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Category: Comfort

Train your brain for efficiency

Chances are you have cooked some pretty elaborate plans to trick yourself into being more productive.

Have you considered the role your surroundings play in your everyday life? It turns out that one of the easiest ways to bring about change in our lives is to actually change our environments. What if the layout of your bedroom or the distance from your desk to the kitchen was impacting your productivity and decision making? There is plenty of room for each of us to improve. Here is how and why making some changes to your environment works.

Your brain is efficient
Making decisions is draining. (Heard of “decision fatigue”? It’s real!) We can only make so many choices per day before we start to run out of steam and need a rest. But we are faced with countless choices every time we wake up! Should I go back to sleep? Should I shower or brush my teeth first? What will I wear to work? Should I try out that new shortcut to the office? It can become stressful for your brain to struggle with a choice every time one of these little prompts presents itself. That is why we rely on decision shortcuts called habits.

A habit is just a routine that you regularly perform. Most of the time we don’t even notice that we are engaging in a habit because it’s second nature to us. And there is a reason for that. It is your brain saving energy by going on autopilot to perform an action without having to make a decision. That way you can use the bulk of your mental power on unique and important problems that might pop up during the day, not on thinking about when you should brush your teeth!

Trick yourself into making wise decisions
What does your brain’s love of shortcuts have to do with your environment? Let us look at an example.

Your alarm clock is right next to your bed. It goes off every morning at 7:30am. It does not take you long to figure out that you can smack the snooze button and go straight back to sleep with hardly any effort. Before long you have hitting the snooze button every time the alarm goes off without even thinking about it. You have trained yourself to sleep in later by making your alarm easier to turn off. But what if your alarm was on the other side of your room? What if to silence it you had to stand up, walk over, and hit a button? That simple change could give you the jolt that you need to wake up and get your day started on time!

Take a look at your surroundings and ask yourself what kind of behavior it encourages. Is it more convenient for you to grab a soda from the fridge or fill up your water bottle? When you work at home, are you in the middle of distractions like the kids playing or too close to the TV? At work, does your office layout lend itself to productivity or socializing with your co-workers?

It might take some legwork to get started but try to arrange your life in a way that makes wise decisions easier. You might be surprised by the results!

Why would someone choose Short Term Life Insurance?

Why would someone choose Short Term Life Insurance?

Short term life insurance might be a good fit if you have short-term goals or want financial protection for a specific amount of time. Reasons for utilizing short term life insurance might be one of the following:

  1. If you have a 20-year home mortgage, then you may want to purchase a 20-year term policy. That way, you will know that your family can pay off the mortgage and remain in their home should anything happen to you.
  2. A term policy might also be a good option if you want insurance coverage just for the years you are paying for a child’s education.
  3. Maybe you are paying off a business loan and you don’t want a spouse or partner to be burdened with the balance.
  4. Additionally, If you are a small business owner, term insurance can be used to protect against the untimely death of a key employee.

In each of these examples, the term ends along with your specific financial obligation, so you are not paying for coverage that you no longer need. For that reason, term life insurance can be a flexible and affordable coverage solution for a range of situations.

Are there Differences Among Term Insurance Policies?

The biggest differences between term insurance policies are the length of time the coverage is for. Some term policies offer optional features called riders that allow you to customize your policy. For example, you can add your children to your policy or get accidental death protection if need be.

Moreover, a term insurance policy can be increasing or decreasing.  A decreasing term life insurance policy would best be used to cover the life of a homeowner for the death benefit to cover for a mortgage.  For example, the primary breadwinner of the family and their spouse is on the deed and the mortgage.  The primary breadwinner passes and leaves the mortgage debt to the stay-at-home spouse.  In this case, the 2nd spouse would need to either go get employment to make the income to pay debts, including the mortgage, or lose the house and possibly all the assets or (worse case scenario) marry immediately so he/she can have another primary breadwinner to fill the financial void.  The decreasing term insurance death benefit can be used to pay off the mortgage and possibly all the other debts as well, leaving the stay-at-home spouse to effectively grieve and move into the next season of life without much worry or unnecessary anxiety.

Increasing term life insurance could be used in the case of having several children that might accrue education debt in future years and the parents feel as though they want to cover the cost.  In the parents’ demise, the increasing term death benefit would be able to cover the entire cost (if not a large portion of the cost) of the children’s education cost without worry or unnecessary anxiety.

At this point, it is important to note one unique type of term life insurance policy which is what is known as a return of premium term policy. With this type of policy, all premiums that have been paid are returned to the policy owner at the end of the level-premium period (terms and conditions may apply).

What Happens at the end of the Term of a Term Life Insurance Policy?

At the end of the term, you have the option of letting your coverage end, keeping it by continuing to pay the premiums, or possibly converting it to some type of a permanent life insurance policy.  We discuss various types of permanent policy options in another blog. Remember, if you do choose to convert, be sure to work with a reputable company that offers quality life insurance options.

If you choose to keep the policy after the level-premium period ends, your premiums will increase each year as outlined in your contract and usually will stop at age 85, unless otherwise indicated when the policy ends.

How Much Term Life Insurance Do I Need?

As a general rule you should purchase a term life insurance policy for 10–12 times your annual income. That way, your salary will be replaced for your family if something happens to you.

And don’t forget to get term life insurance for both spouses, even if one of you stays at home with the kids. Think about what you would pay in childcare and home upkeep costs if the stay-at-home parent was gone! No matter what, you both need term life insurance.

Want to make sure your family is covered no matter what happens? Check on your coverage BEFORE it becomes an emergency.

Most financial professionals recommend that if you decide to buy a term policy be sure it is with a term that will see you through until your kids are heading off to college and living on their own. That might be anywhere from 20 years, if you already have children, to 30 years if you do not have children or aren’t finished adding to your family yet.

A lot of life or death can happen in 20 years.

Don’t Wait Until You Need Life Insurance to Get It

The truth is, we cannot see the future and aren’t promised tomorrow. Life is precious! And the ideal time to buy life insurance is when you are young and have a clean bill of health. Especially since life insurance companies are all about weighing the risks of the person purchasing the policy.

Our strong opinion is that you should get your term life insurance policy, as much as you can afford to cover as much of your family’s needs, as possible. (In hindsight timing is everything).  Then take as many funds as you possibly can, immediately set up your emergency fund and then set a short term plan to push hard to put as much as you possibly can in a very wise (and fully proven) investment to allow your money to grow in your sleep!  That way you can begin building your nest egg.  Unless you can imagine yourself working until the day you die, then why not work now while you can in order to prepare for those later years so that you can actually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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