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If you believe you’ll never experience a
home fire, the odds are against you. The NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Division states Americans can expect to average a home fire every 15 years or five fires in their lifetime. While most of these fires will be small, cause little to no damage, and go unreported, you have a one in four chance of experiencing a home fire that requires fire department assistance.

Fortunately, you can improve your family’s chances of surviving—and protect your structure and other belongings—by following these tips:

Cook with care – Never leave the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Additionally, do not leave items on or in your oven to simmer, bake, roast or boil while you’re away from home. If you must leave—even to run to the store or pick up your kids from school—turn off the stove.

For many people, a home is their biggest investment—and the mortgage that accompanies it their largest financial commitment. However, it may not be one they should eliminate—at least according to the experts. When the gurus wax poetic about eliminating debts, they are generally speaking of high-interest obligations such as credit cards with APRs around 13 percent, not 30-year mortgages with interest closer to 4 percent.

A required minimum distribution, or RMD, is the minimum amount one must withdraw from an IRA or retirement account each year. RMDs typically kick in after the owner of the account turns 70.5, and if your company offers any sort of employer-sponsored retirement plan (including profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans) you could face serious consequences if your 70.5 and up workers fail to meet the RMD requirements.

Consider the following employer RMD responsibilities as well as the steps you should take to protect your invested workers and your plan, from alerting participants who are approaching RMD age to activating the fund withdrawal.

American author John Steinbeck once wrote, “A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ.” While certainly a poetic statement, and even somewhat true, those pesky germs—found
everywhere and on everything—can still make you sick. Fortunately, washing your hands is one of the best defenses against the infections and illnesses they induce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing can reduce respiratory illnesses—such as the common cold—in the general population by 21 percent. Other U.S. public health authorities have stated that bad hand hygiene cause nearly 50 percent of food-borne illness outbreaks.


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