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Gifts That Do A World Of Good

(NAPSI)—This holiday season, you don’t have to look far to find items that deliver great features and functionality but use less energy. Products that earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR label save money on energy bills and help protect the environment, making them gifts that do a world of good. With a wide range of things to wrap up—from smart thermostats, laptops, tablets and other electronics, appliances and even lighting—you can put a bow on a gift that has been independently certified to meet strict standards for energy efficiency. A typical household spends about $2,000 a year on energy bills. A home outfitted with products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label can save 30% or about $575 a year on household energy bills. Over their lifetime these products save about $8,750 on utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 77,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.The ENERGY STAR Holiday Gift Guide at features energy-saving products popular this time of year, along with special deals from manufacturers, retailers, and utilities that participate in the ENERGY STAR Program. Looking for the ENERGY STAR label on products specially priced for the holidays means you save on the initial price, plus keep saving through the holidays and beyond. 

  • icon Updated: 2:35 am

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Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

Recent Headlines

Monday 11/23/2020
Simple Packing Tips To Ship Holiday Gifts
Updated: November 25, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—Packing and shipping gifts across town, across the country or around the world for the holidays is easy, provided you follow simple tips from the United States Postal Service.

To ensure items arrive safely, leave space for extra cushioning inside the package. Stuff glass and fragile, hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage. Mailing a framed photo? Remove the glass and wrap it separately. Items powered by dry-cell batteries may turn on during handling and make noises or emit light. Make sure the device is turned off or package the batteries separately, preferably in the original manufacturer’s packaging. For rules on shipping Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Mail, please see Publication 52.

Once the box is packed, make sure the address is printed clearly on the outside. Include all address elements, such as apartment numbers, directional information (ex: 123 S Main St. Apt. 2B), and the ZIP Code. Don’t forget to include a return address. Also, place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return addresses. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned should the mailing label become damaged or fall off.

For information on sending packages internationally, visit the USPS International Shipping page.

Also, check for restrictions on what can and can’t be mailed. The Postal Service has a website that provides information on hazardous, restricted and perishable mail.

It’s advised to not reuse boxes because they can weaken in shipping. Instead, you can get free Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes at your local Post Office. If customers choose to reuse boxes, it’s important to note that logos and all extraneous markings or labels must be covered or removed.

If you can’t get to the Post Office to mail your packages, the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services allow customers to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup. Priority Mail includes delivery between one to three days, Priority Mail Express includes delivery between overnight up to two days. Tracking is also included. For more information and restrictions visit

The Postal Service also offers shipping tips in a variety of online “how to” guides. Each video is less than three minutes long and shows how to address packages, ship packages and pack a box so items arrive safely.

Financial Planning Tips to Maximize Your Giving
Posted: November 23, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Everyone believes in a good cause. Especially now, when individuals and organizations are struggling in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. People want to support causes they care about, whether through volunteering, donating goods or services, or making a financial contribution.

Friday 11/20/2020
Use, Don't Lose Flexible Spending Account Funds
Posted: November 20, 2020

(NewsUSA) - The end of the year is a scramble, and it's particularly stressful this year for the millions of Americans enrolled in flexible spending accounts (FSAs) who need to spend down account funds by December 31 or risk forfeiting those dollars back to their employers.

Thursday 11/19/2020
Long-Term Care Planning Made Easy: Find A Plan That’s Right For You
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—You may already be aware of what long-term care is, whether it’s through personal experience caregiving for a loved one who needs daily assistance, or knowing a family member or friend who requires more support as they age. As you learn more about long term care, consider the possibility that you may need this type of care in the future and start planning for it today.

Did you know that 70% percent1 of Americans older than age 65 will need long term care at some point in their lives? This means personal care and other related services provided on an extended basis to people who need help with everyday activities or supervision due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Because long term care is not typically covered by health or other types of traditional insurance, it’s most often provided at home by adult children, other family members, and friends. Caregiving can be stressful, and often takes a toll on a caregiver’s health and well-being. 

For this reason, you may want to research standalone long term care insurance like the coverage that is offered under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Designed specifically for the federal family, the FLTCIP provides insurance coverage that reimburses for long term care in places like a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or at home. Purchasing coverage under the FLTCIP may help to protect your savings and assets as well as remain independent in the event you ever need long term care. 

Build a FLTCIP plan

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to long term care insurance, and it’s no secret that planning for your future care can be overwhelming. The FLTCIP’s new Guided Planner was designed to simplify the process of building a FLTCIP plan that’s right for you. When choosing a plan, consider the role your family may play in providing your care, the cost of care where you live or plan to retire, and how your coverage may contribute to your broader financial goals. The Guided Planner will guide you through these key considerations:

Cost of care: Compare the national average cost of long term care with other locations in the United States. You can choose where you live, or plan to retire.

•Care options: Learn more about different care options, such as home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, as well as the associated costs. 

•Inflation protection: Understand the impact of inflation on the cost of care over time and see examples of how the FLTCIP’s inflation protection options can help.

The FLTCIP Guided Planner will help you build a plan based on three benefit choices. These, along with your age, will help you determine your coverage and premium: 

•daily benefit amount 

•benefit period 

•inflation protection 

Visit to learn more about the Guided Planner and build a plan that’s right for you. 

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, insured by John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, under a group long-term care insurance policy, and administered by Long Term Care Partners, LLC.


1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The Basics,” (accessed August 2020).


Tuesday 11/17/2020
4 Important Things to Know About Fiduciary Financial Planners
Updated: November 21, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NewsUSA) - When it comes to managing your money, your financial needs must come first. You want to be confident that any financial advice you receive presents the best options for you, considering your goals, risk tolerance, and unique circumstances.

Monday 11/16/2020
Certain Medicare Plans Could Offer Members Food Assistance Benefits
Updated: November 19, 2020 - 2:34 am

(NewsUSA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a long list of unprecedented challenges, including the way it has caused food insecurity to rise. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to enough nutritionally adequate foods to live an active and healthy life. Fortunately, there are some benefits that can help qualifying members of Medicare Advantage Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNP) address this issue. In fact, a benefit including a monthly food card allowance can assist people in purchasing food and beverages at a variety of well-known, national stores.

Financial Planning Organization Promotes Diversity at Annual Summit
Updated: November 18, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - The financial planning profession is among many fields that recognize the value of increased diversity and inclusion in its ranks. The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting professional standards in personal financial planning, is offering its annual Diversity Summit on November 18-20, 2020, held this year in a virtual format.

Tuesday 11/10/2020
3 New Ways to Save Money in Retirement
Updated: November 13, 2020 - 2:30 am

(StatePoint) Are you looking to maintain the lifestyle you were accustomed to during your working years? It’s possible, as long as you find simple ways to cut costs on the goods and services you care about most.

Monday 11/09/2020
A Win-Win to Connect the Public with Diverse Financial Advisors
Updated: November 12, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - The demographics of wealth in the United States are shifting -- with women controlling a larger portion of household finances and minority communities continually building wealth -- but the makeup of today's financial- planning workforce does not reflect this change.

Thursday 11/05/2020
Financial Difficulties During a Global Pandemic: Why It Is Important To Start Saving For Retirement, Despite Your Age
Updated: November 17, 2020 - 2:36 am

(NAPSI—The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Americans in more ways than one. With the ups and downs the market has experienced since the start of the pandemic, it’s important that working Americans understand their various financial and retirement planning options. 

According to a recent survey from the Center for a Secure Retirement and Bankers Life, more than half (54%) of working adults say their retirement planning has taken a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than a third (36%) having lost money in the stock market. 

Whether you’re 25, 35 or 45, it’s never too early—or late—to start financially planning for retirement. Additional insight from the Center for Secure Retirement shows that nearly two-thirds (63%) of those age 35 to 44 reported that the pandemic has impacted their future retirement, compared to just one-third (35%) of those 65 and older. 

A moment of upheaval like that experienced amid COVID-19—which has been particularly felt by those reliant on employer sponsored plans like a 401(K)—represents an opportunity for the next generation of retirees to review their options and ensure their financial security. 

Here are smart actions to take:

•Stay calm. The uncertainty of the market can cause panic for some. Financial planning experts advise that the best thing you can do is to refrain from impulsive decisions. Stay calm and avoid any emotional or risky moves when it comes to large investments. 

•Reevaluate. Even for those who may feel confident in their retirement planning, it is important to continually reevaluate as you receive new information during the pandemic. It can be tempting to focus on short term gains at the expense of long-term plans. 

•Be flexible. It may even be beneficial to schedule reviews of your retirement plans several times over the course of the year, as the state of the world is everchanging. Continuously revisiting and adjusting your plans will ensure that you are prepared for the future no matter what it may bring. 

•Supplement savings. Consider including life insurance as part of your retirement plan to supplement your savings and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

Although life during a pandemic is uncertain and difficult to navigate, by seeking help to better understand your financial plans and current health care coverage, you’ll be more prepared to anticipate unforeseen situations in the future.

•Bankers Life is the marketing brand of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Medicare Supplement insurance policies sold by Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company and select policies sold in New York by Bankers Conseco Life Insurance Company (BCLIC). BCLIC is authorized to sell insurance in New York.


Tuesday 11/03/2020
A Move-Up Homebuyer Turns Moxie into Money
Updated: November 10, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Jocelyn Vasquez is a determined Hispanic woman who knows exactly want she wants: To build financial wealth through homeownership.

Monday 11/02/2020
Vets, Here's How to Maximize Your 2021 Health Benefits From Home
Updated: November 04, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Veterans eligible for Medicare can maximize healthcare coverage in 2021 by choosing a Medicare Advantage plan that can complement Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. When you start researching plan options between now and the December 7 Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment deadline, be sure to use the variety of resources available, including credible websites, virtual education events and one-on-one virtual meetings with licensed sales agents. Here are two key factors to keep in mind during your search:

Wednesday 10/28/2020
Diverse Financial Planners Expand Financial Empowerment, Access
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Research repeatedly shows that a diverse workforce is good for business. Employees' varied backgrounds and perspectives help companies propel innovation, attract new customers, and drive higher profits. But workforce diversity also has an important impact on a business' customers.

Is this the right time to switch careers? Many people are discovering passions during the pandemic
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people in countless ways. From quarantine and social distancing to remote working, furlough and job loss, many people are reassessing how they spend their time and make money. Turning proverbial lemons into lemonade, people of all ages and backgrounds have decided to pivot their careers to do something that they truly enjoy.

Tuesday 10/27/2020
Plan for these college costs
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - If your son or daughter is a high school senior this year, you're probably in the midst of applying to colleges right now. There’s a lot for everyone to think about — where to apply, the steps involved in the application process — and of course, the finances.

5 Strategies for Managing Finances in Uncertain Times [Infographic]
Posted: October 27, 2020

(BPT) - Even in ordinary times, managing finances is challenging. Since the pandemic, financial stressors have only been magnified. Job insecurity and increasing expenses are just two of many issues confronting American families. In honor of Financial Planning Month, read on for five strategies for managing your finances in uncertain times.

Tuesday 10/20/2020
Food prices: Why they’re rising and how to save
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has affected food prices more than nearly any other part of the household budget. In April, the Food-at-Home Consumer Price Index increased 2.7%, which was the largest monthly jump since 1974. From June 2019 to June 2020, food prices are up 5.6%. Why is this happening, and furthermore, how can you save on your family’s grocery bills?

Monday 10/19/2020
Saving in Uncertain Times
Posted: October 19, 2020

(BPT) - The savings habits of Americans appear to be shifting in light of the challenging circumstances of the past few months. In addition to shoring up personal savings, there are indications that Americans are reforming their habits in other key areas like healthcare and retirement as they plan for an uncertain future. This newfound diligence represents an evolution of the approach that many had adopted in regard to savings and financial resilience. In response, financial services providers are producing innovative new tools for savers to steady their income amid the turbulence of 2020. Increasingly, these financial providers offer members of key affinity groups special products and services.

How to Maximize Your Medicare Plan in 2021
Updated: November 05, 2020 - 2:34 am

(NewsUSA) - Making a choice now that will provide you with the best possible healthcare coverage in 2021 can be stressful. People with Medicare face this decision during the Annual Election Period, from October 15 through December 7. While we can't fully predict the future or our potential health needs (as the pandemic has proven), we can use our health history, plan information and modern resources to help make a well informed decision for our healthcare coverage in the coming year.

Friday 10/16/2020
Expert Series: Time to Check Your Benefits: Work with a Professional on a Pre-Retirement Financial Wellness Assessment
Posted: October 16, 2020

(BPT) - By Jon Anderson and Kaci Skidgel

Thursday 10/15/2020
How to Improve Your Financial Fitness During the COVID-19 Pandemic [Video]
Posted: October 15, 2020

Wednesday 10/14/2020
CFP Board Financial Planning Job Listings, Career Advice Now
Updated: October 30, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps because of it, now more than ever consumers want to plan for a stable financial future, which means increased demand for qualified financial professionals.

Friday 10/09/2020
How are Americans feeling, 6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic? [Infographic]
Posted: October 09, 2020

(BPT) - The Moving Forward study reveals how anxiety has been on the rise since social distancing began. Yet, despite all the challenges, including major life events, Americans are digging deep to find silver linings. Read on for advice on how to handle the unexpected.

Budget-Building Resources for a More Resilient Tomorrow
Updated: October 16, 2020 - 2:35 am

(StatePoint) National Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 to October 15, recognizes the culture and contributions of U.S. Hispanics to American society. The second largest ethnic or racial group in the U.S., Hispanics contributed $2.6 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2018, have the purchasing power of approximately $1.7 trillion, and are the most likely among other minority groups to be entrepreneurs.

Thursday 10/08/2020
How to Safely Select Your 2021 Medicare Plan During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: October 23, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NewsUSA) - Choosing a Medicare plan is a big decision for eligible individuals, including those who are age 65 or older or are living with a disability, as the plan you select during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period is the plan you'll have for the coming year, with a few exceptions.

Wednesday 10/07/2020
Comfort For Your Family
Updated: October 23, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NAPSI)—Here’s a look at something you may not like to think about—but could still be good to know: a funeral concierge can help you navigate planning a funeral and negotiating related expenses. Funeral concierge services are available from Everest Funeral Package, LLC. 

How It Works

Expert Everest consultants compare and negotiate best prices to save money, personalize the funeral plan, and assist in paperwork. In addition, their services include a secure online vault for copies of such vital documents as a will, medical directive, and power of attorney, saving families the time and worry of locating these documents after the passing of a loved one. Everest not only assists the family in completing paperwork it helps them coordinate with the insurance company and may even be able to get a portion of the death benefit available from the life insurance policy in as little as three days. 

You can even use the service to pre-plan and be sure things happen the way you want. The service includes 24/7 access to an expert consultant who assists with planning the funeral and negotiating funeral expenses, as well as online tools for creating a will and other estate planning documents and an online secure location to store these documents.

As an independent consumer advocate, the company is not associated with any funeral home or funeral provider and does not profit from any of the family’s decisions. It provides peace of mind and confidence when making difficult financial and emotional decisions.

Transamerica and Everest

Life insurance can be an important tool to protect loved ones from financial hardship. Individuals shopping for permanent life insurance should know that Transamerica offers a funeral concierge rider. Transamerica, a major finance and insurance company, has collaborated with Everest Funeral Package, LLC to add a unique feature to certain qualifying life insurance products. Consumers should contact a licensed life insurance agent and determine whether a life insurance policy best suits their financial plan. Permanent life insurance is a life-long financial commitment and is not appropriate for everyone.

“Everest exists to advocate for families, be their champion, and offer support during one of life’s most challenging times,” said Mark Duffey, President and CEO of Everest Funeral Concierge. “We’re proud to collaborate with Transamerica as they continue to find ways to put families first. Our relationship is a natural fit. Both Everest and Transamerica are deeply committed to helping people make informed decisions today so they can worry less about tomorrow.”

Learn More

For further facts on the funeral planning concierge service, go to


3 Ways To Get The House You Want
Updated: October 23, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NAPSI)—Over five million homes are sold in America every year, according to realtors. If you’d like one of them to be yours, there are a few facts you should know. 

In a perfect world, you’d fall in love with a new home, submit an offer, and have the seller accept it. The world, however, is rarely perfect. So how can you make your offer stand out when there’s competition for the home you want? Here are three hints that can help. 

1. Shorten the timeline: Sellers want to move on. Offering a quick close lets them get to their own new home sooner and alleviates worries about the transaction falling through. Removing contingencies is a strategy to fast-track the closing timeline. You can work with your agent to determine whether waiving contingencies is a good option in your situation.  

2. Make a cash offer: Nothing appeals to sellers like cash. When you offer cash instead of getting a mortgage, you eliminate the time for the mortgage to close. You also remove the risk of the mortgage loan not going through.  

Don’t have the cash? There are still options. Companies such as Flyhomes make the cash offer on your behalf, close with the seller, then sell the home to you at the same price after your mortgage is finalized. That firm also supplies you with a Client Advisor who is your coach from start to finish. You’re supported by specialists for touring, research and more. Plus they’ll help you deal with title and escrow. 

3. Find out why the seller is selling: A great real estate agent will tailor your offer to the seller’s goals. A seller who’s lived in a home for a long time is likely looking for a buyer who will cherish the home as much as they did. In that case, you might choose to write a letter to the seller to accompany your offer. On the other hand, the home may be owned by an investor, who will be most interested in selling to the buyer with the highest price and best terms.  

Learn More 

For further facts and tips on buying a home, go to


Friday 10/02/2020
Save Money On Shipping
Updated: October 23, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NAPSI)—Your company can get money from a surprising source: the Post Office.

That’s because the U.S. Postal Service now has a program that gives credits to registered businesses that use Click-N-Ship® services. As of August 1, 2020, businesses can earn these credits when they buy Priority Mail® and Priority Mail Express® products. The credits can then be used toward future purchases of the products, using Click-N-Ship.

How It Works

•Registered business users of Click-N-Ship services will be automatically enrolled and automatically accrue the credits.

•Companies that are already registered get a $40 credit for every $500 spent on Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express products using Click-N-Ship.

•New Click-N-Ship users earn an additional $40 for the first $500 they spend.

•Once earned, credits are added to the connected account within 30 days.

•Credits expire one year from the date of issuance.

Make Your Money Go Even Further

More good news from the USPS: Starting January 2021, the Postal Service will help your business grow faster by adding tiers to the USPS® Loyalty Program. Your tier will be based on your qualifying shipping totals from the previous year. A higher tier means a larger benefit.

Learn More

For further facts on how the USPS Loyalty Program can pay off for you, visit


Thursday 10/01/2020
Make These 5 Steps Toward Financial Wellness This Fall
Posted: October 01, 2020

(BPT) - October is National Financial Planning Month, a time when we traditionally slow down, check in and make some progress toward our long-term financial goals. Big-picture money objectives may feel difficult right now, while we grapple with the economic fallout from the pandemic and struggle to meet immediate financial needs. Nearly half of Americans are worried about their financial future, according to Prudential’s 2020 Financial Wellness Census, and most people perceive their financial mobility as fixed.

New ways to save more with your FSA or HSA
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - If you currently have a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) through your employer, you probably appreciate knowing that you have some pre-tax savings stashed away in case you need them for a healthcare expense. FSAs and HSAs aim to provide convenient, affordable spending options, allowing employees to create accounts where they can deposit pre-tax funds during each pay period to cover out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

Wednesday 09/30/2020
Tips for landing a job in the COVID-19 era
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - The job hunt after college is exhilarating and emotional while at the same time stressful and exhausting. Adding a global pandemic into the mix threatens to upend the process for the nearly 4 million 2020 graduates.

World Financial Planning Day Program Offers Practical Advice
Updated: October 22, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NewsUSA) - Whether you are new to the workforce or a seasoned veteran, having a financial plan is important, especially in uncertain times.

Tuesday 09/29/2020
3 critical ways businesses can prepare for the unknowns of a post-COVID-19 world
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - Running a business is no small feat. Add to that the evolving uncertainties with COVID-19, protests, rioting, a recession and more, and any business is on high alert. Preparing for unknowns is difficult despite the organization's size, but it can be even more difficult for small and medium businesses.

Tips for your next career move after military service
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - Making the transition from military service to civilian life can be challenging on multiple fronts — and the toughest issue can be figuring out your next career move. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available for veterans and military families coping with the job hunt, moving, handling their finances and more.

How to Choose the Best Insurance Policy for You
Updated: October 03, 2020 - 2:34 am

(StatePoint) It’s never fun to think about the possibility of getting sick or hurt, losing a home, needing extended medical care, or even dying, but these are extremely important topics to confront when planning your financial future.

Friday 09/25/2020
Navigating Important Family Decisions With a Financial Advisor
Updated: September 27, 2020 - 2:30 am

(StatePoint) Recent historic economic downturns and significant unemployment numbers and job losses have created considerable financial worries for families across the country. Health and safety concerns about returning to schools, childcare facilities, and office settings have only added to the uncertainty and stress that Americans are currently feeling.

Thursday 09/24/2020
COVID-19 Weighs on Those Saving for College
Updated: October 20, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NewsUSA) - Back to school has taken on a whole new meaning for families this fall.

Life insurance 101: Your guide to getting the right coverage
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - Life constantly changes and no one can predict the future, which is why life insurance offers peace of mind that your loved ones are protected financially should anything happen to you. There are many life insurance options available, which is beneficial because that means you can find the best one for your needs and budget.

Monday 09/14/2020
What to Know About Today’s Life Insurance Options
Updated: September 22, 2020 - 2:30 am

(StatePoint) Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are looking into new life insurance coverage or taking a closer look at their existing coverage to make potential updates, according to a new survey.

Thursday 09/10/2020
Your PR Ps and Qs
Updated: September 17, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—Every year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports, approximately 400,000 new small businesses open. If yours is among them—or you’d like it to be—this year, you’re probably facing unprecedented issues. Fortunately, there’s a well-established means to help your new or existing business to grow and flourish and that is public relations. Public relations builds visibility for your brand by creating mutually beneficial relationships between your organization and media, influencers and other relevant audiences. To get facts about your business to potential customers, it’s wise to get information out through this publication and other media. 

Here are hints on how to do so: 

•Get to know the media and see what perspective you can offer them. Read this and other publications; watch and listen to the TV and radio news and talk shows to get to know what they like to cover and how your firm can fit in. Gather e-mail addresses for your target media. 

•Draft clear and personal e-mails to media that cover topics relevant to you and your business. Introduce yourself and tie the introduction to what the person covers. Explain what captured your attention about them. Explain why you’re reaching out and how you can help them to do their job. Then, follow up; stay connected. 

•Let the media know you’re available to share opinions and have a unique perspective. Perhaps you can talk about the unique ways the pandemic has affected your business and how you’re working to overcome them. Are you adding new services? Are you hiring new people? Are you making changes to your physical location?  

•Promote your company by applying for industry, local and regional awards. 

•Is your business having any special sales or is there anything special that you have done for someone that has affected their lives? Let this publication and other relevant media know what you did or plan to do. 

Get Help 

If all that sounds like a lot of work, while you’re trying to start or revive your business, well, that’s good. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can get a professional public relations person to manage the process, keep you on schedule and gain attention for your business while you focus on running your company. A public relation expert such as Nicole Rodrigues, founder and CEO of NRPR Group, a highly-recognized, award-winning and exclusive boutique public relations agency, can keep your company in the spotlight so existing and potential customers know who you are and why they want to do business with you. 

Learn More 

For further facts on what a PR firm can do for you, visit


Wednesday 09/09/2020
COVID-19 Fallout: Americans Changing Their Higher Ed Plans
Updated: October 10, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - The move to online classes at colleges and universities to deal with COVID-19 isn't making the grade with many Americans.

Tuesday 09/08/2020
Creating working environments for families to thrive
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - No one has escaped the effects of the pandemic, but working parents are struggling. Staring down a lack of childcare, new work-from-home situations, and insufficient support from employers or public resources, these individuals are nearing the end of their rope emotionally, and for many, financially. The start of the school year further complicates matters as parents grapple with difficult decisions and limited options due to school policies or their own financial and employment constraints. While parents navigate this fraught period for their families and bank accounts, the country must understand three things: Where parents stand now, what they need from their employers in the future, and what can be done in the meantime to find relative peace and security.

Use these 5 annual insurance benefits before the end of 2020
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - Are you one of the 48% of adults who says they or someone in their household has postponed or skipped medical care due to the COVID-19 pandemic?1 If so, you may not have yet taken full advantage of your insurance benefits this year.

Be prepared: 5 steps to build your emergency fund
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:36 am

(BPT) - Many of life’s interruptions can’t be predicted. Not having funds set aside for unexpected problems can leave you racking up high credit card debt or putting yourself in other difficult financial straits.

Friday 09/04/2020
Five ways to help protect yourself from unemployment insurance fraud
Updated: November 27, 2020 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - Many people around the U.S. are relying on unemployment insurance assistance as the country battles the pandemic and associated economic effects. As unemployment has risen, fraudsters have been targeting consumers to steal unemployment insurance benefits. They do this by taking personally identifiable information (PII) that cybercriminals have posted on the dark web, stolen from unsuspecting consumers or gained from past data breaches.

Wednesday 09/02/2020
Don't Let COVID-19 Impact Your Credit Score
Updated: October 09, 2020 - 2:34 am

(NewsUSA) - Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned millions of Americans' financial situations upside down.

Tips to Ease the Financial Recovery Process After a Disaster
Updated: September 05, 2020 - 2:33 am

(StatePoint) While the COVID-19 crisis continues to be top of mind for many Americans, it’s important to remember that other disasters can still occur with little or no warning, making it vital to prepare.

Friday 08/28/2020
Need To Find Your Own Health Insurance—You Have Options To Get Covered
Updated: September 11, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NAPSI)—“We need to find health insurance. Where do we start?” This question will occur to millions of Americans who have lost their employer-provided health coverage—or want to be prepared in the event they do. Some reports suggest that some individuals may not enroll in health insurance at all, and the health and financial impact of going without could have long-lasting consequences.

“Choosing the right health coverage may seem daunting since many Americans have never shopped for coverage before or worry that they cannot get affordable health insurance,” said Mark Smith, president of HealthMarkets, one of the largest independent health insurance agencies in the United States. “People should know that there is a wide range of coverage options available to meet their unique care needs and financial situations, some of which are free or subsidized.”

Health Care Coverage Guidance and Enrollment Support

Individuals can find support through health care marketplaces, insurance carriers, insurance brokers and other licensed insurance agents to determine what plan is best for them.

For example, GetCovered is a free service offered through HealthMarkets that provides guidance for people who need health coverage. Call (877) 270-0029 or visit to get started. Working with licensed insurance agents, individuals can learn what they are eligible for, including Medicare/Medicaid options or find commercial health plans that best meet their individual needs. Agents can also help them enroll in these plans, where they are able.

Questions to Ask

To find the right coverage, it’s important to know what’s available, what to ask and what information you need to enroll. To narrow your options, be prepared to discuss:

•When does your employer-sponsored coverage end?

•Does your company offer COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act)? Under COBRA, individuals maintain their current plan benefits by paying the total cost of the insurance including their premiums and the amount contributed by their employers.

•Does your spouse’s/domestic partner’s employer provide coverage with a “special enrollment” allowance under certain circumstances?

•What benefits does your family need or want?

•What can your family afford? Think about what portion of your monthly budget can be used for health coverage or other insurance. Your family may be eligible for additional options based on your specific financial situation.

Health Coverage Options

If COBRA and spousal coverage are not available or too cost-prohibitive, here are other options to consider:

•Medicaid/Medicare—While Medicare coverage is primarily available to individuals over age 65, Medicaid eligibility is primarily based on income, disability, family size and other circumstances.

•Individual exchange/marketplace plans-These Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans are available through federal or state enrollment sites. Based on your family’s income, you may be eligible for plan subsidies making one of these plans more affordable. Recent job loss often would be a “qualifying life event” to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period.

•Short-term plans—Short-term limited duration insurance coverage provides temporary coverage to bridge the gap between longer-term insurance coverage. These plans have a fixed duration of a few months to even several years and generally will offer less robust coverage than ACA plans.

“Health coverage decisions can be made simpler—and there are resources to help,” Smith said. “Regardless of whether you choose to do your own research and enrollment or engage outside services, determining what you and your family need and can afford will help you find good health coverage that ensures you have access to care now.”


Thursday 08/27/2020
A Dozen Helpful Hints For Building Your Company
Updated: September 10, 2020 - 2:34 am

(NAPSI)—Now is an excellent time to start or grow a business. While this may seem surprising, there are several reasons and very simple ways to go about it. For one thing, consumer needs and desires are increasing—and so are their savings accounts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal savings rate is at an historic 33 percent. Once the country opens up, people will want to buy products and services they’ve been missing. Entrepreneurs can meet that need, suggests Nicole Rodrigues, founder and CEO of NRPR Group, an award-winning, exclusive public relations and marketing machine serving game changers and disruptors around the world. She suggests 12 ways to start and build a company:  

How to Entrepreneur

1.Conduct market research. This will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. Gather information about potential customers and about businesses already operating in your area. 

2.Write your business vision. You don’t need a full plan. You need a clear vision to guide your road map for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. 

3.Fund your business. Figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business and how to either self-fund, raise or borrow the capital.  Be sure you have a separate bank account for your business, to keep personal expenses out so there’s no confusion.

4.Pick a location. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choice could affect your reputation, audience, taxes, legal requirements and revenue.

5.Choose your business name. You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure it isn’t already being used by someone else.

6.Be smart about staffing. Do you need a team yet? Your team needs to align in both skills and attitude with your overall vision. When people know they’ll get great service, it increases your chances of getting word-of-mouth advertising. 

7.Tap into useful tools. For example, e-mail marketing has now become one of the best ways to connect with clients and prospective customers. Businesses use e-mails to continually engage with their target audience and convert them into paying customers. It’s a cost-effective approach to reach a wide range of consumers who regularly check out your content.

8.Look for low cost or even free resources. For instance, it costs nothing to post your information and pictures on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Start accounts and slowly add relevant content for free to help build an organic following.  

9.Turn to Earned Media and PR. Learn who covers your competitors and businesses in your community and get in front of them so they cover you regularly. Share earned media coverage on social media to save money and impress your audiences. Don’t be afraid to show off that great coverage. It’s impressive to prospective customers. 

10. Remember: Perception is important. Think about how your website or storefront looks. Have great looking marketing materials and case studies on your site. 

11. Downloadable brochures are also a good idea. This is an example of marketing materials from the last point. For example, a hair salon can create a flier about an online event where the stylists will give virtual tips for trimming split ends; a restaurant can put out a flier about offering special curbside pickup or outside dining options; a nail salon can create a brochure about how it’s protecting people by erecting barriers between technicians and showing off the visuals, so people see and want to come in. 

12. Don’t hesitate to call in the experts. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Hiring professionals can be expensive—but hiring amateurs can cost you a lot more in the end. 

Learn More

For further facts and tips about starting or growing a business, visit


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