What is a New Year’s Resolution? According to Google Web Definitions, it is a “commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change…”
According to Statistic Brain, for 2012 the top 10 New Year’s resolutions were as follows:
- Lose Weight
- Getting Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Learn Something Exciting
- Quit Smoking
- Help Others in Their Dreams
- Fall in Love
- Spend More time with Family
As a Director of Underwriting, I see how all of these New Year’s Resolutions are related to life insurance planning. Here’s how:
- Lose Weight. Did you know that by losing weight (often by shedding simply 10-20 pounds), you can potentially put yourself into a healthier risk class for life insurance underwriting and thereby drop your insurance rates? Very often, the medical issues we see as underwriters are directly correlated to one’s weight. Type II Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Osteoarthritis, and even breathing problems such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea are just a few complications we regularly see. The more overweight or obese a person is, the greater risk that person has for chronic disease compared to individuals in a healthy weight range. And those who are already overweight or obese can gain significant health benefits from improving their weight. So what are the best ways to lose weight? Improved diet, including more fruits and veggies, less meat, and less processed foods, has been shown to do the trick (obviously speak with your physician before changing your diet). Try shopping on the outer rim of the grocery story and stay away from the processed foods in the center aisles. Improved diet, in combination with even minimal-to-moderate exercise, can really give your weight loss a boost. And don’t even think about eating greasy fast food.
- Getting Organized. When’s the last time you had a Retirement and Estate Planning Expert review your financial situation? If your life is like mine, it’s super-busy and somehow seems to get busier each year. However, I can’t overstate the importance of regularly reviewing your goals. As those goals change and/or as your life changes – whether it is a job change, a change in health or marital status, the start of a new business, or even the receipt of an inheritance – don’t you want to make sure your dollars are working as hard for you as possible? Don’t let time slip away – get organized and know that your overall retirement and estate plan is the best it can be for you. Besides … being more organized can reduce your stress, and that carries over into lower blood pressure and improved overall health.
- Spend Less, Save More. We all know that tax laws change regularly. But so do insurance plans. Insurance carriers are developing new, competitive products every day. That policy you put in place a few years ago may be the right product for you, but it may not be. You might be able to make a few changes and save more money by spending less on your premiums. Think of what you could do with that savings!
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest. What’s that recent quote? “Live. Laugh. Love.” I think we can all stand to be reminded of these words. And enjoying life to the fullest is certainly easier to do when we are healthier and can rest assured that our retirement and estate plans are up-to-date.
- Staying Fit and Healthy. See #1. Only thing I’ll add is that it’s A LOT easier to stay fit and healthy if you are being held accountable. Find a family member or good friend who will kick your rear off the couch to go to the gym or meet you for a salad for lunch. Think through that massive list of people you know and find the RIGHT person. Don’t pick the person who will help you by inviting you over for dessert. Get the idea?
- Learn Something Exciting. Meet with a Greco Planning Group partner. You’ll be surprised what cool and exciting ideas they’ll have for improving you and your family’s financial future!
- Quit Smoking. Do I really need to elaborate on this one? We’ve all been made well aware of the health benefits of not smoking, but did you know that life insurance rates for a smoker can be more than 3 times the rates of a non-smoker? This resolution can directly tie into #3 above… spend less, save more. Check out this table, taken from premiumcomparisons.com:
- Help Others in Their Dreams. A proper estate plan may be able to help your heirs achieve their goals. How? Well, tax rates might be out of our control, but with a little work we can ensure that the greatest possible amount of your estate is passed to your heirs with the greatest amount of ease. A larger inheritance might be just what they need to help them achieve their dreams of opening a new business, going back to school, or even starting a new charity.
- Fall in Love. Well… this one I can’t help you with very much. You’re on your own. But I’m willing to take a guess that the thinner, healthier, non-smoking, more organized, more knowledgeable, happier you (with more change in your pocket) probably has a better chance of attracting a soul-mate???
- Spend More Time with Family. Isn’t this really what we ultimately all want? Money’s good and all, but time can’t be replaced. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what’s best for your retirement and estate plan. Instead, sit back and relax, and know that you and your family are well protected. Then enjoy that extra time with your family.
At Greco Planning Group, our partners are experts at developing retirement and estate plans that can help you best reach your goals. And we don’t stop there – as your needs change and with periodic adjustments to the tax laws, we’ll work hard to make sure your goals are still being met as efficiently as possible. Let us help you achieve YOUR New Year’s Resolutions!
Here’s hoping y’all have a happy and healthy 2013!
Amanda W. O’Neal, Director of Underwriting