DID YOU KNOW
According to Forbes Magazine, a person with no debt and $10 in his or her pocket has more wealth than 25 percent of Americans.
Planning for a Future of Financial Stability
Obtaining the peace of mind financial stability brings starts with reviewing your current financial resources. This is important because your financial resources affect not only your ability to reach your goals, but your ability to protect those goals from potential financial crises. These are the resources you will draw on to meet various life events. Start by calculating your net worth—this isn’t as difficult as it might sound. Your net worth is simply the total value of what you own: your assets, minus what you owe (your liabilities). It’s a snapshot of your financial health.
First, add up the approximate value of all of your assets. This includes personal possessions, vehicles, homes, checking and savings accounts, and the cash value (not the death benefits) of any life insurance policies you may have. Include the current value of investments, such as stocks, real estate, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, IRAs and the current value of any pensions you have.
Now add up your liabilities: the remaining mortgage on your home, credit card debt, student and personal loans taxes due on the profits of your investments if you cashed them in and any other outstanding bills. Subtract your liabilities from your assets. Do you have more assets than liabilities? Or the other way around? If so, don’t beat yourself up. According to Forbes Magazine, a person with no debt and $10 in his or her pocket has more wealth than 25 percent of Americans.
Your aim is to create a positive net worth, and you want it to grow each year. Your net worth is part of what you will draw on to pay for financial goals and your retirement. A strong net worth also will help you through financial crises. Review your net worth annually as a good way to monitor your financial health. Websites like Mint.com help you keep track of your income, expenses and net worth on a daily basis.
Identify other financial resources. You may have other financial resources that aren’t included in your net worth but that can help you through tough times. These include the death benefits of your life insurance policies, Social Security survivor’s benefits, health care coverage, disability insurance, liability insurance, and auto and home insurance. Although you may have to pay for some of these resources, they offer financial protection in case of illness, accidents or other catastrophes.
Healthy Portion Sizes
For a general idea of the amount of food you should be consuming, use the following recommendations:
Making Time for Fitness
The Importance of Knowing Your Numbers
Source: U.S. Department of Labor (Financial Stability) www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/savingsfitness.pdf
Employees that work outside in the winter months are at risk of serious health problems, including hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and muscle injuries. What’s more, frigid temperatures can also cause additional pain for those who suffer from arthritis and rheumatism.
Common symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue, confusion, white or grayish skin, skin that feels waxy and numbness.
It’s important to note that many people do not notice they are suffering from cold-related illnesses because their tissue is numb. Therefore, it is wise for employees to check on each other periodically when working outdoors in the cold.
If employees experience any symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries, they should get indoors, alert their supervisor and call for medical attention if symptoms do not subside.
When it comes to money matters, no one likes to be surprised by the feeling that they’ve been shortchanged. That’s why it’s important that you understand how your insurance policy responds to potential personal property losses.
When insuring your personal possessions on your homeowners or renters insurance policy, you have one of two coverage options: insuring for your property’s actual cash value or the cost to replace it. Find out the difference and why we recommend replacement cost coverage.
Replacement Cost Coverage
When insuring your possessions on your homeowners or rental insurance policy, opting for replacement cost coverage provides you the best reimbursement option. Why? With replacement cost coverage, you collect the full cost to replace the item, less your deductible. Here’s an example to illustrate the benefit of replacement cost coverage:
The furniture you bought a few years ago for $650 is now worth only $100, but today costs $900 to replace. With replacement cost coverage, you would collect $900 to replace the furniture, minus your deductible. With actual cash value, you would get reimbursed $100, minus your deductible. Remember, the age and type of possession impacts the depreciated amount, which can be pennies on the dollar.
While your personal property is covered under your homeowners or renters insurance, policy limits do apply. To insure your valuable items—such as jewelry, fine art or antiques—consider scheduling these high-value items on an endorsement or policy floater.
For all endorsed items, an appraisal or sales receipt is typically required. This will help ensure that, in the event of a covered loss, the amount of insurance is enough to cover the replacement, repair or cash payment of the item.
If you haven’t documented your possessions on a home inventory list, it may be hard to replace them.
While your homeowners or rental insurance policy will cover you in the event of a burglary or fire, up to the policy’s limits, you’ll still need a thorough inventory list, including photos or video. With insurance fraud on the rise, it’s important to have a home inventory list and to keep the information up to date. Storing this information in a safe place is highly recommended.
Workplace-sponsored holiday parties present a host of liabilities for organizations each year. Factors like choice of venue and employees’ religious affiliations can create friction even before alcohol is thrown into the mix. Below are some best practices for hosting a successful holiday party.
1. Update Your Employee Handbook
Prior to the event, make sure your employee handbook is up to date regarding applicable holiday party topics, including the following:
2. Make it Optional
Generally, if a workplace function is mandatory, employees must be compensated for their time. Depending on the number of employees, enforcing and tracking attendance may be difficult. With this in mind, it can simply be easier to make the party optional.
3. Keep it Festive
There are many arguments concerning the appropriateness of observing one holiday over another. For instance, some workplaces may favor a “Christmas party” over a more inclusive celebration. However, focusing on the holiday spirit—and avoiding religious celebrations—can help avoid unwanted employee divisions or discrimination suits.
4. Control or Limit Alcohol
Many organizations offer alcohol at holiday parties, but that comes with additional risks. Consider some of the following methods to help control employee consumption:
5. Designate a Monitor
If you decide to offer alcohol, make sure there is a company-designated person to flag inappropriate behavior and ensure everyone leaves the party safely.
On Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, CVS Health, a large provider of pharmacy services, said that it had agreed to buy Aetna Inc., one of the biggest U.S. health insurers, for about $69 billion. This proposed merger, according to industry experts, has the potential to transform the U.S. health care landscape. CVS Health and Aetna both said on Sunday that they believe that together, they can make health care more affordable.
How Will the Deal Affect the Market?
Combined, CVS Health and Aetna could provide care directly to consumers at CVS pharmacies and retail clinics. CVS Health and Aetna could also be able to offer one-stop health insurance shopping to employers. However, a CVS-Aetna deal could limit consumers’ choices for obtaining health services or filling prescriptions if Aetna-insured consumers are forced to go to CVS for their care.
Deciding whether vertical mergers of this size will be advantageous for the consumer is not an easy task. A vertical merger, according to Investopedia, occurs when two companies that perform separate functions within an industry merge. There is a possibility that the merger could not only improve efficiency for both companies, but also improve bargaining power with hospitals and other suppliers. The net result could be lower prescription costs for consumers. The question is whether or not CVS-Aetna would pass these savings along to consumers. This may depend on other industry developments, such as Amazon’s rumored entry into the pharmacy market and retail’s growing entry into primary care.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of next year provided that it is approved by shareholders of both companies and federal regulators.
The combination of a drugstore company like CVS Health and an insurer like Aetna is traditionally considered to be less problematic than a merger of two companies in the same industry. However, the Justice Department sued last month to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger on the grounds that a union of the two massive companies would harm consumers and hurt competition. Despite this recent action by the Justice Department, CVS Health and Aetna have both downplayed the prospect of regulators moving to block their deal.
The fate of this deal currently remains unknown. As a result, brokers, employers and health care consumers should continue to monitor the news to keep up with the latest developments.
Holiday Safety: Decorating
The holiday season is a good time of the year to check your home’s smoke alarms to ensure they are in working order and to replace batteries as needed. Thousands of individuals are injured each year due to accidental fires during the holiday season.
While decorating helps add to the beauty of the holidays, it also brings an increased risk of fire hazards in the home. The following decorating tips will help you celebrate safely during the holiday season.
Christmas Tree Safety