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For parents, buying life insurance is a no-brainer — if you died unexpectedly, your life insurance payout would take care of your kids’ needs.
For a married person with no kids, like me, you might not think life insurance is necessary. But my husband and I both have term life insurance policies.
The main reason we have life insurance is because both of our incomes factor into our financial planning — if one of us died, the other would struggle financially. Life insurance protects us.
A good, general rule of thumb to follow if you want to figure out whether or not you need life insurance is this: have kids, get life insurance.
Policygenius can help you compare life insurance policies to find the right coverage for you, at the right price »

That’s because the purpose of life insurance is to protect your beneficiaries against financial hardships they may face if something happened to you. If you’re single and childless, there’s probably no one who financially depends on you and the income you earn.

While there’s no doubt your loved ones would emotionally suffer if you died, they would not face a financial hardship due to your death. Children or anyone who is financially dependent on you, however, especially as minors, cannot financially provide for themselves.See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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isolation selfie.JPG michelle juergen.JPGCourtesy of Michelle Juergen

Michelle Juergen is a freelance writer and editor in Los Angeles who was recently let go from her job at a travel trade publication.
Her current monthly income is about $4,000 with unemployment benefits, and her minimum monthly expenses come to around $3,100. 
For Business Insider’s “Real Money” series, Juergen tracked her spending for a week. Between groceries, business purchases, and personal items, she spent $682.84.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

My monthly expenses usually total $3,078, and are broken down into these categories:

Juergen monthly budget chart

Miscellaneous items include my $60 cell phone bill, $120 yoga membership, Netflix and Spotify Premium accounts, random Amazon orders, and emergency costs like DMV or doctor visits.

But before I share a snapshot of my spending as a newly unemployed person, I must address something crucial you’ll see: $16 bacon. 

Yes, I paid $16 for slices of fatty meat I could have gotten for $5 at an ordinary grocery store. But these are unsure times, and fancy bacon is a small, superfluous luxury that, writ large, assuages — even if just for the time it takes to eat breakfast — my constant unease about the future of my life and the world around me. 

I was let go rather suddenly from my job as a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for a travel trade magazine, as the pandemic and travel’s uncertain future forced the company to downsize. But determining how to wisely spend my income — which, as of April 1, comes from unemployment insurance (UI), a couple freelance gigs, and some severance pay — isn’t new to me. I’ve always had a tighter budget because of student loans and car payments (both of which I paid off last fall), so I’m used to leaner finances. When I splurged, it was often on food: dinners and drinks with friends, or solo steak frites and wine after a long work week. 

So although I’ve had to make tweaks to my monthly budget after being let go, and am keenly more aware of every dollar I spend, I’ve not had to profoundly change my spending habits. And thanks to the CARES Act, which adds $600 per week to the $450 I receive from UI (the maximum allowance in California), I’m actually making more per month than I did as senior editor of the travel magazine. 

While simultaneously elevated and disheartened by this fact, I’ve been able to save more per month than I was formerly able, as well as had time to pursue creative projects like contributing unpaid time into “Fly Brother,” a new travel show on public television; joining free online writing seminars; and duct-taping my iPhone to the ceiling to experiment with self-portraits.

My spending will, however, have to decrease in the coming months, especially as the CARES Act’s extra $600 ends July 31. But I plan to mitigate this by increasing my freelance work and moving somewhere more affordable.

Here’s how I spent my money during a recent week in May.

Monday: $32.89
Courtesy of Michelle Juergen

Bobo’s Oat Bars: $32.89

Every day is Blursday now, but somehow, my inner Garfield always feels the acute Weltschmerz of a Monday. During this particular one, I sweat and stress-ate my way through a freelance copywriting project I was on deadline for. During my frenetic sprint, I received a “We miss you!” email with an offer for 30% off from Bobo’s, a Boulder, Colorado maker of tasty oat bars. The sentiment worked: I bought protein and oat bars, a purchase that will count toward my grocery budget.

Tuesday: $121.70
Courtesy of Michelle Juergen

Lady & Larder groceries: $61.70

Therapy: $60

Maybe it was the aftermath of a Monday, but Tuesday begat the $16 bacon binge. I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, but as the product of two organic-food-loving parents, I’ve built certain splurges into my dining budget for things like $9 cherries from small farms, a $10 loaf of locally-made sourdough bread, and, yes, $16 pasture-raised, antibiotic-free, non-GMO bacon from a nearby purveyor. (Side note: Though I do pay more for certain grocery items, I’d never actually bought expensive bacon before.) I picked up these and a few other purchases from Lady & Larder, a local cheese shop that pivoted into a takeout store when the coronavirus severely impacted its business.

After assembling and savoring an epic BLT, I joined my therapist online for our weekly video session. Therapy has been built into my budget for the last five or so years, and I’ve been fortunate to find sliding-scale clinics and counselors that work with my finances. I anticipate the cost will become tougher to maintain in the coming months, but it has been so essential to maintaining my well-being (particularly now, as I navigate constant uncertainty) that I’ll make it work.

Wednesday: $45.55
Courtesy of Michelle Juergen

Paula’s Choice retinol: $45.55

Before the pandemic, performing the ubiquitous lengthy skincare regime for which women are often mocked was keeping my skin clear. Now, I’m dealing with rogue breakouts that seem to magnify the haphazardness of life these days.

And it’s not just me: Experiencing adult acne in isolation is a thing — one that’s making headlines. So while the pixelation of weekly Zoom calls hides my blemishes from friends, it doesn’t conceal the ever-present unease I feel over my growing list of Things I Can’t Control.

Thus, a $45 purchase of Paula’s Choice retinol. When it comes to beauty- and household-related spending, I generally only buy things that I’ve researched thoroughly and aren’t full price. So I made sure to get a deal: I used a code that snagged me a 20% discount, free shipping, and a bonus travel size retinol. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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READ MORE: The 3 smartest ways to cut costs and grow your savings during a pandemic, according to a personal finance guru

SEE ALSO: I live in rural Costa Rica and spend $1,000 a month on travel. Here’s exactly where my money goes in a typical week.


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As the world’s attention remains focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, essential attention is turned away from other life-threatening epidemics, including opioid addiction. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, opioid misuse and addiction had become rampant in the U.S. In the late 1990s, drug companies assured doctors that opioid pain relievers were safe and nonaddictive, leading to an increase in prescribing rates.

Opioid overdose rates increased rapidly as it became clear that opioids can be highly addictive. In 2018, 46,802 Americans died from an opioid overdose while 1.7 million suffered from substance use disorders related to opioid pain relievers.

The economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone is $78.5 billion in the U.S. annually, which includes not only health care costs but also lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice involvement.1 The economic toll, and the death toll, from the opioid epidemic is, sadly, set to rise even further now that it has collided with the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Pandemic Heightens Risks for Opioid Addicts

There are physical and psychological reasons why COVID-19 poses a significant challenge for people with opioid use disorder (OUD), which affects at least 2 million Americans, and those who misuse opioids — another 10 million.2 Worldwide, 40.5 million people struggle with opioid dependence, a global prevalence of 510 cases per 100,000 people.3

Chronic respiratory disease increases the risk for fatal overdose in people who use opioids, and COVID-19 leads to compromised lung function.

Further, opioid misuse can lead to slowed breathing and hypoxemia, which can cause cardiac, pulmonary and brain complications, as well as overdose and death. As such, according to an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “these individuals may be at increased risk for the most adverse consequences of COVID-19.”4

People who are addicted to opioids may also be more likely to suffer from conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, including being a smoker who suffers from lung or heart disease, being homeless or having experienced other health effects from drug addiction.5 Threat of infection aside, there are a number of indirect ways that people with OUD may be adversely affected by COVID-19 as well.

“Before the first COVID-19 case in the United States, a different epidemic — the opioid crisis — was taking the lives of 130 Americans per day,” wrote two doctors from Yale School of Medicine in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Given that infection epidemics disproportionately affect socially marginalized persons with medical and psychiatric comorbid conditions — characteristics of those with opioid use disorder (OUD) — we are gravely concerned that COVID-19 will increase already catastrophic opioid overdose rates.”6 Some of the challenges faced by people with OUD during the COVID-19 pandemic include:7

Closure of substance use treatment clinics
Focus of emergency departments on COVID-19 patients — not opioid overdose
Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders adversely affecting mental health

Disruptions in Care, Increased Anxiety Are Problematic

Disruptions of care during the COVID-19 pandemic are a major concern for people with opioid use disorder, who depend on regular face-to-face health care. Many rehab facilities have closed, limited programs or limited new admissions over fears of COVID-19 spreading in a communal living facility.8

Access to medications for addiction treatment may be restricted, while patients may also face simultaneous challenges like loss of work, housing and food security, which could trigger a downward spiral leading to relapse and delayed recovery.

“The COVID-19 pandemic strikes at a moment when our national response to the opioid crisis was beginning to coalesce, with more persons gaining access to treatment and more patients receiving effective medications. COVID-19 threatens to dramatically overshadow and reverse this progress,” according to researchers with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.9

The social isolation imposed by the pandemic is also highly problematic and, by increasing stress and anxiety, could heighten substance abuse, opioid usage and overdose.

In addition to limiting access to peer-support groups and other vital sources of social connection for recovering addicts, “Persons who are isolated and stressed — as much of the population is during a pandemic — frequently turn to substances to alleviate their negative feelings,” wrote Dr. Nora Volkow with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Those in recovery will face stresses and heightened urges to use substances and will be at greatly increased risk for relapse.”10

There’s also the issue of social isolation indirectly contributing to overdose deaths because no one is there to administer naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug. Volkow continued:11

“Social distancing will increase the likelihood of opioid overdoses happening when there are no observers who can administer naloxone to reverse them and thus when they are more likely to result in fatalities.

Emergency department physicians with increased caseloads may be less likely to initiate buprenorphine therapy for patients with OUD, which is an important component of mitigating the effects of the opioid crisis.”

There are even reports of stigma and discrimination, according to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, who recovered from opioid addiction and teaches medicine at Harvard Medical School. “There are reports surfacing of police departments across the country that are refusing to offer naloxone to patients who have overdosed, on the pretext that it is too dangerous because the ‘addict’ might wake up coughing and sneezing coronavirus droplets.”12

Job Loss Associated With Opioid Overdose Deaths

The U.S. unemployment rate may skyrocket to 32.1% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.13 Previously, the highest rate of unemployment in U.S. history was 24.9%, which occurred in 1933 during the Great Depression.14 The massive job losses may singlehandedly increase opioid overdose deaths, as a strong connection has been revealed between the two in the past.

A 2019 study in the Medical Care Research Review journal looked at the effects of state-level economic conditions — unemployment rates, median house prices, median household income, insurance coverage and average hours of weekly work — on drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2014.15 According to the authors:

“Drug overdose deaths significantly declined with higher house prices … by nearly 0.17 deaths per 100,000 (~4%) with a $10,000 increase in median house price. House price effects were more pronounced and only significant among males, non-Hispanic Whites, and individuals younger 45 years.

Other economic indicators had insignificant effects. Our findings suggest that economic downturns that substantially reduce house prices such as the Great Recession can increase opioid-related deaths, suggesting that efforts to control access to such drugs should especially intensify during these periods.”

An earlier investigation, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 2017, also connected economic recessions and unemployment with rises in illegal drug use among adults. Twenty-eight studies published between 1990 and 2015 were included in the review, 17 of which found that the psychological distress associated with economic recessions and unemployment was a significant factor. According to the authors:16

“The current evidence is in line with the hypothesis that drug use increases in times of recession because unemployment increases psychological distress which increases drug use. During times of recession, psychological support for those who lost their job and are vulnerable to drug use (relapse) is likely to be important.”

Pandemic May Lead to 75,000 ‘Deaths of Despair’

In a report by the Well Being Trust (WBT) and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, it’s estimated that up to 75,000 people may die during the COVID-19 pandemic from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide. These “deaths of despair” are expected to be exacerbated by three factors already at play:17

Unprecedented economic failure paired with massive unemployment
Mandated social isolation for months and possible residual isolation for years
Uncertainty caused by the sudden emergence of a novel, previously unknown microbe

In order to come up with their 75,000 figure, the study used data on deaths of despair from 2018 as a baseline, projected levels of unemployment from 2020 to 2029 and then used economic modeling to estimate the additional number of deaths annually. Nine different scenarios were tested, ranging from quick recovery to slow recovery.

In the best-case scenario, 27,644 deaths of despair were estimated while in the worst-case example, 154,037 deaths could occur. While 75,000 was deemed to be “most likely,” the researchers noted, “When considering the negative impact of isolation and uncertainty, a higher estimate may be more accurate.”18

“Undeniably policymakers must place a large focus on mitigating the effects of COVID. However, if the country continues to ignore the collateral damage — specifically our nation’s mental health — we will not come out of this stronger,” Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, chief strategy officer of WBT, said in a news release.19

A commentary by Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, a psychiatrist with Columbia University’s department of psychiatry, similarly suggested a mental health crisis is looming.20 “The sobering reality is that high-quality mental health care is not available to most people,” Lieberman wrote. “This lack of strategy and access is especially concerning amid disasters such as COVID-19, which can cause considerable psychological trauma.”

Prolonged Isolation May Lead to Drug Abuse

As mentioned, prolonged isolation only exacerbates the issue. “The stressors from the pandemic are very, very real and how we cope with these stressors varies enormously,” Volkow told ABC News. “Social isolation is one of the factors that leads [people with substance abuse disorder] … to take drugs, and social isolation leads them to relapse, and the social isolation leads them to continue taking them.”21

With weeks of extended isolation already logged for most Americans, some communities are already reporting a rise in drug overdose deaths. Jacksonville, Florida, for instance, had a 20% increase in overdose emergency calls in March 2020.

Four counties in New York State also reported a rise in overdoses, while Columbus, Ohio, had a surge in overdose deaths, including 12 over a 24-hour period the first week of April.22

Whether overdose deaths are increasing across the U.S. is unknown, as Volkow noted that with COVID-19 shutdowns, collecting reliable data is difficult. However, a spokesperson for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News that officials are “aware of the concerns involving COVID-19 and drug overdoses and that it could affect some populations with substance use disorders.”23

Experts are recommending increased resources for people struggling with drug addiction, including access to online meetings. Remember that even if you’re socially isolated at home, you can reach out to friends and loved ones via phone or online. Connecting with others, even virtually, can help you to feel less alone. It’s also a good idea to set a limit on watching the news or browsing social media, especially if it increases anxious feelings.24

Original Source: articles.mercola.com

what is an excellent credit scoreHanna Lassen/Getty Images

 

An excellent credit score is anything above 800, according to Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO model.
A LendingTree analysis of people with credit scores of at least 801 found that those with excellent credit have an average of nine open accounts.
These borrowers also have a credit limit around $71,000, a credit utilization rate under 6%, and no record of late or missed payments in the past four years.
Get help with your credit score from Experian »

Credit scores are an essential part of adulthood. 

The three-digit number is an indicator of your trustworthiness as a borrower. If you have a low credit score, or none at all, buying a house, renting an apartment, taking out a loan, or opening a new credit card won’t come easy.See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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