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Price shopping… Where do you buy your tomatoes?


By Chris Hanson
20150528lrfarmemarketfood05One of the best parts of the fall harvest is having fresh heirloom tomatoes for BLT sandwiches and Caprese salads. As everyone knows, fresh produce can be quite pricey but the cost can vary greatly depending on where you buy it. The same principle applies to purchasing term life insurance.
First, let’s go tomato shopping in The City on a Hill. My first stop is the fairly new Boston Public Market on Hanover Street. The building looks very inviting. As I walk in the door, my tomato seeking mission is briefly interrupted by freshly made apple cider donuts. It took a lot to resist them but I force myself toward the farm concession. It isn’t that easy, I have to walk by $600 salad bowls, Chilmark cheeses and even more donuts. What’s with all these donuts? Even Dunks is considering becoming simply “Dunkin.” Anyway, I get to the solitary farm stand and purchase some tomatoes for $3.99 a pound. The tomatoes are high quality and the slightly saccharine customer service was bearable.  Phoniness of any kind makes me feel like a tourist in my own city.
My next stop was right out the door at Boston’s original farmer’s market, Haymarket.  Tracing it roots to the 1600’s, Haymarket consists of dozens of vendors peddling very, very ripe produce. As a consequence, the slight scent in the air doesn’t smell like apple cider donuts but it’s not too bad. With the competition just inches away, vendors have to match prices to move perishable product.  They will try luring you to their produce stand by yelling things like “Tomatoes! Get your tomatoes here” or “This isn’t Star Market, it’s Haymarket!” As a native Bostonian the gruffness of the vendors is like the bells ringing at the Old North Church; very comforting because I know it’s the real deal. I get my tomatoes for only $1 a pound, what a difference!
You’ll develop an appreciation for price differences if you purchase life insurance through a broker rather than an agent. The difference is that since the agent only works for one company, all he can offer you is that company’s products and pricing.  A broker can shop a multiple of companies to get you coverage at the best price. The prices of term policies can vary greatly because different insurance companies prefer different risks.  If you’re looking for a $500,000 20 year term policy, there are about 30 financially stable companies all competing for your business.  For the most part, the only difference between the policies are the pricing. You could pay $42.33 per month or $62.33 per month for the same coverage. How do you like them apples? Oops, I mean tomatoes.
Now I know what everyone is thinking in regard to the tomatoes. The ones purchase inside the BPM are fresher and of higher quality than the Haymarket tomatoes so you’re willing to pay more.  This reasoning is not needed when you are purchasing term life insurance. It’s all the same. Let a trusted broker advise you.
I wish heirloom tomatoes were available year round but all good things must come to an end. When I’m produce shopping throughout the year I go to Lambert’s in Dorchester. They offer great produce at fair prices are have genuine customer service. There are no fresh apple cider donuts but an awesome deli and hot food bar that functions as a Pied Piper for selective diners. Our own number 12 has been seen there. If Lambert’s is good enough for Tom Brady well gosh darn it’s good enough for the Wicked Smart Investor.
chrishansonAbout the Author
Chris Hanson, CPA,  is the author of The Wicked Smart Investor blog who specializes in financial planning. He earned his BBA at the Isenberg School of Management University of Massachusetts and an MBA at Babson College’s F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business. He may be reached at (978) 888 – 5395 and you read his blog at wickedsmartinvestor.blogspot.com.