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Tips for Back-to-School Savings

 

Back-to-school pictures are flooding Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds as parents and students across the country are starting the new school year. And with a potential of more than $68 billion in sales, the back-to-school season is second only to the winter holiday season in terms of revenue and impact. Last year, the average family spent about $700 on back-to-school expenses.

 

Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your back-to-school shopping budget.

 

Plan ahead. You know how it is when you go to the grocery store without a specific list? You end up spending more money than you should while getting less of what you actually need. Make an inventory of the things your child has and what items are required. You’ll also want to set a budget for the upcoming year so that you don’t overspend.

 

Research and compare. Online sites allow you to shop and compare deals easily from home. Most major online retailers have a wide inventory and special promotions for back-to-school purchases. By doing the legwork before you buy, you’ll know you’re getting more for your money.

 

Buy early or buy late. If you’re buying your supplies early, you can beat the rush and grab hard-to-find supplies before they’re gone or demand hikes up prices. If you can wait out the crowd on more available supplies, you can often find clearance deals as stores try to unload inventory at the last minute.

 

Buy in bulk whenever possible. Some items are more common than others, and the more you can buy at a time, the less you'll spend. If you have a couple of teenagers at home, you know they’re both going to need pencils, pens, paper, and notebooks for each class. Or team up with your neighbors to share the costs of general supplies. If you’re buying in bulk online, you may get shipping discounts for orders over a certain amount as well.

 

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Make Safety A Priority This Fourth of July

 

As the wafting aroma of grilled burgers and lit bottle rockets starts hitting our neighborhoods, we know the Fourth of July is soon to follow. If you’re like many Americans, you’ll be celebrating our nation’s independence by enjoying a nice mix of food, family, and fireworks. While the many amusements of the holiday can be alluring, poor practices in safety can spoil your good time fast. Be sure to take a minute to brush up on your summer safety before you celebrate this year.
 
Don’t get burned
One of people’s favorite Fourth of July pastimes is lighting fireworks. But as might be expected with consumer-grade explosive pyrotechnics, the risk of injury is high. If fireworks are legal in your community and you plan to hold your own display, here are a few precautions you’ll want to take:
 
     • Follow the directions. Carefully read and follow the instructions on your fireworks’
       packaging. It’s best to leave the igniting to the professionals, but if you want to
       be more than a spectator, be sure you’re handling them the proper way.
 
     • Keep an extinguisher nearby. Whether an actual fire extinguisher, water, or sand,
       be sure you have a quick way to put out any unintended fires.
 
     • Roman candle wars may sound like fun, but throwing or pointing fireworks at
       other people is just plain dangerous.
 
     • Let go of the duds. Some fireworks simply don’t work. If you’ve lit one once, and it
       didn’t give you a good show, don’t try to light it again.
 
Stay cool
Fireworks aren’t the only way to get burned this season. Nature’s most powerful heat source has caused plenty of people to regret their time outdoors. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself against the sun.
 
     • Wear sunscreen and reapply it often. Over exposure to ultraviolet rays may lead
        to skin cancer and premature aging—although the pain you feel the day after
        you’ve had too much sun on the skin should be reason enough to keep you
        lathered up.
 
     • Drink plenty of water. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be a danger in
       summer heat as well. Remember that alcoholic beverages will not give you the
       hydration you need, and will in fact do the opposite.
 
Consume wisely
Who doesn’t love a good cookout? But with food and drink consumption can come some important safety risks. Here are a few common ones you can avoid.
 
     • Do your part to prevent food-borne illness. Don’t leave your food outside all day,
        and keep your food cold as necessary.
 
     • Drink responsibly. There are many Fourth of July activities that can be very
       dangerous when mixed with alcohol consumption. Among them include: lighting
       fireworks, driving, swimming, and boating. If you plan to have alcohol as a part of
       your celebration this year use good judgment—particularly when it comes to
       these activities.
 
Enjoy your Independence Day without the unnecessary stress of accident or incident by making safety a priority in your celebration plans this year.
 
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Don't let the summer pass you by

 

 

It’s difficult not to look forward to summer. The days are longer, the sun is warmer and the sound of children laughing can be heard throughout the neighborhood. Summer tends to put a little extra bounce in everyone’s step. While the perks of the season give us all an incentive to be outdoors, the pull of modern technology still tends to keep many of us inside. From playing games on our tablet to binge watching our favorite TV show online, it’s easy to find an excuse to resist the lure of the outside world. If you want to be sure this season doesn’t pass you by, here are a few diversions to give you a reason to get out of the house this summer. 

 

Improving your home

Maybe it’s painting the shed, cleaning the garage or fixing the broken post in your privacy fence—if you’re a homeowner, you no doubt are harboring a list of projects you’d like to eventually complete. Don’t let another year go by without making a dent in that list. Take some time this summer to accomplish some of things around the house that winter weather will not permit.

 

Swimming

Is there anything better than the feeling of cool waves hitting you in the hot summer sun? The opening day of the local pool isn’t just exciting for the kids—adults can also appreciate the enjoyment swimming has to offer. Whether you’re looking for big water park entertainment or just want a day catch some rays and get some exercise, swimming can be a refreshing and healthy reprieve for the entire family. If you’re like many around the country where the weather isn’t conducive all year round for this activity, you’ll want to take full advantage of the opportunity before cold weather rears its ugly head. 

 

Bike riding

Some people use their bicycle as an alternative mode of transportation, others use it for fitness and some use it as a way to enjoy nature. No matter how you like to ride, a bike can be a rewarding and invigorating enhancement to your lifestyle this season.

 

Gardening

Cultivating a garden can be a satisfying activity to occupy your summer days and an affordable way to help put healthy food on your table. It may also lead to other fun and useful hobbies like canning. If beautifying your home sounds more in line with your “green thumb,” try planting a flower garden.

 

There are many productive, fun and healthy ways to enjoy the outdoors this summer. Whichever activities best fit your lifestyle, be sure you don’t miss out on the recreation opportunities the season has to offer.

 

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This Father's Day give the gift of healthy living

 

 

 

Fathers are important to us in many ways and teach us the answers to many of life’s difficult questions. As you prepare to celebrate your dad on June 21, you might be left with one puzzling question about what to get him for Father’s Day. While people tend to look for gifts that provide more leisure time for their dads, the gift of healthy living can be a thoughtful and fun alternative way to show your father you care.

 

Here are five Father’s Day gift ideas that will help promote healthy living for your dad this year.

 

1.  Club membership: If your dad likes to hunt, golf or generally exercise there are various membership-based activities available to permit him to enjoy in his favorite hobby or maybe allow him to take up a new one. Memberships to a gun range, county club or a fitness center are good examples of fun ways to help him stay active.

 

2.  Fitness band: A fitness tracking device can be a good way to encourage your dad to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fitness bands come in many varieties and can be found at various price points. The right choice for your dad will depend on your budget, how comfortable your father is with technology and which features you choose.   

 

3.  Yard games: Entertainment for the whole family, yard games can be a lighthearted and fun way to promote exercise.

 

4.   A Dog: Just when you’ve forgotten about your daily exercise routine, the wagging tail of your dog as he sits at the door will serve as a consistent reminder to get your steps in for the day. Dogs provide companionship to many and can also be a great exercise motivator for their owners. This shouldn’t be a surprise gift or purchased on a whim though. Before you make a trip to the pet store, be sure your dad doesn’t have any pertinent allergies and is prepared to be a pet owner.

 

5.  Power tools: An oldie but a goodie, power tools make for great Father’s Day gifts, and they promote healthier living by encouraging your dad to continue taking on those home improvement projects.

 

Regardless of how old your father is or the types of activities he enjoys, promoting healthy hobbies and encouraging an active lifestyle is a great way to show your appreciation for your dad this Father’s Day.

 

NAM-3245 6/15

 

Get your healthy lifestyle off the starting line

 

 

All across the country people are celebrating June as Men’s Health Month by getting health screenings, exercising more or by generally evaluating their individual health habits. Healthy life practices can lead to benefits such as decreased risk of certain diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, improved muscle and bone health and increased quality of life and longevity.  However, if you’re like many people, you may appreciate the prospect of living healthier but just aren’t sure you have what it takes to commit the lifestyle. Thankfully, there are many different habits you can adopt to help kick-start a healthier life.

 

Walk before you run. We have all heard that exercising more will generally benefit our overall health. If implementing a daily exercise routine seems like a daunting and time-consuming task for you, start with small steps like taking a walk each day or using the stairs instead of the elevator.

 

Find activities you enjoy. An exercise routine can be difficult to maintain if you don’t enjoy it. From playing with your kids in the lawn to taking up golf, there are many creative ways you can stay active and have fun in the process.

 

Pass on convenience. We live in an age where technology can make many household chores easier or even non-existent. If some of those modern-day conveniences are keeping you from being active, think about giving them up. Examples might include using a shovel instead of a snow blower in the winter, mowing your yard rather than hiring it done or even riding a bicycle to work in place of your car.

 

Eat a healthy breakfast. Train yourself to start the day off right by getting the nutrients and energy you need. There’s a reason people call it “the most important meal of the day.”

 

Schedule regular screenings with your doctor. Just like any fine-tuned machine, your body needs regular check-ups to ensure it’s in proper working order. Be sure you take time to schedule a health screening with your family physician.

 

Depending on the individual state of your physical condition, a large-scale change in your lifestyle may be required to get you on a healthy track. However, for the right people, gradual steps can be a manageable and effective way to help adopt a lifestyle that will reduce the risk of disease and keep them active for years to come.  For men’s health resources and to learn more, visit: http://www.menshealthresourcecenter.com/.

 

 

NAM-3243 5/15

 

Help Your Small Business to "Go Social"

 

 

Isn’t Facebook popular with teenagers?

Don’t people use LinkedIn for job networking?

Isn’t Twitter used to follow celebrities?  

 

The answer to these questions is “yes,” but given that nearly half of American adults use social media, it’s worthwhile to consider using social media for your small business.

 

Besides the potential to reach large audiences, social media doesn’t involve additional expense. Social media does require a time commitment though, so it’s important that it’s used wisely.

 

Here are some tips for promoting your small business via social media:

 

1.  Develop a Marketing Plan – Regardless of the media used to promote your business, a marketing plan is essential. It’s important to identify what you want to achieve – enhancing your brand, driving traffic to your website, promoting a special offer or product, etc. It’s also important to know your target market – gender, age, etc. As part of your plan, also make sure to establish goals so that you’ll know when you’ve been successful.

 

2.  Determine Your Platform(s) – Choose the right social media platform(s) for your audience and goals. For example, if your target audience is over 65, Instagram probably isn’t the best platform since it’s used by only 6% of that demographic. The Pew Research Center’s website has some valuable statistics to help you decide. While it may be tempting to have a presence on a large number of sites, your energy will be better spent focusing only on carefully selected venues.

 

3.  Prepare Your Profile – Consider your profile your first impression on customers. Be sure to complete and polished profile, and if you’re using multiple sites, keep them as consistent as possible. Your profile should be an expression of how you want you and your business to be perceived.  Any photos that you present should be clear and professional. And, don’t forget to check spelling and grammar!

 

4.   Keep It Fresh – As you prepare your social media content, consider what’s appealing to your audience. Tips and insights related to your expertise can be valuable and help reaffirm your proficiency in your field. Provide links to articles you’ve found interesting. Offer something free or at a discount. Also, establish a frequency and stick to it so that your followers know what to expect. Finally, don’t forget to engage with others – acknowledge all comments that you receive on your post and, when appropriate, comment on your follower’s posts.

 

5.  Promote Your Presence – Include social media icons whenever possible – business cards, email, printed collateral, web site. Greater awareness is likely to increase your business’ social media activity.

 

We hope your small business will be inspired to go social!

 

 

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Saluting our Service Members

 

 

 

This month offers Americans two opportunities to pay tribute to those in military service.

 

Armed Forces Day, celebrated on Saturday, May 16, honors those who are currently serving in the  military service across the various branches -- Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard and Navy. You can show your support by thanking members of the military and their family members for their sacrifices. If the service member is stateside, a phone call or card would be appreciated, while care packages are appropriate for those who are deployed.  

 

Memorial Day, celebrated on Monday, May 25, commemorates the men and women who died while in military service. While many of us are familiar with Memorial Day parades and tributes, it has also become a time for get-togethers with family and friends.  As you enjoy socializing, you may want to break from your activities to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. This commemoration at 3:00 p.m. (local time) calls for Americans to take one minute to think about Americans who died to ensure freedom around the world.

 

North American joins you in paying tribute to our fallen heroes and those who are currently serving to protect our freedoms!

 

NAM-3217 5/15

 

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

 

Although many people think Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, is Mexican Independence Day, it actually commemorates the victory of the Mexican Militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.

 

Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday in Mexico but has become increasingly popular in the U.S., making it a bigger holiday north of the border than to the south. Holiday revelers mark the occasion with parties, mariachi music and, of course, Mexican food and drink.

 

It’s easy to maintain healthy eating during your Cinco de Mayo celebration since many traditional Mexican food ingredients—beans, corn, tomatoes and peppers—are filled with important vitamins and nutrients.

 

To help your plan your healthy celebration menu, check out these healthy recipes.

 

Olé!

 

NAM-3202 5/15
 

A Salute to Small Businesses

 

Did you know:

 

  1. - There are nearly 30 million small businesses in America
  2. - Small businesses make up nearly half of our country’s private sector employment
  3. - Small businesses accounted for nearly 70% of the net new jobs between 2009 to 2011
  4.  
  • It’s exciting to honor these stellar achievements during May, which has been designated as National Small Business Month. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration is coordinating activities to educate and inspire small business owners during National Small Business Week (May 4 – 8).

 

As you or your friends are contemplating the future of your small business, we encourage you to consider the role of life insurance in your business plans. Some believe that life insurance is the most important insurance a small business can purchase to perpetuate their business.

 

Talk to your North American representative to learn more – he or she is likely a small business owner, just like you!

 

 

NAM-3206 5/15

VIDEO: How to Leave a Legacy of Love

 

We all hope to leave a lasting legacy—a positive impression of our decisions in this lifetime. And though the future often seems far off, it’s important to remember that the decisions we make each day will play a part in shaping it.

 

As part of Insure Your Love Month, LifeHappens.org created this video, which encourages viewers to think about the legacy they are shaping for their loved ones.

 

 

Some things cannot be prevented. But it is possible to keep your family safe in the event of an unexpected tragedy. And buying life insurance early may be the deciding factor in shaping a financially secure future for your loved ones.

 

Check out the video to see how a story can literally be turned around with one simple decision.

 

And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more inspirational facts, videos, and inspirational life hints throughout Insure Your Love Month!

 

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How Relationships Can Improve Your Health

 

 

Healthy relationships take a lot of work. They can be stressful at times, but research proves that the work is beneficial and that relationships are as the term suggests: healthy. Check out the following links to discover how keeping a good pace with your partner can lead to better physical and mental health!

 

1.Lower Blood Pressure – Making your heart race a bit each day can be a good exercise for keeping blood pressure down, says Jennifer Wolfe at HowStuffWorks. She cites a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in which researchers discovered that happily married participants maintained lower blood pressure levels than single participants. A similar study, she adds, discovered that close platonic relationships can have the same effect.
 

2.Fewer Mental Health Problems – Challenging and stimulating conversation with a significant other can also keep your mental health in check. According to a 2010 study by researchers at Florida State University, in which 1,621 college students were studied, “individuals in committed relationships experienced fewer mental health problems.”
 

3.Stronger Immune System – Amanda Greene at Woman’s Day cites a study by Ronald Glazer and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, in which couples were observed during disputes. Couples who reached an agreement through positive, challenging discussion, she says, showed higher immediate immune function than those who displayed negative behavior. But as the study shows, it isn’t just the relationship that contributes to good health—it’s the work and exercise of the couples themselves.

 

NAM-3144 2/15
 

Recommended Reading for African American History Month 2015

 

History is made by those who write it—in print, and in their daily lives. During African American History Month, we are encouraged to reflect upon those who, in the face of adversity, have made great contributions to the global community through their work in literature, journalism, the arts, politics, and civil rights. Check out these recommended books this year as we enter African American History Month, 2015.

 

1. King: A Critical Biography by David L. Lewis (1970) – Written only two years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, A Critical Biography presents a sympathetic and human view of the civil rights leader from the era in which he lived. The Guardian chose this title as No. 1 on its 2013 list of top books for African American History Month.

 

2. Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow (2014) – Charles M. Blow is the art director of National Geographic magazine and an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. At 24, he became head of the Times graphics department and led the paper to award-winning coverage of the attacks on Sept. 11, as well as the Iraq war. In his memoir, he presents his own struggle through the hardships of present-day racial segregation and issues such as the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

 

3. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin (1955) – The personal essays in this collection present a first-hand view of mid-20th-century America, with Baldwin’s perspective on issues from protest novels to the Harlem riots. In a 1958 review of this essay collection, poet Langston Hughes wrote, “That Baldwin's viewpoints are half American, half Afro-American, incompletely fused, is a hurdle which Baldwin himself realizes he still has to surmount. When he does, there will be a straight-from-the-shoulder writer, writing about the troubled problems of this troubled earth with an illuminating intensity that should influence for the better all who ponder on the things books say.”

 

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Insure Your Love Month

 

 

February is widely recognized as the month of love. Since the middle ages, poets have rumored it to be the time when songbirds paired off for the year ahead. And today, couples everywhere continue to show their loved ones how much they care by surprising each other with thoughtful gifts—which, of course, they never pick up at the last minute.

 

Together with the nonprofit organization Life Happens®, we celebrate February by promoting Insure Your Love Month. Throughout the month, we will share statistics and facts emphasizing the importance of showing your love by protecting those that matter most in your life.

 

For example, in a 2014 Insurance Barometer Study performed in association with LIMRA, Life Happens discovered that 1 in 5 people prioritize leisure activities like going out for dinner over buying life insurance.

 

To see more facts, real life stories, videos, and insprirational life hints during Insure Your Love Month, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And to make Valentine's Day shopping easy, meet with your financial advisor to keep your policy up-to-date. Your significant other may appreciate it a lot more than another ceramic puppy statue!

 

Life Happens, a nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families' financial futures. Life Happens® does not endorse any insurance company, product or advisor.

 

NAM-3143 2/15
 

 

Remembering What MLK Stood For

 

 

Days before the December 25 premiere of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, Selma, director Ava DuVernay spoke with NPR’s Michele Norris on the making of the film.

 

DuVernay noted that her vision was to create less of a history drama, and more of an epic that was closer to the ground—one that would bring audiences directly into both the tension between Dr. King and President Johnson, as well as the conflict in Selma, Alabama, between peaceful protesters and state police officers. The film depicts critical events in the Civil Rights Movement that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the suspension of poll taxes and subjective tests designed to prevent Black Americans from voting.

 

While promoting the film in 2014, DuVernay noted some “shocking” responses, including a young man who said, "Thank you so much. I really never knew what 'MLK' meant." DuVernay’s colleague replied, “What he meant to the country?” and the young man said, “No, what the initials ‘MLK’ stood for.”

 

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and as we celebrate Dr. King’s life, we encourage everyone to reflect on what he stood for, and to ensure that his fight is not forgotten or taken for granted.

 

 

NAM-3116 1/15

 

Staying Fit in the Winter: Cold-Weather Running Tips

 

 

Running outdoors in the winter can be exhilarating if you are well prepared. Whether you have a resolution to keep or you just need a little more scenery than the gym, make sure you are ready to take on the elements as you stay in shape.

 

1: Monitor your breathing. Dehydration is an especially high risk in cold and dry climates. Though you won’t be sweating as much as you would during a summer run, you can still lose a lot of water as the dry air carries away clouds of vapor during exhalation. Take a tip from mountaineers and Antarctic scientists and invest in a cold-weather respirator—designed to keep cold air from agitating your lungs and making off with your running fuel.

 

2: Check your tags. Look into the heat-retaining and moisture-wicking properties of different fabrics and clothing materials. Jackets with goose down fill and wool linings will certainly keep you warm, and many synthetic fabrics will also insulate well, but it’s important to know what you’re buying. Look for Gore-Tex® in running shoes and jackets. It’s ultra-waterproof but still breathable, since the pores are smaller than water molecules. For warm, dry base layers, look for Polartec® in fleece jackets and pants.

 

3. Warm up. Before you venture out, be sure to get yourself moving. Yishane Lee at Runner’s World suggests running up and down stairs, jumping rope, doing a few yoga poses, and even house cleaning before you head out. She also suggests changing immediately after workouts to avoid chills.

 

NAM-3115 1/15

 

 

Putting the “Life” Back in Life Insurance

The main reason people buy life insurance is to protect their loved ones in case of an unexpected death. But, did you know that certain types of life insurance come with something called “living benefits”? This means that while you’re still alive, you may have the ability to access the policy death benefit (the funds from your policy designated for your beneficiaries).

 

For example, in the case of certain qualifying illnesses, if eligible, you could access a portion of the policy’s death benefit, which can be used to help cover the cost of medical expenses, pay off your mortgage while you’re ill,  take a family trip around the world or whatever you decide. You should speak with your accountant or tax advisor to understand the impact of using a life insurance death benefit in this way.  

 

Of course, if you access funds that were intended as death benefit proceeds for your beneficiaries, this amount will generally reduce the ultimate payout they were originally supposed to receive.  It is important to note that if you elect to receive “living benefits” the benefit you actually receive is generally less than what would have been paid to your beneficiaries.

 

But sometimes life hits us in unexpected ways, and illnesses can be devastating to your financial health, too.

 

Talk to your life insurance representative about living benefits, and educate yourself on the options available through your policy.

 

NAM-3106  1/15
 

 

Turn New Year’s Resolutions Into All-Year Resolutions

 

You’re strong. Determined. Committed. You’ve set a goal, and you are sticking to it. As you move forward with your New Year’s resolutions this year, use the following tips to keep yourself going:

 

Be true to you. Dana Dratch at Bankrate.com recommends working toward a goal you actually want, rather than one you “should” want. Narrow your focus to something you know you can accomplish, and be sure to keep the ball rolling once you hit the goal. An object in motion will stay in motion. Be that object.

 

Start small. Remember, your resolution is your goal for the next 12 months/52 weeks/365 days. Don’t get discouraged if you do not see results immediately. Create a calendar with weekly goals to put your path into perspective. Unhealthy behaviors take time to develop. Healthy behaviors take just as long.

 

Take breaks. Even the most die-hard fitness fanatics set aside time for recovery. Make sure to plan your time off, and make an event out of it. If your goal is to visit the gym after work five days a week, make it four. Your workout will be far more enjoyable with a celebratory movie night to look forward to each week.

 

Cross the line. Next year is a long time from now, but you should keep the finish line in your mind. Picture this year as a long marathon with a flashy ribbon at the end. Even if you slow down with your weekly goals, remember that you will get there if you keep moving forward.

 

NAM-3114 1/15

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month – Do Your Part to Keep the Roads Safe!

 

For many, the holiday season allows friends and family members to reconnect over gifts, stories and hearty meals. But as we get together, especially with long travel times and icy road conditions in the equation at this time of year, we all must do our part to keep our loved ones safe on the road.

 

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping our roads safe,” President Obama noted in his 2013 National Impaired Driving Prevention Month proclamation.

 

The president reminded Americans to drink responsibly by designating a non-drinking driver, planning alternative transportation or making arrangements to stay with family and friends after parties.

 

While many often exercise good judgment, others could benefit from a loved one’s voice of reason and concern. Drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs, or distracted by cell phones, the president noted, are involved in nearly one-third of all deaths from motor crashes in the United States, taking approximately 30 lives each day.

 

As you enjoy the holidays with your relatives and ring in the New Year with your closest friends, remind them how much you care by speaking up when you need to. If you are hosting a party, offer a guest room or spare sofa to your guests if they take in too much holiday cheer. If you are traveling, designate a navigator to check directions and field phone calls for the driver. And don’t hesitate to call a taxi or rideshare service if you are celebrating away from your own home. Remember: cab fare is only a small expense compared to how much is at risk with impaired driving.

 

NAM-3091 12/14

5 Healthy Winter Recipes: Your Cold-Weather Guide to Eating Right

 

 

Year-round, one of the healthiest and least-expensive ways to cook is to shop for fresh, in-season produce. It adds a bit of variety to your shopping list, as well as to your dinner routine. Consider the following winter foods and recipes to stay healthy and save this year!

 

1. Winter Squash – Squash is one of the most versatile fruits, with an astounding number of varieties—each of which are often used for a specific purpose such as baking, stewing, sautéing, simmering or stuffing. For an extra dose of vitamins A and C this winter, consider roasted butternut squash soup or acorn squash stuffed with black beans and corn.

 

2. Mushrooms – It’s a good thing mushrooms prefer to grow in cold, dark conditions. Mushrooms are cholesterol-free and high in protein, iron, potassium, vitamin C and zinc. Try a sautéed mushroom bruschetta for a quick treat, or chicken stew with turnips and mushrooms to warm up on colder days.

 

3. Beets – Beets endure frost and near-freezing temperatures to deliver high amounts of fiber, iron, potassium and vitamin C to shoppers in the winter. Pack your lunch with beet and brown rice mini-burgers, or consider making pickled beets or beet wine as a fun winter project.

 

 4. Brussels Sprouts – These guys have a bad reputation, thanks to finicky sitcom actors. But Brussels sprouts are actually high in fiber, potassium and iron, with more than 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, according to Cooking Light. Try them roasted with Romano cheese or add a bit of sweetness with dried cherries and cranberries.

 

5. Apples – Apples are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. While commonly used in pies and pastries, their sweetness can also compliment savory dishes. Try a stuffed chicken breast with apple and thyme sauce, or just keep a few on hand for emergency snack cravings.

 

NAM-3087 12/14

 

 

More Ways to Save This Holiday Season

 

 

End-of-the-year expenses can get out of control if you aren’t careful. In addition to paying heating bills and buying extra layers to stay warm during the winter, the season of giving brings about plenty of reasons to budget and save. Follow these tips this year to keep your wallet well-insulated!

 

1. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you are buying gifts for your loved ones this year, be sure to set aside enough shopping time to make thoughtful decisions. Take the upcoming weekend to peruse local shops and browse online stores. Your chances of finding the perfect gift for someone will be a lot higher and a lot less expensive if you avoid last-minute impulse buys.

 

2. Scope out online deals. The Wall Street Journal has created a tracker to report the prices of the most popular gifts this season. The tracker will be updated every hour until December 31 and will report the lowest price on items such as a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Vizio 55” TV, Hot Wheels Remote-Control Flying Car and a complete set of dolls from Disney’s Frozen. FreeShippingDay.com will also feature deals on items from more than 605 participating merchants, with all gifts expected to be delivered by December 24.

 

3. Celebrate NYE on a budget. If you are going out on the town to ring in the New Year, proceed with caution. Tickets for exclusive soirees in downtown nightclubs can easily start at $100-200, and drink packages may still be an extra $650-1,500 for groups of 8 to 12. If you plan on counting down with a big crowd, be sure to research deals well in advance. If you prefer a more comfortable setting with acquaintances you’d rather not forget, consider bringing your group to a cozy neighborhood pub while the rest of the town flocks toward the pricy parties and events.

 

NAM-3088 12/14

 

 

How to Stay Healthy in the Winter – National Hand Washing Awareness Week

 

You can’t run from a runny nose, but you can take a few extra steps to keep it at bay. With National Hand Washing Awareness Week in effect, follow these five tips to stay healthy during the colder months ahead.

 

1. Exercise. If you find yourself snowbound for a few days, don’t revert into hibernation mode. Even if you can’t make it to the gym and you don’t have any home equipment, there are still plenty of ways to stay in shape. Muscle & Fitness recommends a 20-minute, total-body workout with push-ups, bodyweight squats, lunges and crunches to keep your muscles alert. You can also follow along with free cardio and yoga instruction videos online.

 

2. Be a germ exterminator. You don’t need to go as far as wearing a doctor’s mask on the subway, but you can still evade germs with a few simple tricks. Be sure to disinfect personal items such as cell phones, pens, computer keyboards, doorknobs and other items you touch frequently. They could all be perfect stow-away vehicles for those subway germs.

 

3. Keep clean. National Hand Washing Awareness Week mascot Henry the Hand recommends washing your hands whenever they are dirty and before every meal. Henry also advises against coughing or sneezing in your hands, and he strongly advises against putting your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth. Make sure your kids get to know Henry this year to keep them from sharing their classmates’ colds with you.

 

4. Clear the air. Be sure to change your furnace filter every 30 days to keep pollen, pet dander, dust and mites from circulating throughout your home. Doing so will also keep your furnace running strong for many winters to come. For easy instructions on changing your filter and finding the correct size for your unit, check out this short video.

 

5. Take a shot. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and the CDC recommends a yearly vaccine for everyone above 6 months old. As many as 151–156 million vaccines are expected to become available in the US for the 2014–15 flu season. For more information, visit your doctor, local clinic, health department, pharmacy or CDC.Gov.

 

NAM-3090 12/14

 

International Volunteer Day 2014 – More Ways to Give This Season

 

Since 1985, the United Nations has celebrated the efforts of organizations and individuals who dedicate their time and talents toward making a difference in the lives of others.

This week, on Dec. 5, International Volunteer Day will continue to highlight the contributions of volunteers while also presenting an opportunity for individuals to make contributions at local, national and international levels.

 

Celebrated in line with the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals, the event encourages individuals to do their part in fighting poverty and hunger, advancing universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, combating diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.

 

How can you make a difference?

 

Contributing to the global good can take place in your local community, overseas, or from the comfort of your home office. Make a pledge to help out on Dec. 5, and consider how your own professional abilities and resources can help others with the following suggestions:

 

·         Volunteer Online.  The United Nations Volunteers’ Online Volunteering Service offers a global platform for writers, graphic designers, web developers, translators and consultants to assist international organizations with their own individual skills and abilities. Increased web presence and digital outreach can help understaffed organizations as they attempt to secure funding to fight hunger and supply students with learning tools.

 

·         Donate. The United Nations Foundation’s Central Emergency Response Fund directly supports critical aid operations for people affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts. The UN Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, established the fund to provide fast and reliable humanitarian assistance to those in need. Donations are tax-deductable in the United States.

 

·         Volunteer locally. Websites such as VolunteerMatch.org  aim to connect volunteers with local organizations in need of assistance. Many organizations also provide training for volunteers. Consider how you may also benefit from certification in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to non-English speakers in your community, or in performing magic tricks for children at your local hospital.

 

·         Broaden your horizon. If you have an upcoming sabbatical or an extended time-off period, consider how volunteering overseas may work into your schedule. The United Nations works with experienced, educated individuals (age 25 with a university degree or technical diploma) and provides a Volunteer Living Allowance, as well as life and health insurance, to UN Volunteers. Many volunteers say working in the global community makes a big difference in their own lives, as well!

 

NAM-3092 12/14

 

World AIDS Day 2014: “Focus, Partner, Achieve”

 

In recent years, there have been major strides in fighting the AIDS epidemic. Initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have contributed more than 90% of funding for the AIDS response in countries with the highest burden and least amount of resources.

 

Between 2011 and 2013, these contributions have brought the number of lifesaving treatments from 1.7 million people to 6.7 million people. The number of AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa also fell by 32% from 2005 to 2012, and the number of new HIV infections in this region also fell by 39% from 2001 to 2012.

 

On World Aids Day 2014, we are encouraged to remember that the AIDS epidemic is not over, but that ongoing efforts will continue to make breakthroughs. In the video below, Dr. Ron Valdiserri, of the US Department of Health and Human Services, introduces the US Government theme for World AIDS Day 2014—“Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.”

 

In line with PEPFAR and the Global Fund’s efforts, Dr. Valdiserri explains that we need to focus on populations where the epidemic is most intense, and to partner as advocates and community leaders with doctors and scientists, in order to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

 

Through World AIDS Day 2014, we are asked to show solidarity with the 34 million people living with HIV in our global community by wearing a red ribbon as a universal symbol of HIV awareness.

 

In your own network, you can join the conversation and demonstrate awareness with the hashtags, #WAD2014 and #PutARibbonOnIt. World AIDS Day encourages all individuals to exercise creativity and promote awareness by tagging the ribbon on clothes, on buildings and even on food items.

 

Check out the video below, and don’t forget to #PutARibbonOnIt!

 

 

 

NAM-3089 12/14

 

 

6 Ways to Avoid Caregiver Stress

 

A caregiver is a special person. But, caregiving can be a tough and stressful job, especially when caring for a loved one. It’s important for caregivers not to forget about themselves, their own health, and maintaining healthy relationships. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month this November, here are six ways to help keep your stress in check:  

 

1.      Schedule and maintain routine doctor’s appointments. As a caregiver, you might attend frequent doctor appointments with your loved one, but they are not your appointments. Be sure to remember to schedule your own appointments. You need to be healthy, to ensure the health of your loved one.  

 

2.      Exercise. Exercise can be a great stress reliever, and it helps keep you healthy. Try walking with a friend, meditating with yoga, or joining a gym.

 

3.      Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the best interest of yourself and your family member, it’s important for someone to have your back if you need it.

 

4.      Use the resources around you. Many communities offer services that can be a big advantage for caregivers. These services might provide meals, transportation, and much more.

 

5.      Look for support. There are many caregiver support groups, online forums, and scheduled outings. This might be the ticket to feeling less stressed. Begin your research online to discover these resources.

 

6.      Maintain outside relationships. Caregiving can be time-consuming, but it’s important to maintain outside relationships. Grab coffee with a friend or go see that new movie. It might do you some good!

 

NAM-2966 7/14

Thanksgiving and American Diabetes Month: Have a Healthier Feast!

 

 

Through the month of November, we are reminded to keep healthy eating habits, not only as many of us prepare for Thanksgiving, but also as we observe American Diabetes Month—an initiative designed to promote active lifestyle choices and to inform individuals about healthy dietary options.

 

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, diabetes affects approximately 29.1 million individuals in the United States, causing blood glucose levels in the body to rise higher than normal. In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin, the hormone which converts sugars, starches and other foods into energy. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not use insulin properly. Healthy dietary choices are essential—especially for those at risk for diabetes.

 

In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle choices, the American Diabetes Association addresses several myths associated with diet and diabetes, including the ideas that being overweight will eventually cause diabetes, or that special diabetic foods are required for those diagnosed.

 

Being overweight is a risk factor, but so is family history, ethnicity, and age, the Association says. It’s important to be conscious of all risk factors, as type 2 diabetes can also affect those who are not overweight.

 

The Association also advises, “A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone.” Low amounts of saturated fats, moderate amounts of salt and sugar, and healthy amounts of lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables are essential.

 

And portion size is key. For those with diabetes, those at risk, and even those not at risk, it is important to know how much starchy foods like cereals, pasta, potatoes, and breads should be eaten in each serving.

 

This Thanksgiving, try loading up on vegetables and skipping the pumpkin pie for a healthier feast!  And check out these healthy diabetic diet recipes for your Thanksgiving spread. 

 

NAM-3064 11/14

 

The Great American Smokeout

 

 

This week, the American Cancer Society will hold its Great American Smokeout—an annual event dedicated to curbing the costly habit of cigarette smoking.

 

The event, which is held each year on the third Thursday in November, provides smokers with a specific date to mark their calendars and move on—to draw a line between the smoky past and a clear future.

 

The organization acknowledges that quitting tobacco is hard.  But the key word, “quitting,” may be making things even harder.

 

The word “quitting” suggests a process—a long, drawn-out period of time in which individuals continue to smoke, only they do it less and hate it more. While many people have been able to successfully wean themselves away from habitual tobacco use in this way, others may find themselves stuck in the quitting phase without a well-defined plan.

 

For those who have been let down by quitting, there may be an alternative: stopping—setting a specific date to say “I don’t smoke. I did yesterday, but I don’t anymore.”

 

This Thursday, November 20, may be the perfect time for some to stop smoking, and to start looking forward to the benefits of living tobacco-free.

 

Just when do the benefits kick in? According to The American Cancer Society, the effects are almost instant. After 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. And after three months, your circulation and lung functions begin to improve.

 

After five years, your risk of cancer to the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are reduced by half. And after 10 years, “The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking,” according to the American Cancer Society.

 

If you are ready to quit quitting and start looking forward to the benefits of not smoking, consider setting a date with the Great American Smokeout this Thursday.

 

More resources are available at the website of the American Cancer Society.

 

NAM-3062 11/14

 

Take Time to Understand Alzheimer's Disease

 

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and we encourage our readers—even those who are not at risk—to understand the signs, symptoms, and effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.2 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's Disease, the most common form of dementia. Individuals with Alzheimer’s encounter problems with memory and behavior, and their symptoms eventually interfere with daily tasks.

 

But Alzheimer’s does not only affect individuals with the disease. Family members of Alzheimer’s patients must take steps to prepare for their loved ones as symptoms become more prevalent. In addition to preparing emotionally, The Alzheimer’s Association advises family members to take steps toward reducing financial stress.

 

As early stages of dementia begin to appear, family members should meet with a financial professional to discuss financial resources and to create a budget for home and health care.

“The sooner planning begins, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate in decision making,” according to the organization.

 

With permanent life insurance, patients may be able to access a portion of their death benefit in the event of an unexpected illness. It is important to discuss options early, and to ask your financial professional about coverage.  

 

NAM-3061 11/14

 

Here Come the Holidays: Let the Stress In?

 

 

Halloween candy took over store aisles by Labor Day, Thanksgiving decorations showed up before Halloween hit, and soon it will be nearly impossible to find a last-minute can of pumpkin puree in November.

 

The holiday season has always been the perfect time to share a plentiful harvest with friends and hunker down with loved ones, but preparing for one big party after another can get stressful.

 

Rather than letting stress get in the way of celebration, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal suggests we let the stress take part in the fun.

 

McGonigal, who has spent more than 10 years reporting on the health risks of stress, appeared at a TED conference in 2013 to suggest we embrace stress instead of fighting it.

 

As McGonigal points out, stress increases the heart rate and makes us breathe faster. This physical response, she says, sends an extra dose of oxygen to the brain and gets the body ready for action.

 

She references a Harvard study in which some participants were taught to view stress as a helpful tool in relation to performance. Those who viewed stress as helpful, she says, were less anxious and more confident during the study.

 

She also notes that stress activates a neuro-hormone called oxytocin, which has been nicknamed “the cuddle hormone” because it is released when people hug each other.

 

“Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about,” McGonigal says.

 

So, if you happen to find yourself in a cooking, shopping and cleaning triathlon over the next few months, take a deep breath and remember that stress may be in your corner, getting you ready to celebrate the relationships and interactions that truly matter at this time of year.

 

 

NAM-3060 11/14

 

November is Native American Heritage Month

 

 

During the month of November, we celebrate a rich cultural history of life in North America—one which not only predates the founding of the United States, but one that also helped shape our constitution.

 

Native American Heritage Month honors the depth, diversity, and traditions of more than 560 Indian tribes, bands, nations, and communities, and more than 5 million individuals in the United States.

 

To celebrate, we recommend taking part in resources and events dedicated to Native American heritage.

 

Check out events and activities through your local park district or nearby museums: The American Indian Museum in Washington, DC, regularly holds events featuring Native American music, dance and even culinary arts. The Native Pride Dancers, led by Larry Yazzie of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa/Meskwaki, will share traditional dances on November 5 at the museum. Be sure to look out for similar events in your area!

 

Try a Native American Recipe: According to The History Channel, the Thanksgiving tradition, which is commonly traced to a 1621 harvest celebration between members of the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag Nation, did not begin with turkey or pumpkin pie. But harvest celebrations and culinary traditions are universal, and NativeTech.org provides a vast selection of Native American recipes.

 

Tune in to the PBS Series We Shall RemainThroughout the month, local PBS stations may revisit the the five-part project from the award-winning PBS series, American Experience, which “Establishes Native history as an essential part of American history.” Episodes include “Tecumseh’s Vision,” “Trail of Tears,” and “Wounded Knee.” Check your local PBS station for listings!

 

Contribute to the American Indian College Fund: In 2013, the Fund distributed $5,374,942 in scholarships to American Indian students. Ongoing support to educational scholarships for Native American students in the nation's 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities helps to ensure academic success and leadership development, which strengthens communities and cultural traditions.

 

NAM-3063 11/14

 

Make a Difference Day

 

 

Robert F. Kennedy said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”

 

Saturday, October 25, is just the time to get involved! A nationwide effort, Make a Difference Day, will be underway as people across the country donate their time and resources to community service.

 

For over 20 years, USA WEEKEND magazine and Points of Light have collaborated to make a difference all across the country. Volunteers can join a project or start their own and compete for the largest impact of service. Any service of any kind, big or small, makes a difference.

 

Together, everyone can make a difference. What will you do this October to help your community?

 

Don’t forget to thank those people who have made a difference in your life.

 

Learn more about Make a Difference Day and how you can help here.

 

 

NAM-3020 10/14

Daily Inspiration: How to Work Your Body Language Like a Bee

 

 

Honeybees don’t rely on their voices when they communicate. Rather than sticking to a monotone buzz, they perform elaborate dances to get the attention of their coworkers and to let them know the exact direction and distance they should travel in order to find food.

 

Carol Kinsey Goman writes about leadership, body language, and professional success at Forbes. In this article, she explains that “Human beings are drawn to movement. If you move when you speak, you’ll get people’s attention.”

 

She goes on to list several ways in which we, like honeybees, can convey a certain message with body movement. For example, speaking with down-turned palms indicates a decisive nature, while exposed palms show a willingness to negotiate.

 

To sound dynamic, Goman recommends widening your stance. Back up to stay in control, she says, citing research in which subjects were more able to cope with difficult situations by stepping back slightly.

 

Check out her article to see how you can better communicate with your coworkers via body language. And watch the video below to see the power of body language in action. Just don’t attempt the honeybee waggle dance, unless you want your team to start eating the flowers on the reception desk.

 

 

NAM-2877  6/14

 

Trick Or Treat... How About Both?

 

Five tricks to help treat your customers to great service.

 

 

 
 
1.  Bring a Personal Touch
As a small business owner, it’s important to bring a personal touch to your customer service. This could be as simple as sending a message saying, “We miss you!” Personalized communication in today’s hyper-connected world rings loud and clear with customers. Try different modes of communication, from handwritten notes to texts or social media. 
 
“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” – Chinese Proverb
 
2.  Happy Employees = Happy Customers
Especially with small businesses, employees become the face of your brand to customers they talk to. Treat employees like internal customers of your brand—keep them happy, too. If your employees are happy and love where they work, it will resonate with your customers. 
 
3.  Don’t Underestimate the Power of “I’m Sorry”
A simple “I’m sorry for your inconvenience” can go a long way in customer service. If you’ve made a mistake, acknowledge it and correct it as swiftly as possible. Always go above and beyond to make sure your customers leave the situation satisfied. 
 
4.  Give Back 
Every business has those loyal customers we call “brand champions.” Don’t forget to give back and thank your brand champions for their business and their support. 
 
5.  Solicit Feedback
Ever hear that you can’t read the label from inside the jar? When it comes to customer service, there’s no better source for feedback than your customers. Constantly evaluate your customer service. Use the feedback to help uncover weak spots in your service. Don’t stop there! Your customers probably have great ideas on ways to improve service, too. 
 
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates 
 
 
NAM-3027 10/14
 

 

That Awkward Moment When...

 

4 Tips for Talking About What Happens After You Die

 

 

Death. Illness. Disability. Probably not on the list of favorite conversation topics. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to avoid “the talk” altogether.

 

If your parents are getting older, do you know what plans they have in place for their care? What if an unexpected accident were to happen to you? Do your parents or other family members know what your wishes are? If you’ve drafted legal documents to explain your wishes (a will or living will) and purchased life insurance, you’re on the right track. But these documents are only useful if the people who need them know they exist.

 

Approaching the subject with your loved ones can be uncomfortable. Here are four tips to help you get the conversation started:

 

1.  There’s a time and a place. Bringing this up at a family get-together might not be the best time. Sharing financial information in front of the entire family may be uncomfortable. Keep this in mind, and arrange to have a private conversation free from outside distractions.

 

2.  Share your concerns. “I want you to have life insurance in case you die” is clear, but there’s a better way to put a positive spin on it. Try opening up the conversation with a question like, “I’ve been thinking about our future and am concerned about how the kids would pay for college if something happened to you. Is that something you’ve ever thought about?”
 

3.  Be prepared to offer suggestions. Ultimately, your goal is to make sure your loved one is prepared for the future. Some people don’t know where to start when it comes to estate planning and life insurance, so be prepared to share resources and helpful information. www.lifehappens.org is a great resource you can explore together!
 

4.  Don’t give up! Sometimes it takes multiple conversations to help your loved one understand how serious you are and how important this is to you. Take advantage of life events like marriages, babies, new houses, and job promotions to bring up the discussion again.

 

Remember, the most important thing is understanding why you need to have “the talk” with your loved ones, and helping them to understand, too.

 

 

 

NAM-2031 10/14 

 

Seven Remarkable Health Benefits of Coffee

 

 

As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s say “Cheers!” to one of Latin America’s most appreciated exports—coffee!  In fact, among the top producers of coffee around the world, Brazil ranks number one!

 

Every day, millions of people form lines in coffee shops to get their daily cup of Joe. But you might not know the marvelous health benefits that come from coffee.
 

1.  Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are one of the most important nutrients we need for our bodies. Antioxidants have been known to fight off cancer, prevent aging, and restore our immune systems. Coffee is one of the top suppliers of antioxidants for the body.

 

2.  Reduces the risk of Type II diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, 9.3% of the population suffers from diabetes, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Coffee has been linked to significantly reducing the risk of Type II diabetes.

 

3.  Fights depression
Coffee has a strong track record of fighting depression symptoms in people and increasing happiness.

 

4.  Prevents liver cancer
Studies have shown that people that drink coffee daily have a 66% less chance of developing liver cirrhosis, a common liver disease that causes liver cancer.

 

5.  Reduces the risk of skin cancer in women
Women who drink coffee daily are significantly less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than women who do not, thanks to the caffeine that coffee offers.

 

6.  Helps burn fat and boosts metabolism
Coffee, because of the caffeine, boosts a person’s metabolic rate, which aids in fat burning. Of course, loading your coffee up with heavy cream and sugary syrups can pack a lot of calories. Try a skinny latte or sugar-free flavors to keep it healthy!

 

7.  Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease
People who drink coffee daily have a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Coffee has also been linked to decreasing the severity of symptoms in people who already have these diseases.

 

As you sip your next cup of coffee, take a moment to appreciate where it came from and the good it can do for your body.

 

 

 

NAM 2974 7/14

 

Find the Fiesta in Your City!

 

 

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs September 15 through October 15, and cities across the country are commemorating their rich Hispanic heritage with festivals and events.

 

Here are just a few cities that are celebrating:

 

  1. Phoenix
  2. Diamondbacks Hispanic Heritage Street Festival and Game: Sept. 14
  3. Taco Street Fest: Sept. 14
  4.  
  5. Chicago
  6. Mexican Independence Festival: Sept. 12–14
  7. Tequila and Mariachi Festival: Date?
  8.  
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Feria Del Barrio (neighborhood festival): Sept. 8
  11. Puerto Rico Independence Day Parade: Sept. 29

 

Washington D.C.

CHCI Conference for National Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept. 30–Oct. 2

 

Indianapolis

El Grito (Mexican Independence Day celebration): Sept. 15

 

 

Find out how your city is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month and join the fun, or celebrate at home with your family! 

 

 

NAM-2975  7/14

 

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!

 

From September 15th to October 15th, Americans will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. These dates are chosen because September 15th represents the anniversary of independence for five large Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. 16 percent of the U.S. population identify with Hispanic culture—that’s about 50.5 million people.

 

This year, President Obama signed a proclamation in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. He encourages Americans to celebrate the profound influences of Hispanic cultures, from marching for social justice with Cesar Chavez to the continued and inspired drive to achieve the American dream of liberty and equality for all.

 

Cities across the United States will be showing their Hispanic Heritage pride with parades, concerts, and other festivals. Look into your local city’s events for the month of September and October to see how you can get involved and celebrate.

 

Visit HispanicHeritageMonth.org for more information on National Hispanic Heritage Month!

 

NAM 2973 7/14

Building and Protecting a Life Together: Lissete's Story

 

 

 

“Life insurance is something you pay for, but never expect to use,” says Lissete Montes de Oca.

 

 

Watch Lissete’s story and see the tremendous
impact life insurance had upon her family.

 

 

 

Contact your North American representative today to build and protect your loved ones like Lissete and Felipe did.

 

 

NAM-2989 9/14

Your Future is Expensive

Starting a family with your spouse is an exciting and beautiful time. But the expenses can add up—rising costs of living, medical bills, and paying for education.  What expenses would you be responsible for if you lost a spouse or a loved one?

 

Life insurance can be a valuable part of your financial plans. It can be used for income replacement or even for help covering financial needs while living, like helping to supplement retirement income or pay for college.*

 

 

 

As your family grows, make sure to build financial protection for the future as well. Start with life insurance to help protect the ones you love.

 

 

* The primary purpose of life insurance is to provide a death benefit to beneficiaries.  Because of the uncertainty surrounding all funding options except savings, it is critical to make personal savings the cornerstone of your college funding program.  However, even a well-conceived savings plan can be vulnerable. Should you die prematurely, your savings plan could come to an abrupt end.

To protect against this unexpected event, life insurance may be the only vehicle that can help assure the completion of a funding plan. In addition to the financial protection aspect of insurance, the tax-deferred buildup of cash values can be part of your college savings plan. Generally, if the policy is not a Modified Endowment Contract then tax-free withdrawals can be made up to the contract's cost basis. Moreover, if the policy is not a Modified Endowment Contract, then loans in excess of the cost basis are also tax-free as long as the policy remains in force. 

 

LifeHappens.org is an independently owned and operated non-profit organization.

 

 

NAM-2990 7/14

 

Show You Care. Protect Your Family With Life Insurance.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and it’s time to start thinking about protecting the ones you love. Life insurance is a gift that can truly impact the lives of the people who matter most to you.  

 

 

 

 

Watch Chez’s story here and learn just how important life insurance can be.

 

 

Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families' financial futures.  Life Happens does not endorse any insurance company, product or advisor.

NAM 2988 7/14

 

Become a Back-to-School Professional: 6 Tricks for an Easy Transition

 

August always means one thing: back to school. This can sometimes be a difficult and stressful transition for both students and parents.  Become a professional this year and ease stress with these helpful tips.

 

1.      Rise and shine. One of the hardest parts about the transition from summer to school is bedtime. Studies show that a gradual transition of bedtimes and wake up calls is easier than an abrupt one. Two or three weeks before school starts, begin moving your child’s bedtime and wakeup earlier, even by small increments like 15-30 minutes. This will reduce stress and tiredness on the first week of school.

 

2.      Meet the teacher. If possible before school starts, become aware of whom your child will be spending his or her time with every day and get informed about the curriculum. If not before school starts, participate in activities that the school offers, like Open House. Be sure to read any documents the school sends home.

 

3.      Make health a priority. The beginning of school is sure to be stressful if you or your student is not in good physical or mental health. Be sure to get any needed checkups and shots before school starts.

 

4.      Prepare lunch and outfits the night before. To reduce morning chaos, pack lunches and choose outfits the night before. This will not only give you and your child more time to sleep in the morning, but it will help the morning run smoothly.

 

5.      Plan dinners for the week. Get into the habit of planning dinners for the week on Sunday and making a one-time shopping trip once a week. This will make hard days easier and reduce rushing around. Plus it creates a routine that will be easy to follow and expect.

 

6.      Create a “homework station” for your child. This should be a well-lit, clean area that is only for homework. This can help your child get in the habit of having homework time every day, as well as having a quiet place that is free of distraction.

 

 

NAM-2959  7/14

Student Loans and Savings: The Financial Balancing Act

 

 

If you recently graduated with quite a bit of student debt, you’re not alone. In 2014, more than one million students will walk across the graduation stage, each with an average of $26,500 in student loans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Once your investment in education starts bringing in a return, you will have to decide how to go about paying off your loans while also saving for the future. It’s a delicate balance.

 

 “When it comes to retirement and paying student loans, it doesn’t have to be one or the other,” says Katie Brewer of LearnVest Planning Services.

 

She recommends approaching the monthly payment like rent—a fixed expense that must be prioritized in the budget. Federal loans can be paid off with several repayment options, such as keeping interest low with higher monthly payments or extending the lifetime of the loan and having smaller monthly payments.

 

It’s just as important to save while repaying your loans. If possible, use 20% of your income for debt payments and retirement savings. Select a repayment option that allows you to to add to your retirement account each month.

 

If you start saving $416 each month when you’re 25, you will have saved $200,000 by the time you’re 65. With an estimated 8% rate of return, that contribution will turn into a 1-million dollar retirement account—enough to make your student loan seem pretty worthwhile.

 

 

NAM-2851 7/14

 

6 Study Tips for Success in College

 

College courses can be intimidating, overwhelming, and tough for some students. But they are not impossible! Here are a few ways students can combat stress and feel in control of their learning:

 

1.      Stay organized. There are many ways of staying organized, but the most simple is a folder or notebook for each class. Keep track of your papers, assignments, and all your classroom materials. This can ease stress and be a huge time saver.

 

2.      Stay on schedule with a calendar or planner. Be aware of your calendar with dates of assignments, projects, and exams. This can help prioritize tasks, reduce stress levels, and budget your time daily, weekly, and monthly.

 

3.      Go to class. There is a reason that there is a direct correlation between going to class and succeeding in class. The first step to feeling confident about your schoolwork and notes is actually going to class and taking good notes!

 

4.      Get to know your professors. Professors can be lifelines when you are confused or need help. Plus, getting to know them shows that you are engaged, interested, and eager to learn.

 

5.      Don’t procrastinate. Easier said than done, but staying on top of your work can be a real stress reliever for you. Don’t wait until the night before an exam or an assignment is due. Use your planner and calendar to effectively budget your time outside of the classroom.

 

6.      Make a study group. Your classmates are a great resource to clarify confusion, keep you accountable, and pool your knowledge. Plus, studying together can be fun!

 

 

NAM-2958  7/14

 

8 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know

 

College comes with many exciting and new changes, but not without the challenges of living on your own and handling your finances. It can be an expensive four years, so here are some financial tips every college student should know:

 

1.  Create a budget (and stick to it). Creating a budget is the first key to success. It’s important for students to look at the whole picture and plan how much they will spend in a week, a month, and a year. Check if you’re staying on budget through apps, text message alerts, and email alerts. Stay on top of your spending!

 

2.  Take advantage of student discounts and benefits. If your campus offers student discounts and perks, take advantage of them. Simply having a meal plan and eating at the cafeteria can be a money saver in the long run. Many businesses, especially restaurants, offer discounts to students.

 

3.  Avoid unnecessary fees. Students can get caught in paying unnecessary fees that start to add up. Steer clear of ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees, or any other unnecessary fees that can cost you.

 

4.  Set limits for yourself. Before buying anything, explore other options and ask yourself “Is this really necessary?” or “Do I really need this?” Be certain about everything you purchase. Set limits for spending inside your budget, and see if there are places where you can save. Every cent counts!

 

5.  Start a savings account. A savings account can act as an emergency fund, and if you keep putting money away, your future self will thank you! Always be looking toward the future.

 

6.  Rent or buy used books. Used books are just as good as new books, and they are cheaper! If the opportunity to rent a book is not available, buy used books. 

 

7.   Ride, walk, or bike. Many campuses offer bus services that are free with a student ID. Take advantage of buses instead of driving, or try walking or riding a bike to your destination. This will be a great form of exercise as well!

 

8.  Look for scholarships. Many universities, clubs, and organizations, such as honors associations, offer scholarships or grants to students for their education. An hour of research can help you pay for tuition, books, or a summer’s worth of unpaid intern work.

 

 

NAM-2955 7/14

How to Succeed in Freshman Year of College

 

 

College can be the best four years of your life, but they go by fast. To make each year count, especially freshman year, remember these helpful hints.

 

1.Spend your time wisely. Time is scarce in college. Between class, meetings, clubs, and friends, be sure to spend your time wisely. Set your priorities and be sure to stick to them.

 

2.Get to know a professor. Sometimes professors can be intimidating, but they can often make great mentors and helpers. A professor could be a lifeline if you find yourself struggling in class, or provide a stellar recommendation letter for a future internship or scholarship application.

 

3.Take a different class. If you’ve already declared your major, you probably have plenty of required courses to take. But this year, if you can fit it in, take a class that isn’t required. This might be your only opportunity to take a class on the subject. And who knows, you might find a new passion and still have time to pursue it! 

 

4.Meet your academic advisor. Your academic advisor will be your best friend. He or she will guide you along and ensure that you are on the right track, as well as mentor you along the way. Be sure to continue to check in over the course of the year.

 

5.Get involved. While college is a place for higher education, it’s not just about the books and studies. Go out and get involved in a club, an organization, or a sport. This will help you build relationships with people you might not have met otherwise and give you a fun “stretch break” for your brain. It’s important to find a healthy balance between school and other activities.

 

6.Take care of yourself. College might be the first time you don’t have a parent or guardian around, so take care of yourself. Get proper nutrition, eat healthy, and get enough rest. It will be hard to succeed in college if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself.

 

7.Don’t be afraid to ask for help. College can be tough, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or find a tutor. Many colleges offer resources for students who feel they are struggling in a class. Ask a friend or talk to a professor. Resources surround you; don’t hesitate to use them!

 

 

NAM-2960  7/14

Planning for the Rising Cost of College

 

 

According to The College Board, the projected four-year cost of tuition and fees for students enrolling in 2031 will range between $92,200 and $312,200. That’s about twice the amount students pay today.

 

When it comes to paying for your child’s college education, there are lots of options out there to help you plan. Did you know permanent life insurance can also be a part of your college planning strategy in addition to providing death benefit protection*?

 

Check out this video to learn more, and talk to y­­our financial professional today about protecting your future grad’s college plans with life insurance.

 

 

*The primary purpose of life insurance is to provide a death benefit to beneficiaries.  Because of the uncertainty surrounding all funding options except savings, it is critical to make personal savings the cornerstone of your college funding program.  However, even a well-conceived savings plan can be vulnerable. Should you die prematurely, your savings plan could come to an abrupt end.


To protect against this unexpected event, life insurance may be the only vehicle that can help assure the completion of a funding plan. In addition to the financial protection aspect of insurance, the tax-deferred buildup of cash values can be part of your college savings plan. Generally, if the policy is not a Modified Endowment Contract, then tax-free withdrawals can be made up to the contract's cost basis. Moreover, if the policy is not a Modified Endowment Contract, then loans in excess of the cost basis are also tax free as long as the policy remains in force.

 

NAM-2901 8/14

 

Unique and Offbeat Scholarships for College Students

 

 

In addition to grants, financial aid, and personal savings plans, students can help to cover the cost of college by applying for scholarships.

 

While scholarships are traditionally associated with academic merits like GPA, attendance, and leadership in extracurricular activities, there are many organizations that recognize the potential for success in other—sometimes very offbeat—areas. Check out the following list to see if your incoming college freshmen qualify for additional funds:

 

 

1. Dance Scholarships. Students who never gave up after that first ballet class show discipline, perseverance, appreciation of fine art, and respect for tradition. Organizations like The youngARTS Scholarship Program are willing to help them apply those qualities toward their future with awards scholarships that range from $250 to $10,000.

 

2. Agricultural/Nutritional Scholarships. Yes, there’s an award called the Asparagus Club Scholarship. It provides $1,500 per semester to students pursuing careers in one of many areas of the grocery industry—from business ownership to food plant management and financial planning. There are also scholarships from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association and the National Potato Council.

 

3. Wine Scholarships. For some, wine is an occasional dinner accompaniment. For The American Society for Enology and Viticulture, it is a highly respectable art, science, and industry. Their scholarship program annually awards individually tailored scholarships to students pursuing a degree in enology, viticulture, or a science related to the wine and grape industry.

 

4. Underwater Scholarships. Students willing to immerse themselves in marine studies may be eligible for $20,000 from Rolex and the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society. SCUBA certification is required, along with a desire to benefit the marine world through areas ranging from hyperbaric medicine to equipment design, ecological activism, and publishing.

 

In addition to checking out scholarships, be sure to meet with your financial planner to make sure your kids are ready for their next four years.

 

NAM-2902 8-14

The Life Checklist, Courtesy of Your Freshman-Year Psychology Class

For many of us, Psychology 101 may was a while ago. But it’s hard to forget the colorful infographic from Abraham Maslow’s 1943 study, “A Theory on Human Motivation.”

 

At its basest level, the Hierarchy of Needs pyramid stands as a blueprint for obtaining success and happiness in life. By checking off each need in order, a person should be able to ascend the pyramid to the point of self-actualization, whereupon hobbies, personal endeavors, and complex thoughts can be freely pursued.

 

“The urge to write poetry, the desire to acquire an automobile, the interest in American history, [and] the desire for a new pair of shoes,” Maslow says, are levels which are usually reached after building a solid foundation of good health, safety, security, and meaningful relationships.

 

Pyramids take time to build, but the structure is perfect. Once the stones have been set, they will stand for centuries. If there’s a point you would personally like to reach, take a refresher course in Maslow’s theory to see which blocks you should climb in order to get there.

 

 

19542-51 7/14

 

7 College Kitchen Essentials

 

 

Moving out of the house and away to college can be a new and sometimes intimidating life change for students. For students who have never had their own kitchen and are now living off-campus, it can be especially difficult to pinpoint what is essential.

 

Here are a few college kitchen must-haves:

 

1. Nonstick Frying Pan
This versatile tool can make a wide variety of dishes, from meat to veggies to desserts. Regardless of your experience level, this pan is absolutely essential in the college kitchen. Be sure to find one that’s dishwasher safe.

 

2. Cutting Board (Plastic or Wood)
A cutting board and a good knife are the beginning of any great meal. Cutting boards protect both your counter and your knife from being damaged, as well as make cleanup easier. Don’t forget to keep your knife sharp—this actually helps prevent accidental injuries!

 

3. Measuring Cup
Whether you’re making ramen or coq au vin, a measuring cup is the key to success with any recipe.

 

4. Microwave
Be sure to double-check if this larger appliance is included in your kitchen. Easy and quick to use, this is ideal for any college student’s busy schedule.

 

5. Coffeemaker
College courses can be tough! Late nights and early mornings mean that coffeemaker in your kitchen will become your best friend.

 

6. Cleaning Supplies
Cooking can get messy. Be sure to grab cleaning supplies for your kitchen to keep the room (and your refrigerator) clean and germ-free.

 

7. Fire Extinguisher
In case of emergency, it’s important to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Cooking can be tough, and accidents happen. Be prepared just in case! 

 

NAM-2956 7/14

 

Back to Thinking: 7 Free Educational Apps for Kids

If your child is like many children during the summer, the transition back to school can be a tough one. One way to get your child back in learning mode while also having fun is to download these free educational apps. They won’t even realize they are learning!

 

1. Funbrain Jr. – Ages 2+

This memory pattern game made for children ages 2 and up is fun, yet engages the mind.

 

2. Read Me Stories – Ages 1–6
This app is perfect for days when you wish you had a children’s book on hand in the waiting room or after dinner. A new e-book is added every day to help your child improve his or her reading.

 

3. Spelling Test Free – Ages 5+
Prepare your child for the upcoming curriculum and get them started on spelling tests now. These tests are a free way to get your child ahead!

 

4. Duolingo – All Ages
This app is a fun, visual way to learn a different language. Starting a second language is easier at younger ages, so why not start now?

 

5. News-O-Matic – Ages 7–11
Reading the paper over breakfast in the morning doesn’t have to be just for parents. This app boils down the news into kid-friendly reading material. Perfect for light reading in the summer and keeping your child informed!

 

6. Stack the States Lite – Ages 9–11
Finally, a geography lesson that’s fun! This app helps kids become comfortable with cities, capitals, and countries in an exciting way.

 

7. Numerosity – Ages 6–8
This intriguing game gets students thinking about numbers and how they work together, putting a fun and positive spin on math. Plus, this app received the Teachers with Apps Certified Badge, which recognizes excellence in educational apps.

 

NAM-2961 8/14

Back-to-School Shopping: How to Save This Year

 

 

Back-to-school shopping can get expensive. So how can you save some dollars in your wallet this August? Here are a few ideas:
 
1. Watch for “Tax-Free” Days. This Friday through Sunday, August 1–3, is a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, which means that certain clothing, school supplies, and computers are exempt from sales tax in some states. Check out the full list here!
 
2. Have a list and stick to it. Whether you have a list from the teacher or one you made yourself, be sure to stick to it! This can ensure that you’re staying on budget while getting all the essential supplies. Speaking of budgets …
 
3. Create a budget. This can combat over-spending and unnecessary purchases—not to mention help ease your stress.
 
4. Buy in bulk. Anything that has a reputation for getting lost or needed later—pens, pencils, notebooks, markers—buy in bulk! This will save you time later, and plus, many stores offer discounts when buying in bulk.
 
5. Research sales. Check the newspaper, search online, and get social with your friends to hear what deals they found. Shopping online can often yield better deals, especially if free shipping is also offered.
 
6. Shop at home first. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking everything needs to be new at the beginning of the school year. Check your stock of unused pens, notebooks, and loose-leaf paper.
 
7. Spread out purchases. Be aware of when your child will need certain items. Some things might go on sale later, so you don’t have to empty your wallet all at once.
 
8. Buy next year’s items in the fall. Many stores put deep discounts on back-to-school items in the fall after the rush has ended. Start buying necessary items for next year, such as notebooks, pens, pencils, and folders, while they’re on super-sale.
 
 
NAM-2957 8/14
 

Bringing the Prairie to your Backyard

 

 

Garden stores are stocked with cages, mulches, specialized pots, and fertilizers that may help to enhance the life of your plants. While these may help your landscape flourish, there is in gardening—like many things—a natural alternative.

 

Your backyard is actually the perfect environment for native area plants, which can attract beneficial birds, bees, and other wildlife to nurture your garden. Because native plants are acclimated to the soil type and climactic region of your backyard, they will not require fertilizers or pesticides.

 

Many native plants are also capable of growing deep roots in their climactic regions, which can enhance the soil’s capacity to retain water while also helping to prevent erosion.

 

Visit The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Websites to learn more about the native plants and natural benefits you can bring to your garden this year.

 

NAM-2859 7/14

Five Ways to Perk up Your Day

 

 

 

It happens to everybody. Sometimes we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. We miss trains. We dunk our neckties in coffee, and we don’t realize it until after an important meeting.

 

Every now and then a storm cloud will settle over your head. Rather than letting it ruin your day, try these simple steps to bring in a bit of sunshine!

 

1. Call a friend on his or her birthday. Check Facebook to find out which of your friends are celebrating birthdays today. Instead of just sending a short message, give them a call and wish them well. They will be glad to know you are thinking of them, and they will most likely send some good vibes your way, too!

 

2. Return a book you borrowed. Your friend lent you her personal copy of Don Quixote two years ago. She scribbled in the margins, spilled a little coffee on the cover, and dog-eared many, many pages. In other words, she loved that book. Don’t feel bad about returning it late. Even if you didn’t get around to reading it, she will be thrilled to see it again and it will take a little weight off your shelf and your shoulders.

 

3. Treat yourself to something sweet. Numerous studies have sought to measure the effects of chocolate on human happiness. It’s possible that dark chocolate can lower the stress hormone known as cortisol. It’s also possible that it’s delicious and you deserve it anyway.

 

4. Take lunch in the park. A little sunshine will help your body produce vitamin D and thereby increase serotonin—a mood neurotransmitter. Lunch in the park also dramatically increases your likelihood of sharing your sandwich with a duck.

 

5. Smile. According to the facial feedback hypothesis, exercising zygomatic (smiling) muscles can boost emotional activity in the brain. Simply smile a few times throughout the day. Think of it as an exercise, with you as a champion bodybuilder of positive energy.

 

NAM-2857 7/14

Trouble Sleeping? There's An App Causing That

 

 

We naturally associate soft, blue light with early mornings—the time to rise, refresh, and get moving. But because of this association, some of us may actually be losing sleep.

 

Reactions: Everyday Chemistry recently posted this video explaining how many people are tricking themselves into staying awake with the soft, blue light of their cell phones.

 

Cells in the human eye use a light-sensitive protein called melanopsin to analyze particular wavelengths and control the body’s circadian rhythms. Even in the evening hours, the melanopsin can mistake a blue cell phone screen for morning light, which will keep a tired person awake long after the last text message.

 

If your phone has been keeping you up, even in silent mode, consider plugging it in across the room before you go to bed. If you insist on clutching your phone like a Teddy bear at night, consider downloading the Sunset app, which astronomers designed to keep cell phones from affecting night vision.

 

NAM-2862 7/14

Living with a Purpose Means Living Long and Well

 

 

We no longer live in an era where our names indicate our professions—like Smith, Cooper, and Miller used to. But we are still identified, and identify ourselves, by our careers. “What do you do?” may be one of the most common questions asked in day-to-day life.

 

But while 70% of American workers surveyed by Gallup in 2013 reported feeling “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, the number doesn’t discount the potential to find meaning in any profession.

 

Dr. Clay Routledge has been exploring the connection between purpose and longevity. “A strong sense of meaning in life,” he says, “inspires a desire to live healthy. It makes people feel like they have something to live for.” And, he says, it may actually lead to a longer life.

 

He cites a study by Dr. Neal Krause, in which older adults were surveyed on their sense of meaning in life. Those with a strong sense of meaning were more likely to still be alive at a follow-up assessment than participants who felt they lacked meaning. Young adults, too, were likely to live longer if they lived with purpose, according to a study by Patrick L. Hill and Nicholas Turiano.

 

“People with a craftsmanship orientation take pride in performing the job well,” says writer Kirsten Weir. “Those with a service orientation find purpose in the ideology or belief system behind their work.”

 

Realizing this occupational orientation may help people find deeper meaning in their careers, and in their lives as well. Someone with a craftsmanship orientation may find himself generating spreadsheets instead of building clocks, but his artful approach to organization could make the job rewarding. Likewise, someone with a service orientation may find herself distributing steel instead of working for a nonprofit organization, but knowing that the material will keep cars and buildings safe could satisfy her need to know she is helping others.

 

In addition to eating well and exercising, perhaps we should engage in an active search for meaning by setting long-term goals and looking at our lives and our careers from different perspectives. Some jobs may suddenly become more meaningful, and we may even live longer to enjoy them.

 

NAM-2861 7/14

 

Five Tips for Staying Healthy in the Summer Sun

 

 

 

We should always take caution when being active in the sun, but we shouldn’t let it go to waste. The warm weather presents plenty of opportunities to support a healthy lifestyle. Follow these five ideas to stay fit in the fresh air while it’s still around:

 

1. Go berry-picking. Check out PickYourOwn.Org to find a farm in your area with fresh fruit in season. The leisurely stroll from branch to branch will keep you invigorated, provide you with plenty of antioxidant-rich snacks, and give you the opportunity to break out that giant straw hat you never get to wear.

 

2. Try outdoor yoga. Many cities offer free outdoor yoga sessions throughout the summer with professional instructors. Check the website of your local park district for sunrise sessions on the beach or mid-afternoon sessions in the park.

 

3. Brew sun tea. Place herbal tea leaves in a glass jar with a gallon of spring water. The sunlight will steep the leaves throughout the day, providing a cool and healthy alternative to soda by nightfall. Enjoy a glass on the porch next to a flickering mosquito candle and an old handheld radio.

 

4. Always wear sunscreen. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using sunscreen at all times. Gentlemen: consider it as an alternative to aftershave this time of year.

 

5. Drink plenty of water. Aim for two cups of water before exercise, two between each meal, and more whenever you start to feel thirsty. It is often recommended you drink eight glasses each day, but to truly stay hydrated, you should aim for nine to 13 glasses.

 

NAM-2853 7/14

Happy Fourth! Did You Know...?

 

 

Today we celebrate the courage of our forefathers as they adopted the Declaration of Independence and began the separation of our country from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

 

In honor of the occasion, we’ve gathered a series of Independence Day facts:

 

1. Though he was the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson preferred to be remembered for his individual contributions to the country, which is why his epitaph reads, “Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”

 

2. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.

 

3. Two and a half million people celebrated the first Independence Day on July 8, 1776, compared to 316.2 million who celebrate today.

 

4. To prevent cracking, the Liberty Bell has not been struck since 1846. Every Fourth of July, the bell is tapped 13 times in celebration.

 

5. Twenty-six copies of the Declaration of Independence were issued in in 1776. One was discovered in 1991, on the back of an old painting purchased at a flea market for $4. It was later auctioned for $2,420,000.

 

NAM-2854 7/14

Entry-Level Financial Tips for Gen-Y Earners

 

 

Getting your first paycheck after college is certainly a reason to celebrate. And there’s no better way to do it than to take hold of your finances. Rather than splurging on a big purchase or treating your friends to dinner, be sure to gain a thorough understanding of your income, your bills, and your expenses so you can start out on a healthy financial path!

 

Here are a few tips to consider:

 

1. Keep living (somewhat) like a college student. Try to find a balance between career life and college life. Start saving money by maintaining the budgeting skills you honed before graduation.

 

2. Pay off student loans. Sophia Bera at Gen Y Planning recommends the Income-Based Repayment plan for federal student loans. Borrowers who qualify have monthly payments capped at 15% of their monthly income. IBR will also forgive any remaining debt after 25 years of qualifying payments. With a simple automatic payment plan, you can make sure the bill is always taken care of until then.

 

3. Start saving for retirement. Take hold of compound interest as soon as you can. Saving $416 a month from age 25 to 65 will equal a $200,000 input, but with an 8% investment return, it can grow to $1,932,528.

 

4. Set long-term goals. You will be more mindful of your money if you know where you want it to go. Start doing research on the things you would like to achieve in the future, like buying a home or taking a trip overseas. Create a timeline to bring these dreams into perspective.

 

5. Stay out of debt for good. If you use a credit card, be sure to pay the bill in full each month. Along with student loan payments, use an auto-pay feature and make sure the balance never climbs out of control.

 

NAM-2852 7/14

 

Term Insurance VS. Long-Term Regret: Mistakes To Avoid

 

 

It is easy to learn from past mistakes, but it is best to avoid them—especially when dealing with life insurance. Take a look at these common oversights and consult with your life insurance agent to make sure you aren’t making any of your own.

 

1: Buying Too Short of a Term

 

If your policy will have to be extended in ten years, it may be best to take care of it now. Complications in that time period may raise the cost of your plan when it is time to renew.

 

Some experts recommend buying at least a 20- or 30-year plan—enough to cover your household until your children begin their college careers. The proper amount of coverage should allow them to live comfortably as they prepare for their first steps away from the nest.

 

2: Missing a Policy Review

 

Term Insurance is flexible, which allows life insurance agents to specialize in tailoring packages for the needs of each client. Purchasing seven times one’s annual income is a good start, but the number should be adjusted according to changes in need and major life events such as getting married, buying a home, or welcoming a new addition to the family.

 

3: Waiting Too Long

 

Having too little coverage is one matter. Having zero coverage is another. Life insurance premiums increase as people get older, with factors like health and medical history determining the rate. Because life insurance is something we should not go without, it is best to buy while rates are low and coverage is easy to obtain.

 

Back to Basics: Saving Money in the Summer Sun

 

 

With summer in full swing, there is plenty of fresh air and warm sun to utilize when tackling daily chores. Working with the outdoor elements may require an extra bit of effort, but it will certainly pay off when the monthly bills arrive. Follow these summer saving tips to keep your expenses low this season:

 

1. Plant a Garden – A 100 square-foot garden can yield $700 worth of produce throughout the year. It will require some work, but the extra effort will help to eliminate several trips to the grocery store.

 

2. Collect Rainwater – Connect a 55-gallon rain barrel to your downspout to collect water for outdoor chores like watering the garden, the lawn, and giving the dog a bath. Try to keep the hose off all season by using the free water that falls from the sky!

 

3. Hang a ClotheslineAn average family can save about $63 each year by giving the electric dryer a summer break. The combination of sun and fresh air will dry clothes just as quickly. It will also save the fabrics from additional wear.

 

4. Break out the Barbecue – It’s the oven’s job to produce a lot of heat. When the air conditioner is on, extra heat in the home can make it work harder. Rather than opting for a higher electric bill, keep a propane grill in the backyard and opt for occasional tank refills at $12-$15.

 

How Much Will Your Family Need?

 

 

Life Insurance provides your family with financial help in the event of an unexpected tragedy. But because these events cannot be anticipated, it is hard to determine exactly how much will be needed. For this reason, Life Happens has created a needs calculator—a helpful tool to determine how much your family will require in order to keep going.

 

The needs calculator tallies your current debts and expenses, your savings and investments, and your annual household income—along with current estimated inflation rates to provide a detailed analysis of your projected needs.

 

Check out the simple five-step form in order to gain an idea of your life insurance costs, and visit your financial advisor to make sure your family can receive the right coverage when they need it most.

 

Happy First Day of Summer!

 

 

Though hot and sunny days have been upon us for several weeks, this Saturday officially marks the start of the summer season.

 

Also known as “the longest day of the year,” and the “summer solstice,” from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), the day features 15 hours and 6 minutes of sunlight as the earth’s axis is most inclined toward the sun.

 

For centuries, people around the world have celebrated the extra daylight hours with large get-togethers involving food, music, and dancing. Academics believe these ancient festivals were called barbecues.

 

In six months, the southern hemisphere will experience its own solstice, leaving people up north in the dark for 14 hours and 34 minutes.

 

So while the sun is high, and before the days start to shorten again, be sure to enjoy the good weather while it is here.

Get in the Sun. Keep Your Wallet in the Shade

 

 

Here is the challenge: enjoy the summer without spending extra cash.

 

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while the sun is out. Many of them come at little or no cost, but there are always pitfalls one should watch out for. Follow these tips to enjoy the sun while saving money this season!

 

1. Catch an Outdoor Concert – With musicians emerging from their long hibernation, the summer air suddenly carries a pleasant melody in every town.

 

How to Save: Follow your local park district online to keep up with free outdoor musical events. Bring a blanket, a few snacks, and a bottle of wine to enjoy the evening on a comfortable budget.

 

What to Watch Out For: Big-name Summer Concerts. You can catch thirty of your favorite bands on six stages over the course of three days at one of these events, but it will cost you. Tickets easily climb to triple digits and the food items at concession stands are also quite pricy.

 

2. Hit the Beach – The sandy hills are alive with the sounds of crashing waves, laughing children, and feel-good summer radio hits.

 

How to Save: Come prepared. In addition to essentials like food, water, towels, sunscreen, and sandals, bring anything you think you might need to keep you busy while you’re there. Frisbees, books, beach balls, and radios should all be considered.

 

What to Watch Out For: Concessions, activities (see above), and Parking. The beach may be free but the parking lot is not. Carpool with friends, use public transportation, or ride a bicycle to keep costs down.

 

3. Check Out the University – If you live anywhere near a place of higher learning, you might be sitting on a goldmine of free activities.

 

How to Save: Check out the events calendar for activities open to the community. Astronomy professors sometimes organize stargazing events during the summer, and research ponds occasionally rent free fishing boats so they can monitor the growth of tagged fish.

 

What to Watch out For:  You might find yourself at the university bookstore eyeing a sweatshirt to commemorate the occasion. Don’t do it. The nearby second-hand store has an entire section dedicated to university regalia. 

 

Tips for Teaching Kids About Money

 

 

Kids have it tough sometimes. They are driven by wants and bombarded by advertisements. But without a clear understanding of income and savings, they can become frustrated by an inability to obtain the things they pine for.

 

So how can you teach kids about money? Here are a few tips

 

1. Let Them See Cash in Action

 

Daniel Bortz at US News Money suggests making purchases with cash instead of cards. It solidifies the idea that something must be exchanged for another. When cards are swiped, kids don’t see the money leave the account. They could likely assume the supply is limitless.

 

2. Make Them Work

 

Kids need to understand where money comes from—and how they can obtain their own. Start with small chores for allowance and encourage them to keep moving forward. Planting a pumpkin garden in the spring could lead to a lucrative neighborhood business by fall.

 

3. Keep Up Your End of The Bargain

 

Don’t forget to pay an allowance. Doing so might teach kids that money promises can be broken, says Boritz. If you want to make sure your kids are actually doing their chores, have them submit a simple invoice by a certain date, or have them check off tasks on a kitchen whiteboard.

 

4. Teach Them to Save

 

Laura Shin at Forbes says 13 is a good age to start teaching kids about saving for long-term goals rather than short-term goals. Have them work out a plan for a large purchase rather than just a small toy. Do the math on their allowance and expenses with them. Make sure they understand the money they spend on candy after school could quickly add up when set aside for something like an iPod.

 

Financial Tips for Single Parents

 

 

'Tis the season for crafting Mother’s Day and Father’s Day messages!

 

But, we’d like to take a moment to recognize the hard work of single parents who live out both roles each day.

 

More than 13 million parents raise their children on their own, according to 2006 US Census Data. They manage finances, schedules, and everyday needs without the assistance of a partner or spouse.

 

In order to keep them going strong, we’d like to offer a few financial tips for single moms and dads.

 

1: Pay Bills First

 

Geoff Williams at US News Money recommends taking care of necessary expenses before calculating the monthly budget. The tip comes from a single mother in Missouri, who heads to the grocery store once she has a practical idea of available funds.

 

2: Set Up a Safety Net

 

Create an emergency fund with enough money to cover living expenses for six to nine months. Car repairs and health emergencies do not show up with fair warning, so it is best to prepare for them in case they do.
 

3: Get Life Insurance

 

Next to health insurance, life insurance is the second most important requirement for single parents. Visit your financial planner to make sure your needs, and the needs of your children, are covered!

 

Father's Day 2014 - Fatherly Financial Tips

 

 

With Father’s Day fast approaching, we have been thinking about all of the good things our fathers have done for us over the years. For some, it may have been putting in extra hours at work. For others, it may have been sitting in at a stuffed-animal tea party. But there’s one topic that seems to ring true with most fathers: a barrel-aged collection of financial tips.

 

Fathers want their kids to be successful. They want them to grow up happy and they don’t want them to worry about finances. Our fathers gave us these tips at their most sagely moments. Take a look, and tell us your father’s best financial advice in the comments section below!

 

1: Save Early: As soon as you start making money, start saving money. Place at least 15% of your monthly income aside for retirement. And don’t touch it until then.

 

2: Get the Most From Your 401(k): Set your 401(k) as high as your employer will match. It will pay off when retirement comes around. The additional money from your employer will pad your retirement account nicely.

 

3: Get out of Debt for Good: Unless you are making money with the increasing value of a house or a piece of property, don’t spend more than you actually have.

 

4: Diversify your Investments: Invest in stocks, bonds, and private property other than your home. If one doesn’t work out, the others should still be able to carry on.

 

5: Take Care of Yourself: Don’t create problems your money cannot fix. Physical health is equally as important as financial health. Be sure to eat well, exercise, and take vacations regularly to avoid any health issues that may result from overworking.

 

The Insurance Survival Guide for Engaged Couples

 

 

In August 2013, The National Association of Insurance Commissioners surveyed 500 engaged and newlywed couples with questions concerning choices in auto, health, life, and home insurance. The results, and the NAIC’s recommendations for approaching these topics, can be accessed in the interactive game I Do Adventures.

 

Designed to help couples examine sensitive topics relating to adequate financial protection and insurability, the game takes a lighthearted approach—addressing the issues after players successfully guide an animated fox couple through their post-honeymoon journey in a forest of cartoon peril.

 

Though it is unlikely young couples will ever be run off the road by a barrage of tropical fruit, the game presents the opportunity for couples to discuss issues such as combining auto policies. It also prompts couples to share details about pre-existing health conditions (a common topic for 73% of couples in the 18–24 range) and to discuss premarital beneficiary designations, which only 47% talked about before tying the knot.

 

According to a vice president at BMO Harris Bank, couples should discuss their history as a single financial unit in order to prevent mistakes they made as individuals. They are also advised to create a spending plan, as well as an emergency fund.

 

Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services for TD Ameritrade, says couples should discuss issues such as credit card debt and student loans, as well as 401(k)s and existing investments, before getting married.

 

Engaged couples and newlyweds should ask their financial professionals to discuss all insurance-related issues as they embark on their own life adventures.

 

Memorial Day

 

 

Every year, on the last Monday in May, we take the time to honor the men and women who died while serving the United States Armed Forces.

 

North American Company would like to thank all service members for their commitment and dedication to the safety and civil liberties of US citizens.

 

We encourage everyone to celebrate respectfully by thanking veterans for their commitment and enjoying the company of friends and family members.

 

The Future is Now. Let's Talk About It

 

It’s important to talk about the future. But would it help to use a different language?

 

Behavioral economist Keith Chen thinks so. His recent study explores the relationship between language and economic behavior, and his findings suggest that speakers of “futureless” languages are more likely to save money.

 

The impact, Chen says, is largely based on how the language teaches speakers to think about time. An English speaker may say “It rained yesterday, it is raining now, it will rain tomorrow,” while a Chinese speaker would say “yesterday it rain, tomorrow it rain, now it rain,” and a German speaker would say “It rain tomorrow.”

 

“Futured” languages like English, Chen says, add verb helpers like “will” and “shall,” which force speakers to separate the future from the present and “treat it as if it’s something viscerally different.”

 

Futureless languages, on the other hand, refer to the present and the future identically, which leads speakers to feel about them identically. This mindset makes it much easier to save.

 

To explore his theory, Chen analyzed the savings rate (as a percentage of GDP from 1985 to 2010) of countries with both futured and futureless languages. He discovered that people in countries with futureless languages are 30% more likely to save in a year, and they’re likely to retire with 25% more in savings.

 

 

How do you think about saving for the future? 

 

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

 

 

During the Month of May, the US celebrates National Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by honoring the impact and achievements of AAPI individuals and communities.

 

The celebration recognizes the heritage of approximately 50 countries on the Asian continent, along with the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

 

Here are a few ways to celebrate!

 

Visit a Museum – Check out an exhibit on AAPI art and history. Your local museum may even have special events. The Art Institute of Chicago, for example, is hosting “Encounters with Asia,” a four-week lecture series. Check the calendar of your local museum for similar activities!

 

Read About It – The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the US on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Check out a book on these historic events.

 

Stroll Through a Botanical Garden – Botanical Gardens, like the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, will often provide an immersive cultural experience by arranging plants and landscape architecture from different countries.

 

Follow your Taste buds – Have you ever tried tom yum soup from Thailand? Sizzling sisig from the Philippines? A Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich? Or Lebanese hummus? A quick Internet search can help you find the best restaurant in your area for an authentic dining experience!

 

Motherhood Truths From Around The World

 

 

Shawn Fink, author of "The Playful Family," and founder of The Abundant Mama Project, has spent two years meeting with mothers around the world.

 

She traveled to 10 different countries including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Scotland, and Iceland, and visited nearly every state in the United States.

 

Though the cultural and economic challenges vary greatly in each location, Fink says each household is linked by a common thread, which she calls the “10 Motherhood Truths From Around the World.”

 

Mothers strive for perfection, they constantly work to attain balance, they yell for good reason, and they all learn to trust themselves on what’s best for their own families.

 

Check out her post on The Huffington Post Blog , and celebrate this Mother’s Day by reflecting on Truth No. 4: “We all need time for ourselves.” Make sure you take some when you can!

 

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

 

 

Each year, the President of the United States issues a proclamation in the month of May to begin Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

 

In 2013, President Obama stated, “With irrepressible determination and optimism, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have prevailed over adversity and risen to the top of their fields.”

 

He recounted the many ways in which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders helped to shape the US: from the Chinese workers who laid the final ties of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, to the hardworking individuals who excel today in highly influential professions.

 

The President addressed disparities Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders currently face today, and expressed his commitment to meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities. In closing his statement, he encouraged citizens to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

 

Visit www.AsianPacificHeritage.gov to learn more about the month-long cultural celebration!

 

Legacy Building

 

There may come a time to think about the future generations of your family—their hopes, and how you can help them achieve their dreams. Watch this video to learn how life insurance can help you build a legacy for your future generations.

 

 

Vacations can be a real life saver.

 

We all love a good break from the daily grind, but did you know that vacations can actually be good for your health?

 

In the United States, someone has a heart attack about every 34 seconds—a sign that Americans work, worry and wear our hearts down more than we should. Studies show that vacationing can reduce the risk of heart attack in men and women.

 

Not only is it good for your heart health, but vacationing can also improve overall well-being, and work performance. Here are 5 healthy reasons to start planning your next vacation.

 

 

Term or Perm?

 

Want to know the differences between term and permanent life insurance?

 

Our video breaks it down into simple terms to help you understand which type of life insurance could be best for your financial needs.

 

Term vs. Perm: It's About Your Future

 

 

You might know the basic differences between term and permanent life insurance. But are you aware of how this choice may affect your options in the future?

 

Term life insurance is often a good choice for an individual or a family in earlier years, especially if the budget is tight. It allows for affordable, yet high levels of coverage when the need for protection is often greatest.

 

While term insurance can provide low-cost coverage for a specific period of time, it does have an expiration date—10, 20, or 30 years, for example. That’s why it’s called “term” insurance. If you buy a 10-year term policy and then, at the end of that 10-year term, realize that you still have a need for life insurance, you may not qualify for the same rate you did 10 years ago. It could be because of your age, or your health may have deteriorated. Other factors also affect your underwriting class. In fact, you may find that it's too expensive to renew your policy, or you may not even re-qualify at all.

 

Here’s where permanent life insurance can be a great option to address these concerns.

 

Permanent life insurance is designed to provide lifelong financial protection. Because permanent life insurance policies are designed and priced to keep over a long period of time, this may be the right type of insurance for you if you have a long-term need for life insurance coverage.

 

"Permanent insurance" is generally a catchall phrase for a wide variety of life insurance products, many of which include a cash-value feature. Within this class of life insurance, there are many different products, including universal life insurance and indexed universal life insurance.1

 

Despite what many people may think, the need for life insurance often remains long after the kids have graduated college or the mortgage has been paid off. If the unexpected happened, you or your spouse could still be faced with daily living expenses. And if your spouse outlives you by 10, 20, or even 30 years—would they be able to maintain the lifestyle you worked so hard to achieve? Would you be able to pass an inheritance on to your children or grandchildren? These are questions to consider carefully when determining what type of life insurance fits your needs.

 

Be sure you carefully consider your needs and how they may evolve down the road, and discuss them with your life insurance agent. If your needs will remain temporary, then term insurance may be right for you. But, if you think there's a possibility that you might need the coverage for a long time, then consider a low-cost permanent solution, like North American’s Custom Guarantee® Universal Life Insurance.2

 

Learn more by talking to your North American representative today!

 

 

1 Indexed Universal Life products are not an investment in the “market” or in the applicable index and are subject to all policy fees and charges normally associated with most universal life insurance.

 

2 Custom Guarantee UL is issued by North American Company Administrative Office, Sioux Falls, SD 57193 on policy form series LS170. Products, features, riders, endorsements, or issues ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. 

 

Could Divorce Derail Your Retirement Plans?

 

 

Of course, no one plans on getting divorced. However, with more and more couples splitting the sheets, American divorces are also impacting retirement plans with 25% of all divorces involving someone over 50 years of age.

 

The topic of divorce is uncomfortable for any married couple. But, having that “what if” conversation with your spouse and financial professional about how assets would be divided in the event of a split is a good idea.

 

Read more from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council here.

 

 

Help Wanted: Stay-at-Home Mom

 

Okay. You probably don’t come across a lot of “help wanted” ads for a stay-at-home mom. But, if you had to guess what the annual salary of a stay-at-home mom would  be, would you even come close?

 

After seeing a recent study from Salary.com called “How Much Is Your Mom Worth?” we thought we’d spread the news on how much a stay-at-home mom’s salary can be worth to your family.*

 

 

Working moms often pull double-duty shifts. In fact, according to the study, working moms perform an average of 58 additional hours per week of household and childcare duties—that’s on top of a 40-hour work week. 

 

 

When you’re totaling up your life insurance financial protection needs, it’s easy to focus only on income replacement. But, don’t forget to include the additional value that both stay-at-home and working moms provide to the household.

 

Want to figure out your value as a stay-at-home or working mom? Check out this fun calculator from Salary.com!

 

*Source: http://www.salary.com/2013-mom-infographics/

 

 

 

Ladies - Let's Talk Finance

 

 

“Saw this deal and thought of you.” I am always a little touched when I receive this message from a friend. It means someone I know saw something that made them think of me, and they thought enough of me to forward it.

 

My friends are quick to point out deals on water park passes, electronics, and even toilet paper, but I have noticed something lacking in my inbox—any advice on securing my future.

 

92% of women are likely to pass along a good deal to other women. Yet, my inbox is void of “I made a plan for my financial future, and I thought of you!” Is this because my friends assume I have it all together and don’t need advice? Is it because they don’t want to seem nosey or overbearing?

 

Or is it just because women don’t like to talk about this kind of stuff?

 

The reality is that women need to think about our financial futures. When you consider that women are statically more likely to outlive their husbands and serve as caregivers to aging parents, the sense of urgency should send us in droves to financial professionals!

 

So, ladies, think about where you are with your finances. Could you use some assistance? Do you have it all together and have advice for others? Is there a financial professional that helped you and could possibly help a friend? The average woman has 171 contacts in her email and mobile lists. Reach out!

 

Women's History Month

 

March is Women’s History Month. So, what better time to start talking about the many different financial needs women have? Whether it’s death benefit protection for your loved ones, retirement planning for your future, or sending your kids to college, life insurance can play an important role in addressing your financial needs.

 

According to a recent study, women are the sole or primary breadwinner in about 40% of U.S. households with children under the age of 18—that’s 4 in 10 households across America. Yet, women continue to overlook life insurance as part of their financial plans. In fact, compared to men, women who have life insurance only have 69% of the average coverage that men do.

 

Make sure you’re protecting your family by getting adequate life insurance coverage to meet your family’s needs.

 

Not sure how much coverage you need? Check out this needs calculator from the LIFE Foundation.

 

 

Plan Ahead to Protect Your Spouse

Does your spouse have life insurance? Do you know how much he or she has? Take a moment to think about what kinds of expenses you would be responsible for if he or she were to suddenly be out of the picture. It’s not just about end-of-life expenses. Your day-to-day cost of living, a child’s tuition expenses, or medical bills can pile up when you lose a loved one.
 

Check out this statistic from the LIFE Foundation, and then take a look at how you and your spouse can protect one another with life insurance.

 

According to IALC - Study Shows Boomers Still Not Prepared for Retirement

 

In a recent article from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), financial forecasters and retirement experts have warned about the looming retirement crisis in America and one thing is abundantly clear: many Americans are not prioritizing their retirement savings. According to a recent study by Fidelity Investments, only 45 percent of Baby Boomers are saving enough to cover their basic retirement costs, including just housing, health care and food. Read more!

 

 

Smart Money.

 

We used to say, the bigger the better. But these days, it's the smarter the better. Watch our video to learn more!

 

 

When Cupid's Arrow Finds its Mark...

 

Cupid's up to no good in this video from the LIFE Foundation! Watch and share:

 

 

Insure Your Love

 

 

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the month of February has a lot of people thinking about love. What would you do for the ones you love? While chocolates and flowers are nice, consider giving a gift that can truly impact the lives of your loved ones—the protection of life insurance.

 

Life insurance and romance don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but what better way to say “I love you” than to provide your family with the lasting financial protection life insurance can offer?

 

 

Give the gift of financial protection to your loved ones. Contact your North American representative to get started. 

 

New Year. New Needs.

What's changed in your life over the past year? It may be time to review your financial needs!

 

Watch our video to learn more.

 

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

 

Only 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions! Use these tips to keep yourself on track this year.

 

1. Be reasonable.
Sometimes ideas that seem like minor adjustments, like changing your diet and exercise habits or getting more organized, can be more life-altering than you think. According to social scientist and Stanford University behavior researcher B.J. Fogg, PhD, taking baby steps is the most effective way to create long-lasting change. It’s more about creating small changes in your already existing routine than setting drastic, unreasonable goals. 

 

2. Be specific.  
Setting goals like “losing weight” or “eating healthier” can be a little too vague to really hold yourself accountable for. Instead, create measurable goals, whether that’s a goal weight by a specific date or following a particular diet. Maybe your goal is to be more organized, or to decrease stress. If so, set aside a specific amount of time to devote to your goal. Give yourself ten extra minutes every morning to feel less rushed (remember—we’re starting small), or one hour a week devoted to a relaxing activity like yoga, for example.   

 

3. Create a plan.
Once you have your resolution scaled to reasonable, specific steps, create an action plan that puts them into place. Is it a shopping list? An exercise schedule? Making a to-do list? Whatever your goal is, don’t just wing it—create a roadmap to help you get there.  

 

4. Get support.
Willpower is certainly important, but sometimes it’s not enough. Between managing work, a family, and a household (i.e., your life), making changes may require some flexibility from others who are a part of your routine. Telling your family and friends “I need your support” is the first step in actually gaining their support. Also, when making significant health changes like quitting smoking, dieting, or exercising, seeking the advice of your doctor or other professionals is a great idea.

 

5. Try, try again.
Finally, if you falter or even fail to stick to your resolution, remember that you’re not the first person in history to do so. As the old saying goes, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” Just don’t wait until next January! Try now

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