Insurance Tips From Larry the Cable Guy

My kids are in college and there isn't a whole lot of disposable income left after tuition payments are made. I was watching educational television (okay, it was Larry the Cable Guy) when I realized that after 4 years of tuition payments there won't be much left. Truth is, I'm scared half to death.

"What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?"

Insurance Tips From Larry the Cable Guy

Good question, Larry. I decided then and there that I needed insurance. I'm very skeptical of anything that requires one to pay upfront on the speculation of anything else happening. After all, that's how many of us lost our retirement funds roughly 5 years ago. Remember how real estate was a sure fire investment? I sold my house at a loss. And the expression "Trade long, not short?". Thanks to my financial adviser I'm long on debt and short on tax deductions. While I'm fairly sure there is no such thing as income tax insurance, its time for me to find out what is available to address my needs and budget.

"Change is inevitable, except from vending machines."

It will cost more than a little pocket change to get insured properly. But then, what is considered proper and what is excessive? I can't afford to waste money on insurances that I don't really need. Time to do a bit of research before I call an insurance agent.

"42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot."

It was much easier finding out what I don't need rather than what I do need. The following is a list I made of the insurances that have the most unlikely event of paying out. I call them casino insurance policies because the percentage of payout is extremely low, making them a windfall for insurance companies and, odds are, a waste of money for you and I.

Accidental Death Insurance

I discovered that only 5% of folks between the ages of 45 and 65 die of accidental causes. I figured this was one type of policy I would need until L learned that most life insurance policies cover accidental death anyway. This insurance is redundant.

Cancer Insurance

One can be covered in the event of contracting a particular cancerous disease. Who knew? This seems to make sense on the surface until one discovers that, like accidental death, this is usually covered in a term life policy. Not only that, but often not all types of cancer are covered. Skin cancer, for example, is usually exempt. Not only that, but this type of insurance can be expensive. For those over 65 years of age, why not use the same monies for pay for prescription drug coverage?

Mortgage Insurance

Should you die before your time, you can have insurance that pays off your mortgage. Seems reasonable, particularly if your spouse doesn't work. However, who do you really want to pay upon your death, your heirs or the bank? Again, a standard term life insurance policy is a better answer. The payout goes to my spouse who can then allocate the funds as she sees fit. Pay some tuition, then use some to pay pay taxes, pay down the mortgage, or whatever she finds to be financially prudent at the time. Why would I want to have anyone else dictate my loved ones' future financial moves?

Credit Card Fraud Insurance

Taking advantage of recent news headlines and borrowers alike, credit companies offer insurance against identity theft and loss in the event of stolen credit cards. Funny thing is, the feds enacted a $50-per-card card holder liability limit on purchases made with a stolen card. You're already covered, really. Talk about a scam. Flight Insurance According to planecrashinfo.com, the likelihood of being in a fatal plane crash (assuming you're flying with a major carrier) is 1 in 11.4 million. Knowing that flight insurance is expensive, does that sound like a good investment? Not to me.

"When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane."

This exercise taught me several things. Firstly, a simple term life insurance policy seems to cover all these unlikely events plus some. Its a sound investment and one that will ensure that my kids finish school and my spouse won't have too much to worry about should I go into the fertilizer business, be placed on the unable to breathe list, buy a pine condo, or any other euphemism for death that you might prefer. All the above quotes can be attributed to Larry the Cable Guy, which brings me to the second thing I learned. Cable TV really can be educational.

Issues You May Face Having An Accident With A Financed Car

We would all probably choose to pay for our car with cash but for most people that just isn’t an option. Sometimes we need to get car finance to buy our car and there a number of car finance packages available. These include deals from the showroom where we buy the car, a loan from the high street bank, a special car loan from a specialised company and so on. Whatever the car credit you choose always make sure you do your research first to make sure that you get the best possible rate.

Car insurance might not cover all costs

Issues You May Face Having An Accident With A Financed Car
So lets imagine you have brought a new car from a car dealership with a car loan. You have had your car for around a year when you are involved in an accident and your car is written off. The accident was your fault, so you may be surprised to find that the car insurance you have is not enough to cover the whole cost of the car finance. A lot of people mistakenly assume that their comprehensive insurance package will cover the entire cost of the car, but it doesn't include the cost of the finance. This is a very tricky situation and would leave you in a difficult position. Not only have you had your car written off, the insurance company won’t pay for what you owe on the car finance. If you aren't able to make up the shortfall then you could be sued by the car credit company and this will seriously damage your credit score.

Gap insurance or PPI

There are ways though that you can avoid this situation. Gap insurance is available for people who might find themselves with this scenario. This will cover the difference between what your car is physically worth to the insurance company and the amount outstanding on the car loan. This insurance isn’t widely advertised but can be a godsend for people who buy cars with car finance and then either get their car stolen or written off. It means that you won’t find yourself out of pocket as the Gap insurance you took out will cover all your financial losses. Another way you can try to protect yourself is to get PPI, payment protection insurance. This will cover you if you are unable to work due to the accident and so are unable to pay your car loan.

Getting car finance is a good idea to enable you to buy the car you really want but you should always be aware of the pitfalls including what happens if you have an accident in a car you are buying on finance. As explained however, even in this case there are ways to avoid losing out financially.

Most Unfair Dismissals

Being dismissed from work can happen at the worst time, and there are many times when it happens for reasons that are not fair to the employee. Unfair dismissal claims can provide compensation to those individuals that have been dismissed unfairly whether the unfairness branches from the way that they were fired or the reason behind it. Its often hard to determine what constitutes as unfair, however, because each person is sure to have a different opinion on what that is. A solicitor can help determine whether you have a chance an unfair dismissal claim, but there are things that you should take into consideration so that you have an idea of whether or not youre wasting their time.

What is fair?

There are five reasons that the courts consider fair when it comes to dismissing an employee Redundancy, Capability or Experience, Conduct, Statutory Restrictions or legal reasons, and other substantial reasons such as refusing to except the company changes that are being made and conforming to the new requirements. There are also certain steps that an employer must take when theyre dismissing an employee in order for it to be considered a fair dismissal.

Most Unfair Dismissals
Step 1 Employee must be given a written warning of the problem that could cause them to be fired. If there are any issues at all in the workplace, employers are required to inform you that something isnt working.

Step 2 Disciplinary meeting to try to correct the problem that keeps occurring. When changes need to be made to the way youre working, it is important that they work with you in order to correct it before terminating you.

Step 3 Written notification of the results of the disciplinary meeting. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, this could result in termination.

Step 4 Employee must be given notice of their right to appeal the decision.

If any of the above steps arent taken, an employee may have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. Although it may seem that the rules are in black and white, there are areas that can get a little confusing and may require a professional. Because there are some areas that are a little greyer than others, its important to talk to a solicitor if you think that you have been unfairly dismissed from work.

Conditions to claims

There are often conditions to being able to file an unfair dismissal claim. Although there are exceptions to the rule, most employees mustve worked for the company for a certain length of time in order to have the right to file for unfair dismissal. The time frame of continual employee can be anywhere from one to two years, but there are also those individuals that dont qualify at all. Freelancers are not entitled to unfair dismissal claims for instance, and neither are sub-contractors. Unfair dismissal claims also only have a three month window. You must file a claim within three months of being terminated or your case is invalid. This makes it even more important to get started right away if you thing that you may have a case.

Most Unfair Dismissals
There are also circumstances where the employee may be entitled to an automatic unfair dismissal claim. These often occur if the employee was dismissed because they were exercising their general employment rights. These include everything from taking time off to care of dependents to whistle blowing and any kind of discrimination. Although there are many reasons an employee might need to take time off of work, it is also important on the employees end to make sure they aren't taking advantage of their rights. If an employee takes excessive time off of work to take care of sick family, then the employer may request a note from a doctor to ensure that they are not being taken advantage of.

Regardless of whether you've been given notice for your termination or not, there are things that you must consider when determining whether or not you have cause for an unfair dismissal claim. If youre not sure if you your case is eligible, it doesnt hurt to talk to an experienced no win no fee solicitor so that you can get the benefits that youre entitled to if you are. We all think that we know our employers, but this is hardly ever the case and its hard to become comfortable in our job if we know that theres a possibility that it wont be there in a week, and unfair dismissal claims are designed to protect us from unfair termination in all lines of employment.

Keeping Detailed Information On Real Estate Deductions

There is a reason that so many people around the world despise tax season. It is that time of year where they have to wrestle with a tax code that is comprised of millions of words, dwarfing even the Bible in size and scope. CPAs have a hard time understanding it, so how can a normal human being? The government wrote it, and they can't understand it. So what to do, what to do? The only thing you really can do is to keep detailed information on real estate deductions and other holdings. What can happen to you if you decide not to? Bad, bad things. And not all of them pertain to the dreaded IRS audit, though you will certainly find that one in the list below. In fact, there is really no better place to start.

1. The IRS Audit

Real Estate Deductions
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, on his classic sitcom of the 1990s, once referred to an IRS audit as "the financial equivalent of a full scale rectal examination." While Seinfeld's joke was obviously just that, there is a lot of truth to what he states. When you are audited, your financial records are laid bare for all the world, or in this case the IRS, to see. If you do not have the detailed information that you need to make things work out, then you could end up paying in more - a lot more in many cases. While sometimes IRS audits may actually work to the advantage of the taxpayer, this does not happen very often. And either way, it's a massive headache to deal with, so just avoid it at all costs.

2. Missing Tax Refund Monies

Not every mistake that you make will work to your disadvantage. If you are not keeping good tax records, then it is inevitable that you will end up missing out on incentives, loopholes, credits, or deductions, that actually end up with you getting a higher amount back from the government come April 15. Remember, it is never a bad thing to keep all of your paperwork and report everything, because there is a very good chance that you will stay out of trouble doing so.

3. Your CPA will love you for it

A certified public accountant is often the person, who must deal with your taxes. By giving him or her all the information they need, you could end up paying much less in the total cost of return. If you are a problem case, then you could incur more expenses, simply from being so disorganized.

Don't take chances. If you have anything tax related for the year, make sure it ends up in one stack, pile, or box together. Tax season will be so much easier as a result.

5 Types of People That Should Probably Have Life Insurance

If you or your family depend on the income of a particular family member, then there is a good chance that you need to purchase life insurance. When an individual signs a life insurance policy, a binding agreement is entered between the insurer and the policy holder. The insurance company agrees to pay benefits to the beneficiaries listed on the policy in the event of the policy holder’s death. The cash benefit paid is meant to replace that person’s income. For some individuals, buying life insurance does not make sense. Understanding the types of people who should buy life insurance can help you determine if it is something you need.

Married with Kids

Life Insurance
Married people tend to share their financial obligations, especially when kids are involved. If both individuals are working, it is wise to take out life insurance policies on the husband and wife. A larger life insurance policy should be purchased for the one who makes the most money. If one person dies, the surviving spouse can continue to meet the needs of the family by paying the bills and caring for the children.

Stay-at-Home Parent

Some people consider stay-at-home parents to be the last group of people who need life insurance, but that is simply not true. Although stay-at-home parents do not earn an income, the contributions they make to the family lessen the financial responsibility of the spouse who is working. If a stay-at-home parent dies, the surviving parent will need to make arrangements for child care, transportation and other household activities vital for maintaining a family. The benefits paid in the event of the stay-at-home parent’s death will help the surviving spouse pay for these necessary items.

Single Parent

A single parent has a ton of responsibility when caring for their family. Single parents act as the caretaker, financial provider and much more. In most cases, children are totally dependent on the care provided by a single parent. This is a primary reason why single parents should have life insurance. In the event of death, the guardian who gains custody of the kids can use the life insurance benefit to care for the kids in the manner the deceased parent desired while living.

Business Owners

Business owners are another group of people who should probably have life insurance. Life insurance not only allows the business owner’s family to maintain their standard of living, but can also make sure the needs of the business are properly handled. For example, life insurance on a business owner can be structured in a way that allows the remaining owners of the company to buy out the deceased owner’s interest in the business. Life insurance on a key person within in the business can help the company afford to hire a replacement.

Retirees

Individuals who are retired can also benefit from life insurance because it can help their heirs handle estate taxes after the person dies. The beneficiaries will receive the cash benefit immediately after the insured person dies so that all financial obligations can be paid.

4 Unusual Ways to Make Money on the Internet

There are loads of ways to earn money on the internet but a lot of these require a good level of technical expertise, or require you to embark on a time consuming project.

But there are loads of more unusual ways to make money online. The four listed below are certainly strange but they're also either easy, fun or rewarding. Earning money doesn't have to be boring!

Sell Your Hair

Make Money on the Internet

Selling your hair online to make money might sound a bit drastic but there's a chance it could net you more than $3000 dollars. There are a fair few hair trading websites out there but the highest fee ever paid on thehairtraider.com is a staggering $3,600 for some luscious blonde locks!

Most of us won't be offered quite so much but the average fee for a good sized chuck is still around $500 dollars. The buyers normally use the hair to make wigs, but they can also be turned into extensions or used on dolls.

Helping Students

The internet really has connected the whole world together, which is great news for school and college students who need help with their studies. Teachers and parents can only spend so much time helping their children but websites like Tutor.com offer a permanent learning base.

Make Money on the Internet
It's not only great for students as adults can make a lot of money by offering their expertise on websites like Tutor.com. You don't have to a professional tutor to get involved but it's imperative you offer some genuine help and support. There's no place for chancers or scammers on the site!

Becoming an online tutor is a great way to earn money from the comfort of your home. And because the website offers a 24 hour help service the hours are completely flexible. Also if you're after a career in education it's hardly going to look bad on your CV.

If you use the service properly and maximise its features you can earn a lot of money so it's definitely worth looking into.

Playing Games

Getting paid to sit down at your computer and play games all day sounds too good to be true, but it really does happen.

Ways to Make Money on the Internet
Take World of Warcraft, the world's popular online multiplayer, as an example. The game has more than 10 million subscribers and many of these users will offer you real world money in exchange for gold, the in game currency. All you have to do is find it.

I should warn you that selling gold goes against the games terms and conditions and could lead to your account being cancelled. But if this doesn't bother you then sell away. You should be able to get about $15 for ten thousand pieces of gold. You'd think 10,000 pieces of gold would be worth more than this, but it's important to remember the gold isn't real. Essentially you're exchanging $15 for nothing.

Do Whatever You Want! (for $5)

It might sound strange but visit fiverr.com and you'll find thousands of people selling all sorts of small goods and offering crazy services for $5. Fiverr was launched in 2010 and hosted more that 500,000 offers in its first year. Since then the website has gone from strength to strength and now allows users to bolt on extras to their services and charge up to $20.

Ways to Make Money on the Internet
So what sort of stuff do you find on Fiver? Well the answer is pretty much anything. There are loads of users offering practical micro tasks to help a company maximize their social marketing, or an individual set up their blog. And if you're looking for a laugh you definitely won't be disappointed as there is an abundance of funny offers. So if you want some monsters photo shopped in a nice family photograph or some expert advice on dreadlocks then Fiver is the place to you.

It really is the perfect place to make a little extra cash as you can post up anything you want. Obviously the offer needs to be taken up so it's a good idea to think of something an individual might want to buy!

History of the Barristers' Wig

Before the barristers' wig was introduced, those who served in the law courts wore a black cap of flat bonnet. However, during the 17th century, things changed. In 1680, the legal wig was made from white or grey hair that was usually powdered. This served for the next 150 years. In the early 1820s, a new form of wig was invented by Humphrey Ravenscroft. This wig was made using whitish-grey horsehair. Many people loved and embraced it since it was very easy to maintain and did not require curling, powdering, perfuming or even frizzing.

History of the Barristers' Wig
In the early days of its introduction, most judges thought of wigs as a representation of power and as such, did not allow junior advocates of the law to appear in court sessions with the legal wig. However, this has gradually changed and wig wearing is now accepted as the mode of dressing in most courts for all legal practitioners.

For women barristers, they need to arrange their hair in a way that will allow them to wear the wig with ease. Just like any other mode of dressing, there are different sizes to accommodate the different sizes of people.

How Hygienic are the Wigs?

The very first types of the barristers' wig were made from human hair. In most cases, people who owed money would sell their hair to wigmakers in order to clear debts. In addition, the trade for human hair of the dead was also prevalent and provided a raw material source for the making of legal wigs.

In the past, the courtrooms were not very clean. Most of the wigs would have lice, which was not very hygienic. Eventually, they would become smelly and this made courtrooms have a bad stench. This is part of the reason why the material used had to be changed to horsehair. The barristers have found a way to keep them clean and also have several sets of wigs on hand so they can rotate their use. If not well maintained, they attract lice as well as cause dandruff.

When Does One Get to Wear the Wig?

History of the Barristers' Wig
As soon as a law student completes the Bar Vocational Course, they are admitted to the bar. This is the entry point in the field of law and at this point one will need to have the legal wig in order to start practicing.

This same practice was adopted by most countries that were colonised by the British. Long after the end of British colonisation in these countries, the practice is still common with past British colonies.

Symbolism of the Barristers' Wig

Wigs are a representation of dignity as well as the seriousness of the court system. The barristers' wig is also considered a sign of privilege and most barristers are proud to have them on. In most legal jurisdictions, judges determine the dress code for the barristers and a judge will not listen to any barrister that does not meet the required dress code, including the wearing of wigs.

Where do You Buy the Barristers' Wig?

There are various stores that will offer all the official accessories for lawyers and other legal professionals. If one cannot afford a new wig, there are so many options of getting the wig at the second-hand market. Mostly, the second-hand wigs are sourced from those who have retired from the legal profession.

Maintenance of the Wig

In most cases, the wigs do not need any professional care or expert handling. When the barrister is done with the wig, they just shake it and keep it in a steel box. The box also has a special bag where it is kept with other garments. In most cases, the wigs will outlive the barrister since they hardly wear out.

However, one needs to look out for any form of untidiness as well as cases of fading or colour loss. If this happens, it is a clear indication that the wig needs to be replaced.

When are the Wigs Worn?

In most cases, the wigs are required to be worn during court proceedings. As has been already indicated, some judges would not allow a lawyer without the wig to practice in their courts.

Are There Times When Wigs are Not Worn?

There are several instances when wigs are not worn by barristers. Some of the occasions include :
  • When appearing in a Magistrates' courts
  • If the barrister is from a religion that wears a turban.
Now, there is an on-going debate as to whether lawyers should continue wearing wigs or not. Critics say that the wig is uncomfortable to wear, itchy and ridiculously expensive. They further argue that it's discomforting nature makes it a distraction when presenting a case before the jury. Since lawyers need a cool and collected head to present their case, they argue the wig doesn't help in this direction.

Defenders of the wig however argue that it helps to provide anonymity in court, so that judges do not prefer one barrister to the other.

These arguments will continue to exist, and proponents and critics will always advance their arguments.

Money Management Tips

As we get older and as we take on more and more responsibilities, money management can become a more and more challenging process. Suddenly we find ourselves with more different outgoings and standing orders than we can count, and worse is the fact that all of them come out on different days. Some of them won’t even be the same each month and this can make it difficult to keep track of it all to say the least.

Money Management Tips

Then on top of all this are things like savings that we might be making to go on holiday, or just in general, and the various expenses and purchases we make. Combined with multiple incomes many of us have no idea what our bank balance looks like at any given time.

Here then we will look at how you can get on top of this and start to track your various expenses and incomes so that you have a better idea of your cash flow. At the same time we’ll look at how to plan toward saving something, and we’ll look at how all this can help you to save money.

Financial Modelling

You might think that you’ve got it bad when it comes to money management, but compared to a large corporation you have relatively very little to calculate and keep track of. So how do these big conglomerates manage?

The answer is by using something called ‘financial modelling’. Here they will make a graph, chart or general projection of their finances based on their existing money to help them visualize their income and overheads, and to help them plan for the future based on their projections.

Money Management Tips
You can do something similar yourself by using a spread sheet program like Excel. Here you will input your various outgoings and income into the sheet so that it keeps a tally of everything that is coming in and out. If you include a date, then having a quick look at that can tell you how much will be coming out each day – but it can also help to make a little list and to stick it to your fridge door.

More importantly what you can do with the spread sheet is to include some maths to calculate how much you should have coming in and out and how much you will be left with each month. This then allows you to budget, and means that you know how much spare you have at the end each month.

If you are happy for this to be a rough guide then you can set aside a set amount for your food and other expenses and include that in the calculation. However, better yet is to fill out specifically what you have spent each month as you go. The best way to do this is by using a cash book and making a little note each time you spend any money – whether it’s a cup of tea or a brand new TV. Then when you get home at the end of the day you can transfer the total amount to that month’s spread sheet and this will allow you to see how much you’ve spent so far, how much is left, and whether you will be able to afford the upcoming bills as they approach.

If you find that you struggle to stick within your budget, then a great strategy is to use multiple accounts and to set up standing orders between them. This way you can ensure that your savings are automatically transferred from your main account meaning you can’t dip into them without using your other card. At the same time you can ensure that money comes in from another source just before the date of your insurance debits/loan repayments etc which will prevent them from bouncing.

Why You Should Rent, Not Buy

In the past, home ownership was seen as the ultimate goal for most people. With the availability of cheap and easy credit, the process of getting a mortgage was almost as simple as other basic aspects of financial planning, such as making sure to compare current accounts on a regular basis. Times have changed, however and people are much more wary about the long-term commitment owning a property can be.

Location, Location, Location

Why You Should Rent, Not Buy
Actually finding a house in a place they will want to live in the long term is one of the first hurdles for buyers. The job market is far from stable and it is becoming much more common for people to have to travel long distances for work, or take on shorter-term contracts. This could mean for a home owner that the cost of travelling to work is prohibitive and makes the location of their property highly inconvenient.

If someone is in a renting situation, then it is much easier to make a move sooner than a homeowner would be able to. Whereas a home owner will have to put their property on the market and hope that a buyer can be found, someone in rented accommodation just needs to give the prescribed period of notice as laid down in their rental agreement and look for a home in their chosen new location.

Hidden Costs of Ownership

However new a property, there will be maintenance involved. This can not only be time consuming, but also extremely costly. A home owner is, of course, responsible for either making good all their own repairs or paying a professional to do the work for them. If the homeowner is in work, then this can be difficult to arrange at a convenient time.

For most rented accommodation the onus is on the landlord to keep the property in a good state of repair and to arrange repairs as necessary. The landlord will have a key and so rather than the tenant having to wait around waiting for a tradesman, the landlord will make arrangements for work to be carried out and supervise that work.

Money, Money, Money

Why You Should Rent, Not Buy

The main thing to consider when buying a property rather than renting is the expenses that will need to be met. Most lenders are now much more cautious about whom they will lend to and so many people will find that mortgage finance is not available to them. Even if it is available, the huge amount that can now be demanded as a deposit often puts buying beyond reach. On top of this, there will be search fees, arrangement fees for the mortgage in most cases, estate-agency fees, valuations and many other financial factors to take into account.

While home ownership is still something that will come to many in their lifetime, there are lots of reasons to consider carefully whether this is the best option for each individual. In harsh financial times, every penny counts and every opportunity - such as making the effort to compare current accounts - needs to be taken to identify potential savings.

Top 7 Ways to Save When Buying Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is expensive. And if you are a driver, there is no legal way of getting around it. According to a 2011 insure.com study, the average American driver spends more than $1,500 per year on auto insurance. And in Michigan, the average driver spends more than $2,200 per year on insurance.

To help you cut your expenses, we provide our top 7 ways to save when buying auto insurance :

#1. Keep a Clean Driving Record

Nothing raises insurance rates faster than at-fault accidents. Insurances rates may rise hundreds of dollars after a collision, especially if you have other at-fault accidents or traffic violations such as speeding. The best practice in staying out of accident is to be a responsible driver and keep your speed down. Speeding is a leading cause of serious injuries and fatality accidents. Also drive defensively. Keep plenty of space between your vehicle and those in front of you. If weather conditions are adverse, adjust you speed accordingly.

#2. Drive an Older Car

Save When Buying Auto Insurance
Vehicle repair can be costly. Property damage claims and total loss accidents cost auto insurance companies billions of dollars a year. While prices vary by model and by company, the more expensive a car costs, the more expensive are the repairs and total loss value.

If a car has less value, then a driver is likely to pay lower insurance rates to drive it. While this may be true, it is still wise to driver a car that has more modern safety features such as side airbags and electronic stability control.

#3. Shop Around

Just because you get your insurance policy renewal form doesn’t mean you should just pay it. There are dozens of companies selling insurance in your state. Whether it is online, by phone, or in-person, take the time to shop around and compare prices. While you should factor in other considerations besides price, a few minutes of your time could save hundreds of dollars on your new policy term.

#4. Look for Companies that Target Safe Drivers

Insurance is about risk. The more likely you are to file a claim, the bigger risk you present to an insurance company. As a result, drivers that have a past history of traffic violations and collisions pose a larger risk for insurers and correspondingly pay more for coverage. A driver’s age, marital status, and credit score may also be factors.

Look for companies that target drivers with excellent driving records. For example, in Washington and Oregon, Pemco is a company known for low rates but their insureds need to maintain a safe driving record or their coverage may be dropped. Since the cost of claims is shared among the pool of insureds, companies typically must keep their risk low to offer low rates. Larger insurers may do business under a variety of different names to target different categories of drivers and spread out risk.
 
#5. Check for Individual Discounts

With all the companies offering “discounts” in can be hard to cut through the pricing to know who is actually providing a low price for auto insurance. Nevertheless, it never hurts to make sure to check with companies and make you are getting credit for all qualifying discounts, which may include good driver, good student, multi-policy, multi-vehicle, military, anti-theft devices, safety devices, and vehicle tracking systems.

#6. Check for Group Discounts

In addition to individual/family discounts, if you are a member of an association, union, or club you may qualify for group discounts. Also, if you are a member, consider the Costco auto insurance program, which is offered through Ameriprise Auto & Home.

#7. Don’t Pay Attention to Insurance Ads

Insurance companies spend billions of dollars a year on advertising with each seemingly offering savings of hundreds of dollars, discounts, money back, accident forgiveness, and ticket forgiveness. Even if you see a discount that appeals to you or fits your situation, it is still best practice to shop around and compare rates.

Following these top 7 ways to save when buying auto insurance could make a big difference in the rate you pay. But remember, customer service, claims service, and financial stability should also all be important factors when insurance shopping.

Moms Should Consider Cash Advance When Short on Cash

Moms Should Consider Cash Advance When Short on Cash
For busy moms, finding the solution to a temporary financial bind can be exhausting. If you go to the bank to apply for a personal loan, who will watch your children while you slog through the application process? How much will you have to pay the babysitter? Not to mention, how much will you pay in fees and interest? Moms in need of cash will find it much easier and cheaper to take advantage of cash advance loans due to quick and easy processing, a simple fee structure, and a quick payoff time frame.

Fast and Easy Process

Many cash advance companies accept applications online, meaning a harried mother can fill it out at her leisure during nap time or while the kids are engrossed in their favorite movie. Should you have questions or need assistance, a quick phone call is usually all that is needed to get your application completed. When compared to the process of applying at a bank or borrowing money from a credit card, which may involve packing up the kids, driving and possibly finding a sitter, a cash advance is the easiest option for a mom's busy schedule.

Simple Fee Structure

Reading the fine print of a personal loan application or credit card advance agreement with a tired three-year-old in the room is next to impossible. Luckily, a cash advance loan is a straightforward solution. The interest and fees are calculated based on the agreed-upon payoff date, with the total amount due disclosed before the loan is taken. Because there are no surprises, moms won't have to dip into money set aside for the holidays or camp to pay off the loan. A simple and transparent fee structure means you won't be blindsided by mounting interest or an overdue fee. Your cash advance loan will usually be paid directly out of your checking account on the payoff date, eliminating the possibility of late fees and additional interest.

Quick Payoff

With a credit card advance or personal loan, a busy mom will have one more payment to make every month. However, with a cash advance, the entire loan is paid from the next paycheck. This means that there is no lingering cost to shoulder. Parents who want to continue putting money into college funds each month will do well to consider a short-term cash advance loan rather than take on an additional long-term loan that will bleed funds from the family budget for months to come.

When a mom needs money, finding the time necessary to apply can be a challenge. Fortunately, a cash advance loan offers up simple terms and fee structures to make the process easier than taking out a personal loan from a bank or using a cash advance from a credit card. Finally, the quick payoff of a cash advance means that the family finances won't be derailed in the future. A cash advance loan is often the best solution to a temporary financial setback, and the process is perfect for any mom on the go.

Personal Finance for the Unemployed

Good financial practices are important for everyone, but especially for the unemployed. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your money until you are able to find another job. Being out of a job is scary. When you're unemployed, you no longer have a reliable source of income, and there is no telling when you will find a new job, either. When you have no idea where your next paycheck will come from, let alone when, it is especially important to have a good handle on your finances. Here are a few tips to help you manage your finances as efficiently as possible until you find another job.

Make a prioritized list of your bills and spending

Personal Finance for the Unemployed
The very first thing you need to do, if you don't already have this information written down as part of your budget, is to make a list of everything you spend money on each month. Put the most important expenses at the top of the list, and the least important at the bottom of the list. For instance, any secured loans, such as your mortgage or a car loan, go at the top of the list, because these things can be taken away from you if you don't pay. Lights, heat, food, and other important necessities should come next. In the middle of the list should be unsecured loans, such as credit cards, because the things you bought with the money cannot be repossessed if you fail to pay. At the very bottom of the list come the unnecessary expenses, such as eating out, entertainment, cell phones, and so on. If things get tight later on, and you don't have money to pay all of your bills, this list will help you identify which ones are most important. For instance, even if the lights get turned off, that's easier to rectify than if you get kicked out of your home.

Eliminate all unnecessary expenses

Once you've created your list of expenses, identify everything on the list that isn't absolutely necessary, and eliminate it. This includes things like cell phones, cable, eating out, and entertainment such as magazine subscriptions, Netflix, or going to movies. You should also take a hard look at your food bill, too, and see if there's anything you can do to pare it down -- even if that means eating a lot of mac and cheese and ramen noodles until you find a job again. Don't let yourself feel like eliminating these expenses means you can't have any fun, though. Remember, there are free or practically free ways to replace some of these luxuries. For instance, you can usually check out movies and music at no charge from your library, even if you have to wait a little while to get them because of long hold lists. You can also read many of your favorite magazines on the Internet, or go to the library and read them there.

Don't go without health insurance

Although it may be tempting to go without health insurance in order to save money, don't -- doing so can have disastrous results. For instance, if you get really sick while you are uninsured, not only are you without a job, but you could also be suddenly faced with thousands of dollars in medical bills. Instead, take advantage of COBRA or find a way to get cheap health insurance coverage, such as switching to high deductibles. This quick health insurance guide will help you figure out what to do.

See if you can save money on your taxes

If you've been unemployed for a while, you may be able to save money when you file your taxes, so be sure to check into tax breaks for the unemployed. Saving money on your taxes may mean a larger tax return, which is more money in your pocket when you need it most. For instance, you may be able to deduct job search expenses or the cost of moving in order to take a new job.

Find ways to raise cash

When you are out of work, cash is the most important thing. Don't make extra payments on your car or credit cards, and if things get tight, see how much money you can bring in by selling things. For instance, you can have a garage sale or sell things on Craigslist, or even sell your more valuable items on eBay. There are also many small jobs you can do to make extra money each month. Remember, the more cash you bring in, the longer you can make your savings last.

Use all available resources

Personal Finance for the Unemployed
The first resource to take advantage of is unemployment. A lot of people worry that unemployment is some form of welfare, which it is not -- employers basically pay into the system, which then pays out if you get laid off for whatever reason. It also won't affect your credit, so there is literally no reason not to take it. It will only be a percentage of your paycheck, and may only give you an extra $200 or $300 a month, but whatever amount you get is that much less you'll have to use of your savings. Unemployment usually only lasts 26 weeks, however, and isn't available to you if you quit your job voluntarily or if you got fired for something you did. If you can't get unemployment, or if yours has run out, there are other resources to help support you until you find work. Don't be afraid to apply for food stamps, as a couple hundred dollars a month will help you to stay out of your savings and pay other bills until you find work. Also find out where food banks are located in your area, so that you never have to decide between paying a bill and feeding your family.

Don't add to your debt or borrow against your retirement unless it's an emergency

One major rule of thumb is to never increase your debt while you are unemployed unless there is no other way. This means you should not rely on credit cards to help you maintain the lifestyle you were used to before you lost your job, but also that you should never dip into your home equity for anything short of a dire emergency. Also, never withdraw money from your retirement account or from other investments unless you absolutely have to. Taking money from your 401(k) can cost you a lot in taxes and early withdrawal penalties. Also, taking just $10,000 out of your account now can cost you more than 10 times that in 30 years.

Be smart!

Being out of work is scary, because you never know when you'll be able to find another job. It may only take a few weeks before you find something else, but then again, it could be months. Your best approach is to minimize your spending as much as possible now, be as smart as you can with your money, and settle in for the long haul, just in case!

Personal finance habits you should avoid – Know what not to do

Personal finance habits
When you take out loans to meet any financial need you take up debt upon your shoulders. Debt is never a nice thing to have, no matter why you have incurred the debt. It is very much important that you take care of your personal finance habits and get out of debt as soon as possible. This is because most of your debts, especially the unsecured one have a high rate of interest. Thus you keep paying more money than what you had borrowed as long as you have the debt. Here are some bad personal finance habits that you should avoid.

Being satisfied with long work hours and low wages – With the current condition of the job market, most people get satisfied with any kind of work they have. However, if you are flipping burgers from 9 to 5 throughout the week, it simply is not enough to sustain your family and pay your bills. Working for long hours in order to make up the difference leaves you drained out of all energy. Even if you are working part time to finance your education, if you work too long, you become perpetually exhausted and unable to concentrate in your education. It is also not good for your health which can become worse in the long run.

Going credit crazy during festival season

The festive season and holiday season coincides at the end of the year, and it is this time that people usually go credit crazy, shopping for all the wonderful goodies on display. You need to put an immediate stop to this. Most of the times you have to spend 5 years to pay back what you spent on that one month and the amount keeps adding up every year. Try to make this work for you and your family during Christmas without indulging in too much of lavishness.

Using credit cards instead of cash

If you use your credit card in a responsible manner and pay off all your balances at the end of every month, then you can use it for most of your everyday transactions. However, if you already have a hefty amount as credit card debt then it is absolutely necessary that you stop using it for minor purchases as you are going to add to the amount of debt.

Banking on bankruptcy

The laws of the nation makes bankruptcy quite an accessible option for the citizens. However, the consequences of bankruptcy also ensure that individuals don’t repeat their foolish behavior with money again. It is important that you don’t look upon bankruptcy as a sort of insurance plan against bad financial behavior and decisions that you have taken. The drop in credit score that occurs after bankruptcy makes it virtually impossible for you to get a new loan such as mortgage, car loan or even an unsecured loan or credit card at5 suitable rate of interest.

Not having required insurance

If you own a car, you need to have insurance by the laws of most of the states in America. Thus you would be required to purchase auto insurance. When you are buying a house, the lender of your mortgage would usually ensure that you buy a private mortgage insurance, thus if you fail to pay your mortgage due to loss of work, then this insurance can pay for it. Apart from these, you should have a health insurance for sure so that you don’t have to spend fortune in future on health care costs.

Thus you can see how the above habits should be avoided in order to ensure that you take care of your personal finance better.

Is Your Car Insurance Policy A Lemon?

Car Insurance Policy
In almost every state in the US, you have to carry car insurance if you want to drive legally. A few states allow uninsured drivers to continue driving, but those people still have to pay into a risk pool that can cost as much as insurance. Because everyone has to have an insurance policy, however, it can be easy to get stuck with a company that charges too much, doesn't respond properly in the event of an accident or doesn't offer the right discounts.

If you have one of these insurance policies, you might not even know it. That's because the vast majority of America's 450,000 drivers find one insurer and stick with them. If you haven't spent much time shopping around for new insurance, you may not be aware that your current policy is something of a lemon. Here are some warning signs to look for in case you're concerned about the quality of your auto insurance.

Poor Availability

Good car insurance companies are available when you need them. If you call or email and don't get an immediate response, your company should reply within twelve to twenty-four hours. Your insurer should never make it hard to contact them, especially if you've had an accident or need to ask questions about your insurance policy.

Increasing Prices

If you've had your car insurance policy for many years, you can expect rates to rise a little with inflation, but they should be balanced with discounts for customer loyalty and good driving. Similarly, if you've had an accident, you can expect your premiums to rise a little, but they shouldn't skyrocket.

Car Insurance

If prices just seem to keep rising, it may be time to look for a new car insurance policy. Remember that the best-looking deals can come with a lot of strings attached, so it's important to do your homework as you search.

Poor Discount Options

Any good car insurance company will offer a range of discounts to encourage good driving habits. Generally, you can expect discounts for a clean past driving record, very good credit and maintaining other insurance, such as your life or home policies, with the same company.

Young drivers, who are often at a disadvantage because of their experience, should be able to improve their premiums by maintaining good grades or taking driving safety courses. If your car insurance company is unwilling to offer discounts of this kind on your policy, you may be looking at a lemon.

Few Customization Options

Many people carry only the minimum car insurance required by their state or local area. When you need it, however, your insurer should be willing to offer a range of different options that allow you to put together the perfect policy for your needs.

You don't drive the same car, make the same amount of money or live in the same area as the rest of the people your insurer covers. Why should you have to use the same insurance policy. Avoid insurers that offer just a few “one size fits all” policies and won't adjust your coverage according to your income, location and coverage requirements.

Hard Sell Tactics

You should never feel pressured to choose one particular policy or upgrade to carry more coverage than you feel you need. If your insurer likes to send you a lot of marketing materials, pressures you via email, phone or in person to choose a bigger policy, or otherwise makes you uncomfortable, it's time to look for another option.

Is Your Car Insurance Policy A Lemon?
Good insurance companies will offer you a range of higher-end policies, but they won't make you feel obligated to buy them. You should be able to expect your insurance agent or company representative to lay out the differences between policies for you, then let you make your own decision. If you feel like your insurer is using hard sell tactics, find a company that respects you more.

When it's time to leave your old insurer and look for a new company that'll treat you better, start your search online. You can get plenty of free quotes and find the widest range of options that way, and you won't have to feel hemmed in by your local agents. Be sure to check out policies from many different insurers. Make sure you feel comfortable with the terms, flexibility and customer service of your insurance company.

No one should have to feel like they're stuck with a car insurance policy that doesn't meet their needs. If yours seems to be out of date or unfair, it's time to shop around. Your policy doesn't have to be a lemon.

Quick Guide to Buying Renters Insurance

Quick Guide to Buying Renters Insurance
People who rent homes are often unaware of the need for insurance. Despite being one of the cheapest insurance offerings, renters insurance is often neglected because tenants are either unaware of the option or ignorant of the risks. Many assume that any insurance for damages caused by fire, theft, or natural disaster are covered by the landlord or owner of the property.

On the contrary, the property owner is only responsible for insuring the building, and not the items contained within. Your valuables and personal effects are your responsibility, and can only be insured by obtaining proper renters insurance.

Key Coverage Features

There are many features that renters insurance covers that will help alleviate the financial burden in the event of a disaster. These include but are not limited to :

Contents Coverage - This type of coverage compensates you for loss of personal property. The amount you are entitled to will either be the cost of a full replacement or the actual cash value of the item, depending on the type of coverage you apply for. Most renters insurance policies will give you a detailed breakdown of what is and isn't covered by your plan. They should also make clear what sort of events constitute coverage, such as fire or theft.

Quick Guide to Buying Renters Insurance
Liability - Liability is another coverage commonly thought to be covered by the landlord. However, if someone injures themselves while in your apartment or rented home, the responsibility could be yours. An example of this would be a pet that attacked a visitor, or a piece of equipment that you owned and negligently placed where it could do harm. Some policies will even include the cost of a lawyer should a legal claim be filed against you. Liability limits are usually capped between $100K and $500K.

Medical Payments - If an individual other than a member of the household is injured on the property you rent, having renters insurance will cover you for their medical bills and expenses. These options are generally quite flexible and can cover up to $50K.

Loss of Use - Some disasters can result in your property not being livable. Although the landlord will be responsible for the building, the loss of your apartment means you will have to find temporary housing elsewhere. Renters insurance will cover the cost of a hotel until you can find a new place to live.

Other Optional Coverages

In addition to the primary coverage offered by renters insurance, many policy providers also offer coverage for identity theft recovery, jewelry and art pieces, earthquake coverage, and loss due to water back-ups.

Common Costs and Discounts

Many renters insurance policies offer a number of attractive discounts, which include but are not limited to the following :

Bundled packages - Like most insurance products, bundling your renters insurance with your car insurance can diminish your costs.

Safety Discount - Having fire preventative measures like sprinklers and additional smoke detectors lowers your risk and your premium. Additonally, a burglar alarm or security system will do the same regarding theft.

Loyalty or Paid-In-Full Discount - Paying 12 months worth of premiums in advance may earn you a discount, as well as renewing your policy and staying loyal to a company.

On the whole, renters insurance protection is highly inexpensive. The average cost ranges between $10 to $25 each month, depending on your level of coverage. Costs can be further attenuated by opting for a high deductible and low personal property coverage.

How to Teach Teenagers to Save Money

The instinctual habits of preserving and economizing are not something hardwired into the DNA of an individual. Instead, the upbringing of your kids will determine whether they enjoy saving money or rather spend extravagantly. It should be noted that the word “saving” is not synonymous to “ungenerous” or “stingy”. Rather, saving money reflects the habit to conserve and spend wisely.

Save Money
Even though teaching your kids about saving money is essential, the pressing issue is at what age the process should begin. Various articles proclaim to teach your kids about money from as early as the age of 2. Childhood is supposed to be a carefree and fun-filled time, and teaching children about money might inflict negative implications on their character.

Therefore, the appropriate time to start is in the pre-teenage and teen years of your kid. During the teenage years, piggy banks and meager gifts on savings lose their charm. Therefore, complex methods should be adopted.

Teaching Teens to “Own” Money: 10 – 12

At an age of 10, provide your kids with $5-10 a week. This is an additional sum over their normal activities - get-togethers with friends or any actions they would normally do. This strategy is aimed at inculcating the trait to “Own Money”. By owning money, they will develop the desire to conserve it.

It also helps you monitor the behavior of your child if provided with money. Link this money with the completion of chores. By punishing them over incomplete chores, you will teach them the importance of money-management. But do not continue this punishment for a longer period of time as it might hinder the purpose of teaching and instill rigidity, which is quite common in the teenage years.

Open a Saving Account

Now simultaneously open a saving account at your nearest bank. This will encourage your child to deposit money at the account, which earns interest or profit.

Budgeting and Responsibility: 13 - 15

Now add certain requirements to the allowance you provided in the first instance, for e.g. saving half of the weekly or monthly allowance for specific occasions, such as Christmas. Instead of paying directly for their activities, increase their allowance and encourage them to be responsible for their own spending.

Wish List

But before adding to the responsibility, sit down with your child and discuss a list of long-term priorities. This might include goals such as a laptop for High School, vacation trip after graduation, or even payments for a car. This step will ensure that your child learns a long-term perspective and start learning and building a complex financial budget.

Complete autonomy: 16 – 19

Your child would have started earning by now. Even if that’s not the case, let them enjoy complete autonomy over their monthly purchases, but within the limits of a budget. Monthly shopping, including clothing and sneakers should be left to their discretion, but within a limit that is feasible for you. Also encourage your child to search for discount deals online or conduct comparison shopping.