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Been In An Accident Lately? Read This

Been In An Accident Lately? Read This

When you’re hurt in some kind of accident, there are a lot of concerns that arise. Will you have enough money to afford the life you’re accustomed to? Can you take care of your family? Will you be forced to go back to work before you’re physically ready because you need the paycheck? Will you ever recover from your injuries and lead a normal life again?

An serious accident can stop you in your tracks. It’s terrifying to think you could lose everything you’ve worked so hard for. You probably know that insurance agencies are not really that excited to give you loads of money for an accident even if you are entitled and really deserve it. It’s good to know what to do to fight against their process so you get what you need to rehabilitate and get back to your life again.

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They put a price on your pain and suffering

It may seem a bit crazy that an accident settlement is determined on the invisible factor of pain and suffering. We all have different pain tolerances and suffering really is subjective. Say you lose a finger, which isn’t worth that much. Your passion in life is to play the piano. Your suffering is going to be far more than someone who doesn’t rely so much on having all 10 fingers. Pain and suffering sits under the legal umbrella of physical, emotion and mental injuries. It’s a measurement of how much less you enjoy your life after your accident.

Of course, this is crazy, but if you want to get what you’re entitled to, you have to accept it and figure out how to make it work for you. Know that insurance adjusters are trying to pay you as little as possible while avoiding a lawsuit. If you don’t feel good about the numbers they’re giving you for pain and suffering, I’d usher out a little “lawsuit” threat and see if they do a bit of recalculating. It’s risky for an insurance company if you file a lawsuit and the case goes to trial. Going to court takes all the control away from them, especially if the judge is sympathetic to your case. All of the calculations of what you’re worth go out the window and you have the upper hand over the insurance agency.

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Insurance companies pay you a little while paying themselves more

Regardless of what you’re entitled to, an insurance adjuster’s job is to pay you out as little as possible. It’s their job to look at the facts and figure out how much the case is worth. They aren’t working for your interests; they’re working for a company. The less they pay you, the more profit the company gains.

Your entitlements include:

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  • Tangible expenses like medical bills and costs. This includes those that have already been incurred and costs necessary in the future.
  • Loss of wages.
  • Damages for pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress damage.

You may not be able to put all of this information and fight your case on your own. When it comes to emotional distress damage or pain and suffering, your case is stronger when you have an expert opinion. Not only should you be getting a regular check up from your doctor to monitor physical issues, you should also see a psychologist. It could be helpful to talk to someone but you also need a pro to prove you have suffered emotional damage. If you hired a lawyer, this would be a part of their checklist to ensure you get the payment that’s due to you.

You can help measure your pain and suffering by collecting evidence through documentation. Maybe it seems ruthless to have your friends take pictures of you when you’re crying after your accident. To really get what you want, you have to fight fire with fire. Photographs and personal journals can be used to illustrate the amount of physical and emotional pain you’re in. Your friends can also attest to the changes they’ve seen in you since the accident. These are all relevant when it comes to determining how down and out you are.

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Adjusters offer you less even when they know you should get more

Here’s where it gets just plain greedy. It’s the last thing you want to think about getting into an action, that your insurance company would actually try to rip you off, but it’s reality. Adjusters do some number crunching to figure out the maximum you rightfully deserve, then they usually reduce their offer to you by 25 to 50 percent. They do this in order to get a bit of wiggle room during settlement proceedings.

Whatever you do, don’t take the first offer an insurance company offers you. They don’t expect you to anyway so do a little bit of your own tallying of what you should receive. It’s easy to calculate how much you’re spending on medical bills and your doctor has likely eluded to how long your rehabilitation will take. You know more than anyone what your pain and suffering levels are. If you feel depressed or unmotivated, it could take years after the initial accident to live a normal life again.

You don’t need to sell yourself short so don’t pay attention to the explanations and excuses an insurance company throws at you. It’s simply to avoid paying you what you’re owed. The good news is usually the courts are on your side and if you’re not satisfied with settlement offers, you have the option to file a civil lawsuit. This takes the power out of insurance adjuster’s hands in which case, they’ll probably offer you a lot more. You’ll have enough money to take your time getting healthy again and not having to worry about your future.

Featured photo credit: Alexas Fotos via pixabay.com

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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