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Sam McNeely, an ex-football player, towered over everyone who came in contact with him. But his size belied a soft side—he was quick with a joke and able to befriend anyone with his easygoing ways. That’s what made Amy fall in love with him.
Within a year of getting married, they discovered they were going to be parents. That’s when they met with Sam’s cousin and insurance professional Juli McNeely, CFP, CLU, LUTCF. Amy understood from the beginning that protecting their growing family with life insurance was paramount.
While Sam had some life insurance through work, Amy convinced him to purchase an individual policy, which would give him sufficient coverage and wouldn’t disappear if he changed jobs. Amy got coverage as well. Her reason was straightforward: “I didn’t want to leave him with a child and struggle with work and finding someone to take care of her.”
Several years later, Amy was walking their daughter, Charli, to school when her phone rang. That call was the beginning of a life-altering morning that ended up with Sam in the hospital with an aortic dissection. Shortly after arriving, it would claim his life. He was just 38.
Amy has little recollection of the days and weeks that followed. During that time she relied heavily on Juli, who invested the proceeds of Sam’s life insurance to ensure that Amy would have an ongoing stream of income for years to come. It has allowed Amy to be there for Charli, instead of having to work full time and find people to care for her.
Her advice to other parents is simple: “People think life insurance is super expensive, but it’s not. For the amount of coverage we had, it wasn’t expensive at all—and it was worth everything. It’s made my sisters and friends reconsider their needs. People my age don’t think they’re going to die, but it happens.”
To understand more about life insurance and to see if it’s something you need, start here.
by Amanda Prischak on
It’s hardly a secret that winter does a number on your car. One of the biggest culprits: road salt.
While road salt is effective for keeping the roads safe, it has the opposite effect on your car. Road salt creates chemical reactions that cause corrosion—with fuel lines and brakes being the most susceptible to damage.
Winter car washes
While you may skip them because it’s nearly impossible to keep a car looking clean in winter, weekly car washes really are a must if you live in a cold-weather climate. In addition to a simple spray down, it’s also worth investing in a wash that cleans the undercarriage of your car at least every few weeks.
There’s just one caveat: Skip the wash if the temperature is below 30 degrees. Water that hits your car when the air is too cold could lead door handles and locks to freeze shut. Also, even if the temperature is above freezing during winter, it’s a good idea to thoroughly dry your car before you drive off. Road salt will stick to a wet car, undoing the benefits of the car wash.
Winter car waxes
A protective layer of car wax can help protect your car from road salt. Ideally, you’ll want to get your car waxed before winter arrives. If you waited too long, you can still get a wax—just have the job done indoors or on a warm day of at least 50 degrees.
Spring is still a few months away. When it (finally) arrives, it’s a good idea to help your car recover from winter. Spring for an exterior detail that includes a high-pressure wash that hits your car’s undercarriage and a rust inspection which will restore your car’s luster.
Old Man Winter is no car’s friend. But with a little extra care, you can protect your car and the investment you have in it.
| Dec 26, 2016
Once the weather turns crisp, before homeowners cozy up to their fireplaces or under their goose-down duvets, there’s something critical they need to tend to first outside: their home’s pipes. Learning how to keep pipes from freezing is one of those essential homeowner skills you definitely don’t want to overlook.
Why? Because when water freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to burst—flooding your basement, ruining your drywall, and costing thousands of dollars in repairs. In fact, the Hartford Insurance Co. reports that the average claim for damage from a frozen pipe is a whopping $18,000, according to its analysis of five years of winter claims data.
Bottom line? If you’re smart (and we know you are), you’ll take care of this task long before the temperature drops, just in case. Here are the steps to take to keep pipes from freezing.
Step 1: How to drain your pipes
First things first: Get the water in your pipes out! To do that, you’ll want to tackle all the water lines leading to your garden hose, sprinkler, and pool. After you shut off the water valves, open the spigots to let any remaining water drip out, says Bud Summers at the property-damage repair company Puroclean.com.
Step 2: Insulate exposed piping
“Ideally, your water pipes should be kept in heated spaces only,” says Summers. Although this is the best-case scenario, everyone’s home layout is different. Generally, you’ll want to watch out for any pipes in unheated or uninsulated areas, like your attic, basement, or crawl space. That said, in warmer climates, a basement may stay well above freezing year round, so gauge the temperature—and act accordingly. Any piping located in areas that could go below freezing should be “insulated with insulation sleeves or wrapping,” says Summers, who adds that you can buy these wrappers at any local hardware store.
Step 3: Open cabinet doors
Once you reach that time of year when freezing temperatures are the norm, even your indoor pipes may need some extra protection. And one easy way to do that is to open any bathroom or kitchen cabinet doors that house plumbing. No, it’s not pretty leaving the space beneath your sink exposed, but the improved airflow keeps your pipes toastier than if they were shut.
Step 4: Let it drip, drip, drip
Another pipe-saving tip: When temperatures drop to below freezing, let your faucets drip. Yes, this advice opposes almost everything else you know about water conservation, but it can save you big bucks on fixing that busted pipe. The Red Cross concurs that running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing. “So many homeowners fail to take this simple precaution,” Summers says. “Letting cold water drip from the faucet helps relieve any pressure building from ice inside a pipe.”
Step 5: Shut off the water completely
During holiday travels or winter vacations, you’ll want to take the extra measure to turn off your home’s water completely. Unused water sitting in pipes is likely to freeze, meaning that you could come home to a busted pipe and total mess. Why take the risk? In most homes, the water shut-off valve is located near where the water pipes make their way into your home—often the kitchen, basement or downstairs bathroom (consult your property records if you’re not sure).
Pool drains can cause injuries—and worse—when a person’s body, limbs, hair, jewelry or clothes become entangled with a drain.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that pool drain entrapments caused 32 injuries and two fatalities between 2008 and 2012. The issue gained new awareness in 2013 when the son of musician and TV personality Usher nearly drowned in his family pool after getting stuck in a pool drain. Like Usher’s son, most victims are kids.
Pool drain safety tips
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do when it comes to pool drain safety to keep you and your guests safe. They include:
- Investing in a good drain cover. In 2008, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act that mandates that all public pools in the United States be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers. But the law does not apply to private pools.Make sure your private pool has a good drain cover. The newer models have more vents than older ones. They are also raised up above the pool floor as opposed to being flush against the bottom.
- Installing a Safety Vacuum Release System. This device automatically shuts off the pool’s pump if it detects that something is blocking the pool drain.
- Keeping loose items out of the pool. Remove jewelry and tie up long hair before you get in the pool. Also make sure to wear bathing attire that’s appropriate for the pool—baggy clothing is a pool drain safety hazard.
- Knowing how to shut off the pump. Clearly mark the pump shut-off switch and make sure you know how to shut it off.
- Keeping on an eye on things. No one should swim alone. And this is especially true when it comes to kids, who are the most common victims of pool drain entanglements. Also make sure at least one adult who knows proper first aid is keeping an eye on everyone. Finally, encourage kids to stay away from the pool drain area and any other suction areas.
- Having the proper safety equipment close at hand. This includes life rings and reaching poles.
- Fencing off your pool. A fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate will help keep kids and anyone else from swimming unsupervised.
If someone becomes entrapped in a pool drain, the CPSC recommends immediately turning off the pump. Don’t try to pull the person away—instead, insert fingers or a small object between the drain and the person’s body to break the seal and then roll them off until they’re free.
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