Taking Care of Business
In a Wall Street Journal article published on July 2, 2013, authors Kelly Greene and Leslie Scism recount stories of several retirees facing significant rate increases and policy amendments that completely change the terms of financial services products (in this case long-term care insurance) that had been purchased in order to provide some security in later years. This is one example of why buying financial services products can be so perplexing.
There are many such buying decisions during a consumer's lifetime that require a great deal of caution and should be undetaken only after much study and analysis. Understanding terms and conditions, how they can change and what the consequences might be when sudden changes occur is of paramount importance.
Choosing an insurer for homeowners or automobile insurance are common examples of financial decisions faced by most Americans. Other less common decisions might include selecting Elder Care options, Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage and Variable Annuities. The common thread here is that these are usually once or twice in a lifetime decisions and usually have far-reaching impact on financial well-being in retirement years when income is more limited. As in the case of several of the stories in the Wall Street Journal article, some aspects of these choices are completely unfamiliar to many consumers. Selecting a financially sound insurer only adds another dimension of analysis to this process.
It is obviously best to make informed choices. Sometimes consumers are at the mercy of an advisor who is also a salesperson to guide them through these decisions. Independent research can prepare consumers to understand options that are being offered and help them recognize if the advisor is truly advising and not just selling what is convenient for the advisor, which may or may not be in the best interest of the consumer.
That independent research might be augmented by accessing several resources available at Naperville Public Library. The financial ratings series online resource by Weiss Ratings offers financial ratings data for most financial institutions. The Weiss Ratings' Consumer Guides are an excellent independently developed resource offering trusted guidance.
Weiss Ratings' Consumer Guides
Available titles on the Consumer Table at The Nichols Library
|Auto Insurance||Elder Care||Homeowners Insurance|
|Long-Term Care Insurance
|| Medicare Supplement Insurance
||Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
| Term Life Insurance
|| Variable Annuities
||Health Savings Account|