Bike helmets save lives: Learn how to get the right fit


Bicycle helmetConsumer Reports has a special August feature on the importance of bike helmets noting that, “More head injuries occur in biking than in any other sport—and bike helmets can save your life.” They cite data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: 60% of people who died in a bike accident in 2014 were not wearing a helmet. See our prior post on biking fatalities. The Consumer Reports article talk about some of the newer bicycle helmets and the protection they offer, along with ratings of 35 helmets.

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But it’s not just enough to get a helmet, to ensure maximum protection, it’s important to get the right bike helmet fit. Consumer Reports offers the following tips for finding the right bike helmet fit:

»The helmet must be level on your head.
»The front edge should be no more than an inch or so above your eyebrows.
»The strap should fit closely under your chin.
»Straps should meet just below your jaw and in front of your ears, forming a V under your earlobes.

A fabulous resource for everything bicycle-helmet related is Helmets.org, a non-profit consumer-funded helmet advocacy program of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. It includes the latest research, innovations in helmet safety – pretty much anything you could ever want to know about helmets. They offer a great page on how to fit a bicycle helmet.  Below, we feature a short clip on how to fit and secure bike helmets for kids.

No state laws require adults to wear bicycle helmets, but many states have requirements for children – see your state bicycle helmet law. Even if there is no state law, you might also want to check local ordinances.

Do you have any unclaimed money? Check to find out!


raining money

There’s a lot of frozen money out there that no one is claiming .. it’s in the billions. Some put the figure as high as $40 billion! Is any of it yours? Some of it could be if you’ve ever moved to another state or to another residence; if you’ve changed your name; if you’ve forgotten about a small bank account or a few shares of stock; or if a distant relative left you something in a life insurance policy or will.

Here are some of the most common forms of unclaimed money:

  • Inactive bank accounts, both checking and savings
  • Unfound life insurance or other account beneficiaries
  • Tax refunds that were misdirected
  • Unreturned utility deposits and escrow accounts
  • Refunds and credits
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Insurance policies, CDs, trust funds
  • Unredeemed money orders or travelers checks
  • Unclaimed safe deposit boxes

If you’d like to check to see if there is any unclaimed money due you, here’s a tip:
The best place to start is MissingMoney.com.

This site is the only only free, state endorsed national database of missing money. The site is officially endorsed by NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators) and participating states and provinces. The site will assist you in thoroughly searching all participating states to find your family’s missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets. It has the most updated information for the state and provincial offices. Searches and claiming are always FREE.

We tried it out and found a $65 insurance policy refund from a neighboring state we lived in more than 10 years ago. We filed a claim and the money will be sent to us. You can search the entire database or confine to a specific state. Don’t forget to search by any variations in your name. Here are some search tips and frequently asked questions.

Other resources for unclaimed money

While MissingMoney.com is the best site, you can also check these sources, too:

Scam alert – don’t get hooked

Beware of scams related to unclaimed money. While we’d all like to think that we won some money that we didn’t know about or have a distant wealthy deceased aunt who left us her fortune, it’s not likely to be true. Scammers thrive on our hopes, fantasies and greed – don’t give them the opportunity.

  • Beware of emails and phone calls that alert you to winnings or other unclaimed money. State and federal authorities do not use email or phone to notify you of unclaimed money. The IRS will never threaten you to “pay now or else.”
  • Beware of people who ask for bank or credit card information or personal details to process your winnings/inheritance.
  • Be careful of unauthorized search sites that charge a fee to use. Stick to the sites we’ve mentioned or call your state’s unclaimed money office or insurance bureau if you have questions.
  • Beware of people who try to charge you. While there are some legitimate finder businesses that search for lost property owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain their property for a fee, most “out of the blue” alerts should be treated with a high degree of suspicion. NAUPA recommends that “Before signing any contract from a firm of this type, we recommend that you be cautious and contact the unclaimed property office in your state for more information.” Plus, you are better running your own searches periodically and avoiding any fees!

Check out these scam alerts:

Pokemon Go zombies: Police say to take care


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Image via pokemongo.com

PokemonGO-June15-Seadra-on-map

Image via pokemongo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can be forgiven if you think there is a zombie apocalypse going on. In almost any given public space, crowds of people are wandering around in a transfixed state. Don’t be alarmed, they are just playing Pokemon Go, the new augemented reality phone game craze that’s sweeping the nation. Check out this brief but amusing video clip of Pokemon Go players at Central Park!

On the upside, Pokemon is an unexpected source of health: many people are gaming their way to fitness.

Pokemon are little Japanese monsters that you are supposed to catch – made popular in video games by Nintendo. Now, there’s a new augmented reality version that you can download and play on your phone.
Instead of simply chasing down the monsters on a video screen, you must go out to find and capture the collection of 100+ monsters in a real-world scavenger hunt. In the short time since the game’s release on July 6, it’s taken the world by storm… and it’s having an unintended side effect for many … it is increasing their exercise. It may be the biggest game-related exercise motivator since the introduction of the Wii and the Wiifit .

On the downside, public safety officials, police and gamers themselves are reporting some problems:

  • Distracted walking & running
  • Distracted Driving
  • Other unsafe behaviors and lapses in common sense
  • Criminals may use the game to lure you in

It appears some of the main problems are injuries from falls, sprains and strains from players not looking where they were going, walking into objects, tripping or the like. Other gamers complain of sunburns from being outside all day. People are sharing reports of their Pokemon Go injuries all over social media

This news story lists other problems, too. There have also been a few police reports of robberies where criminals have set up fake PokeSpots to target players. And bizarrely, instead of finding a Pokemon monster, one poor user chanced upon a dead body!

Safety officials say keep your common sense about you. Don’t drive while playing – that’s just stupid and would be illegal in most states. Don’t play while riding on bikes or skateboarding, either. Don’t go out walking around alone at night if you wouldn’t normally do so. Be careful about going to neighborhoods or places that you are unfamiliar with. Be careful about intruding on private property. Stay alert for urban an natural hazards in your path. Authorities say to use caution when alerting strangers of your future location.

So like many other popular things, it’s fun but be careful!

Learn more at the Pokemon Go official site  or check out this article with Your biggest Pokémon Go questions, answered.

Getting married? What you need to know about wedding insurance and other financial considerations


Wedding ChecklistGetting married? There’s a lot you need to think of both before and after the wedding, but in all the planning, one of the things that is often overlooked is your insurance insurance needs. Have you notified your insurance agent about your plans? He or she can be one of your best friends! For example, as a couple, you may be eligible for auto discounts or a savings on health insurance. You may also want to secure life insurance, and should be sure to change the beneficiaries on any key insurance or savings plans that you do have. The Insurance Information Insituitue (III) offers a handy checklist of insurance considerations for married couples.

You should also ask your agent about wedding insurance to protect your investment in the big day, particularly if you are planning a big celebration. Wedding insurance is a type of special event insurance designed provide financial protection for various problems that could arise, such as the need to cancel or postpone due to weather or natural disasters. III says:

“Most policies also provide coverage for cancellation due to the death, illness or serious injury of a key participants in the event, such as members of the immediate family. Also, if an officiant, such as a minister or rabbi, or a key vendor, like the caterer, florist or photographer, does not show up, you can recover some of the costs.”

Different insurance companies offer special coverage that you can add on, such as protection for gowns, gifts and honeymoons.

Of course, insurance is only one of the things you need to think about. You need to know your state law. Below is a very helpful 2-part guide to getting married in Massachusetts … it offers a great breakdown of things you need to plan both before and after the wedding. While laws vary by state, the MA Guide offers a simple checklist for some of the common issues and responsibilities people need to consider and address, no matter where they live. We’ve also included links to laws for other states.

Getting Married in Massachusetts

Part 1: What you need to do before the wedding

  • Who Can Get Married in Massachusetts?
  • Who Can Conduct a Wedding in Massachusetts?
  • Where Can We Get Married in Massachusetts?
  • What Paperwork Do We Need to Get Married in Massachusetts?

Part 2: What you need to do after the wedding

  • Getting Proof of Your Marriage
  • Changing Your Name and Getting a New ID
  • Filing Taxes After You Get Married
  • Marriages Outside of Massachusetts


Marriage laws in other states