Five Must Buy Forms of Insurance

The world of insurance simply cannot stop inventing new or recreating enhanced versions of insurance. But there are select few forms of insurance that most middle class Americans should consider and own.
Yes, you can save money by avoiding some of them, but in the long run, you are not likely to come out ahead by skipping any of these.
Insurance tips

Term Life Insurance:

Everyone does not need life insurance, but most people do, at least at some point. If you do not have children, plan to have children, have someone that financially dependent on you, or are independently wealthy than you may not need life insurance. For everyone else- a simple and affordable term policy can solve a complex financial problem caused by an untimely death. Often buying term life insurance when you get married and begin to have a family is the perfect time. Shoot for a length of time that will get your last child (or last planned) out of the house and potentially through college.
Term as opposed to whole life insurance, is simple and pure insurance, which has no investment component. Although many insurance agents will push you to consider whole or universal life policies, often because it may guarantee coverage for your entire life, term can offer you the exact same protections, but for just the limited crucial time when you are raising your family. The policy generally ends after the term, leaving you with no insurance coverage, but because you spent so much less for the term policy, you will have been able to save up your money and will probably no longer need it.

Home Insurance / Renters Insurance:

Just about every adult needs a home or renters insurance policy, even if you have paid off your mortgage, or if you do not yet own a home.  Why? Because both home and renters insurance provide coverages way beyond the property coverages for the structure and your personal belongings. Among many useful coverages, both home or renters insurance covers you for is premises and personal liability. This liability comes from numerous things such as incidents you make get involved in, or when someone comes onto your property and trips.  The liability coverage can also help you from your exposure if you own certain types of pets. From the liability side, most policy holders should request a “personal injury” endorsement to their policy to assist in broadening their overall liability protection.  This useful endorsement can be had for a very low dollar amount and can end up saving you thousands in a rare but potentially financially ruinous situation.

Auto insurance:

Auto insurance is often required by various state and national authorities in order for you to purchase an automobile. But even non owners of cars should consider buying automobile insurance for cars that they rent or use.  Aim to raise your Bodily Injury coverage to amount sufficient to protect your overall net-worth.  Match this amount with your Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist is perhaps the worst named insurance term; a better name might be “Self Bodily Injury.” Uninsured motorist typically only kicks in when the other driver either does not have any insurance, enough insurance, or flees the scene of an accident. Please don’t get into any car without uninsured motorist coverage.

Health Insurance:

Health Insurance which is much debated in the industrialized world may be the number one most important type of insurance that you need. Health insurance can help pay for either emergency care or planned healthcare checkups. Unlike many other forms of insurance, health insurance can be used on an almost weekly basis for various doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals prescriptions. Many people wrongly assume that forgoing health insurance will save them money. Although sometimes this works out in the short term, you will rarely come out ahead in the end.

Umbrella Insurance:

A middle class American may or may not need an umbrella policy, but the general qualifying calculation should be done regardless of who you are. Most home and Auto insurance policies cap out their liability coverage at $500,000. If your overall net worth is more than $500,000 than you really ought to consider purchasing an inexpensive umbrella policy, typically through the same company that does both your home and auto insurance.  Umbrella polices, are extended forms of liability coverage that will efficiently sit over the underlying home, auto, and even other personal liability policies (such as a boat.) These insurance contracts sold in brackets of $1 Million dollars, can be a real financial life saver in the event of a horrendous liability claim, such as hitting and killing another driver.
Umbrella insurance is really one of thebest little secret in the personal financial space. For as low as $250 you may be able to dramatically protect your hard earned wealth.

The Flood, Landslide, and Earthquake Consideration:

These forms of insurance are definitely not necessarily must buys, but every homeowner should consider them in relationship to their cost and benefit. If you own your own house you may want to consider each of these various property insurances that protect your structure from general homeowner exclusions. Each one of these forms of insurance could have a varying degree (and cost) of value depending on the exact location of your home.  Often it’s best to ask homeowners who have paid down a significant part of their home, to consider where they would get the funds to rebuild their home if it were torn to shreds by one of these catastrophic events.
Scott W Johnson is the owner of, a division of Marindependent Insurance Services LLC – an independent insurance agency focused on providing the best insurance value for a family’s financial situation. Johnson and his insurance firm are a certified California Green Business. “Insurance is Complex – Don’t Get Lost.”

Defying the Odds of Spending So Much While Killing with Romance

“No romance without finance, guys!”
My Climatology lecturer made it a point to remind us in class every time he could.  Maybe he was always reminded of young love and how flaming it looked on the outside whenever he saw couples on campus. He always pointed out that, to keep whatever flame a couple has, it is necessary to occasionally use the ‘paper’ to keep fanning it.
Till date, his angle on romance and finance is one of the most interesting ones of I have ever come across
Truthfully, he has a point there if we took out his whole joke of literally associating money with a flaming love. Nevertheless, his point on money being an essential factor to romance is inevitably true. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a whole bunch of it, but a little might just be enough to set the scene rolling.
So for those who keep having this question running through their minds: Do you need to spend a whole lot to kill it at being romantic?
Odds of Spending

Keeping to a Budget

No, you don’t! You don’t always need a 5-star hotel or the fanciest eatery to show how romantic you are. Well, they say it’s easy to be caught up in the perception that romance has to be expensive. Yeah, its true expense can bring some amazing experiences, after all, money might just bring variety.
Unfortunately, people forget to remember that drowning your finances is not romantic at all. So yes you spent all this to be romantic now you can’t pay your bills?
The essence of a budget is to have control on your money instead of the other way around. If you are ever worried about your budget getting into you being spontaneously romantic, then how about you create a budget for that too – call it “Romantic Spontaneity”.
That way, the chances of you being in line with your budget are high.

Introduce Sentimentality

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to give the perfect gift or give your partner the perfect time.  Actually, the best ones are the ones that hold sentimental value.
Well to do this, you really have to know who you are dealing with. You might not necessarily know the other inside out, but you might have knowledge of a couple of their preferences. Now, how about you skew your acts of romance to his/her preferences.
She loves Rick and Morty? Get a fake portal gun and take her to another reality.
He loves NBA? Let him “accidentally” meet LeBron / Get him tickets to an NBA game/ or even save up to “unexpectedly” get NBA 2k for him/ organize a little game time with the boys for when his team is playing.
Remember, it should all be in line with your budget

Try to Be Unconventional

Being unconventional can get you so high up the romance scale, so never underestimate this. For one, everyone would prefer if their partners were not a 100% predictable. To make matters worse, following the general norm can be as predictable as it gets.
How remarkable can you be?
Well, here’s an idea: Some months ago, a female friend showed me a “To-Do” list a guy she was dating had sent to her. On it, he had listed out a hundred cute, crazy, normal, interesting, dangerous, fun packed, and absurd (trust me, my adjectives aren’t enough) actions they’d do together.
The list had things as simple as kissing her at her workplace, to a short road trip with music she loved playing all through.
Find your remarkability, and adjust it to your already set budget to be the ideal Mr. Lover Lover.
As usual, remember it should all be in line with your budget.

Inexpensive Things Done to Stay Killing with Romance

  1. Write a poem.
  2. Bring home good coffee or a decadent sweet.
  3. Create a playlist of songs she might like
  4. Give a full-body massage.
  5. Take a moonlit walk on the beach.
  6. Kiss in the rain.
  7. Cook a romantic dinner.
  8. Pretend you’re going on a first date. Recreate the first time.
  9. Paint each other with flavored body paint. Be creative!
  10. Go Skinny Dipping Together!
  11. Go see a movie. Then, you ignore the movie and make out like teenagers.
  12. Declare your love, very publicly.
  13. Fruit or berries and freshly made whipped cream.
  14. Feed each other grapes like you’re in Ancient Rome.
  15. Try dinner on the roof – this doesn’t work if your roof slopes.
  16. Do that thing for her she’s been putting off forever (she obviously doesn’t want to do it!)
  17. If you’re meeting for dinner, get there before her and have a glass of wine waiting. (Okay so this costs money, but you were still going to order wine anyway, no?)
  18. Let her pick the movie or TV show. What I’m trying to say is, let her pick her romantic comedies or OITNB.
  19. Make her a drink (Without your shirt on? – 6 packs or 1 full pack)
  20. Tell her she looks sexy. Not cute, sexy
  21. Fix something you know she is not going to fix herself. (Bike, computer, headphones, whatever)
  22. Be nice to her friends, or if you really don’t like them, just be polite
  23. Brag about her to your friends (while making sure she is just close enough to hear).
  24. Eat the food she made and say it’s delicious.
  25. Pay all her bills and rent (ha! Just Kidding, this one belongs on another list, not romance)

Manny Obeng is a Ghanaian writer who hopes that his write-ups would serve its quota in making a world a better place, especially in Africa. With his love for creating content, he regularly writes when he’s not working with his team – Team Exhorton the best place to post job openings Ghana and Africa in general.

7 Shortcuts for a Simple Retirement Plan in Record Time

Smart professionals often do two things very well:
First, they identify investment opportunities that can get them quick and fruitful results, early in their careers.
Second, they carefully invest in a lucrative and risk-free pension plans to ensure a happy and stress-free post-retirement life.
But that’s just part of the story…
Retirement planning is a complex process and picking the best pension plans from the lot can easily daunt even the most seasoned souls.
Save for Retirement
I’m sure you’re probably wondering:
“Complication isn’t my thing. How do I easily plan a successful retirement and zero in on the best pension plans available in the market?”
Well today I’m going to make it easy for you.
Brace yourself for I’m going to pull the curtains and reveal 7 stupid simple shortcuts for a simple retirement plan in a record time.
So let’s get started! Shall we?
Shortcut #1:

Sketch a Rough Outline of Your Post-Retirement Life

The first step for planning a successful, healthy and happy post retirement life is to figure out how you wish to lead your post-retirement life.
Are you planning to travel across the globe after retirement? Do you wish to stay at your home and enjoy your post-retirement life with your family and loved ones? Or are you planning to pursue a hobby after retirement?
Here’s the deal:
Determining how you plan to spend your days after retirement will help you get a better understanding of how much your retirement will cost you.
Simply stated:
Having a rough outline and iron-clad planning of your post-retirement life will go a long way in ensuring adequate budgeting.
Shortcut #2:

Figure Out When Do You Actually Want to Retirement

Now that you figured out how you plan to spend your post-retirement life, it’s time to determine the time when you will actually retire.
Here’s why:
Determining and calculating the number of years you have in hand before you actually retire will help you get a better understanding of the amount you need to save each year for your post-retirement life.
This will also give you a fair understanding how much your existing savings will continue to grow.
In short:
You’ll not be able to estimate the volume of retirement corpus you need build until you determine when you plan to retire.
Shortcut #3:

Do the Math to Find Out How Much It Will Cost

Now that you have an idea of how you will live your post-retirement life and the age when you’ll retire, it’s time to calculate the savings you’ll need to build your desired retirement corpus.
Start by comparing the best pension plans available in the market to get an idea of the premium you’ll need to pay until you actually retire.
And don’t just stop there:
Take into account your monthly expenses. Include everything right from your expenses on travel and entertainment to your monthly tax liability. Be generous with your estimates and don’t forget to take the inflation rate into account.
You may argue:
Estimates and assumptions will not be accurate. But, they will certainly help you get started with your retirement planning.
Let’s take an example:
Suppose your monthly household expenses are 300,000. You spend almost 80,000 for entertainment and travel each year. Your health care expenses are 60,000 and you end up paying 60,000 in taxes each year.
So you’ll need at least 500,000 every year after your retirement to meet your monthly expenses.
Now, let’s say you’re 40 years old and you plan to retire at an age of 60. This means you have 20 years to retire. Now, add an assumed annual inflation rate to your average monthly expenses. Let’s take the annual inflation rate as 6%.
Your average monthly expenses in next 20 years will be around 1Cr. This means you’ll need to build a retirement corpus of 1 cr.
Shortcut #4:

Start Saving For Your Post-Retirement Life

I’m sure you’ve heard this…
…but let me reiterate.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Now that you know how much your retirement will cost you, it’s time to start saving and building a retirement corpus.
Take the shortfall estimate from shortcut number 4 and subtract your current savings and pension plan balances to determine your current savings shortfall.
Divide current savings shortfall by the number of years until your expected retirement. Retirement savings shortfall can be made up by saving more or figuring out how to live happily on less– they’re mathematically equivalent.
Shortcut #5:

Be Smart to Keep Growing Your Savings

Well, next step is to mull over investment ideas to grow your savings manifolds.
If only it was that easy…
If you’re serious about ensuring a healthy, happy and financially sound post-retirement life, you’ll need to carefully look for investment avenues to keep growing your savings.
Investing in ULIPs could be your best bet. ULIPs are less prone to market risks and offer comparatively higher returns on investment quickly. Don’t forget to carefully analyse the NAV (Net Asset Value) of the ULIP you intend to invest your savings in.
Yet another reasonable type of investment instruments to look for are ELSS Funds (Equity Linked Saving Schemes). ELSS allows you to earn sizeable profits through investment in equities, while providing you tax benefits at the same time.
These are just two reasonable and easily available investment options to consider if you plan to grow your savings manifolds without having to run from pillar to post and burn the midnight oil.
And that’s not all:
Keep increasing your investments as your income grows.
Shortcut #6:

Keep in Mind Diversification of Investments is The Key to Success

Okay, now you know that ULIPs and ELSS could be your best bet; but don’t just stick to these options like superglue.
Instead, try diversifying your investment portfolio.
Let me explain:
ULIPs and ELSScan help you attain a financially secure post-retirement life, but so can PPF, gold assets and bonds.
Don’t hold on to the thought that investing your savings in ULIPs and ELSS will solve all your problems. Instead, hedge your bets by diversifying your investment portfolio.
You’ll need a better and more efficient investment portfolio that includes everything right from ULIPs to gold assets and bonds.
But before you jump the gun:
Be careful to ensure a balanced investment portfolio. Only a balanced investment portfolio can help you realize your post-retirement dreams.
Shortcut #7:

Start As Early As You Can

Early bird catches worm.
This is nowhere truer than in the case of retirement planning.
Wondering why?
This is because the earlier you start saving for your retirement, the more time you’ll get to build a decent retirement corpus.
You get to harness the immense power of compounding when you start saving early.
How early should I start?
The Answer:
Start right from the time, you get your first pay cheque. Simply set aside at least a 10% of the amount for your retirement. And as your income increases, increase the percentage of your retirement fund savings.

Now it’s Your Turn!

So there you have it – 7 stupid simple shortcuts for planning your retirement in record time. Now go ahead, put this learning into practice and ensure a happy, healthy and stress-free post-retirement life.
Best of luck!

Have One Less Thing to Worry These School Holidays and Keep Your Frequent Flyer Points in Check

If you have a lot of flyer points but you don’t know how to use them, you have come to the right place. Some of the most seasoned business owners and travelers collect points on their credit card just so they can use it later.
School holidays are generally the hardest time to grab a seat for yourself. However, all you need to do is save the points and do some careful planning, in order to get free seats for your family. This article will talk about using rewards points during school holidays, so let’s have a look at some of the top tips:

Book the Airline Tickets As Soon As Possible

The first thing that you need to do is seat the family down and see their schedule. If the family can commit to being free on some of the dates, your next step should be to plan the itinerary for yourself. It is important you know that most of the airlines open their flights for frequent flyer points a year in advance, so that is a lot of time to prepare.

You Can Use the Points for Part of a Journey

If you are travelling bigger distances, such as USA to Australia, it may be a good idea to pay for a short haul flight to Dubai, and then use the points for that stopover for the rest of the trip. One of the reasons why this is recommended is that the availability of the points’ seats is better this way. A lot of airlines offer stop over deals, which are of good value.

Use the Points for Other Services

Sometimes, it is not easy to find a seat during the peak holiday season. If that is the case with you, you can use your points for car hire as well as hotel room bookings. Another thing that you can do is convert the program points in cash and use that during your holiday.

Tips for Using Frequent Flyer Points

Here are some more tips about frequent flyer points that will help you out:

  • Book well in advance to get the most out of your frequent flyer points.
  • Sometimes, booking very late can also do the trick.
  • Use the points for international points.
  • Use the points for free seats and not just upgrades.
  • Try to split the itinerary. Each parent can travel with some of the children if there are not enough award seats in the same itinerary.
  • Make use of schedule changes to optimize the flights.
  • Look at fixed value programs.
  • Make sure there are no fuel surcharges on the free seats.

In conclusion, this is how you can use your frequent flyer points during school holidays.

How Do You Sell Your Home Without Estate Agents Or Solicitors?

Selling your home is often a case of expense after expense after expense, and we can completely sympathise –few people like spending money that they don’t have to. So is it possible to sell your home without using solicitors or estate agents?
Here’s a quick rundown of how you could do just that!

Eliminating Estate Agents

If you want to eliminate estate agents, you could just advertise your home locally. Of course, in a world where most people’s first resort is Zoopla or Rightmove, you may struggle if you don’t advertise online. As a result, it could pay to use an online-only agent that simply lists your properties on those sites, and they typically start at around £100 to £200. You cannot directly upload properties to Zoopla or Rightmove, as that requires a long-term subscription, and you would end up paying substantially more (£500 per month or so) for those subscriptions.
Mortgage Loan
Regardless, if you do decide to advertise your house in the local papers then the first thing you’ll need to do is to tidy your home extensively, and then take well-lit photos of each room. It’s a good idea to open the curtains and have all the lights on when you take these photos, and position yourself in a suitable corner so that you get the widest possible angle. Don’t forget to include the garden, the front of the house and the back of the house. If you have any outbuildings, include those.
Next, arrange for an energy performance certificate. If the property has had an EPC assessment in the past 10 years, you can reuse the EPC, but otherwise you will have to spend between £50 and £120 to get a new one. An energy specialist will come into the house, take a load of measurements and produce the certificate.
Finally, talk price. This can be a sticking point, of course, as you want to maximise your price, and the buyer wants to minimise it. Choose a price that is 10% above the actual value, as it gives you an opportunity to reduce it as necessary.
You will also have to include a contact number so that people can talk to you regarding viewings. Naturally, if you miss one, you could lose a potential sale, so it’s essential that people can contact you at almost any time of the day. Don’t forget that you will have to show them around at a time that’s convenient for them and then follow up on any offers.
Once you have accepted an offer, you next move onto the legal side.

Squishing Solicitors

Now, we could cheat a little and say instruct a conveyancer, as they are not technically solicitors. However, we’ve made the assumption that you want to lower your costs as much as possible, and conveyancers are definitely not free. So, here’s what you need to do.
First, you need get your title deeds from the Land Registry. These are the documents that tell you what you own and all the conditions that affect the property. Then, you need to fill out forms TA6, TA10 and TA13 and create a contract of sale. If you have a mortgage, you need to create a settlement figure and then organise the final accounts, prepare the final settlement and pay off the remainder of the mortgage. You’ll also have to receive the house deposit, approve the deed of transfer, handover the deeds and finally send the outstanding balance to the account of your choice.
Here’s the sticking point, though: Many solicitors will not deal with a seller who doesn’t have legal representation. This is because the solicitor cannot automatically trust the documentation as there are no guarantees backing it and no insurance, and it results in extra work for them. It also means that you are personally liable for any mistakes within the documentation, and again, you don’t have any insurance backing you up. Finally, you may not be able to handle the mortgage agreement on your own, as a lot of mortgage providers require an undertaking to be created – this is a formal agreement between legal professionals to pay off the mortgage using the proceeds.
Now, we absolutely understand why you want to eliminate estate agents and solicitors from the house-buying process, as all that commission can add up toa lot. However, if you really want to save money but still have the convenience of support when you need it, use a hybrid estate agent with a fixed fee, and use a conveyancer to cover yourself. If you do everything by yourself, it’s possible that you could end up in a serious legal tangle.