Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC
872 Tanglefoot Ln
Bettendorf IA 52722
Is Shopping Online for Insurance Really a Bargain?
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Recipe: Parmesan Polenta
Note: You can find cornmeal in the rice or ethnic food sections of most grocery stores.
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups dried quick-cooking polenta (cornmeal)
- 1/3 cup grated good-quality Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
Place broth, milk, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly pour the polenta into the boiling liquid while whisking vigorously. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese and butter. It should be about the consistency of quite soft mashed potatoes. Serve immediately on its own (with more grated cheese and cracked pepper on top) or as a bed for braised meats or vegetables.
This month, some famous quotes on the topic of music:
Music is the art of thinking with sounds.
Where words fail, music speaks.
Hans Christian Andersen
Music can change the world because it can change people.
Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, To soften rocks or bend a knotted oak...By magic numbers and persuasive sound.
Music is a means of rapid transportation.
Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.
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Inside Your Newsletter this Month...
Do You Need a Policy to Insure Your Special 'Floater'?
Are you a musician? Do you collect art? Is your jewelry of the diamond and pearl variety? If so, you might consider a floater policy to protect your prized electric guitar or great-grandmother's earrings.
Often there are limits to your homeowners insurance policy that will make the coverage insufficient for these types of items. They are considered at high risk of theft or loss because they are easy to move or "float." The solution is a floater policy or a rider added to your current coverage.
A floater policy or rider usually covers one specific item. Therefore, if you own several high-value items, you'll need to add multiple riders so that you have sufficient coverage for all your valuables. The coverage is broader than the typical coverage provided by regular homeowners policies and includes accidental losses, accidental damage, and theft.
Of course, you will pay extra in premiums, but if you own something that falls into this floating category, you may be happy you spent those extra dollars. For example, if your musical instrument travels with you, the risk of damage or loss can be fairly high. Carrying a floater policy or rider will ensure protection of this prized possession.
You will most likely be required to have your item professionally appraised to obtain this coverage. Depending on the item, the appraisal cost can range from 20 dollars to several hundred.
With more than one item, this could get pricey, but if your rings slip off on your beach vacation, it could be well worth it.
Music Has Charms...But It Also May Make You Smarter
Whether music wakes you up or puts you to sleep, relaxes your muscles, or stimulates your senses - whatever its effect, it seems that music is good for you, and your brain. Or so researchers say.
While most see music as useful for stress relief or simply for enjoyment, according to University of Toronto psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg, it also achieves a great deal more. Schellenberg writes, "Music lessons in childhood...are associated with small but general and long-lasting intellectual benefits." And these effects, he says, are not limited to musical ability but appear to improve one's reasoning ability, language development, and spatial skills.
An article by Corrigall, Schellenberg, and Misura in Frontiers in Psychology explains: "Recent reviews confirm that in addition to being good listeners, musically trained individuals exhibit enhanced performance on tests of verbal abilities, including vocabulary, phonological awareness, reading, and spelling. Music training is also associated positively with performance on tests of spatial abilities and non-verbal reasoning."
Citing several studies of music's impact on the brain, the Fun Music Company concludes: "We often hear about an analytical person, like an accountant, being 'left-brained' while a more 'free spirit,' like an artist or poet, is considered 'right-brained'...Music is one of the few activities that stimulates both sides of the brain." And it appears that when the right and left hemispheres are stimulated at the same time, general cognition improves. Best of all, the kind of music you like isn't important. As long as you enjoy it, apparently your IQ will too.
Deciding between Replacement Cost and ACV
When choosing an insurance policy, it's essential to understand the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value coverage.
If you ever need to file a claim, it will make a significant difference in your out-of-pocket expenses when you replace your damaged possessions.
With a replacement cost policy, you'll receive what it will cost to buy the equivalent item today. But with actual cash value coverage, you'll receive the replacement cost less the decrease in value as the item ages (depreciation).
For example: Your dining set is destroyed in a fire. If you have replacement cost coverage, you will receive what it would cost to go to the furniture store today and buy a dining room set that is comparable in quality to the original. With actual cash value coverage, the insurer will consider the wear and tear of the dining room set and only pay you the depreciated amount. Because it was several years old, depreciation is taken into account. Although it may cost you more to purchase now than what it cost you originally, you'll receive only the amount the old set was worth if you had sold it on the open market before it was destroyed.
The amount of depreciation is established by the insurance company based on a number of factors including what the item is, its original cost and its age, as well as the wear and tear experienced over the years as assessed by the insurer's appraiser.
The cost benefit
While replacement cost policies on average cost 10%-15% more, in most cases they will be well worth the difference. The principle behind replacement cost is to allow you to avoid the costs of depreciation. Often replacement cost policies will offer higher limits for coverage. And if all of your belongings need to be replaced, this difference in reimbursement will quickly add up.
Nearly All My Clients Policies have Replacement cost Included Already!
Yes...You Can Have an Insured Retirement
Retirement brings many unknowns: How long will you live? How long will your spouse live? Will either of you require long-term care? Will you face any other unknown expenses? How will changes in the markets affect your portfolio? And the big question: Will your money last through your retirement?
In many cases, the problem is you just don't know how your investments will perform. Let's say, for example, that you had retired in 2008 with a $1 million nest egg and were planning to withdraw 5%, or $50,000, a year, to supplement Social Security. Then the financial events of 2008 and 2009 struck, and your portfolio dropped in value to $600,000. If you were to keep withdrawing $50,000 a year, that amount would represent 8.3% of your portfolio's value - a level of withdrawal that may not be sustainable. If you continued to withdraw $50,000 a year, you would run the risk of running out of money. On the other hand, if you scaled back the amount of the annual withdrawals, it likely would cut into your lifestyle.
Financial products such as those described above - basic brokerage accounts and retirement plans - are not insured products. They don't offer guaranteed income. But one product does: the annuity. With a fixed annuity, you provide a life insurance company with a portion of your nest egg, and in exchange, the company provides you with a stream of income that will last for life - in other words, an insured retirement.
Equity returns have been robust over the past five years, but markets ebb and flow, so it may be a good idea to have part of your portfolio insured at all times to minimize the potential of running out of money during one's lifetime. Your advisor can help you decide if an annuity is suitable for your individual circumstances and goals.