Welcome to Best Money Saving Blog. Here we like to write articles about all ways in which normal people like me and you can save or make money. Covering a range of subjects from discounts and voucher codes, how to make money, general saving ideas and the occasional rant from myself. If you're a blogger out there with something to say or a company with a money saving product you'd like to write about - please get in touch with us. We're happy to help out and offer guest posts for anyone who's interested.

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Is it financially responsible or feasible to own a pet?

In 2012 approximately 70% of all US households had a dog or cat, about 83 million homes. It can truly be said that the emotional bonds that people have with their pets are very strong and growing stronger but, as with any other “family member”, providing the care that they need can prove to be quite expensive.

While obedience school certainly costs less than college, and there’s no need to spend money on clothing for your cat, the typical owner will spend approximately $1600 for a dog and $1300 for a cat in just the first year of ownership. Every year thereafter will cost approximately $700 including paying for things like vaccinations, food, toys, leashes and routine veterinary care. These cost don’t even take into account the cost of boarding your pet should you go away or paying for a sitter, a cost that could be quite prohibitive if you travel frequently.

According to the APPA, spending has increased almost 10% in the last two years alone and Americans now spend nearly $56 billion a year for things like grooming, “doggie hotels” and even gifts.  The cost of health care is going up as well and the ASPCA reports that annual expenses for owning a cat equal approximately $160 and $230 for a medium-sized dog. If you’re not keen on paying out huge amounts of money every time you go to the veterinarian, health insurance for your pet can cost upwards of $200 a year. Considering that the cost for emergency care if your pet is critically injured or ill can be upwards of $5000, having insurance is almost a must.

One key concern that veterinarians have is that owners are spending less on preventative care for their pets and making fewer visits for preventative care to their offices. It was estimated that between 2006 and 2011 the percentage of households not taking their dogs for check-ups at all increased by almost 10% and, for cat owners, a startling 24%.

Dr. Kimberly May, assistant director of communications for the AVMA, says that “so many diseases are preventable with relatively little cost upfront.” For example, having your dog or cat’s teeth examined and cleaned regularly is the best way to prevent serious dental problems in the future as well as keeping overall health issues normal.  Health problems like heartworm are also significantly cheaper to prevent rather than to treat.

The cost to feed and care for a dog or cat is becoming more exorbitant every year. If you have children or are planning on retiring soon, it may be a cost that you should avoid. On the other hand, dogs and cats do offer companionship and love that money simply can’t replace. If you have the financial ability to afford one, and you take some steps to keep them healthy and avoid large veterinary expenses, it can be well worth it.

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Career changes that don’t involve getting a college degree or other big money investments

Let’s face it, whenever you hear somebody talking about making a “career change” it usually involves going back to school or making another large investment in time and money. But what if you could change careers and do something that, while it won’t make you filthy rich, will provide you with a very good income and a solid, dependable new career?

Well, in today’s blog we’ve put together 5 growth industries where you can make a double-digit income without the need to spend a fortune (relatively speaking) developing new skills. One caveat is that these new careers require you to already have a bachelor’s degree (except two) and one of them requires a little bit more schooling but not a lot.

Career Option 1: Bricklayer

The homebuilding industry is one of the biggest in the country and there’s almost always an area of the country where builders are in short supply. Bricklayers and brick masons in particular are needed everywhere and it’s predicted that the need for them will grow by 40% in the next 10 years. In 2011 the median income for bricklayer was just over $45,000 a year. It’s heavy work, no doubt, but  in an industry that almost always has a need for good, new people. One good thing is that, after a while, you’ll be in the best shape of your life.

Career Option 2: Dental hygienist

Although you’ll need a specialized associate’s degree to become a dental hygienist, you won’t need 12 years in college, an investment that can be huge. Demand for dental hygienist will grow by 38% in the next 10 years and the median pay is just over $46,000 a year, not bad for working in a nice dentist’s office all day long. One thing’s for sure, there will never be a shortage of work.

Career Option 3: Pharmacy technician

Healthcare related industries are going to grow like crazy in the next 10 to 20 years because of the fact that our population is rapidly getting older. In order to become a pharmacy technician you need only a high school diploma and the median income is just shy of $30,000 a year. Even better, it’s an industry that’s supposed to grow by 32% in the next 10 years.

Career Option 4: Taper

The demand for drywall specialists, including tapers, is going to grow by nearly 30% in the next 10 years. If you enjoy working with your hands and have a high school diploma, you can earn almost $40,000 a year (median) and learn a skill that will allow you to even start your own business in the future. It might not be an elite job but you’d be surprised how many college graduates don’t make $40,000 a year.

Career Option 5: Occupational therapist

For this new career you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in some type of healthcare related field. If you’re looking for one of the stronger growth areas in the healthcare industry, occupational therapy is a great bet. It’s expected to increase by almost 35% in the next 10 years and has a median income just over $72,000 a year. Yes, you’ll need a Master’s degree in order to become an occupational therapist but if you’ve already put the time and effort into getting your healthcare bachelor’s degree, it’s not a big stretch. (Pun intended.)

If you’re thinking about making a career change but haven’t made a final decision on what it will be, these five options are certainly available. If you’d like to make a change in the next one or two years, do yourself a favor and research growth industries on a regular basis to stay on top of what’s available as well as what you’ll need to do to prepare for that change.

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The difference between micromanaging your money and putting your finances on ‘autopilot’

Published on February 3, 2014, by in Personal Finance.

If you happen to go on vacation and severely damage your finances, or wake up one day and find out that you haven’t been exactly paying attention to what’s going on in your financial life, is it time to start micromanaging your money? The answer to this depends in most part on your “financial personality” as well as knowing what your financial strengths and weaknesses happen to be.

Figuring out whether you need to micromanage your money or whether it’s best for you to put it on autopilot is essential to not just putting your finances in order but keeping them there. There is no “right or wrong” style but, where one takes an active approach, the other one is more “hands-off”. Let’s take a look at both, shall we.

Watching  every dime that flows in and out of your bank account (and any other financial accounts that you may have) is called micro-management of your money. Typically it means that you check all of your accounts very regularly which, for many people, is a bit wasteful, but for the micromanager can bring tranquility knowing that they know exactly what’s going on with their money. In essence, it means having complete financial control. The problem is that it can sometimes interfere with other activities of your daily life that need to be taken care of. If it doesn’t however, it’s an excellent way to know exactly where all of your money is, where it’s going and how much you have left over at the end of every month. It’s also a good way to know what you’ll have in the bank tomorrow.

The opposite of micromanagement is putting your finances on autopilot. This means basically that you “set it and forget it” and follow a set spending and savings plan (known as a budget) rather than constantly checking exactly where your money is. In order to do this correctly there needs to be a financial framework in place that hold you accountable for your spending habits, as well as the other people in your life that may be affecting those habits like your spouse and your children. (Again, a budget.) If you have all, or most, of your financial pieces in place and stay on your plan (budget) every month, following guidelines that you make to keep your spending in line, you’re managing your money on autopilot.

Now the task is simply to figure out which of these two systems is best for you. If you are the type of person that likes to know exactly, almost to the penny, where your money is at any given time, micromanagement of your money is probably the best system for you. It means a lot of extra work, frankly, but it’s a great way to stay directly on top of your financial situation all the time.

On the other hand if you’re the type of person that can set up a system and follow it without feeling the need to constantly check and make sure that you’re “okay”, putting your financial habits on autopilot is an excellent system as well. There are certainly a lot of tools available these days, including apps and online financial management programs, to help you do just that.

Once you find a system that works for you, simply do your best to become an expert at that system, use it to the best of your ability and stay the course. In most cases you’ll find that, at the end of the month, both systems work equally well if used correctly.

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Prepare yourself for Small Business Success in 2014

Published on January 2, 2014, by in Personal Finance.

Today’s short little blog is simply a reminder that, as a small business owner, preparing yourself for success is something that should never stop. The thing is, there’s really not much of a difference between the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

When November turns into December for instance, things don’t instantly change. When December turns into January it’s the same. We tend to put more emphasis and weight on the change because a new calendar number arrives but the fact is that preparing for success shouldn’t be done once a year, it should be done every day.

Never stop growing, learning and working toward success.

It doesn’t matter what time of year that happens to be, working hard, educating yourself more about your business and learning as much as you can is the best way to be successful. Standing on your laurels might be okay for a day or 2 but not much longer. There is always more to learn, more to do and more heights to achieve. Expand your circle of colleagues and associates, take some risks and cut down on distractions are all excellent ways to do that. Focusing on your professional development by writing blog posts, attending webinars and seminars and reading up on the latest advances in your chosen trade are excellent ideas as well.

Focus, focus, focus.

The old adage about “being a jack of all trades but a master of none” just doesn’t hold water anymore. What you really need to do is focus on your strengths, improve your weaknesses and become an expert in a handful of things rather than average in a bunch. It’s okay to take risks and try something new and, occasionally, fall flat on your face too, but make sure to learn from the experience and keep your focus on the task at hand. Frankly, it’s okay today if you don’t know everything because the Internet has answers to practically any questions that a customer might have outside of your expertise. If you have specific and excellent skills you’ll find that people seek you out for those skills more than someone who knows a lot but can only do a little.

Set and reach a daily goal every day.

Sometimes the days can seem to melt into one another and, before you know it, weeks have passed and you haven’t accomplished anything that you set out to do. If you set a goal every morning to finish, accomplish or learn something by the end of the day, you’ll get a lot more done. While accomplishing everything in one day certainly isn’t possible and probably shouldn’t even be attempted, prioritizing one or two tasks a day and focusing on them until they are completed is much better than being unfocused and completing nothing.

Set yourself apart from the crowd.

Simply put, know exactly what you can do really, really well. Once you know what that thing is, focus on it and make it the backbone of everything that you offer to your customers. Know exactly what the most valuable thing you have to offer to your customers is and then own that thing.

The simple fact is that as a small business owner you’ve got a lot on your plate and, even though the numerals on the calendar are changing, your desire to achieve success shouldn’t change. As we move into 2014 use the advice above to differentiate yourself from your competition, engage more deeply with your customer base and build an affinity for your service, product or brand that truly sets you apart.

 

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You can embrace Digital Marketing even on a Small Business Budget

While digital marketing definitely has its merits many small business owners are hesitant to use it simply because of the time that they believe it takes to make it work. Many small business owners don’t believe they have the expertise as well but the fact is it isn’t necessary to have a big staff of marketing and Internet experts in order to take advantage of the wide variety of digital marketing opportunities available. In today’s blog were going to look at several ways that any small business can start benefiting from online marketing tools almost immediately. Enjoy.

Search engine behemoth Google has many online tools for small business owners and the majority are absolutely free. One of the first things you’ll want to do is have your business listed on Google Maps so that people in your community looking for services and products that you offer can easily find you. Even if you don’t have a website you can take advantage of this by listing your business and also adding important information like phone numbers, hours and your specialties. If you do have a website you can easily link to it and increase potential visitors to your site.

Take an hour or two once a week to see what your competition is doing. Do they have a website and, if so, do you find it well designed and helpful? Are they using social media and, if yes, which sites are they connected to? Try to set your bias aside and take an honest look at what they’re offering, what’s working and also what you think might just be wasteful. Take notes or use an Excel spreadsheet to find out what online tools and trends they’re following and, once you’ve determined what’s working best, copy their habits.

Based on the information that you find from the tip above, choose 1 social media website to start using and go about the task of familiarizing yourself with how it works and the tools it offers. While sites like Facebook and Twitter are very popular, there are many other social media websites these days that cater to niche markets and might offer better results depending on what you’re selling. If you are a clothing designer for example Pinterest would probably be a great place to start or, if you own a local Italian restaurant, following some food bloggers on Twitter could be quite helpful. Whichever site that you choose, take the time to learn how it works and put together a marketing strategy that you can use to take advantage of the tools that they offer.

If you don’t have a website it’s definitely time to get on board. The fact is that today it’s easier than ever to start your own website for very little monetary investment. One of the easiest is WordPress and it’s also, depending on the options that you want, absolutely free. Just like your social media website you’ll need to learn about all of the tools that your business website has to offer and, if you want to “monetize” your website, consider paying for a more costly but feature rich option. The information that you gleaned from checking out your competitors websites should help you get your own website started.

If you already have a website and it brings in sufficient new visitors and customers, consider having a mobile optimized website created that will allow people using their smartphones and tablets to surf your site easier when they’re using their mobile devices. Today’s consumer is using mobile devices to surf the World Wide Web more than PCs and laptops and thus having a website that’s mobile optimized can be very valuable.

These few bits of advice and tips should easily get you started and help you to market and brand your business for an extremely reasonable cost. The name of the game today is customer engagement and with the tools that we’ve given you hear you can start engaging with customers quickly and start building your brand as well as building an affinity for it in your community.

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Practically Guarantee a Loan Application Approval with These 5 Steps

Published on December 4, 2013, by in Personal Finance.

Getting your loan approved is not as easy as it used to be. Lenders across the UK, and the world, have become much more strict since the financial crisis, and loan applicants must work harder than ever before if they want their loan application to be approved. Thankfully, with a little research, it is much easier to get your loan approved. Here are six simple steps to getting your loan application approved.

1) Know what you want and what you need. There is a plethora of loan options available on the market today, and your job is to know what you can reasonably afford. Look online and compare different banks’ loan options as well as the interest rates on the loans. Doing a little extra research can never hurt. You must remember that your ultimate goal is to pay off the loan as soon as possible.

2) Talk to the bank. Once you have picked out a loan from a specific bank, your next move is to physically go to the bank and discuss the loan there. This will be the beginning of your relationship with the bank, something that will make it more likely for your application to get approved. It is also a good time to discuss the “fine print” of the loan, so make sure to underline and write down any questions you have about the specifics beforehand so you can ask the bank at an opportune time.

3) Have a credit report on hand. The bank is going to require you to give this to them anyway, and it is a good idea to know your credit score before applying to a loan with selective requirements. Credit ratings can have more impact than you think in these circumstances, just check out this article from the Guardian. Review the loan requirements and make sure you have access to any other documents the bank may need.

4) Be patient. The process may take longer than you expect it to, and this is not a reason to give up on getting the loan. The bank may ask you specific questions about how you are going to use the loan, so be prepared to give them detailed answers. This will do more than anything to instill confidence in them that you are a responsible borrower.

5) Try to get a referral. If you know someone who uses the bank that you are trying to get a loan from and you know they have a good financial background, this can be incredibly helpful. The bank may put a lot of trust in those who it sees as dependable customers.

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Frugal Habits that you can Copy from the Rich

Let’s face it, rich people obviously know how to handle money management and finances. The fact is however that a large salary and a corner office isn’t the only  way to “strike it rich”. Regardless of the person’s actual income level, if they invest wisely and do their best to live modestly they will be on just as favorable a road to wealth as someone who is “rich”. With that in mind we put together a number of frugal habits that the upper class have taken to using. Use them yourself and you’ll build financial independence and long-lasting wealth. Enjoy.

Frugal Habit #1) Live in a modest, affordable home. Have you ever heard of Warren Buffett? If you have, you know he’s a billionaire investor but you might not know that he still lives in the same home that he bought in Omaha Nebraska back in 1958 for less than $32,000. Follow his example and don’t overwhelm your finances with a humongous mortgage payment.  Buy a house that’s modest but comfortable and use the money that you save every month to build your emergency fund and finance your retirement accounts.

Frugal Habit #2) Be ready to Take Action. The simple fact is that practically all self-made millionaires have one thing in common: they are true people of action. They don’t spend their days sitting around waiting for something “good” to happen and they certainly don’t have the “lottery mentality” that many people today have. They take risks (where appropriate) and are always looking to improve, find more knowledge and gain a competitive advantage in every financial aspect of their life.

Frugal Habit  #3) Don’t carry huge wads of cash. When Bankrate.com did a recent survey they found that people who carried large amount of cash were also same people who were buying luxury cars, jewelry and other electronics. They were also the same people who were not millionaires but were trying to appear as such. What we advise instead is to do what the millionaire oil mogul T. Boone Pickens does. Even though he’s worth ridiculous amounts of money he actually still shops with a grocery list and carries small amounts of cash in his wallet rather than trying to impress people with a big wad.

Frugal Habit #4) Purchase and drive a modest car. Although pulling up to a stoplight in a sweet ride might impress the perfect stranger next to you, it doesn’t do much else besides deplete the amount of money that you could possibly put into investments. An automobile is simply something that should be able to comfortably get you from point A to point B. If you let the price tag of your new car define who you are, you’ll also let it define the amount of money that you have in your portfolio, savings and retirement accounts. Better to follow the example of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who, despite his millions, drives and Acura TSX sedan that costs about $30,000.

Frugal Habit #5) Never Pay Full Price for anything. Did you know that First Lady Michelle Obama often shops at Target rather than the much more expensive high-end department stores that she can obviously afford. Hilary Swank, estimated to be worth close to $40 million, is known to use coupons at the grocery store. Having a frugal mindset and taking advantage of everything that you can in order to save money will definitely help you to become rich.

At the end of the day, truly rich people are the ones who take the money that’s coming in and invest it wisely, live frugally and save as much as possible. Those who try to make their money support an unsustainable lifestyle are almost always the same people that never become rich. In the end it all boils down to the choices you make and your personal financial responsibility.

If you have questions about personal finance please let us know and we’ll get back to you ASAP with advice, answers and options.

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Avoid these Common Mistakes or you will Always be Broke – Part 2

Published on November 20, 2013, by in Saving Money.

Last week in one of our blogs we focused on some of the common mistakes that people make that doomed them to a life of being broke all the time. We’ve come back this week with a number of other, similar mistakes that we’re hoping will give you some insight into what not to do with your money. If you’re not a fan of being broke all the time, read about these mistakes below and avoid them like a plague. Enjoy.

  • Lying to yourself about your financial situation. Many people tell themselves that they’re going to “work until they die” or, even better, “downsize to a cheaper lifestyle” when they get older. While legally there’s no law saying that you can’t work into your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, the fact is that the chance that your body will physically and mentally give out before you actually pass away is pretty high. It’s a bit depressing, we know, but it’s also fact. If you don’t have anything put away to take care of you once you are physically unable to work anymore, your life might  turn bleak rather fast.
  • Making impulse purchases regularly. Listen, all of us make the occasional impulse buy and, truth be told, once in a while is no big deal. When it does become a big deal is when you max out your credit card or spend every last penny that you are purchasing everything in sight because you just don’t have the patience to  wait. There’s no better way to go through life broke than that.
  • Being “loyal” to your bank, insurance company, cable company or smartphone provider. At least once a year, if not every six months, you should take a look at all of the providers of services that you work with and make sure that you’re not only happy with them but that they aren’t overcharging you, hitting you with hidden charges or just plain have higher rates than the competition.
  • Hanging on to all of your old junk. Here’s a great rule; if you haven’t looked at something or used it in six months, you don’t need it anymore. (Disregard this rule for holiday decorations.) Personal experience has showed us that hanging onto things that you’re no longer using, but that still have some value, is the best way to make sure that they end up losing any value they might’ve had and you and up getting practically nothing for them when you finally do try to sell them.
  • Trusting salespeople. If you do this, well, you might just deserve to be broke.
  • Putting all of your money into an old home that you think is a great bargain and will be an excellent “fixer upper”. Unless you have all sorts of extra cash, quite a bit of experience in the construction industry and a whole lot of extra time on your hands, this is just a bad idea.
  • Using a Title Pawn company for quick cash. The interest that these places charges is absolutely ridiculous and will eat through your spending money quicker than a chubby kid with a box of chocolate chip cookies.

While we tried to be a little bit funny with some of these examples the fact is that many people make them on a daily basis.  Being broke as a joke really isn’t much of a joke and, if you’re making the mistakes above on a regular basis, the joke will wear thin pretty quickly. If you’re really not that good with finances, do yourself a favor and contact a professional to give you the advice and information that you need. If you have questions about personal finances you can also drop us a line, send us an email or leave a comment and we’ll get back to with real information, advice and answers ASAP.

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Avoid these Common Mistakes or you will Always be Broke

There’s a funny little rhyme that goes “I’m broke as a joke” but the reality is that being broke is really not a joke. It is a problem however for millions of Americans and it’s also the subject of today’s blog. While being broke may just be the fault of your circumstance because you’re out of work, learning how to survive on minimum wage, underemployed or just went through bankruptcy, the fact is that most people are “broke” all the time because they make a lot of financial mistakes. Today’s blog is going to take a look at some of those mistakes and give a little bit of advice about how to avoid them. Enjoy.

  • Spending all your money when you’re younger. Most gendered adults in their 20s and 30s spend all their money on food, clothing, fast cars and “partying”. While it’s great to have a good time (no matter what your age) there is a point at which it gets to be ridiculous. Budgeting your money so that you have some for “fun” and still put some away for retirement, a new home and so forth is a better bet.
  • Forgoing savings for luxury items. Many people today have huge flatscreen TVs, expensive cars and the latest smartphones but then complain that they don’t have any money or savings. The simple fact is that you don’t need the nicest car or the newest electronics to be happy and if you don’t have an emergency fund (at least) set up to help you in an emergency, one wrong move and you could find yourself truly broke.
  • Paying the minimum on credit card bills. Let’s say that you owe $5000 on your credit card and you’re paying an annual percentage rate of 19%. If you’re the type of person that only pays the minimum payment every month it will take you approximately 50 years and cost you nearly triple that amount in interest to pay off your debt. If that isn’t enough to make you pay down your debt quicker, nothing is.
  • Paying bills late. Even paying one single mortgage, credit card or smart phone bill late can “ding” your credit and make it harder to get more credit when you need it in the future. If you have problems remembering to pay bills then you need to set up a system to remind you. Luckily there are plenty of smart phone apps these days that can do just that but, the matter what you do, set up a system so that you don’t miss any payments because the consequences are just too high.
  • Driving your car like you’re in the Indy 500. The cost of gasoline as well as car maintenance and tires is ridiculously high these days. If you drive your car like Mario Andretti going to waste time of gas, put a lot of extra stress on your car and literally burn rubber, facts that could waste thousands of your dollars. Besides that, it’s pretty dangerous as well.
  • Smoking, drinking or doing drugs to access. Hey, we’re not your mom but the fact is that if you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol frequently or use a lot of drugs you’re not only going to be smelly, drunk and stoned all the time you’re also going to be broke. If you find that you’re drinking, smoking and drugging way too much, you may have only one choice; stop completely. It will certainly save you money and it may just save your life.
  • Spoiling your children. Listen, most of us have children and we adore them. That being said, if you buy them every toy in sight and indulge their every whim, you’ll find that your wallet or purse is practically always empty. Learning to say “no” to your kids is not only a necessary lesson for them it’s vitally important to your savings and retirement funds.
  • Trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. You may have heard this one before (possibly several times) but it’s quite true. Many people waste hundreds and even thousands of dollars trying to compete with their family, friends and neighbors. Not only is this a bit ridiculous it’s also extremely expensive. If you’re really worried about the way other people judge you based on your “stuff”, you may not need new stuff, you just may need a little bit of therapy.

While we realize that some of the comments above may be a little bit harsh, the fact is that some people need to hear the frank and honest truth in order to make changes to their lifestyle and get their financial act together. We certainly hope that we didn’t offend anybody and, possibly, have helped some of you to realize some financial mistakes and that you’re making. If you need help  with your personal finances (and you don’t mind us being blunt with our advice) please let us know and we’ll get back to you ASAP with real answers, advice and solutions.

 

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Life Insurance is a Necessity

Life Insurance is as necessary at breathing air, and that’s a point that still needs to be driven home given the fact that there are still millions of uninsured people in the world. The problem is that most people find it too morbid to think about, let alone discuss and actually act upon. The truth is that most people do nothing until it’s too late, and their families are left with an immediate financial burden and little to no recourse. While you consider the seriousness of a financial impact that comes with death, allow me to provide you with some little known facts about life insurance.

Men are definitely in the majority when it comes to the individual being insured, but there are statistics that show that married women may actually out earn their spouse. This shows you that in the event that something happens to the wife the household would actually be worse off financially. It doesn’t matter who the breadwinner is necessarily, if you depend on dual incomes in the household then it’s vital to secure both streams of income. It’s important to note that 7 out of 10 households do rely upon dual incomes.

If the morbidity of life insurance bothers you, or you are superstitious and worry that by somehow taking out a policy it will jinx you, then don’t bother. It was found that out of all universal life insurance policies sold, only 12% resulted in any sort of claim. Considering how few people actually sign up for policies, this number isn’t all that staggering.

Believe it or not, life insurance can actually be a nice tax shelter! As long as the policy isn’t canceled or lapsed, you can take cash out of a policy and use it tax-free. Of course this is dependent on certain types of policies and having one that is invested, as it is the growth on the principal that becomes tax-free.

It’s actually recommended that you purchase a policy worth 10 times your annual income. This may seem a bit extreme, but you need to consider the effects of inflation and the growing needs of your family over time. Children will get old and attend college, and your spouse will age and the need for medical care will almost certainly grow. Not to mention the continuing home and auto payments that may be outstanding.

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