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6. Your car and home insurance part two.

Welcome to the Dad Cents, 10 ways to put money back into your budget without stopping the fun stuff, series. The countdown continues with the second of two articles about car and house insurance.

6. Your car and home insurance part two.

What is your greatest risk?

Good illusionists are well trained in the art of drawing our attention with showmanship to  give the perception of magic at work.  As the illusion begins our focus is on the main subject but quickly drawn to a side character using misdirection. Once our attention is drawn, the illusion is complete.

Unfortunately, many of us have had our attention redirected from the main subject by some insurance companies. Now that I have your attention, I am sure you are wondering how, so let me explain.

The first question we need to ask is “What is the main subject?” The main subject is the area of your greatest risk. As you look at your areas of risk in regard to your house and auto insurance, there are two areas in which to look. The first is your cash out of pocket risk due to your deductable, and the second is your liability risk.

Now let’s apply the question, “What is my risk?” to our two areas of focus. If you have a $500 dollar deductable, what is your risk? $500. If you have a $50,000 liability limit, you are at fault and the other driver has $100,000 of medical bills, what is your risk? $50,000!

The focus of most commercials and insurance companies is to help us look at saving us money on our premium! This is good, but at what risk? Hopefully, you can see a hint of the misdirection. Should our greatest concern be our deductable or our liability limit? Our liability limit, hands down.

The chances of having a life-changing  accident are much lower than that of a fender bender but the risk is just too great to ignore.  Most states have minimum liability limits, which unfortunately guide many driver’s decisions.

I would urge you to check your policy and schedule an update with your insurance agent. Having the proper coverage is critical in this day and age. If your liability limits are too low, you may be putting your other assets at risk!

In the next article, I will talk about the ins and outs of house alarms and money-saving  ideas!

Is it possible for everyone to use these ideas? Maybe, but I will make one promise. If you do not try, you will not save money!

Make sure also to watch for our next Savvy Dads webinar!

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Friday, September 2nd, 2011 Teaching 1 Comment

6. Your car and home insurance.

Welcome to the Dad Cents, capsule no rx 10 ways to put money back into your budget without stopping the fun stuff, series. The countdown continues with the first of two articles about car and house insurance.

6. Your car and home insurance.

Can you really save 15% by switching to another insurance company?

Every insurance company works under the same premise; take in more money than they pay out! Come to think of it, every successful business I know, works in a similar fashion. One key to success for insurance companies is to spread their risk across the area they service, whether local or national, just like a wise investor.

By law, we must have liability insurance on our vehicles.  Furthermore, an insurance company mandated requirement exists for coverage on your home while you have a mortgage. Unfortunately, eliminating debt on our vehicles and home does not remove our requirement for insurance (once a house is debt free the requirement is removed but the financial and liability risks are much too high to cancel the policy). Chances are we probably will have insurance payments for the majority of our lives!

The huge question is, “Are you paying more than you need to for your coverage?” When I watch TV, every second or third commercial suggests an answer to this question. “You can save money by switching to our policy!”

I am very intrigued when I see this battle persisting when I know every insurance company is regulated in the same way; by the state in which they are licensed to operate. The state regulations also set the rules for what insurance companies can and cannot do! For example, all the companies have mandated reserves to cover pay outs when accidents or catastrophes occur.

However, if they are all treated similarly by law then how could one company say you can pay 15% less with their company?

The answer is: Their philosophy on local agents! Fifteen percent is roughly the cost of paying a neighborhood insurance agent to meet with and help policy holders. Most internet insurance companies do not have local agents, or if they do, the agents are very sparse. Even though some companies may have representatives in locations, their main contact points are either the internet or via phone.

I have several concerns with most families utilizing these types of companies. Car and home policies have many intricacies that can cause headaches and leave them underinsured. Here are a few thoughts to help you make a good decision.

Keys to making a good decision:

  1. Do you have a very good knowledge of insurance?
  2. Can you get the kind of personal service you desire?
  3. Have you had many claims in the past?
  4. Is the company financially sound?
  5. Check with your state insurance commissioner about track records of the companies. It is much easier to find out about customer service before you make a change rather than learning the hard way.

In the next article, I will talk about the importance of having the proper coverage and some considerations so you can get the best policy for your family!

Is it possible for everyone to use these ideas? Maybe, but I will make one promise. If you do not try, you will not save money!

Make sure also to watch for our next Savvy Dads webinar!

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 Teaching 1 Comment

7. Your TV/Internet/Phone bill.

Welcome to the Dad Cents, 10 ways to put money back into your budget without stopping the fun stuff, series. The countdown continues.

7. Your TV/Internet/Phone bill.

Are you paying an arm and a leg to be connected?

My wife and I sat down last week to watch TV, and as she scrolled through our at least 200 channels she said, “How can there be nothing on TV?” Our world has dramatically changed even from the time I was in college. As I sat down today to write, my wife’s comment reminded of my college years and the Bruce Springsteen song 57 Channels in which he sang “There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on…”.

Today, we have the opportunity to be as connected as we desire. Our Televisions, internet service, phone service and mobile service give us the ability to be in the know and always in reach of our friends, family and work. Smart phones allow us to do all of these things in one device!

The key question is: Are you paying too much to be connected?

Media companies want us to buy their bundle! These packages are advertised relentlessly via billboard, radio, the internet and TV. The gist of the ad is you will pay less for their bundle than by purchasing elsewhere. The media companies are using the same theory as the insurance companies.

The theory the media companies’ use says you will be more likely to remain a customer because of the number of connections you have to their company. For example, one company is easy to work with, but if you have your phone with one company, the internet with another, and TV with yet another, you will have to pay multiple bills get multiple statements and have more companies to deal with. However, are they giving you the best deal?

Companies are always changing the rules but many times, the bundles, are not the best deal. Just recently, I was encouraged to look into my service by my bank account because we could not afford the bill. I thoroughly looked through all the opportunities and found I could  save $35 per month and actually get faster internet service by making a change out of a bundle!

Keys to making a good decision:

  1. Does your rate eventually increase?
  2. Can you get good or better service by separate companies?
  3. Are you buying the package that has more channels than you actually watch?
  4. Will you share band width with your neighbors?
  5. Can you get internet service without purchasing phone service? (VOIP service can be very inexpensive)

Is it possible for everyone to use these ideas? Maybe, but I will make one promise. If you do not try, you will not save money!

Make sure also to watch for our next Savvy Dads webinar!

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Monday, June 13th, 2011 Teaching No Comments

Traveling Dads: Ideas to help keep in touch with your kids

Do you remember the old Cingular commercial where the dad took a stuffed animal on the road and took pictures of the animal in each place he visited?  I found it on Youtube for those who do not remember. 

My daughter saw the commercial and would strategically hide the animal somewhere in my stuff! As I would take pictures, I emailed or texted the picture back to my wife and daughters to see where I was and what I was doing.

I was asked an awesome question this week and wanted to respond with on my blog as well as a personal message.  “I am away from my daughters this week for business and am really missing them. Do you have any clever ideas on how to connect?” was the question posed. I traveled quite a bit last year and have some ideas that I found to be very effective. 

I do realize that several of these options need to be initiated before leaving for a trip but some are doable even while on the road. 

I pray with my daughters every night before they go to bed, so when I travel, this is sometimes a challenge.  I know  many dads who love to tell their children, especially those of us who have daughters, good night before they go to bed.  I have several solutions for this issue.

  1. Call them on your mobile phone no matter what you are doing! If you need to excuse yourself from the meeting, then do so, to talk to them before bed.
  2. Before you leave, make a video for each night you are gone. It does not need to be longer than 30 to 90 seconds. In this age of easy video on phones and every digital camera available, make a short video for each child.  This does take some time, but I have found is well worth the effort!

Staying in contact during the day can be a challenge but here are a couple of ideas.

  1. If your children are old enough to have mobile phones then texting is one option.    
  2. A really cool connection point is using video on your phone to send them a recorded message via sms (text messaging).  I can record a short video on my phone and send it to my wife’s phone, which she and my daughters can watch. She in return can make a video response with the girls for me!

Another great option is to use Skype or Oovoo to stay in touch.  They are even better if you have video capabilities on your laptop and computer at home. This past December I spent a week in Romania and could  speak to my wife and daughters via Skype. Skype is even available on your mobile phone through an android and iphone app.  

As a final note, I want to encourage the dads to really think ahead about staying connected.   Traveling can be a break from the day to day stress but it also is a time for temptation.  I know when I stay connected, my mind stays at home when my body is on the road!  

I would love to hear from anyone who has more ideas about staying connected while on the road.

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Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 Teaching No Comments

11 questions to think about in 2011!

The last week of the year I always spend time thinking about where we have been over the last year and where we are headed for the upcoming year.  As I was contemplating 2011, ambulance I realized that God had blessed 2010 and had shown me a few things that parents were struggling with.  I compiled a list and wanted to share these 11 questions with you to prompt your thinking for 2011.

  1. Do I want my children to know more about money then I did when I left my parents home?
  2. Do I own the things that are in my possession?
  3. How can I be a successful manager of the possessions in my control?
  4. Can my children learn about money and character at the same time?
  5. Do I need to improve my money management skills?
  6. Do I give my kids an allowance?
  7. At what age are my children ready to learn about money?
  8. How will I teach my kids about money?
  9. What kind of example am I to my kids?
  10. Should I help my kids begin a business?
  11. What questions need to be asked when I consider buying my teenager a car?

I will be writing about each of these questions over the entire year of 2011.  Of course, cialis the answers are in my book, story Dad Cents as well.  Have a great year!

 

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Monday, January 3rd, 2011 Teaching No Comments

Romania – December 2-8, 2010

I was unaware the beginning of my trip would be an indicator for the first three days of my travel.  A great friend and mentor took me to the Airport and as God would have it, allowed me to be 2 1/2 hours early.  I was excited as I got to the ticket counter because there were only eight people in front of me to check in for the first step of my flight from Kansas City to Detroit.  When I stepped up to the counter, I was immediately informed that my flight was delayed by 2 1/2 hours, and would need to be re-routed through Minneapolis.  The Delta agent worked furiously to find me a seat on a flight that was leaving in 35 minutes.  I made the flight and caught my connection in Minneapolis to Amsterdam.

Little did I know at the time, Amsterdam would become my home for the next two days.  As we arrived in Amsterdam, snow was gracefully falling from the sky.  Upon arrival, I was very hungry, since I had not been able to eat lunch in Kansas City.  As I walked through the airport I spotted a McDonald’s and decided to eat at what I thought would be the least costly option in the airport.  Unfortunately, I ate the most expensive quarter pounder I’ve ever consumed, then waited for my 11:20 a.m. connection to Bucharest.

After a delayed a boarding process, we took our seats on the plane at approximately 12:30 p.m.  I was carrying a computer bag and a carryon suitcase at the time.  The boarding agents instructed me that my carryon suitcase would need to be checked for this flight.  Unaware of the potential situation, I quickly agreed and checked my bag.  Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would put up a little resistance to checking the bag.  Unbelievably, for the next almost five hours, we sat in the plane on the tarmac continually being told that we would depart in 30 minutes.  At 5:15 p.m. we were finally told the flight had been canceled, and we were to exit the plane.  We were then instructed to move to the transfer station and get in the queue.  (For those that have never been to Europe do not have airline counters they have transfer stations, and you don’t stand in line you’d get in the queue.) After waiting in line for 1 1/2 hours, we were told that there would not be another flight to Bucharest until the next day.  We were then instructed to get in line, I mean in the queue, to receive a hotel room paid for by KLM.  I proceeded through customs, made my way to the queue with the other 125 people waiting for a hotel room.  Thankfully, through this process, I met several guys who I bonded with and held each other’s place in line for the next four hours.

Upon receiving our room, we made our way to the hotel to get some rest.  Fortunately, God had provided the foresight to have a way to call the United States.  Within 20 minutes, I had called Delta, made my reservation, and called home to update my family.

The next day return to the airport to wait for my new flight that would take me to Paris and connect me to Bucharest.  This flight was to leave Amsterdam at 4:00 p.m. and have me arriving in Bucharest at 9:00 p.m.  A little after noon, I was told that this flight also had been canceled.  Once again, I was participating in my new favorite activity, getting in the queue. You can imagine by this time the KLM employees were at their wits end dealing with frustrated travelers.  Thankfully, the employee who helped me was ready to do whatever was necessary to get me to Bucharest.  She booked me on a 9:00 p.m. direct flight to Bucharest and was blessed with being upgraded to a business class ticket.

The flight arrived in Bucharest early Saturday morning, almost two days behind schedule.  I proceeded to the baggage claim only to find out that my nightmare was not over.  I inquired about my bags while in Amsterdam and had been told they were already in Bucharest.  Once again, I got in the queue, to see if the company that handled lost baggage had my luggage.  My bags were nowhere to be found!  I submitted a claim and left to find my host, Radu.

The first seminar I was to speak at had to be canceled, which freed the schedule for Saturday.  On Saturday and Sunday, we visited his mother, who lives about 25 minutes outside of Bucharest.  Sunday morning I was able to attend a Romanian Orthodox service.  The church was in a very small village next door to the mother’s home.  I had never been to an orthodox service, so I truly enjoyed watching and participating.  Ok, I could not understand anything, because I do not speak Romanian, but I could still watch the people and observe their emotion during the liturgy.      

I did not need a university degree to see that most in attendance had experienced a very difficult life.  For those who do not know, Romania was behind the Iron Curtain until 1990.  Most of these people had worked in manual labor for a majority of their lives.

As the service closed, my host asked me if I would say something to those in attendance.  The thoughts racing through my head were something like this: “I have not prepared anything, I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel worthy.”  I responded by telling my host that I was not prepared but at the end of the service, the priest motioned for me to come to the front of the church.    

Obviously, my response was not communicated!  As I walked to the front, I thought, “Ok, Lord what do you want me to say?”  As my friend moved beside me to translate my words, I became very calm.  I greeted them, thanked them for their wonderful hospitality and told them I was in Romania to help fathers.

When I mentioned fathers, their faces glowed!  The Romanian church struggles with one of the same issues as we do in the American church.  How to get men involved.  I purposefully did not mention, to this point, the attendance which was 80% women and 20% men.  After the service concluded, I stayed to meet the priest.  As we spoke(through translation), I was asked for ideas to help draw men to their church.  We spoke about the importance of fathers and parted ways.  Sunday evening we headed back to Bucharest to prepare for Monday and Tuesday.

It was noon on Monday when my bags finally showed up from the airport!  I felt like a new man when I was able to change my clothes.  That afternoon was my first meeting in Bucharest.  I met with the executive director of the American Christian school in Bucharest.  We met for an hour to discuss the school’s involvement in future Dad Cents seminars and Savvy Dads seminars in Romania.  It was an amazing time and a little slice of America all at once.  A good friend always tells me “God is the great connector”, and it was so awesome to see how two “strangers” could meet in Bucharest to move God’s kingdom forward.

Tuesday was the day I was to make a three hour presentation to a group of business leaders.  The presentation went very well, and it was fun to see the attendees come out of their shell.  We had great discussions and I introduced multiple, new ideas to the group.

Through this discussion, I learned some scary things are happening in Romania.  Take mortgages, for example, which have been recently introduced into Romanian Society.  As you know, in the United States, when we take out a mortgage for our home, we place the house as collateral.  In Romania, when a mortgage is issued against a home the house or apartment is not the only collateral required to fulfill the contract.  Let me explain.  In Romania, if a homeowner cannot make the payments not only is the home repossessed but their future earnings can be attached as well.

Let me give you an illustration.  If a home sells for $100,000 and the owner defaults, the bank repossesses the house.  If the bank then sells the home for $80,000, the bank as the right to the mortgagee’s future income for the $20,000 difference!  I told the business leaders I would have a hard time signing them mortgage, unless I had a substantial savings account to cover my payments for 12 to 24 months.  This is just one example of things that are happening in the financial world in Romania.

Before I left Romania, we discussed more seminars for 2011.  I am very excited to be involved with Romania.  God has opened some amazing doors to bring Biblical and practical financial ideas to the Romanian people.  They have only been out of the grip of communist control for 20 years, which has left them with a generation of parents trying to wade their way through capitalism.  The current generation of parents carries a huge responsibility and needs to be successful in teaching their children financial truth.

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Friday, December 10th, 2010 Teaching 1 Comment

Do Not Be Surprised!

Do not be surprised!

For those of you reading this blog post and have kids that are younger than 5, viagra buy watch out!  After the publication of Dad Cents in October of 2009, I have had several people question the practice of beginning financial training at age 3.  They have said, “Do they really understand at that age?” or “That is pretty early to think about money!”

Let me tell you about our youngest daughter, Josie, who is soon to turn 5 years old.  As I suggest in Dad Cents, we have not started allowance for Josie because she has yet to turn 5.  Being the youngest of our three daughters she has watched her sisters very closely and does not act like very many 4 yr olds!  She wants to carry a purse with makeup, a cell phone (an old one of mine that does not actually work) and money!  She also watches her sisters get allowance, go to the store and make purchases with THEIR money.

Josie usually gets money for her birthday, and a few other times when grandma and grandpa are feeling generous.  We realized not too long ago that she needed an intermittent income source so we have allowed here to help with some special projects to earn money.  As you know, every child has a very different personality and Josie is our spender.  When Josie has money it burns a whole in her pocket.

A couple of days ago, Val and Josie were going to the mall to look for spring clearance sales and Josie did not have any money; surprise, surprise.  Val decided on a project that Josie could help accomplish to earn some shopping money.  Fortunately, shopping money for a 4 yr old is usually not very much.  We usually give her a quarter per job.  This time however, when Val told Josie that she would get some money, Josie quickly replied, “Mommy can I get a paper one?”  Do not be surprised at what age your children will begin to catch on!

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Friday, April 30th, 2010 Teaching No Comments

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