A Blog About Blogs: Blogging’s Most Popular Topics

A Blog About Blogs: Blogging’s Most Popular Topics

If you are reading this, you obviously are a blog reader. Have you ever wondered what some of the most popular topics for blogs have been? Here’s a look at ten of the top blog subjects that are being posted. 

Political Topics

This can fluctuate seasonally and year by year, but political topics seem to always make their way into the top ten list of popular topics.

Financial Blogs

Another popular subject are blogs about money and financial matters. Topics can range from paying off credit cards to refinancing a home to the best investments of the day. Some may have more and some may have less, but we all have money, making it a subject readers love to learn about.

Blogs About Sports

Take the number of sports, multiplied by the number of colleges and leagues times the number of cities and colleges, and you’ll still come up shy of the number of people who love, and love to read about, sports. Many athletes and retired athletes have their own blogs, adding insight into the subject.

Blogs About Being a Parent

Young parents are as likely to read a blog or consult an online parenting group as to ask their own parents for advice. We can only guess that is because young parents want advice from young parents, not old parents. In any event, blogs about bringing up children are usually well-read.

Fitness Blogs

Apparently we enjoy reading about fitness more than we like to do it. Fitness gurus tend to do well with blogs about staying physically fit.

Fashion Blogs

There are those who stress over their wardrobes and there are those who will wear whatever is clean. The interesting thing is that neither can imagine living like the other. Only one group, however, would care about a fashion blog, but apparently it is a pretty big group.

Music Blogs

We may have differing tastes but most of us like music. Whether you just listen to it or play it professionally, reading about it can bring us a new perspective. Who wouldn’t want to read a writer’s take on a song they composed, especially if it’s one of your favorites.

Travel Blogs

Blogs about travel are terrific when you want to visit someplace you’ve never been to. Travel blogs are exploding with subjects ranging from conquering Europe by bike to traveling the Americas by car. If you want to do it, odds are someone already has, and perhaps has even blogged about it.

Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle blogs are so popular, in part, because they are so wide-ranging. They may include the arts, design, architecture, hobbies, movies and more. Seems everyone is passionate about something, and they just may want to blog about it.

Blogs About Cooking and Food

It has always been a popular subject in bookstores, has enjoyed a resurgence on television and that has carried over into online blogs. We just can’t seem to get enough cook tips, recipes, and 30 minute ides for dinner.

We noticed the subject of insurance wasn’t on the list. We may be perplexed but we remain resolute. If you feel the need to discuss life, home, auto or business insurance, feel free to contact us.

Retail Sales Through the Years

Retail Sales Through the Years

When we pick up our smartphones and order something online today, we don’t give it much thought. We just expect our purchase to be at our front door in a day or two. There was a time, however, even within the last 100 years, it was much different. Since the advent of department stores, retail stores have evolved with the times, technology and society. Let’s take a quick look back on how retail sales have changed through the years.

Department Stores

Some believe the concept of department stores started in England in the late 1700s. Others point to Bon Marche in Paris as the first true department store. These large urban-based retail establishments were created to serve a growing city populations in the industrialized age. It allowed shoppers to do all there shopping in one store, in different “departments”. These included housewares, clothing, shoes, appliances and so on. Many department stores added restaurants, so hungry shoppers wouldn’t leave. Early major department stores included Gimbels, Montgomery Ward, Macy’s, Wanamaker’s and more.

Catalog Sales

The first “Sears” catalog was printed in 1888 but just featured watches and jewelry. By 1893 they became the Sears Roebuck & Company and the catalogs became increasingly larger and more popular. Children across America would use the catalog to circle items for their Christmas wish list. Soon, the catalog featured just about everything you could imagine, even including kits to build an entire home! Other retail companies like JC Penney and Montgomery Ward followed with their own catalogs, but none could match the giant Sears catalog.

Five and Dime Stores

Like today’s dollar stores, the early 1900s saw the increase in popularity of the “five and dime” stores, where consumers could purchase inexpensive items quickly. While many five and dimes were independently owned, large chains like F.W. Woolworth and Kresge got into the market. Many of these stores included diners or lunch counters where shoppers could grab a burger, BLT hot dog and malted milk.

Suburban Malls

The 1960s and 1970s were the heyday of the suburban mall. These “shopping cities” contain multiple stores under one roof. Malls included fountains, play areas and food courts. Many still remain in business today.

Discount Stores

Discount stores are free-standing retail stores, that like department stores, sell a variety of merchandise. You may have heard of one of them…Walmart.

Wholesale Clubs

Wholesale stores offer bulk items in large packaging at “members only” prices. These giant box stores include Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s and more.

Online Purchasing

Of course today, online purchasing dominates the retail landscape, with giant Amazon leading the way. Now if they could just figure out a way to include a burger and malt with your purchase.

Is your business insurance keeping up with the times? Maybe you are shrinking office space with a more remote work force. Perhaps your business is shifting more online. Contact us to discuss the changes happening to your business and how they could impact your business insurance. Contact one of our business insurance experts today for your no obligation insurance review and price quote.

Using Your Smartphone to Enhance Your Life

Using Your Smartphone to Enhance Your Life

Smartphones are a blessing and a curse. They help keep us better connected and can make our lives so much more convenient. They also, however, can feel like a ball and chain that we can’t get away from.

Would you be interested in a few ways your smartphone may be able to lift your spirits, the spirits of someone else and enhance your life every day? Here are a few.

Email Yourself

Near the end of the day, email yourself an encouraging note about what you want to get done the next day. Use uplifting, positive language like “You are going to have a great meeting with Bob and Frank.” or “You will be energized all day and be productive.” Make a habit of reading this email first in the morning before getting into other less positive emails, news, or social media. You can become your own email pen pal cheerleader.

Send Someone a Music Video Via Text or Email

Video streaming services are filled with old music video and audio clips you can easily forward to an old friend, relative or coworker. Choose uplifting songs of encouragement like “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Nothin’s Gonna Break My Stride” or even the theme from Rocky, when appropriate. Include a short note like “This song always reminds me of you!” or “Thought you could use this today!” It actually can be quite fun choosing a song a day for someone to brighten their day and to let them know you are thinking of them.

Create a Smile File in Your Images

Include images that give you joy and bring a smile to yourself every time you look at them, It may be a loved one or pet, or be from a favorite time or exceptionally fun experience. When you are feeling just a bit down, bring out your “smile file” and remember to be grateful.

Create a Personal Best Note on Your Phone

Did you just close your biggest sale? Complete your farthest or fastest run? Reach a new high in your savings account or investment fund? Make note of these “personal best” achievements on your phone. They can serve as a source of inspiration.

Smartphones really begin to grow in value when we learn to use them to truly enhance and uplift our lives. Explore the new ways you may be able to use yours a more enriching life. 

Have you been putting off the decision to acquire life insurance? Let us help. There is absolutely no pressure to talk with one of our life insurance professionals to discuss where you are in life and how to better secure the future of your family. Contact us for a no obligation life insurance review and quote. Life insurance offers an affordable path to greater peace of mind. You can even use your smartphone to contact us!

What You May Not Know About Electric Vehicles

What You May Not Know About Electric Vehicles

For some, electric cars have become a way in which to reduce our carbon footprint and save energy. For others, it may just be a way to drive more economically. If an electric car is on your radar, here are some things about the vehicles that may surprise you.

Electric Vehicles Have Been Around for a LONG Time

Actually, electric vehicles precede those of combustion engines, dating back to 1832. They became more popular in the 1870s, but cheap oil prices made combustion engines more attractive in the early 1900s.

Electric Vehicles are Heavy

This is mainly due to battery weight. Batteries can account for 1,200 lbs of more of the total vehicle weight of an electric car.

Electric Cars Can Be Extremely Fast

Today’s electric cars are exceedingly quick and fast. Top speeds of modern electric cars can reach 160 mph and more. What may be more impressive is that they are now able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than two seconds!

They Can Be So Quiet, Some are Being Produced with Sound Effects

Electric cars are so quiet that some models are being produced with engine-like sound effects, so pedestrians can hear them at slow speeds.

They Can Go Farther on a Single Charge Than You May Realize

One of the big drawbacks of electric cars has been their inability to go longer distances on a single charge. That range is now routinely exceeding 400 miles which is farther than most combustion vehicles can reach on a tank of gas.

Charging Can Now Be Relatively Quick

New electric cars can be quick-charged to 80% or more in less than an hour, a time that continues to drop.

Similar Insurance Rules Apply

Whether you have a gas powered car or an electric vehicle, your auto insurance rates will likely be based on the same criteria. Your age and gender will impact rates as will your driving record. The vehicle’s value and horsepower will make a difference. Where your car is stored every night will affect rates as well as how frequently and how much it is driven.

Let us help find the best rates for your alternative fuel vehicle. We are independent agents who work with companies who specialize in insuring a variety of vehicles from classic to electric. Contact us today for you no obligation quote.

What You Should Know About College Living Spaces

What You Should Know About College Living Spaces

It is the best of times and the worst of times. You are sending your “child” off to college, another if life’s little mileposts reminding you the clock is ticking. That sadness, however, can quickly be replaced with pride and just a bit more time of your own at home.

Life at college just may not be the same experience you had, however. Here are some things to consider before Johnny or Jane heads out the door.

Your Choice May Be Limited

If your student is a freshman, or in some cases, even if they are a sophomore, they may be required to live on-campus in a traditional dorm. Check with your college or university to see if off-campus living may be an option.

Choosing Between Furnished or Unfurnished

You probably will have the option of some furnished or non-furnished apartment options. Choosing furnished living spaces may be worth considering, especially if the distance between home and campus is significant. If the difference in costs between furnished and unfurnished is doable, moving less furniture can be enticing. Keep in mind, it will also reduce work during a move-out.

The Joys of Modern Living

Most major campus areas feature at least one new or nearly new housing student living option filled with amenities. These may include game rooms, fitness centers, study areas, pools, basketball courts and more. These facilities can help to keep your student involved and active while “at home”, which could ultimately save you money and keep them close to their apartment.

Sharing a Large Home

Sharing a large home with roommates is still an option for many, but be sure to fully understand the lease to realize who is responsible for the lease and for how much.

Sharing Spaces with Individual Leases

The best option in reducing expenses is sharing a common space with individual leases for the rooms that each roommate inhabits. This limits your exposure on the lease to your student. If another individual doesn’t live up to the terms of their lease, it is on them.

Consider Renters’ Insurance

Check with your independent insurance agent to see how renters’ insurance can help protect the belongings of your student while limiting their liability should someone get injured while in a rented property. Renters’ insurance is inexpensive and provides valuable coverage and peace of mind.

Like homeowners’ insurance, renters insurance provides multiple benefits, but you need to contact one of our professionals to fully understand the benefits and limitations. We can help. Connect with us to talk about if renters’ insurance and your options. We look forward to assisting you.

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Radio, specifically broadcast radio, was invented by Italian Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 when he both sent and received a radio signal to himself. Contrary to popular belief, the first commercial took years to hit the airwaves. The first commercial radio station in the United States was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, which signed on in 1920, some quarter century later. KDKA’s call sign is in itself an anomaly as stations East of the Mississippi start with a “W” and those West of the Mississippi start with a “K”. Here are some other facts you may not know about radio.

Radio Comes in Two Basic Flavors

AM Radio (Amplitude Modulated) and FM (Frequency Modulated) radio are its two basic choices. While AM radios have been in cars since the 1930s, it took until the early 70s for FM radios to gain popularity in cars. FM offers a clearer signal, and originally was host to classical and “underground” rock stations in its early days.

Radio Stations are Required to Keep a “Public Inspection File”

This file should contain the station’s license info, information about how it is addressing the needs of the community, how it posts jobs and other information about citizen concerns. Stations are required to make this info available to those who request it.

Those Annoying EAS Tests are Required

A follow-up to the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), EAS tests are required for broadcast radio stations. The required tests are initiated by large regional stations and outlets, and “trickle down” to small local stations. This is why some tests occur in the middle of programming, or your favorite song as you were singing.

Your City’s Favorite Station May Not Be Licensed to Your Community

Since radio has few borders, what you think may be a radio station in your city may actually be licensed to a nearby community. Radio station’s, however, must include the city of license in what is known as a “Legal ID” near the top of each hour.

There’s a Good Chance Those DJs Aren’t “Live”

More radio stations are being voice tracked than ever. This means your mid-day DJ may also be doing mid-days in two or three other communities. Their voices are recorded ahead of time and “tracked” between songs. Generally, you can tell if the announcer is live if they give the precise time of day and temperature during a broadcast.

While listening to actual physical radios may be down, we still enjoy radio through smart devices and internet streaming. Radio remains popular, particularly in the morning when many are still too busy to pay attention to TV or alternative choices.

Commercial radio in the United States is celebrating over 100 years of broadcasting, and in spite of reports of its imminent demise, it is still going strong.

The Dramatically Changing Workplace

The Dramatically Changing Workplace

It really isn’t anything new. The workplace has been evolving for generations. A significant change occurred when women entered the workforce in large numbers during World War II. Many of the changes have been related to equal rights, gender equality and respect, equal pay and technology. Large companies at one point had their own switchboard operators and mainframes. We’ve seen fax machines come and largely go and computers are playing a larger role than ever. The pandemic accelerated some major additional changes in the workplace. Here are a few.

Working From Home

While some worked from home prior to Covid, the pandemic accelerated the process. Some businesses have actually seen an increase in productivity and worker moral after implementing work from home policies.

Tele-Meetings

Video conferencing and “Zoom” meetings have accelerated dramatically. Again, this is largely improving efficiency and use of time.

Fewer In-Person Conferences and Travel

The increase in Zoom meetings and social distancing has minimized how many conventions and conferences are taking place. While devastating to the travel and convention industry, it is saving many other companies significantly. It also has given birth to a new “virtual” convention industry.

Lack of Workforce Issues

Many companies have experienced challenges in hiring new employees. This is impacting everyone from restaurants to hotels and hospitality, to CDL truck drivers and retails stores. This, in turn, has led to increased recruiting activities for many companies, use of financial incentives, and significantly increased pay rates.

How We Conduct Transactions

From plexiglass barriers between customers and clerks to virtual property showings and online ordering, many businesses have fundamentally changed forever. Many consumers have changed purchasing habits to include having meals and even groceries home delivered for safety and convenience.

We are sure to look back on this period as not only one of challenges, but of a time that produced great change. Some of these changes will likely serve us well. If history has taught us anything, there are still changes to come.

Is your business insurance adequate to protect your business? Have you reviewed it recently? We have business insurance experts on staff to not only review your current policy, and make recommendations but can seek out quotes from a variety of insurance companies to suit your needs. Business insurance may be more affordable than you think. Contact us to get started today.

Life’s Important Numbers

Life’s Important Numbers

Have you ever been in a crowd and heard someone call out your first name? There could be hundreds, or even thousands of people in the crowd, dozens of which could share that name, but you will be compelled to turn around and try to find the person to see if they were seeking you out. Even fathers and mothers will be caught up if someone in a large crowd yells out “Hey Mom” or Dad!”. But few would even turn their heads if someone yelled out their street address or first five numbers of their social security number. That doesn’t mean, however, that numbers aren’t as important as names. Here are three numbers that will impact your life.

Your Credit Score

Many don’t realize how important a credit score can be until it starts costing money. The difference between a great and poor credit score may not only impact whether you can get a loan or not, but how much you pay for that loan. It can cost hundreds or thousands over the life of a car loan and tens of thousands over the cost of a mortgage. Your credit score may also impact whether you can get certain jobs or not. Work on improving your credit score. It is a number that can make life easier and even more affordable.

Your Birth Date

We are talking more about age here than astrology. How old you are impacts many of your rights and freedoms. You can drive at 16, vote and serve in the Armed Services at 18, and depending on the state, drink alcohol or gamble. At 25, you can rent a car, you can become President at 35, and apply for Medicare at 65. As you get older, your car insurance rates may go down but your life insurance rates may increase. Your age impacts more that what we think.

Your Physical Stats

Your height, weight, cholesterol count and blood pressure, among other stats, will influence your ability to get life or health insurance and how much you pay.

Of course, other numbers like your Social Security Number, Address, Phone Number and Password and ID numbers are important as well, but none may be as critical as your age, credit score and physical stats. They are worth noting and paying attention to.

Life insurance, in particular, is a number focused product. It is least expensive when you are young and healthy. Premiums factor in numbers like mortality rates and gender. Your height and weight ratio, blood pressure and other numbers can also influence life insurance premiums.

The bottom line is that if you are in good health and young, you can likely get a significant amount of life insurance even without a physical or medical exam. When is a good time to buy life insurance? Well, you are not getting any younger, so the answer may very well be now.

Contact one of our independent life insurance agents to compare rates for you. All numbers considered, this may be the best time.

Want an SUV? Could It Be a Porsche?

Want an SUV? Could It Be a Porsche?

There have been some interesting changes in the automotive industry in recent years. Sure there have been changes in fuel efficiency, technology and infotainment systems, but there have also been changes in the types of vehicles consumers are choosing. It is much more likely consumers will select a truck or SUV today than the traditional sedan. In fact, many brands have stopped producing traditional sedans.

At the same time, luxury, premium brands and even super car labels have moved into the SUV market. Are you considering an SUV? It could be a Porsche.

The New Porsche SUV

It doesn’t even sound like an SUV. It is the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

To put things in perspective (for non-automotive enthusiasts) the 2021 Honda Accord has a horsepower range of about 195hp to 255hp, That’s a nice expectation for a sedan.

The twin-turbocharged V-8, 4.0 liter engine in the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, however, generates 631 horsepower along with 626 pound feet of torque. Porsche says it is the most powerful V8 engine the brand has ever made. This is an SUV that can rocket from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds. It can do the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph. Oh, remember, it is an SUV.

The 631 HP Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT SUV proudly sits on 22-inch tires made specifically by Pirelli for the Cayenne. There’s a rear carbon fiber diffuser along with a rear spoiler that adapts to its speed.

Sure, this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT has an MSRP of over $180,000, a bit more than your average SUV. But it is a Porsche that can reach 186 mph, and it is an SUV. That is amazing.

Your SUV may not be a Porsche or come with a $180,000 price tag, but you still want to make sure it is properly insured without over-spending. We can help. No matter what you drive, compare auto insurance rates with one of our independent insurance agents. We look forward to assisting you!

Five Surprisingly Easy Home DIY Projects

Five Surprisingly Easy Home DIY Projects

We’ve all been there. That point when you need to make a decision on whether to pay someone to fix, replace or repair something around the house or attempt to take on the project yourself. Here are five projects around the house, however, you should never have to pay someone else to do.

Changing Your Furnace Filter

Furnace filters are inexpensive, easy to change and virtually foolproof. In fact, dollar for dollar, it is one of the most cost-effective things you can do in your home. It is simply a matter of pulling out your old filter, buying one of the same size and replacing the old one with the new one. It can be done in minutes and for just a few dollars.

Fixing or Replacing a Sink Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal has stopped working, it may be a simple jam. With the power off, use a 1/4” Allen wrench inserted into the center bottom of the disposal to attempt to free the jam by moving it in both directions. If that doesn’t free up the jam, replacement is surprising easy. With the power off, disconnect the electrical wiring and disconnect the plumbing. Use the universal wrench (usually included) to remove the old disposal from under the sink. Reverse the process. The biggest challenge may be in supporting the weight of the new disposal while you are installing it.

Replacing a Light Switch or Replacing it With a Dimmer

With the breaker off, remove the wall plate and two mounting screws for the switch. Make note of where the wires are connected and compare it to the new switch. They should be similar or the same. Remove the wires from the old switch and connect the wires to the new one. Make sure wires are securely connected with the connector nuts or otherwise connected without bare wiring showing. Carefully replace the switch in the wall box and replace the cover. Turn on the breaker and your new switch should be good to go!

Plumbing Jams

Unless drainage issues are caused by root or physical damage to the drainage pipes, you should be able to handle the problem yourself. For sinks and bathtubs, problems are frequently the result of hair/soap clogs. These can be removed with an inexpensive small drain snake. Larger hand crank snakes are available for toilets for about $25. Insert the snake into the drain, “screwing” it up and down until the drain flows free again.

Fixing a “Running” Toilet

A toilet that constantly has water flowing can be annoying and expensive on the water bill. It is likely a toilet tank repair kit will fix it. These universal kits are available at a big box or hardware store for under $20. Shut of the water supply line and flush the toilet until the tank is empty. You may want to use an old towel to soak up any remaining water in the tank. Remove the water supply line from underneath the tank and remove and replace the old components with the new kit. Make sure all pieces are put in place securely, reattach the water supply line and turn on the water supply line checking for leaks. If you have no leaks, you are in business.

Taking care of your home is important in preserving its value. So is making sure you have sufficient homeowners’ insurance. We can help. Contact one of our independent homeowners’ insurance agents for a no obligation review and quote. It may be time to familiarize yourself with your home insurance coverage again. Contact us today.