Happy New Year 2022

Waitte's Insurance wishes you a Happy New Year!

Many of us have been making annual New Year’s resolutions for years, though we might not realize just how old this tradition is. The oldest record of New Year’s resolutions takes us back approximately 4000 years to celebrations of the ancient Baylonians whose new year coincided with the planting of their crops in mid-March (History.com). Their twelve-day religious festival, Akitu, included resolutions to pay any debts and return any borrowed objects, as well as reaffirming their loyalty to the current king or crowning a new one (History.com). The Babylonians believed if they kept their resolutions, “their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year” (History.com).

Typical modern-day New Year’s resolutions involve weight loss, healthy eating, increasing exercise, or spending less money. Unfortunately, according to the New York Post, only about eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually follow through with their goals.

Why is the failure rate so high when the tradition for resolutions is so common? New York Times writer Jen Miller suggests that we may be making these resolutions for the wrong reasons, including the following three:

  • The resolution is too vague
  • There is no realistic plan for achieving the resolution
  • The resolution is based on what someone else (or society) thinks we should do (NYTimes.com)

Citing the journal Management Review, Miller suggests that what works for management can also be applied to New Year’s resolutions. The theory is that we will be more successful when we make “SMART'' resolutions--those that are specific (lose a certain number of pounds within a set time period, for example), measurable (track your progress in a journal), achievable (break your goals into realistic steps), relevant (be sure the goal is a positive step for you), and time-bound (give yourself time to reach your big goal with intermediate time-based steps along the way) (NYTimes.com).

As we look toward a new year with hopes of positive change, consider ditching the tired, typical old resolutions for something more inspiring, sustainable, and meaningful for your life: cook something new each week, read more books, join a new club, become a plant owner (check out the related article below), take the stairs (even when you’re tired), plan a vacation, drink more water, jumpstart a new career, consider therapy, volunteer, learn a new skill (or hone an old one) (GoodHousekeeping.com).

Whatever your goals, we hope 2022 is a great year for you!

GoodHousekeeping.com
GoodHousekeeping.com "30 Gorgeous Plants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill"
History.com
NYPost.com
NYTimes.com

The magic of the holiday season is upon us!

Group of friends celebrating

The magic of the holiday season is upon us, and opportunities abound to enjoy the splendor. Here are just a few ways for you to get out and take in the magic. 

Stamford’s Holiday Stroll, an event held in Mill River Park through January 9, features a 30-foot tall Christmas tree as just one of the attractions in the Christmas village. Visitors over 21 can enjoy the holiday beer garden, and people of all ages can feel good about donating a new, unwrapped toy through December 19 as part of the Holiday Stroll Toy Drive (Stamford’s Holiday Stroll). 

The Greenwich Reindeer Festival, held through December 24, features live reindeer, visits with Santa, photo opportunities, and a variety of activities for kids including a coloring station, a letter-to-Santa writing station, a baby reindeer naming contest, and more. Dogs are welcome and may receive a doggy gift bag. In the giving spirit of the holidays, a portion of the proceeds from photos with Santa will be donated to Kids in Crisis (Greenwich Reindeer Festival). 

The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor is currently holding its annual Winterfest celebration now through December 30. Over 15,000 lights are included in the festive decorations. Dress warm and bring blankets to enjoy the trolley car ride through the “Tunnel of Lights” while singing Christmas carols with your trolley car operator. Additional activities include storytime with Santa and Elf, holiday centerpiece workshops, and photo opportunities with Santa. Tickets for activities must be purchased in advance at www.ct-trolley.org (Connecticut Office of Tourism).

The Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut, holds its 28th annual Holiday Train Show through February 20th this year. Including fully operational model trains, scavenger hunts, and special features for toddlers, this event prides itself on being “the perfect outing for train fans who are young at heart” (Connecticut Office of Tourism). 

The Magic of Lights Tour at Pratt and Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut, offers an opportunity for a unique viewing experience featuring “favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations” that patrons can experience without leaving the comfort of their car (Magic of Lights). This event runs through January second. 

Whatever your plans this season, we at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a happy and safe holiday!

Connecticut Office of Tourism
Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa's Workshop
Magic of Lights
Stamford's Holiday Stroll

Why NOW is actually a great time to start a business

There is a lot of talk right now about economic struggles, but sometimes a downturn is the best time to dive in and start something. General Electric, Netflix, and Microsoft are are all companies that were born during a downturn (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). 

The pandemic has changed everything in ways no one could have predicted. The ways people interact with each other, how they socialize, where they find dating partners, where and how they dine and shop--all of these shifts open new opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of new trends. Another exciting component to the new business landscape is that you don’t always need an army of employees to start something (Forbes).

Among the list of reasons that now is a great time to start a business includes your potential employees. In the current changing landscape, talented individuals may have experienced layoffs and may be available for hire (Entrepreneur). And if you are looking to hire, you are not limited to local talent if your business is able to operate with remote employees.

Opportunities for resources also abound. At this time, many business resources can be accessed at discounted rates. Vendors, online advertising companies, email marketing companies, and others who provide services to help your business succeed are cheaper than they were in the past (Forbes).

In many places, real estate costs are down. Those looking to find commercial space to rent are often finding landlords willing to include office renovations and flexible leases (Entrepreneur). 

Current loan rates also make this a good time to start a business. “If you want to get a small business loan, interest rates have remained low and the fed doesn’t plan to increase them in the next few years” (Forbes).

For innovators with drive and imagination, now is your time to start a business. Whatever your idea, be sure your business has the proper insurance to keep it afloat and minimize risk. Some types of insurance are required by law. Though others are optional, it is essential that you talk with your insurance agent about available policies and risks associated if you consider forgoing various types of coverage. 

If you currently own a business, it is important to meet with your insurance agent regularly to update your coverage, especially if your business has changed the way it operates, and thereby avoid paying for any coverage you don’t need. You can also avoid getting caught by surprise if your current policy doesn’t cover any changes in the way you operate or changes in the laws. 

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we are always ready to talk to you about your business insurance needs. Give us a call at insert current phone number here..

Business Insider
Entrepreneur.com
Forbes
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

How other nations celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Waitte's Insurance!

As we dive into the turkey and pie on Thanksgiving, we might enjoy learning about how others give thanks too.

Canadian Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1578 when English navigator Martin Frobisher and his crew celebrated their safe Arctic journey in what is now Nanavut (History.com). Soon after, French settlers came to the area and “held feasts with their indigenous neighbors” (Readersdigest.ca). United States traditions were spread by those who moved into Canada from the southern border, and today, Canadian Thanksgiving looks much like our own. Though the celebration is held on the second Monday in October, most feasts will include the turkey we are familiar with, and following the meal, citizens will watch the Canadian Football League’s annual Thanksgiving Day Classic and enjoy spending time with their families (History.com). Other than the earlier date, the most remarkable difference between American and Canadian Thanksgiving may lie not in the meal but the additional activities. A Thanksgiving Day hike is a popular tradition as a means to enjoy the outdoors before cold weather sets in. 

German Thanksgiving, known as Erntedank or Erntedankfest, is an autumn harvest festival that takes place in September or October depending on the region (German-way.com). In rural areas, festivities typically include church services, parades, and music. The church altar is decorated with huge crowns of wheat to represent the continuing seasons (Germangirlinamerica). Celebration in urban Germany begins with a church service including huge straw baskets on the altar filled with grain, fruits, and vegetables which are blessed and later given to the poor (Brightbhubeducation.com). Later in the day, the crowning of the harvest queen is followed by music, dancing, food, and in some cities a lantern and torch parade as well as fireworks shows (German-way.com). 

Citizens of Vietnam also enjoy a harvest celebration; theirs is known as Tet-Trung-Thu. Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar cycle, always during the full moon, this holiday falls somewhere between the end of September and early October (Readersdigest.com). This year celebrated on September 21, the festival marks the “ascendancy of the moon over the sun in winter, the bounty of life, and prayers for the return of the sun’s warmth and light” (“Children and Youth in History”). During the celebration, children wear tiger masks and bang on drums to frighten away Ra Hu, the mythological creature thought to have eaten pieces of the moon, in the hope that he won’t eat the entire moon. Legend suggests that the festival was created by parents who worried that their children felt neglected by the amount of time parents spent working in the fields. “The festival was a way to show children they were loved and appreciated, complete with a candlelit procession at dawn in their honor” (Readersdigest.com).

However you celebrate, we wish you a happy, healthy, and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Almanac.com
Brighthubeducation.com
Children and Youth in History
German-way.com

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts – image of a deer in a front yard

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts

As cooler weather prompts us, humans, to spend more time indoors, animals are also likely to be looking for protection from the elements. Unfortunately, conflicts with animals can be costly for homeowners. 

Large animals have been known to cause structural damage. Deer may shatter glass doors; bears will enter a home through a large window or screen door (DNR). Small animals can also cause big problems. Raccoons may enter an open garage door or a pet door and wreak havoc in your garage or home. 

Whether or not the damage is covered by your homeowner's insurance may depend on the type of animal causing the problems. Damage caused by raccoons, bats, opossums, and groundhogs is typically covered, while damage from squirrels, rats, and mice is not, as these are classified as rodents (Critter Control).

Damage caused by an animal not classified as a rodent may, thankfully, extend beyond the walls of your home. Your garage, deck, or porch will also likely be covered, and if a structure on your property is damaged that is not connected to your house, you may still be covered under “structures coverage” (Critter Control). Such structures may include a detached garage, shed, or fence (Critter Control). 

The best news is that if you have not yet experienced animal damage, there are steps you can take to prevent it from becoming your problem.  

  • Inspect your roof, porch, and basement regularly to look for openings. Cover and/or seal even tiny spaces or cracks (NPIC); any openings larger than one-fourth to one-half inch should be caulked.
  • “Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft guards beneath doors to attics, and flll electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking” (these CDC recommendations are especially helpful for avoiding bats).
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on any garbage containers. Consider metal containers rather than plastic. 
  • Empty any food bowls you use to feed pets outside as soon as they are done eating and store pet food inside or in heavy containers (NPIC).
  • If bears live in your area, be aware that a bear’s sense of smell is seven times greater than that of a bloodhound and 2,100 times that of a human (NIEH). This may prompt you to put away food from an outdoor meal sooner than you otherwise would. You would also be wise to keep food stored and sealed away rather than left out on counters or tables near an open window or screen door.

If you are not sure what your homeowner’s policy or renter’s policy covers, or if you are interested in an update, give us a call at Waitte’s Insurance Agency. We would be happy to discuss policy options to fit your unique needs.

Center for Disease Control
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Critter Control
Department of Natural Resources
National Institute of Environmental Health
National Pesticide Information Center

It’s All About Location, Location, and Relocation

It’s All About Location, Location, and Relocation

The recent housing market boom, along with the switch to working remotely for much of the population, has led many of us to relocate. And while it’s a thrill to make a fresh start, there are also many things we have to be sure to take care of, especially when we cross state lines.

It’s important to cancel utilities for your old home and create accounts for your new one. These things are best done before the move, especially if you are heading to a new state, including electricity, gas, water, sewer, internet, cable TV, and garbage pickup (istorage.com). 

When going on vacation, most of us put our mail on hold. When moving, it is helpful to forward mail to your new location, and filling out the form entails a similar process to vacation holds. For more information about forwarding your mail, click on this link to U.S. Postal Service.

You also need to remember the activities you currently pay to participate in. Cancel (or transfer) your gym membership and any club memberships you may have. Be sure to look into this well before your move if possible, as some facilities may require you to pay to the end of the month or other cycle if you don’t give them enough advance notice. You should also check out opportunities for these activities in your new location to help you settle in and form new social networks (Moving.com).

If you have school-age children, you need to notify their current school and transfer their records to the new school. The kids’ new school may also ask for medical records, including immunizations. If you are planning ahead, consider asking what clubs or activities the new school offers to assist your children in forming new friendships and help them adjust (Moving.com). 

If you are moving to a new state, you will need to go to that state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for a new driver’s license. Check on requirements ahead of time, as your new state may require you to get your license within a set time frame after you move. You will also need to know what documents the new state expects you to provide, which may include your license from the state you are moving from, your social security card, proof of residency in your new state, and more (Moving.com).

In addition to the time limit for updating your driver’s license, you also may have a time limit to register your pet with your city or county. Ask around about local veterinarians so you know where you can go when your pet needs a checkup or if it gets sick or injured.

The health of your family members will certainly be as important as that of your pets, so you will want to plan on what health care facility and possibly specific doctors you will visit when you are in need. It may be worth asking your old doctor as well as new neighbors, new friends, and/or co-workers for suggestions. You could also check online resources such as the American Medical Association in your quest for health care providers (Moving reviews).

You will need to register your vehicle(s) and update your car insurance, including any recreational vehicles you own. Even if you stick with the same company, you may need to switch to a local agent. A new homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policy will be in your near future as well. 

While you are updating your utilities, license, and insurance, you will benefit from updating your voter registration so you can participate in upcoming elections. Many states offer several ways to register, including in-person, mail-in, and online registration (Moving.com).

Once you arrive in your new home, it is a good idea to change the locks on your outside doors so nobody else can access your home, and check to be sure “doors and windows closed securely and cannot be opened from the outside” (Mymovingreviews).  

The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you the best of luck with your moving adventure. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Istorage.com
Moving.com
Mymovingreviews
U.S. Postal Service

Who needs renter’s insurance? You do!

Who needs renter’s insurance? You do!

What does renter’s insurance cover? While a landlord’s policy insures the building and covers any structural damage, their policy does not do much for tenants. Typically, renter’s insurance protects what is inside your home against fire, storm, or theft (Business Insider). While renter’s insurance is not required by law, it does provide peace of mind knowing that your belongings are covered, and it is often less inexpensive than people expect (Business Insider). 

Coverage of personal property is what most people think of when considering renter’s insurance. When purchasing renter’s insurance, you decide whether to select actual cash value or replacement cash value. Replacement cash value is more expensive than true cash value (because the value of your possessions depreciates over time) (MarketWatch).

Another advantage of renter’s insurance is liability coverage. If you are sued for accidental injury or property damage, liability coverage can pay medical damage and legal expenses (NerdWallet).

Suppose your rental unit is damaged to the extent that you have to relocate temporarily. In that case, your renter’s insurance will cover a portion of your hotel room and meals (Business Insider) which could otherwise be a catastrophic expense.

Many policies even provide coverage away from home if your items are stolen (NerdWallet).

Not only is renter’s insurance inexpensive for basic policies, but you may also find that if you bundle your renter’s insurance with your auto insurance, your rate increase may be negligible depending on your level of coverage. While specialty items such as expensive jewelry, cameras, artwork, bicycles, or musical instruments may require additional coverage (known as riders), you may be pleasantly surprised by how affordable it is to protect your belongings (Business Insider). 

Even if you think you don’t have much, take an inventory of each room in your home and ask yourself, What if I had to replace everything? You may realize that the value of your possessions is greater than you thought, and protecting yourself against the potential loss of it all is to your advantage. 

You may also want to consider renter’s insurance for your college student. With the cost of tuition these days, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your son or daughter has protection for their material possessions, as well as liability coverage, may make renter’s insurance a worthy investment.

Interested in finding out more about renter’s insurance? Give us a call at Waitte’s Insurance Agency to learn more about your options. 

Business Insider

MarketWatch

NerdWallet

Interesting Area Festivals

Interesting Area Festivals

While some annual events are canceled this year and others may be modified, there are still many opportunities to get outside, visit local communities, and experience something fun and different. Below are just a few samples of New England opportunities for an adventure this fall.

On October 2-3 and 9-10, Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Bedford Fall Foliage Festival will feature arts and crafts from over 400 vendors, live music, and kids’ activities, including scarecrow making and horseback riding (Bedfordfallfoliagefestival.com). 

Ocean City, Maryland, will hold its annual Oktoberfest on October 23 and 24 this year with a beach maze, pet parade, “trunk or treat” driving parade, Halloween drive-in movies, and the “Great Pumpkin Race” (OCOceancity.com).

The Sea Witch Festival, held annually for 31 years in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, includes hayrides, vendors, scavenger hunts, a bandstand, a 5K race/walk, and more. The celebration begins on Friday, October 29, and ends on Sunday, the 31st (VisitDelaware.com).

The kickoff for Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine, will be at 5:30 on Friday, November 5. The celebration known as Meet Your Maker will feature members of the Maine Distillers Guild. Participants will sample a wide variety of spirits and foods and have opportunities to meet the distillers. The events on Saturday, November 6, feature two OysterFest sessions allowing participants to sample “the choicest oysters from up and down the coast of Maine,” as well as local beers and sparkling wine (HarvestontheHarbor.com). The link below can connect you with tickets for both events. 

This October, Providence, Rhode Island, will celebrate its 7th annual Ocean State Oyster Festival with live music, craft beers, and opportunities for visitors to learn about local oyster farming (Oysterfestri.com). 

While the fall festivals of New England offer excellent opportunities to build fun new memories, if your time is short, you can do something as simple as taking a walk in the country. The temperate weather and the sights of the changing leaves are sure to help you escape and rejuvenate. 

There’s nothing like the charm and beauty of New England in the fall. Get ready for your next road trip adventure and give Waitte’s Insurance Agency a call to be sure all of your home, auto, and other insurance needs are covered. 

Bedfordfallfoliagefestival.com
CountryLiving.com
HarvestontheHarbor.com
OCOceancity.com
Oysterfestri.com
VisitDelaware.com

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day falls on Friday, September 17 this year. Established in 1979 by then-President Jimmy Carter, the day was first recognized in June but is now held annually on the third Friday in September (Time.com). In 1997, this became one of six days when the POW/MIA flag is displayed in specific locations as required by Congress (Time.com).

The flag that has become a symbol for prisoners of war and service members missing in action was designed by World War II pilot Newt Heisley at the request of Mrs. Mary Hoff, wife of MIA Lieutenant Commander Michael Hoff, in 1971 (militarybenefits.info). It remains the only flag, other than the American flag, to fly above the White House. 

Historically, World War II saw the largest number of POWs at 130,201 captured and 116,129 returned (Americanhistory.si.edu). World War I recorded 4,120 captured and 3,973 returned, with Korea at 7,140 and 4,418, respectively (Americanhistory.si.edu). While Vietnam’s numbers were smaller (726 captured and 661 returned), the American public became much more aware of the plight of captured service members as a result of North Vietnamese propaganda campaigns (Americanhistory.si.edu). Over 1500 who served in Vietnam are still missing in action, and investigation efforts continue (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency).

Many states will mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day with veterans rallies. The day will also be recognized with ceremonies, and other events at the Pentagon, war memorials, museums, and communities will show support as they gather for organized walks, candlelight vigils, and other events (timeanddate.com; nationaldaycalendar.com). 

As we approach ≈, consider contacting a local veterans organization to ask how you can show honor and support for the sacrifices of those who have served, and recall the mantra of the POW/MIA remembrance movement honoring our nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action: “You Are Not Forgotten.”

Americanhistory.si.edu 

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Militarybenefits.info

Military.com

Nationaldaycalendar.com

Pow-mia families.org

Timeanddate.com

Time.com

Empty Nesters

Empty Nesters

Your kids have been a focal point in your home life and schedule for the past two decades or more. For many of us, however, the physical presence of a child in the home will no longer be part of the equation as the youngest (or in some cases only) child moves on to college, work, or another form of adult independence. 

While empty nest syndrome is not a clinical disorder or diagnosis, the sadness, depression, and loss of purpose that may coincide with the child's departure are very real for many parents (Psychology Today). While we are proud of our children for their increasing independence, the pain felt by parents can be substantial enough that they become “vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity crisis, and marital conflicts” (Mayo Clinic). 

Some of the sense of loss can be mitigated by frequent contact with a child through texting, email, or phone calls, though too much “helicopter” parenting can backfire and result in a lower sense of well-being for young adults transitioning to independence (VeryWellFamily.com). “Even if they welcome your guidance and attention, too much checking in and giving direction will hinder your young adult from learning to make good decisions and handle life on their own” (VeryWellFamily.com).

Recommendations for parents include limiting texts, emails, or phone calls to children to once or twice a week and engaging in some self-care. Give some attention to your own diet, sleep habits, exercise, and leisure activities. Now might be a great time to reconnect with old friends or plan a trip with your spouse. Consider taking a class or picking up a new hobby or resume an old activity that you didn’t have time for when your kids dominated your schedule.

Keep in mind that it will get easier. Consider seeking support from friends or colleagues who are going through the same thing or who became empty-nesters within the last few years. Like many big life transitions, you may experience some ups and downs. Still, with time, you may be surprised to enjoy your new role as an advisor rather than a direct caretaker of the wonderful person you have coached into adulthood. “You’ll get used to your child being in charge of their own life, and you can begin to develop a new sense of normal in your life” (VeryWellFamily.com).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want you to have a smooth transition into this new phase of life. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Mayo Clinic

Psychology Today

VeryWellFamily.com