Live and Drive Safely: 6 Essential Ways Truckers Can Stay Healthy

Live and drive safely: 6 essential ways truckers can stay healthyTrucking doesn’t lend itself to healthy lifestyles. You’re cramped into a small space, miles from home and familiar places. It’s easy to chow down a Twinkie because it’s quick or sip a triple-sugar coffee to stay awake.

However, your health is the most important thing you have. Here are a few ways you can stay healthy on the road.

1. Don’t diet; focus on being healthier

Instead of temporarily dieting, focus on eating healthier all the time. Plan to eat reasonable, healthy meals for your height and weight (here’s a good calculator).

Don’t expect rapid weight loss. Somedays, fast food is your only options. When that happens, adjust your daily meal plan to compensate.

Avoid processed foods. Even though these are the most readily available at rest stops and gas stations, they’re just empty calories with little nutrition. Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables. 

2. Quit smoking right away

Smoking is a common way to pass the time when you’re driving. It’s easy to lose track of how many packs you’ve gone through each day.

The National Institute of Health reports that 54% of truckers are smokers, considerably higher than the general population. To protect your lungs, heart, skin, and stomach, stop smoking immediately. It’s disastrous to your health.

3. Make time to exercise each day

Within the confines of your truck, it’s impossible to exercise safely. The only way to burn some calories is to schedule work out time into your day.

Depending on your route and time-table, this may be tough, but you don’t need to do much. Walking for just 45 minutes can burn more than 400 calories. If you’re eating sensibly, that’s akin to cutting out an entire meal.

4. Wash your hands frequently

When you spend long stretches of time eating poorly, sleeping irregularly, and sitting down, your immune system suffers. Everyday bacteria and viruses you would ordinarily repel can become dangerous.

The best way to prevent foreign substances from getting inside your body is to wash your hands. This is especially important for truckers and drivers who spend a lot of time using public facilities.

5. Get proper rest

This is a tall request for some truckers who are pressured by tight deadlines. You may want to get ahead of traffic or take advantage of good weather. If you get a bonus for early deliveries, you’ve definitely pushed your limits. Even if you want to respect your sleep needs, your job and industry work against you.

Chronic sleep deprivation significantly affects your health and driving performance (especially focus). Falling asleep at the wheel behind a heavy truck can be catastrophic. Make sure you’re sleeping as much as you can during your mandatory 10-hour break, even if it hurts your wallet.

6. Reduce your stress

Between traffic and tight deadlines, truckers attract stress. Stress isn’t frustration; it can have physical effects on your body. Aside from changing professions, reduce stress with relaxing activities, like listening to music, mediation, and exercise.

Employers would be wise to set up a properly designed wellness program to ensure their drivers are living healthy lives that keep them safe and productive.

Marty Shea

Director of Sales

mshea@srfm.com

Live and drive safely: 6 essential ways truckers can stay healthy

Saving for College: 5 Tips for Parents

Saving for College: 5 Tips for ParentsSkyrocketing college tuition costs and rising prices for higher education necessities like textbooks present a challenge for families who are trying to save enough money for their child’s college education. According to College Board’sTrends in College Pricing 2015,” the published tuition and fee price of a full-time year at a public four-year institution is 40% higher in 2016 than it was a decade ago (after adjusting for inflation), while public two-year schools came in 29% higher and private nonprofit four-year schools were 26% higher than 10 years ago. 

As a parent, you may be struggling to find the balance between appropriately saving for your child’s academic future and ensuring you’re saving enough for your own retirement.  

How can you make sure your child has the opportunity to pursue higher education when the time comes without being burdened with astronomical debt?

1.     Start Early – The most important factor in saving for college is time.  Begin saving as early as possible to allow time for your investments to grow. 

2.     Set a Goal and Timeline – Meet with your financial advisor to determine a college savings goal and timeline and to choose the best type of college savings account for you. 

3.     Automate Savings - Consider setting up monthly direct deposits into the account to put your saving on autopilot.  Automatic deposits make it easy and lessen the likelihood that you’ll skip or forget to make a contribution. 

4.     Look for Tax Breaks – When considering what type of savings plan to utilize for your child’s higher education, be sure you meet with your financial planner and tax advisor so you understand and pay attention to the tax implications.  For example, 529 education savings plans are college savings accounts that are exempt from federal taxes.  Similarly, when your child starts college, make sure you understand the qualifications for any tax credits, such as the American Opportunity Credit.

5.     Get Family (& Friends) Involved – Are Grandpa and Grandma always asking what your child would like for Christmas or do friends insist on bringing a birthday gift to the party?  Consider suggesting they skip the toys and instead contribute whatever money that would have spent on presents to your child’s college fund.  While this can be delicate and isn’t for everyone, there are plenty of creative resources that make it easy and a little less awkward.

With the proper planning, an early start and a schedule of consistent contributions, you can help set your child up for a bright future and ensure their hardest decision when it comes to higher education is what school they want to attend.

Marnie Guerrera

mguerrera@srfm.com

401K Plan Administrator

Saving for College: 5 Tips for Parents

 

 

Food Safety: How to Protect Your Franchise

Food Safety: How to Protect Your FranchiseEvery day, stories about food safety issues dominate the headlines, from Chipotle’s famous contamination crisis to Dole’s bagged salad recall to the recent CRF Frozen Foods listeria scare. Contamination and illness issues present one of the greatest risks to the food industry.

If you own a franchise, you may unexpectedly find yourself in the spotlight because of a foodborne illness event in your store or because one of your suppliers experiences a contamination that impacts your food supply.  Stringent food safety procedures are critical throughout the food supply chain process.  While bacteria don’t have memories, consumers do, and a contamination event can have a swift and major impact on your company brand and profits.

So how you can you ensure the food you’re providing in your franchise is safe for your customers and that you’re protected from any potential risks?

  • Start with what you have the most control over.  Institute stringent food safety protocols within your franchise and spend time and money training your workers and enforcing and reinforcing the importance of food safety.  From thorough hand washing, to wearing and frequently changing gloves to constantly cleaning food prep surfaces, cutting boards and utensils to prevent cross-contamination, be sure to stress cleanliness and safe food preparation.
  • Monitor your supply chain.  Make sure that you’re constantly monitoring your supply chain and conduct random food product tests.  It won’t matter if you have stringent food preparation practices in place if the products you’re serving are contaminated.  Also make sure that imported and domestic fruits and vegetables are properly scrubbed and sanitized and, if they’re being cooked, heated enough to kill any E.coli bacteria.
  • Prepare for the unknown.  A crisis can hit at any time.  Make sure that you have a crisis communication plan in place to quickly respond to an issue through all channels to all audiences – from the media, to social media, to consumers, to government officials and regulators, to employees.  Don’t wait for a crisis to hit to think through what you would do.
  • Protect yourself. Manage your liability by meeting with your insurance agent to discuss risk management and the right type of insurance to adequately protect your franchise if a contamination event were to occur.  Often, general liability insurance will not cover all aspects of a food safety issue, which may require Food Contamination Insurance. Make sure you work with a firm that specializes in the food industry and takes the time to sit down and discuss your unique needs to customize the right level coverage for you.

Consumers trust the restaurants they frequent to ensure the food they’re purchasing and eating is safe for their families. However, 74% of consumers feel that fast food restaurants should monitor food safety more closely and the headlines speak for themselves when it comes to the importance of food safety procedures.  Make sure you’re protected by demanding stringent food safety practices and insuring yourself against any potential issues.

Kathy Douglas

kdouglas@srfm.com

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

Sinclair 7-22-15-3

 

 

Home Renovation 101: Four Steps you MUST do before you pick up the hammer

AConnecticut High Value Home Insurance When to Hire a Professionals the seasons change, homeowners begin to think about tackling that latest house project – from redoing a kitchen to installing a pool to adding on an addition. 

Whether your plans are small or large, make sure you’re prepared and covered before a shovel goes into the ground or a paint brush touches the wall.   Some people take the do-it-yourself route, tackling parts of renovations themselves and hiring subcontractors for plumbing and electrical work while others hire a general contractor to manage the renovation process from start to finish.

No matter which route you go, here are four things to do before you get started on that renovation:

1.    Make Sure You’re Covered:  The last thing on your renovation “To Do” list may be checking your insurance policy.  However, before you get started, it’s important to verify you’re covered for any situation.  As the homeowner, you need to make sure you have adequate liability coverage as part of your homeowner’s policy in case someone is hurt on your property.  Similarly, make sure that your general contractor and subcontractors (i.e. – electricians and plumbers) have adequate coverage.  And don’t take a contractor’s word for it – ask for not only their insurance certificate and license number, but verify the contractor’s licensing status and ask to see your contractor’s policy.  A general contractor’s policy should have coverage in three major areas: general liability, worker’s comp and builder’s risk.

 2.    Do Your Permitting Research: Does your remodel project require a building permit?  In general, permits are required for projects that aren’t just cosmetic.  Everything from installing a fence to moving a sink may require a permit so, when in doubt, do your research; or if you’ve hired a general contractor, make sure you know the permit requirements, timing, costs and inspection details.  Most towns also have ordinances, such as building heights, that need to be understood and can usually be found on the local town’s website.  Keep in mind that if work is performed without a permit and something happens, your homeowner’s policy will usually not cover it.

3.    Call Before You Dig:  Similar to obtaining the correct permits, if your project will require any digging, make sure you call 811 prior to digging.  Call several days before the work is planned to allow adequate time for utility companies to be notified of your intent to dig.  A representative will come out and mark the location of underground utility lines.

4.    Invest For Long-term Savings: As you plan your renovation, look for savings.  If you’re undertaking a kitchen remodel or installing a new roof, think about putting in energy efficient appliances or installing solar panels.  Also, if you update certain systems like your plumbing, heating or electrical, or any other features that improve the safety and efficiency of your home, keep in mind that the investment can offer you long-term savings on things like your energy costs and potentially your homeowner’s insurance policy. 

Home renovations can be a huge undertaking, but the end result is worth it.  Make sure you go into your project with a solid foundation.  At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we’re here to help you ensure you’re protected and covered before you tackle your house project.

Rachel Winslow
Account Executive
rwinslow@srfm.com

Home Renovation 101: Four Steps you MUST do before you pick up the hammer