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Archive for the ‘Life and Health’ Category

How to Keep Fit While Traveling

Summertime is a great time to move around and see the world. As a result, many people try keeping fit in readiness for summer. They exercise and “eat clean” for that perfect Summer body. And while many embark on their trip in tip-top shape, failure to remain vigilant while traveling can cause weight gain. So here are some tips to keep fit while on the road.

1. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep a check on your weight while traveling. The good news is that this exercise does not need to be overly ambitious or vigorous. All you need is about 20 to 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week. Use this time to work out in the gym or outdoors. You can do some light weights, cardio, yoga or just jog outdoors. The benefits of doing this are immense. Regular exercise will not only help you maintain a trim figure but also it will help release the ’feel good’’ hormones that will buoy you for the remainder of the day. Indeed early morning exercising can increase your enjoyment of your vacation. And if you can’t find a gym or go outside? Bodyweight exercises in your hotel room can still help.

2. Keep Hydrated

Keeping fit in hot weather can be tricky as dehydration takes place pretty fast. It is even harder if you are traveling through a country or area that does not have a good supply of clean drinking water. Dehydration is usually accompanied by the swelling and stiffening of fingers, and often a feeling of thirst. To combat dehydration, ensure that you carry small containers of water whenever you go outdoors. A bottle of clean water would come in handy as you take your stroll – regularly sip from it to hydrate your body and ensure that you remain fit.

3. Choose to Walk

Walk as much as you can in the course of your travels. Instead of taking a cab to move from point A to point B, choose to walk if the distance is manageable. It is healthier to sight-see around a city on foot than using motorized means. It provides you with the opportunity to absorb more of what the city has to offer – from discovering hidden alleyways, visiting places of worship, or to simply admire some captivating landmarks. If the distance is a bit long, you may choose to rent a bicycle. The bike will help you travel faster; while at the same time help you in keeping fit.

4. Go Slow on Alcohol Intake

Taking too much alcohol is detrimental to your keeping fit effort. Alcohol will only help you build up on calories – something that you would want to avoid. Teetotalers need not worry about this, but those who regularly take a glass or two of wine before or after meals may want to consider re-evaluating their priorities. Apart from building up on calories, alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes the body dehydrated very fast. This is counterproductive to remaining hydrated.

One way of avoiding alcohol is to allocate ’off’ days. These are the days that you decide to totally abstain from alcohol consumption. On these days you may decide to choose a healthier indulgence like getting a massage.

5. Visit the Spa

Visiting the spa for a massage therapy is one of the greatest ways to decompress while traveling at home or abroad. The effects of jet lag from the long trans-Atlantic flights can easily be reversed by a well-timed visit to a spa for well-deserved massage therapy. Indeed, a variety of spas targeting travelers exist across the globe.

6. Get Adequate Rest

There is nothing that will help you in your keeping fit effort like having adequate rest. Ensure that you get enough sleep every night in an environment that is comfortable and kind on your body. Avoid late night traveling whenever possible. Should it happen that you do not get enough sleep at night, make plans to compensate during the daytime. Schedule your travel itinerary in a manner that allows you to have time to relax and get some rest.

7. Go Slow on Treats

Treats like candy and cake should remain as treats. Avoid the attitude that “it’s OK because I’m on vacation.” Splitting deserts and limiting your intake of sweets will help you avoid unwanted calories that are counterproductive to your goal of keeping fit while traveling. Save the treats for special occasions when you are likely to appreciate them even more, as opposed to having them routinely with every meal.

8. Eat Healthy Breakfasts

Many believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As such, what comprises this meal should be chosen with a lot of care. Eat a well-balanced diet, which has the foods necessary to provide you with the energy necessary to fuel you for the better part of the morning. Resist the temptation to pile up on fatty or sugary foods as these will reverse any gains made in your keeping fit program.

9. Try Meditation

Meditation is one of the better-known stress busters. In addition, it works very well If you become agitated or irritated by the seemingly unnecessary delays that you are likely to experience in some airports. Meditation is also highly recommended if you are unable to sleep. To fully grasp the art of meditation, some measure of practice is required. The good news, however, is that there are apps in the market that can be downloaded to help a newbie with the practice of meditation. The apps offer 5-20 minutes of simple step by step instructions that anyone can follow to apply meditation for peace and tranquility.

10. Use Sunscreen

Protect your skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays. The tan from the sun may look good in the short time, but it creates a long term problem by making the skin prone to sagging and cancers. Get sun blocks that offer both UVB and UVA protection. Most of the European countries have provided a rating for these products in order to protect the consumer against marketing gimmicks. Most countries have set the SPF rating at 50+ and anything beyond this should not be taken seriously. Even though similar measures have not been taken in the US, it is advisable that you choose a rating of at least SPF 30+. It is even better if you can get a product that is multi-spectrum – one that has incorporated both UVA and UVB defense to help you in keeping fit.

11. Enjoy Yourself

Don’t let “keeping fit” prevent you from trying new foods. Don’t let workout obsessions keep you from spur of the moment activities that could build memories for a lifetime. Be flexible and enjoy each moment as it comes for what it is.

Tracking Down Life Insurance of a Loved One

The Insurance policy Commissioner’s Office is trying to make it much easier for Georgians to track down as well as submit life insurance policy cases.

The Life Insurance Plan Locator Solution has actually helped greater than 100 Georgians receive regarding $750,000 in benefits up until now.

If you aren’t sure where a life insurance plan is, if your loved one had life insurance coverage or if you’re a recipient, you can submit a request to discover. It’ll then send out an alert to insurance provider to check if they hold a plan because name, and also the business will let you understand if they do if you’re a beneficiary.

Deputy Insurance coverage Commissioner Jay Florence stated you need to have a couple of things before you send a demand.

” The even more details you have, the better,” he said. “So if you have a life insurance policy number, undoubtedly that’s a great idea, and also if you recognize the business, that excels. However as a standard, you wish to make sure you have the individual that died, their date of birth and also day of fatality, along with your name if you’re asking for the insurance provider to examine to see whether you’re a recipient.”

If you have this details handy, Florence stated it must take about 15 mins to finish the demand, and if a company holds a plan in the name you’re looking for, it needs to inform you within a couple of weeks.

He added that in this process, time is important.

” Regarding 2 years after a life insurance policy company learns that somebody has passed away, they hold on to the cash,” Florence stated. “And also after that two-year period runs, they really transform it over, it’s not to us, yet to the Unclaimed Residential property Department of the state. Then the state holds on to it for, I think, 6 years, and also afterwards duration runs, the state then deposits it into the general fund, and you shed the possibility to claim it.”

Quick Life Insurance Review

How Examining Your Current Insurance Policy Can Save You Money

The costs of things usually increase with inflation, but the rates of life insurance has experienced the opposite effect. Lately, some rates have actually decreased. If you haven’t shopped for life insurance within the past decade, it may be time to see if you can save some money. This is especially true is your health hasn’t changed since you got your old policy. Be sure to check with us as we may be able to find a comparable policy for a much better price.

The first step is to look over your existing policy. You may find that you initially didn’t get as much coverage as you needed. This could be true if you couldn’t afford to buy the insurance you needed. Of course, the opposite could be true as well. You may have originally secured a large insurance policy because your kids still lived at home. If the kids have now moved out and are independent, you may want to decrease the amount of your new policy.

Next, you want to see what options are available to you. There are many different types of life insurance such as term life, and whole life. Term insurance tends to be more affordable than the others. It allows you select a plan for a set number of years. The downside of term insurance is you may outlive your policy. If you are unsure which option is best, you want to spend some time going over the different options with your insurance professional.

Making a change to your life insurance policy may seem like a big deal. But we can help you through the process of getting the best deal based on your current circumstances. Of course there are many potential ramifications for making changes to your life insurance policy including potential tax issues. That’s why it is so important that you talk with your agent to get the best advice possible. And one last point… if you do make a change to your life insurance, be sure that you don’t cancel you old policy until your new one has gone into effect. You don’t want something happening in the gap between the two policies.

Getting The Right Amount of Life Insurance

Life insurance is a valuable investment for your dependants or anyone you have chosen as a beneficiary. If you are a financial support to others, it is imperative you leave behind something when you are gone so that your they will be able to look after themselves in case your gone.

However, it can be a challenge to determine exactly how much life coverage you require to ensure that your loved ones are well taken care of.

A recent survey showed that, while 20% of Americans agree that life insurance should be included as a part of any sound financial planning, only 40% said they would know what to look for in buying a life insurance policy. The same survey indicated that 50% of Americans felt they were under-insured.

Experts recommend at least six times the annual gross income as a good place to start for determining how much life insurance you should obtain.

As you consider the varying options available, always keep in mind that buying life insurance is like buying any other consumer product – your goal is to get the best value for your money.

Before taking out life insurance, it’s smart to speak with an expert to ensure that you understand all the options that are available to you.

And, working with an independent insurance agency ensures you can receive several quotes without having to call several carriers directly. This will help you make an informed decision while getting insurance that is tailored to fit your situation.

Beyond the “six times annual gross income” rule, you need to understand your “life value”. This may sound like an absurd thing to consider, but it is important. After all, you want to be sure that the money you leave behind will take care of your family.

So, do you expect to be earning more in the future? If so, plan for that. Do you take care of things around the house that someone might have to otherwise pay for? Be sure to include that as well.

Likewise, if you have debts, be sure there’s enough insurance to cover those bills as well.

And if you have kids and need to ensure they can go to college, you have to plan for that too… college is expensive and its costs are accelerating.

By taking full stock of your current situation and the impact your death will have, you’ll develop a clear understanding of what your family will really need to survive.

With an effective financial planning process, you will approach purchasing life insurance with an unbiased perspective that will allow you to make a sound decision. (If your life circumstances change, be sure to talk with your live insurance professional right away. Things like buying a vacation home, having kids, or even getting a divorce can impact your life insurance needs.)

We understand that life insurance is a subject most folks try and avoid talking about, yet it is important. It is about protecting loved ones from uncertainty in difficult circumstances. Please reach out to us for resources on getting the most out of life insurance. We’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction and help you explore your options.

Americans Surprising Agreement on Inclusion of Mental Health Benefit in Insurance

In the hot debate about healthcare in the U.S. there appears to be one common thread. Research shows that 77% of Americans from both sides of the political divide feel that insurance coverage should cater to psychological wellness.

The research results by the American Psychiatric Organization shows that 76% of Democrats and 81% of Republicans are of the opinion that health insurance should provide mental wellness protection.

The research further clarifies that over 50% of Americans would want psychological health coverage to be part and parcel of any health insurance law. This is irrespective of whether the insurance coverage is purchased on an individual level, or it is part of a federal statutory program like Medicaid and Medicare, or any other bought through a Health Care Exchange.

55% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans perceive that all forms of government provided insurance health coverage must take into account the issue of mental wellness. The findings noted that Boomers are more likely to support this line of thought than Millennials.

Further data indicates that 50% of the respondents were of the opinion that mental health insurance coverage is of extreme importance.

But with that stated, more than 25% of respondents indicated  they did not know the status of their own psychological health insurance coverage!

Once again, this number cut across all demographic groups of age, race, ethnicity, party affiliation and income brackets. However, over 50% of adult respondents indicated that they would know how to access mental health if they required it. It was noted that  50% of women surveyed versus 37% of men had high confidence that they knew how to access mental health care should the need arise.

The research caught the attention of APA Head Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., PhD. She contends that the poll offered crucial insight into the American understanding of the relevance of mental wellness. In her opinion, the poll results showed a strong bi-partisan support for psychological health insurance coverage. However, she voiced her concern about the unusually large percentage of people who indicated their lack of knowledge on the status of their mental wellness protection, and those who showed a lack of knowledge on the best ways to access mental health care benefits.

4 in every five American adults acknowledge the link between mental wellness and  total health. (The majority are clearly  concerned about their families’ general health.) However most individuals indicate a lack of trust in Washington policy makers to understand the importance of psychological health as a top priority. Indeed, 69% of the respondents were of the opinion that the policy makers did not prioritize mental wellness protection.

The APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin said, ‘We have actually made progress in the broadening of Psychological health protection.’ He added that the proposed American Health Care Act would eliminate insurance coverage from a large number in the general population, in addition to curtailing the Medicaid expansion that was established by the Affordable Care Act.

The research was conducted online by ORC International CARAVAN Omnibus Survey on behalf of the American Psychiatric Association. It was conducted countrywide with a survey pool drawn from 1,019 adults, between April 20th and April 23rd 2017. It has a +/-3.1% margin of error.

While there are differences of opinion on the best way to handle health care in the U.S., it is clear that mental wellness protection is important.

If you have questions about the current law (The Affordable Care Act) and the proposed changes offered by the American Health Care Act, please reach out to your health insurance specialist.

And for other questions about insurance topics that can impact your pocketbook, please explore our past articles. Please know that we’re committed to helping you get the most out of your insurance protection. And if you have any insurance related questions, please be sure to reach us.

Life Insurance is Difficult to Talk About… But a Divorce Makes a Conversation Necessary…

Divorces are painful. They can cause emotional harm to all participants. For example, imagine what might happen if a current spouse and an ex-spouse file competing claims for life insurance on a decedent.

Divorce related life insurance conflicts often end up in the courts. Such proceedings can be an emotionally charged experience for all involved.

Is that what you would want for your estate? Let’s say you have a policy worth $1,000,000. How much of that could be lost in legal fees as competing parties fight each other over who should receive the death benefit?

It may be surprising, but life insurance is often overlooked in divorce proceedings. This sort of oversight sets up the potential for future conflicts.

It forces the courts to made decisions on behalf of the decedent… something that no life insurance policy owner wants.

But avoiding this issue is relatively easy. Be sure your life insurance is discussed during your divorce and be sure it is properly updated.

As difficult as it may be, talking with your Insurance professional about your divorce is important. They’ll be really understanding. They’ll ask you the necessary questions to help you decide how best to handle whatever changes you need to make to your policy. They’ll offer you great advice that you can count on to be sure your estate is protected and that your wishes are followed if something should happen to you.

Suddenly Becoming a Caregiver is a Shock

…They cared for you when you were young… but now your parents need your help.

…Your husband managed the bills… but now he’s suffered a stroke and needs your help.

…Your partner was the primary income earner… but now she’s become incapacitated.

You’re now responsible to manage medical visits, deal with creditors, handle insurance issues. You’ve been thrust into a nightmare scenario… are you prepared?

Do you know how money moves in and out of bank accounts each month? Can a doctor lawfully talk with you? Is there a will? Medical power of attorney? What kind of health insurance is available?

If you could find yourself in the role of caregiver, it’s a good practice to talk through potential issues and concerns with your financial adviser. Naturally you’ll need to include those who you could be called upon to care for as well.

These are difficult conversations… but necessary.

  1. Establish an Understanding

It’s important to have conversations with loved ones about what they want should they find themselves incapacitated. What are their desires with regard to finances, healthcare, and long-term treatment. What about in terminal situations?

Having these conversations when people are in full control of their mental faculties is critical…

  1. Simplify

Be prepared to automate as much as possible. Establish systems to take care of regular bills so you can have confidence they are properly paid. Make sure medical appointments (if necessary) are as consistent as possible so they become part of a regular routine. Look for any area where you see complexity and see if there’s a better way…

  1. Track and Document Everything.

Be sure to have duplicates of all important documents… from wills to Medicare and Social Security cards. Watch medicine consumption and pay attention to refills and prescription expiration dates. Find a way to keep track of passwords… LastPass.com is an interesting tool for this purpose.  For keeping copies of documents, scanning and storing them on Google Drive or Dropbox can be helpful. And in a situation like this, it is critical to track expenses.

  1. Pay Attention to Insurance.

Make sure you have the insurance you need well before it is needed. Your financial adviser can help you understand costs, benefits, and what you should expect in long-term situations. Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance… all play a role when you are a caregiver.

  1. Seek Legal Council.

A financial adviser is well equipped to talk with you about finances. But as a caregiver there are legal issues that arise and for these you need the help of an attorney. Achieving clarity about wills, power of attorney documents, and the like can help reduce potential disputes with other family members in the future.

  1. Keep a Medical Log.

Take the time to journal notes. Keep details from medical visits, document health insurance concerns, track doctor’s orders, and keep observations about the medical condition of the individual you are caring for. This ensures that you are not improperly charged for medical care and will help you see objectively if you need additional medical intervention in a long-term care situation.

  1. Don’t Go it Alone.

Get help from friends & family members alike. Become involved in a support group. Understand that the role of Caregiver can be daunting and that it is important to not become isolated in the process.  And remember, we’re here to help you as well.

What’s your long term care strategy?

Living longer is a trend. We’re eating healthier, exercising more, and benefitting from huge improvements in health care. Most will likely live into their 90’s and financial planners are being trained to help clients think about living past 100.

Most folks fail to think that far ahead. Yet studies show that individuals living past 70 will need additional care including home based nursing, assisted living facilities, and possibly nursing homes. In today’s dollars, such expenses can cost up to $7,000 a month.

If you are beginning to think it’s a good idea to start planning, you would be right.

Long-term care (also known as LTC) insurance is the preferred option for individuals that want to be ready for expenses that may come later in life. With a standard LTC policy, the insured pays annual premiums. These can range between $1,000 to $5,000 per year. This provides for financial resources that can be used to address the monthly costs of care in the future.

If one maximizes the benefits of a traditional LTC plan, they can be a great value. However, if the benefits go unused, it can be costly.

Another issue is that in the past, some insurance companies have done a bad job estimating the number of claims they would eventually need to pay. To address this problem, carriers have raised premiums by up to 15% per year. Some insurance companies have given up on offering Long Term Care insurance altogether.

One option to consider is a life insurance policy. With changes in insurance, a life insurance policy can offer you exactly what you need for long-term protection. Your policy can gather cash value, offer a death benefit, offer long-term treatment, as well as terminal health benefits. But should those needs never crop up, it can offer tax-free income once the cash value accumulates fully.

Many folks are surprised to learn how flexible life insurance has become. That’s why it is so important for individuals to talk with their financial advisor to understand their options.

From protecting income to safeguarding your loved ones, there are affordable options that can be tailored to fit your exact needs.

What’s your long term care strategy?

Living longer is a trend. We’re eating healthier, exercising more, and benefitting from huge improvements in health care. Most will likely live into their 90’s and financial planners are being trained to help clients think about living past 100.

Most folks fail to think that far ahead. Yet studies show that individuals living past 70 will need additional care including home based nursing, assisted living facilities, and possibly nursing homes. In today’s dollars, such expenses can cost up to $7,000 a month.

If you are beginning to think it’s a good idea to start planning, you would be right.

Long-term care (also known as LTC) insurance is the preferred option for individuals that want to be ready for expenses that may come later in life. With a standard LTC policy, the insured pays annual premiums. These can range between $1,000 to $5,000 per year. This provides for financial resources that can be used to address the monthly costs of care in the future.

If one maximizes the benefits of a traditional LTC plan, they can be a great value. However, if the benefits go unused, it can be costly.

Another issue is that in the past, some insurance companies have done a bad job estimating the number of claims they would eventually need to pay. To address this problem, carriers have raised premiums by up to 15% per year. Some insurance companies have given up on offering Long Term Care insurance altogether.

One option to consider is a life insurance policy. With changes in insurance, a life insurance policy can offer you exactly what you need for long-term protection. Your policy can gather cash value, offer a death benefit, offer long-term treatment, as well as terminal health benefits. But should those needs never crop up, it can offer tax-free income once the cash value accumulates fully.

Many folks are surprised to learn how flexible life insurance has become. That’s why it is so important for individuals to talk with their financial advisor to understand their options.

From protecting income to safeguarding your loved ones, there are affordable options that can be tailored to fit your exact needs.

Brief Walks Are a Big Benefit to Workers That Sit All Day

Brief Walks Are a Big Benefit to Workers That Sit All Day

Scientists at the University of Utah have submitted a study to the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. In it they claim that walking 2 minutes per hour of sitting can help workers offset the known bad effects of sitting all day.

The study looked at whether short periods of simple activity (such as standing up) can help workers that sit all day. The scientists also looked at the impact of slightly more intense activity on worker health. These activities included walking and workers tidying their workspace.

There were more than 3,000 individuals involved in the study. They were monitored with technology that calculated the overall strength of their bursts of activity.

The findings are compelling. Researchers found that taking a break from sitting and being active for two minutes was hugely beneficial. This simple act was directly connected to a 33% decrease in the risk of dying.

The study found that activity was the crucial component. Standing wasn’t sufficient to move the numbers. Movement is required to receive a health benefit.

Meanwhile, at the University of Missouri, researchers looked specifically at the value of taking a quick walk and its impact on capillary.

This study was published in the journal Experimental Physiology. Its results show that sitting induced vascular problems in the lower part of the body could be completely reversed with a short 10-minute walk. The key here is the individual could walk at whatever pace felt comfortable to them. Yes, a stroll still offered measurable improvement!

The study also found that walking alone was not sufficient to help the upper body.

What we know for sure is that sitting for extended periods is terrible for one’s health. It’s been proven as a significant contributor to heart problems and diabetes. But these two studies show there may be a simple answer to this problem. Simple changes to how we work and how we take breaks can yield big health benefits. More frequent, shorter breaks that involve some moderate activity are the key. The result of this subtle but important change would be happier, healthier workers that live longer too.

And if your work environment isn’t quite so flexible, you still have options. Take 2 minutes each hour to stand at your desk and perform some form of light activity such as light calisthenics. You may feel silly but your body will thank you. Likewise, use the last break of your day for that 10-minute walk.

You may find that your overall outlook of life and health improves as you take these action steps.

Be sure to reach out to us for other tips on managing risk and creating peace of mind. We have many great ideas and options that we can custom tailor for you!