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Sleep better in the New Year with these controversial money moves

3 ways to feel more at ease about your money situation, and why some financial advisors don’t like them.

Transfer your credit card balance to a zero interest card

Why you should do it: If you have a credit card balance, you are probably paying a really high interest rate, possibly over 20 percent. Even the IRS only charges 4 percent for underpayment! In a perfect world, you would pay it off immediately. But the reality is that probably isn’t happening. If you have a high credit score, you can often transfer to a zero interest credit card. Be sure to choose one that does not charge a fee for this- that can sometimes be as much as 5 percent. You can often get more than a year interest free before you have to pay it back. That’s a year of sleeping a whole lot better knowing you are not paying those sky-high interest rates. 

Why not everyone loves this: The danger is real. Many people may just run up charges on the original card all over again, repeating the pattern but with more debt on the new card. Also, the debt has not gone away. You bought time, but you still owe the money.

Get pet insurance

Why you should do it: I sleep much better at night knowing that my 5-year old Morkie Waffles is covered. The reality is that pet healthcare can be very expensive and I don’t want to make a cost-driven decision when she needs medical care. I have seen so many friends painfully talk about their pets that were injured, sick or just went through the natural stages of aging, and talked about all the money they spent and really could not afford. I have yet to find anyone that did not pay to have their pet taken care of. This can be a huge financial hardship.

Why not everyone loves it: It is crazy expensive and usually has limited coverage. Pet insurance premiums run the gamut but according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average pet health insurance premium in 2016 was $496. And most plans do not cover wellness visits unless you pay very high premiums. Also some plans have annual caps. In short: read the fine print and know what you are buying.

Consider long term care insurance:

Why you should do it: This is insurance that will cover your daily care needs (or those of your loved ones) in the case of a chronic disease or becoming disabled and needing daily care. That can be things like having in-home help from a nurse, therapist or other professionals. Policies also can cover assisted living facilities and nursing homes. You probably won’t need it for a very long time. But it is much less expensive to buy when you are young, and will help you sleep at night knowing you, and your partner if you have one, are covered. Some policies will even pay to modify your home if you are disabled. There are few things that will derail your life like having to care full time for a loved one.

Why not everyone loves this: Again, it can be very expensive. Unlike many life insurance policies, many long-term care policies do not lock in premiums so they can go up. Many also exclude pre-existing conditions. There also may be limits on the types of benefit you may receive and what is covered. Also if there is a set dollar amount of coverage, that may be fixed while in the real world the cost of care is increasing. There are also coverage exclusions and waiting periods before you qualify to get benefits. In other words, don’t sign up until you have done all your homework.  

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