Many young, single people assume they don’t need life insurance. Unfortunately, this misconception is difficult to reconcile before it’s too late. After all, life insurance is one of those investments that you can’t exactly buy after you need it, and if you wait too long, it’s going to cost a lot more to get it.
The purpose of life insurance is to provide a safety net so your family or loved ones won’t struggle to pay bills or handle other financial responsibilities after you’re gone—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about it until after you have a family. Here’s what you need to know about that and other myths about life insurance that are best ignored, and what facts to consider instead.
Life insurance only matters after you die
In fact, life insurance is for the living. It’s in the name, and sure, the central reason to get life insurance is to financially protect your loved ones in the event of your death. But many life insurance policies also have living benefits, which allow you to tap into your plan in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness.
Another way you can benefit from your life insurance your plan while you’re still alive is through its cash value. Depending on your plan type, you may be able to build tax-deferred wealth through your policy, with the ability to make withdrawals from or take out loans against the value during your lifetime.
All life insurance is too expensive
Life insurance costs will vary depending on your age, gender, health, and specific policy. Predictably, the younger and healthier you are, the less expensive life insurance will be. For example, a healthy 35-year-old can pay under $28 per month for a term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout and a duration of 20 years, according to Policy Genius.
If you’re concerned about costs, Business Insider advises you to start small. Get as much life insurance as you can afford for now, and then reassess when you are able to increase your coverage down the line. For your first plan, term life insurance is one of the most popular and affordable options. It’s a straightforward policy that provides a large assured sum assured for a low premium over an extended term, typically 10 to 30 years.
If you have health issues, consider looking into policies that don’t require medical exams.
You don’t need life insurance if you’re single with no dependents
This might be the most prevalent myth about life insurance: If no one is depending on you, why create a financial security blanket? The reality is that if you have transferable debt, like student loans, you could render your parents or other family members responsible after you’re dead. Life insurance is not just for married couples.
And while many think of life insurance as replacing lost income, even a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t receive a salary should take out life insurance. Although they may not be the traditional “breadwinner,” the cost of replacing childcare or other household duties is worth considering, and preparing for.
You should just stick with your employer’s life insurance
While many company life insurance policies are a low-cost (or even free) perk, they likely aren’t sufficient to meet your financial needs, typically offering around a year of your usual salary. Investopedia explains: “If you have dependents who rely on your income, then you probably need coverage worth at least six times your annual salary…Some experts even recommend getting coverage worth 10 to 12 times your salary.” It’s wise to supplement employer-provided insurance benefits with policies that are tailored to your needs.
The bottom line: Life insurance is not one size fits all
Take advantage of the fact that life insurance is highly customizable. And compared to other forms of insurance, your life insurance needs will change drastically over time. Think about it: Children, marriage, divorce, remarriage, caring for elderly family members, and retirement…and that’s just your thirties. (Kidding.)
Even if you don’t think you need it now, you should start with what you can afford and build coverage as your circumstances change. Nerd Wallet provides a handy table that will help you compare quotes now, and companies like Policy Genius make it easy to shop around for a good rate. But rather than rely solely on online platforms, it’s also worth consulting a real life professional.
Who among us isn’t ready to bid good riddance to the year 2020? The pandemic has upended life across the globe and that includes creating financial chaos and stress for people of all walks of life. The good news is that 2021 is just around the corner. The bad news is that there will be pandemic fallout to deal with in the year ahead, and that could mean a continued rocky ride for your personal finances.
That doesn’t mean postponing or eliminating financial plans and goals altogether. And it doesn’t mean 2021 will be a bust. Instead, you’ll need to be more focused, savvy, and strategic about money goals in the coming year, which is why we asked financial experts across the country to weigh in and provide tips and insights about how to prosper financially in 2021 despite all the uncertainties that lie ahead.
In times of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to create what’s known as a rolling budget, which is a budget that’s dynamic and changes throughout the year. This type of budget typically focuses on the near term, rather than the long term.
“You can’t always foresee every stumbling block in your financial future, so make sure to keep your budget bendable, not only judging the numbers you see at the moment but also make room for the surprises,” says Roy Ferman, founder and CEO of Seek Capital. “Keep a rolling budget and forecast that accounts for potential fluctuations — positive or negative.”
In other words, budget in a way that accounts for multiple real-world scenarios, says Ferman, creating a plan A, B, C, and possibly even D. “You want each plan fully mapped out as if it was plan A to keep you on top of any discrepancies. Allow yourself to come up with different variations, and allocate for those variations.”
Establish More Than One Stream of Income
Depending on how you define the data, anywhere from 20 million to 30 million people were unemployed or had their income affected by the pandemic, says Marco Sison, financial coach for Nomadic FIRE. To help protect yourself against the impacts of unemployment or reduced income, it’s a good idea to establish multiple streams of income.
“If one job or income stream is cut off, you still have other sources coming in to live off of,” says Sison. “Ideally, these income streams are passive: dividends, rental property, digital side businesses. If your hours get cut, or you lose your job, you can reduce your expenses and live off your side hustles without tapping your emergency fund.”
Budget for Saving
Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying “If you want to make saving a priority, take a look at how you budget. Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.”
If you truly want to make saving a priority, particularly amid challenging economic times, you cannot plan to simply set aside what is left over, says Robert Johnson, a professor of finance, at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “You don’t successfully build wealth by simply taking what you have left after all your expenses,” says Johnson. “We accomplish what we prioritize. Prioritize savings and invest those savings. Saving should be a line item on your budget.”
Develop an Investment Policy Statement
Anyone who makes investments should create what’s called an investment policy statement (IPS) and follow it, says Johnson at Creighton University. “An IPS is a written document that clearly sets out an investor’s return objectives and risk tolerance over that investor’s relevant time horizon, along with applicable constraints such as liquidity needs and tax circumstances,” explains Johnson. “The whole point of an IPS is to guide you through changing market conditions. It should not be changed as a result of market fluctuations.”
Avoid Credit-Card Debt
Credit-card debt is a slippery slope in the best of times. And when the economy is uncertain, it’s best to avoid using credit cards as much as possible. “It’s never advised to spend money you don’t have via revolving lines of credit. And psychologically making purchases via most credit cards makes us a lot less frugal and undisciplined,” says Adem Selita, CEO and co-founder of The Debt Relief Company. “Considering that interest rates are near all-time lows, paying 20% or more on credit-card debt is a terrible financial decision to make.”
Clear Outstanding Debts
One more note about credit-card debt, if you’re able: Wipe out all existing debt. That will be the biggest favor you can do yourself in terms of meeting financial goals in 2021 and laying the groundwork for success (and beyond), says David Meltzer of East Insurance Group. “Chip off your debt bit by bit by paying off a small portion each month,” says Meltzer. “And do some belt-tightening on your spending for the time being. Take a look at your expenses and see which ones you can let go, and which ones you need to minimize, in order to help clear debt.”
Streamline Your Budget
Study your cash flow, both your income and expenses and outline a realistic household budget, says Meltzer at East Insurance Group. “Your expenses should be exclusively necessities like house bills, groceries, food, mortgage, insurance, and savings,” says Meltzer. “There’s no room for gym memberships and Netflix subscriptions on a tight budget. Most importantly, keep track of your spending. At this point, each cent counts.”
Consider Living Below Your Means
While you’re busy outlining your month-to-month budget goals for 2021 and paring back your spending, you might consider establishing a plan to live well below your means.
“By spending less than you earn, you open up funds to put into a savings account for emergency situations, such as a pandemic, or the loss of a job,” says Mason Miranda, credit industry specialist for Credit Card Insider. “The more you save now, the more financially stable you’ll be later when a crisis hits. Depending on your goals and how much you can save, you could even avoid going into debt and pay for large purchases in cash.”
Prioritize Your Goals and Be Realistic
Prioritizing all of your financial goals allows you to put them into specific categories based on which goals you want to meet first, says George Birrell, CPA and founder of TaxHub. You’ll also want to set a realistic time frame for meeting those goals amid the uncertain economic landscape.
“Setting a realistic timeframe is very important,” says Birrell. “If you set a timeline for one year, but your expenses don’t allow for meeting that timeline or you don’t have the capacity to put in extra work to earn more, you’re not going to reach that goal. Look at it objectively and realistically.”
Set Milestones Toward Larger Goals
Think of a milestone as a smaller goal that helps you get to your larger goal, says entrepreneur Thierry Tremblay, CEO founder of the online database software company Kohezion.
“They are like guideposts on the trail — smaller tasks that you can do to help you stay in line with your overall goal,” says Tremblay. If you fail at various points along the way when pursuing financial goals, think of it as an opportunity to gain valuable insights about things that work and don’t work, says Tremblay. “When you move on to the next goal you’re trying to accomplish, you have an advantage because of the things you’ve learned from your failure,” adds Tremblay.
Start With What You Have
Financial advisers often recommended setting aside three to six months’ worth of income in an emergency fund, which can seem overwhelming if you’re living paycheck to paycheck as many are right now, says Emma Healey, family finance and budgeting expert and founder at Mum’s Money. Rather than giving up on establishing an emergency savings altogether in 2021, simply start smaller.
“Start with what you have. Even if you can only spare $5 a week, stashing it aside to help pad out your budget when times are tough,” says Healey. “It is a decision you’ll never regret. Add more as you can, but the most important thing is to start.”
Automate Your Savings, Debt, and Bill Payments
It’s hard to spend money if you’ve already sent it somewhere else, says Chelsie Moore, CFA and director, wealth management and financial planning for Country Financial. Create automatic debt payments, bill payments and automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account.
“A little bit adds up over time,” says Moore. “Automatic payments may help you avoid late payment penalties, which are a waste of money, and automatic savings can add up without effort or feelings of sacrifice.”
Meeting your financial goals in the best of times can often be challenging. But when the world is topsy-turvy it can be even more perplexing trying to figure out how to accomplish your goals once you’ve defined them. A personal finance professional can help you navigate the uncertainty and plot a path to success.
“Seek the advice and guidance of a financial professional who has the expertise to assist you,” says Tracey Bissett, CFA and president of Bissett Financial Fitness. “The best way to find one is to seek recommendations from someone you trust and then interview potential advisors to find the best fit. You should feel comfortable talking to the professional and asking them questions.”
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s important to remember as you embark upon 2021, and any year for that matter, that financial fitness is a lifelong journey. “Take small, imperfect actions daily to increase your financial knowledge and movement towards your goals. If you make a misstep, be kind to yourself and get back on track,” says Bissett.
Nothing lures people in more than a good story. American story consultant, Robert McKee once said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” And in an age of technology, storytelling has become a cakewalk.
Gen Z, the youngest generation of consequence, comprises approximately 72 million Americans and 27% of the population. For Gen Z, storytelling and digital engagement is a daily priority as they connect on the Internet and social platforms for over 10 hours every day, according to a survey made by Adobe. They seek real-time communication with content creators, chat with trusted peers, engage in political discussion and answer live polls. They are, in effect, the primary active target audience sought after by video livestreaming services.
A survey by software company Livestream and New York Magazine shows that 80% of audiences prefer livestreamed videos to blog content. Moreover, with livestreaming becoming a popular feature on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, brands have accepted it as a vital component of social media marketing and invested28% of their budgets on livestreaming shows.
Create authentic connections
Accelerating the importance of livestreaming is the fact that Gen Z is evolving into a critical consumer category. The “Next Generation Report” from Business Insider Intelligence says Gen Z will shortly become the largest consumer population in the U.S. According to Business Insider, they are already estimated to influence $143 billion in spending in the U.S. alone. With their ability to influence purchasing decisions, Gen Z is transforming livestreaming into an industry worth over $30 billion, which is expected to be worth over $70 billion by 2021. A new study by ABI Research further estimates there will be 91 million subscribers utilizing livestreaming by 2024.
What is more, Gen Z completely shuns traditional media, seeking instead platforms where they can directly connect with brands. Characteristically, this generation is partial to honesty and transparency, which livestreaming offers, with all the glitches of spontaneous reality. Savvy brands, therefore, are creating fresh digital marketing strategies incorporating livestreaming, especially during these challenging times, bringing events in real time to locked-down audiences.
Brand marketers are discovering the value of livestreamed content beyond the event, incorporating livestreamed content in subsequent videos and building an arsenal of marketing collateral.
Vogue used the livestreamed Met Gala for a live video on behind-the-scenes activity in making it happen. The video received over 200,000 views. After National broadcaster KBS launchedBMW’s M2 on Periscope, it subsequently used the launch to return with the brand’s first interactive live-action adventure, on the app.
Similarly, many brands are recycling livestreamed content as live video footage on regular brand videos, as an important part of subsequent marketing strategy, to draw new customers. Forbes quotes Brandlive as stating that nearly 95% of brand and agency executives said live video would be an important part of their marketing strategy.
Brand marketers, thus, see it as two for the price of one, and an opportunity to capture new customers.
Not long ago, there were significant gaps in streaming media technology that made live streaming inaccessible to many organizations and limited their brand expansion within the boundaries of their business’ country of origin. Today all this seems like prehistory, as the technology leapfrogged into its current user-friendly format, providing digital marketers the option of using livestreaming to get their brand in front of global audiences in real time.
At a live event, a brand cannot quantify how many in the audience are captivated or bored. But livestreaming allows brands to obtain information by asking questions like:
Were there more viewers at the beginning of livestreamed event that at the end? If so by how much?
When people return to re-watch the presentation, what do they watch?
What does the audience say about the presentation?
These features unique to livestreaming video provide criticalfeedback on real audience reactions that cannot be obtained in any other way.
Essential for improving brand awareness
Using livestreaming video has the potential of becoming a clear growth hack for almost any brand, as you will be better positioned to form those invaluable connections with your clients. If you know how to make use of the technology available, creating those connections could be easier than ever. Understanding why livestreaming matters could be crucial to improving your business’ brand awareness.
Google is still the King, Queen and court jester of online search. Sure, Facebook and Amazon are trying to carve out their own slice of the search pie, but as of July 2019, Google dominated over 90 percent of all search queries. When someone does a Google search for a product or service, they are demonstrating intent and motivation. The beauty of searches based on intent is that this traffic can be free.
Paid keyword advertising works, but it isn’t the only way to get clicks and customers. Ever notice how some businesses and entrepreneurs are always just below the paid ads on Google Maps, while others don’t ever show up? Those that get displayed do four things to their business profile better than everyone else.
Before we get into the four specific tasks, it’s important to know that your business will not appear on Google Maps unless you establish a Google My Business (GMB) profile for each and every location. Google the phrase “Google My Business” to find a direct link to set up your GMB profile. It is connected to your Google account.
If you are establishing a brand new location, you are going to choose between a service location and a physical location. A physical location is an actual office or retail space people go to, like a doctor’s or lawyer’s office. Clients come to you. A service location is one where you service a neighborhood or town but do not have an office or retail space. Examples include a plumber, realtor or HVAC service technician. You go to the client. In both cases, you need a mailing address so Google can mail you a postcard verification. You “claim” your listings and start to take charge of your online presence.
With that baseline set, let’s go over these four quick and easy ways to get your business to show up on Google Maps when people are searching for a local (fill in the blank) like yours.
1. Photos, photos and more photos
Ever look at a business profile and wonder if the place is still even in business? You can tell when a business profile looks deserted. The first dead giveaway is when the only photo for that business profile is the Google Maps street view.
You have to upload relevant photos. This cannot be emphasized enough. People eat and buy with their eyes. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. The cameras on most smartphones will suffice.
Take as many photos of your workplace as possible. Make sure to rename each photo to include the business name and what’s in the photo. By doing this, you are correctly labeling the photo per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, which is a courtesy in itself, plus you are helping Google easily understand what the photo is about thereby making it easier for the algorithm to deliver more accurate results.
Other ideas for photos include clients, customers, products, food and before and afters. Remember, you can’t have too many photos so long as they are relevant to your business.
Google loves it when you use their tools. One of the quickest and easiest ways to send signals to Google that your GMB profile is getting traffic is by taking advantage of your website’s existing traffic. Embed the small Google map on your site. Every time someone visits your site they are inadvertently viewing the embedded Google property. Google picks up on this even if they don’t click on the map.
Search for your business on Google Maps. When you find it, click on the “share” option and select “embed map.” Copy that code and place it on your site in the same manner you’d embed a YouTube video.
The more clicks your profile gets, the higher and more often Google delivers it as a search engine result on Google Maps. The more reviews you have, the more likely people will click on your profile. This is known as social proof.
You have to get good at requesting reviews from your customers, clients, patrons, friends and family. Getting reviews is an art form. You will get better at the more you do it. Don’t be surprised or even offended when you have to ask someone for a review or testimonial more than once. Studies show that you are more likely to get a review after a customer experiences a “high.” This typically happens after a purchase or a good meal. It’s at those moments you and your team should be requesting a review.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Make sure your business phone number, website and hours of operation are up-to-date. Use a guest browser and test out the links to the phone and website. Are they accurate? Do they work as intended? Is the phone ringing to the correct person? Does the website link to the homepage or correct product or service? These are all things you should be testing. It’s all about the customer experience and the longer you keep the customer on your GMB profile, the more valuable you are in the eyes of Google.
Google wants to deliver the best and most relevant search results to the consumer. They have a universe of tools and online signals that help them determine which search engine results to provide. The more competitive your business space is, the more complete and professional your GMB profile has to be. If your business profile isn’t complete, has inaccurate information and doesn’t have any photos of your business or photos of you at work, you probably won’t show up.
By: Paul Argueta / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
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The fall marks the second consecutive quarter of retraction, a widely-used definition of a recession.
It is a stark sign of the economic ruin caused the the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown measures used to combat it.
UK GDP began to contract sharply in late March, when COVID-19 began to spread rapidly in the population, and the government imposed sweeping lockdown measures in response.
Although most of the impact was not registered in the Q1 figures due to the timing, UK GDP still fell 2.2% in Q1 2020, setting the stage for the much sharper fall in Q2.
Statistics released on July 31 from the Eurozone — which includes economies like France, Spain, and Italy — showed that the bloc was also in an official recession, reporting a 12.1% fall in its Q2 GDP.
The US economy too is in recession and has been since February, according to its statistics authority.
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