True Cost to Own a Vehicle Calculator

The Edmunds True Cost to Own Calculator is a handy tool that will help inform you of the true cost of your next vehicle purchase. The purchase price is not the only indicator of which car is the better deal as sometimes the cheaper car will hit you with other costs down the line. The True Cost to Own Calculator helps reveal those hidden costs.
Here’s how it works. Based on your area and the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, it then factors in estimates about depreciation, taxes, fees, financing, fuel, maintenance, repairs, and the purpose of this blog, insurance. All estimates are based on a 5 year period with 15,000 miles driven per year. Although these are just estimates it’s educational and often surprising to compare the charts of different makes and models to see what the estimated “True Cost to Own” is.
It’s also good for comparing whether or not that hybrid car you’ve been eying is finally worth it, since in theory the higher purchase price will save you gas in the long run. You might be surprised. The True Cost Calculator helps determine this and reveal other hidden costs.
Insurance is already figured into the tool, but here is a list of the Most and Least Expensive Cars to Insure for 2011. Another factor you might want to consider is susceptibility to theft. Here is a list of the Top 10 Most Stolen in 2010.
Before you purchase your next vehicle be sure to check this tool out – it pays to do a little advance research!

Tools for Healthy Living: Gizmo vs. Fast Food Temptation

An August 2011 Consumer Reports article about nutritional labeling advises us how to avoid temptation at the fast food counter, citing a study that shows that a group of people who saw calorie counts before ordering consumed 14% fewer calories than a group that didn’t… other studies offer different results, showing little or no effect on consumer behavior. Does fast food nutrition labeling help us make healthier choices, yes or no?
Well, yes, and no, apparently… But we would point out one salient fact: fast food is fast. People may want to make healthy choices, but they’re also in a rush. They’re picking up and dropping off their kids, thinking about that presentation they need to deliver, or errands they need to run. If they had a few minutes to peruse the nutritional labeling, maybe they would have had time to make their own healthy lunch.

It makes sense to try to sort out this information and settle on selections during some free moment before placing an order. The article offers four suggestions for avoiding fast food temptation, the first being: Visit websites: Many fast-food chains post figures for fat, calories, and sodium. But that’s a lot of work!

Surely there must be some magical Internet gizmo that would make all this much, much easier? And, yes, there is: Fast Food Nutrition site to the rescue, complete with a Fast Food Nutrition Calculator. The calculator makes it quick and easy to explore nutrition facts for fast food at many of America’s most popular chains. You can learn Fat Calories, Total Calories, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrates and more in various categories, from sandwiches to side dishes.

It’s your easy way to make healthy decisions before you’re blinking at the lunch menu and worrying about getting to your next meeting on time.

Life expectancy and your chances of reaching 100

Are you planning to live to be 100? There are about 250,000 centenarians alive today, including several hundred “supercentarians” aged 110+ years. You can get a good idea of your chances of joining their ranks with the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator. This calculator asks you 40 quick questions related to your health and family history, and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It uses medical and scientific data to estimate how old you will live to be. In addition to estimating your life expectancy, it offers a “to-do” list for you and your physician, along with a list of things you can do differently and how many years you will likely add to your life if you do so.

This calculator was developed by Doctor Thomas Perls who is the founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, the largest study of its kind in the world. We like it because it gets you thinking about lifestyle factors that can influence your odds. But for those of you who want a shortcut, you can get an estimate of your remaining years by viewing the life expectancy chart published by the Office of the Actuary of the Social Security Administration.

Interestingly, according to the CIA World Factbook’s life expectancy chart ranking various countries, here in the U.S., we rank at #50 at 78 year and 11 months. Macau tops the chart with a life expectancy of 84.36 years. Here are some of the oldest people on earth. View portraits and read the stories of some people whose lives span three centuries.

By the way, if you are planning to live to 100, make sure your retirement planning takes that into account – life expectancy is an important factor in your financial planning – talk to your insurance agent if you expect to join the ranks of centenarians!