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~Alex Hastings~
Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC
~Guide One~

2435 Kimberly Road
Suite #100N
Bettendorf IA 52722
563-355-0262 Office
641-494-9494 Cell
855-355-0262 Fax





Are You Making Any of These Top 10 Insurance Blunders?

When it comes to buying insurance, what you don't know can hurt you...and your family...for years to come. Learn how to identify the top ten insurance mistakes and what you can do about them with my free guide, "The Top 10 Insurance Blunders - and How to Avoid Them."

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Quick Quiz

Each month I'll give you a new question.

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New Year’s trees are popular in which countries?

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Recipe: Cucumber Pork

A fresh and tasty dish after holiday excesses!

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green onions, white parts cut into 1/4-inch lengths
  • 3/4-pound pork sirloin cutlets cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 16 snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons beef broth
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch strips


Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.

Add garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook for 30 seconds, then add green onions, pork and snow peas.

Cook for 5 minutes, while stirring, until the pork is no longer pink. Combine the sugar, vinegar and broth and add to the mixture in the skillet along with the cucumber.

Toss and cook until ingredients are heated through, but don't overcook. Serve over rice.

Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes on the subject of the new year:

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

Bill Vaughn

New year, same goal.

Joe King

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

Author Unknown

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

Hal Borland

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.

Brooks Atkinson

Take These Steps So Your Home Doesn't Shout, 'We're Away'

Whether you're taking off for a holiday in the sun or a visit with relatives out of town, here's something you don't want to forget. An unoccupied home is subject to many hazards, so to avoid an insurance claim, take preventive measures before you leave. Below are some things to do to protect your house while you're gone:

  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home for damage or suspicious activity. Make sure you leave a spare key and a phone number where you can be reached in an emergency.
  • If you live in one of the cooler parts of the country, keep the heat on in your home in winter to avoid frozen pipes.
  • Unplug electrical appliances and computer equipment to protect against power surges. If you use a surge protector, ensure it's sufficiently rated.
  • Stop mail delivery and newspapers. Nothing shouts "We're away" like papers piling up on your porch.
  • If your home is in or near a flood zone, put important papers and electronics out of harm's way.
  • Trim trees and bushes from doorways and windows. Potential thieves will feel exposed. Also trimming branches may prevent wind damage to your property and others'. You can be held responsible if your neighbors allege that your lack of maintenance caused damage to their property.
  • Ensure you purchase enough insurance to cover any possible claim. No one expects to have a loss, but if you do, you want to be adequately protected.

Boomers Want to Be Boss Before Finally Retiring

Boomer BossIt's never too late to pave the path you want for yourself - and many baby boomers are taking this to heart when it comes to working beyond retirement.

In fact, 54% of workers plan to work beyond age 65, according to the recent 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey - but many won't be in their old jobs. An increasing number of boomers are planning to become small-business owners before turning the page to retirement.

Whether it's starting freelance consulting work, opening a specialty business or buying a franchise, taking on a new challenge seems to be on a lot of boomers' minds.

There are a number of attractive reasons boomers want to become small-business owners, including being one's own boss, making more money, and having a sense of personal accomplishment and pride.

But, while the benefits go on and on, there's a list of things to consider before jumping the gun and starting up a business at this stage of one's life. And experts warn boomers to think long and hard about these key issues before making their stop on the road to retirement:

  • Personal finances. Finding a balance between saving for retirement and investing in a business can be tricky.
  • Financing your small business. Positive cash flow is critical for success.
  • Have a plan. Set goals and follow up with a plan to achieve them.
  • Remember you will retire eventually. Develop a sound succession plan to ensure the continued success of your business.

Resolution Woes? Get Inspired Here

Resolution woesEach new year means making a list of the same old resolutions. And never looking at the list again. Perhaps considering traditions in other countries may help inspire you to follow through on some of those oh-so-familiar resolutions.

Want to increase face-to-face interactions and get to know your neighbors better? Do what they do in Scotland. Shortly after midnight, neighbors visit each other and pass on well wishes in a tradition called "first footing." The Scots also celebrate the new year with Hogmanay, a time of midnight games, food and general merriment.

The Japanese can inspire you to keep your house organized, finances balanced and relationships stable. New year's traditions in this country include making sure their homes are clean and debts paid. Most important, they forgive old grievances and start fresh in the new year.

In the Netherlands, purging the old and getting ready for the new happens in the streets. People burn old Christmas trees to show they are getting rid of the old.
You could get rid of your old ways too; try keeping your resolutions this year.

How to Avoid Possible Risks and Travel Safely

Americans love to travel, but there are risks in traveling, whether at home or abroad. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safer when traveling.

On the road

  • If you must carry cash, carry it concealed in a money belt or similar case.
  • Keep photocopies of important documents like your passport, driver's license and credit cards. Record your traveler's check numbers and keep them separate from the checks.
  • Store an emergency contact in your cell phone under "Emergency." This is where first responders will look if you cannot communicate.
  • Do not post your travel plans on social media. Burglars watch social media for opportunities to steal.
  • Have a mechanic evaluate your car's roadworthiness prior to travel.
  • Carry a first-aid kit, plus extra clothes, snacks and water, in your vehicle.
  • If your car does break down, keep everyone together. Don't split up to go for help.
In your hotel
  • Ask for a room above the first floor and below the fourth.
  • Determine the most direct route from your room to fire escapes. Count doors so you know how far you are from the exit in case you must exit when visibility is low.
  • Do not open the hotel room door if you're not expecting anyone.
  • Do not travel with jewelry or other valuables. Use the room safe if you do have valuables.
When you sightsee
  • Ask hotel staff for directions before you go out.
  • Vary the times you leave and exits you use. Kidnappers watch for patterns.
  • Ask hotel staff which parts of town you should avoid.
  • Keep a closer-than-normal watch on children.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, leave or go into a crowded building until you can decide your next step.

Change in Procedure Is Good News for Beneficiaries

Nation Financial Services Inc. and several other major insurance companies, including MetLife, Prudential Financial and Manulife Financial's John Hancock division, committed to changing practices after an investigation established that many insurance policy beneficiaries did not receive the death benefits they were owed. And this will come as welcome news to individuals who have or are considering life insurance.

Nation and other major insurers agreed to change the way they previously identified deceased policy holders and to actively seek out beneficiaries who, because of a long-standing insurance industry practice, failed to receive death benefits. Nation also paid $7.2 million to the insurance departments of seven states participating in the investigation.

A death benefit is the amount a life insurance company pays a policy holder's beneficiary upon the policy holder's death. In the past, most life insurance policies made it clear that beneficiaries are responsible for notifying the insurer when an insured person dies. However, many beneficiaries didn't realize this. As a result, thousands of people did not receive benefits.

A task force led by Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty found that a number of life insurance companies failed to pay out more than $1 billion in death benefits as a result of the procedure that required a policy holder's beneficiaries to file a claim after his or her death.

Nation, as well as other major insurance companies, will now check their lists of policyholders against the U.S. government's death database and have committed to tracking down beneficiaries of customers who have died. From the end of 2011 to mid-October 2012, Nationwide had identified 4,747 unclaimed death benefits and paid out $144 million to beneficiaries.

Individuals with life insurance policies - or those contemplating the purchase of policies - can now be certain that their beneficiaries will receive the death benefits they are entitled to ... whether or not they file a claim.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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Posted 2:38 PM

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