My wife and I were previously traveling on our way home on LBJ Freeway’s HOV lane in Dallas. We enjoy ride sharing because the HOV lane cuts the trip’s duration almost in half. Since there’s no traffic, we get to move at 50-70mph when everyone else is stopped on the four lane parking lot. The lane is protected with double solid white lines and those lines occasionally change to an unprotected single dashed line where everyone slows down to allow people to change in and out of the HOV lane.
About a year ago we were in an accident when another person traveling at about 0mph, breaking the law, crossed those lines. We were hurt and our car was pretty mangled.
It happened again. This time though, I did not hit the other person. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, my tires were flat-spotted from the hard-braking action. I buy good tires, Yamaha YK420, and have always appreciated their road worthiness. I buy the free replacement filters as way of protecting those tires. Since the tires are destroyed, I have to replace them. The certificate doesn’t help because it’s not considered a road hazard. How frustrating! Last time the insurance took care of the tires. This time, there’s no insurance involved. That one person’s foolishness cost $190USD this time. Thankfully, I had some cash saved in my freedom savings account that helped with that.
Here’s some advice. If you do it to me again, get out of your car with a wad of cash. It would be better to at very minimum, have the courtesy of looking in the lane and not pulling in front of someone. Rather though, please wait for the single dashed line where other courteous driver’s have slowed down and given you freedom to safely enter or exit the HOV lane. This is where you’re not breaking the law and endangering your life or someone else’s.
After 8 years with Progressive, I switched. I called my local State Farm agent and did a quote over the phone. My automobile insurance now is a LOT better, and I saved almost 33%.
I put my wife on the policy, so she is now covered for the first time in our marriage. I increased my coverage significantly from what I had previously. I went from 20/40/15 to 100/300/100.
Now, let me tell you about the savings. I saved so much (about $500/yr) that I thought I should put the savings to good use, so I also bought renter’s insurance. State Farm has a nice perk called a “multiline discount“, so by buying a policy in a another line of business, I lowered my automobile insurance even more. With the additional policy cost, I still spent $200 less than what I had saved, so I still saved a bunch of money.
The lesson I learned here is: if you’ve been with the same company providing any service or product longer than a couple of years, chances are competition has been working to your advantage, and you may be missing out on a competitor’s great deal . It’s worth the time and energy to do a little investigation. All together, switching my insurance company may take about 4 hours of my time (the calls today, completing property value worksheet, faxing it back, the trip there & back, signing paperwork, notifying the lienholder, etc), but it’s going to save me thousands over the next few years. This should be a “no-brainer” for anyone. MAKE THE CALL. Your wallet will thank you.
I found a great all in one article on CNNMoney.com today. It’s not a site I regularly frequent, but this article is definitely top notch. It covers “10 simple strategies for finally achieving your financial goals“.
It takes a deeper look into saving more money, investing smarter, getting out of debt, getting your career kick-started, and more.
It’s actually a collection of 10 articles, and will take some time to get through all of them, but it’s time well spent.
This wraps up the last of the lessons from The Wealthy Barber, a book by David Chilton.
- When it comes to an emergency fund, pick one that’s appropriate, but you don’t have to exaggerate the amount. If your liabilities are greater or if your income is unpredictable, a larger one may be necessary. Consider current protection such as insurance when building your emergency fund.
- Saving for a child’s education can be tricky as there’s many different options and opinions vary on responsibility. Some parents leave the burden to the children. However, the cost of college is becoming increasingly more expensive, and often cant be funded solely by money earned during summer jobs. If a parent chooses to be willing and able to assist with college savings, there are many tax credits and tax deduction benefits. Consider a benevolent family member who could help. Another option, prepaid tution plans, may have restrict the choice of schools. There’s also education savings accounts and bacculaureate bonds. However, David Chilton suggests a different investment practice for college savings. He advises to use a well-selected equity mutual fund. This benefits in the usual ways of mutual funds, by having dollar-cost averaging, long-term ownership, and forced savings.
- Disability insurance is frequently disregarded, yet usually one of the most critical insurance needs. A staggering fact is that one of four individuals will be disabled for at least a one year period in their lifetime. When someone passes away, they need life insurance because they are no longer an asset to their dependants and the cash flow stops. The sad truth is that a disabled person becomes a liability, causing negative cash flow, which could be financially devastating. If you think you’re covered through an employer or an existing plan, double check the policy and make sure that it provides enough support to take care of your family. If you don’t have it, get it now.
- The last topic covered is staying informed. Money laws change frequently and new benefits and investment vehicles are constantly created. By making a plan using the practices suggested in the book, the plan should be successful in creating a wealthy and satisfying financial future, however events may occur prompting re-evaluation of a chosen strategy. Chilton’s suggested readings include Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Fortune, SmartMoney, and the Wall Street Journal. I advise to watch some TV shows, like Suze Orman and Jim Kramer‘s Mad Money. Listen to some NPR and Talk Radio that cover money advice. I also suggest subscribing to related RSS feeds and reading relevant blogs such as this one to stay current for a wealth of information.
I added a new blog, Journey To Financial Freedom, to my “Favorite Financial Fun”. While it seems new the content is consistently updated. A recent topic is about “Catastrophic Coverage”, a type health coverage that is new to me. It may be the cheapest alternative to some individuals who are seeking coverage but are unable to afford the rising costs of medical expenses. Read further and follow the links for more information about this type of policy. I also advise you to consult and an insurance agent for further information.