Apply For Auto Insurance Online

You always have a choice of visiting different agents or applying online for auto insurance. Though you can always prefer to choose for applying online as it is the easiest and shortest way to apply but as a part of insurance policy, most of the states require your signature on paper so even if you apply for insurance online, an auto Insurance agent will still visit you to complete the process. This is safe too because then you have a choice of going through the terms and conditions and asking questions about them.

Choosing an auto insurance company can be a cumbersome task, with hundreds of companies competing to for your business, but if you go online and search for companies and keep listing your preferred choices, that will make it easier for you to shortlist your choices and contact them. There are numerous companies who have setup their websites to get you the quotes to compare and give you a platform to apply online in an easier manner. There are many third party websites which have setup their portal as a third party insurance advisors and act as free consultant to give you insights into different players competing in the area. So when you apply online on their website, they automatically choose the best option according to your needs.

When you apply online, they ask you for your city zip first so to offer you the best rates in your city, as they vary from city to city. After selecting your city, they ask you to select your preferences so that they can narrow down on your priorities, and thus, can offer you a competitive rate which is specially designed to fulfil your needs. So after your have mentioned your priorities, you get all the quotes from different competitors looking for your business.

Applying online automatically notifies the major players to compete because they know that when you looked for them, your details would have already been forwarded to other players in the market and so other players would have already called you up or have been calling you up. So they already provide you with the best rates possible with little space.

An odd about applying for an online auto insurance [http://insurethepoor.com/] policy is that websites don't present clear private and security policies when they ask for personal information. So make sure of asking relevant questions related to your policy and best auto insurance quotes.

Paying Your Financial Advisor

Are you wondering what to look for in a financial advisor? Here is some information you need to know when looking for one.

Begin with investigating education and experience. This can be observed with the mere confidence during the initial meetings. One important issue to resolve as well is the payment method. By taking the time to look for these qualities in your possible financial advisors, you can eliminate a lot of anxiety in your financial future.

You will hire a financial advisor to render investment advices and other services. The role of a financial advisor is to help you maintain the balance of investment income and capital gains. Your advisor will also assess an acceptable level of risk by using proper asset allocation.

Financial advisors use several financial vehicles like stocks, bond, options, notes insurance, and other products to meet the needs of the clients. Many financial advisors are receiving payment through commissions. By brokering financial products, they get paid by the company but these types of advisors I do not advise. Fee-only financial advisors offer a more balanced and unbiased planning thus it is becoming more popular nowadays in the financial service industry.

If financial advisors are paid through commission for every product their clients subscribe to, they will likely be recommending changes in your portfolio which are unnecessary. You end up being misinformed due to a conflict of interest to increase their commission payments.

With advisors receiving 100% of their compensation directly from you as client, there are no conflicts of interests between theirs and those of their clients. This is often the problem with financial advisors with biases for the company they work with because of the problem created by commissions paid.
Fee-only advisors will customize an investment portfolio designed to guide the client realize short- and long-term investment goals. In addition, a simplified performance reporting is provided to make accounts monitoring as easy as possible for clients.

Find out how your financial advisor will be paid for his expertise surely is worth the trouble. Many people very frequently make the mistake of ignoring this very vital information. By choosing a scheme that would make your financial advisor as objective as possible, you will never end up regretting your choice.

Always confirm the payment arrangements with your financial advisor. It is one of the single most important parts of this deal.

Shop for the Most Affordable Term Life Insurance Rates Online

It is common knowledge that when shopping for life insurance rates is to compare quotes online. While this is true, there is a lot more you can do to ensure that you are getting the cheapest rates possible.

The key to finding the cheapest rates is to simply understand how life insurance rates are calculated. There are seven key factors that determine a person’s rate, these are:

• The product type
• The amount of the policy
• Health class
• Height/weight ratio
• Age
• Sex
• State of residence

Most of these aspects are not within your control, however understanding the first three could greatly improve your shopping ability and essentially your premium rate.

--First, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of life insurance products out there and thus figuring out exactly what type will best suit your needs. Most often however, what people want and need is term life insurance. It is the most basic type of life product and is the most affordable.

However, if you have ever been declined coverage, you want the policy to last your entire life, or you need a quick application process, term may not be for you and you would benefit from consulting with an expert advisor.

A term life policy lasts for a pre-determined length of time, typically lasting 5-30 years. Understandably, the next question you will have to answer is how long should your policy last? General rule of thumb is the shorter the policy, the cheaper the rate. It is a common practice for someone to purchase a short policy and buying a new one after the existing coverage expires. Because rates change as the market changes, reviewing your policy regularly becomes an added benefit, because you will always have the most affordable rate. The risk, however, is that as time goes on your insurability may change. First, you will age, and as you age, your rates may increase. Secondly, becoming sick will have a huge impact on your rates, and in some cases your overall insurability.

If you would prefer a policy with less risk, longer terms will also be very affordable and provide you with coverage during the most crucial years of your life and then some. Once your insurance coverage needs have changed (such as paid off a mortgage or children are out of school) it is worth reexamining your policy.

--Once you have determined the type of policy that best fits your needs, you will have to figure out the dollar amount. The higher the coverage amount, the higher the rates; however, there is no benefit to overestimate your needs. The most common amount for a death benefit is 8-15 times the wage-earners salary. You will want to consider the future living expenses of survivors, current debts, and your current assets.

--Lastly, when comparing term life insurance quotes you will be asked about your health class (or rate). Insurance carriers base their rates on the overall health of the people they cover. To do so, they have specific health classes that correspond with a set of offered rates.

The health classes are: Best, Preferred, Plus, and Standard. "Best" means that you are in excellent health and will get reflective rates, and so forth.

When comparing quotes you will be asked to evaluate yourself and select a health class that best represents you. Most sites will offer some guidelines and definitions of their health classes (not all carriers are the same). Once you submit your application, the carrier will verify your health class by scheduling a medical examination, reviewing medical records, and even examine your family history. Make sure you get a lot rest, eat well and stay away from coffee or alcohol days prior to your exam.

While it would benefit you to say you are in the “Best” category, in order to get cheaper quotes, it will not help in the end because the carrier can determine your class to be something else and your rates will change. However, you are not locked into this rate. If you are not satisfied with the offered rate, continue your search. Working with an advisor or agent will help you get the best rates when health classes are concerned, because they know which carriers provide the best rates for different health related issues.

FAQs About Health Insurance

How does a PPO plan work?

As a member of a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan, you'll be encouraged through their pricing of services to use the insurance company's network of preferred doctors and hospitals. With a PPO plan, services rendered by a physician that is out of their network are typically covered at a lower percentage than services rendered by a physician within the network. Usually, you won't be required to pick a primary care physician but will be able to see doctors and specialists within the network at your own discretion.

You will most likely have an annual deductible to pay before the insurance company starts covering your medical bills. You may also have a co-payment for some services, or be required to cover a percentage of the total charges.

How does an HMO plan work?

HMO (Health Management Organizations) plans typically enable members to have lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenses but also offer less flexibility in choices of physicians or hospitals than other health insurance plans. As a member of an HMO, you'll be required to choose a primary care physician (PCP) which you must see prior to being referred to a specialist.

With an HMO, you'll likely have coverage for a broad range of preventative healthcare services, some even offer discounts to health clubs. You may not be required to pay a deductible before coverage starts and your co-payments are usually minimal. HMO's typically offer no coverage whatsoever for services rendered by non-network providers or for services rendered without proper referral from your primary care physician (PCP).

What is the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers?

An in-network provider is one contracted with the health insurance company to provide services to plan members for specific pre-negotiated rates. If you visit a physician or other provider within the network, the amount you will be responsible for paying will be less than if you go to an out-of-network provider. Though there are some exceptions, the insurance company will either pay less or not pay anything for services you receive from out-of-network.

How does the Indemnity plan work?

A traditional Indemnity plan offers a great deal of freedom in choosing which doctors and hospitals to use, but will probably involve higher out-of-pocket costs and more paperwork.

Under an Indemnity plan, you may see the doctors or specialists you like, with no referrals required. Though you may choose to get the majority of your basic care from a single doctor, your insurance company will not require you to choose a primary care physician.

However, this kind of freedom may be costly. You'll likely be required to pay an annual deductible before the insurance company begins to pay on your claims. Once your deductible has been met, the insurance company will typically pay your claims at a set percentage of the "usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) rate" for the service. The UCR rate is the amount that healthcare providers in your area typically charge for a given service.

An Indemnity plan may also require that payment up front for services, and then you would submit a claim for reimbursement.

How does an HSA work?

HSAs and HSA-eligible health insurance plans are a great way for people to control their health care dollars. Here are the basics:

  • An HSA is a tax-favored savings account that may be used in conjunction with an HSA-eligible high deductible health insurance plan to pay for qualifying medical expenses.
  • Choosing an HSA-eligible plan may help you save money. Typically, the monthly premium on an HSA-eligible high deductible plan is less expensive than the monthly premium for a lower-deductible plan.
  • Contributions to an HSA may be made pre-tax, up to certain annual limits.
  • Funds in the HSA may be invested at your discretion at a qualified financial institution of your choice. Unused funds remain in the account and accrue interest year-to-year, tax-free.
  • Not all high-deductible plans are eligible for use in conjunction with an HSA.

What is a co-payment?

A "co-payment" or "co-pay" is a charge that you pay for a specific medical service or supply. You can think of this as the "office visit fee". If your plan requires a $15 co-payment that's the amount you pay for an office visit, and the insurance company pays the remainder of the charges.

What is a deductible?

A "deductible" is a specific dollar amount that your health insurance company may require that you pay out-of-pocket each year before your health insurance plan begins to make payments for claims. Most Indemnity and PPO plans require you to meet the annual deductible prior to making payments.

What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is the amount that you are required to pay for a medical claim, apart from any co-payments or deductible. For example, If there is a 20% coinsurance requirement, then a $100 medical bill would cost you $20, and the insurance company would pay the remaining $80 until you meet the total annual out of pocket requirement.

Finding the right health insurance plan can be overwhelming. Each state has different rules and providers. Different providers may have very different health insurance qualifications and health insurance premiums vary depending on deductible, age and health of the applicant, and the carrier. Try to find an online health insurance quote provider for your health insurance in your state. These services are usually free and can also offer the backup of experienced health insurance advisors to help you make sense of the options for you as an individual or for family health insurance.

Disability Debt and Bankruptcy Can Be Avoided With Proper Insurance

The number one cause for bankruptcy in the United States is unpaid medical bills or a medical issue which prevents the bread winner for working. These bankruptcies are totally preventable if only these folks would have bought disability insurance to prevent the potential eventuality of disability debt.

With proper insurance any worker, employee, or small business owner can insure not only their medical bills, but also against loss of income. The average American is financially tapped out and in a sea of both long and short term debt.

Thus, even a minor or temporary health issue or accident that prevents them from working for a short time could lead to insolvency or cause them to have no choice but to file for bankruptcy. Disability insurance added on to your health insurance policy could save you and your family from financial ruin.

How much does it cost for disability insurance to protect your income in case of injury? The policies vary, but they are a lot less than you think. When shopping for disability insurance you need to make sure that it pays a high percentage of your current income. Many of these types of policies payout less than 75 to 80% and that may not be enough to service your current obligations.

If you do not have disability insurance, it might make sense for you to get some. It is often recommended by financial and insurance advisors to find a licensed insurance specialist to look into this. If you lose your ability to work, you could easily get into Disability Debt and be forced to file Bankruptcy, but this can be avoided with Proper Insurance, so please consider this.

Buildings Insurance: Should I Insure My Buildings Structure for the Market Value or Rebuilding Cost?

Most insurance advisors agree that insuring your home for the rebuilding cost is usually the better idea. It is important not to get these two costs confused, they will usually be significantly different. However, there are some considerations that may make market value buildings insurance a better idea in some cases.

If you get buildings insurance for your home's market value, this will not take into account the land value, the actual value that your building's site adds to your homes overall cost. However, this insurance for the rebuilding value does allow for the cost of having to rebuild your structure in its current, insured form. This should include the costs of hiring professionals to carry out the rebuilding as well as the costs of clearing the building site, both of which can be considerable. Although in some cases, the rebuilding costs may be higher than the market value, it is usually more common for the rebuilding cost to be lower than the market value.

Some cases in the rebuilding stage is more expensive than market cost buildings insurance is when the structure is built out of materials that are not available locally (for example, stone from a depleted quarry) or when the building has a historic value or special architecture that requires specialist rebuilding. Because the rebuilding cost is lower than the market value in most cases, buildings insurance for rebuilding is usually the best option for customers looking to save on their buildings insurance policies.

If you are purchasing rebuilding insurance, it is important to check whether your policy has an overall limit on rebuilding costs. For larger properties, limiting costs are not uncommon. As long as you think that the amount covered will allow you to rebuild your structure as well as cover professional fees and the costs of clearing the building site, this is a good option in these circumstances. However, it is important to understand that rebuilding limits for unusually built structures are usually not practical. In these cases, market value buildings insurance is usually better.

The best way to sort your options and get the best buildings insurance for your particular case is to look for professional help. The best way to do this is to look for a reputable insurance vendor in the United Kingdom. They will usually have a Personal Insurance Advisor on staff that will be available to help with these kinds of questions.

Are You Confused & Frustrated And Frustrated With Health Insurance?

Are you tired of the Health Insurance run- a- round? Does the thought of getting Health Insurance confuse or frustrate you? Make you physically ill? If this is the case, let me put that anxiety to rest and explain the reasons for health insurance and some “must have” benefits.

Health Insurance is a necessary life saving, and asset saving vehicle. If purchased correctly, you can use the money saved for more productive purposes such as: Critical Illness Protection, adequate Life Insurance protection for your family, college funds, retirement plans and investments that provide fixed total returns of 12% to 200%. In other words, design a Health Insurance policy as a Risk Management Tool and NOT a Health Care Plan.

The other factor to explain is why you should use an Independent Insurance Advisor vs. a Health Insurance Agent.

A Health Insurance Agent works for a captive agency or one company and has to sell the same plan to every family. They typically have quotas and are not concerned about the future relationship with you because 90% of the business is lost in the first year. They are also forced to focus on the premium amount and not the benefits offered. Most times, you are paying more for less benefits. How does that make you feel?

An Independent Insurance Advisor has the freedom to match his clients with the right company based on specific needs and budget. Also, your premium is the same whether buying direct or through a broker. Next, you receive service from the insurance company as well as the broker. Lastly, most professional brokers will have a portfolio of products and can only succeed through long term relationships. Numerous times we have saved the client up to 50% off their existing premiums and offered more benefits! Even dental & vision insurance! How would a savings of 50% make you feel?

With all of this said, I would like you to get my short 9 page book that explains in more detail the health insurance game and how to avoid the craziness of health insurance. The book will give you everything you need to make correct decisions in regards to health insurance. To get the book, please email me at: gclogan@gmail.com, or you can go to my web site: [http://www.independentia.com]

Thank you.

Erie Auto Insurance Receives Customer Satisfaction Award

J.D. Power and Associates has released its 2009 Insurance Shopping Study, and for the second consecutive year Erie Insurance has taken the top spot for new auto insurance buying experience. While Erie Insurance may not be a household name throughout the country, they have a strong presence in the Northeastern United States. The evaluation is based on 3 main categories: distribution channel, price, and policy offerings.

To fully appreciate Erie's accomplishment, it is important to understand a little about Erie Insurance. Erie is considered a Regional Insurance Company as they only offer insurance in 13 states. Compare that to the "Big Three" in the insurance industry which do business across the entire country, and you have the classic "David vs. Goliath" scenario.

Chances are, even if you happen to live in a state Erie provides insurance in, you still haven't heard of them. The fact is Erie chooses to offer its products and services the old fashioned way, through local agents. There are no flashy commercials, or mascots, just hard working professional insurance advisors who take the time to learn about and take care of their clients. While the distribution channel is only one of three criteria, this delivery method must make the biggest impression on consumers.

Price and Policy Offerings are the other two criteria by which consumers ranked auto insurers, policy offerings do not vary too widely between carriers and price has been proven to hold only a certain modicum importance. Yes, Erie Insurance does provide a quality insurance policy to its customers, there are only so many "widgets" that the regulatory bodies approve of. While Erie does offer a competitively priced insurance policy, they have never been considered a low cost leader.

The focus of this regional gem is to provide their customers with properly crafted insurance plans (most customers maintain home insurance and other lines such as commercial insurance and life insurance), at affordable prices, while maintaining the best possible customer and claim service. By relying solely on an Independent Agency Force of professional advisors, Erie sets itself apart not by turning insurance into a commodity like many national carriers, but rather by focusing on what the customer really needs.

In an age where our society is a "click" away from any and everything, Erie and their agency force are a breath of fresh air. While some things are best purchased via the Internet or big call centers, a family's insurance plan is better left in the hands of professionals. Lets face it, people like to know that when they have a question, they know they can call or stop by and meet someone local. People want professionals to handle their most important issues. They want a doctor to help them when they are sick. They want a dentist to take care of cavities. And yes, people want an Insurance Professional to handle their insurance.

Life Insurance, A Great Investment Opportunity

Insurance is often the safe and most risk free approach to investment. Most people think they are sufficiently insured when they are not. Hardworking people spend a lifetime earning what they have. Our personal wealth is a coupling of family and our income early potential. Individuals which find themselves at the head of a household know the stress and pressure of having other depend upon them for their well being and income. Death often occurs unexpectedly and without notice. Especially true when accidents and sudden diseases are the source of death. It is important to make sure that you have enough insurance to cover your family's expenses in the event that you are no longer able too. Have you thought about how your family will survive not just emotionally but financially without you?

Insurance can help preserve your families lifestyle and should be incorporated into any comprehensive financial investment plan. Most people avoid the issue of life insurance, thinking about one's own death is never pleasant but having the peace of mind to know that your family is taken care of is well worth the effort. Life insurance is a low risk way to invest money overtime. Most people decide upon term life insurance because they do not realize there are other investment based life insurance policies available. Term life insurance only pays out one lump sum after your die. Financial experts believe that an individual should have a life insurance policy which is at least 10 times their annual income. If you are interested in purchasing insurance there are several online life insurance calculators which offer a fairly accurate life insurance analysis. The cost of insurance is based on the level of risk taken by the company which is giving the insurance. Factors which effect price are age, health, participation in hazardous leisure activities, or addictions. Life insurance can be taken out on just about anyone including the main provider of the family's income, the homemaker, the stay at home parent, anyone with dependents, anyone who has significant debts or assets.

Speak with your financial advisor about including life insurance as part of your stock portfolio. Your advisor will you calculate exactly how much insurance you need for your particular situation. Life insurance can be taken up either inside or outside superannuation. Insurance within superannuation has the benefit of premiums being tax deductible. This is especially useful for anyone who is self employed or someone who has a spouse that has a low income. Purchasing coverage through a superannuation funder is a great way to save on life insurance premiums because it is not a separate insurance policy. Those who are self-employed can claim a tax deduction on their super contributions, regardless of whether the contribution is used to purchase investments or insurance. This tax saving option is ideal for those who have a young family and are seeking increased security and financial protection as the amount saved through deductions and rebates can be used to increase your level of insurance cover.

Key Words That Can Excite A Financial Advisor's Prospect

I was at a BBQ and over a drink got into a conversation with two people about insurance and investment. The conversation raised the issue of where you go for financial advice, which developed into a rather interesting discussion. I encouraged the debate and treated it as a research opportunity.

Of note was learning about the importance of key words in motivating consumer behaviour - which I will explain. By way of background, the two I talked to have the profile of almost perfect clients. They both enjoy well-above average incomes and high levels of net personal wealth. They were aged 54 and 49 (I asked). The older one is a successful accountant while the other owns his own business and also sits on public and private boards.

Sorry to say, but both had somewhat cynical views about advisors in general, recounting stories of 'idiots' they had met. These were some of their comments. "I don't trust how they make their money. I have heard that they can make 150% on the premiums of some insurance products." "I hate the way they have to sell you something to make money. That must influence their advice." "I've got four life policies. Two of them are more than 25 years old. I should cash them in."

Clearly they were somewhat ignorant as to the way advisors work. Which means that neither of them have proper financial advisors in their lives. The real value from the conversation however was their reaction to some specific words. When I talked about how many advisers work, it was key words that made the biggest impact. Notable among these were:

"Audit." I suggested that a good adviser would be able to undertake an 'audit' of their financial lives, including their investment and insurance portfolios. This instantly got their attention. The word 'audit' has a powerful meaning to business people.

"Plan." They both felt that advisers had tried to sell them individual products, not any sort of financial plan that put everything into perspective.

"Fees for advice." They were both impressed with the idea of paying a fee for a financial plan, regardless of whether the recommendations were taken up. This seemed to overcome the issue of a plan that might favour an adviser's remuneration. Interestingly the accountant said "So, what would you pay? A couple of grand?"

"5-step process." This really hit home. I explained that a financial plan looks at the 5 key aspects of your financial life and how it was almost impossible to separate them. They asked what the 5 steps were but I told them to ask their advisor. As you can guess the accountant in particular loved the word "process." He had never thought of it as a process before, just a sort of 'sell-as-much-as-you-can' approach.

Watch the reactions of client when you talk to them. Are there some words that seem to have a considerably greater impact on them? There will be, it's just a matter of recognizing them.

Don't Forget About "You" When Shopping For Health Insurance

If you are shopping for an individual health plan in Colorado, you need to be aware of the "policy factors" that impact value. There are the common factors that you can compare on any of the insurance quoting websites including price, provider network, coverage, and exclusions (among others).

These are important factors to take note of and you would be wise to take the time to understand the policy's terms. However, while you are comparing policy factors, make sure you and your insurance agent are also considering the "you factors." Factors such as:

  • What you do for a living.
  • Your family status (Married? Have children? Considering having more children?).
  • Your health history (Do you have any pre-existing conditions? Take any prescription drugs?).
  • Your financial and tax status.
  • Do you own a business?
  • Your risk tolerance (are you willing to go with a higher deductible in order to save on premium costs?).
  • What other health insurance alternatives available to you (group health insurance through your business or your employer, health savings accounts, etc.)?
  • Your lifestyle (health habits, travel inclinations, goals, etc.)?

The answers to these questions, and others, will help your agent in making suitable recommendations for you and your family (and, perhaps, your business). In addition, these consultations help to ensure that you fully understand the plans and features so that you get maximum benefit and value out of your premium investment.

When it comes to Colorado health plans, don't just shop for policy features - find an experienced, professional insurance advisor that can get to know you and your unique circumstances and needs. Only then can you be assured of getting the best value.

How to Choose a Good Financial Advisor - A Lawyer's Perspective

How to choose a good financial advisor and finding the best one for you is much like interviewing candidates seeking employment; you are the employer and the advisor is the employee. Working in the area of estate planning, I can offer some criteria I look for in light of my experience working with financial professionals.

Here are seven tips when "interviewing" candidates that are competing for your business:

(1) Qualified Referral: Did the candidate come to you, or did you contact the candidate, based on a qualified referral? By "qualified referral," in other words, is the candidate someone who was recommended to you based on their proven success with their clients, or is it someone whom is referred to you because of a person you trust that is making a recommendation? Keep in mind that advisors are in a business which relies heavily on referrals. Advisors are also in "sales." Therefore, they are frequently soliciting referrals from new clients who have yet to "qualify" the referral based on empirical proof of their advisor's actual performance - though the client may have received good advice or service and thus wants to promote their advisor.

(2) Objective Ratings: There are sources such as A.M. Best and TheStreet.com (formerly known as Weiss) that rate financial companies with an A,B,C, (+/-), system. These are helpful to know if the advisor works for a well rated company or firm. Yet, at least with A.M. Best insurance and financial companies pay for their ratings to be published, which then calls into question objectivity. So, rely on more than just one rating source. There are also the Better Business Bureau reports (BBB), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that announce any wrongdoings committed by financial among other companies. Searching through the above will at least reveal any "red flags."

(3) Compensation Driven Advice: Unfortunately, those in financial positions may like other sales-related industries be held to scrutiny. When it comes to making financial recommendations, advisors' own compliance dictates acceptability, to some extent, based on whether the product advised passes a "suitability" test. The SEC thus has some built-in consumer protections in its regulations. However, the financial industry is very clever in making product recommendations that can get around suitability restrictions in attempting to be one step ahead of the SEC. As such, know how much your advisor is making on the deal as well as exactly what his or her company's share is of the compensation. The lesson of the past is that advisors are notorious for making recommendations based on compensation.

(4) Do not be fooled by guarantees of any kind: If your advisor guarantees anything, be highly skeptical. Some financial instruments, such as cash value in a whole life policy, can have some degree of guaranteed protection of principal. Yet, with any third party holding your money or assets,even if FDIC insured, there are no 100% guarantees - although there are some financial instruments that are safer than others (FDIC insured being relatively safe). In fact, promises of guarantees on financial products or plans that are not so can get an advisor in trouble with his or her regulatory agency.

(5) Good Standing: It is not offensive to simply ask about an advisor's good standing with his license and/or any disciplinary actions that may have been taken. You may even request that he or she furnish paperwork demonstrating a "clean record." Why not? Employers obtain background checks on employees. Right?

(6) Who is on the advisor's team: Know all the "players" on the advisor's team who will be a part of making recommendations and managing your account. Does his or her company have someone watching your money all the time? Will your investments be frequently assessed for risk and will precautions be taken ahead of market crashes like the one experienced in 2008 and 2009?

(7) Availability and Specialty: If your advisor or someone on his or her staff does not get back to you before the end of the day or at least first thing in the morning, this gives cause for concern. Good advisors tend to get back in touch with their clients within 24 hours after they are contacted, usually within the same day. On another note, is your advisor specialized in anything important to your needs. It is one thing to have an advisor "tend to your needs," but is he or she knowledgeable in desired products and areas that matter to your financial bottom line, such as in variable annuities, variable life insurance, long term care insurance, ETF's, etc., or college planning, distribution planning, aggressive growth investing, commodities, etc.

In addition to these seven tips, make sure your advisor takes ownership for bad recommendations as well as be modest about good ones. These indicate someone who is likely more accountable and less the defensive or ego driven type. Otherwise, it is good to know that someone will do everything they can when things do go wrong.

Ultimately, there are going to be advisors that are good and bad; the advisor that is good for you is equally important to choosing someone who is "good." A professional recommending the best products to meet your goals and protect your money is critical. Therefore, doing some of your own due diligence in financial products is a good idea despite seeking an advisor for their opinions. The money and finance section at your local book store ought to carry good publications that will assist you. In the end, seek a neutral opinion from someone outside the financial industry who has no reason to either defend or criticize companies or advisors themselves. Financial industry people may have a tendency to protect their own or be too quick to criticize another. After the recent aftermath of this recession, caution and deliberation with your current advisor or in finding a new one are well justified.

Financial Advisor Business Plan - Revenue Streams

Showing evidence of multiple revenue streams in your financial advisor business plan presents a more sound investment to potential investors and a safer risk to potential lenders. Any business which depends entirely on the work of the founder is, by its very nature, high-risk. If that founder should become sick or unable to work, there is generally no succession plan in such a company.

Advisor Revenue Streams

Advisors can charge fees in a number of ways. The manner that most clients would prefer is for fees to be performance-based, paying the financial advisor only when their investments and holdings increase in value. Of course, few financial advisors would agree to such a fee structure, as holdings will almost inevitably decrease in value during a market downturn. A second best model for clients, and better model for advisors, is to charge a fee that is a percentage of assets under management. If assets increase in value the advisor is rewarded with a higher fee. If the value would drop, the revenue to the advisor would decrease, but not become zero. This represents that, even in bad market times, an advisor can potentially be doing better for a client than he would be doing without the help.

When clients do not have significant assets or are interested in testing out the expertise of working with an advisor, the best fee structure might be an hourly rate for consultations. This is preferable for the advisor, and leaves it up to the client to decide if he or she got the expected value out of the conversations and advice given. Offering an hourly rate as well as an asset-based fee expands the market of who you can work with as an advisor.

Other Revenue Streams

Revenue streams for your business could be from a number of other sources. They could be from the sale of products you have created, such as reports, guides, worksheets, and programs to help clients, from the proceeds from seminars or webinars to multiple clients and potential clients, or from commissions on the sale of insurance or other financial products.

Notice that with each additional revenue stream that is added, there is potential for a conflict of interest. For example, if you seek to sell a certain report, you may have the incentive to withhold the information in it from advisory sessions with clients you work with. Whether or not you do so, there is the appearance that it might be in your interest. Also, if you receive commissions from certain financial products, clients may feel you will encourage them to buy those products even if it is not in their best interest, reducing the value of the advice you give in their minds. You have to be careful to uphold your reputation as a trusted advisor at all costs, and recognize the difficulties in adding potentially conflicting revenue streams.

Why Speak With a Financial Advisor?

Working with the right financial advisor is one of the most important decisions you can make. Very few people really understand all of the details related to investing, insurance, tax and liability. A qualified financial advisor makes it their job to know all of these details and to help individuals make the right decisions. Money is not everything, but providing for your basic security and well being and hopefully some luxury after that is very important for leading a balanced and happy life.

In addition, money is usually listed as the number one reason people have problems or arguments in relationships, and it is one of the main causes that leads to divorce. Bringing in an objective and unbiased advisor can often relieve pressure on relationships and help in the decision making process.

Financial Advisors can help with most of your important financial concerns. Some of the common areas people seek advice from financial advisors are:

  • Preparing for retirement
  • Minimizing their tax exposure
  • Understanding the best way to finance or refinance your home
  • Saving money for your children
  • Preparing education funds for children
  • Estate planning
  • Monthly budgeting
  • Pensions
  • Savings accounts and managing investments

The costs of financial advisors is very reasonable compared to the benefits they bring. In addition, you do not have to spend a lot of time and money on a financial advisor to get a great amount of advice and resources for managing your finances.

Most people will benefit from an initial call with a financial advisor. If you answer no to any of the following questions, it is likely a good idea to speak with a financial advisor:

  • Are you sure you are saving adequately for retirement?
  • Are you confident you have the best rates on your mortgage, savings accounts, investments and insurance policies?
  • Are you sure you're making the right decisions related to your taxes and not paying too much taxes?
  • Do you consider yourself a financial expert and are you aware of all the current tools and resources for managing your money?

Most financial advisors will speak with you for free initially to discuss ways they can help you and work with you to best manage your finances. Contact a qualified financial advisor to find out what they can do for you.

Six Things to Look For in a Life Insurance Advisor

Buying life insurance can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Here is a list of six different things to look for in a life insurance advisor.

Do you feel you can Trust your Advisor?

When your family's financial future is at stake, don't feel pressured into making an immediate decision. Make sure you feel comfortable with and trust the Advisor, making the decision on the information and advice given to you. When you feel you can trust the information and advice given, you believe your family's financial affairs are being correctly positioned.

Are they Life Licensed?

Believe it or not, some people hold themselves out as financial advisors and are not licensed. It is easy to go online and do a public search through the government agency website which issues life licenses. Simply search by their name and within seconds you can determine if that person is licensed to provide insurance products in your province.

Do they Specialize in Insurance as an Independent Advisor

Many advisors have a number of designations after their names. These may mean advanced studies in insurance, but may also designate investment studies. New insurance products are frequently introduced to the market. It is difficult to be current and knowledgeable in two very different financial disciplines. If you require a plumber, you wouldn't call an electrician. For insurance advice, find an Advisor who specializes in insurance not investments. It is also in your best interests to deal with an independent, rather than a "captive" Advisor. Why? Independent life insurance Advisors do exactly what your car insurance broker does. They shop the market to provide your family with the best product to suit your personal needs.

Is your Advisor available to you?

In today's connected world, too often the personal connection can easily get lost. Emails, voice mail, answering machines, the list goes on. So why is it so hard to speak to people? It is important that your Advisor takes the time to return your calls and communicate with you.

Is the Presentation and Communication Clear?

Do you find that you have to get a dictionary and look up the definition of "double indemnity" after you meet with your Advisor? Purchasing life insurance is one of the important tasks in life which you face. A good Advisor makes recommendations appropriate to your personal situation, in language you understand. Graphs and "what if" scenarios should not be used to answer your questions. Most of your concerns have likely been asked before and generally are easily addressed. Insurance really doesn't have to be complicated; it's not a mystery.

Have you done your Research?

In today's day and age, it is very easy to go online and search for something. Why not Google the name of your advisor? If you find a bunch of bad press, or an affiliation with the name Bernie Madoff, then maybe it is time to shop around.

I hope you have found the information in this article helpful. For more information on life insurance, please visit our website.

Jordan Kovats B.Sc.

Co-Founder

The Benefit Guys