Category Archives: Tax Returns

Randi Glazer

Why Renters Insurance Matters

Randi GlazerThe phone rang and on the other end was a close friend of mine, sobbing quietly into the phone. Her new apartment had been burglarized and her brand new expensive camera was now gone forever. It’s incredibly unsettling and violating to be burglarized.

What adds insult to injury is she didn’t have renters insurance. What could’ve been an inconvenience now is a devastation. I urged her to get renters insurance at this point. She didn’t heed my advice since she didn’t think it would be likely she would need it after being burglarized. 2 weeks later, her laptop was stolen, still without renters insurance.

What can Renters Insurance Do For You?

Renters insurance is actually incredibly affordable. Coverage starts at around $100 per year with a $500 deductible. If you use the insurance once in your life, it will be worth the investment.  Renters insurance also helps protect your personal possessions provides coverage for your things (clothes, furniture, electronics) up to your coverage limit. Renters insurance provides personal liability which is coverage if you’re ever legally responsible for an injury or property damage, like if you drop some water and a guest slips and sues. It also helps with medical payments and coverage for medical expenses if someone (other than a resident) gets hurt in an accident at your place. You can also get additional living expenses covered for extra temporary living expenses if your place is damaged and becomes uninhabitable.

Where to get Renters Insurance? A good jumping off point might be to get a few quotes for different insurance. Look for the yearly cost, deductible, and ease of use. Major providers include Allstate, Farmers, State Farm, and Progressive.

Randi Glazer

Tax Returns Made Easy

Randi GlazerThe holidays are over, and as people are beginning to recover from end of the year spending many are looking forward to tax season. Yes, from middle of January until April collecting tax credits is at full force. Below are a few ways you can use these earnings to improve your personal finances, and bring yourself one step closer to financial security.

1. Pay Your Debt

There aren’t too many people out there who are completely free of debt. Whether it’s your mortgage, credit card payments, and even loans for the younger generations, we all have some sort of payment that is due in the near future. Depending on the interest rate, paying off these balances will greatly benefit you in the future and eliminate extra charges, and credit card fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars at the end of the year.

2. Replenish Your Savings Account

If immediate debt is not a part of your finances, one way to put your tax returns to good use would be by replenishing your savings account. End of the year spending can be a burden on most families, which means taking out more than expected from you SA. By adding this money, you are proving an emergency stash that can cover unexpected occurrences such as being laid off, medical expenses, and possible penalties that can truly set you back financially.

3. Invest

This suggestion is mostly directed towards people who are already financially stable and can afford to invest a large sum into real estate, as well as are able to acquire additional expenses. One area one can invest would be real estate. Taking advantage of decreasing prices and low interest loans could be a great way for anyone to purchase their own home. This is a great goal that can truly pay off in the future.

Credit Cards

Avoiding Credit Card Debt As a Recent Graduate

Credit CardsA recent article in the New York Times delves into the changing trends among the younger generations and their dissociation with credit cards and the crippling debt that follows. FICO,  one of the largest analytic software companies in the US, conducted a study aimed at understanding the decline of credit card usage among the ages of 18-29. They found that from 2005-2099 there was a 7% decrease in credit card purchases.  The study also recognized that older generations are relying less on credit cards, but not with such drastic numbers.

These changes in consumerism have contributed to reductions of the average credit card payments, which dropped from $3,073 to $2,087 in late October of 2013. Despite these changes in credit card debt, this generation is experiencing a devastating increase in loans, which have almost doubled in the past decade. Another reason this age group prefers to use debit cards which make it easier to face for them to face their debts and live comfortably.

There are a few reasons behind the declining trends of credit card usage. In 2009,  the introduction of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act was introduced to the public, and it added amendments requiring applicants to have a stable income stream, which in turn made it more difficult for younger people to become approved for credit cards.

Spending habits among younger generations have also changed due to the Great Recession, and their inability to work full time after finishing school. Financial burdens, such as loans and increasing living standards across the US have made young consumers become aware of the overall economy struggles and their personal financial shortcomings.

Many financial analysts believe that without credit cards this age group will have a difficult time building credit and purchasing future big ticket items such as, a car or a home. However, for those who still cannot afford credit cards, there are other ways to acquire credit. For example, making your regular loan payments on time, and signing up for bills in your own name can help you slowly create a solid credit history. These simple exercises can place students and recent graduates in a good place with their future finances, without rushing into unnecessary credit card debt.

Car Insurance

The Importance of Car Insurance

Car InsuranceThe importance of motor vehicle insurance is sometimes lost on people with an impeccable driving record and with those who do not wish to shell out thousands of dollars on annual fees. As an insurance professional with over 20 years of experience in the field, I would like to give an informed  explanation of why we need car coverage and other forms of insurance.

First and foremost, we purchase car insurance not only to protect ourselves but also the people we might harm in the unfortunate case of a car accident. Every state, with the exception of New Hampshire, has in place mandatory insurance policies for car and motorcycle drivers. However, these policies may vary depending where you live and the kind of car you drive. States enforce insurance policies in order to protect citizens from extreme financial loses and damages caused by vehicle and motorcycle accidents. With insurance policies intact, these loses are greatly minimized for the drivers who do not have the resources to cover medical bills and pay to repair physical damages out of pocket. By making monthly payments and annual premium dues, insurance companies are able to absorb a good portion of damages on behalf of their customers. Unfortunately, for many drivers insurance fees tend to increase after a car accident.

Another great reason to purchase car insurance is the high possibility of actually being part of a car accident. Those who have been unfortunate enough to experience this burden are all too familiar with the financial strains that follow an accident. It is important for drivers to be able to protect not only themselves, but also to be financially responsible for the other parties involved in the case that the accident is your fault. Insurance allows people to pay off damages and hospital bills, that would otherwise be too expensive to take on alone. 

One final consideration to take into account when discussing the benefits of purchasing insurance is the ability to protect your assets such as, your car, home and bank savings. Besides buying a house, cars are one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. We will find ourselves paying off car payments for many years, which is why it is extremely important to protect such a significant asset. In many cases, banks require full collision coverage in order to secure full payment loans in case of an accident.

Car Insurance

Choosing Your Car Insurance Made Easy

Car Insurance

Choosing your car insurance is not an easy task. Where do you begin? Do you ask your friends for recommendations? Family? Do you go directly to the most well known company according to recent TV ads? There are a plethora of options, all of which sound appealing in their own way. But with hindsight being 20/20, you won’t truly find out how well your car insurance works (or doesn’t) until you have your first accident.

Luckily, a recent article featured on takes an in-depth look at exactly this situation and shares advice on how to tackle the dilemma.

To start, Jeanne Salvatore, an industry group spokeswoman for the Insurance Information states that”It always makes sense to first ask people who you respect who they have auto insurance with, and if they were happy when they had a claim.”

Another helpful approach is to take to social media. People tend to be brutally honest when it comes to reviewing companies online, so search for posts on Twitter or Facebook using the applicable hashtag for the company in question.

The article goes on to recommend comparing similar policies in an effort to find out what factors may be causing higher insurance rates; policies can vary by level of service, add-ons, as well as length of time. In the same vein, there’s no need to become obsessive and look for the best deal out there. When asked what percentage of magazine readers were able to get a better deal, Jeff Blyskal, senior writer at Consumer Reports, says that only 12 percent of the respondents were able to do so.

Once you have settled on an insurance provider, you are tasked with choosing the various details of your policy. There are numerous add-ons to review but at the end of the day, the more you pay upfront, the greater your coverage will be. So make sure that you have considered all hypotheticals and are comfortable with the coverage your insurance policy will offer in each possible event. For example, if you think of yourself as a careful driver, you may opt for a higher deductible in order to minimize your monthly rate.

Lastly, remember that insurance policies do not fall under the one-size-fits-all umbrella; so whatever policy you end up choosing, make sure it meets all criteria that are paramount to your needs.