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Steven Fox served in the United States Marine Corps for over eight years and became a Certified Financial Planner after being honorably discharged. In this episode, Steven generously shared insightful strategies to approach finance-related decisions ranging from student loans to car insurance, home insurance, and even estate planning. Tune in and take away loads of useful and beneficial information.

START TRANSCRIPT

Chris Pratt: We have a very special guest today. I’m very honored to be talking to him. He served in the United States Marine Corps for over eight years and he was honorably discharged and became a Certified Financial Planner. He’s now serving pro-bono as treasurer and volunteer coordinator for Financial Independence Training, a nonprofit organization that provides financial education to active duty military members. He’s the Chairman of the Board of the Financial Planning Association, San Diego chapter. And he’s the founder of this group we’ll talk about NextGen Financial Planning. His name is Steven Fox. Welcome to the show, Steven.

Steven Fox: Hey Chris. Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

Chris Pratt: Thanks for coming on. So, you have a really amazing and phenomenal background and by the way, thank you for eight years of service in the Marine Corps.

Steven Fox: Thanks.

Chris Pratt: Did you join the Marines out of high school?

Steven Fox: I did. Yeah, right out of high school, I went to high school in Chicago area. And as soon as I graduated, went to the Marines, uh, and a whole lot of reasons I had to hit, but one of them was that I just knew I wanted to get out of that area. And that was one of my clearest path to being able to do so to go explore the world a little bit.

Chris Pratt: Yeah. Where did you serve?

Steven Fox: For probably about five years or so, I was overseas in various places, so it was in Japan, Okinawa, Japan station there for awhile. I went to Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, a couple of deployments to Iraq. And then most of my time in the US was at Camp Pendleton. That’s how I ended up here in San Diego. Camp Pendleton is just north of San Diego and I kind of fell in love with the area, decided to stay here when I got out.

Chris Pratt: Oh, wow. Cool. How many deployments did you do?

Steven Fox: Two deployments to Iraq and then a few other non-combat deployments for training and other things.

Chris Pratt: Wow. Wow. That’s amazing. Yeah. Um, we were talking a little bit about this before the show, but, uh, I, um, can’t imagine what it’s like to make such a major contribution to, to this country and, and to the people who, who, uh, you protect and, and serve. So I’m sure everyone listening is with me and really saying as genuinely as possible, thank you for your service.

Steven Fox: Thank you. I think it started as a pretty good foundation for a really, a whole lot of other paths you can go on in life. I see a lot of the people that have military backgrounds end up working in very wide range of areas, but one common trend is that people seem to tend to do pretty well afterward. They carry those lessons that they learned forward with them.

Chris Pratt: Right. So you went from the Marine Corps to becoming a Certified Financial Planner. How did that work? What happened?

Steven Fox: I did, yeah, that doesn’t really seem like a natural transition to make, but the way it worked basically is, um, so my last duty station was at Camp Pendleton in the San Diego area. And for me, it was a pretty easy choice to stay in San Diego. After I separated from the military. I think even if I wanted to leave my girlfriend at the time, she would’ve gone for it anyway. So that made it even easier, but ended up going to San Diego State University. Part of the reason I chose that school as opposed to some other schools in the area is because they had a large veteran population there. So I felt like I would be surrounded by people that I could better relate to. That I had more in common with compared to like 18-20-year-olds that didn’t have the same life experiences that I had had up to that point.

So I first enrolled in their finance program just because I’d always really been interested in learning about economics and finance. And I thought that if this is an area that I enjoy learning about and reading about, maybe it could be a good career field for me, didn’t really know what I wanted to do in finance at that. I would probably end up as like a fund analyst or working in corporate finance or like traditional finance jobs. Uh, but I, I feel like I got very, very lucky that one evening I went to a meeting of this group called the student group called the Finance Investment Society. And what they would do is bring in speakers that worked in all different areas of finance. And one evening a guy came in and talking about the work that he did as a financial planner, helping serve individuals, helping individual people make better financial decisions for themselves, for their families.

And before he came in and talked to us, I didn’t realize that that career existed. That was the thing you could do is to help people make better personal financial decisions as opposed to work in all these other areas of finance. But as soon as I heard him talking about that, it became immediately obvious to me that that is what I wanted to do. I love the idea of being able to marry those two concepts of working in finance, working with numbers, but also doing something that provides a meaningful impact to people’s lives that you can really, really provide some tremendous value to people and relieve a lot of money, a lot of stress for them. So…

Chris Pratt: Direct impact, yeah?

Steven Fox: Yeah, direct impact. Much more so than any other finance shop that I could think of. And I just got really, really lucky that I was already at a school that has one of the oldest and best personal financial planning programs in the country.

It’s an ego state. So I was still early enough in my degree program there that I was able to switch over to their financial services program. So I just had to take the right electives, take a few extra classes. And I was able to take the CFP exam right out of undergrad. Most CPS have to do a graduate program or a certificate program, something like that separate from their degree. Uh, but SDSU is one of the schools that has a special program set up where I was able to do it right out of undergrad. So I switched over to that right away and started talking to every financial planner in town that would answer my calls and emails and learning as much as I could, jumped right in.

Chris Pratt: Wow. So I think a lot of you mentioned 18 to 20-year-olds who don’t have quite the same life experiences as you, I think for a lot of 18 to 20-year-olds switching majors or changing fields, or just making that transition to college can be very intimidating and scary. Um, a lot of them, you know, don’t know what they want to do. They just pick a random major or they go into, you know, a very generic degree program. It sounds like you made the switch. What were the degrees from? They were similar programs, but they weren’t exactly the same.

Steven Fox: Yeah. Were fairly similar. Especially in the first two years. The one that I was initially in was called Finance and the one I switched over to during, I think it was my second semester in school, it was called Financial Services. Okay.

Chris Pratt: Okay. So finance is more geared towards, you know, going into wall street where he, you know, one of the big banks, you know, uh, or investment firms or something like that. Right?

Steven Fox: Exactly. And financial services would include financial planners or insurance, salespeople, real estate, some other areas.

Chris Pratt: So I want to ask you, you talked about your, your financial planning firm before we get into that. I want to ask you about the CFP designation, what you have to do to earn that designation. You mentioned that you had an awesome degree program that allowed you to earn the designation while also earning your degree.

Steven Fox: Yeah. So there are four primary steps to becoming a CFP and everyone calls them the four E’s. So the first one is Education requirement. Then there’s the Exam then Experience then Ethics. So if the Education requirement, I think they have two separate parts to that. The first is that you have to have completed a bachelor’s degree in any topic. It can be in finance, it can be in history or art, a bachelor’s degree in something. And then the second education requirement is that you’ve completed the coursework on financial planning, through a registered program that the CFP board approves. There are actually a lot of financial planners who got their initial degree in something totally separate finance. And that’s why they had to do that separate graduate program or certificate program or something so that they could meet the education requirement for the CFP board. Once you fulfill the education requirement, the next step is to take the exam and the exam is pretty challenging.

Uh, I think it’s something like six or seven hour total exam covers a very wide range of personal finance topics. That’s going to go over investing and taxes, insurance and estate planning and all these different areas. And the pass rate is I think it averages something like 60% for most, uh, most exam cycles. And it’s, it’s very challenging, but it is definitely very doable. If you put in the time, if you put in the effort to prepare for it, it’s doable. You just need to make sure that you don’t underestimate it and you can’t take that exam until after you’ve completed the education requirement.

Chris Pratt: Right. Okay.

Steven Fox: And then once you’ve completed the exam, the next step is they have experienced requirements. So they have two different paths here. You can either do a two year apprenticeship path, or you can do a three-year. I think they call it standard path.

So for the two year apprenticeship path, you qualify for that one. If you are working directly with a CFP and your work covers all the different areas of financial planning, all of the steps in the financial planning process, not everybody has that opportunity within their first job within financial services. So they also have this other path of three years that they have a wide arrange of work that will qualify for it. So like your work doesn’t have to cover every year of the financial planning process, or you don’t have to have direct interaction with clients. You don’t have to be working under an existing CFP. And that’s the path I ended up doing was the three-year path, just because my experience came from a wide range of sources before I fulfilled the requirement. Uh, and then the last one is an Ethics requirement. So this is just where they do a background check to sure you don’t have like bankruptcies and fraud convictions and things like that. You have to agree to adhere to their ethical standards and to act as a fiduciary when you’re providing financial advice to clients. So they have an ethics requirement that you need to sign off on a pass, that background check. And once you’ve met all four of those requirements, all four E’s, then you’re a CFP.

Chris Pratt: Wow.I mean, that is extremely comprehensive. Oh, well, first of all, your explanation was very comprehensive, but the requirements themselves are also very comprehensive. Um, your website is NextGen Financial Planning.com. And the first question you have on there is what do I want my future to look like? And what role do my financial decisions play as I design my ideal life, you say, we can help you answer the financial questions that you’ve been wondering about. And this is the first one. I really love this question because it’s, I think the question that everyone listening and, and pretty much everyone everywhere should be asking themselves before they even seek out advice from a financial advisors. What do I want my future to look like? And what role do my financial decisions play as I design my ideal life. So you started NextGen Financial Planning. When did you start it?

Steven Fox: Our registration was approved to start taking clients in June of 2016. So a little over four years ago

Chris Pratt: Oh, over four years ago. Okay. And so you’ve run this for over four years. When did you get the CFP designation?

Steven Fox: Well, I passed the exam. Let’s see. I graduated from SDSU in May of 2016. So I was already going through the registration process. I knew that I wanted to start this firm right out of school and the registration was approved about a month after I graduated. And then I took the CFP exam in a month later, July of 2016. Didn’t fulfill the experience requirement until it was, I think, December, 2017. So about a year and a half into running. My firm is when I was finally CFP.

Chris Pratt: Got it. Okay. So you’ve had quite a few years of experience with folks and, you know, you cover a number of, of, of different topics. If I’m someone who knows nothing about personal finance or very little, what is a firm like yours going to be able to do for me, you have a bunch of different things on, on your website that I want to talk about. I mentioned estate planning. Why would I go see you?

Steven Fox: I guess at a high level, there are two primary services that we provide. One is financial planning. The other is investment management, but really everything that we do comes back to helping people make better financial decisions. And what the, the line you mentioned before about asking yourself, what do you want your future to look like? And what role do your financial decisions play as you sign that ideal life? That’s really what it’s all about. That’s why we’re here. That’s the whole point of talking about anything related to personal finance, because personal finances is personal. It’s not about changing numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s about what decisions can you make to increase the odds of you accomplishing the things that are most important to you. And so everything that we do in financial planning, that’s just me any good financial planner should somehow relate back to those questions about what is it that you’re actually trying to accomplish.

Chris Pratt: Okay. So I want to do a little bit of that here today in this, this podcast interview. So one of the first, I guess, big hurdles, a lot of people encounter when they’re starting to get out into the real world, especially college graduates is that they have student loan debt and the third and fourth questions on your website. Talk about balancing, paying down debt while trying to save for the future and refinancing, consolidating student loans and, uh, working through special student loan programs. Just generally, if I’m, you know, if I’m coming out of college with a lot of debt and you know, let’s say a moderate income, like 40 to $50,000, what would your advice be? Would it be to just pay down all of that debt as fast as you can, would it be to maybe pay down 50% and put the other 50% towards savings, help us understand, you know, if I’m coming out of college with a lot of debt, what should I do?

Steven Fox: So student loan debt is a little bit different from most other kinds of debt because you have a wider range of options with it. And generally a wider range of planning opportunities. If you have something like a car loan, you really don’t have to have a whole lot of options with that, right? You can pay it as scheduled. You can make extra payments that you reduce the total interest that you pay. You could sell the car, you could refinance to a lower rate, and then you’d really don’t have a whole lot of other options besides that. But with student loans, you have all of those options, plus possibly many others, right? You can do direct loan consolidations of multiple federal loans. Even if there are different types of federal student loans, you can refinance to private loans. You can roll in various income driven plans. There’s public service loan forgiveness.

There are loan forgiveness programs for some career fields. So there are a lot more planning opportunities with student loans. And also the numbers are a lot larger for a lot of student loans than they are for other types of debt. Generally bigger than anything, besides a mortgage. I think the median student loan debt for somebody exiting school right now is something like 25,000. There are some people we work with that have several hundred thousand in student loan debt. So I mean, clearly the benefits to taking a good planning approach here are well worth doing, but in general, there are two paths that you can take with student loans. One of them is to pay them off as quickly as you can. The other is to pay them off as slowly as you can. So if you’re trying to pay them off as quickly as you can, that means things like minimizing the interest that you pay in maximizing the payments and reduce the total interest cost.

And the total time that you’re going to spend dealing with the student loan burden, knock it out as fast as you can be super aggressive, minimize that total interest cost. The other path of paying it off as slow as you can is generally aiming towards various types of forgiveness programs or income driven programs, where let’s say, if you’re enrolled in public service loan, forgiveness over a 10 year period, in most cases, you want to pay a single dollar extra towards those student loans beyond what you’re required to, because all you’re doing is you’re decreasing the amount that’s going to be forgiven at some point later on. So you’re just wasting your money by making extra payments. A lot of people make the mistake of going somewhere in the middle. They don’t have a clear strategic approach to getting the loans forgiven, but they’re not taking the steps that they could to minimize the total interest paid. They’re only being somewhat aggressive towards paying it off. You have to pick a path and stick to it and then pay it off super fast or pay it off super slow, but make a clear decision. No, why you’re making that decision and stick with it unless there are clear changes your situation. That means you should change your strategy.

Chris Pratt: I get that. So do you think it’s a good idea to pay down the highest interest rate loans first paid on federal versus private loans first? Uh, are, are, are there a lot of factors to decide or does it not really matter to, does it mostly matter to just attack your loan as fast as possible or do the opposite and pay the minimums and figure out a forgiveness strategy?

Steven Fox: Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. So for most types of debt, I think it’s almost always correct that you should focus on paying the highest interest rate down first because that’s going to reduce the total cost that you’ve paid, right? It’s going to reduce the total interest payments. If you’re reducing the highest rate, first student loans work differently. It doesn’t always make sense to pay down the highest interest rate first. I think the first thing is you just have to get organized with your student loans. A lot of people have no idea where they even stand. So the very first step is just figure out, okay, I have this, this, this, this, and this loans. This is this type of loan. And this one has this interest rate. This is the monthly payment for this one. Just get everything organized. A lot of people that I talked to, you have no idea what type of student loans like they can’t even tell me if they are federal or private, but a loan.

Like what type of federal student loans they have. They don’t understand anything about the type of income driven plan that they’re in.

Chris Pratt: How do you, how do you know if it’s federal or private?

Steven Fox: So you can contact your loan service or look at a statement, it’ll show you what type of loan you have. So if you see like, um, subsidized Stafford loan, that’s one type of federal loan, if you see that in a statement, or if, uh, if you’ve signed documents directly with a lender, let’s say First Republic Bank, or SoFi, whoever your private student loan provider is, that’s probably a private loan, but you can double check with them. Always just ask your lender and look at statements. You can go to the department of education website, and it’ll also show you all of your federal student loans there. It won’t show any private ones.

So that’s another place you can confirm. There’s a text file you can get there called My Student Data, a big blue button. You click and download this text file. It gives you tons of details about all of your federal student loans. Uh, but really that’s the first step is just getting everything organized. Look at your statements and at the federal website and ask your lender or your loan servicer, if you’re not sure, but you have to know where you’re starting from first.

Chris Pratt: Great. Yeah.

Steven Fox: Um, and then once you figure out where you are right now, what types of loans you have, then you can figure out what options you have from that. So like if you only have private loans, that means that all of the various income-driven plans, aren’t going to be available to you because those are only for federal student loans and only for some types of federal student loans. So that eliminates several categories of potential options right there. Um, but you just have to know where you’re starting from.

Chris Pratt: Are private loans more similar to that car loan scenario that you were talking about?

Steven Fox: Yes. Absolutely. Except with the difference that they are far more difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, because they’re not tied to a hard asset that the lender can repossess.

Chris Pratt: So what you’re saying is it’s, it’s hard to get the loan to go away if you, if you file for bankruptcy with a, a private student loan.

Steven Fox: Yup. Or with federal student loans as well. Yeah. And there’s one potential trap there that a lot of people run into without realizing, which is that if you refinance from any type of federal student loan to any private student loan, you are then giving up the option to pursue all of those other paths that federal student loans offer. And you’re also giving up some rights around things like forbearance or deferment that exists with federal student loans, but may not with private loans. So you can’t just look at something like the interest rate or the monthly payment and decide to refinance to private loans based on that alone.

Chris Pratt: So you’re talking about refinancing now, which is, and tell me if I get this right, which is to take your original loans that may have a high-interest rate, like say 10% and then pay them off with another loan that you got from somewhere else that has a lower interest rate, like say 5% so that you’re paying less on that loan.

Steven Fox: Exactly.

Chris Pratt: Cool. I mean, this is really great. And soon as we I’m sure we could, you know, get in-depth on student loans, but I think the moral of the story and this was great, how you, how you started this off was, pay down the loans as fast as you can or pay the minimum payments, uh, and, and go for forgiveness. I would guess that if you’re going to do the minimum payment route, you probably want to talk to a fee-only financial advisor like yourself to help you figure out how to deal with the income-driven repayment or, or the loan forgiveness. Because that sounds a little more complicated.

Steven Fox: They are a little bit complicated sometimes. And like I said, sometimes certain loan types are only eligible for certain types of repayment programs. And then there are other little wrinkles too, that kind of interact with other areas of financial planning. So like, for example, if you are in an income-driven plan, that amount of your monthly payment is going to be dependent on the income that you’re making.

Chris Pratt: Right.

Steven Fox: So if you can find ways to reduce your taxable income, you can then also reduce your student loan payment and reduce the total amount that you’re paying towards those loans let’s maximize the forgiveness, right? So that might mean, for example, that let’s say outside of student loans, if you didn’t have any student loans, maybe you’re in a situation where it would make sense to put contributions to Roth retirement accounts, rather than pre-tax ones. This could flip that around. It might make sense for you to make pretax retirement contributions, knowing that you’re going to be in a lower tax bracket later on, if it reduces your student loan payment by enough because you’re an income-driven payments. So all these areas of financial planning interact with each other, you can’t look at anyone in a vacuum.

Chris Pratt: Yeah. Which is why, you know, I guess the general advice is, is it depends on your situation. What financial advice we give you before we switch topics. I just want to cover income-driven repayment. What exactly does that mean? You just mentioned explained it a little bit. Like what’s the benefit of that?

Steven Fox: There are a range of different types of programs. So some them are called income-contingent repayment there’s pay as you earn, there is revised pay as you earn, a couple of others. And basically, all of those means is that your monthly payments are going to depend on the amount of income that you have. And you’re going to be required to do regular recertification of your income in order to reassess the amount that you’re paying. And then after some amount of time, depending on your loan type in which program you’re in, after some amount of time, any balance that you have still on your student loans will be forgiven.

Chris Pratt: What’s the repayment period like? Like what amount of time? Is it like five years, 10 years, 30 years,

Steven Fox: 10 to 25, depending on which program and what type of loan.

Chris Pratt: Okay. Got it. Okay. So that’s a way, if, you know, you have just massive student loan debt and your income is nowhere near high enough to pay it all off, that you can eventually stop making those payments.

Steven Fox: Exactly, a couple of the things to watch out for sometimes people’s income is very tough to predict. So when you’re looking at, should you be in an income-driven plan, or should you maybe refinance the private loans and pay it off aggressively? One of the variables there you have to try and estimate is what is your income going to look like over the next five or 10 or 15 years compared to now, sometimes that’s very difficult to estimate depending on your life circumstances and your career choices and family choices and such. Another thing to watch out for is that unless you are in public service loan forgiveness, the forgiven amount under all of those repayment plans is going to be considered taxable income. So if you have a large balance and then you’re making very small payments with a low income, that balance grows and grows and grows over time, you’re making your payments on your student loans each month, but your balance is still growing because the interest on your existing balance is more than your monthly payment amount. So you could be in a situation where 20 years from now, you have a couple hundred thousand dollars of student loan balance being forgiven, and that’s considered taxable income to you in that year. So you would then have to be saving along the way to make sure you’re able to cover that tax bomb.

Chris Pratt: Yeah, that’s, that’s crazy. Yeah. Imagine that it can get very complex dealing with all that. And it’s, I mean, you mentioned it’s just challenging to estimate and predict what’s going to happen in the future. I mean, my personal approach, what, uh, uh, my fiance and I are really sticking to is to just try to pay it down as fast as possible, uh, so that we don’t have to worry about it, but we’re also in a situation where we can do that, right. We have enough income to, to, you know, pay the bills, pay for our housing and our food and whatnot while also paying down the debt aggressively. So I want to switch gears a little bit. I don’t think we’ve ever really talked about estate planning. I just want to talk about this quickly because I hear a lot about estate planning. I feel like I’m 22 years old, I couldn’t care less about estate planning. But maybe I should I don’t know. What is estate planning?

Steven Fox: That’s a common misconception, I think is that only really old people or really wealthy people need estate planning. So estate planning is a few different areas. One of the primary ones is just figuring out what happens to all of your stuff after you die. So you figure out, okay, this account is going to go to this person, this type of asset that goes to this person. Here’s how my debts will be settled. Here’s where I want guardianship of my kids. Here are the types of medical care that I want to receive in my final days. All of those things are part of estate planning. And sometimes estate planning does get much more complex for people who are really wealthy because you have different types of trusts and you have different types of assets that are treated differently.

Uh, it can get really complex, but even if you’re not in a really complex financial situation, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need estate planning. For me, I’m not super wealthy. Uh, I don’t exceed the estate tax exemption threshold, but we still have basic estate planning documents in place because it makes sure that my kids will be taken care of if something happens to my wife and or myself. So it includes things like guardianship nomination for our kids, as well as a secondary contingent nomination. Um, our state plan includes things like what type of medical care do I want to receive under what conditions some people are okay with doctors taking pretty extraordinary measures to help save them. Some people are not okay with that. That includes things like, uh, a medical power of attorney that gives my wife and then a secondary person after that, if she’s unable to, it gives them permission to make medical decisions on my behalf if I’m not able to, all of those are also part of estate planning. I mean, what happens to your dog if you die? Things like that, there’s a wide range of issues.

Chris Pratt: Oh, okay. That’s great. Great summary. So before we end here, I want to talk a little bit about insurance. Another question on your website. Again, folks, I highly recommend you check out this website and you talk to Steven. You say, I haven’t looked at my life auto or home insurance policy since buying them several years ago. Do I have the right coverage for me? And am I paying too much? So we’ve talked about life insurance before, but we haven’t really talked about auto or home insurance. So first with auto insurance, what’s your advice with respect to auto insurance?

Steven Fox: With insurance of all types, including auto? The key thing to keep in mind is what are the risks that you are trying to mitigate by having this insurance? And is this policy, or is insurance in general the best way to mitigate that risk? So the main goal of auto insurance is to minimize the cost, the financial cost of a major accident, uh, and the biggest cost there is not damage to your car itself, but probably the biggest potential cost is liability to somebody else’s car and to their medical bills, especially. So I think that you want to make sure that your coverage limits are high enough, that they are likely to cover the financial impact of any accident that you’re likely to have. Uh, usually it makes sense to get the highest deductible that you can afford, but deductible on insurance policy is the case or the cost of a claim.

So if you have a, let’s say a $500 deductible and an accident and costs $3,000, you would pay the first $500 to your insurance company would pay the remaining amount. Um, so if you have a high deductible, that means that they are then able to lower the premiums that you pay each month, because you’re taking on a little bit more of the financial risk compared to what the insurance company is taking on.High deductible means lower premiums generally. So for auto insurance, usually you want to have the highest deductible that you can afford, knowing what you’d be able to cover out of your emergency fund or out of your normal monthly free cash flow, but you don’t want to have too low of a deductible because really you’re just trying to minimize the possibility of catastrophic losses. That’s what insurance is for it’s for pooling risks, to make sure that no individual is taking on too much financial risk.

Chris Pratt: Right. So, so if the, you know, that, you know, you incur, I don’t know, a hundred, $200,000 in costs from, you know, God forbid a horrible auto accident. The insurance can cover that, but if it’s, you know, $500 or a thousand dollars, ideally you’d be prepared to cover that out of your emergency fund. So your deductible would be higher and your monthly payments for the insurance plan or lower.

Steven Fox: Exactly.

Chris Pratt: And just one last thing I want to mention that I did not know is that you can cancel an auto insurance policy virtually whenever you want and switch to a different one. So it’s always good to shop around with all the different, uh, auto insurance companies and find which one has the best price for the same coverage. I think some of the general advice is to do it every six months when your policy expires, but you can do it whenever, as often as you want. Really. And then the last thing is home insurance. First of all, what does home insurance cover for someone who’s not quite yet a homeowner or who is a new homeowner? And what should you look out for when you’re looking for home insurance policies?

Steven Fox: So a couple of the primary things that it protects you against are one, the value of the home itself is protected. So if your home burns down, or if somebody drives through your living room wall or something like that, if there’s severe damage to your house of certain types in your insurance policy would help to repair those damages. And then the other major thing that it does is it protects you against liabilities of various types. So somebody is walking on your sidewalk during the winter and you didn’t shovel it and they slip and fall and have a hundred thousand dollars in medical bills. Your home insurance policy might cover that. If you own a home, you definitely need home insurance. A lot of mortgage lenders will actually require that you have insurance as a condition of giving you the mortgage. And even if you don’t own a home, you should still have a similar policy. That’s commonly called renter’s insurance or personal property insurance that provides a lot of the same benefits. Except of course it doesn’t protect the value of the place that you’re living in, such is a landlord’s responsibility.

Chris Pratt: Yeah. And by the way, renter’s insurance can be really cheap. I mean like $10 a month. So it’s definitely a good thing to have. Alright, we are out of time. I have so many more questions I wanted to ask you, but this was really great, really informative. Folks, I highly recommend you check out Steven’s website and his company, NextGen Financial Planning.com. He has an amazing team, scheduled with him. He’s a fee-only financial advisor. We’ve talked about that before he acts as a fiduciary. So they’re acting in your best interest. Um, and there’s no hidden costs or, or, you know, cost as a percentage of your income or anything crazy like that. So I highly recommend you check him out. Thanks again so much for coming on the show. Thank you for your service services in the Marine and your services as a financial planner, Steven.

Chris Pratt: Thanks, Chris. I hope it’s helpful to people listening. A lot more stuff we could have gone into, maybe another time.

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