04. March 2017 · Comments Off on Know Your Finances – The 1st Step Towards Financial Freedom · Categories: Finance

One of the greatest mistakes you can make in managing money is not knowing where your money is going. About 90% of people who come to see me do not know exactly how they spend their money. Some may have small notebooks where they scrawl their monthly accounts but when they start to put everything down on paper, they are always surprised, if not shocked, to see the real state of their finances.

As obvious as it seems, most people just do not know their finances. This is always the most difficult part of managing money because, invariably, this is often when they realise they are spending more than what they earn. Money matters simply scare people. They are terrified to know how out of control their finances are. Yet, this is precisely what needs to be done before you can start working on a solution.

Planning and goal setting are critical to your success if you want to become financially secure. The two key traits of people who do not achieve this are, firstly, they tend to spend all of the money they have and, secondly, they do not know what they spend their money on. The lack of planning and goal setting is the main culprit. This is often referred to as “spending unconsciously”.

Unconscious spending is more prevalent in our society than we realise. The reason why people spend without giving it much thought is they have no goals. Without goals, you live unconsciously from moment to moment, you never plan for the future, you spend all of your money, and as a result, you are unlikely to ever become wealthy.

All good businesses manage their operations by planning and budgeting. They have benchmarks that they budget to and compare their profit and loss results. Major expense items, such as salaries, rent or advertising, are calculated as a percentage of sales and operating performance is analysed according to these percentages. There is no reason why you should not manage your own finances in this way.

The glue that holds all successful business practices together is the master budget. It ties in all facets of the business – marketing, selling, financing, research and development, and personnel management. Without a good master budget that incorporates all activities of a business, an organisation will end up floundering. And a floundering business is rarely profitable.

The budget provides the cohesion between the differing objectives of diverse parts of the business and creates a unified goal for the total organisation to work towards. It enhances motivation, delegates responsibility and provides important feedback on the progress of individuals and the organisation as a whole. Not bad, for a simple system – budgeting – that we all thought someone installed to punish us for our mistakes.

Budgets are not punishment. They are important, useful tools that guide us to where we want to go. They allow us to plan for our future yet control our circumstances along the way. They are not meant to be exact, but rather flexible and accommodating. They should change when we change, yet still be resilient enough to prevent us from going off the rails. They point us in the right direction and correct us when we fail. Without a budget for our finances, we are trying to win the 100-yard dash blindfolded.

In fact, if you use the same principles and apply them to your own personal finances you are well on the way to achieving financial independence.

Whilst it is important to become relaxed and carefree with your financial matters, this does not mean careless. You become carefree with money when you know that it is not a scarce resource, you set your financial goals, you invest a little time on a regular basis to plan and review your finances, and you systemically set aside part of your earnings regularly to build your savings and investments for the future.

You are careless with money when you do not keep track of what you are spending and squander money on things that are wasteful, extravagant and not needed.

Money management is about building a strong financial foundation that cannot be shattered regardless of what you may be faced with in the future. Regrettably, strong foundations take a little time to build. For those who want the instant wins and instant cures, their impatience is often the cause of their turbulent finances. If you are tired of worrying about money, now is the time to change. Take a little time out and start to think about what you really want. Set up a plan, follow a budget and be prepared to give it time to allow your money to grow.

26. February 2017 · Comments Off on Car Insurance Groups · Categories: Car Insurance

Car insurers need to take a range of factors into account when working out the price and details of your car cover policy. Where you live, your age and what sort of job you have are all considered by the insurance company. But the make and model of the car is also significant in the pricing and details of your insurance quote. To make things easier, insurance companies have developed a group system for cars, usually ranging from 1 to 20, but sometimes from 1 to 50. The groups are ordered on the basis of the cost of insurance, with the price of cover ascending from group 1, which is the cheapest.

Because cars in the lower insurance groups are cheaper to insure, it’s worth understanding how the insurance grouping system works. The Group Ratings Panel is the organisation which makes the decisions on the car insurance groups. Every month the panel, which includes members of the Association of British Insurers and Lloyds Market Association, gathers to advise on every new car built to United Kingdom specifications. Their recommendations will refer each new model to a particular car insurance group. The Group Ratings Panel gets the information it uses in making decisions from the Thatcham Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre.

To give a car a group rating, the Group Ratings Panel takes into account the value of the car if it was bought new at today’s prices. They would also need to know the damage and parts costs for the vehicle. The less it costs to repair and get new parts then the lower the insurance would be. Almost three-quarters of claims paid out by car insurance policies are for repairing vehicles, so companies often give this the most consideration in determining the cost of covering your vehicle.

The length of time it would take to repair the car is also important; for example certain modern paint jobs could take longer and therefore push the overall rating higher. The performance of the car can affect the group rating as insurers know from experience that faster or more powerful cars can increase the likelihood of an insurance claim. Engine size, the type of gearbox, year of manufacture, and make of the car can also affect the insurance group rating.

Other factors such as security, including Vehicle Identification Numbers, standard manufacturer fitted locks and immobilisation systems and other locking devices will help lower the car’s insurance group rating by the Group Ratings Panel. You can now search on the Thatcham Centre’s online database to get important ratings information on your car or a car you are thinking of getting insurance for. Insurance ratings are also worked out by assessing engine size, gearbox type, year of manufacture and a range of other specifications.

Your car and its insurance group rating
One of the first questions many of us have when choosing a car to buy is whether it will be expensive or cheap to insure. Most of the time we will have a fairly good idea if we know the value and performance of the vehicle. But to get a clear idea it is best to check with reliable sources. A range of established and impartial motoring services offer easy to use online databases to give you an exact group rating for the make and model of car you own or are considering buying. Alongside servicing and road tax, insurance can be one of the biggest purchases you make for a car each year, so its important to know the insurance group rating as part of your search for a good deal on cover for your car.

19. February 2017 · Comments Off on This One Habit Shows A Lot About Your Personal Finance · Categories: Finance

Personal finance is very personal and very financial. Money is just a small part of personal finance. A majority of personal finance is about your personal habits. Personal habits on anything (not just money). It permeates into habits on orderliness, discipline, personality, social style, etc.

Also, personal finance is not about how much money you acquire. It is about handling the money that you have already acquired. Most people believe that if they had a “lot” of money then all their financial woes have been solved. Instead of thinking of acquiring more (especially through the lottery), it is best you handle what you are acquiring. You must adapt the habits of those who can handle money properly and successfully.

There is one habit, one very particular habit, that reflects and illustrates your personal finance. This one habit depicts on whether you are succeeding in this money game or not. This is not my opinion but the opinion of many financial experts and financially successful people. Although I do heed to the advice of many financial experts, I definitely adhere to the advice of those individuals who are financially successful. The great thing about this particular advice is that you can acquire this particular habit and start succeeding in your personal finances. It is a great place to start.

What is this particular habit?

Place your bills in an organized way in your wallet or purse.

If I were to look at your wallet or purse now, how would your money be laid out? Will your money be all crumpled up in your purse? Will your money be folded around your wallet? Will there be coins all over your wallet or purse that are all over your wallet or purse?

You can change to start succeeding in your finances.

* Place your bills in an orderly way. Have them all with the portrait right side up.
* Now, organize your bills in such a way that you group the dollar bills as a group, the five dollar bills as group, etc.
* Make sure there are no folded corners in the bills.
* When you have your bills organized, you can now be very particular in spending them. In other words, you will be frugal in spending them.

Of course, you should refrain from using credit cards. Thus, the only way you can spend is by spending these neatly organized bills.

Now, some people may say that they do not have any bills to place in an organized way in their purse or wallet. Well, it is about organizing those bills that you do acquire so that you will start attracting more money into your life.

When you handle properly the money that you have now, you will attract more money from other sources.

11. February 2017 · Comments Off on California Health Insurance – Independent Health Life Agent Verses Insurance Company In House Agent · Categories: Health Insurance

You have just completed an online form requesting a free health insurance quote and moments later you are being inundated with phone calls from insurance agents hoping to get your business. Try not to become overwhelmed or annoyed by these “pesky sales people” because they are really not telemarketers. Most of them are well-trained state licensed professionals who can really help you make a good decision regarding which health plan is best and most affordable for your individual or group coverage needs.

You may be under the misconception that if you buy your health plan directly from the insurance company, and cut out the “middle person”, you will save money. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, insurance companies rely on agents for most of their business and that’s why they pay them commissions for bringing in customers. It does not cost a consumer one penny more to use a licensed California health insurance agent to obtain their insurance coverage.

There are many differences between California health insurance and other states including how it is applied for.

For example, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield are one company in other states, here in California, each is separate and applied to individually as Anthem Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California.

California health insurance law AB 1672 is an improvement over the federal HIPAA law that covers all states in that it includes the following with regard to California group coverage:

1. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may change over to a new group health plan without an exclusionary period.

2. It allows small businesses and professional organizations to have access to health plans providing they have between 2 and 50 full time employees.

3. It keeps insurance rates from climbing after a claim is filed.

4. Employees who have health problems may change jobs or health plans without being rated higher for having pre-existing conditions.

That said, the very best health insurance agent for your individual and business needs is an “Independent Agent.” Why? Because they represent multiple insurance carriers, not just one. An independent agent can help you select the most appropriate cost-effective plan offering the most benefits for your dollar as available from the major carriers, rather than feeding you just one company’s line of health plans which may not suit your particular needs. Many people are too complacent and settle for what their current insurance company has to offer. They could use a good independent agent to sort through the many plans available from multiple insurance carriers to find and provide the best choice of options.

Another misunderstanding you may have is that insurance agents set the premium rates for the health insurance plans they sell. Thinking if you shop around you may get a better price for the same plan. Premium rates are based on your age, zip code or county in which you reside and are controlled completely by the insurance companies. Every agent uses the exact same rate guides set by the insurance companies. The condition of your health may affect your premium, which may be rated up after the insurance company’s underwriting department has reviewed your medical records. Again, the insurance company, not the agent, determines that outcome.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of having a good insurance agent representing you. Most consumers neither know nor understand the benefits of a health plan being offered and need the expertise of an agent to explain the benefits to them in full. For example, do you know what the difference is between an “out-of-pocket maximum” and an “annual deductible?”

An out of pocket maximum is the most you will have to pay in a given year for deductible and coinsurance for covered benefits before your insurance starts to pay 100% of most expenses until the year ends.

An annual deductible is usually the amount you pay each year before your health plan starts paying anything for covered services. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Certain services such as prescription drugs carry separate deductibles. Plans may vary and sometimes benefits will kick in before you have to meet the deductible.

A knowledgeable health insurance agent can be a guide through the maze and help you choose the right plan to meet your needs and budget while obtaining the most benefits for your dollars spent. An agent will also make clear how the benefits for a generic prescription may differ from the benefits for a brand prescription on a particular plan.

After you have a health plan in place, a good, caring agent will remind you to pay your premium on time so the insurance company doesn’t cancel you. Your agent can also be an enormous resource for assistance if you run into a problem with a health insurance claim. Instead of waiting on hold at the insurance company’s 800 number for thirty to forty- five minutes, call your agent and explain your problem and if you have chosen the right agent, you will get help and may save yourself lots of time and frustration, maybe even some money by having an expert in your corner where your best interests come first.

So next time you or someone you know, fills out one of those on-line forms for a health insurance quote and you get several phone calls from health insurance agents wanting your business, be grateful that a professional wants to help you for free to choose the right plan and you’ll have an important friend for life.

05. February 2017 · Comments Off on Learn How To Buy A Car And Car Insurance Without Breaking Your Budget · Categories: Car Insurance

Do you ever wonder why different cars cost you different amounts for auto insurance premiums? Why is it that a new Corvette may cost you $1,600 dollars a month in auto insurance and an older Buick Regal may only cost you $90 per month? The new car insurance cost versus the old car insurance cost is a subject that you must review before you buy any car. Review insurance costs before you buy and you will not get caught in a financial trap.

New cars cost more to insure than old cars for three reasons. First, an auto theft of a new and exotic car costs much more than the auto theft of an older and average style car. This is because of the large value difference of the new car versus old car. For example, a new Chevy Caprice is much more costly to insure than an older Chevy Caprice. It simply costs more money to replace a new, expensive car than an older, less expensive car.

Second, the cost to repair a new car is much more than the cost to repair an old car. As such, this fact shall also increase your insurance premium cost for a new car. For example, if a new Chevy Caprice is damaged in an accident, the auto repair shop will charge you much more money for repairs than if the subject car were a ten-year old Chevy Caprice. For this reason, your insurer will charge you much more insurance premiums on a new vehicle than an older vehicle because of such repair costs.

Third, the style and type of car also shall greatly affect the cost of automobile insurance premiums that your car insurance company will charge you. Insurance companies use actuarial statistic tables which show them the past loss experience on particular styles and types of cars. They use these tables, to help calculate what premiums to charge their customers in the future. Statistical tables show these insurance companies that owners of certain styles and types of cars, such as sports cars, engage in more risky driving behavior than owners of cars that are of average type and style.

For example, insurance company statistical tables show that the insurer has experienced more losses with sports cars than with average cars. It is because the owner of a Corvette will probably drive such car faster and riskier than the owner of a Toyota Camry. With such speed and risk also comes along more losses for the insurance companies. With such risk and loss increase, the insurance company must then increase their return and charge more for auto insurance premiums.

Another example of how the type and style of vehicle may present an insurance company with more risk is the off-road style vehicles such as the Hummer line of vehicles. These vehicles are designed to perform in the off-road type environment. They are raised up off the ground more than regular automobiles for under carriage clearance. Additionally, they also have four-wheel drive capability.

With such design capabilities, the statistical tables show that the insurance company has experienced more losses with these types of cars than regular cars. This is because the owners of such vehicles will engage in off-road driving which is both risky to the vehicle and driver. In fact, some insurance companies may bar recovery for such damages, when the owner of the insured vehicle was damaged while any engaging in risky, off-road driving. Again, with more risk, the insurance company will increase return and thus auto insurance premiums. Now that you know that certain styles and types of cars cost more to insure than others, you have to be smart about what kind of vehicle you are going to buy.

Rather than take a guess at what you believe a vehicle’s insurance costs are, call your car insurance company and ask your insurance agent for a free car insurance quote for the exact type of vehicle that you are interested in buying. You can get a definitive answer to your question of whether or not you can afford both the car and the insurance premiums required to cover your car against insured losses.

The time to make such assessment is not after you purchase a vehicle. At that point in time, it is too late. The time to make such assessment is way in advance of your purchasing an automobile. You definitely want to be able to make both car payments as well as insurance premium payments. Get a free auto insurance quote ahead of time and avoid financial problems.

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