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Many ups and downs to consider before downsizing

Among retirees who move, half of them choose smaller digs, finds a new study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave. Less home and yard work, cost cutting and accessing their home equity were the chief reasons for the move.

The rise in real estate values have made the payoff even bigger, say experts at Home equity, for many baby boomers, far exceeds the value of their 401(k) or IRA.

* Go or stay? Swapping a home in a cold city for a condo in a warm climate should save on your retirement funds. But it takes due diligence to calculate the monthly savings. Moving alone will cost about 10 percent of the price of your old place.
Jan Cullinane, author of The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, says one couple saved on property taxes and heating but their homeowners insurance was far more expensive.

* Single-family or condo? You’ll save on moving expenses by staying in your present area and by having a place with fewer bedrooms. Condos cost less than single-family homes, but you’ll pay for shared maintenance and homeowners association fees, which may cover water and yard work. These costs are usually higher than buyers expect.

* Buy or rent? Sometimes renting is better than buying, especially if you want to stay closer to your kids. But the kids themselves might move in a few years. Don’t buy unless you want to be there for five years or more.
Instead of buying a home, you might rather put the proceeds of your home sale into your investment portfolio.

* Now or later? Now is better than later. You’re likely better equipped for the physical and emotional stress of a move in your sixties than in your eighties.

Bicycle injuries in the 45+ group have increased dramatically since 1998

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed injury data for adult cyclists using a sample of about 100 hospital emergency rooms.

They found that as cycling became more popular, the number of serious injuries has increased. In particular, the study found a disproportionate rise in injuries among people over 45, who accounted for 23 percent of reported injuries in 1998.

The most recent, figures, however, now show 42 percent. And, according to the University of California, Berkeley, about two-thirds of cycling injuries requiring hospital admission occur in people over 45. Most fatalities occurred in men.

Even if you’re an experienced rider, it’s a good idea to review these safety tips from the AAA:

1. Wear your helmet to reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent.
2. Keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground.
3. Don’t carry a rider. It puts you and your passenger at greater risk.
4. Plan ahead when riding with a group. Agree on the route and what you’ll do if separated by traffic.
5. Check local bike laws if riding in an unfamiliar place. Avoid busy roads and peak traffic times.
6. Before riding at night, ask someone to check your visibility to motorists.
7. Maintain your bicycle. Keep chains clean and lubricated. Periodically inspect the brake pads.
8. Don’t drink and ride.

Companies have programs that let them hire new graduates now, let them start work later

Businesses large and small are seeking workers who can adapt to rapid technology changes or strategic shifts. Companies are realizing they should recruit for innate abilities, or attitudes such as high motivation, rather than skills needed for a particular job.
Intuit, which brings on about 200 new college grads annually, started program hiring some three years ago. Entry-level hires are locked in more quickly since recruiters arrive on campus armed with approval to make hires on the spot.
A candidate who accepts the hiring offer sets in motion a complex, matchmaking process that includes salary discussions. Each new hire is assigned to a recruiter who coordinates a series of matching conversations between the hire and various managers.
The conversations are designed to align the hire’s interests and talents with an available position, and with teams, they help with campus recruiting to get first choices on new hires.
Everette Fortner, a head career advisor at the University of Virginia, told The Wall Street Journal that some students balk at nonspecific offers. It took one five months to accept a full-time job.
Zappos currently hires the old-fashioned way, but that won’t be for much longer. Beginning next year, the company is considering ways to allow hires to carve out their own roles.

The Duration of Yellow Lights is Unpredictable

stoplightTraffic engineers in the United States have never agreed on how to time yellow lights so the interval between green and red is just right.
If it’s too short, drivers may run the red light by mistake. If it’s too long, they may intentionally risk driving through the intersection.
In the past, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has tried to come up with a formula, but they couldn’t get enough support from their 15,000-plus members. That was 30 years ago, but they’re trying to create a standard again. Their findings might come before the board late this year at the earliest.
The current proposal relies on four factors: determining how long the yellow should last; vehicle approach speed; driver perception-reaction time; and the deceleration rate and grade of the road. Because no studies are available on these factors, the information they use will be approximations.
Timothy Gates, an engineering professor at Michigan State University and co-author of an ITE report, says it’s a matter of validating appropriate input values.
“If the formula suggests you need 4.5 seconds, and if you provide drivers with 3 seconds, you’re putting drivers into a case where they either have to stop abruptly or proceed through and run the risk of running the red light,” Gates reported recently in The Wall Street Journal.

Super Bowl 50 Madness

50 super bowlSuper Bowl Sunday is an unofficial American holiday. Last year, about 114-million viewers tuned into the game on NBC. Over 118-million took in Katy Perry’s half-time performance, making it the most-watched broadcast in the history of U.S. television.

On February 7, 2016, even non-football fanatics will be among the 68,500 tickets holders in Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA, home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hundreds will see the game from the stadium’s luxury suites, and millions will tune in on CBS’ broadcast with fans of all ages.

NBC is so confident of its enormous audience, the price for a 30-second ad has gone up 11 percent to $5 million. People often tune in to see the ads.

For the first time ever, the Bowl game is branded with the Arabic numeral 50, rather than Roman numerals. The franchise and every spectator is on the 50 yard line celebrating the fiftieth game. Pepsi, sponsor of the already anticipated halftime spectacular, says the On the Fifty theme will honor the past, recognize the present and look forward to the next 50 years.

Legendary players and coaches of winning games will join popular music artists to ensure a thrilling, star-studded event sure to make history of its own. The stage is the largest in the world. When Coldplay was confirmed as the headliner, Chris Martin, the Grammy award-wining British rock band’s lead singer, said the thought of performing on it made him nervous, but the privilege was the “greatest moment in our band’s life.” Bruno Mars and a host of other stars will join Coldplay on stage.

Stadium security will be strict and intensified.

5 Types of Business Insurance and Why You Need Them

By Karen Johnson
Article Source:


No matter the size or nature of your business, one thing that remains the same is the need for business insurance. There are many different aspects of your business that you’ll want to take into consideration when looking for new business insurance – or reviewing your current insurance coverage. Since every business is different, each one will have different insurance requirements. For example, a company that produces physical goods may need different insurance than a company which offers services. In either scenario, there are some similarities, and listed here are a few types of insurance that all businesses should consider.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance – for your employees

Workers’ Comp insurance is required by law in almost every state. It can provide coverage for medical costs and a portion of lost wages for an employee who becomes injured or ill on the job. Typically, this type of insurance only covers injuries or illness that occur on the job site – for example, if an employee slips and falls on a wet floor.

Since the laws regarding Workers’ Comp can be different depending on where your company is located, it’s important to work with an insurance professional to make sure you’re getting the coverage that’s required, as well as what you need for your particular business.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance is designed to protect you and your business from a variety of claims, including accidents, injuries, or claims of negligence. This type of insurance can help pay for things like property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, legal costs, and faulty products. No one expects to get sued, but the reality is that it’s always a possibility. You don’t want to leave your business open to these types of situations, and the broader the protection, the better.

Professional Liability Insurance – “Errors and Omissions” coverage

Professional Liability Insurance can also be known as “Errors and Omissions Insurance,” or “Malpractice Insurance.” It protects you from lawsuits that allege negligence in providing professional services, providing shoddy work, or making mistakes or omissions. This type of insurance is particularly important if you have a service-based business, but can also be necessary for other types of businesses as well. Mistakes happen – so adequate Professional Liability Insurance can be helpful, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Property Insurance

The definition of “property” is broad, and can mean different things to different types of businesses. That’s why it’s important to make sure you carry adequate Commercial Property Insurance. Without this type of insurance, most small businesses wouldn’t be able to replace their equipment should something happen to cause damage or destruction. Property covered by this type of insurance can include buildings, computers, inventory, supplies and equipment. There are two types of Property Insurance: “all-risk” policies cover just about everything, and is a good way to avoid duplication or overlap of coverage, as well as gaps in trying to cover your liabilities. “Peril-specific” policies, or “named-peril” coverage applies only to particular perils that are specifically named in the policy. They’re usually needed when there is a high risk in a very particular area.

Life Insurance / Key Executive Insurance – protection and benefit

Offering life insurance for employees can be a valuable benefit when trying to attract high-quality employees. A business can even offer additional coverage for executives. These employees are deemed to be crucial to the running and success of the business, and may sometimes require additional insurance, above and beyond what the normal employee benefits provide. This can be another benefit in attracting top talent.

A business can also offer special “Key Person” policies for employees without whom the business could not function. Key Person Insurance protects against a key employee’s unexpected death – often times the benefit amount equals the expected revenue loss and costs required to find and train a suitable replacement. The business pays the premiums, and the insurance is considered a business asset.

It’s possible to combine some of these basic coverages as a package policy, often referred to as a Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP. Many insurance companies bundle certain coverages, and this can save you money, as long as you make sure you get the proper type of coverage.

Even if you feel you have adequate business insurance coverage that meets all your current needs, it’s still advisable to review all your coverage on an annual basis, to make sure that your coverage continues to provide everything that you need. This is particularly important if you or your business have experienced any major changes, such as change in family status, or a significant increase or decrease in business activity. Additionally, be sure to work with a reputable, licensed insurance agent or broker, who has knowledge regarding business like yours.

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