What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Michigan? Maybe you think of Wolverines football, the Great Lakes or the fact that the state is shaped like a giant mitten. Detroit—the “Motor City” and car capital of the world—probably pops up, too.
Those are all points of pride for Michiganders. But there’s a not-so-fun fact they’d probably like to change: The average driver in Michigan spends more on car insurance than drivers in any other state in the U.S. with an average annual premium of $2,611.(1)
In recent years, rising insurance premiums put a lot of pressure on drivers in the Wolverine State, and David R. started to feel the pinch.
“We were just tired of our auto insurance climbing $50 to $100 every six months,” said David, who lives 30 minutes outside of Grand Rapids.
Then he got the news that his car insurance premium was about to spike again—this time by a whopping $300. That was the final straw. David knew something had to change.
“That was our ‘enough’ moment,” he said. “We thought we were saving enough to cover for car insurance, but our prices just went through the roof.”
“We ended up saving around $800 a year”
A couple of years earlier, David discovered The Dave Ramsey Show through iHeartRadio and started tuning in at work. The more he listened, the more it became clear that he and his wife, Rebecca, needed to get on the same page financially and tackle the $27,000 in credit card debt they’d piled up.
They went through Financial Peace University together and started making some modest progress on their goals. But hefty car insurance bills in the monthly budget made it very difficult to gain much ground.
David went to Dave’s site, used the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program to find a new insurance agent, and connected with an agent just 10 minutes away from where he worked. From the moment he walked into the office to meet with Chris V., his preconceptions of insurance agencies immediately faded away.
“I had this picture in my head of a dimly lit office with agents who are like, ‘Oh, yeah. Insurance. That’s kind of what we do.’ But my ELP’s office was completely different,” David said. “Everyone was super friendly from the moment I walked in, and I never felt talked down to. They explained all these insurance concepts very well until I understood what it all meant.”
“I had this picture in my head of a dimly lit office with agents who are like, ‘Oh, yeah. Insurance. That’s kind of what we do.’ But my ELP’s office was completely different. Everyone was super friendly from the moment I walked in, and I never felt talked down to."
After their meeting, Chris promptly sent David a quote for a new car insurance policy that would cut his bill in half while still getting almost identical levels of coverage with only a slightly higher deductible.
“We ended up saving around $800 a year on coverage,” David said. “And that helped us free up more money to attack our debt.”
Saving Money on Investment Fees
During that time, David also had doubts about his investing strategy, and he wanted to make some changes. He’d opened an old IRA years earlier and had a retirement account with his employer, but he felt like he wasn’t getting the most out of his investments.
Even though he paused his investing while getting out of debt, David wanted to put himself in a position to hit the ground running once he and Rebecca were ready to continue saving for retirement.
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It just so happened that a SmartVestor Pro worked in the same office building as David’s ELP insurance agent. When David asked about the neighbors down the hall, Chris gave a glowing recommendation. David scheduled a meeting with a pro to go over his current investment options.
“Our SmartVestor Pro explained things very well as to how things should be done and why,” David said. “And if something wasn’t clicking for me, he would always take the time to make sure I did get to a point where I understood it completely. I felt kind of bad when they’d ask if I had any questions because I didn’t have any. They answered everything so well that I didn’t have questions to ask!”
David learned how he could start investing in funds with fewer fees and additional costs that were similar to the funds he already had in his portfolio. Not only that, but his SmartVestor Pro still follows up with David from time to time to let him know how things are going, and to address any issues or questions he might have.
“Both my SmartVestor Pro and ELP insurance agent have a way of making me feel like I am their only client,” David said.
“Both my SmartVestor Pro and ELP insurance agent have a way of making me feel like I am their only client.”
Get a Pro to Help You Save Money
Whether you’re sick and tired of sky-high car insurance bills or you’re ready to start investing for retirement, there’s nothing better than having a professional on your side fighting for you! That’s where our ELPs and SmartVestor Pros come in.
We have a network of insurance agents and investing professionals around the country who are ready to sit down with you and help you make a plan for your financial goals. Just look at what they were able to do for David!