Beth: “I am trying to get my life insurance organized and get the most for my money. This is what I currently have: 1. Variable life insurance thru Prudential (held since age 19 and I’m now 35) with a yearly premium of $210.50, a current death benefit of $30,291 and a cash value of $3401. 2. Flexible premium adjustable life thru Federated (held for 3 years) with a yearly premium of $386.28, a death benefit of $100,000 and no current cash value. My question is that I wonder if I am getting the most for my money with these or if I should surrender these policies and get term life insurance which is less expensive. I have a quote from Kemper for a 20 year fixed premium of $165 for a death benefit of $150,000. This is considerably less than what I am paying now. I have every intention of being committed to investing the difference in either a Roth IRA or mutual fund. I am married, have three children and work part time and therefore definitely need to have decent life insurance coverage.”

☞ Well, I think it’s pretty terrific that after 16 years of the greatest bull market in the history of the world, Prudential has been able to turn the $3,368 in premiums you’ve paid into $3,401 of cash value — an increase of more than $30, or nearly $2 a year — at the same time as they were able to provide you with $30,000 in life insurance coverage. Women between the ages of 19 and 35 are, after all, such a high-risk group.

Forgive my sarcasm, but it makes me angry you’ve been so ill-served. I think you should cash in the Prudential policy, drop the other one as well, and shop around for whatever amount of inexpensive term coverage you think you need. If you are in good health, you can get a 20-year fixed rate $500,000 policy for not much above $300. (Go to and you’ll see.) And, yes, a Roth IRA is a fine thing to fund.


That was the subject heading of Don Trivette’s e-mail — U GOTTA TRY THIS — and the truth is, you do. It’s so . . . different! I didn’t get very deep into it, but with a little clicking you will find yourself in a two-dimensional play-pen. Try one of the demo creatures first, then modify it or build one of your own. Watch him lumber clumsily around; switch off gravity and watch him flail in space; reverse gravity and watch him crawl along the ceiling. This is a total waste of time. You gotta try it.


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