I love volunteering. I just got back from 3 hours of reading at the RFB&D where I enjoy spending some of my energy reading textbooks for blind students (today I learned how to direct readers and ran the recording technology).  Disabled folks can use our service too, including folks that cant turn the pages because of arthritis for example. Some students have been recently blinded and some were born blind. Either way, it’s very rewarding because of the impact on others. I’m going to join the Ambassador committee soon, so I thought I’d start by sharing some interesting facts with you about the program.

Where I volunteer, we serve Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Pretty fun territory for a gal from Vermont to think about. Wonder what listeners think of my accent?

* In Texas alone, we have over 16,000 borrowers that have benefit from our services.  Nationally, Recording For The Blind & Dyslexic provides over 185,000 people with print disabilities the books they need to learn and succeed. 

* Currently over 700 Texas schools and districts are members of our service.

* Borrowers range from kindergarten-graduate students and continuing education. We have even helped a blind woman graduate successfully from acupuncture school!

*  We have a studio that has 7 recording booths. Everyone gets to direct!

* Johns Hopkins University evaluated the effectiveness of RFB & D’s (reading for blind and dyslexic) recorded textbooks, and found a 38% increase in content acquisition reading scores.

* Their goal (and mine too, which is why I volunteer here) is for all people to have access to the printed world. 

http://www.rfbd.org

And if you’re in Texas, they’re just right up the street off of Lamar and 45th!

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by Molly Greaves with help from bankrate.com…check them out!

1. Not shopping around- shopping around could make a huge difference in the price you pay.

2. Only comparing rates-You need to compare rates, and should also look at companies’ pay reputations.  You can look at insurance companies and see how they rank with Standard & Poor’s or Fitch Ratings.

3. Not comparing agents-First make sure your searching only properly licensed agents, and then ask them what they bring to the table. Not all are the same and should be created equal. Some have huge hidden fees or personal motives with certain policies. Make sure you get referrals. And yes, take the extra step to check the referrals too =) 

4. Not knowing your policy-What a bummer for people to only know their policy AFTER the unthinkable happens. It happens all of the time. Don’t let yourself become one of the statistics. Do an evaluation each year to make sure you always know. (Do this with your credit report too!) Learn what the fine print says. Many don’t even know what their deductible, nor do they realize what’s not covered until it’s too late. 

5. Not buying certain types of insurance. Dont skimp on health insurance even if you feel like a million and ten bucks. Even if it’s just catastrophic insurance.  Otherwise you could wind up with such medical debt that you can never get yourself out of it. 

If you have dependents, you may want to consider LIFE INSURANCE. This will help pay the bills after a working parent dies unexpectedly. It’s cheaper to buy when you’re young and healthy. It’s also easier too. 

Bankrate.com says that unless you have major assets to tap, think about getting long-term disability insurance. “It’s the single most important coverage for anyone who works.”  They also claim that “Disabilty income is more important than life, even though it gets more press. If you become disabled and cant work, the long-term disability insurance can help keep you and your family financially solvent.”

I also advocate picking up long-term care insurance. Some people think they should wait until they’re closer to retirement, or that they need to be at least 50 years old, or something like that. The truth though, is that diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can develop at 30 or 40, so dont make the mistake of forgetting about that. You could be come “uninsurable.” And yes, that can and does happen to people.

Check your family history too. L-T Care Insurance can help pay for the cost of expenses assciated with chronic illness and help cover nursing homes, and in-home caregivers.  

6. Buying unnecessary insurance policies-I know, I know. If you dont own a boat, you aren’t going to carry boater’s insurance. Just like I know that if you don’t have a house, you wont pick up homeowner’s insurance.

-If you have kids, they dont necessarily need life insurance. Although tragic, for most kids, you should be able to come up with the money vs. spending money monthly on insurance. It makes sense to have it if you have dependents. People that are single don’t really need it either. 

-Use the rule of thumb that if you see specific illness insurance like cancer insurance coverage, to always check the fine print and really triple cross check out the agent and his references. You could just end up paying double. 

-Dont buy Identity Theft Insurance until you check other policies you have first. Check you bank too. Many companies now have something like this built into them. Could save you some $$$.

7. Not updating your coverage.

-I say evaluate this annually. If you’re home goes up in value, make sure you increase your policy limits. 

-For health care, I say review this annually too. If you’re married, make sure you cross check and make sure that you are covered under the most cost effective policy. Sometimes it actually makes sense for couples to have individual policies. 

-When the kidos move out, hurry and call your insurance agent. They love knowing that the reckless teens are out of there. =)  Once your kids get to college, make them get good grades, and when they do, hurry and call your agent back again.  You’ll get a nice little reduction. Every bit counts. 

Last thing- if you do an annual review, do it about 30-60 days in advance of renewal time so you can get a thorough evaluation. Plus, you’ll have time to add to your list so you don’t forget anything valuable.

 

A typical increase in home value as you:

Add a 1/2 BATH- 10.5%

Add a FULL BATH – 20%

Add a FULL BATH to a one-bathroom house-  23%

 

As per Money Magazine Sept 2007