After a record year of breaches, two cybersecurity experts share tips on securing your business's most valuable assets to prevent a cyberattack.

How to Prep for a Cyberattack, and 3 Steps to Take When Your Company Does Get Hacked

After a record year of breaches, two cybersecurity experts share tips on securing your business’s most valuable assets to prevent a cyberattack. | BY BEN SHERRY | Cyberattack | Shield Cyber Liability Insurance

Was your company hacked in the past year? If not, consider yourself lucky.

It’s not a question of if, experts say, but when you’ll get hacked.

Cybercrime is up exponentially, driven in part by the pandemic shift to remote work and employees using their own devices to access company networks or, alternatively, adopting work devices for personal use. According to a year-end report from cybersecurity services provider Flashpoint, 4,146 global data breaches were reported from January 1, 2022, to November 30, 2022. About a third of those, 31.8 percent, targeted U.S.-based companies. And while we hear a lot about the hacks at large companies and organizations, small and midsize companies tend to be even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

“I often see smaller companies that say I’m small enough that hackers wouldn’t care about me,” says Tiffany Kleemann, clients, and markets leader for cyber and strategic risk at Deloitte. “That’s just simply untrue. I don’t care what size business you are–everyone these days is a target.”

Kleemann points out that smaller companies that experience hacks can face an existential threat. Take ransomware for example, a type of cybercrime in which an attacker encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data. A smaller company without the cash flow to meet a hacker’s demands could be sunk. 

Cyberattack prevention starts with awareness

Kleemann says that “job one” for every company looking to safeguard from cybercrime should be to conduct a cyber risk assessment. A cyber risk assessment is a process for evaluating the potential risks to an organization’s technology infrastructure, business processes, and security controls to identify vulnerabilities and the potential impact of a hack or data breach. Kleemann likens the process to identifying your company’s “crown jewels,” and then formulating specific plans for how to safeguard those valuable assets. 

Also vitally important is training your employees to identify attempts from external actors to break into your internal systems. These attempts often come in the form of phishing scams, in which someone attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity via electronic communication. These days, Kleemann says, cybersecurity consultants are going a step further than hosting classes on phishing scams; they’re sending fake phishing emails to employees as a low-stakes way of testing their abilities to recognize threats. 

Cyberattack Damage-control steps

But what if it’s too late? What should you do when you check your website and suddenly, instead of your homepage, you see a message demanding that you pay for the ability to regain control of your business? That’s where Frank Shultz, chairman and CEO of business resilience solutions firm Infinite Blue, comes in. Shultz has vast experience helping companies pick up the pieces after a hack, and he shared three key tips with Inc. readers. 

1. Trust your gut

If you have any suspicion that an intruder has breached your network, trust your gut and immediately take all communications with your employees to a separate, secure network that isn’t being monitored (examples include Signal and Wire). Shultz says that he’s seen hacks in which the infiltrators impersonate an employee in the company’s Slack channel, and then are able to watch along while the company formulates a plan to counter the hack. Shultz adds that businesses should consider adopting a code word to let employees know that there’s been a breach and to switch to the secure messaging service. 

2. Get insurance

Shultz also says that companies of all sizes should consider getting cybersecurity insurance, which he claims can be a lifesaver if you have no other option but to pay out a ransom. This type of insurance is just emerging, so look for policies that include access to teams that help negotiate with the hackers, and help craft communications about the hack to employees and customers. 

3. Know your IP

The best thing you can do is be prepared and ready to quickly take action, figure out which of your assets would be the most painful to lose and invest heavily to keep those assets secure.

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layoffs and hiring freezes

The tech industry’s moment of reckoning: layoffs and hiring freezes

The Verge | By VERGE STAFF | Jan 26, 2023 | layoffs and hiring freezes | Business Insurance with Shield

Over the past few months, the economy has started to turn, and tech workers are being hit hard. Meta, Twitter, and more have fired thousands, and others are slowing or freezing hiring.

Over the last year, it feels like every day, we’ve heard the news of mass layoffs and hiring freezes from big tech companies that were formerly famous for having deep pockets and near-endless amenities for workers.

Now, it’s clear that the industry as a whole is tightening its belt, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees out of work — and more wondering if they’ll have a job within the next few months or searching for jobs in an industry that no longer has a spot for them. It’s gotten to the point where one tech recruiting site created an interactive tool to track the layoffs across established companies and startups.

To open 2023, Amazon announced layoffs of mostly corporate employees will trim 18,000 workers from the roster, the biggest reduction — in raw numbers, despite Amazon’s 1.5 million-strong workforce — yet. Slightly smaller raw numbers popped up at Google, with 12,000 layoffs, and Microsoft, with 10,000.

Elizabeth Lopatto spoke to experts to try and answer the question of why so many layoffs are happening right now, despite tech companies continuing to register sizable profits. One reason is that “investors have changed how they’re evaluating companies,” even if there’s a lack of evidence that the layoffs can help solve any of the problems they may have.

Twitter’s layoffs happened because Elon Musk bought the company and took it private, and Meta’s CEO claims its 13 percent reduction in staff is a course correction after the company went on a hiring spree during the online retail boom that came out of the pandemic. Companies that rely on advertising, like Meta and Snap, have also been hit hard by privacy policy changes from Apple.

Meanwhile, the iPhone maker is blaming the economy for its own hiring slowdown, despite being one of the few companies still announcing record-breaking earnings and beating estimates.

We’ll probably see even more reasons for layoffs or freezes as other companies announce their own. Stay tuned to this page for the latest on big tech companies’ cost-cutting measures and how they affect current and former employees.

Here’s all our coverage of the recent outbreak of layoffs and hiring freezes from big tech, auto, crypto, and more:

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10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

Ring in the new year right with smart money moves

AARP | By Bruce Horovitz | December 19, 2022 | Money Moves | Shield Insurance Agency

With 2023 just days away, could there be a more confusing time for investors? On one hand, the discussion is all about the upcoming recession — but is there actually going to be one? On the other hand, the discussion is also about the inflation monster, which has seriously impacted all of our wallets.

But are there signs that the monster is finally getting tamed, or is that just an illusion? In either case, what is the best way to prepare for spending and investing in the year ahead? AARP reached out to certified financial planners for tips on what older investors need to consider for the coming year. Here are their 10 best tips for 2023.

Smart Money Moves

1. Supersize your retirement plan contribution

If you are still working and have the cash flow, 2023 could be a terrific time to max out your tax deferrals, says Rachel Elson, a certified financial planner in San Francisco, California. Federal limits have jumped sharply, so with catch-up contributions, workers age 50 and up will be able to put $30,000 into workplace retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b).

You’ll need to have sufficient income to allow this kind of saving because you could be tying up those dollars for several years, she says. But if you’re in your peak earning stage — and especially if you’re living in a high-tax state — the tax break from maximizing your deferrals can be meaningful.

2. Double-check charitable contributions

The one place that’s most obvious for tax deductions — charitable contributions — is also the place where many folks fail to get their full deductions, says Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner in Santa Monica, California. In reviewing his clients’ tax returns, Kraus discovered that most of them weren’t getting the full deduction from their charitable contributions because they either took the standard deduction or they were giving from the wrong pool of money.

More than 80 percent of Americans take the standard deduction, he says. There are other options. People over age 70½ can donate up to $100,000 from their IRA. (The contribution will not count as income.) Also, donating appreciated assets, such as stocks, might not create an extra deduction, but can avoid the capital gains taxes you would have to pay if you simply sold the asset, he notes.

3. Create a business owner retirement plan

More than 54 percent of America’s small business owners are age 50 and over, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Those who are self-employed can still have access to a retirement plan although many don’t realize it, says Marguerita M. Cheng, a certified financial planner in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The benefit to them is additional savings for retirement and tax savings either today or in the future. For those who have employees, the options include Simple IRA, SEP IRA or 401(k).

4. Invest in U.S. Treasury bills

Few investments offer the safety and security of U.S. Treasury bills, says Jordan Benold, a certified financial planner in Frisco, Texas. These are U.S. securities that mature in one year or less. Currently, a two- to six-month treasury bill will pay more than 4 percent, Jordan says.

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How to reverse burnout at work

Balance these 6 things to reverse burnout at work, says social psychologist and author of ‘The Burnout Challenge’ | Renée Onque@IAMRENEEONQUE | Nov 14 2022 | Burnout | Business Insurance

Do you struggle to pinpoint why you’re burnt out at work? Is it you? Is it your job?

It may actually be a mismatch of the two, according to Christina Maslach, a social psychologist, retired professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley and author of “The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs.” 

“You really have to look at the relationship with the job, and that means looking at both the job and the person. It’s not like one or the other,” Maslach tells CNBC Make It.

“It’s certainly not just the person who has to make the changes.”

The cure for burnout isn’t just taking time off or a starting a mindful morning routine, but it’s actually discovering how to get a better match between what your job requires of you and the tools you have to complete your duties, she says.

Maslach, and co-author of her book, Michael P. Leiter, identified six areas within your profession that should meet your standards, or else your risk of more stress and potential burnout increases.

Here are the six factors and how they may be affecting you.

Workload Burnout

It can be extremely difficult to meet high demands when you’re low on resources, says Maslach.

Lacking supportive tools like time, people, equipment or information may be affecting your ability to do your job how you’d like to.


Having autonomy, discretion and an ability to make choices are necessary in the workplace in order to feel like you’re doing your job well, she notes.

“People often complain about having a lack of control, that they’re told what to do, no ifs, ands or buts about it,” she says.


The way you feel about your salary and benefits can influence your emotions toward work. But, rewards aren’t just limited to finances.

“A lot of times, it’s social recognition, that people are pleased by what you’ve done and let you know it,” Maslach says. If you’re working hard and aren’t receiving positive feedback, you’re more likely to feel unjustified.

Community Burnout

From co-workers, bosses, and people you supervise to clients, patients, or students, everyone you interact with while working can affect your feelings about your job. Without mutual respect, trust, and support within your team, even the best job can turn into a “socially toxic workplace” that you hate, says Maslach.


“Where there’s an absence of fairness, this is where discrimination lives. This is where glass ceilings exist,” Maslach says.

Rules, policies and practices should feel equal in your work environment or it can lead to resentment, she adds. You need to believe that you have an equal chance at receiving promotions and just as many opportunities as the rest of your team.


You’re a lot more likely to quit your job if it doesn’t align with your basic moral principles, says Maslach.

Working for a company or organization where there are ethical conflicts can deter you from feeling enthusiastic about what you do, she notes.

How to approach an imbalance in these areas

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Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Liberty Mutual | 01/06/2023 | risk management | Business Insurance

Organizations across the country face uncertainty and tough choices as economists continue to paint a gloomy picture of an impending recession.

“We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time,” notes Matthew Moore, executive vice president and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual Global Risk Solutions.

We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time.

-Matthew Moore, EVP and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual GRS

In a landscape of turbulence, how can companies effectively forecast their futures? What tools can they use to engineer resilience and reanalyze risk?

According to Moore, proactive risk-management planning, and the help of strategic partnerships with insurance providers, offer a way forward.

“Insurance can offer real solutions,” says Moore. “You need to work together with your carrier to develop smart solutions that strategically manage and mitigate risk.”

Three risk management trends to watch in 2023

In this time of uncertainty, here are three risk-management trends to look out for, along with why partnering closely with insurance providers can help companies build a roadmap for resilience.

Companies’ risk management profiles will likely shift.

For corporate risk managers, a critical takeaway is that economic turbulence has likely shifted your company’s risk profile — leaving many organizations at risk of being underinsured. As businesses may be tempted to reduce costs by cutting corners on risk mitigation, loss controls, workforce safety, good governance, and compliance, insurance providers will be keeping a close eye on risk profiles.

Property valuations are another factor impacting risk profiles. “Inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues all are driving property-replacement costs that are out of sync with valuations,” Moore says. In fact, Liberty Mutual’s experts estimate that a whopping 75 percent of commercial businesses are undervalued. For example, because of rising costs, a building valued at $1 million five years ago could easily cost 20 percent more to replace today. There are also other factors beyond construction costs, including the frequency and severity of weather activity and business interruption, that should be considered.

If you’re underinsured, Moore notes, “you may face another unpleasant surprise after you’ve already experienced a loss.”

Working together with your provider and broker, proactively, is the best way to help ensure your operations have the right coverage and can recover quickly after a loss.

Insurance carriers may become more selective in response to economic disruption.

It’s not just insured businesses who are carefully navigating change — insurance carriers are also feeling economic pressure. Working to stifle inflation, the Fed raised rates for the seventh time this past December, this time by 0.5 percent. With so much rapid change, insurance carriers are rethinking their business strategies.

“Commercial insurance lines can face an amplified impact, as exposure bases like payroll or sales can decline quickly, reducing premium and increasing risk,” says Moore.

As the economy slows, carriers expect a decreased demand for insurance and, consequently, a decrease in premium pricing. While carriers’ investment income might increase, their tolerance for risk may weaken. Carriers could, for example, reduce their capacity in some industries and lines based on market cycle vulnerabilities.

The potential for carriers to become more selective highlights the importance for companies to communicate any business changes — both within their organization and to their insurance partners — to mitigate any unexpected changes

Value-add insurance offerings play an even more important role in managing the total cost of risk.

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Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

 Worklife News   | BY OLIVER PICKUP | JANUARY 10, 2023 | Cybersecurity | Cyber Liability Insurance

In an attempt to clamp down harder on the increased risk of cybersecurity threats to businesses, tech leaders are actively hiring neurodivergent people because of the strong problem-solving and analytical skills they can offer.

The neurodiversity spectrum is wide, ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Tourette syndrome, to autism and bipolarity. But common characteristics of neurodivergent individuals – including pattern-spotting, creative insights, and visual-spatial thinking – are finally being realized, not least in the cyber security sector.

Holly Foxcroft, head of neurodiversity in cyber research and consulting at professional search firm London-centered Stott and May Consulting, said that neurodivergent individuals have “spiky profiles.” Foxcroft, who is neurodivergent herself, explained that these visual representations highlight the strengths and areas needed for development or support. “Neurodivergent profiles show that individuals perform highly in areas where neurotypicals have a consistent and moderate line,” she said. 

The areas in which neurodivergent individuals have “exceeded skill” include high-level problem-solving, creative “out-the-box” thinking, hyper-focusing, and pattern spotting. “These are much-needed attributes and skills in cybersecurity,” added Foxcroft.

Unique skills for unknown unknowns

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4, a global cybersecurity awareness platform, said: “As someone on the autism spectrum, I’m very encouraged by the efforts of the security community to recruit neurodivergent employees actively.” 

The resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, is proud his work community is leading the way. He said these recruitment efforts mark an essential step in helping to overcome some of the ”inherent stigmas” associated with neurodivergence. However, Carpenter also warned against yet more generalizing “Just because someone is neurodiverse doesn’t mean that they will naturally be great coders or analysts. We don’t want to create new stereotypes.”

“Our adversaries [cybercriminals] are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets.”

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4.

KnowBe4’s Carpenter listed the main reasons cybersecurity leaders are “actively recruiting” neurodivergent staff. First, the community understands more than most that “unique individuals” can offer “unique skills” suited to cybersecurity. Different ways of thinking are critical in the fight against cybercriminals, who also know the benefits of employing innovators. “Our adversaries are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets,” said Carpenter. 

Whether “hyper-focused” or offering out-of-the-box thinking, neurodivergent workers enable “teams to continually grind data, identify patterns, or find solutions to complex problems that someone else might miss,” according to Carpenter.

Paul Baird, the chief technical security officer in the U.K. for cybersecurity firm Qualys, built on this theme. “If you have a neurodiverse team, they will react differently when a problem arises,” he said. “The alternative is that you have a cookie-cutter approach to security where every problem gets handled the same way each time.” 

The latter strategy struggles with unknown unknowns or unexpected events. “At that point, you need people with multiple views and backgrounds to solve these problems effectively,” Baird added.

Narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap

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5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan - Shield Insurance Blog

5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan

The Business Journals | By Cigna + Oscar | Oct 25, 2022 | Health Insurance

Whether you’ve just purchased small business health insurance or you’re shopping around, you’re probably aware that coverage can be costly, depending on the plan you purchase. According to a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report, the average annual premium was $7,739 for an individual and $22,221 for a family plan. Employers helped cover 83% of the costs for a single person and 63% of a family plan.

That’s why it’s critical to make the most of the plan you have — and help your employees stay engaged. Here are five key ways you can maximize your health insurance coverage, so your employees use the plan often, become healthier and help lower your business’s costs.

1. Emphasize the health insurance plan’s customer support programs and tools.

Some health plans offer dedicated customer support, online tools, and even concierge-like services that can help employees understand and use their plan. For example, Cigna + Oscar is unique in that it offers Care Guides, a team of professionals who help members find doctors and answer their questions about specific benefits and claims. Care Guides can also help coordinate care and prepare members for their upcoming procedures.

The more employees understand how their plan works, the more likely they are to use in-network providers, purchase generic medications, and rely on other cost-saving methods. In turn, this can help you, as an employer, lower your overall costs too.

2. Encourage your employees to manage their health insurance plan digitally.

If your health plan offers a mobile app, it may be where employees can access telemedicine services and prescription refill requests and even pay their premiums online. Encourage them to make the most of these convenient, digital services. After all, they help make your business’s health plan easy to use and can increase employee satisfaction.

If you’re shopping for a health plan now, look for one that offers digital services. You may want to ask your broker:

  • What telemedicine services are available to my employees, if any?
  • Is virtual urgent care available?
  • Can employees request prescription refills online?
  • Is there an easy way for employees to search if a doctor is in-network?
  • What other digital services are available with this health plan?

The bottom line: Today’s employees want to manage their healthcare at the click of a button. A convenient and easy-to-use mobile app and website can help them do that.

3. Communicate to employees about mental health care offerings.

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Workplace Stress

Back to Basics: Workplace Stress

BLR | By Grace Hatfield, EHS Daily Advisor | Jan 9, 2023 | Workplace Stress | Business Insurance

Back to Basics is a weekly feature that highlights important but possibly overlooked information that any EHS professional should know. This week, we examine workplace stress and OSHA’s recommendations for addressing mental health.

Workplace Stress impacts the health and mental wellbeing of employees in every industry. According to OSHA, mental health challenges can include clinical mental illness, substance use disorders, and emotions like stress, grief, and feeling sad and anxious, even when these feelings are temporary and not part of a diagnosable condition. Even though workplaces can induce stress, they can also provide resources, solutions, and activities to help improve mental wellbeing.

Scope of the Workplace Stress Problem

OSHA says that workplace stress and poor mental health can negatively affect workers through job performance, productivity, work engagement and communication, physical capability, and daily functioning. More than 80% of U.S. workers have reported experiencing workplace stress, and more than 50% believe their work-related stress impacts their life at home. Workplace stressors can include the following:

  • Concerns about job security
  • Lack of access to tools and equipment needed to perform work safely
  • Fear of employer retaliation
  • Facing confrontation from customers, patients, coworkers, supervisors, or employees
  • Adapting to new or different workspaces, schedules, or rules
  • Having to learn new or different tasks or take on more responsibilities
  • Having to work more frequent or extended shifts
  • Being unable to take adequate breaks
  • Physically demanding work
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Blurring of work-life boundaries, making it hard to disconnect from the office
  • Finding ways to work while simultaneously caregiving
  • Concerns about work performance and productivity
  • Concerns about the safety of using public transit to commute

These stressors can negatively affect a person’s mental health and sense of well-being, which can potentially contribute to serious problems, like the development or exacerbation of mental health challenges. Stressors can also lead to issues with productivity, happiness, and burnout.

Employer guidance and Workplace Stress

The goal should be to find ways to alleviate or remove stressors in the workplace to the greatest extent possible, says OSHA, and to build coping and resiliency supports, and ensure that people who need help know where to find it. Reducing workplace stress can improve morale and lead to increased productivity, better focus, fewer workplace injuries, fewer sick days, and improved physical health.

There are four key things that employers can do to help their workers manage and reduce stress. The first is to be aware and acknowledge that people can carry an emotional load that is unique to their own circumstances. Some people may experience heightened levels of loneliness, isolation, uncertainty, grief, and stress, while others may have additional responsibilities like caregiving for children or elderly household members. There are also those who already have existing mental health and substance use challenges.

Employers should identify factors that are making it harder for workers to get their jobs done, and determine if adjustments can be made. Leaders must also show empathy, by ensuring their employees that they are not alone, their employer understands the stress they are under, there is no shame in feeling anxious, and that asking for help is important.

The last key factor is providing access to coping and resiliency resources, workplace and leave flexibilities without penalty, or other supportive networks and services. OSHA says that research from the American Psychological Association suggests that 50% of employees find that a lack of paid time off or sick leave has a negative impact on workplace stress levels.

OSHA provides recommendations for senior managers and supervisors on how to get conversations started with employees about mental health. Senior managers should be transparent and avoid using negative or stigmatizing language when discussing mental health and workplace stress. They should stay positive and speak positively around everyone, and listen without judgment if a staff member reaches out.

Managers must be understanding and offer assistance, and model exemplary behaviors by demonstrating self-care behaviors. Lastly, they should adequately train frontline supervisors about mental health issues, so they have the skills and confidence to address these issues and recognize the signs and symptoms of emotional distress.

As for supervisors, they should find out if workers need help, and look for ways to redistribute tasks to minimize stress. They must monitor their own stress levels and make sure that they are taking care of themselves. Supervisors should be compassionate and understanding and look for signs of stress and mental health emergencies.

If there is concern about a worker experiencing a serious mental health or substance use challenge, encourage them to get help. Lastly, supervisors must know the facts, and OSHA recommends that they take training to learn about mental health issues.

Training with Workplace Stress

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Save 20% or more on your heating costs this winter.

Slash Your Heating Costs This Winter

Zen | By Patricia Schaefer | December 1, 2022 | Heating Costs | Shield Home Insurance

Use these low-cost and no-cost ways to lower your heating bill, regardless of your heat source. Read on if you’d like to save 20% or more on your heating bills this winter.

The cost of heating your home — and your home office — could put a huge hole in your budget this winter whether you heat with oil, gas, or electric. Even if you get the best price for heating oil in your area, for instance, you might need to spend more than $5,000 to keep your home warm.

But there are steps you can take to potentially save you 20% or more on heating costs when those penetrating arctic winds start to blow. For those on limited budgets, there are many ways to lower heating bills that don’t cost a dime. There are also weatherization applications that require anywhere from a small to middling investment of cash, yet these applications will subsequently lower both energy consumption and future heating bills. Over time, these investments can be expected to more than pay for themselves.

Cost-Free Ways to Lower Heating Bills

  • Lower your thermostat. Try reducing your usual daytime temperature by at least one degree. For each lowered degree, you’ll save one to three percent off those heating bills. At night, turn down the thermostat to 60 degrees. It’s much healthier, you’ll feel better when you awaken, and you’ll save money. If you go away for a weekend or more, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees.
  • Run bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans less. Exhaust fans pull warm air out of the house and let in cooler air that will need to be heated. Use fans only when necessary.
  • If you have a service contract with a heating provider, it will usually include an annual check and tune-up of your heating system. Don’t rely on the company to contact you about scheduling this service. Be sure it’s performed annually before winter arrives; doing so can save up to 10% on heating bills.
  • Close the damper on your fireplace when not in use. If not, your chimney will draw warm air out of the room and create a draft.
  • Close off unused spaces (attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms, storage areas, etc.) or heat only those rooms that you use. If your heating system has vents, close off heating vents in unused rooms.
  • If you have ceiling fans, reverse the switch so they blow upward toward the ceiling. The reverse air circulation promotes heating efficiency in the winter.
  • Reduce your hot water heater temperature to 115-120 degrees.
  • Keep blinds and drapes open on sun-exposed windows during the day. Close these same drapes at night to help impede the escape of heat.
  • Dust builds up on radiators and baseboard heating vents, and then reduces the amount of heat that can get into a room. Dust and vacuum these surfaces often.
  • Prune branches from trees and bushes that block the sun’s rays into your home. 
  • If possible, sign up for a budget plan with your heating provider. Although this will not reduce the actual yearly dollar amount, it will make your bill-paying more manageable when spread evenly over a 12-month period.
  • When you add energy-efficient items to your home, check for possible tax breaks or discounts on homeowner insurance policies.
  • Check with local utility companies for free energy audits. Certain energy-saving devices may also be provided and installed free of charge. Lower-income households typically qualify for these free products and services.

Lower heating costs with energy-saving devices and services

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New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2023

New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2023 | By Sarah Davis | Jan 11, 2023 | New Year’s Resolutions | Shield Insurance Agency

The start of a new year serves as an opportunity for many to set new goals and commit to better habits. But what happens when the energy and excitement after the ball drops wear off—and how many New Year’s resolutions fail to come to fruition?

Below, we explore exactly what types of goals are set—and by whom—as well as what statistics say about the likelihood of those intentions turning into reality.

Interesting New Year’s Resolutions Statistics at a Glance

new survey from Forbes Health/OnePoll of 1,005 U.S. adults (conducted Nov. 18 through Nov. 28, 2022) looked at Americans’ attitudes surrounding resolution setting and what types of goals were prioritized.

Interestingly, the survey highlighted a couple of standout themes: Many people—particularly young people—are prioritizing their mental health over their physical health, and a decent portion of respondents feel pressured to set resolutions.

Specifically, the survey found:

  • 29% say they feel pressured to set a new year’s resolution.
    • Gen Z feels more pressure to set a resolution than any other generation (39%).
    • Men (35%) feel more pressured to set a resolution than women (28%).
  • Overall, 20% of people say improving mental health is a top priority in 2023 while 16% say improved physical health is more important to them.
    • 62% say physical and mental health is of equal importance.
  • More people cite improved mental health as a top resolution (45%) compared to improved fitness (39%), weight loss (37%), and improved diet (33%).
    • Women are more likely than men to cite improved mental health as a resolution (47% compared to 40%) while men are more likely to prioritize goals related to physical health, such as improved diet and fitness.
    • Baby boomers are more likely than any other age group to cite losing weight as a top resolution (54%).
  • 77% of respondents say they keep themselves accountable when it comes to sticking to their goals.
    • Of all groups, Gen Z is the least likely to cite themselves as the person responsible for keeping them accountable for their goals.
  • Overall, 81% of respondents feel confident in their ability to reach their goals, and only 5% lack this confidence.
    • Men are more confident (86%) than women (79%) in their ability to reach their goals.
  • Overall, only 6% of respondents cite reducing alcohol consumption as a top resolution.
    • Millennials are keener to give up alcohol than Gen Z (8% compared to 4%).
  • 52% plan on using a resource, such as an app, online platform, or membership, for assistance in sticking to their resolutions.
    • Men are more likely than women to rely on these resources (59% compared to 50%).
    • Apps are the most popular accountability tool.
  • 85% of respondents say their New Year’s resolution will have a positive impact beyond 2023.
    • 25% say that their resolution will have a positive impact for one to two years, and 57% believe it’ll have an impact for three years or more.

Most Common New Year’s Resolutions

For 2023, the Forbes Health/OnePoll survey found some resolutions to be more common than others, with the most popular goals including:

  • Improved mental health (45%)
  • Improved fitness (39%)
  • Lose weight (37%)
  • Improved diet (33%)
  • Improved finances (30%)

Less popular resolutions include stop smoking (14%), learn a new skill (12%) and make time for hobbies (11%). Notably, Gen Z is more likely to prioritize improved mental health as a 2023 resolution than any other generation (50%).

2023 New Year’s Resolutions By Age

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