Saving accounts

Not all savings accounts are born equal and you should research the best one for your needs, but do not let that stop you from embarking on regular saving. Even if you think you have found the best savings account a new deal may come on the market, however make sure that paying any early penalty withdrawals is worth the effort of swapping accounts.

Family Insurance

The best type of insurance to invest in for your family, over and above the obvious such as house, car and medical insurance should be the kind that meets your family’s unique needs. Dental insurance, pet insurance, musical equipment insurance maybe the types of insurance that without it your family’s crucial day to day wellbeing would suffer, not just as an extravagance but a necessity. But assess all of the insurance covers you have taken out and make sure where some overlap you are not paying out twice for cover such as for payment protection plans on loans credit cards, lost keys, travel insurance.

Discount Finders

Families are really getting wise to the benefits of buying products and services online as there are huge discounts to be made by buying this way. In addition there are online websites and forums where daily discount vouchers can be found. Price comparison sites are also useful to compare prices and get the best deals on line when you are shopping.

As a family you can work together to understand your budgeting needs and how you spend and prioritise what you need. Lessen the stress of financial issues by getting good money advice and seeing what makes the difference for you.

23. May 2017 · Comments Off on Explaining Car Insurance for Students · Categories: Car Insurance

Many college students now drive their cars, and one common complaint is the high cost of car insurance for college students. The first thing to put in mind is that car insurance is seen by almost everyone to be expensive. It is viewed as an added expense, and because it is enforced, it does not have consumer-friendly connotations. Some people think having an insurance for your car is absolutely necessary. For students, it probably is.

Why is it expensive?

However, it cannot be denied that the students are hit the hardest by high insurance cost. The rationale behind the high cost of car insurance for college students is due to mainly one factor-their age.

The Age Factor

Car insurance is perhaps an area wherein age is an advantage. Insurance rates get better as you grow older. Nascent drivers are still learning how to drive and train their reflexes. The chances that they may bump their car into a signage or lamp post are high. Also, they are less equipped with skills and reflexes to avoid accidents.

The Gender

The gender of the student partly determines the cost of their auto insurance. Usually, college boys will have to pay more than college girls. Statistics indicates that teenage boys are susceptible to driving accidents and violations, most probably because they are new to the activity and they want to be adventurous. But the practice of insurers to offer more expensive insurance for males has been viewed by some critics as a form of discrimination.

Looking for Favorable Deals

It may be a challenge for students to save on car insurance. One way is to look for quotes online. There should be a few insurers who are willing to offer cheap car insurance for students. Shopping for insurances can be daunting for young drivers. You may want to get advice from mom or dad.

Opting for Temporary Insurance

Students who use their cars occasionally may opt for temporary student car insurance, which is the cheaper alternative. This allows you to avail of the coverage only when you use your car. A similar insurance product is the pay-as-you-go policy. However, check with your state authorities if insuring a car on temporary basis is legal.

Choosing the Right Car

Insurance companies classify cars in several groups, depending on price, newness, features, engine size, and so on. Usually, inexpensive cars would qualify for low premiums. The problem with many college students is that they want new stuff-new gadgets and new cars. If the car is not sleek, it will most likely be left in the garage. But new and classy cars are likely to get high insurance costs.

Adding Your Parent to the Policy

When you add a more experienced driver, like your father, on your insurance, the insurer will assume that the driving is shared. Doing this will reduce insurance premiums. Parents should not insure a car under their name if the main driver or user is their son or daughter. This is illegal.

Taking Care of Your Car

Reckless driving has several negative repercussions. One is your car can get damaged. Another is you can damage someone’s car. You may crash into a property or hit a pedestrian. All the recklessness can incur liability and rise in the cost of your insurance.

15. May 2017 · Comments Off on Car Insurance Coverage – Why It Makes Sense to Have the Right One · Categories: Car Insurance

Most people look at car insurance as a burden, one that they have to bear because of State insurance laws. They buy the bare minimum state mandated liability coverage to stay legal and carry on driving, assuming they are completely covered in case of a mishap. Yet others start with buying multiple car insurance coverages, and over time decide they need to save money, which can be done by cutting on certain coverages. The rude awakening comes when they get into an accident where they are at fault, or have their car stolen or damaged, and realize their policy did not include the necessary car insurance coverage to cover any of these events. A little bit of planning and foresight can help avoid such situations.

Car insurance isn’t rocket science, and all it takes is some understanding of the basic function of each car insurance coverage and then deciding if it’s really worth investing in or not. This is especially true if you have an old beat up car. Would you rather pay for comprehensive and collision insurance and the deductibles as well (at the time of claiming), or does it make more sense to simply go without, and save the premium and deductible money in an emergency fund for your car? Insurance is a gamble and you pay for the peace of mind from knowing that in case of an eventuality you are covered. You may or may not need to use it.

Liability or third party insurance is another area where you need to consider the particulars of your location, the driving skills of the other drivers using the car, and your financial capability to pay the other driver for any damages you might have caused, in case you are found at fault in an accident. If you drive long hours, on congested roads, or if you have a relatively inexperienced driver also driving this car, you might consider keeping a high liability car insurance coverage. TX car insurance laws for example, ask for a minimum liability of 30/60/25 starting January 2011. One in five people in TX are uninsured, so while you want to be sure you get adequately compensated in case of an accident, you might also want to buy Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist coverage if you live there.

Umbrella insurance is one of the most under rated car insurance coverages. It’s actually a very smart way to increase your liability coverage and comes in handy incase of potentially bankrupting lawsuits. You don’t want to have to pay out of your pocket in case your car hits a school bus full of kids and hurts somebody seriously or ends up totaling a high-end luxury car. It doesn’t cost too much to get $2 million umbrella insurance, and it kicks in only when the upper limits of your liability coverage have been exhausted.

Gap insurance is a good option to invest in if your car is not fully paid for and you still have to make most of the payments. In case your car is totaled, your full car insurance coverage will only pay for the car’s blue book value which factors in its depreciation amount, whereas you will still need to pay your dealer the balance installments for the car, making you upside down on your payments. Gap insurance fills this gap and helps you pay off the balance amount. However, investing in gap insurance is only recommended if you still owe most of the money on your car.

PIP or no fault coverage is mandatory in some states while it isn’t available in others. However if it is available in yours, it’s a good option to look into, after reviewing your health insurance policy. Personal Injury protection coverage takes care of medical, work loss, funeral, survivor’s loss and other maintenance expenses incurred post an accident regardless of who is found at fault in the accident; a good car insurance coverage to consider as it takes so many factors into consideration while calculating your claim account.

So next time you decide to buy yourself just a minimum liability car insurance, think twice. The liability coverage will only compensate others for injury or property damage caused by your car; it will do nothing for you. Also look at the other car insurance coverages and try to strike a good balance of rates and coverage to give you better protection in case of an unforeseen eventuality.

09. May 2017 · Comments Off on For Women – How to Buy Health Insurance When You’re Between Jobs – Without Losing Your Skirt · Categories: Health Insurance

As a woman, I have been worried about not having health insurance, have you been worried too? I know how to use a computer, so I was able to check out the online health insurance quotes on the Internet. I filled out a few forms but it was difficult to pick the right one for me, there were just too many choices! So why was I researching online health insurance quotes? I was recently laid off, my boss said “he hated to let me go” but he had to lay some people off and since I was the last hired…well you know how it goes. I found out I could not afford the Cobra Plan for continuing my group health insurance, no way for $585.00 per month! I was shocked to know that is how much my company had been paying for my individual health insurance. Guess a person does not really appreciate some things until they are gone…like boyfriends, a good job and oh, a flattering hair style!

My biggest concern about shopping online for health insurance was how does a woman know if the health insurance quote you get is a good deal? I mean, we know if a handbag is a good deal or a business suit for work or a gift we buy off eBay, but health insurance? Also, I feel uncomfortable with insurance salespeople; I don’t like being pressured to decide to buy something right now. So if you are like me, you can understand how we don’t like to be pressured into a sale or “sold’. Why? Have you ever been in a mall and had a sales lady warmly greet you and smiling so much at you, she looks like her face hurts? Then she follows you around the store and won’t leave you alone to shop? I have, I hate it, bet you do too and we can’t wait to get away from her, right? So I get the same feeling about insurance, especially health insurance sales people.

So here I am unemployed, with only unemployment pay and in need of really cheap health insurance. I got a really bad scare recently. A long time and close friend of mine did not have health insurance through the small business she worked for and got stuck with an enormous medical bill! I won’t tell you what she had, just that she is recovering and will be returning to work soon. But her retirement fund is going to be drained dry when she pays that huge medical bill. Her retirement account is will be almost empty! That is so terrible, she has worked so hard and now this!

I had figured to chance not having health insurance for a while, just until I get a new job…But after what happened to my good friend, I can’t chance it. I am much older than her and don’t want to fall victim to a health catastrophe. Now, I am scared and just don’t feel safe without some kind of health insurance. So again, I went out to the internet looking for a decent website that could give me an inexpensive health insurance plan. I was afraid to wait and wanted a short term health insurance plan to tide me over and protect me until I get a good job with a group health insurance plan. I warmed up my Mac computer and got online and went looking for a “good, inexpensive, low monthly premium health insurance plan.” One that I could afford without losing my skirt!

Before I had bookmarked a few websites to return to, so I went to those first. But I was getting frustrated with slow loading insurance sites; you know the ones I mean. You can go grab a soda and check your mail while they load! Anyway, after searching and being frustrated by filling out forms that did not send my information, I finally found a couple good ones to submit my informaiton to and get a good quote. A high quality site generally makes it easy to find the information you want. After browsing the sites I located information on different types of insurance and on health insurance providers. Stuff a woman needs to know to make an intelligent decision about buying health insurance. The websites online covered all sorts of things you would want to read about, like HMO, PPO, health saver plans. As I searched the sites I noticed threre were many different insurance providers! That made me feel like I needed help since there were so many good providers.

Great now I was ready to check out their Privacy Policy and that looked good and safe too. When I was browsing I found that many sites have all 50 states coverage. I looked at the health insurance page for quotes and followed their easy instructions on “How to get your fast health insurance quote.” I clicked in the area of the form that said, “fill in your zip code” and filled it in. I filled in my personal information and clicked the submit button. I received confirmation of the personal information and that they would be getting in contact with me right away with more information about my health insurance quotes.

I was happy to find the agents were easy to deal with. They really wanted to help. That made me feel good and like I was being properly cared for. No high pressure just good advice and easy to understand answers to my not so smart insurance questions. I felt good and really took my time, I even was able to buy my policy online! So after paying for my health insurance this month, how much money do I have left…or so, how short is my skirt?

Well, a little higher than just above the knee, I really hope are in style again! But you know what? I feel good about my short-term health insurance. This will work for me to tide me over and keep me safe until I get a good job with health insurance again. I know my retirement money is safe and will not be taken from me because I got stuck without health insurance. I love taking good care of myself and I hope you do too. So if you are a woman and need health insurance, please take care of yourself. Please be safe, and just click on the link and “fill in your zip code” Well, here’s to your having great looking legs, you’ll need them, since your skirt is a wee bit shorter!

02. May 2017 · Comments Off on Affordable Health Insurance Options in Ohio: An Interview With Ohio Department of Insurance Director · Categories: Health Insurance

According to the United States Census Bureau, 87.7 percent of Ohioans had some form of health insurance coverage during 2005, while 12.3 percent were not insured at any time during the year. Additionally, 14 percent of Ohio residents under the age of sixty-five did not have health insurance during 2005.

AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS IN OHIO

Most Ohioans who have health insurance are covered by either employer based plans or government programs. What options are available for individuals who do not have access to such coverage? Ohio Department of Insurance Director, Ann Womer Benjamin, references the “increasing number of options with Health Savings Accounts. There may be a person, or a family, generally comfortable paying for health care costs, but wants a high deductible policy. Also, for fairly young, fairly healthy individuals, an HSA coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan could really work.”

Health Savings Accounts are not feasible for everyone. Ohio residents who are not interested in HSAs should try to take advantage of alternative plans and programs. “Ohio has an Open Enrollment Program that takes (uninsured individuals) regardless of pre-existing conditions, but is likely costly”, Womer Benjamin explains.

HEALTH CARE COVERAGE LEGISLATION

There are currently two bills in the Ohio Legislature, Senate Bill 272 and House Bill 5 / Senate Bill 5 that are generally supported by the Ohio Department of Insurance as methods of expanding access to health insurance coverage.

Senate Bill 272 would repeal the Open Enrollment Program, as well as the Open Enrollment Reinsurance Program. In its place, the Ohio Health Insurance Risk Pool would be created to provide health care coverage to individuals who are unable to obtain affordable health care coverage in any other manner. This would eliminate the annual periods of open enrollment that sickness and accident insurers, health insurance corporations, and multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) are currently required to hold. “The Ohio Health Insurance Risk Pool would provide a state fund for those without health insurance coverage. We would support this concept and have various suggestions for funding. We would theoretically be able to reach ten times more individuals than the Open Enrollment Program does currently”, says Womer Benjamin.

House Bill 5 / Senate Bill 5 would permit small employers to offer health care plans that do not provide benefits otherwise required by law. The bill provides for the operation of health savings accounts that are consistent with federal law, and places a limit on an insured’s liability for co-payments and deductibles under a health benefit plan. ODI Director Womer Benjamin asserts that the bill “would provide more options for small businesses, and we are hopeful that that will pass”.

THE MASSACHUSETTS EXAMPLE

On April 4, 2006, Massachusetts House Bill 4850 was overwhelmingly passed by the state legislature. All Massachusetts residents will be required to obtain health insurance coverage by July 1, 2007. The state’s plan dictates that businesses with more than ten employees that do not provide health insurance coverage will be charged a fee of as much as $295 a year for each employee. Government subsidies to private insurance plans will provide affordable health insurance to a greater number of the working poor, and individuals who can afford private health plans will be penalized on their state income taxes if they do not have coverage. Should Ohio consider a similar plan in order to achieve nearly universal health insurance coverage? Ohio Department of Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin says that we need to “watch Massachusetts and evaluate the plan’s success and funding”. “Ohio has a larger number of uninsured individuals and is different than Massachusetts, politically.”

Ohioans have a large selection of health insurance carriers and government programs to choose from. Regardless of the provider, it is extremely important for individuals to obtain a health insurance plan. Director Womer Benjamin emphasizes that she is “concerned with people who don’t think they need health insurance coverage”.

About The Ohio Department of Insurance

The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) is an informative resource for those seeking information regarding health insurance options in the state. ODI asserts that its mission is to be “responsive to and safeguard consumer interests through education and vigilance while promoting a stable and competitive marketplace among insurance providers”. The Ohio Department of Insurance can help uninsured persons sort through their options, depending on their individual circumstances. For more information, call the ODI Consumer Hotline at 1-800-686-1526.

The Department is headed by Director Ann Womer Benjamin, who was appointed in January of 2003, and is the first woman to hold this position. Prior to this appointment, Womer Benjamin served in the Ohio House of Representatives for eight years.

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