You Need A Checking Account Buffer

I’ve read differing opinions about keeping a cushion in one’s bank account. Some people say they are very efficient budgeters and never need a buffer in their account. Others keep a month’s worth of expenses (or more!) in their checking account. I fall somewhere in the middle.

I believe everyone should keep a small buffer in their checking account. But why? And how much?

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How To Buy Life Insurance (5 Easy Steps!)

Mr. STS and I went through the life insurance-buying process a few months ago. Surprisingly, it was a much easier task than we thought it would be.

If you are not convinced that your family needs life insurance, be sure to read this post: 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Life Insurance.

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Okay, here we go! 5 Steps to Buying Life Insurance:

1. Visit
I have no financial relationship with Term4Sale. I am recommending it based on personal experience. The site is easy to navigate and gives you quotes to compare in minutes.

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Type of insurance
How many years do you want this policy to cover? Or until what age? If you have other investments that you expect will one day cover all of your expenses, then you may want the insurance policy to lapse when that happens. Maybe you won’t need the policy after your house is paid off and children graduate college. Take a look at your personal situation and make an educated decision.

Amount of insurance
Do you want the policy to be able to pay off your house and send your kids to college? Do you need it to ensure your family can maintain the same type of lifestyle they have now? Do you still have student loans or other debts? Like choosing the length of your policy, the amount of insurance will vary from me to you.

Minimum company rating
We were comfortable with any company having an A- rating or better.

2. Choose a policy.
After you fill in the boxes and hit Compare Now, it takes you to a page filled with policy options from different companies. The premiums vary a bit depending on the company, but they all cover the same length and amount of your policy. You can choose the least expensive option and click More Info.

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3. Choose an agent.
You can either call an agent listed on this page, or fill out the contact form and an agent will give you a call. The agent may send you a questionnaire to fill out. He may tell you about the experiences he has had with the insurance companies and give his recommendation. For example, Company A may not be as responsive as Company B, and Company C may be more strict with the health exam.

4. Health exam.
Once you have decided on a company, you will be set up with an appointment for a quick health exam. Our appointment took less than 15 minutes. A nurse will come out to your home and ask a few health-related questions and take blood and urine samples.

5. Insurance company decision
Over the next few weeks, the insurance company may require more information from you. They may want to communicate with your primary care physician. Once they cross their t’s and dot their i’s, they will either approve or deny your application for coverage. You may be approved for the exact type and amount of coverage, at the initial premium that you wanted. Or, based on your health information, the insurance company may approve you at a different rate.

Not too bad, huh? Life insurance premiums are very affordable. I think everyone family should have some sort of coverage in place. You may already have a policy through your employer. Make sure you understand its terms and decide whether it is enough for your family. If not, you can always purchase an additional policy at an inexpensive rate.

The Power of Asking

Growing up, I was a very timid child. Teachers loved me, because I was always the quietest kid in class. As an adult, being timid is usually not a good thing. You end up missing out on things just because you didn’t have the courage to ask. Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate the power of asking.

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In school, I never asked for the projects I wanted. Instead, I got the leftover projects that no one else wanted. At work, I never asked to be sent to the fun locations. Instead, I ended up auditing in the middle of nowhere when I could have been in New York City or Los Angeles.

Fortunately, I knew I was timid. And I knew that I had to put myself in uncomfortable positions in order to grow as a person. I made myself ask for a higher starting salary. A year later, I asked for a raise. And you know what? I got both of those things.

Mr. STS has never been afraid to ask for things. I was so upset that I forgot to use a coupon before it expired. I had been eyeing a $130 baby carrier and was saving the coupon for it. Mr. STS said he would call the store and see if they would take the expired coupon. I told him I had little hope. The expiration date was there in black and white. Rules are rules! But guess what? They took the coupon.

We moved into our rental house in October. The lease was set to end in June, a month after our baby was due. In December, Mr. STS called the property manager and asked to renew our current lease an additional year. I expected the property manager to say that renewals were done closer to the lease end date. To my surprise, a new lease was emailed to us and there was no rent increase.

Instead of sitting around worrying about having to move with a newborn, Mr. STS took action. I am slowly getting better at asking for things. Mr. STS has definitely rubbed off on me. Whenever I get stuck, I remind myself that the worst that can happen is they say “no”. Seriously, you have so much more to gain by asking than you have to lose.

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