Money Tips for Your 20s

 

Thinking about saving money for retirement or a life insurance plan is probably not high up on most 20 year olds priority lists. With graduating from college, starting a new job, and trying to navigate a world of unfamiliar territory it can be easy to forget important tips that may not seem beneficial now but will make all the difference in the world later. For that reason we have some money tips to help everyone start out on the right foot.

Establish a budget

If you’re anything like me then budgeting is not one of your strengths. I have been known to look at my bank account in horror and figure out exactly how many more times I can order off a dollar menu before my next paycheck. Once I started working full time, however, it became necessary to budget. Using online budgeting sites, such as mint.com, as well as budget builders through my bank I was able to get in writing exactly where I wanted my money to go each month. By figuring out all your necessities (rent, insurance, and unavoidable bills) you can see where flexibility in your budget comes for wants (vacations, new clothes, and going out to eat).

Build an emergency fund

While an emergency in itself is an unexpected situation it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Most financial institutions suggest creating an emergency fund that would allow you to continue you current standard of living in case of injury, job loss, or other event for three to six months. That means if you are currently spending approximately $1,000/month on all your necessities that you should have an emergency fund of between $3,000 and $6,000. It is better to be prepared for the worst and not having to stress when you are already in an unwanted situation.

Enroll in your company’s retirement matching program          

One of the easiest ways to get started on saving for your future is to enroll in a retirement matching program. In most situations an employee is required to contribute a certain percentage of their pay to their retirement fund. Employers then “match” that amount to a certain percentage (usually between 3% and 6%). While it may not seem like a lot initially it will build up over time and usually the longer you stay with a company the more they can contribute.

Make sure you’re insured properly

Life insurance may not seem important when considering the average life expectancy of U.S. adults, but it actually can be a lot more affordable and accessible the younger and healthier you are. Check out this infographic fro Life Happens for more information about life insurance and millennials.

Social Engineering Fraud

With the growth of technology and business communication over the Internet, hackers can gain access to private information in an easier way and use it in an attempt to trick companies into sending them money. Recently, there has been an increase in losses resulting from “Social Engineering Fraud”, also referred to as “Cyber Deception” or “Spear Phishing”.  These financial losses are the result of an insured being tricked into paying a fake invoice, or wiring funds to a fraudulent account. Often these requests, or invoices for payment, mimic actual clients or vendors, and can contain authorizations from familiar email addresses. Unfortunately, these types of losses are not covered under standard “theft” or ”crime” coverage, since the funds were willingly released by the insured. Only a few carriers have developed a specific coverage endorsement for crime losses resulting from these types of deception. Chubb and Hartford are two carriers offering Social Engineering Fraud coverage.  This coverage can insure these financial losses, including:

  • Vendor or supplier impersonation
  • Executive impersonation
  • Client impersonation

These requests for payment can look authentic and trustworthy leading to loss. Coverage and price can vary based on type of business, security practices, and type of policy. Call us today, (352) 371-7977, to see if your business qualifies for coverage and if it is necessary for you to purchase protection.

Changes to Florida Blue Pharmacies

Florida Blue recently announced its move from using CVS pharmacies and CVS-owned pharmacies to Walgreens.  Starting January 1, 2017 for some individuals under 65 and small group ACA members will no longer be able to fill prescriptions through CVS. For others this will not become effective until April 1, 2017. Members must transfer their prescriptions before this time and will be able to fill prescriptions at several different pharmacies. You can find all pharmacies on the Florida Blue website under the “Find a Doctor” section.

Changes for members include (You can figure out your plan type by looking at the top of your insurance card):

  • BlueOptions and BlueCare members will use the new BlueBasic Rx network and can go to current pharmacies, just not CVS.
  • BlueSelect members will use the new BlueBasic Rx network and will be able to go to Walgreens but not CVS.
  • myBlue members will continue to use the ValueScript Rx pharmacy network, but it will be exclusively Walgreens, replacing CVS.

Other changes occurring:

  • Members over 65 will still be able to use CVS, but CVS will no longer be a preferred pharmacy and the cost will be higher at CVS for prescriptions.
  • Members can still use CVS MinuteClinics, however, they cannot fill their prescriptions at CVS during the visit. There is the option of using the Walgreens Healthcare Clinic where prescriptions can be filled during the visit.

You should be receiving more information from Florida Blue, but feel free to call us with any questions, (352) 371-7977.

Game Day Safety Tips

Game Day Safety Tips

As the Gators prepare to beat the Kentucky Wildcats for the 30th year in a row we want to make sure all the loyal fans keep themselves safe for Saturday in the Swamp. It’s easy for fans to get caught up in the fun of tailgating and attending an event so make sure to follow these tips to keep yourself safe!

  • Stay hydrated
    • If you’re going to be out and about all day and standing in the sun at a game make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated.
  • Always have a backup plan with your group
    • It can be easy to get separated at a large event, and additional stress can be added when cell phone service isn’t good. Make sure you and your fellow sports fans have a plan of where to meet and when if you’re ever separated.
  • Make sure your phone is charged
    • It’s the worst when you’re looking for someone or calling a ride and your phone dies. Charge your phone before you leave the house so you don’t end up stranded.
  • Try to stick with a buddy at all times
    • If there’s an emergency or you have to walk a long way it’s good to have a friend with you to help keep you safe.
  • If you drink don’t drive
    • If you drink at a tailgate or during a game make sure you don’t drive afterwards. Taxis and Ubers are available for rides if you need one.

Have a great game day and make sure you stay safe!

Getting Ready for a New Pet

Have you been thinking about adding a new furry family member to your home? Whether it’s a dog, cat, fish, or snake there are certain things to consider before getting a new pet.

  • What type of pets are you allowed to have based on where you live?
    • If you live in an apartment complex there may be weight and breed restrictions in your lease agreement.
    • It’s important to check laws in your state and city as well for restrictions. Zoning restrictions for livestock or certain breeds may apply in your area so be sure to know these restrictions before you make any purchases.
  • Do you have a veterinarian in mind?
    • Research accredited offices in your area.
    • Get recommendations from friends, neighbors, family members, and others who may use an office near you.
  • Have you researched what breed best fits your lifestyle?
    • If you live in an apartment it won’t be ideal to have a larger breed. Some breeds don’t do as well with small children. You can also look into how other animals fit your lifestyle.
    • Use resources such as the American Kennel Club website to research temperament and typical behaviors.
    • According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters each year in the United States. If you are considering adopting we suggest doing additional research about welcoming a shelter pet into your house.
  • How will pet-related tasks be split?
    • If you live alone then all pet-related activities, including but not limited to feeding, walking, bathing, and exercising, fall on you. If you live with roommates or your family then you may be splitting these activities.
    • Figuring out who will be responsible for what ahead of time will help avoid conflict once the pet has joined your household.
  • Is your house ready for your new member?
    • Make sure you buy all the necessary supplies for your new furry family member. This can include food, beds, toys, and more.
    • Much like you baby proof your house you’ll need to pet proof as well. If you have a pool make sure there is some kind of locking gate around it so your pet does not accidentally fall in.

Adding a pet to your family can be such a joyful time, so make sure you’re prepared by asking yourself these questions!