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4 Obamacare Essentials You NEED to Know

obamacare_essentials

The provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — sometimes referred to as Obamacare — have been phasing in for a few years now.

The biggest provision affecting consumers, though, is the requirement to purchase individual health insurance.  That mandate doesn’t kick in until 2014.

But guess what?  2014 is just around the corner.

If you don’t have health insurance coverage in 2014, you will have to pay a fine, unless you qualify for an exception.  Before 2014 arrives, it’s a good idea to understand how all of this works.

Here are 4 essentials you need to know about Obamacare:

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My Employer Offers Life Insurance, Is That Enough For Me?

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Life insurance is one of the most critical pieces of financial insurance you can buy.

No amount of money will bring you back from an untimely death, but if your family is reliant on your income then going without it puts them at grave risk if you suddenly pass away.

The best option for most people is to buy a term life insurance policy for a minimum of 5 years worth of your annual income; 10 years or more is preferred.

But sometimes those polices can seem out of reach or simply inconvenient to get.

I’m not saying inconvenience is a legitimate excuse (you can buy a policy online and they will send a nurse to your home to the medical exam!), but it is one nonetheless.  Sometimes cost keeps us from buying the life insurance policy we really need, too.

Many people instead opt for their employer’s life insurance.

Using that life insurance is generally easier and more affordable because you are part of a group plan.  The cost can be taken straight out of your check so you never feel the impact of the insurance on your budget.  Your employer may even pay for your coverage, or at least part of it.

However, relying solely on your employer’s life insurance is fraught with danger.

Why Your Employer’s Life Insurance Isn’t Enough

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Apple Hype Machine Preps for September 10th Launch of iPhone 5S and Links

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The Apple Hype Machine has been running like a well-oiled machine for the past few weeks.

Leaked photos and videos.  Sneak peaks at new refinements to iOS and the iPhone.  Hints at new iPads.

Apple is running into a problem, however.

The prices of smartphones — good smartphones — keeps dropping.  The Google/Motorola team wants to push phone prices down.  There is a discussion that Amazon might give away their future smartphone to get users plugged in to the Amazon ecosystem.

Yet Apple remains stalwart in charging $649 to $849 for off-contract iPhones depending on the amount of memory provided.  That’s why Apple is all announcing something called the iPhone 5C.  It’s a — gasp – plastic version of the iPhone.  Plastic hasn’t been used since the iPhone 3/3G, and it is one of the things that Apple fans have made fun of Samsung for forever.

But Apple needs to reach the lower end of the market to continue to grow, and plastic is cheaper than the shiny metal used in the premium iPhone devices.  Will users bite or will they prefer to get a used premium iPhone on eBay or other marketplaces?

Are you planning to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone this month? Is that part of your financial plan? These articles will help guide you on your plan:

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What is Renter’s Insurance and Why You Need It

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While most people know how important it is to have homeowner’s insurance, many never stop to consider whether renters also need to protect themselves.  (Quick hint: They do!)

Many tenants assume that they don’t need renter’s insurance because any hazards will be covered by their landlord’s insurance—after all, they’re the ones who own the property, right?

Nope.

The landlord’s insurance will cover only what the landlord owns, and that will be limited to the land and the physical structures on it.  Anything inside the building that you own will be excluded by the landlord’s insurance company.

Somewhere in the stack of papers that you signed along with your lease, you would probably find something that says that it’s your responsibility to insure your property, but you either didn’t know or didn’t want to spend the money.

But guess what, you need to have renter’s insurance.

What is Renter’s Insurance?

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Do You Need More Time Off? – Vacation Time in the U.S. Vs. Other Countries

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Around the world, Americans are known for their solid work ethic.

Here in the United States, we place a premium on hard work.

However, that might actually be detrimental to us.

If you are looking for a good work/life balance, the fact that you leave an average of 11 vacation days on the table (according to CNN Money) could be a bad thing.

It might even reduce your productivity level.

vacation time for employees

How Does U.S. Vacation Time Stack Up against Other Countries

We take much less vacation than other countries.

In fact, many countries require companies to give a certain number of paid vacation days for employees with 10 years of services.  The United States isn’t one of those countries, but China is (10 paid vacation days).  Other countries include the United Kingdom, with 28, and Japan with 20.
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Do You Know What All Your Investments Are? – Personal Capital Review

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It’s tough keeping track of all of your money and investing accounts.

There’s your savings, checking, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, 529 plans, investing accounts, 401(k) plans… it can go on and on.  If you’re lucky some of those accounts are with the same company so you can see a few of your accounts in one place.  But odds are you’re still going to need to jump around to get a complete picture of your finances.

It’s not impossible to track everything, for sure, but it can be a pain switching between accounts to see exactly what you are invested in for which account.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had one place that can give you a snapshot of your money?

And then wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get a better idea of your allocations to better make sure you are diversified  in the right places?  Oh, and if you could see what your fund fees were costing you in one spot that would be nice too, right?

Some objective financial advice based on your accounts would be a sweet thing to have access to as well, wouldn’t it?

Enter Personal Capital.

Personal Capital describes itself as “Your Next Generation Financial Advisor”, and it may be just that.

Not only does the application allow you to combine your various financial accounts in one place, but it also provides expert, personal investment management with low fees.

How Personal Capital Makes Your Life Easier

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7 Ways Your Large Family Can Keep Frugal and Not Go Broke

large_family_frugal

The average American family has 2.1 children (Hoover Institution). 

However, there are many families that exceed that number.

If you look at celebrities, there are families like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who have 6 kids, and you can’t forget the Duggars, who make headlines with their 19 children.

Of course, plenty of non-celebrity families have large families.

My son is only in 4th grade, but one of his classmates, who is the oldest in the family, already has 6 younger siblings.  Though large families aren’t as common as they were 60 years ago, they still exist.

While all of us need to stretch a buck to some extent, for those with large families, the need is even more important because there are so many mouths to feed and people to clothe and house.

However, there are plenty of ways that large families can save money.

Here Are 7 Ways A Large Family Can Be Frugal

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