The Beginners Guide to Sinking Funds & Why YOU Need One

This year, I have vowed to be BETTER with my financial decisions.  In order to improve my behaviors and cultivate better money habits, I had to first take a look at areas where I need to focus on for improvement.  After the Mr. and I had to take $7000.00+ out of our savings to pay for a new roof and chimney repair on our rental property, I knew there had to be a better way for us to prepare for situations like this.  That 7K loss from our savings put a dent in that account and exposed a financial vulnerability that we didn’t realize existed. We were stable enough to not have to turn to credit to cover this expense, but pulling money from our savings was very scary considering that money is there to cover us in the event of job loss or a major life change.  I was an unsettling feeling and I knew that we needed to find a solution to our problem. Luckily, we came up with a plan to create a sinking fund so that we would be prepared for something like this.  It is something that will help us and I know it will help you too.

What is a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is an anticipatory fund that is used to save for a large future expense or the gradual repayment of a debt.  More than that, it is a proactive approach to your money. Sinking funds are very similar to the cash envelope system because it requires you to divide your income into categories and assign every dollar a job.  The main difference between the envelope system and a sinking fund is that your cash envelopes are for things you are spending on now like groceries, fuel for your car, and clothing. Your sinking fund, however, plans for future money goals.  We thought about some of the expenses that caught us off guard in the past, like emergency surgery for both of our dogs last year (that was a couple thousand dollars), or bills that are due all at once like insurance premiums. Then we came up with 10 sinking funds that we believed served our household money goals.  Check them out below.

Examples of Sinking Funds from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Now it is time to create your sinking fund categories. Grab a pen and paper (yep, we are doing this old school), your significant other (if applicable) and a glass a Rose’ (because it makes the experience so much better) and let’s make a money plan. When you are creating your categories, remember that you don’t want to make too many funds because it will take longer to fully fund your categories.  Plus, anything over 10 is too many to keep up with, in my opinion.  

She Makes Cents Cares: I love hearing from readers, so once you have created your sinking fund categories, let me know via the She Makes Cents Facebook group, Instagram, or Twitter.

How Much Money Should Be In My Sinking Fund?

After you have created your sinking fund categories, now it is time to figure out how much money you need to have saved for each.  First, you need to figure out the goal date and total amount needed for each of your sinking funds to be fully funded.  For example, I have to pay around $450.00 every 6 months for my portion of the car insurance premium.  To determine how much money I need in this particular sinking fund, I take my next due date and I divide my premium by that number of months. It usually breaks down like this for me:

$450.00 \ 6 months = $75.00 per month 

I would much rather save $75.00 per month for six months than to have to come up with $450.00 once every six months.  Yes, it’s the same amount of money but creating a monthly car insurance fund makes the amount of the premium easier to digest. The example above is an easy breakdown because we know exactly how much money is needed and when exactly we will need the money for this fund.  Now let’s look at an example for a type of sinking fund where you don’t have a hard due date and you are not certain of the full price.   Hello, Car Repair…it sounds like we are talking about you.

We have all experienced this.  You are driving around minding your own business when a yellow warning light illuminates your dashboard.  You take your car to the mechanic and you are hit with a $1,200.00 bill. What do you do?  More than likely, you charge it to your credit card if you don’t already have some money set aside for this type of expense.  CREDIT CARD = BAD IDEA. This is a moment when your Car Repair sinking fund will work for you. Even if your Car Repair Fund only has $800.00, that means you only have to come up with the remaining $400.00, which is easier to digest than $1,200.00.  Yes, this may have been an unexpected expense but it is also one you were prepared to handle.

By creating sinking funds you take control of your money.  You know where YOUR money is so you never have to ask yourself where it went.  You give it a purpose.  If you create sinking funds to cover your future needs, you are less likely to be a threat to your future financial self and that is something that everyone can benefit from.

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Real Life Examples of Sinking Funds for the Smart Saver & Spender- from money and lifestyle blog, She Makes Cents

 

Money Saving Hacks- The Beginner's Guide to SINKING FUNDS from money blog, She Makes Cents

2018 February Recap | 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

We are approaching week ten of the 2018 She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge and I must say, that this year’s money tribe is the most committed tribe we have had in three years.  For those of you who may be new to this blog, the She Makes Cents Money Tribe (SMCmoneytribe) is an uplifting community of women from all over the world that supports each other’s financial journey and savings endeavors.  Every week, we share our wins, big or small and celebrate each other’s progress.  At the beginning of the year, it is easy to be motivated by the “newness” of everything, but as the year goes on, many people find it  Generally, the month of February is when most people abandon the goals and habits they resolved to attain.  In fact,  according to Business Insider,  80% of people fail their New Year Resolutions by February so the #SMCmoneytribe is going strong means that we are beating the odds with our money goals and resolutions we made for ourselves at the beginning of 2018.  WAY TO GO, TRIBE!

How To Save Real Money With This Money Challenge | February Savings/Income Report 52 Week Bingo Money Challenge from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog, She Makes Cents

How To Save Real Money With This Money Challenge | February Savings/Income Report 52 Week Bingo Money Challenge from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog, She Makes Cents


February Recap: 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Back in January Recap of the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge, I shared a MAJOR goal to have my student loans PAID IN FULL by October 2019.  In order for me to reach this big money goal, I have to aim for smaller milestones along the way.  For the month of February, I saved a total of $210.00 on this challenge by crossing off $45, $15, $50, $49, plus a $51 bonus.  Every week, without fail, I select a number from the She Makes Cents Money Guide and I send that amount to my student loan provider.  Additionally, since the Mr. and I are knocking out this debt together, the Mr.’s contribution of $250.00 helped us to send an extra $460.00 (in addition to the monthly payment) toward student loan debt.

This time last year, I had over $18,000.00 in student loan debt with a goal to get my student loan balance to $12,505.00.  Not only did I hit that goal, I surpassed it before the end of the year.  By January 2018, I had a balance of $12,505.00 (the extra $5 was because of the daily accruing interest) and I closed the month of February at $11,378.37.


How to Join the 2018 SMC Money Tribe

How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge - from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

The new 2018 SMC Money Tribe Facebook group will serve as a “home base” for the #SMCmoneytribe.  There you will be directed to fill out a quick registration form and download the money card. This is a space for active members and as a member of the SMCmoneytribe, you will gain exclusive content, motivation, and financial tips and tricks that will help you whether you are saving to pay down debt like me or saving to take a fabulous trip or two in the new year (also me).  This year, you will have the option to do your weekly check-ins on Friday and/or Saturday on all of our social media handles to make it easily accessible to people who are only active on certain platforms.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN JOIN THE TRIBE & THE MONEY CHALLENGE…

  1. Join the SMC Money Tribe Facebook Group
  2. Complete the registration form to select your weekly check-in date
  3. Follow She Makes Cents on InstagramTwitterFacebook
  4. Pick a savings goal & get ready to save some $$$$ in 2018

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2018 January Recap | 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?  Both tortoise and the hare had the same goal…to get to the finish line; although, the strategy for getting there was vastly different.  The hare was quick, took a few shortcuts and thrived in moments of instant gratification.  He prided himself in how quickly the finish line came into sight, so much so, that he gave himself a moment to stop, even briefly, when he was on the brink of success.  But enough about him for now.  Let’s chat about the tortoise. 

Even though his pace is much slower than the hare, he is consistent .  Step by step, no matter how big or small that step is, he kept moving toward his goal. This folks, is where the lesson “slow and steady wins the race” originates.  While the hare was sleeping, the tortoise slowly passed him by and reached the finish line first.She Makes Cents | 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge January Recap

In my personal financial journey I have been both the tortoise and the hare.  Years ago, I took half of my emergency fund and applied it to my credit card balance because I was impatient and wanted the instance gratification of a zero balance. In that moment, like the hare, that finish line was in sight...literally I had about $600.00 balance that I owed.  Instead of paying at the pace that was working for me, I stopped, departed from my financial plan,  deviated from Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps  and I cashed out.  A week later an actual emergency happened and I couldn’t take care of it in cash.  So that very credit card balance that I risked it all to get to a zero balance instantly increased because I had to pay for the emergency on credit.  There are times when we know what the best course of action is and we take the “easy” way out.  I risked my financial stability and I lost money and time.  One thing I did gain, though, was the hard lesson… “slow and steady wins the race”.

Since then, I have taken a tortoise stride to becoming debt free.  I set my pace to put money toward my money goal EVERY week using the She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge.  In January of 2017 my balance on my student loans was $19,000K+ and by December 31st the balance was $12,500.00.  This part year I saw the largest decrease in the loan balance in the 10 years I have been .  This partly because I figured out exactly how my interest accrues.  Once I understood that, I was able to break my larger goal down into micro goals.

January Recap: 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

This year I set an “paid in full” date of October 2019.  To reach that I have set a new goal to get my balance down to $10,000.00 by May 1st.  With the help of the Mr. we are knocking out debt together.  Every week I select a number on the bingo money card and I send that amount to my student loan providers.  The pace may seem slow to some people, but it is a pace that ensures that I continue to maintain the habit on constant saving.  I started at the year off with a $12,505.00 balance (that extra $5 is because of interest) and I am closing out January at $11,945.62.  Based on all of the awesome progress that member  of the SMC Money Tribe are sharing in our group, they are also cultivating great habit with an encouraging community of like minded-women.

 

She Makes Cents Blog Named in the Top 40 Women Financial Blogs on the Web

The future is FEMALE and that future is NOW!  In the past year, I have seen an increase of women taking the reigns over their money and careers with a never seen gusto…at least since I have been an adult.  Women are investing in themselves, their money, their careers and their lifestyles and are encouraging other like-minded women to do the same.   Last week we learned that She Makes Cents, the premier money and career blog for goal-setting millennial women, was selected by  Feedspot as one of the Top 40 Women Financial Blogs on the web. The list, which was announced early January of 2018, features a mix of content producers who share similar goals- bringing personal finance to a female audience. She Makes Cents Founder, Danielle YB Vason shared her experience with her #SMCmoneytribe. “I am thrilled to be recognized amongst the list of well-known financial influencers and brands that I both follow and admire,” Vason admits. “As a blogger, it is easy to feel like you are talking to yourself out there on the web, so when you have your hard work recognized, it’s a very humbling feeling”. So where did She Makes Cents rank? Well, we are pleased to announce that She Makes Cents the blog came in the top 20 ranking at #19.

She Makes Cents Blog Named in the Top 40 Women Financial Blogs on the Web

Other bloggers included on the list were some of our favorite reads such as City Girl Savings, My Fab Finance, and the brand Daily Worth, which topped the list at number one.  According to Feedspot, “This is the most comprehensive list of best Women Financial blogs on the internet” and the blogs that made the list were reviewed under these criteria of Google reputation/search ranking, influence on social media, quality of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

A word from our founder

I am so thankful for the SMC Money Tribe for joining me on a shared financial journey.  Your stories and questions have helped to shape the content that is created for this blog.  When I created She Makes Cents, my goal was to help millennial women become more financially literate.  I wanted to inform and inspire readers to use their “cents” to live the fab life.  I wanted to encourage the community of goal setting women to define what the fab life means to them. I hope that I have done that and I will continue to do just that… inform, inspire, and encourage.  Congratulations to the SMC Money Tribe because this recognition is a reflection of your debt free journey too.  

MLK Quote to Inspire You to Keep Moving Forward Through Any Situation

Sometimes unexpected things happen…the past two years have been proof of that.  The thing is, we cannot give anything the power to paralyze us in a state of anger, fear, grief, complacency, etc.  Today I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I like this quote because it reminds us that there will be things in life that will attempt to block your path to greatness.  Sometimes we can even block our own blessings.  Instead of giving up when there is a roadblock find another way to get to your goals.  

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If you can’t fly then don’t shrug your shoulders and throw in the towel.  It’s so much easier to give up after the first roadblock (See  “How To Come Back from A Setback”).  Lace up your favorite pair of sneakers and get to running, girlfriend.  You might not get to your greatness quickly, but as long as you keep moving forward you are taking the necessary moves to get you one step closer than you were when you realized that flying was not an option.

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SMC Book Club | How To Get the Most Out of Your Power Word of the Year

On the first day of the year, I asked readers to share their 2018 power word that reflects their goals and visions for themselves. The response to that one question, which was posed to all of our social media networks, was both inspiring and eye-opening. It occurred to me that in place of resolutions people are looking to find a purpose that flows into multiple areas of their lives. As people responded with words like happiness, growth, self-care, and consistency, I couldn’t help but think of books I would recommend to inspire people based on their chosen word. The power of choosing a word that you hope will define your year is that it forces you to reflect on areas of your life that you want to be better or that deserve your focus. Once a word is selected and claimed in advance, you prepare yourself to receive all of the good things that come with that word. My inspiration for the next SMC Book Club read comes from the idea of one taking an active step toward applying one’s own word to one’s life.

SMC Book Club from She Makes Cents _ Power Word of the Year.jpg

February Book Selection

This is the year to do better and be better and I resolve for our group to be great, supportive, consistent, and a place for goal setting women to come together. The energy in the SMC Book Club during our last book, Boss Women Pray, was so amazing and I want to build on that and I want to inspire you to be successful with your power word or else it will lose all power over your life. For the month of February, we are going to do something a little different. Instead of reading the same book together, let’s take the month of February to read a book that is inspired by the word of the year that you chose yourself. My hope is that each of you follows through and make the time to find a book that relates to YOUR word; a book that inspires you toward your self-mandated purpose to you have selected to help guide you this year. According to U.S. News, 80% of people give up on their resolutions and New Year goals by February. Let’s be the 20% together by starting our new book on February 1, 2018.

How Our Book Club Works

Every other month, we select a new book from a mix of editor and reader’s suggestions. For reader suggestions, we ask that selections embrace subjects such as power women, money, career, and lifestyle that informs and inspires us. We then announce the book selection here on shemakescents.com before the start of the month to give you time to opt-in and get your copy of the book from the She Makes Cents store on Amazon. Discussions for the book take place in our weekly book chats in the SMC Book Club group on Facebook as well as the She Makes Cents Instagram page. Trust me, the dialogue in the group is LIFE!

Since everyone will be reading different books for February, the book chats will be tailored to this unconventional reading experience. If you would like book suggestions based on your power word, let me know. I can be found on social media at the @shemakescents handle.

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Millennials Get the Best Rates on Life Insurance & They Don’t Even Know It

When you hear the term “life insurance”, what comes to mind? Is it your parents’ and grandparents’ generation? Is it a sad thought like death or the process of planning a funeral? Or, is it something that you have on your to-do list to understand when you are “older” because you are not in that headspace right now? For many millennials, life insurance is just not high on their priority list, which is evident from the 2015 study from Life Happens and LIMRA that found that “60% of millennials prioritize mobile phones, internet, and cable over life insurance”. I believe that millennials are not jumping on the life insurance bandwagon because the idea of death seems so far away. More than that, millennials do not understand what life insurance is, what it does, and how we, as a generation, are in the best position to get the most affordable rates. Cell phones, internet, and cable are all elements of one’s day-to-day life whereas the need for life insurance is so far out, right? Wrong. Having life insurance provides a day-to-day safety net that financially protects the people who depend on your income, like family, and in some cases friends, in the event that something happens to you.  

This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you.  Please visit our Disclosure Policy for more info.
How to Get Affordable Life Insurance | from Money & Career Blog, She Makes Cent

Of the living generations, millennials are in the best position to take advantage of the best rates on life insurance. That is because insurance companies view millennials as low risk because of their youth and presumably good health. Those “low-risk” statuses are one of the main reasons that millennials save more money and are able to lock in a lower, more affordable rate as compared to older generations. To take the savings potential even further, millennial women, in particular, generally receive the lowest quoted rate. That is because women live longer and are perceived to be less likely to partake in risky hobbies such as skateboarding, skiing, and sky diving – all hobbies that insurance companies consider dangerous, cause premium increases and are often attributed toward experiences men enjoy more by insurance companies. When you think about it in those terms, it should not be   so surprising that millennials get the best rates on life insurance.

Why Do Millennials Get the Best Rates for Life Insurance?

The benefits afforded to the “avocado toast” generation and their ability to lock in an affordable rate is evident to Generation X (1965-1981) and the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and not millennials, according to data collected from this Health IQ quiz.  When asked this questions, “Which of the following generations is most likely to get the best rate for life insurance?” the results were eye-opening. Of the generations represented, 80% of Generation X and 62% of Baby Boomers answered correctly, in comparison to only 33% of millennials understood their own savings potential. That’s right, 67% of millennials do not know they are in the best place to lock in the cheapest premiums.  The point of life insurance is to protect those people who are financially dependent on you. Traditionally, that includes a spouse or children, both of which represent life stages that millennials are delaying until later in life. However, life insurance also covers parent beneficiaries who may have co-signed on a loan for you and would be held responsible to pay off debts like your student loans should the worst happen. 

Related Post: 5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance

YES! Millennials Need Life Insurance | from Money + Career Blog, She Makes Cents
For a generation with information at their fingertips, who comparison-shops and lives for the deal, it is surprising to find out that we are missing such a great savings opportunity. Life insurance for millennials is affordable because of their presumed good health and youth. It can be even more affordable when you find a life insurance company, like the Health IQ, that celebrates people like runners, cyclists, high-intensity interval training athletes, vegans, and more with exclusive rates. These special rates reward one’s healthy lifestyle with financial gains that leave more money in your wallet. Many millennials are embracing a health-conscious lifestyle anyway, so why not tap into the full benefits that come with it. Life insurance is something that every adult should have, so why not consider one that rewards habits that keep you healthy, and for being a She Makes Cents reader, I am able to offer you this special rate. You will never be as young as you are today, so it is time to lock in a rate now while it is cheaper. Trust me, it is A LOT cheaper than you expect and your future self will thank you for it.

This post was first featured on the Health IQ blog and the Froogal Student.

She Makes Cents | Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog for Goal Setting Millennial Women

How Defining Success Will Make You Successful

How do you define success? That is one of those open-ended questions that many people are asked in an interview. To be honest, we should be thinking about it outside of the normal boundaries of interview prep. Again, I ask, how do YOU define success? I am starting to believe that knowing the answer to that will help make decisions about money, career, and lifestyle clearer. Warren Buffet measures success by whether the people close to you are happy and love you. Deepak Chopra says, “Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals”. For President Obama, “success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives”. I believe success is being happy with the life you create, which ultimately is a culmination of daily choices.  The thing is, identifying what success means to you should help guide the path to reaching success, accomplishing your goals, and living the life you always wanted.Inspiring Habits of Successful People- She Makes Cents

To dominate your goals, you must first write them down and second choose a date to strive for. One of my very first money goals was to be debt free. I later realized that being debt free is not a goal, but being debt free by age 35 is. Do you see the difference? It goes back to the whole “day one or one-day” paradigm. To be successful at this aspiration, I have to make sure that my daily actions reflect my purpose. I will be honest, it is hard and sometimes I get off track, especially when the goal date seems so far away. My trick to conquering the hard times is to break my larger goal into micro goals. I take that larger target and break it into small manageable bites that are easier to digest. You can do this with money goals, career goals, relationship goals, and lifestyle goals.

Related Article: How To Comeback from a Setback

We have all heard that it take 21 days to make or break a habit. Recent studies have found that it actually takes about 66 days to cultivate a new habit. The key to staying motivated is understanding how long it takes to become prosperous in a new habit. It is important to be intentional with your everyday thoughts and actions. That is because success is found in your daily routine. Inspiring Habits of Successful People- from Top Atlanta Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

{Money & Relationships} 5 Reasons to Have the “Money Talk” with Your Partner

You and your significant other have been together for a while. You have met the parents (and they like you…hopefully), you leave stuff at each other’s homes, and you’ve even claimed each other on social media! Sure, you have done all of the public things to show your significant other and the world that you care about your relationship but have you taken the necessary steps to reduce stress and drama in your relationship from a financial standpoint? I will be honest with you; having the money talk isn’t fun or comfortable, but it is enlightening and crucial to all serious relationships.

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I bet you searched him on Google and scoped his Instagram page when you were first getting to know him. Outside of being curious, you wanted to protect yourself by getting a head start to any red flags.  Simply put,  you wanted to figure out what you may be getting yourself into. No judgment, it’s smart and we all do it. If you protected yourself in the beginning, why wouldn’t you protect yourself now that things are getting serious?  Starting the conversation does not make you greedy or look like a gold digger.  In fact, it shows that you are looking at this relationship for the long-term.  Former Secret Service agent and Cosmo contributor,  Evy Pompouras’ gives advice about reading people in any situation, which will come in handy when you have the conversation with your beaux.  Pompouras says, “don’t openly judge, even if you don’t like what they have to say.  When people feel your disapproval, they will filter themselves, hold back information, or shut down”.  Remember you both had a life before your relationship and both of your financial decisions up until now will reveal that.  If you are ready to get serious about your relationship you should also be ready to get serious about your finances if you haven’t done so already.

FIND OUT EACH OTHER’S SPENDING & SAVING STYLE

This makes sense on so many levels.  This is not a situation where you are trying to figure out if he is a spender or a saver, but more so how he spends and how he saves.  This may be an eye-opening revelation for you as well since most people do not generally look at money and relationships in those terms.  Are you financially compatible?  Does your super saver style clash with his overspending?  

KNOW THINE SELF

 In the midst of “The Talk” you may start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before.  It is easier to see red flags in others than it is to see in ourselves.  You may find areas of yourself and your financial situation that need to be cleaned up… not for him or a relationship, but for your own financial security.  This is the time for you to take some responsibility for yourself, review your debts and assets, and come up with a personalized financial plan. 

HELPS YOU PLAN FOR A SHARED FUTURE

Let me first say that a shared future does not necessarily imply marriage.  A shared future looks like whatever you want it to look like as long as you two are in it together.  Some couples will move in together and will have to decide who will pay what.  Others may continue to live separately and your money talk for the future may include more social decisions.  How often will we go to restaurants, movies, concerts, on vacations?  Who will pay for what?  Or for those who see wedding bells in their future, well you should get in the habit of having weekly money talks and a review of how finances coming in and going out are affecting the household dynamic.  You don’t want to be the woman who hides shopping bags in the trunk of her car, but rather a woman who proudly shows off the goodies that she bought with financial confidence.

PREVENTIVE CARE FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP

If I told you that you could reduce the chance of burning yourself using a curling wand while creating date night hair just by using the little black gloves that come with it, would you use them?  How about if  I showed you the hands of someone who burned themselves because they didn’t use a glove?  Would you be more likely to use a glove then?  Probably, even if it was just for a short time.  Well, what if I told you that having the “money talk” and the subsequent follow-up talks with your significant other will reduce the chance of financial stress and lessen the risk of break up?  How about if I followed up stories about real relationships that burned because of money issues?  Would you have the talk, then?  Think about it like this, taking these steps becomes preventive care for your relationship.  Beyoncé said if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.  I’m telling you if you like it then you should put the black gloves of your relationship on and have the talk!  Save your relationship before it needs saving.

So you now have an idea of what you are getting yourself into… remember this is just the start and you should have several follow-up conversations.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be well worth the effort in the end.  We were seriously dating the first time the Mr. and I discussed money in detail.  It was slightly difficult to start the conversation because I didn’t want him to think that I was only after him for this money.  I explained to him that I was needing reassurance that we were financially compatible and I wanted to introduce a sort of financial intimacy into our relationship.   He was open to it and so was I.  If you have never discussed personal finance with your partner, I encourage you to not let another day go by.  If you are starting the conversation TODAY and don’t know how to start, check out this list of questions that I reference every time the Mr. and I have “the talk”. 

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5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance

A few weeks ago, a company called HealthIQ that celebrates health-conscious people with social and financial rewards, contacted me to create a quiz about millennials and life insurance. Yes, I can now add professional quiz writer to my resume! Since then, I have been reflecting on what happens to our loved ones financially when we pass on. This also came around the time a classmate of mine from high school passed away suddenly from a random heart complication leaving his fiancé and young daughter to pick up the pieces. One day you are living life and YOLOing and the next moment….well, you know how that goes. I am no longer in the headspace of thinking I am invincible, which means it is time for me to get a plan for my family in case the worst happens. Apparently, that means I’m growing up. While doing my research for my quiz, which you can take here, I realized there are several benefits to buying life insurance at an early age and right now millennials are in the best position to take advantage. While it is not a cheerful conversation to have, it is a necessary one and one that can protect those who depend on you and your income should the worst-case scenario happen. Since many millennials are delaying marriage and children, it is easy to say that there is no benefit of buying life insurance; however, that is not the case.  Other dependents such as parents who co-signed a loan or business partners for the millennial entrepreneurs out there also depend on you and your income and will be left with a great financial burden of debt, your funeral expenses, and trouble covering living expenses if proper measures are not in place.

5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance from Top Millennial Finance Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

What Is Life Insurance?

If you ask my new insurance agent, he would tell you that life insurance is a “love policy”. I, however, prefer the explanation from Fidelity, which explains that, a life insurance policy as “a contract with an insurance company. In exchange for premium payments, the insurance company provides a lump-sum payment, known as a death benefit, to beneficiaries upon the insured’s death”. To bring it to terms that we can all understand, it is what GoFundMe has become when loved ones pass. I have to say this, but GoFundMe should not be your go-to plan to cover the funeral expenses of a loved one or to cover the financial burden that you may leave to your family.

Do Millennials Need Life Insurance?

Yes and yes. It will be easier to understand once you break things down into life stages. Millennials make up the awesome generation of people who are born between 1982-2002 which means that older millennials could be in the home buying, marriage, and kids stage while younger millennials are in the college life and first real job stage. So do all millennials need life insurance? The answer to that will depend on whom you ask. I believe everyone should have life insurance that at least covers one’s funeral expenses. Now in terms of a larger payout, known as a death benefit, I think that depends on who relies your income. To determine if you need life insurance, financial expert, Suze Orman, presents this question for you to ask yourself: “If I were to die today (or if my spouse/partner were to die today), will those I/we support be able to take care of themselves? If the answer is no, then you need life insurance”. Let’s be honest here, the subject of life insurance is morbid, boring, and a bit off-putting, but it is a necessary conversation that needs to be had by all.

5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance

  1. If Your Parent Is a Cosigner On Your Student Loans. A few years back, I remembered hearing a story about a grieving father who was struggling to pay his dead son’s student loan debt. During the height of his grief and after paying for funeral expenses, debt collectors began to harass him regarding his son’s missed student loan payment. That was the first time I remember learning that your debts don’t always go away when you pass. I thought about that Dad and then I thought about my own. So what happens to your student loan debt if you pass away? If you have Federal student loans, your loans will be discharged and your family will not be responsible for your debt. Parents with Parent PLUS loan borrowers are also eligible loans to have their loans discharged in the event of the student’s death since it is also a Federal loan. To receive the discharge, the surviving cosigner must submit a copy of the death certificate to their loan provider. However, if you have private loans, your family may inherit your debt, which for the class of 2016 is an estimated $37,172 and growing. According to this article from CNBC, “Even if your spouse doesn’t co-sign for you, he or she can also be held liable for a private student loan if you borrow while married and you reside in a community property state”.

  2. If You Are a Single Parent.
    While millennials are delaying getting married, a recent poll from Gallup reveals that almost half of surveyed millennials age 34 have children although they have never been married. Because of their single status, many parents elect their minor children to receive the death benefit to financial protect their children if something were to happen. Making a minor a beneficiary will cause major problems since life insurance companies do not payouts to children under the age of 18 or their guardians. If you are a single parent, you should consider setting up a trust to benefit the child and naming that trust as the beneficiary. This way, you can avoid costly court fees and you can have things managed based on the directions you have left in your trust.

  3. If You Have Life Insurance Through Your Employer.
    Congratulations, you have a real job with real benefits! I am so proud of you. Now it is time to go through and fully understand the scope of your benefits package. Many employers offer life insurance as a part of their benefits package, but is that enough? Something else, I would like you to consider is how long you plan to stay with your current company. According to a Gallup report, 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year.  Employee life insurance is provided as a group life plan and when you leave your job, you are no longer a member of the “group”.  Your former employer is no longer obligated to pay the premium; therefore, your coverage is terminated unless you convert your policy to an individual plan, often at a higher rate. Your best bet is to get an individual term policy in addition to your employer-based policy so that you will be covered.
  4. If You Think Life Insurance is a Financial Investment.
    Life insurance is NOT a financial investment. Let me say that again. Life insurance is NOT a financial investment But what about cash value life insurance, you ask?
    That’s not what your agent told you, is it? The good folks over at
    Investopedia define cash life insurance as “a type of life insurance policy that pays out upon the policyholder’s death, and also accumulates value during the policyholder’s lifetime”. Sounds good, right?
    Well not so fast… The idea of investing is appealing… even sexy to most millennials (or is that just me?) but insurance as an investment is a terrible idea that yields a very low return. If you are looking to invest your money or save your money, there are much better options out there like mutual funds, Roth IRAs, stocks, and bonds. Suze Orman maintains, “Under no circumstances do you want ‘cash-value insurance’ no matter how fabulous the agent makes it sound”. My financial guru, Dave Ramsey, agrees. Ramsey argues, “It is a horrible product that makes insurance companies the most money, which means insurance salespeople get the best commission on this trash”. I am inclined to agree with them both. Insurance is insurance and your investments are investments. Does life insurance provide financial protection for your family? Yes. Is the “investment” component of a cash life policy, also referred to as whole life, universal life, and variable life, a good investment? Absolutely not. If you have this type of policy, you should cancel it and thank me later.
  5. If You Don’t Know Where to Start.
    Many people know the importance of life insurance but have not taken the plunge. For the millennials out there, you will never be as young as you are right now in this moment.  Why not take advantage of the financial benefits of buying life insurance while you are young and in presumably good health. Millennials with a clean bill of health will find qualifying for coverage easier and more affordable, think less than $300.00 for the year for a $500,000 policy. So what type of policy do you recommend? Millennials looking to buy into a life insurance policy should consider a term insurance policy because the policy length can be tailored to your needs, it’s affordable, and you can lock in your rate while you are young. The maximum term for a life insurance policy is generally 30 years.  Since premiums never get cheaper, millennials can get an upper hand on their finances by locking in a lower rate for the maximum term.

I recently read something from Dave Ramsey that completely changed how I think of all of this… adulting. “The death rate for human beings is 100 percent. You are going to dies someday! None of us know when that’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean it should catch us totally unprepared”. Yes, you can still enjoy your youth while protecting your future. That’s why I have recently jumped on the life insurance bandwagon and you should too. Last week the Mr. and I met our agent in person to talk about our options and I encourage you to do the same.  In fact, through a collaboration with Health IQ, I am now able to offer readers of She Makes Cents and exclusive discounted rate for life insurance (for more information, click here).

Do you have life insurance questions or want to tell me about your experience with life insurance, please comment below or leave me a message via Twitter or Facebook.

She Makes Cents | Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog for Goal Setting Millennial Women