5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Retire Early

5 Reasons Why You Shouldnt Retire Early

Most people work their whole life to support themselves and their family, and to build up a nest egg so that they can enjoy their twilight years in retirement. If you are especially good at saving up for retirement, you may consider retiring before the current standard Social Security retirement age of 66.

While there is certainly something to be said for being able to retire early, it may not be the right choice for everyone! When you begin to consider retirement, make sure that you speak to a financial planner, and consider these five reasons why early retirement may not be the right course of action:

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Retire Early

1. You will reduce your potential savings significantly.

It may seem obvious, but the less that you earn in your lifetime, the less money that you can save. This means that retiring early means less money in the bank! If you want to travel in retirement, or leave some money to your family or favorite charities, you will have more opportunity to do so if you continue to work and build up your savings with the extra paychecks.

2. You will get less Social Security benefits.

The amount that you get from Social Security changes depending on the age at which you start to collect. For example, people born between 1943 and 1954 would only receive 75% of the total allotted retirement benefit if they begin collecting at the earliest possible point (age 62). This is because they start collecting four full years before the standard retirement age of 66.

3. You will have increased health care costs.

Retiring early (at age 62) may cause you a bit of a health care conundrum. Retirement means that your employer-sponsored health care will expire, but you won’t be eligible for Medicare until age 65. This means that you will have to purchase your own health care policy for three years. Of course, if you are looking for your own health insurance policy, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency can help you find a great policy at a great price!

4. Your health and self-esteem may decline.

Many people take a great deal of pride in their job. Leaving the working world has been proven to take a toll on both health and self-esteem with the loss of ‘occupational prestige.’ This means the increased risk of being diagnosed with physical illness or depression. According to a study by IEA, “retirement increases your risk of clinical depression by 40 percent while raising your chances of being diagnosed with a physical condition by 60 percent.”

5. Your social circles will get smaller.

Work may be stressful, but the bond that you make with coworkers is substantial. Socialization at the workplace accounts for a considerable amount of relationships for most people, and lacking in those interactions several days a week can be taxing for some people.

If you want to speak to a professional financial planner about your retirement options, and to get advice about whether early retirement is right for you, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. The agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance can also help you with your home and auto insurance, health insurance, and much more, so call today!

A Guide to Common Home Insurance Mistakes

A Guide to Common Home Insurance Mistakes

Home insurance is something that every home owner needs, but that only few home owners truly understand fully. In the swamp of jargon, premiums, deductibles, coverage, and more, you’re lucky to have Massachusetts insurance experts in your corner!

Unfortunately, we see home insurance mistakes made each and every day. In an effort to ensure that our clients don’t run into any blunders when purchasing their home insurance coverage, we want to offer a short guide to five of the most common home insurance mistakes:

Not getting enough dwelling coverage.

One of the most prominent reasons to purchase insurance is to get coverage for your home in case of a catastrophe. If your home is destroyed, a home insurance policy will typically provide payment to cover rebuilding costs. Unfortunately, most people don’t invest in enough coverage to rebuild their home! Make sure that your insurance policy will provide enough of a payout that it could rebuild your whole home – if you need to make a claim because of a total loss, you won’t want to have to pay for any of the rebuilding yourself.

Forgetting to get adequate coverage for valuables.

The other prominent reason to purchase a home insurance policy is to get protection for your ‘stuff’ in case of a loss. Again, make sure that you have enough coverage to replace all of your things. This should include the typical furniture and electronics, but should also include your valuables. Ask your Massachusetts insurance agent about adding coverage for your family’s jewelry, antiques, collections, and more – this will ensure that you have complete coverage for your treasures.

Choosing the wrong deductible.

A deductible is the amount that you will need to pay out of pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. Choose too high a deductible, and your out-of-pocket payments may be hard to cover if you need to file a claim. On the other hand, if your deductible is too low, you will be paying more in premiums to compensate. If you are having trouble deciding what the right deductible is for you, ask a Boston insurance agent from Vargas and Vargas Insurance for advice!

Opting out of additional coverage.

Standard home insurance policies will protect you against a number of perils, typically including fire, wind, and more. If you want complete protection, though, make sure you add additional coverage for perils such as floods and earthquakes. The coverage is typically very affordable, and the peace of mind that comes with it is priceless. A Massachusetts insurance expert will be able to recommend the right coverage for you based on your home’s location.

You could get lucky with your first quote, but why take that chance? Instead of opting for the first home insurance policy that you get, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. With one quick call to 617-298-0655, you can give an agent all of your information and we will do the comparison shopping for you! If you want to find great coverage at a great price, Vargas and Vargas Insurance is for you, so call now.

4 Tricks to Save Money on Your Boston Auto Insurance

4 Tricks to Save Money on Boston Auto Insurance

As the premier Boston insurance agency, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is always looking out for you – our customers. We want to make sure that you have a great Boston auto insurance policy, and that it comes at a great price. If you’re in the market to lower your car insurance premium (after all, who isn’t?) then check out these four tips from the insurance experts:

1. Consider insurance costs when buying a car.

Not everyone has the luxury to do this right away, but the next time that you buy a car, consider the cost to insure it. Generally, the more safety features a car has, the less it will cost to insure. Depending on the insurance provider that you use, you could receive discounts for a number of different safety features, including (but not limited to):

Encouraging you to have features that make your car less likely to be damaged or stolen is worth it to insurance providers, and discounts are how they show their appreciation for you valuing your asset. This means it may be worth considering getting some safety upgrades when you buy a new car – both for your auto insurance cost and for the health concerns of yourself and your future passengers. Nothing is too expensive when it could save the life of a loved one.

2. Maintain a good credit score.

Did you know that (according to research) drivers with a strong credit history are less likely to file claims on their Boston auto insurance policy? Knowing this association, some insurance providers will decrease your insurance premium if you have a high credit score.

How to improve your credit score could easily be its own post, but some quick tips to raising your score are: pay off debt, pay bills on time, limit the number of credit accounts that you have, and keep credit balances low.

3. Take advantage of “Low Mileage” discounts.

Do you drive less than the average driver? If so, talk to your insurance agent about your driving habits, and see if you qualify for a “low mileage” discount on your car insurance policy. Most people drive to and from work most days, in addition to running errands. If your car mostly sits in the driveway, you could qualify for a discount due to the fact that a car in a driveway is at a decreased risk for filing a claim. This discount sometimes also applies to people that carpool, so ask an insurance professional if you think that you may qualify.

4. Ask your agent about getting more discounts on your policy.

If you still think you’re paying too much for your Massachusetts car insurance, we encourage you to call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our agents would love to review your unique situation, and can determine if there are any additional discounts for which you qualify. Our agents are experts at finding the best Massachusetts car insurance, so never fear – just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance now for a free quote!

4 Ways to Save Money on an Engagement Ring

4 Ways to Save Money on an Engagement Ring

Are there wedding bells in your future? If you’re getting ready to ‘put a ring on it’ as Beyoncé would say, make sure that you’re informed before buying one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry that you will likely own. In fact, there are many ways to save money on an engagement ring. Here are four common pieces of advice from the experts:

4 Ways to Save Money on an Engagement Ring:

1. Look for diamonds that weigh in just shy of critical weights.

When rings are being priced, jewelers often consider the carat weight of the diamond. You will pay a premium as the stone reaches higher and higher critical weights – multiples of half a carat. If you search for a stone that is 0.95 carats, you may find that it is noticeably less expensive than a ring will a full carat diamond, even though they look almost identical. Taking advantage of this knowledge could easily save you hundreds of dollars, depending on the carat weight of the ring you are considering.

2. Consider making your purchase online.

We buy almost everything online nowadays, but expensive jewelry is still something that we only seem to purchase in a store. Did you know, though, that you could save up to 20% on an engagement ring by buying it online? Online jewelry retailers are very competitive, meaning that they will agree to less margin than a traditional brick-and-mortar jewelry store.

If you don’t want to purchase the entire ring online, you can also consider purchasing the stone online, and having it set at your store of choice. You will save quite a bit on the stone, and will still be able to pick out a setting in person.

3. Buy in the summer for the best deals.

Summer is wedding season, so you may think that it would be the worst time of year to purchase a ring. In fact, exactly the opposite is true – because weddings are happening throughout the summer, engagements often take place in the Fall, Winter, or Spring.

This also means that summer can be a slow time for jewelers, meaning that you may have more luck trying to negotiate for a better deal as they are desperate for more sales. If you’re looking to buy before the start of summer, consider buying during the many Mother’s Day sales that jewelry stores advertise.

4. Embrace the trend of alternative stones and cuts.

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but more and more engagement rings are breaking tradition. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see engagement rings made with other gemstones, including rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and more. In addition, engagement rings are also being made in a plethora of shapes – it’s not all just round anymore! If you want an alternative gemstone or nontraditional cut, you may be able to save a bit on the final price tag.

Once you’ve done your research and decided on a ring, make sure to call your Massachusetts insurance agent at 617-298-0655. Tell us all about the ‘bling,’ and we’ll help you add a rider to your home insurance or renter’s insurance policy so that it is protected.

Do You Know these Massachusetts Driving Laws?

Here in the US, the driving laws that you must follow depend on the state in which you’re driving. That means that Massachusetts has its own set of driving laws that are different from every other state, including even our neighboring states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Do You Know these Massachusetts Driving Laws?

Hopefully, you caught our featured article a few weeks ago about the new Massachusetts headlight law that went into effect on April 7, 2015. (If not, go ahead and catch up on that blog post now!)

If you were curious as to some of the other Massachusetts specific driving laws, today is your lucky day! We’ve scouted out just a few of the driving laws that are unique to Massachusetts. Read more about them below:

1. Accident Reporting – In Massachusetts, you are required to report accidents in cases of injury and death, and also if property damage exceeds $1,000. The accident must be reported within five days.

2. Child Passenger Safety – Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches tall must have a child safety seat. Children aged 8 through 12 need a properly adjusted safety belt or child restraint. In addition, all drivers and passengers in Massachusetts must wear seatbelts, with few exceptions.

3. Cell Phones and Texting – Cell phone use is prohibited for school bus drivers and all drivers under the age of 18. Texting is banned to all drivers in Massachusetts.

4. Speed Limits – Unless otherwise posted, Massachusetts has suggested speed limits of 65 mph for rural and urban interstates. Speed limit citations have a minimum penalty of $75. This fine increases $10 for each mph you were travelling over the first 10 mph.

5. Mature Drivers – For drivers 75 and older, license must be done in person and every five years.

6. Work Zones – If you are caught speeding in a work zone in Massachusetts, you can get an enhanced penalty of double the original fine. Workers don’t need to be present for this to happen, though the zone must be marked with signs.

In addition to all of these laws, there are minimum Massachusetts Auto Insurance requirements. Every car in Massachusetts must have the following coverage:

  • Bodily Injury to Others – $20,000 Per Person and $40,000 Per Accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Pays up to $8,000 for Medical Expenses
  • Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist – $20,000 Per Person and $40,000 Per Accident
  • Property Damage to Another Person’s Property – $5,000

It is important to remember, though, that these are the minimum requirements. To ensure proper protection, call a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent at 617-298-0655. There, you can get a quote for auto insurance protection that will provide protection for your property, yourself, and your loved ones.

Please make sure that your friends and loved ones know these Massachusetts driving laws by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter with the buttons below. Also make sure to tell them about how Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency can get them a fast and free insurance review.

Motorcycle Insurance Quotes for Spring and Summer

Motorcycle Insurance Quotes

We know that you love your bike. You’re probably beyond excited that it’s getting warm enough to ride again, and are planning your first outing (if you haven’t gone out already!) Before you unveil your motorcycle from the depths of hibernation, though, make sure that you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a motorcycle insurance quote that will protect you and your bike.

Insurance for your motorcycle

Obviously, the most important part of purchasing motorcycle insurance is getting protection for your bike. Most insurance providers offer different coverage options. We can help you sort through all of the available options to figure out which will be best for your situation. We can explain the difference between replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage, recommend an appropriate deductible, and much more.

Insurance for your accessories

If you need to insure more than just your bike, we’ve got you covered. Ask us about getting additional coverage for your motorcycle’s accessories. This will vary for every rider and insurance provider, but will typically include coverage for custom electronics, sidecars, tractor trailers, and more. Just tell your insurance agent what peripherals you want covered – we will figure out how much coverage you need and add it to your policy for a low price.

Discounts on your coverage

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency knows how to get you a good price on all of your insurance policies, and motorcycle insurance is no exception. When you call for a free Massachusetts motorcycle insurance quote, a Vargas and Vargas representative will gather the information required for the quote. They will also ask several questions to see if you are eligible for discounts, including:

  • If you will be insuring more than one motorcycle
  • If you have completed a motorcycle safety course
  • What anti-theft devices your motorcycle has
  • If you belong to a Motorcycle organization that has a discount program

If any of these bullet points applies to you, let your insurance representative know – it could mean that you qualify for a discount on your motorcycle insurance policy (depending on the insurance provide that you decide to use).

The best service in Massachusetts

All of our customers agree – Vargas and Vargas Insurance has the best service in Massachusetts! You will be glad that you have your insurance through our agency if you ever have a question or concern about your insurance policy, or if you need to file a motorcycle insurance claim. Call our office during work hours for questions, or call our emergency line when the office is closed to report a claim – we’re available on that line 24/7/365. We are famous for our service!

All you need to do for a top of the line motorcycle insurance quote is call 617-298-0655 and speak to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative. We will gather information about your motorcycle and the coverage that you desire, and we will prepare a quote that will meet all of your needs for a great price. Don’t hesitate – your bike deserves the best coverage, and Vargas and Vargas Insurance is the best around!

When to Take Out a Loan

When to Take Out a Loan

In general, you’re advised to avoid going into debt as much as possible. Sometimes, though, taking out a loan is a necessary part of life, whether for an emergency or necessity.  If you’re thinking of taking out a loan, make sure that you fall into most (or preferably all) of the following categories:

Your purchase is essential, not frivolous.

Before you consider any of the other factors on this list, think long and hard about the reason that you are thinking of taking out a loan. Is it worth going into debt and committing to principle and interest payments for your purchase? If the reason for your loan is necessary, go ahead. On the other hand, if you can wait, consider setting up a savings account and waiting until you have enough in the bank to cover your needs without a loan.

You can afford the payments.

This one should be obvious, but it is always worth mentioning when talking about taking out a loan. When you’re thinking of borrowing money, make sure that you can afford the payments. This is true for any type of debt – mortgages, car loans, student loans, even loans from friends and family. If you can’t afford the payments for a loan, consider talking to a financial advisor about your other options.

You can pay off the loan early.

Sometimes you know that you have money due to you (like a bonus or commission), but need to make a purchase before the money reaches you. In this case, you can take out a short term loan to buy what you need, and pay off your debt as soon as you receive the money that you are due.

There are two major considerations in this situation. First, you must be 100% sure that the money due to you is coming. The last thing you want to do is count your chickens before they hatch and end up stuck with a loan when your windfall falls through. Also ensure that the loan you take out doesn’t have any prepayment penalties.

You have a good credit score.

People with good credit often get better deals on loans. If your credit score is above 720, you will typically be eligible for a loan with lower than average interest rates, meaning that you will pay less in interest over the life of the loan. Just make sure that you keep your credit score high by making your loan payments on time!

You qualify for a specialty loan.

There are many types of specialty loans available for specific groups and events. We couldn’t possibly list all of the specialty loan types, but the most common include loans for Home Buyers, Education, VA loans, and USDA loans. These specialty loans often have favorable repayment terms that make carrying a bit of debt worth the risk.

If you want to talk to a professional about the implications of taking out a loan, and get personalized advice about your financial situation, talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency Financial Planning professional. As always, you can call 617-298-0655 for more information!

8 Apps to Improve Your Productivity

8 apps to improve your productivity

Do you want to be more productive? Who doesn’t! Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we want to make sure that our clients have all of the tools that they need (including Massachusetts home insurance, auto insurance, business insurance, and more).

Save yourself time and increase your money-making potential by using some or all of the following apps. We have included a link and a short description of each, but we encourage you to give all of them a try to see which should be a permanent part of your repertoire.

1. Dropbox – Have you ever needed to access a file while on the go? With Dropbox (or any of the several similar services like Box and OneDrive) you can have your important files in the cloud, and accessible from a phone or tablet whenever you need them.

2. Evernote – You’re on the go when inspiration strikes. What do you do? Most people are stuck hoping that they can remember their idea later, but with Evernote you can take notes or save images and access them later. Make sure that you’re always prepared for a stroke of genius!

3. Magisto – Apps make previously impossible tasks as easy as 1-2-3. This is especially the case with Magisto – an app that can help you make videos, movies, walkthroughs, and so much more. In addition to their web app, they now also have a mobile app called Magisto shot.

4. Buffer – Everyone knows the importance of having a social media profile that is active and updated regularly. Schedule your social media posts with ease on Buffer. Just link your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts and begin scheduling posts for a whole week (or more) at once!

5. Keynote – Apps like Keynote can help you create beautiful presentations with “dazzling effects!” Designed for simplicity, Keynote allows seamless collaboration between Mac and iOS devices, and also allows work with PowerPoint users.

6. LinkedIn – I know that you probably already have a LinkedIn account. Did you know, though, that you can keep all of your professional contacts at your fingertips with the LinkedIn app? Get updates from your contacts, see a newsfeed of content from colleagues, recruit on the go, and much more.

7. Streak – Gmail is a powerful business tool. You can make it even more powerful with Streak. When you install this app, you will obtain access to an arsenal of CRM and Email tools within your existing Gmail account, including sales tools, deal flow, hiring help, email tracking, ‘send later’ functionality… and the list goes on!

8. Bond – The power of a handwritten note is undeniable. There’s nothing quite like receiving a letter from a friend or a business. If you want to harness the power of the handwritten letter without wasting time improving your penmanship, Bond allows you to type out a letter – they will use their handwriting technology to pen your words and send the note for you!

To further increase your productivity, get the peace of mind only offered by top of the line insurance policies – like the ones you can get here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency! Call 617-298-0655 to speak to an insurance agent about gaining protection for your home, car, business, and more.

5 Massachusetts Commercial Vehicle Insurance Myths

Does your business use a vehicle? If a car or other automobile is a part of your business, you need to make sure that you have a top notch commercial vehicle insurance policy! A commercial auto insurance policy will protect your business in several different ways.

5 Massachusetts Commercial Vehicle Insurance Myths

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about commercial vehicle coverage. In an attempt to clear up the misconceptions, here are five common commercial auto insurance myths, and the truth behind the confusion:

Myth 1: Any employee is covered when driving a company vehicle.

In some cases, commercial vehicle insurance policies specify that drivers are only covered if their name is on the policy. This means that it is the business owner’s responsibility to make sure that this list of drivers is kept up to date, and that employees that are not listed on the policy know that they are not permitted to drive company vehicles.

Myth 2: Seasonal businesses should cancel their coverage when their vehicles aren’t in use.

If you run a seasonal business, you may be tempted to only purchase commercial auto coverage for your business vehicles when your business is open. There are several reasons why cancelling your coverage is a bad idea. First off, your vehicles will lose their protection – while they won’t get into an accident when they’re not on the road, they could still be the target of a thief, or get damaged by a storm or a falling tree. It is also worth noting that some commercial auto insurance providers will charge you more to insure a vehicle that has gone without coverage. So, letting your coverage lapse may cost you when you’re ready to start business again. Instead of cancelling your coverage altogether, call your Massachusetts insurance agent and ask about reducing your coverage to liability only.

Myth 3: You don’t need commercial vehicle insurance coverage for your personal automobile.

If you only use your automobile for personal use, then a traditional auto insurance policy will suit you just fine. If, on the other hand, you know that you will occasionally employ your personal vehicle for commercial uses, you need to ask your insurance agent whether you need a commercial automobile policy. This includes transporting commercial goods or paying passengers, or if your vehicle has equipment installed to support a business.

Myth 4: You must pay your insurance premium in full and up front.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are required to pay your entire insurance premium up front. In fact, many insurance providers will allow you to pay in installments. It is important to note, though, that by using a payment plan you will sometimes be losing out on a ‘Pay in full’ discount. Ask your business insurance agent about the details of your policy to find out more.

Myth 5: It will always be cheapest to bundle your business insurance policies with the same provider.

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are experts at getting our customers great insurance at a low price. Because of this, we know that bundling isn’t always how you get the best price on protection for your commercial vehicles. In fact, sometimes you will pay much less in insurance premiums if you take advantage of discounts offered by different insurance providers. To find out about how to save on all of your business insurance policies, call the experts at 617-298-0655.

How to Encourage Workplace Wellness – 4 Ways!

If you have a desk job, it may seem impossible to live a more active lifestyle. After sitting from 9-5 five days out of the week, you’re probably mentally exhausted. At that point, it’s much easier to relax in front of the TV for the evening than to focus on living an active and healthy lifestyle.

How to Encourage Workplace Wellness - 4 Ways!

The solution to this issue may be easier than you think – instead of making yourself move during the few hours that you’re at home during the day, take a more active role when you’re working! Here are a few tips to help you get moving at work:

1. Learn a few desk exercises.

Your desk at work doesn’t need to be a shrine to laziness! While you’re replying to emails or completing paperwork, get moving with a few exercises and stretches that you can do at your desk. For some, you don’t even need to get out of your chair!

Search the internet to find a desk exercise routine that works for your routine, and make a point to complete it a few times every day. If you need a reminder, make an appointment on your calendar, or make yourself a sticky note and put it in plain view.

2. Get moving while you work with a treadmill desk.

Want to take your workouts to the next level? Consider investing in a treadmill desk. They’re the latest trend in being active (along with standing desks). They cost a pretty penny, but they allow you to walk while working on a laptop – you could easily put in thousands of steps while being as productive (if not more productive) as usual.

3. Don’t skip lunch – take a walk.

You may be able to get a little more done if you eat work at your desk while catching up on emails, but you’re not doing your body (or your mind) any favors. Instead, take a walk during your lunch break. If the weather is nice, eat outside and enjoy the fresh air. When you get back to the office, you may find that a little respite from the corporate environment has left you refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

4. Get your social network involved.

As we discussed in our “New Year’s Resolution” blog post, it’s always easier to achieve a goal when you tell others about what you aim to do. Let your family, friends, and coworkers involved in your success by asking them to hold you accountable to your goal.

If you want to be able to measure your success, consider purchasing a pedometer or fitness tracker – there are several on the market today, and some will track much more than just the steps that you take each day. On these, you can even set personalized goals that will motivate you!

Living a more active lifestyle is a great way to improve your health. If you want to do even more to protect your health, call 617-298-0655 to speak to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about getting a top of the line Boston health insurance quote. Or, if you run a Massachusetts business, talk to us about getting group benefits and workers compensation for your employees.