Investigate Before You Invest

investigateWhat do you want to invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds? Do you want to open an IRA or buy an annuity? Does your employer offer a 401K? Remember, every investment involves some degree of risk. Most securities are not insured by the Federal government if they lose money or fail, even if you purchase them through a bank or credit union that offers Federally insured savings accounts. Make sure you have answers to all of these questions before you invest:

  • Define your goals. Ask yourself “Why am I investing money?” Maybe you want to save money to purchase a house or to save for retirement. Maybe you would like to have money to pay for your child’s education, or just to have a financial cushion to handle unexpected expenses or a loss of income.
  • How quickly can you get your money back? Stocks, bonds, and shares in mutual funds can usually be sold at any time, but there is no guarantee you will get back all the money you paid for them. Other investments, such as limited partnerships, often restrict your ability to cash out your holdings.
  • What can you expect to earn on your money? While bonds generally promise a fixed return, earnings on most other securities go up and down with market changes. Also, keep in mind that just because an investment has done well in the past, there is no guarantee it will do well in the future.
  • What type of earnings can you expect? Will you get income in the form of interest, dividends or rent? Some investments, such as stocks and real estate, have the potential for earnings and growth in value. What is the potential for earnings over time?
  • How much risk is involved? With any investment, there is always the risk that you won’t get your money back or the earnings promised. There is usually a trade-off between risk and reward: the higher the potential return, the greater the risk. The federal government insures bank savings accounts and backs up U.S. Treasury securities (including savings bonds). Other investment options are not protected.
  • Are your investments diversified? Some investments perform better than others in certain situations. For example, when interest rates go up, bond prices tend to go down. One industry may struggle while another prospers. Putting your money in a variety of investment options can help to reduce your risk.
  • Are there any tax advantages to a particular investment? U.S. Savings Bonds are exempt from state and local taxes. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal income tax and, sometimes, state income tax as well. For special goals, such as paying for college and retirement, tax-deferred investments are available that let you postpone or even eliminate payment of income taxes.

10 smart ways to avoid investments fraud

  • fraudAlways Deal with certified financial planner.
  • Always check the identity card of the person to whom you’re dealing with. Check the company name & date of validity of the card.
  • Do not blindly trust any one even if you know him / her from several years. Always ask for official brochure of the product you’re dealing with & see everything written there.
  • Always use your own pen while filling application form and/or cheques. The era of frauds using invisible ink of agents has just begun.
  • Always write application no., your name, mobile phone no. at the back of the cheque. If you’re giving renewal premium cheque, write your policy no. also.
  • Ask for official illustration of the insurance product or fact sheet of mutual fund before investing.
  • Ask your advisor to show the comparison with other competitive products. You may like some feature of other product which your advisor does not like.
  • Note down the your agent / distributor full contact details before submitting application forms like full name, license no., branch address & phone no., residential address & phone no. – mobile phone & landline, email address etc.
  • Always put the date below your signature, where ever you sign.
  • When you get your policy bond / statement of account, check all the details 
    like your name, contact details, nominee name & other things. Go through all the documents. Pay attention to the charges portion carefully. The company gives photocopy of your filled application form along with your signed official illustration with policy bond.
  • Check for renewal date & payment frequency carefully in your policy bond. It has come to notice that several agents had taken the cheque from customers for yearly mode or half-yearly mode & has submitted the documents on monthly mode.

List of United States insurance companies

Following is the list of insurance companies of USA

Insurance in the United States

  • Allison Insurance
  • 21st Century Insurance
  • Aetna
  • Aflac
  • Alleghany Corporation
  • Allied Insurance
  • Allstate
  • American Automobile Association
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Income Life Insurance Company
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • American National Insurance Company
  • American United Life Insurance Company
  • Ameritas Life Insurance Company
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • Assurant
  • Auto-Owners Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty Company
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • California Casualty
  • Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • CNA Financial
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Commerce Insurance Group
  • Conseco
  • Country Financial
  • Chartis
  • Chubb Corp.
  • Elephant.com
  • Encompass Insurance Company
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Esurance
  • Evergreen USA RRG
  • FM Global
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Federated Mutual Insurance Company
  • First Insurance Company of Hawaii, LTD
  • GAINSCO
  • GEICO
  • General Re
  • Genworth Financial
  • GMAC Insurance
  • Great West Casualty Company
  • Gracy Title Company
  • Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • GuideOne Insurance
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • HCC Insurance Holdings
  • Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • K&K Insurance
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • Markel Corporation
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Mercury Insurance Group
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Omega
  • OneBeacon
  • Oxford Health Plans
  • Pacific Life
  • Pacificare
  • PEMCO
  • Penn Mutual
  • Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire
  • Philadelphia Insurance Companies
  • Principal Financial Group
  • [[Primerica Financial
  • Progressive
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • The Regence Group
  • Reliance Insurance Company
  • RLI Corp.
  • Safe Auto Insurance Company
  • Safeco
  • Safeway Insurance Group
  • Sentry Insurance
  • Selective Insurance
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Southern Aid and Insurance Company
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Sun Life Financial
  • Symetra
  • TIAA-CREF
  • The Travelers Companies
  • Trupanion
  • Unitrin Direct Auto Insurance
  • Unum
  • USAA
  • West Coast Life
  • Western Mutual Insurance Group
  • Western & Southern Financial Group
  • Westfield Insurance
  • White Mountains Insurance Group

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Life annuity

  • Allstate
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Fidelity
  • Genworth Financial
  • ING Group
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Old Mutual
  • Pacific Life
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • TIAA-CREF
  • Transamerica Corporation
  • UNIFI Companies
  • United of Omaha
  • Western & Southern Financial Group

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Health insurance in the United States

  • AARP
  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • American National Insurance Company
  • Amerigroup
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • Centene Corporation
  • Cigna
  • Coventry Health Care
  • EmblemHealth
  • Fortis
  • Golden Rule Insurance Company
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • GHI
  • Health Net
  • HealthMarkets
  • HealthSpring
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kaleida Health
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon
  • Medical Mutual of Ohio
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Principal Financial Group
  • The Regence Group
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Unitrin
  • Universal American Corporation
  • WellCare Health Plans
  • WellPoint

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Medicare (United States)

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  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Tricare
  • Supplemental insurance
  • Aflac
  • Allstate
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Conseco
  • Liberty National Life Insurance Company
  • MEGA Life and Health Insurance
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance

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Travel insurance

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  • Mondial Assistance Group
  • Travel Guard
  • USA-ASSIST Worldwide Protection

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Workers’ compensation

Assist Card

  • Accident Fund
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Missouri Employers Mutual
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Penn National Insurance
  • Republican Ideminity Co
  • Sentry Insurance
  • State Accident Insurance Fund
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund
  • State Farm Insurance
  • WellPoint
  • Zenith Insurance Company

PPF, post office small savings interest rates cut 0.10%

Millions of small savers and PPF account holders will earn less on their post office savings schemes, with the government deciding to reduce interest rates on them marginally by 0.10 per cent.

The interest rate of Public Provident Fund (PPF) has been lowered from 8.8 per cent to 8.7 per cent with effect from April 1, 2013, said a Finance Ministry statement.

However, the rates on savings deposit schemes and on fixed deposit of up to one year run by post offices has been kept unchanged at 4 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.

Further, Monthly Income Schemes (MIS) of 5 year maturity will earn an interest of 8.4 per cent.

The National Savings Certificates (NSC) having maturity of five and 10 years will now attract 8.5 per cent and 8.8 per cent interest respectively, down 0.10 per cent each.

The interest rates would be applicable for the entire 2013-14 fiscal.

The rate for senior citizens savings scheme (SCSS) will now stand at 9.2 per cent, down from 9.3 per cent.

The revision in interest rates follows a decision taken by government last year to link the small savings returns with the market rate.

The new rates are required to be announced at the beginning of a financial year.

The decision is in line with the recommendations of Shyamala Gopinath Committee, which had suggested that returns should be in sync with market rates determined by the returns offered by other securities.

Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today justified the lowering of rate of interest on small saving schemes saying the returns remain favourable to depositors in real term.

“In real terms, inflation is much lower than it was two years ago. So, in real term, the interest rate is more favourable,” Ahluwalia said on the sidelines of Skoch summit.

“I don’t believe that interest rate for savers through the post office system can be delinked completely from the interest rate system in the country,” he said.

Ahluwalia said: “If you want low (interest) rate environment, you cannot say, ‘I want higher interest rate for savers and low interest rate for borrowers’. They have probably moderated (interest rate) a little bit in line with the softening of interest rates.”

The Reserve Bank has recently cut short term borrowing and lending rate by 0.25 per cent to boost economic recovery.
India’s economic growth slowed further to 4.5 per cent in the October-December quarter of current fiscal, and the gross domestic product (GDP) in the first nine months (April-December) of 2012-13 is at 5 per cent.

Central Statistical Organisation in its advance estimates has projected that Indian economy will grow at a over decade low growth rate of 5 per cent in the current fiscal.

However, according to Ahluwalia, India can achieve over 6.5 per cent economic growth next fiscal.

Tips For Maximising Benefits And Returns in PPF

  • PPF tipsPPF tips

    Invest by the 5th of the month

  • Tax rebate can be availed of by investing even in the 16th year
  • Post-Maturity continuation
  • Can be self-funding after year 7
  • Interest in your PPF account is calculated on the lowest balance between the close of the fifth day and the last day of every month and is credited to the account at the end of each financial year i.e., on 31st March. So if you invest by the 5th of the month, you will be eligible to interest for the full month in which you are investing.
  • Although, PPF is theoretically a 15-year scheme, you can make your last contribution to PPF till the last day of the 16th financial year. Your contribution to PPF on the last day of the 16th year may not get any interest, but you can claim a tax-rebate on the investment amount.
  • You could choose to extend your PPF account for a period of five years at a time, after the completion of its 15-year term. Such an extension is recommended for individuals who do not need this entire amount, nor have a better investment option.
  • If you choose to extend your account, you must submit Form H if you want to claim section 80C tax benefits on fresh contributions. If you merely retain the balance in your account, without submitting Form H, you will continue to earn 8% p.a. tax-free interest until it is withdrawn.
  • If you continue with fresh subscriptions, you are entitled to withdraw upto 60% of your balance at the beginning of each extended period in one or more installments, but not more than once a year.
  • If you merely retain the balance in your account, you can withdraw the entire sum in one, or more, installments, but again, but not more than once a year.
  • The partial withdrawal facility of the PPF scheme enables you to derive the benefits of section 80C without investing any fresh capital.
  • Assuming you have decided to invest a fixed amount in PPF every year, from the 7th year onwards you can withdraw an amount equivalent to your annual investment from your accrued PPF account, and deposit the same back as your contribution for that particular year.  

Interest Rates & Premature Encashment of National Savings Certificate

Interest Rate

Period during which purchased  

Maturity Value for a Denomination of      INR 100.00    

From   To  
  01.01.1999   14.01.2000   INR 195.60
15.01.2000 28.02.2001   INR 190.12  
01.03.2001 28.02.2002   INR 174.52  
01.03.2002 28.02.2003   INR 169.59  
01.03.2003 onwards   INR 160.10  

 Features

One person can be nominated for certificates of denomination of INR  100 and more  than one person can be nominated for higher denominations.  

  Maturity period is 6 years.No premature encashment is permitted in thenormal course.   

PREMATURE ENCASHMENT under sub-rule (1) of rule 16 after the expiry of  three years from the date of purchase of certificate.  Table below for a certificate of INR 100 denomination and at a proportionate rate for a certificate of any other denomination.

Table

Period from the date of the certificate to the date of its encashment.

Issued  from 01.03.2001 to 28.02.2002

Issued  from 01.03.2002 to 28.02.2003

01.03.2003

onwards

 

Three years or more, but less than three years and six months

 

126.43

 

124.62

 

121.15

 

Three years and six months or more, but less than four years 

 

131.71

 

129.51

 

125.09

 

Four years or more, but less than four years and six months.

 

136.90

 

134.29

 

129.16

 

Four years and six months or more, but less than five years 

 

142.48

 

139.43

 

133.36

 

Five years or more, but less than five years and six months.

 

147.98

 

144.46

 

137.69

 

Five years and six months or more, but less than six years

 

153.89

 

149.83

 

142.16

How and where to file online complaint for post office saving schemes?

For the people who have invested in the post office saving schemes, National Savings Certificates, Public Provident Fund and Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme, there is a single window for registering complaints about products, distribution or services.

The complaints can be registered on the site of the National Savings Institute, which was set up by the Department of Economic Affairs to streamline the distribution of small saving schemes by the government. It also provides a grievance redressal mechanism to investors. Once registered, the complaint is directed to the respective regional centre for its speedy resolution.

Where to register: The complaint has to be registered on the Website http://www.nsiindia.gov.in/Complaint.aspx. The complainant must identify himself as an investor, distributor or belonging to any other specified category.

Information: It is mandatory to mention the state and district to which the complaint belongs. Based on this, the complaint is assigned to the appropriate regional centre for resolution.

Complaint code: For each registered complaint, a code is generated on the basis of the information provided.

Additional information: If the investor wants to send additional information and scanned documents to support his complaint, these have to be sent to [email protected]

Reminder: Investors can also use the system to track the status of complaints that are registered. To do so, they need to refer to the complaint code.

Points to note

Address: The complainant needs to provide the complete postal address to receive further communication on his grievance.

Limit: The complaint has to be written in the space provided in the online form and should not exceed 2,500 characters.