You are invited: Enrollment for Medicare begins October 15. Are you ready?

Join us for our fall series of complimentary workshops and seminars geared towards thinking long term and making for a successful future. Our monthly programs are designed to fit into your work day, offering lunch and learning opportunities to help educate and update our clients and friends on important topics.

Our September seminar is focused around changes in Medicare for 2018

If you are looking to sign up for Medicare this year or make changes to your existing plan, October 15th kicks off the open enrollment period for Medicare. Every year there are changes to cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.

Learn what changes are coming? Understand the value of Medigap insurance and whether you need it? What is the ‘guaranteed-issue’ period? And much more.

Seating is limited and tends to sell out. Please click here to RSVP for you and a guest.

Announcing Our Summer of Seminars

Don’t let your brain go soft this summer. Join us for our summer series of complimentary workshops and seminars geared towards thinking long term and making for a successful future. You and your guest(s) are cordially invited to the following:

Session 1: Personal Finance for Teens: What Your Kids Should Know Before Leaving for College

Bring your teens and college-bound students to a complimentary, 90-minute workshop and learn how to manage a checking account & credit card. Understand college finances like healthcare, financial aid, transportation and related costs. Identify the spending traps in your budget. Snacks will be served. July 9,   2:00 pm – 3:30 pm at Richardson Methodist Hospital – Conference Room A at Bush Renner Campus. RSVP HERE

Session 2: Personal Finance for Teens: What Your Kids Should Know Before Leaving for College

Can’t make the first session? That’s ok. We have another. Bring your teens and college-bound students to a complimentary, 90-minute workshop and learn how to manage a checking account & credit card. Understand college finances like healthcare, financial aid, transportation and related costs. Identify the spending traps in your budget. Snacks will be served.  July 13,  9:30 am – 11:00 am at Richardson Methodist Hospital – Education Room B at Bush Renner Campus. RSVP HERE

Getting What You Want: Women’s Prosperity Workshop

Back by popular demand! Prosperity is in your hands. Don’t let it slip away. This complimentary, practical workshop for women is designed to help you manage your money, design your life & create your future. The workshop is open to women of all ages. Hors d’oevres and drinks will be served.  July 17,  6:00 pm to 8:00  pm at Blue Mesa Addison. RSVP HERE

To Register for any of our events, click here.

Seats are limited. Please RSVP at the link above or contact Lindsey Robran at 972-692-0909 or

Renters Insurance

When do you need renters insurance?

If you rent a house or an apartment, you might think you don’t need insurance because you don’t own the building. After all, your landlord probably has coverage. But your landlord’s insurance covers only the building, not the contents. Without insurance of your own, you could be left with nothing in the event of a fire or burglary.

That’s why you need renters insurance (HO-4), a special kind of homeowners insurance. It provides no coverage for the building itself. Instead, it covers your personal possessions and protects you against liability claims if you rent a house or apartment.

Property damage coverage

Renters insurance policies cover only losses that result from any of 17 named perils. If your property is lost or damaged as a result of one of these perils, your insurance company will compensate you for your loss. The covered perils are:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil disturbance
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Broken glass
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart
  • Freezing
  • Artificially generated electrical charge

Keep in mind that most renters insurance policies specifically exclude certain perils (e.g., earthquakes, flooding). As a result, you may need to purchase a separate policy to insure your possessions against damage caused by these hazards.

Property coverage levels typically start somewhere around $15,000 and go up from there. As you increase your coverage level, your premiums increase as well. An insurance professional can help you determine the amount of coverage that you need. Or, you can visit one of the many insurance websites for more information.

Replacement cost vs. actual cash value

These may sound like highly technical terms, but they are actually very important in determining how much money you will get if you ever have to file a claim. When you get a quote from your insurance agent, make sure you know which type of coverage is being described.

Actual cash value coverage reimburses you for only the amount that your property was worth at the time it was stolen, damaged, or destroyed. This means that if all of your clothes suffer smoke damage in a fire, your insurance company probably will pay as much as you could’ve made at a yard sale–not the $4,000 you spent over the last couple of years to create the perfect wardrobe.

Replacement cost coverage, by comparison, reimburses you for the amount that it will cost to replace your property. If you bought a $400 television two years ago, you’ll receive enough money to go out and buy another television just like the old one. You will probably have to replace the lost property with your own money and submit the receipt before you receive compensation. Nevertheless, replacement cost coverage typically pays significantly more than actual cash value coverage.

Liability coverage

Renters insurance also provides liability coverage. A typical renters insurance policy covers you for accidents and injuries that occur in your home, as well as accidents outside of your home that are caused by you or your property. (This does not include automobile accidents.) This liability coverage includes legal defense costs, if you are taken to court over such an accident. Standard levels of liability coverage are $100,000, $300,000, and $500,000. The amount of liability coverage that you need depends on your individual circumstances.

What does it cost?

The cost of renters insurance varies greatly depending on where you live, the construction of the building, your deductible, and how much insurance coverage you need. But renters insurance is much less expensive than homeowners insurance. On average, you will pay somewhere between $100 and $300 annually for a basic policy providing about $30,000 worth of coverage for your property. Replacement cost coverage is somewhat more expensive than actual cash value coverage, but it is usually worth the extra money.

How to Cut Costs if You’re Spending Too Much

How do you cut costs if you’re spending too much?

No matter how tightly you try to control your spending or how strictly you follow your spending plan, at some point you are likely to wonder how you can cut costs. In order to find out how to cut costs, you first need to find out where and when your spending occurs. Then you can decide whether you need to make major changes or if minor adjustments will do the trick.

Understand your spending habits better

Spending is a behavior, and, just like any other behavioral change, it requires monitoring while you are trying to change it. If you feel that you are spending too much, you’ll want to determine when you do your spending and what items you spend the most money on. One way to get started is to track your spending for a period of time and try to determine if you have a spending pattern. You may find that you are spending more on payday or when you are feeling frustrated or stressed. By identifying spending patterns, you can use extra caution when you find yourself in those situations. Next, you’ll want to identify the items which you spend the most money on. For many of us, buying clothing may involve shopping around to find the right price, but looking for a sale for groceries may not even occur to us. There are certain categories in which overspending is more likely to occur. Identify those categories and try to find out how you can reduce your spending on them.

Make major long-term spending changes

If you feel that you want to curtail your costs on a larger scale and make major long-term changes, consider the following suggestions:

  • Before taking out a loan or using a credit card, shop around for the lowest interest rates
  • Consider refinancing existing loans
  • Look into loan consolidation
  • Determine whether it makes sense to downsize into a smaller home
  • Make sure that you are not over insured (e.g., having collision and comprehensive auto insurance coverage on an older car)
  • Buy a pre-owned vehicle rather than a brand new one/consider eliminating a second vehicle

Minor changes can also make a big difference

Many times, minor changes can make a big difference. You may be surprised how small changes in spending can add up. The following are just some of the little things you can do to cut expenses:

  • Brown bag your family lunches
  • Limit dining out to special occasions only
  • Try to cut down on utility costs by making small energy-saving improvement to your home (e.g., shut off electronics when not in use)
  • Be a smart shopper by taking advantage of available sales and discounts
Establishing a Budget

How to Establish a Budget

Do you ever wonder where your money goes each month? Does it seem like you’re never able to get ahead? If so, you may want to establish a budget to help you keep track of how you spend your money and help you reach your financial goals.

Examine your financial goals

Before you establish a budget, you should examine your financial goals. Start by making a list of your short-term goals (e.g., new car, vacation) and your long-term goals (e.g., your child’s college education, retirement). Next, ask yourself: How important is it for me to achieve this goal? How much will I need to save? Armed with a clear picture of your goals, you can work toward establishing a budget that can help you reach them.

Identify your current monthly income and expenses

To develop a budget that is appropriate for your lifestyle, you’ll need to identify your current monthly income and expenses. You can jot the information down with a pen and paper, or you can use one of the many software programs available that are designed specifically for this purpose.

Start by adding up all of your income. In addition to your regular salary and wages, be sure to include other types of income, such as dividends, interest, and child support. Next, add up all of your expenses. To see where you have a choice in your spending, it helps to divide them into two categories: fixed expenses (e.g., housing, food, clothing, transportation) and discretionary expenses (e.g., entertainment, vacations, hobbies). You’ll also want to make sure that you have identified any out-of-pattern expenses, such as holiday gifts, car maintenance, home repair, and so on. To make sure that you’re not forgetting anything, it may help to look through canceled checks, credit card bills, and other receipts from the past year. Finally, as you list your expenses, it is important to remember your financial goals. Whenever possible, treat your goals as expenses and contribute toward them regularly.

Evaluate your budget

Once you’ve added up all of your income and expenses, compare the two totals. To get ahead, you should be spending less than you earn. If this is the case, you’re on the right track, and you need to look at how well you use your extra income. If you find yourself spending more than you earn, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Look at your expenses closely and cut down on your discretionary spending. And remember, if you do find yourself coming up short, don’t worry! All it will take is some determination and a little self-discipline, and you’ll eventually get it right.

Monitor your budget

You’ll need to monitor your budget periodically and make changes when necessary. But keep in mind that you don’t have to keep track of every penny that you spend. In fact, the less record keeping you have to do, the easier it will be to stick to your budget. Above all, be flexible. Any budget that is too rigid is likely to fail. So be prepared for the unexpected (e.g., leaky roof, failed car transmission).

Tips to help you stay on track

  • Involve the entire family: Agree on a budget up front and meet regularly to check your progress
  • Stay disciplined: Try to make budgeting a part of your daily routine
  • Start your new budget at a time when it will be easy to follow and stick with the plan (e.g., the beginning of the year, as opposed to right before the holidays)
  • Find a budgeting system that fits your needs (e.g., budgeting software)
  • Distinguish between expenses that are “wants” (e.g., designer shoes) and expenses that are “needs” (e.g., groceries)
  • Build rewards into your budget (e.g., eat out every other week)
  • Avoid using credit cards to pay for everyday expenses: It may seem like you’re spending less, but your credit card debt will continue to increase