Let the Smokers Smoke and Let Business Owners Make Decisions

Last week the Indiana Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter to Indiana Lawmakers calling for raising the cigarette tax, increasing the legal smoking age, and repealing the “smokers’ bill of rights.” The letter claims that such a state-capitalmove “sends a clear signal that we’ve got to get serious as a state about tackling this longstanding challenge.” The letter correctly points out that Indiana is one of the least healthy states in terms of both smoking and obesity levels, and this is a serious issue we should tackle. However, as we look at the public health we must not forget the proper place and role of government: securing our liberties.

Raising the legal smoking age is as absurd as it is intrusive. An 18 year old can vote, drive, be drafted or volunteer to serve in uniform, and is a legal adult. If that free individual decides on their own to smoke, then it should be their decision as an American to do so. It is the mark of a free society that individuals have the liberty to make choices ontax.jpg their own. One may argue that smoking is bad for public health (and it is), but the freedom of the individual to make an independent decision is more important than the government deciding what’s good for us. If we make the determination that the state should be able to regulate what we can legally ingest merely on the pretense of health then we should support a prohibition on all smoking. As a matter of fact if we decide that government mandated health is more important than individual liberty we should ban processed sugar, soft drinks and fatty foods altogether.

Using the cigarette tax to manipulate consumption is not a new idea. Nor is it a new idea to use the increased revenue to fund a pet project, such as a “smoking cessation plan” as the letter suggests. New York has the highest cigarette tax of any state in the union, and yet their revenue from the tax fell by about $400 million between 2010 and 2015 – but not because people quit smoking. As always happens when government manipulates the market, there are unintended consequences, in this case a cigarette black market. Not only has this caused a wave of smuggling, but it also arguably led to the death of Eric Garner when police confronted him for suspicion of selling untaxed single cigarettes.

The letter was correct however in pointing out that employers should be able to consider the use of tobacco as a hiring consideration, a practice currently prohibited under the “smokers’ bill of rights.” Just as one person has the right to choose to smoke, another business-ownerperson should have the right to decide not to hire that individual and potentially take on some of their healthcare costs. This will allow each business to decide what is best for them, and the incentive of a job will be enough to convince some people to stop smoking. This is the best way to attack the public health issue of smoking without violating individual liberties or government manipulating behavior through a tax.

The Chamber of Commerce is a fantastic organization that does a lot of good in our communities, but sometimes in seeking to create a business-friendly environment they can forget that the best thing in almost all cases is simply letting free people be free. In matters of public policy we should not seek to subordinate freedom to anyone’s idea of what will create wealth. Let the smokers smoke, and let the employers make decisions. In the end, freedom is the most business-friendly policy. there is.

How to Save Money on Your Auto Insurance

Insurance is a very competitive business. It is so competitive that sometimes agents and companies will skimp on some important coverages to save the insured a few dollars in premium. This can leave the insured in a very weak position if a claim were to occur.

There are however, some good ways to save money on your auto insurance.save-money-on-auto

  1. Bundle – The easiest way to save money on your auto insurance is to bundle your other insurance needs with the same company that has your auto insurance. You could save up to 30% just by taking advantage of multi-policy discounts.
  2. Multi-Car Discount – The more cars that you insure with on carrier, the more discounts that you will receive. Some carriers will even include boats, motorcycles, and other types of vehicles with the multi-policy discount.
  3. Professional Organization / Association Discounts – Some carriers will also give discounts if you are a member of an organization or trade group. Alumni Associations, Business & Professional groups, Educational Groups, Military, and many other groups may be available. Check with your agent to see if an organization that you belong to qualifies for a discount.
  4. Save Drivers Discounts – Most carriers give their clients discounts for drivers that have not had any violations or accidents for a certain amount of time.annual review
  5. Age Based Discounts – Some carriers give out discounts based on your age. These discounts can begin as early as age 55. Check with your agent.
  6. Driver Safety Course Discounts – For drivers under the age of 21, a driver safety course may be a good idea for their safety and it may also qualify them for a discount. Most high schools offer Drivers Education Courses.
  7. Good Student Discount – Some carriers also offer discounts to students for good grades or perfect attendance.
  8. Vehicle Safety Discounts – Sometimes newer vehicles are less expensive to insure because of the many safety features. Anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, airbags, & electronic stability devices are some of the features on newer cars that can lower your cost of insurance.
  9. Raise your Deductible – The higher your deductibles the lower your premium. The question that you need to ask yourself is, ‘how much can I “self-insure” this vehicle.’ Raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you as much as 20% in premium.
  10. Work with an Independent Agent – Independent agents have access to multiple companies and can often times find the best deals to match your specific circumstances.

Insurance is very competitive, but before you go and start slashing your liability coverages, review your policy with your agent to make sure that you are taking advantage of all of the discounts that are available to you.

Life is what you make it

I recently sat down with 3 teenagers to have dinner. During the natural course of our discussion the eldest teen made a statement to the effect of, “Life is just one big disappointment.” This statement was very shocking to me, and I replied, “Life is what you make it! All of your dreams can come true!” My response got a good laugh out of all of the teens. They scoffed and mocked me for saying that their dreams can come true. This blog post is my response.laughter

Life IS what you make of it, and YES YOUR dreams CAN come true. I’m not talking about your childhood fantasies; I’m talking about your hopes, your dreams, and the goals for your life. Will your dreams come true? Yes, but only if you hotly pursue them with the right attitude.

Nobody can predict the exact outcome of their life, but only the people that pursue their dreams can make them come true. Will you have disappointments? Absolutely. Will you fail along the way? Miserably at times. The biggest question to reaching your dreams is not will you fall down, but will you get back up again?

Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up!

When I was a teenager one of my dreams was to play in the NFL. I pursued that dream to a point, but honestly never pursued that dream to its conclusion. I got a lazy and undisciplined as I grew older, but also something in me changed. Pursing the dream of playing in the NFL didn’t seem as important to me any longer. I had other dreams that I wanted to pursue, better dreams. One thing that I noticed was if I had given up on my dream of playing in the NFL I would have never been at the place in my life to pursue a better dream. This is why we can never give up on our dreams, they may not lead us to where we expect but they can lead us to where we should be.

churchill” Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” –Winston Churchill

Everyone has a dream, but most people never even come close to fulfilling their dream because they quit too soon. They give up. When their dream isn’t fulfilled in the exact manner and timing that they choose they simply quit.

Expect Curve Balls

Every hitter wants that fast ball that they can drive over the fence. It’s straight and at a constant speed and relatively easy to hit. It’s the curve balls, the off-speed pitches, and the sliders that keep hitters just off balance enough from hitting that fast ball.

In the pursuit of your dreams, expect the curve ball. It would be great if life happened in acubs pitcher neat and orderly fashion but instead life usually happens in chaos. Chaos is the norm and in hot pursuit of your dream you have to rise above the chaos. You hope for the fastball that you can hit out of the park but expect the curve ball that you can hit out to right field.

Life threw Beethoven a curve ball when he lost his hearing at about the age 26. He went on to complete 9 symphonies in his life time. He hit the curve ball into right field.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was thrown an off-speed pitch when he became paralyzed from Polio. He kept his eye on the ball and became President of the United States in 1933. He kept the attitude that he wasn’t permanently paralyzed and used that attitude to serve as president for four terms. He hit that off speed pitch into center field.

Albert Einstein was thrown a slider when an elementary school teacher described him as lazy and that he wouldn’t amount to anything. He didn’t even speak until he as 4 years old; many people thought he was a dud. He hit the slider over the fence by pursuing his ideas and thoughts. He didn’t listen to people that told him that he couldn’t do it and that he was just a dreamer. He went on to develop the theory of relativity and is widely considered to be one of the most intelligent people ever to live.

Likewise, when unfortunate things happen to you (and they will), when you are told that you can’t, and you re told that you are just a dreamer, stay in on that pitch and hit it over the fence!

Follow Where God Leads You.

One of the reasons that I did not hotly pursue the NFL is because my desires changed. I no longer valued playing in the NFL as greatly as I did when I was younger. I had met new people, learned new things, and my perspective on life changed. I was beginning to understand that life was about more than my vain attempts at my own glory through the NFL. My dreams were changing because my perspective had changed.

God uses our desires and dreams for His will and to direct our paths. After all, He is the one who gives us our dreams. He directs our paths and uses our dreams for His glory.

TebowWhen I was pursuing my dream of playing football, I sometimes used that platform to tell of God’s working in my life.  I tried to give Him the glory for my talent and any success that I had. I met different people along the way that helped to form my character into who I am today. God used my pursuit to teach me more about Him and to draw me closer to Him. In fact, I came to the knowledge of saving faith of Jesus Christ through an organization called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  The only reason that I went to FCA was in pursuit of my dream of becoming a star athlete.

As I’ve grown older my desires and dreams have changed several times. Each time they have changed, God has used those dreams to help shape my character and has opened new doors to meet new people and to learn new things. My job is to pursue the dreams that He has given me and to draw closer to Him.

For many people, life is a big disappointment, but it doesn’t have to be. Life is what you make it. If you are deaf you can still be a composer, if you lame you can still be the president, if you are regarded as a dud you can still be brilliant. Hotly pursue the dreams that God has given you and allow Him to direct your paths and do so with an attitude of thanksgiving along the way.

Family Income Insurance




Ask any mom or dad, and the number one priority in life is to support your family and to be there for your children.  Protecting the ones that we love is not anything that has to be learned, we know it from the depths of our being. Most moms and dads would voluntarily lay down their own life to save the life of their child. But what if you can’t…what if you are not around to protect and provide for your children?

Our own demise is not something that most people want to think about. In fact, our brain tricks us into thinking that it will never happen. “I am too strong to die” is a thought that we may have had when we were younger. It will never happen to me. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. We all have an appointed day.

Family Income InsuranceWhat would your family do if you or your spouse died prematurely? If you suddenly left the scene what would you leave behind for someone else to deal with? Could your family survive without your income? How would they pay your rent or your mortgage, your car payments, college tuition, or just the simple day to day living expenses?

Did you know that 1 out of 5 men and 1 out of 7 women will die before they reach retirement age?  What if you are one of those unlucky people? Are you gambling with your family’s well-being?

I’ve been asking a lot of questions, but these are important questions that everyone needs to think about. Thankfully, there are some answers that can help you to prepare in case you die prematurely.

Life Insurance can provide your family with Tax Free money to pay the rent or mortgage, to pay the car payments, the college tuition, your funeral expenses and the day to day living expenses. Did you also know that you are the only person that can take care of this?  Yes, it is your responsibility.

Nobody blinks an eye about insuring their house, their cars, their boats, their motorcycles, and all of their STUFF. Yet, many people see life insurance as a waste of money.  This is simply put, misplaced priorities.

Maybe life insurance is not properly named…perhaps we should call it “Family Income Insurance” because that is really what we are insuring, our family’s financial future.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, call Bragg insurance today for a free quote at 317-758-5828


How to Save Money on Your Homeowners Insurance

As building supplies and labor costs increase so does the cost of repairing or rebuilding a home.  In turn, this is also causing homeowners premiums to increase.  With this in mind I thought we would list some ways you may be able to save on your homeowners insurance premium.  We have also included a short video.

  1. Bundling your homeowners insurance along with your auto insurance and/or life insurance can save up to 30%.
  2. Discounts are often given for being a member of an association.  Be sure to ask your agent if there is a discount available for any association that you are involved with.
  3. Improving security in your home will give you peace of mind, and it may also get you a discount on your homeowners insurance.  Be sure to check with you agent to see if you can get a discount for any home security system that you may have.
  4. Minimize your losses.  The biggest factor in your homeowners insurance rates is your loss history.  Some losses cannot be avoided but take a look around your home to see if there is anything that you can do to reduce the risk of a loss.
  5. Raising your deductible can significantly decrease your premium.  Raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could save you as much as 25% on your premium.
  6. Utilize an independent agent.  Have you local independent agent check the rates with other carriers ever 2 or 3 years.  This will help you to make sure that you are getting the best deal that you can on your home.


Teen Driving Safety Tips

Nearly every week on the local news I see where a teenage driver is killed or seriously injured in an auto accident.  Often times these accidents are single vehicles accidents, which could indicate that the driver was distracted and not paying full attention.  As a father of teenagers my heart aches for the loss of life and the pain the families must be going through.

While parents can’t always be with their teens when they are driving, I believe that most teens want to honor their parents in spite of what our culture may be telling us.  A great and simple tool that a parent can use is a simple, but direct conversation.  Make it clear to the teen that their seat belts must be worn at all times.  Texting and driving is never allowed, nor is any other type of distracted driving.  Don’t forget you are the parent and you are still the primary authority figure in their life, and you have the power to suspend their driving privileges if they do not obey your rules for driving.

Here are some interesting facts about texting and driving.

  • Texting and driving makes a driver 23 Times more likely to crash
  • 11 Teens die everyday in the US as a result of texting and driving
  • 13% of drivers age 18 to 20 involved in an accident admit to texting or talking on their phone at the time of the crash.

As I stated earlier, you are still the primary authority figure in your teens life and they instinctively mimic what you do.  This means that you must set a great example for all of your children when it comes to your driving habits.  Simple things like buckling up every time you drive, could mean the different between life and death if your teen is ever in a serious accident.  Turning off your phone and minimizing your distractions while driving will send a more powerful message to your children than anything that you can say.

For more information take a 3 minutes and check out the video below and share it with your teen drivers.