How to Get Your Financial House in Order

financial-planning-knoxvilleWith the new year close at hand, multitudes of people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lifestyles with diet, exercise, or mastering new skills. Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions last approximately 21 days. Instead of making a resolution, why not commit to getting your financial house in order? Money may not be the most important thing, but it can allow you to do things that are most important to you. Start your new year with these six essential tasks to get your financial house in order.

Budgeting

Set a budget. Using a budget requires discipline and takes time to plan and carry out correctly. Byron Deese of Glass Jacobson Financial Group recommends living on 70% of your net income. Use half of that total for home and transportation, another 20% for food and an emergency fund, and 10% each for savings, retirement, and charity. Following a budget plan is the easiest way to get yourself financially on track.
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5 Reasons You Want a Local Agent on your Side

insurance-agent-client-contractI read an article yesterday (trying to stay up-to-date) in Insurance Journal, quoting a study that found “representation by a local agent has increased in importance the most over the past 5 years (45%) compared to other touch points related to insurance.” As many as 38% of shoppers based their decisions on agent recommendations. This tells me that over a third of the population understands the importance of professional advice. Where are you? Let me give you 5 reasons the other 62% of the population should know the importance of a local agent.

#1 Buying Local

Agents are local representatives in your local community. Being involved in the community is important, and many agents sponsor events and charities. This giving back helps on multiple levels. I see agents serving on boards of charitable organizations. This takes time and resources to help the less fortunate. Also, agencies employ several local representatives contributing to the success of the community. Giving jobs to young professionals is a big plus of agencies. All these factors are a win/win for the agent and the community.
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Is Your Team Is a Winner?

womens-basketballBeing an insurance agent reminds me of coaching basketball. Yesterday I wrote auto and homeowners insurance for one of my former basketball players. I coached her 20 years ago at Roane State Community College; what a player she was! She scored 40 points in the state championship game in 1989 (yes, a long time ago) which seeded the team #1 in the regional tournament. Her performance on the basketball court was one of the best I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a LOT of basketball). On that special night, her teammates realized she was on fire. I think she could have shot the ball with her eyes closed, and she would have made the basket. Every teammate wanted to pass the ball to her to get an assist. They were in it with her and excited for her success. Her individual success made it easier for the team to win that night. On a side note, we qualified for the National Tournament and finished 8th in the nation that year.

I wish insurance was more like coaching. As a basketball coach, you are a trusted leader, and you help people do more than they ever thought they could. You push people to prepare for performances that count the most. You help them achieve individual performances, but the greatest satisfaction comes when the team wins. On a team you do whatever is needed to help the team and your teammates win. The trust among teammates is hard to explain. If you have ever had the pleasure of being on a truly great team with good team chemistry, you know what I am talking about. It’s a special feeling.
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Is Your Insurance Agent Your Advocate?

auto-insuranceTraffic accidents can happen to anyone. According to Statistica.com, 6.3 million auto accidents occur annually. Auto accidents even happen to insurance agents. A couple of weeks ago as I was driving back to my office from an afternoon meeting, an older gentleman merged into my lane and hit my car. The passenger side of my SUV was damaged by his front fender, but thankfully I wasn’t hurt. We quickly pulled to the side of the road. As he exited his vehicle, the other driver appeared slightly confused. I made sure he was ok, and then we called the police. During the wait for the police officer, he continued to tell me it was his fault and that he didn’t see me. When the officer arrived, the other driver took responsibility and reported that the accident was his fault. He continued to seem somewhat confused about the process. Since we had moved the cars for safety, I gave the officer the details of where and how the accident occurred. It was evident from the car damage that the other driver had merged into me. The other driver and I exchanged personal info, and I left the scene with the accident report number in hand. Getting the accident number was routine for me as I know what to expect.

While he was in his insurance agent’s office later that afternoon, the other driver called me and asked for my insurance policy information. I gave him the information and asked if he had reported the claim. He confirmed he had and gave me a claim number from his current company. Because I had the claim number, I called the assigned adjuster and left a message. I didn’t hear from the adjuster for two days, but that’s not surprising. I assumed she was waiting on the police report to determine liability. Even though her client said he was at fault, the company waited to see what the police report confirmed.
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