Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Making a career move? Consider the insurance field

(BPT) - Looking to start your career or change your current one? As you contemplate your next career move, there's one industry that might not be on your radar: insurance.

"The insurance industry usually isn't what people think of when they're planning their careers or considering totally different jobs," says Charles Valinotti, Head of Underwriting & Product with insurer QBE. "In fact, most people who work in the insurance field will tell you they fell into it by accident."

Falling into an insurance career can be a good thing, according to CareerCast's Jobs Rated Report. Of 200 jobs, actuary ranked No. 1 as the best job of the year. An actuary works for insurance companies and other businesses that manage financial risk. Actuaries use statistics and study uncertain future events - such as accidents and property loss from natural disasters - to set insurance premiums and reserves for paying claims.

Two other insurance jobs ranked among the top 100. Underwriter landed in the 74th position, and insurance agent 78th.

CareerCast's job ratings are based on factors including income and income growth potential, hiring outlook and physical demands.

Actuaries, underwriters and agents aren't the only insurance industry jobs available to those exploring employment opportunities. "We take great people and give them great careers," Valinotti says. "In addition to providing training and professional development, we help open doors and challenge people. No other industry does it as well."

Insurance companies see the possibilities in all job candidates, he says, regardless of their education level, college major or experience.

"We look for smart people who show they can learn," Valinotti says. "Those who are articulate, adaptable and good communicators would fit well in the insurance field."

Insurance has long battled the perception that its jobs are boring or focused solely on sales and claims. Not so, says Valinotti. For example:

Jobs from A to Z - Many college degrees and skills lend themselves well to an insurance career. Your degree in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, law, IT - even forestry - can land you a challenging position in the insurance field. In addition, job experience and special skills - such as chef, pilot and animal lover - can go a long way in supporting insurance customers' businesses that include restaurants, airports and pet stores.

A plethora of career paths - Once people have insurance experience under their belts, the sky's the limit for jumping into other careers the industry has to offer. Valinotti says many insurance employees get their feet wet, then move into other positions to become adjusters, field investigators, product marketers, project managers and loss control consultants. "There are hundreds of different job titles and responsibilities in insurance," he says. "Most people have no idea what's available."

Internships - Even if you don't see yourself in an insurance career, an insurance-related internship is a great way to try out the industry, use your skills and gain exposure to different business experiences. The knowledge you gain might land you in a career you wouldn't have otherwise considered.

And, along with its wide array of career possibilities, the insurance industry provides something many others do not - stability. "The need for insurance is not going away. People continue to have lives and property and they have to protect it," Valinotti says. "A career in insurance allows you to help people when they need it most."

Courtesy of BPT

Beyond white: Hot color trends for the kitchen and bath

(BPT) - So many of us love the rich colors featured in kitchen and bath magazines, but when it comes to selecting colors for our own homes, we tend to play it safe. It's time to be bold and get out of the color comfort zone. Whether it's a vibrant backsplash, playful shade on the wall, or a new sink color that pops with personality, today's hot color trends are anything but boring.

Consider these top five color trends for kitchen and bath spaces:

1. Gray reigns king

The NKBA Trends Report names gray the coveted color of the year. According to the report, use of gray color schemes in both kitchens and baths has dramatically increased, particularly over the past year. The hue is currently used in 55 percent of kitchens and 56 percent of bathrooms.

"I regularly work gray into my projects because it instantly elevates the design and adds depth to the palette," says senior interior designer Travis Rotelli, who works at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wis. "I love incorporating it with Kohler enameled cast iron sink - there are five different shades of gray to choose from, which makes it easy to find one to complement the other colors in the space and then echo that shade through the backsplash tile or paint color."

2. Bold and beautiful hues

Neutrals are classic, but pops of strategically placed color add life to kitchen and baths. "Emerald and varying shades of green are hot pops of colors, and the color will be all about cobalt," states Rotelli. While he says "it" hues are fun, he encourages homeowners to identify colors they personally enjoy. "We all have one color we're always drawn to; the one that repeats in our wardrobes and home decor. That is the color to use as an accent in the kitchen or bath. Color trends come and go, but one that resonates with your design aesthetic and reflects you as an individual you'll always love," Rotelli says.

3. Evolve from white

Neutral no longer simply means white. Homeowners are eagerly embracing other colors in place of white, like Dune from Kohler, available for sinks, baths, shower bases and toilets. "Dune is a subtle balance of beige and gray that brings a cool tone to the space - a true neutral that works well in place of white and adds a nuance of sophistication to the room's color palette," says Rotelli.

4. Colors that evoke emotion

"Color psychology is a powerful thing," Rotelli says; restaurants use appetizing hues to stimulate hunger, and stores harness its influence in hopes that you'll shop more. "Certain colors can evoke certain emotions throughout the home, as well." Homeowners who keep the emotional aspect of color in mind during the design process reap the reward of a truly personalized space. "Blues and greens are popular bathroom choices for good reason: both evoke a soothing sense of calm and healing." When it comes to kitchens, Rotelli says people are often drawn to colors from their past, because it evokes fond memories from their childhood.

5. Unexpected color

When it comes to color, sometimes you need to break the rules. Some of the best kitchen and bath designs incorporate color in unexpected ways. Remodeling projects provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate color beyond a fresh coat of paint or new window treatments. "Glass tile in kitchens or baths make it easy to introduce new color and texture," Rotelli says. For those looking to create a more cultivated color scheme and palette, he also suggests thinking outside the box by considering a new faucet finish or incorporating new materials, such as metal. "I always encourage clients to have a little fun in the bathroom, and the sink provides a perfect opportunity, whether it's a cast iron sink in a bright color, or a vessel sink that serves as functional art and a focal point for the space."

If you're ready for color, but still feel a little unsure, Rotelli has one final piece of advice: "When you do select a color, bring samples, swatches and chips home. Let them sit in the space and observe them at different times of the day. Materials can look much different in your home than how they appear under the bright lights of a showroom," he says.

Courtesy of BPT

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baby boomers - More active than ever with no plans of slowing down

Baby%20boomers%20-%20More%20active%20than%20ever%20with%20no%20plans%20of%20slowing%20down Baby boomers are emerging as one of the largest generations, and nearly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old every single day over the next 19 years. As a generation that refuses to compromise, baby boomers are reshaping everyone's view of aging because they are living healthier, more active lifestyles and have no intention of slowing down.

Despite their active lifestyles, many baby boomers and non-boomers alike live with bladder control issues - also known as incontinence - a common condition affecting approximately 56 million Americans. It is a condition that can take away one's sense of normalcy, cause embarrassment and diminish confidence. Bladder control issues are caused by a variety of circumstances, including weak bladder muscles, pregnancy and childbirth in women, complications from surgery or serious conditions like strokes and prostate cancer in men.

Recognizing that people want incontinence products that are discreet and help them live their life to the fullest, the Depend brand has launched the new Real Fit for Men and Silhouette for Women absorbent briefs. These new Depend products look, fit and feel just like real underwear while featuring a sleek, ultra smooth fit.

The Depend brand is inviting people across the country to try the new Real Fit for Men and Silhouette for Women briefs through "The Great American Try On" challenge. Men and women can experience the new products for themselves and just see how great the fit really is. Popular celebrities and athletes have even joined "The Great American Try On" challenge for a good cause.

Actress Lisa Rinna, supported by her husband Harry Hamlin, wore the new Silhouette for Women briefs to show that you can wear the clothes you love and feel confident while wearing the briefs. Pro football stars Clay Matthews, Wes Welker and DeMarcus Ware wore the new Real Fit for Men briefs to prove to men that they can maintain their active lifestyle. For their participation, the Depend brand made donations to both Dress for Success Worldwide and The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Learn more about "The Great American Try On" challenge by visiting www.TheGreatAmericanTryOn.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Educate yourself before starting the path to a new career

Educate%20yourself%20before%20starting%20the%20path%20to%20a%20new%20career If you're looking to start a career - whether it's because you're just beginning your journey as a working adult or because you're ready for a change in life - you should know that the process is much larger than just getting a degree and looking for a job.

A career involves knowing your interests in a particular industry or area, knowing what to expect as far as compensation and responsibility and researching what tools and knowledge you will need to be an asset for companies in that industry. It's wise to begin your pursuit by educating yourself on what careers are in demand and what skills you need to enter those careers.

"Job seekers and students seeking a degree to build their skills need to take control of their careers," says Abby Kohut, a human resources executive, recruiter and author of "Absolutely Abby's 101 Job Search Secrets." "They need to understand the connection between their education and a meaningful career by becoming more informed about where their interests lie, what jobs are in demand and what education is needed to gain the skills that today's employers demand."

Here are few simple steps that can help get you started:

1. Understand your interests - Some colleges and universities offer prospective and current students complimentary self-assessment options to help determine careers that fit their interests. For example, University of Phoenix offers Phoenix Career Services, a comprehensive suite of tools and services specifically designed to help prospective and current students make informed decisions regarding their career paths and educational needs. And the Career Interest Profiler helps students to identify professional interests in several areas, allowing them to plan ahead for paths of study.

2. Understand employer needs - Knowing what jobs will keep your interest going strong is a good start, but it's also important to learn what employers need from workers in that field so you can take the right college courses and learn the appropriate skills. You also should learn what jobs are in demand in your field of interest, so you can assess whether your career of choice offers room to enter and grow. University of Phoenix's Job Market Research Tool helps potential and existing students learn the demand and typical salary information in the current market.

3. Understand educational needs - Starting a new career often involves the need to return to school for a new degree so you can be more competitive when entering the job market. My Career Plan is a personalized roadmap that University of Phoenix students incorporate into their academic journey so they are developing the competencies that employers are seeking in the workforce today. And career preparation tools provide students with resume, cover letter and interview development services so they can put the best foot forward while job searching.

4. Understand your financial responsibilities - Schools will provide information on financial obligations and options, helping potential students determine if starting or going back to school is a viable option at the moment. Having a clear picture of the total cost and anticipated timing for paying off a college expense can help you set a budget as you pursue your new career goals. University of Phoenix, for instance, offers a complimentary Financial Plan designed to help prospective students estimate tuition and fees for their entire degree program and build a personal plan for how they will pay for it.

A new career is an exciting opportunity, and can provide a new look on life from income to social connections and even where you live. Just be sure to educate yourself before you jump into schooling so you can prepare yourself for the perfect career.

Courtesy of BPT

Simple water-saving tips can have a big impact on your wallet

The average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bill, but by making just a few simple changes to use water more efficiently, you could save approximately $170 per year and help the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From replacing inefficient appliances, to taking small steps at home to eliminate water waste, you can make a huge dent in your water usage and save some cash. Here are some easy tips to follow:

Bathroom blunders

Did you know toilets are the single largest water-user in a home? A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day, and it is estimated that nearly 20 percent of all toilets leak, reports the EPA. Slow leaks can go undetected for years, but there is an easy way to check yours at home.

Start by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If you have a leak, you'll start to see that color come through in the bowl within 15 minutes. Flush immediately after you're done so you don't stain the porcelain. If you can't fix the leak, consider purchasing a high-efficient toilet like the Kohler Persuade two-piece toilet.

What makes this toilet so efficient is Dual Flush technology, which includes a 1.6-gallon flush and an eco-friendly .8-gallon flush option. The Persuade toilet can save as much as 6,000 gallons of water annually over a traditional 1.6-gallon toilet.

Kitchen conundrums

Have a leaky faucet in your kitchen? According to the EPA, a drip rate of just one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. So even if it seems like a small leak, it could be costing you big time. Many faucets can be easily tightened and fixed to eliminate leaks - otherwise, consider installing a new WaterSense-labeled faucet.

Dishwashers can be another huge water drain. Remember to only run loads when the dishwasher is full, or invest in a dishwasher with a half-load cycle option, like most of the new Bosch dishwashers. Use this cycle or the express wash when washing small, lightly soiled loads. The auto wash programs use sensors to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption every time.

Lawn leaks

Having a green, lush yard is something to be proud of, but if you're not watering the smart way, you could be letting your money evaporate into thin air. The average single-family suburban home uses at least 30 percent of its water for outdoor irrigation and as much as 70 percent in dry climates.

If you want an efficient home, consider some smart-watering techniques. Start by only watering your lawn or garden during cool morning hours to reduce evaporation. If you use a sprinkler, make sure it's positioned correctly and not watering the street or driveway.

If you do plant a garden, only select plants appropriate for your region's climate. Native plants can be a great option because they often require little additional water since they grow naturally in your area. Group plants together based on their water needs.

For more smart tips about reducing water waste in your home, visit www.lowes.com/efficienthome . Remember that saving water can be easy, and you're sure to love the extra savings in your wallet too.

Courtesy of BPT

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On the move? Use these packing tips and tricks

(BPT) - Let's face it - moving is hard. Along with the stress of leaving a familiar place and adapting to new surroundings, moving means packing, loading, transporting, unloading and unpacking everything you own - as well as everything you forgot you owned.

While relocation may never be completely carefree, there are ways to ease the anxiety. A well-thought-out approach to boxing up belongings can help simplify the moving process and bring you one step closer to making your new house a home.

* Box it up. To be prepared for packing, seek out a large quantity of clean, sturdy containers in a variety of shapes and sizes. When selecting boxes, you may choose to purchase new ones, helping to ensure they can withstand the rigors of moving. You can also purchase dividers, which come in handy for packing glasses and other small, fragile items. No matter what you are using, remember not to over-pack. As a general rule, heavier items should be placed into smaller boxes to avoid too much strain on the box (and your back).

* Leave it. The easiest packing is no packing at all. Moving is the perfect time to clear the clutter out of your life. Before boxing up your belongings, decide what to keep. Clothing and housewares in good shape can be donated, and broken or unused old items can be tossed or given to someone who can repurpose them.

* Mind the supplies. The right tools can go a long way toward easing the moving process. Pick up plenty of quality wrapping material, like Bubble Wrap Brand cushioning, as well as strong packaging tape to help make boxing up your belongings a painless process. Don't get caught up in common frustrations that cause stress and waste time, such as tape that constantly tear or splits or struggling to find the tape end. Choose a quality tape, like Duck brand EZ Start packaging tape (packagingtape.com), for your moving needs; the brand's Frustration Free special release technology ensures that you never lose the tape end. And EZ Start unrolls smoothly and easily, without splitting or tearing.

* Organize and prioritize. Pack from room to room and label boxes based on box contents, where boxes will be unpacked in the new location and priority. EZ Start packaging tape provides a solution here, too - with different prints to choose from, boxes can be organized and prioritized according to the particular design used.

* Get help. Be organized to help the entire moving day run smoothly, so that your volunteers aren't waiting around for a job to do. Providing tasty snacks and drinks is a thoughtful way to say thank you, as are gift cards for coffee, movie theaters or their favorite stores.

* Pack a survival kit. Moving can be exhausting, and an all-day move may not wrap up until late in the evening. Don't spend your first night in your new home unpacking. Instead, pack a survival kit or an "Open Me First" box with essentials to get you through that first night. Make sure to include some fun items, such as your favorite movie or a batch of brownies, to reward yourself for a hard day's work.

Moving day may never rival a beach vacation, but these simple tips can make it a lot less stressful and help you enjoy your new home faster and easier.

Courtesy of BPT