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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Musings

Life Insurance

What is the point of life insurance except for giving your beneficiary a reason to have you whacked sometime in the future? Seriously. Ok, I get that if someone's spouse dies then there is a loss of income associated with the loss of their life, and that can make the surviving spouse's life difficult. But you know what? The same thing goes for divorce, but there's no divorce insurance (probably because that is a bet the insurance company most likely won't win). Personally, I don't think it should cost anything to die, which is why I plan to donate my body to science.

Gasoline and Postage Stamps

Sov and I were talking recently about the ridiculous gas prices these days, and he said that when he goes to the gas station, he only puts in about $20 at a time (which for me would only procure 1/3 tank of gas). Then I thought about it and realized that gas prices aren't going to get any lower, ever again. It's only going to get more expensive. Car dealerships are trying to push cars these days by promising $2.99 gasoline for a year after purchase. $2.99 seems so cheap now, but not long ago that price was appalling. Before you know it, we'll be begging to pay $4.50 per gallon, because that price is quickly going to go the way of the 22 cent stamp. So it doesn't make sense to only fill the tank part way. Instead you should fill it completely, because by the time you go back in a week, the price is only going to be higher, so you get a better deal if you do it now. And while you're at it, stock up on those First Class Forever postage stamps.

More on Gasoline

My friend K-T thinks that the rise in gas prices is a good thing. In fact, she thinks gas prices ought to be raised substantially in order to encourage people to stop driving their cars. I understand her sentiment that we ought to be concerned about what our oil dependency is doing to the environment. Whether you subscribe to global warming (or "climate change" as she calls it) or not (and with this cold Utah June, I'm thinking not), it's undeniable that we are damaging the environment with our oily behavior. Ok fine, but the solution is not to get people to stop driving their cars. While this might work on the East coast or in places where public transit or bicycle transit or walking are feasible options, out West we simply need cars to survive. Ian says that I am the only person he knows who has the luxury of being able to walk to work. Frankly, I can't think of anyone else who can do that either. The Western U.S. was largely developed after the advent of automobiles, whereas back East, cities were well-developed before cars existed. Thus, everything is close together out East, and everything out West is a victim of suburban sprawl. We can't change that now. If everyone in Utah gave up their cars, people couldn't survive. The solution, therefore, is not to give up our cars, but to replace our dirty burning cars with clean burning cars. The technology is already here, but unfortunately, as long as greedy rich people have their fingers in the pot of black gold, oil isn't going anywhere. Avarice may indeed turn out to be THE deadly sin for humanity.

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Karen said...

I, too, need my car to haul my children around. If I traded them in, though, I could afford the expensive gas.

Also...not wanting to burst your bubble, but donating your bod to science is unfortunately not free. My aunt did this, and they sent back the "stuff" they couldn't use. They charged us $300 bucks to take it back. (Morbid, I know.) We had to cremate the rest. I'm still curious about what exactly is in that vase.

Sra said...

Really? I was just thinking about being a package deal. Like, here's my cadaver. Enjoy. Apparently I need to research it. Even so, $300 is much cheaper than $6,000-8,000 for a funeral. But anyway, if there's scraps left over, I guess I'd say just give it to the dog.

Ben Sloan said...

I plan on going the donate to science route as well. I was reading about a new process they can use to get rid of your useless remains via dissolving it in acid. Sounds like the way to go.

As far as gasoline goes, I think the prices will eventually drop. There are so many areas we aren't drilling, and the demand for alternative fuels will inevitably yield something. There's too much profit to be held for it not to.

Whether that will happen any time soon is another question...

Loralee Choate said...

The expense involving death is staggering. Even IF you donate your body to science, the cost is unreal. I suppose if you owned nada and no one was really involved in your life and you had no dependants the cost might be less, but seriously...wrapping a life is just a huge job emotionally, physically and financially.

(Plus, if my husband died w/out insurance I and my kids would be in a pretty bad spot. If I died without it it wouldn't be AS bleak but he would still have a lot of expenses like child care, etc. so...we insured me.)

Sovknight said...

I've been doing some of that hypermiling stuff. I'm not insane about it like some people, but I pay attention to the way I drive more. I start slower and drive closer to the speed limit. I get behind big trucks on the highway (I don't tailgate them though.) Probably the most extreme thing I do is shift the car into neutral when I go down big hills. Seems to be working a little. I went an entire week on a quarter tank last week.

Oh, and I did fill up recently :P Cost me $60 bucks too! Used to be all I could do to stuff $20 into my car, now that just gets me a quarter tank.

I have life insurance. Not sure how much, but hopefully it covers my cremation/donation/tossed off cliff/whatever.

Sra said...

I wonder whether it would be more cost-effective to take the money you would spend on your life insurance premium and put it in a special high yield life savings account. I guess ultimately it depends on the circumstances of your death. Like if you have a big family depending on you, life insurance is probably the way, but if it's just you and the cats, I think you could set yourself up a nice little funeral fund and save money on the premiums in the end.

How often is it just you and the cats, though?

But seriously, I'd worry about being whacked.

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