Explore job before getting started as a stock broker
Dear Dave: I’ve decided to get a new job, and have heard about an investment specialist position with Edward Jones. I’ve worked in the insurance industry, so I know something about sales. Cold calling doesn’t bother me either, if there’s enough income attached to the job and I believe in what I’m doing. What do you think? — Jeri
Dear Jeri: Edward Jones certainly is a good company, and some people make a good living and have even become wealthy as stockbrokers. So the question is whether or not you’d really like this kind of work.
There’s a lot of turnover in areas like stock brokerage, real estate brokerage and insurance. About 80 percent of the people who go to work in these fields don’t make it through the first year.
Jeri, there’s nothing wrong with being a stock broker. I just think you need to explore this a little more before you jump in. Talk to some people who have worked the job, and find out what made it so easy for them to leave. Also, talk to some current stockbrokers and pick their brains about the job – the good and the bad.
You always want as much information as possible before making a career decision! — Dave
Dear Dave: What does the term “elimination period” mean on a long-term disability insurance policy? — Glenn
Dear Glenn: By definition, the elimination period is the time from the point you’re declared disabled by a doctor until you actually begin receiving money from the insurance company. If you have a 90-day elimination period it will be about that long from the time you’re officially declared disabled until you see your first check.
I recommend a 90- to 180-day elimination period, depending on how much money you have stored away in your emergency fund. If you have a fully-loaded emergency fund, which is three to six months of expenses, you can easily carry a policy with a longer elimination period.
The longer the elimination period, the lower your premium will be. — Dave
Dear Dave: We’re thinking about refinancing our home, and will be talking to a loan officer next week. What kinds of things do I need to know so we can protect ourselves in the deal? — John
Dear John: It’s not really a big deal. You’ll get a Truth in Lending Sheet – this is required by the Federal Trade Commission – and an Estimated Settlement Sheet. You might want a little more detail, so ask them to give you a sample settlement sheet based on the size of your loan.
Also, watch out for points and origination fees. These are nothing but pre-paid interest. You might get a little lower interest rate if you pay them, but the break-even point is between seven and 12 years to get your money back. Since the average mortgage is refinanced every 5.6 years, paying points and origination fees is not a good deal.
And don’t worry if the loan officer tells you this isn’t normal. They can make just as much money from the sale. They’ll just have to work a little harder to do it! — Dave
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