Hulk smash property insurance premiums.

The last time Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk got together, New York City was left nearly in ruins (save for a few intrepid shawarma joints). So on the eve of their return in this summer’s epic blockbuster Avengers: Age Of Ultron we started thinking: What if all the fictitious damage left behind from action and disaster movies was real...and what would it mean to insurance providers? Check out all of the make-believe damage that would bankrupt the universe.

2012

2012 crumbling city

Nature gives the entire world a violent makeover. Oceans rise, streets disintegrate, mountains crumble and nothing is left standing. At all. The very notion of insurance, or civilization as we know it, was washed away in the debris. [Photo Source: Sony]

Independence Day

Independence Day spaceships over new york city

Aliens blow up the White House, Empire State Building, most of Los Angeles, and every other important landmark around the world. When the aliens are defeated we still have a planet, but the destruction would be in the trillions. Might as well toss away those insurance policies and grab a shovel to clean up this mess so we can rebuild. We will not go quietly into that damage assessment meeting! [Photo Source: 20th Century Fox]

Man of Steel

Man Of Steel superman rubble

The Avengers took on an entire army of aliens and only decimated certain areas of Manhattan. Meanwhile, Superman’s pursuit of a single, rogue Kryptonian basically turns the once proud Metropolis into a smoking crater. According to Buzzfeed, his “heroics” would have cost an estimated $750 billion worth of physical damage with an economic impact of $2 trillion! But, hey, he “saved” us! [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]

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If you’re a parent, or remotely human, keep some tissues handy.

Yes, we could have added more than three songs, but we just had to stop. There was something in our eye. (Tears. So many tears.) But let these tearful tunes serve as a lesson rather than becoming your reality.

Cat’s In The Cradle

It doesn’t get much sadder than Harry Chapin’s classic about busy dad missing all the important moments of his son’s life. When he finally has time to spend time with his son, it’s just too late.

One-To-Grow-On Lyric: “He learned to walk while I was away, and he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew he'd say: ‘I'm gonna be like you, Dad. You know I'm gonna be like you.’"

Waterworks Lyric: “My boy was just like me.”

Bottom Line: Spend time with your kids because they grow up fast.

The Living Years

Mike & The Mechanics took a wrench to heartstrings everywhere when they sang about the communication gap between parents and children.

One-To-Grow-On Lyric: “It’s too late, when we die, to admit we don’t see eye-to-eye.”

Waterworks Lyric: “I wasn’t there that morning, when my father passed away. I didn’t get to tell him, all the things I had to say.”

Bottom Line: Discuss unresolved issues with your loved ones or regret it forever.

Landslide

Since this Stevie Nicks song can be interpreted in a bunch of different ways we identified common ground on which can all agree: It can turn anyone into whimpering mess. Especially when it comes on while you’re ordering at Subway. “I’ll take a five dollar footlo…*sniffle* why’s life so sad??? Of course I want the combo!”

One-To-Grow-On Lyric: “Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

Waterworks Lyric: “Time makes you get bolder, children get older, I'm getting older too.”

Bottom Line: Don’t listen to too many sad songs while you’re at work or else you’ll get stares from co-workers wondering if you’re okay. Yes, co-workers, I’m fine… *lonely teardrop*

The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was in 1908. The last time they made an appearance was in 1945. While this is hilarious for fans of other baseball franchises (except maybe the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals since neither have appeared in the Fall Classic), the championship drought has become a tradition and given rise to Chi-town’s sense of humor.

The late singer-songwriter and Cub-loyalist Steve Goodman lamented best in his aptly titled song “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request.”

We also recently came across a hilarious comic from AmazingSuperPowers.com:

cubs fan wes and tony comic

We’re not here to pile on, Cubbies fans. Just trying to offer some preemptive comfort for when the inevitable late-summer, early-fall collapse happens.

Don’t worry, there’s always next year.

Funerals? Disaster areas? Concentration camps? Enough already!

Most problems in this world aren’t easy to fix. Disease. Hunger. Justin Bieber. But we’ve isolated one issue that can be completely eliminated overnight if we exercise the slightest inkling of decorum and self-control: Inappropriate selfies.

In the past we’ve covered the dubious trend of funeral selfies, where the clueless take shots of themselves at these solemn events, often including insensitive hashtags to garner more attention. This callous trend has also tarnished sacred memorials honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., Vietnam veterans, 9/11, and the Holocaust, to name a few. It’s so pervasive that it isn’t even that shocking when people are caught preening in front of their phones during ongoing disasters, as we recently witnessed firsthand when a building in NYC exploded, killing two in the blast and ensuing inferno.

In response, The New York Post ran this on its front page:

new york post front page

This is the only inappropriate selfie we will ever post on this site. We don’t want to promote this practice in any way, which is how we can all begin to eradicate the problem.

It might feel satisfying to see selfie-perpetrators shamed, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem -- it makes it worse. Selfie-shaming either rewards the person who did it with undeserved attention they crave, or it continues to beat the guilty party into submission once they admit it was a terrible, thoughtless mistake.

The real questions we should be asking:
1. Why do people do this in the first place?

2. How do we stop it?

Oh, The Lack Of Humanity

selfie street sign

I’m no Dr. Phil, nor do I want to be, but selfies aren’t always about extreme narcissism. They’re usually harmless fun. The same way people used to turn their old point-and-shoot cameras on themselves when they didn’t want to bother a passing stranger, smartphones have made it simple to become a party of one. Want to show your best friend you’re at the Grand Canyon while she’s stuck in her cubicle? Want to make your kids laugh with a goofy face while you’re away on a business trip? Want to see how your hair looks without having to get up and walk to a mirror? Selfies can be endearing, funny, and make you feel good about how you’re looking that day.

But with great technology often comes little responsibility. Nearly every human has a phone that can take pixel-perfect photos and beam them around the entire planet in a matter of seconds. Moments that would once fade into our memory are now captured forever and sometimes shared beyond our control.

If you didn’t grow up with this technology, you’re probably thankful. I’m terrified to think of what 15 or 20-year-old me would be posting on the Internet if it was this seamless. So rather than judge and wag fingers, let’s accept this technology is tailor-made for bad judgement.

It’s like riding a motorcycle: It’s not about if you’ll get into an accident, it’s when. The severity of the accident could range from a tiny skid-out to full-on catastrophe, but it will happen at some point.

The amount of photos being shared online is staggering. According to Business Insider, in 2013 Facebook alone accounted for 350 million photo uploads each day. KCPB’s 2014 Internet report puts the total number of photos uploaded and shared per-day at 1.8 billion.

With those kind of numbers it’s understandable that a portion might be in poor taste or downright offensive. It’s also reasonable to think that the majority of the photos you take can easily disappear into the infinity never to be seen or heard from again.

On the other hand, it’s this perceived anonymity and constant onslaught of media options that land us in trouble. It ups the stakes to garner attention. Along the way you might share something that your friends or Instagram/Facebook/Twitter followers would find funny; once it expands beyond those parameters you will be judged by strangers who know nothing about you or your sense of humor. Even the most harmless intentions taken out of context can appear nasty and offensive, which is why we must all take swift and decisive measures.

Free Your Mind, And The Rest Will Follow

Now, for the solution to this problem…

STOP DOING IT!

It’s really that simple. Here’s an easy-to-remember checklist to help you avoid the inevitable anguish and outrage caused by an inappropriate selfie.

  • Before posing for a selfie, take a split second to ask yourself: “Is this in poor taste?”
  • If you have terrible taste, ask yourself: “What would my mom say if she saw this photo?”
  • If your mom has the same taste as you, ask yourself: “How would I feel if I was in pain and saw someone snapping a selfie despite my misfortune?”

Use these examples as your guide:

  • If my apartment building had just blown up and everything I owned was gone?
  • If I finally got to see my uncle’s name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was interrupted by a reflection of some disrespecting, selfie-taking jackass behind me?
  • If my parents were treated like second-class citizens, forced to the back of the bus, and beaten on the streets for standing up for their rights?
  • If my grandparents were massacred in the Holocaust?
  • If I lost my daughter in the World Trade Center?
  • If I caught someone snapping a selfie in front of my mother’s casket?

When it’s your pain it’s a different story, right?

If after all this self-reflection you still have an uncontrollable urge to take an inappropriate selfie, DON'T post it on any of your accounts. Treat it like a letter you wrote in anger but have no intention of sending. And, if upon deeper reflection and soul searching, you still need to post it to the world, seek medical attention immediately.

Bringing the topic of Advance Directives, Living Wills, and Health Care Proxies to a younger generation.

The popular and stylish Refinery29 wrote an insightful and compelling article on why everyone needs a Living Will (a.k.a. Advance Directive), which was aptly titled "The Critical Decision You Haven't Made — But Should."

And we're not just gushing over this because Everplans was mentioned in the article. Seriously! We're excited when anyone writes or speaks about the importance of this document. (You can download yours here: State-By-State Advance Directive Forms.) Refinery29 cites a number of statistics (example: "82% of people think it’s 'important' to record their [medical] wishes in writing, but only 23% have done so") and explains how an Advance Directive details the treatments you either want or don't want when you're unable to communicate your decisions due to a serious illness or injury.

refinery29 graphic regarding living wills

Here's a highlight of their interview with our co-founder Abby Schneiderman about the issue:

While planning her wedding in 2010, Schneiderman began to wonder whether there were similar services available to people preparing for a different milestone: death. Today, Everplans’ vast library of articles addresses questions from what to wear to a funeral to how to write a living will. As Schneiderman describes, “We created a platform that helps people create and store and share all of the important information that their family needs in case something happens to them — wills, life insurance policies, healthcare proxies, advance directives, even burial wishes and online accounts.”

Read the rest of this compelling article on Refinery29.

OK, the term crash is a bit of an overstatement...

We were invited to attend but we like to dramatize our headlines. Everplans brought a spark to the NFP conference in Orlando this week, handing out phone chargers and chatting up some of the best advisors from across the country. Our team took this opportunity to get feedback from the experts who live in the trenches of the financial world, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. As we launch our professional platform it's especially heartening to know that our message resonates with the very experts to whom we seek to provide services. 

Abby Schneiderman Working The Room At NFP
A candid shot of Everplans Co-founder Abby Schneiderman offering up professional planning solutions

A big Everplans thanks goes out to the world-class team at NFP for hosting us. Also thanks to Orlando for being warmer than New York, even though we never had a chance to go outdoors.

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Spring forward, indeed.

On Sunday March 8, 2015, most of America will be setting clocks forward one hour. (Way to be rebels, Arizona and Hawaii.) It often reopens the annual questions, discussions, and debates around the purpose of Daylight Saving Time. Why do we even need it anymore? Isn’t it about farmers or something? Is it a clock-industry conspiracy to get us to buy timepieces we don’t need?

We don’t care about any of this. Our only focus is the sheer number of clocks that require changing. Credit modern technology with making the shift somewhat easier, since cell phones and computers update automatically. But there’s always other clocks around the house that need an old fashioned touch -- often the same ones you have to reset when the power goes out.

We tried to identify every time-keeping device you might have that requires manual attention. Even if it’s as simple as flipping a switch to “DST mode,” think of this alphabetized list of 16 time-related items as a way to add a little more sunshine into your life.

Alarm Clocks / Clock Radio

vintage alarm clock

This is probably the first clock you adjust in your bedroom, but what about the other rooms? You might even have one in the shower. Don’t let them feel left out.

Answering Machine

answering machine

Yes, people still use these.

Car Clock

car dashboard clock

This used to be really simple back when a car clock was just a clock. Now you have to navigate menus, touchscreens, and obtain a degree in computer engineering. For the lucky few, your car’s time might update automatically. If that’s the case, ignore this tip and carry on down the list, your majesty.

Coffee Maker

coffee maker timer

For coffee lovers, this is very serious business. Do you really want to roll out of bed the weekend after losing an hour and not have your coffee ready Monday morning? Didn’t think so.

Everplans has been Minted.

Our co-founder Abby Schneiderman was recently interviewed by the personal financial management service Mint.com regarding end-of-life planning. Here are some highlights:

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing individuals making end-of-life plans?

For so many people, this can be an overwhelming process, so we see the biggest challenge is quite simply just finding a place to start. As such, Everplans offers so many different entry points.

Why do you think many of us avoid making these plans?

People avoid planning because it's often perceived as either too complicated or depressing. We're here to debunk both of those myths.

What's the fallout of not having plans in place?

What many people don't realize is that if you don't plan or share any of your decisions, then there actually is a plan in place for you. But rather than it reflecting your personal wishes, all the decisions will be by default by strangers - namely, doctors, courts and the government.

What do you think are the most common oversights we make in end-of-life planning?

The most common oversight is believing you have everything completely under control because you completed a few planning components...What you don't realize is how much you may be forgetting.

Mint also asked Abby about the minimum amount of planning everyone should do, when you should enlist the help of a professional, how often plans should be updated, and her favorite resources (apart from Everplans of course) for managing end-of-life-related decisions.

Head over to Mint.com and read the full interview. While you're there you might also want to set up an account since it's an easy and effective way to manage all your finanical information in one place. And we're not just saying this because they ran this exceptionally informative interview about us. It's a really useful digital tool, and the app is cool too.

Whip your plan into shape with these tips.
 

The overwhelming success of 50 Shades of Grey, both the book and record-breaking movie, got us thinking. Perhaps we’ve been too passive when it comes to getting people to plan. We have all the tools for everyone in the world to get a plan in place, but it appears some people need a push. So here goes...

You’ve been a very, very bad planner. Step into our extra comfy, well-lit planning roo...um, we mean, enter our dungeon of decadence and take your place on the throne of nonresistance as we go through the 50 things you need to do to take control of your life.

The safe word: Deputy. If you’re unfamiliar with Everplanning this will make sense soon enough. Also, who said you could speak? (Too much? We're still new at being bossy.)

You’re No Good To Us Hurt

heart wrapped in rope

You need to call your own shots when it comes to medical treatment. If you’re a good planner we might even untie you long enough to fill out an Advance Directive.

1. Decide what life support treatments you want in your Living Will. If you’re curious about what life support does to your precious body, find out more here.

2. Name a person you trust implicitly as your Health Care Proxy (a.k.a. Health Care Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, or Health Care Agent ) to make difficult medical decisions when you’re tied up.

3. Your heart belongs to us only figuratively. Decide if you want your real heart, and the rest of your important body parts, to go to those in need by being an Organ Donor.

4. Once you’ve thought through the first three things on this list, find your state’s Advance Directive Form here, print it, follow the directions, and get to work.

5. If don’t want to be poked and prodded by doctors when there’s no hope of recovery, you need a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). Unlike an Advance Directive, which you complete on your own, you need to fill this out with a doctor. Might we recommend Dr. Doom? Okay, maybe you should choose your own doctor in this instance.

6. These important medical documents are the ultimate exhibitionists. Don’t bury them in the bottom of a drawer or in a locked box with your secret items. You want them to be seen in their stark glory by all or else they’re completely worthless. (And we know how much you loathe wasting time on worthless things.)

Bend To Our Will

woman in catsuit bending whip

Time to exercise some “will” power so you don’t leave your family in a bind.

7. Take a nice long look at your massive, lovely...possessions. Your house, car, collectibles, etc... Where do you want them to go when you no longer have any use for them? You could have your family fight over all these things in court, or you can assert your dominance right now and divvy everything up in your Will.

8. You don’t have to be nice. If there’s someone who wronged you in your life, you can make a point of leaving them nothing. Here’s the catch: If you don’t create a Will, and this person is a close relative, Probate court could end up giving them everything. We wouldn’t want that happening, now would we?

9. Guardianship is about nurturing and caring for another person’s child as if he or she were your own. If you have little ones, or care for an adult with special needs, you need to name someone so those bundles of happiness aren’t left to fend for themselves. [Related reading: How To Choose A Guardian]

10. If you don’t pick a guardian, the court will choose one for you. Are you the type of person who wants a judge you’ve never met deciding the fate of your children? Who knows where they’ll end up? You can only hope it’s not with your creepy loner cousin who transformed his shed into a real S&M dungeon. But since you didn’t make the decision while you were alive it’s too late now.

11. After you’ve named a guardian, you have another decision to make: Who handles their financial well-being? If you’re already trusting someone to raise your child, odds are you can trust them with money as well. But what if you want to put a barrier between love and money? Enter the Guardian of the Estate. Do you need one?

12. A Will isn’t complete until you name an Executor. This no-nonsense take-charge person will make sure everything you want gets done. Now you’re playing with power!

13. Once your Will is official, keep it locked up somewhere safe and secure. (Hmm, we like the sound of that…) But seriously, tell someone you trust where it is so they don’t have to tear your house apart to find it.

14. If you don’t want to do a Will for whatever reason let people you care about know that too. Otherwise, they could spend time ripping apart your house over a document that doesn’t exist. You can even leave a note as to why you didn’t want a Will just to put them at ease.

The show must go on, just keep some tissues handy.

We’ve come to expect TV shows to kill off characters. From cop shows to medical dramas to sitcoms, no one is ever truly safe -- but when an actor starring in a series actually dies, it changes everything.

Viewers, cast mates, and producers alike want to make sure the departed is properly honored, leaving everyone with a positive lasting memory. Here’s how some of the most popular TV shows handled the deaths of actors and their respective characters.

Cheers

Coach from Cheers

It was obvious something was going on with Nicholas Colasanto during season 3 of Cheers: Between his dramatic weight loss and severely reduced screentime, the affable “Coach” Ernie Pantusso seemed to be fading away right before viewers’ eyes.

When Colasanto died of a heart attack before production wrapped that season, Coach was also put to rest. Realizing there was no better explanation for his absence than the truth, Sam quietly told Diane that “Coach died” in the season 4 premiere.

He was replaced by the similarly simple-minded Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), but Coach’s memory was never abandoned. For the rest of its 11-year run, Cheers made affectionate reference to Coach several times, even hanging a photo the actor kept in his dressing room on the wall of the bar set, which Sam adjusted at the end of the finale. (Photo Source: Paramount)

Night Court

Selma and Florence from Night Court

When 64 year-old Selma Diamond died of lung cancer after filming season 2 of Night Court, 62 year-old Florence Halop was brought on to replace her as brassy female bailiff.

Producers weren’t trying to hoodwink audiences into believing Florence was Selma -- her death was explicitly addressed in the season 3 premiere, with fellow bailiff, Bull (Richard Moll), grieving the hardest.

Shortly after completing season 3, Florence also died of lung cancer. Having already given Selma a proper send-off the year before, the show’s decision to also acknowledge Florence’s death was surprisingly forthright: In the season 4 premiere, Judge Harry T. Stone (Harry Anderson) admits being more sad about both of their deaths than his mother’s.

As Night Court faced its third casting of the role, producers changed direction with Marsha Warfield, a 32 year-old comedienne with killer deadpan who remained on the series until its finale in 1992. (Photo Source: Warner Home Video)

Bonanza

Hoss from Bonanza

Widely regarded as the most beloved player on Bonanza, Dan Blocker’s unexpected death just before the show’s 14th and final season couldn’t go unmentioned. But if fans expected the series to face Hoss’ death with the courage of a cowboy, they were in for some disappointment.

Leery of an hour-long grief-fest, the final season was peppered with not-so-subtle allusions to the loss: A closing zoom on a photo of Hoss; Ben’s (Lorne Greene) references to losing a son; a tearful breakdown between Ben and Little Joe (Michael Landon).

It was obvious Hoss was dead, even if producers refused to come out and say it. They also refused to provide an explanation and fans of Bonanza didn’t find out how Hoss died until 16 years later, when a 1988 TV movie revealed he’d been trying to save a young man from drowning. (Photo Source: Paramount)