Monday, May 15, 2017

TIL ... (Insuring Children edition)

Reading the comments to a Washington Post article or op-ed can be variously amusing, dismaying, and/or educational.  Today, on the paper's seemingly non-controversial view that Too many children are killed for insurance money (although at least one wiseacre asked what number the Post thinks would be appropriate), commenters weighed in on bona fide reasons to take out life insurance policies on infants and small children.  Here are some highlights:
  • To pay for funeral expenses
  • "Ours have them because I have an autoimmune disease that makes me uninsurable. Thank goodness I had life insurance before I acquired health problems. We took out policies for our kids to protect their insurability, since once you have a policy they cannot cancel it and they also have to allow guaranteed additional purchases when the kids reach adulthood. Since the origin of my disorder is unknown, there may be a genetic component. Buying policies now protects our kids in the future." - mokinsbean
  • "Locking-in the low premium is good, but locking-in insurability is even better. Kids are generally healthier before they hit their teens, so getting a permanent policy while they are healthy can be one of the best moves you'll ever make." - Bastages
  • "[O]utside the rich, developed world, the elderly often depend on their children to provide and care for them. If you live in such a place, insuring your children makes good sense. It might make sense to those Americans who come from such places and have no old-age safety net other than their children." - 99miles
  • "As others have noted, there has been selling of relatively small amount life insurance for children for many decades. One goal was to lock in a low rate per $1,000 of insurance." - Davidhoffman6692
  • "1) the premiums will be very low, so the parent is locking them in for later when the child grows up and wants insurance for themselves, at which time the parent can turn over the policy to the grown-up child, who can then make their spouse the beneficiary; 2) the child could borrow against the policy to pay for education, maybe at a lower rate than other educational loans; 3) if the parent is sending the child to private schools, then the parent would recover the costs of schooling if the child dies while still a minor." - Arise-and-Shine
And of course this all-too-common scenario for the vast number of film-maker parents who insure their own children after casting them in lead roles for a major motion picture:
  • "You are making a motion picture and will incur a major loss if a key (child) actor dies before the movie is finished - you might well want to insure against that risk." - Wal Stir
But ladymidnight2u points out a significant caveat: "I would suspect that in that case all actors are insured, including kids, but only for that one project. Not merely until natural death occurs." 

The op-ed also singled out New York for its maximum life insurance limits for juveniles, which presumably is intended to allow parents and guardians to purchase reasonable amounts of insurance for foreseeable bona fide purposes, while weakening the financial incentives to kill vulnerable children in their care:
  • Newborn to 4½: limit is the greater of $25k or 25% of the applicant's own life insurance.
  • Over 4½: limit is the greater of $25k or 50% of the applicant's own life insurance.
I suppose this allows parents who are very wealthy (or possibly, very worried) to get extravagant life insurance policies for themselves and their children.  If the applicant-parent is, in fact, very wealthy, presumably they won't be motivated by the financial windfall.  If the applicant-parent merely values life insurance very highly, this allows them to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.  

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Putting on the Tux

Went back to Tuxedo with CLN to redo the hike I'd done with Grace & Bruce:  Ramapo-Dunderberg (R dot) to Tuxedo-Mt Ivy (R bar) to White Bar to Kakiat (W).  It's approx 6.8 miles r/t from the bus or train stop.

The terrain is enjoyable - a few moderate ascents, a mild and easily bypassed scramble, and lots of rolling terrain through the woods.  There are only two scenic overlooks on this particular path, but they are certainly nice ones.  

Also along the way, toward the end, you pass by many large boulders that remind me a little of Pawtuckaway State Park in NH (which I've blogged about once or twice), although the ones here are merely an amuse-bouche by comparison.  

Some trail maintenance may be in order -- there were several little streams or rivulets to cross, and relatively few strategically placed rocks or logs to make the going easy. There are also two tree trunks blocking the path on Kakiat, which we had to climb over.  (Many other tree trunks nearby were cut through for the path, but not these two.)  

There are also a few junctions that may be confusing: 

(1) At the trailhead, you have to look carefully for the red dot blazes (red dot on white background) - the official Ramapo-Dunderberg trail is next to (and slightly to the right of) an invitingly wide direct stony ascent.  

(2) A little  ways on, after the R-D trail takes a strong left turn to go due north, the path starts gently undulating.  Then all of a sudden you may start seeing yellow triangle blazes.  This is because the R-D trail takes a sudden, unmarked right turn (almost perpendicular) on meeting the Triangle trail.  So if you see yellow triangles, just backtrack about 20 feet and look for the turn to stay on the R-D.  

(3) From  the White Bar trail, it would be very easy to miss the turn off for the white-blazed Kakiat, although I was lucky enough to spot it both times.  Today, I remembered approximately where it was (not long after a few gate posts and two ranger stands).  For future reference, I noticed there are some biggish rocks at the right-hand side of the trail at that point.  Also, the white blaze on the trail directly ahead at that point bears the letters "W-B" (for white bar).  If you then look into the woods on the right, past the biggish rocks, you may notice a slender tree with a white blaze bearing the letter "K."  That would be Kakiat.  

Green fungi at log-end

These fungi looked like bread rolls

Ironically, we'd originally planned on hiking Saturday, but decided to switch based on the weather reports.  We have never been so wrong, as the old meme says.  Yesterday was by far the nicer day!  Today, we got some longish sprinkles, increasingly as the day went on.