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2013-03-14 15.27.16It’s been a while since I’ve posted about food stuff. Probably a sign I’ve been too focused on work.

But after a long love affair with green juices, I’ve added green smoothies to the mix and I’m OBSESSED. Like a junkie needing their crack, I HAVE to have some form of green smoothie every day. My reason for sharing? I feel it’s a really good way to get those greens in and even more so for those who don’t love ’em like I do. Why? Because you can sweeten your concoctions up with fruit and not even notice their green ingredients. So if you’re reading this and have veggie haters in your life, keep reading because this is a tried and true trick for sneaking in those vital greens.

Trick #1: Spinach. You can throw gobs of the stuff into any smoothie and never know it’s there. A great way to get some raw greens down and it doesn’t change the flavor a bit.

My personal favorite:
1 cup frozen cherries
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/2 frozen banana (optional)
1 TB chia seeds
A few ice cubes
Coconut water to your liking
Fill the rest of the blender with fresh organic spinach
BLEND

Trick #2: Kale. Not quite as sneaky as the spinach though. This one you can taste and see. Very green. It’s definitely for those with a greater affinity for eating green things. But for newcomers to the kale revolution, this is a winner. Great way to get it down in bulk.

Here’s my reco:
8-10 ice cubes
3/4 cup fresh pineapple
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
Coconut water to your liking
Fill the rest of the blender with fresh organic kale (lacinto for me)
BLEND

This one looks like a Shamrock Shake when all is said and done, so in honor of that, HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!! Not once in my days of drinking green beer did I ever think I’d celebrate with a green smoothie. Whatever. Stranger things have happened.

So yeah, not exactly insurance nonsense, but it’s good to venture away from it once in a while. Otherwise you might think we’re boring or something. And green smoothies certainly change that…

Cheers!

The Tax Man Cometh
07Mar
2013

Tax law is confusing. Unless you’re in the business of waxing poetic on IRS code, it’s like reading Mandarin. And just when you think you’ve figured out how to work with current tax laws, they change. My favorites are the ones they say are “permanent”…until they change them.

Anyhow, our trusted friends at Nationwide have put together a nice summary of what’s changing without too much financial tax nerd speak. I’m not sure I’d classify it as bedtime reading, but if that’s your only opportunity, it’ll have to do. But definitely not if you have a devices curfew. Those are serious for the insomniacs in the crowd.

NationwideTaxClient2Pager
NationwideTaxClient2Pager2

KeyboardBy: Josh Anish, Senior Writer at Kabbage, where small businesses get funding quickly

Owning and operating a small business has never been easy and finding creative ways to market your business and its products only adds to your growing list of things to do. The ever-increasing importance of search engines and social platforms has forced small business owners to blend traditional web marketing strategies with more innovative techniques.

Here are some tips from the experts at Kabbage about marketing your small business on the web.

Hire someone smart to optimize your websites for search engines

In the past, small business owners depended on word of mouth or a print copy of the Yellow Pages to attract potential new customers, but Google and Bing are quickly becoming the go-to way for consumers to find local businesses. According to a 2011 Burke survey, 76 percent of respondents used search engines in the past year to find a local businesses; earning a spot on the first page for your company’s website can result in substantial increases in traffic. Full-service SEO isn’t a difficult undertaking for those who understand what they’re doing, so if you don’t know anything about optimizing your website for search engines, invest in someone who does and the new business might come faster than you expect.

Make content your top priority

The notion has grown so common it has become cliché but content truly is king when it comes to effectively marketing your business on the web. Not only does excellent content have residual SEO benefit, but it will also help potential online customers feel engaged and informed; this sense of empowerment can lead to readers sharing your articles on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This content should include everything from clever tag lines for your services to in-depth information about what you are offering and why potential customers need it. Maintaining an active and informative blog may be the most important piece of this. Blogs can have SEO benefits, they can help customers learn something, and if you actively engage with customers who have questions, they can be a great way for customers to feel as if they are receiving the personal attention every consumer desires.

Make good use of the free online business directories

This may seem like a no-brainer but it is an important marketing step nonetheless. Directories like Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Yahoo! Local and Google Local Business Center are just a few of the online business directories that inquiring consumers use to find the products they need. A 2010 consumer tracking study from BIA/Kelsey reported that nearly 97 percent of consumers use online media to search for local businesses and products and you better believe these business directories are a big portion of that online media. This doesn’t mean you should start eliciting phony reviews to pump up the reputation of your business, but if you list your business and provide excellent customer service, your online reputation will build itself. If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider the fact that you have nothing to lose. These directories get tons of traffic every day and they are free to join, so even if the directories only result in one or two new customers per month, you are still getting a great return on your investment.

Use in-depth analytics to understand your customers, Internet users, and competitors better

Data on the performance of your website, the return of investment on your blogging and social media efforts, and the success of your SEO investment will help you eliminate inefficiency in your business if you use them correctly. Most small business owners are so busy juggling tasks they can often find themselves investing in something that isn’t really affecting traffic, sales, and customer conversion. Analytics will give small business owners detailed insight into the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and can be easy to use if you are willing to spend the time to learn how to use the available analytics tools. Limited budgets and bandwidth mean that small business owners can’t afford to prioritize poorly and the best way to ensure they are prioritizing effectively is to follow their marketing tactics closely with a combination of web and marketing analytics. We recommend first getting acquainted with a Google Analytics account and moving on from there, if need be, to track revenue numbers. Google Analytics is famously awesome at reporting your traffic data, and infamously bad at tracking revenue.

Life insurance is about love. If you love someone, and they depend on you, and that dependency would be a problem if you were gone, you need life insurance. In honor of Valentines Day, we’re posting this message from the Life Foundation. The Life Foundation is a non profit dedicated to educating people on the values of life insurance. Their website is a fantastic resource. Just come back to us when you’re done checking it out ;)

LIFE_Things_We_Do_2013

 

Vote For Us!!
08Feb
2013

YourVoteCountsButtonPretty please? Sugar and spice and everything nice? Oh wait, wrong cliche. Or fairy tale. Or something.

We are honored and excited to have been nominated for Top Personal Finance Blog of 2012. Being listed among some of the best in the financial blogging business and in our first year of business, we can only dream of being at the top of this list. OR, we can reach far and wide to get as many votes as possible.

And the latter just sounds way more fun.

We’ll love you forever if you take just a few seconds to head on over to One Smart Dollar and vote for us.

http://www.onesmartdollar.com/top-personal-finance-blogs-of-2012/

PPPPPPPLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEAAAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEE.

8 q

I’m constantly getting questions about no exam life insurance. Let’s face it, no one wakes up in the morning saying, “if only I could have an insurance physical today.”  Or maybe there’s something in their medical records that makes them nervous.

These same people might get on the internet and find a site, see an ad for no exam insurance. They get a quote, apply, and never look back. AND WASTE A LOT OF MONEY.

A client was pimpin’ me the other day about this very thing, telling me she could do better with a no exam policy and not have to hassle with all that needles and samples nonsense. I was able to guide her in the right direction, take the exam, and get underwritten.

This morning, I came across an ad for no exam life insurance as I was doing my morning reading. Albeit from one of the best carriers out there. In the name of confirming what I had sold her, I entered the client’s information and out came this quote:

NYLNoExamPremium

Doesn’t seem too crazy now does it? It does when you look at what the client walked away with after full underwriting. The quote above is for $100,000 in coverage that lasts to age 80 for $48.75 per month. What we placed for this client was $500,000 in coverage for 10 years for $18.60 per month.

The reality is, if the client had jumped the gun and gone with the no exam policy, she would have been inadequately covered. What she really needed was a $500,000 for 10 years to cover the needs of her family should her income be lost.

Summary: she would have ended up with too little insurance for too much premium. Who wants that? Read carefully and do your research. There’s often more to it than meets the eye.

Bye for now.

M

8 q

We were all hot and bothered this morning to spend the holiday creating the greatest life insurance infographic ever. And then we found this. While we wholeheartedly want you to stay on our site, use our tools, and buy from us, if somebody’s got something we don’t have by all means use it. Just come back when you’re done (picture us with big pleading smiles on our faces).

Why reinvent the wheel?

Click image to see a larger version
How much do you know about Life Insurance
How Much Do You Know About Life Insurance via H&R Block

imageIt can be a fun play on words for us life insurance types, but wife insurance is serious business.

I’m not getting into the stay at home mom vs. career mom debate, and please hold those thoughts to yourself. And I’m not saying wives are more important than single mothers, because I’m going to include mothers of all kind in my #insuremomtoo campaign. My plight is not about these age old ridiculous arguments and judgements. It’s about protecting families, whatever structure and circumstance they have and pointing out that there is a need to insure mothers. Somewhere along the line we’ve discounted that need.

I hear it all the time when I’m talking to people about life insurance. The wife calls our office to research policy options for herself. I return the call and the husband answers. When he asks what the call’s about and I say “life insurance” it’s always the same response: “Oh no, she didn’t mean for her. She must have been calling about my policy.” Whether she stays at home or works, this is always the conversation.

Today, 61% of mothers work outside of the home, yet most families solely rely on the husbands life insurance policy for protection of their family. Simultaneously, far too many families undervalue the financial impact of a stay at home mother’s work, having little or no life insurance in place to protect that value.

The gap in coverage levels between husbands and wives is so extreme we really need to consider it a concept all to its own. Wife insurance. An Australian insurance company has put together a very tongue-in-cheek website using the term. Depending on your sense of humor you may think it funny. But they’re in Australia and we need to take care of the issue here in the US.

In February we kick off a three month campaign focused on educating families on the life insurance needs of women. All women. For pennies on the dollar we can reduce these risks and sleep better at night. I promise.

Reasons(Back in October, we stopped by the CoverHound blog with our top 10 reasons to review your life insurance…)

AKA…leave me alone creepy life insurance agent.

You may not hear it all the time. But I do.

And as good as my intentions are when I say, “when’s the last time you reviewed it?” the person I’m talking to ducks and dodges, squirms even.

“I have life insurance. Thank you.”

Somehow, we’ve come to believe that life insurance is a static fixed object and once you’ve handled it, you’re done. WRONG. Some of this belief is myth, some avoidance behavior. More of the latter most honestly. Who wants to talk about death and provide “samples.” Did someone say needles? Ick.

But here’s the deal…products change, you change, your life changes. What worked for you last year may not be working for you this year. And if you don’t take a look at it, you’ll never know. Don’t ask don’t tell was repealed last year, so let’s not hang on to it when it comes to life insurance.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should take a look at whatcha got:

1) You may have too much and reducing the amount you have can save you money.

2) You may have too little and you’re putting those who count on you at risk.

3) You might be able to get the same amount for less because products have gotten cheaper since you purchased.

4) You might be able to get more for the same amount if that’s what you need.

5) If you were rated for a health concern that’s gotten better you can get your current policy rerated or buy a new one…both options will save you money (PS…health stuff for life insurance is like accidents and tickets for car insurance. The longer it’s been, the cheaper your rates might be).

6) If you’ve had changes occur in your life and haven’t adjusted your coverage you might be exposed where you don’t want to be.

7) The type of product you’re in may not be suitable for where you are in your lifespan.

8) If you own a policy with cash value you can move that cash tax free to a new policy that can save you money or increase your coverage amount.

9) Your need for life insurance may have expired before you did and you can dump it.

10) You might just have the perfect coverage and you can move on like a happy little bee.

Our suggestion? Review it annually (no matter what’s going on in your life) with your insurance advisor or an independent broker who can compare your coverage to all the carriers available and give you an unbiased review.

Want to check rates your self? Head on over to our Resources page and pull some quotes. Best part is it’s free and you won’t have some annoying life insurance guy breathing down your neck (unless you’re into that sort of thing of course).

Last but not least, you can always call us. We’ll try not to be too creepy.

Monday, Monday…

I continue to hear people say they can’t afford life insurance. When they haven’t even looked into it. Term life rates are so low right now, it’s my mission in life to make sure those who need it have at least SOMETHING.

At $7 a month, EVERYONE should  have a policy. Every 35 year old, that is. But keep looking down the chart. STILL affordable.

Just take a look at these rates:

 

AGE

MALE

FEMALE

$100,000 Death Benefit

35

$7.27

$7.01

40

  8.04

7.87

45

10.29

9.34

50

13.23

11.50

55

18.94

15.66

60

29.06

20.85

$250,000 Death Benefit

35

$10.06

$9.08

40

12.02

11.25

45

17.80

14.92

50

25.37

20.33

55

40.05

30.71

60

66.13

43.68

 

While these term life rates are based on the best possible underwriting decision for 10 year term insurance, they are representative of just how little it can take to protect your family.

We’re here to help.

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