Another Piece of Drivel from Alan Blinder

It’s been awhile since I have posted something controversial. This one is an opinion piece by Alan Blinder regarding the Supreme Court and the health care law.

Whether you are for or against the health care law, Alan Blinder misses the point of the Supreme Court, which is to decide whether or not something is constitutional. And, Mr. Blinder is trying to make this a party issue by claiming that since the Supreme Court is more conservative-leaning, it will vote along party lines.

Anyway, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Mr. Blinder’s piece. Oh, and if you’re interested, there is an interesting reponse to the Blinder piece.

Insurance Agent Gets Jail Time

This is the first I have heard of this story: Annuity Case Chills Insurance Agents.

Last month, Glenn Neasham, an independent insurance agent, was ordered to spend 90 days in jail on a felony-theft conviction for selling a complex annuity to an 83-year-old woman who prosecutors alleged had shown signs of dementia.

The agent’s conviction, by a state-court jury in Lake County, Calif., is sending shivers down the spines of Mr. Neasham’s peers across the country. They can’t recall another case where an agent was sent behind bars for selling an annuity.

The guy talked the woman into putting $175,000 into an equity-indexed annuity. His commission: $14,000 (8 percent). I know it’s not the same product, but the commissions for $175,000 put into American Funds mutual funds are 3.5%.


There is a quick way to end these abuses: stop paying bigger commissions for these products.

Now, it’s important to note that we do not have all the information. I just think putting an 83-year old into an equity-indexed annuity is not looking out for her best interest.

Let the ticked-off insurance agents’ vitriol begin…’s List of the 20 Least and Most Expensive Cars to Insure

Car shopping? If so,’s list of 20 least and most expensive cars to insure might be something you will want to read.

Their list of the 20 least expensive cars to insure:

1. Toyota Sienna LE: $1,111
2. Toyota Sienna 4 cyl: $1,114
3. Jeep Patriot Sport: $1,116
4. Jeep Compass Sport: $1,118
5. GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab: $1,121
6. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab: $1,125
7. Dodge Grand Caravan SXT: $1,129
8. Ford Escape XLS: $1,137
9. Toyota Sienna 6 cyl: $1,139
10. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab: $1,143
11. Dodge Journey SXT: $1,143
12. Honda Odyssey LX: $1,146
13. Kia Sportage: $1,151
14. Hyundai Santa Fe GLS: $1,152
15. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport: $1,154
16. Nissan Frontier S King Cab: $1,162
17. Nissan Frontier SV King Cab: $1,163
18. Hyundai Tucson GL: $1,166
19. Ford Escape XLT: $1,167
20. GMC Canyon: $1,167

The 20 most expensive cars to insure (I don’t have to worry about this list):

1. Audi R8 Spyder Quattro Convertible: $3,384
2. Mercedes CL600 BI-T Coupe: $3,307
3. Mercedes S600 BI-T: $2,948
4. Audi R8 4.2 Quattro Coupe: $2,903
5. Porsche Panamera Turbo: $2,738
6. BMW 750i Hybrid: $2,701
7. Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible: $2,674
8. Porsche 911 Turbo S Convertible: $2,674
9. Mercedes CL65 AMG Coupe: $2,669
10. BMW 750Li Hybrid: $2,641
11. Mercedes SL63 AMG Convertible: $2,615
12. Mercedes CL63 AMG Coupe: $2,613
13. Jaguar XKR Supercharged Convertible: $2,585
14. Mercedes S63 AMG: $2,542
15. Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe: $2,532
16. Audi A8 L Quattro: $2,513
17. Mercedes SL550 Convertible: $2,458
18. Nissan GT-R Coupe Turbo: $2,457
19. BMW 750XI: $2,446
20. BMW 750i: $2,430

You can read about their methodology here.

How Much More Expensive (Premium-Wise) is Permanent Insurance Than Term Insurance?

I read this in The Ultimate Financial Plan: Balancing Your Money and Life* in the chapter on life insurance:

“Although the benefits of permanent life insurance exist, the costs must also be weighed. I recently replaced one of my term life insurance policies with a new policy bearing a $1 million death benefit and an annual premium of $465 per year, so in preparation for this chapter I reached out to several life insurance agents to see what the cost would have been for permanent life insurance policies with the same death benefit. The answers? A comparable whole life policy was 20 times more costly—$10,380 per year! The universal or variable life policies would cost around 10 times the amount that I am paying for my term policy. I’d rather control the fate of that extra money than trust a life insurance company to manage it.”

I’m about halfway through The Ultimate Financial Plan: Balancing Your Money and Life* and I have to say, I’m impressed. The main author, Tim Maurer, clearly has the reader’s best interest at heart throughout the book. Good stuff for someone just starting out.

*Affiliate Link

Question of the Day: Health Insurance

Here’s today’s Question of the Day:

How much did your health insurance premiums go up this year over last year?

Our premium went up 9.07% over last year. The trend over the last ten years was much higher, as you can see from this graphic:

I’m not sure what happened in 2008 to cause premiums to jump over 100%. I’m just thankful my wife’s company pays 80% of the premium. I don’t know how long that will continue but I’m thankful for it while we have it.

What about you? What kind of premium increases are you seeing?

Life Insurance Ownership at a 50-Year Low

The poor economy has led Americans to cut corners on their life insurance—at levels not seen in half a century, according to a new study.

Only 44% of U.S. households have individual life insurance, according to the latest Trends in Life Insurance Ownership, a study conducted every six years by Limra, the investment research company.

That represents a 50-year low in U.S. life insurance ownership, according to the study, and means there are 11 million fewer households with life insurance than there were six years ago.

That little snippet was taken from this short article one of my friends posted on facebook this morning.

The article went on to state that people aren’t focusing on life insurance because they are have other financial priorities like retirement planning. This is sad when you figure that a $500,000 term insurance policy can be had for $20 to $30 per month. Who can’t afford that?

A Few Tips for Saving Money on Car Insurance When You Have a Teen Driver

The other day I called our insurance company with a question about our policy. While I had the agent on the phone, I asked them to give me an idea of what our insurance rate would be once our oldest son starts driving (about a year from now). After asking me a few routine questions, she gave me the answer: $900…every six months. $1,800 per year! And, that’s with a discount for taking driver’s ed and a good student discount. To make matters worse, we have another son who will be driving 17 months after our oldest son starts. We could be looking at car insurance premiums about three times what we currently pay. OUCH!

After I got off the phone with our agent, I sent a message to a friend of mine who runs a local insurance agency. He and his wife have older kids too and I thought he’d be a good source for some tips. Here is what he sent me:

When you add a new driver to an existing car, you can expect the rate on that vehicle to increase by as much as 40 – 50%. If you add a new driver and a new car, you can expect that vehicle to cost around $600-$700 for coverage without comp and collision. With comp and collision, $1000+.

Most carriers have discounts for drivers that make good grades. They get a discount for drivers ed. The premium is usually lower for girls than boys (not much).

The premium drops some when they reach 21.

One thing I always suggest is for parents to find a car that’s safe and they can pay cash for. Don’t include comp and collision to keep the rate down. If Jr wrecks it, he’s on foot until he fixes it or earns the money for a replacement.

When you think about what not to get a kid….all the high powered sports cars. It’s not that the insurance co. won’t insure them—they will and collect large premiums to do so. But it’s just not smart sending a new driver out in a high powered car or truck.

Insurance companies check for tickets and accidents when given a reason to do so, i.e.. lots of accidents and claims. I suggest setting a higher deductible and not claiming small things that can be paid out of pocket. Of course if other parties are involved, that still won’t help. But if jr runs into your garage door, you may want to pay that yourself and “bank” your future claim for a time when you must make a claim.

Hope this helps.

Mike Roby Insurance (facebook)

Now, there are some things we could probably do to drop our rate a bit. I think the insurance representative ran the numbers with comprehensive and collision, which would have definitely increased the premium. I’ll learn more as my son gets closer to driving. He’s even going to be responsible for some of his premium. He’s also going to be driving our 2002 Buick Rendezvous. Won’t that be cool?

The bottom line is insuring a teen driver is expensive! What’s been your experience with having teen drivers? What things did you do to lower the premiums so that you didn’t have to eat bread and water during the teen driving years?