Yearly Archives: 2019

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Comparing Auto Insurance

comparing auto insuranceComparing auto insurance can be overwhelming. As a result, many people just pick a policy and stay with it. But pricing varies depending on your age, location, vehicle and even your credit score, so re-evaluating your options every few years is worth the effort.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • If you have undergone life changes – such as having a baby, turning 25 or moving to a new city – you may be eligible for a discount. If you had a ticket or a violation dropped recently, ask your agent to remove the surcharges on your policy.
  • When talking to your agent, ask questions about your existing coverage and any extras that come with the policy. It’s important to make sure you have everything you need covered, and equally important that you are not paying for features you don’t want or no longer need.
  • Many insurance companies consider your credit score when deciding on premiums, according to Consumer Reports. If you have great credit, make sure your agent knows. If your credit is less than perfect, talk with a financial advisor about ways to improve it.

Finding the right auto insurance is possible. Know what questions to ask, and don’t be afraid to ask them. Comparing auto insurance could save you money today, as well money, time and frustration down the road if you are in an accident.

Written by Alicia Vallee, a Phoenix-based freelance writer.
Photo credit: FrameAngel courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
By |June 10th, 2019|Insurance|

Building Lasting Relationships

building lasting relationshipsThe most successful financial planning focuses on building lasting relationships. We strive to develop long-term collaborative relationships with our clients, based on mutual respect. So, your success becomes our success.

Certified Financial Planner practitioner Jim Mailliard shares a recent experience to illustrate this point. In this brief video, he talks about mentoring young men battling substance abuse. Those interactions, he explains, helped him recognize one of his key professional skills. Providing a calming presence when life gets challenging.

 

Building lasting relationships sometimes means providing a calming presence when life gets challenging.

By |June 3rd, 2019|Financial Planning, Video Blog|

Explore Long-Term Care Options

Mike McCann, CFP, AIFThe common U.S. life expectancy is 87 years. When you live into your 70s and beyond, the likelihood that you’ll need long-term care is considerable. Of course, much younger people can require these services, too, as a result of accidents or illnesses. About 30 percent of new long-term care insurance claims begins by age 80, and another 25 percent between ages 81 and 85, according to industry data for 2018. It’s important to explore long-term care options sooner rather than later.

Long-term care expenses average from $4,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on the level of care.

Yet, private health insurance policies, Medicare supplemental plans and group/employer plans generally do not cover long-term care costs. Medicare benefits are limited to 100 days and offered only after a hospitalization or injury. The Veterans Administration typically only covers long-term care for those with service-related disabilities.

Long-term care insurance pays for care when you become unable to care for yourself due to a disability or chronic condition; 99 percent of policies cover nursing home, assisted living and home health care. Annual premiums average $2,800. That said, different companies offer different rates and discounts, so premiums can vary by as much as 60 to 90 percent.

Our health changes, especially as we grow older. So it’s smart to look into care options well before reaching retirement age. This is especially true if you have a family history of chronic disease or disability.

There are many options for funding long-term care, and it’s important to gather as much information as possible to find the best one for you. Here are some examples:

  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money aside tax-free for medical costs, including long-term care insurance premiums.
  • Specialty or hybrid products like Life/LTC policies and LTC Annuities are becoming more common.
  • Pensions or Social Security benefits can help, depending upon the amount of money you receive and the care you need.
  • Retirement and other investment savings, if significant, may provide for your long-term care needs.
  • A home equity credit line, reverse mortgage or outright home sale can help fund care.
  • When all options have been exhausted and your income/assets have been depleted, Medicaid programs will cover nursing home care (but not assisted living care).

Before making any decisions, talk with your financial advisor. He or she can help you explore long-term care options and find the best financial solution for you and your family.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (longtermcare.acl.gov), American Assoc. for Long-Term Care Insurance (aaltci.org), Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Morningstar.com Center for Insurance Policy and Research, Genworth.com
By |May 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Should Millennials Rent or Buy?

Should Millennials buy or rent a home?When choosing between renting or buying a home, only 37 percent of Millennials today opt for ownership, according to a report from the Urban Institute. That’s 8 percentage points lower than the two previous generations at the same age (24-35 years). Reasons range from personal preference to economic reality, or a combination. Should Millennials rent or buy a home?

Personally, I am in my mid-twenties and am still building up savings. My husband also has a highly mobile job. Settling in one place for many years is not an option right now. We currently rent our home for those reasons.

For others our age, factors include delaying marriage, large student debt and a preference for living in high-cost urban areas. According to a report at housingwire.com, the average mortgage payment for the U.S. median home in 2018 was $1,578, compared to an average monthly rent of $1,267. When faced with these costs and the reasons listed above, renting is usually the option Millennials choose.

Should Millennials rent or buy a home? Ultimately, the decision depends on one’s current financial situation and readiness to make a long-term commitment in purchasing a home.

For those who can afford a down payment and closing costs, have a stable job in their location of choice, or are ready to start a family, buying can be a sound investment. People who need flexibility, aren’t sure where they want to put down roots, or have substantial debt, renting may be a better option. Working with a financial planner can help you figure it out.

Written by Alicia Vallee, a Phoenix-based freelance writer.