Things to Consider When Booking a Vacation

Everyone looks forward to getting away and planning the perfect vacation. Each family views different types of vacations as ideal. You can plan a beach getaway, a trip to the spa, disney world, camping, sightseeing, or hiking adventure. No matter what type of vacation you will need to put in a lot of time planning and money  to make sure it is perfect. Below are a few things to consider when booking and planning your next vacation.

Type

As explained above, there are many types of vacations. Your first step is to decide what you are looking for. Are you going on a couples getaway or a family vacation? Each has different needs. You also need to decide if you are looking for quiet and relaxing or action packed and invigorating. Make these decisions up front so it can lead the way to your next steps in planning.

Travel Agent

Once you decide the direction you want to go, you can decide how to plan. Your first option is to plan it all yourself. You will need to do the research yourself and be sure what is the best idea for your particular trip. There are a lot of websites out there to help you plan your vacation on your own. You can also hire help by using a travel agent. The travel agent is usually an expert in the type of vacation you are planning which takes the responsibility off of you. You basically trust them to do the research and planning for you. Some travel agents charge a fee and some do not. It is personal preference to which direction you take to planning your vacation.

Accommodations

When traveling you need to decide where you will be staying. The options are endless. You could stay with someone you know, a hotel, camping, bed and breakfast, etc. ONce again, all of this is personal preference but something you need to research and decide.

Transportation

How are you going to get to your vacation destination? Is it driveable? Do you need to book a flight? Can you take a train, bus or subway? This item and your accommodations are typically the most expensive part of your trip so it is best to do your research. With flights you can research when the best time to purchase is so you can save some money. You can also look for coupons and other ways of savings.

Insurance

When booking a vacation you can decide to get trip insurance. Since vacations usually cost a pretty penny you can buy insurance to ensure you don’t lose any of that money if the unpredictable occurs. Your travel insurance plans can depend on what coverage you are looking for. You can get coverage on such things as weather, terrorism, death, work conflicts, etc. You can also get coverage to cover your baggage in the even they are lost. You can even cover yourself for medical expenses and pre existing medical conditions if that is an area you are worried about.

Planning a vacation can be stressful, but if you walk through the above steps you can tackle the planning process piece by piece and get to experience the vacation of your dreams.

Small Business Insurance: 3 Policies You May Not Realize You Need.

Small Businesses have a lot of expenses. So many expenses, many small businesses have to make decisions about what is essential and what they can do without. Far too many small businesses decide to skimp by with less insurance than they actually need. For many small business owners, this is a fatal mistake when the business experiences an accident they were not prepared for. Purchasing the proper insurance is one area that businesses should not skimp on and here are three policies most entrepreneurs do not realize they need to secure.

General liability and workers’ compensation insurance are required by law in nearly every state, but they are just the bare minimum coverage any business should secure. Most businesses need several additional coverages to properly protect their entire investment. If you own the property you operate, you need commercial property coverage. If your employees operate vehicles as a part of daily operations, you need to secure business auto insurance. These are fairly obvious policies; most entrepreneurs can understand why they might need to cover their business.  But what about protecting against a data breach or an employee suing you for harassment? When purchasing insurance for your business it is important to partner with an independent insurance agent with whom you trust to cover all the risks you may not predict. Here are three additional insurance policies all small business owners should consider the next time they are getting a small business workers compensation insurance quote.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

Every small business owner thinks they can trust their employees. They more than likely think their employees would never sue them or their business. Right? That may be the case, until someone does sue your business. According to Trusted Choice, an organization dedicated to highlight the strengths of independent insurance agents, employment lawsuits have risen 400 percent over the past 20 years. According to this same data, wrongful termination lawsuits have risen 260 percent during that same time span. This means your business is more likely to face an employment practices lawsuit than it is to experience a fire. Because of this elevated risk, it is important for all small business owners to discuss with their insurance agent whether they need an EPLI Policy.

Cyber Insurance

Data Breaches are a normal part of our daily life. A new major data breach is announced on the news a couple of times a month. The most complete information on data breaches dates back to the year 2016. A recent joint study by the Identity Theft Resource Center and Cyber Scout reported the number of tracked data breaches in 2016 reached 1093, an all-time high for any year. Data on 2017 is not complete at this time, but early estimates are that 2017 will pass 2016 for the record year with the most data breaches in history. Because of the sheer volume of breaches and the amount of information lost, it is extremely important. Many big businesses are catching on to the fact that they need to protect their business from this threat and because of this many hackers are focusing on small businesses as a place vulnerable to attack. This elevates the need for small businesses to implement cyber security procedures and purchase adequate cyber insurance.

Inland Marine Insurance

Many small businesses own and operate specialized equipment that is unique to their business and the industry they operate in. An example of this specialized equipment may be a photographer with expensive accessories, a land surveyor with electronic optical instruments, or even an insurance adjustor who uses a drone to surveyor a disaster area. These pieces of equipment are not common and are typically not covered under a basic general liability policy. If you use some type of specialized equipment, it is important to mention this to your insurance agent. They can help you get it covered under an inland marine insurance policy. It is crucial to keep an accurate inventory of your equipment on file with your agent and carrier. It is also a good idea to keep photos of this equipment up to date.

Concerns Define The Middle Class

Updated on 3/23/2018

I spoke to Zach Shrier of Shrier Wealth Management (who also happens to double as Lauren’s cousin and was my investing teacher my freshman year of high school) about the definition of “Middle Class.” In 2017, about 70% of Americans classified themselves as part of the middle class.

Statistical Definitions of Middle Class

There are many ways of defining middle class. You can simply look at raw data and define each class as a percentage of American households earning incomes within a range. Using three classes, we might get something like this:

  • Upper Class – Top 20% of Population – Earning more than $122,500/year
  • Middle Class – Middle 50% of Population – Earning between $35,000 and $122,500/year
  • Lower Class – Bottom 20% of Population – Earning Less Than $35,000/year

You can play with the data however you’d like and define upper class as the top 5% (earning over $215,000) or even the top 1% (earning over $430,000) of the population. However, it doesn’t help define what it means to be middle class (or upper or lower).

Zach had a very nice idea, that rather than the amount you make, concerns are what define each class. Making $50,000 in Manhattan is very different than making $50,000 in a small town in Texas, so it’s clear that a number itself isn’t a great definition.

New Definitions of The Classes

When we look at what concerns people have, we get a breakdown of each of the classes:

People in the lower class are concerned with having a place to sleep and food to eat. These are people who are struggling to come up with the most basic needs. They may not have to worry about these things every day, but it’s something that’s always looming over their head. Will they be able to afford rent next month? Basic federal benefits are very important to them because they have few alternatives to government help.

People in the lower middle class are definitely concerned with the short-term, but less so than people in lower class. They may have the very basics covered, but government subsidies are still very important. They’re not able to save regularly as almost all income goes towards managing their day-to-day life (getting to and from work, food, housing, and basic “wants”). The people often make big sacrifices to get by, including living in multi-generational homes to keep costs as low as possible.

People in the middle class are concerned with having consistent employment as well as the costs of getting around and being able to save. While they might not be living month to month, they are worried about being able to support their family. They want to save to be able to afford to go on vacation with their family and not have to worry so much about the near future. Changes in gas prices are significant because high gas prices mean less money for the other things in their life.

People in the upper middle class worry not about gas prices, but about the costs of home ownership and the costs of education. They may be cognizant of the changes in gas prices in their area, they do not worry about affording the price. Whether it is $3 a gallon or $4 a gallon, they will pay the price because they have no alternative to getting around.  They may want to send their children to private school or live in an area where the public school system is of high quality. But living in that area likely means houses are more expensive, and they are concerned with being able to handle all of the responsibilities.

People in the upper class are people who have a different set of concerns: passing wealth onto the next generation. They don’t have to worry about money to cover the costs of their needs and wants, but they still want to make sure their children won’t have to worry about the same things.

Concerns Define Us

Everyone worries about money. While people in the upper class may not have to worry about affording things in the short-term, they have other concerns nonetheless. They too may never feel complacent with their wealth, something everyone can identify with.

Every class has a different set of concerns, and while there may be some overlap, it’s clear that higher up the ladder you get, the less you worry about your short-term finances.

What do you think of these new definitions? What class do you consider yourself a part of based ?

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