What is the value of an expert’s advice? I have found through experience that it is difficult to put a price on advice that comes from an expert. It is actually invaluable when you consider the cost not only in money, but also what your personal time is worth and what your stress level and lack of distraction from your important day-to-day tasks are worth. Informed decisions based on knowledge that are generally offered at no charge can save time, stress and a great deal of hassle. As an example: Hiring a plumber if you don’t know how to plumb. I tried to do my own plumbing once. I found out rather quickly, that I am not a plumber. I ended up not only ruining the faucet components I was trying to fix, but also causing water damage to my residence. When I finally did get an expert plumber to do the job, and fix the mess I had created, it cost me much more than it would have if I had hired him in the first place.
Another example is utilizing a lawyer’s advice to avoid legal chaos. When I ended my marriage a dozen years ago, I made the mistake of thinking I could get a divorce by using a “divorce kit”. This strategy may work for some, but in my case it didn’t turn out very well. Even though I did a ton of research, followed a strict time-line and meticulously dotted every “I” and crossed every “T” on the petition, I paid the price for not seeking an expert’s advice. Although I felt confident on the day of the hearing, I found myself encompassed into a war of words that made my head spin. As a result I was ordered to pay exorbitant support. Years later, when my children reached the age of maturation, and my ex-wife had remarried; it was time to file for some relief. This time I hired a lawyer. My expert’s advice was not only to end the excessive support going out, but in all fairness, to get back some of what I had been strong-armed into paying out under duress. The court agreed, and I found that I had needlessly suffered a lack of funds for many years.
Lastly, a good example is finding insurance professionals to avoid inadequate coverage or huge hassles when the time comes to cash in on a policy. Years ago, I decided to buy renters insurance to guard my home’s contents. Trying to be thrifty, I searched on the Web for the best deals. I found a Website offering the insurance at a “cut rate”, so I submitted my personal information and received an “automatic quote”. It came up on the screen rather quickly and it looked fairly generic, so I called the toll-free number provided. I wanted to find out if I should serialize, or mark my possessions in any way so they could later be identified, and also find out if I should submit a list of my personal items and the value I would place on them. The “automated insurance agent” on the other end of the line wasn’t much help, and I finally got frustrated with trying to get an actual human being to talk with. Foolishly, I signed up for the insurance and started paying the premiums, automatically withdrawn from my checking account, of course. I never actually talked to an insurance agent, although I tried several more times to do so. When my house was robbed and I turned in a claim, I found that I would only be paid pennies on the dollar and that my future premiums would be more expensive. Again, not seeking an expert’s advice proved to be costly.
Insurance, whether for life, health, home or your automobile, is considered a daunting subject by many. Most people avoid it and carry only what they are forced to have. For example, mortgage insurance because their home is financed and it’s a requirement. The very word “insurance” has a reputation and conjures up images of hours of research or sitting at the kitchen table with an agent being overwhelmed by the choices. I have found that I have a lot of apprehension towards discussing my own demise, as well as considering the need for insurance protection that benefits my loved ones upon my departure. When I was twenty-something, I laughed when someone mentioned life insurance. I saw no need for it, as I had a long way to go before I had to think about those things. If I had been smart, I would have sought an expert’s advice while I was young. I could have purchased a lifetime policy for a small amount. There is much value to advice offered to young people on this topic. I have personally found that there is a trend in the insurance industry that has taken customer service full circle, back to face-to-face and personal one-on-one attention. This valuable service, combined with the expediency of the modern age and the Internet, works very well to simplify and increase my understanding of insurance. There are good, reputable companies in which first contact on the Web leads immediately to a personal phone call from a knowledgeable and professional insurance expert that specializes in helping one understand in simple, straightforward terms, an expert’s advice.