5 months ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Life insurance is easy to forget when you don’t need it.
As you near retirement, it might be a good time to reevaluate your needs. Is your old policy — possibly purchased decades ago — still serving a purpose?
Life insurance is important as we start our adult lives — get married, buy homes, have children. That’s because we want to provide for our loved ones should a tragic accident or illness prohibit us from providing financial assistance.
But then life goes on. Our children grow up. We pay off our mortgages. We retire, and we’re living (hopefully) comfortable lives provided by our Social Security income and retirement savings. But we have these old life-insurance policies, and we’re still paying premiums for them. What should we do?
One option is to simply stop paying premiums and let the policy lapse. The money you paid in premiums could be used in a number of other ways that are more beneficial given your current life circumstances.
For example, you could use the proceeds to pay down any debt you have. You could use the money to add to your nest egg, investing it in a manner that will, hopefully, grow over time.
Or you could invest it in long-term care insurance (or a dedicated “rainy day” fund to be used for long-term expenses, should you need them as you age).
Of course, the policy may still benefit you. Just because you have no children living at home doesn’t mean you don’t need life insurance. Think of all the ways the people in your life could be affected by your death, and ask yourself how your life-insurance proceeds would help them.
If you can come up with enough ways, it might be worth keeping your policy in effect and reevaluating in another one to five years.
12 months ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
While shopping online for insurance is fast and convenient, there are a few dirty little secrets that might end up making it cost more than you realize. Find out why using an agent or broker beats shopping online for insurance.
Only advertisers: Online insurance quotes compare only the rates of companies that advertise on their website. Although it can be convenient to shop online for insurance, online insurance websites make money by selling advertising space. Insurance providers that don’t participate won’t show up in search results. Since a broker make money only when they sell policies – not when they sell advertising space – you can be sure to obtain the most competitive rates the broker has available.
Personal service: Insurance is complex, so it should come as no surprise that terminology and other contractual situations can be confusing. Work with a broker who is able to inform you about available options that could impact your coverage or cost.
1 year ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
It’s inevitable. As a small business owner, you will wear many, many hats.
Technical support staff.
But while this type of task juggling is to be expected, you have to be aware that not all of your hats are created equal. Marketing outweighs bookkeeping, for example, because without marketing, there will be no cash to manage.
Not only that, but you have to consider how much time you’re spending in each area as well. If you spend all day tweaking the design on your website and put off sending an email to your list, what have you gained?
Sure, you might have a prettier website, but you lost an opportunity to drive traffic to your offer.
In an ideal world, you’d simply put on your CEO hat and delegate the rest, but here in the real world, we don’t always have that option. Instead, we have to work smarter and take care how we’re spending our time.
Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
We all have different skills and sweet spots when it comes to the tasks we want and need to do. You might love customer support and hate bookkeeping, while someone else enjoys the numbers game and doesn’t like dealing with the help desk. But regardless of your personal preferences, one thing is certain: money-making tasks should be at the very top of your to-do list.
That might mean product creation, email marketing, client outreach, webinar development, or something entirely different. Identify those money-making tasks in your business and be sure to prioritize them every single day.
Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent
In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends prioritizing tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither.
Once you know where a task falls on the grid, you’ll immediately know what you should be working on. For example, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow, is both urgent AND important.
So, before you prioritize your daily to-do list, think about where each of your tasks falls in the quadrant, and schedule them accordingly.
Will you always be working on the best task for right now? Probably not. Nor will you always use your time as wisely as you could. But by making a conscious effort to organize and prioritize your days, you’ll find it’s a lot less stressful and overwhelming to manage your small business.
1 year ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Check Your Sump Pump
If you have a basement, you know that it serves many purposes: storage space, playroom, media center, workspace—or all of the above. And whether your basement is simply a place to store seasonal decorations or a professionally finished space for your home theater, it probably contains valuables. If the space were to flood, you’d be less than happy.
To protect their belongings from water damage, many homeowners install a sump pump. They also take precautions with regular maintenance, and ensure licensed technicians inspect the pipes and systems regularly to protect against leaks and breaks that could cause flooding.
These are wise steps to take. However, they are not fail-safe. Don’t falsely assume you are fully protected because you have a machine to pump water away from your valuables. Even perfectly maintained sump pumps may eventually fail. Pipes wear out. Accidents happen. So when the water you tried to keep out makes its way into your basement, you’re going to need the correct type and amount of insurance to cover the damage.
Standard homeowners policies have limitations
You’ll probably need more than a basic homeowners policy. Many property owners don’t realize that this standard policy typically covers certain types of water damage, but not all. For example, some policies cover burst pipes but not sewer backups. Others may have limits on coverage, offering repairs for structural damage but not replacement of electronics.
The right policy for the right coverage
Fortunately, full coverage is available. Whether you want to insure your drywall only or everything from the kids’ toys to valuable collections, there’s a policy that’s just right for your needs. Discuss with your agent the type of coverage you want. Review the details of what is covered by each policy or rider, and work with him or her to ensure you have the policy you need.
When the next sump pump backup occurs, you’ll be glad you did
1 year ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
It’s almost time for my favorite season of the year: Fall. This is my favorite season because I get to spend time with my family, Girl Scouts, friends and most of all bake all of my favorite pies and cookies.
Fall is a time for getting your ducks in a row and preparing for the future. As summer comes to a close, assess whether your insurance needs have changed.
Review them by answering these questions:
Has your family changed? If you got married this summer, you may qualify for a discount on your auto policy. If you combined households, you may need to update your homeowners policy. If you’re newly divorced, be sure to update all your policies. If you had a baby, review your life insurance coverage to determine whether any changes are needed.
Did your household add or lose drivers? If your teen just acquired a drivers’ license, it’s typically cheaper if you add him or her to your policy than it is for the new driver to get a separate policy. Plus, you’ll likely receive a multi-policy discount. If your child has left the nest for college, you can usually adjust your policy to reduce coverage.
Have you renovated? Review any home projects you completed. Home additions or upgrades can drastically increase the value of your property. Consult with your agent to determine if your homeowners insurance is still adequate. Don’t forget to include structures you added to the outside of your home, such as gazebos or pools.
Are you now a renter or a landlord? If you’ve moved into a new rental, or if you’ve become a new landlord, be sure you have the right policies in place. As a tenant, you need renters insurance to cover your belongings, even if the owner has coverage for the building. As a landlord, ensure both property and liability coverages are adequate.
Did you retire? A major reduction in commute time could translate into a significant reduction in auto insurance premiums. Plus, your senior status may qualify you for a 55+ discount.
Report any of these life changes to your agent as soon as possible, and don’t take the chance of being underinsured.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Insurance Agent, Do I need one?
Many insurance companies today don’t sell their policies through agents, but directly from the company either online or over the phone. It might seem that having an agent to help you purchase auto insurance is a thing of the past, but don’t discount the insurance agent just yet. There are some very good reasons to consider using an insurance agent for your auto policy purchase.
Agents Know Their Products
Many of the customer service representatives who handle the phones at large insurance companies know the basics of auto insurance policies, enough to help you select and purchase one. But insurance agents, especially those who have been around for a while, understand a lot more about coverage and policy limits.
They can share with you a wealth of knowledge that will ensure you not only get the right policy but the best rate and a good understanding of what you are paying for. An agent will help you select the best possible coverage limits to fit your needs.
Agents Are On Your Side
If the day comes when you need to file a claim, it’s always good to have someone who is truly on your side. Especially in a complicated claim, your agent can walk you through the process and be there to answer all your questions. An agent is also there to step in when there are disagreements with the adjuster or other involved parties at the insurance company.
Because your agent knows all about the policy and how the claims process works, they will better be able to negotiate and discuss claims issues with your adjuster.
Agents Keep Your Policy Accurate
A good agent will take the time to review your policy regularly and make sure that everything is accurate and you are still carrying the coverage you need. An agent knows when changes in your life might affect your insurance coverage needs, such as a marriage or a child reaching driving age. Large insurance companies simply can’t provide that level of personal attention.
Are Agents More Expensive?
There is a general view that an insurance policy purchased through an agent will cost more than one purchased directly. That isn’t necessarily true. The best rate for you may well be one from an agency, so don’t discount quotes from agents when you are shopping for car insurance. You might get the best rate along with the service an agent can provide.
You might not feel that you need an agent for your auto insurance, but there are certainly some very good reasons to take the time to meet with a few and see if it turns out to be right for you.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
When it comes to life insurance, opinions tend to take precedence over the facts; term life insurance is viewed as affordable, while whole life insurance is considered secure.
Unfortunately, like most things in life, the actual situation is somewhat more complex.
Discover the truth about whole life insurance and whether or not it is the right move for your portfolio, based on these facts.
Unlike term life insurance, whole life policies are permanent.
Once the initial term is completed, term life coverage might become more expensive, whereas whole life tends to become more competitively priced over the long run.
All or Nothing
Whole life insurance offers a death benefit just like term life but also provides additional protection in the form of “cash value.” Unlike a term life policy that pays nothing unless you die, whole life policies allow you to recapture or “cash in” a portion of what you invested over the years.
Another attractive feature of whole life insurance is the ability to borrow from the policy in the event you need a loan. Because a portion of the money is set aside into a savings account, whole life policies can provide additional funds in the event of an emergency or even serious illness.
Most experts agree, if you are short on cash or need a policy for less than 10 years, term life insurance is typically the most affordable route. For those who require more than 10 years of coverage or can invest a larger portion of their income up front, whole life often provides valuable protection over the long term. Ask your agent for a comparative price quote demonstrating the long-term cost as well as the benefit of each policy option; you might be surprised to learn how affordable whole life insurance is when used as a financial planning tool.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Most people shop for auto insurance after they have purchased a new vehicle, but for the best rates and biggest savings, it’s actually better to begin at the end.
Learn how to buy right to save big on car insurance costs without putting the brakes on the fun.
Shop Used Rather Than New
Not only will a used vehicle mean a slower rate of depreciation, but it’s often less expensive to insure a gently used car.
The sweet spot of savings is on vehicles roughly two to three years old and with less than 45,000 miles, although it varies considerably from car to car.
Keep Credit Tuned
Not only does good credit help reduce the cost of financing your new vehicle but insurance companies routinely consider credit score, driving record and other personal criteria in the cost of insurance.
Make it a priority to stay in shape by performing annual credit evaluations while steering clear of traffic violations in order to obtain the best rates.
Call for Quotes – Especially on Customized Cars
That super-charged engine or enhanced wheel package might look fantastic but tripping the light fantastic could cost you a bundle when it comes time to buy insurance. In fact, depending upon the type of work performed, it may negate the warranty and limit the terms of liability should damage related to the custom changes occur.
Safety Rating Rule
Perform a search for the most recent safety rating associated with the make and model of the car you are considering for purchase.
How you legally hold title to the vehicle is especially important when it comes time to purchase an auto insurance policy.
Parents or partners with poor driving records should pay special attention to how the title may impact the purchase of auto insurance.
If you need a quote, call the office.