Finding A Cheap Car Insurance Quote

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Making a deal with yourself to lower living costs is not as painful as you first think. Start with easy things, like get a cheap car insurance quote (its always wise to do car insurance comparison). A lot of people get too comfortable and stick with the same auto insurer for years, not realizing they are being taken for a ride.

That’s right, even if your insurer claims that they give an accident-free discount, or are rewarding you for having a car with some feature, they may be overcharging you overall. Simply compare quotes from different companies for the same coverage.

That’s the key to finding a cheap car insurance quote. Start from the bottom and evaluate whoever charges the least. Just make sure that the insurance companies have the financial ability to pay out on claims. Make a quick check in the companies that rate credit for corporations and financial institutions. Use A.M. Best, Moody’s, or Weiss Ratings. They have to have an A rating or better or else the insurer’s ability to pay on claims comes into question.

From there, take a look at the least expensive insurance quotes from the companies with A or better ratings. Now evaluate them for customer service, and for their ability to let go of the money to pay out on claims because it is what they are obligated to do according to the policy contracts.

They should not be stingy, but be willing to pay out, especially when it is a legitimate claim. Online reviews will tell you a lot about what companies are in it simply to take your money and which ones recognize that sometimes they need to show up and rescue the insured by giving out insurance claim benefits.

Depending on the state you call home, you may have an insurance commissioner to contact. They may be able to tell you what companies drag its feet or try to avoid paying out legitimate claims. Use all of these resources to get cheap but valuable car insurance.

Three Easy Ways To Fit 10 Minutes Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

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So we all know we should exercise (but do we really know the pros and cons of permanent life insurance), that fact is not under discussion here! The problem is however, that life is far too hectic. With so many tasks to fit into one day, it may seem that designating time for exercise on top of everything else is simply a mission impossible!

The truth is however, that just 10 minutes of exercise everyday can have a significantly positive result on our bodies and minds.

‘Great’, you may say, ‘but I really don’t think I have a spare ten minutes during the day!’ Finding those 10 minutes may be a little easier than you think! Here come 3 easy ideas:

1. Walk To Work

Granted this depends on how far your commute is. Even a long commute gives an opportunity for a 10 minute exercise session. Simply catch the earlier train and get off one stop from your work – easy peasy!

2. Use Your Home Stairs!

Walking (or running if you feel up to it) up and down your stairs is a great way to get a high impact 10 minute exercise session, and you don’t even have to worry about leaving your house to do it!

3. Your Morning Ritual

Many of us have great intentions to do a little exercise later in the day, but ‘later’ never comes! Grabbing 10 minutes of exercise as part of your morning routine is a great way to have a good conscience when you settle down in the evening!

Life may be crazy hectic, but finding 10 minutes to exercise doesn’t need to be such a difficult feat, and your body and mind will be eternally grateful for it!

Do Work at Work

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This isn’t a radical idea nor is it always feasible. I always try to be honest on this blog and will continue to do so. If you don’t find your work challenging enough or you get it done within the alloted time with extra to spare you may consider doing other work. What do I mean by other work?

By other work I mean you could document procedures to help show that you are willing to go above and beyond. In some cases you can’t do that though (I can’t, I’m new and an intern). Another thing you can do is start working on other skills that you feel will be useful. As an example, yesterday I was reviewing my Algebra which I haven’t done in years because I’m aspiring to teach math later on. Not only will I be learning what I was once new but I will be able to monetize it. What does this allow you to do? You will be able to build upon your skills, pass the time and get paid to do it. Time is going to pass regardless of what you do, you might as well be productive with it.

If you don’t want to learn anything but have other “work” to do, get it done. For example I spent some time on Amazons Mechanical Turk and even though it’s pennies, it’s still money. I also spend some time updating my various blog. This is all work that I could do at home but if I can go home and relax more why wouldn’t I? Furthermore you could do anytype of online work that you find necessary to do. If you need to catch up on some calls to a client, get it done.

A Word of Caution

Something that I would watch out for is being caught with overlapping work. You want to pick work that will allow you to drop it at a moments notice. I mentioned earlier calling clients. That may be one activity that you might not be able to drop so suddenly if work comes up. My suggestion is to make a list of all the work that needs to be done and see what can be dropped if need be. My other examples like Amazon Mechanicl Turk, Blogging, Surveys can all be continued at a later time if needed.

I appreciate you for reading this post. If you have any questions or concerns I would love to read them.

Starting a Roth Individual Retirement Account

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One thing that I wish I had done earlier in my life is start my Roth Individual Retirement Account (Roth RIA). A Roth Ria basically means that any income that you make may be contributed into the account and that you pay taxes beforehand on this money. This is one of the key differences between a regular Roth Ira, and regular IRA. Another key difference between the two is that any distributions or earnings are tax free within the Roth IRA, and taxable as income in a regular IRA.
I happen to be a cynic and right now with my low amount of income that I make my taxes are very low. Currently my tax rate is 15% in total with 0 deductions for both state and federal. It is my belief that taxes will be going up over time to meet the demand of increased debt that our nation undertakes. For this reason I believe that a Roth IRA is the best bet for me.
First and foremost I’m looking to go with Vanguard as my brokerage. Secondly I’m looking to invest primarily in index funds where I can. I want to avoid exchange traded funds (ETF) as much as possible because of the trading fee that is incurred. As much as I want to make a return on my money I believe that preservation is my silver bullet to success. The areas that I want to diversify into are as follows.

Domestic
Bonds:
Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund Investor Shares (VIPSX)
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Investor Shares (VBMFX)

Stocks:
Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund Investor Shares (VHDYX)
Vanguard Small-Cap Growth Index Fund (VISGX)

Real Estate:
Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares (VGSIX)

International
Stocks:
Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund Investor Shares (VEIEX)
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap Index Fund Investor Shares (VFSVX)

Bonds:
T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond Fund
T. Rowe Price International Bond Fund

Real Estate:
T. Rowe Price Global Infrastructure Fund
T. Rowe Price Global Real Estate Fund

As you can See I have plenty of funds that I would like to go into. I believe in diversification although some would think that I’m diversifying too much. To add insult to injury I’m also looking at several exchange traded funds that are more commodity based. They can be seen below:

GRES – IQ ARB Global Resources ETF
REMX – Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals
MOO – Market Vectors-Agribusiness
PSAU – PowerShares Global Gold and Precious Metals

For right now this is my plan but as things go along I will tweak it further and further. I’m willing to take the risk on this and even willing to lose some money. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I don’t expect my retirement strategy to be perfect.

The Saved Quarter Challenge

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What it is:

I stumbled on this blog post entitled the The Saved Quarter Challenge and it seems pretty interesting. It’s so interesting that it warrants my attention and I’m always up for a challenge. The premise of the challenge is explained in the title and basically states that you strive to save a quarter of your income.

Rules:

The rules regarding this challenge is not to spend the money on products. The second rule is simply saving 25% of your income.

My Plan of Action:

Since I will only be making around $7500 while working this semester I plan to max out my Roth IRA which I will be starting.

My plan is cut down on spending and try to make more money off my blogs. I will also be trying to make money using other things like surveys, Amazon Turk, and other sites.

I also plan on posting weekly updates to track how much I’m saving and to detail what I’m spending on. It is my goal to eventually become more wealthy because of this. I think we all need as much financial security as possible these days.

Not just about money

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One thing I’ve been focusing on this blog is money and retirement isn’t just about being financially secure. Money is a tool that is meant as a means of exchange to provide us with what we need and in other cases wants. As I become older I want to have fun, lots of fun, and all types of fun but what about right now? Currently I’m 20 (time of writing this March 1, 2011) and I feel that I don’t have as much fun as I should. With that said I think it’s time I start living life a bit more.

Defining Fun:

There is no set definition for fun and there never will be. It differs amongst people and that much is common sense. That being said we want to have fun and at the same time still grow our financial security or at least that’s the point of this blog. Of course if your idea of fun is to make more money well then.. more power to you.

My Definition of Fun:

Fun for me varies quite a bit and with whom I’m with. I believe this is true for most people excluding those party people like my dad.

Alone:

1. Reading – Fiction, news (starting to really hate this), Anatomy (more exercise related), Reddit, Blogs

2. Exercising – Running, weight lifting, calisthenics

3. Self Improvement – Meditation, exercise (see #2)

4. Cooking – Different types of food that I see on youtube.

With Someone:

1. Exercising – This isn’t so much like #1 from the Alone list, rather it’s more leisurely strolling while holding hands or just shooting the wind.

2. Cooking – Once again different from #4 on the list above because it’s more of a BBQ setting with lots of talking and relaxing.

3. Video Games – I hate playing games by myself. I see them as a complete waste of time and I always enjoy playing with friends but being on opposing teams. These games are filled with much s**t talking and it’s always enjoyable to hear my friends getting flustered.

4. Talking – Getting to hear what is on the other persons mind. Knowing the way that they think and trying to argue your point home. Oh this gets me worked up and I absolutely love playing Devil’s advocate. Nothing is as stimulating as that.

My current situation / future situation:

Currently I’m working 40 hours a week in Rock Island, IL. The weather here is decent meaning that it snows and that wind chill is no fun. It’s not what I’m use to and I believe that I have a hard time adjusting. The sky is almost always cloudy and rarely do I get to see the sun. That to me is a big deal breaker because half the reason that I enjoy going outside is to see it.

Someone on reddit said that it’s not so much that we all want to be millionaires rather we want what that million dollars could provide us. Ultimately the money that I have is just cotton and has no value. When I think back I recall the memories of bbqs, and playing games with my friends, or walking with my girlfriend. I don’t recall anything about how much money I had, it just never comes up.

TL:DR: Rambling aside, I’m going to start having more fun. I’m going to start doing morework at work.

Ethics and Investing

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We all have ethics and morals that we live our day to day lives on. I view myself as someone who is bit more environmentally inclined than others meaning that I try to avoid pollution and other waste. I don’t support all governments nor do I support all companies. As an example I don’t like how tax money is spent here in the United States, nor do I like that companies create huge environmental disasters and for the most part walk away. This is one issue that I have with investing in funds since they are so diversified.

With that being said I still go and fill up on gas when I’m in Miami. I still pay my federal taxes. I still go out and buy products or eat out from time to time. It would take a very minimalistic and independent lifestyle for me to completely avoid these companies and the government. Even then I would still owe some type of tax to someone. You could say that although I want to avoid these entities completely it just isn’t possible; a minimal amount of interaction is needed to live.

Stocks

Many of the indexes hold major companies. Many of these companies have had great impacts on our world and at the same time done some terrible things. If I were to invest in these funds I wouldn’t be supporting the company, but at the same time I wouldn’t be doing anything to curtail their (sometimes) negative actions.

An example of negative actions could be lobbying for rights that hurt citizens or oil spills that happen in other countries. The issue with this is that many of these companies have record profits though human and environmental suffering. This leads me to the conclusion that any profit passed on to me as a share holder would be “dirty money”. This idea violates my want of minimizing interaction with these entities.

Example of dirty money: ExxonMobil (Holding of S&P 500)

Bonds / Fixed Income

I’ve looked at several different bond / fixed income funds for both companies and government debt. Fixed income for companies is just as bad as stocks in where you own a partial piece of the company. The difference in this case would be that through bonds I would actively be financing the operations that I’m so against.

This isn’t just the case with companies. As I stated earlier in this post I do not support what governments do as well, especially considering subsidies that are given out. For example here in the United States the corn subsidies that are handed out along with the oil subsidies. Unfortunately I don’t have a choice here and have to pay taxes which are something I cannot change. That’s only concerning one fund that I was looking at which is SCHP for the United States. I was also looking into three other funds WIP, CEW, and ELD. What do all these other governments do that I don’t support? What bonds do some money markets invest in?

Credit Union

The credit union that I’m in is local and you must either be a student of Dade County or be a teacher of Dade County (I was a former student). That being said I can be quite certain that the majority of my money is going to be invested to help others with financing a house, a car, or consolidating loans. However it is a good possibility (one that I’m willing to be on) that they have some type of portfolio besides loans issued by them. To go back to my issue with “dirty money” they also pay dividends and once again I’m running into an issue. Albeit this issue is less severe and more than likely less damaging I’m once again confronted with the problem of my money supporting things that I don’t want to support.

What is a person to do?

One option is for me to put all my money under my bed and watch as my purchasing power is eroded. Another option is for me to go out and pick stocks and watch as my unrealized losses eventually become realized. I could invest my money into something that I support like alternative energies (ICLN) , and water (FIW). I’m a partial owner to silver and maybe invest a bit more into that as well (SIVR). How would all those investments hold over the long term? I think sooner or later I’m going to have to decide where my priorities are. Do I want to keep my purchasing power and if so what am I willing to do to keep it?