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Life is full of unexpected frustrations.   Running late, spilling coffee on yourself or getting into an argument can start your day off on the wrong foot.  The good news is that you can control your mood and prevent these obstacles from ruining your entire day.

The most important thing you can do is to focus on the positive.  Studies show that when you’re positive, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion and your creativity levels triple.

Here are a few ways to turn a bad day around:

  • Pinpoint the concrete reason for your frustration and address it immediately.
  • Write down or recite 3 things you are grateful for.
  • Choose not to be a victim of your frustration. Make a conscious effort to be positive.
  • Set realistic expectations for your day.

Negative emotions can be contagious.  It is worth taking control of your mood – not just for yourself- but for those around you.

Zywave, Inc.

You can’t pinpoint the ideal amount of life insurance you should buy down to the penny.  But you make a sound estimate if you consider your current financial situation and imagine what your loved ones will need in the coming years.

In general, you should find your ideal life insurance policy amount by calculating your long-term financial obligations and then subtracting your assets.  The remainder is the gap that life insurance will have to fill.  But it can be difficult to know what to include in your calculations, so there are several widely circulated rules of thumb meant to help you decide the right coverage amount.  Here are a few of them:

Rule of thumb No. 1:  Multiply your income by 10

It’s not a bad rule, but based on the economy today, it’s outdated.  The “10 times income” rule doesn’t take a detailed look at your family’s needs, nor does it take into account your savings or existing life insurance policies.  And it doesn’t provide a coverage amount for stay-at-home parents.

Both parents should be insured.  That’s because the value provided by the stay-at-home parent needs to be replaced if he or she dies.  At bare minimum, the remaining parent would have to pay someone to provide the services, such as child care, that the stay-at-home parent provided for free.

Rule of thumb No. 2:  Buy 10 times your income, plus $100,000 per child for college expenses

Education expenses are an important component of your life insurance calculation if you have kids.  This formula adds another layer to the “10 times income” rule, but it still doesn’t take a deep look at all of your family’s needs, assets or any life insurance coverage already in place.

Rule of thumb No. 3:  The DIME formula

This formula encourages you to take a more detailed look at your finances than the other two.  DIME stand for debt, income, mortgage and education, four areas that you should consider when calculating your life insurance needs.

Debt and final expenses:  Add up your debts, other than your mortgage, plus an estimate of your funeral expenses

Income:  Decide for how many years your family would need support, and multiply your annual income by that number.  The multiplier might be the number of years before your youngest child graduates from high school.

Mortgage:  Calculate the amount you need to pay off your mortgage.

Education:  Estimate the cost of sending your kids to college.

This formula is more comprehensive, but it doesn’t account for the life insurance coverage and savings you already have, and it doesn’t consider the unpaid contributions a stay-at-home parent makes.

How to find your best number

 Follow this general philosophy to find your own target coverage amount:  financial obligations minus liquid assets.

  1. Calculate obligations: Add your annual salary (times the number of years that you want to replace income) + your mortgage balance + your other debts + future needs such as college and funeral costs.  If you’re a stay-at-home parent, include the cost to replace the services that you provide, such as child care.
  2. From that, subtract liquid assets such as: savings + existing college funds + current life insurance.

Tips to keep in mind

Rather than planning life insurance in isolation, consider the purchase as part of an overall financial plan.  That plan should take into account future expenses, such as college costs, and the future growth of your income or assets.

Talk the numbers through with your spouse.  How much money does your spouse think the family would need to carry on without you?  Do your estimates make sense to him or her?  For example, would your family need to replace your full income, or just a portion?

Consider buying multiple, smaller life insurance policies, instead of one larger policy, to vary your coverage as your needs ebb and flow.  For instance, you could buy a 30-year term policy to cover your spouse until your retirement and a 20-year term policy to cover your children until they graduate from college.  Parents of young children should consider 30-year versus 20-year terms to give them plenty of time to build up assets.  With a longer term, you’re less likely to get caught short and have to shop for coverage again when you’re older and rates are higher.

Nerdwallet.com

An area of possible confusion regarding auto policies is what vehicles should be insured on a commercial auto policy and what vehicles are more appropriately insured on a personal auto policy.  It is important to make this distinction in order to be certain coverage IS available for each and every vehicle.

The key questions to be asked are these:

  • Who owns the vehicle?
  • Who drives the vehicle?
  • How is auto used?
  • Does the title match the named insured?
  • Is the business in question a sole proprietorship, corporation or LLC?

Your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative is available to discuss these issues with you to make sure your vehicles ARE covered in case of an accident or loss.

Congratulations!  You have reached a milestone in your life; AARP’s mailing list.  There are scarier things than being on a mailing list; and, entering the world of Medicare is close to the top of that list.  You are being inundated with mailers, phone calls, and TV and radio ads.  The government has tried to help simplify the process by dividing Medicare into four “Parts” and then allowing you to buy Plans.  If you do not sign up when you should, you get a fine for the rest of your life.  This leads to not only confusion but also fear when planning. To help set your mind at ease, here are three things to think about as you approach your big decision.

1. Alphabet Soup

It is important to understand what Medicare is and how it works.  Medicare has four “Parts” – each with their own purpose. These plans are designed to help cover major medical expenses like inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health care doctors’ services, outpatient care and other medically necessary services.  While all very similar, some types of plans are managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans have discretion to assign their own copays, deductibles and coinsurance.  Drug coverage is a separate plan provided by private Medicare-approved companies, and you must pay a monthly premium.

2. When to sign up?

65 years is the official Medicare age although the age may be a little higher in some instances.  The answer to this question largely depends on whether or not you have health insurance through your employer.  It is possible for you to have Medicare and your employer-based health insurance at the same time.  Your employer cannot force you off the group plan because you have turned 65.  Now, maybe those Millennials are not so bad and you decide to work a few more years.  You can choose to stay on your employer’s health plan and not be penalized for signing up for Medicare.  When you do finally decide to hang it up, you will have a “Special Enrollment Period” and not be penalized for a late entry.

3. Who’s on First?

Do you need a “Medi-Gap” plan or want a “Supplement”?  The truth is… they are the same thing.  You must first be enrolled in Medicare to be eligible for Medicare supplement plans. Medicare Supplements are plans designed by the federal government to fill in the “gaps” that the Medicare plans you choose do not cover such as the deductible, copays and coinsurance.  Each Supplement is designed to cover different aspects of Medicare thereby establishing different price points for consumers.  Make no mistake; Medicare is very different than a Supplement.  The main reason for getting a supplement is to control your monthly costs.  When you are on a fixed income, it is easier to budget for a known expense rather than address big spikes in expenses due to health related issues that may arise throughout the year.  Medicare Supplements are sold by private insurance carriers, and can be purchased through a local broker.

This information may provide some clarity and set your mind at ease. However, keep in mind this is a general overview of the program and will not answer all your questions.  Like a puzzle, Medicare can offer great coverage when all the pieces are put together in the right way. Before committing to your unique plan design, it is worthwhile to consult with a knowledgeable provider.

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2016, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.
To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses. Attempt to create a password that is eight or more letters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. football
  6. qwerty
  7. 1234567890
  8. 1234567
  9. princess
  10. 1234
  11. login
  12. welcome
  13. solo
  14. abc123
  15. admin
  16. 121212
  17. flower
  18. passw0rd
  19. dragon
  20. sunshine
  21. master
  22. hottie
  23. loveme
  24. zaq1zaq1
  25. password1

Being a responsible adult means making sure loved ones who depend on you are financially safeguarded if you unexpectedly leave them behind.  The way you provide that protection is with life insurance.

Your life insurance premium will never be lower than it will be today.

 Think about it this way:  It is highly unlikely that a person would be healthier at age 40, 50 or 60 than they were at age 20.

If you have life insurance through your job, keep it – but purchase a private policy also.  Because:

  1. What if you lose your job?
  2. What if you hate your job and want to find a different one?
  3. What if you develop a health condition before your lose your job?

For parents, the need is much greater and less debatable.  If a parent passes away, the children still need food, clothing, shelter and college educations.

Call your agent today for a no-obligation life insurance quote.

Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads.  But it’s been about 30 years since carbureted engines were common in cars.

In addition, the term “warm-up theft” is a widely used term among car thieves to describe the stealing of a car that has been left running and unattended.

And then there’s the danger of CO concentrations when warming a car in a garage – either a closed garage or one that is open.  In an Iowa State study, warming up a vehicle for only 2 minutes with an overhead door open raised CO concentrations in the garage to 500 ppm.

So what should you do?  Start it up, make sure all your windows are clear of ice/snow/fog, and just drive the thing!

Shopping online.  Buying gas.  In nearly all of the things we do from day to day, there’s the risk of identity theft.

ID theft has soared to nearly 18 million victims a year in the U.S.  If this happens to you, fully straightening out your records could take about 6 months and 200 hours of work.

Here are 10 sensible habits to adopt that will help you protect your identity:

  1. Limit what you carry in your wallet, and know what’s there in case it goes missing.  Make photocopies of all cards you carry in your wallet and store copies in a safe place in case all or one of them goes missing.
  2. Keep your computers, software and other electronics secure and up to date. Use strong passwords.  Keep everything backed up.
  3. Don’t over share. Will the last 4 digits of your social security number do in lieu of the entire number?
  4. Do check your credit reports throughout the year. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 bureaus once a year.
  5. Keep an eye on your accounts. Your account statements can alett you to identity theft sooner than your credit report in most cases.
  6. Watch your surroundings. Whether you’re using the ATM or a portable device, be sure others nearby aren’t watching as your type in your PIN or password.
  7. Reduce your mail. Use paperless billing when available.  You may opt out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT.
  8. Be skeptical when someone asks for your information.
  9. Mind your garbage. Invest in a shredder for your home
  10. Tidy up at home. Tax returns, credit cards you use infrequently, checkbooks, passports, birth certificates – these and other important documents should all be stored under lock and key.

Despite your best efforts, you may still discover that your identity has been stolen.  If so, take immediate action to:

  • Fill out the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Affidavit. https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft
  • Take the affidavit to the police and file a report.
  • Call your financial providers to request new account numbers and cards.
  • Contact 1 of the 3 credit bureaus to place a fraud alert. The bureau you contact will share it with the other two.

Most importantly, before you think your security has been violated, contact your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY agent to determine if Identity Recovery Coverage is already contained in your homeowners policy – or if you need to add it.

 

(Taken from http://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/preventing-identity-theft/1240029938619)

If you have a metal roof on your home, you have great fire resistance, energy efficiency and long wear expectations.  On the other hand, there is the potential for an insurance claim limitation in cases where there is “cosmetic” damage to the roof.

What is “cosmetic” damage to metal roofs?  It is described as damage that only affects the appearance but not the function of a specific property component.  For example, there might be marring or pitting or other superficial damage to a surface but there is no reduction in the ability of the surface to protect the inside of the building.  Since the Midwest weather patterns continue to include storms and hail, insurers seek ways to reduce the potential for overall premium increases.  This is one of those options.

Should you have questions about your specific policies or coverage, please contact your agency representative/advisor. We are standing by to assist you.

Have you ever wanted more information on one of your insurance policies at 9 o’clock at night  – or would you simply prefer to check on an insurance claim yourself rather than ask someone else to do that for you?

If you answered either of these questions with a “yes,” there is a solution to meet your needs.

If you are not currently registered with the website of the company who provides your insurance, perhaps you will want to pursue that option.  Some of the things you can do on-line (at a time of your choosing) is to:

  • Pay your bill online
  • View billing information
  • Access policy documents
  • Track a claim
  • View & print auto ID cards

To locate the correct web address for your insurance carrier, check any of the recent documents you have received from your carrier or phone your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative who will be happy to assist you.