Our 2014 Financial Goals

mb-201312billscoinsLast week I wrote about our household’s financial performance.  Having beat our goal of a 17% net worth gain by a few percentage points, I set our sights on what our goals are for 2014.  I love this time of year as others post their goals, not just to see the goals themselves, but to see the priorities and also the reasoning behind their goals.

As such, here are our goals!

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2013 Financial Year In Review

When I first started tracking my budget and net worth, I did monthly updates around the 7th of each month.  This still holds, and what it means is that December 7th is the ‘last’ net worth update for the year.  In order to do year to year comparisons, I’ve always kept the December update as the ‘final’ update.

What this means is that I wrapped up our net worth tracking for the year a couple of weeks ago.  I finally had a chance to look at it compared to our estimates, and determine that it was a pretty good year.

I don’t go into actual dollar amounts, but rather like to keep things in percentages.  I will still try to keep things interesting and in perspective.   I also continue to use accounting principles upon which my budgeting skills were formed, so I will list things according to the simple accounting formula that Assets minus Liabilities equals Equity (or in this case, Net Worth).

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Stock In Obituaries: Enhancing Your Life By Insuring Someone Else’s

Life insurance is intended to provide for the income lost by a person’s dependents at the time of their death or incapacitation. Typically, responsible family leaders and heads of household obtain life insurance policies for themselves to safeguard the stability of loved ones should their ability to earn an income ever be lost. Life insurance policies can help those going through the most difficult transitions in life endure the process more comfortably and ensure that the crippling loss is not economic as well as emotional.

Having typed that, if you look at it the right way, it’s a bit like hitting the jackpot under the right circumstances. Yes, it is a tragedy when a close family member passes away even with the financial impact of a large life insurance payout, but if a distant, eccentric uncle that you last saw when he was gazing into your bassinet ends up kicking the bucket and leaving you with a pile of cash, it’s not so bad, is it? What if you could take it one step further and simulate the effect yourself? What if…you could take out a life insurance policy on someone you barely know without their knowledge?

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Taking the Risk Out of Trading

Many people believe that being financial independent and in control means that you have to play it safe and not take any risks. However, this can mean that your money will remain safe without ever accruing much wealth. With banks accounts offering little or no real interest nowadays, it is impossible to get rich putting your savings into a bank account. Investing might seem like the better option although it is fraught with risk and, as such, many people are put off. Here are our top tips to take the risk out of trading and investing:

Plan, Plan, Plan

You can never be too careful when you’re investing your own money. There are so many different guides available on investing and trading that you can take advantage of for free. The more you can plan and learn, the lower the level of risk that you are taking. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can begin to look at trading strategies and trading styles. There really is a wealth of material available and, the more you read, the more educated your decisions will become, eliminating much of the risk involved.

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How Do You Find The Best Life Insurance?

Readers, I need some help.  I am looking for your experiences with life insurance.

Long story short, my employer of the past seven years has offered enough life insurance that I have been able to provide enough coverage for both myself and my wife in the event that something happened to either of us.

mb-201312foldersSince we are being in-sourced, my employer will switch on January 1st, so we have all new benefits offerings.

Unfortunately, the maximum coverage available is substantially less for both of us.  The maximum available for me drops 60%, and for my wife it’s worse as her coverage drops 80% with the maximum coverage available.

This leaves a gap, so I’m curious what people out there have done.

I’m 39.  My wife is 31.  We’re both in good health, at healthy weights, and non-smokers.

I’ve done some looking around and I’m just not sure where to go.

Read moreHow Do You Find The Best Life Insurance?

Why Apple Needs A Next Big Thing Sometime Soon

Apple (AAPL) is by far the premier technology company in the marketplace today.  They have a great line of products, fiercely loyal customers, and a stock valuation that is one of the highest in the market.  At nearly half a trillion dollars, it’s huge, though there was a time about a year ago where they were valued about 1/3 higher, and the chatter of them being the first trillion dollar valued company was pretty loud.  The price settled and, for now, that talk has quieted down.

I don’t currently own any Apple products.  My wife has an iPhone 5 and an iPad mini, so I am fully aware of Apple’s awesomeness, and reminded so on a daily basis 🙂

However, I keep pretty close watch, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that they haven’t had a ‘big thing’ in a few years.  Since Apple has been on my radar, they’ve released four ‘big things’.  Here’s a brief Apple ‘big thing’ history.

Pre-big-thing

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Best Places to Find Cheap Personalized Gifts

When it comes to giving gifts, we often hear that it’s not the amount of money spent but the thought that counts. This sentiment is what makes millions of people search for personalized gifts each year for birthdays and holidays. However, where is the best place to look for cheap personalized gifts? Below are some ideas.

Personalization Mall

The clue is in the title with this one. Personalization Mall offers a wide variety of personalized gifts, for nearly every occasion you can think of. Prices vary and some items aren’t as cheap as items in other stores. However, you can combat this by obtaining a Personalization Mall coupon code from one of the many online coupon sites. A Personalization Mall coupon code will give the user a discount off certain items. Each coupon is different so it’s important for coupon users to check exactly what the coupon is for before they try to use it.

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Trans Fats: When Zero Plus Zero Equals Heart Disease

Eliminating trans fats from food seemed to be the ‘big thing’ at the end of the 2000’s and the first part of the 2010’s.  And, if you look at most labels, you’d think that we were fairly successful at this.

Except you would be wrong.  Read on.

What Are Trans Fats?

mb-201311nutritionTrans fats are produced by hydrogenation, which is the process of adding hydrogen to vegetable oil.  The reason for doing this is to make the oil last longer.  Without hydrogenation, the oil would break down sooner, meaning the products in which it’s contained would not last as long.  So, the long and short is that hydrogenation was a pretty standard practice.

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After Fourteen Years, It’s Time For Glasses

In 1999, I got LASIK surgery and said goodbye to glasses for what turned out to fourteen years.  What a good run it’s been.

I originally needed glasses because I had one eye that couldn’t see far away.  It continued to get worse and because one eye had perfect vision, I ended up straining too much, so not only did I have vision issues, but I was getting headaches.

I had glasses for a good part of high school, through college, and for the first three years of my post-college life.  I can’t handle things going in and out of my eye, so contacts weren’t something I was interested in.  Yet it always annoyed me that I had to wear glasses for problems in one eye, and that I was wearing one clear lens.

So, when I heard about corrective surgery, I was intrigued.  Laser surgery had been around for a while, I think it was called RK, but it was pretty basic and I’d heard of various issues surrounding scarring and such.  LASIK was just entering the United States, and was much easier, had virtually no scarring, and produced more accurate results.  I did some homework and found that the procedure had been going on in Canada for awhile, but had only been approved in the United States for a short time.  As such, there weren’t many doctors taking on the surgery, and even fewer who had the level of experience I would be comfortable with.

Read moreAfter Fourteen Years, It’s Time For Glasses

Five Ways to Get a Discount on your Next Auto Purchase

Whether you’re buying new or used, shopping for a car can be a nerve-wracking process. It’s in the seller’s best interest to get the maximum price for the vehicle. Buying a new car from an auto dealership means that you’ll be contending with a seasoned sales professional, while buying a used car means that you run the risk of buying a lemon in need of significant repairs. To walk out with a discounted price on a car in top shape, you’ll need to arm yourself with information and be prepared to stand your ground.

1. Research your Vehicle Online

To get started, you’ll need to research your vehicle of choice thoroughly. There are numerous online resources that can help you do this, including forums, blogs, and auto listings sites. If you are not yet sure what type of car you even want, read reviews of a number of models and compare their pros and cons carefully. On the other hand, if you have it in your mind that you want a used Bentley, you can look online to see what prices look like. By knowing a car’s market value along with its best and worst features, you’ll be ready to haggle.

Read moreFive Ways to Get a Discount on your Next Auto Purchase