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The Pandemic Response (Part. 3): People Helping People

In the past month the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the news 24/7. It’s very interesting to see the human response to this crisis.

Breaking Apart and Coming Together

Regardless of what background you’re from, humanity is breaking apart and at the same time coming together. 

Some people push others out of the way at the grocery store, however there are people helping others in need and work together with them to achieve a common goal. 

I’ll be discussing how people are helping other people in the COVID-19 crisis.

What Are The Benefits of People Helping People?

It’s interesting that there are many benefits derived from helping other people. It’s not only a benefit to the people you are helping, but it can benefit you as well.

Volunteering your time to help other people has been linked to improved happiness, health and sense of well being.

Health benefits derived from volunteering include reduction in chronic pain, lowered blood pressure and a mental boost from connecting with your community while social distancing.

People Are Helping By:

Helping Neighbors Under Quarantine: It’s easy to fall back into old habits when you hang out with people who are perpetually negative and bring you down every time they’re around. I’ve learned to associate less with people who bring me down and associate with people that are upbeat and build me up.

Volunteers Donating Blood: All over the world there’s a blood shortage being made worse by the COVID-19 lockdown, blood drives being cancelled and people being afraid to make donations due to the fear of catching the virus. Despite everything that’s been going on many COVID-19 survivors are donating blood plasma to help seriously ill patients fight the virus.

Donating To Local Food Banks: The massive lockdown put in place to fight COVID-19 has caused mass layoffs and led to a high demand for food aid. I saw a news story about a food bank in Texas that served 10,000 families in a single day, which put a huge strain on their food supplies due to huge demand. Food banks across not only the United States, but across the world are under a lot of stress, so a lot of people including myself are making donations to local food banks. 

Engineers Offering Aid To Hospitals: When the pandemic began in March Italy was hit hard by COVID-19. Hospitals were experiencing shortages of not only PPE, but also important disposable ventilator parts such as venturi valves. An Italian start-up called Isinnova figured out how to reverse engineer venturi valves and then manufacture them using a 3-D Printer. 

Volunteers Making PPE For Medical Staff: The global demand for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) due to the ongoing pandemic has caused a severe shortage of items such as face masks for medical staff. Volunteers have gotten together under the guidance of the  CDC (Centers For Disease Control & Prevention) to sew masks.

Have You Ever Volunteered Your Time?

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Source:

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/18/good-and-beautiful-things-ive-seen-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.asme.org/topics-resources/content/coronavirus-update-engineers-to-the-rescue

https://www.upworthy.com/san-antonio-food-bank-swamped

http://www.forthoodsentinel.com/living/covid-19-pandemic-causes-blood-donation-shortage/article_a66dda02-7364-11ea-9921-1be5db86de13.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-survivors-keep-up-the-fight-donate-blood-plasma-to-others-11585733401

https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/patient-education/sewing-masks.html

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Keeping Anxiety To a Minimum While Car Shopping. Part.1

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be exploring the causes of car shopping anxiety, the Pros and Cons of either buying or leasing a car and ways to keep anxiety to a minimum when a deal is made.

What makes car shopping so stressful?

There are many things that cause car shopping related stress and anxiety including:

Dealing with Salespeople: I am not attacking people in sales or other similar work. I am not trying to say that all car salespeople are dishonest. Most are honest, but unfortunately there are some that are not honest. Negotiating with the salesperson can be a big source of anxiety regardless of who you have for a salesperson.

Too many choices: Supposedly having too many choices or the “paradox of choice” can contribute to problems such as indecision caused by stress and anxiety.

Fear of Buyers Remorse: Buyer’s Remorse is the feeling of regret that comes from having made a purchase. This can occur when you feel that you’ve made the wrong choice about what car to buy.

Dealing with the Finance and Insurance Office: After car shopping is all said and done the most stressful aspect of the car buying experience is dealing with the Finance and Insurance (F & I) office. It’s the place where the dealership draws up contracts, arrange payment plants and whatever mandated legal forms there are to sign. There is also the added stress and anxiety from the dealership offering you products that can be added to your loan such as extended warranties.

Fear that your new or used car is a lemon: I’m referring to any vehicle that has a “substantial defect” covered by warranty, that occurs after purchase. Also, if the defects continue even after attempting to repair them. The label “lemon” originated from early 20th century America to describe someone who was a loser or a simpleton, but “lemon” became a British slang term for a bad car around the same time. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a car and having to deal with defects.

Unexpected Surprises: Sometimes unexpected surprises can happen while car shopping. I know someone who was told by a dealership that a car he wanted was available, but he got there and found out it was sold. Other unexpected surprises can include unexpected fees and also finding out a car costs more than you previously thought.

Buying New, Used or Leasing?

Being a smarter consumer will make you a less anxious consumer and it starts with knowing about the pros and cons of buying a new or used car, or leasing.

What are the Pros and Cons of buying a New Car?

Pros:

  • Low Interest Rates: Low interest rates means a willingness for consumers to borrow more money to make big purchases, such as houses and cars.
  • The Car is Yours: When the car is yours you have the right to modify it.
  • Warranties: All new cars come with a variety of warranties, including powertrain warranties that last up to 60,000 miles.
  • Latest Technology: When you buy a new car you have access to the latest technology, however overtime it’s not the latest anymore.

Cons:

  • Depreciation: A car depreciates in value by 11% once it is driven off the lot and can depreciate an additional 20% a year for the first 5 years. A $40,000 car can decrease in value by $10,000 in just one year.
  • It’s Expensive: New cars are already expensive enough, however as prices for new cars continues to go up there are being financed with seven-year car loans. A combination of inexpensive and generous financing will put you deep in debt if you’re not careful.
  • Insurance: New cars cost more to insure, so you need the highest level of protection.

What are the Pros and Cons of buying a Used Car?

Pros:

  • You don’t need a loan: Some consumers are able to pay cash on a used vehicle if it’s affordable enough.
  • You can get a good deal: If you do your homework while shopping around there are many good deals out there.
  • Lower Insurance Costs: The rate you pay for insurance is determined by the car’s value. Since used cars have less value than new cars the rate of insurance should be lower.
  • You can buy a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle: A Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle is a newer used vehicle that has gone through extensive testing by the manufacturer to assure that it meets its original requirements and has a limited warranty.
  • Someone Else takes the Depreciation Hit: Depreciation is the drop in the car’s value year after year with the majority of it occurring during the first three years of the life of the car. Although a large amount of depreciation has already occurred in an average used car depreciation still occurs at a slower rate.
  • Reduced Registration Fees: The price of registering a car is based on the car’s transaction price. Many states are raising registration fees to generate more revenue, so buying a used car can save you money for that reason.

Cons:

  • You could end up buying a lemon: This could happen especially if a vehicle you’re interested in had to have major repair work done. Check for mismatched body panels, uneven gaps between doors and paint over-sprays.
  • You’ll spend more on gas and repairs: As cars age the fuel efficiency declines and need more gas to stay on the road. If you have an older used car you may need to spend more money on repairs.

What are the Pros and Cons of Leasing?

Pros:

  • Lower Monthly Payments: The monthly payments that are made when you lease a car is based on the difference between what the car’s value is when the lease starts and what its worth at the end of the lease.
  • Lower Down Payment: Leases don’t require as high of a down payment since you’re not buying the car and there’s no loan involved.
  • Get a New Car every Few Years: The average life of a lease is three years and when it reaches maturity at the end of that time frame you have the option of signing into another lease and get a new car.
  • No Hassles at End of Lease: Once the lease is up the dealership will handle the rest.
  • Additional Financial Incentives: Financial incentives are offered by dealers, for example right now if you’re renewing your lease with Mazda they offer a Pull Ahead Program worth $1,000 to go toward making the last three months of payments toward the maturing lease.
  • Pay Less in Sales Tax: You don’t pay a sales tax based on the price or value of the car, but instead it’s added to each lease payment every month.

Cons:

  • You don’t own the car: You don’t have the same ownership rights if you lease vs. if you buy. You can’t customize or make any modification to your vehicle.
  • Penalties for Wear, Tear and Mileage: The terms of the lease allows only a certain amount of mileage. For example, if the terms of your lease is 15,000 miles a year for three years and you go over anything over can charged from $.15 a mile to $.50 a mile.
  • Contract Obligations: Leasing a car involves a contract between the vehicle owner (lessor) and someone who pays the owner to have possession of the vehicle for a predetermined amount of time (lessee).

I mentioned many of the causes of car shopping anxiety and also mentioned the Pros and Cons of either buying (new or used) or leasing.

Next week I’ll be posting the second half of this blog and I’ll be discussing how to keep anxiety to a minimum while making a deal on a car.

For those of you who are struggling with anxiety you can download an Anxiety Expert List by clicking the link below:

https://mailchi.mp/f4c4f4ece3de/anxiety-expert-guide

Do you have any car shopping experiences you’d like to share?

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