5 Money Skills To Teach Your Homeschoolers Before Graduation

A common criticism of the typical American educational system is that life skills for the real world are not taught. I'm sure you've heard a complaint similar to this one many times, "They can solve for 'x' in an algebraic equation, but don't know the first thing about balancing a budget!". You needn't look further than today's headlines to view financial problems facing us today. Credit cards, student loans, mortgages and the like have gotten out of hand for many American families. How can you best prepare your children to avoid the common financial troubles facing Americans? 

“Look at the mortgage crisis and how many families lost their homes — 3.9 million foreclosures. Look at the amount of money — $1.1 trillion—we owe in student loan debt. The amount — $845 billion — we owe in credit card debt. It’s pretty clear that adults don’t know much about money. To help the next generation avoid the mistakes of their elders, and to live financially fit lives, they need to be taught the essentials about money.”
— Beth Kobliner, author, Get A Financial Life

 

Fortunately, homeschooling families have the advantage of purposefully selecting curriculum and experiences to best prepare students for life. In no particular order, here are five skills to include in your homeschool student's education before graduation. 

1. Know How To Budget

I was never taught about budgeting growing up. Odds are, you weren't either. It wasn't until I was in college, trying to figure out how to handle my bills, that I realized I lacked skills in this department. Good habits are best taught right from the start, so when you're planning to get your children involved in family budgeting, the sooner the better.

How to teach this skill:

  • Get your children involved in family budgeting from an early age. For example, when you are thinking about a vacation, include them in that process. Discuss the costs and planning associated with a vacation and how it fits into the family's financial picture. Chances are, they will appreciate the family trip more because they were involved. As they get older, it can be beneficial to get them involved in family finances, such as budgeting for monthly utilities.
  • Utilize allowance. Weekly allowance is an excellent teaching tool for budgeting. How much allowance, and whether or not it is connected to chores, is entirely up to each family. For our family, we have decided to keep allowance and chores separate. We provide a modest weekly amount ($1 per week for each year of the child's age - an 11 year old would receive $11 weekly) to allow for small purchases. For larger purchases, they're required to learn to save and budget. 
  • If your family uses a budgeting program, such as YNAB (You Need A Budget), allow your children to learn the program with you when it's age-appropriate. We utilize a budgeting program and it has helped our oldest understand comprehensive budgeting - from a bird's eye (big picture) perspective, right down to the nitty-gritty activity of daily spending. Specifically, it has helped in understanding the monthly inflow and outflow of money, where that money goes, and how quickly small, unplanned purchases can add up!

2. Learn How To Pay Bills

Paying bills on time is crucial to keeping your credit score strong and I highly recommend a monthly routine to ensure nothing falls through cracks. It's all about organization. For us, we utilize online banking. All of our bills are located on one website. We're able to monitor and pay them from one location. 

How to teach this skill:

  • When it's age appropriate (about age 8 in our family), begin to demonstrate to your children to your bill paying system. In our case, it was interesting for our kids to understand that some bills are ongoing, such as utilities. Conversely, other bills have a loan attached to them and can eventually be paid off, like your mortgage. 
  • Introduce the concept of how there are different ways of paying for things. For example, a bill can be paid for with a debit or credit card. Big difference there! It was important for us to teach our kids that using credit cards is merely transferring debt and that you still owe the bill amount, plus interest. 

3. Become Financially Literate

This is a big, complicated monster of a concept. Even economists and the like, who study finance as a career, will tell you that America's financial institution is difficult. Yet, don't let that stop you from developing a core understanding of the basics. Knowing what money is, how it's regulated, and the ways we can use it makes us feel more in control of our finances. Remember, knowledge is power. 

We were not taught financial literacy in school. It takes a lot of work and time to change your thinking and become financially literate.
— Robert Kiyosaki, Financial Literacy Activist

 

How to teach this skill:

  • Learn about the history of money. Essentially, money is something of value. Over thousands of years, money has transitioned from animals and shells, to coins, to paper, and now is primarily electronic. Resources are limitless on this topic. A great place to start is, NOVA: The History of Money, PBS
  • Understand the United States government's role in money. The federal government issues currency, levies taxes, and borrows money. Additionally, U.S. Congress established the controversial Federal Reserve Act with three goals in mind: maximize employment, stabilize prices, and moderate interest rates. The Center for Economic & Financial Education (CEFE) provides educational resources for younger and older kids. 
  • Discover the different ways you can use money. To start, introduce the concept of Saving, Spending, and Giving. There are even piggy banks divided into these very three sections that are available for purchase for younger children. As you move beyond the basics, discuss how money can be spent on things you need and don't need, and describe the importance of saving for future goals and emergencies. Additionally, it's an excellent opportunity to focus on the value of charitable giving. One last thing: don't forget to differentiate between spending and borrowing (i.e. putting purchases on credit cards). 

4. Focus On Math

Some attest that understanding mathematical concepts is just as, or possibly more, important than financial wherewithal in terms of predicting economic success as adults. The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, conducted a worldwide study with 29,000 15 year-old participants. Released in 2014, the study "assessed the financial knowledge of teenagers dealing with financial issues, such as understanding a bank statement, the longterm cost of a loan, or knowing how insurance works".

Generally, students scoring highest on mathematical concepts also received the strongest marks for financial understanding. The top scores came from Shanghai, China where schools focus heavily on math, and specifically conceptual understanding. 

A lot of decisions in finance are just easier if you’re more comfortable with numbers and making numeric comparisons
— Shawn Cole, Harvard Business professor

How to teach this skill: 

  • Most importantly, select a math curriculum your student finds success with. 
  • Look to the schools in Shanghai, China. Students are expected to be full participants during lessons. Their focus is on understanding and application, instead of memorization.
  • Chap Sam Lim, from the University of Malaysia, studied five Shanghai schools and observed six common educational characteristics: 1. Teaching with variation. 2. Emphasis on precise and elegant mathematical language. 3. Emphasis on logical reasoning, mathematical thinking and proofing during teaching. 4. Order and classroom discipline. 5. Strong and coherent student-teacher rapport. 6. Strong collaborative culture amongst the learning community. 

5. Understand What Money Can Do For You

Knowing how to use money and knowing what money can do for you are different concepts. In essence, I support "paying yourself" first. If you learn how to utilize money before your 20s, you're ahead of the ballgame. Some of the best things money can do for you are securing adequate protection, setting aside an emergency fund, and if you develop focus and patience, reaching big life goals, like purchasing a home. 

Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.
— Zig Ziglar, American Author

How to teach this skill: 

  • Introduce the topic of insurance protection. Appropriate insurance is necessary for protecting yourself against the unknown. Scholastic and Life Happens have teamed up to create a curriculum called, Next Generation, "providing lessons on risk management, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance and financial planning" (Scholastic, Next Generation). 
  • Teach the importance of setting aside an emergency fund. Let's face it: we know it's inevitable for unplanned expenses to arise. Generally, you will want to set aside, at a minimum, three-month's worth of your income. For your student, this could mean setting aside their allowance. Many financial experts recommend working towards having a year's worth of income saved. 
  • Focus on the importance of goal-setting. Specific, attainable, long-term, and short-term money goals are a surefire way of bringing financial happiness into your life. For example, assist your student in documenting a specific goal (i.e. new shoes), how much it will cost, how long it will take to save for the goal, and any potential roadblocks to meeting the goal. Regularly review your goals. 

 

Homeschooling families have the benefit of selecting and customizing curriculum, and financial education should be included.

Insurance Happens is an independent life insurance agency, specializing in families who homeschool or have an at-home parent. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Doctors, Lawyers And Teachers Homeschool Their Children

BIG Disclaimer: Some of our closest friends and family members attend public school. They are finding success and happiness there. Each family is unique and must decide on what is best for them. Students can thrive in all sorts of educational environments. 

Doctors, lawyers, engineers and former public school teachers are all keeping a small secret; many are choosing to homeschool their children. I fall into the last category - I'm a former public school teacher. Honestly, I was timid to let my community know I chose home education, as it was outside the norm. I was purposely excluding my children from the very profession I belonged to. So, I worried about hurt feelings on their part or judgments cast my way. But, as I have come to learn, us homeschoolers are just about mainstream. 

The most recent statistics provided are outdated (2010). However, it does demonstrate the increasing trend of teaching at home. If I were to guess, I would say the movement is growing faster than any other educational choice in the United States.

There are about 2.2 million home-educated students in the United States. There were an estimated 1.73 to 2.35 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated during the spring of 2010 in the United States. It appears the homeschool population is continuing to grow (at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years).
— Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., National Home Education Research Institute

Families will provide varying reasons for their decision to homeschool. Here are some of the benefits our family has experienced:

1. Connection with my kids. Investing time and effort into my kids' education has provided the best side benefit - my bond with them has grown exponentially. I am able to witness first-hand not just their educational growth, but who they are as people. By merely being together, we learn to support, problem-solve, brainstorm, and create a loving family environment. It's easy for me to say they are my favorite students and it's a privilege to watch them develop. 

2. One on one teaching. It takes a fraction of the amount of time to teach a concept at home as it did in the public school setting. I worked in a crowded school district and it was common for me to have 35 students in my elementary classroom. Logistically, it was impossible to meet the educational needs of each one of my students. Now, I am able to cater to my kids' talents and areas to improve upon, and still have time extra time left in the day. 

3. Strong community bond. When I say we homeschool, it's a bit of a misnomer. We are only home for a portion of the time. We participate in a local homeschool cooperative; a wonderful group of families that meet each week to teach academic and enrichment classes from preschool to high school levels. Additionally, we belong to a homeschool PE group and participate on sports teams. We enjoy friendships and support from fellow homeschooling families.

4. Sleep. This made my top 5 list?! Yes, it did. Sleep deprivation in kids and teens is the real deal. Consider this concerning finding:

Lack of sufficient sleep—a rampant problem among teens—appears to put adolescents at risk for cognitive and emotional difficulties, poor school performance, accidents and psychopathology, research suggests.
— Siri Carpenter, American Psychological Association

Since we are not rushing out the door each morning, my kids are able to sleep until their bodies wake them up naturally. The difference in their overall happiness, not to mention their ability to concentrate, is astounding when they've slept well the night before. 

5. Better educational and emotional outcomes. Not that I am a fan of standardized tests, but homeschoolers consistently outperform their public school peers. At the collegiate level, homeschooled students graduate faster with a higher GPA. Finally, they score higher in emotional measurements, such as socialization, maturity and communication. (Sources: Homeschool Legal Defense Organization and Journal of College Admission)

Each family's educational experience is different, as it should be. Deciding whether or not to homeschool is personal. If your family is considering homeschooling as an option, just know that there are millions of families out there that have found success in doing so. 

Insurance Happens specializes in helping homeschooling families secure appropriate life insurance coverage to protect those they love.

 

 

 

 

How Homeschooling Families Can Prepare For Emergencies

For most, we hold the assumption that it's a matter of time before an emergency of some sort will strike our community. I don't mean to sound doomsday. But, it's naive to believe that a natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami, lahar, tornado, or hurricane) or other type emergency won't impact your family at some point in your life. 

Luck favors a prepared mind; luck favors a prepared person.
— Richard Hamming, American Mathematician (1915-1998)

 

Self-sufficiency and preparedness feel good during calm times. They can be life-saving in an emergency. 

Here's how to prepare your family:

1. Set a meet-up. In the event that it's not safe to stay in your current location, have a plan with your immediate family (and inner circle of friends) and share this form. Agree on a spot to meet, like a landmark or park. (Source: SF72.org, emergency plan from CA State)

2. Build a basic supplies kit. At a minimum, your family should have (Source: ready.gov):

  • Water - one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation for at least three days.
  • Food - supply of non-perishable food for each person for at least three days. 
  • Battery-powered radio - with extra batteries. Consider purchasing an emergency radio that can be charged by sunlight and can charge your cell phone, like this one.
  • Flashlight - with extra batteries.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle - to signal for help.
  • Filter Mask - for air pollution. 
  • Moist Towelettes - for sanitation.
  • Wrench or Pliers - to turn off utilities. 
  • Manual Can Opener - if emergency kit contains canned food. 
  • Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape - to shelter in place. 
  • Garbage Bags and Plastic Ties - for personal sanitation. 
  • Unique Family Needs - such as prescription medication, infant formula, diapers, and important family documents. 

3. Educate yourself on your communityBefore an emergency strikes, find out who the local authority is on disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, lists state-by-state resources. 

4. Train yourself (Source: nrdc.org):

  • Take a CPR and First Aid Certification Course (see directory at ifrc.org).
  • Citizen Corps offer Emergency Response Team classes. 
  • Read Arthur T. Bradley's bookHandbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family.

5. Settle Personal Details - before an emergency.

  • Assess your home insurance policy's coverage of natural disasters known to strike your area. 
  • Be sure your will is up-to-date. If you need a will, Willing is a great place to start. 
  • Life insurance is important. Make sure you have appropriate coverage. Insurance Happens can help you. 

Finally, if you would like to incorporate emergency preparedness into your homeschool curriculum, check out the free resources provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Program.

SAHMs Don't Need Life Insurance

Did the title grab your attention?

Here's the deal: No one needs to have life insurance. Life insurance isn't for you; it's for those that depend on you. SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) should want it. 

If you have loved ones who rely on you, and heaven-forbid, should something happen to you, the consequences would be devastating, of course. To even think about that is terrifying. Yet, don't let that stop you from making a plan. 

While life insurance can't touch the emotional impact of loss of life, what it can do is provide financial peace of mind. Even if you don't earn money, and you stay at home with your children, salary.com estimates that a SAHM's annual financial worth is over $100,000! SAHMs are difficult to afford and you should seriously consider insuring that worth. 

Here are 3 things you need know about life insurance:

1. Life insurance is surprisingly inexpensive. For a fraction of the cost of a daily latte, most can purchase appropriate term life coverage. 

86% say they haven’t bought life insurance because it’s too expensive, yet overestimate its true cost by more than 2x.
— LIMRA and Life Foundation

2. Life insurance doesn't have to be complicated. The insurance industry is notoriously confusing and has earned itself a bad reputation. Don't let that stop you. The simplest way to protect your family is to select a term policy for the duration of time family members are dependent on you. Here's an example:

SAHM Mom, 35 years old, children ages 10 and 12. Annual worth of $100,000.

Term policy for 10 years (until youngest child is out of the house) for $1,000,000 (10x your annual worth). 

Monthly cost of $18.60. 

3. Life insurance can help your family function. Consider the following things that life insurance proceeds can take care of:

  • Childcare
  • Outstanding debt (credit card, student loans)
  • Mortgage
  • College education for children
  • Household needs (cooking, cleaning, yard work)
  • Funeral costs

Life insurance is cheaper than you think, doesn't have to be complicated, and can provide for family essentials. You don't need it. You just might want it. 

Insurance Happens specializes in helping moms and dads find appropriate term coverage. The best way to get started with is with a no-obligation, free quote.

 

 

3 Life Insurance Tips For Families That Homeschool

Homeschooling parents have made a significant and impressive decision in the lives of their families. It's no easy task to take your children's schooling into your own hands and requires careful planning, diligence and patience. The end result is an educational experience tailored to your child's talents and needs, one that provides an excellent opportunity for success in life. 

Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions. Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges
— National Home Education Research Institute, 2015

 

If it's important to maintain a homeschooling status, no matter what life brings, careful planning is essential. Take action on the following three things to protect your family's homeschooling plan. 

1. Insure the working parent - For many homeschooling families, one parent works full-time while the other parent teaches full-time. Be sure to have appropriate life insurance coverage outside of the working parent's life insurance through their job. Typically, life insurance through an employer will only cover one or two years worth their annual salary. That's not enough coverage for most families and the policy disappears if you leave that employer. Generally, we recommend 10 times the amount of an annual salary, plus funds to pay off a mortgage. Free, instant quotes can be found here.

2. Insure the teaching parent - While it's common for parents homeschooling full-time to not have an income, their value is crucial. To continue homeschooling, or transition into another educational plan if something were to happen, funds would be necessary. For example, a life insurance policy could cover private school, online school, tutoring, curriculum, or a homeschool co-op. To read about the value of a Stay-At-Home Parent, check out this article from salary.com.

3. Get a will - Be sure to name guardians for your children. Knowing they will be in good hands, and that your life insurance policies will be handled effectively and appropriately, is priceless. Willing is an excellent online resource.

Chances are, you'll never need the life insurance policy. Be prepared anyways. Protect your children's education by making a plan. Your future self will pat you on the back for doing something super-responsible. Get started with Insurance Happens. We specialize in helping homeschooling families. 

 

6 Reasons Homeschooling Families Need Life Insurance Protection

To all the homeschooling families out there, I applaud you. You are making an investment in your children that is invaluable. When we made the decision to homeschool our family, we knew it would be a rewarding adventure - one that required careful planning and flexibility. Homeschooling families are cut from the same cloth; a fabric that is high-functioning, creative and responsible. 

Let's focus on one of the character traits of homeschooling families: responsibility. Because you have made an important decision to homeschool your children, it's imperative to have a back-up plan should something happen to you. As a fellow homeschooling family, I know the passion and importance you have placed on that choice. Protecting your homeschooling strategy can be accomplished through life insurance. The good news is it's cheaper than you think. 

People with no life insurance overestimate its cost by three times. And even those who have coverage, overestimate its cost by two times. A latte costs $4 per day while life insurance can cost about $1 per day.
— Life Happens: True Cost of Life Insurance, 2015

Life insurance creates a contingency plan. Consider the following reasons why homeschooling families need life insurance. Policy proceeds can be used to purchase:

1. Online courses

2. Private tutor

3. Homeschool co-op costs and tuition

4. Private school

5. Curriculum 

6. Extra-curricular lessons (i.e. piano or snowboarding)

If it's important to you to continue homeschooling, regardless of what life brings, life insurance provides options. Consider it a safety-deposit on one of your most important assets - your children's education. 

To get started with a free no-obligation quote, click here. Insurance Happens specializes in helping homeschooling families obtain appropriate life insurance protection. 

 

Moms - Life Insurance Is Confusing. Take Action Anyways.

You know you need it. It's just that you don't know much about it and it all seems so confusing. Also, it reminds us of death, which is never fun to think about. We're speaking of life insurance, of course. In fact, there are millions of us who feel "stuck" about it. 

There are 19 million ‘stuck shoppers’ who believe everyone should have life insurance even though they do not own it themselves.
— Get Real Already - Authenticating Industry Language, LIMRA 2015

The insurance industry (not to mention the entire financial world) is complicated and baffling. Most would say they've done a poor job communicating their services. Repeated studies indicate that if a consumer is unsure about a product, they will hold off on making a decision. In essence, human behavior tendencies cause us to "freeze" instead of taking action if a concept is confusing, or worse, appears to be misleading. 

That's fair. However, it shouldn't prevent us from moving towards protecting our families. Let's focus on one type of insurance product: term. Term life insurance is the most affordable way to purchase protection for a specified amount of time (i.e. the duration of when your children are living at home or going to college). Moms, you love your family more than anything. It's the right and responsible thing to do. 

At Insurance Happens, our goal is to educate and create the simplest process possible to assist you in becoming insured. Here are two places to start:

1. Check out Insurance 101. Here, you can learn about the basics of term insurance and why it's important. Our free calculator is on the same page and helps to assess your family's needs. 

2. Get a Free Instant Quote. Term insurance is cheaper than you think. Lattes cost more on a daily basis.

In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Educate yourself and take action. Your future self will thank you.  


Who Needs More Life Insurance? Batman or Carol Brady?

Batman or Carol Brady?

Life Happens sponsored a creative survey asking over 1,000 participants to consider the life insurance needs of famous fictional characters, including superheroes and stay-at-home parents. By far, most participants felt that the superheroes needed life insurance more than the parents. For example, 34% of respondents believe super-spy James Bond needs life insurance. Yet, only 18% believe Homer Simpson needs coverage. Holy Faulty Thinking, Batman! 

The survey's purpose was to highlight the misconceptions surrounding life insurance, and they definitely succeeded at that. Let's take Batman, for example. Bruce Wayne is single, has no dependents, and is filthy rich. He is not a strong candidate for life insurance. If the Joker were to cause a fatal crash of the Batmobile, no one would be at a loss, financially.

Conversely, Carol Brady absolutely needs life insurance. She's a stay-at-home mom with six kids depending on her. If something were to happen to Carol - Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy would be devastated. Even though Carol's contributions to the family are not monetarily-based, they would be expensive to replace. 

There are two important concepts highlighted in this funny survey:

1. The importance of life insurance is not directly tied to a high probability of death as a result of risky behavior (like keeping Gotham safe from super-villains).

2. Life insurance has everything to do with protecting the ones who depend on you (like your children).

We know you are super. But, if you are more like Carol Brady than Batman, click here to receive a free, no obligation life insurance quote. 

(Resources: Life Happens, KRC Research)

 

Life Insurance Calculator for Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs)

How do you measure the value of, or place a dollar amount on, the contributions of a Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM) to her family? SAHMs work for "free". For parents in the workforce, the process is pretty straightforward. Most insurance experts recommend, in general, you multiply your annual salary by 10. What if you don't earn a salary?

First off, let's acknowledge the necessity of life insurance for Stay at Home Moms. Even though you're not paid for the tireless work you do, your value is immense. You can never be replaced. However, if something were to happen to you, the financial impact to your family could be devastating. In fact, in their most recent report (2014), salary.com concluded that a Stay-At-Home Mom works, on average, 94 hours per week and has the earning potential of $118,905.

Fortunately, calculators exist to help you decide on a dollar amount for a life insurance policy. Life Happens, a nonprofit life insurance awareness company, provides a free calculator. It's easy to use and works even if you aren't a wage-earner in your family. You can find the calculator here. Remember these tips for filling it out:

1. Don't use commas when filling in dollar amounts. 

2. You will be able to fill in your spouse's (or partner's) income. 

3. There is also a space for total family income, in case there are additional sources of income. 

4. Some questions are specific, such as your tax bracket. It's okay to leave it at the assumed value if you are not sure. 

5. Remember, the calculator exists to provide you a general idea of how much insurance you should get. Ultimately, you should decide an amount you feel comfortable with. 

Finally, it's important to know that life insurance premiums (monthly or annual cost) are cheaper than you think. 

Many people believe coverage is more expensive than it is. On average, consumers estimate the cost of life insurance twice as high as the actual price. (source: LIMRA 2015) 

For about a dollar a day, a healthy 30 year old mom, can receive $500,000 in coverage. That's a fraction of the cost of a daily latte! 

To get started on an application, or to learn more about our process, click here

Single Moms - 4 Reasons Why It's Extra Important You Get Life Insurance

Single Moms are unsung heroes. You are taking on the responsibility that, typically, two people share. Between helping with homework, cooking dinner and mowing the lawn, you're guiding your children to emotional and physical well-being. Chances are, you are accomplishing all this while holding down a job. 

That. Is. A. Lot. 

You are not alone. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reported that 4 out of 10 children are raised by single parents (2013 statistic). And, here's the scary stat: "85% of uninsured single moms feel their family would be in financial trouble immediately or within several months if they were to die." (LIMRA, Flying Solo, 2011) 

Here are four reasons why it's extra important for single moms to get life insurance:

1. You are your child's one and only. If something were to happen to you, the financial burden can be much greater. 

2. Consider life insurance as a backup plan for college expenses.

3. Life insurance can cover your child's daily costs, such as childcare, food, clothing, and housing.

4. Peace of mind. That's priceless! 

The good news is that it's easy to purchase life insurance and it's super affordable. In fact, for about a dollar per day, you can receive coverage. You can research your life insurance needs here, using the Life Happens (a nonprofit life insurance awareness organization) calculator. 

The most important thing is to take action. Your future self will thank you for doing something super responsible. To receive a free no obligation quote, click here.

Resources: LIMRA, Life HappensCDC, and Single Parent Advocate

Moms and Dads - Compelling Events Remind Us To Get Life Insurance

Maybe it's something exciting, like flying somewhere for a family vacation. Possibly it's something difficult, like the loss of a loved one. We think about life insurance when compelling events happen in our lives. For many, the thought is fleeting because we don't like to think about something scary, like death. 

Let's say a coworker passes away unexpectedly. You are reminded of how precious life is and how we're never guaranteed another day. It's unnerving. Thoughts of mortality typically make us uncomfortable and paralyze us from taking action - to plan for the unknown and protect our loved ones.  

What if you could rise above those fears and take action? Challenge yourself to tackle those yucky, uncomfortable feelings about loss of life. 

Life is precious and invaluable. No dollar amount can be placed on a human life. Yet, loved ones rely on your financial means. Understanding the financial value of your life will allow you to determine how much life insurance you need. Fortunately, there are resources that make the process simple and informative. 

Life Happens, a nonprofit life insurance awareness organization, created a "human life value calculator". The calculator analyzes items such as your age, occupation, income and the number of people that depend on you financially, to determine the proper amount of insurance coverage. 

Ultimately, it's important to work with an agent who will make the steps to obtaining life insurance easy and straight-forward. To get started with a free no obligation quote, click here

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

5 Things To Consider If You're A SAHM With Anxiety Seeking Life Insurance

SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) who experience anxiety and want life insurance, I have important information for you. 

An estimated 40 million adults living in the United States have an anxiety disorder, making it the most common type of mental condition. So, if you experience anxiety, you are not alone. In fact, women are twice as likely to be affected. (source: National Institute of Mental Health)

It's not easy to talk about. It's definitely not fun to deal with. The good news is, if you are looking for life insurance, there are a lot of options for you.

Anxiety is a blanket term that covers many different conditions, and understanding some specifics will guide you in making an informed decision.  

Here are 5 things life insurance carriers look at if you have a history of anxiety:

1. Age of diagnosis and amount of time since diagnosis

2. Duration, severity, and number of episodes of your anxiety

3. Use of medication and compliance with prescription instructions

4. Suicide attempts or hospitalizations connected to anxiety

5. Alcohol consumption or substance abuse 

Here are 5 actions you can take to prepare yourself for a life insurance application:

1. Have your doctor's information available: name, address, and phone

2. Be sure your doctor has copies of your treatment records

3. Document the cause of your anxiety (i.e. death of a loved one, side effect of a medication)

4. Don't skip any follow-up visits with your doctor

5. Keep records of your medication(s) and length of time symptoms have been managed under your current treatment plan 

Remember, most cases of anxiety, especially mild to moderate, will not hinder your ability to receive excellent life insurance. Don't delay in taking the next step towards coverage. 

To get started with a free no obligation quote, click here

 

 

 

What to Expect When You're Expecting... A Life Insurance Exam

Congratulations! You've taken the next step to becoming insured and scheduled your life insurance medical exam. Policies written with a medical exam are the most affordable, so it's usually worthwhile to go through this brief inconvenience. 

The technical term for the process is called a paramedical exam. A certified medical professional (paramed) will be sent to you, typically in the comfort of your home, to complete a basic medical test. It's simple, quick and harmless.

Here's what to expect:

1. Questionnaire

The paramed will either ask about (or confirm answers to) your health history. Questions will include tobacco use, lifestyle choices, and family or personal illness.

2. Measurements

Your height, weight, and blood pressure will be recorded. 

3. Samples

Blood and urine will be collected. 

That's it. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Of special note, if you are over the age of 50, most insurance carriers will request additional measurements. Specifically, you may need to have an EKG test on your heart. And if you are male, a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. 

It's understandable to feel apprehensive about completing the exam. Yet, the relief you will feel once it's over is worth it. You are taking a step towards protecting your loved ones. Not much feels better than that!

For advice on what to do leading up to your exam, check out this article from Life Happens, a non-profit insurance awareness organization. 

Check out our free quote page to get started. It's easier than you think. 

 

 

 

Pregnant? 4 Questions to Consider When Purchasing Life Insurance

The importance of life insurance compounds as your family grows. If you are considering having a baby or are pregnant, you are wise to think about life insurance. 

Consider these fundamental questions to help guide your decision. 

1. I am currently pregnant. Can I qualify for life insurance?

Yes! Securing life insurance during pregnancy is quite common. Don't delay - the sooner into your pregnancy you apply, the better. Commonly, your premiums (monthly payment) will not be higher. Even if you are charged more during pregnancy for health concerns, (i.e. gestational diabetes or high blood pressure) some coverage is better than none. Remember, you can always reapply for coverage after your pregnancy if your premiums are elevated. 

2. Should I buy term or permanent life insurance? 

Term = Coverage for a certain period of time (i.e. 10 yrs. or 20 yrs.)

Permanent = Lifelong coverage

Generally, young families will want to purchase term. While permanent insurance provides lifelong protection for your family, term insurance is more affordable and allows you the opportunity to reevaluate your insurance needs in the future. 

3. How much does it cost?

Age and health are the two largest factors in determining life insurance premiums. Term insurance is very affordable. For example, a healthy, non-smoking 27-year-old female can expect to pay around $12 monthly for $500,000 of coverage for 10 years. That's just $0.40 per day! 

4. How much life insurance should I get?

The general rule of thumb is to get at least 10 years of your annual salary in coverage. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually, you should get about $500,000 in coverage. 

SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms) need coverage, too. Even if you don't bring in money to your family, your value is immense. In fact, salary.com estimates that a SAHM's work is valued at $118,905 annually (2014 figure). 

Every family's financial situation is unique. For an in-depth evaluation of your life insurance needs, we recommend you use Life Happen's calculator, a nonprofit life insurance awareness organization.

For further information, check out this article from Life Happens.

4 Super Responsible Things SAHMs Should Do

workingwoman.jpeg

SAHMs (Stay At Home Moms) - Anyone else feel like life is moving so quickly that it's hard to catch your breath? School, sports, playdates, errands, appointments, chores, and the like seem to fill each moment of our calendar. Sigh. 

The busyness of these days are of consequence. Lives are made from them. We should do our best to treasure our overfilled calendar because it means we have loved ones that rely on us. 

Still, while we are running from one thing to another, we have the nagging sensation that our "important" to-do list remains unfinished. You know what I'm talking about - the boring or confusing items that should be taken care of, but you don't even know where to start. 

In all your spare time (wink, wink), put these on your calendar. You will be grateful and a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. My suggestion is to tackle one per month. 

1. Will - name guardians so your children always stay in good hands. (excellent resource: Willing)

2. Money - create and use a budget. (we recommend: Mint or YNAB)

3. Organize - keep a basic system to keep it all straight. (try: Evernote or if you are not tech-savvy: Franklin Planner)

4. Insurance - protect your family no matter what life brings. (start here: Insurance Happens - that's us. Also visit Life Happens, a non-profit organization)

You got this. One thing at a time. 

P.S. - Shout out to GYST (Get Your S#%$ Together) for their excellent ideas and resources. Their organization helps others avoid the hardships they personally faced through planning and organization. 

 

 

SAHM - How Much Life Insurance Does a Stay At Home Mom Need?

Mother [muhth-er] - noun

  1. One person who does the work of twenty. For free.

      (see also: 'saint')

Can you place a dollar amount on motherhood? Absolutely not. You are priceless. 

Should you take steps to protect yourself financially with life insurance, even if you are a stay-at-home mom? Absolutely. 

Still, each year salary.com calculates a stay-at-home mom's "worth". In their most recent release (2014), it was estimated that an average mom works 96.5 hours weekly and has the earning potential of $118,905 annually.

Wow.

Insurance Happens recommends, in general, a person have at least 10 times the amount of their annual salary in life insurance. SAHM moms - in your case, according to salary.com, a term policy of approximately $1,000,000 to $1,250,000 makes sense.

Most importantly, you should decide on an amount you feel comfortable with. Courtesy of Life Happens, a nonprofit life insurance resource, we provide a useful calculator to assist you in determining an appropriate amount of insurance.

While the dollar amount tied to what you do everyday, 24/7, is impressive, I want to acknowledge that what you do is so much more than that. You represent love to your family. Love is priceless. 

You can never be replaced. Yet, protecting yourself financially is the right thing to do.