Tag Archives: Insurance Review

What To Do When You Get A Raise At Work


You just landed the big promotion you’ve been dreaming of at work, or your boss gave you a raise to reward you for a job well done.


It feels great, right?


Before you do anything, especially start spending more money, you should read the following tips brought to you by Gary Dek, a former investment banker and private equity analyst, in partnership with Life Happens.


1. Sit on it for a bit.

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Before you jump into making new purchases, take some time to get used to the dynamics of your bigger paycheck. One thing you’ll notice is that you’re getting taxed more. The more money you make, the more money the IRS will take. For example, my friend’s sister got a $10,000 salary increase last year, but her bi-weekly paycheck only increased $200. So wait and see how much of that new raise you’ll actually get to take home before making any decisions.



2. Pay off debt.

Paying debt
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Do you have credit card debt or student loans? If you have any outstanding, high-interest debt, accelerate your payments. Start with the highest interest debt and pay it off first, or consider a balance transfer promotion with 0% APR. However, this doesn’t mean delay saving for retirement, so remember to consistently contribute to your 401(k) and individual retirement account.

Without debt, you will be able to save more money. Not only will you improve your credit score, which can save you thousands in interest payments when you buy a house or car, but you’ll also reduce stress, improve your physical health and feel a great sense of pride. All of this will motivate you to continue spending responsibly.



3. Adjust your retirement plans.

Adjust your financial plans
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After you’ve reviewed your debt and liabilities, it’s time to move on to your retirement plan. If you have more disposable income, you can start maxing out your retirement benefits, especially if your employer offers a 401(k) matching plan. By contributing to your retirement, you may not have extra money left over for the newest iPhone or a big screen TV, but you will gain future financial security.



4. Review your insurance policies.

Review your insurance
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Do you have all the basics of estate planning? Do you own life insurance and disability insurance? If not, are you knowledgeable about all the different types of life insurance available beyond just traditional term, whole or universal life policies? Re-assessing your insurance needs to determine whether your current policies adequately cover your family is important anytime you experience a sizable increase in income.



5. Save for tax season.

Save for tax time
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If you’re really looking forward to that tax refund, remember that the more you make, the more you’re taxed. Having a higher income means you may be in a new tax bracket and ineligible to take the credits and deductions that you are used to.



6. Celebrate your success–frugally.

Friends celebrating at dinner
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The journey to financial independence doesn’t mean you should deny yourself anything beyond the absolute necessities of life. Life is a marathon and constant hard work can lead to burnout. A fun night out can go a long way towards maintaining your sanity.

What’s important is doing so in moderation. Buying a new gadget or planning a vacation should depend on the size of your raise and what you have budgeted for.




Living Single: Protect Yourself Financially With These Six Insurance Tips


One benefit of being single is that your money is your own, to use as you see fit, so you have the freedom to decide which savings plans and investment vehicles are right for you. But you are also solely responsible for protecting yourself financially, and insurance should be at the top of the list. The Insurance Information Institute provides advice to protect your greatest asset–you!


More Americans are living alone than ever before, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report. The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2012, from 17 percent to 27 percent. In 2012, women represented more than half (55 percent) of one-person households, although men have been closing this gap over time. Sixty-two percent of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in 2012 had never been married. Another 24 percent were divorced, and 14 percent were widowed, the report noted.


If you’re flying solo, you have only yourself to depend on. Take the time to review your insurance and financial needs now in order to take care of yourself in the future. The I.I.I suggests the following six ways to help you enjoy living the single life–securely.


1. Life Insurance

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 13.6 million unmarried parents living with children in 2011, the most recent figure available. As a single parent it is crucial to make sure your dependents will be financially secure in the event of your death, so life insurance should be a key element of your financial plan. However, even if you do not have dependents, life insurance can be an excellent way to pay for your final expenses without burdening parents, siblings or other family members. A life insurance policy also enables you to leave a significant contribution to a charity you may want to support. Furthermore, whole life or permanent life policies create a cash value that, if not paid out as a death benefit, can be borrowed against or withdrawn on the owner’s request, creating a kind of “forced” savings plan. And remember, if you are single because of a divorce or a spouse’s death, you may have a life insurance policy with an outdated beneficiary designation, so make sure to make appropriate adjustments to your policy.


2. Disability Coverage

If you were disabled and unable to work as a result of an accident or illness, what would you do for income? Who would take care of you? Disability income insurance can replace lost income. Keep in mind that 43 percent of all people age 40 will have a long-term (lasting 90 days or more) disability event by age 65. While many employers offer disability coverage, some smaller businesses may not, so you may want to consider buying a private disability policy, which will replace 50 to 70 percent of your income.


3. Long-term Care

The good news is we are living longer. The bad news is that if you end up needing long-term care services, it can get pricey. If you live alone and do not have the financial resources to pay for home health care, a nursing home or an assisted living facility, long-term care insurance can be a solution. In general, it’s a good idea to buy this type of insurance well before you turn 60-there is less chance you will be rejected, and the younger you are, the lower the premiums will be.


4. Homeowners and Renters Insurance

Singles are somewhat more likely to rent than own their home; according to the U.S. Census Bureau around 20 percent of owner-occupied homes are one-person households, while close to 40 percent of rental households are occupied by a single person living alone. If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord’s insurance will only cover the costs of repairing the building itself in the event of a fire or other disaster. You need your own coverage, known as renter’s insurance, in order to financially protect yourself and your belongings.


If you do own your home, (whether it is a house or condo or co-op apartment), it is important to make sure you have the right amount and type of insurance. Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your house, personal belongings, liability and additional living expenses. With condo or co-op insurance, on the other hand, you will need to make sure you have two separate policies to protect your investment: your own insurance policy, which provides coverage for your personal possessions, liability, structural improvements to your apartment and additional living expenses; and a “master policy” provided by the condo/co-op board. The latter covers the common areas you share with others in your building, such as the roof, basement, elevator, boiler and walkways, for both liability and physical damage.


5. Auto Insurance

If you are single because of a divorce, notify your auto insurance company that there is a change in ownership or designated driver for any cars you owned as a couple. If you, or your former spouse or partner, move to a new home, you should get a separate auto policy immediately. And if either of you buys a new car, arrange for a new auto policy before the car is registered. Removing a former spouse or partner from the insurance policy also protects you from possible liability if he or she is involved in an accident and gets sued. You can often save money by buying auto and homeowners or renters insurance from the same insurer. Check with your insurance professional to see what discounts are available.


6. Retirement Income

If you are single, chances are you will need to be more self-reliant when it comes to investing for your retirement as you may not have a spouse or children to step in and help out should you need that support in the future. Most single people will qualify for retirement income from Social Security, but is unlikely to be enough to pay for more than the bare necessities in retirement. Some will have retirement income from a “defined benefit” type of pension plan–one that pays an income based on your final income and years of service from an employer. Social Security income increases to match inflation, but defined-benefit payments do not, so they will become increasingly inadequate the longer you live in retirement.

For retirement income security, if your employer offers a 401(k) type retirement savings plan, you should contribute the maximum you can to it–especially if the employer matches your contribution. (The employer match is, in effect, extra pay for no extra work so don’t miss out on that!) If you don’t have access to a 401(k) plan, start your own tax-favored retirement savings plan immediately. When you retire, you may want to consider using some of your retirement funds to buy an annuity,  which pays you an income for the rest of your life. This will ensure that your lifetime income (from Social Security, a defined-benefit pension, and the annuity) is enough to pay all your expenses.

Other Things to Consider

Talk to your insurance professional about getting the best insurance protection for your specific needs and make sure that you are taking advantage of all available discounts. Keep in mind, in today’s economy, good credit is more important than ever. A clean credit record will entitle you to higher credit limits, lower interest rates on credit cards and more favorable interest rates on loans. Many landlords now perform credit checks before leasing an apartment and some employers investigate credit histories before making job offers. So whether you are buying a home, applying for a new job or looking for the best price on insurance, a good credit history will go a long way toward helping you realize your financial and personal goals.



This article was provided by the Insurance Information Institute, http://www.iii.org/press_releases/living-single-protect-yourself-financially-with-these-six-insurance-tips.html


Marital Bliss and an Insurance Review


Bride and groom running along beach

Whether you are tying the knot this summer, or have recently exchanged wedding vows, the Reno Agency has some tips for the newlyweds.


Marriage is a great time to re-evaluate your insurance coverage to make sure you are appropriately covered, and to take advantage of all the discounts you are now eligible for. Here are a few areas to look at once you have tied the knot:


Auto Insurance – If both you and your spouse have vehicles, talk to your agent to combine your insurance policies and take advantage of the multi-car discount. Marital status may also help reduce your premium, so make sure to add your spouse’s information to your policy.



Home or Renter’s Insurance – Now that you are married, it is important to protect your new home together. Have your agent review your policy to make sure your homeowners or renter’s policy protects both of you in terms of personal possessions and liability coverage.


If you and your spouse purchased a home, insure your home and autos with the same company to receive the multi-policy discount. If you and your spouse are renting, get a renter’s insurance policy to qualify for this discount. Renter’s insurance is more affordable than many might think. Read, “4 Lessons to School Millennials on Renter’s Insurance,” for more information.



Life Insurance – Marriage means having someone you can depend on for life. Knowing you depend upon each other means you should consider a life insurance policy. Life insurance is important to have if you have debt (credit cards, medical bills, etc), own a home with a mortgage, are planning on having children, or if you want to plan ahead while you are in good health.


There are different types of life insurance policies (Term, Whole, Universal), so make sure to consult your agent on which type(s) are best for you.



Health Insurance – Save money and consolidate your health insurance into one plan! Marriage is oftentimes a qualifying life event that allows you to make changes to your insurance policy. If both of your employers offer health insurance, choose the better plan.



Planning a wedding can be stressful enough. Don’t let insurance stress you out further. Update your insurance policies early and enjoy marital bliss.


If you need assistance with your insurance policies, call the Reno Agency at 269.792.2232 or toll-free at 877.774.7366.