Free Year-End Tax Planning Seminar

November 19, 2009

Like securing good insurance converage, managing your taxes is an important component of ensuring your financial health. I found information about this free seminar to be held in Hartford, CT through the  University of Connecticut Alumni Networking Group on LinkedIn:

“Ameriprise Financial invites you to join us for a special seminar, Managing Your Taxes: Use the Opportunities in Current Tax Laws*

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108

This is an informational seminar. There is no cost or obligation. During this complimentary seminar, you’ll learn ways to: 

  • Manage the amount you pay to the government in taxes.
  • Align tax treatments with your investment objectives.
  • Find the right balance of before- and after-tax investments for your situation.

Space is limited.  Please make a reservation by Monday, November 23, 2009 for you and up to 4 guests. Call 860-334-1404.”

*Disclaimer: Asset Security, Inc. may periodically provide information about other companies or websites, which might be useful for you.  Asset Security, Inc. does not endorse any of these companies or websites.  Asset Security, Inc. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for their actions, contents, or for any consequences arising from any use of, or reliance on, the information provided by them.

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Thanksgiving Insurance plus Pumpkin Spice Bars Recipe

November 18, 2009

Okay, there is no such thing as Thanksgiving insurance, but you can manage risks by cautiously cooking up that Thanksgiving storm (Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires and home insurance claims according to the National Fire Protection Association) and by ensuring that your home is protected with adequate insurance coverage.  Although financial times are tough, now is not the time to retreat and skimp on insurance; you may even consider increasing your limits.  During the holiday season, your home sees more guests bustling in and out, which may increase liability risks, and more cooking, which may expose safety hazards.

Below are a few things to be mindful of when entertaining your family and friends for the holiday:

  • “You can’t tell if a food is safe to eat by how it looks or tastes. Proper storage, cooking and handling are the only ways to ensure safe food.” Read this food safety information to prevent food poisoning.
  • If you are deep-frying your turkey, consider doing it in the garage or out on the deck. If you must do it inside, do not leave it unattended!
  • Stay in the kitchen while anything is being cooked. You want to make sure nothing spills, catches fire or boils over.
  • LEARN HOW TO PUT OUT A GREASE FIRE.
  • Be the Top Chef in your kitchen and make sure anyone helping you is being cautious.  Beware of letting children help in the kitchen–they can be injured and if it is a friend or relative’s child, a liability risk can arise.  
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher. It could stop a fire from becoming overwhelming and it can grant you a discount on your homeowner’s policy!
  • Push your sleeves up and wear fitted clothing so that loose articles don’t get set ablaze.
  • Keep your kitchen tidy and make sure paper towels, pot holders and packages are away from the stove.
  • Clean up spills or anything on the floor immediately to prevent slips and falls.  
  • Learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver in case anyone is choking.
  • If anyone has had a bit too much to drink, do not let them drive away from your house. If they are involved in an accident, the subsequent liquor liability lawsuit could absolutely devastate your financial stability.
  • One guarantee for a great Thanksgiving is this recipe for pumpkin spice bars! It is yum in the tum and will give you a little insurance that everyone’s stomach is happy! 

    Make Pumpkin Spice Bars

    Pumpkin Spice Bars
    4 large eggs
    1 3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 cups fresh pumpkin puree*
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (avail in gourmet dept)
    2 cups golden raisins 
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • In mixer, beat eggs until frothy.
    • Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
    • Beat in vegetable oil and pumpkin.
    • Sift dry ingredients over the raisins and fold dry mixture into the egg mixture. Do not over mix.
    • Pour into a greased and floured 13″x9″ pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm to touch in center.
    • Cool on rack and cut into 24 squares.
    • DEVOUR.

    *To prepare fresh pumpkin for baking, follow these steps:

    • The best and sweetest pumpkin to use is the sugar pumpkin. Baking it concentrates the sugars and flavors.
    • Wash the pumpkin, discard the stem and quarter the pumpkin.
    • Remove seeds and save.
    • Place skin side down in a roasting pan filled with one inch of water
    • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until knofe pierces flesh easily.
    • Remove from pan and cool
    • Spoon out flesh infor food processor and process until smooth.

    What Superlative Would Your Insurance Win?

    November 13, 2009

    Car insurance may not be all that glamorous, it probably would not win “Most Fun” in the high school yearbook and it may not be the hottest industry on the stage.  When the spotlight hits, though, it is undeniable what a star good insurance coverage can be.  Understanding the ins and outs of insurance can be complex, but it is of utmost importance to keep yourself educated about what your insurance policies are doing for you and how they will perform when you need it most.

    Why Is it So Important? Like a good doctor, insurance is in place to heal you when you’ve been broken. It’s there to fix the worst case scenario. The goal of both medicine and insurance is to pick up the pieces and put them back together so that you look the same as you did before the loss occurred. Doctors may mend a broken arm or leg, while insurance fixes a broken car or home. What we must remember is that insurance is an important part of restoring your life, but it can be equally important when you are not the victim in an accident.

    Car insurance liability limits are in place to pay for any bodily injury or property damage that you cause (and are found legally liable for) to another person. People often think that because they have insurance, they are covered, plain and simple. The fact is, though, that insurance has LIMITS. If the costs to rectify an accident fall outside of those limits, the victim may have no choice but to sue you for the remainder, causing you complete financial devastation. No bueno.

    Want Some Examples?  My friend, [Low Limit] Lisa works for an NFL team and I recently discovered that her car insurance liability limits are shockingly low.  Her limit is 25/50/50: her insurance company will pay up to $25,000 to each person injured, but they will only pay a maximum of $50,000 total per accident (so they’ll only pay a max of $25K to two people) and they will pay a max of $50,000 for damage caused to property.  Let’s play pretend and imagine that she is pulling out of the player parking garage…

    • Lisa hits a player, damaging his $100,000 car and breaking his $10 million running back leg
    • Player sues Lisa for damages in court
    • To fix the car, pay for his medical bills and make up for the wages he is losing while out of work, the court awards $500,000
    • Lisa is now liable for $425,000 out of pocket
    • Superlative: Most Likely to Drive Lisa into Deep Debt for Decades

    We may not all work for professional sports teams, but we do interact with people and face risks on a daily basis. This one is a true story:

    • My friend–we’ll call him Crash–was in a car accident last year
    • He was at fault for hitting a Mercedes-Benz operated by a NYPD detective
    • The accident wrecked the Benz, injured the detective’s shoulder, put him through surgery and rehabilitation and kept him out of work for 6 months
    • The court awarded the detective $90,000 in a settlement.
    • Crash’s insurance company paid for an attorney to represent
    • Crash’s liability limit was a Combined Single Limit (as opposed to the split limits of 25/50/50 we saw earlier) of $500,000
    • Superlative: Most Likely to Suffer NO Financial Loss

    Another example:

    • A restaurant owner has a teenage son who drives his car into someone’s luxury home
    • Their insurance carries a $100,000 liability limit on property damage 
    • Homeowner sues and court awards $2 million in damages
    • Superlative: Most Likely to Foreclose Their Home and Sell Their Restaurant In Order to Pay the Remaining $1.9 Million

    We never expect that we’ll be in such a position, but that is why insurance is so essential: it is our backup plan when the unexpected actually happens. Increasing your liability limits will cost a little more, but it is the smartest, easiest way to truly protect yourself and the life you’ve built in the event that the unthinkable occurs. Think of ways to cut back in other areas of your life–maybe you can put that Starbucks money toward having coverage that wins “Most Likely to Succeed.”

    Talk to your insurance agent or call/e-mail us for guidance: 914-598-3004 or jaime@assetsecurityrm.com