Net Worth Update – September 2014

It’s time for my irregular-but-usually-quarterly net worth update.  It’s boring, but I like to keep track of how we’re doing.  Frankly, I was a bit worried when I started this because we’ve been overspending this summer and Linda was off work for the season.

But, all in all, we didn’t do too bad.

Some highlights:

  • Both of our properties lost around $3000 in value.  I’m not worried, because we are keeping them both for the long haul.  The rental is basically on auto-pilot, so that’s free money every month.
  • We sold a boat that appraised for much less I had estimated in the last few updates.  I had it listed for $5000, but it was worth $2000.
  • I do have a credit card balance at the moment, but that goes away as soon as my expense check clears the bank, which will be in a day or two.
  • We’re in the home stretch with the mortgage.  There is $11,407 left to go, and we’ve paid down $9105 in the last year.  By this time next year, I want that gone, gone, gone.

Net Worth

I can’t say I’m upset with our progress.  We’ve paid down $6000 in debt in 2014, including 3 months with 1 income.  We aren’t maxing our retirement accounts, yet, but I’d like to be completely debt free before I do that.  It’s bad math, but having all of my debt gone will give me such a warm fuzzy feeling, I can’t not do it.

My immediate goal is to hit a $600,000 net worth by my next update in January.  I’m only about $7000 off.

Time to hit the casino.  Err, I mean, time to up my 401k contribution from 5% to 7%.

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Net Worth Update – January 2014

This may be the most boring type of post I write, but it’s important to me to track my net worth so I can see my progress.  We are sliding smoothly from debt payoff mode to wealth building mode.

Our highlights right now are nothing to speak of.  We did let our credit card grow a little bit over the last couple of months, but paid it off completely at the end of December.  It grew mostly as a matter of not paying attention while we were doing our holiday shopping and dealing with some car repairs.

That’s it.  We haven’t remodeled our bathrooms yet, but we have the money sitting in a savings account, waiting for the contractor.  We haven’t bought a pony yet, but we did decide that a hobby farm wouldn’t be the right move for us.  We’ll be boarding the pony instead of moving, at least for the foreseeable future.

Our net worth is up $13,000 since September.  Our savings are up and our retirement accounts are down because there are two inherited IRAs that we need to slowly cash out and convert to regular IRAs.

Net Worth Jan 2014

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Late Pass: Insurance for the Terminally Ill?

Insurance

Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

This is a guest post.

Uh oh. Not only have you put in decades of loyal service for a company that does not offer a life insurance policy to employees, now you have a terminal disease that has numbered your days. You always meant to get a life insurance policy at some point, but it was just one of those things that there was never enough money left for at the end of a month after bills, groceries and just enough fun to make worthwhile.

Your life is one that needs insuring to protect your family following the now-inevitable, but has that ship sailed? Is it possible to make up for lost time by obtaining a life insurance policy as a terminally ill patient?

You already know that insurance companies are experts at assessing risk. Each potential policy holder is effectively examined to determine their likelihood of living a reasonably long time, and a terminal illness is an obvious negative in this department.

Many insurance companies will be hesitant to offer a comprehensive policy that they know they will have to pay out in fairly short order, but you may be able to get a type of life insurance known as graded premium life insurance.

With graded premium life insurance, you pay a monthly premium to retain coverage. If your illness should terminate within two years, your family will receive all the premiums you have paid as a benefit. Should you last longer, the insurance provider pays the full value of the policy. This is a compromise that gives you the peace of mind that a life insurance policy can provide while allowing the insurance provider to minimize their risk.

These policies typically have cash values ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, so while they might not guarantee the permanent stability of your family, it will offer them much-needed assistance through what is sure to be a difficult time in their lives. Premium amounts vary by age and relative health, but generally the closer you are to qualifying for a payout, the more it costs to enter the lottery.

Life is unpredictable except for its certain end, and sometimes this reality leaves us less prepared for the future as we would like. Fortunately, a terminal illness does not make a person completely uninsurable in most cases. Of course, it is much easier and less expensive to get life insurance as a person who is not dying, so the best strategy may be to invest before your health becomes an issue.

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Resolving Legal Disputes

Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dispute resolution has to do with the impartial rectification of conflict between individuals or parties. More specifically it is the utilization and execution of methods that are designed to resolve conflicts. In a case in which there is a dispute between people or groups, often times a third, neutral, party is selected to be an impartial representative for the disputing persons. Although dispute resolution can refer to resolutions both in and out of the court, it mainly applies to disputes that are settled outside of the legal framework of the judicial system.

Two of the most common types of dispute resolution are known as adjudicative and consensual. While adjudicative resolution requires a third party to mediate the outcome, such as a judge or jury, and usually involves some form of litigation, consensual resolution is the attempt to solve the issue between the two disputing parties without involving a third party, although at times a neutral arbitrator will be selected to preside over the case, though they will often be there not so much for authoritative purposes but more as a council to keep things fair. There is also a third upcoming type of dispute resolution, online dispute resolution, or ODR, which has become more popular in recent years with the rise of the internet’s prominence in daily life, but it is mainly the application of traditional consensual resolution practices, only adapted to the online environment.

Many disputes can be solved simply through adherence to the law, however, sometimes issues arise that the legal structure isn’t equipped to handle, and so a third party is chosen to resolve the conflict. These types of conflict fall within the jurisdiction of the law and so will be relegated to the political system for arbitration. Judicial resolutions are conflicts that will be, hopefully, settled by the court. In the United States, this is often the case with dispute resolution. This form of resolution usually involves litigation. This is the use of outside individuals to argue for or against the disputing parties. In a courtroom, the lawyers are the litigators, while the judge and jury listen to the arguments in order to come to their decisions.

Extrajudicial resolution is non-court settlement of conflict. Also known as alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, this is what people are usually referring to when discussing dispute resolution. ADR is usually more efficient, cost effective, and less time consuming than judicial resolutions. Extrajudicial resolution concerns various types of ways to settle conflict. These include arbitration and mediation. In arbitration neutral individuals will listen to both sides of an argument and render a decision based on evidence. Unlike the court systems, this proceeding doesn’t necessarily include a binding agreement with the parties.

Mediation is used in extrajudicial resolution as a way to open a dialogue between conflicting parties. The idea is to use a trained neutral third party in order to come up with unique solutions to solve the issue. A mediator is trained to be both an effective negotiator as well as an excellent communicator. A mediator is like a judge in that they cannot take sides, and they do not give legal advice either. Their decisions are not obligatorily followed, though they tend to be followed since the mediators are trained to make decisions that benefit both parties.

The techniques used in dispute resolution can be used both in and outside of the court room. It is often used by individuals who wish to speed up the process by not having to get into the political system. However, they are useful in many cases where individuals wish to come to the most beneficial agreement for all the parties involved.

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