Is Expensive Health Coverage Really Worth It?

Facebook photoHealth insurance coverage costs vary for each family based upon the plans available and the needs of the family. It is important to shop around for coverage before signing on with a specific provider, even if it is an option offered by an employer. Expensive health care coverage plans are not always superior to more affordable plans.

Higher Deductibles/Spend-down Plans

It is common to see a higher deductible or spend-down amount listed for costlier health insurance coverage. These rates may not be possible for growing families that already budget their monthly income. This can also lead to higher co-pay amounts, which are nearly the equivalent of some physicians’ in-house programs for the uninsured.

Incomplete Coverage

Insurance plans at all price levels have gaps in them. It is important to read every word of an insurance plan and pay attention to the percentages or dollar amounts shown to be covered. Incomplete coverage means that portions of services are not covered, services are marked as elective that are necessary, or only cover general health/wellness services. View where the gaps are and compare those with lesser expensive coverage plans, to determine if another provider has more coverage for the services your family needs.

Having to Purchase Supplemental Coverage

When an insurance plan does not provide sufficient coverage, supplemental plans are required. This means that a family is paying two monthly premiums for health insurance. If a high-priced plan requires secondary coverage, it is ideal to continue shopping around to find the right provider. Consider using a service, like the healthcare marketplace, to compare costs prior to looking further into them.

Dental Coverage

Shopping for dental insurance coverage is typically rather inexpensive and worth the cost. Dental procedures can be quite costly and most plans only cover a portion of the cost. This can still leave large out-of-pocket dental care expenses that can financially strap a family with an already strict budget. If the cost of your procedure is too much, consider asking for the non-insured cash price and any available financial assistance programs or payment programs to make the bill practicable.

Vision Plans

Vision plans are also typically inexpensive. These plans have spending limits, surgical option limits, and general care limits. If you exceed your limits for contacts, glasses or prescription sunglasses, the cost above what is covered must be covered by you. The benefit here is, you may be able to use your insurance with discount vision care providers that combine an exam with corrective lenses in a fixed price to receive a bit of a discount. Vision plans typically are worth the price.

Final Word

The high-priced health insurance plans are not necessarily worth it. It is vital that you compare the percentages of care covered, types of medical services covered, and the co-pays for all types of procedures. If you are unable to cover your out-of-pocket costs, it is not the right insurance plan for your family. Compare individual pricing for each type of service against the price of the monthly premium to determine if the higher-priced plan offers more of the services your family requires than others.

Property Investment as a Career – What You Need to Know

rp_dollar-837378_1280-300x199.jpgInvestment assets are real estate properties that have been acquired to earn returns on risk, either through rent or future sale of the investment. Investment possessions can be long-term risks, such as building apartments, or a short-term endeavour, in the case where an investment is purchased then resold for profit. Investors should study prevailing market conditions to determine the most profitable use of an asset. Real estate has grown to become an attractive opportunity to make gains.

While attempting entry into the real estate industry, it is imperative to make smart choices. Some of the considerations you will have to pay attention to include:

Cash returns- The property purchased has to generate four to six percent of its financial value to earn a fair cash return rate

Risk – As real estate is a high-risk venture, it is vital to follow due diligence while purchasing the property. Additionally, insurance cover offered by companies such as residential landlord insurance is necessary

Management requirements- Real estate property must not demand too much time managing

Financing can be a barrier to anyone’s real investment ambitions. Home prices are on a steady increase. According to National Association of Realtors, 85% percent of metropolitan areas experienced a gain in home prices. However, with correct preparation, funding can come along quite easily. Some helpful tips may include:

Have some down payment – Down payment is important to secure competitive interests from mortgage lenders.

Maintain a good credit score

Secure capital through home equity lines of credit to own good property

Successful entry into the real estate sector promises numerous benefits on investment. Some of the benefits of having real assets in any portfolio are as follows:

Inflation hedge- real estate profits are directly connected to the rent collected. During inflationary times, rental rates tend to increase. An investor, therefore, maintains profits regardless of economic performance.

Ability to determine performance – A real estate investor can determine the value of real assets. Activities such as improving its condition and replacing worn-out areas influence the performance of real investments.

Yields- Investing in real estate is quite profitable. Real estate allows the investor to earn higher returns on a given level of risk.

Even though investing in real estate has become an appealing idea to many people, there are some challenges faced. Some of them may include:

Costs- Real Estates are costly to purchase. Additionally, maintenance expenditures of real investment are high

Difficult to buy- It is challenging to build a good real estate investment. Purchases, moreover, should be made over diversified locations. The initial capital outlay may be out of reach for many investors.

Investing in real estate is appealing and profitable. However, before investing, it is recommendable to research, and make informed decisions to secure the finest real estate investments.


Ways To Save Money On Home Costs

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 11.58.44 AMBills can easily add up, so it’s best to educate yourself on the ways you can save money around your home.

Saving a dollar here and there will quickly add up, and over the period of a year you will definitely realize how much money you are saving over time. There are so many ways to save money when it comes to bills and items around the house, so let’s get started!

1. Negotiate your phone or internet bill.

Phone, internet, and cable prices are soaring yearly and hidden costs are constantly being added. My friend decided she was going to shut off her cable, until the cable company decided to give her a better deal. Not to say that you should threaten your cable company by telling them you are no longer wanting their services, but be real with them.

Another tip: Check if you’re being overcharged or charged for channels that you never use. It’s best to figure out what channels you are truly watching and cut out the channels that are never watched, or even only turned on a couple times a month. Those extra movie channels add up tremendously over time, therefore you can save a lot of money if you cut them out as soon as possible.

2. Search for thrift stores around your city.

I used to hate thrift shops, simply because I only went to one and never found anything. If you do some research, you’ll quickly realize that there are hidden thrift stores everywhere, with plenty more items to choose from. I always like to donate my clothes to these thrift stores, after trying to sell them myself. Nice furniture items can be seldom found here, but when you do get lucky enough to find them, the price will be slashed considerably.

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3. Repurpose furniture or even clothing items.

I love buying furniture from thrift stores and fixing them up myself. I simply put a coat of paint over the piece of furniture, or fix some screws and other broken items. Pinterest is great for DIY finds and learning how to fix items by yourself for cheap.

4. Meal plan.

Look up meal plans online, and before you go shopping create a grocery list. I can’t even count how many times I went grocery shopping without a grocery list, and ended up buying a lot more items than even necessary. It’s even better to have a meal plan because if you have a plan you are sticking to, it’s easier and faster to get to certain fitness goals you have.

5. Have get-togethers.

Have fun get-togethers at home, instead of going out to the restaurant and bars. Look up fun games online that you can play at home with a simple deck of cards. Have all of your friends bring a dish and contribute to the party.

Do you participate in any of the above methods to save money on home costs? What other ways can you save money in your home?

 

5 Free Ways To Gain Confidence

feel-819399_640Being confident is crucial to life because it allows you to work better in all aspects of life. When you have confidence, you are more likely to try new things and even succeed at tasks.

I believe in being confident, but not being arrogant. No one likes someone who talks themselves up and believes they are better than everyone else.

Being confident and arrogant are two very different things, so read below to learn how to gain confidence and become a better you.

1. Think positive and get rid of those negative thoughts.

If something about yourself is bothering you and you aren’t happy, get to the root of what is bringing you down. Work on that issue of yours and write down a list of ways you are going to work on what is bothering you. Take action instead of complaining about the issue, as complaining usually won’t better the situation.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others.

I’ve done a ton of research on how a person can stop comparing themselves to others, and it’s helped me a lot as well.

As a human being, we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to another person at one point or another in our lives. We compare ourselves to the people in the magazines that are photo-shopped, or to the Facebook friend that seems to have everything together. It’s not healthy nor right to do this because what you see on Facebook is not always the real truth of what’s going on in that person’s life.

It’s been known that people on Facebook are likely to brag about a certain thing in their life, and there are some people who do it every day. Don’t compare yourself to those people. Someone’s life can seem perfect through social media, but no ones life is perfect and most people don’t have it together, so don’t get down on yourself.

3. Read a book, view educational videos, and more.

Educating yourself and gaining intelligence will improve your level of confidence because you’ll know more about the world. Being more knowledgeable allows you to talk about a wide variety of interests and topics of the world. Many people will be impressed by your level of knowledge, therefore you’ll gain confidence.

4. Be good to yourself, and be good to others.

I think this has to be one of the most important tools in order to gain self-confidence. When I say mean or negative things to myself, I ask myself if I would ever say something like to a family member or friend. Realize that how you talk to yourself is very important in the process of gaining confidence.

5. Start setting small goals and achieve them.

Eventually over time, set higher goals and achieve those as well. There will be obstacles that you will need to surpass in the process, and those are the times of changing within you. The most uncomfortable times lead us to be stronger human beings.

Do you participate in any of the above ways to gain confidence? What other ways can one achieve a higher confidence?

Top Reasons to Part with Your Land Property

Even though many people may love land for one reason or another, there are also a lot of people out there who currently have a plot and they are just sitting on it. It doesn’t mean that you need to sell it or that there should be a set criterion with respect to keeping it either. However, at the end of the day the thing you will want to do is take a good hard look at your property and truly wonder whether or not you should continue to just let the parcel sit there unattended or if you should possible consider selling it off to someone else. Consider these options as what could potentially happen if you let your land go.

Development

Any land that is just sitting there needs to be developed before anything good can come in. If you were to get rid of the acreage you own, no matter how small, it could make a difference for someone who is looking for their first (or next) home. When a developer is actually able to get their hands onto a property then they have a much better chance of working it, running the utilities, flattening the land, and even putting up a home itself.

It might take some time because it is a fairly arduous process, but at the same time if a developer is able to create and build a brand new home or even a full subdivision or neighborhood of homes, then in no time at all you are able to see people who can suddenly afford a home in an area all thanks to you allowing the lot to be developed. When you think about all of the people who want to continue developing real estate, there are more than enough individuals who would be willing to chomp at the bit if they were given the chance.

New Businesses

Just because property is going to be developed doesn’t mean that it will wind up getting turned into homes. One thing to remember is that when property is getting developed in general, many factors come into play. The developer might not want to divide and subdivide land but might want to turn it into a business park or even build commercial outlets and stores instead of going the residential route. This could not only lead to potentially happier lives of individuals as they now have one more thing to do in their current life, but it could also mean that people are going to have jobs, raises, and the ability to invest in their craft if they open stores along with the developer. The current case of real estate development is one that is so popular, people who know nothing about land, development, or construction in general have all started to think of real estate and the associated development as one that anyone can do and anyone can make money from. The demand is there.

The ability to enterprise to continue is not just something that will improve those individuals who are touched and effected initially by the development of business property, but this is something that can raise the quality of life for the entire region as well. Land shouldn’t necessarily all be developed as there is an importance for green and for the wild lands in all places in the world. However, if you are fortunate enough to see some of the best spots getting developed then you will also be able to see some businesses take off and start to thrive all because they had a chance.

Governmental Reasons

Sometimes when land is sold off it isn’t just to try and help people with pure development of given structures but it could also be developed for governmental reasons. While one of the most popular reasons in this scenario is to try and attempt to create new transportation and infrastructure (which is extremely important for a booming city or region), there is also a lot more that the local government can do in order to ensure the whole plot is user for the best possible purposes.

It could be possible that the government simply turns the area into a park. They could create new utility plants to provide additional energy and jobs as well as keeping the costs of current utility prices down. They could always install a military base, or even a dozen other things under the sun. However, when you consider the full idea of progress then it only makes sense to see that sometimes it is the government and urban planning decision makers who could truly help to impact the region in a positive way if they just had one more resource at their disposal.

Make a Profit

One thing to consider isn’t just what will happen to the land itself in a given situation if you were to part with it, but how you would part with it as well. The fact of the matter is when you have an asset and a resource at your disposal such as a significant parcel of property then you have a lot of value in terms of the asset as well. You always have the opportunity of donating it and trying to give back in the literal sense (whether or not you could receive significant tax breaks for doing so). However, one major item you should consider would be to sell it.

Land has significant value in general and while there is no fixed price on how much any given acre will cost in a vacuum, there are certainly some general going rates depending upon where you are. Obviously you should have some sense of ethics and responsibility so that you know what the potential buyers could be doing with the lot, but at the end of the day if you are capable of potentially making a significant amount of money then you owe it to yourself to at least see what you could get with a buy-sell land property with DDProperty inquiry. While having land is nice and there are some reasons you may want to keep it, you should also consider what else you could do with the money as well as what else could make you happy. The fact of the matter is, if you are in an area that is starting to see significant growth, there are more than enough people who would be willing to pay significant amounts of money for certain property in certain locations.

As you are fully aware, the idea of progress is a difficult one to define. Different people will look at it from different points of view, and while there are some things that some people consider to be the most important in the name of progress, there are others who say you can’t go forward without holding onto some of the past. At the end of the day your property is yours and yours alone. You are the only one who can choose what to do with it. Just make sure you are thinking about your happiness when you go to make a decision as well as what the potential impact of a property sale could mean to everyone else as well.

Protecting Your Rental from Unruly Tenants

If you are business minded and entrepreneurial enough to own a rental property, then you know how lucrative it can be. If you find the right tenants and set up the right system, then in no time at all you can have someone else paying off your mortgage while collecting a modest-but-increasing monthly cash flow for your trouble. However, if you aren’t protecting yourself against your own tenants then things could quickly spiral out of control.

Think about the following protective strategies to ensure your property isn’t destroyed right under your nose.

Require That Your Renters Carry Insurance

The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure that your tenants carry renters insurance. If they don’t, you may be able to force or even surcharge them until they do (if you’ve worded the lease agreement to state such). However, the one thing you want to know is that their policy is going to be on the hook and step up to the plate in case something goes wrong. Another pro is that it forces tenants to think critically about how responsible they will be. Tenants looking for a party house with little care for the property or possessions within it will scoff at having to purchase renters insurance. Those who plan to be responsible will likely have no issue getting a policy.

Communicate that renters insurance is quite affordable and that a policy can be found quickly if they compare renters insurance quotes online. Instruct tenants to present a certificate proving their liability limits just to be safe. This strategy will not only allow you to better vet your tenants for responsibility, but will safe you in the event tenant negligence occurs and damages your rental property. 

Put Down a Large Security Deposit

While it is typical to put down a full month’s worth of rent for a security deposit, you could have your tenants put down more, according to PropertyDo. At a minimum, you should have tenants put down a security deposit and then additional funds (possibly first and last’s month rent) for extra tenants, pets, bad credit, or in case they have a shoddy rental history. The key is not that you’re trying to make it harder for someone to afford your place or to nickel and dime them across the board; you just want to make sure you’re balancing risks in your favor. If you can’t fully trust someone because they represent more risk, then you need to have the money collected up front.

Be Thorough with History Checks

You should always perform background checks on prospective tenants, but you also have to be sure that you’re thorough and that you don’t stray from the plan. The whole reason for checking out somebody’s history is that you’re looking for red flags. And, while it might seem a little too thorough for some, if you have to spend an extra day or two waiting for a new applicant because you turned down a potential renter with a checkered past, the loss of a few days’ rental revenue is well worth the fewer headaches you’ll have.

The checks might seem like a hassle up front, but if you’re able to discover what somebody did in a past rental, where they work, and what their financial history is in general, then you can have a much better idea of what type of person is going to be living and taking care of your hard-earned asset of a property.

Conduct Inspections

As long as you build an inspection into your lease, you can save a lot of headaches. The funny thing is that many landlords feel like this can be a pain, but at the same time, more landlords are starting to implement this right into the terms of the lease. After all, if you are a tenant, then what do you have to hide? By doing quick walkthroughs and inspections once every few months, you might spend a few extra minutes but you can be aware of any potential problems before they develop into something unmanageable.

While any property owner will fine tune their renting strategy over time, the key to getting ahead as a landlord is to shield yourself from unneeded risk. The tenants, no matter how trustworthy they seem, are the risk in this equation. Follow the above tips and you’ll be sure to have a more profitable and less stressful renting experience.

The 411 On Student Loans

rp_money-548948_640-300x200-300x200-300x2001-300x200.jpgStudent loans are two words that many adults dread hearing and talking about. To some people, loans might help with financial burden during college years, and to others, it might be way too much money to handle responsibly. Whatever the case may be, student loans have to eventually be paid off, and it’s better to do it sooner than later. Here are a few tips that will help any potential student understand how student loans work and or need of advice.

1. Don’t take out more student loans than necessary. I have met many people who take out more student loans than they should for reasons such as: paying for vacations, nicer cars, etc. I also know of people who take out student loans in order to take more credits each semester, and thereby working less at a job so they can finish school quicker. I would say the latter is a better decision IF you are wanting to graduate quicker, but keep in mind that these loans will in fact stack up and build interest over the years.

2. Total up how much your tuition and books will be and ONLY take out that much in student loans. I did this every single semester of college and my student loans are considerably less than the average college student. It lead to working more and buckling down with a budget, but now I’m not stuck with a huge financial burden and I can go to sleep more at peace.

3. Come up with a pay off plan sooner than later. Figure out how exactly you will be paying off these loans. Maybe you will decide to work more so you can pay off your student loans quicker. Or how about starting a saving money challenge or refraining from stopping at for a coffee every morning challenge. These challenges will save you a lot more money than you would think and you can instead put all of this money towards something that will ease stress with your student loans.

Related: Top ways grads can save money

4. If you can, live with your parents as long as you can and all of the money you would be putting towards rent, put towards your student loans. A lot of people frown upon living with their parents, but this in fact can save you hundreds of dollars each month. I’m not saying to heavily rely on your parents, but if they are offering free room and board, take advantage of it.

5. Stay positive and realize that it will eventually be paid off one day with your hard work. Stick with your plan, ask for help when you need it, and  don’t beat yourself up too much. The majority of us have to deal with student loans, the trick is dealing with them correctly and responsibly.

What is your plan for paying off your student loans? If you already paid off your student loans, what tips do you have for others?

5 Financial Tips You Should Know Before Moving Abroad

feminine-23-2Moving overseas can be a very exciting prospect. That being said, it takes a special individual who is able to organize all of their affairs properly to be successful in their prospective move overseas. One of the most imperative aspects that you must set up and organize perfectly is your finances. Here are some tips to assist you in setting up your finances properly before embarking upon the exciting task of moving abroad:

Tip 1: You need to plan beyond your initial budget for the basics. The reality of moving abroad is that there are always going to be additional expenses even if you think you have planned your move to perfection. You should absolutely be setting aside additional funds to supplement these unexpected expenses to your budget.

One important aspect that is commonly overlooked is how various currencies can greatly affect your budget. It is imperative to know where to change your currency so that you are not overpaying for your exchange rates. Ideally, you should consider sending or exchanging money through Foreign Exchange companies. The reason for this is that they will give you the option to use a “forward contract,” which is a legal contract that agrees to buy or sell a currency at a fixed rate for a future date regardless of what the exchange rate is at that date. This is a great tool that allows you to anticipate exactly what you need to budget in wiring fees and the difference between various currencies.

Tip 2: Securing Housing. When going to live abroad, you must find housing; however, there is a way to save a great sum of money. In many parts of the world it is cheaper to negotiate your rent once you get there. The best way to do this is to use booking.com or Airbnb.com to stay for the first week. During this time, you can negotiate your rent and not pay the high Internet rates designed for foreigners.

Tip 3: Do not buy properties your first year. This is important because you may not want to end up buying properties at all. Carefully consider whether you are going to stay in this particular locale or explore the possibility of buying and then renting to tourists later on. This could be a great long term investment for you if you decide that you could make a business out of your property after your departure.

Tip 4: Consider learning the language and the culture. If you are going to be stationed in a country that is very different from your own, more often that not, you are going to need to study the language. You should study the language for at least six months before you go so that you can communicate with the locals. This will end up saving you a great deal of money on negotiating your rent, market prices, and much more because the locals will respect your efforts and want to work with you. Additionally, you will need to study the culture of where you are going so that you do not offend the locals and they do not offend you. If you have a grasp on the culture before you go, you will avoid many problematic pitfalls that happen when you first move abroad.

Tip 5: Invest in an international phone plan. One of the most expensive things about being abroad is the cell phone. To avoid this, you must get an unlimited roaming plan from your home country or the country you are residing in. Many people prefer using one from their home country so that their friends and family are not charged extra fees. Make sure that the plan covers unlimited data and unlimited international texts. Then, when you want to call, turn on your data and use FaceTime or Skype through the data. This will allow you to call from video or audio on your data and not pay any additional fees. Additionally, you can call people regardless if you are in front of the Great Wall in China or the Pyramids in Egypt because the plan picks up whatever company is the local carrier to the country that you are visiting.

Moving abroad is a very exciting time and if you organize your finances well, you will have a rewarding experience that will greatly enrich your life for many years to come.

John Hancock Investments Manager of Managers

John Hancock Investments has a different approach. John Hancock Investments has been a manager of managers since 1988. They help their clients closely, so that their clients can help their clients.

Watch the video below from John Hancock Investments.

Top ways grads can save money

rp_feminine-23-2-300x200-1-300x200.jpgWhen you graduate and leave the somewhat-comfort of the student life behind, there are quite a few harsh realities to contend with. Aside from wanting to wipe your debts and start life anew, you’ll find it difficult to get those professional jobs that seem few and far between, often having to settle for a lower paid job while you get further placements. I know from experience that any way you can get ahead, make savings and give yourself some breathing space each month will make a real difference, so here are just a few of my top tips for doing just that…

Utility tricks

You’ll probably have learnt a lot of savvy ways of saving money when you were a student, but when it comes to running an energy efficient household, there are so many ways that you can cut down on how much things are costing you. A big one is to set your thermostat to a constant lower temperature during winter months.

A lot of people wrongly think that by turning your heating on for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple at night that this saves money, but it actually costs more, because more energy is needed to heat your home from scratch each day. The exact same thing can be said for your fridge and freezer; the less that’s in it, the more it costs to keep that big space cool, so stock up on food! You can find more useful tips like this right here.

Bulk-buy and save

I found this way of shopping helped me save a lot of money, and I still do it now 10 years later. Whenever I need to buy those every-day items that I use a lot of, I have specific places online that I go to so that I can buy them in bulk. The more of them you buy, the better the cost per weight of the item that you can negotiate, and some websites do special membership offers too. These kinds of items could be anything form toilet paper to toothpaste, but I find that ink cartridges for our Canon pixma mg3250 from Cartridge People are the best rates I can find.

Anything you need, shop around

I don’t just shop around for the smaller items, but the more expensive ones too. There are so many sites available now, Amazon in particular, who care about the customer rate. Before rushing out and buying a new washing machine or printer from your local highstreet shop, go into a few stores to view what you want, note down their details and then research reviews and prices online before committing. This will save you a lot of wasted money in the long-run.

I hope these top tips help you just as much as they did for my husband and I when we first graduated. If you have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them, so please don’t forget to leave a comment.