Life Insurance: Are you and your family covered?

I recently received a powerful story from a woman by the name of Stephanie. Her and her young family were trying to get on track financially and decided to read Smart Couples Finish Rich. In a short period of time, her husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. She told me that his health failed at a considerable rate and he was immobile only 4 months after the onset. Two week’s after he passed away, she wrote to me an email thanking me for the advice to purchase life insurance. She said that although she was devastated, she was “financially ok” and could find a little peace knowing that her and her two boys could still live comfortably.

My entire team and I were so touched by Stephanie’s story and it reminded all of us why we do what we do: to help teach and inspire others to be smarter with their money for a more secure and rich future. And its because of her story that I am writing this blog post for all of you today; to make you stop and think… if something like this happened to you would you and your family be covered? Would you be able to find some peace?

When I was a financial adviser, I reviewed hundreds of my client’s insurance policies and for the most part what I have seen firsthand is that most people and most families are under insured.

The key to life insurance is figuring out if you need it, how much you need and the smartest way to buy it. Let’s get started…

MAKE SURE YOU REALLY NEED IT                       

In general, you don’t need life insurance if….

  • You are young, single, and don’t have any dependents.
  • You are not concerned about leaving money (an estate) to anyone.
  • You are not planning to have children and you don’t know if you will ever get married.

You do need life insurance if…

  • You have dependents.
  • You are married, owe a lot of money, and want to protect your spouse.
  • You have people or organizations you want to leave money to.
  • You have completely maxed out your retirement contributions and are looking for another tax-deferred way to save money.
  • You have a large estate and want to use insurance to reduce potential estate taxes.



1.  How stable is the company? To get an idea of how strong a company’s finances are and whether you can count on it to be around for the long haul, check with one of these firms that rate life insurers.

2. How well does the company take care of it’s policyholders? National Association of Insurance Commissioners maintains an online Consumer Information Source at, where you can look up the complaint record of virtually any insurance company in the country. 

3. How cheap are their rates? Once you’ve satisfied yourself on these two counts, you should look for the best price. The most efficient way to do this is through an online broker such as.


Life insurance is all about protecting your family against financial hardship in the event you pass away. So you need to base the size of your policy on one of two things: either what your potential earnings would have been if you hadn’t died or how much money your family will need in order to stay afloat after you’re gone.

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), an industry-supported educational group, has two terrific calculators on its website that can help you figure this out: a “Human Life Value” calculator “Human Life Value” , which estimates what your lost earnings would be worth, and a “Life Insurance Needs” calculator “Life Insurance Needs”, which computes how much money your family is likely to need.


Many employers offer free life insurance coverage that can be worth as much if not more than your annual salary. So when you’re figuring how much insurance you need, don’t forget to factor in your workplace benefits. If you are young and healthy, however, do a comparison between your employer’s group rate and what it would cost you for an individual policy. Because a group policy covers both healthy and unhealthy workers alike, your company’s policy could end up being more expensive than an individual policy for a healthy person in the open market.


The most important advice I can give you regarding a group employer policy is to make sure the plan is portable.  This means should you leave your employer, you can take the insurance policy with you (and fund it yourself).  The advantage is that you won’t have to re-qualify for the policy and you should be able to keep the group rate that you were paying—which can save you a ton of money.


  • Check with your human resources department at work to see how much life insurance you currently have and what the premium is costing you, if anything.
  • Calculate how much money your dependents will need to pay your debts and replace our income after you die.
  • Request quotes online or work through a recommended agent.
  • Check a provider’s rating and customer service record.
  • Don’t forget to name your beneficiaries, and keep them up to date.
  • If you have a term policy, call your provider to request a lower premium that reflects today’s lower rates.

Be a budget savvy bride and groom

The average American wedding costs $27,800.00 and the days of “dad” footing the entire bill are numbered. According to a recent study by The Wedding Report, in 2011 83.2% of U.S. couples made a contribution or paid the entire cost of their wedding, and only 51.5% of parents contributed to the wedding.  The more people contributing to your wedding finances the more confusing the budgeting and bookkeeping will end up being.

Here are my TOP 2 wedding budgeting tips to help all parties involved communicate effectively and stay on track!

Tip #1: Determine your budget

Plan a money date and figure out how much money you and your fiancé can spend.

  • Calculate how much money (if any) you have saved, and how much of that you are willing to use if you stick to a rigid saving plan.

Schedule a sit down meeting with all parties involved, and be mindful of economic differences.

  • Meet with everyone who is contributing to the cost of your wedding, to talk about the expenses.
  • Two separate meetings might be a good idea if those contributing come from different economic backgrounds in order to avoid potentially awkward and uncomfortable moments.

Pick your priorities.

  • Try using an online budgeter (like the one on to breakdown your budget item by item.
  • Decide what is most important to you and then dedicate your budget accordingly.

Be upfront and honest with your vendors.

  • Always approach your vendors with the budget you have allocated the service they will be providing you.
  • Have them create a proposal for you within that budget.
  • You might want to account 10% of your budget for extras and upgrades. 

Tip #2: Manage your funds

Open a bank account devoted specifically to your wedding so you can track your spending.

  • Make sure you don’t agree to frivolous upgrades without recognizing the economic impact.

Devise a secondary savings plan.

  • After deciding on a wedding budget, and figuring out how much of your savings you would like to contribute to this budget, open your “Wedding Bank Account.”
  • Once you have transferred money into this account, create an additional savings plan.
  • Creating an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to your “wedding account” will help to manage the wedding budget and spending.

Reap great rewards: Sign up for a credit card with a rewards program.

  • Make your wedding costs work for you! Sign up for a new credit card with a rewards program, allowing you to earn points each time you spend.
  • You know you are going to be spending — make it work to your advantage.
  • Make sure you have the money to pay of your card in FULL each month!

The Bridal Budget Breakdown:

  • Reception: 50%
  • Attire: 10%
  • Photo and Video: 10%
  • Flowers and Décor: 10%
  • Music & Entertainment: 10%
  • Invitations & Gifts: 10%

When it comes to weddings and money, (especially other people’s money) it’s important to remember to communicate and take into account each party’s economic differences and needs. Hope these tips can help you or someone you know plan ahead before walking down the aisle.

Live Rich,

David Bach


NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 – July 11, 2012

If you missed me on NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 this morning make sure to watch the segment now! This week we discussed if debt consolidation will hurt your credit score if the loan’s in your partner’s name, refinancing a mortgage on a condo when there is a lawsuit involving the condo association, and safe online survey websites to make some extra summer cash.

Hope our answers helped you!

Live Rich,
David Bach

Life, Liberty and YOUR Pursuit of Happiness

In the spirit of the Independence Day, I want you to take some time to reflect on the importance of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” not only when it comes to our country, but when it comes to your personal life.

I believe each of us has the power to discover our purpose and become joyful in the pursuit of that purpose. This journey may not be easy however; if you look back in history you’ll realize that nothing important and meaningful ever is.

To help guide you in your pursuit of happiness, I want to introduce you to what I call the “LIVE RICH FACTOR”. I call it this because those who find the purpose that leads them to happiness are the luckiest people in the world and are in fact, the ones who are truly living richly.

There are four basic principles involved in creating your LIVE RICH Factor:

The hardest thing to do is to be honest with yourself. We lie more to ourselves than to anyone else. You must tell yourself the truth about whether or not you are truly happy. If you are not happy, you must admit it to yourself. To really be connected to your truth, you must tell yourself and the world the truth. You must have what I call “truth congruence”— which means that who you are on the inside matches who you show to the world on the outside.

You are your own harshest critic. Many people talk to themselves in a way they would never accept from a stranger, a friend, or a loved one. If this describes you, try stopping the negative conversations you have with yourself immediately.

Try this, for one week, simply commit to just saying “Stop it!” when you think a negative thought about yourself. If you are in the habit of saying negative things to yourself, you will find this is one of the most difficult exercises you will ever do. Carry a pad with you at all times and make a mark each time you catch yourself “thinking negative.” You’ll find that as the days go on your negative thinking can quickly be reduced. The motivational expert Zig Ziglar uses a phrase I love about people having “stinking thinking.” Your job is to cut out that stinking thinking.

It’s hard to be joyful when you’re always judging others. In fact, it’s close to impossible. Judging others creates a huge amount of stress in our lives. It affects our marriages and our relationships with our kids as well as the way we relate to friends, coworkers, and society in general.

We are not here to judge one another. The next time you find yourself upset at someone or some situation, stop yourself and ask, “Are you judging?” Judging others is often an unconscious habit. But it’s a habit that can be changed the moment you decide to stop doing it and just this little change can make a huge difference.

It’s okay to pursue fun. It’s what children do. My greatest joy these days is the simple pleasure of going to the park with my sons, Jack and James. The park is free; the time I spend with them in the park is priceless.

Why do we stop pursuing fun as we get older? Fun shouldn’t be squeezed into a few weeks of vacation each year. It shouldn’t be squeezed into the last chapter of your life when you will supposedly have enough money to “retire.” Fun deserves to be a part of your life now. Most of the things in life that are fun can be done for little or no money. But fun doesn’t just happen. You must make having it a priority in your life or it will go missing. And life is too short to not have fun.

This 4th of July I want you to take a moment and think about your pursuit of happiness and then go HAVE FUN! Report back to me by commenting below or on my Facebook page about what makes your life RICH!

Live Rich,

David Bach



Top Five Rules for Hiring a Financial Advisor

Hiring the wrong financial advisor is one of the biggest mistakes investors can make. So how do you find a good one? By following my 5 rules for hiring a financial advisor I am confident you will be able to find a financial professional who can help you make smart decisions about your money.

Rule 1: Get a referral.
This is such a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. It doesn’t make sense to start your search for a financial advisor from scratch. Most likely, you already know someone who has a great financial advisor. You just need to ask.

But whom do you ask and what do you ask them? A logical place to start is with your accountant or attorney.

Both should be able to offer you more than one referral. (In fact, I suggest asking for three referrals).

Another great way to get a referral is to ask the wealthiest person you know, “Who do you use as a financial advisor?” It doesn’t have to be a close friend. Ask someone you respect — your boss, or a friend of a friend. The wealthier they are the better, because the rich tend to have the best advisors.

When getting a referral, here are the key questions to ask:

  • Why do you like your advisor?
  • How long have you worked together?
  • What specifically have they done for you?
  • Did they provide you a written financial plan?
  • How often do they meet with you?
  • Do they call you or do you call them?
  • How do you pay them?
  • Do they provide you with a performance statement that shows you how you’re doing?
  • Have you had any problems?
  • How’s their customer service?

Will you be compensated for this referral? (Ask this of accountants and attorneys or any other professional who provides the referral.)

Rule 2: If you can’t get a referral, do your own research.
If you’ve tried and you find that you really can’t get a referral, try a referral service that will provide you with information about financial advisors. Here’s a list to get you started:

The Financial Planning Association
(800) 322-4237
The FPA’s web site allows you to search by ZIP code for a certified financial planner (CFP) in a number of different specialties.

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
(800) 366-2732
This site allows you to search by ZIP code for financial advisors who operate on a fee-only basis.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
The CFP Board also has a search tool — by ZIP code or name — on its site. You can also request a free Financial Planning Resource Kit, which contains a collection of educational brochures on financial planning.

Rule 3: Go to your first meeting prepared.
A true financial professional will insist that you come to your first meeting prepared. Ideally, they’ll provide you with a form in advance to help you get your financial documents organized and ready to bring with you.

When you go to your first meeting, you’ll want to bring bank and brokerage statements (for all your investments), last year’s tax returns, retirement account statements, mortgage statements, and insurance documents.

Finally, you should know some things about yourself and what you want out of the relationship. So before you head into your meeting, check out the 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF.

Rule 4: Treat the first meeting like an interview.
Who you hire to manage your money is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, so take it seriously. You need to ask smart questions and not just hire someone because you “like them.” Check out the 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR.

Rule 5: Check out a prospective advisor’s background.
If you only follow one of these rules, follow this one. Never, ever, ever hire a financial advisor without checking out his or her background. I don’t care how nice their office is, what the company name on the door is, who referred you, or how many times they were in the paper or on television or radio. It doesn’t matter. Looks aren’t always what they seem.

The best way to verify that what an advisor says is true is to contact the major organizations that review advisors. Start by using FINRA’s BrokerCheck®

BrokerCheck is a free tool to help investors research the professional backgrounds of current and former FINRA-registered brokerage firms and brokers, as well as investment adviser firms and representatives. It should be the first resource investors turn to when choosing whether to do business or continue to do business with a particular firm or individual.

I’ve shared this advice before in my books, and I can’t tell you how many people have written to me to say that they checked out their current advisor and were stunned at what they found. One reader told me that their advisor had a criminal record that included battery (which he had never disclosed). Needless to say, she fired him.

The bottom line: There are really great financial advisors out there, and they are looking for clients like you. You just need to do some smart work to find them. And if you have an advisor that you’re not happy with, maybe it’s time to do a new search.

I hope this information helps you find an amazing financial advisor. Make sure you have The FinishRich Advisor Questionnaire™ form with you when you are interviewing potential advisors.


Live Rich!
David Bach


NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 – June 13, 2012

If you missed this week’s NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 segment make sure to watch now. We discussed combining finances in a second marriage,  whether to take the annuity or take a lump sum if you are laid off from a company you’re vested in and how to find affordable health insurance. I hope our answers helped you!

Live Rich,
David Bach

The secret to discounted produce: Ask!

How to save AND eat healthy.

Do you think that eating healthy can get expensive?

On I answered a question from a Facebook Fan that helps solve just this problem.

Jennifer asked: Most coupons I find are for junky processed food. It’s hard to save money and eat natural, organic or diet-friendly food. What’s your advice?

My advice:

  • Plant your vegetables and fruit in the backyard (like I used to do with my mom growing up.)
  • Check your grocery store for the discount coupons – each week your grocer will come out with deals, specials, and discounts – these flyers are usually right when you walk in – read those advertisements so don’t miss on some great savings.
  • Talk to the store manager about when they put the produce on sale – there is usually a specific day that stores will decide to put the fruits and veggies on sale.

I hope this advice helps you eat healthy this summer while continuing to save! And let me know, what do you do to eat healthy without breaking the bank?

Live Rich,
David Bach

NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 – June 5, 2012

If you missed NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 this morning, make sure to watch the segment now. We had tons of great questions from the viewers, and helpful tips from the panel.  We answered questions on how to pay down student loans, what to do with the money you get from selling your home, and what you can and can’t use a 529 plan for.

Plus, I would like to take a minute to welcome our new intern, Jonathan to the FinishRich team. We are thrilled to have him helping us out for the summer! Today, he got to take a peek behind the scenes of Money 911.

NBC's TODAY - Money 911









Live Rich,
David Bach