Flooding: What to Do Before, During, and After

You never know when a flood will strike. Hurricanes often bring flooding, and flash floods can happen at any time. Make sure that you’re prepared for the chance of a sudden flood, know how to stay safe during the event, and know how to deal with the fallout of a flood with these tips:

  • Before – Make sure that you have a well-stocked emergency kit and a family disaster plan. When a flood is forecast, keep up with the weather news. If you have time, you may choose to move valuables and hazardous materials to higher levels of your home, and disconnect electrical appliances (but only do this if it is safe!). Depending on the severity of the forecasted flooding, you may want to evacuate the area.
  • During – Continue to monitor news about the flood. Once the flooding starts, don’t travel unless you have to, and never drive on flooded roads. If you are advised to evacuate, do so in a safe and timely manner. In short, find high ground and stay there until you are told by officials that it is safe to leave.
  • After – Do not enter any building that is still flooded. If necessary, have your home checked for structural damage by a professional before you enter. Homes that have been affected by floods are sometimes unsafe – when in doubt, ask for professional assistance. Make sure that you call your Massachusetts insurance provider right away to start the claim process.

You may be surprised to learn that your Massachusetts home insurance, condo insurance, or renter’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding. For that, you need a special flood insurance policy or rider. Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655 today to find out how affordable this critical coverage is

How to Make the Most of an Afternoon Nap

It is truly unfortunate that napping is associated with laziness in today’s society. In truth, there are many benefits to polyphasic sleep, including lower stress levels and increased mood. Whether you need an emergency nap on a busy day, or you make it a point to get a snooze in every day, ensure that you get the most out of your afternoon siesta with the following tips:

  • Limit your nap to 20-30 minutes. This length has been proven to increase alertness without inducing grogginess or sleep inertia.
  • Choose your environment wisely – a nap while riding the T will never be as restful as one on a quiet couch or bed.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep for a nap, try using meditation techniques like breathing exercises to calm your mind.
  • Combine the benefits of napping and caffeine by having a coffee right before a short nap. When you wake up, you should be feeling the effects of both for a double boost!
  • Lavender is a scent that naturally lowers heart rate and blood pressure, so it can help you relax before you attempt to drift off.

Once you awaken from your nap, you will be more alert and ready to take on any task. Similarly, here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are ready to help you with all of your insurance needs! Call 617-298-0655 to speak to one of our agents about a free and no-obligation review of all of your insurance policies – we can make sure that you are fully covered and that you’re not overpaying for your policies. Sweet dreams!

Low Cost Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

One of the most-asked questions from small business owners is this: How do I market my business without spending a fortune? Thankfully, there are lots of potential customers out there for you, you just have to know how to find them. Here are a few tips for getting the word out about what you offer without breaking the bank:

  • Word-of-Mouth advertising is free! Just ask your customers if they are happy with the service that you provided and ask them to let their friends, family, and co-workers know about your business, and the word may start to spread.
  • Leverage Social Media – depending on the type of business you have, you can consider using many social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
  • There are many local events going on in the Greater Boston area all year round. Ask to be an event sponsor or volunteer to help out in order to both aid the community and gain exposure for your business.
  • Running a contest could encourage your current clients to spread the word about your business – just make sure to spread the word both in person and on your Social Media.
  • Ask for reviews on Google and Yelp. If a customer is satisfied with your business, let them know that it would be a huge help to you if they would post a review of your business on websites like Yelp and Google. After all, those sites are a major influence on potential customers!
  • Leverage your friends, family, coworkers, really anyone that you have met in the past, typically referred to as your top 100, or executive 200, I call it working your Dunbar’s 150, leave a message below and I can share with you more details.

Here’s another tip on how to save your small business some money: talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about your Massachusetts small business insurance. We can get you the insurance coverage you need while making sure that you get the discounts you deserve – so call 617-298-0655 today for your free quote.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

It’s easy to talk about home insurance and car insurance, but life insurance can sometimes be a touchy subject. No one wants to think about what would happen if and when they die, but the insurance coverage that you can get from a Massachusetts life insurance policy is a vital part of ensuring that your loved ones are protected.

When calculating your life insurance needs, there are several factors to consider. Often, people will make sure that there is enough coverage for funeral and end-of-life expenses. In addition, you should consider including coverage to make up for your income, as well as other services you provide for the outcome (including childcare). You may also want to include extra benefits to cover college expenses for children, or for an end-of-life gift to your favorite charity.

It is also important to remember to update your life insurance policy as your needs change. Often, an annual life insurance review is enough to ensure that you are always prepared. If it’s been a while since you talked to your agent about your life insurance, you may want to call for a quick chat about what has changed in your life.

If you want your life insurance policy evaluated by a Massachusetts life insurance professional, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can assess your needs and make sure that your policy will cover your loved ones in your worst-case scenario. We can also help you understand the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance, and in which scenarios each of these policies is useful. Don’t put off talking about your life insurance needs – call us today.

I’m In Love With Many Things…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you to everyone who showed their love by replying to last week’s message!

Your feedback and responses have been incredible, AND I am so looking forward to having coffee with you and will reach out to everyone else by the end of this week to schedule a time for us to meet.

I’m glad last week’s emails resonated with so many people!

I am a man in love. I’m in love with many things, and a few people. And I’m also in love with learning – it’s what makes my ‘business-me’ work well.

I’m drinking a Starbucks “Clover Pressed” Panama Carmen Estate Reserve Blend at our local Starbucks shop (I find that I sometimes work better here than at home or the office, it helps me to pause and people watch). What’s in your cup?

I asked in last week’s message, “How are you feeling about your year so far?” I am feeling pretty good about my year… the summer is here, which in my book has always meant that the workload scales back a notch or two and Kathy and I get outdoors more than ever, and all of the meet and greet family and friend events are starting, of which I try to not miss any.

Lately, I’m learning from people who push beyond average. The time for average is over. I am learning from people who live simply but with impact. I’m learning how clarity and the value of integrating your life around the alignment of your mission, your goals, and the targets related to those two points matters a lot more than which social network you use.

We are wasting so much energy in turbulence instead of in forward motion. We are drowning ourselves in distraction (Trump, Russia, impeachment, etc.) and are avoiding facing the work that we must do. We’re still chasing the shiny and new when what we need most are the basics. We are seeking every possible opportunity to lie to ourselves, coddle ourselves, or make excuses.

There are plenty of employees and passive people roaming the planet that are just waiting for “the man” to ruin their lives more so that they will have something new to complain about. But you’re an owner/entrepreneur. Even if you’re an ‘employeepreneur,’ your belief is that you own your choices affect your own your life, and you aim to own your future.

We strive to build our capabilities through learning and executing on that knowledge so that we can be of better service to the people we have the opportunity to serve.

What’s right for you? Even if you’re not sure, I know this: learning is a part of the menu, and it must be. Every day.

Since starting down the path of helping others, I’ve learned that it’s important to be relationship-minded. I’ve learned that, like with all industries, there are good and bad examples. I’ve learned that my concept that “we are all salespeople” is absolutely true in marketing. And I have learned that many self-employed/entrepreneurs are happy to “just be,” rather than growing their knowledge or brand.

Right now I am reading two books, my summer enjoyment reading is Winter of the World by Ken Follet and to stay sharp and continue learning, Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount.

That’s all I have for today. I’m finding myself drawn to people seeking the next level. Those who are making excuses or who feel they’ve already figured it all out aren’t that interesting to me. I’m sure they’re nice people, but I’ve only got 50 years left on this planet (if I’m very lucky) and I’d rather spend it with people who care.

And thus, I end where I began – What you learn matters. Do you agree?

What are you learning?

Carlos

Tips for Buying Your First Condo

Condominiums are one of the best-kept secrets of the real estate world. When looking for a new home, some people still only consider buying a house or renting an apartment, without realizing that purchasing a condo may be the perfect balance between the two – allowing you to have the ‘best of both worlds.’ If you’re in the market for a condo in Boston, check out these buying tips:

  • Hire a professional Real Estate Agent to help you with your search. If you need a referral, please let us know so that we can connect you to a top-notch agent in the area.
  • When you’re looking for a unit, make sure that you consider resale value. More bedrooms and bathrooms, scenic views, and better school districts are just a few of the features that will make your condo more appealing the next time you look to move.
  • Consider the amenities offered at each condominium you tour. Does the complex have a gym? Laundry facilities? Rentable event space? These are all important things to think about when making your decision.
  • Before you make a final decision, make sure that you are clear on the extra fees associated with the unit you choose. Condos often have monthly maintenance fees, and some will charge property taxes separately.

Once you’ve found your perfect Boston condominium, make sure that you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to get a quote on Condo Insurance. This policy is tailored specifically for the needs of a condo owner, and will cover your personal belongings, your unit, and anything else not covered in your association’s master policy. For more information, or if you have any questions, simply call our office and speak to an agent!

The ‘ABC’s of Boating Safety

Summer is finally here, and that can only mean one thing – it’s the perfect time to take your boat out and enjoy the water. So, grab a friend or family member and hit the deck! But first, make sure that you brush up on your boating safety with these quick ‘ABC’s of Boating Safety:

  • A – Avoid Alcohol: It is important that the person operating the boat is not impaired. Leave your alcohol ashore, especially since the effects of alcohol are exaggerated by sun exposure.
  • B – Be Prepared: You should always do two things to prepare for a boating trip in case of an emergency – make sure that someone on land knows your plans, and communicate your emergency plan to everyone on board.
  • C – Common Sense is Key: When you’re boating, make sure that you listen to your gut instincts. Don’t overload the boat with passengers (or gear), cut your trip short if you start to sense that a storm is brewing, and always carry the right safety equipment when you go out on the water.

Make sure that you share these safety tips with your friends and family as you prepare to take a trip out onto the water. And remember, if you want to talk to an insurance professional about the best way to protect your watercraft, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655, text 617-409-0329, or email us. We can get you a quick and hassle-free quote for Massachusetts boat insurance so that you can spend less time on the phone and more time out on the water!

Life Insurance: Term vs. Permanent

 

When people are alone, they don’t even think about life insurance, but as soon as there is a loved one, family, or a partner, then the idea begins to make a lot more sense.

The first reaction is often the most common; to take out a term life policy. This plan is the most basic form of life insurance, providing coverage for a set period once the customer has been approved. However, even though these plans can go for as long as 30 years, at the end of that period, they end with nothing left for the customer. Then the person either needs to take out a far more expensive plan due to age or walk away, according to Vargas & Vargas Insurance.

With permanent life insurance the customer gets a double benefit. First, there is the primary interest, coverage that provides a financial safety net for loved ones if something happens to the customer. Second, a permanent life insurance plan doesn’t expire or end as long as the customer wants to maintain it. Finally, there is a savings component where some of the money paid into the plan as a premium goes into a savings account. The customer can then access this account in later years or ensure it goes to a partner or beneficiary, providing ready cash at a time when income is limited in the future. Granted, the permanent life insurance approach costs more due to the increased benefits, but the customer retains more of the value overall.

To find out more about how life insurance works, the experts at Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help those in Dorchester, MA with questions or concerns. We have handled multiple policies over the years and are up to date on all the latest aspects of life insurance plans available.

 

Weight Loss Tips for Your Bikini Body

Bathing suit season is here once again. If you’re getting ready to hit the beach or go out on your boat, you may be thinking about how to lose those extra pesky couple of pounds that you gained over the winter. When it comes down to it, weight loss is all about calories: burn more calories than you consume, and you will lose weight. However, this is sometimes easier said than done. Here are a few tips that will help you consume less calories (and burn more):

  • Cut out drink calories: You may be surprised how much juice, soda, and alcohol calories add up! Drinking low-calorie beverages like water, tea, and black coffee is a great start to any diet.
  • Portion control: Instead of giving yourself a giant serving, use a smaller plate to cut back on the size of your meals. Tell yourself that you can always go back for seconds, but odds are you won’t need to.
  • Increase your protein intake: Protein makes you feel fuller longer and boosts your metabolism. Chicken, eggs, avocado, and almonds (among other foods) are great sources of protein.
  • Take the stairs: In addition to eating less, take even small opportunities to burn a few extra calories. Take the stairs, park in the back of the lot, or take a short walk during your lunch break.

If you’re planning on heading out on your boat or watercraft this summer to show off your swimsuit body, first call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you with your boat insurance needs, and much more! And remember, stay safe while you’re out on the water!

Where Are You Now? A Half-Year Check-In On Your 2017 Goals

 

“Vision is a destination – a fixed point to which we focus all effort. Strategy is a route – an adaptable path to get us where we want to go.” -Simon Sinek

Can you believe that the midpoint of 2017 is almost upon us? If you look back on the first half of this year, did you get done what you wanted to accomplish? How many of your goals are you hitting or have you abandoned? How are you feeling about your year so far? Pull up a chair and a mug of something warm and let’s talk about it. I’ve sitting outside enjoying a delicious organic coffee from my friends at Plate Restaurant and one of their “chubbs” What are YOU drinking? Leave a message below and let me know.

Deliberate Living
When I looked at my business over 13 years ago, I came to a realization: I wasn’t really working as tightly to my plan as I had wanted. And as you know, I do a yearly goal alignment exercise at the beginning of the year and now I have started also looking mid-year at my progress with my goals.

We all get flustered – something fails, we end up feeling like we can’t make it all work, or we set our goals so high or they are so varied that we can’t possibly hit them. Have you heard that expression “You can’t be a servant to two masters?” I’ve been thinking a lot about that. I want to give you a quick run-through of how I’m handling this and what I’m doing to make 2017 my strongest year ever.

Remember my email message last December that said this on setting goals:

Make them “SMART.” This is an acronym, as you probably know, and it is interpreted in various ways by different teachers. When I refer to SMART goals, I mean goals that meet five criteria. They must be:

  • Specific—your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.
    • Bad: Write a book.
    • Good: Write a book proposal for The Life Plan Manifesto.
  • Measurable—as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.
    • Bad: “Earn more this year than last.”
    • Good: “Earn $5,000 more this year than last.”
  • Actionable—every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)
    • Bad: Be more consistent in blogging.
    • Good: Write two blog posts per week.
  • Realistic—you have to be careful here. A real goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense. I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it. (If I am not out of my comfort zone, I’m not thinking big enough.)
    • Bad: Qualify for the PGA Tour.
    • Good: Lower my golf handicap by four strokes.
  • Time-bound—every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal? It could be by year-end (December 31), or it could be more near-term (September 30). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a ‘by when’ date.
    • Bad: Lose 20 pounds.
    • Good: Lose 20 pounds by December 31st.

Reevaluate your own goals for 2017
If I were thinking through the categories of how I’d change my goals for 2017, this is what I would all myself:

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. What do I think is missing/needs improvement?
  4. What do I already know?
  5. How can I reach my goal?
  6. What needs to be in place to stay consistent?

I hope that these questions are helpful. Work through them and you’ll see that it helps in lots of ways. Use it however you see fit. It’s how I’m starting my mid-year goal review exercises to prepare for the remainder of 2017.

I’m looking forward to living deliberately from my plan, and my plan involves serving you to the best of my ability. Help me stay accountable? Please help me understand how best to serve you – please leave a comment below.

And know that you are loved.

Hope to see you around the neighborhood!

C