Hope you all had a fun weekend! We spent some time down in San Diego learning more about better business practices. We attended a conference for a few days that we truly loved.
In 2015, we are committed to helping serve you better. We are committed to being B Corp. We are committed to working harder than we ever have to protect your finances in these most volatile times. In the coming weeks, you’ll see more about what we just learned being put into practice.
For now, it is Monday! Have a cup of coffee and enjoy the above video. We love what we do – helping you protect your finances. But I think the person in the cow suit here takes the cake when it comes to really getting into what one does for a living and loving his job!
Think of this cow’s enthusiasm as you start your week!
Not sure who said this but it applies very well across the globe today. “Leadership involves remembering past mistakes, an analysis of today’s achievements, and a well-grounded imagination in visualizing the problems of the future.”
Whether divisiveness in Europe, the Middle East or here at home what is needed is leadership. We seem to be very good at recalling the mistakes and trying to place blame. But our current world leaders have no skill in analysis of today nor any imagination for a better future.
You know where else we lack leadership in this world? People’s money and savings. Whether it is a poorly constructed 401(k) at work or Wall Street’s continual refusal to do what is right by the American public due to their out-sized need for egregious profits, the industry of financial advice lacks solid leadership.
The quasi-regulators at the SEC and FINRA would rather focus on making sure this blog is written in an ‘approved’ manner than catch crooks like Clay Stephens or Bernie Madoff before they destroy the finances of so many. Why are they focused on the wrong places, time and again?
Advisers in Sonoma County and all over the country continue to legally sell awful equity indexed annuities, garbage private or ‘alternative’ investments, stuff people into insurance policies they don’t need and worse. All because the regulators in power refuse to stiffen their backs to heavy industry lobbying.
Individuals far and wide continue to bank at major Wall Street corporations, continue to invest on the advice of major Wall Street corporations and continue to get fleeced by both. Why? Why do folks do things against their self-interest?
Out here, in our humble Santa Rosa outpost, we keep swinging at the windmills. We keep urging people to take responsibility with their money. To find a financial adviser who is independent of Wall Street, someone they can trust will put the client’s interests before the advisor’s.
So, I commend you reading this. Many of you are our clients. You’ve placed your trust in a firm that respects and appreciates you rather than sees you as an easy mark, a dollar sign, a chump. You are ‘shopping locally’ when you engage our firm. You are telling Wall Street you’ve had enough. You are telling your government there is a better way to regulate the securities world. Thank you!
Share this with your friends. See if they are fed up with the misdirection, the half-truths, and the obvious skullduggery of the big guys on Wall Street. Let’s go have coffee with someone you know who might be tired of all this. Let’s keep swinging at windmills and see how many we can take down!
My junior year of college was spent abroad, in the South of France. A lovely little town called Aix-en-Provence. There, I learned so much about the French culture and language.
Aix is actually a perfect microcosm of France. Better than Paris, for example, at representing all the many paradoxes that exist in French culture. Don’t get me wrong, America is the King of Paradox. But France is really more enjoyable to poke fun at, isn’t it?
They eat and drink but never get fat. How does that work?
They loved our help in saving them from the Germans but routinely criticize America and our ways of violence. So ungrateful sometimes!
They value education but teach too many of their young to believe that one can still live a wonderful life without working for it in any meaningful way. And that is the point of this blog post.
No doubt you know that France has had a great many philosophers. During their revolution, men like Momoro, Hebert, Fouché and others began the Culte de la Raison or Cult of Reason to counter the Catholic church teachings and focus civilization on reason and logic over superstition and feelings.
Today, the French still insist they base their life on reason and logic. Not feelings. The English phrase common sense doesn’t directly translate and is mocked like a cow-launching John Cleese as a foolish sentiment.
“Sense” a Frenchman might say “is a feeling. How can it be common and why would you want it to be anyway?”
There is the famous Descarte, “I think, therefore I am.” A mathematician, Descartes desired to build a thought process for science based on facts and reason, not ideas and guesses. Reason and logic.
Now consider the French government, which for 40 plus years has violated all reason and logic by making promises to its population it could never keep. Paradox.
Today, those promises are becoming less and less tenable. And other European countries, mainly Germany, are sick of trying to explain to France that their budget misadventures are threatening the entire European Union.
I’m not anti-French. I enjoy these paradoxes and certainly their people and culture. But right now, the French government and its refusal to see that the people of France must accept a new reality regarding their promised pensions, is not honoring men like Descartes or Fouché. And it may just be the thread which, when pulled, will unravel the economic recovery we’ve been waiting for in Europe.
C’est la vie, I suppose.
We get asked a lot – should I buy the rental company insurance? Here are some good thoughts on what might work best for you when renting a car.
I drove down to Los Angeles to visit clients a few months ago. I chose to pay for the company’s damage waiver at $13 per day. Someone next to me snickered. “Sucker,” he said. “They just sell that so they make more on the rental, you’re already covered!”
I didn’t feel like informing the good-intentioned but rude jackass that my deductible with my personal policy is $1,000. Renting the car for three days meant a $39 insurance bill. If anything happened to the car, I’m out only that $39.
As my luck had it, the plastic grill of the car I rented was crushed by a person in LA who felt no moral obligation to let me know they had wrecked the front end of the car when they had tried to parallel park in front of it.
Had I relied on my insurance, it would have cost $1,000 to cover the deductible. Had I paid out of pocket, it was likely $500 in damages or more. I paid $39 and, unless my insurance company reads my blog, my premiums won’t go up for making a claim and I won’t lose any safe driver credits.
In most cases, your personal policy will extend to a rental car. Just be sure to call your carrier to confirm what your policy covers (e.g., damage, theft, liability). Be sure you understand your deductible. Is it more than the daily damage waiver?
Is insurance coverage through your credit card an option?
You may also get some form of rental car coverage through your credit card. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa all provide car rental insurance options to members for free, as long as you charge the rental to your card. If you choose to rely on insurance from your credit card, call your company first to find out exactly what kind of coverage it provides.
When using your card for rental car insurance, keep these pointers in mind:
- Charge it. To get coverage, you’ll need to charge the whole rental fee to your credit card and decline any extra coverage the car rental company offers.
- Choose the right vehicle. Trucks, off-road vehicles, and expensive, exotic, or antique cars generally aren’t covered. Other exceptions may apply, so be sure to check with your credit card company.
- Be aware of time limits and other restrictions. Find out if there’s a cap on how long your credit card covers your rental car. Coverage may not be available in some countries, so check the company’s policy if you’re traveling abroad.
What kind of coverage does the rental company offer?
Typically, I’ll use the company’s coverage. But you want to know what you’re buying when purchasing coverage through the car rental company. There are usually four main choices:
- A damage waiver transfers financial responsibility from you to the car rental company in case of damage or theft.
- Supplemental liability insurance protects you against claims that exceed your regular policy limits.
- Personal effects coverage protects personal property that’s damaged or stolen from a rental car. (Your existing homeowners insurance policy may also cover these items.)
- Personal accident insurance covers any injuries you or your passengers sustain. (Personal injury protection on your regular auto policy will also cover the rental.)
Read the Small Print of the Contract!
Finding a balance between the cost of coverage and what you get for that price point is key to evaluating your options.
Don’t wait until you’re at the rental counter to start considering your insurance options. Call your insurance and credit card companies to find out if you’re already covered or if you should purchase insurance through the car rental company.
A little preliminary research will help ensure a smooth start to your trip—and possibly free up some funds in your vacation budget. Safe travels!
© 2014 Commonwealth Financial Network®