Growing Old


Growing Old

There are a couple of things in life that we know, at some stage, we will be worried about. Growing old certainly seems to be one of them. More and more, our culture is becoming obsessed by the cult of youth. Not only are film stars and musicians young and beautiful, but increasingly, politicians and newsreaders are getting younger also. Add to this the extraordinary lengths to which the not so young among the elite are going to maintain their youth and appear young and you will quickly see why so many people are becoming distressed about growing old.

There is one thing that people have known, at varying levels, for centuries however. This is that old age is a state of mind. Therefore, the secret to staying young lies also in the mind and not in the body. When someone mentions Madonna, we don’t think about old age or an elderly woman, but is this because she still looks quite young, or because she is as active and controversial as ever, releasing hit albums and doing what she has always done? In many senses it is a combination of the two, but I would propose that it is the young mind that keeps the body young rather than the other way around.

There are many things that you can do to keep your mind young and active. One is to keep up the old hobbies and pastimes that you have enjoyed for your whole life. Try to keep physically active. Consider walking and swimming which are less stressful on joints and bones than some other activities.

At the end of the day, it is not such a young person’s world out there. The charity. Help the Aged, defines the elderly as anyone above the age of 50. There are many 50 year olds around who would defy this but the fact is that many people, by this age, are already preparing for retirement. Age discrimination has also been recognised by the government who in 2006, will bring into force the age discrimination act that outlaws discrimination on the basis of age in the workplace.

Also, the over 50 age group is not only the fastest growing segment of the population, but 80% of the nation’s wealth is owned by the over 50s. They are also one of the freest and least tied down segments of the population. As society’s attitudes change towards old age, perhaps the time is coming to let loose and enjoy old age for all the potentialities it provides.

Gap Car Insurance: Do You Need It?

What is gap car insurance and how do you know whether you really need it? Gap car insurance, like many other types of insurance isn’t necessarily required. That is to say that you can certainly purchase a new car without gap car insurance; however, you could be leaving yourself open for some losses if you don’t purchase it. Read on for more tips to better underst and whether you need gap car insurance or you can skip it.

Gap car insurance covers the difference between the market value of your car and your loan amount. Aren’t the two the same, you might ask. Not necessarily. You see, the moment you drive your car off the lot it depreciates, or loses value, immediately and quite significantly. Let’s say you purchase a new car and pay $25,000 for it. On average a car will depreciate at least 20% right after it leaves the dealership. That means your br and new car is now worth only $20,000. What happens if you have an accident soon after the purchase? Even if you have full insurance coverage, including comprehensive and collision, your insurance policy will still only cover the market value of the car. Unfortunately, even though the market value and insurance policy are now worth only $20,000 you still owe in the neighborhood of $25,000 for the car. Without gap car insurance you’ll be stuck covering that additional $5,000 on your own.

Be aware that not all gap car insurance policies are the same and this is important. For example, some gap car insurance policies will cover losses due to theft and accidents but not all so be sure to ask questions regarding specifically what is covered in the policy before you take it.

Usually, gap car insurance is a good idea if you are about to purchase a new car and are concerned that you wouldn’t be able to cover the difference between the market value and the amount that would be cover by the C&C policy. Be aware that gap insurance is not available for older vehicles in most cases.

While you’re certainly not required to take out gap car insurance by your lender or the dealer, it can help you to rest easier in knowing you won’t be stuck owing thous ands of dollars on a totaled car in the event that you suffer an accident or theft shortly after the purchase.

It is also important to underst and that if you finance your car through the dealership you can usually take out gap car insurance at the time of the purchase; however, you’ll probably end up paying more for the policy than if you simply took it out with your regular auto insurance agent.

Before taking out gap car insurance, always be sure to check your existing policy to find out whether gap insurance might already be contained within that policy. You never know, it might not necessary to purchase an additional policy at all. If it’s not included, give some thought to whether the price of the gap insurance would be worth the trade-off of not having to worry if you have an accident and can’t afford to pay the difference between market value and coverage amount with a regular policy.

Critical Illness Insurance – Another Scam?

Unless you have substantial savings, even in the UK, contacting a serious illness, such as cancer, can be a very costly affair. Above all, not only do you need to consider how contracting such a critical illness will affect your savings in any medical care bills, but you also need to consider that you may well not be able to earn any income to cover you day-to-day expenditure. As a result, making sure you take out a critical illness insurance may well be one of the wisest and astute financial decisions you make.

What Is Critical Illness Insurance?

In short, a critical illness insurance policy is very much like any other insurance policy you take out. Here, however, your premiums go towards insuring that you do not contract a critical illness. In the event that you do contract a critical illness, your UK insurance provider will pay you out a tax-free lump sum to help you cover the day-to-day costs of having to live with your new medical condition.

Are There Any Limitations With Critical Illness Insurance?

Yes; it is essential that you look at the list of critical illnesses that your insurance policy covers, as these will be the only illness under which the policy will pay-out. In other words, the UK insurance provider will not pay-out on the policy simply because you have a doctor’s certificate that you have a critical illness, it needs to be one of the designated critical illness.

Moreover, if you are considered by the UK insurance provider to be a high risk – for example, if you smoke – then it is likely that either you will not be able to obtain the critical illness insurance, or your insurance premiums will be significantly higher than if this were not to the case. Importantly, you will need to disclose whether or not you have any existing conditions, in which case these will likely not be included, and whether or not your family has a history of the illnesses set out in the policy, in which case this will likely affect your premium payments.

How Will I Be Paid?

As mentioned, with a critical illness insurance your UK insurance underwriter will pay you out a lump-sum tax free amount once you contract one of the critical illnesses listed in the policy. Having paid out the lump-sum amount, your relationship with the UK insurance provider will come to an end. In other words, you will not have an ongoing relationship with the insurance provider paying you intermediate payments.

Is It Worth Having Critical Illness Insurance?

The question of whether or not there is any value in you having a critical illness insurance will depending largely on your age, expenses, and whether or not you have any other insurance. Essentially, critical illness insurance covers an area for which other types of insurance can be obtained. However, unlike other types of insurance, this is a very specific insurance policy paying out for a very specific purpose. That said, there is a strong argument that you can never really have too much insurance and will numbers seemingly showing that more and more of us contracting critical illnesses as we grow as an aging population, this type of UK insurance is always useful.

Computer Insurance

Investing in a personal computer is not less an amount. It is next only to investing in a house or a car. So, it’s not unwise an idea to insure your computer and its allied accessories like peripherals and software. However, how much coverage you get for what accessory depends on individual market offer. There are several threats your computer might face. Such as virus attack, data corruption, system crashing down, peripheral malfunctioning and many more. Thus, it is important for you to protect your investment by proper insurance coverage. There are certain aspects of computer insurance you must know.

Coverage under homeowner or renter’s policy

In most of the cases if you have homeowner or renter’s policy your home accessories and assets are also covered in that and so is your computer. It is covered against all the threats and disasters listed in the policy. Thus, if your computer gets stolen or gutted in fire you can claim for the damages. However, your computer gets covered only for the amount listed in your policy.

Replacement cost and actual cash value

Though replacement cost is 10 percent more expensive as compared to Actual cash value, keeping in mind that things depreciate fast, this is a very wise move. The reimbursement you get on replacement cost is the same as the current cost of your computer and not the petty depreciated cost you would get with actual cash value policy.

Coverage for Laptop and portable computer

Laptop and portable computers are considered personal possessions away from home under the homeowners or renter’s policy. Thus, they are also covered under this policy. However, there is a dollar limit on personal possession that are stolen or damaged away from home.

Computers don’t only get covered under the homeowners or renter’s policy. A number of insurance companies offer individual insurance policies for computers as well. It is important to remember that when you buy a computer insurance policy you must retain the receipt of the policy as well as that of the computer and its peripherals very carefully.

Computer insurance is vital for students, business professionals, small business owners, schools, home users with heavy usage and many more people who use computers for their critical applications. Computer insurance does not cover certain items such as maintenance costs, electrical or mechanical breakdown, wear and tear, fraud and dishonesty, consequential loss, and loss or damage caused by sonic bangs. However, they are well covered under the warranty/extended warranty of the equipment.

Auto Insurance 101 Explained

Auto insurance can be confusing for most consumers; there are so many different types of insurance and it can be difficult to determine the type of coverage you’re required to carry versus the types of coverage that you really should carry in order to protect yourself but that are not required.

When considering how much car insurance you should have, it is best to do some research and find out what type of insurance is required by the state in which you reside. Not all states require the same levels of insurance. Some states require more types of coverage than others and states also vary in terms of the amount of coverage that is required. So, be sure you know exactly what the minimums are in the state where you live.

You should also underst and what is covered by the different types of insurance in order to underst and whether you need insurance coverage above and beyond the minimum required by your state of residence.

Bodily injury liability covers injuries that you cause to someone else while driving your vehicle. Generally the rule of thumb for this type of coverage is to purchase more than is required by your state minimums in order to protect your private assets from a law suit in the event that you injure someone.

Medical payments or personal injury protection, commonly known as PIP covers the treatment of injuries for the driver and the passengers of the vehicle. Depending on the level of coverage, this type of policy will compensate lost wages as well as medical payments.

Collision covers any damage that occurs to your vehicle in the event of an accident, even if it is your fault. Of course, a deductible will apply. Your lender will generally require this type of coverage while you still owe on the vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage is for the loss of your vehicle due to damage by something other than a collision such as theft, fire, natural disaster, v andalism, etc. Again, your lender will probably require this coverage for a financed vehicle. Once your loan is paid off, it’s up to you whether you want to continue carrying comprehensive and collision coverage.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can come in h andy in the event that you are either involved in a hit and run or if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance or who is underinsured.

When considering how much insurance to take out, start with the amount that is required at a minimum by your state and then consider whether you’re required to take out any additional coverage due to lender requirements. Remember that while we all hope we won’t have a need for insurance, in the event that we do, it can be a financial lifesaver.

Finally, don’t forget to consider your options regarding deductibles. Raising your deductible can help you lower your premiums and that can make taking out additional insurance coverage more affordable. Just be sure you can reasonably afford the deductible in the event you need to use it.

Alternative Low Cost Health Insurance – Staying On Top Of It

Some things in life are taken for granted and the privilege of having health insurance may be one of them. Employers have to give their employees some kind of benefit program in their overall compensation package. The employee expects it and enjoys the security of having good health insurance. Everything changes when the employee leaves the employer. Insurance decisions have to be made. No one can escape from this process. The employee soon finds the cost to continue the insurance to be much more than expected and they start scrambling for alternatives. Are there alternatives? What can be done to reduce the cost?

There has been a major shift in thinking by the insurance buying public over alternatives to lowering the cost of health insurance. Low deductibles are a thing of the past. It has taken some time to change the thinking about having low deductibles. Low deductibles mean less out of pocket expense. It works the opposite in today’s market for health insurance. The premiums paid for lower deductibles are so high that it no longer makes sense to have them. The higher deductibles reduce the premium dramatically. There are deductibles as large as $5000 in some health insurance plans.

Two Alternatives

1. Take the highest deductible that you can afford. This is called self-insuring. You are insuring yourself for the deductible amount in exchange for a lower premium.

2. Start a Health Savings Account. This is a savings account that is used for medical expenses only. This is a fantastic way of putting money aside for the out of pocket deductible amount and any additional medical expense. The best part about it is that the health savings account is tax deductible. See your tax advisor or accountant on how to set up this plan.

Insurance is a great place to start to lower your monthly bills. We hope that this will help you analyze your next quote. Please refer to our recommended source for insurance quotes of all types.

Until Death Do Us Part

Okay, I am contacted and asked to write an article about burial insurance. The first thing that goes through my mind is: Are they sure they want me to write this one? Those who know me underst and that I find the humor in almost everything I encounter. It is something that is as innate in me as breathing. Most people don’t find death funny at all. Neither do I. I find the humor in the things that surround situations that involve death.

Thinking about death and insurance sort of brings up one of the most consistent and enigmatic thoughts that plague me on a daily basis. Those of you that know me, know things are about to get a little crazy. My thoughts are not always the most coherent and fluid. So, it’s up to you to keep up.

I often wonder about the gravity that rests on newlyweds as they began their dissention from honeymoon bliss into the real world of matrimony. Okay, you are wondering how I got from death to marriage; if you have to ask… Back to the gravity of eternally connected to another. For you to truly grasp this, you married couples are going to have to be honest with yourselves, and you single people, oh well. There comes a point after all of the festivities and the honeymoon trip, that you wake up a look at that person and realize that you are tied to that person for the rest of your life. For some it is five years later, others 10 years later, and there are some who realize it the very next day.

Now we know in America, where the divorce rate is over 50 percent, that the definition of the term life partner is somewhat skewed, but for the sake of argument, let’s just say until death do us part actually has true significance. This means one morning you will wake up and realize that this is it. You are with this person for life.

I’m at this wedding and I am watching the groom. If you are at a wedding and you are getting bored, just watch the groom. This guy is sweating bullets. I am not quite sure what makes grooms so tense during weddings, but all I know is if I keep my eye on the groom long enough, he is going to do something significant to reveal his anxiety, and if I am really lucky, he is going to pass out. You would think that someone would tell him not to lock his knees, oh well. His loss is my gain.

Anyway, I am sitting at this wedding and I rating how long it will be before the premiums on their life insurance or burial insurance is actually put to use. Will she drive him to suicide? Will he simply get sick of her nagging exercise the “death do us part” clause in the nuptials? Personally, I don’t know if I want someone tied to me where the only option is death. I could very easily drive someone to the point of snuffing my light out. The thing is that no matter how many times I go to these weddings and how many evaluations I make I find that death has its own way of ringing the bell of finality in marriage. The key is to be prepared. The cost of a burial policy is minimal when considering the comfort that the benefit will bring one day.

You don’t get to choose when, but you have time to begin preparation.

Paying too much for insurance? At least you’re not paying for these policies

For many California residents, the multiple forms of insurance are an inescapable cost of living. According to USA Today, the Golden State has the seventh-highest annual car insurance rates ($1,819) in the country, and Covered California announced this past May that the average cost of a st andard health insurance plan on the state’s health insurance exchange will be between $3,648 and $3,852 a year. That doesn’t even include the monthly costs of life insurance and homeowners or renters insurance.

If it feels like you’re spending too much on insurance, one way to look at things is that at least you don’t have to pay the premiums that many celebrities have shelled out to protect some of their prized assets. “It’s Not Unusual” singer Tom Jones saw nothing unusual in taking out a $7 million insurance policy on his chest hair, rock b and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons once had his famous tongue insured for $1 million and singer-songwriter Dolly Parton has $300,000 insurance policy on each of her, well, you get the idea.

Even if you are not the owner of a world famous body part, you might feel better about not shelling out the additional chunk of change for these five rather unusual policies that others have paid for:

  1. Alien Abduction insurance — A woman in the Southern California city of Santee garnered some attention in May when she photographed what appeared to be a UFO hovering behind a historical barn, but is that enough to compel people to seek a policy in the event they encounter extra-terrestrials? The United Kingdom’s Telegraph reported that more than 37,000 people have actually bought such policies, with one of the most famous purchasers being actress Shirley MacLaine.
  2. Supernatural attacks — Whether you’ve read “Twilight” one too many times or have been regularly viewing “The Walking Dead,” British insurance giant Lloyd’s of London does actually offer policies for those who are concerned about vampire, zombie or werewolf attacks.
  3. Asteroid/Meteor insurance — Los Angeles residents reported seeing the bright light of a meteor streak across the Southern California sky this past February. While this might seem like a more plausible policy to take out than some of the others listed here, an object from outer space that l ands on your home would usually be classified just the same as common falling objects here on Earth, like trees. So chances are good that your home is already insured for this type of disaster.
  4. Immaculate Conception insurance — One British company provided a policy for women seeking insurance in the event that they suddenly found themselves pregnant with the son of God. BBC News reported in 2006 that three sisters had been renewing the policy since 2000 before the company canceled it because of complaints.
  5. Improbable insurance — If you are a couple preparing for the birth of your first child, this type of insurance can help with additional costs in the event that the mother has twins, triplets or even more than what you were expecting. In one case, an insured couple actually collected on the policy when the mother gave birth to twins—twice.

Cherry-Flavored SUV

Working as an insurance agent in Los Angeles, one gets to see some pretty crazy stuff. Like the time I got called out after a guy drove a car into his pool in Malibu; I had to assess both his vehicle and his property for damage. Then there was the night some girl went crazy and knocked the side mirrors off her boyfriend’s truck before breaking out his windshield with a baseball bat; that girl had one wicked swing.

My all-time favorite though was the morning I went out to assess an SUV that had supposedly been involved in some sort of flood. Of course I was immediately suspicious as Southern California isn’t exactly prone to that issue but off I went with my clipboard and camera in tow to follow-up on the claim. I pulled up next to this incredible three-story house, walked up the huge curving driveway and knocked on the door. After a minute, a blond in her mid-forties wearing way too much makeup pulls open the door and flashes me this perfect, bleached smile.

“You must be the insurance man,” she gushed.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “I’m here about your SUV.”

“It’s such a mess!” she exclaimed as she stepped outside. “It was just a terrible flood!”

She clicked the garage remote as she spoke and I waited as the door slowly rolled up to reveal a very innocent looking white SUV. From the outside, everything appeared to be perfectly normal. Then she opened the tailgate. Though it was obvious that the upholstery in the car had once been white, it was now tinted with a very vibrant cherry stain. She stepped out of the way, shaking her head at the damage and I moved in for a closer look. It took only an instant to see that the unusual reddish color had not only soaked through the back part of the car, but extended all the way up to the front as well; it had even dyed the creases of the leather seats. I went through the entire car but other than a faint cherry-scented odor and the new interior color, I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

“You said this happened in a flood?” I asked as I returned to the owner.

“Yes, it was awful!” she exclaimed.

I cleared my throat. “Exactly what kind of flood was it? We haven’t had any rain…” I began but then trailed off. There wasn’t any such thing as cherry-colored rain anyway.

“Oh it wasn’t that kind of a flood,” she explained, with a shake of her head.

“Well, what kind of a flood was it then?” I pressed when she didn’t go on.

“It was punch-mix.”

“Pardon me?” I asked after a moment of silent shock.

“Punch mix,” she repeated as if I was hard of hearing. “Cherry-flavored punch mix.”

“How did cherry punch mix flood your car?” I asked after another minute of surprise.

“It’s what was in the giant inflatable pool that popped. I was parked right next to it.”

I stared down at my clipboard, realizing that I was in for a very long story.

“Ask a stupid question…,” I muttered to myself.

The Evolution of Assisted Living/Residential Care

Pioneering institutions across the country are emphasizing the “living” in assisted living/residential care facilities and focusing on personalized accommodations and services as they pursue the goal of greater client satisfaction. Common assisted living/residential care services may include such amenities as 24-hour emergency response services, three daily meals, personal care, transportation, housekeeping, and laundry services. However, an increasing number of assisted living/residential care facilities also aim to provide seniors with a living situation that caters to their active lifestyles. Adopting the motto “no two people are exactly alike,” they are offering an ever-increasing variety of choices in accommodations, activities, and personalized services.

Residential Options

Although assisted living/residential care facilities originated in private organization-based homes, today, the emergence of chain companies allows clients to choose a facility from a range of locations while being offered a consistent level of service. These facilities offer prospective residents the choice of buying or renting apartments or villas, with extra options of reserving guest suites and seasonal rentals. In addition, clients may select the type and size of accommodation—some offer spacious layouts that may include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room, dining room, den, and deck.

Diverse Services

Apart from the individualized choice of residence, assisted living/residential care communities are focusing on independence and freedom by offering a diverse roster of activities and services. Residents are encouraged to remain physically active through swimming, yoga, and other fitness classes, and they are also offered a range of educational programs that may include courses in computers, investing, nutrition, or bird watching. Entertainment is often provided on-site with movies, concerts, and even concierge services.

In terms of health care, many facilities offer assistance with daily activities, as required, in order to enhance independence as much as possible. The resident can choose the level of care that he or she may need, with the option of adding more services. An increasing number of institutions embrace the concept of “aging in place,” providing additional medical services as the client ages and requires. As an example, basic help with medications and dressing are common services; however, if the client discovers he or she needs more skilled and personalized attention due to a medical condition, he or she may have the option of moving to the nursing wing of the residence. Some facilities even offer medical and check-in services through “at home” assisted living/residential care.

Today’s seniors are more active and healthier than ever before. As our population ages, the need and desire for more personalized services will increase. Changes in assisted living/residential care facilities that promote an active and independent lifestyle are a positive indicator of the future of senior health care.

Copies of Choosing An Assisted Living Facility is one of a series of Since You Care guides for caregivers produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in cooperation with the National Alliance for Caregiving. Single copies are available free to the public.

Copyright © 2010 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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This article appears courtesy of Karl Susman. Karl Susman is a representative of the New Engl and Life Insurance Company. He focuses on meeting the individual insurance and financial services needs of people on the West Coast. You can reach Karl at the office at (424) 785-4337. New Engl and Life Insurance Company, 501 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116