Guide to Choosing Health Insurance (with Spreadsheet)

Choosing health insurance can be confusing, especially when you compare traditional plans with high deductible health plans (HDHPs). Buying insurance on the open market and comparing employer-sponsored plans taught me that choosing the perfect policy for varying health scenarios is impossible.

Still, I’ve learned that I can make a reasonable guess on the plan that might work best for my family. Here are some steps I’ve taken to clarify the pros and cons of health plans available to me:

5 Myths About Financial Planning (and How to Recognize the Right Path)

Getting financial guidance should be straightforward. But, in my experience, the process of seeking expertise can take me down the wrong path if I’m not careful. Here’s how to recognize the right path.

In a meeting with a financial professional, I may freeze up when quizzed about financial goals, fret that I haven’t accumulated a fair amount of money based on my age and income, or fear being judged for past mistakes. Worse, I may get frustrated if a professional establishes financial targets that are out of sync with my capabilities or recommends products that seem pricey or not aligned with my expressed needs.

I have written about what shouldn’t happen in a financial advisory relationship. But knowing how things should proceed is equally useful. Recently, I spoke with Peter J. Creedon, CFP (Certified Financial Planner), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), and founder/CEO of Crystal Brooks Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in regard to common misperceptions about financial planning.

He dispelled common myths and explained how the planning process ought to proceed. Here are five myths and truths about financial planning and planners:

Financial Goals: How to Reach Them (Basic Formulas)

After you have defined your financial goals, you may want to figure out how to reach your goals. There are many variables and detours on the way to achieving your goals. But you may find basic financial calculations helpful in charting your course.

Start by identifying a dollar value for each goal; then determine how much you should set aside to reach this goal within a certain time frame. You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to perform these calculations. I’ll show you the basics.