Life Insurance: Protect What You’ve Got

While insurance isn’t an investment, it’s an important part of sound, savvy personal financial management. Insurance is protection. It protects everything you’ve worked so hard to earn. It protects your spouse in the event of premature death. It sends the kids to college. It holds together a family at a time when money shouldn’t be a concern.

You need insurance but shopping for the right coverage to protect your family and your assets is like learning a new language. Term life, whole life, universal life, actual cash value, dividends, loans against policy – it’s a maze of insurance products out there and finding the right coverage for your needs may take a little research.

Here’s a starter course on getting the most for the least in life insurance and still have the protection you and your family need.

Types of Life Insurance

There are two basic types of life insurance with numerous variations on a theme.

Term life insurance is the simplest to understand. It’s also the most economical protection you can buy.

Term life insurance is paid when the insured (you) pass on within a defined term – a defined length of time your life insurance coverage is in effect. Term life comes with a variety of time frames: five-, ten- even thirty-year terms are available.

The younger you are, the lower the cost of the monthly premium – the dollar amount you pay for protection each month. Premiums are calculated based on two factors – your age (and general health) and the dollar amount of protection you need. It’s simple. A $100,000 term life insurance policy won’t cost as much as a $500,000 policy because you’re buying less protection.

With term life, you keep things simple. The insurance company pays X amount of dollars to the beneficiaries when the insured individual passes on, as long as the policy is in effect, that is, the death occurs during the term of the policy, thus the name term life insurance.

Term life policies don’t accumulate value, you can’t borrow against them and, if you choose a short term and your health changes, you could end up paying more for your term life insurance than you would if you buy a long-term policy – one that covers you for the long term.

To determine how much term life you need, add up funeral costs, outstanding personal debt, mortgage debt, the prospect of paying tuition and other large expenses that would drain family resources. Figure what it would cost your family for a single year.

Then multiply by a factor between 5 and 10. Use the lower factor if you don’t have a lot of debt and the higher factor if you’re carrying a couple of mortgages and you have three kids to put through school. That’s how much term life you need to protect your family and all their expectations.

The other class of insurance is whole life insurance, also called permanent insurance, universal insurance, variable universal insurance and other product names, but all fall into the general class of coverage called whole life insurance.

The first difference between term and whole life is that whole life covers you from the day you buy the policy until you die. Of course, this assumes that you pay your whole life insurance premium each month. There is no term (length of time coverage is in effect) to whole life. Buy it when you’re young and your premiums will be low and you’ll start building cash value.

That’s the other main difference between term and whole life insurance coverage. Whole life pays dividends. Not a lot, but dividends that can be used to lower monthly premiums, or they can be allowed to accumulate earning interest.

Once the whole life policy has accumulated enough cash value you can borrow against that cash value to buy a house or cover some tuition bills. The downside to taking loans against the value of a whole life policy is that it lowers the payout to family in the event of the insured individual’s death.

However, a whole life policy does increase in value while providing protection for your family. The cost of coverage is also higher. Expect to pay more for $500K of whole life versus $500K of term life insurance, simply because the insurer is paying interest on your monthly premiums.

Calculate your coverage needs using the criteria listed above. Don’t think of whole life as a money-maker. It’s not intended to increase your wealth. That’s a side benefit. An important side benefit, but the primary reason for purchasing whole life is to protect your family in the event of your pre-mature death.

Life Insurance Sources

There are hundreds of insurance companies and even more life insurance products so talking to a knowledgeable professional is a good first step.

An insurance broker can advise you but, keep in mind, each insurance broker carries a “line” of products from a limited number of insurance providers so each broker will tell you her products are the best value.

If you do the math yourself, you know going in, how much coverage you want to buy, at which point, it’s just a matter of finding a reputable insurance company offering competitive rates and the benefits you’re looking for.

Another resource is your local bank – often the best place to start researching your life insurance needs. Banks sell a broad range of life insurance products and, because insurance isn’t the primary business of a bank, you’re more likely to get straightforward answers to your questions.

Another reason to visit your bank’s insurance rep is that your bank knows the financial you – how much you have in accounts, how much comes in and goes out on a month to month basis, your tax status and other personal finance information needed to get the right kind of life insurance at the right price.

Talk to your employer. Life insurance may be a benefit along with health care and two weeks vacation, but you may also be able to increase the dollar amount of coverage with money deducted from your paycheck painlessly.

Unions, associations, your local Chamber of Commerce and other organizations are also sources for low-cost term or whole life coverage. Purchasing life insurance coverage through an industry association, for example, gets you group rates that translate into more coverage at a lower monthly premium. On the other hand, when you purchase term or whole life through your union you usually don’t have a choice of insurers and that’s an important point to consider.

Go with an insurance company that’s ranked highly by Standard and Poor or some other rating organization. Your broker or banker will steer you toward quality of coverage so you get more for your money.

Life insurance sounds complicated but, when you break it down into simple terms, it’s something you can do with a trusted advisor to point you down the right path.

Get life insurance. Get term life if you want lower premiums; get whole life if you want your insurance to build cash value against which you can take loans.

How To Find A Great Deal When Shopping Online

No matter where you shop, you want to get the best deal for your money. Online shoppers are no different. Here are some ways to find great deals when shopping online.

Shop for deals online after a major holiday occurs. The best time for shopping is after Thanksgiving. Retailers in stores and online are looking to maximize their profits with your shopping dollar. Most of your favorite outlet stores will be offering popular items on sale at a fraction of the cost to attract more customers.

Some online retailers offer deals to customers that can’t be found in the stores. Special online deals allow people to shop from the comfort of their own home instead of standing in long lines outside the retail stores. They may offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount.

Use coupons to shop at online stores. Check Sunday newspaper circulars. Some stores offer customers the option of using their coupons online. Since you have shipping and handling in addition to sales tax, online merchants will offer more money off with their coupons for online purchases.

Electronics are a popular item to purchase online. Check the comments made by other shoppers before purchasing. Their comments give you an idea of the quality and satisfaction you will receive from the product. Stores like Circuit City offer deals on their electronics which includes in-store pickup.

What they will ask you to do is to enter your address into the computer. They will give you the address of the closest store location and the availability of the product you seek. If the product is available, you have the option of paying online and picking it up in the store. You avoid shipping and handling and long lines in the store.

Sites like Overstock.com are always offering deals on all sorts of items. Some are new and some are refurbished. Be sure that the site you use is an authorized reseller of the selected product to avoid getting ripped off. Again, check comments from other shoppers that have used that site for shopping purchases.

Taking surveys can garner deals at shopping sites all across the Internet. Places like MyPoints.com offer shopping deals to their members through daily bonus e-mails just for trying products for a trial period. Members also earn points towards gift cards and services for trying these offers. There is no cost to become a member. Just sign up and create a profile.

Deals are available to online shoppers, but you must know when and where to look. Online shopping offers the convenience of browsing and buying without leaving your home computer.

Online Shopping All About Online Price Comparison And Product Reviews

As the web grows every day, so do online enterprises and online price comparison websites. These sites have become necessary and handy for shoppers everywhere. Why? It’s simple. People like to spend their money. Companies offer more and more products to choose from. Whether it’s about clothing or gadgets, tools or equipment, musical instruments or PC hardware, there will always be someone to buy them. And for many people, the best place to start searching is the web. Online shopping has become so popular due to the fact that it not only offers the shopper the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their own home, but also because it offers a greater variety of products and the chance to choose the best ones.

But what is online price comparison all about? Again, it’s simple: a bunch of hard-working and determined people gather data and put together a website containing information about various products from many companies, all centralized in the same database, with plenty of information concerning value and other details. Usually, the given prices are the recommended retail prices, but every site states taxes and other additional payments.

So, online price comparison gives everyone the opportunity to find what they need quick and easy. There is no need to wander around the city searching for what suits them best. Also, for each and every person out there, with particular tastes and preferences concerning what clothes or perfumes they like to wear, what kind of food they like to eat and so on, the internet gives an easier alternative. Just a few clicks and you’re set. You can find anything online. No more exhausting and inconclusive searches. No more rude clerks or impatient shopkeepers. No more heavy traffic. Worst case scenario is that you have to take a ten minute walk to the postal office to pick up your package!

Concerning product reviews, their existence is just as useful and as necessary as online price comparison. Nowadays, the ones who profit greatly from the online shopping experience are teenagers. Thank God, they like to buy! IPods, video games, cool clothes, you name it! Most of the elderly are more reserved, but young people, as much as their budget allows, will generally spend meaningful amounts of money for a good time. Naturally, the desire for knowledge of a certain product planned for future purchase always comes to the mind of the buyers. This leads to the necessity of another valuable option on shopping websites that always comes along with online price comparison: product reviews.

Product reviews are all about the specifications of a certain product. Users comment and blog their likes and dislikes during the usage of the product. The reviews are frequently and mostly posted by the webmasters and consist in comments, tips & tricks, pictures of the device and others details, but there are also external links to sites in that specific area of expertise and of course to the official site of the producer.

Another instance of product reviews is the consumer forums. This is where many people log in and share opinions about what they’ve bought, where they’ve bought it and how it’s all been coming along since they’ve acquired that item. Even if forums like these are a good environment for information, it is better to listen to the advice of the product reviews. An item that has been bought and reviewed by the shopper will not have any outside influences in the official opinion.

Online Price Comparison And Product Reviews Handy And Useful Tools

The fastest flowing information current these days is the internet. You can do everything on the internet: research, work, date or shop. Most people prefer online shopping because it’s easier and even cheaper. For instance, think about all the time, car fuel and nerves you can save by simply clicking a few times. Having everything set at your disposal, in a user-friendly and interactive environment, with no dressing rooms or lines to wait at and no angry bored people around to give you a hard time, the purchasing experience is heavenly. Although everything might seem perfect, there is room for online improvement. Luckily for us, they’ve thought of that as well. Here’s how the internet can improve your shopping experience and give you satisfaction, as well as the chance to find better deals…

First of all, meet two of the most useful tools for the online shopper: online price comparison and product reviews. It all began in the late 90′s with the worldwide internet explosion. Small independent companies came up with the idea to centralize all their products along with the required information in an extensive database. This makes shopping easier for both the customer and for the company. It also created a greater deal of clientele and more worldwide publicity. Then enterprises such as the search engines Yahoo!, MSN and Google and other companies were established who could also benefit from online stores.

The sites had and still have a common characteristic: they offer visitors the chance to compare prices for the same products, but belonging to different companies: online price comparison. Having this option available for use, shoppers had the chance to see which products have the best price and the best characteristics. The various product reviews found within the numerous pages of specialized websites consist of information about the year the product was released, the recommended retailer price (with specifications about taxes) and stores in which it’s available.

The search process thus becomes quick and easy. You just need to log on http://www.plaza101.com for example. Since the pages are interactive and easily comprehendible, the online price comparison becomes a child’s game”. Besides online price comparison and product reviews, which always come together, many websites have come up with an even more user-friendly method. A complex web page script allows visitors to select the brand and all the other usual basics. This also includes the purpose or the environment in which the product will be used, your age and many other complex preferences that will eventually lead to the display of a list of exact products to suit your needs 100%, based on your answers to the website’s questions.

The most attractive online price comparison and product reviews sites are those built in an easy-to-read manner sites like Plaza101. You should look for these sites first. They are easier to comprehend, with information scattered throughout the whole content of the review (statistically, it has been proven that most people read only a third of the article as they scroll through it), easy noticeable headlights (colored, underlined and so on) and appointments to season sales or discounts that will give you a better deal.

Shopping has never been easier. Just a few clicks and there you go! You have practically a world of products and services at your feet. With the help of specialized websites and effective searching tools, you can be sure you’ll get the best deals out there!