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3 Elements to Age in Place

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Home, Our Blog, Safety | Comments Off on 3 Elements to Age in Place

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicts that by 2035, the population of those 65 and older will grow to approximately 79 million — up more than 30 million from today. And 90 percent of adults in that age group prefer to remain in their homes, according to AARP. For those who would like to stay in their homes into their golden years, updating these three areas to accommodate changing needs is something worth tackling sooner rather than later. Lighting A well-lit home, both indoors and out, is a fundamental component of safe, long-term living. Start by making sure all rooms, staircases and doorways have adequate lighting. Motion-sensor lights and easily accessible light switches help all occupants, no matter the age. Does scheduling lights or adjusting brightness from the convenience of a smartphone sound appealing? Look into the latest in smart lighting technology. Doorways Most homeowners don’t give any thought to moving from room to room. But when a wheelchair enters the picture, navigating entrances, hallways and exits can become a concern. Widening doorways to 36 inches gives those who are wheelchair-bound or using a walker more room to move easily throughout the home. Bathrooms According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans 65 or older suffer a fall each year. Ensure bathrooms are as safe as possible by adding grab bars near the toilet and in the shower. If budget allows, consider retrofitting bathrooms with a taller toilet and a walk-in shower for added convenience. For those who’d like to stay in their residence during their senior years, keep the principles of aging in place in mind to modify, update and renovate the home...

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6 Possible Reasons for weight gain

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Education | Comments Off on 6 Possible Reasons for weight gain

Healthy eating and regular exercise are two of your top priorities, so there’s no need to worry about gaining weight, right? Not necessarily. Seemingly inconsequential behaviors such as eating while multitasking, taking certain medications and opting for alternative sweeteners can lead to unexpected weight gain. Here are some choices that may be impacting what you see on the scale: Lack of sleep: Sleep deprivation can not only increase your risk of heart disease but also influence you to eat more calories. A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals with inconsistent sleeping habits consumed an extra 385 calories the following day. Evening libations: If you enjoy an evening cocktail or two, keep in mind that you’re taking in extra calories — anywhere from 120 to 200 calories for a 12-ounce beer or as many as 500 calories for a margarita or other sweet drink. Stress: Feeling depressed, anxious or stressed out can cause the body to kick into survival mode and protect itself by holding on to weight. This state also causes a release of the steroid hormone cortisol, which creates an appetite surge. Medication: As many as 25 percent of those who take antidepressants may experience weight gain as an unwanted side effect. Several other medications, like steroids, antihistamines and beta blockers, also fall into this category. Distracted eating: You may save time by eating while you’re otherwise occupied, but it can come at a cost. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found distracted eaters ate up to 50 percent more calories than those who focused solely on their meal. Diet food: Are you choosing food and drinks that use sugar substitutes like aspartame and saccharine? These may not be the healthy alternatives you think they are; research has shown that these sweeteners can cause weight gain in...

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Understanding and Paying Down Debt

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Education, Insurance, Our Blog, Simple Choice Agency | Comments Off on Understanding and Paying Down Debt

Before you buy that new car or house, put some thought into your finances. Do you have a full understanding of how debt accumulation impacts you? Read on for more, including tips for tackling your financial obligations. Debt’s Daily Impact Owing money affects many aspects of everyday life — from securing a new home to qualifying for a credit card and much more. All rely on your credit score and the information in your credit report, so check your credit report yearly and dispute inaccurate information. Even those who don’t have debt can be caught off guard without emergency savings in place. In this situation, a small problem can quickly become a larger one by accumulating debt. Tips for Paying It Down With persistence, consistency and a good strategy, you can chip away at the money you owe. Make your goal visible. Whether it’s an image of the home you’re paying off or a vacation you’ll take when you’re debt-free, having a visual reminder in the form of a cellphone backdrop or a photo posted on the fridge can help reinforce why you want to stick to your plan. Keep track of your spending, even the smallest purchases. Seeing the amount of cash flowing out can help you be more conscious of how you use your money going forward. Try the snowball or avalanche strategies. With the snowball repayment method, you pay off your smallest debt first, and then move your focus and payments to the next largest debt. The avalanche strategy, on the other hand, targets the debt with the highest interest rate first to help you get out of debt faster and save on interest. Paying down debt can be challenging. The goal is to do the best you can with the help of these tips and keep working your way toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Some choices are Simple: Protect your family; Serve your...

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3 Tips for managing an inheritance

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Education, Insurance, Life | Comments Off on 3 Tips for managing an inheritance

Receiving an inheritance from a family member or friend can bring mixed emotions. Not only are you grieving the loss of a loved one, but you’re also suddenly receiving new wealth. During this challenging time, these steps can make the process a little easier. Take Your Time Don’t rush into the process; filling out the necessary paperwork to receive the inheritance doesn’t have to happen immediately after a loved one passes away. Take the time you need to grieve, get through the funeral and spend time with loved ones. Aim to speak with the estate attorney within a month of the passing. Make a List of Goals Inheriting a large sum of money may feel like winning the lottery, but it’s important to establish goals for your inheritance before spending everything you receive. You could pay down debt, create an emergency savings account, fund your retirement or put money away for your children’s college education. Consult an Expert You will most likely meet with an estate attorney regarding the departed’s assets, but you should also consider meeting with a financial advisor. Receiving an inheritance can mean you’re the beneficiary of a 401(k), stocks or bonds, and it’s important that you’re maneuvering through the financial process effectively. For example, you may have to pay taxes, depending on what your inheritance is. A financial professional can not only help you answer these questions but also help you manage your wealth as time goes by. If you find yourself inheriting money or assets from a loved one, remember: Take the time you need, and find professionals who can help get you through the...

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Basics of Long Term Coverage

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Insurance, Life | Comments Off on Basics of Long Term Coverage

Before making a decision about long-term care insurance (LTCI), it helps to fully understand what it is and how it works. Here’s a general overview. What is long-term care insurance? This type of insurance addresses extended, hands-on assistance that’s needed due to a prolonged disability or long-term illness or cognitive impairment. Each LTCI policy will define its benefit triggers, but individuals generally qualify for use when a health professional certifies that you require help with at least two daily activities, such as dressing, eating or bathing. What can it cover? Most comprehensive long-term care policies include common services like home care, assisted living, adult day care and nursing home stays. But they may limit you to licensed professionals and certified home care agencies. Read over the types of facilities, services and programs covered by each policy you’re considering. Why do individuals choose this type of insurance? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 70 percent of 65-year-olds will need long-term care in their lifetime. The costs involved with this kind of special attention are steep. According to median monthly costs nationwide, an assisted living facility costs $3,628 a month and a private room in a nursing home is approximately $7,700 a month. Long-term care insurance can help shoulder some of the financial burden. When’s a good time to start thinking about LTCI? Many industry experts suggest giving this sensitive topic serious thought in your early 50s. Purchasing a plan when you’re younger, say at the age of 55 instead of 70, can lead to significant annual rate differences. And there are alternatives to long-term care insurance, including contributing the maximum to a health savings account, buying short-term care insurance or a life/long-term care insurance hybrid, or tapping into home equity. Consider your personal health risks and financial situation first, and then talk to a trusted professional to come to a thoughtful...

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Do Wearables Encourage Movement and Fitness

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Education, Simple Choice Agency | 0 comments

Fitness trackers have become a popular trend over the past several years, with an estimated 102 million devices sold by the end of 2016. But does strapping on a device that provides personalized health data help you improve your lifestyle and stay fit? Expert opinions vary. Here are a few pros and cons based on recent scientific research.   Benefits of Wearables More steps: Research dating back to 2007 found that individuals who used pedometers engaged in more physical activity than participants who didn’t wear such technology. The study also determined that having a step goal, such as 10,000 steps a day, served as another predictor of increased exercise. Lower blood pressure: U.K. researchers have also found a connection between wearables and an increase in physical activity, as well as a decrease in body mass index and blood pressure. Financial rewards: Some employers and health insurance providers offer small incentives for staying active and reaching specific goals. The thinking? If individuals stay fit, it may help reduce future medical costs. Potential Downsides Short-term commitment: Though fitness trackers may get people moving, the aforementioned U.K. study also found that 32 percent of users stopped wearing them after six months, and 50 percent stopped after one year. Less weight loss: According to a September 2016 study, participants who used fitness-tracking technology over the course of 24 months didn’t lose as much weight as those without wearable devices. However, both groups of participants did see improvements in their diets, fitness and body composition. Though research on the effectiveness of fitness-tracking devices continues, the real test is a personal one. If technology that tracks your steps and monitors your heart rate helps you stay active, a wearable may be the right option for...

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4 Tips to Help Realize Your Goals

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in Simple Choice Agency | Comments Off on 4 Tips to Help Realize Your Goals

  It’s a new year, which means updated goals and strategies. Maybe you’ve wanted to quit smoking, lose a few pounds, write a novel or get out of debt. Whatever your dream may be, the thought of achieving it can be daunting. Below are four tips to help you attain whatever changes you decide on. Set and Visualize Your Goals Try following in the footsteps of iconic swimmer Michael Phelps, who lists out his goals, looks at them regularly and checks on his progress each day. The 23-time gold medalist has written down his intentions since childhood, envisioning himself swimming the perfect race. Be Honest With Yourself Asking yourself what you want, why you want it and what’s holding you back can help you move past obstacles of apprehension and fear. Once you’ve identified the specifics, take action by breaking down big goals into smaller achievements, creating a game plan and tackling one small task at a time. Be S.M.A.R.T. A favorite tool for entrepreneurs, this mnemonic acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. Use it to take a granular look at your goals and guide you to achievement.  Goals vs. Systems Entrepreneur James Clear thinks in systems rather than goals. What’s the difference? A goal is a result while a system includes the steps necessary to reach the desired outcome. If having a goal feels overwhelming or burdensome, Clear suggests giving up the desire for immediate results by committing to the process rather than a specific...

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With Depression, Knowledge Is Power

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Education | Comments Off on With Depression, Knowledge Is Power

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide; yet fewer than half receive treatment. Despite an increased awareness of depression and other mental illnesses, a social stigma about these disorders still exists. Help fight it by educating yourself on depression and its common symptoms and treatment strategies. Signs It’s More Than a Feeling Friends and family of sufferers may confuse symptoms of depression with ordinary sadness, but they’re distinctively different. A sense of hopelessness or emptiness, loss of interest in hobbies or activities, and a lack of energy can overwhelm individuals dealing with depression for days and weeks at a time. Irritability and difficulty sleeping or concentrating are also common. This complex condition can stem from many potential factors, including genetics, trauma, faulty mood regulation in the brain, life circumstances and other health conditions. Creating a personal treatment plan with the guidance of a medical or mental health professional is key. This may include talk therapy, medication, lifestyle changes or a combination of the three. An array of resources is available for additional information. How You Can Help Others Countering depression requires action, but those who are depressed often have a hard time taking even the smallest step toward treatment. If someone close to you is showing signs of depression, you can help by being supportive and expressing your concern in a tasteful, nonjudgmental way. Be an empathetic listener and avoid giving advice. Encourage them and offer unconditional support throughout the process. Though depression looks different in each individual, understanding common triggers, symptoms and treatment options is useful for both your sake and the sake of your loved ones. Some choices are Simple: Protect your family; Serve your community CHRIS LYNCH SIMPLE CHOICE AGENCY // Principal EMAIL [email protected] PHONE (317) 837.4960 // MOBILE (702) 423.9097 ADDRESS 2680 E. Main Street #321 Plainfield, IN...

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One Small Mistake

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in Education | Comments Off on One Small Mistake

“All Because of One Small Mistake.”  That is what a client just said to me recently during a significant loss they just suffered.  That one small mistake financially, devastated his business and his life. Depending on the nature of an insurance loss; it can bankrupt you, put you out of business, cause an emotional break down and more.  I know that seems like a scare tactic, but it is true.  I have personally witnessed it happen to my client. I get it, our lives are busy.  We have so many irons in the fire and so many things we are trying to do that calling our insurance agent not only is not high on the list of priorities, it also typically is not something most of us want to even mess with.  I have a theory about that.  Of course a theory is nothing more than an educated guess or really broken down it is just an opinion.  And well, we all know what that means.  We all have opinions.  So here are few of mine: 1. The Giant Blanket Theory.  You can insure almost anything today.   The problem;  it takes money to insure things and knowledge of what you are actually insuring.  Many people don’t want to pay the money to make sure they are properly covered and don’t understand their exposure.  Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying people don’t want to be covered.  Of course they do.  People believe that because they purchase something that has the name “insurance” in it, people tend to believe it is a “giant blanket” that just covers everything because they have “insurance”.  That of course is far from the truth!    EXAMPLE#1 – I recently had a client that believed he had auto coverage because his lien-holder  sent them a great quote for coverage and it can just be included in his monthly payment.  In the end, he found out this is only collision coverage to protect the lien.  In the event of a real accident, he would have no insurance for the liability of others.  When he went to purchase a new vehicle he found out the MVR shows he has “no coverage” because technically he did not.  He had no idea. Perfect example of believing ” having insurance” means you are covered. 2. Insecurity about understanding what is covered.  No one likes to feel like they don’t understand something.  Especially something you are required by law to have.  Something you have had since you were old enough to drive or rent a house or start a business.  Surely if you are intelligent enough to do all of those things, getting insurance is really just “something you have to do”.  Many people trust these decisions to family or friends,  themselves or someone on the other end of an 800 number that assumes you know what you are purchasing.  The truth is many people do what others do so because it is easier, and nothing bad has happened to them. 3.  Ignorance is bliss – That is such a weird quote to me, I hate not knowing things.  But the truth is, many of us are ignorant to what our insurance covers and what it does not cover.  This ties into #1 a little bit.  Here is EXAMPLE #2 – A client starts a business,...

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Why Insurance Market Value is less than Replacement Cost of Home

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Education, Home, Insurance | Comments Off on Why Insurance Market Value is less than Replacement Cost of Home

One of the most common questions our office receives is:  “Why does the insurance company say the market value of my home is much higher than it is actually worth?”    First, the questions is worded improperly.  Not intentionally, but the problem is that the “market value” of your home has zero to do with the “Dwelling A” (or reconstruction cost) coverage listed on your declaration page.  Or what most of us believe to be the “value” of our home. So then how does it really work?   My home is valued at $75,000, I owe $80,000 and the insurance company values my reconstruction at $239,000.  For most of us, this doesn’t even make sense. Let’s break this down properly: Market Value:  Market Value by basic definition states: “the amount in which something can be sold for in a given market”. That definition is an all encompassing definition, but let’s explore what that really includes.  A home located in Indianapolis Indiana vs the same exact home in Chicago, Illinois will not have the same market value. Why?  The factors included in the “market value” include the area, the schools, the home itself, the price it can sell for at a certain period of time, the school systems, your specific improvements, etc.  NONE of these factors that determine the MARKET VALUE of your home, are used to determine the “RECONSTRUCTION COST” of your home. Reconstruction Cost:  “provides the cost to construct, at current prices, an exact duplicate or replica of the building, using like kind and quality materials, construction standards, design, layout and quality of workmanship; Because it might be impossible, impractical or unacceptable to use the materials or methods used in the original construction, “equal quality and utility” may be substituted where necessary for “like kind and quality.” In order to accurately determine the “Reconstruction cost” of your home we don’t just simply rely on figuring a guesstimate of what it would take to rebuild, but an actual defined process utilizing a specific Building Code Program analysis to obtain accurate information based on the home, your area, current building costs, etc.  This program uses the accurate material cost and labor data to determine the actual cost to replace your home to its pre-loss condition.  It costs much more to reconstruct a new home in an existing place then it does to construct a new home at a new location. So now that you understand the difference, the question becomes, “Do I need to insure my home to the reconstruction cost that the carrier determines?” The simple answer is, YES, you should.  Here are 3 very good reasons why. 1. Insurance Companies have a contractual obligation to repair or replace the lost asset.  One reason for this language believe it or not is to keep people from OVER insuring and then committing fraud to collect money.  Replacement value determines what that amount should be. 2. Partial losses are more common then total losses.  The reason this is important to understand is basic math.  Let’s use the numbers we started with Insurance Purchased: 80,000 (to pay off mortgage) Square Footage of the home: 1684 Reconstruction Cost figured: $239,000. ($141.92 per square foot (239000/1684) If you suffered a loss on 1/4 of the home, that would be a $20,000 loss (80000 X 1/4),...

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