Do I Need A Personal Umbrella Insurance Policy?

GEICO sent me an email the other day pimping their Personal Umbrella Insurance Policy (yes, the email was spammy and yes, I read it because I actually like Geico quite a bit) that started with these three questions:

  • Do you own your home? Yes.
  • Do you own any significant assets in addition to your home? Yes, a couple things.
  • Have you built an investment portfolio or a retirement savings account? Yes to both.

They said that if I answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, I need a personal umbrella insurance policy… I answered yes to all of them! So do I need a personal umbrella policy?

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 Personal Finance 

25 Resume Words To Avoid

CNN briefly touched on the topic of resumes earlier this month by giving some standard, but useful, advice with respect to what you put on your resume, including twenty five words you should avoid. Essentially they suggest that you should drop general terms about yourself or what you experienced in favor of specific things you did:

Instead of… “Experience working in fast-paced environment”

Try… “Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night”

Personally, I always find it hard to write the Objective part of the resume (mine reads something generic about ‘wanting to find a software development position that utilizes by technical and leadership skills’) and I think they’d give a pass at generic words there but my work experience hardly ever has any ‘personality buzzwords.’ I figured I’ll put what I did and if it’s something they’re looking for, they’ll bring me in and learn about my personality and it seems to have worked out pretty well so far.

As for the words to avoid: Aggressive, Ambitious, Competent, Creative, Detail-oriented, Determined, Efficient, Experienced, Flexible, Goal-oriented, Hard-working, Independent, Innovative, Knowledgeable, Logical, Motivated, Meticulous, People person, Professional, Reliable, Resourceful, Self-motivated, Successful, Team player and Well-organized.

Story via CNN.

 Frugal Living, Investing, Personal Finance 

Frugality and Index Fund Fees

The topic of index fund fee rates usually enters the discussion of index funds because usually that’s the only difference between the funds (since the contents are dictated by the index the fund is matching), but why should it matter if you pay 1% or 0.8% or 0.5%? On $10,000, the difference between 1% and 0.8% is a mere $20 a year! So what’s the big deal?

Well the big deal is if you had a choice of buying a book for $20 or $19.99, which one would you pick? It’s a mere penny difference, that’s 0.05%, and I’d be willing to bet that you’d pick the $19.99 every single time without fail. Why? It makes no sense to pay $20 when $19.99 can get you the exact same product – think of the index funds in the same way and those fees look expensive, regardless of their actual cost.

 General, Personal Finance 

MBA Salaries & Bonuses Increase

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), salaries and signing bonuses for the more than 100,000 MBA graduates in the US averaged $106,000, a 13.5% jump from 2004. Salaries nominally rose to $88,600 past highs of $85,400 set in 2001 – with inflation, salaries still lag about $4,000 from the 2001 highs. A 2005 MBA graduate hired into an investment bank would likely pocket a sweet $40,000 for signing on the dotted line.

Another interesting thing they noted was that the health care industry is gobbling up MBAs. At Hopkins, there are a lot of people in a joint Nursing/Health Care/MBA program because of this growing trend.

via Yahoo.

 Personal Finance 

Blast From The Past Elsewhere Articles

So the four other blogs in the Money Blog Network have been around for a while and some of you might only be familiar with their recent writings with the rise in the popularity of personal finance blogs. Well, having followed them for a while now, I’ve decided that this week we’ll take a look at some of my favorite articles from their archives.

AllThingsFinancial started on blogger and he recently (last September) moved all his content over but he’s been at this for at least a year (when we ran into each other). If you look into his archives and poke your head into September, you’ll read about his Hurricane Rita experience. First is the calm before the storm, tracking the monstrosity, a quick departure, a few days of silence, followed by a story of the evacuation experience, some photos, more stories of being displaced, returning home and surveying the damage, getting electricity restored (but no internet!), and finally the conclusion with the “I’m Back” post.

Deep in the annals of Five Cent Nickel’s archives is a great post on being diligent when reviewing your medical bills along with a more recent article about his wisdom teeth experience, specifically the billing. And just to round out the whole medical trifecta is his reaction to a seriously overdue medical bill. Pay your bills! 🙂

I went all the back to mid-2003 for Consumerism Commentary – that’s a full year and a half before I started blogging. Back then ING was offering a 1.8% rate and was facing competition from Capital One’s 2.25% rate! He also wrote a few article on being upside-down on a car loan and even an article on the often discussed topic of saving early for retirement. You want to talk about experience, Flexo’s been blogging for a long time now.

Finally, Free Money Finance’s archives chock full of goodness and if you ever have the time, you should just slide right through and read them all. That being said, this post lists his promises, why you should listen to him, and some common-sense ground rules for readers. Also worth noting is he’ll be on the Blogonomics Cruise!


 Credit, Government, Personal Finance 

ChoicePoint Fined $15M for Identity Thefts

ChoicePoint Inc. is one the largest data aggregators of personal identity information and last year it admitted to releasing/selling data on approximately 163,000 records to fake debt collection, insurance and check-cashing companies created solely to steal the information. While an accident is an accident, ChoicePoint failed to adequately check these fraudulent businesses before sending over the information. Today, they agreed to pay out approximately $15 million. Of that, $10M is in the form of a civil penalty and the remaining $5M will be used to compensate consumers. Essentially it cost ChoicePoint $92.02 per record that they revealed.

At $92.02 each…

  • Ameriprise owes $21,164,600 after losing 230,000 records.
  • Lexis-Nexis needs to pony of a check of $28,526,200 for the 310,000 records it had compromised.
  • Bank of America owes a whopping $110,424,000 after losing 1.2M records of federal employees.
  • Citigroup and UPS have to figure out a way to split a $358,878,000 bill after a tape containing 3.9M records from their CitiFinancial subsidiary dropped off the back of the UPS truck.
  • And finally, CardSystems Solutions you win the biggest prize for losing 40M records with a final score of $3,680,800,000.

    Looks like ChoicePoint got off easy!

    If you’re interested, I have written a whole bunch of articles about identity theft.

     Personal Finance 

    Ameriprise Loses Data for 230k

    The latest casualty to the identity theft war appears to Ameriprise Financial, an investment advisory spin off from Amex. Apparently, an employee left a company laptop, containing the personal information of 230k in unencrypted format (against company policy), in his car when it was broken into and stolen.

    The information on the laptop included the names and Social Security numbers of more than 70,000 current and former financial advisers and the names and internal account numbers of about 158,000 customers. The data was being stored in separate lists, but it is possible that there could be some overlap between the two.

    From the NYT article, it looks like it was just a typical break-in and the thief wasn’t looking to steal identity information. Seriously though, why would you ever leave a laptop in your car, especially if it held important company data that you were storing in a manner against company policy? I wouldn’t leave anything worth more than $20 in my car, regardless of where it was parked, because you never ever know what can happen.

    This is stupidly careless.

     Personal Finance 

    PFB Spotlight – Financially Savvy Atheist

    Much as we do, blogs also evolve. Today I present Frank the Financially Savvy Atheist which started at first as a blog about atheism and soon integrated his personal finances in. Frank is like a foil to Ray of The Millionaire’s Blog (interviewed 12/14/05) with regard to their treatment of religion and finances but I think that it’s interesting that now there are at least two personal finance bloggers who prominently display their religion on their blogs.

    Frank’s most significant characteristic isn’t unique in the real world but a rarity in the personal finance blogger world: how many 22 year olds own their own home, have two kids, and author a blog? (I don’t know any). Enjoy!

    jim: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
    Frank: I currently reside in NH. I work in the finance industry. I’m married with two sons who bring new meaning to “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

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