Increasing Awareness to Prevent Breast Cancer: Round Up

Increasing Awareness to Prevent Breast Cancer: Round Up

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease as well as educate people on what they can do to help themselves prevent breast cancer.

So, how common is breast cancer?

Statistics show about one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

While most people are aware of breast cancer, many don’t always take the necessary steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

To help increase awareness for this disease, today we bring you a round up on blog posts to help you learn more about breast cancer.

Prevent Breast Cancer Risk: What You Need to Know

10 Essential Facts About Breast Cancer: As scary as the word cancer can be, learning about the disease can be extremely empowering. When we learn the facts, we realize it may not be so scary after all especially because there are many things we can do to help prevent breast cancer. Educate yourself about the facts here.

Prevent Breast Cancer: Six Ways To Lower Breast Cancer Risk: Breast cancer can happen to any one of us, however, we aren’t completely powerless over it. We can try to prevent breast cancer by taking better care of ourselves. Read about six ways you can lower your risk of getting breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Revised: The American Cancer Society has updated its recommendations for breast cancer screening for women at average risk of the disease. The recommendations strongly support the value of mammograms as well as provide some further direction for women at both ends of the age spectrum. Find out more about the key updates to the guidelines here.

How to Do Breast Self-Exams: Breast self-exams can help detect breast cancer. Dr. Magdalena Lombardi Plasilova, director of breast health services at Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center in New York City, recommends women should do self-exams about seven to 10 days from the beginning of their menstrual cycle, or about the same time each month if they no longer have periods. Learn how to do a breast self-exam here.

Beating Breast Cancer with Coverage, Prevention, and Precision Medicine: This post shares the story of Laura Holmes Haddad, an author, a mother, and a stage four breast cancer survivor. Laura’s success story shows us how we can make sure millions more share in this triumph. Learn more about her story here.

‘It saved my life’: Hunt for pink socks leads mom to detect breast cancer: This story is about how a pair of pink socks prompted Amy Seventko, a breast cancer survivor, to do an impromptu breast self-exam. Today she’s cancer-free, feeling well, and thankful for the pink sock incident. Read her full story here.

It’s important to educate yourself about breast cancer and understand your risk of getting this disease. Knowing what you can do as well as visiting your doctor regularly to monitor your breast health can help lower your breast cancer risk.




How the No Cost-of-Living Adjustment in 2016 Affects You

How the No Cost-of-Living Adjustment in 2016 Affects YouThe Social Security Administration recently announced that there is no cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.

This means there will be no increase in the Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2016.

This news affects millions of Americans who rely on Social Security benefits, with the vast majority being retirees and their families.

Here, we talk about what you can do to protect yourself financially in 2016.

First, let’s begin by explaining a cost-of-living adjustment.

What is a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)?

Legislation enacted in 1973 provides for cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs.

With COLAs, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits keep up with inflation.

In over 40 years, this is only the third time there has been no increase in the cost-of-living adjustment. 2010 and 2011 were other years when there was no COLA increase.

The Social Security Act specifies a formula for determining each COLA. According to the formula, COLAs are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). CPI-Ws are calculated on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A COLA effective for December of the current year is equal to the percentage increase (if any) in the average CPI-W for the third quarter of the current year over the average for the third quarter of the last year in which a COLA became effective.

If there is an increase, it must be rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent. If there is no increase, or if the rounded increase is zero, there is no COLA.

Who Does the Cost-of-Living Adjustment affect?

In all, the COLA affects payments to more than 70 million Americans.

Almost 60 million retirees, workers with disabilities, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is $1,224.

The COLA also affects benefits for about four million veterans with disabilities, 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors, and more than eight million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor. Many people who get SSI also receive Social Security.

No cost-of-living adjustment increase also means older people could face higher health care costs.

This is because most have their Medicare Part B premiums for outpatient care deducted directly from their Social Security payments, and the annual cost-of-living increase is usually enough to cover any rise in premiums.

When an increase doesn’t happen, a long-standing federal “hold harmless” law protects the majority of beneficiaries from having their Social Security payments reduced.

However, it still leaves about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who have to pay the premium increase.

What Can You do to Ensure You’re Protected Financially?

If the amount of Social Security disability benefits amount you and your family are eligible to receive in 2016 will not be enough to cover your essential living expenses you should talk to your employer about a group disability benefits plan or buy an individual disability benefits plan.

A private disability insurance benefits plan can help cover any gaps in your 2016 Social Security benefits amount, allowing you financial security to pay bills like your mortgage, car payments, and utilities.

Be sure to fully understand your disability benefits coverage. This is where an insurance agent can be a valuable resource. They can carefully explain the definition of disability in your policy, list the specific terms and conditions, and guide your decision around which private disability benefits plan is right for you.




SuperBetter is Living Gamefully: How to Build Resilience

SuperBetter is Living Gamefully: How to Build ResilienceThe Council for Disability Awareness knows at least one out of every five of us is dealing with some kind of our challenge in our lives. It might be depression, anxiety, or simply feeling stressed. We could all benefit from learning how to build resilience.

Build Resilience Simply by Playing a Game

That’s why we’re excited to feature our new partner, SuperBetter—a company that believes it can help us cope by living gamefully. Read their story, download their app, support their campaign, and find out how to build resilience, simply by playing a game.

You’re just a couple of clicks away from an army of allies as well as a new lens for looking at life. It’s about living gamefully and unleashing your heroic potential…

Hit pause

When was the last time you looked up from your to-do list long enough to congratulate yourself on something? For real-when did you really stop and take a minute to be proud of something you accomplished? I’ll give you a moment here to think about it.

To clarify, the question isn’t when did somebody else tell you how proud they are of you. It’s when did you affirm yourself. Have you paused today to say: “Yeah, I DID that?” It could be for anything from responding to a stressful email to paying your bills to waking up in the morning and making a plan for the day. We do those kinds of things all the time, but we’re not used to acknowledging our own resiliency and building our self-confidence. Instead, we often wait, hoping others will tell us our value, and we don’t get an accurate picture of ourselves.

So maybe you’ve got that to-do list and there’s more than you feel able to do. The thing is, it’s not just you who’s feeling overwhelmed or even anxious or depressed by all the things you want to get done or feel pressure to do. Naming that feeling is a great first step. Finding a space to share those concerns and embracing that you’re not alone is very brave and can be incredibly rewarding.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a community of people to share your challenges with 24/7, and a way to pause and remind yourself that you ARE doing things worth celebrating every day? And what if you could carry all that awesomeness around in your pocket?

Be The Hero of Your Own Story

You can, super hero! Here’s the great news: you are more than your to do list, and there’s an army of allies out there who can help you tackle your goals in a really fun way. The secret is living each day with a gameful mindset. In other words, we can use the same strengths that we use when playing games to achieve goals and overcome challenges in our real lives. By activating powerups, completing quests, collaborating with allies and battling bad guys,  we can build resilience, and work toward our epic wins in life. That’s what SuperBetter calls living gamefully.

The story of how SuperBetter went from an idea to an app with half a million users begins with the inspiring experience of Jane McGonigal overcoming her own traumatic brain injury and depression to not just get better, but to get SuperBetter. If you haven’t seen Jane’s TED Talk yet, here’s the link.

 

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The genius of living gamefully, in community with other super heroes, is that there’s always something you can do to build resilience – and lots of the power ups take less than a minute yet make a big difference in your day.

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If you’re ready to get SuperBetter, and download the free app that empowers you to build resilience, to do life more gamefully, and change your perspective on your accomplishments. You can connect with allies on the forums and invite your friends to connect with you!

SuperBetter’s Newest Quest

The new team at SuperBetter is working to make improvements to the app and make it accessible to more people. We’re looking for allies who are excited about the potential of SuperBetter to make a real difference in so many lives.

After you check out SuperBetter, take a look at the SuperBetter IndieGoGo campaign. You can get awesome perks for supporting a great cause!

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You’re now on your way to build resilience, simply by playing a game.




Prevent Breast Cancer: Six Ways To Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Prevent Breast Cancer: Six Ways To Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Statistics show about one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Breast cancer can happen to any one of us, however, we aren’t completely powerless over it.

We can try to prevent breast cancer by taking better care of ourselves.

Today, we share six ways to lower breast cancer risk.

Exercise

Exercise as often and as much as you can to lower your risk of breast cancer.

Having a physically active lifestyle can help prevent breast cancer.

A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, and sponsored by the American Cancer Society, found an inverse association between exercise and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

The more physically active you are on a regular basis, the lower your breast cancer risk.

Lose Weight

It’s important to maintain a healthy body weight to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Anne McTiernan, a cancer researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, says a quarter of all breast cancer cases could be prevented if women achieved and maintained a healthy weight. This is because estrogen is stored in fat tissue, and extra estrogen raises breast cancer risk.

If you are overweight you should try to lose weight to prevent breast cancer.

Cut Down Your Alcohol Intake

If you drink two or more alcoholic drinks a day your risk of breast cancer can increase significantly.

A meta-analysis of 53 studies, which included a total of 58,000 women with breast cancer,  found women who drank more than three drinks a day (45 grams of alcohol per day) had 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer as non-drinkers.

The American Cancer Society now recommends women to limit alcohol intake to one serving or less a day to help prevent breast cancer.

Know Your Breast Tissue Density

If you don’t know how dense your breast tissue is you should visit your doctor to find out or ask during your next scheduled mammogram.

Breast tissue varies greatly in how dense it is, which means that it has more fibrous and glandular tissue as well as less fat.

Having dense breast tissue raises your risk of breast cancer, therefore it’s important to know your breast tissue density.

If you fall into the 66 percent of pre-menopausal women or 25 percent of post-menopausal women who have dense breast tissue, an annual mammogram may not be enough for you to monitor your breast health.

Consume More Antioxidants

Certain foods rich in bioflavonoids have been found to help prevent breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

Try to eat more brightly colored vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes, all of which are particularly rich in antioxidants.

Quit Smoking to Prevent Breast Cancer

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking to reduce your breast cancer risk.

Generally, people associate smoking with lung cancer, however smoking increases the risk of breast cancer in women.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which analyzed new breast cancer cases over a 13-year period, found the rate of new breast cancer diagnoses to be 24 percent higher in smokers than in nonsmokers as well as 13 percent higher in former smokers.

They also determined the risk to be higher in women who start smoking at a young age.

Following the above mentioned ways to take better care of yourself as well as visiting your doctor regularly to monitor your breast health can help lower your breast cancer risk.




What To Do If Your Social Security Disability Claim Has Been Denied

What To Do If Your Social Security Disability Claim Has Been DeniedSocial Security disability benefits is one way to secure yourself financially if you’re unable to work as a result of injury or illness.

Millions of people rely on Social Security benefits, but what happens if your Social Security disability claim gets denied?

In today’s post, we explore your options if your Social Security disability claim has been denied.

Let’s begin by looking at Social Security’s definition of disability.

Social Security’s Definition of Disability

Social Security uses a strict definition of disability which excludes both short-term disabilities and partial disabilities.

Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work.

You are considered to have a disability under Social Security disability requirements if:

• You cannot do work you did before.

• You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s).

• Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

The program rules assume working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities including:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Insurance
  • Savings
  • Investments

It’s mainly because of this strict definition of disability that the Social Security Administration initially denies two-thirds of all disability claims.

So, what are your options if your Social Security disability claim is initially denied?

Doing Nothing

Once initially denied, many claimants tend to entirely give up on the process.

However, this is a mistake because if you have to file an application in the years to come, you will have to start the whole process from scratch.

Filing A Brand New Social Security Disability Claim

Many claimants also make the mistake of starting over with a brand new claim after they receive a notice of a disapproved claim.

If you file a new claim immediately after a prior claim has been disapproved, most likely it will be denied again.

This is because nothing changes in the process. A new claim is usually decided by an initial claims examiner at Disability Determination Services who will probably look at the exact same medical evidence and reach the same conclusion as the first disability examiner.

Filing a brand new Social Security disability claim also means you may potentially lose a substantial amount in disability back pay because of your new filing date.

For these reasons, the option of starting over with a brand new Social Security disability claim is also not advisable.

File An Appeal Immediately After Being Denied

You should call your local Social Security office to request an appeal of your disability medical decision if you are continuing to have significant impairments from your medical conditions which:

  • Cause you to have significant functional limitations.
  • Prevent you from working if you are an adult.
  • Prevent you from engaging in age-appropriate activities if you are a child.

You should call immediately after you receive your denial notice because there is a deadline of 60 days in which to file an appeal.

If you have a disability lawyer, he or she can file your appeal on your behalf.

However, it’s important to call your disability lawyer as soon as you receive written notice of your denial.

Generally, your lawyer should receive a copy of any notification you receive, but this is not always the case.

Therefore contacting your disability lawyer will ensure your appeal gets filed promptly.

Once your lawyer gets a copy of your notice of denial, he or she may contact you prior to submitting your appeal to see if there is new information to add to the case.

For example, if you have visited your doctor and received a new diagnosis, or if you’ve had new testing, or if your condition has worsened in some way, the lawyer must submit the new information with your appeal.

Your disability lawyer should send you a copy of the appeal paperwork for your records, as well as keep a copy for his or her own file.

This paperwork will likely be used to prepare for a hearing before an administrative law judge at some point.

Copies of submitted paperwork can be extremely important because if Social Security Administration claims to have not received your paperwork, you can verify the date your application was submitted to them.

Keep in mind the disability process may be lengthy, as there are three levels in the appeal process for a denied Social Security disability claim.

  • The first level of appeal will be a reconsideration of your disability application.
  • The second level of appeal will be a hearing before an administrative law judge.
  • The third level is an appeal to the Appeals Council to review the decision of a judge if you have been denied at a hearing. If you are appealing to the Appeals Council, you should also file a new initial claim, as there are few reversals of administrative law judge decisions at the hearing level.

Starting the appeals process as soon as your Social Security disability claim has been denied as well as hiring a disability lawyer can improve your chances of winning your case.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons




Dealing With Postpartum Depression: What You Can Do

Dealing With Postpartum Depression: What You Can DoAmerican actress, Hayden Panettiere, recently announced that she had been dealing with postpartum depression 10 months after giving birth to her first child.

Hayden Panettiere is not alone. Many women struggle with postpartum depression every day in this country.

Statistics show nine to 16 percent of postpartum women will experience postpartum depression.

Furthermore, for women who have already experienced postpartum depression in a previous pregnancy, the estimates increases to 41 percent.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is defined as a serious mental health problem characterized by a prolonged period of emotional disturbance, which occurs at a time of major life change as well as increased responsibilities in the care of a newborn infant.

PPD can have significant consequences for both the new mother and family.

Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

People dealing with PPD experience symptoms of depression such as:

  • A low or sad mood.
  • Loss of interest in fun activities.
  • Changes in eating, sleep, and energy.
  • Difficulty in thinking, concentrating, and making decisions.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt.
  • Thoughts that life is not worth living.

However, in addition to the symptoms of depression, women dealing with postpartum depression also show:

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the usual lack of sleep new moms get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed you cannot care for your baby.

The Causes of Postpartum Depression

The causes of postpartum depression are not quite clear but research suggests the following factors may contribute to the onset of PPD:

Hormonal changes: A woman experiences the greatest hormonal fluctuation levels after giving birth. Intense hormone fluctuations, such as decreased serotonin levels, occur after delivery and may play a role in the development of postpartum depression.

Situational risks: Big changes in life such as childbirth can cause a great deal of stress which can result in depression. If a major event coincides with childbirth, a mother may be even more susceptible to postpartum depression.

Life Stresses: Ongoing stressful circumstances can compound the pressures of having a new baby and may trigger postpartum depression. For example, a stressful job in addition to the new responsibilities of motherhood can cause emotional strain which could lead to postpartum depression. A mother’s personal relationship with the baby’s father or any unresolved feelings about the pregnancy might also affect a mother’s risk of getting postpartum depression.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself When Dealing With Postpartum Depression

There are several ways to take care of yourself when you are dealing with postpartum depression.

  • Get enough sleep: A full eight hours may seem almost impossible with a newborn but poor sleep makes depression worse. Don’t hesitate to ask your spouse or your family for help with the baby so you catch up on your sleep.
  • Set aside quality time for yourself: Find small ways to take a break from your mom duties to relax. For example, take a bubble bath or enjoy a nice cup of hot tea alone.
  • Eat properly: People tend to eat poorly when they are depressed. What you eat has an affect on your mood as well as the quality of your breast milk, so you should make sure to have healthy eating habits.
  • Get outside: Sunlight can lift your mood, so try to get out in the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes per day.
  • Exercise: Studies show exercise may be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression. Make exercise, even if it’s a 30 minute walk each day, a priority.
  • Lean on family and friends for support: When you’re feeling depressed or anxious, it’s important to stay connected with family and friends even if you feel like you’d rather be alone. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself, but instead let your loved ones know what you need so they can help you.
  • Join a support group: Even if you have supportive friends and family, you may want to consider seeking out other people who are dealing with postpartum depression. It can be reassuring to hear you are not alone and others share the same worries, insecurities, and feelings. You can find a list of support groups for people dealing with postpartum depression here.

Professional Treatment For People Dealing With Postpartum Depression

If you’ve tried all of the above ways to help yourself but are still struggling with postpartum depression, you should consider seeking professional treatment.

People dealing with postpartum depression can avail the following types of professional treatment:

Individual therapy: A good psychiatrist or therapist can help you successfully deal with the adjustments of motherhood. If you are experiencing martial difficulties or are feeling unsupported at home, marriage counseling can also be extremely beneficial.

Hormone therapy: Estrogen replacement therapy can help with postpartum depression. Estrogen is often used in combination with an antidepressant. However, there are risks associated with hormone therapy, so make sure to talk to your doctor first about what is best for you.

Antidepressants: For people dealing with severe symptoms of postpartum depression, where you’re unable to care for yourself or your baby, antidepressants may be an option. Any medication should be prescribed as well as monitored closely by a physician.

If you’re dealing with postpartum depression, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and you have many options to get help. Following the above mentioned ways to take care of yourself as well as getting professional treatment if you need it, can help you successfully deal with your symptoms of postpartum depression.




Valuable Resources For Potential Entrepreneurs With Disabilities

Valuable Resources For Potential Entrepreneurs With DisabilitiesThere are many small business owners in this country including entrepreneurs with disabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Census, people with disabilities are almost twice as likely as people without disabilities to start a business.

Fourteen percent of working persons with disabilities are self-employed, while only eight percent of working persons without disabilities are self-employed.

Is Entrepreneurship The Right Choice For You?

Owning a small business can provide entrepreneurs with disabilities a level of flexibility which often doesn’t exist in large organization cultures.

Running your own business means you can work from home or cater the work day schedule around your specific needs.

Self-employment also provides control and empowerment for you to succeed on their own terms while accommodating their unique needs.

In traditional workplaces people with disabilities may be more restricted based on company rules or accommodations available.

However, starting your own business can be a significant undertaking for anyone.

Below, we list some valuable small business resources to help you get started.

Starting A Small Business

Business.gov provides online access to many resources which can help potential entrepreneurs start, grow, and manage a small business.

For example, this source offers an online seminar called Self-Employment for Potential Entrepreneurs with Disabilities.

This seminar explains several important factors involved in starting a small business including:

  • Business feasibility.
  • Financial resourcing.
  • Business plan development.
  • Identification and access to community small business resources for people with disabilities.

On the Business.gov website, you can also find information on other agencies such as Start-Up USA and the Social Security’s Administration’s Ticket To Work Program.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is another valuable resource which provides:

  • Individualized technical assistance.
  • Consulting services.
  • Mentoring services.

Small Business Loans 

Federal and state government agencies do not provide grants to entrepreneurs with disabilities for starting a business.

However, there are several low-interest loan programs which aim to help people with disabilities receive startup financing. You can find a list of these programs here.

You can also use the Loans and Grants Search Tool to see if you would qualify for any grants, loans, or venture capital programs.

Other Resources for Entrepreneurs With Disabilities

Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses: These resources help veterans start their own businesses as well as locate government contracting opportunities.

U.S. Business Leadership Network: This network is the only national disability organization led by business for business. It promotes best practices in hiring, retaining, and marketing to persons with disabilities.

Chamber of Commerce for Individuals with Disabilities: This national consumer volunteer organization uses business principles to improve the economic status of persons with disabilities.

Disabled Businesspersons Association: This association exists to help potential entrepreneurs succeed in the business world.

Becoming a small business owner can be exciting and challenging at the same time. Using the resources mentioned above can help you get started as you embark on your new journey as an entrepreneur.




Types of Insurance Coverage Everyone Needs

Types of Insurance Coverage Everyone NeedsThere are several reasons why we all need insurance coverage.

Most people work hard to build a solid financial future for themselves and their loved ones, so we want to make sure we are protected financially.

When the unexpected like an accident or injury happens, expenses can add up very fast.

Paying for all these costs out of pocket can quickly dwindle your life’s savings.

The right insurance coverage can protect your life, your ability to earn income, and keep a roof over your head.

Here, we explain why you may need the following types of insurance coverage.

Life Insurance Coverage

Having a life insurance policy can help protect your family when they may need it most.

If your loved ones will suffer financially when you die, chances are you need a life insurance policy to help support your family after your death.

There are several types of life insurance coverage including:

  • Term life
  • Universal life
  • Variable life
  • Whole life

Read more about the pros and cons of each type of insurance coverage here to determine which policy is best for you.

Disability Insurance Coverage

If you depend on your income to pay the bills or support your loved ones, you need disability insurance coverage to protect you financially.

A disability insurance policy covers a certain percentage of your income during the time you’re unable to work.

Many working Americans underestimate their risk of disability which can leave them financially unprepared.

Statistics show 64 percent of wage earners believe they have a two percent or less chance of getting a disability for three months or more during their working career.

However, the truth is just over one in four of today’s 20 year-olds will come to have a disability before they retire.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure you, and your income, are protected.

Here are some guidelines to help you get the right disability insurance coverage.

Health Insurance Coverage

Having health insurance coverage is important because medical bills can become a huge financial burden if you or your loved ones become ill.

A serious illness or health problem can bankrupt even high earners.

Health care costs are a huge problem in America. Unpaid medical bills are among the leading causes of bankruptcies in America.

Choosing the right health insurance coverage can ensure you and your family will be financially protected.

Ask yourself these questions when choosing a health insurance plan suitable for you.

A Homeowners Policy

If you own a home, you should have insurance coverage under a homeowners policy.

Your house is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your investment is protected through a homeowners policy.

A homeowners policy protects your home against damages to the house itself, or to the possessions in the home.

Homeowners insurance can also provide liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.

Read about the four essential types of coverage in a standard homeowners policy here.

If you don’t own a home but rent one, make sure to understand the coverage provided by your landlord. Generally, your landlord is only responsible for insuring the property against damages caused by fire and other disasters.

So, it’s important to protect your personal property through renters insurance coverage.

Auto Insurance Coverage

If you own a car, you must have auto insurance coverage.

In most states, you are required by law to carry some level of auto insurance coverage.

Even if you live in a state which doesn’t mandate auto insurance, this type of insurance coverage is crucial. It can give you peace of mind because it will protect you financially if you get in a car accident.

Even simple dents and scratches on the vehicle can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you need to add medical expenses for any injured passengers, you could face a bill worth tens of thousands of dollars.

These costs can be significant and it can all add up pretty fast.

If you caused the accident, without any auto insurance coverage, you would be solely responsible for all the damages.

To protect yourself against these expenses, you must own auto insurance coverage.

Getting The Best Insurance Coverage For You

As you can see there are many types of insurance coverages as well as many factors to consider within each type of policy.

Take the time to consider all your coverage needs, and how they fit in with your overall financial plan.

Then, work with your insurance company, ask them all your questions regarding the different types of insurance coverage, so you can make sure to get the best policies for your needs.




Three Ways To Give Away Your Retirement Wealth

Three Ways To Give Away Your Retirement WealthMany people build retirement wealth to ensure their financial security in the future.

Some people also aspire to help others with their retirement wealth.

Today, we discuss three efficient ways to pass on your retirement wealth when you reach this stage in life.

Give Your Retirement Wealth To Charity

You can give away part or all of your retirement to your choice of charity.

Your retirement wealth can help the organization make great strides in promoting the cause.

There are a few ways you can get a tax break while supporting your charity.

For example, appreciated investments are an extremely efficient way to support your charity because you receive a charitable deduction at the fair market value on the date of the contribution.

You also avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on the appreciation of the security.

Leave Your Retirement Wealth To Your Children

You may wish to leave your retirement wealth to your children.

One way to efficiently leave money to your children is cash gifts instead of appreciated assets.

If you give appreciated stocks to your children, they will subjected to capital gains just the way you would if you still owned the investment.

For example, let’s say you bought stock for $5,000 and the value of this investment appreciated to $20,000 over time. If you gift your child $20,000 in appreciated stock, you have now transferred the taxation to the gift recipient.

If your child sells the investment holding for cash, he or she will have to pay capital gains taxes.

Therefore, it is much more beneficial to leave your retirement wealth to your children in the form of cash gifts.

However, make sure to note the annual gift exclusion.

The annual gift exclusion amount is $14,000 in 2015.

As long as your individual cash gifts to any one beneficiary does not exceed this annual exclusion amount, you don’t have to complete an annual gift tax return.

If you exceed the annual exclusion amount, you’ll be required to report it to the IRS. The amount will also count against your lifetime federal estate tax exemption.

Pass Retirement Wealth To Your Grandchildren

You may wish to give your grandchildren a head start in life by leaving them some of your retirement wealth.

For instance, you can save for their college tuition by contributing to a 529 plan.

The 529 plan, a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs, grows tax-free as long as the money is used for qualified education expenses.

Many states also offer tax incentives and deductions.

You can research your options and the specifics of each state’s offerings at savingforcollege.com.

Morningstar also publishes an annual review of the different plans using a gold, silver, bronze, neutral, and negative ratings system.

It’s important to remember the largest asset plan doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best one.

The best 529 plans usually have:

  • Low cost providers
  • Good tax incentives
  • Robust investment options

You could also open a custodial account for your grandchildren.

A custodial account allows an adult to open an account for a minor who is under age 18 or 21 (depending on the state).

These accounts can help fund many events and milestones in your grandchildren’s life such as summer camp, traveling for a sports competition, or a dream wedding.

However, control of custodial accounts eventually pass to your grandchildren. Make sure to communicate how you want the funds to be used as even good children and grandchildren can make immature financial decisions.

Note that custodial accounts can have a negative impact on financial aid for education.

You can also make direct gifts to your grandchildren.

There are no gift limits for payments made directly to medical and education providers.

For example, if your grandchildren go to a private school, you can pay their tuition directly to the school without worrying about the tuition exceeding the $14,000 annual limit.

The same rules apply for medical procedures or treatments.

Distributing your retirement wealth is a personal decision, however, it’s important to make sure you give away your money in the most efficient manner.

Having a well thought out plan will ensure your retirement wealth is appreciated to the fullest by your loved ones.




Auto Insurance Coverage: Why You Need it

Auto Insurance Coverage: Why You Need itIf you own a car, having auto insurance coverage is essential.

In most states, you are required by law to carry some level of auto insurance coverage.

Even if you live in a state which doesn’t mandate auto insurance, this type of coverage is crucial.

Why is Auto Insurance Coverage so Important?

Auto insurance coverage can give you peace of mind because it will protect you financially if you get in a car accident.

If you got in a car accident there could potentially be:

  • Repair or replacement costs for your vehicle
  • Repair or replacement costs to other property
  • Medical costs of any injured passengers

Even simple dents and scratches on the vehicle can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you need to add medical expenses for any injured passengers, you could face a bill worth tens of thousands of dollars.

These costs can be significant and it can all add up pretty fast.

If you caused the accident, without any auto insurance coverage, you would be solely responsible for all the damages.

Therefore, to protect yourself against these expenses, you must own auto insurance coverage.

Three Main Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

In today’s post, we describe the three main types of auto insurance coverage.

Liability Insurance

If you cause an accident while you’re driving, you will be protected under liability insurance.

Liability insurance will cover the cost of repairing any property damaged by the accident as well as the medical bills from resulting injuries.

Your insurance company will cover the expenses, up to a maximum limit listed in your policy.

Most states require you to have a minimum amount of liability coverage. However, if you can afford the premiums, it’s a good idea to buy coverage above the minimum liability insurance requirement.

Having the right amount of coverage protects you against the risk of having to pay a large amount of money because your policy limit has been exceeded.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your vehicle if you get into an accident covered by this type of policy.

For example, if you crash into a pole, or hit another car, collision coverage will pay to fix your vehicle.

If your car is older and not worth much anymore, you may not want to purchase collision coverage.

However, if you own a relatively new or expensive car, it makes sense to buy collision coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage

This type of auto insurance covers damages to your vehicle not related to an accident.

These damages can include:

  • Fire
  • Theft of the whole car or parts of the car like stereo or rims
  • Acts of God such as hurricanes or earthquakes
  • Vandalism of your vehicle
  • Hitting a deer with your car

Comprehensive coverage is optional and the premiums can be costly.

Therefore, if your car is easily replaceable you may not need to purchase comprehensive coverage.

These types of auto insurance coverage differ based on what they cover and how they protect you. The types of coverage you opt for can influence your premiums as well. Therefore it’s important to shop around and talk to insurance agents to find the best auto insurance coverage suitable for your needs.