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The Intelligent Life Blog

Helping millions of Americans become educated
in making intelligent decisions around their life needs

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March Madness is an Event: Get Involved!

Mar 14, 2017 6:19:00 AM

It might seem like spring fever because of the month, but maybe the anticipation of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament is the cause of fans going nuts as we leave winter behind. March Madness is an exciting time of year for college basketball fans and non-fans alike. It's easy enough to get swept up in the excitement of these fast-paced games, particularly when you understand what is on the line. Here is what you need to know about March Madness, how you can set up your own competition or bracket, and some tips for creating a fun basketball party around this tournament.

What is March Madness?

March Madness is the annual NCAA men's college basketball tournament. This is a  3-week tournament that narrows the field from 68 teams down to just one champion. This year, the first round of the tournament kicks off on March 16. Unlike the NBA playoff series the format for March Madness is one and done. You lose and you go home! The Final Four will take place in Phoenix, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, with the championship game on April 3.




Identity Theft: 5 Tips to Help You Avoid Becoming a Victim

Mar 9, 2017 8:35:00 PM

If you have a bank account, shop online, or even pay taxes, you run the risk of identity theft. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 17.6 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year. As of 2014, about 7% of U.S. residents ages 16 and older experienced some form of identity theft. This type of theft includes such things as the unauthorized use of credit cards, bank accounts, or the use of personal information to commit financial crimes.

While some identity theft losses are insured by financial institutions, others may be financially and emotionally devastating. One thing that they nearly all have in common is that they are frustrating and inconvenient. In today's digital age, protecting your information is a challenge, but it is necessary. Here are five tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of an identity theft scheme.




Bringing Out Your Mean Green on March 17

Feb 16, 2017 6:13:00 PM

It's time to rifle through your closet and get out your green! March 17 and St. Patrick's Day looms once again, and this massive celebration of Irish-American culture in the U.S. is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. That wasn't always the case, however. Here is what you need to know about the origins of this famed U.S. holiday, some of our most popular St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and how you can bring some authentic Irish fun into your gathering.

St. Patrick's Day History

Believe it or not, St. Patrick wasn't even Irish. He was a British nobleman kidnapped by Irish pirates just after 400 A.D. He spent 17 years as a slave and escaped Ireland but decided to return to the country as a missionary. It is widely believed that March 17 commemorates the date of his death.

Saint Patrick's Day has been an official Christian holiday since the 17th century, called "the Day of the Festival of Patrick." The day wasn't even marked as a public holiday in Ireland until 1904. Now, St. Patrick's Day has grown into a four-day festival in Dublin, much of which has been influenced by the way the Americans celebrate the holiday.




How to Make the Right Decisions

Jan 8, 2017 8:17:00 PM

Do you have difficulty making decisions? For many people, having to choose between even two simple alternatives is a stressful proposition, and life-changing decisions can be downright debilitating. If you'd rather not just throw caution to the wind and flip a coin when it comes to where you live, work, or who you spend your time with, some effective decision-making skills might be useful. Here are five exercises that can help you work through decisions, big and small so that you can come to better conclusions with less overall stress.

1. Identify Your Goals

It's difficult to make sound decisions if you don't have clear goals. In fact, people who aren't able to sit down and reflect on what they want are more likely to make bad decisions. If you want to avoid a series of bad, and potentially costly choices, sit down and list out your goals. The decisions that will help you achieve those goals will become more apparent.




5 Things You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

Nov 6, 2016 9:19:00 PM

If you're a smoker who is looking to purchase a life insurance policy, you've probably learned that insurance companies are going to charge you higher premiums than if you were someone who didn't smoke. What if you are one of the millions of former smokers who has made the switch to vaping? While you may believe that you've made the right choice for your health, and your wallet, the distinction may not be as clear to a life insurance company. Here are five things that you need to know about e-cigarettes if you're planning to purchase a life insurance policy.

1.  E-Cigarettes Remain Unregulated When a life insurance company considers e-cigarettes, their risk classification has a lot to do with the lack of regulation of the devices. While there have been some new rules about who can purchase an e-cigarette, not much else has been determined to date. The FDA is still considering whether or not they are going to expand their tobacco authority over e-cigarettes, which would include additional funding for testing.




Top 5 Safest Cities in America: Did Yours Make the List?

Oct 31, 2016 12:12:08 PM

We all have a certain affinity for the place we live. Whether you've been born and raised in a particular city, or have just relocated recently, we form attachments to people, businesses, and even landmarks. Yet, most acknowledge that they want to feel safe in their own home, and some cities rank higher in this respect than others. Have you heard of the recent clown sighting craze that's sweeping the nation? While many are mere hoaxes, a few incidents have turned tragic. These sorts of events are making more and more people think about safety.

Several different companies calculate these "safest cities" lists each year and, interestingly, all arrive at different results due to varying methodologies. If you're interested in smaller towns, you might want to take a look at some of the lists by SafeWise.

This particular list, developed by Smart Asset, is of larger cities (the country's top 200) and considers such things as violent crime rate, vehicle mortality rates, drug poisoning deaths, air quality, excessive drinking, and even commuter rates. Here are the five safest cities in America. Hopefully, yours made the list.



The Way Most People Think About Life Insurance Rates Is Broken

Apr 25, 2016 9:16:00 AM

Life insurance is usually not a favorite discussion topic for most people. Who wants to think about what life would be like when you (or your loved ones) are no longer in the picture? Apprehension over life insurance rates, coverage and need are very common for most people.  But planning for the future as a responsible adult should include  speaking with a life insurance advisor to help understand the benefits.

The reality is, planning for the coverage needed to assist loved ones after your passing can be comforting. Knowing that loved ones will not be forced to deal with an unnecessary financial burden can provide a sense of relief.

Overestimating the Cost of Life Insurance

Most Americans don't purchase life insurance simply because they think it costs too much. LIMRA recently released its Insurance Barometer Study, which showed that 80 percent of consumers misjudge the cost of term life insurance and Millennials tended to overestimate the cost by as much as 213 percent. This illustrates that most consumers think that life insurance is much more expensive than it really is.




More and More People Just Like You Are Seeking the Best Life Insurance

Mar 14, 2016 7:00:00 PM

Interest in life insurance is on the rise. Recent reports show that applications for U.S. individually underwritten life insurance were up 6.4% in January 2016 over January 2015, according to the MIB Life Index. January's numbers continued six consecutive quarters of expansion. January's numbers were also 5% above the numbers for December 2015, the previous month.

Consumers ages 0-44 led the increase in activity, with an 8.4% increase in applications for this age range, but all age demographics saw increases. Life insurance is often least expensive for younger consumers, and increasing numbers may be looking at the investment components of some life insurance as a way to keep their money safe in volatile economic times.