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Millennials Need a Safety Net, Too



Studies show that Millennials are more likely to prioritize their daily expenses (e.g., rent, meals and bills) over purchasing a life insurance policy. While Millennials are slower to get married, buy homes and have children, postponing the purchase of an insurance policy can hinder them financially in the future.


For example, in the event of one’s untimely death, leaving family with the burden of any outstanding debt is a real and avoidable consequence of not having a life insurance policy. For example, student loan debt covered in part by a co-signer becomes the survivor’s burden in the event of a death.


Many Millennials opt for employer-based policy options, but these plans only last for the length of their employment. Getting additional coverage on top of what is offered by an employer is a responsible move to make sure your coverage is sufficient.


To put the real cost of a life insurance policy in context, ask yourself if you can afford a large pizza per month. If the answer is yes, then you can probably afford a solid life insurance plan.

Find out more at BankRate.com.[hyperlink to: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/millennials-consider-life-insurance.aspx]



5 Methods for Millennials to Plan the Future


If you’re a Millennial, chances are you are unsure about your retirement. According to a recent survey by Bankrate, the biggest retirement fear among Millennials is running out of money. With the fluctuating job market and the disappearance of traditional pension plans, it’s vital that you start planning for your future.


Here are some tips to help you make your future more financially secure:


1)      Create a Budget Plan

It’s important to know what you’re spending and how you’re spending it. Creating a budget that takes into account costs for essentials (food, shelter and technology), bills, debt and savings, will help you to better organize and understand your financial priorities. If you don’t set aside money you might not be able to pursue potential goals like going back to school or buying your first home.


2)      Pay Yourself First

It’s a good idea to put some money away before you even have a chance to spend it. Before buying that shiny new Star Wars toy, ask yourself if you really need it. Try going out to eat twice a week instead of every day. Making a few changes to your spending habits can have a tremendous impact on your wallet. A savings account also gives you a buffer in case you lose your job or have a medical emergency. Try to put away at least three to six months of living expenses in savings.


3)      Invest in Your Retirement

As a millennial, you are probably new to investing, but it should be a priority. The earlier you start the better off you will be down the road. Make sure you contribute to your employer’s 401(k) or equivalent retirement program. Many employers match the amount offered on contributions when you reach a certain level, so take advantage. Some retirement plans also offer target-date retirement funds, which do much of the investment work for you. Research your options, and don’t drag your feet on getting started! You could be missing out on thousands of dollars by procrastinating.


4)      Know Good Debt from Bad

Not all debt is necessarily bad. Debt that helps you generate income and increases your net worth is considered “good.” Your student loans, for example, fall under good debt because you invested in an education. Credit card debt, on the other hand, can be bad. It’s important to build credit history, but be careful with your cards. Any debt that doesn’t go up in value or generate income can hurt you financially. To get debt free, put extra cash toward the debt with the highest interest rate first.


5)      Talk with a Financial Professional

Transitioning to the real world after college can be difficult. But you likely know more than a few people who can give you advice on how to navigate your financial life. Reach out to people you trust – parents, friends, professors – to help you find a trusted financial professional, and start planning for your financial future.



6 FREE Apps for Managing Your Finances


Keeping a budget not only helps you stay on track with spending, it can make your life a lot less stressful. In the good old days, you had to balance your budget with a pen, paper and a pile of receipts, but today there’s a better option. A variety of financial apps offer you an easier, streamlined way to manage your accounts.


Here are a few of the best, FREE budgeting and personal finance programs that can help you maintain your money and sanity:



Mint is a full service tool that syncs up all your bank accounts, credit cards and investments, and allows you to manage your spending and budgeting on your smartphone or your desktop. It shows deposits, expenses, credit card debts and other investments in real time. Mint also offers cool charts and graphs to show you where you are spending money and even provides help with making smart financial investments and long-term decisions.


Download the Mint here



Digit is designed to help you “save money, without thinking about it.” The app connects to your checking account, automatically scans your income and spending patterns, and then finds small amounts of money it can safely set aside for you. You can withdraw from that savings account anytime and Digit allows unlimited transfers with no minimums or fees.


Download Digit here



GoodBudget offers a traditional budgeting system that allows you to categorize your monthly expenses in “envelopes.” GoodBudget users can select time frames and then record and track how much they’re spending from each envelope. This app offer an easy way to help keep your spending under control.


Download GoodBudget here



BillGuard is definitely focused on the “guard” part of its name. This app helps to ensure that you aren’t overpaying and reminds you to settle your monthly bills. It is also designed to protect accounts cards from theft by offering ID protection services through Experian, and alerting you if something is wrong. With BillGuard you can monitor accounts, track expenses and analyze your spending categories.


Download BillGuard here


Pocket Expense

Pocket Expense doesn’t sync with your bank accounts, instead it requires manual entry for all your transactions in order to bring them together. Categorize your transactions, track your bills and set budgets to achieve your savings goals. A handy color-coded calendar tab lets you look at expenses per day, week or month. Once you set up your budgets you can view charts for your spending.


Download Pocket Expense here


Level Money

The Level Money app works with your bank accounts, automatically tracking cash flow and calculating your income and recurring bills. It then suggests what your spending should be on a daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Digit transfers money every 2-3 days to your Digit savings with a no-overdraft guarantee. It lets you see exactly how much you have in your account, reinforces positive habits and provides insights about spending and saving.


Download Level Money here



Life insurance for my kids? Really?


Setting your kids up with a life insurance policy early on is not a bad idea. For starters, your kids will have less to worry about when they get older and insurance becomes important to them.


By securing a policy for a child while they are young and in good health, you can help ensure they have coverage in the event a health issue makes them uninsurable in the future. One way to do this is by adding a child rider to your own term life policy. This can be applied to one or more children if you have multiple and will provide a death benefit in the event of their passing. 


As with all insurance products, it is important to evaluate the benefits of any policy to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. Doing this with an industry professional is even better. 


Find out more at policygenius.com



Facing the Challenges of Quitting Smoking



Stopping tobacco use can be a big challenge, which may account for why it is still the number one cause of lung cancer and is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. While the message is getting out about the harmful effects of smoking, the trials and tribulations with quitting should not be ignored.


While there are many reasons to stop smoking like health risks, high insurance premiums, and increasing costs of tobacco products, quitting the highly addictive substance comes very hard for many people. With withdrawal symptoms ranging from dizziness and headaches to insomnia and weight gain, it’s easy to see why people find it tough to stop. As we observe the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout this week, take this opportunity to think about how you can encourage someone to face the challenges and put out the cigarette for good.


There’s no magic bullet when it comes to quitting smoking, according to the American Cancer Society. While there are many aids available to help the process, the one thing people will need to have is a resolved decision to stop. Once committed to quitting, it will be useful to develop a plan for success. Here are some helpful tips to get someone thinking as they consider how to quit:


Acknowledge the challenges of quitting. Be realistic about the potential for withdrawal symptoms—both physically and emotionally.


Pick a day and stick to it. Create some timelines for yourself to be sure you are aiming for a specific target.


Research options for how to quit. Some people choose to go cold turkey, while others quit gradually or with the aid of prescribed medicines or gum. No matter how you choose to quit, be sure it’s a plan that’s right for you.


Avoid temptation.  Get rid of your ash trays and cigarettes, and stay away from anything that may create a stronger desire to smoke. To keep the cigarette out of your mouth, try replacing it with something like gum, a carrot, or toothpick.


Create a support system. Be sure to enlist the support of your friends and family to help create accountability for you as you work to quit.


Stay committed. There’s no one right way to quit smoking, but something that people who do quit have in common is their resolve to stop. Whether you use one method or a combination of things, keeping your will to quit will be key in facing the emotional and physical challenges of quitting.  


Depending on the person, quitting smoking can seem like an insurmountable feat. If you or someone you know is thinking about quitting, remember to acknowledge the difficulties that may be encountered and get a plan ready to adequately take on the challenge. Visit the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout resource page for additional information and resources on how to quit smoking.




22921  11/15



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