Thursday, June 23, 2011

Life Insurance Redux

So, now that I have joined a credit union, I realize that it may be time to once again take a stab at increasing the life insurance coverage. Currently, I have a group term policy through work that is decent and would allow the payoff of a large portion of debt and make things manageable, but I certainly wonder if having a little bit extra might make some difference. The other thing that you never know is what the situation will be with jobs in the future. So, for that reason alone it is tempting to look at more insurance.

This was a pleasant surprise but the thing that I thought which was rather interesting is that this policy is considered group term life and yet there is an application and a lot of medical questions. I am not sure if this is a soft thing or if this is something that really will pan out. Of course, I will need to call them to find out more information on it, but so far, I've gotten a large amount of offers from this Credit Union -- even more than my regular bank.

My original idea behind getting a credit union was the idea that I would be able to get more favorable treatment with respect to the eventual small car loan I expect to take out (More on that later), but I think now that it might be more trouble than it is worth. We'll see.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bank Fees Ate Me Alive

Recently a review of the bank account revealed that there were some fees charged on my bank account each month. I was completely annoyed by this because I was sure that this was not something that should have been happening and instead was something that was just going on due to my lack of paying attention. In reality, this was an account that I didn't check on very frequently. After spending some time in the local branch (and time is rather scarce), I was able to get a representative to resolve this. At nearly 20 dollars monthly, the fees were no small potatoes.

But the story, unfortunately did not end there. After about 6 weeks, I noticed that the charges began again. This time, I went to the branch again but was shocked that there was only one representative working and it looked like it could easily be another hour in the lobby before I would get it resolved. I left and attempted some miracle working by talking to the customer service via the bank's internal email. It worked! So, in this case, the bank doesn't get an A, or even a B. However, I will not switch yet, but I am thisclose. And believe me when I say that I will keep watching.

Lesson learned: keep track of fees and activity on all of your accounts regularly!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Quantitative Easing Round Three

It appears that we have another round of Quantitative Easing in the works. If you've been listening to any of the money shows over the past several months, you'll note that most of the major players were not anticipating that! However, a recent update from the Bernanke indicates that the possibility of Quantitative Easing Round Three (QE3) is a very real one....but not in the near term. This article from International Business Times does a good job of explaining the thought process around a possible QE3 and why the timing is not likely to be now.

All that being said, the CPI is up and the price of energy is skyrocketing. It is not an easy thing for people to get to work in cars that are not efficient. However, that is not stopping people from certain segments of the political/media spectrum from announcing dirty secrets about Clean Energy. I find that Google News has a great mix of stories from all over and this story -- the increased energy costs is certainly one to watch.

Because of all the things that impact the prices of both stocks and also things we buy every day, the two biggest factors that I can see (and neither of which I can influence) are gas prices and Ben Bernanke's Fed.