My travel log: an abbreviated version.

I got a passport in December 2006 for a work trip and, five years later, it is almost full.  To say I love to travel is an under-statement.  I’ve been lucky to travel a lot for work, a little bit through my graduate program, and a fair amount for personal trips.  This is a (mostly) one-picture glimpse into some of my trips, both international and domestic.

Las Vegas – May 2005

This trip was so much fun and probably my first real adult travel experience.  Five of us girls crammed ourselves into an MGM hotel room, laid by the pool, went out on the town at night, and just had a lot of carefree fun!

The ladies hanging out at the hotel bar before a night out. I was into the scary makeup back then.

Cancun – January 2006

I went to Cancun with my friend Katie a few months after Hurricane Wilma.  This was my first international experience – way back when they didn’t require passports!

Dancing at Señor Frogs. Despite what it looks like, I am not about to "smack that a$$"

Toronto & Niagara Falls – May 2006

This is when I fell in love with Toronto.  My friend Erin traveled here for work frequently so I tagged along.  We hung out in the city for a few days and spent the weekend in Niagara Falls.  Why wait to spend a romantic weekend in Niagara Falls with a guy – go with one of your girlfriends!  🙂

<I am very sad to say that I can’t find any pictures of this trip :(.  I still want to mention it because it was a lot of fun>

Ireland – January 2007

I got my passport in December 2006 for this trip!  I went to Galway, Ireland for a work project.  I got to spend a weekend alone in Ireland so I took a bus tour around Western Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

Don't fall over the edge.

Brainerd, Minnesota – May 2007

We went to a cabin in Brainerd for Laura’s bachelorette party (Colleen’s sister).  It. was. so. much. fun.  The thing I most remember is “Have I got a dance for you!”.  This guy would not leave us alone and repeatedly asked if someone would dance with him.  When the band was on break and they were playing filler music, I decided to make him wish he never bothered us so much to dance.  It started out like this:

Then I did a little of this:

and this:

Paris – July 2007

I stopped in Paris to visit my friend Noemie for four days before a study abroad.  Noemie had to work a few days, which gave me the opportunity to do sight-seeing on my own.  I am a very independent traveler so I loved this.  I could operate on my own time and didn’t have to feel guilty making Noemie see things she has probably visited a million times.

Me in front of the Eifel Tower.

Bucharest, Romania – July 2007

Bucharest was the first stop on a 10 day study abroad trip I took through my MBA program.  We traveled with 40 students from the Vienna Executive MBA program so it was just as interesting traveling with them as it was seeing the sights of Romania and Russia.   This was about 6 months after Romania joined the EU so there was a lot of excitement in Romania about their future.

Palace of Parliament in Romania. It is the world's largest civilian building, most expensive administrative building and heaviest building. It was designed and nearly completed in the 1980's by the Ceausescu regime. After the fall of that regime, it was largely seen as a symbolism of the excessive luxury of Nicolas Ceausescu's leadership.

St. Petersburg, Russia – July 2007

This was the second portion of our Economies in Transition trip.  I know this is a very random picture, but this is where I had the best Chicken McNuggets ever.  Yes, I do like to visit McDonald’s in other countries to see what the differences are (and sometimes I just crave American food).  My favorite part of Russia was seeing the ballet ‘Swan Lake’, but I cannot find any good pictures from that evening.

McDonalds in St. Petersburg

London – November 2008

I took a long weekend trip to London to visit my friend Noemie since she was working on a project there.  I saw the changing of the guards, went on the London Eye, walked around a lot, bought a great wallet at Ted Baker (that broke less than year later!), and we went out on the town with Noemie’s friend Jeannine.

Big Ben in the evening. So pretty. I took this picture from the London Eye across the river.

Brazil – January 2009

This was another study abroad for school and my last class of my MBA program!  Woohoo!  We spent two weeks studying at FGV in Sao Paulo and went to Rio for the weekend.  I know this picture isn’t a picture of Brazilian scenery, but I like it because it reminds me of how much fun I had on the trip.

I was twirling.

East Coast – October 2009

My best friend, Colleen, and I take a trip almost every year.  This was our third trip.  We went to Portland, Maine; the White Mountains in New Hampshire; Montpelier, Vermont; and Salem, MA.  I could share a lot of great pictures from this trip, especially because it is beautiful here that time of year.  But, one of the highlights of the trip was the Wife Carrying Competition:

They went over this obstacle, through water, up a hill, and to the finish line!

Thailand – May 2010

This is a trip that is really difficult to sum up in one picture.  I spent two weeks in Thailand with my friends Melanie and B. Bea.  We visited Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.  I wrote all about this trip and have a few more pictures when I did a guest blog for This Life in Motion on Monday.

Our resort in Koh Phangan. Check out This Life in Motion for more pictures - especially of the Full Moon Party! If you click on this picture it will take you to my guest post about Thailand.

Around the world – August 2010

I went on a three week work trip to Europe and Asia that included: Scotland, Prague (Czech Republic), Seoul (South Korea), Singapore, Hong Kong, Nanjing (China) and Shanghai (China).  I got to spend part of a weekend in Prague and a full weekend in Singapore.  I’ll probably have to share more than one of this trip 🙂

Old Town Square in Prague

Seoul, South Korea. I am having a brain fart on what this place is called.

View from the Singapore Flyer

Las Vegas – September 2010

We went to Vegas in September 2010 for my brother’s wedding.  It was so much fun!  This was my first time staying downtown and it won’t be the last time.  The Golden Nugget was so nice (and affordable) and downtown is very laid-back and easy to move from casino to casino.  We had my brother’s Grooms Dinner at a local bar to watch the Vikings game.

This was the Vikings vs. Saints game in September 2010.

Napa Valley – June 2011

We went to Napa Valley in June 2011 for my friend Shannon’s wedding.  It was beautiful (and the best wedding food ever).  Shannon organized a bus to take us around to a few wineries in the area.  We also stopped by Picchetti Winery, which is a little south of San Francisco.  They are no relation to Matt’s family but we feel a connection anyway 🙂

Benessere Vineyards

Cancun – December 2011

We went to Puerto Morelos in December for Mark and Ada’s wedding.  It was a nice break from Minnesota winter!  It was also nice and quiet at the resort.

Ceremony site at the resort

As much as I love traveling, I also love coming home.  There is something to be said for sleeping in your own bed and not living out of a suitcase!

What are some of your favorite places that you’ve traveled?  Do you have any big weekend plans?

HBR Article Review & Women in Corporate Leadership

Happy Friday!

Today, I read a good article and attended a Women in Corporate Leadership lunch.  I’d like to share my thoughts on the article and the Women in Leadership lunch.  I know this isn’t the perfect topic for a Friday when we want to take a break from work, but it is what is on my mind so it is what I’m going to write about 🙂

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

This article talks about how multi-tasking uses up our energy reserves faster and takes us, on average, 25% longer to complete tasks (and the quality is probably much lower than if you focused exclusively on the task).  This is exactly how I’ve felt the past few weeks.  I’ve been double-booked and in meetings from 7am-4pm a lot of days so I’ve been trying to keep up on email, get performance reviews written, and move my tasks along while I’m on conference calls so I don’t fall (further) behind.  

At the end of the day, I’ve been so exhausted I can barely form an intelligent thought, yet I still haven’t felt like I made progress on the important things at work.  I struggle with this in my personal life too, where I am on my phone while watching tv so I’m not fully enjoying my downtime or my mind drifts to what I need to get done at home when I’m having a conversation so I’m not fully present.   

My solution?  Lately, I’ve been making more conscious decisions to keep my phone in the other room when I’m at home or leave my laptop in my office when I head to meetings at work.  It is something I will need to work on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, but I think it will make me a much more engaged and productive worker and a better friend… while also making sure I leave the office with a little more energy.

Women in Corporate Leadership lunch

The host of this event was Dale Kurschner, Editor-in-Chief of Twin Cities Business.  The format was a presentation of the recent study on women in leadership and board positions and then a panel discussion.  It was interesting to see the facts behind women in leadership:

  • Women represent 40% of the workforce
  • 51% of middle management roles are held by women (which was surprising since that is a higher percentage than the general population of women in business)
  • The average percent of women on boards is 14.2%
  • Less than 3% of Fortune 1000 companies have a female CEO

In all honesty, I don’t really like the whole “women need equal representation” talk.  It implies that women are promoted because they are women, not because they are qualified.  I’ve worked too hard in my career to have my qualifications be dismissed as a gender thing.  I think that is the attitude of the typical Milennial or Gen X female.  I also think that attitude is proof that Baby Boomer women were successful in forging the way for women to be seen as equals in the workplace.  I don’t feel like I have to prove myself as a woman, I feel like I have to prove myself as an employee.  The Baby Boomers shattered the ceiling, changed the perception, and gave me the confidence to have that attitude. 

Now, I will step off my soapbox.  Obviously, women are under-represented in top-level corporate roles.  The largest factor is probably that most people who lead Fortune 1000 companies are typically in the generation where women have been under-represented.   When women were in leadership roles, it was often in HR or Communications; whereas, a CEO usually has a strong financial, operations or sales background.  I am not defending the low percent, but I think it is a stretch to say it means we don’t have equal opportunity.  What I think it means is there was once an imbalance, which led to a very small pipeline of women leaders with the right experience to become CEO.  It takes a long time to build a pipeline of good leaders.  As the current generation of CEO’s retire, it will make way for the next generation that has a strong pipeline of women leaders to take over.  I will be very surprised if we don’t see the number of female CEO’s drastically increase over the next 5-10 years. 

I found the data to be interesting (and not surprising) and the panel to just be “meh”.  They weren’t very energetic and the topics were the same you’d hear at any other luncheon.  The gist of it was:

  • The Milennials want more flexibility in their work – how, where and what they work on.  All of these companies recognized that they will need to provide this flexibility if they want to retain talent.
  • You can have it all, but usually not at the same time.  At some point, you need to make trade-offs.  The group that came up a lot in this discussion was young mothers and fathers.  The law firm Fredrikson & Byron lets their Associates work part-time so they can stay on track to reach partner and spend more time with their kids.  (obviously the partner track is longer in this case)
  • Having a diverse board and Executive team leads to more diversity in thought, which leads to better decision-making. 
  • Be yourself.  People can connect better with people who are genuine.  This is something I’ve found to be the most helpful in my career.  I am honest and straightforward, so I can usually build up trust pretty quickly that I’m here to work hard and make the right decisions. 

Have you read any good articles lately?  What are your thoughts on my thoughts about women in leadership?

I love this blog. I thought you might enjoy the history of a well known soft drink 🙂

Foodimentary - National Food Holidays

Did you know that Coca Cola comes from the use of coca and kola?  Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by (Doc) John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.

Food Finds for Coca Cola

  • Coca Cola was first invented by a pharmacist name John Pemberton as a medicine to cure headaches.
  • Coca-Cola is called “Coca-Cola” because of the original ingredients used in the medicine, Coca leaves and Kola seeds. Wine was also added in place of sugar similar to the coke we drink today.
  • When Mentos is added to Coca-Cola, the carbon dioxide in the coke will be rapidly released, causing the coke in the bottle to burst out. Diet coke works the best.
  • Coca-Cola can be used to help cure…

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Weigh-in Wednesday, Week 5: Feeling Good

Happy Hump Day!  Wow, I can’t believe it has already been five weeks!  Thanks everyone for the kind words last Wednesday.  Rayna posted this video on my Facebook wall that I’d like to share as motivation for others who have a hard time fitting workouts into busy days:  Zuzana – Don’t Give Up!. I can’t get the You Tube imbed to work so click on the link to see it.

Despite very minimal results, I have felt great the past few days (other than crying through the eulogy at my grandma’s funeral).  My legs feel lighter when I run and my clothes definitely feel better.  I can always tell when I am gaining momentum with my weight loss because I have less thigh jiggle 🙂

I love this point where I start to feel great because it becomes easier for me to make healthy decisions.  If I feel good and my clothes fit better, I want to keep them that way.  If I’m not at that point, I get down on eating healthier and squeezing in exercise on a busy day (“it won’t make a difference, anyway.”)  Ok, I confess – there are still some things I can’t easily turn down.  I found these in our freezer a few days ago:

I thought they were gone, but it turns out they were just hiding from us in our freezer… those sneaky thin mints.  Nom, nom, nom… I’m like Cookie Monster around those things.  Overall, I am pretty happy with how my eating went this past week.  These were some of the highlights:

  • Today, I had an all-day work meeting that involved catered food and a dinner at Stella’s Fish Cafe.  I had my own healthy breakfast at home, avoided the glazed donut that was trying to seduce me with it’s delicious frosting, and I didn’t have an alcoholic drink at dinner.  This is usually tough since everyone else is having a drink and it is the end of a long day so a beer or wine just sounds really good.
  • There was a lot of tasty-smelling potato chips at the VFW after my grandma’s funeral  yesterday.  I gave these up for 2012 and I still haven’t had a potato chip or french fry!
  • Matt and I ate a healthy dinner at home on Saturday night before meeting our friends at the bar to celebrate our engagement.  (we did have a late night sushi happy hour though)
  • The best part is I didn’t really miss all of this stuff I turned down.  There was a second of thought, but overall I didn’t obsess about how difficult my decision was to say no.

My week of activity looked like this:

  • Wednesday –  I had about 45 minutes to work out between work and meeting a friend so I did a 3 mile temp run & short walk with Macy.
  • Friday – Tough Mudder circuit
  • Saturday – 5 mile long run.  I ran my a 7k 1:30 faster than when I ran the Get Lucky 7k just one week earlier!
  • Sunday – Nice, leisurely 2 mile walk with Matt and Macy while wearing my Vibram Five Fingers
  • Tuesday – I had a work dinner and didn’t get home until 8 so I just did a quick workout.  It was a 25 minute treadmill interval run (15 minutes alternating between 10:00 mile pace and 7:30 mile pace, 15 minutes alternating walking and running an incline of 8).  I also did as many push-ups and squat/shoulder presses as I could to kill my arms.

I have 53ish days until Tough Mudder.  I am most concerned about my upper body strength, so my focus over the next is to get back on the 2-3x/week routine I had going before my grandma got sick.  I know I’ll be fine with the running portion, but I am not sure about my ability to do things like lift myself over a wall or get across monkey bars!

I’ve been slightly hard on myself lately so this week I’m not going to post about what didn’t go well.  It is killing me not to point out my “opportunities”.  Not to sound like a complete nut, but I do this at work a lot too.  I had my review last week and started it out by taking over the meeting and telling my boss what I think I could have done better.  Yep, true story!  Obviously you can tell I am a Type A person.  My job is basically all about process improvement and sometimes that extends a little too much into my personal life.  Luckily, I have Matt to balance me out.

So, how do I feel at Week 5?  I wish I had more drastic results, but only because I am impatient.  I’d like to have better results over the next five weeks than I have this past five weeks, but I am still really happy with my progress.  I am comfortable I will see better results in the next five weeks because life should become a little more stable.  I mean, what are the odds I can have two major life events (my engagement and grandma’s death, for the new readers) happen in the next five weeks too? 😉

Are you ever too critical of yourself?  How has your week been going?  Anything positive you want to share with us?

A few of my favorite things

Yesterday was a long day. It was go-go-go at work until I left at 11:30 12:00 for my grandma’s funeral (it was one of those days where I was always a little behind… luckily not late for the viewing and service though!). I can’t believe how many people were there… a lot who I haven’t seen in years (or ever). I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised; my grandma was a very likable person.

I feel like the past week has been emotionally exhausting so I wanted to post something a little more upbeat. (side note: if you’ve commented on my blog and I haven’t responded, it isn’t because I’m not reading them. I’ve just been too wiped out to formulate an intelligent response. I really appreciate the comments, especially the encouragement I received on last Wednesday’s post).

This post was inspired by an annual Favorite Things party that my friend Abby hosts. It is just like Oprah, except with a $10 limit so no iPads or trips to Australia. We all buy one of our favorite things for each of the other girls.

Head Scratcher

The first year Abby hosted the party, I bought this awesome head scratcher/massager for everyone:

It will rock your world.

I love this thing because it is an instant relaxer. Who knew my scalp holds so much stress??

The Best of Clean Eating Cookbooks

This year, I bought everyone The Best of Clean Eating, gave them one of my favorite recipes (Southwest Spaghetti Squash bake), and some samples of protein powder. Yes, I did all of that for less than $10 because I found some unbeatable deals. It helps that we have the party about a month after Christmas.

I love the Clean Eating cookbooks. I received the first one as a Christmas gift from Colleen and vowed to make one recipe a month from the book. We’ve easily averaged one recipe per week. I liked the first edition so much that I also bought the second one!

These will also rock your world.

Magnets

I think this is a pretty common one, but I like to buy magnets when I travel. These are a few of the magnets I’ve accumulated over the years:

London, Maine, Brazil, Boston, Paris, Chicago, Las Vegas, Singapore, Thailand, San Francisco, South Korea, Prague, Netherlands, Russia

In South Korea, they believe that Loons mate for life. As a Minnesotan, that sold me on that magnet! I also took some magnets from Grandma Muriel’s apartment to add to my collection:

I remember the owl from when I was a little girl!

Stoli Razberi & Soda and Crispin

My two favorite drinks are Razberi Stoli with soda and Crispin. I didn’t have any Crispin so I just captured a picture of the Stoli. Both of these are very refreshing and light drinks… which really just means I can drink a lot of them. 🙂

Yum.

Magazines

I love all kinds of magazines. They are great for travel and a nice monthly motivation to eat healthy, exercise, and stay on track with my financial goals. As cheesy as that sounds, it works for me!

This is just a snapshot. I probably subscribe to 10-15 per month. In my defense, I paid about $5-$10 per annual subscription.

No, we are not actually vegetarians. So, why do we subscribe to a vegetarian magazine? I don’t really have a good answer for that. Matt said he wanted to try eating less meat so I subscribed to help us find good recipes (and I’m sure I found a good deal on the subscription so at the time it made all the sense in the world).

If you’re looking for a good Personal Finance magazine, I would recommend Money Adviser first, Money second, and Kiplinger’s third. Money Adviser has really good specific tips that are applicable to everyone, Money has good general information, and Kiplinger’s is probably better for people later in life with more wealth already accumulated.

Tea

I love tea. It doesn’t even have to be fancy tea (although I do love me some fancy tea). I love it all. Matt has forbidden me from buying more until we drink what we have, which is really sad because I miss Sweet Dreams tea by Bigelow. It is great right before bed.

Protein Powder

I dedicated an entire post to my love for my protein shake. I love my protein powder in general though. I also put it in oatmeal. I’m also thinking about baking with it over the next few weeks. I’ve read other blogs and protein powder is supposedly a good addition to brownies. It tastes really, really, really, really good and it helps me get in a little extra protein.

The kind I use is a vegan protein powder that is also gluten-free.

Fiber Powder

My doctor suggested switching from fiber pills to powder last year because you get more “bang for your buck”. I went home and compared my pills to my powder and I’d have to take 15 pills to get the same fiber as I do in one scoop of my powder. I like this powder because it is completely tasteless and easy to put in my food and shakes. I have tried Miralax, which is often recommended by doctors and didn’t like the taste so I never drank it.

12g per scoop. 25g is the recommended daily amount for women.

I bet you’re wondering if I sell Arbonne (if you don’t already know me). I am a Consultant but I don’t sell it. I use their protein powder, fiber powder and RE9 skincare line so I’m able to maintain my 35% discount. If I ever wasn’t able to maintain my discount, I’d probably invest in the Preferred Client and still buy it for 20% off. At some point, I might get adventurous and try other powders but I’m really happy with the taste and nutritional content of their product so I don’t have a strong reason to check out other brands yet.

Shoes

I love shoes. I have been good about not buying them very often the past few years but that hasn’t changed my love for them. This is one of my favorite pair of work shoes. I bought them on a work trip. They were only $30 and they are amazingly comfortable.

I know this isn't a good picture, but hopefully you get the idea.

What are a few of your favorite things?

Thailand is a place worth seeing!

Hi everyone!

Abby at This Life in Motion was kind enough to invite me to write a guest post for her blog. I chose to write about my trip to Thailand in May 2010. Stop by and check it out!

Link to the article: http://wp.me/p2cQ0M-50.

Life Insurance: the options

Hello world!  I’m back after being MIA for a few days.  It’s been a nice, relaxing weekend.  Yesterday, I finally bought Vibram Five Fingers after thinking about it for over two years.  REI had a 20% off promotion for members (side note: the $20 fee for a lifetime membership is totally worth it) and I received a $55 REI member dividend so I only paid $23 for them.  I wore them on a walk with Macy this morning and they were very comfortable!  I think they’ll be great for short runs and my Tough Mudder circuit training.

Today, I am working on the eulogy for my grandma’s funeral.  She lived a very long, full life… and it’s hard to even begin to figure out how to summarize that into a 20-minute speech.  I hope I am lucky enough to lead the long and fulfilling life my grandma lived.

Sometimes life is unpredictable though.  (whomp, whomp… I know that makes me sound like Debby Downer)  My grandma passed away at 91, my aunt passed away unexpectedly at 49 and my friend from graduate school has been in critical condition for two weeks at age 33.  No one likes to think they won’t be the person living to 91, but sometimes you need a contingency plan to protect the loved ones you leave behind.  By a strange coincidence, I purchased life insurance earlier this month.  So, this post is intended to give you a quick reference guide on life insurance options.

There are two basic types of life insurance: term and permanent.  A good analogy is that term insurance is like renting and permanent insurance is like owning.  With term life insurance, there is no cash value accrued and coverage is only guaranteed for a set period of time.  With permanent life insurance, cash value is accrued and coverage is guaranteed for your entire life at the same monthly premium.

Term insurance is the least expensive and the premium is usually about $10/month per $100,000 if you’re a young, healthy adult (but gets more expensive as you get older and/or less healthy).  You pay the premium for a set time period that you want coverage.  This is usually good for younger people with limited financial responsibilities/means and parents who want to insure their minor kids are taken care of if something happens to them.  The idea is that you may only temporarily want life insurance because you’ll eventually hit a point in life when the equity in your house or your other savings and assets will eliminate the need for life insurance.

Permanent life insurance is more expensive and premiums vary based on the plan. The most basic benefit is it provides insurance protection and builds up a cash value (savings).  This is a little more detail about the benefits:

  • You can access the cash value by taking a loan against the policy, it can be used as supplemental retirement income, and it can be used as collateral for loans
  • You may get paid dividends if and when the insurance company declares them or you can have the dividends rolled into your cash value.
  • You are guaranteed the benefit for life at your initial premium, whereas term insurance expires and renewing may not be at the same premium rate.  With term insurance, you might not re-qualify for a renewal or it might become very expensive because of age or health.

So, there are a lot of benefits!  That is probably why premiums can be 8-10x more expensive than term insurance when you are a young, healthy adult.

How does permanent life insurance build up cash value?   Part of your premium pays for the insurance and the rest is invested by your insurance company (or, in my case, Northwestern Mutual).  The benefit of this versus saving or investing it yourself is there is usually a guaranteed rate of return.  You can also choose how quickly you want the cash value to accrue, which will be factored into your premiums (the faster you want it to build up, the higher your premium).

There are three basic types of permanent life insurance: whole life insurance, universal life insurance and variable life insurance.  I stole the descriptions of these from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ‘Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide’:

  • Whole Life Insurance covers you for as long as you live if your premiums are paid. This is the most common form of permanent insurance.  You generally pay the same amount in premiums for as long as you live. When you first take out the policy, premiums can be several times higher than you would pay initially for the same amount of term insurance. But they are smaller than the premiums you would eventually pay if you were to keep renewing a term policy until your later years.  Some whole life policies let you pay premiums for a shorter period such as 20 years, or until age 65. Premiums for these policies are higher since the premium payments are made during a shorter period.
  • Universal Life Insurance is a kind of flexible policy that lets you vary your premium payments. You can also adjust the face amount of your coverage. Increases may require proof that you qualify for the new death benefit. The premiums you pay (less expense charges) go into a policy account that earns interest. Charges are deducted from the account. If your yearly premium payment plus the interest your account earns is less than the charges, your account value will become lower. If it keeps dropping, eventually your coverage will end. To prevent that, you may need to start making premium payments, or increase your premium payments, or lower your death benefits. Even if there is enough in your account to pay the premiums, continuing to pay premiums yourself means that you build up more cash value.
  • Variable Life Insurance is a kind of insurance where the death benefits and cash values n the investment performance of one or more separate accounts, which may be invested in mutual funds or other investments allowed under the policy. Be sure to get the prospectus from the company when buying this kind of policy and STUDY IT CAREFULLY. You will have higher death benefits and cash value if the underlying investments do well. Your benefits and cash value will be lower or may disappear if the investments you chose didn’t do as well as you expected. You may pay an extra premium for a guaranteed death benefit.

Which one is better?  If you don’t have a good retirement savings or already feel financially strapped, term insurance is probably the best option right now so you can focus on increasing (or starting) your 401k and building up a savings.  If you are looking to make more long-term investments in your life, a mix of term and permanent is probably the best.  I have both because I want a little extra protection for when I have kids (and you usually get a discount when you buy them together) and I want to diversify my retirement and savings.  If you’re young, now is definitely the time to investigate your options because you will get a better rate.  Even if it is a small term policy, it is better to have some coverage.  No one likes to think they would need it, but sometimes life can be unpredictable.

Who can you talk to if you want to investigate options further?

  • I know everyone dreads going to them, but talk to a Financial Planner.  They will be able to recommend if it is something you should consider or if you should focus your financial efforts somewhere else.
  • Your car insurance company probably offers term life insurance.  I know State Farm offers it.
  • When I was doing my research for this post, I discovered the Consumer Federation of America will evaluate your permanent policy (if you already have one) to determine if it is worth keeping.

Do you currently have term or permanent life insurance?  What was the reason you decided to buy life insurance?

Is anyone still going strong with their March Madness bracket?