3 Ways Life Insurance Can Benefit a Charity You Love

Would you like to make a charitable gift to help organizations or people in need; to support a specific cause; for recognition such as a naming opportunity at a school or university? Perhaps you would do it just for the tax incentives. There is any number of reasons, and life insurance can be one of the most efficient tools to achieve these purposes. So the question becomes, how does this work?

Let me list the ways.

1. Make a charity the beneficiary of an existing policy. Perhaps you have a policy you no longer need. Make the charity the beneficiary, and the policy will not be included in your estate at your death. This also allows you to retain control of both the cash value and the named beneficiary. If you want or need to change the charity named as beneficiary, you can.

2. Make a charity both the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. This gives you both a current tax deduction along with removing the policy from your estate. Once you gift the policy, you no longer have any control over the values.

3. Purchase a new policy on your life. Life insurance is an extremely efficient way to provide a large future legacy to a charity in your name without needing to write the large checks now. The premiums are given directly to the charity which then pays the premiums on the policy. The charity also owns the cash value as an asset. I am using this concept in my own planning.

Many charities would prefer to have their money upfront, but if you cannot write that large check or don’t want to part with your cash today, a gift of life insurance is a most efficient method to leave a large legacy in your name.

Share or Bookmark this post…

What to Feed Your Brain

Your brain needs food, and not just the intellectual kind like brain games to keep you sharp. Your brain functions best when it gets the proper nutrition, just like the rest of your body does.

A growing body of research and organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Alzheimer’s Association support the notion that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may help protect the brain.

So what foods should you eat? Read on to find out.

Top 10 Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Veggies

“Eat more fruits and vegetables” is a common refrain. And if you’re going to make the effort, you might as well choose those that may help keep your brain healthy.

Researchers at Tufts University measured the antioxidant power of various fruits and vegetables. The top 10 in each category are:

 

Fruits Vegetables
Prunes

 

Raisins

Blueberries

Blackberries

Strawberries

Raspberries

Plums

Oranges

Red grapes

Cherries

Kale

 

Spinach

Brussels sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts

Broccoli flowerets

Beets

Red bell peppers

Onions

Corn

Eggplant

 

Before you run out and stock up on prunes and kale, remember that variety is important, too. In general, the darker-skinned fruits and vegetables pack the most antioxidant punch.

Try to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, as shown in the ChooseMyPlate picture below. You can learn more about this meal planning method at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Use the link in the resource section at the end of this article.

It may help you get more fruits and vegetables into your diet if you think of them as ingredients in savory dishes, salads and snacks. Toss Brussels sprouts with raisins and onions in a little olive oil and roast them, for example. Or combine dried cherries with raw almonds—another brain-healthy food—for an easy snack. Get creative with ways to mix and match the foods you like.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish is the main source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Good choices include:

  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Try to have fish at least a couple of times each week to get a healthy dose of omega-3s. Grilling, baking or broiling is recommended over frying, which can add unhealthy fat.

Fish generally cooks quickly. Watch to make sure it’s not overdone, which can make it dry and less flavorful. Overcooked fish may tempt you to pour on the butter or other fat-laden sauces to make it more appetizing. Fish cooked properly needs little more than a splash of fresh lemon or a favorite herb to enhance the taste.

It’s best to get your nutrition from food, but fish may not be on your list of favorites. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from supplements, such as fish oil, which may offer some benefit. Discuss supplements with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you start taking them.

Medical Nutrition Therapy

Medical nutrition therapy is provided by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional to help you create an eating plan that meets your health needs. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) may cover the service, which can include a nutritional assessment and one-on-one counseling.

Your doctor or other health care provider must refer you for medical nutrition therapy. You are also eligible if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have kidney disease

Have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 month

Share or Bookmark this post…

Home Warranty Business Accused of Not Paying Up



As the housing market bounces back, business is also on the rise for the home warranty business. U.S. homeowners will spend almost $2 billion on them this year. But do they come through when help is needed? Judy Osiecki is not a believer.

"It gives you a false sense of security that you are covered if something happens."

The Arlington Heights woman paid Choice Home Warranty $375 for a one year plan that promised to replace or repair appliances and home systems if they broke.

"They told me they would send a repair person out and they would either repair or replace it," Osiecki said.

So, when her furnace went out, Osiecki called Choice Home Warranty. A repairman -- who had never seen her furnace before -- came out to take a look and reported his findings back to the company.

"He said I'm not covering it. I said why? He said it was a pre-existing condition," Osiecki recalled.

Osiecki was stunned at the words. Like many home warranty companies, she said Choice Home Warranty never asked for inspection reports or repair bills documenting the condition of her appliances before she signed up. It was a denial made based on her word against theirs.

"It made me furious. Furious! Because everything you own has a pre-existing condition on it," Osiecki said.

A loophole in the contract gives Choice Home Warranty a green light to deny claims.

Osiecki isn't the only one complaining. Scores of other Choice Home Warranty customers blast the company online calling it unethical, a scam, and a business that gives any excuse not to pay a claim. The company also has a "C-" rating with the Better Business Bureau based on its volume of complaints, amongst other things. With winter on the way and no help in sight, Osiecki had no choice but to shell out $1,700 for a new furnace.

"They're basically selling these policies to hundreds of people a day and recouping who knows how much money, and they're outlaying nothing."

Choice Home Warranty told NBC 5 Investigates that it takes customer feedback seriously, and handles complaints in a fair manner. But after giving us that statement, the company then sent another message to Osiecki, telling her she could only be paid if she promised not to speak to the news media. She said the company promised her a check for about $1,700 next week.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…

Understanding the Key Terms on Your Warranty

If you're reading through your new car warranty for the first time, or you are considering purchasing a new car, there may be a few terms in there that you don't know. To help you understand your warranty, we've defined a few key terms:

  1. Bumper-to-Bumper: a type of warranty also commonly referred to as a basic or standard car warranty. All automakers offer a basic warranty for a set amount of time or miles. This warranty covers basic, non-engine parts of the car such as the power steering, fuel system, lights, sensors, audio system, brakes, and climate control. If any of these parts malfunction while you are covered with a bumper-to-bumper warranty, your dealer should pay to fix them.
  2. Deductible: the amount of money you pay the repair facility for repairs on your vehicle. Some warranties cover the cost of all repairs and labor, but others require you to pay a set amount out of pocket.
  3. Federal Emission Defect Warranty: a type of warranty that covers repairs your car needs to meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. This includes defective materials and repairs.
  4. Plan Term / Plan Expiration: the length of time or the amount of mileage your warranty covers. When you reach the end of your plan term, for example 3 years / 60,000 miles, your warranty plan will expire.
  5. Powertrain: a type of warranty that covers certain "powertrain" parts of your vehicle. These parts include the transmission, engine, and drivetrain (transfers power from the engine to the wheels and down). If your powertrain components are found defective or damaged before your powertrain warranty expires, the manufacturer will pay for replacements.
  6. Roadside Assistance: provides owners with assistance if the vehicle breaks down. This often includes a number you can call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for emergency assistance, towing, help with a flat tire, or fuel problems.
  7. Surface Corrosion: rust on the outside of your car. Substances such as salt and iron oxide can make it easy for rust to form on your car. Some warranties do not protect against surface corrosion.
  8. Transferability: when you sell your car and transfer your warranty to the new owner. Car manufacturers may allow you to transfer the entire warranty, half, or none.
  9. Wear and Tear: when components of your car stop working due to external conditions. This means that your air system or radio stops working because of operational error, not because the parts can wear out. Some warranties cover wear and tear.
Share or Bookmark this post…

Buying to Let



When it comes to investing in properties, there’s key things you need to bare in mind and think through before making a final decision. Investing in properties doesn’t always mean success, it all depends on a number of factors as well as buying the right property in the first place.

First things first, you need to consider what you can afford to spend. This starts with making calculations based on your monthly mortgage payments, however this needs to go much further. You need to think about the current monthly cost of a mortgage, and then factor in the cost when interest rates rise.

Next, you need to consider the additional costs which includes tax, insurance, agent fees, any remortgaging costs if you have a fixed term mortgage and any ongoing maintenance costs.

Additionally, you need to keep in mind that each time a tenant moves out of the property, you will have to visit the property and at the very minimum, go over the painting. You need to prepare yourself for major repairs in the property which can pop up on any occasion. This applies from replacing the boiler to plumbing. You never know what problems will occur but its best to sort funds out in advance for when it happens.

Finally, you need to create a plan for what happens if tenants refuse to pay the rent. It’s not a quick process coming to agreements with tenants or taking things legal. Whilst this is on going, you will have to pay the bills for the property, so make sure this is something you are prepared for.

Where will you buy?

 

Now that you know where your budget stands, you need to consider the areas of where you would like to purchase. The two main factors to consider are where the ideal locations are for an investment property and the qualities of owning there. If you plan on taking the maintenance into your own hands, then it’s best that the property is nearby so you can keep on top of it. It’s also useful buying a local property as you will have more knowledge about the area and know where the nicest places are to buy.

You need to take into concept which kind of tenants you’re trying to attract. If you’re going for a young couple, it isn’t a huge deal where the property is located near as they will be aiming for wherever is relatively cheap. If you want to attract students, its best the property is nearby a university as that will be their main concern.

What will you buy?

As you should now have an idea of the tenants you want to attract, it’s time to think about the type of property. If it’s for a young couple, a two bedroom house or apartment would be ideal. However, if you have made the decision that it’s students you want to rent it to, a three/four bedroom house would be suited as it’s more than likely they will be renting with friends.

Another aspect to consider is the return of your investment. You must work out how much money you’re going to be left with every month after you have discounted the monthly costs from your rental income.

Share or Bookmark this post…