December 2020

Turns Out Giving is Good for You and Your Health
It turns out giving to others is good for your health! According to Professor Michael Norton and his Harvard Business School study, participants are happier spending money on others than themselves.

This residual happiness is not limited to spending and physical gift giving. In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found that when people give to charities and volunteer their time, it activates the region of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. And with the holidays firmly around the corner, there's no better time to get your give on.

Giving is not only good for our emotional well-being but our physical health, too. Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee conducted a study that found participants had lower blood pressure when providing social support to others (as opposed to those who didn't), leading to the conclusion that giving reduces stress and improves longevity.

Generosity's health-boosting effects tend to ripple out and gather up others in its wake. It's linked to the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, which induces warmth, empathy and the propensity to be generous towards others, which kick-starts a behavioral circle of giving, according to neuroeconomist Paul Zak.

As you bravely take on the Christmas sale season, donate to charity or volunteer, remember that your efforts not only show your family and your community that you care about them but all that and more. Your simple selflessness will surely kick-start a cascade of goodwill that echoes beyond the year-end festivities, giving you a big dose of happiness in the process!
Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just send us an email and submit your answer.
On January 11 of which year did Amelia Earhart become the first person to fly solo across the Pacific? 
 
Last month's winners were:

Brenda Mendoza
Sergio Avalos
Emalee Mann
Gingerbread Muffins
These delicious holiday muffins are quick and easy to prepare, thanks to your trusty blender. Added bonus: they also happen to be low carb!


Yields 12 muffins
• 4 large eggs
• 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 3 cups almond flour
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Line a muffin pan with liners.

In large blender jar, combine eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Blend approximately 30 seconds.

Add sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and spices. Blend until well combined. If batter is too thick, thin out by adding 1/4 cup water.

Pour the mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Get Our Free Working From Home Survival Guide
As we continue to social isolate, working from home (WFH) life can start to feel overwhelming. I’ve put together a helpful guide to help you bust some bad habits and help you become your most productive self.

Assess, Review and Update: Preparing for the New Year?
As the new year approaches, many of us look at our lives and decide to make changes. This time of change is also a good time to determine whether your current insurance coverage meets your needs. After all, it can be easy to forget to update our insurance as life happens. Here are some steps to keep in mind to prepare for the new year.

Assess and review

Update your home inventory. Remove any donated, sold or tossed items from the list and add any new purchases and major gifts you receive this holiday season. Your inventory should have descriptions and the cost of items. It's a good idea to scan or photograph the receipts and keep those with the list. Make sure you can access your list online or have a copy off-site so if disaster should strike, you will be able to access it.

Take a look at your auto insurance needs. Is your coverage still appropriate for the age and value of your vehicles? What changes have there been this year? Do the limits, deductibles and primary driver designations still make sense for your current needs?

What other life events or changes in the past year may affect your coverage? Births, large purchases, remodeling and changes to your commute are all matters to consider, as they impact insurance.

Update

If there have been changes over the year, whether it is to your home inventory, your car needs or major life events, you'll need to update your insurance coverage to accommodate these changes. When you do, make sure you don't miss out on opportunities to save, such as multiple policy discounts or new programs that may lower your insurance costs.

We are happy to help you evaluate your insurance needs to ensure you have the right coverage as you head into the new year. Call or email us today for a review of your policies.
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Check Out our New Insurance Agent App 
Submit a claim the right way, pay bills, check your policies, get an auto ID card, email/text/call your agent or customer service person, inventory your valuables... you can do it all anywhere with our new app. Click on the image above for a short video, then click on Apple or Google to get it:


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What Is This Journaling Thing All about?
What do Oscar Wilde, Susan Sontag, Henry David Thoreau, Franz Kafka and Ben Franklin all have in common? Other than shaping the world with their erudite minds, they all kept personal journals.

But journaling is not just a pastime of the historical elite. Increasingly adopted by the millennial generation, it's a great way to stay in touch with yourself and reap science-backed benefits, such as increased work performance (according to a 2014 Harvard Business School study) and improved emotional well-being after stressful events (according to a 2005 Cambridge University study).

All you need to figure out before you set pen to paper is what type of journal would best suit your needs and personality. You could begin a memoir journal, where you record your thoughts, goals, feelings and ideas in a diary style, a bullet journal, which is used to record daily tasks, goals, and to-do lists, or even a gratitude journal, which records all the things you're grateful for.

Once you've chosen your format, start small, like writer James Clear. His idea of "atomic habits" (undertaking one small act that will snowball and eventually make an enormous difference) perfectly applies to journaling. Instead of setting out to write an opus, start by writing for five minutes a day. Once you get into the habit, you'll know when you're ready to build on the practice and write in more depth.

Remember that a journal is your own private space. You don't need to censor yourself, and if you need to offload some emotional baggage or negative thoughts, your journal is a safe place to leave them, clearing room in your mind for positive and constructive ideas and perceptions as you move forward.