Schwarz Insurance Blog

February 16, 2016 @ 12:00am

Digital Assets

Over the years, so much of our lives has migrated to the digital space. Important photographs, documents, online banking accounts and social media are common digital assets that most people have.

This is valuable data, data that should be tracked and planned for in the event that you pass away. When we think of estate planning, we always focus on money and our "stuff." People tend to forget that we have "digital stuff" that needs to be protected and taken care of when we're no longer around.

In order to plan for your digital assets, do the following:

Take inventory of all your digital assets. This includes: Computers, hard drives, tablets, smartphones and digital cameras Information that is stored digitally Passwords and login information Online accounts for social media, shopping and email Intellectual property, including copyrighted materials and trademarks Decide what you want done with these assets. Who is responsible for handling each after you pass? What do you want done with them? Some information and property should be archived, while you might want others erased forever. Store your digital asset plan in a secure but accessible location. This could be with an attorney, with and online storage service like Everplan or in a locked file cabinet or safe.

Estate planning might be unpleasant to think about, but it's unfortunately a reality of life.

February 09, 2016 @ 12:00am

Money, Insurance, Finance

After spending our 20s getting acclimated to the adult world, by our 30s many of us feel like we have solid footing. Maybe by this time you feel financially sound, but maybe additional financial responsibilities such as children and home ownership have been added to the mix. Regardless of your situation, there are some basic financial tips that can help you navigate your 30s.

Advance your career. Your 20s were mostly occupied with you developing marketable skills than could help you get started on a career. Now that you're on a path, it's time to push forward. You could consider moving to a city with more opportunities or taking a few courses to help boost your resume or abilities. Go hard at your savings. You probably have an emergency fund that was sufficient for your 20s, but as time and expenses change, so does your need for a backup plan. Pump up your savings to match your living cost. Remember, have six months' worth of expenses to ensure you're covered in case of job loss or another hardship. Adjust your insurance coverage. As your assets grow, your insurance coverage might have to as well. Even if your situation hasn't changed, you should still check your insurance policies periodically to make sure you're not only getting the best deal but more importantly that you have sufficient coverage. Save at least 15% of your income for retirement. This might seem like a lot, but if your employer has a matching program, it counts, too. Say they match 4% --
January 25, 2016 @ 12:00am

Money Saving in your 20s

Ah, your 20s. You're supposed to be an adult...but you're not sure if you really feel like one quite yet. Being prepared for the future can help. There are several things you can do that might help you feel like you're taking on the world a little more responsibly.

1. Establish a budget...and then follow it.

Without a budget, you risk overspending, going into debt and under saving for your safety net and important future purposes. Differentiate between your needs, wants and dreams. List your daily expenses and recurring monthly payments to know what you will always spend monthly. Of the leftover money, decide how much is discretionary (read: fun!) income and how much should go into some sort of savings.

2. Build an emergency fund.

Cat need an emergency trip to the vet? Car broken down and you need to get to work on Monday? Here's where your emergency savings will help. Experts recommend having six months worth of expenses.

3. Get insured.

"But it's another expense!" you might say. It's much better shelling out a small payment monthly than ending up with a six thousand dollar car bill or worse, a one hundred thousand dollar hospital bill. Be sure to have car, health and rental/home insurance at a minimum.

4. Repay debt.

Debt is a reality of most twenty-somethings. If you have credit card debt, be strict with your budget, and tackle the highest-rate cards first. If you have student loans, try to pay more

January 13, 2016 @ 12:00am

Searching for answers to your insurance questions and don't want to go on an internet goose chase? Here are the most commonly asked questions in the insurance world, answered.

Q: What if anything does my insurance policy cover when I rent a car?

A: As long as you are within the US, Canada or US territories, you'll have the same coverage on the rental as you do your own vehicle. But, knowing this, Schwarz Insurance still suggests you take the car rental insurance, as there are additional coverages they can provide that your policy cannot. The rental agency should be able to explain these coverages to you.

Q: How many days do I have to call my insurance agent after I buy a new car?

A: You generally have four days to notify your agent about your new vehicle, but you also can notify him or her in advance if you know you'll be making a purchase in the near future.

Q: Why does my spouse have to be added to my auto policy?

A: All car insurance companies require all licensed members of a household to be listed on the policy so they can accurately assess the risk that you and your family poses and calculate your premiums. However, chances are that you'll save money by combining policies through discounts.

Q: What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

A: Collision insurance covers damages to your vehicle caused by a col

December 21, 2015 @ 12:00am

six tips to retiring early

1. Know your number

"Retire early" is a great goal, but what does that really mean? Spend time creating a retirement budget, a realistic and detailed one, and then figure out how much you need to save in order to meet it.

2. Life below your means

Retiring at all, and especially retiring early, requires you to be extremely budget-conscious. Find ways to reduce your current expenses so you can save as much as possible, like eating out less, vacationing nearby and more. Figure out how much you can save monthly, and have that amount automatically transferred into an investment account so you aren't tempted to spend it.

3. Gather 'free money'

Be sure that you are getting the maximum amount of matching dollars that your employer provides and use credit cards that can make cash back deposits into your brokerage account.

4. Maintain a diversified portfolio

The only way today to keep up with inflation and have a chance of your assets remaining in your 80s is to utilize equity mutual fund aggressively.

5. Figure out what to do for health insurance

If you retire early, you won't be able to receive Medicare until you are 65, so it's necessary to find coverage in the meantime. You can stay on COBRA up to 18 months after retiring, but afterwards you'll need an individual policy. For perspective, the average couple spends over $200,000 for health-related expenses in retirement. The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace is also a

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