Lloyd’s of London Today
Moneyed, historied, and thoroughly British, Lloyd’s of London is an insurance market associated with the cooler aspects of insurance: insuring for alien abductions, priceless works of art, and celebrity likenesses, as well as dispatching insurance investigators that would give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. Needless to say, Lloyd’s of London is a colorful enterprise.
Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House and the Espresso Machine
Lloyd’s gets its name from Edward Lloyd, who began a coffee house in 1686. During the heyday of maritime enterprise, merchants and other businessmen held their business meetings at Lloyd’s and other coffee houses--proving that the world does run on coffee. Though only traces of the coffeehouse exist today, Llody’s of London is currently housed in a building known as the Espresso Machine.
This corporate building features a history exhibit, a giant bell wrung when there’s big news, an important meeting room from the 18th century, and all the typical insurance office accoutrements.
And yes, they still serve coffee.
Lloyd’s has no duplicate. There’s only one like it on planet Earth. It’s the reason it garners such international intrigue. What is is NOT is an actual insurance company. As stated before, Lloyd’s is an insurance market; they arrange unique insurance policies for uncommon and/or thorny risks.
So, what kinds of thorny, uncommon risks?
Lloyd’s Most Expensive, Impossible, and Out-of-Left Field Requests
When nobody else would dare, Lloyd’s of London will. Ever wonder who would cover for something as cosmic as a space satellite or as nebulous as destruction via Loch Ness monster? Look no further. Below is just a sample of what Lloyd’s underwriters have been willing to insure:
Syndicates and Investigations: Just Another Day at the Office
Because Lloyd’s of London is not a traditional insurance company, members join syndicates to insure risks. Oftentimes, they are creating brand new syndicates for brand new risks. According to Lloyd’s official website, “ Much of Lloyd's business works by subscription, where more than one syndicate takes a share of the same risk.”
But expensive, high-risk policies and claims are also a breeding ground for scandal. Lloyd’s of London employs highly skilled insurance investigators to look into suspicious claims and untimely deaths.
The set-up has proved intriguing enough that quite a few fictional detective series have used insurance investigations as the set-up for the perfect crime. Below are two more colorful examples of fictional I.I.’s:
Johnny Dollar - A fictional detective with a radio series of the same name, he investigated snaky claims and insurance fraud during the heyday of the radio drama--running for 811 episodes over the span of 12 years, from 1949 to 1962.
Master Keaton - A popular Japanese comic book series that followed an absent-minded professor with hidden talents: part archaeology professor, part insurance investigator, part S.I.S. vet, with a mental handbook for surviving just about any situation you can think of. Author Naoki Urusawa inked his erudite adventures from 1988 to 1994--and the series proved so popular it got a limited time sequel that ran from 2012 to 2014.
Proving that even insurance has a colorful side!
We know what you’re NOT looking for: another list of you-should-eat-this and you-should-avoid-that. Today’s little guide is still connected to health benefits, yes, but we think you’ll like our colorful advice.
Because around here we believe in tasting rainbows, choosing butter, and simply buying better versions of the foods you already eat.
Let’s jump into it.
Eat the Rainbow
Tip. #1. Think less about your calorie intake and more about your color intake.
There’s a reason our world comes with such a wide variety of shapes and colors when it comes to our food--chemically speaking, those colorful fruits, veggies, and spices are very good for us.
We can break down our first five simple grocery upgrades with our pal Roy G. Biv:
Red Foods: Tomatoes, Strawberries, Cherries, Beets, Red Bell Peppers, Watermelon
Orange Foods: Carrots, Pumpkins, Apricots, Sweet Potatoes, Oranges (Of Course)
Yellow Foods: Bananas, Lemons, Yellow Peppers, Mangoes, Squash
Green Foods: Spinach, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans, Asparagus, Peas, Zucchini
Blue + Purple Foods: Blueberries, Eggplant, Purple Cabbage, Plums, Beni-imo
The Old Switcheroo
Tip #2. Don’t throw it out--get a better version of it!
There’s more to life than just plain old fruits and vegetables. What about the spices, oils, flavoring, thickenings, and so on and so forth that help make our meals delicious? Here’s ten upgrades for items you already buy on the weekly:
And finally, back to the Produce Aisle:
The Best Time To Hit The Grocery Store
Tip #3. Don’t fight the crowd!
Now, when’s the best day and time to head out and stock up on your new grocery list?
According to research, Wednesdays mornings are the least crowded time to head to the grocery. Monday-Thursday are generally better than Friday-Sunday, and as long as you get there before mid-afternoon you’ll avoid much of the crush.
As an added warning, the busiest time to head to the grocery is Saturday--and it really doesn’t matter what time you get there. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
You know, one of the big reasons we here at HBN like insurance so much is because of this simple fact:
Insurance is one of those few one-time decisions that you don’t have to keep worrying about after you’ve made it.
Unlike daily to-dos, insurance is pretty much a cut-and-dried deal.
But today’s blog isn’t about insurance.
Today’s blog is about you, your brain, and your productivity.
We’ll skip the motivational posters and get straight to the good stuff: the hidden ingredient in the recipe for success.
Is it hustle, and muscle, and hunger, and hope? Is it a graduate degree and the best combination of life insurance with health insurance supplements and an IRA and a bullet-proof budget?
You already know the answer is No, or you wouldn’t have clicked on a blog with the words “Do Nothing” in the title.
So, in the Age of Information, how do we get by with "doing nothing" when the world is claiming threats of rat races, wunderkinds, and information overload?
Well, enough warm-up, here’s the scoop on productivity and success and the part that everybody is afraid to talk about: taking and giving actual, physical breaks.
What Writers, Programmers, and A Certain Genius Can Tell You About Taking It Easy
In his classic Code Complete, programmer Steve McConnell made this one of his key points: “the characteristics that matter most [for a programmer] are humility, curiosity, intellectual honesty, creativity and discipline, and enlightened laziness.”
He went on further to say, “Surprisingly, raw intelligence, experience, persistence, and guts hurt as much as they help.”
Pursuing equally cerebral work, creative writers make much the same claims. Children’s author Madeleine L’Engle once stated that what often looked like sitting and doing nothing was a form of writing: her thinking was as much a part of her craft as her physically pressing keys on her typewriter. She also described other times when her ego took over and she wrote in a frenzy; only to throw out her work the next morning, having realized it was nothing like what her tired brain thought it was the day before.
Extra time = more work done. Unfortunately, that equation isn’t universally true. In fact, it’s often extra time = extra work to do. One study showed that in comparative industries, German companies whose employees worked normal 40-hour weeks delivered the same in terms of productivity and quality as did their Japanese counterparts--whose were putting in 80-hour weeks on average.
There seems to be a threshold for quality--and not only with mental pursuits.
Do you want a sleep-deprived but gutsy pilot to be manning your red-eye flight? Do you want an exhausted but dutiful specialist to come in from an all-night emergency to perform an eight-hour open heart surgery on a loved one?
And how many of us have experienced periods of startling productivity, followed by complete burn-out? We often act as though we’re weighing buckets of sweat--if I sweat more than the next guy, I’ll get to my goal twice as fast, or make twice as much, or be twice as happy.
Take a page from Albert Einstein.
Einstein slept more than 1.5 times the amount of today’s average American. While we clock in a little less than 7 hours, Einstein made a habit of about 10 hours a day.
See, our brains never really turn off. Instead, it clocks in at different shifts. While we snooze, our brain has the ability to enter into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, a state in which we dream. During the night, we’re treated to three different qualities of sleep: REM, deep sleep, and light sleep. Non-REM sleep is nothing to sneeze at either. In non-REM sleep, your brain activates ‘spindle events,' for one.
In each different phase of sleep, our brain performs different functions. Garbage collection, memory retention, sensory input. Spindle events, to put this metaphorically, put the ‘bokeh’ effect on external information while you sleep--blurring it out, keeping it from affecting your ability to stay asleep. According to neuroscientist Steven Fogel, in his interview with the BBC, “those who have more spindle events tend to have greater ‘fluid intelligence’ --the ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns – the kind Einstein had in spades.”
The real test for whether our work is actually getting us anywhere is this: have you done the same thing in ten short bursts and gotten nowhere, despite the elbow grease, or could you have taken longer each time, and gotten it done in less attempts?
Sure, we can overthink, overplan, and oversleep. But more often than not, we’re guilty of overworking. And do we really have any more to show for it?
Just remember--before the Industrial Revolution, everyone from princes to paupers, laborers to housewives made a habit of the Great Afternoon Nap.
“Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!”
The above quote has been attributed to just about everybody--from presidents to actors--but that’s probably more telling than if we had the original speaker’s name. Because the point is, this advice is universal across all walks of life and types of work.
Doing isn’t about doing.
The point of doing is so obvious that we forget it. The point of doing is to have a sense of progress, and there’s no real sense of progress without actual results. And guess what?
There’s no results without a little stillness. You have to stop stirring the cake batter and let it bake at some point.
So take it easy.
Everybody has trouble sleeping every now and then; some more than others. Today’s article covers three different ways to help with the occasional or chronic bout of insomnia.
The Science of Siestas
The subject of naps can so often stray from the scientific--is it a moral affront for anyone over the appropriate age of kindergarten attendance to even think about taking a nap in the afternoon? Or is it cultural--after all, if you’re not pronouncing nap as ‘siesta,’ what are you even doing here? Then again, it could be social--do we worry that not being busy 24/7 and admitting to naps will tarnish our stalwart reputations?
We’d like to put the philosophy aside to simply state the facts:
1. Naps are good for you in 20-minute increments or less. (Time limits and words like ‘increments’ take the warmth out of the idea of a nap, we know. But we’ll get back to the warm and fuzzy part in a bit). Midday is the best time of day for a nap--in the morning you’re more awake while right after lunch you’re reeling from a food coma anyway, and waiting until evening can affect your nighttime sleeping patterns.
2. Naps weren’t built for the soft: back in ancient Rome, everyone from farmers to soldiers took to designated after-lunch naps.
3. Even naps as short as 5 minutes help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and decrease the risk of heart problems.
4. More than 85% of mammals sleep sporadically throughout the day (polyphasic) while humans have adopted the minority life style of sleeping in one large chunk each day (monophasic). The basic conclusion is that it is not clear if monophasic sleep is the only or natural style of sleep for humans.
5. Lastly, extra sleep is excellent for your brain. Studies have shown that taking naps after strenuous mental activity helps in the learning process, increasing memory retention, perception, and alertness.
Ever heard the fact that driving sleep-deprived is just as bad (if not worse) than driving drunk? Being alert is incredibly important in our fast-paced world--so take it slow.
Snacks for Insomnia
Our diet is responsible for a number of mood and energy altering phenomena. Bad indigestion often results in a bad attitude, after all. And sometimes our food and drink can even be a help or hindrance to our sleep cycles.
We’re going to focus on the kinds of foods you can add to your diet, rather than take away.
(Special thanks to Dale Pinnock’s The Medicinal Chef).
How To Save On Prescriptions
Over-the-counter meds are one of the most common ways to treat insomnia or any of the factors that may be causing it. You can rest even easier knowing that there’s a way to save on prescriptions!
We have two options for you over on our Drug Assistance page:
Grab a cup of coffee (it’s relevant, we promise) and enjoy today’s deep dive into the twisty history of insurance!
Ancient Origins of Insurance: From China to Mesopotamia
Everything in the modern world can feel needlessly complicated, and insurance is no exception. What’s the difference between whole and term life? Why are there tiers? Who’s my tertiary beneficiary again?
Well, the history of insurance is itself a little complicated. And, like many tidbits of history, it starts in Mesopotamia.
Around 1800 BC, a system called bottomry was in use. A cargo owner would borrow money against his cargo, in case it sunk during a trade voyage. He would pay that money back upon the cargo’s safe arrival, but this way, in case his cargo was lost, he had enough capital to start up again. Ancient contracts, written in cuneiform, depict agreements between caravans and investors.
Insurance was a commercial, rather than private, affair. And it remained this way worldwide at the time. Around the same time on the other side of the globe, Chinese merchants were also drafting risk sharing agreements. Merchants would band together and divide their goods equally among separate ships. If one of the ships could not be retrieved, then the losses were not nearly so devastating. They were shared among a larger pool--an insurance concept that still exists today.
Insurance for the Roman Afterlife: It’s Your Funeral
It was the Roman military that employed the first inklings of health and life insurance as we know it today. In a world where an improper burial could result in curses and ghosts, ever-at-risk-of-death Roman soldiers could join burial clubs.
Basically, whenever a member died, the other members would chip in for their funeral--and the same would be done for them when their time came. This kept the burden off of the dead soldier’s kin and insured a proper, ghostless burial ceremony.
The Middle Ages: The Guild’s The Thing
In the late Middle Ages, economic progress was finally making headway. This had a large part to do with a new system of guilds. Medieval guilds provided what we might call “group insurance” today.
Guilds were defined by their craft: there were guilds of blacksmiths, guilds of carpenters, guilds of different skill-based artisans. Apprentices started when they were young, providing pro bono labor in exchange for food, shelter, and their master’s skill set. An apprentice would start paying dues to the guild once he became a master himself. The guild helped set up more apprentices and protect individuals during times of loss, drawing off their large pool of collected dues and helping to insure employment.
The Renaissance: Pirates, Contracts, and Coffee Cups
In 1347 Genoa, the first insurance contract was set to ink. At this point in time, maritime insurance was commonplace. Like the Chinese and Mesopotamian merchants some millennia before, sea merchants understood the risks involved in trading goods overseas. Rot, disease, sun, moisture, rats, storms, war, mutiny, and pirates were among just a few of the risk factors.
By the 17th century, one major trade good had taken the world by storm: coffee. Coffee transformed the European economy not only through pure trade, but also through an interesting side-effect: all the business meetings held at coffee houses.
Lloyd’s of London, the famous English brokerage known for insuring out-of-left-field requests (like Ozzy Osbourne’s tongue or the possibility of an alien abduction), started off as a coffeehouse where merchants could arrange insurance for--you guessed it--ships and cargo.
But things weren’t perfectly safe on land, either. In fact, the private insurance that we know today came about, as the old adage says, in a trial by fire.
Modern Insurance and the Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London struck in 1666, a time when most of London consisted of close-knit wooden buildings. It was easy for a stray fire in Pudding Lane to soon go out of control and consume a large chunk of London. In fact, the fire burned for four whole days. Casualties included upwards of 13,500 houses, several places of business and state, and the old St. Paul’s Cathedral--not to mention 87 other churches and chapels. If you happened to be one of the owners of these destroyed buildings, you had no protection against what amounted to a total loss of assets, income, and shelter.
This gave a chap called Nicholas Barbon a good idea. He formed a company that provided the following two services in exchange for an early investment (or premium): 1) if something you had paid money to insure was on fire, Barbon would send around a fire brigade, and 2) would compensate you for your loss.
Nicholas Barbon’s idea soon became a worldwide commonplace service. Today, we call it insurance.
What Does “Insurance” Mean, Anyway?
Insurance originally meant ‘engagement to marry.’ It comes from an old French cognate of the word we use today to mean hedging against the risk of loss.
Of course, the old saying applies either way: ‘til death do us part.
How does health insurance cover depression?
If you have been officially diagnosed with a mental or anxiety disorder, there are several options for you within health coverage plans:
If I’m covered with my work plan, will my employer find out about any screenings or diagnoses?
An employer can only receive medical records at your permission, and should you decide to share your information you are allowed to review the records before they are sent out.
What if I’m diagnosed before applying for health coverage?
Different diagnoses imply different levels of risk for health insurance companies. Below are how some of the more well-known disorders are looked upon:
In general, a certified health disorder poses a certain level of risk for underwriters to consider and may result in higher premiums. Given the variety of disorders, and recent ACA changes, this will vary from company to company. This is something your insurance agent will look into for you.
How will a depression/anxiety diagnosis affect my life insurance?
Mental disorders are dicier when it comes to life insurance policies than when it comes to health insurance coverage. The link between mental disorders and suicide is the prime risk factor.
In general, cases are surveyed on levels ranging from mild to extreme, and like with health insurance underwriting, the milder the case the more likely you are to receive coverage. (This is surmised through additional questions posed by your underwriter, such as whether or not you have received recent hospitalization due to issues pertaining to the mental disorder, how often you have missed work, etc.).
How You Can Save On Medications
We don’t have to tell you that one of the heavier considerations of dealing with a mental disorder is considering, weighing, and purchasing drug prescriptions to help regulate anxiety and depression. Fortunately, our agents relish in combing through the internet for the best deals available.
You can find out more at our official page here or contact us here. Don’t forget to use the ICA-exclusive coupons to save an additional amount!
Thankfully, depression and anxiety are not personality traits. Depression and anxiety, instead, are treatable health issues.
If you have not been diagnosed with a mental disorder but are concerned that you have several side effects, a doctor’s diagnosis will simply give you access to certain medications. However, the penalties that this may have on certain employment options (such as the armed forces) and possibly higher premium rates are to be noted.
Also note that depression screenings are free with most insurance plans, and there are several non-prescription paths to attempt to alleviate depression and anxiety before you take that final step. Please consult your doctor if you have further concerns.
We hope that you have found this article helpful and we wish you peace and clarity throughout your day. If you have any questions on health and life coverage, please feel free to contact us!
Pick 5: NASA-Approved Houseplants, Salt, Telemedicine, Better Planning, and The Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar
Every week we pick five things worth sharing--this week we cover everything from obscure kitchen ingredients to the doctor visits of the future.
But if you’re just here for our free and easy insurance quotes, you can take this shortcut now:
Ready to read on? Let’s get to it.
Back in 1989, NASA partnered with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America to find nifty ways to keep the air in space stations clean and healthy for human lungs.
Thanks to this study, they found a number of indoor plants that appear to cut back on toxins like benzene (linked to harmful effects on bone marrow) and formaldehyde (high concentrations can negatively impact lungs and the lining of the nose and throat).
With at least one plant suggested per 100 square feet of space, you too can breathe like an astronaut. Check out some of our favorites below:
Take It With A Grain of Salt: Sodium Chloride Is Not As Bad For You As You Think
According to official Parillo-certified trainer Scott Canatsey, an excessively salty diet is only a major problem if you already have high blood pressure or if you’re considered obese.
There’s a reason you see huge salt-blocks out on the farm: we can’t absorb sodium from our environment like we can absorb, say, Vitamin D from the sun. It's not only essential for farm critters, but for human beings as well. Salt, or sodium chloride, is one of the human body’s most regulated minerals. It’s therefore important to keep a reasonable amount in our system. Too little iodine, a prime ingredient in salt, can impede the production of the thyroid hormone.
Canatsey only recommends using one type of salt in any liberal capacity however:
“Table salt is something I could only recommend being used non-liberally,” he says, “But sea salt, which naturally packs more of a mineral punch, I use liberally in my own diet,”
He'd also like to note that the benefits get even better if you’re washing everything down with ¾ to one full gallon of water.
In addition, salt can actually help you sleep better, regulate the thyroid hormone, and maintain good brain development! So consider gargling a little saltwater before you go to bed--it’ll help soothe your throat and cleanse your tastebuds.
Or, a bowl of chicken noodle soup never hurt anything but a cold.
Telemedicine: Doctor Checkups on the Go
Telemedicine is on the rise.
The ability to check in with your doctor from your phone or tablet saves everyone involved a chunk of change and a nice slice of time. How does this work?
You basically have a conference call with your doctor. Using a computer or phone, your doctor can diagnose common medical complaints (headaches, colds, back pain, etc.), perform post-visit check-ups, and speed up the refill process.
This is also great for those patients who are unable to leave their houses easily or at all, or who may be experiencing a medical concern at an otherwise irregular time, such as the holidays or on the weekends.
Many of the health insurance packages we sell provide access to a telemedicine network--inquire today!
Better Planning: Clip Your Tickets
Sometimes it’s tough planning events out way in advance. Other life events throw us for a loop, we lose our tickets, addresses and phone numbers get mixed up, plans change.
So forgive us if this particular tip seems obvious: clip your tickets! If you’ve got an event to attend, make sure you get a copy of your tickets/invitation/address and stick it where you have easy access. For guys, you might stick it in your wallet. For gals, you might tape it near the appropriate date in your planner.
No matter how much we love our tech, physical reminders always trump digital ones. So write down your appointments by hand, collect your tickets, and never think twice about your monthly schedule again.
Speaking of better planning, have you taken care of your insurance this year? Don’t worry about Open Enrollment. If you’re not currently covered, or feel that you’re undercovered, well, we’ve got you covered!
Inquire for a free quote today! Real human service guaranteed.
The Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar
Just like salt, you never know if apple cider vinegar is coming or going. One year the fad says it’ll take away belly fat--the next year it says it’s the reason it’s sticking around.
Like with every story, there are two sides.
The good news is, a little apple cider vinegar never hurt anybody.
But there is a proper way to consume it.
The solution? Dilution.
If there’s anything you take away from this week’s Pick 5, it’s that water covers a multitude of sins. In this case, water can help circulate the benefits of sodium and apple cider vinegar while protecting us against possible negatives. In the case of apple cider vinegar, chugging the stuff raw can actually harm the enamel on our teeth.
Consider mixing a tablespoon or two in water or lemonade and calling it good.
The benefits of even a small amount of apple cider vinegar include decreased risk of heart disease, more control over one’s appetite, and improved insulin sensitivity.
As with anything involving your diet or overall health, consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and your family history as you implement changes in your routines.
In our last Financial Literacy blog, we gave you a mental primer on finances, but this week the rubber hits the road.
Don’t worry, it’s just 3 simple steps you can literally finish before tomorrow: everything from getting your credit report to calculating your actual insurance needs to investing with your pocket change.
Let’s get to it.
If you own even one credit card or have taken out any type of loan, no matter how long you’ve had these accounts, go ahead and get your credit report. Once a year you are legally entitled to a FREE report over at www.annualcreditreport.com.
We think maybe you’ve been sold on the complexity of finances. Let’s bust that myth, shall we? Your credit report is as easy as knowing your social security number--which, incidentally, is all you need to request it.
What does your credit report tell you?
Your credit report gives you a snapshot of how lenders view you. This is the main lens they look through when considering a loan. Less important is your personal story or reasons for the loan, no matter how compelling. So it’s important to look at your credit report from a lender’s perspective.
A credit report includes your identifying information (name, social security, etc.), trade lines (which are the amount and types of credit you have, such as credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages, and how long you’ve had them), credit inquiries (how many times you have requested a loan and a lender has looked into your report), and public records and collection notices.
All of these are things that you know, but a credit report gives you an organized bird’s-eye view.
Keep in mind that multiple different kinds of credit work in your favor, but the biggest factors for improving your credit score are how long you’ve had these accounts, how consistently you’ve made your payments, and your overall utilization (how much of your credit max you’re using).
What’s the difference between a credit report and a credit score?
Your credit report is the summary of your credit while your credit score reflects how your credit is rated. Your credit report includes all the elements influencing your credit score. Even if you currently have bad credit, you’ll now have a simplified answer and game plan on how to improve it.
Will I get a ding on my credit score if I request a look at my report?
Requesting your credit score does not put a ding on your credit score.
Requesting your free credit report does not put a ding on your credit score.
Both of these are considered soft inquiries.
What does affect your credit report (by a few niggling points) are the amount of hard inquiries lenders make into your credit report. Since most people only request one loan over a broad range of time, this isn’t normally an issue.
The free credit report is the first drill you’ll ever have to perform on the road to financial literacy. And thankfully, it requires no skill. However, it’s perfectly normal if you feel a sense of dread towards looking at your credit history. At the end of the day, it’s just numbers on a page, and time is the #1 factor for change. As in, the older your accounts, the better. But that’s not something you can expedite, so don’t worry over something that you’ll have to wait on regardless.
2. Figure Out How Much Life Insurance You Need
Most people purchase between $100k and $250k of life insurance. But here are the factors you should consider when choosing a policy, and how to calculate how much benefit your family will receive on a month-by-month basis.
You can see our example chart below:
Financial independence, which most millennials have now identified as their defining factor for true adulthood, is about providing in every circumstance to the best of our abilities. A roof over our head, bread on the table, and insurance for the worst-case scenarios. You can’t look at insurance soon enough--and you’re not shoehorned into any one type of policy. That’s what we’re here for!
3) Invest 50 Bucks (Or More, If You’re So Inclined)
There is no one right way to invest. And you don’t need a huge budget to get started.
Getting started is the smartest, richest thing you can do.
Whether you’re conservative or a risk-taker, you’re in the right. But getting started (as simple as opening an Acorns account or spending $50 on some tried-and-true stock options) is the only step you need to worry about.
Albert Einstein himself said it best:
Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.
And who are we to argue with Einstein?
Here’s a few easy ways to get started:
And yes, only having $50 to get started is totally okay.
Sitting money only does one thing: sit. Take Albert Einstein’s advice and take the largest amount of money you’re comfortable with and put it to work for you.
You ARE Financially Literate--No Credentials Required
You don’t have to be a financial expert or a stockbroker to make money tick. If you’re not yet sure what you want your money to do for you, check out our other financial literacy blog and do some soul-searching. Then get ready to overlook your credit, think about your future, and start investing.
As always, we’re rooting for you.
And if you want our advice on investing in great health or life insurance, we hope we’re the first team you call.
Pick 5: Skip the Small Talk, Walk A Mile, Replace Placeholders, Ignore This Rule, and Get A Free Quote
Pick 5 is Health Benefits Now’s weekly “pick 5 good things and share them with others” post!
This week we cover easy exercise, psychological tricks, a 5-minute quoting process, and a tip for making more interesting conversation with strangers!
Let’s get to it.
Skip the Small Talk, Wear A Graphic Tee
Wearing something that stands out--especially a graphic T-shirt that might support your favorite band or hobby--creates an easy “Hey, you!” moment for strangers. Getting compliments feels good, but connecting with somebody over a shared love of Fleetwood Mac or Dachshunds is even better.
P.S. It’s also a great way to practice small talk, especially if you’re the kind stranger commenting on someone’s get-up.
Walk A Mile, Barefoot, In The Grass
Did you know that you burn the same amount of calories whether you walk or run a mile? So if you want to burn 100 calories and enjoy the spring breezes, consider taking a walk this week. Even better? If you decide to go barefoot, science has proven that the contact between our skin and the earth has hidden positive effects on the body, such as:
Maybe don’t walk barefoot in the city, or on your way to work or classes, but definitely take a stroll around your garden or take a minute to stand barefoot in your yard every now and then!
Replace Placeholders, Personalize Those Picture Frames
How many of us have picture frames still filled with pictures of people we don’t know? It has that same distancing effect as keeping around Blu-rays still wrapped in cellophane or clothes that still have their price tags.
The ubiquitous Marie Kondo puts it this way: there’s a lot of “noise” in our environment when it’s filled with branded products. Generic pictures, price tags, cellophane, the brands on our soap dispensers--it all adds up.
Even if you don’t have pictures that fit your frames, try filling them with a piece of colored paper and writing a quote on them. By starting this personalizing/debranding step, you may suddenly find the perfect picture to quickly fill up that new space anyway.
You know, the Law of Serendipity.
Know The 10,000 Hour Rule, Then Ignore It
Equally ubiquitous is Malcolm Gladwell’s famous “10,000 Hours of Intentional Practice = Mastery” Rule.
10,000 hours of intentional practice will finally get you mastery. 10,000 hours.
If you could choose one thing to become excellent at (and so many of us have multiple things we’d like to pursue), and you found the time and energy to commit 3 hours a day, you’re looking at entering the Big Leagues at around 10 years from now.
But that’s assuming life doesn’t get in the way.
How many of us even desire “mastery?” What are our actual goals? If you study a language for 3 hours a day for about 6 months in a country that only speaks that studied language, statistically you are good enough to hold conversations with locals. But according to this rule, you are nowhere near mastery.
But aren’t you able to use that skill for what it’s intended for, at a level of acquired ease that brings you choices?
That’s how we’d describe mastery.
What are the levels that come before that? If I want to improve at drawing, should I give up because, even if I draw an hour a day, I won’t be spectacular for another 27 years?
Being honest and upfront about the time costs of excellence isn’t a bad thing. But if, like for many people, it becomes a weight around your neck that causes you to dread practice and lose focus on the present moment, then it’s a hindrance.
So don’t pay attention to progress. Pay attention to process. How’s that for a bumper sticker?
Here’s one thing to keep in mind: no matter what you go to do, any repeat process is compounded by time itself.
For example, writing, reading, and editing are all skills that compound on each other. Even if you go a week between writing or reading anything new, when you go back to practicing those skills, you still have the foundation that you built up before. Foundations can go rusty, but they can’t be completely dismantled.
Most skills are like learning to ride the bike--once you learn, you don’t forget. The basic foundation is still there.
So get to know--and then ignore--the 10,000 Hour Rule.
Most masters becomes masters by accident anyway.
Under or Non-Insured? Get A Free, 5-Minute Quote
Lastly, we wouldn’t be insurance agents if we didn’t think insurance was an important factor in our day-to-day living.
Because speaking of things that bring you choices, the goal of insurance has always been to prepare for a Major Rainy Day scenario that won’t eat at your life savings.
So, if you find yourself under- or non-insured, and didn’t think you had any options outside of Open Enrollment, we invite you to fill out a free, no-obligations quote. You’ll be contacted by a real human being who cares about finding you the best deal for you--not for the company.
We hope you get to apply even one of these Pick 5 Good Things this week! And if you’re interested in an insurance quote, just click the button below:
April is officially Financial Literacy Month--and before it comes to a close, we’re coming at you with 3 mental steps you can finish before May comes around.
Our first three steps are all in the mental arena--cut through the paralysis-by-analysis, improve your financial vocabulary, and pinpoint what your finances can do for you.
In our next Financial Literacy blog, we’ll cover three steps that are immediately doable--and will give you the confidence boost that you’re not just thinking about your finances, you’re creating them.
Your Three Mindset Steps:
1. Figure Out What “Rich” Will Buy You--Shoes & Vacations, Coffee & High-Rises?
Here’s a simple definition for rich: it’s the ability to afford what you actually want.
What do you actually want? Use our little sheet below to help you narrow down where you’d actually like to invest more of your money:
What's your top 3?
You may have discovered that you’re actually spending a lot of money on a cable package you don’t really use, or a large apartment that you don’t really spend any time in. Lots of things sound nice--but what’s nice to you is different, and can help you allocate moolah.
Bottom Line: Spending money on what actually makes you happy will not only help you feel rich, you’ll also be the definition of rich. (Bonus: You’ll spend less on stuff you could do without).
2. Use The 80-Something Rule--Not Just For Seniors
We call this the 80-Something Rule not because it only applies to octogenarians, but because it combines two of our favorite 80-something guidelines:
In the Age of Information, it’s easy (and all too common) to fall into paralysis-by-analysis. Financial Literacy: does that imply making an investment portfolio, or debt reduction, or picking a financial podcast? Which ones are worth our time? What if I don’t know anything about any of this?!
So we don’t pick anything.
But we forget: getting started is 85% of the way there. It’s not perfection. It’s not mastery. But it’s good enough, and it’s way better than 0%. You opened up a savings account? You checked your credit report? You saved $50? These three easy tasks have taken you light years away from 0%. And this blog will help you go further.
When it comes to going further, get cozy with the 80/20 principle. Did you know that research has found this phenomenon everywhere from allocation of resources to what personal activities actually make an impact on our lives?
In a nutshell, the 80/20 Principle states that 20% of your activities will result in 80% of your results.
So don’t expect that you have to be a full-time day trader or an experienced banker to make enough money for your ideal lifestyle. All these little things you are (or are about to start) doing will make up the largest percentage of your eventual results.
3. Create Positive Chatter--Or, A Mental Radio Station That Works For You
We don’t know what kind of background noise you deal with on a day-to-day basis, but we do know that we human beings have a tendency to anticipate negative outcomes and to worry over things we may or may not be able to control.
If you’re not ready to jump on a mindfulness or positive affirmation bandwagon, there is a simpler way to get yourself out of these poor mindsets:
And into these:
Simply put, start listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Try the self-help section. Listen to inspiring novels. Download biographies of people who lived the kind of life you want to live. We need these road maps to inform us that we’re not alone in our struggles and that, step by step, we can go further in life.
Looking for a free way to get started? Libby is a great (non-affiliated) app that allows you to borrow books and audiobooks through your local library system. All you need is the account number on your library card!
Here are our beginning book recommendations (again, no worries, all non-affiliate):
I Will Teach You To Be Rich - Ramit Sethi
Deep Work - Cal Newport
Matter: Move Beyond Competition, Create More Value - Peter Sheahan
Insurance Made Easy - Tony Steuer
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk - Peter L. Bernstein
Bonus: One Easy, Quick Practical Step
We’ll cover more about investments, credit, and the surprising applications of insurance in our next Financial Literacy blog, but one painless step you can take today is requesting a free insurance quote.
Feel like you’re under-insured? Didn’t think you had any options outside of Open Enrollment? Waiting on retirement or dreading your 26th birthday? Here at Health Benefits Now, we’re well-versed in all the different situations and solutions that comes with our clients’ insurance needs.
So get started with a free quote today--we can’t wait to help you along your way!