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Five life insurance myths busted
(StatePoint) Life insurance. It’s something that most people need but a topic that no one wants to discuss, leading to many misconceptions.
     To help you make sense of it all, here are five common myths debunked -- just in time for National Life Insurance Awareness Month in September:
1. I’m single; I don’t need life insurance. Most people think life insurance is more necessary for married people than for singles, according to the 2017 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA. But even if you’re single and don’t have children, you may still leave behind loved ones who would have to pay your debts. For example, if you have a cosigner on a loan, he or she would be responsible to pay it back. Life insurance can provide peace of mind by potentially paying off any remaining debt. Or, if you want to leave money to a charity, life insurance can help ensure your wishes are carried out.
2. It’s too expensive. Cost is one of the top reasons people don’t purchase life insurance. Sixty-six percent of participants in the Insurance Barometer Study said it’s too expensive. The same consumers overestimated the price by more than three times the actual cost. It can cost as little as $14.24 per month for a $250,000 policy at Erie Insurance, for example. That’s less than 50 cents a day. Millennials can get an even bigger break by purchasing while they’re still young. Premiums are typically less expensive since they’re generally healthier and have fewer assets.
3. My employer provides life insurance; I don’t need my own. While it’s great to have coverage through an employer, it often isn’t enough. “A typical group life benefit is two times your annual salary, but you may need more like six to eight times your salary just to break even,” says Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president for Life at Erie Insurance.
  What’s more, if you take another job, your policy may not be transferable.
4. I’m a stay-at-home parent. If you’re not the breadwinner in your household, you may think your family doesn’t depend on your income. However, think about the value of all the unpaid services that would need to be replaced, such as childcare, household cleaning, transportation and cooking. A stay-at-home parent in 2018 contributes a salary of $162,581 annually, according to research by Salary.com.
5. I don’t have the time to research this or sign up. An insurance agent can quickly walk you through the process to identify what you need and your options, as well as explain the terms. Think of your agent as a trusted partner who will keep an eye on how your policy is keeping up with your life. Plus, the application at such providers as Erie Insurance only takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t include complicated forms and may not require doctor’s visits.
     Bottom line: most people could benefit from life insurance, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The amount needed really depends on individual circumstances. To protect those who matter most, check with your insurance agent to make sure you get the right coverage.

Shopping ahead 
can save you money
(StatePoint) Every procrastinator is familiar with the downsides of last-minute shopping -- parking woes, stress-induced headaches and paying premiums for needed items. But these hassles and expenses are avoidable, say experts.
     “It’s all about being prepared to shop from your mobile device at any time to jump on amazing time-limited deals,” says Sarah Ward, lead editorial stylist at online retailer, zulily.com. “In fact, we found that 51 percent of people purchase gifts one to three months in advance.”
     Now, with so many shopping options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To manage your everyday as well as special occasions, get savvy with these shopping tips from Ward.
• Mobilize yourself. Download favorite shopping apps so they’re easily accessible. The next time you have five minutes of downtime, browse for items you’re inspired by and will want down the line.
• Be an in-the-know techie! Most retailers offer channels for staying in-the-know on the next big deal, helping you take advantage of special finds when the price is right. Pop onto your favorite retailers’ Facebook pages and subscribe to their Facebook Live notifications. For instance, online retailer zulily.com encourages its shoppers to sign up for daily emails, mobile push notifications and Facebook Messenger alerts tailored to their personal shopping desires. The site also allows you to “heart” brands so you get alerted the next time a sale runs featuring the brand you love, and its “notify me” feature lets you know when a desired product is in-stock again.
• Keep a gift closet. When it comes to meaningful gift giving, you can never be too on-the-ball. While shopping, always keep in mind your nearest and dearest, even if their birthdays or special occasions are months away. When you encounter an item that’s particularly unique or especially “her” or “him” -- whether it’s llama salt and pepper shakers, a new blender for her famous margaritas, a STEM toy or emoji slippers – it’s always worthwhile to buy the gift while it’s available at a great price, and then stash it away until the time is right. This is especially true of personalized gifts that may require advance planning.
  “I love purchasing gifts for my nieces and nephews from zulily in advance of Halloween and the holidays, since I can shop great deals on unique items before they are traditionally available,” says Ward
• Shop aggressively. Find the best deals on products that you’ll need over the next several months by shopping on the right sites. For example, zulily launches 9,000 products a day and over 100 sales a day that last 72 hours, they can offer a variety of great products at good prices, allowing you to prepare ahead. For convenience, the site even has a Smart Pay feature that allows you to pay in installments. So, prepare ahead and be cool, calm and collected before the next big event while your friends and family are last-minute-shopping.
     Save time, money and avoid stress. Let new tech tools help you become a year-round savvy shopper.