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Category Archives: Finances

A Real Life, Life Insurance Story

I saw a very alarming statistic the other day that said that 30 percent of U.S. households had no life insurance, which was up from 22 percent in 2004.  Lack of life insurance is yet another casualty of the recession and sadly this number is the lowest it has been in 50 years.  LIfe insurance as we all know is one of those things that is useless… unless we need it, which makes it easy to cut it first from our budget.  After all, many of us have that “it will never happen to me” attitude.

Most people don’t know that after I lost my job as a fire fighter due to my injuries I sold life insurance (one of my several jobs as I was trying to find a new career identity).  My friend Steph was my very first life insurance client.  For the better part of a year before I did her policies, and before I even worked at the insurance company, we would always sit and talk about things that were important in life.  We discussed our families, nutrition, finances, working out, our hobbies and so much more.  She had mentioned several times she wanted to invest more and look into life insurance and always came to me for advice about it.  Once I got my license to sell insurance, she came to me and said she was ready to buy and I signed her and her husband up.

Fast forward just over two years.  Just before Thanksgiving this last year I got the news that this friend went missing where we used to live near Breckenridge, CO.  A few days after the reports that she went missing came out, she was found dead along the banks of the river near her home.  Her autopsy determined her death to be homicide by blunt force trauma and drowning.  It was a stomach dropping, very sad day.

What I want to stress out of this horrible event is the importance of life insurance.  I knew the second I got the news of her death that her family (she left behind a husband and 3 small children) would be ok.  I was so thankful for those conversations we had and that she took my advice to get life insurance coverage.  I knew her children would be able to go to college and I know for a fact it would have been ugly had they not had the life insurance.

There are several different types of life insurance that fit into all levels of budgets.  I highly suggest contacting an agent with a reputable company to get some information if you don’t currently have life insurance.  And if you do have insurance (the whole life/permanent kind in this case) and are wondering if it’s of use to you, for $80, the Consumer Federation of America will review it to see if it’s worth keeping (evaluatelifeinsurance.org).

For your family’s sake, don’t delay.  Unfortunately, things happen, life happens, and so does death.  Don’t you want to be protected and ensure your family is protected in the event of the unthinkable?

Picture of my friend Steph.

RIP Steph. You were very well loved.

 

 

Keep a budget? Why?

Do you know how often I hear from people how keeping a budget is just too hard, time consuming, tedious, etc?  I hear it over and over again and trust me, there’s many things I’d also rather be doing than sitting here once a week or so, organizing my receipts and inputting them into my spreadsheet to remind me how expensive life is.  But I do it, and I have for as long as I can remember (I think even since I was teenager, at least to some extent).

You see, coming from a poor childhood was difficult (which just wouldn’t have been the same without food stamps, broken down cars and thrift store clothes.  After all, it made me who I am today; determined, motivated and successful) and I remember like it was yesterday the day I decided to change things to do things differently from my parents.  I remember hearing my parents fight over money time and time again.  As we all know, half (or more) of marriages end in divorce these days, and one of the biggest causes is money.

Most people probably have that proverbial credit card they use for “emergencies” or they use their credit cards for those big expenses and things that are not regular occurrences like vacations, a better car, etc.  After all, this is America where we want it and we want it now, and if we can’t afford it, we borrow.  I know creating a budget is a frustrating task and staying on budget is even harder, but it really is important to stick to it. Certainly careful budgeting will improve your overall financial situation, which we all know reduces stress, but one of the best benefits is how keeping a budget can help your marriage.  Getting rid of money arguments leads to less stress on your marriage and a better life overall.

For myself, I go nuts if I’m behind on our budget by more than a few weeks, which does happen occasionally.  I don’t sleep well if I don’t know where our money is going.  It’s too easy to overspend on a $20 item here and a $10 item there and before you know it, you’re living outside your means and it’s adding up faster than you can pay it off.

Once you get past the tedious task of creating the budget, force yourself to have a plan and a system in place (as much as possible) that allows you to stick to it.  Set aside a certain time each week to catch up your receipts and inputs.  Do it on paper or online, whatever you are comfortable with… just do it.  Once you get it down, you’ll be happy you did. You’ll rest better, be more at peace, and have a better relationship with your spouse and family.

For the next financial post I’ll give you a few tips for staying on the budget you worked so hard to create **smile**

Do you know how all of your financial pieces of pie fit together?

 

Tracking Pennies

As I mentioned, I’m going to give tips on everything from health and nutrition to finances and organization.  I truly believe balancing your whole life makes you joyful, or at least, that’s what I’ve found.  I’m going to pass on everything I’ve learned that’s made my life easier, giving me the balance I needed.

For as long as I can remember, I have always kept a budget.  I write down every penny we spend and track it. I used to always keep a little notepad in my purse so I could track literally every cent, but I found that it was always getting beat up, crumpled, dirty, etc.  About 2 years ago found this great little notebook holder that actually held the notebooks I used.  I carry it in my purse so I can document everything.  The notebooks are sold at Target stores, Office Max, etc in 3 packs.  The notebook I got from the Franklin Covey store at my local mall and they had TONS of colors and styles to choose from.  It comes with handy little pen so it’s all right there for you.

Of course I also save my receipts, but there are times when I pay cash or don’t get a receipt, but I still want to track it so I’m able to write it in the notebook.  Once a week or so I go through my receipts and transfer everything my husband and I spend into the notebook.  I am then able to plug each expense into my monthly budget spreadsheets and cross it off the list to know it’s been accounted for.  Once you’re all set up with your budget and system, it doesn’t take much time out of your week, and it is SO worth it to see where every cent goes, and more importantly, to know you’re living WITHIN your means!

 

 
 
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