Verizon Now Scrapping Service Contracts, Will the Rest Follow?

In a surprise announcement from Verizon, the mobile phone carrier giant joins T-Mobile in its elimination of service contracts, so if you wanted the newest iPhone for $200 with a new two-year contract, you’ll now have to pay the full retail price of $649.99.  This means goodbye to the free phone, discounted upgrades, and the early termination fee, but it also makes way to a more straight forward pricing system, showing what you’re paying, or overpaying for that matter, for your mobile service.

Verizon has never been known to have the most affordable service in the industry, but in paying for great coverage and reliability, you’re also paying for your phone discount charges built into its monthly mobile plan (you didn’t think Verizon was taking the hit for your free phone did you?).  Now without those hidden fees it will drive down monthly service payments to see actual costs you are paying for, which is good for the United States that has typically had the highest costs in the world.

Ultimately we will be paying less for our plans and more for our devices, so how are you going to afford that $700 phone?  Sure, the sticker shock is scary, but customers now have the option of paying for the full retail price up front, spreading out the cost over 24 interest-free installments, or even adding a down payment and spreading the remaining balance out over the next two years (yes, know what you’re thinking, it’s essentially a two-year contract).

There will be four shareable data plans you can choose from:  small ($30/month for 1 GB), medium ($45/month for 3 GB), large ($60/month for 6GB) and extra-large ($80 for 12 GB).  Users also pay $20/month per smartphone line, $10/month for tablets/hotspots, and $5/month for connected devices such as smartwatches. Individuals can select between data plans of 1GB for $45 3GB for $60.

T-Mobile removed their contracts almost two years ago, and now with Verizon, it now may be the industry trend going forward as AT&T seems to be going in that direction as well (Sprint currently offers leasing programs for a lower monthly payments but you cannot keep the phone and sell after).  “We’re simplifying the experience of choosing a wireless plan by focusing on what customers say matters most to them,” says Verizon spokesman Chuck Hamby. “We’re also simplifying the math. These new options provide simple and clear billing, helping make accounts easy to manage and personalize.”

How to Properly Choose a Life Insurance Plan

With so many options available when it comes to life insurance, it can be hard to know which plan is the ideal one for you. Selecting a life insurance plan is complex and difficult already, but it is important that you make the right decision so your loved ones are not under stress when you pass away. Therefore, today we are discussing how to properly choose a life insurance plan.

Know How Long You Need Coverage

If you only need life insurance for a specific period, Term Life insurance would be an ideal choice for you.  It will allow you to match the length of the term policy to the length of your need. It is great for those who need a large amount of coverage, but have a small budget. Usually, it will only pay if you die during the policy term, so the rate per thousand of death benefits can be lower than permanent forms of life insurance. However, keep in mind at the end of the term, coverage will stop unless you renew it. It also does not build equity in the form of cash savings either.

Know What Permanent Insurance Is

If you want life insurance to cover you your entire life, permanent insurance may be what you need. It will also accumulate savings that grows on a tax-deferred basis and can be borrowed from if you find yourself facing a financial hardship. In addition, you can use the savings element to pay your premiums to keep your life insurance active in the event at some point you cannot afford to make payments. The savings can also be used when your credit is not at its best. However, you have to remember this life insurance is going to be more expensive than term life insurance and if you borrow from it, the amount due will have to be deducted before money goes to your beneficiary.

Lastly, there are different types of permanent insurance such as whole life, universal life, and variable life.

Decide if You Need Burial Insurance

Burial insurance will be an option for you to go with if you go with whole life insurance. It is a death benefit that ranges from $5k to $25k. With this plan, you will be providing money for your funeral and burial costs. The plan can even include family members. To add on this type of insurance you will have to answer some health questions, but you will not have to undergo a medical exam.

Closing Thoughts

Many things have to be considered when you are purchasing life insurance. With so many companies available and reps trying to get the highest commission possible, it can be hard to make a smart choice. Therefore, before purchasing life insurance you want to consider the three things we have brought to your attention today and make sure that you are performing research to ensure you are working with a credible company. The last thing your loved ones need to worry about when you die is how they are going to cover the financial aspects of things.

Metro Areas Ranked by Credit Card Debt Burden

Like most Americans carrying credit card debt, with the national average being about $4,500 per person, perhaps the area you live correlates to the debt burden you’re in?  Doubtful.  While obviously if you are in credit card debt, the first step should be paying as much off as you can each month, but for fun, recently came out with a new report that ranked the average credit card debt burden by major metropolitan area based on median income levels and the amount of time it would take to pay that balance.  The report is assuming that the average person pays at least 15% of the balance each month, a rule of thumb recommended by most credit counselors.

Everything is bigger in Texas

I suppose the same goes true for debt burden.  With median income levels ranking at some of the lowest in the country, San Antonio ranks #1 with $4,880 in credit card debt and would take 16 months to eliminate, and Dallas/Fort Worth is ranked at #2 with $4,900 and would take 14 months to pay off.  Houston, ranked #5 carries a credit card balance of $4,749, taking 13 months to pay off.

Racking up the credit card bill in warmer temperatures

Rounding out the top ten are Atlanta: $4,845, 14 months, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale: $4,325, 14 months, San Diego: $4,639, 13 months, Phoenix: $4,483, 13 months, Tampa: $4,352, 13 months, Los Angeles: $4,371, 13 months, Portland, Ore.: $4,435, 13 months.

Midwest and East Coast the most responsible

The surprising results come from the Midwest and East Coast while not quite the least, ranks in the bottom with Baltimore: $4,876, 11 months, New York: $4,661, 11 months, Minneapolis/St.Paul: $4,359, 11 months,  Washington, D.C.: $5,046, 10 months, Boston: $4,524, 10 months.

The City by the Bay

The least amount of debt burden is San Francisco, with $4,393 in credit card debt with 9 months to pay off.  At a gap of $900, the average balance is not too much of a difference between the highest and lowest areas, so it really would just take those areas with higher debt another month or two to pay off the balance.  Washington, D.C., which has the nation’s highest debt at $5,046, but also has the highest median income, so paying 15% it would actually takes less time, 10 months, to pay off.  Although it’s highly unlikely that you can increase your income fast enough to pay off debt, paying more than the minimum payment and trying to negotiate your interest rate with the creditor would be a good starting point in the road to becoming debt free.

A Few Helpful Job Hunting Tips

So you are searching for a job and you realize that you are off to a slow start. Even worse, for some reason, you could be stuck in your current job. The truth of the matter is that the job market is tight and you could need more than just the usual tactics as networking, resumes and interviewing techniques to sail through.

Some career paths require more than a single qualification for you to be employable. For instance, for you to be a business analyst, you require additional knowledge in disciplines such as computer science, business management, and information systems. Employers are even keen to look at certification from professional bodies to ensure that you are fully fit for the job.

Regardless of the career path that you choose, you will need to have some Helpful Job Hunting Tips at your fingertips. Check out some tips below:

Do your networking close to your home

In essence, this implies that you seek out to family, friends and close relatives first. Employers constantly receive job application requests from employees in the organization. Therefore, knowing somebody who works at the organization can be an excellent way to get you started. Recent studies tend to suggest that hiring through referrals is more credible and quality employees are hired.

Make use of job search queries

Often, fresh graduates spend a lot of time on online job searches. Whereas this is some effort geared towards the right direction, there is a slim chance that you will get a job using this technique. Instead of spending your energy on search engines, utilize job search queries where you set and save searches using keywords. The engine emails you results based on your search. An outstanding advantage is that the engine will peruse all the job openings around the internet. Consequently, you will get results based on your skills, interests and expertise.

Leverage on your career office

Most learning institutions have a site where they post job openings. The career office is also responsible for organizing workshops and career fairs. This means that such offices are better connected and they receive most job vacancies that are relevant (I.e. entry level jobs). Therefore, if you are a recent graduate or waiting to graduate, this is an office whose services you will find indispensable.

Further, the same office can connect you to the alumni who have graduated and are employed in various fields. As such, you can easily get direct links to companies or the job sector that you are interested in.

Negotiate your salary

Negotiating a decent salary is a hurdle for most people. Young job seekers especially undergraduates and recent graduates find it an intimidating task to claim what is rightfully theirs. You may not be able to get much out of negotiating for your pay but the skill learned here is vital as it is a learning process for you. In fact, you will be surprised that most job openings require you to fill out the expected salary in the application section.

The strategies mentioned above will get you started and make your search less exhaustive. Be focused and consistent in your endeavors and you will be surprised at the opportunities that will land at your feet.