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Plan and Prepare

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Plan and Prepare

There are numerous ways you can plan, prepare, and do to ensure a long and healthy life.

*Eat healthy – Veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy *Find a physical activity – CrossFit, basketball, football, baseball, running, kickboxing, boot camp, muai thai, MMA or other martial arts, even walking with a friend on a consistent basis). Pick one. *Find your bliss or mix and match – he options are endless. *Put your head in a good place mentally – the power of positive thinking; what you believe you attract *Choose happiness – no matter what life throws at you, choose to find a piece of good in all things

New information is thrown at us daily in regards to ways we can learn about new tricks to staying healthy and living a long life.  However, sometimes, fate steps in and takes the reins for a moment or two, often mangling our plans in extreme ways. There’s nothing you can do to stop the inevitable, but you can plan appropriately. Again, the key word being PLAN.

We know that it is hard for some people to be comfortable with the idea of purchasing life insurance. Knowing the inevitable can still be a hard pill to swallow – but you have to.

You can do everything possible to live a healthy life, but you still have to take the extra steps to protect yourself and more importantly, protect your family.

Life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance ( and more) are all polices you should make part of your entire plan. Knowing you are living a healthy life isn’t enough to plan and prepare for the future. Financial planning and protection must be part of your daily health plan as well.

Plan  and Prepare
Plan and Prepare

Health Insurance – A Necessity of Todays Life.

Health Insurance is the only solution for increasing health care cost in today’s world. It is an absolute necessity to have yourself insured as it will help keep you and your family safe and insure that you do not get engulfed with health care bills if one of you should have an accident or have grave health issues.

Many people do not get insured because they think that it is a waste of money and consider medical insurances to be very costly. But the fact is that it is not that costly and you can get it for a fair amount of money.

The simplest and cheapest way of getting a good health care insurance is through your employer. But you must underst and that when you leave that job you may lose the coverage. Other way of getting health care insurance is through a personal plan. Entrepreneurs & people whose employers do no offer coverage, acquire this kind of insurance. This kind of insurance policy will come out of your pocket, but the cost of insurance is much cheaper than bearing your own medical costs.

If you have to go with a personal health insurance then be sure to shop around to ensure you get the best coverage for the really best price. There are numerous insurance companies offering different health/medical insurance plans but before you choose one, you need to think of few important things like general state of your health, your age, any medical problem history, your boozing and smoking habit etc. If you are going for family cover, then your will need to find these details for each member and then think carefully what kind of coverage you want. Do not conceal any medical problem from insurance company as bearing a claim denied later because you had failed to disclose medical truth to the insurance company would be far more displeasing – and very expensive.

A careful study of above mentioned factors will help you decide the kind of coverage you need and where you can cut the expenses of premium. This might appear like a boring process, but it will assist you considerably in ascertaining appropriate and affordable health insurance and making sure your health care needs can be met by the medical insurance you select.

Health Insurance – A Necessity of Todays Life

Health Insurance is the only solution for increasing health care cost in todays world. It is an absolute necessity to have a good health insurance as it will help keep you and your family safe and insure that you do not get engulfed with health care bills if one of you should have an accident or have grave health issues.

Many people do not get insured because they think that it is a waste of money and consider health insurances to be very costly. But the fact is that it is not that costly and you can get health insurance for a fair amount of money.

The simplest and cheapest way of getting a good health care insurance is through your employer. But you must underst and that when you leave that job you may lose the coverage. Other way of getting health care insurance is through a personal plan. Entrepreneurs & people whose employers do no offer coverage, acquire this kind of insurance. This kind of insurance policy will come out of your pocket, but the cost of insurance is much cheaper than bearing your own medical costs.

If you have to go with a personal health insurance then be sure to shop around to ensure you get the best coverage for the really best price. There are numerous insurance companies offering different health/medical insurance plans but before you choose one, you need to think of few important things like general state of your health, your age, any medical problem history, your boozing and smoking habit etc. If you are going for family cover, then your will need to find these details for each member and then think carefully what kind of coverage you want. Do not conceal any medical problem from insurance company as bearing a claim denied later because you had failed to disclose medical truth to the insurance company would be far more displeasing – and very expensive.

A careful study of above mentioned factors will help you decide the kind of coverage you need and where you can cut the expenses of premium. This might appear like a boring process, but it will assist you considerably in ascertaining appropriate and affordable health insurance and making sure your healthcare needs can be met by the medical insurance you select.

Estate Planning – What About Life Insurance?

Copyright 2006 Ronald Hudkins

Not too many years ago life insurance was considered to be the indispensable platform upon which all other estate planning efforts should be based. In fact, for those in the median and lower income ranges, it was often the only recognized method for protecting one’s heirs, particularly in the event of untimely death. However, over the past twenty or so years, the concept of financial planning has changed considerably. The proliferation of varied retirement plans available through work (IRAs, SEPs, SARSEPs, mutual funds, etc) has changed people’s perspectives about the need for life large life insurance policies.

Does that mean that you don’t need life insurance? No. Most people, perhaps with the exception of the very wealthy, do need some sort of life insurance, although even the very wealthy may opt for a life insurance policy (generally whole life) to defray the costs of burial and estate taxes.

In general, the options are whole life (also called permanent insurance) and term life, with variations like universal life or variable life that combine some of the benefits of each. Different companies offer different options, but which you need and how much you need are matters for heated debate. Those who sell one and make most of their commissions from it will vehemently try to convince you that the other is not a good investment. Here are some facts for your consideration.

Whole Life Insurance Advantages:
• Offers a guaranteed death benefit no matter how long you live
• Is generally not subject to rising premiums; rates stay the same
• Many policies become “paid up” at some point (15 years, age 65, etc.) after which no more premiums are paid
• Has investment value which can be cashed out after some specified interval
• Can be borrowed against in case of financial emergency
• Can, in many cases, occasionally earn dividends depending on the company’s solvency and accuracy in predicting actual costs
• The income from a whole life policy is tax deferred
• Can be cashed out after age 65 and used for retirement

Whole Life Insurance Disadvantages:
• Costs more than term life insurance
• Generally returns a fairly low rate of interest
• Does not begin to accumulate any real value for the first 10-15 years
• If the policy is surrendered within the first few years, money paid into it is lost
• Does not provide the investment value of a mutual fund or other investment

Term Life Advantages:
• Premiums are generally very inexpensive
• Lower premiums allow the buyer to purchase more insurance with higher death benefits
• Can be quite useful if the buyer only needs coverage for a specified period (while paying off the mortgage or while kids are in college, etc.)
• Leaves the buyer with more money to purchase other investment vehicles like mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. that provide higher rates of return than whole life
• Often beneficial for younger families who can’t afford whole life rates, but need to insure the primary income earner

Term Life Disadvantages:
• Only pays if and when you die; you can never personally recoup any of the money spent on term life insurance
• While premiums are lower than whole life, they also tend to go up and can become unaffordable
• Term life is only available for a specific term (up to 30 years), and then goes away; if you don’t die within the term, your premiums are lost

Almost everyone needs life insurance of one variety or the other. The type of insurance and the amount to purchase depend entirely upon you, your family and your mutual goals and needs. In any case, make sure the company you purchase insurance from is reputable and financially solvent. Don’t be convinced by a fast-talking sales person without doing your homework first. There are few remedies if your life insurance company dies before you do.

Eight Rules for Saving Money When You Buy Insurance

By following the eight rules explained here, you can save money, and just as important, you can save yourself from making serious mistakes when you shop for and acquire insurance policies.

Rule 1: Buy Insurance Only for Financial Risks You Can’t Afford to Bear on Your Own

The purpose of insurance is to cover catastrophes that would devastate you or your family. Don’t treat insurance as a chance to cover all your losses no matter how small or insignificant, because if you do you’ll fritter away money on insurance you really don’t need. For example, if your house caught fire and burned down, you would be glad you had homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is worth having, because you likely can’t— and you certainly don’t want to—cover the cost of rebuilding a house. On the other h and, insuring an old clunker is a waste of money if the car is only worth $800. You would be throwing away money for something you could cover yourself if you had to.

Rule 2: Buy from Insurers Rated A or Better by A.M. Best

Insurance companies go bust, they are bought and sold, and they suffer the same economic travails that all companies do. Between 1989 and 1993, 143 insurance companies declared bankruptcy. You want to pick a reliable company with a good track record.
A.M. Best is an insurance company monitoring service that rates insurance companies on reliability. Look for insurers rated A or better by A.M. Best, and periodically check to see whether your insurer is maintaining its high rating. If your insurer goes down a notch, consider finding a new insurance company. You can probably get A.M. Best’s directory of insurance companies at your local public library, and you can find A.M. Best on the Web at www.ambest.com.

Rule 3: Shop Around

There are many, many, many kinds of insurance policies, and insurers don’t advertise by price. You need to do some legwork to match your needs with the cheapest possible policy. Talk to at least two brokers to start with. Look for no-load insurance companies—companies that sell policies directly to the public without a broker taking a commission—since they usually offer cheaper prices.

Rule 4: Never Lie on a Policy Application

If you fib and get caught, the company can cancel your policy. If you lie on an application for life insurance and die during the first three years you hold the policy, the company will cancel your policy, and your beneficiaries will receive nothing. Health, life, and disability insurers run background checks on applicants through the Medical Information Bureau, so you can get caught lying. The medical examination you take for life insurance can also turn up a lie. For example, if you smoked tobacco in the previous year, it will come up in the test.

Rule 5: Don’t Buy Specific-Risk Policies—Buy General Policies Instead

When it comes to insurance, you want the broadest coverage you can get. Buying insurance against cancer or an uninsured motorist defeats the purpose of having an insurance policy. If you have ulcers, your cancer insurance will not help you. Get comprehensive medical coverage instead.

Uninsured motorist insurance is supposed to protect you if you get hit by someone who doesn’t have car insurance or doesn’t have adequate car insurance. But, in my opinion, you don’t need it if you have adequate car insurance yourself, as well as health, disability, and life insurance. I should point out that some attorneys advise you to carry uninsured motorist insurance because, by doing so, you may be able to recover damages for “pain and suffering.”

Rule 6: Never Cancel One Policy until You Have a Replacement Policy in Place

If you cancel a policy without getting a replacement, you will be uninsured for however long it takes to get a new policy. And if disaster strikes during this period, you could be financially devastated. This rule goes for everyone, but especially for people getting on in years, since older folks sometimes have trouble getting health and life insurance.

Rule 7: Get a High Deductible

You save money by having insurance policies with high deductibles. The premium for high-deductible policies is always lower. Not only that, but you save yourself all the trouble of filing a claim and needing to haggle with insurance company representatives if you have a high deductible and you don’t need to make as many claims.

People who buy low-deductible policies usually do so because they want to be covered under all circumstances. But the cost, for example, of a $400 fender-bender is usually worth paying out of your own pocket when compared to the overall cost of being insured for $400 accidents. Statistics show that most people have a fender-bender once every ten years. The $400 hurts to pay, but the cost of insuring yourself for such accidents over a ten-year period comes to far more than $400.

One other thing: If you have a low deductible, you will make more claims. That means you become an expensive headache for the insurance company. That means your rates will go up, and you don’t want that to happen.

Rule 8: Use the Money You Save on Insurance Payments to Beef Up Your Rainy Day Account

While you can save money on your insurance premiums by following the rules mentioned earlier, it’s probably a big mistake to use that money for, say, a trip to Hawaii. Instead, use any savings to build a nice-sized rainy day fund that you can draw on to pay deductibles. A big enough rainy day fund can cover both periods of unemployment and your insurance deductibles.

Determining How Much Life Insurance You Need

When considering life insurance, you’re planning and preparing for an event most of us would rather not think about. But life insurance represents a critical step in managing your personal finances and ensuring your family’s well-being.

The Two Approaches to Life Insurance

You can use one of two approaches to estimate how much life insurance you should buy: the needs approach or the replacement-income approach. Using the needs approach, you calculate the amount of life insurance necessary to cover your family’s financial needs if you die. Using the replacement-income approach, you calculate the amount of life insurance you need to equal the income your family will lose. Let’s look briefly at each approach.

You need how much?

Using the needs approach, you add up the amounts that represent all the needs your family will have after your death, including funeral and burial costs, uninsured medical expenses, and estate taxes. However, your family depends on you to pay for other needs, such as your child’s college tuition, business or personal debts, and food and housing expenses over time.

The needs approach is somewhat limiting. The task of identifying and tallying family needs is difficult, and separating the true needs of your family from what you want for them is often impossible.

Replacing Income

Using the replacement-income approach for estimating life insurance requirements, you calculate the life insurance proceeds that would replace your earnings over a specified number of years after your death.

Life insurance companies sometimes approximate your replacement income at four or five times your annual income. A more precise estimation considers the actual amount your family members need annually, the number of years for which they will need this amount, and the interest rate your family will earn on the life insurance proceeds, as well as inflation over the years during which your family draws on the life insurance proceeds.
Note: Do remember as you quantify the income you want to replace that Social Security provides generous survivors benefits if you’ve qualified. These benefits can easily total $2,000 a month or more.

Calculating Replacement-Income Amounts with Excel

If you’ve got access to a computer running Microsoft Excel, the popular spreadsheet program, you can use your computer to calculate the amount of insurance you need to replace a specified number of years of income. Suppose, for example, that you want to buy enough life insurance to replace the income from a $50,000-a-year job for 15 years. If you figure your family will earn 5% on the life insurance proceeds should the worst case scenario occur, you enter the following formula into a cell in an Excel workbook to calculate the replacement income life insurance amount:

=-PV(5%,15,50000)

Excel returns the formula result 518,982.90 indicating that you would need roughly $520,000 of life insurance, invested at 5%, to payout $50,000 a year for 15 years.

Two Calculation Tips

If you want to factor in inflation because you’re trying to replace income over a long period of time, you should use a real rate of return rather a regular, or nominal, rate of return.
To calculate a real rate of return, subtract the inflation rate from the interest rate in the formula. For example, if you expect 2% inflation, you could replace the formula shown earlier with this formula:

=-PV(5%-2%,15,50000)

Here’s a final calculation tip: You probably want to round up your number. For example, if the formula provided earlier returns the value 518982.90, you might want to round up this value to $600,000. Or $750,000.

A CPA Talks About Buying Life Insurance

Not everyone needs life insurance. The first thing to do is make sure you need it. Life insurance is really meant for your family members or other dependents who rely on your earnings.

Why You Buy Life Insurance

You buy life insurance so that, if you die, your dependents can live the same kind of life they live now. Strictly speaking, then, life insurance is only a means of replacing your earnings in your absence. If you don’t have dependents (say, because you’re single) or you don’t have earnings (say, because you’re retired), you don’t need life insurance. Note that children rarely need life insurance because they almost never have dependents and other people don’t rely on their earnings.

Life Insurance Comes in Two Flavors

If you do need life insurance, you should know that it comes in two basic flavors: term insurance and cash-value insurance (also called “whole life” insurance). Ninety-nine times out of 100, what you want is term insurance.

Term Life is Simple to Buy and Underst and

Term life insurance is simple, straightforward life insurance. You pay an annual premium, and if you die, a lump sum is paid to your beneficiaries. Term life insurance gets its name because you buy the insurance for a specific term, such as 5, 10, or 15 years ( and sometimes longer). At the end of the term, you can renew your policy or get a different one. The big benefits of term insurance are that it’s cheap and it’s simple.

Cash Value is Trickier

The other flavor of life insurance is cash-value insurance. Many people are attracted to cash-value insurance because it supposedly lets them keep some of the premiums they pay over the years. After all, the reasoning goes, you pay for life insurance for 20, 30, or 40 years, so you might as well get some of the money back. With cash-value insurance, some of the premium money is kept in an account that is yours to keep or borrow against.

This sounds great. The only problem is that cash-value insurance usually isn’t a very good investment, even if you hold the policy for years and years. And it’s a terrible investment if you keep the policy for only a year or two. What’s more, to really analyze a cash-value insurance policy, you need to perform a very sophisticated financial analysis. And this is, in fact, the major problem with cash-value life insurance.

While perhaps a h andful of good cash-value insurance policies are available, many— perhaps most—are terrible investments. And to tell the good from the bad, you need a computer and the financial skills to perform something called discounted cash-flow analysis. If you do think you need cash-value insurance, it probably makes sense to have a financial planner perform this analysis for you. Obviously, this financial planner should be a different person from the insurance agent selling you the policy.

What’s the bottom line? Cash-value insurance is much too complex a financial product for most people to deal with. Note, too, that any investment option that’s tax-deductible—such as a 401(k), a 401(b), a deductible IRA, a SEP/IRA, or a Keogh plan—is always a better investment than the investment portion of a cash-value policy. For these two reasons, I strongly encourage you to simplify your financial affairs and increase your net worth by sticking with tax-deductible investments.

If you do decide to follow my advice and choose a term life insurance policy, be sure that your policy is non-cancelable and renewable. You want a policy that cannot be canceled under any circumstances, including poor health. (You have no way of knowing what your health will be like ten years from now.) And you want to be able to renew the policy even if your health deteriorates. (You don’t want to go through a medical review each time a term is up and you need to renew.)

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