Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:
MONEY TUESDAY - How much can you save? Stewart Welch with the Welch Group is often amazed at how much people inadvertently overpay for their insurance. In a way, it's not too surprising since most insurance is complicated and figuring out how to get appropriate coverage at a fair price can be like solving the Rubik's Cube puzzle. But if you get it right, you can save literally thousands of dollars per year…money that could go towards funding your retirement or an education for a child. Here are some of the most common errors people make:
• Buying expensive cash value insurance when what you need is basic term insurance. The premiums for cash value policies are typically three to four times that of a term policy for the same death benefit. We had a case where a new client was not fully funding his company 401k plan which his employer matched dollar-for -dollar. When asked why, he said, "I can't afford it." We had him drop the cash value policy in favor of a larger term policy; freed up some cash to pay off credit card bills; and fully funded his 401k to capture 100% of the company matching contribution. As a result, his projected retirement results were significantly improved.
• Not re-writing a term policy when your facts have changed. We had a client who was paying a premium as a smoker. Under the contract, if you quit smoking for two years, you can amend the policy to a non-smoker status. When he became a client he hadn't smoked for five-plus years so we applied for and had the policy revised to non-smoker which cut his premium by about one-half. The savings over the life of the policy was in the thousands of dollars.
• Keeping life insurance when it's no longer needed. Take a moment to stop and think if the life insurance that you bought years ago is still necessary.
• We almost never find a case where an annuity is a recommended solution for a client. They are typically high commission products sold by insurance salespeople. To pay the commissions, insurance companies load the policies with up-front and ongoing expense charges which often make them a poor investment choice. If you own an annuity with a 'surrender charge', you probably own one of these products. Take a close look at your alternative options, particularly if the annuity is held inside an IRA.
• Often, in reviewing homeowners and auto insurance, we'll find the client has relatively low deductibles. On average, homeowners submit a claim only about once every twenty years. We've found that by raising the deductible from say $500 to $1,000 or $2,500, your break-even is three to four years…meaning, unless you have a claim once every three to four years, you're better off with the higher deductible. And if you do submit claims often, your insurance company will likely raise your premiums or cancel your coverage.
• Do you have an alarm system for your home? If so, you may qualify for a loss prevention credit. A spotless driver record could also qualify you for lower rates…if not with your current company, another carrier.
• In many cases, you can cut premiums by having your homeowners and auto with the same carrier.
Disability Income Insurance
• We work with lots of professionals who have purchased personal disability income insurance policies. In many cases, their premiums can be cut by two-thirds or more if they instead purchase group coverage through their professional association. Agents claim that the private insurance is 'better'. Right now we are fighting a case where a well-known, well-respected big-name insurer is rejecting a disability claim that should have been covered. In fact, another big-name insurer is fully paying this client under the same claim. My preference: go for lower premiums.
These are just a few of the more glaring examples where we find people are paying more than they should for coverage. To solve this puzzle, how to get appropriate coverage for a competitive premium, your best bet is to have an independent third-party financial advisor perform a thorough review. For more information, visit www.welchgroup.com.
BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us to discuss if your fitness tracker is effective. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week prompted headlines such as "Fitness Trackers Didn't Help People Lose Weight". So should you take off that wearable technology and stop tracking your activity levels? Beth says the study was a randomized controlled trial – that's the type of study with strong design that can show cause and effect. The participants were young adults ages 18 to 35 years-old who were either overweight or obese - BMI's = 25 to 39.9. Everyone in the study got an intensive diet/exercise program for the first 6 months. They were put on calorie controlled diets, instructed to exercise for a total of 5 hours a week. They met in groups weekly for the first 6 months. During the next 18 months, they met with their groups once a month and got weekly text messages and a monthly telephone call. Half of the participants were also given a wearable tracking device to help them monitor their calorie and activities. Here were the results:
• At 6 months before one group was started on the fitness tracker, everyone lost around 18 pounds.
• At 12 months, both groups with and without fitness tracker both groups were hanging in there. On average, they did not lose much more weight but they didn't gain much back.
• Things get interesting around 18 months and 24 months. Everyone starts to gain back some of their weight. And really surprisingly, the group wearing the fitness trackers gained back more weight than the group not wearing the fitness tracker.
• By the end of the study, the standard group had lost about 13 pounds while the tracker group lost 7.7 pounds. Remember, at 6 months, they had all lost an average of about 18 pounds. So they all kept at least some of their weight off.
As you can imagine, the researchers expected that wearing the fitness tracker would improve weight loss. Not only did it not improve it, it seemed to worsen it! So what's going on here? Beth says keeping weight off is hard. This study showed that once-weekly meetings went to monthly meetings, it was harder for folks to lose weight and keep it off. People may need to keep up the intense in person, face-to-face meetings for much longer to achieve and maintain success. Technology is great but that human interaction may not be replaceable. People were randomized to get the tracker or not get the tracker. It could be that some people may have certain characteristics that make them more successful with a tracker. Beth doesn't use one – she doesn't want to track my calories and activities – but other people do really well with them. So we may have to find out what type of intervention certain people do well with. This study did not have a group that got no intervention at all – so it could be that the fitness tracker was better than no intervention. Remember, everyone got the basic intervention here – so everyone was getting professional advice, follow up and meetings. If you don't have access to that, is a fitness tracker helpful compared to nothing? Possibly. Shorter term studies do show some benefits with fitness trackers. So there is not a consensus among all studies. But this study was a better, longer term study than most. The bottom line? If the idea of a fitness tracker is appealing to you, give it a try. It might help or you might hate it. Figuring out what works best for you is important – you may need lots of face to face contact to achieve your goals.
JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from Tin Roof in Birmingham for a cool run! Big Benefit Run and Ride hosting the Tour de Brewers 9 Oktoberfest is Saturday, October 8, 2016, at Tin Roof Birmingham. It's benefiting The Dannon Project. Tour de Brewers has a strong history of providing both a great time for everyone participating, as well as great support for nonprofit The Dannon Project. This running/cycling/skateboarding event starts and ends at Tin Roof in the Lakeview District. Run or ride to each of the five local breweries - Good People, Avondale, Cahaba, Trim Tab and the newest, Ghost Train, plus Hop City offering other Alabama beers. Participants will receive 5 bracelets with registration entitling them to receive a beer at 5 of the six brewery locations. There will be prizes for best costumes for guys, girls and group categories. You can also join the participants after the run/ride for a blast at the after party with live music, great door prizes and deer heads!
TUSCAN TAILGATE - Trace Barnett - the Bitter Socialite - joined us with an idea for entertaining! September in the south signals not only a change in the season but also the official start of football season. Thousands upon thousands of eager, die hard fans descend upon college stadiums to show support for their hallowed SEC team and to also revel in the camaraderie with their fellow spectators. Myriads of tents seemingly appear overnight and are festively fashioned into entertaining hotspots with unlimited amounts of great food and cocktails galore. Trunks and tailgates are laden with vast spreads of colorful decorations to the delight of passing onlookers. Bring home a victorious win on gameday by assembling a jaw-dropping Tuscan Tailgate heavy with an old-world charm that exudes a dramatic, elegance all from the back end of your car! Here's a play-by-play of just how we did it. Start with a good solid layer of fabric placed over a plastic shower curtain to protect the upholstery of your vehicle against spills. Casually drape the fabric around and allow a bit to hang out of the back. If you choose, layer a contrasting fabric in your favorite teams color. Good lighting is a key component to any good party no matter the setting. So, even the back of a car needs a little bling lighting. Scope around for an outdated chandelier and suspend it from an adjustable clothes bar found in the automotive department. Small, solar lights fit snugly into the sockets and are unrecognizable under small shades. A collection of vintage luggage or picnic baskets from the thrift store makes an excellent backdrop to conceal the seats in the background. Stagger them in varying heights both vertically and horizontal for a really walled in effect.
When entertaining in a setting that is remote from your home functionality is also very important. Large baskets are not merely a decorative touch, but also serve as great ways to transport all of your tailgating necessities. Large-scale arrangements of understated wildflowers and greenery add a nice natural touch and also provide a nice backdrop for an elegant tailgate. Choose varieties that are easily transported without being damaged. Here I've used a combination of native "Hyssop-Leaved Boneset" and a weed called "Marestail" simply picked along the roadside. Use a container that's heavy and durable like an earthenware or terracotta.Old wooden tool boxes make great containers for silverware and glassware. Place the cutlery into small vases or aluminum cans and drop them down into the box. Napkins can also just as easily be thrown into the mix creating a one-stop shop in the buffet line. Wine glasses feel right at home in wooden boxes and are safely protected from toppling over.Create a comfortable and relaxing space for guests to enjoy the tailgate just outside your vehicle. Pull rugs that are made from a natural fiber and roll them directly on the ground. Casually place chairs with ample amounts of blankets and comfy pillows. Small folding tables are convenient for drinks and eats. Lightweight dressers or small buffets accommodate TVs for viewing with ease. So get ready to cheer and treat yourself to a gameday tailgate that's far from the ordinary! For more ideas from Trace Barnett visit www.thebittersocialite.com.
ASK THE ANGLER - Reed Montgomery answers viewer questions about fishing. You can contact him with your questions at 205-663-1504 or on his website www.fishingalabama.com - there you can find lake reports, fishing tips, upcoming events, and more.
YOU DECIDE DEBATE - Janice talked with Birmingham Southern Political Science professor Dr. Natalie Davis and former state representative about last night's presidential debate.
LOCK & KEY - Ridley Pearson, the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers series, The Kingdom Keepers series, and two dozen adult, crime novels. Pearson has a rare combination of being an author of successful crime novels and middle-grade series. Now Pearson brings us the first book in an exciting trilogy starring Sherlock Homes: "LOCK AND KEY: THE INITIATION. LOCK AND KEY" re-imagines the original epic rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty. Set in modern times and told from the point of view of James's own sister, Moria, this middle-grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmes—and the true nature of evil. Our story begins when James and his younger sister Moria are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school, to Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome - but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville's hallowed halls. And so too must James. And it's at Baskerville that James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate -- Sherlock Holmes. The two don't get along, almost instantly, but when the school's heirloom bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James's hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever! For more information, visit http://ridleypearson.com/.