Author: Life or Debt
Life or Debt on October 1, 2009
Years ago, Money Magazine called 10 credit card lenders and merely asked them to lower their interest rates. Three out of 10 did it! This could work in all areas of banking. If your bank is charging you high interest or high fees, try saying something like, “Gee, I’ve banked here for years, but I … Continued
Life or Debt on September 30, 2009
Did you know that banks most often mail notices of fee increases between Thanksgiving and Christmas? That’s because they know that you’re least likely to read it during that busy time. Don’t let them fool you. Read fee notices.
Life or Debt on September 29, 2009
Don’t pay fees to have a checking account. There are now online banks that will charge you nothing for your checking account, and even pay interest on it. Shop around, and you might even find the same with old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar banks. Eliminating the fee on your checking account could easily save you $100 a year.
Life or Debt on September 27, 2009
These accounts are old-fashioned and pay very little interest. You’re much better off with your bank’s money market account. You’ll earn more interest, your money will be just as safe, and you’ll still be able to get to it at any time. For a little more interest with just a tiny bit more risk, consider … Continued
Life or Debt on September 25, 2009
Instead, use a credit union. Credit unions generally offer lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and lower fees than commercial banks. To find one that will accept you as a member, ask your employer or open the yellow pages and make a few calls.
Life or Debt on September 24, 2009
As banks consolidate, competition is decreasing and fees are increasing. Think about the services you need first, then call around and see who can deliver them for the least money. Do you do a lot of ATM transactions? Then you need a bank with lots of branches and ATM machines to avoid paying “foreign” ATM … Continued
Life or Debt on September 22, 2009
Don’t let your doctor cost you money. If your health insurance provider agrees to pay 80% of covered procedures, that generally means they’ll pay 80% of what they think is reasonable for that procedure, not 80% of whatever it costs. So find out what your insurance company is willing to pay and if your doctor can … Continued
Life or Debt on September 21, 2009
If you’re like most people, you pay no attention to your health coverage. So when your insurer messes up, which they frequently do, you don’t know it. For example, many policies have a deductible of $200 per person, $400 per family. But are you keeping track of when you reach those magic numbers? Don’t assume … Continued
Life or Debt on September 18, 2009
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is normally required if you have less than 20% equity in your home. And it can easily cost $50 a month! As soon as you’re sure you’ve got the magic 20%, whether it’s by appreciation or paying off mortgage principal, call your lender and tell them you want out of PMI. … Continued
Life or Debt on September 16, 2009
Keep the following list of possible discounts available and ask for them all when you get car insurance quotes (many might be applicable to homeowners as well.) Accident-free, multiple cars, short mileage (usually less than 7,500 miles per year) good student, absent student (if your kid is away at school without their car, they might … Continued
Life or Debt on September 15, 2009
If you’ve had no accidents or tickets during the last three years, make sure your rates reflect that. Most insurance companies don’t automatically lower your premiums when old citations fall away. You have to call and make them reduce your bill.
Life or Debt on September 14, 2009
This may seem like a strange idea, but if the cost of your annual comprehensive/collision coverage is more than 10% of the value of your car, you could consider dropping it. (Obviously you should never under any circumstances drive without liability!) For example, if you’re paying $500 in comp/collision premiums to cover a car that’s … Continued
Life or Debt on September 11, 2009
Whole life, or permanent life insurance, combines a life insurance policy with an investment account. Unless you’re rich and need a permanent policy to help pay estate taxes, it’s generally a better idea to buy cheaper term coverage and do your own investing separately.
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