Tuesday morning! Here's your weekly
only reliable source for un-common
cover-your-backside strategies that you
be able to find anywhere else.
your best shot...try to put me out of a
Forward this week's newsletter to everyone in
your Address Book
with any luck, make 'em a little
smarter this year.
a big shot: Spread the word and share the wealth of
February 4, 2003:
reminder from the tragic Space Shuttle disaster that unfolded
over the skies of Texas a few days ago: Life
is fragile, at best. As routine as Space Shuttle
landings have become over the last 20+ years, it was easy for
casual observers like us to be lulled into a (false) sense of
security and expectations of success. Even if your job
description doesn't include something as potentially risky as
flying into space, chasing bad guys or fighting fires, there's
still the ever-present element of risk that comes with living
life. (Does anyone else remember how routine
Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 was until all hell broke
prepared. Get off your butt and get your
act together. (I'm even making it easy for you...so you
can forget trying that excuse.) As in being
prepared for anything that could be thrown at you or your
family, with an eye towards minimizing the traumatic,
financial or legal impact life's curveball creates. Let's do
three things (one of which is even free)
that will help you prepare for worst possible case scenarios:
your automobile insurance agent first thing tomorrow morning
and make sure you've got Un-insured and Under-insured motorist
are coverages that protect you in the event you're in an
accident with someone who's either driving without insurance
or has the bare minimum (lowest limits) coverage required by
law. This extra level of coverage is so damned cheap, you're
crazy if you don't protect yourself from the other guy.
the limits on your homeowners (or renters) and life insurance
policies. Have your insurance agent review your policy limits
with you-and explain in terms you can clearly comprehend-where
you're covered and where you're not...and for how much.
know I know I know: Insurance
is the only thing we buy, and hope we'll never have to use
it. It's also something you'll wish you had when the
you-know-what (eventually) hits the fan. Play it safe and
invest in preparation and piece (or is it
"peace"?) of mind for a change, alright?
This one won't cost more than a few
minutes of your time, so no whining and no excuses. Get
off your rear and update the EMERGENCY
card in your wallet or purse. Oh...you don't have one?
You're a thrill seeker, aren't ya? Do it now! I'm about to
give you a free web-based resource that will create a card
that you can print and fold and tuck away in your wallet
in a matter of minutes. But first, read on...
card needs to contain current contact information so in
the event a perfect stranger attempting to
assist you in a time of need can deliver you to
familiar (and supportive) hands. You don't need to give up
information like your Social Security Number, but the card
does need to contain Next-of-Kin/Best Friend information
for the top three relatives or friends you want contacted
in an emergency. Include current pager or cell phone
numbers, current home, work and even e-mail addresses.
sure to include your full name, current address and home
and work telephone numbers: If you know your blood
type, put this down too, as well as any allergies or
special medical information that would help an emergency
medical technician care for you.
know I sound like a refugee from the Boy Scouts...but
you really want to take the time to get this into your
purse or wallet...and hope you'll never need to use it!
The link I'm about to give you to create/print a personal
Emergency ID card isn't perfect, but it's better than
nothing-and if you're reading this now there's a better
chance that you'll do something now than put it off and
eventually forget about it altogether.
the link to create a free, temporary
Emergency ID Card.
speaking of being prepared, here's why you need to go make a
color photocopy of your Driver's License and your
Passport...like do it right now! With
the easy access and inexpensive cost of color photocopiers,
why not save yourself some grief and go shoot a few copies of
your ID? Once you've done this, you've got a fall-back
"Plan B" in the event you lose your ID, something of
even higher impact in these post 9-11-01 times. Keep the extra
copies in a safe place at home [so you can readily access 'em
if you need to]...but when you travel, make sure you've got
one of these copies with you but not in
the same place as the original IDs. In a purse, but not in the
billfold. In a briefcase, but never in your wallet or where
ever you carry your IDs.
you started planning your Spring Break getaway yet?
What about a little romance this coming Valentine's Day/3-Day
weekend? Wanna deal on condos? I mean dirt-cheap
deal??? Check out www.condosavers.com
Looking for 5
TIPS to LOWER your insurance premiums? [How
about 5 Plus 7 Bonus Tips!] If your auto
insurance premiums have shot up, you're not alone...especially
if you're insured by Allstate, Farmer's or State Farm: Down
and dirty, here are a few simple steps you can follow right
now to drop your costs...
1. Raise your deductible:
Jacking it up to $500 or $1000 can save as much as 15-30% on
your collision/comprehensive costs.
2. Drop collision/comprehensive
coverage on older cars [they've gotta be paid
off, of course]; why over-insure an older vehicle? It
may not be worth it.
3. Keep your driving record
4. Ask about other discounts:
If you load up all of your business with one insurance
company, they'd better give you a "deal" or you'd
better take your business elsewhere. Other business
includes homeowner's (or renter's), covering a second vehicle,
a boat, etc. No deals? Then no deal! Take your
5. How old are you?
Over 50 but under 65? Then you're a prime
candidate for a discount. Ask and you shall have a
chance at receiving!
6. Gotta kid on your policy?
Make them get good grades: A "B" average or better
will get you a discount; if Junior won't hit the books, make 'em
pay the higher premiums...maybe that'll instill a study-ethic
they never knew they had! (Or they can hitch rides with
friends, walk, ride a bike.....)
7. What do you do for a living?
If you're a teacher or have an advanced degree in engineering,
math or science, statistics indicate that you're a lower risk.
Ask for a discount. [Drug dealers and hookers probably
shouldn't mention their professions if they're looking for
8. Is your kid in college?
Then knock 'em off your policy if you can. Make them get
their own coverage, and watch how much your premiums drop.
[Life's a bitch when you're young and a risk in the eyes of
the insurance company...but we all went through it, so tough
luck. That's part of growing up.]
9. Pay for minor stuff
yourself!!! Keep nickel-and-dime-ing your
carrier and forget about higher premiums...they'll just flat drop
10. Drive fewer miles:
Commute in a carpool or public transportation and tell 'em
about it. Lower miles = lower exposure.
11. Pick a safer car:
Pinto owners need to apply.
(Makes sense, doesn't it?)
12. Anti-theft devices will earn
you brownie points and lower premiums: Not
car alarms...but devices that help the cops track/find/recover
the car. You know...LoJack or the OnStar technology.
Alarms are increasingly less-effective...surprise!
your pharmacist be ripping you off? A
$100 million class-action lawsuit was filed last year against
Florida-based Eckerd's (owned by JCPenney) over shorting
consumers through a process called "rounding up." Bottom
line? No matter where you get your prescriptions filled,
do yourself a favor and count your pills or capsules. You may
be surprised at how many pharmacists accidentally mis-count
your pills...especially the pricey type, or [heaven forbid]
they short you on your pain meds. You've
15th will be here soon, and most of you have already received
your W-2s or 1099s in the mail: But have you
checked them? You'd be surprised at how many are wrong, so
check the numbers and pay on what you actually owe. If either
of these forms are wrong, you'd better aggressively contact
the company issuing them and have them issue a
corrected/amended W-2 or 1099 ASAP. Remember:
IRS must be sent a copy of the corrected documents or
you'll be in for some major heartburn, and delay in getting
any refund owed back in your natural lifetime.
you file your return without corrected W-2/1099s, and
even if your numbers balance, thanks to something called
"matching" you'll get flagged quicker than an Osama
bin Laden look-alike trying to make a morning tour through the
your Social Security Number, as well as the
earnings being reported to make sure all of the numbers make
sense and you're getting proper credit for your earnings.
Otherwise, you'll end up on the short-end of the payments
stick many years down the road when it's impossible to
re-trace your steps because you'll be too damned feeble, too
tired and too broke to put up an effective fight. Want
of Social Security Numbers, here's another example of why
you should think twice before giving yours up: I
went to a "Doc-In-The-Box" last year, paid cash
[no jacking around with insurance claims kids...CASH!!!]
and this pinhead clerk who was processing my "intake
questionnaire" insisted that I give her my Social
Security Number "because it's company policy and
our computers require it." So this is where "Dover's
Path of Lease Resistance" kicks
in. Fine...you want a Social Security Number? No
problem...here's one. She had no legal
right to have my SSN, so I simply gave her "a
number." I was sick, I was tired, and I was in no
mood to fight with someone that had little
(okay, zero) knowledge about the bigger picture in the world
of SSNs/privacy/personal information. I threw her a 9-digit
bone, paid my $89, got my prescriptions and left. No
harm..no foul...case closed. And hopefully, a
lesson learned by you as a result!
problems? Non-filers? Brain-damage leftover from an
ex-spouse? Ben's answer that won't break
your back, your checkbook, or your freedom once you
re-appear on IRS radar. You're smarter to surface on your
own than wait for "them" to find you. Want
rates are still amazingly low...tell me again why you're
throwing money down the drain every month on rent?
Oh...you own a house and love to pay 18% plus to the credit
card companies? No matter what your
excuse--I mean--situation...you'll probably benefit from
Ben's brand-spankin' new [and free!] 2003
Home Buyer's Guide.
here to get
something on credit? Someone loaning you cash?
Are they forcing you to buy credit life insurance or an
extended warranty? If so, they're probably setting
themselves up for a lawsuit and a big $$$ slap by
the Attorneys General around the nation: Paul
(one of my listeners) was not only forced to buy a 3-year
repair policy by Mac Warehouse, they added it on to the
purchase without his prior authorization!
That's not only wrong...but it smacks of dirty dealing
that they need to be held accountable for.
Don't ever let anyone put a gun to
your head and pull these types of games outta the blue.
(Besides, there are simply too many
attorneys that would love to slap 'em back into place!)