Archive for May, 2009

Life insurance for new parents

Insurance, Parenting, Personal finance

I’ll be honest. I’ve found myself overloaded with finance for the past several months. My job is already in finance, but on top of that, we’ve also been looking into estate planning and education funds like Coverdells and 529s now that we have a son, figuring out what to invest in given recent conditions and even starting our house hunting process (which, in the Bay Area, means you’re still in for sticker shock even though prices have supposedly dropped dramatically).

Still, these are things you have to do once you’re a parent. One thing that became evident through the estate planning process we’ve begun is that we’re woefully underinsured. My husband and I had always just signed up for whatever default life insurance was offered by our employers, but all that’s changed now that we have a child.

So, the last several weeks have seen us looking into . There are actually many types of life insurance policies, but we opted for term since it’s the simplest and inexpensive, and suit our needs.

Here are some things we learned through the process so far:
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How to reduce your Comcast bill

Tips for saving money

Yesterday, a rep from a local cable competitor called dropped by our house and explained how we could get the same cable and internet service we got from Comcast for half price if we switched providers.

It was a pretty compelling argument — $29.95 for standard cable (plus they threw in Starz and Encore, even though they’re channels we don’t care about) and $22.95 for internet for 12 months, with no contract. With Comcast, we’d been paying $59.95 for standard cable and $42.95 for internet.

I looked at the , and they were positive overall, although some people complained that their internet speeds were more comparable to DSL than cable (we’re on the 12Mbps package).

However, since we’d been happy with Comcast, I figured it was worth calling them up to see if I could get better pricing. After selecting the “downgrade or discontinue your service” option on the telephone menu, I explained to the rep that we’d been happy with their service but that Astound was offering the same services at half the price, which we had to consider. I asked if there was anything they could to to price match or decrease my monthly bill.
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How to make your Excel models look more professional – 3 quick tips

Excel function tutorials, Excel spreadsheets (.xls)

Instead of writing another long Excel function tutorial, I wanted to dedicate a quick post on how to make your Excel models look 100x better. No matter what version of Excel you’re using, there are three easy things you can do to make your tables and models easier on the eyes, easier to use, and more professional. I’ll show you the transformation alongside an example.

First, let’s suppose this simple table is what we originally start with:


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Poll: Which version of Microsoft Excel do you use?

Excel function tutorials

As you know, I regularly create Excel tutorials on this site. I’m trying to figure out what version of Excel most readers currently use so that I can write tutorials that benefit the most number of visitors. If you’re browsing Experiments in Finance because you came here by searching Google for an explanation on how to use an Excel function, would you mind answering the following poll? Thanks!

Which version of Excel do you use?

Excel 2003 or before
Excel 2007

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