Dying sucks.

Life insurance is arguably the most boring personal finance topic known to man. In fact, it’s so boring I’ve only talked about it once before. It’s time to try to make life insurance less miserable, and more tolerable. Are ya with me? (If you aren’t with me, this should be right up your alley).

Since Girl Ninja and I are both young, employed, and relatively healthy we have personally decided that life insurance is not at the top of our priority list. But just because we haven’t made it an uber-priority, that doesn’t mean we don’t have some protection.

Four years ago, when I started my first day of work, the human resources office shoved a bunch of paperwork my way. Without really knowing what I was doing, I ended up making some pretty responsible decisions. I began contributing 8% of my gross pay to my 401K and I signed up for not only the standard life insurance policy my agency offers, but also a little bit of additional life insurance coverage.

Ask me how much life insurance coverage I have? Wait, don’t ask me. I have no freakin’ clue what my coverage is. Ha! How’s that for staying on top of your finances? I’ve been paying for life insurance for the last four years and have no idea what I’m actually getting out of it. Let me go run the numbers.

………

Okay, I’m back. Apparently, if one of you crazy blog stalkers actually tracks me down and de-skins me, Girl Ninja will get a pay out to the tune of $162,000. Nobody tell her that, or I might end up missing tomorrow 🙂

Since we have no dependents and no financial obligations, we don’t plan on beefing up our life insurance coverage in the near future. Once Girl Ninja turns into a baby factory though, it’s time to man up and protect our household (literally, since we will probably own a house by that time). It’s not like I’m familiar with
Insurance Jobs UK . Insurance confuses me 🙂

We would likely go with a 20 year level term life insurance policy to cover myself (I don’t like whole life insurance at all). I’m thinking $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in coverage should ensure my families well-being in the event I pay an early visit to the big man upstairs. A quick quote says a million dollar policy would cost us $35/month and a $2MM policy runs $66/month.

If I die while Girl Ninja is a stay at home mom, that puts a lot of stress on her. But if she has a few million in the bank she should easily be able to sustain the Ninja house until she finds herself a new suitor (this whole conversation is kind of morbid isn’t it?). I’d be a pretty happy person if I was able to still take care of my family even after I was gone.

We will likely take out a $500,000  to $1,000,000 policy on GN. That way, if something happens to her, we can use this money to subsidize the new childcare expenses we’d incur as I continued to work.

Okay, enough about talking about hypothetical death. It’s depressing. BUT HOLY COW! A million dollar term policy is pretty stinkin’ cheap. I think I’m paying something like $22 a month for that $162,000 policy, so I should probably cancel it next open season and just buy my own million dollar policy for ten extra bucks. Time to quit being lazy, and start protecting my family.

Do you have life insurance on anyone in your household? If yes, how much. If no, why not?

If you like whole life insurance over term, tell me why.

Why is life insurance such an incredibly UN-sexy topic?

Protesting a protest…


Saw this picture tagged on Facebook yesterday, thought I’d share it with you all…

To be perfectly honest, I’ve kind of stayed in the dark about the Occupy Wall Street movement. I’ve personally never been a big fan of huge protests…especially when half the people protesting don’t really know exactly what they’re protesting….

Organizer Anthony Bondi said he has what he referred to as a “message team” working on the primary goals of the local protests, which he admitted “was kind of vague.”

“The message team will reveal that tomorrow [Friday] morning,” Bondi said.

“So you guys are in the process of forming the reasons why you are here?” asked CBS13 reporter Tony Lopez.

“Exactly correct,” Bondi said.

Look, I know big businesses suck (did you see my blog post about Bank Of America last week?!). I also know that rich people seem to be getting richer, and the middle/lower classes aren’t necessarily following suit. There is no denying that things are jacked up in America right now.

That said, I think the Occupy Wall Street movement is a big fat waste of time. If people want to show their disgust with a corporation, stop buying products from said corporation. It you aren’t happy with the government, do yourself a favor and actually vote in the next election (only 37% of eligible people do). While the Occupy Wall Street protest has definitely helped stir people’s emotions, it will be a complete and utter failure if it doesn’t result in any actionable/measurable behavioral changes.

You think Bank of America is going to stop charging that $5 debit card fee if you say “I hate you Bank of America” while you’re swiping it at the grocery store? Not a chance. You have to say “I hate you Bank of America” and start banking somewhere else. Empty threats are a waste of oxygen.

Even though I don’t necessarily fully agree with the Facebook picture above, I like it. It communicates a simple and straightforward message: Accept responsibility and take action.  If everyone (literally everyone) started doing that, we’d all be doing just fine.

How do you feel about the Occupy Wall Street movement? Do you think there will be lasting change as a result? How/when do you think it will finally end (we should start like an office pool betting on the date)? Let the debating begin….

Am I old?

Sometimes I think to myself “I can’t believe I’m a grown up!”. I don’t feel old. I don’t look old, and I sure as h-e-double-hockey-sticks don’t act old. I use to think “old” was an age, but I’m quickly learning it’s a lifestyle.

I remember being bored to death when my parents would watch political news. It didn’t make any sense to me. Why was watching some old guy talk about two other old guys interesting? If it wasn’t on MTV, I didn’t watch it. (Still love me some 16 and pregnant…I know…embarrassing).

Same goes for finances. Although I have always enjoyed numbers (self proclaimed math nerd), I hated dealing with money. Did you know I didn’t learn how to write my own checks until I was 21 years old. Twenty-freakin-one. Pathetic right? I also didn’t know how to log in to my checking and savings accounts until after I graduated college. I had to have Mom Ninja sit me down and show me how online banking worked.

As much as I don’t want to accept it, I guess I’ve kind of become a legitimate grown up. I’m married, I manage my own money, and heck, I even cook my own dinner sometimes! I find myself becoming more and more interested in “old guy” stuff like politics and finances. I can’t help but laugh when I reflect on how much I hated the shows my parents watched when I was a kid, to now find myself watching the same darn things.

I sit here wondering “What other things will become interesting to me as I age?” Maybe I will take up quilting, lawn bowling, or listening to AM radio. Wait, what am I saying… in an attempt to enjoy my young spirit, I think I’m going to go buy a pair of Jnco jeans (please tell me someone remembers these), a hacky sack, a set of pogs, and I’m gonna go watch Boy Meets World and Full House (TGIF for the win!!!!).

Have you found yourself enjoying things you once hated (art, coffee, reading for pleasure, history channel, etc)? What “childish” things do you still enjoy (cartoons, video games, Macaroni and Cheese)? At what age does one go from young to old?

 

Crap sucks

 

As you know Girl Ninja and I moved in to our new condo last month. After some super fun vacations, we are finally getting a chance to feather our nest and settle in. As we were putting clothes in our walk in closet, we couldn’t help but feel somewhat disgusted by how much “stuff” we had.

Why do I have 30 t-shirts? Why do I need six pairs of jeans? Or 20 pairs of shoes? I’m pretty sure I could clothe a small country. It’s quite disturbing.

As we were setting up our computer on our new desk, Girl Ninja told me she was gong to buy me a wireless mouse and keyboard since the cords on our current accessories are so annoying. Immediately after she made the offer, she realized how silly it was. There’s nothing mechanically wrong with our mouse and keyboard, and although they may not be ideal, they’ll work just fine. Why pay more to upgrade, when it’s not necessary?

Although I have no desire to be a minimalist (I like my flat screen TV too much), I do like the idea of being more mindful of the stuff we have and the stuff we want. We’re both seriously committed to reducing the amount of crap in our closet. I’m not talking about getting rid of a few old shirts, but donating clothes we love, simply because we don’t need ’em.

Have you ever been confronted by your own consumerism? Do you ever feel guilty looking in your closet? Or do you get sad when you see two people sitting at restaurant spending more time on their phones than with each other? Have we lost sight of what is important?

Who’s paying???

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for almost 2.5 years and never touched on this most glorious topic!!! I dated Girl Ninja for 3.5 years before I popped the question. During those 3.5 years we went out to dinner at least once (usually twice) a week. Since we didn’t live together, and we were both relatively busy, dinner together was the easiest way to guarantee some quality time. I’m just ball parking, but I’d guess we ate out about 300ish times together during our dating years. Some meals were cheap (Rubios) and others weren’t ($190 valentines dinner). Wanna know how much all those meals cost Girl Ninja? Probably about $100. And thus brings today’s topic: Who should pay for dinner when on a date?

Personally I’m a big fan of chivalry, and part of that (to me) means picking up the tab…every single time. Can it be expensive? Sure. Is it a great way to show your significant other you like to provide for them? Abso-freakin-lutely. I could afford to pick up the bill, so I did. Not because Girl Ninja expected me to. Not because I felt like I had to, but because I wanted to. Nothing more, nothing less.

That said, I know that not everyone shares a similar belief. The other day I had a female friend tell me that her boyfriend rarely offers to pay the whole bill. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for her to pick up the tab instead. She was wondering if that was a bad sign.

Do I think it is weird for her to want to be provided for? Heck no. But I also don’t think that it’s fair to expect him to pay the bill. Would Girl Ninja like it if I opened the car door for her every time we drove somewhere? Probably, but I wasn’t raised in the south and often forget that opening the door for a woman is a sign of respect and love.

I don’t open doors and my friends boyfriend doesn’t pick up the whole dinner tab. Neither of us are horrible people, but we both have some work to do to become the husbands/boyfriends these women deserve. It’s a continual learning process!

Now that I’ve had my few moments to preach, I’m curious to hear your thoughts…

Men: Do you pay the whole bill when you go on a date? Once you get in a serious relationship do you continue paying the bill every time? Do you think women should pay their share? What does chivalry mean to you?

Women: Do you expect to get a free meal on a first date? Would it bother you if your boyfriend asked to split the bill every time you went out (let’s assume said boyfriend is financially stable and able to afford it)? What does chivalry mean to you?

Surprises are fun

Girl Ninja had a really hard teaching day yesterday. Her kindergarteners decided to go all “Jersey Shore” on her and act completely crazy. One of GN’s students even called her a ho. Five year olds shouldn’t know what a ho is… right?! Needless to say, Girl Ninja was emotionally drained after a discouraging day in the classroom.

Now this might sound a little odd, but I’ve been hoping Girl Ninja would have a bad day for over a month now. When I was in Germany, I decided to plan a surprise trip for the two of us this summer. Only thing was, I didn’t know how to surprise Girl Ninja with the news. After talking with her mom, we figured the best time to tell GN would be after she had an emotionally exhausting day. Yesterday, was that day. So, after Girl Ninja shared all of her frustrations, I got to cheer her up by telling her about the nine day Hawaiian vacation I booked for us. She was pretty stoked. There are a few reasons I am particularly excited about this trip…

First and most foremost, it’s important to enjoy our money. Girl Ninja has worked her butt off this school year and deserves some time to recharge the batteries. I’ve been so focused on saving for a down payment, I’ve forgotten to have fun in the process. We’ve been hoarding cash like it’s going out of style, and Hawaii seemed like the perfect excuse to splurge.

There’s no guilt. This is seriously the best thing about being debt free. I don’t have to think about the cost of the vacation and how we could have used that money to pay down some stupidly high credit card balance. Being debt free is seriously legit and I’m pretty sure the 8th wonder of the world. You should try it out 🙂

It wins me some “husband points.” Now I’m not saying you can buy your wife’s love…oh wait…YES I AM!!! Haha! What woman wouldn’t want to be surprised with a vacation to a tropical paradise? In all seriousness, it’s important to me to continually win Girl Ninja’s love. Sometimes that means planning a surprise vacation. Sometimes that means sending her a goodnight text message when I’m laying next to her in bed (she loves that for some weird reason). And sometimes it means looking her in the eyes and telling her I’ll never leave her. Too many married couples become roommates. That’s not cool with me, I’m gonna date the crap out of my wife for as long as I live.

Lastly, Hawaii was basically begging us to come visit. You wanna know how much a Seattle to Honolulu direct flight cost? $550 total! That’s $275 a pop. I was on that deal like a fat kid on cake. We’ll stay in a hotel for a few nights, and with a friend for the majority of the time (he has a guest bedroom), so our lodging costs will be minimal. I’m guessing all in we will only be out about $1,000-$1,500. Worth. Every. Penny.

I love you Girl Ninja and I’m excited to go to Hawaii with you, even if one of your kindergarteners thinks you’re a ho

Whoever said size doesn’t matter lied!

Whenever I’m contemplating a big purchase, I always catch myself wondering “Does size really matter?” For most things I’d say it doesn’t, but that’s not always true. Here are a few occasions were size definitely mattered to me.

Girl Ninja’s Engagement Ring:

Yup, I’ll admit it…I’m totally shallow. I met up with Mom Ninja two summers ago at the diamond district in Los Angeles. I had one day to learn everything I possibly could about diamonds. I would approach each jeweler and tell them I was looking for three things in a diamond, 1) It had to be round cut, 2) It had to be about 1 carat, and 3) It had to be certified.

I’d guess over the course of three hours, I probably looked at about 80 to 100 different diamonds. By the end of the day I was able to answer the question, does size really matter? HECK YES IT DID! Could I tell the difference between a 0.97 carat diamond and a 1.01 carat diamond? Absolutely not, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase anything less than a true carat (darn you, psychological barrier!).

By days end, I was $3,500 poorer and 1.12 carats richer. Was it absolutely stupid of me to pay nearly $800 more for a diamond that was negligibly larger? Probably, but now when people ask how big Girl Ninja’s diamond is, she can honestly say it’s 1 carat. If you are rocking a 0.89 carat diamond and you tell people it’s one carat, you’re going to hell a liar. Here’s a shot of her bling once I had the diamond set…

TV’s:

I’m a dude. Dudes love big TV’s. Big TV’s are expensive. Thus, every man must ask himself does size really matter when it comes to a television? Again, I vote yes. Flat screen TV’s are reasonably priced between 30 and 42 inches. The second you break the 42″ mark, the prices begin to skyrocket. Girl Ninja did a great job decorating our first place, but I always knew there was one thing that bothered her…our 46″ TV. In true man cave fashion, it totally dominated our living room space (especially when you consider our entire condo was only 610 square feet). I loved it, Girl Ninja hated it. If she had it her way we would gotten a 42″ TV, but to me size mattered and it was time to go big or go home. I love the thing and definitely couldn’t imagine buying anything smaller. Big TV’s + Football = Epic Man Time.

My Car:

The summer before my senior year of college I was desperate to part ways with my Chevy Venture minivan (I know what you’re thinking… nothing screams sexy like automatic sliding doors) and trade up to something a little nicer. It was time to go car shopping. If you asked 20 year old ninja does size really matter (and by size I mean newness) I would have said absolutely! I mean I was driving around a freakin’ minivan! It was time for a little lifestyle inflation. I ended up selling the minivan for $5,500 (I paid $1,700 for it) and bought myself a brand spankin’ new Scion tC. The thing is sexy to the max, but that sexiness didn’t come cheap ($18,000). I fully admit it was pretty dumb buying a new car before I even finished college. Fortunately for me, the car has held it’s value relatively well (KBB of $13,500), it’s paid off, and it still makes me feel like a bada$$. Should I have bought a brand new car? Probably not. Do I regret it? Definitely not!

In the world of personal finance, price and rational thinking typically determine somethings value. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our weaknesses. So reader, I ask “Where does size really matter to you”? What things will you generally pay a premium for (first class seats, expensive wines, stainless steel appliances)?