Stay In Your Car After A Crash

My heart is breaking today.  All I can do now is two things.  First, pray, and second, give some advice.  If you get into a car accident, please, stay in your car.

Bad Work Start To 2018

Today was my first day back to work.  I was walking to my desk thinking of how I could make things great this year.

image from Morguefile courtesy of jlck8888

The whole conversation came to a halt when a co-worker asked if I’d read my e-mail.

I had not.

She filled me in that a colleague had been in a serious auto accident on Christmas Day, and has been in critical condition since.  He’s not regained conciousness.  He has brain injuries and internal injuries.  He had to have a leg amputated.  His heart stopped twice in the hours after the accident.

Things don’t look promising.  Everyone is praying for a recovery.  Even if one comes, things will be different forever.

Staying Put

The most troubling thing is that the severity of the accident could have been different.  The accident sounded unavoidable.  The car in front spun out and my colleague tried but couldn’t avoid hitting them.  During the accident, the rear door of the minivan opened and things spilled out.  My colleague got out to retrieve the items.  Unfortunately while doing so, another car spun out and he was struck, pinned between the cars.

It’s instinct to get out of the car after an accident.  But, unless you absolutely have to, you shouldn’t.  Stay in the car.  Call 911.  Make sure everybody is OK.

But, please, unless you have no choice, stay in the car.  Wait for the area to be cleared and made safe.

Don’t let an accident turn into a tragedy.  Unfortunately, I can’t go back and give this advice to my colleague who is now fighting for his life.

All we can do now is pray.

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.

Professional Investors Weigh In On Investing in 2018

Investors have been bullish about forecasts for the coming year, so far. The next year will most likely be quite eventful for the financial industry in general. The Federal Reserve recently made announcements that businesses should expect multiple interest rate hikes in 2018. Most financiers expect the short-term rates to rise somewhat, but nothing more serious than that. The reason for the interest rate spike is a strong economy and a low unemployment rate, which is a promising investment environment for the next year.

The S&P 500 has the Shiller price-to-earnings ratio at 32, which is more than double the average for long-term finances. That’s a good thing but it’s also one that makes investors cautious, says private equity financier and veteran investor Jason Sugarman. The current political climate also raises concerns at least among some. And yet, there are some sectors that will be highly lucrative for investing in next year, many professional financiers say.

The U.S. Market will be the Best Bet for 2018

Global recovery from the last financial crisis is still in the rebound stage, especially after international crises like Brexit and the fall of oil prices. In this environment, the safest market to invest in next year will likely be the US, says Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, the largest mutual fund in the world. American companies continue to be highly innovative. The major tech advancements are still pioneered by companies based in the U.S. S&P 500 for annual average over a 10 year period was 8.04 for the U.S., while it was only 2.01 for the MSCI EAFE index that tracks stocks located outside of U.S. and Canada. Going by data and expert opinion, the majority of investors should be flocking to the U.S. market in the coming year.

Lucrative Stocks in 2018: Disney and Amazon

The retail giant Amazon reported remarkable billion-dollar earnings just on Black Friday this year, cementing a continuing shift of consumers switching to online purchases, even on a traditionally in-store purchase day. The other super stock of the coming year will most likely belong to Disney, the legacy brand that recently announced a historic mega-merger with 20th Century Fox. If the deal goes through, Disney would secure a massive chunk of the content industry, and prove to be one of the top players in the streaming sector. Investors who prefer stock will most likely see remarkable surges for Disney and Amazon stock in the coming year, predicts Jason Sugarman.

Bank and Tech Stock will Dominate in 2018

In addition to the above, tech and software companies continue to surge ahead and maintain high-quality stocks. Oracle and trucking company Paccar showed remarkable growth this year. Bank and technology sector stocks are speculated to perform especially well in the next year. The proposed high-interest rates would benefit banks the most. Continuing innovation in areas like virtual reality keeps tech stocks on the top level as ever.

While the typical cautions remain, 2018 is set to be a great year at least at first for investing in US stocks, among others. But investors are strongly advised to keep an eye on the news for political issues.

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.

2017 In Review

It doesn’t feel like a whole year has gone by since posting our 2017 goals.  But, the time is upon us!  Here is our 2017 in review.  I hope that your year was fantastic and that you have a great 2018 ahead!

Money

I had a goal of increasing our net worth by about 10%.  We were able to beat that, with about a 15% performance.  This is largely because of the amazing run of the stock market.

We had talked about doing a refinance of our mortgage.  This is something that we pulled the trigger on.  We now have flexibility in our cash flow.  This has allowed us to pay cash for several projects around the house.  The biggest one we tackled this year was getting our exterior re-painted.

Exercise

I have stayed consistent with working out, for the most part.  I have had to stop running because of some foot pain.

image from morguefile courtesy of xololounge

Still, I’m heading to the gym and now using the elliptical.  I miss running, though.

Health

I was steadily gaining weight throughout 2016.  I set a goal of losing 15 pounds and then keeping most of it off.  I never got quite to 15 pounds, but I did get to 13.5 pounds.  I was able to keep most of that off.  I’m currently down around 10 pounds total for the year.  Not bad considering this is the holiday season!

Vacations

We had some awesome vacations.  The summer camping season was pretty good, though not our best.  Although we had a nice summer in terms of temperatures, we just never hit it lucky to get the best weather.  For both of our week long trips, the week before and week after were gorgeous, where we had cooler and/or rainier than normal conditions.  It was never a wash out but since we had to book these months out, we couldn’t reschedule.  It just felt like we were working around the weather more often than in the past.

We decided to add in a trip to Cancun for my wife and I to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Now that was awesome!  The trip and the weather and everything was simply incredible.

Our family took a week long trip down to Florida earlier in the year for Spring Break.  We rented a condo and had a great time.

We also did a mini-trip to Great Wolf Lodge, as our kids love the indoor waterpark.

All in all, we had lots of fun!  Most importantly, we made some great memories that will last us all a lifetime.

Church

Unfortunately, I didn’t hit my goal of going to church as often as I would have liked.  The urge is pulling me closer, though.  I plan to renew this goal in 2018.

Kids

Our kids continue to grow, even though we tell them not to!  LOL.

They are involved in different activities.  Our son did baseball this summer, and is still in Cub Scouts.  He plans on starting basketball next month!  He also did a robotics camp over the summer.  Our daughter is in Daisy Scouts, and takes two dance classes per week.  School keeps them both very busy as well!

Work

I have been at my current job for 11 years now.  There aren’t really any big surprises.  I really enjoy where I’m at and am well thought of by leadership.  The work life balance is incredible, though this if offset by pretty predictable salary increases.

Things were pretty good this year.  Readers, how was 2017 in your household? 

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.

Be Like Me And Get Quotes To Save On Insurance

Insurance is one of those things that you have to have, but don’t want to use.  Paying for it is no fun, that’s for sure.  We are well covered (we think) but were recently able to save on insurance.

One Company

We use one company for our home and auto insurance needs.  We’ve also had an umbrella policy that provides additional coverage across both policies.  Bundling all of our insurance seems to be a good way to save money.

For years, we’ve been with Allstate.  I started off with them when I graduated college and needed auto insurance.  I’ve been pretty satisfied.  When I did have some claims, I never had a problem with the process.  All seemed pretty well.

Now and then, along the way, I’ve had to question their pricing.  This usually came after premium increases that I thought were excessive.  In the past, they were usually able to work with me to keep the increases to a reasonable level.

Unfortunately, with our latest premium increase, they were not able to meet this standard.  Our auto coverage renews every six months.  When I got our last renewal notice, I was flabbergasted to see that our rates were going up 10%.  That’s unreal, especially since we’ve not filed a claim in at least ten years!

I contacted our agent and this time they were unable to do anything.

Time To Shop Around

I haven’t been all that diligent about shopping around in the past.  This time, I was bound and determined to get new quotes to see if I could save on insurance.

As it turns out, I wouldn’t have to look too far!

I looked for quotes from four different sources:

  1. Geico – I did an online request.  Unfortunately, for some reason, they wouldn’t give me a quote online.  I thought the process was supposed to be easy.  So, I decided to move on.
  2. Citizens – My aunt recommended an agent that represents multiple carriers.  I contacted the agent and she ran numbers across different companies.  Citizens came across with savings of about 15%.
  3. Auto Owners – I did some online research and saw that Auto Owners typically had good prices in Michigan.  The agency that my aunt recommended also works with them, so I asked for a quote. Surprisingly, the price was practically the same as we were paying with Allstate.
  4. AAA – We are members of the roadside assistance offered by AAA.  They’re the largest around and since we travel all over the state, we like knowing we’re likely to be covered wherever we go.  We requested quotes from AAA, and they came in the cheapest.  We’re saving nearly 20%!

So, we are now AAA members.

Things To Look For To Save On Insurance

I learned a few things during the process.

  1. Get multiple quotes. As I found out with the Auto Owners quote, the carriers rated the cheapest may not be the cheapest for you.  Imagine if I had gotten their quote and not went further.  I figure it’s good to get at least three.
  2. Validate coverage limits.Every policy and quote lists things slightly differently.  As such, I had to do some
    image from Morguefile courtesy of finance

    digging and spend some time making sure that the quotes contained equal coverage.

  3. Consider payment terms. With Allstate, we were paying our auto premiums every six months, and our homeowners and umbrella annually.  This provided the cheapest costs.  With AAA, we are actually in a more favorable payment scenario.  We still pay our auto premiums every six months and umbrella annually, but our homeowners payments come out monthly.  This allows us to spread the payments out over the course of a year, keeping money in our pocket.  Citizens actually required us to pay everything annually to get the best price.  This would have been a pretty big up front payment!
  4. Look around more often.  I got complacent.  I admit it.  Looking at the fact that we got such a considerable discount by switching, it probably should have happened sooner.  I now plan to review our coverage every year or two. Shop it around.  Even if your rates don’t go up, you might still find better terms.

Switching insurance was a pretty easy process.  The best news is that it will keep a few hundred extra dollars in our pocket per year.  That’s definitely great news for us.

Readers, how often do you check up on your insurance costs?  Have you made the switch lately?

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.