Friday Favorites – March 9, 2018

Happy Friday, all!  I hope you are finishing off a great week.  This week was pretty interesting.  My kids school PTO had a fundraiser, so we had an excuse to eat fast food on Tuesday.  Yum!  Other good news is that we got our tax refunds already!  Woot!  That’s a great benefit to filing early.  Other than that it’s been kind of blah.  The second half of February was pretty warm, but March is starting off pretty cool and snowy.  Well, hopefully it’s in like a lion and out like a lamb.  We’ll see!

How was your week?

Favorite Posts

Here are some of my favorite posts I recently got a chance to read.

Have a great weekend.  Happy reading!

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Tips for Buying Long Term Care Insurance

As we age, we start to think about our future and what it will look like. How much do we want to have saved for retirement? Where do we plan to live and will we have family around for support? On top of that is the financial stress of making sure you can afford everything once you retire.

The price for living seems to go up year by year, making it difficult for some to cover all the costs. Throw in a serious illness or disability in which you can no longer care for yourself, and the costs are even higher.

Luckily there is long term care insurance that can help cover some of those costs. This type of insurance provides coverage for someone who needs services like assisted living, nursing homes or in-home care.

How do you know if you will need this type of insurance? Well, as for other forms of protection, like health and life insurance, you never really know if you will use it. However, if the time comes you do need it, you will be glad you have coverage.

If you have a retirement plan in place, or just starting one, it is a good idea to include long term care insurance. So here are a few tips for buying long term care insurance.

Consider the Company

You will be buying insurance from an insurance company, so make sure you are going to a reliable and reputable one. There are many long term care insurance companies to choose from, so don’t feel like you need to buy from the first company you see.

Consider the company ratings as this will tell you lots about the company’s performance and stability. Usually the higher the rating, the better the company, but that doesn’t mean they have the right policy for you. Shop around until you find a reliable company that can offer a flexible insurance plan that suits your needs.

Consider the Purpose of the Coverage

As with many insurance policies, you want to consider ahead of time the purpose of buying coverage. With long term care insurance, will you need the coverage for medical bills due to pre-existing medical conditions? Look at any possible hereditary conditions in which you have a chance of developing.

You also want to consider where you will be living. Do you have family close by that you can remain at home? Or will a nursing home be more suitable to provide any care you need? These are all factors that should be considered when you purchase long term care insurance.

Don’t Wait

If you are serious about getting a long term care insurance policy, don’t wait until you need it. Instead, the earlier you buy it, the more likely you will be accepted. Many companies have medical exams that include blood work and family health history checks. This can make buying insurance harder when you are older and more likely to have health issues.

So consider adding long term care insurance into your retirement plan.  Having your long term life planned out now will save you any headaches down the road in case the unexpected occurs.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Why Are Michigan Roads So Bad? 10 Things To Know

The past month has seen roads in Michigan deteriorate to never before seen conditions.  Potholes and cracks are everywhere.  The freeze and thaw cycle has been especially bad this year, turning many roads to near gravel. But, Michigan isn’t the only state with this weather.  So, why are the roads so bad?  The answer isn’t as simple as any one thing.  Here are ten things to know about why Michigan roads are so bad.

Taxes and Spending

  1. Michigan drivers pay a lot in fuel taxes.  Michigan is one of the top five states in terms of taxes collected at the pump.  This infuriates a lot of drivers.  Common sense tells you that higher taxes should mean better roads.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way.  So why?
  2. Michigan doesn’t allocate sales tax at the pump to roads. Most states assign all taxes collected at the pump toward roads.  Michigan only allocates the fuel taxes specifically toward roads.  The sales tax portion goes to the general fund.  This means our spending levels are among the lowest in the nation per capita.
  3. Voters said no when given a chance to correct this.  A few years, it was put before voters to allocate the sales tax on gas toward roads.  This would have infused a ton more money into the roads.  But, it required an increase in the sales tax rate, which required it be put before voters.  They said no.  I wonder how many regret this decision now.

Maintenance

  1. Road construction isn’t the problem.  Many roads in Michigan are hard pressed to last 25 year.  Many reason that they aren’t building the roads well. In fact, roads are built to the same standards as in surrounding states.
  2. Preventative maintenance is what’s missing.  If roads were taken care of here as they are in other states, people would be very perplexed.  See, we only start giving attention to a road after cracks and potholes appear. In fact, attention should be given to a road before any of these things happen. In other states, roads are repaved before they appear to need this done.  This protects the underlying road, which is the key to longevity.  If you keep the base road in good shape, it can last 50 years or more.
Image from morguefile courtesy of DarkSinistar.

Other Issues

  1. Weight limits.  Michigan allows heavy trucks to travel the roads with limits twice as high as most states.  Some say that this hurts roads.  Others on the opposite side of the fence argue that it doesn’t matter, since more axles are required to spread the load.  I think we should be in line with the surrounding states, but lobbyists have this one locked up.
  2. Lots of barely used roads.  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a beautiful place. There are a lot of roads there to travel around.  Many of them are barely used, but require attention nonetheless.  A higher percentage of funding per car traveled goes to these roads than to the roads in the population centers.  Many such roads have actually been returned to gravel roads, but there’s still a large disparity here.

The Future of Michigan Roads

  1. Roads have more funding coming.  A couple of years ago, lawmakers increased the gas tax and also increased registration fees.  This was the first major increase to road funding in over 20 years.  This will dramatically increase spending on roads.  It also will increase the taxes along with inflation, something that the increase 20 years ago failed to do.  This should help us from falling behind again.
  2. It’s going to take time.  Many voters are unhappy since the funding increase went into place a couple of years ago, yet the roads seem to be worse than ever.  The harsh fact is that the improvements will take time.  The funding shortages toward roads have been years, even decades, in the making.  It is going to take just as long to correct this.

The bottom line is that roads are awful but at least help is on the way.  It can’t come soon enough.  We’ll likely have to endure at least a few more spring seasons of bad roads, which is when potholes hit.  Hopefully, momentum will build and roads will improve over time.  Good roads in Michigan is something I hope to see in my lifetime!

Readers, how are roads where you are?  Does your state adequately fund road construction and maintenance? 

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Friday Favorites – March 2, 2018

Things in Michigan have been crazy weather wise.  I grilled earlier this week as it was in the 60’s.  Today I’m looking at a snowstorm expected to dump six inches.  Yikes!  It’s Friday and that means it’s time for some of my favorite blog posts.  I’ve missed quite a few weeks.  Sorry about that, life has been crazy!  But the good articles have kept coming.  I have some catching up to do!  Here are some I hope you enjoy.

Great Posts From February

I hope you have a great weekend!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.