Running a business is never easy as there are many different types of risks involved that goes along with it. Even well-established businesses are not without any risks. No matter the type of business you have or are involved in, the risk of financial losses are always looming on the horizon and that you will never know of them until claims from such are made. In order to protect your business’ finances, getting a commercial insurance becomes necessary as this will essentially cover you from any of the financial damages that may incur within the confines of your insurance coverage policy.
Getting a commercial insurance is never easy as there many details involved along with the different policies and coverage to choose from. When getting a commercial insurance for your business, it is recommended that you do some research first on the different policies being offered by insurance companies so as to have an idea as to which are best suited for your business. By having a basic idea on the policies being offered, you will have a much easier time when it comes to choosing the commercial insurance policies that you think you need.
Doing informed decisions is always best, especially when it comes to deciding on insurance policies. Even if you do not fully understand the context of the different policies that are being offered, knowing the coverage involved within each policies along with their exclusions can give you a better decision-making judgment. Aside from doing a little bit of research on commercial insurances, it will be in your best interest to consult an insurance broker as opposed to going to an insurance company immediately.
The reason on why it is better to go to insurance brokers like that of Calgary Commercial Insurance Brokers is because these people are very knowledgeable about the different insurance policies they sell and that they can educate you much better and even give you their educated advices. They are also affiliated with different insurance companies which is why they won’t push you on a particular insurer.
On the other hand, if you go to an insurance company, it will be an insurance agent that will entertain you. Agents hardly really know what they are talking about as their main objective is not educating you on the different policies available to you, but more of selling you the insurance you are there to buy. For this reason, going to an insurance broker will be the better choice as not only will you be enlightened, but you also will not have that feeling of having been ripped off.
From time to time we find ourselves needing (or wanting) a little more money. In addition to working (a sure way to find money), I have found additional ways to find money.
Over the past month I have found money in the following four places:
I recently saw a story on unclaimed property that was being held by the state. The Unclaimed Property office in Florida maintains a website (like many states) to reunite unclaimed property and money with their rightful owners. These items can be utility deposits, dormant accounts at financial institutions, and miscellaneous items from safe deposit boxes. Currently, in Florida, there is over $1,000,000,000 (yes, Billion!) in unclaimed property and accounts that they are maintaining custody of while waiting for the rightful owner to claim it. While I did not find any items for myself, a quick search did locate items belonging to two close relatives. Many states have these types of registries, just search for “Unclaimed Property” and your state using your favorite search engine.
By far, this is one of the biggest areas I see where improvements can be made when I am working with people on their finances. If you are not currently using a monthly, written budget, you really owe it to yourself to use the forms provided on the Resources Page and read You, Inc. These two links will assist you with finding money by identifying areas where spending is out of control and areas where you can eliminate convenience spending all together. A budget, when properly done, will tell your money where to go – not where it went. I continue to save money based on previous actions I took on Health Care Expenses, and Food.
Yes, I know – this sounds simple and it is. The problem is that after a year or so of selling your stuff, you need to do it again. With the recent drop of the price of gold I decided to look again around my house to see if there was any gold or silver that I had missed last year when I was trying to find money. The few items I found were worth over $1,000 for my scrap gold. Seriously, it was not that much jewelry, actually thought it would be worth about $200 – $300, not $1,000! We also when through other items in our home and found children’s clothes, toys, furniture and hobby supplies to sell that brought in another $500. Gold Selling Tip: I do have a warning, be sure to get quotes from 2-3 stores before selling your gold. I received two lower offers before settling on the last offer I received. The lowest offer was $60 less than what I accepted.
This is another way I found extra money. I found three mystery shopping companies and applied for mystery shopper jobs. While these are sometimes as simple as taking a couple of pictures of items within a store, they can be as involved as interacting with store employees using specific scripts to audit employee performance. The amount of compensation varies with each side job but I have been able to earn over $300 in the past month.
If you need to find money, start by looking at these four areas. I am still surprised that I have found over $1,800 using the ways listed above.
Did you find some money using the methods above? Do you have another suggestion on where to find money? Share a comment below.
You can get more money saving tips and articles by connecting with me on Facebook and Twitter.
If you are paid biweekly, or even every week, you have the opportunity to save an entire paycheck twice each year. Don’t lose that extra money you receive each year.
How It Happens
If you are on one of these pay plans then, twice a year, you receive an extra paycheck. The reason I call this an extra paycheck is because ten months out of the year you receive, and live on, two paychecks a month. However, twice a year you will receive three paychecks a month. Now for those who are paid weekly, stick with me, you also need to look for the months where you will receive five paychecks instead of four and apply the same process I will detail below.
Now before you learn the hard way, there is one problem, the timing of the three paychecks does not typically allow you to save the extra paycheck since they are usually needed to pay bills. Since I was living like approximately 68% of American households, living paycheck to paycheck, I could not just save that additional paycheck without some planning.
How To Solve It
You have already proven that you can live ten months out of the year on two (or four) paychecks, so save the extra income received the other two months. In order to save the extra paycheck you need to split the savings up over the next three paychecks so you can continue to pay all of your bills and save the paycheck. The extra paycheck comes at the end of the month, right before bills are due, and it is easy to miss this opportunity if you are not prepared to take advantage of it.
For 2013, March, May, August and November have five Fridays, so the last Friday of these months will be the extra paychecks we will target to save. Once again rent/mortgage payments are generally due at the beginning of the month so saving all of the third paycheck is nearly impossible, unless you have a plan.
How It Works
Here is an example of how to shift the third paycheck from May and November and save that extra paycheck in June and December, with a paycheck of $1,200 biweekly and monthly bills of $2,400:
. Typical Scenario: Your New Saving Scenario:
Monthly Bills: $2,400 $2,400
Biweekly Paycheck #3: $1,200 $1,200
Biweekly Paycheck #1: $1,200 $1,200
Biweekly Paycheck #2: $1,200 $1,200
Total Income: $3,600 $3,600
Savings – Paycheck #3: $ 0 $ 400
Savings – Paycheck #1: $ 0 $ 400
Savings – Paycheck #2: $ 0 $ 400
Total Savings: $ 0 $1,200
Savings Missed: $1,200 $ 0
In this example I split up the savings over three paychecks and was able to save an entire paycheck. If you use this method you may need to adjust how much you save out of each paycheck but you will still be able to meet your budgeted financial obligations and save the extra paycheck.
Remember, if you don’t do this plan, the extra paycheck will find a way to slip out of your account with little or nothing to show for it. This way of managing the extra paycheck is the normal way of managing money where things happen to your money without you thinking about it. I did this for years but I decided that I don’t want to be normal and I now choose to save the extra paycheck and choose where my extra paycheck is spent.
Something Will Happen
Knowing how to save your extra paycheck allows you to choose where you want that extra monthly income to go instead of wondering where it went. If you are not sure of the best way to use this newly found money to your financial situation, contact me, and I will help you find the solution that is right for you.
So what are you going to do with those extra paychecks?
Are you aware that the cost of many long-term care services in your home or community are likely not covered by your health insurance or Medicare.
Why You Need It
Services like a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a continuing care retirement community, or adult day services are a few examples of services not covered by your Medicare, MediGap, or health insurance. These services can cost up to $130,000 per year based on the level of services desired and where you live. Having a long-term care insurance policy will provide you with care options that would otherwise be unavailable or too expensive for your financial situation.
How It Works
Unlike long-term disability insurance that replaces your income based on your ability to work, long-term care insurance is there to pay for the costs of services not covered by the types of insurance mentioned above and is based on your ability to perform various daily functions. When you price a policy there are options for the daily benefit payment amount and the number of years you will receive that payment. An example of the cost and benefit is a 50-year-old person living in Florida would pay $155.88 per month for a policy that would pay $300.00 per day for 5 years. That is $1,870 per year in payments for the ability to receive $109,500 a year in benefits.
When to Buy?
Since the chances of needing long-term care insurance increase with age, the decision of exactly when to purchase is debatable. Generally it is agreed that purchasing coverage before age 50 is not a good financial choice. This is because the earlier you purchase an insurance policy, the more investment returns you will lose out on – however, the longer you wait – the greater the risk you will experience a long-term condition and not be eligible to purchase coverage. For me, based on the statistics I have reviewed, I will be purchasing a policy by the time I turn 60 years old. Additionally since most wives out live their husbands, a long-term care insurance policy will help protect our budget and retirement savings if I end up needing long-term care services.
Other Possible Coverage
Before you go out and purchase long-term care insurance, check to see if you already have access to coverage through one of the following:
- For U.S. Veterans – check with the Department of Veteran Affairs to see if you are eligible for long-term care services.
- Older Americans Act
- Specific State programs for coverage
Have you thought about when you will be purchasing your long-term coverage?
After you have a plan to handle short-term income disruptions, next you will need to evaluate your financial plan for long-term income disruptions. This long-term income protection can come in the form of long-term disability insurance.
Why You Need It
The chances of experiencing a disability that lasts at least six months, before you reach retirement age, is 3 in 10. While a 3 in 10, or 30%, chance may sound low, consider this:
- 3 in 1,000 (.003%) – The chances that your home & contents will be damaged by fire this year.
- 1 in 4 (25%) – The chances you will be involved in an auto accident in your lifetime.
- 3 in 10 (30%) – The chances you will be disabled for at least 6 months during your working years.
- 7 in 10 (70%) – The number of survey respondents that indicated they could not cover normal living expenses for more than 6 months if they experienced a disability.
How To Get It
A long-term disability insurance policy (long-term income protection) can be purchased as an individual or through your employer, if offered. If you choose to purchase through your employer, make sure that the policy is “portable”. The portable option means that you can take the policy with you an individual if you leave your employer.
How It Works
After you purchase a long-term disability policy and experience a covered illness or injury, you will complete and submit a claim form to your insurance provider. The insurance provider will review the information you provided and approve or deny the claim. Once approved, you will begin the elimination period (a waiting period before payments can begin) of between 90 and 180 days. After the elimination period you will begin receiving payments, as agreed in your policy, for as few as 5 years or as long as until you reach age 65, again based on your policy.
How Much Does It Cost?
This type of insurance can often be purchased for less than $1,000 per year for a policy that would provide you $3,400 per month until age 65 after an elimination period of 180 days.
When you decide to price and purchase a policy be sure you understand the following terms/options that may be in your policy:
- Own Occupation
- Guaranteed Renewable
- Future Purchase Option
- Cost-of-Living Adjustment
Last, if you are depending on the US Social Security Administration Disability for your long-term income protection be aware that according to the 2010 data, 35% of the applications were approved. That means that 65% of cases were denied. Further, of those approved, the average payment was $1,110.50 per month.
Are you part of the 50% who have a financial plan in case of a disability?
Today, Life Insurance Awareness is the topic. There will be at least 100 blogs written on this topic today alone to emphasize the importance of life insurance.
I knew I needed to evaluate my personal financial plan once my wife and I decided we were going to start having children. One part of that plan was to make sure our family would be taken care of, financially, if I died before we built up a college fund for our children, had a paid for house, and had enough savings built up so that my wife could raise our children if I was no longer around to provide an income.
My Reasons For Buying Life Insurance:
- To financially provide for my family.
- I do not have sufficient savings to replace my income.
Other Reasons To Buy Life Insurance:
- Provide money to buy a house or pay off a mortgage
- Provide money to pay off debt
- Provide for burial costs
- Provide a college fund
Who Needs Life Insurance?
At a minimum, anyone who has someone who financially depends on them needs to have life insurance.
How Much Life Insurance?
While there is no agreed upon standard amount of coverage to buy, a typical rule of thumb is between 2 to 10 times your annual income. I chose 10 times my annual income so that once college funds are established and a house was purchased, my wife and family could live off of the interest earned from the invested life insurance proceeds. I have been able to purchase this amount of Term Life Insurance for about the same as my family’s monthly cell phone bill.
When To Buy Life Insurance?
The cost of life insurance is based on your risk profile. Some factors the insurance company will consider how long you want the policy to be effective, the amount of coverage, your age, and your health. Typically, the younger and healthier you are , the lower your premium will be. Even if you are not in ideal health, you should be able to get affordable coverage. I waited until I was in my mid-thirties to purchase coverage, after having cancer, and I can still afford the coverage.
How Long Of A Policy To Buy?
I plan to have life insurance in place until the savings in our accounts is enough to provide for my family’s financial needs. Once the goal of self-insuring has been accomplished, I will cancel the policy. I currently have a 30 year level term life insurance policy in place.
Be sure you shop around – I used to think the coverage that was provided by my employer was sufficient, that is until they decided to cut it from two times my annual salary to $25,000. So, since I needed to do something, I looked at purchasing additional life insurance through my employer and requested quotes from an independent insurance agent – the independent agent was actually less expensive than what I could get through my employer.
Be prepared to wait – Between the questionnaires, physical, and additional documents needed, it may take 60 days or more to get a new policy in place. If you are currently covered through your employer don’t wait until the last-minute to compare policies, do your shopping well in advance of your open enrollment period so you can choose the best deal for you.
Be aware of other insurance – Some memberships, like banks and credit unions, will provide a small amount of life insurance coverage if you die so be sure those amounts into consideration when you are calculating how much insurance you will need to purchase. Also, for those in the USA, you may want to consider your available Survivor benefits provided through the Social Security Administration.
Additional information: Why Do I Need Life Insurance?
Be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag #LifeAware for additional blogs on life insurance.
At 29 years old, when I heard my doctor say, “It looks like you have cancer.” The last thing on my mind at that moment was how I would be paying my expenses while I was being treated and recovering from the surgery to remove the cancer. Thankfully I had already planned for an interruption in my income due to an injury or illness.
A short-term disability insurance policy will pay you a portion (50%-70%) of your gross pay (generally tax-free) if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury, for a predefined period of time. This type of insurance, if available, is especially helpful for women who are planning to have a family since a pregnancy is usually covered. These policies can be purchased by an individual or through a group policy provided by your employer.
How It Works
After you purchase a short-term disability policy and experience a covered illness or injury, you will complete and submit a claim form to your insurance provider. The insurance provider will review the information you provided and approve or deny the claim. Once approved, you will begin the elimination period (a waiting period before payments can begin) of between 0 and 14 days. After the elimination period you will begin receiving payments, as agreed in your policy, for generally no more than 2 years, again based on your policy.
Why You Need It
Everyone needs a plan to pay your monthly expenses in case you are out of work due to an illness or injury. The chance of experiencing a disability before retirement age is 3 in 10. This may not seem like a high chance but if you and nine of your friends were together in a room, three of them may experience some type of disability before reaching retirement age. Additionally, if having a child is in your future, a short-term disability policy can help reduce the disruption of missing work due to the pregnancy and birth of your child.
Why You May Not Need It
While having a short-term disability policy is one way to plan for lost income due to an injury or illness, there are other options.
- One alternative is to self-insure by building up 3 – 6 months of expenses in yourS.A.F.E.
- Another alternative is to use your sick leave offered by your employer. If you choose this alternative you would need to have between 500 to 1,000 hours of leave available in order to take 3 – 6 months off for your recovery.
- The last alternative, and the one I used, is to use your employer’s sick leave pool. This is generally offered by large employers where you join by submitting a certain number of hours and then can use up to a certain amount of time over a specified period of time. In my case I joined by submitting 8 hours of sick leave to the pool, I was then authorized to use up to 480 hours per year for qualifying injuries or illnesses once I depleted all of my other leave balances.
As with any insurance policy, the terms and conditions of each policy vary greatly so be sure to shop around before you buy a policy or choose an alternative to disability insurance.
There are a few ways you can plan for lost wages due to an illness or injury. Are you prepared?
This year I will save over $400 on my family’s eligible health care expenses and next year you can too! I was able to achieve these savings by signing up for a Medical Reimbursement Account (MRA) during my employers’ annual open enrollment period.
What is an MRA and How Does It Work?
If an MRA is offered by your employer, you can elect to enroll in the MRA during your new hire eligibility period or during the annual open enrollment period. First you will need to estimate how much you expect to spend in eligible health care expenses for the upcoming year and then elect that amount for your MRA. You can use an MRA for numerous items such as co-pays at the emergency room, urgent care center, dentist, your doctor, etc … There are limitations so be sure to review the information provided by your employer. Once you decide on an annual amount, that amount you elected will them be deducted equally from each paycheck, before taxes, and set in a separate account for use during the year for eligible health care expenses.
Important Note: If you do not use all of the money in your MRA by the end of the IRS grace period, your money will be forfeited.
Why Use a MRA?
A big benefit of an MRA is that the total amount you elect is available on the first day on your health plan year. Many employers operate on a calendar plan year, so that is often January 1. For me, this was really helpful when I began experiencing major tooth pain earlier this year. I needed urgent dental care that wound up costing $1,500! I had elected to put $2,000 in my MRA this year which was about $83 per bi-weekly paycheck. So even though when my tooth ache happened I only had contributed less than $500, I was able to pay the entire $1,500 with my MRA. Essentially this was an interest free loan from myself since I have continued to have the $83 deducted bi-weekly from my paycheck. Of course, spending an unexpected $1,500 on dental work forced my family to cut back on some of the non-essential health care costs we had planned.
One last benefit I want to share with you is that the MRA is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are calculated. This means you will be able to pay for medical expenses with money that is not taxed, making your dollar go further and reducing your tax bill. This is how my family will save over $400 this year on our health care costs. Your situation will vary based on your income, marital status, and state taxes.
|With MRA||Without MRA|
|Household Annual Income||$45,000||$45,000|
|MRA Contribution||- 2,000||0|
|Estimated Federal Taxes||- 5,615||- 5,915|
|Social Security Tax||- 3,289||- 3,442|
|Health Care Expenses||0||2,000|
|MRA Savings vs. No MRA||
*Consult your tax adviser for advice specific to your situation.
To make a similar calculation for your exact situation, Aetna has a useful MRA calculator.
Remember, if you are going to spend money on health care expenses – make sure you elect to participate in your employer’s Medical Reimbursement Account. My family will save over $400 this year just by electing this option.
Do you have a question or comment about Medical Reimbursement Accounts?
I wrote a post for On Target Coaching based on my experience and the experience of those I know in the military. Head over to On Target Coaching to read the post – Military & Money: Common Financial Regrets
I read an article recently titled “The Most Important Money Saving Tip.” The tip provided in the article was to “cut monthly expenses by thinking long-term.” After sharing this article with others, I was contacted and asked to provide another important money-saving tip.
Each day we are faced with many immediate goals. These come in many forms including hunger, tiredness, money, and health.
- To satisfy the goal of not being hungry, you eat.
- To satisfy the goal of not being tired, you get sleep
- To satisfy the goal of getting paid, you go to work.
- To satisfy the goal of being healthy, you eat healthy and exercise.
Most of these goals are decided for you without you taking any action. However, the further we are removed from survival, the more goals we must develop on our own.
What vs. Why
When it comes to finances, too often we know what to do, when what is really needed is a motivating reason for why to do it. Knowing what to do is not enough – you need a goal. A goal will be there to remind you why you are choosing to spend less than you earn. Your goal may be to retire, buy a car, buy a home, or to increase your S.A.F.E. Regardless of what your goal is, you must have a goal so you have a reason not to buy the iWhatever, the cruise “everyone” is going on, or that “trip of a lifetime.”
You will either choose to make a goal or not. If you choose a goal, you will either reach it or not. Life is full of choices that will result in either a desired goal or an undesired goal – either way your choices will determine if you reach your goal. Yes, there will be obstacles in your path, but how you respond to those obstacles will determine whether you reach you goal or not.
Remember, “… we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.” ~Stephen R. Covey
What is your decision? What is you financial goal?