As the new year approaches, many people review their lives and make new goals for the future, to maybe eat better or exercise more, for example. This turning of the calendar page is also a good time to review your insurance coverage. An annual review allows you to update information and policies to ensure you are appropriately protected in the coming year.
To complete this process, take the following key steps.
Take inventory: Create a home inventory (or update your current one). Be sure to add any major gifts you receive this holiday season and remove anything you have donated, sold, or thrown away in 2019. In your inventory, include a description and the cost of items. Scan or photograph receipts to save with your list. Store everything online and/or off-site so you can access it in case of disaster.
Assess automotive needs: Consider the age and value of your vehicles. Is your coverage still appropriate? Have the primary drivers on any vehicles changed this year, or will they soon? Make sure deductibles, limits, and primary driver designations all make sense for your current needs.
Look for changes: Have you experienced any changes in the past year that might affect your insurance coverage? Renovations, births, purchases, and commute changes can all affect your insurance considerations.
Check for savings: Don’t miss out on any savings opportunities. Check for multiple policy discounts, changes in requirements, or new programs that may cut your insurance costs.
Contact our office for a quick review of your policies. I can help you evaluate your insurance needs to make sure you have the right coverage as you head into the new year.
The Year in Review: A Look at the Top Headlines of 2019
It’s nearly the start of a new year and a new decade. As 2019 comes to an end, here’s a look at some of the most newsworthy stories of the year.
Diabetes research makes huge strides: Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco announced in February that they had successfully turned human cells into insulin-producing cells. The news brought hope that a cure for type 1 diabetes could be within reach.
Fire at the Notre Dame: The famous Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral went up in flames on April 15. More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze, which severely damaged the structure’s spire, roof, and upper walls.
Prince Harry’s heir arrives: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, on May 6. Baby Archie is currently seventh in line for the British throne.
Women astronauts make history: On October 18, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch entered the history books when they made the first-ever all-women spacewalk. The pair visited the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger.
Plant-based food goes mainstream: Beyond Burger became a household name this year when its surprisingly beef-like patties began widespread distribution in North America and beyond. The burgers and other meatless alternatives by maker Beyond Meat brought plant-based alternatives onto the public menu.
Life Insurance Needs Change After Age 50
Life insurance is something people tend to buy and forget, so the policy continues, unnoticed, for years or even decades, depending on its length.
But your life-insurance needs may change over time, especially as you near retirement. When you turn 50, it may be a good idea to reconsider your coverage.
How do you determine if you still need life insurance in your 50s? Ask yourself why you bought life insurance in the first place, then determine if those circumstances still exist.
For example, perhaps you bought life insurance in your 20s, 30s, or 40s to protect your children should you pass away unexpectedly. If that is the case, you only need your policy until your children are grown up and out in the world, supporting themselves on their own, and no longer in need of your financial assistance.
In this case, you may want to stop your life-insurance policy when your youngest child reaches age 21.
Or perhaps you bought life insurance in your 20s, 30s, or 40s to protect a spouse who stays at home with the children, earns less than you do, or simply relies on your half of the household income, should you pass away unexpectedly.
And perhaps by the time you reached your 50s, circumstances had changed: you saved enough to cover your spouse’s expenses, for example, or your spouse began working.
Of course, you may also gain reasons to have life insurance as you age. Perhaps you would like it to cover end-of-life expenses, provide “bonus” income to a child or spouse, or address complex estate-planning issues, for example.
Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. We are all different, and you might want life insurance for other reasons.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need guidance on establishing the appropriate coverage for your future needs.
7 Small-Talk Tips for Holiday Parties
By Mirel Ketchiff
Even the most gregarious party guest can find small talk with strangers difficult. Incorporate the strategies outlined in this article into your party preparations. Just like you plan your travel to and from parties, plan what you’ll do at the party. Be prepared to talk about yourself and ask questions that will allow the conversation to continue. Don’t fret: as this article shows, you can even end an unwanted conversation gracefully. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1219a
15 Unique New Year’s Countdowns You Didn’t Know Existed
Vacations Made Easy
Forget jetting to New York City to watch a glittering ball drop. There are similar parties all across the United States. You can fly to Hawaii to watch a giant pineapple drop in Honolulu. For something completely different, head to Duncannon, Pennsylvania, and start the New Year by watching a glowing sled fall. This list includes many more interesting options ranging from beach balls and pinecones to caged opossums. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1219b
11 Useful Gifts That Don’t Create Clutter
By Sarah Kollmorgen
Great gifts don’t need to take up tons of space. This list has a range of ideas. A common solution is finding gifts that have many purposes, like dish racks that can be colanders, small mirrors with built-in speakers, or attractive calendars that are as much wall art as appointment keepers. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1219c
Grinch Protection: Wrap Up Your Home for the Holidays
Not every Grinch becomes and returns the stolen treasures. Outside of a Dr. Seuss tale, thieves will gladly carry away your holiday goodies in their sleigh and never look back.
Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to protect your home from the season’s sticky-fingered grinches.
Use the following tips to keep your home safe and secure for the holidays.
Make things merry and bright: Lights can do more than decorate this season. Dark, vacant homes can be particularly tempting for thieves, especially during high-travel seasons like the holidays. Use proper lighting to deter thieves. Set timers for lights or install motion-sensing options.
Join Santa in his list-making: St. Nicholas isn’t the only one who should check his list twice this season. Have you created a home inventory of your personal property? Be sure this list includes any recent gift purchases. This inventory will be helpful if you need to file a claim after a burglary.
Don’t spoil the surprise: The kids aren’t the only ones anxious to see what appears under the tree. Wait until Christmas Eve to put out the presents. This prevents putting them on display for potential grinches.
Keep trips under wraps: If you’ll be away from home this season, don’t advertise your trip to the world. Announcing on social media that your house will be empty can draw the attention of the wrong kind of elf.
Check more than the chimney: While Santa may prefer a fireplace entry, thieves are more likely to look for easy-access windows and doors. Avoid leaving patio doors unlocked or propping open apartment-building doors. Keep doors and windows locked and check hardware regularly to verify it is secure.
Enjoy holiday peace: Even with the best precautions, a theft may still occur. But you can have peace of mind by investing in appropriate coverage for your home and possessions. Contact my office to discuss policies that can help you recover your cheer if mean old Mr. Grinch tries to steal it.
Giving Doesn’t Have to Mean Wrapping a Present
There are many ways to give a gift that don’t involve wrapping paper and a bow. In fact, many gifts that don’t go under the tree can help entire communities. Here are four possibilities.
Make a donation to a worthy community cause. Donate to someone in need with dollars or dinners at a local food pantry. Support Depher, a nonprofit heating and plumbing repair service for the disabled and elderly. Contribute to Oxfam and help end the injustice of poverty. Go to thebalancesmb.com and connect with online crowdfunding opportunities. Consider Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and women’s shelters for donating gently used clothes.
Volunteer your time. Time is the most precious commodity of all, and volunteering in your community is a special gift only you can give. Every city and town has charities, seniors’ centers, soup kitchens, and hospitals that need you. Find one nearby and make a difference. If you don’t know where to begin, volunteermatch.org is a good place to start. They connect good people with good causes. Or simply google your way to a local charity that feels right.
Use your skills. Whether you are a carpenter or a cook, your community can use your talents. Check with local schools to discover how you can contribute. Call your local museum and library and offer your skills. Drop off homemade baked goods to local first responders to show your appreciation. Read to the frightened animals in a local shelter to calm them with a soothing voice. Churches, synagogues, and hospitals are always eager for volunteers. Check them out.
Start your own service. Whether you do it alone or with others, you can help. Clean up a local park or stream. Start a knitting circle to make booties and hats for preemies in the hospital. Cook for an elderly neighbor. Become a volunteer driver. Write get-well notes for sick children.
In so many ways, you can make a difference. You’ll be a hero!
This month, some famous quotes on resolutions:
For a change, don’t add new things in your life as a new year’s resolution. Instead, do more of what’s already working for you and stop doing things that are time-wasters.
Don’t make resolutions without an action plan. The secret to success is right in your hands.
Many years ago, I resolved never to bother with New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!