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If You Have Children, You Need Life Insurance
 
According to a recent article in The Motley Fool, an alarming 75% of millennial parents currently do not have life insurance. A study by online platform Bestow indicated the reasons given by the millennials - the need to research insurance options and insufficient time - show they're falling short when it comes to insuring their own lives and their loved ones' welfare. Plainly put: It's a bad idea to go without life insurance if you have children, regardless of your age.

That is true even if you and your spouse both work. If one of you dies, you might reason, the other can take care of the children financially. But is that true? What if you had bought a house together, assuming you'd both be earning money to pay the mortgage? In this case, the survivor might struggle to keep up with payments if you die.

You also need life insurance if you are a stay-at-home parent who earns no income. You may not be earning money to support your household financially, but your death would likely have a major impact on your family's finances. If the full-time homemaker dies, for example, the surviving spouse will have to pay for child care in order to continue to work - and pay the mortgage.

There is an easy way to help you determine whether you need life insurance: Ask yourself, "Will my death make it financially difficult for a loved one (typically a spouse or child) to survive?" It doesn't matter how much you earn. If the answer to the question above is "yes" - and it usually is if you have children - then yes, you need a life insurance policy. If you haven't purchased life insurance because researching a policy is time-consuming, help is available. Your advisor can assist you in determining the policy that's right for you and your family.

 
You Just Might Have Been Wearing Blue This March 17
 
"The wearing of the blue?" St. Patrick's Day on March 17 usually celebrates all things green. But St. Patrick - in whose name we celebrate St. Paddy's Day - was British. So even though he was credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, he might well have worn British blue instead of Irish green.

March 17 hasn't always been a celebration. In fact, it began as a solemn day recognizing Ireland's patron saint, whom some believe died on that day. And there doesn't appear to have been anything green about it. Says an article on mentalfloss.com: "The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century."

Even stranger, St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, taking the name Patricius when he became a priest. Imagine if it had been St. Maewyn who chased the snakes into the sea, ridding Ireland of the pests?

And what about those snakes? According to fossil experts, there never were snakes in Ireland. And, says Popular Science magazine, there still aren't.

The shamrock worn on St. Patrick's Day actually is associated with the Saint himself, who allegedly used it as a teaching tool to symbolize the Trinity. But interestingly, it was the Druids who believed the shamrock brought luck by warding off evil spirits.

These days, though, March 17 is a great party that celebrates Irish culture with grand parades, Irish dancing, and green everything. In fact, Paddy himself would probably be celebrating the day if he could.

 
Do I Need Extra Insurance for Exterior Rebuilds?
You're planning your next remodeling project. Perhaps you're expanding your home to enjoy more living space. Maybe you're replacing the 1990s siding. Whether your project is a minor exterior renovation or major roofing repair, it's important the work is properly insured. This may or may not involve the purchase of additional insurance.

In dealing with a contractor: If you are planning to hire a contractor to perform the work, protect yourself and your property with proper coverage. For example:
  • Ask for proof of insurance. Examine dates and coverage carefully to ensure coverage is current and legitimate.
  • Ask to have your name added in writing as an additional insured on the contractor's liability policy. Some contractors offer this free, but you may have to pay a small fee for this service.
  • Make sure the contractor's insurance coverage includes workers' compensation. You don't want to have to pay for injuries occurring to contract workers on your property.
By placing yourself as an additional insured on your contractor's policy, you're also covering the gray areas that include situations such as a roofer's ladder falling over and damaging your neighbor's property. The additional-insured documentation should protect you in these types of third-party cases.

For major projects, such as additions or new homes, you might want to consider purchasing temporary builders risk insurance. This will cover mishaps during construction. 

Contact your insurance agent: Whatever type of project you're planning, contact your insurance agent early in the process. Your agent can advise you on the best type of coverage to add. He or she can also make the proper adjustments to the value of your home. 

If you are building an addition, for example, your home will be worth more than when your homeowners policy was originally written. Communicate with your agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage based on the new value of the property.

 
Critical Illness Policies Support Financial Health
 
As Americans age, they are increasingly concerned about their health and the financial impact of illness. Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US, often because traditional health care coverage won't cover all the expenses of a critical illness (CI).

A Harvard University study found that almost 80% of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance plans when their illnesses began - but likely not CI coverage. Effectively, CI coverage can help protect you against financial ruin.

What illnesses are covered?

The most common (and expensive) critical illnesses include cancer, heart attack, and stroke. But CI coverage provides increased protection for a wide variety of illnesses; policies range from those covering a diagnosis such as cancer to those that cover more than 20 conditions, ranging from kidney failure to organ transplants. Note that CI generally won't cover chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Is CI coverage right for you?

Many Americans will become critically ill at some point in their lives. When a critical illness will increase expenses or reduce income, CI can help you maintain your current lifestyle. It will provide funds to meet your financial commitments, such as auto payments or mortgages; it can help defray the cost for treatments not covered by your health plan; and it can help you meet your deductible if you have a high-deductible health plan.

How does the CI policy pay?

Generally, critical illness coverage provides a lump-sum payment or monthly benefits upon diagnosis. Lump-sum benefits can range from $10,000 to $500,000 or more.

Are you eligible for coverage?

Discuss your eligibility for CI coverage with your agent. Many individuals will meet underwriting standards after answering a series of simple questions. With simplified underwriting, you're not required to have medical tests or blood work. And, in cases with few medical issues, your insurance agent usually can place coverage in seven days to a few weeks.
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Lamb Kabobs with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Serves 4
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
Directions
Blend the avocado flesh, juice, oil, vinegar, and seasoning on high for 10 seconds or until it reaches a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Marinate lamb pieces in lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper for at least one hour or overnight. Thread lamb pieces onto skewers and discard marinade. Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and cook skewers until charred and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from heat. Drizzle with avocado dressing and serve over greens, grains, or grilled vegetables.
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. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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