Morning Motivation – Week of December 3, 2018

Can you believe that it is December already? I feel like this year has just barely begun! Let’s start this month of festivity off with some words of wisdom:

Did you read my post last week about using your hands during presentations? This week, I have another point to make along those same lines.

If we have ever been in the same space, you know that I am a “handshaker” and “hugger” and when I shake someone’s hand I will often tap them on the elbow to show my warmth to them. When I do this with my wife present, however, she always warns me that not everyone likes to be touched, Do you mind it if someone you know touches you on the elbow as they shake your hand and say hello?

Now let me ask you this – when you speak to a group of people, are you an anchorperson or a weatherperson?

Let me explain… when we speak, we have a choice between being an “anchorperson” or “weatherperson.”  As we all know from watching the news, an anchorperson sits stock still at a desk, rarely using their hands, while weatherpersons wave their hands and arms about broadly to indicate weather patterns on a map. If you are reading this post it is highly unlikely that you are in sales, are an entrepreneur or solopreneur, that you were auditioned for your position, or that you were hired because of your skills. If instead you were hired on the basis of the personality you presented during your interview and vetting process, then that personality was your natural style and you should stick with it.

Next week I plan to talk about the status of the insurance industry, and how it’s not on its deathbed like some people would have us believe. It’s going to be a good one, so don’t miss it!

Carlos

Surviving Winter in Your Boston Home or Condominium

Winter is in full swing once again here in the Boston area. What are your favorite winter activities? We want to share some tips for staying warm, healthy and happy this winter in your home, apartment or condo. Choose one or try them all! Hopefully they can make your winter a little more joyous.

How to Stay Warm

The average low temperature in Boston for winter months is easily below freezing, so staying warm can be a challenge. Before you crank up the heat, check to ensure that the cold air is staying outside where it should be. This is best done with energy efficient (and non-draft-prone) windows and doors. See about refitting your home’s windows and doors if you are falling victim to drafts – these will cost you money year-round, cooling your home in the winter and heating it in the summer.

Do you have a programmable thermostat? Setting it to 68 degrees will heat your home while also conserving energy, according to ready.gov. Make sure to lower it by 10 or more degrees at night, though, to save approximately 10% on your heating bill. Also see if you can close the heat vent and shut the door to any unused rooms in your home or condo to cut your heating costs even further. It is also prudent to ensure that you have a back-up heat source in case of a power loss.

How to Stay Healthy

During the winter, more people stay indoors, and this means an increased number of germs in your home, apartment, or condo. Stay healthy by getting a flu shot if you can, and by washing your hands often. Also, regularly disinfect the surfaces of your home that are touched often. Just in case someone in your household falls ill, have the necessary medical supplies on hand so that you don’t have to make a rushed trip to the pharmacy.

Staying healthy in the winter also means finding the opportunity to exercise. Not many people want to go for an outdoor jog in the middle of winter in Boston, but there are plenty of alternatives that will keep you fit until the warm weather returns. Many people will choose to exercise at their local gym, where cardio and weight equipment are available year-round. Some gyms in the area also offer indoor pools and/or fitness classes that can keep your exercise routine fresh and new. There are also plenty of options available for people that would rather exercise at home, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive equipment.

If you would rather continue to get your exercise out in the fresh air, choose an appropriate wintertime activity. Ice skating can be a great cardio workout, you can also try something more off-the-wall, like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Just make sure that you are dressed appropriately, and that you take plenty of breaks from the cold and that you stay hydrated as you work out outside.

How to Stay Happy

As we mentioned, the cold weather of the winter often means spending more time indoors. For some people this can lead to wintertime blues and boredom. Instead of being unhappy that you must spend so much time inside, try to be thankful for the extra time in your cozy home. Get your family together to play a board game, binge watch a tv show that looks interesting, cook up a new recipe, or check something off your reading list.

Need to get out of the house? You’re in luck! There are lots of activities in the Boston area in the winter, so you don’t need to feel like you’re cooped up – even when the city is blanketed in snow! Family activities are especially popular this time of year, including the Holiday Bricktacular at Legoland Discovery Center, Santa Saturdays at the Franklin Park Zoo, and Snowmazing! at the Boston Children’s Museum, among many others.

A few more favorites from the agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency include seeing The Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet, catching a Holiday Pops performance at the Boston Symphony Hall, and seeing the Christmas trees at Faneuil Hall and the Boston Common. There are plenty of events happening in the area, so bundle up and have some fun out in the city to ward off the boredom often brought by the cold weather.

We also want to make sure that you know that Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here for all your home, renters, and condo insurance needs this winter (and all year-round). If you want to have a chat about your current insurance policies, or if you have an insurance question, all you have to do is call us at 617-298-0655. One of our friendly and knowledgeable agents will be happy to take care of you!

Morning Motivation – Week of November 26, 2018

Hello friendsI hope that you had a great weekend and Thanksgiving holiday and that you are ready for an amazing week! Did you enjoy reading my email last week about my ongoing Daily Video project?

You know that I LOVE to start each week with some positive words, and this week’s are:

It’s funny, I read the above quote the week before I was one of the speakers at an independent insurance agents meeting in Michigan, and it sent shivers up my spine.  I practiced my 45 minute presentation for almost a week, and guess what? I still went off script!

Here is something else that I was thinking about before my presentation as I was watching the two speakers on stage after me using their hands to describe their presentation: Many of us talk with our hands, right?

Some people have the tendency to be really dramatic and use their hands to describe in detail what they are saying, and some people don’t use their hands at all. Which camp are you in?

When presenting, I often ask myself “What should I do with my hands?” I have been cautioned against choreography; I’ve seen some presenters attempt to illustrate their talk with specific gestures and wind up tying themselves into knots, or worse, looking weird and fake. I have found that I use my hands and arms how I would naturally, to illustrate what I am saying, it feels natural to me and takes the extra pressure off of me while I am up on stage. I do try to extend my hands and arms periodically, trying to bridge the gap between the audience and me, as AT&T used to say “Reach Out” with your hand in handshake position.

As you watch presentations, do you ever notice how a speaker is using their hands, and whether it’s adding to or detracting from their presentation? I would love to know!

Until next week,

Carlos

Recap: Cancelling Auto Insurance

“My mom sent me money for a car, but the cops impounded it because I had no insurance.” – Martin Henderson

Have you been considering cancelling your Massachusetts auto insurance policy? There are many reasons why this may seem like a good idea, including if you are getting rid of the car, taking the car off the road for extended maintenance, or if you are going through a major life event like marriage or divorce.

The issue arises when you apply for your next insurance policy. When deciding on your premium amount, insurance providers consider many factors – one of which is sometimes whether you have cancelled a policy in the past. This means that cancelling a current policy could affect your rates in the future!

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we also want to make sure that you also never drive without auto insurance. Even a seemingly simple fender bender can result in a lot of money in repairs, let alone a multi-car accident with serious injuries.

So, if you’re thinking about cancelling your auto insurance for any reason, first call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you analyze your situation and tell you how your decision will affect your future insurance premiums. We may even be able to help you come up with an alternate solution that will be better for your situation.

Morning Motivation – Week of November 19, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Are you ready for another one of my famous motivational quotes?

If you happened to catch my post from last week about giving a keynote speech to a mastermind group of plumbers, A/C, and heating specialists here in Boston, you will know that giving presentations used to be way out of my comfort zone. Pushing limits seems to be a theme of this year (and of my life in general). Here is another example of how I am constantly testing my own limits:

What seems like a long time ago, I was double dared by one of the professionals that I have been coaching. She said “Instead of posting a daily inspirational quote, do it in video form!” She told me she dared me to do daily videos for one year.

Well, I never stand down from a challenge, never mind a double dare, so I started shooting a daily positive affirmations on March 6th, and am currently over 200 days toward my goal. You can watch all of them here.  

I have learned from this new daily routine that I have become really great at video editing (check out my first few videos compared to the more recent ones) and that I LOVE my daily routine of finding a subject and then shooting a video. I usually start the process around 6AM and it’s a great way to begin my day in a positive manner and keep it positive.

Have a self-kind and FANTASTIC week ahead! And make sure you check your inbox next Monday to hear about a question that I had during my latest presentation to a group of independent insurance agents.

Carlos

Recap: Post-Thanksgiving Sales

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek

Once the turkey and stuffing have been devoured, it will be time to start planning your post-Thanksgiving shopping ventures. Do you plan to brave the crowd of Black Friday, support the community on Small Business Saturday, or shop from the comfort of your home on Cyber Monday?

No matter whether you’re doing your shopping in one day or spreading it out, there are a few things that you can do to make your job less hectic. The first and most important is to make a list of the things that you’re looking to buy. Shopping without a list is a practically guaranteed way to buy things that you don’t need and miss items that you could have used. If you’re purchasing gifts, make a list of who you’re buying for and what you could get them, as well as your budget for each person. As you shop, you can check off your list knowing that you’ve saved a bunch by buying when the items were on a deep discount!

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is a great place to support local businesses all year round. We are a local independent insurance agency that offers Boston residents excellent home insurance, renters’ insurance, car insurance, and beyond. Call 617-298-0655 or visit our website for a free quote today!

Cancelling Auto Coverage Can Affect Future Rates

Most of the time, car insurance is a ‘set it and forget it’ purchase. Once you have a policy, you can schedule the payments and rest easier knowing that you will be covered for all the perils listed on your policy. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to consider cancelling your policy.

The reasons that people cancel their auto insurance are plentiful. Some cancellations are due to the covered car being sold or pulled off the road for extended maintenance, others are due to major life events such as moving, marriage, or divorce. Some people will cancel their current auto insurance policy because they are dissatisfied with their current insurance provider and want to make a change. No matter what the reason is that you are considering cancelling a current insurance policy, you shouldn’t make the decision lightly – what some people don’t realize is that cancelling your current policy could have repercussions on your future insurance premiums!

Why would it affect your future insurance payments, you ask? Well, that is simple. When you sign up for an insurance policy, you agree to pay a certain amount depending on how long you will receive coverage. The price for a six-month policy is usually more expensive per month than a twelve-month policy because you get a discount based on the extra commitment of a longer contract. This is like saving per ounce or pound at the grocery store when buying larger sizes of food items – the bigger your commitment, the less you pay per unit.

Because of this, insurance providers will sometimes look at your insurance history when deciding on your next premium amount. If they see that you have prematurely cancelled a policy in the past, they may be more likely to increase your cost – since your history reveals that you could need another early cancellation, making you a payments risk for their bottom line.

It is also worth noting that you should never drive a vehicle that is uninsured. Not only are you required to have auto insurance when driving in the state of Massachusetts, driving without insurance is a huge financial risk. Could you imagine the financial impact of causing a car accident without any kind of coverage? The costs to repair your vehicle could be very expensive, let alone fixing damage to the object you ran into (whether it is another car, a mailbox, etc). The cost of an accident also skyrockets when someone is injured, if they miss work, or if there is a lawsuit. Think about these potential costs before you get behind the wheel without any insurance!

Remember – you never think when you’re heading to work or going to run a quick errand that you will get in a major car accident, but it can happen to anyone at any time. There are estimated to be an average of 6 million car accidents in the US every year, and more than 90 people are killed in car accidents every day. In 2016 alone there were 359 fatal crashes in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to letting Vargas and Vargas Insurance make sure that you have the proper auto insurance policy to be protected on the road, make sure that you know the potential perils of driving while distracted, and don’t speed or drive while intoxicated. Driving is a privilege, and you are responsible for the safety of yourself and other drivers while you operate a vehicle.

If you are considering cancelling your auto insurance (or any of your Massachusetts insurance policies) for any reason, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency and talk to an agent. They will be able to explain any and all repercussions that may arise because of a cancelled policy and can advise you on your decision, and potentially come up with an action plan that will fit your needs. Remember – one quick call to 617-298-0655 can get all your insurance questions answered, so don’t stress… talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent today.

Already cancelled an auto insurance policy and looking for a new one? Vargas and Vargas Insurance is an independent insurance agency – that means that we can search several insurance providers to find you a great policy, even if you have cancelled a policy in the past. No matter your insurance needs, we will find some way to help you and ensure that you are protected, so call 617-298-0655 today.

Morning Motivation – Week of November 12, 2018

Happy Monday again, friends!

When was the last time you did something new or challenged yourself? That is the theme of the day, as we start with this week’s motivational quote:

I went WAY outside my comfort zone last month – I was the keynote speaker at a mastermind group of plumbers, A/C and heating folks from around the country that met in Boston. You can watch the video here, if you like.  If you knew me 5 years ago, you would say “That’s not Carlos! He does one-on-ones well, but in a group or even standing up in front of a group, no way. He will never do it.”  Well, after hundreds of presentation to real estate, mortgage and closing attorneys over the past 5 or 6 years, I stood up in front of this huge group and talked about community marketing and getting freedom in business while the telephone rings with quality people who want to use their business. I also talked about how these people could spend more time doing what they want to do with the people that they love. (Do you want the same thing?)

The presentation went well (as you can see at the end of the video), and the high that I walked away with after the presentation lasted into the next day. When I walked into the house my wife Kathy asked how my presentation went, then she said “I see how you are, you must have done well!” She said the next day, “You should do more of these, you are still floating on air.” For the last couple of years I have lived for presentations!

As I talked about in my message last week, like when we learn how to ride a bike, play a new video game, or try a new marketing technique, you need to do it over and over and over again to master it. The more you can do that “new thing” to make it into a habit, the more it will truly stick and become a natural part of your life. When you try something, give it (and yourself) a fair chance. For example, say you want to try taking just one small step forward toward overcoming procrastination. If that is your goal, use you new trick each day for at least a week in school or at work before you evaluate whether it will work for you.

Thinking, hoping and expecting that positive results will come quicker than may be possible can hold you back from making real progress.

The question now is: In what aspects of your life do you want to improve? Stay tuned for my email next week to read about a challenge that I have been taking on in my life.

Carlos

Recap: Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” – Amy Grant

Are you going to be hosting your family’s Thanksgiving this year? It’s never too early to start preparations, so here are a few things you can start to consider. Just think of them as advice from your favorite Massachusetts insurance agents!

  • Start working on your guest list and planning what dishes will be a part of your meal.
  • Account for any guests with food allergies or special dietary needs.
  • Review food safety tips to avoid food borne illnesses.
  • Make sure that your frozen turkey has enough time to thaw in the fridge or a cold-water bath.
  • Prepare some foods ahead of time to relieve some Thanksgiving Day stress.
  • Ensure that your home is free of tripping hazards to prevent a home insurance claim.
  • Have entertainment ready, including festive music, football, and Thanksgiving activities and games.
  • Make cleanup a breeze by soaking dishes as you perform other tasks.

In the end, remember that Thanksgiving is a holiday about togetherness and being grateful for what you have. If at the end of the day you have to order a pizza, it’s not the end of the world… it will be a great story for years to come!

If you need help with an insurance claim during the Thanksgiving holiday, call the Vargas and Vargas Insurance 24/7 emergency line at 617-322-5289. And, as always, you can call us at 617-298-0655 during regular business hours with your insurance questions or to get a free insurance quote.