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Reduce Their Risk: Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

| August 01, 2019
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It’s time for a teen to get their driver’s license. Who is more nervous – the teenager or the parent?

Parent anxiety during this rite of passage is understandable. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death among those age 15 to 20. Fortunately, teens and parents can take steps to improve safety on the road. If you have a teen behind the wheel, try these best practices.

Choose a safe car: Sure, your teen will probably prefer to drive that sporty convertible, but giving a teenager the keys to a sleek, fast car will only encourage speeding and other unsafe driving habits. For a teen’s first vehicle, choose a car that is easy to drive and offers solid protection during an accident. Avoid small cars and SUVs, which are prone to rollovers.

Limit their risk: Consider following a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. These are in place in some states, and parents can institute similar policies in areas where they aren’t required. Under these programs, teens’ driving privileges are restricted until the teen has gained experience behind the wheel. Restrictions may prohibit driving at night or with teen passengers. 

Emphasize safe habits: Talk with teens about risky driving behaviors. Explain the dangers involved with distracted driving caused by phone use, radio use, or conversations with passengers. Stress the importance of remaining focused while driving. Additionally, certain practices, such as enrolling teens in a safe driver program or using electronic devices to monitor their driving, may qualify you for insurance discounts. Contact our office to discuss what programs are available in your area.

Beware of This Common
Pet Owner Mistake

We humans aren’t the only ones who need to watch our waistlines. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for a long and fulfilling life for our pets, too. But they don’t have control over their weight; we, the pet owners, do, and we often overfeed our four-legged friends.

In an interview for petmd.com, Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian in Charlotte, North Carolina, said one of the simplest ways to gauge a pet’s weight is to stand above it and look down. Both cats and dogs should taper in between their abdomen and their hip socket.

“You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see them, they are too skinny,” Dr. Dobies said. “If you can’t see their ribs, and place your hands on the side of their chest and still can’t, they’re overweight.”

Pet owners can also use body condition score charts from sources such as www.mypetsdoctor.com. These score images of a dog or cat at different weights according to how healthy they are and provide a visual guide to measure your own pet against. Feeding our pets the correct amount is critical to warding off issues that arise from obesity, such as congestive heart failure, some types of cancer, and musculoskeletal problems.

Start by consulting your pet food packaging, which typically provides a recommended serving based on an animal’s size. Pay careful attention to the wording and whether the serving amount is per meal or a daily total to be divided into meals. Two meals are recommended for most adult dogs, while more frequent feedings are suggested for puppies. For cats, petmd.com recommends between 24 and 35 calories per day per pound.

 

Understanding Taxes on Life Insurance

 

One of the greatest things about life insurance, other than that it provides for your loved ones in the event you should pass away unexpectedly, is that the proceeds that go to your beneficiaries generally are not taxable.

That said, there are situations in which part of the payout may go to Uncle Sam, and it is a good idea to be aware of them.

First, when the payout is made to a beneficiary after someone dies, it is not taxable. This is the most common use of life insurance, so you can rest easy knowing your insurance beneficiaries will not be hit with a tax bill.

A life insurance payout is also not taxed if it is made while the insured is terminally or chronically ill and there is a so-called terminal illness rider in place. In this case, the payout is generally treated as if it were paid upon the policyholder’s death.

So, when is a payout of life insurance taxable?

One instance is when payouts are made in installments instead of in full. Installment plans may help individuals who fear they will blow the lump sum all at once. If this is the case, and the payout is in installments, the death benefit is not taxable, but the interest that accrues on the payouts is.

Another situation that can make a life insurance payout taxable is having a large estate. In 2019, this applies to an estate that is worth more than $11.4 million. Why? In 2019, the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion amount is $11.4 million for individuals. If you have an estate valued above that amount when you die, any amount above $11.4 million is taxed at 40 percent. The part of your estate that your spouse inherits is exempt.

So, if your beneficiary is a parent, sibling, or child, the amount he or she receives is subject to the tax. This can happen when a spouse beneficiary passes away before the policyholder.

Are you concerned about taxes that may be due on a life insurance policy? Feel free to contact our office with any questions. We are happy to review your options and help you find the best solution based on your individual financial and insurance needs.

 

Worth Reading

How to Tell If You Have a Headache, Sinus Pain or a Migraine

By Beth Krietsch

Huffington Post US

Not all headaches are the same. Knowing if your pain is caused by a tension headache, a sinus headache, or a migraine can help you determine the best treatments. Tension headaches can be soothed with over-the-counter medication or a nap, but persistent tension headaches or migraines require more intensive treatments. This article can help you understand what’s causing your pain, but be sure to ask for medical advice. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0819a

 

Side Hustle Ideas: 176 Ways to Earn Extra Money (While Working Full-Time)

Hack The Entrepreneur

This directory could lead you to your latest side hustle. It offers 176 ways you can make extra cash, organized by your interests, skills, and expertise. There’s more than just rideshare possibilities. Options range from a variety of writing jobs to bookkeeping, accounting, and decluttering. Depending on how you work these, you may not need a full-time position. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0819b

15 Laundry Room Ideas to Make It the Most Functional Room in Your Home

By Caroline Utz

Good Housekeeping

A dreary laundry room can make sorting and folding loads of clothes even more daunting. This slideshow provides tips for making that room functional and fashionable. Much of the advice, like installing curtain rods or adding a bookshelf, is about increasing space. Other advice, like purchasing matching storage containers, is more cosmetic. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0819c

 

Boat Insurance Basics You Need to Know

 

A spin around the lake or a cruise down the river can be a great way to spend an August afternoon. Just make sure you have the necessary coverage to protect your boat (and your wallet).

The type and amount of boat insurance you need depend on the kind of vessel you own and how you use it. Simple craft such as kayaks, smaller sailboats, and small powerboats may be covered by your homeowners policy. Larger, more powerful vessels such as yachts and Jet Skis require separate coverage.

A boat insurance policy typically covers damage to the boat itself, theft, and general liability. Additional coverage, including protection for trailers and boating accessories, may also be available.

These insurance policies typically offer one of two types of coverage: actual cash value or agreed amount value. Actual cash value pays for the cost of replacement minus the depreciation of the boat. Agreed amount value policies pay the total that you and your insurer have agreed upon as the value of the vessel. Under this coverage, old items are replaced with new without subtracting depreciation.

As a boat owner, you may be eligible for discounts to your insurance premiums. Common discounts include those for multiple policies with the same provider, safety equipment onboard the vessel, and crew’s completion of safety education courses. Remaining claims-free for a certain period of time may also qualify you for a discount.

In addition to obtaining proper insurance, maintain best practices to protect your boat and its passengers. Equip your vessel with proper lighting, an emergency signal (horn, whistle, or bell), and life jackets. Stock your boat with an emergency kit that includes fresh water, a flashlight, a radio, flares, tools, and a first aid kit, and keep a fire extinguisher readily accessible. Lastly, always adhere to marine traffic laws.

Not sure if you have the coverage you need for your boat? Give us a call to review your current coverage and discuss the options available. We’ll make sure you and your vessel are well protected the next time you set sail.

 

When Your Kitchen Counters Become a Catch-All

Sometimes we can barely see our kitchen counters under the clutter they’ve collected. Want to clear them? Here are a few tips to help you organize and de-clutter your countertops.

Start with an assessment. Are you short of counter space or cupboard space? If it’s counter space you need, look at the appliances on your counter and decide if all of them are necessary. Tuck away the ones you use infrequently. Clear fruit and veggies from the counter by putting them in hanging baskets. Hang utensils on the wall to clear the counter while putting the implements you need within reach.

If it’s cupboard space you’re short of, think about adding shelves to the ends of cabinets for extra storage. And check out Pinterest. It offers wonderfully clever gizmos for maximizing storage space by hiding pot lids, cutting boards, utensils, and whatnots behind doors and out of sight.

Over-the-door organizers are inexpensive and practically double your storage, giving you tons of room to stow all kinds of things. A wall-hanging magazine rack will keep your counters clear of all the paper stuff you love to save.

If you have the room, consider adding an open-sided island with shelves. This additional space could be a lifesaver.

How to Roast the Perfect Marshmallow

For many, roasting a perfectly golden marshmallow is the elusive goal of campfire cooking. But it’s not unattainable. It just requires some thought.

Building the right fire is key. Marshmallows cook better when roasted slowly, so you’ll need to wait until your fire has glowing coals that can heat your marshmallow. There’s no clear consensus about whether your roasting stick should come from a tree branch or a store; just be sure that it’s about an arm’s length, and hold the tip with the marshmallow about six to eight inches above the coals.

Be patient while roasting, maintaining a constant, slow rotation. Expect to wait about four minutes to create the perfect roast before placing the gooey deliciousness in your mouth or squishing it into a s’more. Yum!

 

Worth Quoting


This month, some famous quotes on pets:

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

Groucho Marx

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.

Christopher Morley

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.

Bill Dana

Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.

Franklin P. Jones

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.

Max Eastman

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

Bernard Williams

 

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