Identity Theft Protection: A guide to what & when to shred


Wondering which financial documents to keep and which to shred? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers this handy shredding infographic along with an accompanying article A pack rat’s guide to shredding. Both offer helpful advice on what security experts say you should shred immediately (ATM receipts, credit card offers, sales receipts) to what you should keep forever (birth certificates, tax returns) and everything in between. This is only one of the many great Identity Theft resources available from the FTC.

Talk to your local insurance agent about whether your homeowners policy covers identity theft and if not, have a talk about identity theft insurance. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a good primer on ID Theft Insurance.


Happy Father’s Day!

Wishing Dads everywhere a fabulous Father’s Day. We thought this video tribute to one person’s Dad was pretty impressive. Vietnamese architect Le Phong Giao composes incredible animated paintings in sand. This one is called “This Is My Father’s World.” It’s touching and sweet.

For a little bit lighter take on things, we point you to our post last year From the warm & fuzzy to the hilarious: Video tributes to Fathers. Don’t miss the “babies & Dads” segment!

It’s Men’s Health Week!

June - Men's Health Month

June is Men’s Health month, and this being the week leading up to Father’s Day, it’s also Men’s Health Week. The purpose of Men’s Health Week & Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. On average, men live about 5 years less than their female counterparts – maybe that is directly related to the fact that men make half as many visits for prevention as women. Promoting men’s health information is a way to change that. The photo in this post is from one of an excellent series of posters and flyers available at Men’s Health Month – why not print and share in your workplace?

Also on point, Dr. David Samadi looks at 7 Things Men Must Know About Their Health, which includes interesting and important information to know, such as the fact that more younger men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer – an nearly six-fold increase in the last twenty years.
He also notes that men who exercise may reduce age-related cholesterol.

His fifth point offers a Men’s Health Screening Guide by Age, valuable information that we think deserves sharing:

For men in their 30s
Complete physical every 2 years
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month

For men in their 40s
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month
Complete physical every 2 years
Baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE)
Stool test (for colon and rectal cancers) every year

For men in their 50s
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month
A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy (for colon cancers) every three to four years or as recommended by your healthcare provider
PSA and DRE exam every year

For another good checklist, the Men’s Health Network offers Health Screening Timeline Checklists for both Men and Women – it’s a PDF you can download and share.

With Father’s Day coming up, here’s some good health news from NPR for men who love golf: Take A Swing At This: Golf Is Exercise, Cart Or No Cart. The article cites the The World Golf Foundation in estimating that “golfers who walk an 18-hole course clock about 5 miles and burn up to 2,000 calories.” But even those who use carts get a pretty good workout, burning about 1,300 calories during an 18-hole round.

Plus, there’s a good stress-relieving benefit: “There’s also a mental boost for lots of players. “There’s rarely a bad day on the golf course,” Gary Metzger says. “You’re breathing good air and looking around at the nice scenery.”

Rental Insurance for the College Graduate


Trying to think of a gift for a special college graduate? If you lean to practical gift giving, rental insurance might be just the ticket! OK, it might not have the same immediate allure as cash, but it could be much more valuable in the long run. Even if you don’t want to give it as a gift, you can do the young renter a huge service by helping them to understand the importance of this coverage – and by dispelling a few myths, in the process.

Homeowners understand the importance of home insurance. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that about 95% of all homeowners have insurance. Renters not so much. In a 2014 survey, only 37% of renters said they had rental insurance coverage.

Rental Insurance Myths

There are several misunderstandings about what rental insurance is and why it’s important. Here are a few myths and objections that we often hear.

My landlord has insurance. Many renters are under the false impression that they are covered under landlord’s policy but the landlord’s policy is for the building. If a fire or some other disaster occurred, a renter’s personal possessions would not be covered. Plus, a landlord’s policy would not help you with expenses for temporary living if the building is destroyed or for any bodily injury lawsuits that could happen if someone is injured in your apartment.

I don’t own enough to make it worth it. That’s rarely true. Look around your apartment at furnishings, electronics, kitchen goods, clothing, books … how much would it cost you to replace those things if you had to start from scratch? Plus, renters insurance also offers liability protection against bodily injury or property damage lawsuits and coverage for additional living expenses if you are displaced from your home in a disaster.

I can’t afford it. Rental insurance is surprisingly affordable. III did a national assessment of average rental and homeowners premiums in 2012 and found that the average rental premium was $187 a year. It can work out to as little as $12 to $14 a month. The amount you (or your premium) will vary by state and by what type of and how much coverage you need.

I’m not sure what or how much to buy. An independent agent can help you determine what you need and can tell you about various options – such as “actual cost” vs “replacement value.” They can advise you on deductibles and whether there are any add-ons that would be beneficial to your unique circumstances. A good agent will be able to get quotes with several insurance companies and will advise you about any available discounts. For example, there are sometimes discounts if you combine a rental policy with your car insurance.

Learn more about Renters Insurance

Renters Insurance Checklist
What you need to know about rental insurance


The Odds of Dying: Perceived risk vs reality

June is National Safety Month sponsored by the National Safety Council. It’s a time to think about reducing leading causes of injury and death at the workplace, in our homes and in our communities. They’ve issued an interesting infographic on the Odds of Dying, noting that Americans often worry about the wrong things – check out the events we think will kill us vs. the ones that actually do, according to the numbers. (You can click for a bigger version).

If you’d like more detail on your personal odds, we have a prior post with a variety of mortality calculators to help you assess your own personal odds for longevity. They include life expectancy tables and a few interactive calculators. We leave you with two words: Life Insurance!