Gift Ideas for Graduates

As Spring begins to transition into summer, we prepare for graduation season. Graduation is an important time in a young person’s life. As they move from one lever of education to the next (or from education into the workforce) it is common for loved ones to acknowledge all the hard work they have accomplished with a gift. If there is a graduate in your life, we have a few ideas for thoughtful gifts that will stand out from the crowd, based on the age of the recipient.

Children

Whether your little one is graduating from Kindergarten, Elementary School, or Middle School, it is up to you to show them how proud you are of them, and how important it is to take pride in their education. Nowadays, many schools even offer graduation ceremonies to these students!

If you want to get these little graduates a gift, focus on an experience that they will remember. Have dinner out as a family to celebrate, or take a day trip to a place that your child will enjoy, like the New England Aquarium or the Boston Children’s Museum.

Want something that you can wrap and put a bow on? Encourage your child’s interests. Get an activity kit revolving around your child’s favorite subject, whether it’s art, science, or even Phys Ed! Alternatively, if your elementary school student is headed to a Middle School that gives out lockers, give him or her some locker decorations to prepare them for the transition.

Teenagers

High School graduation is a huge accomplishment. It signifies the end of ‘required’ schooling, and students have made the decision of whether they will continue their formal education or enter the workforce.

Teens that are going to college will need a lot of stuff. Those moving into a dorm or apartment of their own probably have a wish list full of décor and furniture that provides a great starting point for gift giving – not to mention that cash is always appreciated. They will probably also request a new laptop and/or tablet for their classes.

For those students that will be transitioning to the workforce, a gift that recognizes their new independence could be a good place to start. Watches or jewelry is a traditional graduation gift. Some graduates will take a hiatus from responsibilities to travel – for them, consider a nice camera or some luggage.

Young Adults

Nowadays, graduating from college is a rite of passage, and the point at which many young adults will formally enter the workforce full time. Commemorate this transition into independence with something that celebrates the young person’s metamorphosis.

Most of these young adults are getting ready to move into a more ‘adult’ home now that their undergraduate degree is in hand. You can help them prepare for this with a gift to fit their style – consider a nice coffee maker or slow cooker for their kitchen. You could also give a practical gift in the way of sprucing up their professional wardrobe.

Older Adults

For those who decided to take on post-secondary education, graduation is an even bigger accomplishment. Their education is clearly very important to them, and it takes a massive amount of work to get a diploma at this level.

Commemorate this occasion with a special gift! As we mentioned above, a watch or piece of jewelry is always appropriate, especially something that recognizes that the person has an advanced degree. And if your recipient is sentimental, consider something sweet and thoughtful, like a keepsake box.

Don’t forget – one of the most fun parts of giving and receiving gifts is in the presentation. Whatever gift you may choose, take it to the next level with over-the-top decoration that you will be proud to hand over. There are a ton of cute ideas for making your wrapping festive and fun without needing a degree in design – check out ideas from Hallmark for making your gift resemble a graduation cap or including a tissue paper tassel.

You can even print your own wrapping paper to make your gift extra special. If you’ve chosen to give cash, you’re not out of luck! There are plenty of creative ways to give a cash gift for graduation – here are just a few ideas from Hative.

And, for the adults graduating in your life, make sure that you pass on some of your wisdom: tell them all about how important it is to have the right insurance coverage. If they’re new to buying insurance, tell them that the process doesn’t have to be confusing or scary. Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is a top Massachusetts insurance agency that can help them with all of their insurance needs: from home and renter’s insurance to car insurance and more. Have them save our number (617-298-0655) in their phone so that they can continue down the road to success with complete insurance protection for their bright future.

Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet!

It’s that time of year once again. Reflection and goal setting are a common occurrence when it comes time to start a new year. Make sure that you kick off 2018 in style, and make it your best year ever by using some (or all!) of the following tips:

  • Try New Things – You have to use muscles in order to build them. This is also true about yourself! Build yourself up as a person by pushing boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
  • Expand Your Network – Everyone can name a few people in their life who lift them up and make them feel great. Make an effort to expand your list, and to make yourself a part of other people’s lists!
  • Create – There’s little as satisfying as making something with your own hands. Stretch your creativity by cooking, painting, knitting – anything that will let you feel a sense of accomplishment at making something yourself.
  • Build (or Break) Habits – New Year’s Resolutions are common, but you need to make sure that you set these goals in a way that will make you more likely to follow through.
  • Celebrate More – Life is short, so make sure that you appreciate the small things that make you happy. Treat yourself once in a while, and show love to others often.

2017 was a great year here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, but we’re going to need your help to top it in 2018. Help us have another great year by continuing to trust our agents with your Massachusetts insurance policies. And if you or a loved one ever needs a free and honest insurance review, just call 617-298-0655.

Forget the New Year Resolutions and Set SMART Goals

Is this crazy or what? December has completely snuck up on us. Did you know that there are only 6 “work days” left between now and December 22nd when things will shut down for the holidays? While December is a month of celebration and cheer, it’s also the time to get planning for a successful 2017.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “What you don’t measure you don’t improve”?

I started this writing last week thinking that I would be writing to you about New Year resolutions, but the more that I dug through my past resolutions, I found that I have never succeeded with almost any of them. Some of my past resolutions have been; lose weight, become more physically active, be a better life partner (I hope that I have made some headway with this one), be a better parent, be a better person, prospect for more of this or that kind of insurance lines of business, etc.. This quote became so poignant when I read it.

Don’t get me wrong; I think that New year Resolutions may be worth making for some, but, perhaps they are a guideline for us to follow, rather than an exact recipe that will place more pressure on our already overburdened lives.

It’s certainly true in business, sports, and science, but what about in life? How do you measure progress in your life? With work or business, we could use our income. But what about our health, relationships, or intellectual growth?

So, are You ready for 2018?

Will 2018 be your best year yet?

What are you doing to make 2018 your best year yet?

I will be truthful with you, I failed a lot in 2017, but also had many successes. I have learned from those failures, and hope to harp on the achievements.

Do you know the feeling; I mean the failure feeling?

Don’t use the “failure feeling” to rekindle those strong negative emotions (it’s not easy, especially if they were severe). Instead, I hope that you learn from your failures as I do.

Like many people, I sometimes struggle to stay focused on my goals. Week in and week out, there is always a “new way of doing things” or a “new shiny whistle” that tries to take my attention away from what is important.

While planning and goal setting is vital in the business world, I hope that you don’t forget that it is just as important to establish goals for your personal life. Don’t forget that without our health and our relationships, many of our lives would be meaningless!

Setting and achieving your goals may be difficult, but there is help available. Here are few of my recommendations:

Here’s what Michael Hyatt says about goal setting:

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.

Once you have SMART goals for your professional and personal life, make sure to Write them down and place them in a visible location, like on your desk or the refrigerator (I have my goals taped to the wall in my closet).

Click here for more information on Michael Hyatt’s goal setting techniques.

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
-Helen Keller

I hope that you have a happy, prosperous and safe new year!

Carlos

 

 

 

Fear Is My Motivation

 

I hope that you are getting ready for your long weekend!

Here are a few words of wisdom to ponder over the next 3 days:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Growing up, school dances were a significant source of anxiety for me. When I was 14, I had no idea how to talk to girls, much less ask them out. What would I say? What if she says no, or already has a date? Where would I run if I bombed or froze up? Those were legitimate fears of mine – after all, isn’t rejection a teenager’s worst enemy.

I know I’m not alone in this. No matter how suave and smooth you may be, putting yourself out there is scary. Everyone’s had that moment where they had to psych themselves up to approach a member of the opposite sex… And the longer you wait, the more anxiety you feel. Then the fear sets in. If I were a braver soul, I would write a whole book about fear.

We’ve all been told not to give in to fear. And more so constantly if you’re a male in our culture. Fear is somehow a bad thing. So is failure. At least, that’s what we’re told. Well, that is a lie!

If you dwell on fear, you get a mental block and stop working effectively toward your goal. If I wrote a book about fear, would you read it? Maybe you won’t read this message.  You’ll skip it because maybe you’re worried (more fear!) that I’ll make you feel guilty.

Fear is a powerful and useful tool. But, just like fire, you have to respect it, and you have to choose to use it that way. Fire is necessary for human survival (cooking food, purifying water, cauterizing wounds), but it can burn a house down just as easily. Fear is the same. It can burn your mental house down.

I use fear to get informed, I am motivated by fear, but I never let it guide me. How about you? Do you feel fear, and are you moving forward? It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Just remember, your excuses will never be as interesting as the story of how you got it done.

I’ll tell you a few more secrets about fear, if you’re interested:

  • Fear without knowledge is amplified.
  • Fear without a plan is debilitating.
  • Fear without a goal is endless

“Fear will crush and dominate more dreams than failure ever will.”

What fixes it all?

  • Fear without knowledge is amplifiedso I seek knowledge of what I needed to do.
  • Fear without a plan is debilitatingso I have a plan to keep me moving forward.
  • Fear without a goal is endlessso I put a simple goal in place.

I create a purpose so I can grab a hold of fear and keep my business (and life) on a simple track.

If you find this interesting, let’s grab a coffee soon. I would love to learn all about you and your business and see if I can be of help, or just learn about you and hear your story.

Remember, I’m always here to help you and your clients win. It’s what I LOVE to do.

Now, go DOMINATE your week!

Carlos

“Change is hard, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

“Change is hard, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
-Robin Sharma

Change is hard. I know this for a fact, as I’m experiencing it right now!

Picture this…I’m sitting in my house right now instead of sitting in traffic like I’ve done for 37 years.

As you probably know from my online posts, Kathy and I moved from our Stoughton home of 33 years to Dorchester Lower Mills, just around the corner from the Vargas and Vargas office. Believe me, this change has not been easy all the time, but change never is – even when we know it is the right thing to do.

One of the upsides of our move has been that we now spend less time in traffic, and have more time together, more time to get regular exercise, and more time in the wonderful community of Dorchester.

Recently, Vargas and Vargas has also made some changes. We have updated our client management system and our website (you can now send us a TEXT to our agency 617-213-2820 and much more to come, stay tuned) to help customers and friends like you contact our trusted referral partners!

We’ve always had a partners page on our site, but we hope that this will be a resource for you and anyone you know that is looking for any of the following professionals:

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Contractor
  • Electrician
  • Estate Planner
  • Financial Advisor
  • Home Inspector
  • Loan Officer
  • Plumber
  • Realtor®
  • And More!

(Send me a message and I can let you know how you be on our partner’s list)

And while you are visiting our new website, don’t forget to check out our blog. It is always being updated with insurance tips, helpful advice, and much more.

How to Start Recycling – We Can Help!
Auto Insurance Q&A: Borrowing the Car
Best and Worst Places to Store Your Wedding Rings
Building Permits for Residential Renovations

So what does our change of address have to do with making you more money?

Many professionals start their businesses filled with excitement and passion for their new venture, but quickly realize that building a brand is hard work! Once that realization sets in and business problems begin to surface, it is very easy to get disgruntled and lose your motivation for what you originally set out to accomplish.

In the beginning, your passion creates energy that keeps you moving forward, builds excitement for the next project, and helps overcome fears and obstacles. However, maintaining that passion can be difficult as time goes on, and you might find yourself in a “rut,” or longing to reconnect with the spark that once drove your business. Whether this longing resonates with you currently or you’re teetering back and forth on the fence of business growth, it’s imperative to implement 6 practices into your business to regain focus and reignite your flame! We’ll cover the first 3 this week, so stay tuned for next week’s insider to tie all 6 together!

1. Stay focused on your core business – There are a million money making ideas out there that can distract you from what your core business is all about. If you can’t draw a direct connection from a new loan or listing to your new venture, scrap it! It will only distract you from making money and growing your business.

2. Take inspiration from SUCCESSFUL professionals – Surround yourself with positive individuals who have achieved success and are passionate about what they do. They’ll motivate, excite and remind you of why you’re in business. The right individuals will build you up with a “can do” attitude, and offer you proven methods of achieving your goals.

3. Manage your time effectively – Unfortunately, if you don’t set aside time to do important tasks like following up with new clients and building referral relationships (making FROG calls), phone calls and emails can keep you busy all day long! Make sure that you schedule time in your day that’s committed to taking care of the fundamentals of business development which make you money and keep you excited! If you need assistance with time blocking, I can help!

And know that you are LOVED!

Carlos