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Keeping Your Life Insurance Policy Up to Date

Protect your love ones and review your life insurance coverage

I’ll admit that it’s  not a pleasant topic to talk about, but getting life insurance coverage is an important one and can offer the two of you some peace of mind should the unfortunate happen.

Starting early is a smart way to get your coverage at a lower price as many companies factor in age with their premiums.

Do Your Homework with Life Insurance

Many people want to jump right into the numbers, but I think it’s vital that you also check out the companies you’re considering to use. The last thing you want is a company who is uncooperative. After all, it will be a difficult time for your family.

Review the company and make sure they have a stellar reputation for being reliable and paying out in a timely manner.

You can do this research for yourself or you can rely on companies like Life Plan (who specialize with Life Insurance in NZ) to present some options.

Deciding How Much is Enough

While there are certain general rules of thumb for how to figure the right amount of life insurance (8-10x your annual income), you really need to look at your family’s specific needs. (I believe that stay at home parents should have a policy even if they do not earn income.)

Some things you may want to consider:

  • Grieving: Losing a spouse/parent is life altering and your family needs time to grieve. Depending your family’s financial buffer, you may want to have enough so the surviving spouse can take time off, either for themselves or the children.
  • Final Expenses: You can get a ballpark estimate so your family will enough to take care of the funeral or cremation.
  • Financial Assistance: Do you want to leave money for your spouse and children to cover debts and help with future expenses?

Keeping Your Life Insurance Up to Date

It’s been a while since you updated your policy and you’ve had some significant life changes, now might be a good time to review getting additional coverage as a couple. This is something we’ve done the last few years.

After we were married, we got policies that covered enough to take care of bills for a few years and funeral expenses. When we became parents, we significantly increased that amount – we wanted each other to have the option to stay at home and take care of our child if needed.

Now that we have another one, we’re evaluating whether or not to increase. If we do, it won’t be a large amount as the household bills would already be covered with our previous policies.

Thoughts on Life Insurance

I’d love to hear from about how you determined how much life insurance you needed. What factors did you include in your calculations? What type of policy did you get?

I received compensation in exchange for writing this post.  The post topic and opinions are my own.

Fulfilling a Dream – Speaking at FINCON!

Elle Martinez from Couple Money speaking at FINCON 15

This week I received an email that told me I fulfilled a professional goal – I found out that one of the panel proposals I submitted was accepted. We’re speaking at FINCON 15!

I’m a huge fan of the conference Phil has created and grown so to have this be my first public speaking gig is fantastic.

What makes this opportunity even sweeter is the supportive and knowledgeable bloggers that will be on the panel. We all are excited to be a part of this conference and want to help others any way that we can.

I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me and that especially includes all of you who are reading this site and/or listing to the podcast. THANK YOU!

Couple Money Around the Web

Besides writing here, I also run the Couple Money Podcast, contribute to other personal finance sites, and occasionally interviews. Here are few things I’ve been busy with:

  • How to Save for Vacation: With the season, many people are thinking about getaways. If you want to go on a summer vacation, but don’t have the money now, I have some tips to get you ready.
  • Essential Guide to Getting Started with IRAs: Learn how easy it is to start investing with an IRA. This episode we go over how you can set up your account and choose the right investments for your situation.

Money and More Posts I Loved This Week

I found a few gems about managing your money this week that I wanted to pass on.

  • Pros and Cons of Doing a “Spending Diet” (+ Why It Worked for Me) on L Bee and the Money Tree-> I loved how Lauren explains that understanding yourself and what motivates you can help you achieve your goals, whether financial or not.
  • Debt Free in 24 Hours on Principles of Increase-> Need a boost to get you motivated so you can finally get rid of your debt? Check out Aja’s new book.
  • 5 Ways I Save Money That Most People Don’t Try -> Michael shares some unconventional ways he saves. Happy to find out we both use Republic Wireless :) It’s a fantastic way to slash your phone bill!
  • How to Throw a $5,000 Wedding  on Kiplinger’s -> If you’re planning your big day, you have to check this post out. The tips in here can help you save and make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck with your wedding budget.
  • Replace Worry with Action on Better Conversations on Money and Marriage -> Derek and Carrie has a wonderful show about how you can push out worry and take action with your biggest money issues.

Let me know which one was your favorite :) I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend!

Saving Money with Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless has some wonderful and cheap unlimited smartphones and plans.

Besides the family bills, I’m looking at trimming my business expenses. Last week I decided to lower my phone bill by switching to a cheaper plan with Republic Wireless. I had been using them while their service was in beta years ago and I’ve been happy with the service and coverage.

However, I saw with new plans they’ve started offering a $10/month text, talk, and data  service that would be a better fit for how I use my phone.

Yes, $10 a month.

How Republic Wireless Works

For those who haven’t heard of Republic Wireless, let me explain how they can offer such low prices.They offer several cheap smartphone plans through hybrid calling.

Hybrid calling has your phone use Wi-Fi for calls, web, text, and all things mobile. If there isn’t Wi-Fi available then your phone uses the cellular network. With so many Wi-Fi spots around the company is betting that it can help customers save money.

It’s a disruptive technology that big companies like Google are entering into and that will hopefully lead people consider other options that are more affordable for their cell phone service.

Currently, there are four plans that Republic Wireless offers starting at $5/month for a very basic wi-fi plan and leading up to a $40/month 4G plan.

Republic Wireless offer cheap unlimited cell phone plans.

Choosing the Right Smartphone and Plan

With their service, you buy your phone, there are no subsidies Republic Wireless currently offer three cell phones – Moto E, G, and X. The Moto E is an entry level phone ($99) that can be a good deal for those who want a smartphone, but don’t really use all the

Republic Wireless currently offer three cell phones – Moto E, G, and X. The Moto E is an entry level phone ($99) that can be a good deal for those who want a smartphone, but don’t really use all the bills and whistles.

The next step up is he Moto G, a very affordable and capable smartphone that starts around $149.

Finally, the Moto X is a powerhouse phone if you want a high-end model. The first generation is $299 and the latest edition is $399.

When looking at how I use my work phone, the Moto G was the best deal. It had everything that I needed.

While the $25/month plan was tempting, the $10/month plan made more sense. I need to be able to contact colleagues and clients everywhere. Between my home and the area I travel there is plenty of Wi-FI so the 3G looked unnecessary.

The good news is I can change my plan twice month and there is no contract. It made my decision much simpler.

When the phone came in this week, it only took 10 minutes to transfer over my contacts, set up my apps, and start using it.

Thoughts on Saving with Smartphone Plans

If you’re interested in using Republic Wireless to cut back on your cell phone bill and still have unlimited talk, text, and data, then sign up today.

I know that there are other providers and I can’t try them all, so please share who use you for your cell phone plans.


Moneystepper’s 2015 Savings Challenge Update #4

couple money moneystepper savings challenge

Now that May has begun it’s time for an update on the MoneyStepper’s 2015 Savings Challenge. The two main goals of the challenge are:

  • Grow Your Net Worth
  • Save % of Your Net Income

For 2015 our family will do our best to increase our net worth by 30% and have a 20% savings rate.  We pushed up from our original goals of 25% and 15% since things were looking good first quarter. (Thanks Graham for pushing us :P)

April Net Worth and Savings Results

We saw more hospital bills come up last month. Surprised I called the hospital to find out why and ask for an itemized bill. The customer service representative told me that when they were switching over systems not all charges were properly entered.

Once we confirmed that the charges were legit we scheduled them to be paid in April and this month. Hopefully that will be the end of the baby bills.

With work I hadn’t taken up any new projects in April and given how busy my schedule has been, I don’t think I’ll pick up any this month. Juggling work from home and taking care of the kids has used most of my energy.

Many days I’ve settled on a split shift – I work early in the mornings, spend time with the girls, and then finish up assignments when my husband gets home. I’m handling project fine, but I’d like to have more time working on the podcast and content here on Couple Money.

As for family events last month, we had a spring break trip to Wilmington that was very much needed and enjoyed. We went down as a family and then my mom took the girls to her place, giving us time to relax alone.

I got a deal on our hotel with some bidding on Priceline and used a portion of the tax refund to pay for it. As an added bonus, besides breakfast, the hotel had free dinner downstairs for guests one of the nights.

Now that you have an idea about what happened, here are our numbers for April:

  • YTD Net Worth Improvement: 9%
  • YTD Savings Rate: 22%

To help boost our progress, I’m going over each of our monthly bill and looking for ways to eliminate or reduce them. We managed to cut our internet bill by 15% last month.

Thoughts on Our MoneyStepper Progress

I’d like to hear about you and your family about your goals and progress so far. Have things been going well? Have you had to deal with any set backs?

Never Be Afraid to Ask

Learn how calling your bill providers can save you a ton of money

These last few weeks have been frustrating as we’re still receiving bills from our second daughter’s birth. We expected most of it, but there have been a few that caught us off guard. They range from $12 to about $350.

I’m all for paying what is due, but I also want to make sure we’re being charged the correct amount.

I requested itemized bills, so once they are confirmed to be accurate, then we’ll pay them. (Still I hate seeing our checking account dip every time we pay.)

Challenge Our Bills

To help counteract all this money leaving, I’m going over all of our regular monthly bills and seeing if we can cut them back.

My inspiration is J’s Challenge Everything series. He has  evaluated and found some ways to hack his bills down. After seven months he’s accumulated almost $4,000!

We could use that kind of money to help kill the student loan and boost our net worth to reach our financial goals this year.

The first on our list? Our internet service.

Ask and You Shall Receive (At Least Sometimes)

Honestly I had no intention of canceling my plan because I need my internet to work from home. So when I spoke with the customer service representative I told her the situation- we had a little one and we’re reevaluating all of our bills.

If you do plan on canceling your service if you don’t get a certain offer, be upfront with that. Let them know they will lose a customer that day unless you get a competitive rate. We’ve done that before and got some significant savings.

Our ten minute phone call result in lowering our monthly bill by 15%. She also suggested going ahead and getting a modem so we can drop the monthly rental charge.

Between the two changes, we should save $160 by the end of this year. Not a ton, but certainly useful.

More importantly we’ve lowered our monthly obligations giving us a bit more buffer between our income and expenses – a nice win in my book.

Thoughts on Bills

I’d love to hear about how you keep your bills in check. How often do you call up your providers and ask for a better deal? How successful were you? Any tips on getting a lower price?