300px-1000oz.silver.bullion.bar_.top_As mentioned in a few of my older posts, diversification has always been the key to success of any financial portfolio. It’s important to diversify because several sectors in the global economy will move asynchronously in cycles experiencing downsides. Gold and silver both do not move along with other investments, making them the perfect assets for diversification.

Silver is considered as “poor man’s gold,” so private investors who don’t have a lot can turn to it when the economy is bad. Right now, gold costs around $1,200 per ounce, while silver is merely at $16 per ounce. Silver, along with gold, is considered legal tender so it can be used to trade for products and services in many countries around the world.

Unlike fiat money, silver has many other purposes apart from a currency. It has always been used in the construction of buildings, electronics, medicine, and solar panels. It is because of silver’s intrinsic value that the metal will always have a demand somewhere in the world. In 2013, India boosted its reserves significantly. The country reported a total of 6,125 tons of silver, which was a 190% increase over what it consumed in 2012.

Silver’s demand by the private sector has also increased in recent years. In 2013, silver coins enjoyed all-time highs, with Silver Eagle sales increasing more than 25%, and Silver Maple Leaves by around 55%. The trend continued last year when Silver Eagle coin sales in the first few days of May matched nearly half the sales for the entire month of May 2013.

In 2011, silver prices peaked at around $46 an ounce. This was partly influenced by the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program, which aggressively bought bonds and printed more money into the system. When there are huge changes imposed by Central Banks that could negatively impact the economy, investors get alarmed and turn to precious metals. At the start of 2015, The European Central Bank has announced its very own QE so gold and silver prices would probably be more volatile than before in the coming months.

Comments Off Mich on Feb 23rd 2015

condo appartmentsFor first time home buyers, this age old question has probably reared its head one time or another. Single detached family home or high rise condo? This question slammed right into me (literally) when I was walking down the street looking at a condo for sale in downtown Montreal with a buddy of mine. The “for sale” sign hit me in the forehead because I was animatedly talking to another friend on the phone and wasn’t paying attention. Folks, don’t talk on the phone when walking downtown!

Many people are at odds whether to go rent or buy a condo versus renting or buying a house. Having experienced condo life in the central business district and living in a large home in the suburbs, I can tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each firsthand.

Condos – Living the good life

What’s great about condos is its proximity to everything in the city. Condos are usually situated at the heart of it all, and the parks, transport hubs, bus stops, shops, restaurants and maybe even your office would only be a 10-15 minute walk from where you live.  For young professionals, this is the most ideal location because they can save money and time on transportation costs and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Some condos have hotel-like amenities like a gym, a pool and even tennis courts. There are also the common areas where the community can hang out, like the roof deck. Condos are also more secure because you’re going to be living in close proximity with a lot of other people. There’s strength in numbers. Most condos also have guards and doormen, and some have buzzers at the main entrance and if the owner of the house isn’t there, no one will buzz you in.

Condo Cons

If you value your privacy and you hate living in close proximity to other people, then condo living isn’t for you. Shared walls mean you’ll be sharing noises and smells with your closest neighbors, and not everyone can cook. Condos have strict rules and regulations regarding pets, noise levels and even kids. You also can’t construct anything in your condo, or use a hammer without the consent of the home owners association. And there’s always going to be a monthly association fee for the upkeep of the condo, like trimming the grass, paint, etc. Lastly, there’s the space issue. There’s very little of it, and if you have a lot of stuff, you may end up having to rent extra storage space outside.

Houses – Everyone’s Dream

Ask anyone about their lifelong dreams or goals and owning their dream home is right on top of the list, maybe after a Ferrari or a trip around the world. Kidding aside though, owning your own house means that you’ll have your own castle where you’ll be king or queen. You’ll have lots of space, a yard, a garage, maybe even an outdoor shed for storage. You’ll have your privacy, and the only cooking odors you’ll smell are your own. You can build or extend your home, paint it a different color every month or add diamonds to it. You can pretty much do whatever you want without asking permission from anyone. No association dues and no neighbors breathing down your neck.

House Cons

The biggest challenge a homeowner has is upkeep. Maintaining a house is hard work. You have to clean the gutters, mow the lawn, make sure your trash is safe and secure from stray cats and other animals, repaint it every few years, tend to the plants and trees if you have any (trim them) and do some minor repairs when something breaks. You can either DIY all of this or hire someone else. Then there are heat, gas, plumbing and electrical problems that you have to call a professional for. You also have to make sure that your house is safe and secure. Even the best neighborhoods seem to get burglarized these days. Having a house can be pretty expensive.


If you’re still undecided whether to live in a house or a condo, weigh your options first. Make a list of all your priorities and what you want out of your home: space, freedom and privacy or convenience, amenities and location. Whatever it is you choose, be sure that you don’t rush in and study all your options first.

Comments Off Mich on Feb 20th 2015

mortgage payment stressFor most people, a home is the biggest single purchase that they will ever make. When you are in the early days of home ownership, and you are simply excited to have your name on the deed, paying the mortgage each month doesn’t feel like a burden. In fact, it can almost be exciting knowing that you are building equity and your own personal net worth.

After a few years, though, the euphoria of finally being a homeowner wears off, and as you write the monthly check to the mortgage company, you start to feel that you’ll never be done. If you are nearing retirement age, that feeling might even be stronger. You start thinking that it would be nice to have that debt taken care of before you bid adieu to your career and move in to your next phase of life. After all, without the monthly mortgage payment, you don’t need as much cash to retire on — and you might even be able to retire sooner.

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, stop right where you are. When it comes to your mortgage, your emotions could lead you to make a poor financial decision, one that will put your long-term financial security in danger.

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

The short answer to that question is yes, you should always plan to pay off your mortgage. The real question is when? Financial advisors report that one of the most common questions that they hear from clients nearing retirement relates to whether or not they should pay off their homes before they retire.

The answer to that that question isn’t always simple. Many people believe that paying off what they owe will give them a sense of relief and security, knowing that their home is paid and they will have a place to live and less debt. However, “feeling better” isn’t always a good reason to pay that particular debt.

As you have probably heard, mortgage debt is often referred to as “good debt.” While you may owe money on your home, as you pay down the mortgage, you gain equity as you pay it off — and it appreciates in value, unlike the “bad debt” like credit cards, which don’t. That’s why most advisors recommend that clients at all phases of life focus on paying down bad debt before tackling the good debt. When considering whether to pay off your home, you need to consider a few other factors:

How much do you have saved for retirement? Most advisors recommend that you should have at least double the value of your home saved for retirement. So, if your home is worth $200,000, you should have at least $400,000 saved to carry you through your retirement years before you consider paying off the mortgage.

What is the real interest rate you’re paying? Bad debt should be tackled first because it’s usually a higher interest rate than your mortgage. However, if you are eligible to deduct mortgage interest on your paying down the mortgagetaxes, your actual interest rate could be lower. If you only have a few years left on your mortgage, it might be better to keep funding a retirement account that earns a much higher interest rate, and just let the mortgage note mature.

Get Ahead Without Sacrificing Retirement

In short, if paying off your mortgage comes at the expense of your retirement account, or paying down other debt, then don’t do it. However, there are ways to pay the debt sooner that won’t affect your savings, and will provide that sense of relief sooner:

  • Prepay your mortgage. Making just one extra payment per year over the life of the loan can reduce the loan life by at least five years. Try paying one half of your monthly mortgage payment every two weeks; by the end of the year, you will have made one extra payment.
  • Refinance to a shorter term. If you have more than 15 years left on your mortgage, refinancing to a 15-year, or less, mortgage can get it paid off sooner, as long as you can make the larger payments.
  • Use investments to pay your mortgage. If possible, try using a portion of your portfolio to make an investment that will bring in enough earnings to cover your mortgage payment for you. By putting your money to work for you, you can focus on paying down other debts or increasing savings.

The most important point to remember is to avoid letting your emotions get the best of you. If you focus on your end goal and make smart, well-informed decisions, you can retire with money in the bank and no more debt.

2 Comments Mich on Dec 22nd 2014

couple shoppingCertain purchases in life are inevitable. Without food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities, life gets rather unpleasant rather quickly. However, just because we need certain items and services doesn’t mean we have to overspend on them. And when we overspend on needs and also overspend on wants, one’s financial picture starts looking a bit bleak.

Consumer behaviour experts are often quick to point out that everyone has an emotional relationship with money, and the driving forces behind our spending patterns are often emotional and psychological issues that may not be immediately apparent. Essentially, our financial decisions are rarely based on rational, practical thoughts, but are often more strongly determined by emotions and desires that generally tend to be in conflict with the more rational part of our brains.

While it’s completely normal to spend money to fulfill emotional needs, it’s not always good for your bank account. When you spend more money than you should, or even money you don’t have to fill an emotional need, it often leads to debt. Even if you can support your spending habits, overspending takes away your leverage for investing more for your future. That’s why it’s important to identify some of the leading emotional causes of overspending.

Why We Buy

Again, many purchases are necessities. However, when we buy “for fun,” or even evaluate our options when purchasing items we need, decisions are often driven by several factors:

  1. Low Self-Esteem. One of the most common reasons for living beyond one’s means is low self-esteem. Someone who doesn’t have a high opinion of themselves is more likely to try to buy his or her way to success; they think that by having the nicest car or the most expensive watch, others will be impressed and want to be around them. Having nice things provides confidence, at least in the short term, but it often becomes a vicious cycle of constantly trying to keep up, and thus spending more.
  2. Depression. Depression can often lead to overspending; after all, where do you think the concept of “retail therapy” came from? Hitting the mall after a stressful day or when you feel sad can help boost endorphins, especially when you “treat yourself” because you “deserve it.” Occasionally this probably won’t hurt your finances too much, but making a habit of emotional shopping can be devastating.
  3. Instant Gratification. We live in an instant gratification society, and the concept of waiting, for anything, is becoming a foreign one. We want what we want, and we want it NOW. The problem is that by immediately fulfilling our wants, we act on impulse — when often, it’s better to let that initial wave of desire pass right on by.
  4. Boredom. Overspending is often an effect of being constantly connected. Between computers, smartphones, and tablets, we can shop anywhere, any time. Combined with the need for instant gratification, boredom often leads to late night purchases and “What was I thinking?” deliveries.

Preventing Overspending

prevent overspendingUnderstanding the underlying psychological factors that lead you to spend more money than you intended — or to live beyond your means — is only part of the battle. To really get your finances back on track, you need to put that knowledge to use and identify your spending triggers, and develop strategies to curb the desire to buy.

Some of the most effective ways to prevent spending include:

  • Institute a “waiting period” for all purchases. Make it a personal policy to wait 24 hours before making any unplanned purchases.
  • Compare the cost of an item to how many hours you must work to pay for it. For example, if you earn $30 per hour, and want to buy a $300 pair of shoes, it will take you 10 hours of work to pay for them. Are they really worth more than a day’s work?
  • Close online loopholes. When a website offers the option to turn on “one click” purchasing, or save credit card information in our account, decline. Not only will you prevent impulse buys that don’t even requiring entering any information, you protect your valuable data from being exposed in any potential data breaches.
  • Prepare other activities. When you get the urge to shop, be prepared to redirect those feelings to something more constructive. Get some exercise, call a friend, read a book, work on a hobby — basically, anything that you do that increases endorphins can give you the same “high” as shopping, without the ugly credit card bills.

Spending money that you don’t really have can be devastating to your financial health — which in turn can lead to more depression and anxiety. Take the time to look at your spending patterns and motivations, and make changes to help stop emotional spending and get back in control of your finances.

Comments Off Mich on Dec 20th 2014

USCurrency_Federal_ReserveEven when you have bad credit, there are ways to obtain the funds that you need. For most of these options you do need a steady job and a valid checking account. The interest rates on these types of loans are typically higher due to the increased risk the lender is taking to extend the loan to you. Even with infractions on your credit report it is possible to get a loan.

Bad Credit Loan

Some lenders offer loans with those that have bad credit.  Keep in mind that you will likely need some type of collateral whether it is a home or vehicle, and a co-signer. Finding a co-signer may be difficult since that person would be responsible for making the installment payments if you defaulted.

With bad credit loans, the interest rates are far higher, some as much as 24-percent. This is a hefty amount to have to pay in addition to the loaned funds for making mistakes with previous creditors.

Payday Advance

With a stable job and a valid checking account you may qualify for a payday advance. These loans are based solely on the amount that you make. The lender can only give you what you can feasibly afford to pay back.

With this type of loan you must repay the amount lent plus all of the interest and fees upon your next payday. There is only one payment. Being late on this payment can result in the check you left with the lender being deposited into your account. It can also lead to additional fees and even a lawsuit against you.

Auto Title Loan

An auto title loan is another option for those with bad credit. This is an installment loan type of situation but again, has high interest rates. When you visit a facility your vehicle is appraised. An offer is given to you as far as how much can be lent based upon that appraised value.

With this type of loan you must surrender your title to the lender until the loan is paid in full. The title must be free and clear. The vehicle must be paid off. If you fail to make your payments, the loan company does have the right to repossess the vehicle and sell it at an auction or privately in an attempt to recover the lost funds.

Pawn Shop

If you have items of value in your home such as gold jewelry, electronics, power tools or music equipment you may be able to visit the local pawn shop. When you pawn something it is a loan based upon what the pawn broker can get out of the item if you do not repay the loan. This will be roughly half of its current retail value.

Pawn shops do buy items as well, in which case you are likely to get a little more for the item because the pawn broker can immediately sell the item after it clears stolen property listings. In this article you can find some extra tips about pawn stores here.

Sell Items via Yard Sale or Online Posting

Most areas have for sale groups on social media and most consumers have access to Craigslist. These two platforms are ideal when you have an item to sell and need to do so quickly to obtain funds. In order to get the price you really want in this situation, start the price a little high and list it as “or best offer”.

These options are available to those with bad credit. There are stipulations and restrictions when it comes to obtaining loans, however, when you are desperate and have no other option; you find a way to sacrifice other things to make the payments.

Comments Off Mich on Dec 8th 2014

300px-AustinCityLofts-Sep2009Are you thinking of buying a Condo? It’s a big commitment, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Getting your mortgage approved may well seem like the most difficult step on the road to your dream home, but amidst finding the best mortgage rates don’t forget a few tips in order to avoid potential pitfalls.

So you took the time to search for your dream property and fell in love with a condo in the heart of Toronto. You made sure you’re at a walking distance from Arts, culture, leisure and entertainment. You picked an urban chic street with quick access to trendy boutiques and restaurants. You knew what you were looking for and found it!

However, now is the time to work on funding your purchase through a mortgage! Start your search by comparing Mortgage rates in Ontario from multiple brokers. While the cheapest monthly payments might seem like the easiest option, this isn’t true because an offer that seems great is probably offset by fine print. Here we will look through some tips to help you identify your perfect mortgage.

  • Lump sum payments – So you think you will be able to pay down your mortgage aggressively? There’s always a clause that limits the maximum amount you can pay on your principle per year. It can range from 0% to 100% and come with little or several conditions. Make sure you are comfortable with the maximum amount you are allowed to payoff on the principle without earning yourself a penalty.
  • Initial Deposit – Initial deposits can be as low as 5%. However, you should try to size up your down payment to 20% in order to save off extra fees and lower your monthly payments. If you can afford it, you would reduce the amount you need to borrow as well as the insurance premium.
  • Finding the right lender – Mortgage brokers are sales people, everyone you speak to will sound like the best deal. Take your time in getting multiple quotes and compare the best mortgage rates. Investigate the details of each offering prior to signing!
  • Acceleration clause and foreclosure – You may be pretty confident that you’ll be able to make each payment, but how do we know that this will still be the case in a few years? If this is hidden in the fine print then any missed payments could lead to the bank calling in the loan, and if you can’t adhere to this then a foreclosure may be requested and your home sold at auction.
  • Variable rate mortgage – This is a big risk for anyone taking out a mortgage. If the market works in your favour you can save thousands and if it doesn’t you can lose your home. A variable rate means your rate will changes with the prime lending rate and you can be paying different amounts of interest during the year. If you think you won’t be able to afford a rise in interest rates, focus on finding the lowest 5-Year Fixed Closed Mortgage Rates with Rates.ca, a site offering the Best Mortgage Rate in Canada. A fixed rate will guarantee your peace of mind for the length of the term.

There are so many turns that a mortgage can take that it can get too much to know if you have the right deal. Avoid signing up for the lowest mortgage rate without knowing what that entails, mortgages can be a crazy maze. But if you keep your wits about you, you’ll come out with money in your pocket and the property of your dreams.

1 Comment Mich on Nov 24th 2014

300px-Luxury_Car_2Auto insurance is a necessary expense whether you own or lease a car.  In Canada, in order to drive a vehicle the law requires you to have valid car insurance. It provides you and others with financial protection against traffic accidents and any resulting liability. Insuring your car can be costly depending on your coverage type but most importantly on your age and car model. If your car falls in the sports or luxury segment, you can expect your policy to cost more. The same applies if you’re under 25 years old.   As such, you should always be looking for the best deal when it comes to car insurance.

The Benefits of Car Insurance

The benefits of car insurance typically outweigh any costs of the policy – even if just to give you peace of mind.  The biggest benefit of car insurance is that it will pay to repair your car should you get into an accident.  Car repairs can be very expensive – into the thousands of dollars – and with insurance you only pay your deductible. You are basically protecting your automobile, a large investment in one’s life.

Depending on the type of policy you get, car insurance can also pay to replace your car should it be stolen, or even damaged from something besides an accident – like vandalism or a weather related incidents.  This prevents you from having to buy a new car out of pocket.  Imagine if you also had a loan on your old car, and you had to repay that, as well as buy a new car. Your policy will protect you every time you hit the road.

That would not be the only reason on why insurance is so important. Without car insurance, you could spend years paying off medical bills, repair and other expenses to accident victims if you are at fault. That worst case scenario that everyone discounts would drain your assets simply because you did not pay a minimal cost for auto insurance.

Know Your Options

In general, basic insurance policies will meet the legal minimum requirements for third party liability. But that in no way means you have enough coverage to meet your needs. It’s very important to make a list of the optional coverages you want added to your policy. Make sure they are included in every insurance quote you obtain. In order to discover these options, don’t hesitate to speak with an insurance broker. Take the time to understand all of your options as it will allow you to pick the right ones for your situation.

It all starts with getting a car quote; this has become fast and easy thanks to online sites such as Rates.ca. All you have to do is provide your vehicle information and driving history. The site will provide you with multiple quotes and connect you with the insurance providers whose quotes you’re most interested in.

Where to Find the Best Deal

Car insurance can be expensive and in Canada the cost varies from one province to the other. Ontario for example boasts the highest insurance premiums in the country. However, it is possible to save a few hundred dollars by getting multiple Auto insurance Ontario quotes.  Shopping around is the only way to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. Don’t be afraid of negotiating and don’t forget that you can save an extra 15%-20% more if you combine your home and car insurance.


2 Comments Mich on Nov 20th 2014

The biggest shopping weekend of the year is creeping closer by the day. While Consumer Reports recommends signing up to receive special offers and alerts by email from your favorite retailers, that alone won’t get you everything you want this holiday season. Take some time to check out the best ways to have a triumphant shopping trip this Black Friday.

Make a Game Plan

christmas happy familySome retailers have allowed their Black Friday 2014 ads to be leaked early, giving you even more time to plan your route. Many stores abide by the rule of “flash sales,” where a severely discounted price is only available for a window of a couple hours, while others simple stick to a “first come, first served” sale tactic. Most, however, mix the two, which makes planning your shopping trip carefully more important than ever.

Give yourself ample time to get in and get what you want in the given timeframe. If you’re after a flash sale, try to get there and be ready when it starts—trying to fight your way through while the sale is in full swing could not only result in disaster, it could mean the product you’re after is sold out by the time you make it to the shelf.

Try to get all the shopping at a particular store done in a single trip. If, like most Black Friday shoppers, you intend to hit more than one retailer to mark everything off your list, giving yourself a set amount of time in each store could be the best way to make the most of every minute of the sale. You can use a mapping app to figure out the quickest route to each store and save yourself some fuel in the process. Try to plan your route in a loop if possible, so you start and finish close to home, with the stores in the middle being the furthest away. You’ll be tired and more than a little footsore by the end of the shopping day, to finishing off within easy driving distance of home will make sure you get back safely.

Safety Always Comes First

Speaking of safety, it’s important to periodically remind yourself that no sale is worth physical harm. The Huffington Post reported multiple instances of violence spurred on by the Black Friday shopping frenzy in 2013, and while Wal-Mart reported that it had stepped up security efforts and seen a noticeable decrease in shopping violence as a result, that doesn’t absolve shoppers like you of responsibility. Don’t push anyone, and if you’re the one being pushed do not push back. It’s better to just not get involved—if you witness dangerous behavior or skirmishes, report the issue to a nearby employee and let the people in charge take care of it.

Keeping safe extends past the store, as well. Expect traffic delays in all major transit areas during the peak hours of Black Friday shopping.

Be a Good Shopper

That doesn’t mean being the shopper that gets every single deal that goes up on BFAds in the weeks leading up to the big day. Rather, being a good shopper means treating other people in the store with respect, especially the employees working to make your experience quick and safe. Remember that retail employees generally have no choice as to whether or not they work on Black Friday—many of them are scheduled to work Thanksgiving evening, in fact, for a shopping day coming to be known as “Grey Thursday.” If you’re mistreated by an employee, Pocket-Lint.com agrees that it’s within your rights to be stern in response, but that doesn’t mean causing a scene by yelling or demanding an employee to do something they’re legally bound to not do. This includes everything from offering a substitution because a sale item is sold out to putting something “on hold” while you shop around the store for the rest of your purchases. Remember that on Black Friday, customer holds on certain products aren’t allowed by 99 percent of retailers, so if you get your hands on something that’s selling out fast put it in your cart or pay for it right away.

Other ways of being a good Black Friday shopper include:

  • Not fighting over sale items if there’s only one left
  • Being aware of quantity limits in advance (and not trying to find ways around them)
  • Not making a mess of a display while getting your items
  • Reporting spills, messes, and slipping hazards to employees if you see them
  • Being gracious and thanking employees for the hard work they’re doing

It’s your responsibility to be the best shopper you can be this Black Friday, whether it’s in the aisles or the checkout line. Never blame an employee for something that’s the fault of the company or another shopper.

Stay Updated

The best way to have a safe and successful shopping trip this holiday season is to stay aware—of your surroundings, of your favorite retailers’ special offers, and of what products you absolutely can’t afford to miss this year. Refer to sites like BFAds to stay abreast of all the best deals as they’re released, and plan your strategy carefully. Getting the most out of Black Friday means taking the least from your bank account and being the best shopper you can be. Stay aware, updated, and don’t miss out.


Comments Off Mich on Nov 14th 2014

Choosing a forex broker that best suits your needs as a trader is not that difficult if you take a few tips in consideration. These tips represent a number of questions you need to answer in order to narrow down your choices before you make that decision to sign up.


Before comparing broker pricing or bonus sign up offers, the first thing you need to find out is whether this broker is registered with any regulating authorities. If the broker is based in the US, make sure it is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) or Commodity Futures trading Commission (CFTC). For those brokers based in the UK, check if they’re registered with the Financial Service Authority (FSA). If your broker is not registered with any of these regulatory bodies, you might want to think twice before wiring your money, particularly if they’re based on exotic islands. This would be your first step in lowering risk as Forex also has its fair share of scamming.

The Spread

The next point to verify would be the spreads, what kind of spreads are you looking for? Fixed or variable spreads? How do they compare to other Brokers? Remember, the higher the spread, the more you are paying per transaction as this is how brokers make their money. Regardless of your trading strategy, low spreads ensure you keep a larger cut of your profits.


If you’re new to online Forex trading, beware of leverage. It will knock you out of the game pretty quickly when you’re still learning the ropes. Picking a low level of leverage ensures you will be around for longer and while it keeps your winnings small, your losses will also remain small. Successfully trading with virtual money does not guarantee you will do as well with real money.


Speaking of money, make sure you take the time to take several brokers for a demo ride. On one hand you test their platforms and on the other you practice with virtual money. However, when you decide the time is right to start with real money, start with a small amount. Remember, the currency market isn’t going anywhere and it will always offer opportunities. Starting with a small amount is highly recommended for beginners as you will be in a different state of psychology when real money you worked hard for is involved in the game.


Once you narrow down your list of potential brokers, test their customer service by asking questions. Some brokers like the Alpari forex company offer you premium services such as trading tools, news feeds,  market analysis, webinars and tutorials. Most importantly, be prepared to move your money quickly if the live experience does not mirror the demo platform, you might be surprised with reliability issues, slippage or even speed execution.

Comments Off Mich on Oct 2nd 2014

sunny-beachWhile you’re living outside of the country there’s no requirement for you to have US health insurance. Once you return this changes. You may be thinking about how you can avoid waiting periods and pre-existing ailment restrictions, when you apply for health insurance on your return.

If you’re coming back to live in the country after a period away you’re probably going to have a lot of issues to think about. So worrying about waiting for your health insurance cover to start, or worrying about whether it covers a condition you’re already suffering from is probably the last thing you need.

Do I have to apply for health insurance when I return to the country?

If you’re back in the country temporarily you may not have to apply for health insurance if you choose not to. There are regulations that control how long you have to be back in the country before you’re required to be covered by health insurance. These regulations state that if you’re back in the country for more than 35 days you need to apply.

You may think that you’re covered by travel insurance if you’re only travelling back to the country temporarily but this isn’t necessarily the case. You would have to have nine months of coverage for that qualifying year even taking into account the short gap rule which allows you to have one break in coverage of up to three months. This is to try and prevent the cost of people coming back to the country on travel insurance solely to benefit from medical treatment, and then leaving again.

How soon can I apply?

If you want to apply for health insurance when you return to your home state there are special rules in place which allow you to do so straight away via the subsidized State insurance Exchanges which have been put in place for people who either cannot afford insurance or cannot get insurance at that time.

You also have the option to purchase health insurance privately but you should note that from 2015 your policy will be expected to cover you for a specified minimum amount of health coverage. The fact that you have access to the State Insurance Exchanges at least means that you’ll not be without health insurance on your return.

What about a pre-existing health condition?

If you’re returning to the country and you already have a health condition you aren’t going to want to face the possibility of not being covered for your health issues. You shouldn’t worry about this as under the Affordable Care Act insurance providers are not allowed to refuse health insurance, or charge higher premiums, because a person is suffering with a health condition. This is the case whether you have been living in the country all the time, or you have been living abroad for a period of time.





Comments Off Mich on Aug 19th 2014

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