Hope for your financial life and beyond

Attention 9th Graders: Some Focus Right Now Will Make You Rich

Thought I would perform a public service announcement today for the freshman out there starting high school this fall. I don’t have any good tips on how to avoid getting stuffed in your locker or fighting off that wedgie as you change after gym class. You might just have to endure those things…such is the right of passage into high school.

dissecction in biology

Focus – Work Hard – Be Rich

What I’d rather do is snap your mind into place as you start taking classes and get you thinking about the future.

Sound boring? Listen, I get it. The last thing you probably want to think about right now is studying for a literature test. And those Algebra I problems…ugh! When are you ever going to use that in real life?

I’m not going to try and convince you of the practical uses of Algebraic principles once you graduate high school. What I do want you to know is that your approach to Algebra (and all your other classes) has huge implications for your future. In fact, what you do right now – this 9th grade year – could eventually make you rich.

The Two Biggest Challenges of High School

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This Is What Happens When You Don’t Pay Back Student Loans

Student loans have helped many pay for the expenses of a college education. Of course you need to pay back student loans those even if you don’t graduate. Fortunately student loans have what’s known as a grace period – a set time after you graduate, leave school or drop below full-time student status before the loan repayment begins. The grace period gives you time to find a job or deal with a difficult life issue before you have to pay back the student loan.

pay back student loansIf you can’t or choose not to pay back student loans, you risk going into default. To default on a loan means you did not pay it back on schedule according to the terms of the promissory note ­– the legal document you signed when you received the loan.

The good news is you don’t have to panic if you miss one payment. Going into default won’t happen right away. If you miss a few payments your student loan will first be tagged with a delinquent status. It won’t officially go into default until 270 days have passed without a payment.

At that point, you will face some serious consequences. The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office lists these possible actions that may be taken if you default on your student loan:

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Should I Ever Get Rental Car Insurance?

The first time I ever rented a car I was unprepared for a very specific question. The agent behind the counter asked “Would you like to purchase rental car insurance?”

“I don’t know,” I thought, standing there with the deer-in-the-headlights look. My only thought was getting behind the wheel of the convertible I’d reserved.

So I listened to the spiel and bought the rental car insurance. A few minutes later I’m top down and cruising around Saint Croix with my new bride.

rental car insuranceI realized later my decision had been a small financial mistake.

There is no question you need insurance to drive. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, every state requires motorists to carry a minimum level of auto insurance coverage (or the equivalent in financial responsibility waivers). Such coverage is necessary to protect against damage to property or injuries to people caused by an accident.

But if you own a car, your rental car may already be covered. Once you realize the rules and what your own auto insurance policy covers, you will be able to answer the “Should I get rental car insurance” question with confidence.

To do so, you must prepare in advance by doing two things:

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How to Invest 1,000 Dollars at Age 18

I recently had a conversation with a former student of mine who is looking to invest in the stock market. He’s in college now and has some money sitting around that he doesn’t need for school. He wanted to know how to invest 1,000 dollars or more at this stage of his life and whether it was realistic or not.

how to invest 1,000 dollarsHis situation is similar to what many 18-year-olds face. They’ve worked full-time summer jobs since they were 16 and maybe even part-time ones during the school year. Their college expenses are taken care of either through scholarships or the bank of mom and dad. The money they have earned is just sitting in their savings account drawing little to no interest. Does it make sense for them to do something else with it, like beginning to invest?

The answer is “YES…Absolutely!” but with a very big BUT.

Before I get to the BUT though lets look at some assumptions about 18-year-olds that are going to impact how they invest and where they put their money.

Assumptions About 18-Year-Olds

While not true for all, these generalizations pretty much highlight what most 18-year-olds are going through:

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The Big Reason You Need Disability Insurance

Most of us feel we are doing fine if we have the four horseman of the insurance industry covered: health insurance for our physical needs, auto insurance for when we drive, home/renter’s insurance for our property and life insurance to provide for our family in case of a death. Beyond these four we think insurance products are unnecessary and a waste of money.

wheelchairsYou might want to check that negative sentiment while you read this post. While all four of those are important, they aren’t the end-all to insurance products. In fact, disability insurance, the one many people forget about, could be the most important coverage you buy. Here’s why.

The big reason you need disability insurance is that your income is the #1 tool for generating wealth. If for some reason you cannot earn that income your chances of being able to adequately care for yourself and your family decrease dramatically. A loss of income jeopardizes your present needs and your future financial goals. So unless you have substantial savings and investments to cover the time where you are out of work, disability insurance is your best bet to manage through the difficult times.

What is Disability Insurance?

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The Future Is Where Your Present Goes to Die

Hidden Nuggets Series #95 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I’m not 100% sure about the future.

the futureI don’t know for certainty what it holds, where I’ll be five years from now or what I’ll be doing.

At times in my life it’s been unnerving not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. It’s easy to get wrapped up in and obsessed about it to the point where it hinders us from achieving anything in the present. In that way the future becomes where the present goes to die.

Don’t misunderstand. I’ve got plans. I’ve got ideas. I’ve even got dreams.

But they are MY plans born out of my best guesses as to where I see life taking me. There is no assurance they will unfold based on the expectations I currently maintain. The pathways of life can turn on a dime as I’m learning more and more the older I get.

I wish I could write a post for you entitled “5 Easy Ways to Figure Out Your Future” and be done with it. It’s really not that simple. But what I can share with you is the hope I have that my future is already taken care of. It’s in the hands of the One who does know.

“For I Know…”

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Beyond the Retirement Plan: 3 Things You Must Do Before You Stop Working

For many people, retirement planning means saving enough money to cover expenses after they stop working. Whether they sock money away into a 401(k), IRA, a savings account, or just stuff cash under the mattress, getting ready to retire is just about the money.

retirement planWhile having enough money to pay for housing, food, and other expenses is certainly very important, it’s not the only concern if you want to have a fulfilling retirement. There are several other issues to address before you say goodbye to the working world for a new life of leisure, which can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel — and your family feels.

So before you start planning your retirement party, make sure you’ve addressed these important issues.

1. How Will You Fill Your Time?

If you have spent the last four or five decades working, suddenly having your days free is bound to present some challenges. Not only will you no longer have your actual work responsibilities, but also your off-hours won’t be spent thinking about work, either. You might have images of traveling, spending more time with your family, pursuing a hobby, or other ideas, but do you really know how you will spend your days?

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The 10 Best Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students

Memorial Day marks the official beginning of summer. For teens and college students that means one of three things. Either you are:

a) continuing school by choice (to get ahead) or out of necessity (because you failed)…

b) looking for a summer job to earn money or…

c) in for a really boring summer sleeping in and playing video games.

(I know…some of you think “C” is the best option of the three.)

summer jobs for teensBut I also know teens and college students need money. You have lots of expenses, many of which your parents can’t or don’t want to fully fund. So it’s about time you begin to support yourself my working a summer job.

What job would fit your time frame though? You really only have three months to work as the typical school ends in May/June and returns to classes in August/September. Won’t employers be hesitant to hire you if they know it will only be for three short months?

Some might be. Others however, rely on the seasonal influx of workers because summer is their busiest time of the year. So the fact that you are only available for three months matches up with the increased seasonal activity of that position. The employer will be fine when you leave the job to return to school in the fall because he or she won’t need your help anymore.

Jobs You Could Easily Find During the Summer

To that end, here are 10 great summer jobs for teens and college students. In all these areas, employers will be looking for workers during the summer:

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A Comprehensive Look at Auto Insurance and Why You Need It

Today I’m continuing my insurance series with a detailed look at auto insurance. So far I’ve tackled the big giants of health, life and homeowner’s insurance. Auto insurance is no less important and remains an important piece to a well-maintained insurance plan.

auto insuranceThe reason?

You are going to wreck your car and cause damage. In fact, the car insurance industry estimates the average driver will file a claim for a collision every 17.9 years. So a 16 year old with a new license can anticipate having one accident by age 34 and another by age 52 and yet another by age 70.

But auto insurance is not just about recouping monetary loss for a damaged vehicle. There are also people driving and riding around in these cars that get into these accidents.

These people get injured.

Many even die.

The losses you could face from medical bills or the potential lawsuits resulting from these accidents could bankrupt you.

That’s how serious finding the right type of auto insurance is for your financial security.

What Is Auto Insurance?

Just like all the other types of insurance, auto insurance is a contract you agree to with an insurance company. In exchange for a monthly premium you receive coverage from the insurance company in case of an event.

In general, auto insurance offers protection against these issues related to your car:

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Is My Employer-Provided Life Insurance Enough?

Enjoy this post today from Natasha as she shares how employer-provided life insurance plans stack up against an individual policy purchased on the open market.

If the company you work for offers group life insurance, be sure to take advantage of this great benefit. Employers are not required to offer life insurance, so if yours does be sure to count your blessings. While having group life insurance is a nice bonus, it would still be wise to consider purchasing additional life insurance on yourself.

Employer-sponsored group life insurance policies are different than individual life insurance plans in these ways:

  • There are no medical exams
  • They are designed one-size-fits-all
  • They have less individual coverage
  • They only are in affect while you work for that company

To purchase an individual life insurance policy, you typically need to undergo a medical exam. The life insurance company uses your exam results as one of the determinants of how much your policy premiums will be. The healthier you are, the more inexpensive your premiums.

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The 4 Stages of Investing and How to Win Long Term

I’ve been investing now for almost 20 years and have experienced various stages of investing during that time. My wife brought several mutual funds into our marriage and that became my first exposure to the stock market. It didn’t take long for me to see how investing could have a positive impact on our financial future.

the 4 stages of investingOver the years our investments have evolved and our assets have grown. We’ve branched out into other avenues of investing beyond the stock market. It took some time to get there but the results have been worth it.

Making money in the market is a journey. You’ll go through various stages of investing along the way that are marked by specific decisions. How you handle each one of these stages will determine your ability to win long-term.

The 4 Stages of Investing

I hope you are thinking about investing. Next to the personal earnings you receive from your job, investing is the #1 way to build wealth. It does take some time for significant wealth to accumulate and you’ll have to go through these stages of investing to get there:

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