Imagine someone is really hungry and is offered some bread, but they refuse on the grounds that it is only 1/2 a loaf. Now imagine that same scenario but this time it is the person's young children that are hungry. Crazy, right? That is a clear example of "some is better than none!" Some exercise is better than none. Eating more healthy sometimes is better than not at all. How many times has someone given up on a New Year's resolution simply because she missed the mark once or twice? There is a very important principle here - some is better than none!
This same principle can be found in life insurance coverage. First, it is important to be reminded that coverage is for those left behind. Often, someone will put off getting a policy because they don't feel they can sacrifice the monthly premium on the amount of insurance they want. So, instead of getting some, they get none! It is like refusing to buy some bread because you can't afford the whole loaf!
For example, let's say a 30 year old husband and dad wants $500,000 30 year term coverage to protect his family in the event of his death. Depending on his health, he could get a policy like that for around $35 a month. It really is great to know that a family can have so much peace of mind for such a small monthly premium. But, let's say that, for whatever reason, he feels he can't afford that much a month. Many times, that husband and father will decide against getting a policy at all when he could lower the death benefit or lower the length of term and get something rather than nothing! Lowering the coverage amount to $250,000 for the same 30 year term comes in at around 20 bucks a month, or keeping the $500,000 coverage but lowering the length of term to 20 years instead of 30 comes in at around 20 bucks a month. Some is better than none!
I firmly believe that life insurance coverage to protect the family income is an essential part of personal finance. IT SHOULD BE A PRIORITY! Even if you are in debt, keep this in mind - if it is hard to manage the budget now, think how hard it would be for your loved ones to manage it without your income. Don't let the monthly premium costs of life insurance prevent you from getting any coverage at all. Some is better than none! At a minimum, look into getting enough coverage to pay for the funeral and final expenses, and any outstanding debt. The idea is to do what you can to help your family get by if you are not around to support them.
They will be glad you did.
The key to getting ahead is surplus. You only get surplus if you are spending less than you are taking in. So, it's not how much you make but how much you spend. You need an emergency fund, a savings accout, and and a retirement fund. You can't even start moving in that direction if you are spending all you take in. So, after all the bills are paid, is there money left over? If not, then it's time to figure out how to spend less. You have to be willing to change your lifestyle to get it in line with your spending limits, which must include having some left over. Having a left over amount each month to accumulate over time must be a consistent endeaver. You can't do it for three months and then blow it all.
Also consider that you may need to make a fundamental change. For example, I have seen families that struggle payday to payday, but they drive nice cars (with nice car payments) and have a monthly payment on a boat or RV. This is not OK! Sell that boat! Get different cars that don't cost so much! Do whatever it takes. Living beyond your means is presuming upon the future - stop it!
Look at the ant - "consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest."
Question - what is the proper way to fight in a marriage? Actually, fighting is not ever the right answer. However, it is important to resolve arguments and disputes. Here are some tips.
So many things in life are learned the hard way or too late. For example, saving for retirement! It is incredible how starting early pays off. You can even blow off your 20s and start when you are 30! If you start depositing $264 a month into a retirement account at age 30 and earn and average return of 10%, you will have a million bucks at age 65! Be even smarter and start at age 20 and you only have to save $100 a month to be a millionaire when you hit 65! Start when you are 10 and you only need to save $35 a month!!!! Start when you are born and you only need to save $13 a month!!!! Start before you are born and...well, nevermind. Seriously, the earlier you start the better! If you think you can't afford to save for retirement in your 20s or 30s, wait until your 40 and then you definitely won't be able to afford it. If you start when you are 40, you will have to save $754 a month! Wait until you are 50 to start and you will have to save $2413 a month! Of course, I guess you can decide not to be a millionaire - maybe live off of social security that probably won't even cover the bills and may or may not even be there for you when you retire. Just sayin...
Even if your goal is not to be a millionaire (it takes more than you think to have enough for retirement years), you definitely need to start early and you need to set a goal for retirement (age and amount) so you will know how much you need to save. You can google a savings calculator and figure it up. You might even want to be more conservative than 10% on the return and don't forget that whatever amount you figure on won't go as far then as it will now - inflation.
Even if you think you will become a millionaire as a sports hero, rock star, famous writer, or CEO - start saving just in case none of those come through for you...for most people, they don't.
Save now or pay later
Recently, through some reading on personal finance, I was again reminded of the popularity of debt in our society. It’s not popular because everyone likes it, but because so many people engage in it! The percentages are astounding! If you aren't living on the plus side of zero, then you need to start working on it right now. Do not delay. In other words, live within your means. Income minus expenses should result in a positive number! Assets minus liabilities should result in a positive number! I would never claim to be the most frugal person in the world – I absolutely am not! (I hesitated to use the word “absolutely” because these days almost everyone says it in response to almost everything! Don’t believe me? Start listening for it and you will soon be letting me know how absolutely right I am. But, it seemed like a good word to use – so I used it anyway) If you are living on the negative side of zero, then stop! The principles are basic and have been around for a long time. Spend less than you make and start saving for your future. If you are in debt, then start spending less than you make, start paying off debt, and save for your future. There is no exception to this plan. Will this plan work for you? – Absolutely!
Conflict is a part of life - and can be healthy when it drives us to improve our situation. However, it can also drive us apart if not handled properly! So, here are a few tips on resolving conflict within the marriage relationship. First of all, some wisdom from a few ancient proverbs...
"Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." Abiding by this principle will go a long way to solving most conflicts within a relationship! We tend to lash out, get defensive, speak first and think later...you get the picture. How many times have you said something and then regretted it for days or longer? Slow down...take your time...breath deeply. Many times, just taking the time to listen and gather thoughts before responding will prevent a ton of conflict.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." When you do respond to someone else, make sure you do it with kindness. Be nice! Treat your spouse with respect just like you would anyone else (hopefully, you treat others nicely!). We tend to treat those we love the most with the least amount of respect. Turn that around and treat them the best!
"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Always try and have in view the idea of healing and repair as you talk and respond. The goal is to solve the issue, not tear each other down or win the argument. It is not a dual!
When you do have an issue to solve, here are some tips on how to have a healthy discussion.
1. Set a time and place. May times, we try to discuss issues on the fly when we are angry or in a hurry or tired. Not a good idea! Make a plan to talk when there are no distractions and you have plenty of time.
2. Try and come to a mutual agreement on what the issue is - agree on the problem so you can work towards a solution together.
3. How do each of you contribute to the problem. This is not a fault finding session but an exploration of how the problem evolved.
4. Brainstorm potential solutions without being judgmental or critical, then sift through the ideas and evaluate for solutions.
5. Agree on a solution and then discuss how each will contribute to the solution.
6. Set up a future time to get back together and evaluate progress. (Along the way, look for ways to praise each other for positive contributions.)
While the above process may seem a bit formulaic, it can really help if you are struggling with being able to handle issues in a calm, diplomatic way. As you engage each other in this way, it will become more intuitive and automatic over time. Sometimes we have to train ourselves to behave a certain way, especially if we are conditioned to handle things in an unhealthy manner.
Give it a try! Bottom line - treat each other with kindness and respect, respond appropriately, and be intentional about how to discuss and solve issues. Go for it!
One more ancient proverb - "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" - Beautiful!
Parents should take my advice and give this as a gift to their older teenager/young adult. Better yet, go through it with them. This information is so important and is not taught to them in high school or college! From managing debt to planning for retirement and everything in between, this book will help educate you and get a handle on personal finance for now and the future. As a long time pastor and military chaplain, I see it over and over again - individuals and couples up to their eyeballs in debt, no sense of how to manage their money, no plan for any upcoming expenses, and certainly no plan for retirement! Be proactive and help your children now! Without help, they will live from paycheck to paycheck and will probably spend more than they make! It is an unsustainable trek down a depressing path that most Americans these days are oblivious to. Make it your priority to help them!
Or, you can support them when they move back in with you, pay their bills when they come asking, fund everything for the grand kids....well, you get the idea.
Believe me this is a win-win!
Some people might think paying yourself first seems kind of selfish - it's not. Actually, paying yourself first is another way to say "save money!" Saving and investing is the only way to get ahead and it is the only way you will have anything to spend in the future (unless you win the lottery or inherit something - neither of which will happen to most of us, and should never be counted on anyway). Spending money on stuff (clothes, coffee, books, cars, etc.) is not paying yourself - that money is gone! Paying yourself means you make it a priority to set aside the money you need to save for future purchases (more short term) and also for retirement (long term). The only way to save is to pay yourself as a priority - set aside a predetermined amount that will accumulate over time and grow. This is not an optional expense! Set it aside and then live off of the rest. If you take the "I will save what's left over" approach, you will never save anything! Spend less than you earn and save some! Save enough to set aside an emergency fund, then save enough to purchase future needed expenses and fund your retirement. No one else will do that for you and many will be happy to spend your money! Millions of people all over this country (all around you) are so regretting that they never saved for retirement. They so wish someone had convinced them to start saving a long time ago. Let me convince you! Save! Remember this - spending all your money each paycheck on stuff is not paying yourself. It is paying someone else. They will have a retirement and you won't. Then you get to work for them when you are 75 while they have been spending all their time traveling, golfing, and sunbathing at the beach for years - on your dime!
How is a Medicare Supplement different than Original Medicare? Medicare provides benefits for the most acute medical needs. However, it can still leave policyholders with out-of-pocket expenses. Those expenses could be substantial if the policyholder experiences a catastrophic illness or repeated hospitalizations. A Medicare Supplement plan can give added health insurance coverage to help protect against such expenses. Medicare Supplement Insurance is available from private insurance companies and helps fill in the gaps that original Medicare does not pay. So, it is not original medicare vs. a medicare supplement. Rather, it is both. A medicare supplement compliments original medicare - it's great!
I have heard many people debate with each other the pros and cons of drawing social security early vs. delaying to maximize the monthly amount. While there may be specific reasons to draw early, here are a couple of strong reasons to put it off. Life expectancy! People today are living longer. That means those in retirement have to plan further into the future. One way to help ensure you have enough dough to last is to maximize social security. Another important factor is the COLA increase, which is about 3% annually. A higher social security benefit means a larger COLA increase. For most people, social security will be a primary part of a solid retirement. Delaying rather than drawing early could make the difference between running out, barely getting by, and living comfortably.