How do you claim your $1000? The place to start is your file cabinet. Yep, right there where you keep all your important papers; in plain site if you know what you’re looking for.
How We Made an Easy $750
My wife and I own a couple of term insurance policies. We purchased them back in the mid-90s and we’ve been paying on them monthly ever since. They weren’t for a lot of money, about $190,000 each but we felt it was responsible to have them in the event that “the unfortunate” happened. (Got that phrase from a pre-need funeral sales guy 😉 .)
My wife would periodically complain about how much we were paying but we never really looked at alternatives and we also labored under the false assumption that at ‘our age’ we couldn’t get anything cheaper. Like my dad always said, “when you assume you make an ass out of u and me.” In this case you was my wife and me was, well, me. The thing is when we bought the policy we were paying about $72/month for both policies but in the intervening 17 years our policy premiums increased each year until the monthly bite was over $160/month.
Long story short I got an email from SelectQuote – they shop around to all the term life insurance providers and present you a quote from the 2-3 companies that seem to best meet your needs. I bit and contacted them. One of their agents (Louis Lopes, a great guy and very conscientious) got back to me and took our application over the phone. He worked up a quote and gave us an option of several different plans. The good news, these were fixed rate plans that won’t increase for the term of the plan.
The options he presented gave us the choice to pick up a premium term life plan with greater coverage ($200,000) while saving us as much as $100 a month. Our choice allowed us to save about $60/month or $720 a year.
Lessons Learned: A Personal Financial Audit
It’s a good idea to periodically review your personal financial assets. Here’s a short list:
- Home mortgage – are rates low enough to justify refinancing. Rates are at an all time low and even people who’ve file bankruptcy are finding that they can refinance because of government programs such as HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program). My wife and I recently refinanced to the tune of an annual savings approaching $7,200.
- Insurance – review all your insurance policies not just your life insurance. Look at auto insurance, homeowner insurance and other policies. You may not even have to change providers, the insurance provider you’re currently with may offer better rates and plans – you just have to ask.
- Automobiles – If you’re a couple of years into a 5 year auto loan you might be pleasantly surprised by the money you can save by refinancing your existing car loan.
- Cable or Satellite Plans – if you have cable, consider switching to satellite and visa versa. Sometimes the threat of bolting from one carrier to another for your internet and TV coverage can motivate your carrier to offer a better deal.
- Cell Phone Plans – audit your plan, are you using all the minutes and features your paying for? If not, downsize your plan or consider moving to another provider.
- Health Insurance – It’s a good idea, particularly if you’re self insured, to take a long, hard look at your health insurance plans. We didn’t save any money when we recently changed our plan. In fact, we’re paying slightly more. The difference? We have a far superior plan with well care benefits included and a significantly lower deductible.
As you can see, a financial audit of your personal financial affairs every 1 to 2 years can pay off big. The actions we took will net us an extra $8,000 a year – that’s a nice addition to our retirement account plus a little something left over as a reward for our financial prudence. A little financial awareness can go a long way.