Common Sense Should Avoid Financial Pitfalls

The recession had many casualties. Some families that had never had financial problems before found that circumstances forced then into defaults because they simply could not meet their bills. Widespread unemployment was bound to have an impact and although the recession has faded the consequences are still being felt. Anyone that genuinely wants to work should be able to find suitable employment but the challenge is then to repair household finances and thereby improve future prospects for everyone in the family. It might be easy to talk but it is important that you think clearly about the way ahead and satisfy yourself about the steps you decide to take. There is nothing wrong with getting the views of someone with good knowledge on finance about how to proceed.
There are many products out there that you might think can help you. There are also companies that claim there are short cuts to improving your credit score. You should act with caution whichever product or service you consider. The financial sector is one that includes a number of ‘players’ who are looking to take advantage of people in trouble, and that will leave them in even more trouble.
The Issues of Bad Credit
Companies are offering loans for people with bad credit. Their logic is if an applicant has a regular income and the amount of money he or she is seeking is realistic then they are inclined to approve the application. The question is at what cost? Some unscrupulous companies believing an applicant might be desperate may well look to charge far more interest than is fair. If you have bad credit that does not mean you need to be a victim. If you do your research online you will get an idea of the best rates available for your circumstances.
It is important to remember that good lenders will be responsive to applicants who do not need to sign up to anything if they are unhappy about the rate being offered or the terms and conditions of the loan; no hidden extras and no cash in advance. Companies that are not willing to be transparent should be dismissed immediately.
Good companies do not need to headline their websites with claims that they don’t care about bad credit without explaining the basis on which they make decisions. If they use the word guarantee then they should also explain themselves in that they will be judging the realism of an application and its affordability to the applicant.
If you have security then you will get a competitive rate simply because the risks for the lender is minimized. In most circumstances those in current trouble will not have security to offer. That being the case it is for you to find the best rates. There are comparative websites that do the work for consumers but you need to be certain that they have no self-interest. They may exclude companies with better offers if those offers pay no commission for inclusion in the comparisons and business written.
Support Reputable Lenders
So if you need just right loans as part of your strategy to improve your finances you should look for a company with a good reputation if you are going to proceed. There are valid reasons for getting a loan, especially if you can obtain one that allows you to pay off debt that is incurring a high rate of interest, typically credit and store card balances. Your monthly expenditure will reduce and as long as you successfully pay instalments on time your credit history will slowly improve.
The US Economy has improved. Unemployment figures have fallen back to pre-recession levels and more jobs are being created every month. It does mean there is reason for everyone to be more optimistic about the future. There are therefore valid reasons why a family that has had a miserable time of late should feel that they can look forward to a better future. If that involves applying for a loan as part of the strategy it often makes perfect sense. As long as decisions are made for sensible reasons then things should work out well.

What Types of Tests are Required for Funeral Insurance?

What Types of Tests are Required for Funeral Insurance?

When insurance agencies write policies for various types of insurance, they need to do some background checking to determine how much risk there is to the company if they insure someone. For instance, the underwriter of an auto insurance policy would want to know all about the driver’s history, including any accidents, traffic tickets, or even arrests they have been subject to.

Similarly, when writing a life insurance policy, insurance companies will often require a physical examination and blood work so they know just how healthy the applicant is. The more health problems they have, the more risk is involved, and the premium will be raised accordingly.

There is one type of insurance that never requires any type of medical testing: funeral insurance. Insurance companies don’t need to evaluate the health of an applicant for funeral insurance because no matter how healthy they are right now, they’re eventually going to use the funeral insurance someday. Because of the inevitable nature of death, there’s not really a question of risk regarding the applicant for funeral insurance.

It’s simply not a matter of if a claim will be filed, but rather when a claim will be filed. So if you’re applying for a funeral insurance policy, you won’t need to worry about being stuck by a needle and having blood work done. If you apply for funeral insurance, you’ll be automatically approved.

But what does HBF funeral insurance cover, anyway? It’s important to remember that funeral insurance policies are not the same as prepaid funeral plans, which can be done by contacting a funeral director directly and paying for your funeral expenses beforehand.

Instead, funeral insurance—sometimes referred to as final expense insurance—involves paying a premium over time to have a certain amount of your funeral expenses paid for at the time of your death. If you want a burial policy, it is exceedingly simple to get one. There are no required tests and virtually applicant will be approved. But before you think about funeral insurance, make sure you really need it.

Many life insurance plans have final expense coverage already built into them. If you currently have life insurance coverage (and you definitely should have it), take a look at your policy and see what kind of final expense coverage you’re already paying for. It might be that your funeral expenses are already taken care of in your life insurance policy. And if they’re not, or if the coverage isn’t enough, you can talk to your insurance agent and see if it’s possible to add more coverage for final expenses.

If you still prefer to get a standalone funeral insurance policy, be sure to shop around. Because they accept all applicants, funeral insurance policies can be kind of pricey, costing up to as much as $30 for every $1000 worth of coverage. Funeral insurance policies tend to be secured by people in poor health, so the insurance companies charge a higher premium for them.

So how did my boycott go?

Remember back before Thanksgiving I had my knickers in a twist over the fact that so many retail stores were opening on Thanksgiving, hence forcing their employees to work rather than spent time with their families?  I realized there was not much I could do to change this trend but I opted to stand up for my principles and boycott all these stores during the holiday selling season - Thanksgiving through Christmas.

As it is now two days before Christmas and my shopping is done and I have no plans to buy anything else, I think I am safe to write an update post on how my boycott went.  The short answer is it went very well and and actually saved me a lot of money!  But more importantly, I took a stand on something that I felt strongly about.  And that always feels good!

There is a certain large chain that starts with a "W" ends in "mart" and has a blue logo that was especially hard for me to avoid, as I tend to shop there a lot.  A LOT!  But I found with a little research I was able to get everything I needed at other stores, many of them locally owned (an added bonus!).  Yes, sometimes I had to pay more for an item but I still managed to save money because when I go into the "big W" store I always end up spending 2-3x what I initially intended due to all the impulse items that somehow find their way into my cart.  With the smaller stores I avoided all the impulse buys and came away with more money in my pocket, overall.

When it came to clothes shopping, avoiding the big retailers like Walmart, Macy's, Old Navy, and others wasn't as difficult as I feared it would be.  Again, previously unknown local shops proved to be a great source for unique clothing items for me and for gifts for others.  I also found a lot of great buys online.  With the internet, you can find just about any kind of clothing item you need - trendy styles, coats, plus size clothes, petite sizes, kids clothing, etc.

Did my shopping boycott do any good?  Likely no.  I am sure stores will be opened again next year on Thanksgiving.  But it made me feel better and I saved money in the process so I might just make this an annual holiday tradition.

Did you do a lot of Christmas shopping at big-name chain establishments?  Did you boycott any stores due to making their employees work on Thanksgiving or other holidays?  

And since I likely won't be posting again until after Christmas, from my family to yours - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Did you go Black Friday shopping?

It is Black Friday night.  Our bellies are full from our Thanksgiving feasts, and no we focus our attention towards Christmas and the holiday shopping season.  And of course "Black Friday" is the starting point for the holiday shopping season!  How many of you went shopping today?  And if you went shopping, did you buy anything or find any awesome deals?

I never go shopping on Black Friday (the traditional day of shopping chaos the day after Thanksgiving, for all my non-American readers).  I don't like crowds.  I don't like spending money.  And I don't like getting up early.  So nope, Black Friday isn't really my cup of tea. 

But........ I made an exception this year.  Home Depot had garage door openers on sale for $97 and I needed four for one of my rental buildings, so I went out and bought them.  But that was for business, not pleasure, so I am giving myself a pass.  (Incidentally, Home Depot is not on my boycott list as they were closed on Thanksgiving.) 

I have a friend who make Black Friday shopping a true sport.  She has lists of the best deals at each store, getting the lowest prices possible on all sorts of items from purses to smart phones to TVs.  She gets up early and takes her shopping very seriously.  Do NOT get in her way, as she is focused and determined to get every deal she can!

So what kind of Black Friday shopper are you?  Non-existent (like me), a mega-shopper (like my friend), or somewhere in the middle?  Oh, and as I type this the Black Friday deals keep coming... one big box electronic store (which shall remain nameless) is offering special sales from 10pm until midnight.  Will you be there? 

Boycott Retail Stores Opened On Thansgiving

I am joining MY HOUSE, MY RULES and boycotting all retail establishments that are ruining their employees holidays by making them work on Thanksgiving.  You can read more about the justification behind this boycott here.

This boycott is not just for Thanksgiving Day, however.  That would really not do any good.  This boycott is designed to show these bad retailers how we really feel.  Therefore, I will not be supporting any retailer who is open on Thanksgiving my not shopping at their stores between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Want to join me?


 From the period of Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day, do not shop at any retail store that is open for business on Thanksgiving Day.  They are robbing their employees of the opportunity to enjoy this holiday with their family and friends.

 Support local businesses and big box retailers who are showing kindness to their employees and respect for the meaning behind Thanksgiving by remaining closed on Thanksgiving Day. (CLICK HERE FOR A PARTIAL LIST OF STORES THAT WILL BE CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING DAY)

3.) Spread the word!  Let’s show the retail world – with our voices and with our wallets – that we are not going to tolerate a take-over of Thanksgiving!

How do you spend your bonus money?

One of the big perks about working in Corporate America (besides health insurance, regular paychecks, employee discounts, etc.) is getting a big fat yearly bonus! Granted, these aren't guaranteed and some years they are not as "fat" as others, but it is still nice to get a little extra money that wasn't planned in the budget.

One of the big topics my co-workers and I discuss around the water cooler is how we will by spending our bonus money. Some blow it all on vacations, or the newest i-gadget on the market. As you can likely guess, I take a more conservative approach.

First of all, I always put 75% of any bonuses I receive directly into savings or investments. (Super boring, I know...) That leaves me with 25% of the bonus to use as "fun money." How do I spend it? 

BOWLING - Sometimes I will treat myself and some friends to a day of bowling. I love bowling but it can get expensive so it is not something I do every day. Of course, Wii bowling is free and can be done at home in my pajamas, but it just isn't quite the same as going to an alley and enjoying a day of fun with friends.

BINGO - Bingo is one of my guilty pleasures that I will sometimes splurge on if I have some extra cash on hand. I normally go to some nice church and play there, but you can also play online at places like GalaBingo. I've enjoyed Bingo since I was a kid! Granted, my luck here is dismal and I don't think I have ever won anything, but I still find the game lots of fun!

CLOTHES - I am not one to spend a lot of money on clothes. I do a lot of my shopping through Salvation Army. However, I will be the first to admit there are times when my wardrobe can use a bit of professional help. So if I have a little bonus money on hand, sometimes I will use some of it to go to one of the higher-end shops and have a trained sales associate pick out a few nice outfits for me. I have to admit - this is fun and I see how people get addicted and blow tons of money at the mall each year! LOL!

TRIPS - If I know I have a vacation coming up, sometimes I will boring and practical with my extra bonus money and put the money in my vacation account... then enjoy some super-awesome activity or experience while out of town.

RISKY INVESTMENT - I love investing but I prefer to invest in relatively safe, dividend producing investments. If there is a riskier investment I want to invest in, I will use 'found money' such as from selling items around the house or from my bonus at work. That way, if I lose it I do not feel I lost my "regular" money.

 Does your employer give bonuses where you work? If so, how do you spend those bonuses?

7 Term Life Insurance Fine Print Nightmares - Avoid!


Considering a term life insurance policy? Be aware and be prepared! Below are 7 items that you should look for in the fine print and do away with before it’s too late! You can get your own insurance policy at
Time Limitation – or Exclusion – on Policy Type Conversion

A good term life insurance policy will offer you a conversion option – not forbid it. This conversion will allow you the option of exchanging your term policy for a whole life policy, should you choose to do so, at any time without having to prove your health all over again. Keep in mind that not all conversion options are necessarily good ones, just because they’re included, though – some won’t let you convert until you’re half-way through your term. For those that want to refinance and reevaluate their assets on the regular, this will prove to be an annoyance.

22.       No Renewal

Just because your term policy comes to an end, shouldn’t mean that it really has to come to an end. If you’re still alive and kicking, chances are you still want that policy. Don’t let the insurance company kick it to the curb and ask you to start over again – go with an insurance company that has an easy renewal system built right in.

33.       No Renewal Rate Guarantees
When you’re looking into the above, be sure to look into the rate renewal, as well. You don’t want to renew your policy thinking you’re good to go, on the same plan that you’ve been on for yours. Chances are good that a change could have occurred which will raise your rates every single year going forward. If you already face a medical condition, you especially don’t want to have to go shopping for a better policy, because this one decided to hike up the price.

44.       No Premium Guarantee

Your policy should come built to withstand the entire length of the policy’s term, guaranteed. If your fine print dictates that you premiums can go up after 10 years of a 20-year term policy, then it’s a no go. Premiums should be guaranteed, and locked into place, throughout the policy’s entire life.

55.       No Good Policies to Switch to at Conversion

Back to the conversion topic – say your policy includes conversion and you’ve already checked that one off of your list. Have you also checked to make sure that there’s a good enough policy for you to convert to when you do it? Some policies are very limited in what they offer at conversion, so be sure that you won’t end up with something later that you won’t want (i.e. an expensive whole life policy, or a Universal life plan).

66.       No Supplemental Protection for Critical Illness & Income-Loss Prevention

Something that very few policy-seekers think to look for in a term life insurance policy is supplemental protection that will cover them financially should critical illness strike resulting in a sudden loss of income. This same loss of income is what you family would endure should you die, so they should still be protected if you simply can’t work for a substantial period of time, due to a heart attack, or something similar. There are term life insurance plans that incorporate this kind of supplemental protection and they’re well-worth the peace-of-mind.

77.       Unstable Financial Rating

Last, but not least, before you even dive into all of the fine print of your policy and begin checking things off of this list, make certain that you’ve checked out your potential insurer’s financial rating. If their rating is low, that means that they’re not the most stable and could potentially go under, leaving you with a big problem to fix in order to maintain coverage while your state figures out its contingency plan. It’s a much better idea to just go with a stable, high-rated, insurance company right from the start and avoid the possible hassle entirely.

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