Category Archives: Sponsored Post

Enjoying a Responsible Gaming Environment

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.36.39 AM

Have you seen Runner, Runner?

It stars Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck. The entire plot of the movie is about an Ivy League drop out who is a promoter for online casinos around the world. He gets into some trouble, decides to uncover it and runs into Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck runs an online gaming empire, and JT gets pulled into the world. The movie continues the downfall of Affleck’s gaming empire.

I’m not much of a gambler, so I decided to do some research. I have been to casinos in Oklahoma. Frankly, I was quite surprised at how many people where at these places. But I guess when you only have church and casinos as entertainment, that’s where you’ll be. Many people enjoy this activity around the world. I know my grandma loves to go the casinos and play the slots. It’s one of her favorite pastimes. Not kidding!

Gambling is a huge industry! Think about it. There’s a manufacturing industry that produces all the gaming machines. For an online site, there are programmers and computers creating complexed algorithms.

Below is a picture of the top 20 Casino Markets in the US.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.44.31 AM

 

Source: 2013 AGA Survey of the Casino Entertainment

During 2012, consumers spent more at commercial casinos than they did on movies, craft beer and outdoor equipment combined, but spending on casino gambling was significantly less than spending on nights out at full-service restaurants or consumer electronics.

Gaming entertainment is a huge tax revenue for states.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.47.46 AM

 

 

Casino Gambling has become even more accessible due to the development of online casinos. You don’t have to leave your house and you can sit in front of your computer. With the presence of these virtual venues, more and more people have learned how to play certain casino games. Amongst some of the more popular ones are online roulette and poker. I’m not naive enough to think people won’t game online. So, if you are going to gamble online be responsible. Here are some steps to make sure you are gambling responsibly:

When choosing an online casino site, make sure that they provide several options for communication. Any reputable online casino will have a 24/7 customer support line as well as phone numbers where you can make physical contact with a representative of the casino. You may want to test out the numbers to make sure they are working numbers. Also, some online casinos will even provide chat capabilities where you can contact a casino staff member through this method. Quality online casino sites provide 24 hour phone assistance because they realize that their customers gamble at all hours of the day and night. These sites legitimately care about their clients. If a site offers less customer support, this is a sign that they have little value for their customers. Also, it could be an indication that the online casino site is experiencing adverse financial issues. Another aspect of selecting an online casino site is to look at the brand name of the software provided at the site. If the name of the developer isn’t one of the top designers, this may be a sign not to use the site. The reason for this is that software developers are rather picky as to whom they provide their software to. They won’t permit sites that don’t meet their standards to use their products.

If you’re like me, I just go to yahoo and play free games. I’m so risk averse. I haven’t even played slots at a casino. Losing a penny is too devastating for me, lol. 

Have you gambled? Do you think it’s fun?

 

What is Income Protection Insurance in Australia?

Did you check out Richard’s guest post on investing in Australia? He talks about the advantages of investing. For those living in Australia, it’s very informative. Plus, his site is even more informative.

Now back to today’s topic. More on life in Australia! You’re probably wondering why the focus on Australia? Well, I’ve always heard it’s an awesome country. Met some Aussies during our Carnival cruise and they were wonderful. Always wondered why life down under is so great.

So, when I ran into something called income protection insurance, it perked my interest. For us Americans, income protection insurance is very similar to disability insurance. I have this coverage through my work. Do you?

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 9.37.23 PM

Protect your income with Suncorp income insurance.

This insurance pays benefits to policyholders who are incapacitated and hence unable to work due to illness or accident.

Incapacity is defined by four bases including own, suited, any, and activities of daily living occupation. It’s different tiers that define what tier of incapacitated a person is. There are benefit limits define what percentage of your gross earnings you receive.

The claim has to be valid. I have a coworker at work who took a few months off to deal with a medical issue and received disability benefits. Another director was diagnosed cancer and he took a year off to deal with chemotherapy and recovery. He received disability benefits. Very glad he is back! From my research there usually is a deferred period- the time between a valid claim and the commencement of benefit payments.

Are there any restrictions?

Policies only pay out if the policyholder is unable to work due to illness or an accident.

Income protection in Australia will usually replace up to 75% of a person’s gross income.

There are two types of income protection including indemnity (provided by superannuation funds) and agreed value (pays out the benefit agreed to reflect your income at the start of your policy. it is not affected by fluctuations in income). Agreed value is the most expensive option. Superannuation funds are cheaper and offer less features and less flexibility.

You can determine how much you need by determining your monthly costs. Income protection insurance is meant to provide you an income to pay for your monthly costs.

Remember always become more informed before buying a policy and read the terms and conditions carefully.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_protection_insurance

http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/insurance/personal/income-protection-insurance.aspx

 

Knowing Your Car Insurance Options When You Travel

When you travel abroad or even in your own country, it’s important to know your car insurance options.

When you travel in the states, I suggest paying for your rental car with a credit card that has rental car insurance option. We have our Discover card and it has this option. Before we had a credit card though, we booked a trip with our debit card. Accidents happen. We were in Hilton Head visiting family and vacationing, when we parked our car at a beach. When were only at the beach for about 15 minutes when we decided this wasn’t the beach we were looking for and got up to return to the car. When we came back, someone had made a huge dent on the rental. Too big to be just an accident. Since our debit card did not have rental car insurance protection and we hadn’t bought rental car insurance through the rental car company, we had to file a claim against our own insurance. We didn’t know this will remain on my husband’s record, and be counted against him when insurance companies used their fancy algorithm to calculate his premium.

On a side note: I actually can’t wait for my husband to turn 25 in six months. It’ll suddenly be cheaper for  to rent cars, so we’ll be able to do some cool road trips and my husband’s insurance premium should decrease!

When you travel abroad, check with your credit card company if they cover your rental car. Also, ask for extra coverages. I know in certain countries, where roads are not necessarily as developed as in first world countries, you may encounter super bumpy roads that could hurt your rental car. Costa Rica is a country we hopefully will be able to go see, and I’ve read some rental insurance companies charge extra for needed coverage. Anybody had any sort of experience with this?

In the UK, you can Insure 4 a Day. You can choose the option of one day car insurance, for example, if your car is undergoing repairs. Traveling for a holiday? Choose the option for one week. Or if you don’t drive your vehicle very often, choose a short term solution.

Always have comprehensive insurance when renting abroad—especially in Europe, where your personal car insurance is unlikely to be valid and deductibles are high. If you want to learn more about rental car insurance options in Europe, check out this super informational article: How to Buy Car-Rental Insurance in Europe.

Here’s a recap of the tips that will be useful for all trips abroad:

Paula Lyons of best-car-rental-tips.com says you are likely to get better CDW prices through an independent insurer rather than through the car-rental company. She recommends getting a quote fromtripinsurancestore.com.

Credit-card coverage is good for 30 to 45 consecutive days, depending on the card.

BigbangRoadTrip

Have you traveled abroad and rented a car? What has been your experience?

 

The Beginning Of Vehicle Insurance

I love Downton Abbey. Somehow the drama of it all pulls me in on it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 1.23.04 PM

Did Mary get any monetary protection when Matthew died in a car crash?

Not that Mary needed any more money, but I often wondered if car/vehicle insurance existed by then. But it got me wondering when did we have to start paying car insurance?

Vehicle Insurance is a must have in the United States. You can purchase it for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles. Why buy vehicle insurance? Vehicle insurance provides monetary protection against physical damage or bodily injury that result from vehicle collisions. It protects against the liabilities that arise from these accidents.

Cars began to be used after the WWI in urban cities. Cars were being built to go faster and be more dangerous. When accidents happened, people were left on their own to cover the costs for injury and repairing damage. The UK introduced the Road Traffic Act 1930. The act stated all vehicle owners and drivers had to be insured whilst on a public road.

Additional provisions included:

  • Abolition of all speed limit for cars
  • Introduction of driving offenses including dangerous, reckless and careless driving under the influence of drink and drugs.
  • Compulsory 3rd party insurance
  • 1st UK driving tests, for disable drivers only
  • Classification of motor vehicles
  • Construction, weight, and equipment of motor vehicles
  • Issue of Highway Code

Another fun fact: The act actually removed all speed limits on UK roads for motor cars! Can you imagine not having speed limits!

Insure Daily

This act actually led Germany to enact similar legislation in 1939.

Other countries followed including:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • South Africa
  • USA

How do companies determine premium charges? Companies use algorithms that factor in the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Driving history
  • Marital status
  • Vehicle classification
  • Distance

Just wanted to share some interesting information about car insurance. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_insurance
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_Traffic_Act_1930

The Agonising Dilemma of Interest Rates versus Wages

It must be a pretty nerve-racking job to be an economist in today’s UK. There are so many variables to consider, so many reports that one month indicates one thing and then apparently seem to contradict themselves just a few months later. While most would agree that the current government has done a pretty good job of steering the UK economy on the right path, with the Gross Domestic Product appearing to increase a few Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 7.33.10 PMpercentage points, when compared to 2012, there are still many variables that have to be considered. Unemployment is still high, although it is falling just a tad. Consumers seem to be spending again, especially over the recent Christmas season, perhaps clinging to the hope that the worst is over and better times are ahead. But moving forward into 2014, there is a very slippery slope that confronts economic policy, when considering what mortgage interest rates should be and how they will affect homeowners.

The Bank of England Makes the Decision

The Bank of England is tasked with a heavy burden: where to peg interest rates, especially in regards to home mortgages. Their rates have been at a historical league low of 0.5%, which has allowed a lot of lending institutions to provide mortgages to a wide variety of people. You have seen what happened next. The housing market took off like an Apollo rocket headed to the moon and so far, has not looked back. But here is where a little dose of Russian roulette is involved. If the Bank of England decides to raise interest rates, but both unemployment and wages don’t increase, either ahead of time, or simultaneously, it could lead to disaster. An association known as the Council of Mortgage Lenders recently reported that mortgages jumped by almost 30% in the last 12 months ending this November. Yes, a lot more houses have been purchased. That has been good for the economy. But the Bank of England also estimates that the average household debt remains at £87,000, which is dangerously high.

Can real wages outpace mortgage rates?

Given the fact that the UK economy is still fairly shaky, especially with the manufacturing sector not producing as much as the Coalition would like, is there any real chance that wages will increase, even by 5%, across-the-board anytime soon? Nobody has a crystal ball, but given the current economic realities, it appears highly unlikely. If interest rates jumped from their current basement of 0.5% to say, 3%, the number of households that would be challenged to meet their increased mortgage payments would balloon. According to the Bank of England’s own estimates, what they referred to as “vulnerable mortgagors” would more than double and nobody wants that. So the Bank is going to have to proceed with caution, hopefully not raising mortgage rates until there has been a substantial drop in the unemployment rate, coupled with an increase in real wages.

Stay Out Of Harm’s Way

If you are able to budget your household expenses in such a way that you can put aside some money for savings on a monthly basis, your best bet is to look into ISA Accounts. With these great savings accounts, you won’t pay any taxes on the interest that you earn and you will also be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting excellent rates of return. While you cannot control what the Bank of England will do, you can certainly put your own financial house in order.

Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net Stuart Miles

 

Popular Jobs for Men in Texas – Finding Employment in the Lone Star State

The following article is a sponsored post. The economy is the largest and one of the most rapidly growing economies in the United States. I live in Dallas, Texas. I can personally say people are moving to the city every day. 

Visual3_StateComparePopulation_Full

The Lone Star State has plenty to offer job seekers looking for new employment opportunities. The state of Texas has managed to maintain a relatively stable economy despite the nation seeing an overall decline in recent years. Major cities like Austin and Dallas have many opportunities for both men and women, but other areas of the state are also rich in jobs geared towards men.

Firefighters

Firefighter jobs in Texas are abundant with opportunities found throughout most cities of the state. Firefighters are not only responsible for combating fires, they also provide emergency aid services, participate in training and drills, educate the public on fire safety and also prepare reports. The qualifications needed for the job will vary with each city, but most will require the passing of a physical agility exam, a background check, interviews and a Human Performance and Evaluation physical and drug test. In addition, applicants must have a high school diploma and state certifications on fire protection and EMT basic certification. The average firefighter earns approximately $30,000 per year.

Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum engineering is another popular job in Texas that comes with an average salary of $97,250. These individuals are responsible for creating new methods for extracting gas and oil from the earth’s surface. Texas employment opportunities in this field are 8 times the national average, which makes the Lone Star State the perfect place for petroleum engineers to seek out employment.

Rotary Drill Operators

Another popular in state of Texas jobs for men is a rotary drill operator. Those who work in this field are in charge of setting up and operating drills to remove gas and oil from underneath the earth’s surface. When compared to other states, Texas has 7 times more employment opportunities in this field and the average person earns more than $40,000 per year.

Animal Scientists

Job opportunities as an animal scientist are surprisingly abundant in the state of Texas. These scientists perform research in reproduction, nutrition, genetics and the development of domesticated farm animals. The average annual salary of an animal scientist in Texas is $44,815.

Mining and Geological Engineers

This field also includes mining and safety engineers. Not surprisingly, Texas offers many opportunities in this field with the number of individuals working in this field being 5 times the national average. As the job title suggests, persons working in this field are in charge of removing minerals, such as metals and coal, from mines. These materials are then used for utilities and manufacturing purposes. The average salary in this field is $88,000.

Anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologists earn more than $100,000 per year and the state of Texas offers more job opportunities than the average state. These physicians are trained in administering anesthesia and in perioperative medicine. Although the job requires intensive training, it is a rewarding career in a flourishing field that is always in demand.

No matter whether you are looking for firefighter jobs in Texas or opportunities as an anesthesiologist, using a job search site like Jobtonic.com is one of the best ways to find local employment opportunities. Online job search sites typically have the most up-to-date listings and are consistently being updated with new opportunities. Regardless of how you search for your new job, you can find peace of mind in knowing that the state of Texas has plenty of employment opportunities to go around.

HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS & LIFE INSURANCE: THE BOMB SQUAD

It’s a little known fact that just about anyone, in any line of work, can obtain life insurance—even if their line of work happens to involve lighting and/or diffusing bombs! What actually matters to insurance companies is that they be compensated for the risk that their taking on an individual working such an occupation.

Enter stage left: High-Risk Premiums! Boy, just look at them! They’re so shiny and—boy howdy, look at that price tag! Gadzooks!

Yes. I just used ‘boy howdy’ and ‘gadzooks’ in a single sentence. Don’t you judge me.

In all seriousness, it is possible to get life insurance when you’re in a high-risk profession like the Bomb Squad—it’s just going to cost you; that part was no joke!

Who Determines How High-Risk a Job is? The Insurance Company? Pssshh! Scam!

Yes, the insurance company does weigh in on what their company deems to be high-risk, but that’s really only one part of a two-part process. Obviously, insurance companies have been around the block a time, or two, and have insured individuals in just about every profession that there is. Due to this, they have their own experience to refer to when deciding how much they want to afford someone in a dangerous occupation life insurance. Find out more about your own insurance needs at AAMI.

It is their risk, their money, and they’ll invest it only in good investments—just like anyone else.

However, a large part of the decision making process is influenced heavily by what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say about the profession in question. All of the work-related accidents and fatalities that occur get compiled into a report that the USBLS publishes every couple of years, or so, with a ranking system that paints a picture for insurance companies.

For well over a decade, actually, the blue ribbon winner of the “United States’ Most Dangerous Job” has steadily been fisherman. That’s right—fisherman. It makes sense, if you think about it, actually. They’re out there in incredibly temperamental seas, around very dangerous equipment, trying to catch fish while dodging the ones that could swallow them whole. Plus, it’s a far more common profession than being on a bomb squad—so, the numbers end up being higher just for that reason.

Everything that the USBLS reports comes from hard statistical fact, so when they say that a job is dangerous, all of the insurance companies fall right in line.

What Difference Does it Make to an Insurance Company? It’s simple really—any insurance company is a business and businesses need to make money.

The chance that a bomb squad member could get blown up within 6 months of establishing a policy is just too high and would inflict too harsh of a financial loss. After all, they barely paid into the policy.

This is where high premiums end up coming in, because they’ll still insure you, they just want to be certain they won’t suffer as big of a loss, should something happen.

How Should an Individual in a High-Risk Profession Handle Obtaining Life Insurance?

Find a certified insurance, or financial, expert to assist you. A good one; that does not work for any one insurance company—they’ll obviously just want you to buy from their company. However, a solid freelance professional will know their market like the back of their hand and will be ready to work their tale off for you—freelancing is all about word-of-mouth.

They’ll scour the life insurance market, dig up the best prices that you’re going to get, or they might even suggest an alternative route, like Group Life Insurance—life insurance offered through an employer, union, or association—or Guaranteed-Issue Life Insurance—life insurance provided, no matter what he circumstance, for a pretty high cost.

There are options! Fortunately, member of the Bomb Squad tend to be well taken care of by the people sending them out into harm’s way.

 

Insurance

Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

 

***This was a sponsored post***

 

Enhanced by Zemanta