You’d Be Surprised At The Mistakes People Make…

  

Go ahead.  Google “insurance mistakes.”  There’s a flood of stuff  about the simple errors many of us make – from not having coverage to paying for stuff we really don’t need. 

Laura Adams, who hosts the popular podcast, “Money Girl,” could save you a ton of money and loads of heartache.

Laura is a font of wisdom about insurance and she gives us the basics about auto, home, life and health policies on this week’s “How Do We Fix It?” podcast. She takes a potentially dry subject and makes it approachable and believe it or not, entertaining.

Here are Laura’s 5 insurance fixes…
– Make sure you shop around for insurance. Get several quotes and reach out to an insurance agent who can explain is and is not covered by your policy.
– Learn the basics at insurancequotes.com, bankrate.com or the non-profit Insurance information Institute. http://www.iii.org.
– Avoid duplication. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying.

– Many states have programs to help people who can’t afford insurance. Check out your state’s Department of Insurance.
– Term life insurance policies are much cheaper than many people realize, A healthy person under 40 may be able to get $250,000 in coverage for less than $20 a month.

Why You’re Crazy To Panic When The Stock Market Drops

  
The stock market has gone wobbly again with more dire headlines about quarterly losses and worries over  the state of the global economy. 

But how much has really changed in the past few months?  Not much. Our knowledge of the world is pretty much the same.

The U.S. economy is still in better shape than most of the rest of the world.  Commodity prices are still low (a plus for consumers), and there are still plenty of good companies to invest in.

“The media is out there hyping the activity in the market,” says equities expert Susan Schmidt of Westwood Holdings in Dallas.  “They’re focusing on what’s happening during the day, but investing is really about focusing on the long term.”

I’m a journalist and I have an ego. I know that she’s right.  It’s fun when your story is the lead item on the network news. 

Newspapers, radio and TV cover what changes from one day to the next, but Susan says that should be of little concern to the 55% of Americans who have money in the stock market.  Think decades not days should be their mantra.  Over decades your retirement savings nearly always do better in stock funds than in cash or bonds.  Especially in this very low interest rate environment.

  
Susan Schmidt.

 “It’s a lot about keeping your cool and looking for the long term and keeping keeping your eye on the bigger picture… Be the cool customer and don’t panic,” Susan told us on the latest How Do We Fix It? podcast. 

“No investor is right 100% of the time and if they say they are! they’re lying.” Listen to what she said here.

If you’re scared that Wall Street is nothing more than a giant casino, here are some fixes.

–  Look at the stock market’s performance over the long term. Ignore the noise of daily news coverage.

–  Diversity your investments and spread risk. Consider low-fee large and small stock funds as well as US and international investment products.

–  Learn the language. Investing basics are easier to grasp than you may think.  Big investment firms can help you take the first steps. Find out what you need to know at at fidelity.com, TDAmeritrade or Vanguard

–  “Morningstar is the equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes,” Susan tells us. “Morningstar gives stars to mutual funds.” From one to five stars – “the more stars the better.”. 

Top photo from the front page of the Financial Times. September 30, 2015

What I Learned About Money, Personal Finance and Podcasts From Farnoosh Torabi

  
I’ll never forget the first thing personal finance journalist and podcaster Farnoosh Torabi said to me a few months before I launched our new weekly podcast, “How Do We Fix It?”.

“What is going to be your target audience?” she asked, looking me straight in the eye as we sat down for lunch at a restuarant in Midtown Manhattan.

Well, I have to admit that 7 shows in, I’m still working on that.  

Unlike many podcasts built around niche markets, such as health, wealth, relationships, or being a great entrepreneur, ours is general interest.  Our listeners don’t have exactly the same interests, or three or four favorite Twitter feeds and Facebook pages that they all go to.

The community we are building week-by-week wants solutions to many different problems that bug all of us – whether it’s the challenge of raising kids with good values and curious minds, the struggle of getting out from under a mountain of debt, or how to end boredom in the workplace. 

We’re not in the blame game.  Our show has a positive, independent point of view that shuns the old left vs. right mindset.  

I’ve been watching my friend Farnoosh rather closely to see what ideas we can learn from her about growing an audience.  

The first thing I learned is that she’s a brilliant marketer, who does a great job of using Twitter and the So Money website to promote herself, her guests and ideas.  Farnoosh is also the real deal who cares about her listeners.  In a medium as intimate as podcasting, being authentic is vitally important.

This week I was a guest on her daily show.  After years of interviews where I ask the questions, it was a bit of a shock to have the tables turned!  And Farnoosh was very clear about she wanted from me:  life lessons and good stories about my experience with money.

Her show’s example has helped Jim, Miranda and I (The “Fix It” team) with our podcast.  How Do We Fix It? isn’t just about good ideas and concise solutions.  We also need to tell personal stories.  And we want listeners to give us guidance and suggestions about where our show should go next. 

Unlike the old days, when broadcast and print journalists simply put out a well produced finished product, podcasts are more spontaneous and part of a conversation.

To build support, we’ve just added a pop-up page at our website, urging listeners and supporters to sign-up and suggest ideas for future shows.  Having subscribers who rate our shows in iTunes is vitally important to us.  

In the near future, How Do We Fix It? may launch a Kickstarter page to raise funds to get the message out about our big idea. Our show is about solutions.  We welcome lively minds with fresh ideas, who want to make our country better. That’s why we also picked Farnoosh to be our guest this week.

   

 
Five years after the worst of the recession ended, tens of millions of Americans are still struggling to make ends meet.  For many the assumptions of a comfortable life were swept away with the mortgage mess and near financial collapse in 2008.

 Because the subject can be painful, it’s easy to be in money denial.  Farnoosh makes the case for making financial management a part of your daily life. “A lot of us don’t even take that first step of acknowledging money is important and that it can be a means to achieving a lot of life’s goals,” she says. 

“If you have a story in your head that says ‘I’m not good enough, I’m not rich enough, I can’t work the job that will pay me enough money… Those are just barriers that you’ve created in your mind that are keeping you away from being able to reach financial freedom.”

Farnoosh is not suggesting that we obsess about money, and give it primacy over love, relationships and family.  “You don’t have to give up your morning latte to achieve your goals.”