Morning Motivation – Week of March 25, 2019

Are you ready for the start of another great week, friends?

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

When you hear the word “multitasking”, images of highly efficient and successful people most likely come to mind… but what if I were to tell you that our common belief about multi-tasking, as the end-all-be-all of good work ethic, is all wrong?

I’m anti-multitasking–at least for people.

Did you know that the term “multitasking” was coined to describe how computers operate? Computers are excellent at multitasking, but humans? Not so much.

Now, maybe you’re thinking: “But, Carlos, I am GREAT at multitasking!”

I imagine you are pretty good at accomplishing multiple tasks at the same time. But, my argument is this: If you focus on one task at one time, you can be much better at everything you do.

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In the next few weeks, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Don’t miss my message next week: “Why is multitasking a myth?”

Carlos

Recap: Car Insurance Facts

“Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”

– E. B. White

As the famous writer E. B. White indicates, cars are a pivotal part of life. You likely rely on your car to get nearly everywhere you go, but answer this: is your car properly protected? With a five-star insurance policy, you can be confident that you will be taken care of if something ever happens to you or your vehicle.

How much do you know about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy? Here are just a few of the interesting and informative facts that we shared in our longer blog post last week:

  • What you pay for auto insurance depends on many factors, including how much you will drive, who will be behind the wheel, and more.
  • Don’t listen to car insurance myths! For example, the color of your car is not one of the factors that determines your premium amount, and your insurance will not cover you anytime anything happens to your vehicle.
  • Getting great coverage doesn’t have to break the bank. Insurance providers offer many discounts – you just need to work with the right agent to get a great price!

Want to see what Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency can offer? Call our office at 617-298-0655 and speak to one of our auto insurance representatives about getting your free quote. We will search many insurance providers to make sure that you get a great deal at a fantastic price, and there’s no obligation to see what we can offer – so call today!

A Parent’s Guide to the End of the School Year

It’s that time of year – kids are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The school year is going to be wrapping up soon, so how will you as a parent help your child or children to buckle down and finish the year off strong, while simultaneously planning activities for summer vacation? Don’t worry – your local independent insurance agency is here to help!

Stick to Your Routine

Many parents complain that once Spring Break is over, kids start to realize that the school year is wrapping up and they want to act like it’s already over by begging for extra treats and later bedtimes. Remind your kids that they still have things to learn in the next few months, so it’s important to stick to your usual school-time routine.

For younger kids, it may help to create a paper countdown chain to show how many days are left until the last day of school – it’s an easy craft that can help children to visualize the length of time until summer vacation starts. Many parents also use this type of craft to count down to other celebrations and major days – for example, the start of a vacation, the first day of school, birthdays, Christmas, and more!

Now is also a great time to teach kids about the importance of goal-setting! Motivate kids by letting them set an ‘end-of-the-year’ goal and choose a reward for completing that goal – for example, finishing out the school year with good grades. This reward could be a new game or toy, a trip to their favorite restaurant (with dessert!) or going with a friend for a day of fun at a local attraction. Get creative and help your kid choose a reward that will motivate them to stay on-task at school and will encourage them to complete tests and projects to the best of their ability.

If you haven’t yet, this is also the perfect opportunity to teach older kids about SMART goals. Sit with them and help them create a goal for the end of the year that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Stay Organized

What is the current state of your child’s school supplies? Sometimes, a few new folders or colorful pencils are all it takes to get kids back on track and excited about finishing out the school year strong. After several months of classes, it may also be time to have kids give their backpacks a thorough cleaning and reorganizing their supplies. Loose papers and inch-long pencils will easily clutter up a backpack and make it nearly impossible to find anything.

The end of the school year is also a time that tends to be chock full of class parties, award ceremonies, banquets, recitals, and more. Stay on top of what events you need to attend and make sure that you put them on your calendar as early as possible so that you don’t overschedule yourself or your kids. Now is also the perfect time to plan ahead so that you know how you’re going to handle a scheduling conflict if one occurs.

Another great way to stay organized at the end of the school year is to ask your child to gather contact information for his or her classmates now, especially if your school doesn’t hand out a class directory. This will help during the summer if your child wants to invite one of their friends out to have fun during the break.

Plan for the Summer

Sometimes, these last few months of school is all about making it to the end. While you use the above tips to keep kids focused on getting to the end of the school year, it’s not a bad idea to let them help with making plans for their summer vacation (as long as it won’t distract them too much from their studies). Whether you’re planning a staycation, a road trip, a cruise, or flying to a new and exciting destination, let your children help with the planning. Younger kids can choose travel activities and get excited about some of the specific places and attractions you will be visiting, and older kids can also learn some money-handling skills by being involved with the budgeting of your trip and helping to prioritize expenses.

While your kids are still in school, take advantage of the temporary peace and quiet to call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency and prepare yourself for potential summer shenanigans. Have one of our expert Boston insurance agents perform a free evaluation of your current insurance policies, including your home insurance, car insurance, etc. They will be able to tell you if you have enough coverage, and help you fill any existing gaps. They may even be able to find you a new policy at a great price! Don’t wait until school’s out for summer: call 617-298-0655 today.

Morning Motivation – Week of March 18, 2019

Happy Monday again, friends!

I love to start each week with some positive words of wisdom, and this week’s are:

Last week I started talking about the clutter that we all have in our heads that crowds out the great thoughts that come to us on a daily basis. I sad that I would share with you my simple solution, so here it is:

I take a “thoughts” journal notebook everywhere that I go. Every time I have an idea, I write it down in my journal. Every time I think of something I need to do, I write it down in that notebook. Every time that I have a meeting, I keep my notes in the journal. Then, about twice a day, I grab my notebook and prioritize what needs to be done, and then actually do it or delegate it (delegation and leveraging is where the actual power is).   

This keeps my head clear of the clutter, gets rid of the feelings of being overwhelmed, and frees my mind to plan even more massive results for our business and my life! Then I simply start prioritizing which of those activities will give me the biggest most massive results, and I actually get them done (or have them done for me).

All this by simply investing in a $10 thoughts journal. I used to buy mine locally, but my local stationary store stopped carrying this particular type of journal, so I get it from, you guessed it, Amazon.

By the way, I carry this journal everywhere that I go, including to meetings, coffees, lunches with referral partners and friends, and Toastmasters. When I go to bed, it is on my night stand because it helps me clear the clutter before I go to sleep (which gives me a great night’s sleep!) I have also found that some of my best ideas have come to me while sleeping and I write them down as soon as I wake up.

Take action and make it happen! I would love to hear some of your best ideas too!

Next week, why multitasking should be a “four letter word!”

Carlos

Recap: Room-by-Room Safety Tips

“Precaution is better than cure.”

– Edward Coke

Your home is your safe place, but there are probably dangers lurking inside that pose a threat to you and your family. Make sure that you put safety first with the tips that we posted in last week’s blog, where we went room by room identifying safety concerns and how to prevent potential incidents, including:

  • Be wary of tripping hazards in your living room, like area rugs and children’s toys.
  • Kitchens should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Never store sharp tools or knives in open drawers.
  • Beware of dryer lint buildup! Clean filters after each load and clean the harder to reach areas regularly.
  • Bedrooms should each have a smoke alarm and working window that can function as an escape route (bedrooms on the second floor should also have an escape ladder for said window).
  • Equip bathrooms with plenty of non-slip bath mats to avoid accidents when floors become slick.
  • Do your research on pool safety and grilling safety before taking part in these outdoor activities.

As much as you do to prevent incidents, you can never guarantee that nothing will happen to your home. That’s why you need a Boston home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. Call 617-298-0655 to get your free quote and find out what we can cover so that you feel protected.

What to Know About Your MA Car Insurance Policy

Auto insurance is a key piece of your insurance portfolio. Thankfully with the help of the expert agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, getting the right car insurance for your needs is easy. Call us at 617-298-0655 and ask for a free insurance quote – after you answer a few simple questions you will be on your way to the best auto insurance in Boston!

Once you have a great auto insurance policy, there are a few things that you should know about your coverage and how your lifestyle affects your payments. Here are just a few car insurance facts that you may not be familiar with.

You care about what you pay for auto insurance. This dollar amount is your premium, and how high or low it is will depend on several factors. These include:

  • How much you use your car. How many miles do you typically drive? Pricing for a car insurance policy is all about risk, and a car that only drives to run errands occasionally is a lot less likely to get into an accident than a car that makes an hour-long commute five days a week.
  • The people that will be driving the car. You will need to let your agent know if anyone else will be driving the car. As you would probably expect, your rates will increase if you are also insuring the car for use by a teenage driver.
  • How you want your car fixed if it is damaged. Ask your insurance agent about the difference between the types of coverage offered. Depending on how much of a premium you’re willing to take on, you could choose liability only, full replacement cost, or somewhere in between.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the types of coverage offered by standard Boston auto insurance policies. In an effort to help our clients be as informed as possible, the insurance experts here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency would like to clear up some of the more prevalent auto insurance myths:

  • The color of your car is not a factor in the cost of your insurance premium. Many people believe that drivers with red cars are riskier or more likely to be pulled over by the police, but when it comes to your car insurance your provider will treat a silver car the same as red (all else the same).
  • You shouldn’t believe people when they say that no matter what happens to your car, your insurance policy will cover you. Insurance policies will only go so far as they are required to go based on your coverage, so it’s important to get more than just the state required minimum coverage if you want to be fully protected. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent can make recommendations on how much coverage makes sense for you.
  • Have you ever heard that your insurance rates will rise as you get older? In fact, the opposite is often true. Insurance providers know that older drivers are likely to be more cautious behind the wheel and therefore less likely to make a claim. This is why some providers offer a discount for drivers over a certain age. If you are over 50, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance and ask if you qualify for a premium reduction!

When purchasing an auto insurance policy, also make sure to talk to your insurance agent if you use your car for business purposes more than just making a commute to the office. If you do some driving for a rideshare as a side hustle, if you deliver to customers using your personal vehicle, etc. you may need extra insurance coverage or a separate commercial insurance policy in order to be fully covered for both the personal and business aspects of your car use.

Here is one more thing that everyone should know about their Massachusetts auto insurance policy – insurance providers offer tons of discounts that could apply to you! Every provider is slightly different, but you could be earning auto insurance discounts for things like being over a certain age (as mentioned above), having completed a safe driving course (primarily for teenagers and older customers), going without an accident for a specified period of time, belonging to certain organizations (emergency roadside assistance, military, etc.), enrolling in auto-pay, and many more!

Some providers will offer discounts that are more in line with what a certain customer qualifies for, so make sure that you get the most from your insurance policy by using an independent agent to do your policy shopping!

Want to get started on that free auto insurance quote? Protect your vehicle and your loved ones with the help of Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency by calling 617-298-0655. We are a local independent insurance agency and we take pride in making sure that our Massachusetts clients are fully protected, so call today and get a taste of the customer service that people rave about!

Morning Motivation – Week of March 11, 2019

Happy Monday friends!

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

For the last few weeks, I have been talking about “the next big thing.” Now let’s talk about one of the biggest “time sucks” in your business – the clutter in your head.

Here’s how the problem works – you have all these great thoughts going on in your brain, but they are likely to be all jumbled up and mixed in with the “I have to go pick up my laundry” type of thoughts as well.   

You see, your brain doesn’t have the ability to prioritize thoughts regarding what’s most important.   

When you think, each thought is given equal weight, even though we all know that “to bind 150 new home insurance policies this month (in the insurance world) or get more listing appointments (in the real estate world) or get more of the pre-approvals into underwriting (in the mortgage world) is much more important and pressing than the “I need to get a new file folder for the office” type of stuff.  

Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t give one more weight than the other as far as occupying space in our head.  

What’s worse is that when we have all those thoughts tumbling around in our head, we keep running through the list of what we need to do, and it keeps the brain occupied doing that instead of coming up with solutions.  

Then with all these “problems” with no “solutions” going on in our head, we start feeling anxiety and overwhelmed…which leads to more clutter in our heads and less action actually being taken.  

Next week, my simple solution to dealing with my disparate thoughts.

Carlos

Recap: Plan for Summer Vacation

“Summer means happy times and good sunshine. It means going to the beach, going to Disneyland, having fun.”

– Brian Wilson

Spring is almost here, and summer is around the corner. Have you started thinking about planning a vacation for the summer? If so, you’re in the right place! Some of the expert insurance agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are also planning getaways, and we want to share the tips that we have learned. Here are just a few – make sure to read our extended blog post for more!

  • Start planning early so that you don’t feel rushed and can take your time to make your upcoming vacation the best one yet.
  • Choose your destination carefully! Consider the timing of your trip and see if there are any special events happening in the place you are going when you’ll be there.
  • Pull up a spreadsheet while you’re planning and outline a rough budget for your travels.
  • Once you know about how much you’re planning to spend, start saving right away. No one wants to go into debt for a vacation!
  • When you are on your trip, let loose and enjoy your vacation. Be spontaneous and let yourself be happy in the moment.

Before you leave on your newly planned summer vacation, talk to your Boston insurance agent about getting a free insurance check-up. You can also ask and learn more about the benefits of having a travel insurance policy in place for your trip!

Safety Tips for Every Room in Your Home

Your home insurance is meant to be financial protection in case of a mishap in your house. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are proud to provide our clients with top of the line insurance coverage, but in truth we would rather these mishaps never occur! That is why we dedicate many of our blogs to safety – in the home, in your car, in the snow, and even at work.

In this blog, we want to take a thorough look at the place where you likely spend the majority of your time: your home. Let’s break it down and go room-by-room pointing out safety hazards and how to avoid potential perils.

The Living Room

While your living room may seem pretty safe, there are still a few things that you need to keep an eye on. Entertainment systems should be hooked up using a reliable surge protector, and any tripping hazards (area rugs or children’s toys) should be monitored so that they don’t cause someone to trip and fall.

The Kitchen

Arguably the most dangerous room in the house, the kitchen is full of potential hazards. Make sure that knives and other sharp implements are properly stored (covered, never loose in a drawer). Every kitchen should have an up-to-date fire extinguisher that every family member knows where to locate and how to use in case of a kitchen fire.

There is also a lot of moisture present in the kitchen, so make sure that you keep an eye out for black mold. If you see a spot and suspect that it could be mold, call a professional – it’s not something that should be trifled with. Also be watchful for this hazard in other moist places, like in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

The Laundry Room

Dryer lint causes many house fires in the US every year, so make sure that you clean your dryer’s lint trap after every load. Also check the dryer’s vent (or have a professional clean your vent) regularly to prevent buildup. If your dryer runs on gas, also regularly check the gas hook-ups to make sure there is no leak.

The Bedrooms

You spend a large chunk of the day asleep in your bedroom, so it is critical to ensure that you have an escape route in case of an emergency (like a fire). Bedrooms on the first floor should have a window that can be opened and climbed through. Bedrooms on the second floor will each need an additional escape ladder for a quick and easy exit.

The Bathrooms

Bathrooms (especially those with tile floors) are a slipping hazard. To ensure that there is less of a chance of someone having an accident, place non-slip bathmats in key locations in each bathroom, especially around showers and tubs.

The Garage

Your car may seem safe and sound when it is parked in a closed garage, but you can never be too careful. Lock your car even when it is at home and remove any valuables from the vehicle. Remember that vehicles are a source of carbon monoxide, so make sure to never run your car in the garage when the garage door is closed.

If you store tools in your garage, make sure that they are secured – especially if you have children. Chemicals and flammable materials should also be stored safely and away from places that are exposed to extreme heat and cold.

The Backyard

We’ve posted several in-depth blogs about how to deal with safety in the backyard, so before the weather warms up do your research on pool safety, grilling safety and more.

In addition, consider adding security cameras to the outside of your home – they’re not just for the rich and famous anymore! These constantly vigilant eyes on your property can help to protect you from package thieves, monitor pets and children, and much more.

General Safety

Speaking of home security, do you have a security system in your home? You can install one yourself or have a professional installation – the important thing is that you have a system that you can arm when you are away. Nowadays, you can also connect most home monitoring systems to your internet of things, allowing you access to the information from your smartphone.

Throughout your home, you should have one specific item: smoke alarms. They are critical in ensuring that your family is protected in case of a house fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends one in every sleeping room of your home, as well as at least one on each floor of your home. Also make sure that you test or replace the batteries in your smoke alarms with every Daylight Saving Time clock change.

Now that you know these safety tips for all the rooms in your home, double down on your protection with a five-star home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance. Call 617-298-0655 to speak to an experienced Dorchester insurance agent about your options, and to find out what we can offer you with a free home insurance quote. There’s no need to hesitate, because there’s no obligation.

Can You Take out a Life Insurance Policy on a Child Before it is Born?

Life insurance is something that everyone can benefit from and that many new parents take into consideration. That being said, those looking for insurance might be wondering if you can take out a life insurance policy on a child prior to their birth. Put simply, you cannot. For those that live in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you determine what type of insurance you can have.

If you or your spouse is expecting and you want to take out a policy on your unborn child, you will have to wait until the child is born and until it has been assigned a social security number. If you are expecting and want more coverage, you may want to look into taking out more coverage on the pregnant woman that is carrying the child until such a time when the child is born. You can take out extra coverage on the pregnant woman and that may help cover any issues that could potentially take place. It is necessary for the child to be born and for a social security number so that the child can be accounted for and so that the policy can be tracked as well.

If you are a parent of a child that is not yet born, you may want to talk with an agent to see if there is another type of insurance you can take out to protect your unborn child prior to its birth. For those that live in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you find a policy that works for you and makes you feel fully protected and secure no matter what.