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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Don’t Let These Landmines Destroy Your Net Worth

Don’t Let These Landmines Destroy Your Net Worth

What is your ultimate financial goal? Whether you answered “become a millionaire,” “retire early” or “live debt-free,” building up your net worth is part of the process of reaching it. Unfortunately, poor decisions—even when you’re well on the way to the future of your dreams—can blow holes in your progress. Just consider these hidden landmines that can devastate your savings.

Inflating Your Lifestyle

When you started your career, you clipped coupons, shopped for bargains and carefully watched your budget as you saved to get ahead. But as your income grew, so did your expenditures. A promotion was an excuse to lease a fancier car. A raise meant increasing your clothing allowance. You were earning more, but your savings were growing as slowly as when you began.

The next time your financial situation improves, don’t inflate your lifestyle. Find a way to put the money to work for your future instead—perhaps by paying down high interest debts or making a smart investment.

Abusing Your Credit Cards

Speaking of credit cards, the average U.S. household owes $7,281 to credit cards according to recent government data. When you consider only the households that actually carry credit card debt (and not every U.S. household) that dollar value increases to $15,000. When you consider the national average APR on credit cards—more than 15 percent according to CreditCards.com—it’s easy to see why carrying a balance is a landmine that can easily explode.

If you have a balance on your credit cards, start making more than the minimum payment each month. The faster you pay off the debt, the less total interest you’ll pay.

Ignoring Your Future Retirement Needs

Regardless of your age, you need to plan for retirement. Unless you’re socking money away in a 401(k), individual retirement account and/or other investments each month, you’re unlikely to have enough income to live on in your golden years—and you’ll quickly burn through whatever net worth you’ve managed to accumulate.

Talk to a financial advisor about how much you’re going to need to enjoy a comfortable retirement. He or she will help you calculate expected annual spending as well as the size of income-generating portfolio you’ll need to build to draw it.

Making Risky Investments

While we’re talking about investments, if you’re playing the market—and trying to use short-term market fluctuations to your advantage or purchasing stocks because a friend of a friend made a killing on them—instead of thinking about long-term growth, you could be taking on too much risk. This can easily undermine your wealth-building potential or even devastate your portfolio.

If you find it difficult to make sense of your investment options, have no idea where to start, or would like the guidance of an experienced professional, you should seek the assistance of a financial advisor. He or she can also help you diversify your portfolio appropriately according to the number of years you have before retirement and how comfortable you are with controlled risk.

Buying Insufficient Insurance

None of us wants to believe that something bad can happen to our family. And there are so many more fun things we could spend our money on than insurance. However, skimping on coverage is never a good idea. Without adequate policies, one hurricane, one auto accident or one case of appendicitis is all it may take to wipe out your net worth.

Regardless of your age, you should invest in health insurance, disability insurance, homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance, flood insurance (if you live in a flood-prone area), life insurance and umbrella liability insurance (if you’re self-employed or own a small business).